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Sonic Voyager

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PostSubject: Ideas at the Frontier    Ideas at the Frontier  Icon_minitimeTue Jul 17, 2018 10:40 am

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Is your brain an analog or digital device? New research surprises

How the brain represents information has real world impact on how capable we are of dealing with the complexity of reality.

By Robin Harris for Storage Bits | June 22, 2018

From ZDNet: https://www.zdnet.com/article/is-your-brain-analog-or-digital/

Compare an analog and a digital audio recording medium. VHS video tape - an analog medium - stores a continuous curve of modulated audio/visual information. In a digital CD continuous audio is sliced into 44,100 frames a second, and represented by discrete numbers.

On playback the sounds are presented as continuous, much as the individual still frames of a motion picture appear continuous when played back fast enough. Most people can't hear the difference between digital and analog recordings, me included, but those who say they do may spend thousands on turntables and tube amps to get the full analog experience.

From measurements, we know that neuron currents are continuous, not step functions. The important question is how is the information represented by these signals? Most psychological research assumes continuous or analog representation, but in the lengthy paper Is Information in the Brain Represented in Continuous or Discrete Form? James Tee and Desmond Taylor of the University of Canterbury make a strong theoretical and experimental case for digital data.

Does it matter how the brain represents information? It does.

Take probability estimation, for example, something we do every day. It is well known that humans are not very good at estimating probabilities, as we tend to overestimate small probabilities - a plane crash - and underestimate large probabilities - someone guessing our "12345" password - when making decisions.

If we assume that the brain represents subjective probabilities in a continuous (analog) form, we should be able, for example, to discriminate between a probability of 0.36 and 0.48. Instead, research has found that humans consistently round off decimals using a process that is best approximated by 4 bits of precision.

Such rounding errors also apply to intertemporal choice, the psych term for the financial concept of discounting. What is your preference between $50 today and $100 in n days? Experimental results found that 5 bits of precision best fit the results.

It may also be that the brain itself represents different data with different bit depths. We encode high quality color photos with 24 bits, or almost 17 million colors, while we encode music - except for audiophiles - in 16 bits, or 65,536 levels.

But human experiments are not the only reason to believe the brain is a digital device. Information theory also supports the hypothesis.

Analog signals are sensitive to noise, and the brain is a noisy place, with sensory, cellular, and motor noise, among others. Just as a vinyl record or magnetic tape degrades over time, making it impossible to fully recover the original signal, analog signals in the brain would similarly degrade in their journey from, say, the retina to the visual cortex. But we see, ideally, in beautiful color and amazing acuity, despite the long journey of the data.

Accepting that the brain is a digital device will help neuroscientists and psychologists better understand how we think. For example, perhaps some perceptual issues, such as synesthesia - where people "see" sounds or "smell" colors - may be due in part to digital decoding mechanisms sending their results to the wrong sensory inputs. Also, people may differ in how many bits of representation they are capable of, and different cultures may suppress or enhance some representations over others.

Another, more chilling possibility is that, as we gather more and more data on each individual's online activities, today's psychographic profiles may become much more attuned to our individual neuroprocessing abilities and limitations. What if we could tailor information levels to overload certain populations so they tune out, or are unreasonably stimulated?

This already happens today. But if machine-tailored to each individual, the results could be much more nuanced and controlled. And it wouldn't stop with urging you to try a new mouthwash.

Say hello to your new digital overlords.

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Sonic Voyager

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PostSubject: Re: Ideas at the Frontier    Ideas at the Frontier  Icon_minitimeTue Jul 24, 2018 9:04 am


For Source and to see accompanying pictures go to: www.monoandstereo.com

Interesting article about hypersonic effect and how the inaudible high-frequency sounds affect brain activity. These shares quite some light about the mystery and phenomena above 20 KHz and touches the logics of super tweeter implementation... "It was encounter with literature suggesting the fact that CD has a fatal flaw as a means of conveying music’s impression that I was shocked like being beaten up. An academic paper of brain science that proved by finding out that “an essential element for evoking the original impression of music has been missing from the CD” was announced. Where is the difference between sound of CD and analog record, its deciding factor? The difference between them was in frequency response. The music itself is made up of broadband sounds from low to high, but it ranges from about 20 Hz in frequency to broadband ranging from 100 Hz to sometimes 200 kHz depending on instruments and people’s voices. A high frequency exceeding 50 kHz is engraved on the analog record as is commonplace. However, the high sound of CD is recorded only up to 22.05 kHz. In the first place, the audible range of humans is about 20 kHz and it is considered to be sufficient as a tray. Even if you inscribe high frequencies that cannot be heard by the human ear, do not you? It is a unique way of dividing the digital."

