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Buddha
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And for the trifecta....Height.

Anybody an aficionado of 'height?'

I'm not talking Amy Acuff, either.

Height in your sound reproduction.

I tend to maybe lean toward it when I can, but it one of the 'lesser' sound gods for me.

I'm wondering if people have some favorite recording that really seem to get it right, and whether or not you audition new gear listening for that characteristic.

I was recently listening to Robbie Robertson's 'third or fourth newest' solo album (from 1987, damn it I'm old) and it's loaded with height cues. Layers of 'em!

(The LP is great, and even the CD is nice. For music alone, please go buy it. I think Daniel Lanois, in general, produces with the dimension of height in mind.)

Any favorites of your own?

"Height to Die For" recordings?

geoffkait
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

I am not shy about height. Once you get some real height, there's no going back! It separates the diddlers from the pros. Daniel Lanois's recording of Dylan's Oh, Mercy is a good un for height. Of course, if you don't have height you won't get the height. LOL

JSBach
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Anybody an aficionado of 'height?'Any favorites of your own?


Yes but they're all classical and recorded in vast ( read very high) cathedral sized spaces.
To appreciate fully what's on such recordings though I've found listening room ceilings need to be either high themselves or well treated with absorption & diffusion panels. It also helps if the entire reproduction chain doesn't mangle phase information so complex and badly implemented crossover designs can really mess things up.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Ja..

time the revelator--gillian welch

all of the Opus 3 releases...

Buddha
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

I was playing the 'away from home' Hi Fi at the place I rent and the two people, age 35 amd 24 had never heard of Neil Young. They asked, "What kind of music is this?"

Yikes.

Anyway, I was playing 'Helpless' from "Live at Massey Hall" and it's a pretty steadfast image, but the room cues have pretty good height.

During that cut, there is a door that closes in the auditorium, and at first I used to think of it as a glitch, but now it kind of adds to the realism of the recording.

I figure many of us have that recording, so I thought I'd mention it. It really snaps you into a sense of place.

The guy visitor preferred it on vinyl, the girl seemed to be thinking she should be polite while listening to the old guy music!

KBK
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Height the last or final realm of 'realism' in 2 channel reproduction.

To do this right, or..to get this to come out of a recording - it must first be there on the recording.

Then, the system must be dynamically correct in the balance and phase of micro and macro transients and dynamics. All must be linear with respect to one another and be presented in perfect phase.

Then you get height. Buddha's preference for simple systems with simple speakers are the kinds of gear that can usually do this, if properly made and applied.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Then you get height. Buddha's preference for simple systems with simple speakers are the kinds of gear that can usually do this, if properly made and applied.

I don't know if you'd call electrostatics 'simple' but on mine I sure can hear 'hight', if it's on a recording.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Can anyone here provide a scientific explanation how two point-sound-sources placed in a horizontal plane can project height information to the listener?

How can a coincident pair of microphones in the 45/45 or mid/side configurations encode height information?

If the speakers are not point sources, and there is a difference between what sounds come out of the bottom part of the diaphragm and a top part of the diaphragm, then there is a sensation of height difference in the reproduced sound. It may not have been recorded in the source material in the first place.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

I'm not sure it's right either-but I do enjoy it when it works.

It would obviously have to do with the speaker mimicking the phase and signal of what is required to enter the ear-at that distance and height of the ear that is listening...of what the ear's shape needs in order to perceive a signal as having 'height'.

The fact of when it is repeatable and stable no matter what audiophile is in front of the given system...that is the thing that gives one pause, when it comes to the first thought for explanation..which I have outlined above. I'm talking about when it happens with 2-way stand mounted speakers or similar, not large tall panel types.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Here's my theory on why height information is sometimes present on recordings. Not only is the DIRECT sound of instruments captured by the mics recorded but also the REFLECTED sound. Our brains could then determine height by comparing the arrival time and the differences in quantity of direct vs. reflected sound. Similar to how we perceive sound staging but in the case of height the information would largely be in the same channel. For that information to be preserved I'd imagine that there would have to be a minimum of microphones and manipulation after the recording, plus an acoustically great listening environment. Height isn't very common but I have heard truly great systems do it with the appropriate source material.

Jan Vigne
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

My friend with the Gallos Ref. 3's is always jealous of the height of vocal and instrumental images perceived through my system. It's a quality he struggles to achieve with his system and has never truly managed to get right.

The other day we listened to a few discs through my system - some early Elvis and Cash (mono and stereo), Miles Davis and Alberta Hunter, a Sheffield Labs direct to disc Harry James and one of my best sounding LP's "Midnight Jamboree" recorded live at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. These are mostly discs where the performer isn't swallowing the microphone to avoid feedback but rather is standing a bit away from the mic which captures large amounts of room sound. Height was just as you would expect from a live, acoustic performance. Switch to Muddy Waters and the man is sitting down. Then came some multitrack Cream (recorded at 11 on the amps - really, Clapton insisted on this level in the recording studio) and Clapton and Bruce were reduced in size and lowered on the soundstage. Obviously, they were quite close to the mics when the vocals were laid down.

I've had this sort of sound through the old Boston Acoustics A200's (essentially a small mini-monitor with a sub in the same enclosure), the Spicas, the LS3/5a's (placed on low stands and angled back) and now the tall, narrow enclosure, dipole, TL single drivers. I've become accustomed to this and I do listen for it when I hear other systems. In my experience Quads and Magnepans manage this exceptionally well. It would be a deal breaker for me and keep me from buying the Gallos despite their other admirable qualities.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

If that were the case, you can get height and width from a mono (single) microphone, which you don't get.

Another problem with the reflections idea is that the recorded sound is reproduced in a room with its own reflected sound in addition to the recorded reflections of the original venue. This tends to imply that the height information is an illusion, or aberration of the original.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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If that were the case, you can get height and width from a mono (single) microphone, which you don't get.

I'll tell myself what I'm hearing just isn't so because you say it can't be so.

Nope, didn't work this time either.

Of course you can get width, depth and height from mono. Instruments do not appear on the same soundstage as they do in stereo - something that can be checked by switching between mono and stereo mixes of the original Mercury and RCA three microphone recordings which were made simultaneously - but the microphone picks up the placement of the performers relative to one another and relative to the recording venue. Unless they are all huddled one on top of the other - which they obviously are not, the microphone picks up and the system plays back the stage width, height and depth present during the original event as picked up by (typically) a single omni-directional microphone. If you're not listening to mono done well, then maybe you are too acustomed to the sound of hyper-cardiods placed centimeters away from the source.


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Another problem with the reflections idea is that the recorded sound is reproduced in a room with its own reflected sound in addition to the recorded reflections of the original venue.

Then that would present the same problem for mono and stereo. Dealing with reflections is not that difficult, particularly in a reasonably large room with speakers that do not rely on extremely broad dispersion from the single driver or a speaker with controlled dispersion patterns such as the 3/5a's and the Spicas.

