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The Psychological Effects Of Modular(?)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 [all]
Author The Psychological Effects Of Modular(?)
electrohead
woah Merzbow woah
pugix
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.
Blairio
'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.
cptnal
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.
Dave Peck
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.
Blairio
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.
Blairio
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?
Dave Peck
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).
Cybananna
electrohead wrote:
woah Merzbow woah


headbang Flamey
oootini
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.
userfriendly
I did a thread! yay!
Blairio
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.
Yes Powder
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.
dkcg
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.
Dave Peck
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
Tubefund
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
sasbom
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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMSXdCWbRHw

adam neely did a vid on this
Tubefund
sasbom wrote:

yeah, its called infrasound

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMSXdCWbRHw

adam neely did a vid on this


Thanks aka hartelijk bedankt (;
Aleksey
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.
Shledge
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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMSXdCWbRHw

adam neely did a vid on this


Not going to happen if the outputs are AC coupled to filter anything below 20hz
cretaceousear
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.)
Pelsea
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.
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