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Thread: Dither - My Ears can't hear it

  1. #21
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    Ever listened to flute that doesn't have dither? It's horrific.

    The whole point of dither is that it's nicer (and less annoying) to listen to noise (i.e. dither) rather than distortion (quantizing distortion).

    Ethan your argument is flawed - you can't guarantee that someone doesn't want to listen to the end of that reverb tail - in classical music, you will frequently hear sounds that go right down into the +/- 1LSB area. I recorded on location before Christmas, a performance of O Magnum Mysterium. It damn near peaks in places, and in others is right down there. It'd sound horrific without dither.

    Perhaps in a pop/rock track with no range of dynamics the effects of dither are masked, but listen to something with a wide range of dynamics and you'll understand why dither is necessary.

    I've just made a small demo of dither using very low level sine waves. Anyone want me to share it?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pezking View Post
    Ever listened to flute that doesn't have dither? It's horrific.
    Surely you exaggerate. Tell you what - email me a 24-bit file of a flute playing at normal levels peaking within, say, 6 dB of full scale. I'll post truncated and dithered versions for folks here to audition and guess which is which. There's a link to email me on my home page www.ethanwiner.com.

    Ethan your argument is flawed - you can't guarantee that someone doesn't want to listen to the end of that reverb tail - in classical music, you will frequently hear sounds that go right down into the +/- 1LSB area.
    Okay, let's analyze that scenario. If a piece of classical music is very loud it might hit 100 dB SPL on peaks. Dither is 90 dB below that, so that's equal to a noise floor of 10 dB SPL. What concert hall or living room has a noise floor anywhere near that low?

    I've just made a small demo of dither using very low level sine waves. Anyone want me to share it?
    I'd much prefer a recording of a flute or some classical piece so we can assess it in context at normal listening levels.

    --Ethan

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    Ethan -

    The test file is 16 bit, so I'm not sure what it proves since from your description part was truncated, part was dithered, then the edited pieces were combined and dithered again. You basically masked out the difference with a second dither. It's an invalid test.

    Here is a simple test, listen to the same file and change the type of dither. Also try taking the same file and truncate, then render again with dither. Listen back on a CD or bring it back in as 24 bit. Do you hear a difference? Many do. If not, get a better monitoring system and try again. If you feel the need to argue further speak with Dan Lavry, Nika Aldrich, Daniel Weiss, and other top DSP engineers. I truly doubt that they dither for no good reason.
    Tom Volpicelli
    The Mastering House Inc.
    www.masteringhouse.com

    Selected Credits

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
    As soon as you test them blind all of a sudden that have no idea if the music has been dithered or not.
    That's a unfair testing parameter right up there with "listen to this and tell me what samplaing rate it was sampled at."

    It's not that dithering has an identifiable "sound" or color that can be isolated and identified, any more than 44.1K has an identifiable "sound". It's not possible to listen to a recorng out of context - or even within some conetxts - and say definitively whether it has been dithered or not. But that's not the point in either case.

    The question is to whether dither *changes* the sound. While on paper it's easy to demonstrate that dither should never audibly change the sound, I can tell you that I have "sensed" a difference (for lack of a better term). Not every time, mind you; I find it to be very content-dependant. Could I always hear a difference? No. When I could hear a difference, could I guarantee which one was dithered and which one wasn't? Not always, but more than 50% of the time the one that had a more comfortable, almost a more "analog feel" to it was the one that had good dithering applied to it. I couldn't necessarily pin it down to a describable effect, just that it left me feeling better.

    I personally don't find it a black and white issue (I know, I'm dithering myself! Oh, the irony! ) I say try it and A/B. Pick whichever one makes you feel better. If it's the dithered one fine. If not, equally fine. If you can't really hear the difference, that's just fine too. But in my limited experience with the issue there are enough times where the effect, while very subtle, is real enough in enough to take seriously and not just dismiss as voodoo.

    Just one man's anecdotal experience. YMMV.

    G.
    [SIZE=1][B][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Glen J. Stephan,
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  5. #25
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    SouthSIDE Glen, can you have a look at this plugin?

    http://www.stillwellaudio.com/?page_id=27

    heres a direct download to the evaluation verion (uncrippled) http://downloads.stillwellaudio.com/...er-install.exe if you have a VST compatible host

  6. #26
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    Que es que se? Those guys keep calling "God's own dither" by the name "Phycho Dither", they better have a damn good ligtning rod!

    I've d/l'd the demo version, but right now I am near a system that has only VST-via-DX-wrapper capability, and I frankly don't much care for the wrapper performance. When I get back to my bigger system I'll take a look.

    But honestly, I think you're asking the wrong guy. I'd much rather hear what Tom or John have to say about it; they have far more experience with different dithering algorithms (Ozone and Audiotion are all I have worked with to any extent) on far better monitoring platfooms than I have.

    BTW, I need to contact you and talk with you in a day or two regarding something totally different. Right now, though, I have a severe thunderstorm bearing down on me and I'm going to button things up untiil it passes. BBL....

    G.
    [SIZE=1][B][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Glen J. Stephan,
    SouthSIDE Multimedia Productions[/COLOR]
    [COLOR=DarkGreen]RECORDING RESOURCES AND INFO SITE:[/COLOR]
    [URL="www.independentrecording.net"][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/URL][/B][/SIZE]

  7. #27
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    do i do it? yes.
    can i hear it, no, not really.

    no exactly taxing on the cpu, so whatever.
    audio?
    seriously, give me negative rep.

  8. #28
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    I feel stupid. Am I wastefully recording at 24bit?

    *goes and sits in corner*

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
    You basically masked out the difference with a second dither.
    I did no such thing! The truncated file is truncated, period. If this is not clear on my web page, please show me what words I should change.

    Do you hear a difference? Many do.
    No, they only think they do. As soon as you test them blind they can't tell anymore.

    This is just like people who claim to be able to hear different speaker wires. They can identify the wires only when they can see which is which.

    I applaud Matt (OP) for having the courage to stand up and say he can't hear any difference.

    --Ethan

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthSIDE Glen View Post
    That's a unfair testing parameter right up there with "listen to this and tell me what samplaing rate it was sampled at."
    I don't see why it's unfair. I switched the dither on and off right in the middle of passages! If that won't reveal a change, what better test do you propose?

    on paper it's easy to demonstrate that dither should never audibly change the sound
    No shit.

    I couldn't necessarily pin it down to a describable effect, just that it left me feeling better.
    This is called "expectation bias" because you perceive what you think you should perceive. But have someone else play dithered versus truncated and I promise you won't be able to "sense" it any more than 50-50 random chance.

    --Ethan

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