Sorry to tell you, WTL, but one of the most three dimensional recordings I own is a remaster of the E.P. Sun recordings - all done in mono. Stage width is compressed of course but the individual images have a three dimensionality (including height information) that I don't find in most multi-mic'd stereo recordings.

Buddha
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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If that were the case, you can get height and width from a mono (single) microphone, which you don't get.

Another problem with the reflections idea is that the recorded sound is reproduced in a room with its own reflected sound in addition to the recorded reflections of the original venue. This tends to imply that the height information is an illusion, or aberration of the original.

It's probably cheating, but using my stereo rig with mono recordings still gives a pretty good central image - with either my brain or the usual mixes frequently putting the vocals in front of the instruments. There can be a sense of height, too.

The mono pressing of Cannonball Adderly's "Somthin' Else" can easily fool people into thinking it's stereo. Actually, I can't think of anyone who heard it asking if it were mono!

Maybe some height sensation is learned - knowing that a trumpet player would be standing higher than where the sound comes from on an acoustic bass, but on many recordings, there are height cues that one is not listening for based on experience yet I still get height info.

Someone mentioned the Stereophile Test Discs and height. That would be a cool place to start.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Sir, one of the most "tall" recordings I have was done with a mono-mic. with a mono-mic, the spacial clues are more clear because you have only one point of reference vs many conflicting ones....


Quote:
If that were the case, you can get height and width from a mono (single) microphone, which you don't get.

Another problem with the reflections idea is that the recorded sound is reproduced in a room with its own reflected sound in addition to the recorded reflections of the original venue. This tends to imply that the height information is an illusion, or aberration of the original.

Jan Vigne
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Sorry to tell you, WTL, but one of the most three dimensional recordings I own is a remaster of the E.P. Sun recordings - all done in mono.

Would you believe me if I told you I can tell when Elvis shakes his hips in this recording?

OK, that's a bit of an exageration but you can easily tell when he moves in and away from or around the field of the microphone. Or when he's tapping his foot which exists at the bottom of the soundstage. An omni-directional or multi-directional mic is a wonderous thing!

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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If that were the case, you can get height and width from a mono (single) microphone, which you don't get.

Another problem with the reflections idea is that the recorded sound is reproduced in a room with its own reflected sound in addition to the recorded reflections of the original venue. This tends to imply that the height information is an illusion, or aberration of the original.

Yep, I certainly get height, depth, and even width cues from mono recording (but obviously no left right.) Were you trying to play the "gotcha game?" Obviously the issues of a horrible room would overwhelm the subtle acoustic cues that allow height information to be discerned. In my original answer when I qualified my statements by saying "an acoustically great listening environment" which implies that great height can only be achieved in a room with close to proper acoustics.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

The last four responses to my statement was all in favor of having heard height, presumably by a recording reproduced in a room by two speakers.

If you put aside your experiences for a minute about what you hear or have heard regarding height, think about how a single microphone records information. A single mike can only receive information as a signal intensity. A recording of that signal adds the time element.

The farther a source is from say an omni-microphone, whether it's to the left or right or up or down, or front or back, the lower the volume. The microphone cannot record direction of the sound. It does record direct and reflected sound in a room, but either way it's signals intensity. Of course, the different arrival times from reflections gives cues as to how far the source is from the mike (given our experience), but not the direction.

In a free-field, the reproduced recording would produce the intensity and time; no direction means no height, width or depth. If that recording is played back in a room, then things get more complicated.

Now let's go back to what many of us have heard from speakers in a room. We all have heard what sounds like depth, and heighth. Width is clearly discernable from two speakers. It's depth and height that a theoretical disjoint with experience.

When I ask the question how one or two mikes can yield height information, I'm really asking whether anyone has thought this through analytically, and can show with some rigour that depth and height can be reproduced, and is not an artifact of the environment or combination of things that is yet to be correctly explained. It seems to me that we hear height, but was that in the recording? Is what we hear as height an illusion, a misleading one? Are we hearing height and automatically concluding (or perhaps assuming?) that the recording has that information?

I don't know the answers, which is why I'm asking questions and challenging statements that do not answer the questions but many of which report what is experienced as 'height'.

After thinking about the single or two mike problem, height in a two channel stereo recording does not make sense. Can anyone show that the 'height' as perceived is not the result of other factors but is the result of what's in the recording?

If height information is NOT in the recording, then height information cannot be reproduced regardless of what we hear. If height information IS in the recording, then we're done. I'm not sure that what I hear as height (or depth) is real, as enjoyable as it may sound.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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... Sorry to tell you, WTL, but one of the most three dimensional recordings I own is a remaster of the E.P. Sun recordings - all done in mono. Stage width is compressed of course but the individual images have a three dimensionality (including height information) that I don't find in most multi-mic'd stereo recordings.

I don't have that recording. It would be an interesting experience to try hearing that. Thanks for the reference.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Yep, I certainly get height, depth, and even width cues from mono recording (but obviously no left right.) Were you trying to play the "gotcha game?" Obviously the issues of a horrible room would overwhelm the subtle acoustic cues that allow height information to be discerned. In my original answer when I qualified my statements by saying "an acoustically great listening environment" which implies that great height can only be achieved in a room with close to proper acoustics.

Interesting thought. Would you get the height, width and depth via headphones from a mono recording, as that removes the room reflections as a variable?

EDITS:

Quote:
Yep, I certainly get height, depth, and even width cues from mono recording (but obviously no left right.) Were you trying to play the "gotcha game?"

Don't know what you mean by "gotcha" game. I am seeking answers to questions by asking questions when claims don't seem to agree with established theory. Unless there is something not accounted for in the theory, then the theory won't predict reality. But a single point source or dual point sources in the horizontal plane is well known, I thought. Real sources are not point sources, so have additional effects, so they essentially act as many point sources over a specific area or volume with different radiation directivities and intensities. It's not a simple problem, I think.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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. Would you get the height, width and depth via headphones from a mono recording, as that removes the room reflections as a variable?


One of the reasons I find headphones so annoying, if fact spooky, is the effect they have with good recordings made in large acoustic spaces, such as a cathedral. When I listen to Kings College Cambridge I don't enjoy the sensation that the music is happening inside my head and that my head is as high as a cathedral.
The only device I've heard that solved this problem was a headphone processor from Lake Acoustics of Sydney Australia. I think Dolby bought out the patent and I've heard nothing of this processor since. Shame. Maybe someone knows of its being released under another brand name?

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Is what we hear as height an illusion, a misleading one? Are we hearing height and automatically concluding (or perhaps assuming?) that the recording has that information?


Quote:
After thinking about the single or two mike problem, height in a two channel stereo recording does not make sense. Can anyone show that the 'height' as perceived is not the result of other factors but is the result of what's in the recording?

