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Thread: Dither - My Ears can't hear it

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NL5 View Post
    I can tell right away if my tracks are dithered or not. I'll put up some files later today with different dithering, and no dithering and see if anyone can tell which is which.
    Excellent NL5 - that could help.


    Until I develop my ears more - how evil would it be to skip dithering all together ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattkw80 View Post
    Excellent NL5 - that could help.


    Until I develop my ears more - how evil would it be to skip dithering all together ?
    Well dither me timbres. Not dithering would be like waxing your car without buffing it.
    Busy recording...
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattkw80 View Post
    I've thrown Dither plug-ins on many a Master Bus ... my ears don't hear a difference.
    Nor should you hear a difference. The importance of dither is one of the Big Lies among many lies in audio. There are two different recent threads about this - one at Gearslutz in the Mastering section, and another at Lynn Fuston's 3dB forum (main section). In both cases I proved - to my satisfaction! - that dither is inaudible in all cases, no matter what source material you have. And this makes perfect sense once you think about it.

    The effect of dither is down at the noise floor of 16 bit material, meaning it's 90+ dB below the music and also masked by the music. Most recordings have a noise floor at least 20 dB higher than that due to room tone, guitar amp hiss, and so forth, combined from all the tracks in the mix.

    I summarize the main issues in this article:

    www.ethanwiner.com/dither.html

    You can download a file where I turned dither on and off several times during the course of a mix, including right in the middle of a soft clean guitar part. Anyone who thinks they can hear dither is welcome to listen to that file and tell me where the dither is and where it's not. I have $100 that says you're wrong.

    --Ethan

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    Quote Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
    Yes, the science behind what dither does is well known, and its effect can be measured. But it's not audible. And nobody, not even BK, could pick it out in a blind test. This is the real point. Hence my $100 offer to anyone who can state which parts of my test file are dithered and which are not.

    --Ethan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
    Nor should you hear a difference. The importance of dither is one of the Big Lies among many lies in audio. Anyone who thinks they can hear dither is welcome to listen to that file and tell me where the dither is and where it's not. I have $100 that says you're wrong.

    --Ethan
    Ethan....Gasp...you can't see the kings new clothes? BTW, isn't that even odds on a coin toss, assuming there's no audible difference?

    The way to listen to dither is to take the very tail end of a fade, down where you can't even hear it any more at normal listening level, and copy that part. Paste it into a new project, VIP, whatever..... and then crank the volume way, way up. I don't recommend just looping over the tail in the whole file just in case something goes wrong and you end up shredding your cones.
    Regards,
    RD
    [URL]http://www.myspace.com/twentysevenmoons[/URL]

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    It all depends on what you are listening to. If you listen to something with a long reverb decay (at the point where the signal is +/- 1 LSB) you can clearly hear quantization distortion in the absence of dither - the worst example would be a sinusoid because it'd become square like. With the dither you don't hear it anymore - it just sounds random, like noise, however this noise is amplitude modulated about the wanted signal (music, whatever) and so you can still hear the programme material but slightly noisy.

    However, given the correct programme material the effects of dither, and possibly dither itself are definitely audible.

    Yes, the science behind what dither does is well known, and its effect can be measured. But it's not audible.
    If its effects are inaudible, then what's the point in doing it?

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    I won't speak for Bob (though from various articles and reviews he seems to be able to tell the difference between even various type of POW-R) this being one example:

    http://www.proaudioreview.com/pages/s.0029/t.3293.html

    Here is another site where various types of dither were compared:

    http://www.24-96.net/dither/results.htm

    I dunno Ethan, seems that some can hear at least a difference ...
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert D View Post
    The way to listen to dither is to take the very tail end of a fade, down where you can't even hear it any more at normal listening level, and copy that part. Paste it into a new project, VIP, whatever..... and then crank the volume way, way up.
    Yeah but who would ever do that to a song? If that's what it takes to hear the dithering algorithm, then who really cares?

    I won't say that no one can hear it, but I will say that a lot of people can hear anything if they listen for it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert D View Post
    then crank the volume way, way up.
    Exactly. The only time dither can be detected is if you turn up the volume unnaturally during a fadeout, or a reverb tail that's mostly decayed, such that playing the rest of the track will blow out your speakers and your ears. To my way of thinking this is not "audible" because you can hear it only in a contrived test.

    Quote Originally Posted by pezking View Post
    If you listen to something with a long reverb decay (at the point where the signal is +/- 1 LSB) you can clearly hear quantization distortion in the absence of dither
    Not at normal listening levels! And that's my whole point.

    If its effects are inaudible, then what's the point in doing it?
    This too is my point. It's not worth doing! I don't argue too strongly against the use of dither because it costs nothing. Maybe an extra half second when rendering a 3 minute tune. As opposed to 24 bits and/or high sample rates that waste a lot of disk space and CPU for no gain.

    Quote Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
    I dunno Ethan, seems that some can hear at least a difference ...
    No, they only believe they can hear a difference. As soon as you test them blind all of a sudden that have no idea if the music has been dithered or not. Hence my $100 wager. Hey, you think you can tell if music is dithered or not? Go for it. Try my test file. I'll even up it to $200 just for you - the offer is good through midnight tomorrow.

    --Ethan

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