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Paul Coddington
New Zealand
Senior developer at
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"I'm comfortable calling this one as I originally saw it." Well, it is hardly conclusive when the methodology does not eliminate all confounding variables that would likely work in favour of the initial hypothesis. Still, the whole "no one can tell the difference" meme makes some people feel superior to those fancy-smancy engineers with their edumacation and those rich bastards with expensive stereos (obvious parallels to the psychology of conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the moon landing). Yes, we are expected to believe highly trained engineers went ahead and spent time and money creating high-resolution audio deliberately knowing (or being too stupid to realise) that it makes no difference. Please. I suspect the average person has never heard real music and has no idea how it should sound and how much more musically involving it does sound when reproduced well. "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard Feynman
There doesn't seem to be much point with accurate ripping if you are going to throw data accuracy away altogether by using MP3. It is like measuring a piece of metal to 10 decimal places and then cutting it with an axe rather than a laser. The flaw in the argument against higher resolutions is that it presumes that all equipment is theoretically perfect. Although CDs are theoretically perfect to 20KHz, the entire upper half of the spectrum comes out smeared across time in practice. This is why a cymbal sounds like a cymbal on a high resolution recording and merely an undefined hissing sound on a CD. In any case, there is so much more to music than mere frequency response. Also, the claim of "inaudible difference" is merely "inaudible on my current equipment". A bit like assuming 8-bit colour is fine for archival photographs in 1995 because that's all your monitor can do. Here's an interesting aside: if your sound card supports 24-bit, try switching to this mode for playing 16-bit CDs (Windows 7 Control Panel). I am amazed at the difference, even on small computer speakers, that using a more accurate decoding path can make. It is this accuracy that makes the difference — higher resolution audio is easier to decode cleanly than lower resolution, because the unwanted artefacts are further separated from the signal to begin with and do not need such harsh and harmful measures to be rid of them. (BTW iTunes does not seem to support 24-bit playback, you need to use WMP to hear a difference). Far from the claim that some diehards do not understand sampling theory, those who say "it makes no difference" often do not understand the practical limitations and trade-offs of physical implementation. This error has been going on for years: people (even in the industry) saying that all digital sources are perfect and sound exactly the same.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2012 on The Great MP3 Bitrate Experiment at Coding Horror
It's a great resource, but it can be disappointing. So often it only collects say 1 or 2 pages from a site (repeatedly over time) and misses the rest (also repeatedly over time), even when the content is simple HTML and image links and should pose no obstacle (that is, not Flash, etc).
It gets more complicated when photography is your hobby - the colour of ambient lighting affects your perception of colour on the screen. In Australasia the flicker of ambient light is 10Hz removed from that of the monitor, which is very painful. And it is all too common for LCD/TFT screens to flicker at lower brightness settings. On the subject of room reflection, anti-glare coatings have a problem in that that they significantly reduce screen contrast - best results for photography come from high-gloss screen finishes (which are an option with some high-end brands), but then you have to rearrange the room to avoid reflections.
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2011 on Bias Lighting at Coding Horror
Isn't this where Windows 8 is heading? It is scary stuff.
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2011 on Serving at the Pleasure of the King at Coding Horror
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Oct 17, 2011