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the watmm GAS thread


modey
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I've got a friend/former bandmate who runs a small, regional moving company and around the mid 2000s when he was just getting started he would do odd jobs sometimes for reliable, repeat customers. At one point, he was hired by a wealthy audiophile type who called him a lot for small things and sometimes gave him really nice stereo equipment for free because it "wasn't good enough," to help move a pair of McIntosh tube monoblocks (worth around $40,000 each) and the speakers they were hooked up to up on to a high shelf in a closet because the audiophile guy was replacing them because he had gotten a cheap Bose iPod dock for christmas and though it sounded and thought it sounded better.  When my friend showed up to do the lifting he found that the guy had the monoblocks and speakers set up in his small, personal yoga room, with the speakers sitting on the floor, pushed up against one of the long walls, pointed directly at a mirrored wall 10 feet away, so of course they sounded bad.  The guy had the money and interest to set up nearly $100,000 worth of stereo equipment in his yoga room but actually had no clue how to set it up, how it worked, and couldn't really hear the difference in sound quality anyway, he just bought it because it was expensive so it must be good, and then stuck it in a closet.

 

That's what the majority of high end collecting is like  across the board, and it hit synths really hard since around 2010, especially late 70s and newer stuff (old modulars haven't been even vaguely attainable in decades).

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Guest Chesney

Yep! ha.

My bro in law have spent alot of money on music systems over the years (not as much as that^^^) but 10k speakers, 6k amp, 1k on cable :O etc etc. And then plays copied CD's with low res Mp3's.

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"Audiophile" amp and speaker combos sound surprisingly good; like that seemingly contradictory balance between loud and delicate.  Tens of thousands of dollars is reasonable for a nice setup, but wtf is up with several hundred thousand or millions of dollars setups for home listening?  Speaker enclosures better be made out dinosaur bones and angel pubes for that kind of money.

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"Audiophile" amp and speaker combos sound surprisingly good; like that seemingly contradictory balance between loud and delicate. Tens of thousands of dollars is reasonable for a nice setup, but wtf is up with several hundred thousand or millions of dollars setups for home listening? Speaker enclosures better be made out dinosaur bones and angel pubes for that kind of money.

So...is this my cue to say something sarcastic and dismissive to you?

 

p.s. The post you mocked was about sincerity vs insincerity.

(and fwiw I worked really hard on it, too.)

 

Cheers,

-b

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1k on cable

Now this is the worst. Hasn't it been established that coat hangers convey audio signals just as well as any gold braided civet intestine purified silk-coated bullshit cable?

 

yes, but audiophile losers insist that there is an unmeasurable difference..

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"Audiophile" amp and speaker combos sound surprisingly good; like that seemingly contradictory balance between loud and delicate.  Tens of thousands of dollars is reasonable for a nice setup, but wtf is up with several hundred thousand or millions of dollars setups for home listening?  Speaker enclosures better be made out dinosaur bones and angel pubes for that kind of money.

 

 

Oh  yeah, I definitely appreciate the stuff that isn't pure snakeoil (like multi-thousand-dollar hand braided power cords and shit).  Only reason I'm not still using a '63 HH Scott tube stereo I got (free, no less) a long time ago through work is because it needs some service and I can't afford it or do it myself, but it sounded amazing and wasn't even what most audiophiles would call a particularly great amp (although respectable).  The people who are more into the DIY side of things especially, like the home-built turntable crowd who figured out how to make high end turntable motors out of old floppy drives - that stuff is great.

 

 

But there's also a whole lot of people with more money than sense and other people selling them questionable products.

 

 

$600 audiophile SATA cable:

 

SATA.png

Edited by RSP
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1k on cable

Now this is the worst. Hasn't it been established that coat hangers convey audio signals just as well as any gold braided civet intestine purified silk-coated bullshit cable?

 

 

Yeah, the only well designed double blind study so far showed now statistically significant difference with a slight preference for the coat hangers.  I forget who the test subjects were, but it included some big-name mastering engineers.

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1k on cable

Now this is the worst. Hasn't it been established that coat hangers convey audio signals just as well as any gold braided civet intestine purified silk-coated bullshit cable?

 

yes, but audiophile losers insist that there is an unmeasurable difference..

 

 

I don't totally discount this argument in general, just in the case of stuff like we're talking about.  Because with this stuff there's often a bias toward "newer technology is superior, sell your old gear and buy new gear" and, to paraphrase Captain Kirk (I think), you can only measure what your tools are designed to measure.

