Let's Talk Digital

Music as represented in 1's and 0's. Discuss anything pertaining to D hardware - CD, DVD, SACD, DAC, etc.

Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:19 am

jo2 wrote:SoFtCliPpEr,

will try to work in creating a separate section soon.



Ayan ha!

Napansin din yung "WALANG KATAPUSANG DISKUSYON AT KUMPARAHAN SA PLAKA AT CD."

Payong KAPATID to all WS Members:

Gusto mo ng PLAKA - READ "ANALOG FORUM!"

Gusto mo ng CD/SACD - READ "DIGITAL FORUM!"

Kung GUSTO mong pareho ( katulad ko) - ENJOY!!! :lol: :D


Hehe as far as I'm concerned there never was a discussion, for the anti-digital camp has never made an impact. Glad your enjoying it pal.

You just gave sound advise for people who likes the popcorn in their music. Amen :)

SC
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:25 am

Donlovejoy wrote:What a suprise! At last a main Digital Section under Forum! Thanks a lot Herr Administrator Vintage Dog (Francis). SoFtCliPpEr you can now share what the Digital Planet has to offer. Last and definitely not the least I will never forgive myself if I forget Monsieur ARNOLDC your the man. :)


Miracles still happen eh? :)
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Postby vintage_dog » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:36 am

SoFtCliPpEr wrote:
....

We can't stay babies in audio forever....



this is exactly right! and i agree 100%. and this is the reason i discovered analog. seriously.

cheers!
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:52 am

this is exactly right! and i agree 100%. and this is the reason i discovered analog. seriously.

cheers![/quote]


:D who knows Columbus might just rediscover America eh?

More Power to WS!

SC
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:07 pm

Image

"To Be .. Or Not To Be" Shakespeare

Upsample or Oversample? What's the Beef?

Here's an interesting read on the subject:


Upsampling, Upconversion and Oversampling:

A Marketing Synonym Game



Introduction

Consumers are attracted to new ideas. It can be trends, places, products or simply features. Usually new features aren't really new, they're nothing more than marketing hype. Every year we are exposed to new models of televisions and new models of cars, and more often than not, there is nothing really new or better inside. Digital audio "Upsampling" and "Upconversion" also falls into this reality. This kind marketing drive has subtly entered the world of digital audio and some companies have managed to increase the sales of their digital audio products by claiming the use of the "new" upsampling technology. The goal of this article is to explain the reality of these technical concepts, leaving all myth aside, and to provide a better understanding of what is really happening with this aspect of digital audio technology.



Basic Digital Audio Theory

Let's start with the basic Pulse Coded Modulation (PCM) theory. PCM is a method of converting an audio signal from its native analog format into the digital domain where it is comprised of only zeros and ones. This is done on a Compact Disc (CD) for example, and then the original analog signal is recovered by playing the CD in a CD player. PCM works as follows: The analog signal is defined by a value on two axis, amplitude and time. At the sampling frequency, 44.1kHz for CD audio, the amplitude of the signal is encoded into 16-bits words. This means that every 1/44,100th of a second, the closest numerical value to the amplitude of the original analog signal is stored. Since 16-bit words are used, there are 65,536 possible values (216). When the analog signal is recreated using a digital filter followed by a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), found inside every CD Player, all of these encoded numerical values are restored to their original amplitudes with respect to the time axis, recreating a signal with a staircase shape; each step's limit corresponds to the finite value in time and amplitude of the encoded digital signal. This signal is then sent to a reconstruction filter that "smoothes" out the staircase shaped signal, creating an output signal without all the jagged steps. This result is an analog signal, which should closely resemble that of the original analog signal.

What are the limitation of this system?

