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Loudness and resolution - Srajan Ebaen

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

Fiftyfifty

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Here's an interesting quote from Srajan of 6moons:

Hi def or hi deaf? There's good reason why good restaurants play their music quietly. Though each of us has a different threshold, when music becomes too loud, it begins to drown out or overshadow our other senses. It assumes priority. You might still be able to hear your table companion. It'll simply require more effort for your bio CPU to filter out the unwanted loud data and hone in on the desired low-level bits. Related to this priority/precedent effect is resolution. The higher the apparent data density which presents itself at your ears, the more brain power (concentration to the exclusion of all else) is required to process it. For mere room ambiance aka background fill which remains plenty low enough to hear oneself think, low resolution is perfect. That's because the higher one pushes a hifi's resolving power, the lower the allowable playback volumes become before one crosses over into the exclusivity realm. Whilst higher rez doesn't sound louder per se (your SPL meter wouldn't show any difference), it acts a bit like it by involving/engaging more of our attention. That's precisely why you've read variations on the phrase "this system or component commanded my full attention" or "I was forced to listen".

I guess this is why we sometimes appreciate the non-intrusive nature of clean but low-res music, like when one uses a cassette tape.

Cheers!
 

Kannan

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I look at it differently.
Irrespective of resolution, one can achieve a cleaner sound within the limitations of the recording by removing extraneous noises and cleaning the background including room response.
At the same SPL, a superior or a high resolution file give more of the octaves or should I say more details.
This might be interpreted as fatiguing for long listen depending on the loudness and the tolerance of an individual's ear.
However, with low resolution recording, we are sometimes forced to raise the volume to get a little more detail.

In effect, high resolution or well recorded even lower resolution (bandwidth) files will give much more details at lower volumes itself or to the extent of the loudness tolerance of a person.
If this tolerance limit is crossef, any music will sound fatiguing...but within this limit, a better source will sound far more pleasing at the same SPL levels.
 
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