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Instruments and Extended Upper Harmonic Overtones

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  • Instruments and Extended Upper Harmonic Overtones

    At least one member of each instrument family (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion) produces energy to 40 kHz or above, and the spectra of some instruments reach the measurement limit of 102.4 kHz. Survey includes trumpet, French horn, violin, oboe, crash cymbals, sibilant speech, claves, a drum rimshot, triangle, jangling keys, and piano. Includes short description of others' work on perception of air- and bone-conducted ultrasound; and points out that even if ultrasound be taken as having no effect at all on perception of live sound, yet its presence may still pose a problem to the audio equipment designer and recording engineer.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

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  • #2
    So much for Red Book digital eh?
    Turntable: TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter mat & weight; PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

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    Comment


    • mep
      mep commented
      Editing a comment
      Can you say brickwall filter?

    • 1morerecord2clean
      1morerecord2clean commented
      Editing a comment
      Brick wall filter.🙃

    • mep
      mep commented
      Editing a comment
      Brickwall filter

      Definition and background:

      A certain type of low-pass filter exhibiting a steep cutoff slope which resembles a "brick wall." These filters are often found in A/D converters to prevent aliasing; while they are acceptable for this purpose their steep slope introduces unwanted side-effects on the audio signal, such as phase shift.

  • #3
    That paper isn't all that new--has it had any influence on the audio industry?
    I could accept the theory that the "air" or sense of vibrancy we get from a real instrument is, in part, due to frequencies beyond the conventionally accepted limits of human hearing.*
    Apart from the author's observation that if his conclusions are correct, we need wider bandwidth devices, what are the upper frequency limits of phono record playback, not only medium, but cutting, and phono cartridge (upper) range?
    Same questions re tape, i.e. medium, heads and electronics limits?
    I don't know what the current state of technology in digital playback is-- are some of the formats capable of reproducing these higher frequencies? (I know that in some cases, different filtering profiles are available for user adjustability).
    Interesting that his microphones are capable of capturing this, no? So, the limit isn't at the mic....


    __________
    * I never thought of this in terms of high or ultra high frequency extension, but instead, the characteristic of capturing the harmonics in combination with timing of attack and decay. In other words, a reproduction of a grand piano sounds more "real" to me when the primary note is struck, you hear the result of a whole combination of things at that point- the type of hammer/action, the body/sound board of the instrument and the acoustics of the room, together with how the instrument is mic'd. Then, there are harmonics and a certain period in which they decay, all of which adds up, in my estimation, to whether a recording of a piano sounds more "real." (I'm leaving aside the differences in different pianos for the moment--just changing the material on the hammer can affect that on otherwise "identical" pianos). I often attributed the sonic differences in piano recordings to poor mic'ing techniques and mixing, particularly when the piano is accompanied by other instruments.
    One of the other failings that I'm not sure this paper addresses is what I'd call "clutter"- the more instruments playing at once, the more congealed the overall sound is in many cases-- the music not only sounds compressed, but the sound hardens, and the air or space between the instruments and background seems to disappear.

    Comment


    • Bill Hart
      Bill Hart commented
      Editing a comment
      Good point, Mark. But since CD4 or whatever the hell it was called- Quadradisc?- discrete 4 channel on vinyl- died a quick death in the marketplace. So, do they even bother trying to reach those high frequencies? What do high end cartridge makers quote these days- probably 20-20khz right?
      The premise is interesting though. I don't know enough about modern digital to know if current formats aren't limited in high frequencies.
      Interestingly, I put on an old CD of a Traffic album on the vintage system, using a low-rent CD player, and the newish one sounded considerably better. Probably just a better mastering through better equipment than was used when the first one was made.
      I'm bouncing back and forth between the vintage Quad system (whose turntable still isn't 'armed' yet) and the "main" system --pretty instructive on what makes for an engaging listen. And that's using a pretty negligible source on the vintage system (for now).
      You all set up in Tennessee?

    • mep
      mep commented
      Editing a comment
      Bill-We are moving on 28 Aug to TN.

    • MylesBAstor
      MylesBAstor commented
      Editing a comment
      I think there are other things going on up there that affect what we hear. Other than simply FR. Like phase relationships. The effect on the industry? The ultra-extended mega-hertz response of amps from Spectral and d'Agostino are two examples. Bill you would remember that period where someone had a brilliant idea of limiting FR. Disastrous.

  • #4
    For me i perfure a well recorded piano over a live one. There is just too many tones that seem to confuse me a bit. Maybe it's why I like my system as it is.
    analog stuff.
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    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
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    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
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    Comment


    • #5
      Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post
      For me i perfure a well recorded piano over a live one. There is just too many tones that seem to confuse me a bit. Maybe it's why I like my system as it is.
      Al, I'm going to disagree with you on that at least as a general proposition. But, here's a recording of piano that I have mentioned elsewhere: Amina Claudine Myers Salutes Bessie Smith

      You want the original 1980 pressing on Leo Records, not the audiophile remaster which, in my estimation, sounds lifeless.