With such standards, music has been distributed as digital data for 30 years, but only in the high frequency of 20 KHz or higher which was thought not to be heard, important information to say also as “hidden spice” component to tell the impression of music is hidden I never thought of dreaming that it was done.

We found out the fact and pointed out that “An essential element for evoking the original feelings of music has been missing from the CD” is an academic paper on brain science “Inaudible High-Frequency Sounds Affect Brain Activity: Hypersonic Effect “.
The leading author is Takeshi Ohashi, a Japanese. Although he is a scientist, he is a person who also has a face as Shoji Yamashiro, as a musician.

The feeling “I am moved by music” is the work of the brain, apparently at the stage of printing original sound into CD, it is the most effective ingredient from the raw sound with the power to activate the brain, the part like “hidden spice” ingredients, the spice seems to have scraped off.

Even though the components in the audible range are exactly the same, if the ears contain high frequencies that you cannot hear, the sound sounds fresh and pleasing to the full of transparency. This is a phenomenon that anyone can easily feel when listening compares. It is a fact that this high frequency effect on the brain can be confirmed not only by music but also by environmental sounds of nature, in the tropical rainforest, etc., it includes various high frequencies in addition to the audible range, giving a healthy pleasure to the human brain. The sounds of rubbing trees, sounds of water, wind, birds, animals … While various sounds are mixed in, it is also known that many of the high frequency waves generated at 200 kHz are insects.

By the way, when examining crowds in the city, there are only sounds in the audible range where the high frequencies are exhausted. In other words, it seems that it is a tasteless, dry environmental sound that does not stimulate the reward system at all. And when we looked at the environment with such a frequency band in nature, it says that the place which looked exactly was found.

How a desert? If it separates from the sound of the audible range and the high frequency like a CD, the spice is reduced by half, and the brain wave reacts and the reward system is activated only when they all enjoy at the same time.

There is no effect even if you listen to only high frequencies unnecessarily, the brain does not react even if you generate artificially high frequencies. Although it is an undetected event, our brain does not appear to be so stupid.

And unbelievable facts are found out. Off course it is listening to the audible range of 20 Hz to 20 KHz naturally, but how do we accept high frequencies of 20 KHz or more? It seems by human body surface, the skin rather than ear.

The sound in the audible range is perceived as auditory from the ear, and the higher frequencies receive information from the body surface and are sent directly to the brain. When listening to your favorite music with your favorite earphones / headphones, when you receive high frequency components that you cannot hear with your ears, the emotions from music are greatly different.

Off course, even from the ear alone there is a power to evoke impression in music, but a phenomenon such as an instinctive euphoria beyond reasoning or “Natural High” is accelerated greatly with the way of enjoying the sound directly bathed from the body. Everyone have experience as well. Yes, it is fun and live music and live performances.

At the moment, it is not yet clear which parts of the skin is a receptor. Although I do not know what mechanism is on the surface of the body, it is said that researchers in various areas are interested. In the study by SHISEIDO Japanese cosmetic company, it was discovered that when high frequency sound is applied to the skin of mouse, the skin’s defense function is enhanced (secretion for protecting the skin is promoted), and it has already been reported in academic journals specialized in dermatology. It is almost a science-fiction world like scratching healing by letting music listen to the skin, but it is academically proven as fact.

Considering that the invisible ultraviolet rays cause sunburn, it seems that it is rather natural that the high frequency sound which is not heard by the ears gives some stimulation to the skin. Unknown susceptibility is still hidden in our body.

In the digital age, I do not know the fact that the fact that music has been distributed in an incomplete state has had any influence on humans.

There are psychological experiment results, for example. Have young people of the digital generation listen to analog records and CDs. When you measure the brain wave at that time, it seems to show a reaction which is more pleasant as a condition of the brain, when alpha waves appear when listening to the sound of analog record including high frequencies. However, when asking which sound he likes, he replied “I like the sound of CD”. In other words, there is a situation in which “inconsistency between physiological response and psychological reaction is occurring”. Is not this suggesting a serious problem that cannot be overlooked? How do you see the reality that music is not selling? On the other hand, it can be said that many people gather at the live is natural consolation. Although it is a modern society covered with artifacts, human olfactory rooted in instinct is still to be relied upon. High res is a long-awaited format that expresses the rich music that former analog had as it is. It may take a little more time to properly enjoy music, including high frequencies, but it may not be the only thing that makes me feel that the power that music has now being regained .

