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Topic Title: It's more scientific than just "more realistic"
Topic Summary: Higher data rate means less audience fatigue
Created On: 21 December 2012 07:09 PM
Status: Read Only
Related E&T article: The Hobbit: an uncharted journey
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 21 December 2012 07:09 PM
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pwmchapman

Posts: 7
Joined: 09 February 2003

Recent research, I believe at University College, London, indicated that a slower refresh rate but keeping flicker rate the same, resulted in more subliminal mental activity. In other words the viewer does more work but is not aware of it and suffers fatigue. . This is the familiar problem of fatigue, which has long been known to be a symptom of poor quality audio repoduction equipment, which results in the listener not wanting to listen for long periods. Unfortunately, with our obsession with more aggressive audio and video compression, this is becoming more of a problem, not less. Young people now listen to increasingly more electronic music which does not suffer as much from compression than natural instuments, for this reason. I hope the higher refresh rate catches on and is not destroyed by even more aggressive MPEG whatever video compression.
 22 December 2012 06:50 AM
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normcall

Posts: 8178
Joined: 15 January 2005

You obviously have the wrong end of the stick.
Digital is 'high quality'. They keep telling us , so it must be true.
Nothing to do with spectrum efficiency, squeezing more into less or even about saving power.

Look on the bright side. The bit rate of the sound using the current DVB -T system is almost twice that of super high quality DAB.

I wouldn't like to comment on the video quality as the content is generally not worth watch - whatever the 'quality' to be honest. As long as it makes money for someone, I suppose everything goes out of the window.

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Norman
 22 December 2012 12:39 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: pwmchapman
Young people now listen to increasingly more electronic music which does not suffer as much from compression than natural instruments, for this reason.

By "young", I assume you mean those born after about 1955? I like your thinking - makes me feel much better about my age! Compression has been a fact of life in recording and broadcasting since at least the mid 1970's, possibly longer, as, of course, has widespread "electronic" music. What's sad about modern (i.e. since 1988ish!) digital compression are the greater number of non-harmonic artefacts compared to analogue compression, although as a multiplicative algorithm analogue compressors (whether electronic or through tape) always did have slightly odd effects.

Back in the 1980s, I worked in one of the first companies to produce a viable commercial digital audio data compressor, and although very good it was a bit irritating on, say, piano music. At the time I was, being a good audio geek, dead against it. Having mellowed in my old age I now just think its great how easy access to music has become. And in reality a modern MP3 recording is of no worse quality than a 45 on a Dansette!!

But certainly it is good that the technology is being pushed at the high end so that if we want high quality audio and video recordings we have the choice, and if we want to squeeze 20 films onto our personal player we have the choice there too.

Of course there's a final interesting point on age: I used to be able to tell the difference immediately between 16 bit 44.1kHz audio and vinyl (much preferring the latter), nowadays not only has AD / DA converter technology improved but my ears have started fading and I can't tell any more. At the same time I'm listening to more and more classical music, so think there' s a good compensating effect coming in here!

Happy Christmas

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 25 December 2012 09:50 AM
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normcall

Posts: 8178
Joined: 15 January 2005

"And in reality a modern MP3 recording is of no worse quality than a 45 on a Dansette!! "

MP3 really can have bit rates up to 320 easily. I have a hearing problem, but when I decided to transfer my vinyl over to digital, anything less than 256 stereo (128 for mono) - I could easily tell the drop in quality. The powers that be seem to consider 80 to 128 bits 'high quality'.
I made the mistake of listening to a live FM broadcast and doing a direct comparison with the digital version being broadcast at the same time (it doesn't happen often) and it was very noticeable.

I'm afraid that 45s really did vary in quality - and still do - as do LPs.
A combination of poor engineering (distortion due to over modulating spoilt many a good record) and poor pressing didn't (don't) help.

As I suggested in my post, good quality costs money and while the public will put up with poor quality, why not just give them what they want?It just seems such a shame that high quality is not difficult in this day and age - we had an excuse with shellac 78s, although the later vinyl 78s were much better.

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Norman
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