Discussion in 'SBAF Blogs' started by baldr, Dec 15, 2016.
What about casting a periphery ring?
This seems obvious and yet I didn't think about it. I dunno!
So WTF is the Manhattan. For years, I was in a state of mystery – I had no idea why old prewar Banjos and Mandolins sounded better than new ones. Ever the non luthier, I began to read up and pull bits of data from various sites on the internet.
Hmmmmmmmmm. Lloyd Loar, master builder at Gibson from 1919-1923. Rather than build instruments to a set of prints, he individually tap tuned the instruments to C=256 Hz for best musical performance. At that time, that was a useful mean of the non standardized pitches of the day for hillbillies, bands and non-classical orchestras. It turns out he was replaced, because he was slowing production and increasing costs. Sound familiar? Today, a Lloyd Loar signed Gibson is worth .1 to .6 million bucks. Dang!
Not being an expert luthier, it is my understanding that musical instruments have an air resonance and a string resonance, both of which exhibit harmonic properties. Above resonance, both tend to have harmonic peaks which affect the sound of the instrument, both individually and collectively. Below resonance, the response falls off quickly. So it makes some sense for the instrument to have a bit of low frequency extra air resonance.
Returning briefly to tuning, the third string of a violin in a classical orchestra is A4. Since the concertmaster of such an orchestra is the first violin chair, responsible for the ttuning of the entire orchestra, he plays his open third string at some pitch which has varied over the last hundred years or so from A=430 to A=446 Hz. The string must be an open one, since violins are fretless, which makes any playing other than an open string subjective. This is the what the orchestras play just before the conductor appears. If there is a standard in tuning today, that standard is A=440Hz. Today there is a grassroots, nearly religious belief that an A=432Hz restoration is an imperative – many youtube performances are available in that tuning.
The problem is that the correct tuning is C=256.
There is even an open source program (which was incorporated into at least one server) which I shall not name, free at open source sites which varies pitch to reach A=432. It is similar in function to Karaoke DSP chips to change song tunings to fit different voices. The problem is that they sound worse than hemhorroidal ass; more like open running sore ass. Anybody ever attempt serious listening to Karoke? This is something like dwarf-tossing – it is so wrong that it deserves to die.
Then there are the mentally homeless who sit cross legged while chanting something related to bad math, chakras, and spiritual energy. These types will chatter endlessly about Nazi involvement in orchestral tunings and present conspiracy theories about evil beings trying to cause homo sapiens blindness by excessive masturbation, or something like that.
So what if someone (me) built a device where you could vary the pitch while listening and center it on C3=256? That is the Gadget. The entry level in the Manhattan series. It will be available soon for under two hundred bucks. A true, honest to God music processor. What comes out is not what came in. Oh, is that all it is, you say?
Well, this is what I say about the gadget:
1. It does not sound like ass.
2. It has one adjustment pot and one “You should be close” light.
3. It adjusts only pitch with no change in tempo.
4. It adjusts music to an “aaaaahhhhhhh” mode. It is a sharp point on the adjustment. When you hit it you know.
5. The sensations it produces are as profound as and analogous to many of the positive changes proper to tube amps’ comfort, or hi-def files’ clarities for lack of adequate descriptors.
6. I am 69 years old and I have never heard anything as right as this in an over 50 year audio career.
7. I cannot imagine listening to music without it.
8. A=432 blows; C=256 fucking rules.
8. It is an electronic joint. Absolutely intoxicating. I cannot put it down. It alters your mood. I say this as a deadhead who has no chemical brain invasions in over twenty years. I cannot imagine how a stoner will respond to this.
This is what it will not do:
1. Work for most forms of “scientific” or electronic music or monotonic music, such as rap.
2. Work for any forms of music where harmony, pitch, or rhythm is missing.
Thanks to Ivana, who came up with the algorithm and got this idea programmed and working for us. It took over a year to get it to where it didn’t sound like ass. It will take much more of her time to get the bigger one finished. We will have one at RMAF without the USB in hooked up yet, just S/PDIF in and out.