 

There are still plenty of people who claim that it's an absolute, scientifically proven fact that there's no audible difference between a 256kbps mp3 and a high resolution digital master.   But shit, there's an audible difference between a CD and a burned copy of that CD, when I was younger and hadn't played a bunch of shows I could hear it easily even on a cheap boom box.

 

But yeah, that's also usually just people's own biases.

 

EDIT: pretty sure the difference between a CD and a CD-R duplicate would actually be more audible on a cheap player than a good one, it's just a higher error rate making the error correction kick in more often and cheap players probably had worse error correction back then.

Edited by RSP
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There are still plenty of people who claim that it's an absolute, scientifically proven fact that there's no audible difference between a 256kbps mp3 and a high resolution digital master. But shit, there's an audible difference between a CD and a burned copy of that CD, when I was younger and hadn't played a bunch of shows I could hear it easily even on a cheap boom box.

Yes, on the other hand, I have heard this argument before too and it's patently false. Even if it's not audible you can test it by playing the mp3 version 180 degrees out of phase mixed with the uncompressed source - you will hear those signature watery high end artifacts. Or form a basic understanding of the mp3 reconstruction algorithm and FFT and it'll make sense that they are not the same. Whether you care about the difference is a different matter but it is there.
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This is pretty similar to where I stand:

 

http://tapeop.com/blog/2017/02/15/subconscious-auditory-effects/

 

But that said, I also mostly aim more toward the lo-fi end of the spectrum, I just don't want the ITB stuff to be part of the lo-finess.

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There are still plenty of people who claim that it's an absolute, scientifically proven fact that there's no audible difference between a 256kbps mp3 and a high resolution digital master. But shit, there's an audible difference between a CD and a burned copy of that CD, when I was younger and hadn't played a bunch of shows I could hear it easily even on a cheap boom box.

Yes, on the other hand, I have heard this argument before too and it's patently false. Even if it's not audible you can test it by playing the mp3 version 180 degrees out of phase mixed with the uncompressed source - you will hear those signature watery high end artifacts. Or form a basic understanding of the mp3 reconstruction algorithm and FFT and it'll make sense that they are not the same. Whether you care about the difference is a different matter but it is there.

 

 

 

Yeah, I'd go even farther and say that even if you don't care about it, there are still psychoacoustic effects that will change your subjective experience the music even if you aren't conscious of it.

 

Like, the stuff I was mixing this month was never quite sounding right and I couldn't put my finger on it, but when I ran the mixes trhough a spectrum analyzer, there was some kind of clock tone that had bled in to most of them, way up around 30kHz and going up to something like -15DBFS.  Way above human hearing or what my speakers can really reproduce but when I notched it out, the mixes instantly sounded a lot more open an uncluttered, no other changes.  It was like wiping a year worth of dust off of a TV screen.

 

That's the kind of stuff I get audiophiley and nitpicky about personally, even though hiss and some kinds of hum and distortion are usually fine.

 

 

EDIT: I forget where I found the test files originally, but there is a set of files you can use to demonstrate audible effects of sound above the audible spectrum and those were pretty eye opening, too. everything's up in the 30kHz range but causes all kinds of crackle and distortion in DACs that aren't well implemented.  My interface is pretty god and even it pops every once in a while when I play them back through it.  the MBox 3 I used to use sounds like a geiger counter.

Edited by RSP
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Fortunately for me, I usually like to start rolling stuff off around 10kHz-12kHz so I don't have much going on up above 20 anyhow.

 

 

EDIT: this isn't the same site I found them on originally but it has the intermodulation distortion test tones about 1/3 of the way down (search "Intermod Tests").

Edited by RSP
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Yeah, I'd go even farther and say that even if you don't care about it, there are still psychoacoustic effects that will change your subjective experience the music even if you aren't conscious of it.

 

Like, the stuff I was mixing this month was never quite sounding right and I couldn't put my finger on it, but when I ran the mixes trhough a spectrum analyzer, there was some kind of clock tone that had bled in to most of them, way up around 30kHz and going up to something like -15DBFS. Way above human hearing or what my speakers can really reproduce but when I notched it out, the mixes instantly sounded a lot more open an uncluttered, no other changes. It was like wiping a year worth of dust off of a TV screen.

