SACD "needle drops"

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krabapple
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Postby krabapple » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:34 pm

Tonight I used foobar2K to ABX the CD rip of 'Street Fighting Man" from the CD layer of Beggar's Banquet SACD (which is already peaking at 0 dB) against a 0 dB normalized A-to-D transfer of the SACD layer track. I scored 16/25 -- not, AFAICT, significantly above
chance at a p<0.05. And it was *hard* to do. I could tell right away that I wasn't going to be able to use the start of the track as a test sample...so I had to find a part of the tune I thought I could perceive as 'different' (I ended up using Wyman's entrance)...it sounded to me like A was slightly more bassy than B , and latched onto that to identify X. Apparently I was often mistaken. All listening was done using f2k playback out of an M-Audio 2496 card, with Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs 'phones. These are nice old-fashioned 'pillow ring' headphones that block out external sound rather well.

Though you can't cherry pick within a test, I 'did well' at the start and end of the test, and lousy in the middle..the other funny thing is that I was under the impression that A was the SACD..turns out A was actually the CD layer rip.

Now, I need to try this with , say, teh CD layer of 'Money' versus the SACD, because there the differences are supposed to both measurably and audibly striking .

Here's the result file of my trials. The 11.5% at the end is the ABX software's calculation of the chance that I was guessing.


foo_abx v1.2 report
foobar2000 v0.8.3
2005/03/13 22:43:25

File A: 06 - Street Fighting Man.wav
File B: SFMSACDmc_norm16.wav

22:43:55 : Test started.
22:44:06 : Trial reset.
22:46:17 : 01/01 50.0%
22:47:13 : 02/02 25.0%
22:47:26 : 03/03 12.5%
22:47:41 : 04/04 6.3%
22:47:47 : 04/05 18.8%
22:47:55 : 04/06 34.4%
22:48:05 : 05/07 22.7%
22:48:16 : 05/08 36.3%
22:48:41 : 06/09 25.4%
22:49:17 : 07/10 17.2%
22:49:23 : 07/11 27.4%
22:49:34 : 08/12 19.4%
22:49:45 : 08/13 29.1%
22:49:51 : 09/14 21.2%
22:49:58 : 10/15 15.1%
22:50:16 : 11/16 10.5%
22:50:40 : 11/17 16.6%
22:50:49 : 11/18 24.0%
22:51:04 : 12/19 18.0%
22:51:57 : 12/20 25.2%
22:52:03 : 12/21 33.2%
22:52:26 : 13/22 26.2%
22:52:33 : 14/23 20.2%
22:52:47 : 15/24 15.4%
22:53:09 : 16/25 11.5%
22:57:31 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 16/25 (11.5%)
"I recommend that you delete the Rancid Snakepit" - Grant

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Grant
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Re: SACD "needle drops"

Postby Grant » Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:22 am

thomh wrote:

Grant, could you tell me what equipment you used for the transfers?


Nothing pro. I just hooked up the Sony SACD player to my E-MU card through the analog interconnects, recorded to Adobe Audition at 44.1, 32-bit float.

What type of music did you record?

The Police "Ghost In The Machine".

And what characteristic of DSD was "destroyed" by PCM?

Depth and spaciousness.

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Postby Grant » Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:35 am

krabapple wrote:
So I really can't say how different they sound. And neither can Grant, I bet.

I did hear a difference, but it was small. Let me put it this way: On the SACD layer of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" from "Greatest Hits", Sting's vocal sounds very recessed and somewhat distant. On the CD layer, things sound a bit dull, and the vocal is more up front and center. The whole thing loses it's three dimensionality. On my dub, the clarity of the SACD layer IS retained, but the vocal is forward, as on the CD layer of the hybrid. Now, my dub is an improvement over the CD layer, and other masterings, but I decided that it wasn't worth the trouble, and to just play the SACD when possible.

