Sampling frequency on Radio programmes - Taking it off topic

Jim web web at
Mon Apr 20 01:59:26 PDT 2015

This is drifiting OT but since the comments below were made I will respond
on this occasion and hope people are OK with that... beyond that if anyone
wants to discuss this - take it to  :-)

In article
<CA+L9MatjHhgt_m=rRFjozuiveDc_zP_v+EfhqsnrWxJL3LgGRA at>,
   Kevin Lynch <klynchk at> wrote:
> Jim's article is well considered and only tells part of the story of
> music mastering for distribution. His definition of a "good" audio
> recording says a lot about his purist perspective. 

Yes. My 'purist' approach is pretty simply. It is that when the musicians
and engineers have made a source recording master they are happy with, then
- so far as technically possible - *that* is what the end-user's result
should sound like when played on decent equipment.

FWIW I know perfectly well that, say, Jimi Hendrix used electric guitars
which have no real 'acoustic' sound, and then distorted and compressed the
results on it way to the final master tape. That was done using his
judgement and talent.

What he *didn't* do was then add *more* clipping and avoidable distortions
of quite different kinds as have appeared, time after time, on the CDs
released after his death. [1]

You can more easily make a similar point for classical music and jazz where
there often *is* a genuine orginal sound to be heard in a venue and into
which the musicians judge what they perform.

> However the vast majority of people who produce, buy and consume music
> are not audiophiles and they do not care about fidelity of their
> listening experience.

I agree. That why, for example, I didn't bother to try analysing any
128kbps mp3 files. Although admittedly, another reason is that I don't have
any. 8-]

More below...

> This 2008 Wired article fleshes out the story
> my favourite quote. "Bands, producers and record labels have always
> wanted to make loud records, for radio play and jukeboxes.

That did leave out the small but key word "some". And the title in the URL
you give is perhaps of interest here. :-)

TBH I don't think that when, say, Mark Elder conducts the Halle he wants
the end result to follow the recipy you quote.

But yes, I've seen that 'justification' trotted out many times. And as a
long-term AES member, seen it argued about. However the key point to note
is that it states a belief system on the part of those who believe it.

In some cases they may be judging their audience well. (Indeed, I suspect
many people have never even heard really well mastered and reproduced
music. So may have no idea what is possible.) But even allowing for that,
the believers have dodged putting their faith to a simple critical test.
This is to symultaenously release a clipped and massively level compressed
version in parallel with releasing a less processed version. Then tell the
potential customers about it, and let them choose which they prefer, given
the ability to hear both first.

However the 'wizards' who get paid to compress and clip generally don't do
this. They just rely on the mantra that 'louder sells more'.

All that said, the main point of the health check is to spot digital
recording/processing errors and faults. Not just clipping or level
compression. If you prefer the results, that's a personal choice you're
entitled to make once you are fully informed. However to really decide
you'd need to listen to an *unaffected* version for comparison. if you
haven't heard that you can't know if you wouldn't prefer it.

TBH I doubt in most cases those producing the CD had any idea at the time
that they'd used undithered integer gain changes, etc, and caused the
effects shown. Chances are they just moved a gain slider to change the
level without knowing that happened. Indeed, you can find an example on my
webpage where the first issue of a CD shows problems, and a later
re-masting doesn't. If they'd *wanted* the flaws they'd have repeated them.


[1] BTW Anyone who likes Joni Mitchell might also wish to be aware of the
misuse of 'HDCD' on some of her CDs, making them sound worse than the
equivalent LP or earlier plain CD versions. Again, apparently applied by
clueless 're-mastering' wizards or plain human error along the way.

Armstrong Audio
Audio Misc

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