I have a A-B test for those who would like to participate. You get two files, one is straight off of a CD, while the other has been ripped from CD and bounced through a mastering workstation (software only). This will hopefully give your ears a good workout. Good monitors are recommended - the optimal config would be headphones if you don’t have a familiar or treated listening environment.
I spend most of my time developing software and hardware for audio mastering. Dealing with mastering engineers naturally goes with the territory. Anyone who has experience with that side of the industry probably knows that some mastering engineerrs are in their own little world. “Sound” as according to mastering engineers differs greatly from “sound” according to the rest of the audio industry. Talking to certain engineers gives me the impression that they hear things that do not exist, or are picking up on sounds of arguably little importance to the “real world”. I guess they get bored with perfection and have to find *something* to be critical about.
My company has a legacy of producing such mastering DAWs (actually we were the first company to “do” digital audio). Our software uses a very well respected extened precision audio playback engine (arguably superior to any other audio software). In fact some of our clients are still running Macintosh Quadras on Mac OS 7/8 so they can continue to use their older workstations because they like the sound so much. *But* I never get to hear much from those at the other end of the industry such as producers, recording engineers, and musicians - people who work with sound in a completely different fashion and listen in a much different way.
So I am interested in your impressions after A-B’ing two soundfiles here. The source material format (44.1/16b aiff) is not optimal, but it is sufficient for a fundamental comparison. The material is a short sample of Once Upon The Sea Of Blissful Awareness by Shpongle - a fitting track for this test. Most of us should be familiar with it. If anyone at Twisted objects to this material being used, please let me know. Also, haha, if anyone at Twisted wants to send me a link to some 24bit undithered tracks to capture, I won’t object :wink:
- First file “aifDO” is straight off the CD. It was edited and exported with a beta version of our software (no change in content aside from fades). Ignore the click at the end of the fade-in. It’s a 1-sample glitch with reverse-poliarity fades that we are fixing.
- The second file “SSEcap” is an identical sample but, instead of a straight export, this was delivered to DDP through one of our editing applications - no hardware, plugins or processing. Just a trip through our audio engine. The DDP fileset was then loaded back and exported as Aiff to make it accessible.
The third file is the gain-adjusted result of a null test to show that there is a difference between the two files (for skeptics). If you don’t know what a null test is, it is an experiment with phase cancellation to audibly demonstrate any differences between to soundfiles.
I won’t go into the specifics (it’s not that complicated, but I don’t want to ramble on any more) Basically “nullboost” is “aifDO” and “SSEcap” playing back at the same time, but “aifDO” was phase-reversed. If you did this with identical files you should “hear” complete silence.
That’s all for now. I really appreciate your time. Let me know what you heard or didn’t hear. Either one sound better to you?