The Psychological Effects Of Modular(?)

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electrohead
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Post by electrohead » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:03 pm

:woah: Merzbow :woah:

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Post by pugix » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:22 pm

Blairio wrote:With the advent of cd there was considerable debate over whether there was additional cognitive load on the human brain stitching back together digitised slices of sound into a continuous waveform, compared to the output from vinyl or tape. This question wasn't helped by the fact that early consumer DACs were pretty harsh, and mastering for CD took a while to get the best of the new format.
What does 'harsh' mean, except that it introduces some high frequency spectra that adds audible distortion. A DAC isn't harsh, a sound is. How sound is heard will be heavily dependent on the playback system past the DAC, especially the transducers, and not to mention the hearing ability of the listener. Maybe some of it would be aliased down to lower frequencies. I don't know for sure. I'm just pointing out that the transduction equipment, the listening environment, and the ears and brain of the individual listener are all factors that shouldn't be overlooked. If your synthesizer sounds too harsh, maybe it's your monitoring system. As everyone knows quite well, not all speakers are the same. Purely analog systems can sound harsh, too, as well as ones with digital components. Every component along the way can add distortion. And there is always an analog transducer at the end, moving air.

I'll add that I discovered that my own ears distort at high listening volumes, such as in clubs. I used to wonder why so many PA systems sounded so harsh. They weren't. It was me. So I wear musician's ear plugs.
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Post by Blairio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:23 pm

'harsh' means just that - don't over-think this. There is yawning chasm between the performance of the DAC in a $20 mp3 player and the converter a midrange cd player. It is clearly audible and far from subtle.

I agree with all your other points.

It has been argued that what hits our ear drums is simply kinetic energy in the form of sound waves - transduced through air. In my opinion that viewpoint is to dismiss the cognitive effort required to reconstruct music from a digital source.

Think of a visual analogy: On the one hand we can watch a play or a ball game or the events unfolding in a real life drama. Or we can watch the same thing through the medium of film at 24 frames per second (FPS) or maybe higher. Games regularly employ 60+ FPS. We have to process and interpolate those 24 slices per second into a constant visual thread. We don't see 24 distinct images each second - even though perceptually we are capable of that resolution.

The proposition is that when listening to a digitised sound source, there is a cognitive information processing effort (an overhead ) required to rebuild 16bit 44khz audio into a coherent stream of information, which is missing when listening to the same sound sourced from vinyl or tape. That effort is felt and (say the analog evangelists) makes for an impoverished listening experience compared to listening to an analog sound source - like a cassette or vinyl record.

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Post by cptnal » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:38 pm

Blairio wrote:The proposition is that when listening to a digitised sound source, there is a cognitive information processing effort (an overhead ) required to rebuild 16bit 44khz audio into a coherent stream of information, which is missing when listening to the same sound sourced from vinyl or tape. That effort is felt and (say the analog evangelists) makes for an impoverished listening experience compared to listening to an analog sound source - like a cassette or vinyl record.
That's definitely a possibility, but I suspect the difference would be similar to the difference between off-the-peg speaker cable and the £1,000-a-yard gold plated stuff.

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Post by Dave Peck » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:38 pm

Blairio wrote:With the advent of cd there was considerable debate over whether there was additional cognitive load on the human brain stitching back together digitised slices of sound into a continuous waveform, compared to the output from vinyl or tape. ..
Anyone who was debating that particular question was someone who didn't understand the fact that the human brain was not "stitching back together digitised slices of sound into a continuous waveform". The DAC had already done that, and the listener was hearing the resultant acoustic/analog waveform that then came out of a speaker, same as any other signal that enters the ear and is percieved as sound.

Now, the question of whether the dac was doing a good job of converting the digital signal back to analog, and how the resultant waveform compared to one that had not been digitized and re-converted to analog, THAT is a valid question. But there's been tons of testing and comparisons between various DACs, and between a DAC and an analog source, and those tests are there to answer that question.

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Post by Blairio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:49 pm

cptnal wrote:
Blairio wrote:The proposition is that when listening to a digitised sound source, there is a cognitive information processing effort (an overhead ) required to rebuild 16bit 44khz audio into a coherent stream of information, which is missing when listening to the same sound sourced from vinyl or tape. That effort is felt and (say the analog evangelists) makes for an impoverished listening experience compared to listening to an analog sound source - like a cassette or vinyl record.
That's definitely a possibility, but I suspect the difference would be similar to the difference between off-the-peg speaker cable and the £1,000-a-yard gold plated stuff.
This isn't about the medium (the speaker cable, for instance), it is about the message - the information, and any artefacts from its encoding & decoding.