If you walk into a room and clap your hands, what happens? You ears pick up the reflections from all surfaces and then puts those pieces of information together to give you a sense of the room size. Clap your hands in a small room and it sounds small. Do the same in a large room and it sounds large. Move toward a wall and the sound changes to reflect that movement.

Blindfold yourself and slowly walk toward a wall playing attention to the sound of your footsteps and the ambient room noise. You'll stop short of the wall itself if you're paying attention to the audible clues you will be receiving.

A single omnni-directional microphone picks up the same clues. The recording feeds them back to us. If the room is not overly reflective and therefore a major sound source in its own right, our ears discriminate between the various sounds we perceive and tell us room size and the location of the microphone in the room along with the approximate location of the sound source relative to the microphone and relative to other performers or sound sources. The floor and ceiling are sound sources in so much as they are reflection points, put these together with the sound reflected from the side walls and our brain can construct a fairly accurate image of the room itself.

Consider that in a free field, literally, if you hear a bird call, your hearing has the ability to detect the location of the call by putting together much weaker reflected clues that indicate vertical direction with virtually no contribution from side walls. Granted we know a bird is more likely to be in a tree and a bear more likely to be on the ground but these are all parts of the same mechanism we use for locating sounds in space.

A mono recording should do the job much better than a stereo recording since the mono pick up would have no time errors to take into account. The only exception here would be a binaural stereo recording which comes close to recording just as we naturally hear the sound source. However, keep in mind that many stereo recordings are made with multiple mono microphones.

The major failing in most cases would be due to the speaker system and not the room. If the speaker dismantles time and phase relationships, then all is lost as far as height, width and depth discrimination is concerned. This is one of the great advantages of single drivers whether they be dynamic, electrostatic or planar magnetic. They all preserve the time and phase information with exceptional fidelity. Obviously, the ambient clues that provide most of this sort of information are rather fragile and a less transparent system will get in the way of the clues reaching your ears.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

I agree, Jan. I have had speakers, in the past, that did not convey this sense of height. I also agree about the Gallo models. In many ways, these are wonderful speakers, with a pleasing tonal balance, great width and depth, and fine definition (without the spittiness that many speakers throw at you in the name of "definition"). Yet, they are midgets. And, for anyone who goes to hear a lot of live music, this (er) "shortfall" begins to wear on you after awhile.

Another otherwise great system that does not do height well is the Bang and Olufsen active model. Terffic bass, tremendous dynamics, wonderful midrange and highs, and, again, a terrific sense of width and depth. But no height. Midgets. For 17 large.

I haven't done a lot of empirical fussing around with this aspect of assembling a system. When I am auditioning, I have to get that same sense of height that I heard last night at Disney Hall. Especially with full orchestral music. Is it room sensitive? I honestly do not know. I do know that some program material contributes positively, while other CD's or LP's don't sound as "tall." So I am sure miking has something to do with it. But, with both of my systems (built around the Triangle Magellan, in my big room, and the Triangle Volante 260 in my smaller apartment room), height is ALWAYS there (or its absence is never a distraction, with poorly recorded sources), or I could never live with either system.

Of course, with my older Mirage M1-si models (long gone, now), which were very tall (60") "bipolar" designs, height was a different problem. There was plenty of it, but it was separated from the mids and lows. My Triangles integrate the image height into the entire orchestra. The Mirages did not. But this is a different problem.

I believe, like you do, that this is largely a function of the speakers. I am sure good electronics and source components contribute positively (they always do...), but if the speakers can't "get it up," then no electronics can save the day.

Happy tunes.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Blindfold yourself and slowly walk toward a wall playing attention to the sound of your footsteps and the ambient room noise. You'll stop short of the wall itself if you're paying attention to the audible clues you will be receiving.

I am aware of this effect. Part of this I think is due to two ears listening. Can you do this with one ear only? That would be the reverse of the single microphone case.


Quote:
Consider that in a free field, literally, if you hear a bird call, your hearing has the ability to detect the location of the call by putting together much weaker reflected clues that indicate vertical direction with virtually no contribution from side walls. Granted we know a bird is more likely to be in a tree and a bear more likely to be on the ground but these are all parts of the same mechanism we use for locating sounds in space.

This is another example of two ear hearing as opposed to one ear. I don't think one could detect direction with one ear nearly as well as with two, perhaps not at all. We could try that experiment easily. Maybe next time I will try to notice this when I'm outside and try to block one ear and see if I can tell sound direction.

Otherwise, I generally understand what you mean by the stereo time and phase differences and that a speaker that is linear phase helps a lot with the sound field preservation.

I'll have to give this height thing much more thought and how one can demonstrate whether it's in the recording or not. If it's not in the recording because the theory is valid, then maybe other cues in the recording helps us 'hear' it. It would be interesting to find out how it happens.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


Quote:

Quote:
Blindfold yourself and slowly walk toward a wall playing attention to the sound of your footsteps and the ambient room noise. You'll stop short of the wall itself if you're paying attention to the audible clues you will be receiving.

I am aware of this effect. Part of this I think is due to two ears listening. Can you do this with one ear only? That would be the reverse of the single microphone case.


Quote:
Consider that in a free field, literally, if you hear a bird call, your hearing has the ability to detect the location of the call by putting together much weaker reflected clues that indicate vertical direction with virtually no contribution from side walls. Granted we know a bird is more likely to be in a tree and a bear more likely to be on the ground but these are all parts of the same mechanism we use for locating sounds in space.

This is another example of two ear hearing as opposed to one ear. I don't think one could detect direction with one ear nearly as well as with two, perhaps not at all. We could try that experiment easily. Maybe next time I will try to notice this when I'm outside and try to block one ear and see if I can tell sound direction.

Otherwise, I generally understand what you mean by the stereo time and phase differences and that a speaker that is linear phase helps a lot with the sound field preservation.

I'll have to give this height thing much more thought and how one can demonstrate whether it's in the recording or not. If it's not in the recording because the theory is valid, then maybe other cues in the recording helps us 'hear' it. It would be interesting to find out how it happens.

With a small bit of training, you will be able to tell direction and height position with one ear. The question is if you can hear it as well as you can with two ears,and I think not as well. The head is also designed to be part of this system, not just the ear alone. Timing between the arrival at each ear plays into it as well. Critical, in fact. The ears are is designed for this. It is a bit of a long story, and involves the description of the inner workings of the ear, the outer ear and the 'hairs' or 'cilia' of the ear, and the temporal response characteristic of the set as a group, with respects to individual temporal activation..as a harmonic, over time, set.

It has been discovered, as of late, that there is not just a fluid sac, but the sac is sealed in a specific way...and standing wave patterns of quite high complexity form in that sac. This activates the hairs in a very complex harmonic temporal pattern, as you might guess.

Think of taking a balloon full of water, and then hit the balloon with all kinds of complex harmonic waves in one spot..this signal...which is a music signal, as a phase and level shaped signal-shaped and changed by the outer ear's position with respects to the source point. Then these complex harmonics are multiplied in pattern complexity by the standing waves in the balloon..all over it's surface.

