The Audio 101 Thread

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

  1. Garns

    Garns Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,985
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Sydney, AUS
    That's interesting, I agree that transients are not limited to attack, but I would also say that attack isn't just limited to transients either. Here's my take:

    Transient response, for me, is a more "technical" characteristic of a transducer or an amp. A transient I take to be any part of the sound which is of short duration (a few ms or less), and good transient response is about reproducing those accurately (so it's typically correlated with speed). Because a transient is short, it involves a lot of high-frequency components, so good transient response probably necessitates no ringing or anything like that. Commonly transients occur at the leading edge of some sound - the start of a trumpet note, the ting of a triangle, the strum of a plectrum over guitar strings. But transients can also occur at the end of a sound as well, like if you stop a woodwind instrument with your tongue or damp guitar strings with your hands. Pure transients turn up in certain kinds of electronic music (Alva Noto, Ryoji Ikeda, CoH, SND, most things on Mille Plateaux, anything called "clicks and cuts").

    "Attack" on the other hand, I see as a combination of various other features which are to do with the convincing reproduction of the start phase of a sound. Transient response plays a big role, but the attack phase can go on beyond the initial transients and so attack can also involve macrodynamics and/or speed. For example a kick drum is basically just attack-decay, but it's only the initial "tick" which I consider a transient; and with a blown or bowed instrument the attack phase starts with a transient but goes until the timbre has stabilised. In both cases, good transient response is probably not sufficient to portray that convincingly.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 11
    • List
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  2. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Likes Received:
    6,489
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Ohio
    @Garns, you have a gift/ skill in describing these terms. Thank you.

    Attack, then, as a factor in macrodynamics, does seem to stand apart from transients.

    @sphinxvc and @OJneg I agree with you on the lack of utility of the term 'macrodetail.'
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  3. Garns

    Garns Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,985
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Sydney, AUS
    Not exactly, I would probably call that macrodynamics. Transients to me don't contain much energy because they are very short. Transient response I see as fairly similar to impulse response which you can see plotted in people's measurements. See if you can find and listen to Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto "Vrioon" (nice record). All the little high-frequency ticking noises are pure transient.

    Completely agree. Different people have different mappings between the signifier and the signified. Meets and so forth help us to understand each other's meaning, but failing that trying to explain this kind of thing in a thread like this is a great idea.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 6
    • List
  4. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    581
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Singapore
    Apart from amps and transducers, I do think the Digital to Analog Converters do have major influence on transient response by means of macrodynamics which could be a factor of voltage swing+current delivery of dac chip + power supply design quality.

    Take for example, PCM1704UK has been regarded to be as weaker(less dynamic) sounding vs it's PCM56P predecessor.
    Or how the Gungnir Multibit has been regarded by notable SBAF as having weaker bass vs Yggdrasil.
    Then there's the opposite end of the spectrum where ESS Sabre dacs having unnaturally fast transient response(part of Sabre Glare?). Also Sigma Delta dacs tend to have this one note fast beating bass.

    Oversampling/NOS, Fast/Slow roll off filters, FPGA/DSP firmwares also do play a role in the transient response.

    found some really informative stuff which I think @ultrabike will enjoy:
    Step Response Overshoot: http://www.dspguide.com/ch20/3.htm
    Chebyshev Filter Design: http://www.dspguide.com/ch20/2.htm
    Timbre: http://www.dspguide.com/ch22/2.htm
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  5. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

    Friend BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    15,529
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    On planet
    What I would find useful in relating the terms being used would be example tracks and a detailed description for what one should listen and observe.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 13
    • List
  6. murray

    murray Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    391
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    N.Z.
    Do you think that's what I might be getting from my Ultrasone Pro-750's? I've trained my brain to like them so I might have ruined myself. I don't have a decent yardstick to compare to, so I'll eventually have to get an HD-650 or similar to establish a reference.
     
  7. barboggo

    barboggo Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Bavaria
    I will eventually. Looks like I'll be spending a lot of time lurking in this thread (and others) in the meantime! Thanks sphinxvc :)
     
  8. Valolilol

    Valolilol Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    50
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Thank you for the link, I will dig into it, that sounds promising.