 

That's the kind of stuff I get audiophiley and nitpicky about personally, even though hiss and some kinds of hum and distortion are usually fine.

 

 

EDIT: I forget where I found the test files originally, but there is a set of files you can use to demonstrate audible effects of sound above the audible spectrum and those were pretty eye opening, too. everything's up in the 30kHz range but causes all kinds of crackle and distortion in DACs that aren't well implemented. My interface is pretty god and even it pops every once in a while when I play them back through it. the MBox 3 I used to use sounds like a geiger counter.

Not only that, specific to mp3, the extra noise adds to the work that the signal compression has to do. Its job is to pare it down to the essential frequencies, and the more there are, the more loss there will be.

 

Please share those test files if you can, those sound handy!

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EDIT: this isn't the same site I found them on originally but it has the intermodulation distortion test tones about 1/3 of the way down (search "Intermod Tests").

 

 

Good point about noise and mp3s!

 

 

Ironically, I actually kind of really like the sound of Minidisc data compression as an effect, although not enough to actually use it much (it's not very noticeable at all, it just kind of blurs things a little in a nice way). 

Edited by RSP
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Ha yeah, I have a bunch of minidisc recordings from 10+ years ago and they sound great.

 

Back on the subject of GAS, looks like I'm gonna sell my MD and *possibly* get an octatrack. I've been looking at videos and the scenes seem to be more useful than I expected. And tbh I'm better at making unique/interesting drum sounds on the monomachine, soooo I think it has to go :P

Gonna wait a while to be sure about OT purchase though (maybe a few weeks); I've seen a few secondhand but they're not much more expensive new at the moment..

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Guest Chesney

Damn, I wouldn't personally. If you were local to me i'd lend you the Octa to see.

It's an amazing machine obviously and not sure if it's just me but I find it quite hard to get useful things from it. It's really really fun to play as you try everything you can on a sample but getting an actual concise idea and make it into a real track is pretty hard to nail down. I can bash out something decent on the MD everytime I turn it on and they are not just standard beats etc.

The octa is too good to let go though so I doubt i'd sell it and i'm sure it will come into it's own when I play out live again.

It's mainly used for midi and a plockable effects box.

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Yeah, I get it, I just feel really lost with the MD, and end up making rather generic drum sounds with it rather than getting weird. Plus I get frustrated at how it doesn't have things such as chromatic mode, sustain etc.

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Guest Chesney

The MD is simple compared. If you want to do some weird stuff PM me and i'll show you a few tricks.

The octa can get weird too it all depends on the source sample of course.

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Too late, just sold it :P

There are a few reasons why I wanted to sell it, another being that it felt like a bit of a step back from the monomachine in terms of interface and capability.. I was actually considering getting a second monomachine to mostly use as an effects unit, but that would have been silly :D

Will see how I go with octatrack, there are a few used ones out there so maybe if I don't like it I'll sell it on again and just make tracks 100% with monomachine..

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Guest Chesney

Haha, fair enough man. We are all different. Out of the 4 elektrons I have the MD is the top dog, that spot will be different for other people.

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It's mainly used for midi and a plockable effects box.

Yeah, these seem to be what it's best at - lots of folks just using it as a kind of weird mixer and FX. The scenes and crossfader are fuckin amazing. If they had released a slightly cheaper version that just didn't do samples, they would have flown off the shelves. That type of meta-parameter morphing is brilliant for making your own kind of sandboxes to improvise in.

 

It is a killer sampler but it's a weird workflow if you just want to use it as a standalone beatbox. You certainly can, but it beckons you into odd rabbit holes. That, and with only 8 voices, layering is tricky. Comparing it to an MPC is like apples and oranges. 

 

However, if you like to the play the game where you try to take a shit sample (like a door slamming or something) and sculpt it into a bunch of different sounds until you can make a complete track, the OT is like a magic wand. Tons of modulation opportunities, and the filters are perfect for this - they have a great dry but smooth and musical sound that works especially well for drums.

 

EDIT: this isn't the same site I found them on originally but it has the intermodulation distortion test tones about 1/3 of the way down (search "Intermod Tests").

 

 

Good point about noise and mp3s!

 

 

Ironically, I actually kind of really like the sound of Minidisc data compression as an effect, although not enough to actually use it much (it's not very noticeable at all, it just kind of blurs things a little in a nice way). 

 

Thanks didn't see this edit :)

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