One limitation results from the approximations required to encode the real amplitude of the signal into a discrete value. In reality, the signal always lies between two consecutive levels. This causes noise in the digital domain and the limits dynamic range; with more bits, you have better amplitude precision and an equivalent increase in dynamic range. Another limitation is the sampling frequency. With a higher sampling frequency, you have more samples of the signal in one timeframe. This extends the available bandwidth of the system. Imagine a decrease in the size of the steps as the amplitude resolution (number of bits) increases and/or sampling frequency increases. A finer staircase shape (less jagged appearance) allows the use of a simpler reconstruction filter, which is directly related to sound quality. The less effect the filter needs to have, the less it affects sound quality. In more scientific terms, the sampling frequency dictates the highest possible frequency the system can reproduce. Nyquist has demonstrated the mathematical law which states that a sampling system can reproduce frequencies of up to half the sampling frequency. The system has to filter out all frequencies above half the sampling frequency, which is where unwanted artifacts of the digitized signal (the staircase) reside. The audio CD has a specified bandwidth ceiling of 20kHz, leaving a small gap between that upper frequency and half the sampling rate which is 22.05kHz. The filter must be very steep (high order) to remove information above 22.05kHz but still leaving information under 20kHz. Such a filter was developed at the inception of CD playback and was named the "brickwall filter". This filter had a terrible impact on sound quality.



Oversampling

The oversampling technique was developed to get away from a "brickwall filter". A digital system interpolates new points between the different original samples to obtain an artificially higher sampling rate. This allows the use of a less aggressive filter because it doesn't have to eliminate frequencies as close to the frequencies it must not affect. It first began as four times (4x) oversampling (i.e. 176.4kHz), then later eight times (8x) oversampling (i.e. 352.8kHz). The digital filter must perform many mathematical calculations to determine the value of the point it must add to the original digital signal. Often, this calculated value may fall between two discrete values, so the oversampling system must round off the value to the closest discrete value. To increase the precision of the resulting calculated value, DACs and digital filters with more than 16-bits of resolution were therefore introduced. We have seen 18-bit, 20-bit and 24-bit digital filters and DACs. It is important to note that oversampling creates an artificially higher sampling frequency, which does not extend the real frequency response of the original media or the system, but simply extends the frequencies that need to be filtered out, allowing for a simpler and better sounding analog filter.



Upsampling & Upconversion

One of the latest storage mediums is the popular the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD). When developing this new standard, a higher-than-CD resolution PCM format was adopted with a maximum resolution of 24-bits/96kHz. For the professional market, this new format had to be compatible with the CD's 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution. This would allow the conversion of original recordings to the new standard. So a sample-rate converter chip, which is nothing more than an oversampling digital filter, was created to actually convert any digital signal from one standard format to another format. For example, a 16-bit/32kHz signal can then be converted to 24-bit/96kHz and 24-bit/96kHz can also be converted to 16-bit/48kHz. This gave rise to the marketing hype with the concepts of upsampling and upconversion, which claims could upsample or upconvert your 16-bit/44.1kHz CD to a 24-bit/96kHz resolution digital signal prior to the digital to analog conversion, resulting in DVD-audio like quality from CD. While this statement is a great idea for marketing purposes and is surely impressive to most consumers, it is technically only half true, and is not the best way to improve the audio quality that can be derived from CDs.

Why?

Digital filtering is digital filtering regardless of name assigned to it, and how the interpolation is made still relies solely on the arithmetic calculations implanted in dedicated hardware or software. The main difference is how well the "mechanics" of the mathematics will assist in the signal's reconstruction. When changing the sampling rate, it is better to maintain an integer multiple of the original signal's sample rate, so the processing is kept simple. More importantly, the end result is more accurate, thus enabling a higher fidelity of sound reproduction. A two times (2x) oversampling system will double the sampling rate, by adding one easy to find numerical value in between each actual sample. For example, when a 44.1kHz digital signal is processed, a 88.2kHz digital signal is obtained. It is simple, effective and precise because it is a direct multiple of the original digital signal. For an upsampler to make a 96kHz digital signal from a 44.1kHz signal, it will have to perform awkward mathematical operations to obtain a 96kHz signal. (96kHz / 44.1KHz equals 2.1768707…). This results in a less accurate output from the digital filter, with everything else following (i.e. digital-to-analog conversion and analog filtering) also being less accurate. As well, exactly like oversampling, the artificially higher sampling frequency created by an upsampler doesn't increase the actual frequency response of the system, but simply increases the lower limit of the frequencies that need to be eliminated.

What does all this really mean?

You can hear the differences between the various types of digital filters, regardless of the marketing names used. Over the past two decades, we have witnessed vast improvements in both digital filters and DACs. It is demonstrably true and there does exist real progress. However, the "latest and greatest" upsampling method is not necessarily better than the classic oversampling method. In fact, and most probably, these latest methods actually deteriorate sound quality if the conversion takes the sampling rate to a frequency that is not a direct integer multiple of the original sampling rate, being 44.1 kHz for audio CD.

http://www.simaudio.com/upsampling.htm

Hope this helps folks! :)

SC
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Postby JackD201 » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:27 pm

Nice Post SC.
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:34 pm

JackD201 wrote:Nice Post SC.


