How To Spot Internet Pseudo Science

internet-expert

 

In regards to digital audio, there’s a few “tells” in a bad argument:

1 – They focus on extremes without talking anything about how something actually sounds. On the maximum end they talk about total hearing range, they use the numbers 16,000, 22k, and 44k. They talk dynamic range and ultimately mention dogs. On the micro end they show waveforms and they use self-referencing digital meters. All of this ignores the most important question – does it sound better? Do you have any emotional content to discuss at all? If they are talking numbers only they don’t know what they are talking about.

2 – Using the term “lossless” without qualifying that there’s 2 types of loss – downsampling and compressing. Both of these processes remove tons of data from the original, but clever marketing doesn’t label downsampling “loss” even though it is. Downsampling from 24bit to 16bit could involve throwing out 16 million data points per second. Throwing out. Per every second of audio. What was there, I wonder? Sound details.

3 – They demand you do some sort of test involving terms like “double-blind” or “ABX”. The energy needed to explain all of the flaws in these types of tests is beyond this post, but there are enough fatal flaws in the science behind ABX testing that most people I know won’t bother with them at all. Believe your ears and your gut and don’t let an unqualified person tell you what they think you are hearing.

 

hum-1024-768-wallpaper

 

4 – They treat this as “finished science”. Humans are discovering more about our auditory system all the time, and to imply that some studies done in the 1960’s concerning hearing loss are enough of a basis to determine our entire digital audio future is ludicrous.

Chances are the person arguing that less is more has a major hole or two in their logic. This is complicated stuff when you bring in all the variables.

Less is not more in audio data. 24bit audio is real and sounds far more accurate and realistic than 16bit audio. Most internet geniuses out there get this wrong. For some reason almost all of them link back to xiph.org. Amazing.

 

that triangle hand thing

 

16bit might be “good enough” in some cases, but that does not make it equivalent or better than 24bit audio.

24bit or bust!