I *can* say that analog transfer of the CD layer, vs analog transfer of the SACD layer, reveals only *slight* superiority in dynamic range in the SACD layer versus CD (on the order of 0.2 dB) when the file are all normalized to 0 dB. Moreover, a digital rip of the CD layer and an analog transfer of the CD layer measured essentially the same after normalization, demonstrating that for CD at least, analog transfer need do no harm to levels and DR.
The Rolling Stones CD layer is very good, abd close to the SACD layer. However, I still hear a difference, mainly in the dimensionality.

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Postby Grant » Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:40 am

krabapple wrote:First, I did not say they won't sound different. I said the PCM transfers I did sound fine. I also said Grant can't know how different the SACD really sounds compared to his transfer (using his usual half-assed 'I take 1/2 from science and 1/2 from belief' method)

I can hear definate differences without any A-B testing. To my ears, they are that different. I'm not talking about frequency response. I'm talking depth.

But, if you lose dynamic range, you do get a slight, percieved rise in the top end, so the PCM copy sounds a bit brighter.

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Postby Grant » Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:52 am

lukpac wrote:I think we all agree 16/44 *should* be able to reproduce everything just fine under ideal conditions. But who's to say the reproduction chain is always ideal? And who's to say it's all about dynamic range?

For me, it was about dynamic range.

Honestly, I think Grant is full of it. Nevertheless, without a blind test of some sort, I still don't think krab is much better off.

The one variable I did NOT take into consideration, now that I think of it...the interconnect could have influenced my result. Ah, but you guys don't believe interconnects have any influence on sound...

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Postby krabapple » Sun Mar 20, 2005 6:16 am

Thank you, Grant,,for demonstrating that you actaully have *no* good basis for the certainly with which you claim what you claim. And you know why. So your explanations amount to little more than pseudo-explanations aka 'guesses' , unless you can back them up with, say, a direct comparison of the SACD layer to the A/D copy, I will however grab the CD and SACD layers of 'Every Little Thing' from 'Ghost in the Machine' to hard drive via A/D and see what transpires.

And no, the interconnect is highly unlikely to have actually influenced your result, you fool.
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Postby lukpac » Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:59 am

Grant wrote:For me, it was about dynamic range.


What about it? The dynamic range for 16/44 is huge.
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby Dob » Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:03 am

Both of you guys have the import hybrid SACD of Ghost? I only have the single layer domestic version.

I have two Police SACDs (Ghost and Zenyatta) and I was disappointed with both, especially Ghost. I like my old CDs better.
Dob
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Postby Rspaight » Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:55 pm

lukpac wrote:
Grant wrote:For me, it was about dynamic range.


What about it? The dynamic range for 16/44 is huge.


Yeah, you're not going to convince me that the "Ghost" master tape has more than 96dB of dynamic range on it.

Ryan
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Postby krabapple » Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:16 pm

No, my msitake -- I forgot that the Police discs are single-layer. It's not clear to me where Grant dubbed from -- he mentions both the Greatest Hits hybrid disc and the GitM disc.

I thought the most recent Police CD remasters were good -- IIRC they replicate the boxed set remasters -- but that the SACDs sounded good too. IN the case of GitM, both were improvements on the original CD, which to me gave the impression of having been recorded/mastered at a very low level (though I don't think I ever checked that in a serious way).
"I recommend that you delete the Rancid Snakepit" - Grant

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Postby thomh » Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:50 am

Police - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic from the Ghost In The Machine hybrid SACD

SACD CD layer rip
-----------------
Min Sample Value: -32768 -32766
Max Sample Value: 32767 32767
Peak Amplitude: 0 dB 0 dB
Possibly Clipped: 2 1
DC Offset: -.002 -.002
Minimum RMS Power: -83.62 dB -82.46 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -7.98 dB -8.36 dB
Average RMS Power: -16.5 dB -16.65 dB
Total RMS Power: -15.79 dB -15.96 dB
DR (Avg-Peak): 16.5 dB 16.7 dB