Hey you're not so bad yourself..am learning from you a lot keep em` coming! :)
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Postby vintage_dog » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:38 pm

SC, thanks for sharing a very informative article.

i believe the article comes from an official publication which may be copyrighted. may i suggest you please highlight the copied text and put them in "quotes", indicating the original source of the document. for info, most articles are copyrighted and copying these for publishing in forums is actually a violation of said rights. publishers/authors could actually run after Wiredstate for publishing these.

if a link is available, perhaps it is safer to just use that.

for info.
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:40 pm

vintage_dog wrote:SC, thanks for sharing a very informative article.

i believe the article comes from an official publication which may be copyrighted. may i suggest you please highlight the copied text and put them in "quotes", indicating the original source of the document. for info, most articles are copyrighted and copying these for publishing in forums is actually a violation of said rights. publishers/authors could actually run after Wiredstate for publishing these.

if a link is available, perhaps it is safer to just use that.

for info.


Yup the link source is indicated below :)
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Postby jonas » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:22 pm

attaboy, SC. keep up the good work!!
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:55 am

ImageNgarrrllll.. so now you have a splendid Digital product for your audiophile stereo pleasure..what now? Is your present set up ready for the benefits and wholesome family entertainment which only Digital surround sound can provide?

You may be having a good thing going for yourself but.. what about the rest of your family members? I am pretty sure not all of them are into the kind of music we all love like classical and jazz do they? My son when he was still a kiddo used to cover both his ears as I was in a trance listening to Beethoven's 9th hehe.

Often a glance to the wife would reveal a silent annoyance to Jazz at the Pawnshop. Don't you all think it's about time the rest of our family members get a nice share of the musical pie we enjoy?

Well there are some good things going on in the field of Digital Multi-Channel sound for us to consider. The main reason a lot of defiance goes on whenever you upgrade gear is that chances are your better half may not be having enough of the fun eh? Instead their attention is focused on the seemingly endless expenditures you undertake just to make Jacintha sound better in your living room.

Be warned that one day soon this could be grounds for a speedy divorce..hehehe. Now back to the topic on hand.

Multi-Channel surround sound just what is it all about? Well for one thing one may have a cool pair of speakers (big or small) however if you don't get any bass extension, a whole lot of the other details recorded in your software gets lost as if they were thrown into a recycle bin. The music just doesn't seem to "travel" as they say.

Let's all take it from Harry Pearson himself when he declared.."Well for one thing: you will hear a bass on an organ that you won't get on any two-channel recording!" He goes on by saying.. "It's astounding! You listen to something like this four channel recording that Columbia did of the organ in Germany. You listen to that sucker, and I'm telling you I never heard the lower octaves of an organ reproduced this correctly. Ever.And multi-channel does one more thing -it lets instruments float above the orchestra as they do in life,easily. Now ,you can hear this sometimes on two-channel, but in multi-channel it's routine to have percussion floating up above the orchestra like at a concert."

Have you guys experienced that? Hehe I recall I was in a shop in Makati looking for a specific subwoofer. The salesaman offered me one brand however I insisted for another model which was the latest. The guy in his most convincing manner said..but sir that is for errrr "video"..I answered then it should go lower to accomodate the THX thingy right? He back pedalled and said they don't have it on stock. Hehe it was no small wonder that inspite of the lavish preparations done on their listening room the sound was not at par to the sound I was hearing on my home system.

We will be having more of this on my next post. The comments from Mr.Harry Pearson appeared on The Absolute Sound issue 148 as reference.
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Sun May 29, 2005 11:05 am

Hehehe

We need to up this thread seeing it has the last say on any analog setup.
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Postby mango » Sun May 29, 2005 11:56 am

It does ?

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Postby bugsy » Sun May 29, 2005 4:18 pm

SoFtCliPpEr wrote:Hehehe

We need to up this thread seeing it has the last say on any analog setup.