Now, think of how insanely complex the patterns are and how easily they can be changed by the waveform shape created by that outer ear.

Then add in that the 'hairs' basically all rest on one side of this balloon sac..and then are activated in complex sequences, individually..in time and level..by those waves on and within the fluid sac.

Then you can see how the ear is cable of quite tremendous feats of decoding..by this inherent 'complex harmonic effect amplifier system' made up of the fluid sac/hair/ outer ear-canal system.

The human ear is an amazing and extreme resolution device.

Training yourself to use it, is the key.

From Wiki:

The hollow channels of the inner ear are filled with liquid, and contain a sensory epithelium that is studded with hair cells. The microscopic "hairs" of these cells are structural protein filaments that project out into the fluid. The hair cells are mechanoreceptors that release a chemical neurotransmitter when stimulated. Sound waves moving through fluid push the filaments; if the filaments bend over enough it causes the hair cells to fire. In this way sound waves are transformed into nerve impulses.

SO --I remembered it slightly wrong. The hairs are in the sac.

It's coming back to me now.

The human ear has been taken apart by curious researchers many, many times...But.... it was not until recently they discovered the fluid sac standing wave pattern thing-by testing and contemplating a live working model for the first time ever over that of dissected dead things-which all prior theory was based on..

This changes the whole picture of the science of the true complexity of the ear. It is showing that it is considerably more complex and responsive than the prior works had theorized.

Thus it leads to an understanding that the complexities that the given audiophile SAYS they can hear is...really, most definitely -there- and heard by the audiophile.

Once again, it proves my point about how one CANNOT EVER, in any situation, simply walk away from 'empirical evidence'. It is the very foundation of science itself.

Walking away from observations that do not fit one's model is an emotional response ---and has nothing to do with science-at all.

Due to the complex harmonic word set, that is created by the waves in the sac, the ear then assembles a response pattern, over time and then decodes it in the brain. This gives the ear a capacity for complex signal decoding that was never theorized to be there.

Get it?

The Audiophiles were correct--all along.

The response pattern is even more complex than that, you see.

If the hairs are IN THE SAC..this means they protrude 3-dimensionally INTO the standing wave patterns. Thus the hairs, both individually and as groups... gain an extra axis in their response.

A Triple axis response capacity whammy over the prior theory, with regards to the complexity of pattern --and response.

To re-iterate..the ear is now shown to be responding to and dealing with 3-d waveform transforms of immense harmonic complexity-over time.

And no matter how you cut it-that's pretty fucking spectacular.

But..it's even more complex than that. There is another pattern. Overall sac pressure is added in. Another axis of response.

So the ear is nearly 4 times as complex as the average Joe can understand or has known it to be.

Does that help clear up this little audiophile mystery?

Just a tad, maybe?

Sound is captured and decoded/analyzed by the ear/brain, like a in-depth 3-d full holograph living MRI scan, over time. This clears up the mystery of why the brain dedicates so much horsepower to the hearing function.

And why there so many variances in individual hearing capacity, as in the same way intelligence and neural connectivity across large groups of individuals can have a large variance. It was also very, very, very real-before some scientist measured it.

gkc
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

KBK, this is a great post. It has no grandiose pretenses, it posits the science behind what is now known about how the ear "works," and it doesn't belittle anyone.

Now, THAT is the "trifecta."

A few random observations.

If you like what you hear at a concert hall, and continue to like the memory of it when you wake up the next day, your ears and brain are giving you a reference. In my view, this is called "musical memory." When you evaluate components, in the future, this is the standard. Nothing will or can live up to it. But, if you love music, there is a LOT out there that can come close. Your ears, head and soul are, well... YOUR ears, head, and soul.

If you DIDN'T like what you heard, forget everything I just wrote. Build your own standards. Oscilloscopes. Pain. Abstract numbers. Hey! it's your money.

Accept the complexity of your hearing/processing apparatuses for what they are. Complex. Accept your own personal standards for what is enjoyable, merely tolerable, or painful for what they are. After all, you have to live with the shit you buy. I certainly don't. I mean the general "you," not KBK or anyone else.

Just don't anyone tell me what I "ought" to be hearing. I only have 2 ears and 1 brain (concerning the latter, I am sure there will be many disagreements...). And they are all mysteriously connected. Listening to music is an active and interactive process. Look THAT up on your fucking oscilloscopes.

Meanwhile, have a nice drink and enjoy some tunes.

Buddha
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Me likey!

I've always been suspect of the claims about how short our auditory memory is, and I think Clifton nicely peeled away the skin to the crux of something: We have pretty damn good 'musical memory' regarding what live music sounds like. It isn't fragile at all, and it's part of what tells us with almost all our playback efforts that we are falling well short of the ideal.

So, you can have the people who say that our sonic memory is short for comparing two different impressions of recorded sound. What we are really up against is the comparison between our 'musical memory' of live sound when we listen to and talk about our Hi Fi gear.

'Musical memory' is a tough SOB, and it is well entrenched in our synapses!

All the better to use it to compare to what these damn infernal electronic things do to sound!

KBK
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


Quote:
KBK, this is a great post. It has no grandiose pretenses, it posits the science behind what is now known about how the ear "works," and it doesn't belittle anyone.

Now, THAT is the "trifecta."

A few random observations.

If you like what you hear at a concert hall, and continue to like the memory of it when you wake up the next day, your ears and brain are giving you a reference. In my view, this is called "musical memory." When you evaluate components, in the future, this is the standard. Nothing will or can live up to it. But, if you love music, there is a LOT out there that can come close. Your ears, head and soul are, well... YOUR ears, head, and soul.

If you DIDN'T like what you heard, forget everything I just wrote. Build your own standards. Oscilloscopes. Pain. Abstract numbers. Hey! it's your money.

Accept the complexity of your hearing/processing apparatuses for what they are. Complex. Accept your own personal standards for what is enjoyable, merely tolerable, or painful for what they are. After all, you have to live with the shit you buy. I certainly don't. I mean the general "you," not KBK or anyone else.

Just don't anyone tell me what I "ought" to be hearing. I only have 2 ears and 1 brain (concerning the latter, I am sure there will be many disagreements...). And they are all mysteriously connected. Listening to music is an active and interactive process. Look THAT up on your fucking oscilloscopes.

Meanwhile, have a nice drink and enjoy some tunes.

It's one of those things I've kept to myself over the years.

It helps keep me a few steps ahead of the rest. It's frustrating to know something and to not be able to say a word. The audio business is quite cutthroat and full of quite intelligent folks, so we individually, at times, have to play our cards close - if we want to make a buck in the market.

Even advertising that one is intelligent or has information, via speaking on a subject; this can be bad news, as then everyone watches for the slips in the armour. Act dumb. It's almost always a safe bet.