SACD CD layer A/D
-----------------
Min Sample Value: -32722 -32584
Max Sample Value: 32767 32501
Peak Amplitude: 0 dB -.05 dB
Possibly Clipped: 1 0
DC Offset: -.002 -.002
Minimum RMS Power: -93.46 dB -93.55 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -8.04 dB -8.49 dB
Average RMS Power: -16.62 dB -16.83 dB
Total RMS Power: -15.88 dB -16.11 dB
DR (Avg-Peak): 16.6 dB 16.8 dB

SACD -> 4416 A/D
-----------------------
Min Sample Value: -32768 -32604
Max Sample Value: 32767 31956
Peak Amplitude: 0 dB -.04 dB
Possibly Clipped: 3 0
DC Offset: -.002 -.002
Minimum RMS Power: -96.34 dB -96.33 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -9.67 dB -10.14 dB
Average RMS Power: -18.46 dB -18.67 dB
Total RMS Power: -17.73 dB -17.97 dB
DR (Avg-Peak): 18.5 dB 18.6 dB

Hmmm....... What happened here, Mr. Ludwig?


As a comparison, here is The Zombies - She's Not There (off the SH Audio Fidelity disc):

SACD CD layer rip
-------------------
Min Sample Value: -32768 -23682
Max Sample Value: 30948 23868
Peak Amplitude: 0 dB -2.76 dB
Possibly Clipped: 1 0
DC Offset: .006 .072
Minimum RMS Power: -84.27 dB -73.52 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -10.21 dB -12.04 dB
Average RMS Power: -15.17 dB -19.46 dB
Total RMS Power: -14.81 dB -18.51 dB
DR (Avg-Peak): 15.2 dB 16.7 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

SACD layer -> 4416 A/D
-------------------------------
Min Sample Value: -32767 -23711
Max Sample Value: 30944 23692
Peak Amplitude: 0 dB -2.81 dB
Possibly Clipped: 0 0
DC Offset: -.002 -.002
Minimum RMS Power: -92.9 dB -93.07 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -10.21 dB -12.11 dB
Average RMS Power: -15.17 dB -19.52 dB
Total RMS Power: -14.82 dB -18.57 dB
DR (Avg-Peak): 15.2 dB 16.7 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

Looks good.
Thom

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Postby Dob » Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:47 am

krabapple wrote:I thought the most recent Police CD remasters were good -- IIRC they replicate the boxed set remasters -- but that the SACDs sounded good too. IN the case of GitM, both were improvements on the original CD, which to me gave the impression of having been recorded/mastered at a very low level (though I don't think I ever checked that in a serious way).

Now that I think about it, I don't remember if by "old CDs" I mean the actual single CD or the versions on the box set (or both). Anyhow, from what I heard, I would recommend the box set over the SACDs, which sound too "soft" to me...I don't know if Bob Ludwig is trying to go for a smooth sound, but he often cuts too much (or doesn't add enough) top end and ends up sacrificing detail and air. His mastering of the Born To Run gold CD is a prime example, and I don't think he went far enough on Let It Bleed either.
Dob

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krabapple
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Postby krabapple » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:01 pm

Hmmm....... What happened here, Mr. Ludwig?


A wee drop o' compression juice for the CD layer, one might guess.

So, how does Grant achieve degraded dynamic range and 'dimensionality' for his dub from the SACD layer? And how can the vocal possibly move 'forward'?

One might guess his transfer setup is misconfigured, or just sucks...or he's imagining things.
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Postby Grant » Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:27 pm

krabapple wrote:

And no, the interconnect is highly unlikely to have actually influenced your result, you fool.


One might guess his transfer setup is misconfigured, or just sucks...or he's imagining things.


What an asshole! :roll: You out of hand dismiss anything and anyone who's claims counter your experience and beliefs

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Postby lukpac » Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:31 pm

As much as I think Grant is wrong, I have to give him that one.
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD