Listening in a car

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I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
recorder with dbx, give it a try.

Cheers,

Norm Strong
 
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"normanstrong" normanstrong@comcast.net wrote:

>I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
>of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
>exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
>want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
>all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
>reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
>the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
>Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
>This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
>recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>
>Cheers,
>
>Norm Strong

That's a good technique. Some car sound systems employ a "compression" function
that provides a similar function.

Since you brought it up there are some real advantages to autosound that are
often overlooked as well. The first is the only free lunch in audio .... cabin
gain. In small spaces like cars there is a 12 dB per octave reinforcement of
low frequencies below the lowest axial mode. For example I have measured over
30 dB reinforcement at 10 Hz in a Corvette. In this car the effect begins
around 60 Hz. In a larger car it starts at a lower frequency.

Next is adequate volume. In the small space of a car its easier to attain
concert level volume. You also usually have access to all functions from the
driver seat (loading programs, adjusting controls, etc)

Although listening positions are fixed from a design standpoint that can also
be seen as an advantage ..... you know in advance where every listener will be
seated.

Finally regarding radio programming; some car systems often receive more
stations with better reception than all but the finest fixed antenna systems.
 

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normanstrong wrote:
> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Norm Strong
>

Norm, you have to come to the 21st century :). Get a wave editor, like
the one that comes with Nero. Use the dynamic compressor feature. You
can change the compression slope, specify different attack and release
times, and burn mp3's to boot.

I agree that listening to full-range classical music in a moving vehicle
is a challenge. One appreciates the necessity of compression. And one
can understand why a little compression, like what you find on a lot of
vinyl LP's and SET's, can appear to bring out those "microdynamics".
Hey, you can hear the low level details better!
 
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My advise to you young man, get a quiet car if you like listening to
classical music! Even a 20 year old MB will be quieter than your typical
4-banger.

"normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52...
> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Norm Strong
>
 
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"normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote in message news:<JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52>...
> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Norm Strong

So you record in dbx, then play the tape without dbx? Doesn't the
music become flat and lifeless?

CD
 
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"normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52...
> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>
IMO the compressor section of a DBX117 or DBX119, commonly sold on Ebay,
offer yet a better solution. I use a DBX 119 to go from CD to CD avoiding
the downside of cassettes and/or tone correction. (I assume everyone here
has a CD players in their cars.)
 
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On 7/27/04 12:23 AM, in article JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52,
"normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:

> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
> recorder with dbx, give it a try.

Actually, compression works well in a noisy environment - mp3 and other
digital "psycho-acoustic" methods work almost as well.
 
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Norman Strong wrote"

Cassette recorders with dbx capabilities are fairly rare. My solution for
listening to classical music in cars - and I agree it's harder to hear low
level signals - is to record on Metal Cassettes using Dolby C noise reduction
and then raise the gain level to about + 8 db, which the metal tape headroom on
my tape deck, a 3-head Nakamichi, allows. Unfortunately, it is not easy to
find car tape players with Dolby C noise reduction built in, so this won't be a
solution for many foks either.
I use a Nakamichi TD-1200 Type 2 Mobile Dragon head unit in my car, which has
Dolby C noise reduction, so I'm fortunate in that regard. The best place these
days tyo find equpment like this now is probably on eBay.

Bruce J. Richman
 

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B&D wrote:
> On 7/27/04 12:23 AM, in article JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52,
> "normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:
>
>> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
>> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
>> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
>> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
>> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
>> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
>> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
>> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
>> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
>> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>
> Actually, compression works well in a noisy environment - mp3 and other
> digital "psycho-acoustic" methods work almost as well.
>

Uhh, mp3 provides data compression, not the signal compression that Norm
was talking about. Mp3 does not give you a compression of dynamic range.
 
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Actually driving a ybrid really slowly is really, really quiet!

On 7/28/04 2:21 AM, in article mBHNc.175275$IQ4.44815@attbi_s02, "John
Walton" <jdwalton@comcast.net> wrote:

> My advise to you young man, get a quiet car if you like listening to
> classical music! Even a 20 year old MB will be quieter than your typical
> 4-banger.
>
> "normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote in message
> news:JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52...
>> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
>> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
>> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
>> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
>> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
>> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
>> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
>> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
>> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
>> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> Norm Strong
>>
>
 
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On 7/28/04 7:34 PM, in article ce9d5b0hba@news4.newsguy.com, "chung"
<chunglau@covad.net> wrote:

> B&D wrote:
>> On 7/27/04 12:23 AM, in article JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52,
>> "normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:
>>
>>> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
>>> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
>>> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
>>> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
>>> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
>>> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
>>> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
>>> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
>>> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
>>> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>>
>> Actually, compression works well in a noisy environment - mp3 and other
>> digital "psycho-acoustic" methods work almost as well.
>>
>
> Uhh, mp3 provides data compression, not the signal compression that Norm
> was talking about. Mp3 does not give you a compression of dynamic range.

Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much easier -
note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not be the
same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost as well.
 
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"John Walton" jdwalton@comcast.net wrote:



>
>My advise to you young man, get a quiet car if you like listening to
>classical music! Even a 20 year old MB will be quieter than your typical
>4-banger.
>
>"normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote in message
>news:JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52...
>> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
>> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
>> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
>> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
>> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
>> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
>> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
>> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
>> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
>> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> Norm Strong

I'm not sure I agree that a 20-year old Benz will steal any quietness awards
but I fully agree with the idea. I've evaluated over 200 production vehicles in
the past 5 years and the great sounding ones are always in quiet cars..... at
least if you evaluate them when driving the car.

You'd be surprised at how often cars that 'should' be great sounding (evaluated
at idle or ignition-off) just don't cut it on the road (and I'm talking 30-45
mph on suburban roads not 70-80 mph on X-Way.) It's interesting that
after-market sound quality "competitions" are ALWAYS conducted with the car
sitting still with the ignition off. The car is only started to see if there is
system noise like alternator whine; then it's off.
 

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B&D wrote:
> On 7/28/04 7:34 PM, in article ce9d5b0hba@news4.newsguy.com, "chung"
> <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
>
>> B&D wrote:
>>> On 7/27/04 12:23 AM, in article JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52,
>>> "normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:
>>>
>>>> I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem of listening to material
>>>> of wide dynamic range while in a moving car. I listen almost
>>>> exclusively to classical music, and on those rare occasions when I
>>>> want music while driving, I get around the problem like this: I copy
>>>> all the music I want to hear from CD to a cassette, using dbx noise
>>>> reduction. This reduces every 2db change in the original to 1db in
>>>> the copy; a program with a 50db dynamic range is reduced to 25db.
>>>> Bass is also reduced, so I have to boost the bass on playback--a lot.
>>>> This scheme works amazingly well. If you find an old cassette
>>>> recorder with dbx, give it a try.
>>>
>>> Actually, compression works well in a noisy environment - mp3 and other
>>> digital "psycho-acoustic" methods work almost as well.
>>>
>>
>> Uhh, mp3 provides data compression, not the signal compression that Norm
>> was talking about. Mp3 does not give you a compression of dynamic range.
>
> Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much easier -
> note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not be the
> same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost as well.


Can you provide any proof that mp3's roll off the high and the low
frequencies? I don't think you could. Are you also saying that in a car,
if you reduce bass and treble, the result is better or "easier" sound?
That certainly goes against commonly known principles, like the one
behind the loudness compensation.
 
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On 29 Jul 2004 23:38:59 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>On 7/28/04 7:34 PM, in article ce9d5b0hba@news4.newsguy.com, "chung"
><chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
>
>> B&D wrote:
>>> On 7/27/04 12:23 AM, in article JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52,
>>> "normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:

>> Uhh, mp3 provides data compression, not the signal compression that Norm
>> was talking about. Mp3 does not give you a compression of dynamic range.
>
>Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much easier -

What? No it doesn't!

>note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not be the
>same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost as well.

No, you are simply flat-out *wrong*, MP3 has absolutely *no* such
effects, it is purely a data reduction tool.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
 
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Stewart Pinkerton <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote:
> On 29 Jul 2004 23:38:59 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> >On 7/28/04 7:34 PM, in article ce9d5b0hba@news4.newsguy.com, "chung"
> ><chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
> >
> >> B&D wrote:
> >>> On 7/27/04 12:23 AM, in article JMkNc.194838$Oq2.59455@attbi_s52,
> >>> "normanstrong" <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:

> >> Uhh, mp3 provides data compression, not the signal compression that Norm
> >> was talking about. Mp3 does not give you a compression of dynamic range.
> >
> >Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much easier -

> What? No it doesn't!