    @murray your point addresses several topics at once. The first thing I got to say is that, no, you didn't ruined yourself by liking a pair of headphones :). That's one beauty about human brain, you can always train/learn to something new. It may get harder with age but you still can do it. From what I saw, your brain always adapt to a pair of headphones, that is just a human property that you cannot avoid, we are very well built to "adapt", for more details, check any neural network lecture/lesson/introduction. That being said, you also have preferences (@Tyll Hertsens often says that he is a little chicky bass header is his papers for instance). In the end you just need to find the right balance between your preferences and this in-built adaptation's system called "brain".
    One recommendation though, and that stands for any topic that you want to learn : try new things, hear new things. It helps you defining what you like rather that complying to the only setup you have and avoid realizing years later that these god damn people were right about LCD2 for instance. Don't go into mass murdering frenesia on your wallet, but just keep in mind that changes are always good.

    @Garns Thank you for your definitions, they are priceless because I know if I would have tried that I would have lost people into too much of physical/maths stuff. Keep going !
     
  9. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,176
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    London, UK
    I've never heard those Ultrasones, or any for that matter, so can't comment on the sound at all, sorry.

    As to ruining yourself - not unless you have been played them loud enough to damage your ears! Everything else is just context and taste, and what you are accustomed to.

    Don't worry, I once deliberately made myself use Apple earbuds for some weeks, just to see how far my brain would go in normalising them (spoiler: very far, they started sounding normal, almost). I suffered a little bit of bass shock going back to custom Etymotics after, but got over it in a day or two. If you're curious, just try listening to other options, possibly with trustworthy "tasting notes" initially to help you get orientated.

    That will give you a chance to assess what you have, and how good a fit it is for you.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  10. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    U.S.
    Regarding tubes:

    Looking for some cheap upgrade tubes for my Valhalla 2. Is there any reason to go for gold pins over regular? Googling of course turns up answers from both sides without much of a conclusion that I can tell.
     
  11. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    581
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Singapore
    gold plated pins don't oxidize/foul up like other metals, so it will maintain it's consistent sound through it's lifespan without need for cleaning up.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  12. barboggo

    barboggo Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Bavaria
    Been slowly going through some of the exercises in this app. It's been super helpful so far.

    I also started digging around on the internet and came across this, seemed ok:
    https://www.soundgym.co/welcome/index

    I'm starting to recognize a pattern in a lot of these online ear training sessions. Looks like I have a lot of reading and listening to do before I feel confident in 1. listening critically and 2. articulating what I'm hearing. A lot of stuff is easy enough to get conceptually but if I don't recognize it when I hear it then what's the point, right. So I guess I need to work on getting better at listening first?

    BTW, does anyone know of some sort of audiophile glossary on the internet that actually includes example sound clips of each term? These quiz apps are cool but I wish I could just click a concept and hear a clear example of it.

    Thanks for all the great info so far everyone. Looks like this is THE thread for me!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  13. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    U.S.
    If that is the case, I'll just take a chance at having to clean the pins at some point and save a considerable amount of money. Thanks!
     
  14. murray

    murray Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    391
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    N.Z.
    When you are going to do that, do some research first. If you are not careful you can break a pin.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    73,949
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    ON MICRODYNAMICS

    They are both catch-all terms with microdynamics the most difficult to understand for initiates. I will concentrate on microdynamics for now. @Garns already explained how microdynamics are related to plankton. One thing I've noticed is that its very easy for audiophiles, even experienced audiophiles to focus on detail, both macrodetail, and what's a little bit less obvious microdetail, instead of microdynamics.

    Microdynamics is many things. As @Garns said, tiny gradations in volume. I will add that it's the ability to distinguish all gradations in volume, to do so in a uncompressed way, both up and down; and to do so in an instantaneous, effortless, almost spontaneous way. A good analogy of poor microdynamics would be LCD TVs which are pretty much shit in terms of being able to distinguish shadow detail (it's all a dark grey or black blob), despite 1000000:1 contrast ratios (yes, they do get bright - this is macrodynamics). This is why both of my TVs are plasmas and I use a projector for movies in my backyard.

