I'm bored, let's discuss things you can't hear.

Chris Drums

New member
I am of the opinion that you very rarely (read: not) can hear the difference between different audio interfaces and converters. From reading about the most well thought out tests on gear like this, I understand that the ear detects differences in playback level down to 0.1dB. You won't hear one as louder or softer, but people often use words like "smoother" or "clearer" or "analog sounding" when it's actually just a little bit louder.

I have my own ideas of how the ear and brain works to detect differences. For example, many times the music that is used when testing is waaay too long. I mean short-term memory. The tests I have done myself always comes down to capacity of short-term memory. I usually use something like one hit of a hihat for testing transient response. (mp3 vs wav-test) If you would use a 4 minute song, there is no way you can remember what the difference was, unless the difference is large, (audio cassette vs 24-bit PCM or the like).

Things you actually can hear is high Q-values. For example: When talking about frequency response, I think in terms of Q. If you have a very wide peak, it will probably not be distinguishable. If there is a high Q resonance, that will on the other hand be easy to pick out, like the resonance frequency of someone talking in a small room. The same prinicple can be applied to monitoring or room acoustics.

The brain and ear pick out changes in all kinds of things. If the change is slow, it takes a bigger change to be detected. If a foreign object is introduced it will stick out more. This also applies to distortion: overtones of low order is masked by the fundamental, overtones of high order is furter removed from the fundamental and sticks out more...

Tell me what you think :thumbs up: