The Audio 101 Thread

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by sphinxvc, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    Here's a place to ask about the basics.

    Some examples of "basic" questions:
    - What does roll-off mean?
    - How do you wire up a subwoofer?
    - What does bi-amping mean?

    In the spirit of self-driven learning though, please try to do some due diligence first (i.e. Google and Wikipedia) to see if you can't figure it out on your own. When you happen upon a great explanation or definition to something you consider "basic", come and share with others here.
     
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  2. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    Great thread idea!
    What is the difference between microdynamics and macrodynamics?
     
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  3. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Good question! Here's how I interpret these terms:

    Dynamics is about portraying changes in volume in a compelling way. Microdynamics is about doing it on a small scale: tiny gradations in intensity in a violin or a trumpet solo, subtle spatial cues as things move slightly in the stereo field. It's a prerequisite for "plankton", which is things that are a tiny gradation away from nothing at all. Macrodynamics is about changes in volume on a large scale, where there is a sudden transition between quiet and loud: the thwack of a snare, when the bass and kick drop, when the cannon fusillade goes off, that bit half-way through any Mogwai track. Often bass is involved and when it is you might call this "slam" or "impact". Macrodynamics is different from speed, which I would say is about getting the drivers to track accurately the waveform you feed into them with minimal inertia or overshoot. To have good macrodynamics you have to move the drivers fast, but you can do so in an enthusiastic rather than accurate way that doesn't equate to speed in the above sense.
     
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  4. Malabargold

    Malabargold Flipper

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    Whats the difference between 'attack' and transient response? :D
     
  5. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Attack could be seen as a subset of transient response, with transient response encompassing attack, sustain, and decay.
     
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  6. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    Size, and of course size doesn't matter don't ya know.
     
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  7. Kunlun

    Kunlun cat-alyzes cat-aclysmic cat-erwauling - Friend

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    If anyone could please share a good description of macrodetail versus microdetail I think it would be helpful in this thread, thanks.
     
  8. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    Well carved out transient response I think is perceived as quality detail.
    While not telling the whole story, one could look at Tyll's step response graphs to evaluate the meaning.

    It seems to me that headphones that excel in 300 Hz sqw do well in detail.
    A good example is some LCD vs HD650.
    An LCD tends to have the overall shape more rectangular but has a lot of tiny crap superimposed to the line.
    I guess maybe the LCD can be perceived as more detailed and HD650 as more microdetailed.

    Things like frequency response and non linear distortions affect the perception, but does not discriminate between macro or micro in my experience.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  9. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Macrodetail and microdetail I see used as catch-all terms to describe different things, rather than simply being the same thing on different scales.

    Macrodetail is actually easy to fake with lean or midforward tonal signatures (think K701, SR009, or other plasticky sounding mid-fi). Things will sound more present simply by lifting that part of the spectrum. I do not like to associate macrodetail with clarity or cleanness for that reason, although I feel as if I have seen others do so.

    Microdetail is impossible to fake, as the playback chain is either picking up the small stuff or it's not. You can have otherwise warm or dark headphones that sound detailed because they're clean and they let all the good stuff through.

    Another way to put it might be that macrodetail'd headphone throws the detail in your face, while the microdetail'd headphone simply presents it in its right place.
     
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  10. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    @OJneg I think you are referring to 'detail' in HF language. You are making it sound like macrodetail is bjaad.

    Detail is weirdo word to describe music or reproduction's system capability anyways.
    It's for noobs who can't describe the things they hear in a more articulated manner.
     
  11. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    @Priidik , this a thread for inarticulate noobs and beginners like me - please keep your responses with that purpose in mind and on that level.
     
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  12. Dr4Bob

    Dr4Bob Rando

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    I have found Phillips Golden Ear training to be quite useful in both defining the myriad of terms used in the discussion of audio as well as in developing the skill set to discern such subtleties whilst listening. It is long and somewhat tedious but is well worth looking into.
     
  13. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    Transients and decay defined by @zach915m

    "When I talk about transients I am referring to the leading "edge" of a note and how fast it appears audibly to the listener.

    When I talk about decay I am talking about the speed at which the end of a note or sound lasts after its initial strike."

    Perfect 101 definition. Let's keep this going. This thread is the kind of content that will educate people on how to contribute to the signal here.

    @Dr4Bob , was there a term in the Golden Ear training that you thought was exceptionally well-defined? If yes, then post and credit. Thanks!
     
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  14. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    I think that Philips Golden Ear website is dead. A shame really.
     
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  15. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    That said, people often are fooled -at least at first- by exaggerated treble from Beyers or Grados. It's not uncommon for people to be fooled by treble and to mistake it for detail, thinking they're listening to good, resolving headphones. Been there, done that.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  16. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    I prefer OJ's explanation of transient response. Attack. Sustain. Decay.
    --
    But, I still don't understand--at all--what macrodetail is vs. microdetail. Detail, as a word, connotes something atomic by nature. Explain to me then why we're putting macro next to it? (Macro, as I understand it, is the opposite of atomic. So macrodetail then becomes an oxymoron, don't you think?)
    --
    Side note: Can we try to avoid any pretensions of edification?
    --
    @barboggo - Do you want to post some of the things you wanted to get thoughts on?
     
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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  17. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I feel like that is something plucked out of "The Art of War".
     
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  18. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Even if that is so, I prefer other terms rather than macro-detail
     
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  19. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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    The Golden Ear thing made me think of an album that Chesky has available on Apple Music and maybe other services called "The Ultimate Demonstration Disc" where they describe some of these concepts and then they have a sample piece and they tell you what to listen for. Might be worth looking into. Also has some various test tones and sweeps if I recall.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  20. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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