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Post by Blairio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:51 pm

Dave Peck wrote:
Blairio wrote:With the advent of cd there was considerable debate over whether there was additional cognitive load on the human brain stitching back together digitised slices of sound into a continuous waveform, compared to the output from vinyl or tape. ..
Now, the question of whether the dac was doing a good job of converting the digital signal back to analog, and how the resultant waveform compared to one that had not been digitized and re-converted to analog, THAT is a valid question. But there's been tons of testing and comparisons between various DACs, and between a DAC and an analog source, and those tests are there to answer that question.
And what proposition did those test results support?

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Post by Dave Peck » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:36 pm

Blairio wrote:
And what proposition did those test results support?
In general, that some DACs do an accurate job of recreating the waveform, to the point that there is no measurable or perceivable difference between the AD/DA converted signal and the original all-analog signal, and other DACs don't do such a great job and there ARE measurable and/or perceivable differences.

It's also noteworthy that the types of distortion that may tend to get introduced by those less-than-excellent DACs can be different from other types of distortion caused by shortcomings in other types of electronic circuits, and that some of these distortions are of an additive nature (for example adding harmonic distortion at higher-ordered harmonics or creating sideband signals due to aliasing) and some are of a subtractive nature (for example failing to reproduce fast transients or other details in the original analog signal which can result in effects such as degraded stereo imaging).

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Post by Cybananna » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:08 pm

electrohead wrote::woah: Merzbow :woah:
:headbang: :flamey:

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Re: The Psychological Effects Of Modular(?)

Post by oootini » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:09 pm

lisa wrote:Add tons of reverb, record 10 minutes and you have a decent ambient track. This can be done by people with no formal musical training, not much practice, not much interest in or understanding of the gear (or music, really) and it will still sound decent.
hahaha, quoted for truth.

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Post by userfriendly » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:04 pm

I did a thread! yay!

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Post by Blairio » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:05 am

Dave Peck wrote:
Blairio wrote:
And what proposition did those test results support?
In general, that some DACs do an accurate job of recreating the waveform, to the point that there is no measurable or perceivable difference between the AD/DA converted signal and the original all-analog signal, and other DACs don't do such a great job and there ARE measurable and/or perceivable differences.

It's also noteworthy that the types of distortion that may tend to get introduced by those less-than-excellent DACs can be different from other types of distortion caused by shortcomings in other types of electronic circuits, and that some of these distortions are of an additive nature (for example adding harmonic distortion at higher-ordered harmonics or creating sideband signals due to aliasing) and some are of a subtractive nature (for example failing to reproduce fast transients or other details in the original analog signal which can result in effects such as degraded stereo imaging).
Understood, thank you. I wonder whether anyone has 'tuned' DACs to generate harmonic distortion along the lines of that introduced by tubes / valves. Or maybe that's a job for a decent valve preamp.

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Post by Yes Powder » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:59 am

Blairio wrote:I wonder whether anyone has 'tuned' DACs to generate harmonic distortion along the lines of that introduced by tubes / valves. Or maybe that's a job for a decent valve preamp.
That'd be a job for a decent valve preamp.
A sub-par DAC would most likely exhibit distortions in the form of aliasing (intermodulation of frequencies above the Nyquist frequency— or half the stated sample rate) and jitter (result of an unstable sampling clock frequency); both are physically and mathematically distinct from any sorts of behaviors you'd get from the saturation an overdriven valve preamp, and therefore no amount of tuning would be able to get you there.
Last edited by Yes Powder on Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by dkcg » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:01 pm

I think pop music does far more psychological damage on me than any modular demos I've seen/heard.

Actually, any musical instrument demo that has more talking than it does sounds makes my head implode.

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Post by Dave Peck » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:28 pm

Blairio wrote: Understood, thank you. I wonder whether anyone has 'tuned' DACs to generate harmonic distortion along the lines of that introduced by tubes / valves. Or maybe that's a job for a decent valve preamp.
Most DACs are aiming for as much accuracy as possible within their price range and feature set, but there are some A/D converters that offer some intentional coloration during the analog-to-digital portion of the process. Examples:

https://burlaudio.com/products

and

http://www.cranesong.com/Hedd_Quantum.html

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Post by Tubefund » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:33 pm

JakoGreyshire wrote:


Taken from TK's ABR website:
---------------------------------------------------
delta (0.5 – 4 HZ). Associated with deep levels of relaxation such as sleep

theta (4 – 8HZ). Associated with tranquil states of awareness in which vivid internal imagery can often occur

alpha (8- 12 HZ). Relaxed nervous system, ideal for stress management, accelerated learning and mental imagery

beta (12-30 HZ). Associated with waking/alert states of awareness k-complex (30 – 35HZ). Clarity and sudden states of integration, the “ah-ha experience”

super high beta (35 – 150 HZ). Psychodynamic states of awareness

-------------------------------------------------------




:pbear:
So i can open a whole new experience with my system just by adding a subwoofer. This make me curious if there are any live performances done with a full analog signal path and equipment that reaches below 20hz

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Post by sasbom » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:48 pm

Tubefund wrote:
So i can open a whole new experience with my system just by adding a subwoofer. This make me curious if there are any live performances done with a full analog signal path and equipment that reaches below 20hz
yeah, its called infrasound



adam neely did a vid on this
Paint with wires on a canvas of electronics.

