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Re: Digital Distortion

Subject: Re: Digital Distortion
From: Walter Knapp <>
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 20:38:26 -0400
Martyn Stewart wrote:
> (My way of using the huge dynamic range of digital is to try to stick
> with a standard recording level for almost everything. When I edit cuts
> together, they come out with the natural level differences. Of course
> when I make a CD, I may mix everything up to get a better overall level,
> and I may raise quieter parts so they can be heard on smaller sound
> systems. But that's the final stage, not the first
> thing)
> You couldn't get any nearer the truth here, if you have to twig the
> sound AFTER, it just sounds unnatural and when you patch sounds
> together, to the ear, it sounds awful, it stands out like a sore thumb.
> Set a level and stick with it, why amplify a quiet sound anyway?

Before we get too carried away down this road, maybe we need to do a
little thinking.

Let's say we are going to produce a CD. This CD will contain distant
river frogs on a quiet night in one track. Say the measured level in the
field is 40dB (we turned off all the insects using the force). Next
track is going to have close river frogs, say 80 dB in the field (real
close ones). Now if we are absolutely purist, that CD will have a 40dB
jump in level between tracks. Just how many listeners will not adjust
the volume? Assuming we did not do so already?

Even when we record, by setting a gain level for the mic we have already
changed the level. If it was a parabolic mic it did so even before it
got to the mic.

So, thinking we are going to not modify sound levels seems a bit
pointless. We are going to modify sound levels, we just have to do it
with care.



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