    Achieving good microdynamics is still possible when there's isn't much microdetail, but only at higher than the tiniest volume levels. On a perceptive and emotional level, we feel a sense of the being able to really dig deep into the ebb and flow of the music. It could be said that microdynamics is related to PRaT, but in most instances, it's more than that. PRaT to me has always been a simplification of this concept, as taught to salesman of Linn and Naim gear. Microdynamics is the most important part of sound reproduction to me personally, followed closely by microdetail. Microdynamics is the aspect, that keeps the reproduction of music interesting, involving, engaging, and makes you not want to put the headphones down.

    A good example to illustrate microdynamics (or the lack thereof) is the BHSE amp. I know I will get flak for this, but it's my opinion that the BHSE sounds flat and boring. The BHSE is below average in microdynamics, despite excelling at other things such as microdetail and transient response. (The BHSE's treble also sounds like death from a thousand needles, but that's another story). Another example is the Ragnarok (circlotron circuitry). You may fault the Ragnarok or Mjolnir for many things, but what the circlotron stuff does right, better than many other solid-state designs, is that the does microdynamics really well.

    So when you hear me say something sounds flat and boring, it means the microdynamics suck - I'm probably not referring to macrodynamics.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 16
    • List
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  16. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Do headphone cables really make an audible difference? Has this been double blind tested?
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    73,949
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    ON MICRODETAIL

    I started to use macrodetail because I observed a lot of audiophiles were using the word "detailed" to describe gear that wasn't detailed to me in the slightest. Examples of this are lower end Grados and the Benchmark DAC1. To the initiated, these pieces of gear can definitely sound detailed, but upon deeper evaluation comparing with more resolving gear, they really aren't. What do they is emphasize gross detail. It's the equivalent of taking a DVD resolution film and applying sharpening to it, instead of BluRay with no sharpening.

    Those with modded HD650s (with good upstream components) know how resolving, or how great it is at resolving fine detail, microdetail, plankton, etc., despite not sounding particularly "detailed", or more precisely macrodetailed. The HD800 exhibits great macrodetail (throws it in our face), while also exhibiting great microdetail.

    Note that microdetail can be partially obscured by poor transient response, both attack and decay, but they are different things, and should not be confused with each other. Same thing with clarity.

    I will copy from the Plankton thread my thoughts on microdetail, since castleofargh shit all over that thread (can we change his avatar from Saitama to the Crab Guy instead?)

    Plankton has a technical meaning, but more than that, as @shaizada has alluded, it is also a feeling. When music reproduction lacks plankton, we get an unsettled feeling. A feeling of unsatisfactory-ness. As a result, our ears strain harder and harder to hear what what exists in real life sounds. For initiates, the usual response is to turn up the sharpness knob. Brighter headphones, more etched sounding amps, etc.

    Of course none of this helps. All we get in return is being acclimated to brighter and more etched sounding gear. In time, some of us become like GUTB and end up only focusing on bass performance coupled with treble peaks, thinking this is true high-end.

    This is why I'm so on to the plankton thing and place such a high priority on it. The unfortunate thing is that few sources, amps, and transducers are capable of reproducing it. But when you hear it, you know it. By my estimates, most audiophiles have not. Maybe 10% have.

    P.S.

    Tube amps do much better than solid state at plankton. The problem is that the quality of tube amps tends to be more all over the place compared to solid state. Too many distorted tube amps out there. As someone else said, some tube amp manufacturers didn't get the memo that lots of second order distortion isn't pleasing - it sucks.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 19
    • List
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  18. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Am I missing something? Why is my question dislikeable? It seems like sorting audiophile hype/fiction from audiophile fact is one of the core ethics of this site.

    The interwebz is pretty mixed on headphone cable audible difference with some engineering types swearing there's no scientific justification for there being a difference and audiophiles swearing they hear not insignificant differences.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    73,949
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Wrong thread for this question. I don't take the effort to answer questions on lingo often. Maybe once every three years, when I feel inspired to do so. You are totally interrupting my flow. Probably best to ask your question in the Sound Science section of HF.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  20. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    113
    OK. Not to be pedantic but from the OP:

    Nevertheless I'll desist for flows sake.
     

Share This Page