Really? I have both mediums and enjoy the music. Right now am very happy with my Burmester but thinking of going EMM. What do you think?
What do you use as your digital source?
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Postby JackD201 » Sun May 29, 2005 4:53 pm

Bugsy, the burmesters are awesome and so are Meitner's babies. Another sideward move? Looks like just a case of economics.
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Postby bugsy » Mon May 30, 2005 6:11 am

JackD201 wrote:Bugsy, the burmesters are awesome and so are Meitner's babies. Another sideward move? Looks like just a case of economics.


Hi Jack,

You think it is a horizontal move? Could be? I was looking at it as a change of flavor but ......I've had the Burmester for two years or so.....maybe, maybe?

On second thought, you are right! Thanks, Jack! :)
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Postby JackD201 » Mon May 30, 2005 9:57 am

SC, I am a firm believer in extension. That's why my main speakers (used in the system built up for serious musical immersion) are always true full range flat to 20 at only -3db and down to 18 at -6db. Speakers designed to go that low don't have to have that dreaded mid-bass bump built into them which is the true culprit that causes one note bass.

I have a system with mini-monitors that I really love too. I listen to this more to relax and unwind get lulled and dreamy with hi-eff monitors and tubes. I love em for their pin point imaging and especially for the enveloping warmth but really.....in any live musical event from a guy playing a french horn in a subway station, a cellist playing for money at a park or a full blown orchestra in a concert hall in truth there is no pinpoint imaging to speak of just a LOT of moving air :). It's only with the use of our eyes and the visual cues they give that let us focus on the individual performer. Seeing as it is the lower octaves that give us that feeling of LOTSA AIR with piston type aka dynamic drivers it would be reasonable to say that we need IMO at the very least 30hz-35hz flat.

With the proper room and system from experience 2 channels can give you exactly what you mentioned above. Even the illusion of surround sound.
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Mon May 30, 2005 6:30 pm

JackD201 mentioned:
With the proper room and system from experience 2 channels can give you exactly what you mentioned above. Even the illusion of surround sound.


Thanks for the comments. However I wasn't dwelling on the fact about "stereo" reproduction, although indeed as you say with the right stuff one can probably experience a pseudo type of surround sound.

However the truth of the matter is it just can't be! Hehe why..well for one thing stereo binds you to listen simply as it is STEREO or to put it bluntly two-channel sound reproduction. How it can ever duplicate the "SURROUND" multi-channel effects is really beyond me.

What is really interesting to realise is the fact that inspite of having the multi-channel setup one may venture into, the "STEREO" experienced is retained and at the very least upgraded to a more controversial yet superior sound experience altogether.

Now that doesn't take anything away from "STEREO" not at all. I myself enjoy stereo sound I believe it is all together another experience compared to multi-channel, more so if the software cd or vinyl was from the very beginning pressed to do the stereo thingy.

I spend hours listening to my LS35a's but, and but still I wished I could get the same full experience I derive whenever I listen to the Dark Side Of The Moon in multi-channel setup.

But with today's advent of superior software i.e DVD audio / DVD movies /DTS encoded CD etc., the benefits of multichannel surround sound cannot be ignored. At any rate granting that one may reach the same apex of listening pleasure in a stereo setup and at the same time experience a surround effect..it would still all be happening without the double bass of the London Symphony Orchestra!

This love for music or audiophilia is all about the quest to hear the real thing in real time and try to get as close to the music as best we can. In this department Digital Multi-Channel setup is the way to go.

Daniel Barenboim together with some members of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra were shocked when they first heard their recording of Beethoven's 9th in DVD A Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Never in their lives as musicians they testified have they heard such a pure rendition and recording of the 9th!
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Mon May 30, 2005 6:36 pm

bugsy wrote:
SoFtCliPpEr wrote:Hehehe

We need to up this thread seeing it has the last say on any analog setup.


Really? I have both mediums and enjoy the music. Right now am very happy with my Burmester but thinking of going EMM. What do you think?
What do you use as your digital source?


Hehehe if it's Made In Germany it's gotta be BAD! Anyhowz biases aside the mention of analog seems to awaken my favorite kind of people hehehe. Congratulations on your third post Manga!

If I were to choose on which Digital product to use I would get a KW..simply superb or if my budget would allow the Meitner would be second to none. JMHO folks.
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Mon May 30, 2005 6:53 pm

Oh JackD201

I wonder if you have any more articles to share on the Meitner? Nahhhhh, I just wanted to up the topic :)

Thanks
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