Church choral music breaking up

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Martyn, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Martyn

    Martyn New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Hi ... sorry if this has been covered elsewhere ... am new to the forum, and search didn't throw anything up.

    I've noticed when listening recently to church choir music, the sound seems to get gritty and unpleasant when the tenors sing high sustained notes. It's as if non of my earphones or loudspeakers can cope with the signal. I've read elsewhere that choral music is difficult for hi-fi systems to cope with ... can anyone throw any light on this? My best earphones atm are Phonak Audeo ... I'm not in a position to play the music through 'better' headphones atm as a test.

    Any thoughts much appreciated

    Maybe I should have posted in the main forums?

    Martyn
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Good post here, since I have that problem sometimes. What are your sources for the music? Computer, CD player, portable player? If computer, which software? If computer or portable music player, what format and resolution are the digital music tracks?
     
  3. Martyn

    Martyn New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Ok, well, I'm new to all this so I'm working my way up through the 'qualities' :) So, I get the problem when playing the tracks using iTunes on a Macbook Pro, and also on the Cowon C2 ... both in my various headphone sets, and on various external speakers. The best kit I have atm are the Phonak Audeo earbuds and the Cowon C2. I have purchased the files as 320kb mp3. I've done a few tests and I can't reliably tell any difference between 128kb and higher kb files ... so maybe my hearing isn't up to the job?

    Last night I listened to Tenebrae Responsories featuring the Westminster Cathedral Choir with organ and The London Brass using SoundMagic E10s and they coped pretty well, but the 'breaking up' of the sound still occurs when the tenors let rip. A free download of an amazing track from this album is currently available from Hyperion Records in the UK ... I'd be very interested in comments :)) Many thanks for your reply !!
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    I got the free MP3 (no.6) and also bought the album in FLAC 88 khz, and converted no.6 to 320k MP3 and then put both on iPhone, played through the Decware Zen Head amp from the iPhone LOD. No distortion on either, but you didn't say that the tenors let rip on track no.6 ..... so I don't know if I'm testing the right track. This is the most dynamic music I remember playing so far - there's so much power in the organ it could easily overload a music player.
     
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    A well-made 128k MP3 using the latest LAME codec will in many cases sound identical to a 320k copy that uses the same codec, if the dynamics aren't severe and there isn't an unusual demand on very high frequency harmonics, and the reproduction system isn't geared for high resolution (many complex things going on at the same time). Most if not all MP3's trim off the upper frequencies below 20 khz, regardless of the MP3 bitrate.

    Headphones have resonances that are natural to such physical devices, ditto loudspeakers. Most of the better headphones and loudspeakers address those resonances with expensive physical damping materials and techniques, but where a given resonance is still audible however suppressed, if it should coincide with a resonant vocal passage in the music (and recording gear may add some of its own resonance to recordings), the end result could be audible breakup. A better headphone or speaker, more power in the amplifier, higher resolution versions of the music - all of those can be factors in reducing such problems.
     
  6. Martyn

    Martyn New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    I'm addicted to this recording ... I actually sat with the choir recently for an evensong service and they sang more contemporary settings of the service which I'd never heard before, and it blew me away. So I resolved to try and find a recording of theirs ... and this is one of them. I'm not religious, but my goodness, we have 'the church' to thank for this sublime music.

    I'm listening right now ... using the Cowon C2 and SoundMagic E10 earphones ... the problem has lessened with the E10s, so I guess it's down to the poorer quality earphones I was using earlier ( although the Phonak Audeo should be able to cope surely? ).

    Anyway, I really appreciate your time and helpful comments ... and hope you get to like the recording ... it really IS an experience !!
     
  7. Martyn

    Martyn New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    A last thought for the moment ... I'm currently listening at a slightly lower volume and the problem has lessened, so I'm leaning towards the earphones being the weak link. For sure, I'm going to head down to HiFiheadphones to buy something better, and this will be one of my 'test' recordings.

    Again, thanks for your help !!
     
  8. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    I very much like this album - I've played it all the way through in 320k MP3s after converting the FLAC downloads I purchased. The FLACs also get converted to WAV files (lossless conversion) and those are stored separately for hirez listening and testing. Whoever made this recording was able to capture more realism than most of the hirez downloads I've gotten from other sites like HDTracks.
     

Share This Page