May Belt
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

>>> "So the ear is nearly 4 times as complex as the average Joe can understand or has known it to be." <<<

I would put it higher than 4 times as complex.

>>> "The hair cells are mechanoreceptors that release a chemical neurotransmitter when stimulated." <<<

Now, KBK, START at THAT point - the point where the acoustic information is transformed into electro-chemicals (positive and negative ions) for it's journey along the auditory nerve to the working memory.

SOUND is the information eventually received by the working memory - AFTER it has gone through the obstacle course of it's travels along the auditory nerve !!!!!!!!!! And, it is from THIS (end) information that the working memory creates a 'sound picture' to present to the brain !!! If anything has an effect on the information as it travels (by electro-chemicals) along the auditory nerve (changes it in any way) then it is that 'changed' information which reaches the working memory which is then the SOUND !!!!

Regards,
May Belt.

Jan Vigne
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

I'm not going to copy/paste the contents of your post but I will say, overall, IMO you're missing a very important point when you draw your conculsions and ask your questions.

You are confusing a single - let's say a single omni-directional - microphone with our human perception system. The single microphone takes in all of the information our ears would be provided, the only difference here being the single microphone is designed, due to its small size, so the element suffers no phase and time mistracking. Everything arrives at the mcrophone element "intact" and "non-confused". When a single microphone is the only collection point it still collects the information that comes from each side, top and bottom and this provides the relative amount of height, width and depth available in monoaural recordings.

What the microphone cannot do is discriminate between those arrival times. That is left to our brain and our perception system and is a function no machine can duplicate. It isn't so much the presence of the extra collecting device - the ear on the other side of your head - that matters here but that our brain allows us to differentiate between those small microsecond variances that each ear detects and this is what provides our sense of spatial resolution. This makes the binaural recording process still one of the best available for a "stereoscopic" sense of space.

However, I would say the ability of the single microphone to collect pure data is what contributes to the superior ability of a mono recording and playback to supply accurate spatial clues. It's just that the microphone has no brain attached that provides the complex calculations and tells it where a sound originates.

Then remember all recordings are made with single microphones. The problems are created by the directional pickup pattern of the microphone element that accepts only partial bits of spatial information and the placement of that element relative to the sound source(s). Then when twelve single microphones are placed on a single drum kit and each is receiving timing and phase clues at a slightly different instant with some spatial information cut off, the mixing of all those disparate time and phase clues is what gets in the way of our brain making sense of the whole affair.

Regarding how well you would do in the walking the room experiment if only one ear was used, cover one eye. Though the world seems flatter than an instant before, you still retain some sense of depth and certainly left/right. With a bit of training of your brain and that one eye you can regain much, though not all, of the depth perception you had with two eyes. Ask around amongst the people you know who hunt, they probably know someone or have the experience themself of loosing hearing in one ear and yet they can find the target without great difficulty.

As May says, sound occurs in our brain and not in our ears.

gkc
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Jan, WTL, and May. Your ears give you the data. Your brain processes it.

On the other hand, your brain pre-conditions your expectations, and "gives" you a conceptual field that immediately narrows what gets through your watery sacs and hairy vibrators.

I do believe, finally, we have arrived at the point where and when we can argue chickens and eggs.

Anyone want to start a thread? Fuck the chickens and eggs. All you end up with is an omelet with Kentucky Fried on the side. Yuck. Which is more important, the transport or the processor?

Most people, of course, assume that the sensory input has to start before the brain can chew the meat. Not so fast. May may have a point. Or not.

One thing for sure. Listening to music is an active process, not a great passive waiting for some wave to smack you upside the head and then feel the computer begin processing "input."

On the other hand, how can the brain process NO data? Is there such a condition as "no data"? Have you ever, in silence, tried to think "about" "nothing"? Obviously, the "brain" brings pre-(conceived??) biases to the initiating event, the storming of the gates, as it were, by assault "waves." Has anyone ever heard "nothing"?

The brain is always busy. Is this busy-ness interrupted by the sonic onslaught, only to re-focus and do the processing bit? Or does the sensory bombardment "enter" a pre-conditioned (i.e., by "thought," whatever the fuck that is...) processing environment, robbed instantaneously of all its pristine "outside" neutrality?

I think I have suddenly become very, very thirsty. I miss Spinoza, whom I always thought to be tough going, but now seems child's play, in comparison.

No wonder most audiophools love "sound" and either hate or get bored by music. Nobody knows when the fucking chain starts. Where is the goddam ignition, and do I need a key???

Keats said that unheard music was "sweeter" than heard music, and trapped himself into wishing, to the Urn, "...pipe to me ditties of no tone." And that was before high fidelity reproduction, attendant with all its paradoxes.

I have no such problem. Bring me my fucking TUNES!!! And the louder, the better!!! I have no interest in putting my brain, in lane 6, in the starting blocks against my ears, in lane 3, for the 100-micron-100-decibel dash, and "seeing" a photo finish for a once-and-for-all decision on the issue.

Yes, ma'am. I'll have mine over easy, and hold the fucking chicken. Got any ham?

ncdrawl
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Mr. Tony Faulkner (the classical music producer), someone whom I have a great deal of admiration for, not only for his patience with my neverending stream of questions(he has sort of mentored me since I started recording, and will always take a minute to help me out with any issue that I am having), but of course for his massive body of work, related to me a story:

Height perception is a tough one. I worked on with-height surround-sound recordings when I was a student at university and shortly thereafter 1968-1975 approximately. We did experimental 4-channel recordings with a tetrahedral microphone cluster. The Oxford projects we did two different ways - one with a front facing pair which was suitable to use for a stereo playback, and one for the centre-rear on the ground, plus one for centre-rear in the air - one alternative system which was twisted in such a way as it required some maths and matrixing to derive a front pair. The height information was impressive and also gave an extra sense of depth and wrap-around, as well as dynamics and perceived bandwidth - the best orchestral bassoon natural sound reproduction I can remember hearing. There were some difficult issues for 'creative' producers and engineers wanting to use extra spot mics to alter the live sound balance - no simple practical pan-pot to create a phantom image position, nor believable reverb device. With a suitable PC or Mac application it might be possible now to insert a mono sound in a 3D vector virtual sound space, but I don't know. My gut feeling is that sensation of height in a 2 channel, 2 speaker playback recording would be hard to define with any consistency. The sort of image you get from a simple crossed pair of fig8 mics or phased array can impart more detail in information about positioning than seems possible, but I would hesitate to say it gives repeatable quantifiable height information. Most modern recordings are done with more than a simple mic coincident or near-coincident technique, so any height perception there would, in my opinion, be 100% random.

Best, Tony

Jan Vigne
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


Quote:
The sort of image you get from a simple crossed pair of fig8 mics or phased array can impart more detail in information about positioning than seems possible, but I would hesitate to say it gives repeatable quantifiable height information. Most modern recordings are done with more than a simple mic coincident or near-coincident technique, so any height perception there would, in my opinion, be 100% random.


