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Would like more information on SOS article

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Would like more information on SOS article

Postby TomChimera » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:33 pm

Hello everybody, hope you are all well

In the SOS article: The Yamaha NS10 Story, there are these sentences:
"...we humans have evolved to respond more to the transient than to the tonal elements of sound"
"if a monitor handles transients accurately, its frequency response is much less important than you probably think."


I would like to ask where can I find more information about this?

I'm about to receive Gelfand's book on hearing, so maybe something will be there? Or another book on the matter..

Thank you very much! :)
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby TomChimera » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:07 am

Bump, sorry :) any Ideas for direction where to look? Thanks
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Watchmaker » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:34 am

This is a good question. I'm sure one of the editors will see this and pass it on to Phil Ward who can fill us in. I'm surprised they haven't jumped on it already!

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/yamaha-ns10-story
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby MOF » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:59 am

I think it refers to our caveman stage, our hearing needed to locate noises that enabled us to locate prey and avoid being preyed upon. Whether that’s sticks been trodden on or other animals such as birds calling out a warning that predators are in the vicinity.
It’s also how Sample and Synth keyboards exploited that phenomenon, when sample memory was very expensive, so long as you hear the transient (recorded) sound first then you assume the similar sustained (synth) tone that follows it is a flute, guitar etc and sounds more realistic than just a synthesized tone.
I’ve never done this experiment, but I read that if you edit off the attack stage of actual instruments it is very difficult to say with certainty what instrument you are listening to. Hence the NS10 prioritised transient response over frequency response.
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Watchmaker » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:57 am

So, for the purposes of critical listening, the information represented by intentional articulation of the transient enables the engineer to more accurately perceive the way instrument envelopes (inter)act in the sound stage, thus hopefully allowing for greater (or lessor) clarity in mix decision making?

fwiw, the perception of transients goes back waaaaay farther than humans. Even plants "hear."
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:07 pm

Sorry, I obviously missed this thread earlier... I've poked Phil and asked him to drop in when he can...

I would say that transient response and frequency response are one and the same - they are just different ways of looking at the same information. You cannot prioritise one over the other because an accurate transient response inherently gives an accurate frequency response, and vice versa.

Transient information is certainly vital in determining source location -- and was therefore a critical evolutionary factor in awareness of threats and prey. But communication would be impossible without tonal sounds...
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Gone To Lunch » Sun Oct 25, 2020 3:24 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Sorry, I obviously missed this thread earlier... I've poked Phil and asked him to drop in when he can...

I would say that transient response and frequency response are one and the same - they are just different ways of looking at the same information. You cannot prioritise one over the other because an accurate transient response inherently gives an accurate frequency response, and vice versa.

Transient information is certainly vital in determining source location -- and was therefore a critical evolutionary factor in awareness of threats and prey. But communication would be impossible without tonal sounds...

The evolutionary biology of such questions is explored in great detail in the book I just recommended in the music theory forum:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=74696
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Phil Ward » Sun Oct 25, 2020 6:03 pm

MOF wrote:I think it refers to our caveman stage, our hearing needed to locate noises that enabled us to locate prey and avoid being preyed upon. Whether that’s sticks been trodden on or other animals such as birds calling out a warning that predators are in the vicinity.
It’s also how Sample and Synth keyboards exploited that phenomenon, when sample memory was very expensive, so long as you hear the transient (recorded) sound first then you assume the similar sustained (synth) tone that follows it is a flute, guitar etc and sounds more realistic than just a synthesized tone.
I’ve never done this experiment, but I read that if you edit off the attack stage of actual instruments it is very difficult to say with certainty what instrument you are listening to. Hence the NS10 prioritised transient response over frequency response.

Hi All,

I think MOF has pretty much offered up the kind of reply I would have written if I'd got to this sooner. However, I've read the point made about human evolution favouring transient audio over steady state audio in a few books over the years (I seem to remember there's a discussion of it in Richard Dawkins' 'The Blind Watchmaker'), but of course, as with many theories of evolutionary biology, there's a degree of conjecture going on. We can't actually know with absolute certainty that evolution 'chose' any particular path for any particular reason. It does seem plausible to me however, and even in our own experience, we know that we notice and respond to audio transients (BANG!) in a way that we don't to continuous noise (HISSSSSSSSSSS).

Hugh's also correct however in pointing out that, despite talk about the time and frequency domains as if they are separate worlds (I'm quite possibly somewhat guilty of that), they are really two sides of the same coin. And Yamaha didn't so much intentionally "prioritise" the time domain over the frequency domain with the NS10, they more chose a set of general design characteristics for it that happened to behave in a particular way in the time domain.

Phil
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Phil Ward » Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:52 am

Of course I carried on thinking about this as I was falling asleep last night and wondered about the evolutionary advantage of two ears over one....Seems to me, the only thing two ears gives you over one is an ability to discern the location of a sound. With one ear (perhaps Star Trek's famous 'final frontier'?), you'd be able to do verbal/aural language and communication almost as effectively as with two, but you wouldn't so able to tell where a sound is coming from.

With two ears however, mostly through being able to sense differential arrival times, you can identify where a sound is coming from (and if it belongs to something that wants to eat you). And that requires "equipment" that's sensitive to the time domain. So it seems to me, the fact that we (and all other animals with hearing?) having two ears is kind of "proof" that the time domain is important.
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:18 pm

Yes, there's a lot of research, theory and conjecture about the importance of the time domain to our interpretation of sound in general.

The MQA audio format prioritises time-domain accuracy for the same reason...

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/mqa-time-domain-accuracy-digital-audio-quality
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby TomChimera » Mon Oct 26, 2020 3:12 pm

Hi All, thanks for all the answers and information!
Phil thank you for taking the time to clarify :)

Hugh, I haven't read your article about MQA, and didn't know about it prioritizing temporal precision, interesting! thanks

Gone To Lunch wrote:The evolutionary biology of such questions is explored in great detail in the book I just recommended in the music theory forum:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=74696

Seems like a great book, I'll definitely look into it.
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Phil Ward » Mon Oct 26, 2020 3:17 pm

TomChimera wrote:Hi All, thanks for all the answers and information!
Phil thank you for taking the time to clarify :)

Hugh, I haven't read your article about MQA, and didn't know about it prioritizing temporal precision, interesting! thanks

Gone To Lunch wrote:The evolutionary biology of such questions is explored in great detail in the book I just recommended in the music theory forum:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=74696

Seems like a great book, I'll definitely look into it.

"temporal precision"! That's a good phrase. Why can I never think of accurate, concise phrases like that.

And yes, that book looks a really interesting read.

P
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Re: Would like more information on SOS article

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:38 am

wow, that MQA article was quite a read. SOS always has excellent brain food.
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