Sounds interesting. Probably. I wonder if this might be a Holy Grail for those of us who experience listening fatigue. Crap, I can't wait to try this. But I'll have to.
Since Mike spilled the beans, I'll add only two things:
1. The Gadget is another answer to the age-old question of "how do you improve recorded music?" In the past, this question has had a myriad of answers, including tone controls, equalizers (LOL) and multi-thousand-dollar cables. The Gadget is a new answer, one that gives you real-time, individually adjustable control.
2. Unlike some recent attempts to improve recorded music, The Gadget does not incorporate any possibilities for DRM, including phone-homes, algorithmic degradation, or device serialization/deauthorization, nor does it attempt to extract licensing fees from the recording industry, equipment manufacturers, or listeners; it does not require any kind of encoding, works with all music, and is 100% self-contained.
Will the production version of The Gadget have s/pdif in/out? Hoping to put it after my Eitr before Mimby.
You heard it hear first people (perhaps to Jason's chagrin). Jüd will Schiit his pants if he finds out he didn't get to be the one to drop the info before anybody else.
Maybe I'm not entirely wrapping my head around it but I kind of have mixed feelings about the idea. What is the most it could potentially change the artist's original intent for sound/tuning?
That whole purist view is bunk. Unless you fly to the studio the album was recorded in and listen to the master tapes on the monitors the music was mixed on, you're not hearing it the same way the artist did. Every headphone, speaker, phono cartridge, DAC, room, etc... has it's own presentation. The world isn't perfect and music isn't made in a vaccuum and it's ok to alter the recording.
I am going to print both of those one one shirt and wear it to RMAF
You've missed the point with this. Come on.. friends don't give friends the old "Unless you go to the studio.." bit. I'm not a purist and I didn't say anything that indicated such. I'm talking about the potential to actually change pitches. I'm not saying it's bad but we're talking about the potential for what SEEMS like a pretty drastic and purposeful change to the recording. I'm not talking about trying to achieve perfection. Then again maybe I'll be so blown away by the result that it won't matter.
I guess we'll find out at RMAF.
Wish I could be there. I actually briefly looked at plane tix but I had to accept the reality that i've just got too much going on to go.
I assume MP goes before the DAC...please tell me it supports AES3 in/out...Please!
That Manhattan is the kind of device that will be fun for an audiophile to play with. Dial it in till the music goes "ahhhhhhhh" that's right. If that "ahhhhhhh" leads to more eargasms and skingasims then it will be worth it. Can't wait to try. I like classical music and other music that it seems will be appropriate for it. And my listening is all about eargasims and skingasmims and getting the music to sound like "ahhhhhhhhh".
One bit of music that I like is the third movement of Rachmaninoff's second symphony. The adagio movement. The way it builds and hits a climax in the middle then works it way back down to slowly go away. That climax gives me goosebumps almost every time. Oh my that feels good. If the Manhattan is able to enhance those kinds of goosebump moments then oh my. George Takei. Oh my. The Gumby already helps those goosebump moments happen (thank you). If Manhattan helps even more I just might melt. Very curious to try this Manhattan thing.
This is very interesting, because it would imply that humans are biologically hardwired to favor a C=256 tuning. Have you tested the Gadget with people who are pitch perfect?
C=256 is called "scientific pitch": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_pitch
If I am understanding this correctly, C=256 is equivalent to about A=430.
Here's an interesting discussion about tuning in different orchestras:
So if A=432 blows; C=256 fucking rules..
where does A=440 fit into this schiit scale?
Every link in your audio chain is a pretty drastic and purposeful change though. About artist intent... I was reading an interview the other day from some guys who remastered Dylan's John Wesley Harding and the harmonica was described as "piercing" on the original masters because he had a tendency to rock back as he sang and lean into the harmonica parts. In the room it would have a completely different sound than it would on tape because of how the mic picked up the vocals and harmonica. Did Dylan purposefully do that to make it more strident or was it just an idiosyncrasy? You can follow that kind of rabbit hole forever. If what you care about is the music the best thing you can do is make it sound as good as you can in your listening environment. If MP makes your music sound better then who cares how it did it?
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