Quote:
Then remember all recordings are made with single microphones. The problems are created by the directional pickup pattern of the microphone element that accepts only partial bits of spatial information and the placement of that element relative to the sound source(s). Then when twelve single microphones are placed on a single drum kit and each is receiving timing and phase clues at a slightly different instant with some spatial information cut off, the mixing of all those disparate time and phase clues is what gets in the way of our brain making sense of the whole affair.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

KBK,
In grad school a long time ago, I had to give a short talk on the ear, and read a lot of the papers by von Bekesy. His work pioneered the understanding of the year for many years. Recently, research has found that the live ear works a little differently than the dead specimens that was used in the prior research. I would have said "of course", because the post mortem changes are well-known to alter physical properties of tissues, and hence the mechanical properties change and so do the vibrational characteristics.

What also is interesting is that the cochlea, the coiled tube sensing part of the ear, has a basilar membrane with cilia sticking out of it, running along the axis of the cochlea that is tapered down in thickness while it increases width. The cilia near the input end are shorter while those at the apex of the coil are more than an order of magnitude longer. The higher frequencies are sensed near the input and the lower frequencies near the apex of the coil. It sort of acts like a spectrum analyzer, spreading the frequencies sensed along the length of the membrane.


Quote:
Think of taking a balloon full of water, and then hit the balloon with all kinds of complex harmonic waves in one spot..this signal...which is a music signal, as a phase and level shaped signal-shaped and changed by the outer ear's position with respects to the source point. Then these complex harmonics are multiplied in pattern complexity by the standing waves in the balloon..all over it's surface.

Nice analogy. Not sure if the cochlea surface will have standing waves as it is faily rigid compared to the liquid or the membranes, whereas the balloon is flexible on the surface. The basilar membrane does 'sense' the waves and separates out the frequencies along its length.


Quote:
If the hairs are IN THE SAC..this means they protrude 3-dimensionally INTO the standing wave patterns. Thus the hairs, both individually and as groups... gain an extra axis in their response.

A Triple axis response capacity whammy over the prior theory, with regards to the complexity of pattern --and response.

To re-iterate..the ear is now shown to be responding to and dealing with 3-d waveform transforms of immense harmonic complexity-over time.

This may be so, but the length of the coil is much larger than the width, so the structure is essentially one-dimensional. I would suspect that one-dimensional effects are predominate. It does not exclude smaller 2- or 3-dimensional effects. I do agree it the structure is very complex and I'm sure is not completely understood. I need to read (given time) the new literature; it sounds fascinating.


Quote:
Sound is captured and decoded/analyzed by the ear/brain, like a in-depth 3-d full holograph living MRI scan, over time. This clears up the mystery of why the brain dedicates so much horsepower to the hearing function.

I'm not aware how much of the brain is dedicated to hearing. It is interesting that the range of frequencies sensed by the ear is over ten octaves. The eye senses less than one octave. The ear has a large dynamic range of >120 dB. It is an amazing organ, which is why it interests me being an audiophile.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


Quote:
I've always been suspect of the claims about how short our auditory memory is, and I think Clifton nicely peeled away the skin to the crux of something: We have pretty damn good 'musical memory' regarding what live music sounds like. It isn't fragile at all, and it's part of what tells us with almost all our playback efforts that we are falling well short of the ideal.

So, you can have the people who say that our sonic memory is short for comparing two different impressions of recorded sound. What we are really up against is the comparison between our 'musical memory' of live sound when we listen to and talk about our Hi Fi gear.

I am not familiar with the research into how fleeting sonic memory is. If it's work done by well-respected people in the field, I would trust their results within the boundaries of their work whatever that is.

However, my personal experience of sonic memory is like that described by Clifton. I posted elsewhere in this forum that I once identified a particular recording being played on the radio at work before the announcer said what it was, while I got familiar with that recording on my home system. Not only is sonic memory at work here, but the character of the recording was identified on a relatively low-fi table radio. So, I'm not sure what it means when someone says sonic memory is short.

Then again, witness recall is not that reliable, so why not sonic memory being just as pliable?

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

ncdrawl,
Very interesing. Do you know of particularly good references or links to read more from Tony Faulkner's research? I'm sure we all would be interested.

ncdrawl
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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ncdrawl,
Very interesing. Do you know of particularly good references or links to read more from Tony Faulkner's research? I'm sure we all would be interested.

Well, I dont know of any online references to his research as he is more known for being an engineer/producer. Anything info I have has come from him directly as I will just call him up and pick his brain or email him.(I have no shame! ).. that being said, there are some/several stereophile articles that have input from him, and I would be more than happy to pass along any questions anyone would have... I will ask him about research articles..

ncdrawl
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

I also have a list of recordings that Mr. Faulkner is really proud of that he gave me about 3 years ago, I will dig that up and post it as well...as far as research goes, those recordings are excellent.

Quote:

Quote:
ncdrawl,
Very interesing. Do you know of particularly good references or links to read more from Tony Faulkner's research? I'm sure we all would be interested.

Well, I dont know of any online references to his research as he is more known for being an engineer/producer. Anything info I have has come from him directly as I will just call him up and pick his brain or email him.(I have no shame! ).. that being said, there are some/several stereophile articles that have input from him, and I would be more than happy to pass along any questions anyone would have... I will ask him about research articles..

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

ncdrawl,

Thanks, but it's not a top priority thing, if you're busy too. I'm plenty busy with other things but appreciate getting information that might help add a piece to the puzzle.

Buddha
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

I asked my kids to listen for height cues, wondering if perhaps we have sort of taught ourselves to hear height from a recording - using the cues we get to 'tell us what to hear' rather than actually exhibiting height cues.

I asked the kids to listen and point to where things were, and they readily identified height.

So, it's not just us audio-nuts!

mrlowry
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Buddha-

That's an excellent example! Another reason that I believe that the information is on the recordings and not an artifact is that not every recording does height, at least on my system. If it were an affectation or distortion it would be consistent from recording to recording.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

Buddha,
This is what is great about a forum. We get a lot of information, opinions, science, etc., pieces of the puzzle. I'll need to try the same thing with the kids to see if they can identify height and depth, as well as width (should be easy).

What is also interesting, I was watching a LaserDisc about 20 years ago, with only two speakers as the sound sources. the disk was about airplanes called "Flyers". In one sequence, a fighter jet (F15 if I recall correctly) flew from behind, overhead, then took off in front of the viewer who is on another jet. The sound seemed to come vaguely from somewhere behind, then overhead then toward the front. I'll need to try it without the visual cues too. If this works out, then there is some way to provide the illusion of direction from two speakers, most likely from phase information - my guess.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


Quote:
That's an excellent example! Another reason that I believe that the information is on the recordings and not an artifact is that not every recording does height, at least on my system. If it were an affectation or distortion it would be consistent from recording to recording.