By the way, as a simple question, it seems that it was worrisome whether the recording / reproducing equipment of the analog era before converting to digital had range enough to deal with even high frequencies beyond the audible range, but it was generally okay It seems.

An analog studio mixer such as “STUDER “ or “RUPERT NEVE” which are the instrument of recording can fit in a super high frequency of 70 kHz or more easily, and though there is an exception of a microphone for a studio like as NUEMANN, there are some with a response of 50 kHz or more. There are many microphones that are said to be vintage, too, of course there are a lot of wide bands, and of course LP records are engraved with very high frequency components in the groove, and if TOP END quality cartridges are enough to reproduce It was what you could do. Originally analog musical instruments had a lot of high-frequency. PROPHET 5 Analog synthesizer circuit produce high frequencies sound outstanding. On the other hand, the digital musical instrument designs the sound expression area definitively by clearly drawn the necessity / unnecessity as to what is signaled and what is discarded at designing in order to drop the signal artificially.

There is a history that has converged only to the audible range. Even now, the popularity of analog instruments is not declining, it may be homing instinct for digital sound quality like artificial diet where “Hidden SPICE” ingredients were cut. I believe the music industry will make a big leap with Analog record, after 30 years of darkness where music has been told only by the surface layer. Thirty years of barrenness cannot be regained, but for children born and raised during this time it will be necessary to provide a rich sound experience as soon as possible.

BARKS Chief Editor Tetsuya Karasuma

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Sonic Voyager

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PostSubject: Re: Ideas at the Frontier    Ideas at the Frontier  Icon_minitimeWed Aug 08, 2018 6:07 am

Telarc's Choosing Digital from Paul McGowan

Source: https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/which-would-you-choose/

Raul Montilla from Puerto Rico sent me a kind note about an interesting experiment from years past. In it, Jack Renner and the engineers from Telarc are said to have recorded the Cleveland Orchestra on both an analog tape recorder and a Soundstream Digital recorder. They then compared the output of the two and all selected the analog tape version as being more musical.

To most of us that doesn’t sound so far fetched. What they did next might stand a few hairs on end.

Curious why their new digital recorder didn’t sound as good as the older analog tape they ran a second set of experiments. In this round, they had the orchestra play again and as they did the engineers switched between the live sound and the output of both recorders. To their surprise, the digital recorder’s output was indistinguishable from the live feed while the analog’s output softened the highs, compressed the strong bass, and added a type of pleasant coloration.

This convinced them to abandon the analog recorder and stick with the Soundstream (and later others) and thus the label Telarc was born. Not everyone would have made that choice.

Which would you have chosen?

[Sonic remarks: to sum up -- Renner and co heard the orchestra playing as a live feed to the monitors and made comparison against the sounds produced by the Soundstream and the analog recorder, finding the "digital recorder's output was indistinguishable from the live feed."

On the surface of things this experiment seals the superiority of digital. While it just might, we have to remember that a subjective choice was ultimately made in this and in every case where listening tests are involved.

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PostSubject: Re: Ideas at the Frontier    Ideas at the Frontier  Icon_minitimeThu Aug 09, 2018 6:45 am

From Paul McGowan


Clear fog

In yesterday’s post I recounted a story of Telarc engineers in the recording studio control room comparing the output of an analog and digital tape recorder to the live feed from their mixer. To their ears the digital recorder was more faithful to the original signal. Which makes perfect sense since this is exactly what we hear today.

Those same engineers rejected the more musical sound presented by the analog recorder because it softened and made music more romantic.

I have a number of Telarc recordings in my library and I find the vast majority of them aggressive and strident with level. On soft passages, they are extraordinarily clear and musical. As level increases, they become unlistenable—precisely the issue an analog tape recorder would have softened and made more approachable.

So why did they choose the less listenable over the more musical? Because they had their engineer hats on. It horrified them to use an inferior recording technology as it should. As it would for me. But that’s where I would have drawn the line.

When a situation like this arises and we cannot see clearly through the fog it’s because we’ve narrowed our field of view. They were looking in the wrong place.

What part of the recording chain was causing the bright and aggressive sound that benefitted from the analog recorder’s softening? The microphone preamps? The mixing console? The wiring? All of it?

When we rely upon an inferior technology to solve a root cause problem it’s called a crutch. They made an accurate assessment between the two recorders. They just didn’t then ask why the orchestra’s sound was better when softened.

Often, when we can’t see clearly through the fog, it’s because we simply need to look elsewhere.

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