Articles You Feel Should be Shared

I’ll kick off with a recent posting by the remarkably clear-sighted and even handed Archimago.

Once again cutting through layers of mostly deliberate confusion, obfuscation and denial.

Production, Reproduction and Perception - the 3 pillars upon which everything in our audiophile world stands, is my new mantra.

So simple it’s surprising that no one else pointed it out earlier.

Be sure to also check out his follow up blog from Wednesday, 11 March 2020.
Kinda rambling and disorganized, doncha think? I mean he wrote like five thousand words. Yet all he really said was we can't make up with reproduction what wasn't originally captured in the recording. Nor should we try. 

Is that even news?

In Memoriam: Siegfried Linkwitz, 1935–2018 by Robert E Greene.

As well as a general appreciate of Linkwitz, REG presents a somewhat detailed, but non-technical, explanation of why sometime a dip around 3000 Hz makes music nicer sounding, and in a sense more realistic.
I enjoyed both articles very much. I’ll make a filter with a dip in the 3000Hz region and try it out. Here is a link on problems with digital audio and how they have pretty much been figured out, take into account the article is 12 years old and technology has been catching up.
+1 djones51! Excellent and easily understood explanation of the digital process!

Err... just when I had accepted that the BBC (Gundry) presence dip had been discredited.

"I've heard mention of 'the BBC dip' or 'the Gundry dip'. What does that mean?"

"There is much myth, folklore and misunderstanding about the 'Gundry presence dip'.

The 'BBC dip' was a shallow shelf-down in the acoustic output of some BBC-designed speaker system of the 1960s-1980s in the 1kHz to 4kHz region. The LS3/5a does not have this effect, neither in the 15 ohm nor 11 ohm, both of which are in fact slightly lifted in that region.

According to Harbeth's founder, Dudley Harwood, who ran the BBC's design department during the time that this psychoacoustic effect was being explored, it was introduced initially to mask coloration in the vacuum formed cones available at the time. Whilst reducing speaker output in this audio band achieved this, it subjectively pushed the listener away from the speakers as the stereo-listener's sound stage subjectively receded behind the speakers, which is unobjectional for acoustic music, but takes the life out of non-classical music. An alternative strategy employed or in combination with the Gundry dip is the application of heavy glue (dope), usually by hand brushing, to the surface of the cone to ameriorate latent coloration. The Harbeth RADIAL™ cone has no coloration issues so does not need to use the BBC dip, nor cone doping, to disguise latent mechanical problems.

You can explore the sonic effect of depressing the presence band for yourselves by routing your audio signal through a graphic equaliser and applying a shelf-down in the 1kHz to 4kHz region."

Still worse, this from the REG tribute article.

"This is something important. My personal view is that it accounts for a large percentage of why musicians and other people who listen hard to live music but not so much to audio think that audio does not sound right compared to live music. I recall Lincoln Mayorga telling me that his goal in co-founding Sheffield Lab was to try to make recordings that sounded as much like a real piano as the recordings Artur Schnabel made in the 1930s, compared to which, and to reality, modern recordings were too “bangy.” This simple EQ change would do a lot to rectify the difference between recorded and live in many cases.

A second point to note is that Linkwitz suggests the idea of making the matter adjustable. The idea that one particular non-adjustable speaker could be ideal for playback of all recordings is not on the table here."

Did Siegfried Linkwitz really suggest that some form of equalisation is more or less compulsory? 

Even in his own designs?

Why is high quality audio playback so complicated?

It's that word 'quality' isn't it?

cd318: Yes, as far as I can see, Linkwitz did recommend this, including in his own designs. I use it sometimes but I agree with SL (as quoted by REG) that it must be adjustable. I think that a shelf down 1-3 kHz is a bit broad.

As you say, other reasons for using this dip have been stated, most prominently necessity due to manufacturing limitations.

I am no theoretician, but I believe the need varies according to the design of the speakers (in particular their directivity with frequency), the type of recording, and so on.

Where there seems to be agreement is that around 3kHz the ear is most sensitive. Playback that is hyped there will be irritating to many people, and that can be relieved by adding this dip.

Quality audio is complicated IMO because there are no standards for recording; mics are colored; speakers are colored; and no two home setups are the same. Of course, there’s also the issue of how one quantifies "quality." Not trivial!

Yes, it is unfortunately complicated. I can easily imagine the dip being used to mask crossover issues in some designs but also to correct recording anomalies where the need arises. Can’t boil it down any further than that.

Anyway, here’s an article by Hugh Robjohns that I thought got closer to unravelling the secrets of analogue warmth than most. Despite his pro digital bias he is able to understand the appeal of analogue.

"In short, enjoyment of an artistic product (be it a sound recording, a photograph, a film or whatever) isn’t necessarily about precision and accuracy: more often, it’s about mood, character and subtle enhancements that make the end result more vivid and interesting than real life."

Perhaps, in short, some might feel that analogue recording allows an chance to restore something of the essence that the very act of recording itself inevitably must lose.

Others will call it distortion.
Another good article from sound on sound. CDs in the early days the 1980s certainly sounded harsh and cold to me but as time and tech has improved so has my medium. I no longer listen to vinyl or tape and haven’t for about 20 years. A lot of this article was on creating the mix, the Production, and how to create or mimic those differing types of analog warmth. Which would Reproduce that sound better digital source on solid state designed to be as neutral as possible or vinyl or tape with tube equipment? I’ve used both but as I get older I seem to be going more in the neutral give me what’s there direction, Perception , maybe I’m an anomaly. Anyway great read.
For sure dynamics matter, for sure timing matters, for sure imagery matters, but without vivid life-like tone they are nothing, or next to nothing for me.

I've also heard some very highly regarded (and high priced) systems which couldn't reproduce the varied colours of sound.

Harvey Rosenberg was a man who also shared these sensibilities.