That is reasonable to me.

gkc
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

WTL, there is no research on how "fleeting sonic memory is." Buddha is right (if such speculation can be cornered into a "right" vs. "wrong" matrix, and it probably can't...), because we are not talking about "sonic" memory (which, in our computer-impoverished age, means multiple-choice and/or true-false "tests" concerning bleeps, blips, pings, and pongs...). We are talking about musical memory. Buddha hears a lot of live music, and so do I. We both would like to get THAT into our living/listening rooms, or, if impossible (as it currently is), we would both like to strive towards that goal, as technology evolves.

Many posters on this site couldn't care less about whether the home experience matches (or aspires to match) the memory of the experience of live sound. I have no problem with that. Whatever you enjoy in the privacy of your own home is fine with me. But, it seems to me that a lot of the arguments that occur on this site ignore the missing element -- the memory of the live experience. So these arguments always seem to peter out in exasperation, because nobody ever defines the terms. High fidelity. Fidelity to what?

WHAT, to me, is what MATTERS to me -- the recreation of the memory of the live experience. But, at least, I define my own terms. Again, I have no quarrels with the oscilloscope-watchers and the adherents of other types of abstraction-based value criteria. Until they start trying to universalize their highly subjective and localized "logical" conclusions (and, yes, "science" and "logic" can be as subjective as ANY aesthetic judgments...sorry about that).

Once you start going to live concerts regularly, and enjoying them, you start "learning" a memory. A musical memory. How things ought to sound and feel, all at once. And, as Buddha says, that memory can be extremely valuable in guiding you towards the "best" possible sound available in your own home.

Buddha crystallizes an important point, in my view. You can compare electronics to electronics and go nuts trying to sort out the minutiae, or you can compare electronics to electronics against your ongoing and accretive memory of the experience of what live music sounds like. If you love live music, you will have a reference upon which to ground your evaluative decisions.

Sonic memory means nothing. Musical memory means everything. And I can't prove it. And I don't really care.

Still, my journey, over the years, has been at least interesting as anyone else's, and extremely rewarding, in terms of the growing enjoyment of "live" and "home" music. And it has been worth every penny spent.

Happy tunes, all.

KBK
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


Quote:

Quote:
I've always been suspect of the claims about how short our auditory memory is, and I think Clifton nicely peeled away the skin to the crux of something: We have pretty damn good 'musical memory' regarding what live music sounds like. It isn't fragile at all, and it's part of what tells us with almost all our playback efforts that we are falling well short of the ideal.

So, you can have the people who say that our sonic memory is short for comparing two different impressions of recorded sound. What we are really up against is the comparison between our 'musical memory' of live sound when we listen to and talk about our Hi Fi gear.

I am not familiar with the research into how fleeting sonic memory is. If it's work done by well-respected people in the field, I would trust their results within the boundaries of their work whatever that is.

However, my personal experience of sonic memory is like that described by Clifton. I posted elsewhere in this forum that I once identified a particular recording being played on the radio at work before the announcer said what it was, while I got familiar with that recording on my home system. Not only is sonic memory at work here, but the character of the recording was identified on a relatively low-fi table radio. So, I'm not sure what it means when someone says sonic memory is short.

Then again, witness recall is not that reliable, so why not sonic memory being just as pliable?

When they talk about sonic memory being short, I think we are talking about the idea of that being somewhat equatable to attempting to memorize a long string of numbers, or all the complex formulae and memorization required to pass a physics or medical exam. The longer the sequence..the more the exact full total becomes fleeting in the brain. Unless trained, and if the person is fundamentally capable of some eidetic function (perfect memory and recall) or similar.

In this way, those with different memory function than that of the median in the bell curve can tell minute differences easier, in the same way a math prodigy can pass any exam laid in front of them. A similar function in the brain, it be.

For example when I was a kid, my Uncle introduced me to a gentleman who worked in the train yard office like he did.

This train yard, was in Cochrane, Ontario. It was the meeting place of two major rail lines. Point is, all trains going to and from western Canada passed through that point.

A common train size was 100 to 130 train cars. At at least one like that per day. 1.5+ miles long, minimum. More like 2 miles long. Regardless, they were big trains-I'm sure you get the idea. The numbers on the side of each boxcar had to be written down. My uncle would walk through the train yard and write them down, one by one. The numbers were 11 or 14 digital long, and alphanumeric, IIRC. He had to observe strict protocols to avoid errors. This took time.

This other guy..he would wait until the train was ready to roll. When it was rolling and picking up speed..he would stand beside the train...look at each boxcar number as it rolled by..as it picked up speed getting faster and faster..he would simply look at each boxcar number and commit it to memory.

Then he would go inside, and sit down..and write them all down in the record book.

Never a single error. Ever.

Now, audiophiles represent a similar memory function,but auditory...as do musicians and the like ---IMHO, IMHO, IMHO.

Obviously this is not an exact equivalent, but the comparative is there.

The problem, is like electricity. You can't convince a pygmy that electricity exists in the same way you can't convince most scientists that aether theory is real. It is something that either group simply does not have experience with-as it does not fit their 'known and working' worldview---the parameters that they confine their lives into do not 'fit' this function, and have no assigned place or use for it.

In this same way, due to the sheer 'invisibility' and 'intangibility' of this developed hearing function, the world at large does not recognize it's existence.

The other problem is that 'science by laymen', which engineers by trade and choice fundamentally are; as are the general public... these groups rely on textbooks or news reports, etc...to tell them what is 'real'..whereas a real scientist understands that the beginning of all science fundamentally lies in empirical observation tied to speculative logic.

The complexities of auditory function as disturbed by ill thought out DBT testing in unfamiliar surroundings would, of course equate to or posses similarities to the same way that if this gentleman who had eidetic memory in that train yard..if the alphanumeric digits where from another language. Cyrillic, for example. This would confuse the hell out of his function, with regards to how it was trained. AND..if the contrast ratio was not there to be able to see/make out even the full shape of each Cyrillic letter/figure. He would fail to get the numbers correct -- until some sort of familiarity and stability of the visuals of the numbers (contrast ratio) and memory of the characters individual meanings was achieved. Then, he could return to his normal capacity for perfect recall.

In this way, when some group or individual, IN THEIR IGNORANCE of this auditory function..decides to challenge a 'golden ear' to a test..the fundamental test would HAVE to be in the same auditory environment as the audiophile learned their skill in,and on. Ie, the same room and equipment as they normally listen in.

Since the person making the test is like the pygmy who cannot possibly understand electricity, in this case cannot understand the auditory function, they cannot believe or understand how the audiophile can do these things.

They cannot understand the parameters of the test OR the function - and therefore fail miserably in the design and execution of test protocol for something they cannot understand. This is similar to the way I cannot remember the 130 different 14 digit alphanumeric numbers on the side of that train. Nor can I connect -internally-how such a thing is done. But I don't discount that it can be done and if I put effort into it-I might make it there myself, to some degree..