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Post by Tubefund » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:22 pm

sasbom wrote: yeah, its called infrasound



adam neely did a vid on this
Thanks aka hartelijk bedankt (;

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Post by Aleksey » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:08 am

I was thinking modular music helps with my concentration and perception these days. Not the tones but the rhythms and progression make me feel this way.

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Post by Shledge » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:11 am

sasbom wrote:
Tubefund wrote:
So i can open a whole new experience with my system just by adding a subwoofer. This make me curious if there are any live performances done with a full analog signal path and equipment that reaches below 20hz
yeah, its called infrasound



adam neely did a vid on this
Not going to happen if the outputs are AC coupled to filter anything below 20hz

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Post by cretaceousear » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:17 am

There were military experiments in 50s/60s around using infrasound as a weapon. I even remember seeing the BBC documentary about it maybe 45 years ago - soothing theta waves not!
I got told by someone who knew them that one of the KLF did experiments on this in a workspace unit and found it worked well to upset the neighbours.

And .. new age authors like Mr Sheldrake used to sugggest that infrasound from mega-horns was what made the walls of Jericho come tumblin' down.

(Incidentally movie film projectors have a secondary shutter, in a sort of quadrant shape, that spins in front of the main shutter to produce a double flicker - so what you see is 48 flickers per second from the 24 fps source.)
..the vessel was heavier because “dead sheep do not have the same weight as the live ones”

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Side effects of electronic music

Post by Pelsea » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:14 pm

Of all EM practioners I have known, side effects of working with modular systems include:

Severe— see your doctor immediately:
Hearing loss, ringing ears, any hearing changes
Loss of lease
Loss of job

Moderate— consider adjusting the dosage
Relationship issues
Conflict with neighbors
Difficulty finding time to sleep
Difficulty finding time to exercise
Negative bank balance

Minor— your body will adjust
Loss of weight from skipping meals
Weight gain from snack patching and 3AM pizza
Solder burns on fingers (common only with DIY)
Limited social life
Sensitivity to sunlight

Psychological issues—Not so much. Only what they brought with them.
Books and tutorials on modular synthesis at http://peterelsea.com
Patch responsibly-
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Re: The Psychological Effects Of Modular(?)

Post by dooj88 » Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:11 pm

my job requires me to juggle many things all day - managing lots of people and tasks. so for me modular time is the only time i really get to focus on a single thing, a kind of active meditation.

for tangible effects.. i was video chatting with some friends the other day and the euorack was blinken away in the background. that combined with living in a log cabin someone said i looked like i could be a unibomber.. so having the fbi/cia raid my house? i hear those guys have access to a lot of blow, so if i play my cards right that could turn out to be a pretty sweet g-man rave though.

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Re: The Psychological Effects Of Modular(?)

Post by Mr. Aloud » Tue Mar 24, 2020 6:48 am

Stress. Building my rig is giving an emotional rollercoaster ride these days.
It would seem that still, after all these years, perception is essentially thought to be a passive process.

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Re: The Psychological Effects Of Modular(?)

Post by vnsc » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:07 am

I have a lot to say about this but need to think more on it.

In the mean time, the book Sonic Warfare by Steve Goodman (AKA Kode9 of Hyperdub) might be of related interest, though not explicitly psychology...

"Summary
An exploration of the production, transmission, and mutation of affective tonality—when sound helps produce a bad vibe.


Sound can be deployed to produce discomfort, express a threat, or create an ambience of fear or dread—to produce a bad vibe. Sonic weapons of this sort include the “psychoacoustic correction” aimed at Panama strongman Manuel Noriega by the U.S. Army and at the Branch Davidians in Waco by the FBI, sonic booms (or “sound bombs”) over the Gaza Strip, and high-frequency rat repellants used against teenagers in malls. At the same time, artists and musicians generate intense frequencies in the search for new aesthetic experiences and new ways of mobilizing bodies in rhythm. In Sonic Warfare, Steve Goodman explores these uses of acoustic force and how they affect populations.

Traversing philosophy, science, fiction, aesthetics, and popular culture, he maps a (dis)continuum of vibrational force, encompassing police and military research into acoustic means of crowd control, the corporate deployment of sonic branding, and the intense sonic encounters of sound art and music culture.

Goodman concludes with speculations on the not yet heard—the concept of unsound, which relates to both the peripheries of auditory perception and the unactualized nexus of rhythms and frequencies within audible bandwidths."
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