      Comment


      • mep
        mep commented
        Editing a comment
        Count Basie 88 Street. Say no more with regards to piano sound recorded to analog.

      • Rob
        Rob commented
        Editing a comment
        I have the Basie 88 and Amina Myers records they're both A+, the RCA D2D of Beethoven's Appassionata played on a Bosendorfer and cut at 45 is is a notch higher still.

      • JCOConnell
        JCOConnell commented
        Editing a comment
        I have the RCA D2D of the Appassionata, and its the best piano recording Ive ever heard.

    • #6
      I will look it up on tidal. And of course my choice is preference my son plays piano in my home down south.
      And I have been to plenty of piano recitals
      yes it's engaging to be there. But purely from a sound perspective the echo drives me carzy. I even like the flat sounds without or with pedals what ever one makes it not reverb. Chamber music or church guitars does the same to me. But yet not with vocals that's better with a little.
      I guess I am odd man out on this and most lol. But it is how I feel. My room is not dead or flat but it's not very live
      if it were I could play it loud
      analog stuff.
      otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
      otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
      sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
      new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
      thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
      thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
      kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
      phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
      speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
      mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
      digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
      Dacs lampi various

      Comment


      • #7
        My ears are pretty rolled above 15k....lol
        Christian
        System Gear

        Comment


        • cpp
          cpp commented
          Editing a comment
          Pretty much in the same listening chair. 12khz on a bad day, 15khz on a good day maybe. The ears so much noise pollution in the younger years.

      • #8
        Originally posted by rockitman View Post
        My ears are pretty rolled above 15k....lol
        Mine as well, but the article seems to suggest that information well beyond 20khz is still processed by us, and i don't know if I'm reading too much into this, affects the range of what we can hear and sense.

        Comment


        • #9
          IMO no one is hearing much of anything above 20 kHz unless they are the bat child from the Enquirer, What is heard is the superimposition of the higher frequencies on what is audible at frequencies that can be heard. Everything modulates everything. That modulation gives every instrument and voice its unique signature.

          The "faster" everything in the recording and playback chain is, given that the reproduction is accurate, the more of the original event, be it natural or artificial, may be heard.

          Digital is a work in progress. Over the last couple of years progress has increased.

          44.1 has definite drawbacks in regard to recording, At about two samples per half wave at 20 kHz can't be considered a high definition sample. Anything past 20 kHz can cause all kinds of weird artifacts as it shows up as incorrectly sampled bits tacked onto signal below 20 kHz. Sorry if I can't really explain that much better. Anyway, once in the digital realm you're stuck with it. A super steep analog filter might alleviate that but might cause phasing or other problems.

          This is not to say all 44.1 sounds terrible because it's 44.1. Really bad sound is due to lousy equipment and morons at the controls in some combination of awfulness.

          Another problem is decimation. Downsampling from say 96 to 44.1 doesn't work well (IMO again) due to different data clock rates. Upsampling from 44.1 to 96 would present the same issues. Both upsampling and downsampling would best be done with the appropriate data clock rate which exactly matches.

          As stated, digital is a work in progress. Otherwise as converters would sound exactly the same an no improvement would be possible. I've already heard perfect sound forever once and it was wrong.

          On the other hand it's really late and i'm not sure how coherent I am.

          Comment


          • JCOConnell
            JCOConnell commented
            Editing a comment
            clock rate conversions work best when the conversion multiple is an integer, hence the existence of 88.2 KHz sampling rate.

          • Rust
            Rust commented
            Editing a comment
            Exactly.

        • #10
          Too much about all of this is very controversial. Although I personally tend to believe the theory of ultrasound's being perceived through paranasal sinus bone conduction, it is not well accepted in the scientific community. In a different direction, DXD and 4x DSD both have noise and frequency limits far beyond any purely analog sound recording technology, yet that seems to have little correlation with many listeners' perception of overtones and harmonic "correctness".
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          Comment


          • Rust
            Rust commented
            Editing a comment
            A purely ultrasonic signal might possibly be sensed by exciting a lower frequency harmonic in the audible range in the listener. Maybe.

            In music I still think it alters the fundamental signal in a perceivable way.

          • rbbert
            rbbert commented
            Editing a comment
            you may think that, but I doubt there is any significant chance that it is true. It is possible that an ultrasonic signal in "real-life" (not on a recording) could excite resonances in something material nearby to produce sound in the audible range, but if it did that sound would be on the recording also in the audible range. Alternatively, if just the ultrasonic signal is on the recording it could do that to something in your listening room, which would be a bad thing.

          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            Agreed. The little that has been published on human hearing above 20k hasn't seemed to hold up to scrutiny. Certainly there are some humans that can just as there are a few that see wavelengths most people can't. But as I mentioned above, it's not all about FR. Phase and subharmonics come into play too.

            Plus I wonder how other types of receptors in our bodies, play into musical perception. Our skin is loaded with many different types of receptors including mechanoreceptors that sense pressure and vibrations. We may not be consciously aware of the effect but they may operate at a subconcious level.
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