I've got a damn fine set of ears and an excellent skill set and basic cranial function tied to it. That's my trick, to whatever degree I posses it..same as anyone else here as an audiophile.

If you, dear reader, do NOT get this thing, that's no big deal. We all enjoy music in whatever way we do. It is a deep function of the brain and cannot ever be turned off. It is a basic human function like breathing, touch, etc. The eye can be shut down, ie, closed. (Use earmuffs..and feel your brain change it's course!!!..like when you sleep with eyes closed-this is why meditation requires silence.)

But don't attack me for my inherent skill set, due to your not being able to, literally, in this case -' see it'.

Thankfully the vast majority of the folks on this forum and then those who read the magazines and buy the equipment..they DO understand it. They get it. In whatever way or level their particular skill set is at or evolving to...in and on this long road of slowly 'getting there'. This, with respect to understanding what real music sounds like, and being able to separate that from 'equipment'.

Similar to the same way a bird might respond to a cardboard cut out picture of another bird..and then finally advance to understanding the flaws of such and then getting to the idea of only responding to real birds..we all march toward understanding how things REALLY sound, and how equipment must sound like REAL MUSIC..not just 'equipment'.

absolutepitch
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WTL, there is no research on how "fleeting sonic memory is." Buddha is right (if such speculation can be cornered into a "right" vs. "wrong" matrix, and it probably can't...), because we are not talking about "sonic" memory (which, in our computer-impoverished age, means multiple-choice and/or true-false "tests" concerning bleeps, blips, pings, and pongs...). We are talking about musical memory. Buddha hears a lot of live music, and so do I. We both would like to get THAT into our living/listening rooms, or, if impossible (as it currently is), we would both like to strive towards that goal, as technology evolves. ...

Clifton,
I was using the term sonic as a general term for sound, whether test tones or music. I do go by music memory as you say it, but each live event can be different due to the different instruments used (say two pianos, or two guitars). So the memory of each performance will differ. There are characteristics that are common to, say, both pianos, as there are differences. I would guess that a person with very good music memory can get around this obstacle, and still can decide whether reproduced sound is closer or farther from the live experience.

absolutepitch
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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... This other guy..he would wait until the train was ready to roll. When it was rolling and picking up speed..he would stand beside the train...look at each boxcar number as it rolled by..as it picked up speed getting faster and faster..he would simply look at each boxcar number and commit it to memory.

Then he would go inside, and sit down..and write them all down in the record book.

Never a single error. Ever. ...

I saw this demonstrated on TV when I was a kid. It was amazing. Perhaps some rare individuals can do this, in analogy to the audio memory.


Quote:
... we all march toward understanding how things REALLY sound, and how equipment must sound like REAL MUSIC..not just 'equipment'.

Amen! That's how I got started into this hobby, when equipment didn't reproduce sound like the real thing. It's that empirical observation and the subsequent questions and investigation that lead me down the path to science and engineering as a career and audio as a hobby. The hobby leeches off the knowledge and techniques from the career; the career supplies the funding for the hobby. Great combination.

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Clifton,
I was using the term sonic as a general term for sound, whether test tones or music. I do go by music memory as you say it, but each live event can be different due to the different instruments used (say two pianos, or two guitars). So the memory of each performance will differ. There are characteristics that are common to, say, both pianos, as there are differences. I would guess that a person with very good music memory can get around this obstacle, and still can decide whether reproduced sound is closer or farther from the live experience.

Maybe going out of bounds, but I think there is something more to it than sonic differences. I think there is something fundamentally 'live' about live sound, no matter the source, that Hi Fi just can't do yet.

Be it piano, voice, or whatever, there is something they all have in common when heard live...we can immediately sort through all the different sounds that are being made and our brains tell us, "Live!"

Hi Fi might be able to give us enough info to tell Steinway from Bosendorfer, but it can't do that 'live' thing, whatever it may be!

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

an analogy: the "live thing" would be to have been at the Ali-Frazier fight whre Frazier knocked Ali down and when Frazier did that - feel the sweat that flew off of Ali's head when he absorbed that blow. audio reproduction was watching it on wide world of sports. apt?

tom collins
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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.

an analogy: the "live thing" would be to have been at the Ali-Frazier fight whre Frazier knocked Ali down and when Frazier did that - feel the sweat that flew off of Ali's head when he absorbed that blow. audio reproduction was watching it on wide world of sports. apt?

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Re: And for the trifecta....Height.


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Maybe going out of bounds, but I think there is something more to it than sonic differences. I think there is something fundamentally 'live' about live sound, no matter the source, that Hi Fi just can't do yet.

Be it piano, voice, or whatever, there is something they all have in common when heard live...we can immediately sort through all the different sounds that are being made and our brains tell us, "Live!"

Hi Fi might be able to give us enough info to tell Steinway from Bosendorfer, but it can't do that 'live' thing, whatever it may be!

IMO that would in large part be due to the fact hifi has mostly tried to be better at being hifi rather than being better at getting out of the way of the music it serves. Get yourself and your ears back to simpler times and simpler techniques and you begin to think much of what has been created over the last half century has been aimed at convenience, speed and lowered cost of production on the recording end and I'm not sure what on the playback end - convenience obviously but there's more to it than that.

Do you really expect a speaker five feet tall, over a foot wide and containing a half dozen drivers and associated crossover components to recreate "live"? We ask our systems to do contradictory things at all times and then expect them to accomplish the task with aplomb and finesse at every turn.

How can a speaker's wide bandwidth and broad dispersion not create problems when placed in a typical room? "Treating" the room will likely introduce other problems due to the broadband absorption of most treatment devices.

Five foot tall speakers with a dozen drivers typically make life very difficult for the average amplifier but still we ask the pair to recreate both the dynamic range of a full symphony hall and the softest vocal expression while splitting the crossover right in the vocal middle. The softest vocal is recorded with multiple microphones and processed with innumerable pieces of "production gear". Players do not typically perform together so much as in the isolation of the moment.

We want a stump puller that will deliver us to the best restaurant without getting our pants cuff muddy. We take a 35mm camera to record the entire Grand Canyon. We use a sawmill to cut a picture frame. Offhand I can think of no other jobsite other than audio reproduction that requires one tool be all things to all tasks.

Our aural memory is filled with excuses and exceptions. As witnessed by Art Dudley in virtually every monthly column, listening to what exists in the groove of a 78 provides surprisingly fresh clues as to what is missing from the pits and flats of modern recordings. When the immediacy of the moment has been replaced by the expediency of the hourly rate, the music suffers. For most listeners the propaganda that what is new must be better is enough to allow their aural memory to be as vague about reality as that 35mmm snapshot of the Grand Canyon is about the field of depth.

The concessions are killing the music and we hardly notice because we have the hifi to wow us.

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