> >note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not be the
> >same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost as well.

> No, you are simply flat-out *wrong*, MP3 has absolutely *no* such
> effects, it is purely a data reduction tool.


I'd have to check, but I believe that my current setting for
LAME (--alt preset standard) results in variable bitrate mp3s (128--320)
with a 'low-pass transition' around 19 kHz. I took this to mean that it starts
discarding data corresponding to high frequencies above the 19 Khz mark.
Which is beyond what I can hear, for sure.

I see no evidence that it does anything similar at the low end of the frequency
spectrum.


--

-S.
"We started to see evidence of the professional groupie in the early 80's.
Alarmingly, these girls bore a striking resemblance to Motley Crue." --
David Lee Roth
 
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On 29 Jul 2004 23:39:38 GMT, nousaine@aol.com (Nousaine) wrote:

>"John Walton" jdwalton@comcast.net wrote:
>
>
>
>>
>>My advise to you young man, get a quiet car if you like listening to
>>classical music! Even a 20 year old MB will be quieter than your typical
>>4-banger.

Um, the majority of Mercs *are* 4-bangers!

OTOH, try a Lexus for a quiet environment - and superior build
quality!
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
 
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On 7/30/04 1:44 PM, in article cee1d4018o3@news1.newsguy.com, "Stewart
Pinkerton" <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote:

>> Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much easier -
>
> What? No it doesn't!
>
>> note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not be the
>> same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost as well.
>
> No, you are simply flat-out *wrong*, MP3 has absolutely *no* such
> effects, it is purely a data reduction tool.

Instead of listing the ways I am wrong - in your tgechnical knowledge - why
does it sound so bad?
 

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B&D wrote:
> On 7/30/04 1:44 PM, in article cee1d4018o3@news1.newsguy.com, "Stewart
> Pinkerton" <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>>> Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much easier -
>>
>> What? No it doesn't!
>>
>>> note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not be the
>>> same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost as well.
>>
>> No, you are simply flat-out *wrong*, MP3 has absolutely *no* such
>> effects, it is purely a data reduction tool.
>
> Instead of listing the ways I am wrong - in your tgechnical knowledge - why
> does it sound so bad?
>

But it is much easier just listing the ways you are wrong. You know, we
all go for the low-hanging fruit! :)

Here is a website that explains how mp3's work in layman terms:

http://www.mp3-converter.com/mp3codec/

When you said that mp3's sound "so bad", you are making an invalid
assumption. I have listened to high bitrate mp3's and mp4's, and it is
very difficult to tell the compressed version from the original. You
should download iTunes and try it for yourself. Make a CD of tracks that
you encode into AAC or mp3 (and decompress to .wav format). Compare that
with original. Try coding at 320Kbps; it gets very difficult to detect
differences using music material.

BTW, if you believe that mp3's sound so bad, why then did you say that
they sound "much easier" in a car?
 

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B&D wrote:
>>> Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much
>>> easier -
>>
>> What? No it doesn't!
>>
>>> note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not
>>> be the same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost
>>> as well.
>>
>> No, you are simply flat-out *wrong*, MP3 has absolutely *no* such
>> effects, it is purely a data reduction tool.
>
> Instead of listing the ways I am wrong - in your tgechnical knowledge
> - why does it sound so bad?

I made some comparisons with higher bitrates mp3. The sonic structure was
kept very well, but the spacial impression got completely lost. What was
deep soundstage extending beyond the speakers ended up on a line between the
speakers. In headphones this was not so noticable, but IHL is not very
revealing anyway.
--
ciao Ban
Bordighera, Italy
 
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On 7/30/04 12:02 AM, in article cech810ukt@news2.newsguy.com, "chung"
<chunglau@covad.net> wrote:

>>> Uhh, mp3 provides data compression, not the signal compression that Norm
>>> was talking about. Mp3 does not give you a compression of dynamic range.
>>
>> Ah, but it does roll off the bass and treble making the sound much easier -
>> note that I said "works almost as well" - meaning that it may not be the
>> same, but the limited BW (or apparent as such) works almost as well.
>
>
> Can you provide any proof that mp3's roll off the high and the low
> frequencies? I don't think you could. Are you also saying that in a car,
> if you reduce bass and treble, the result is better or "easier" sound?
> That certainly goes against commonly known principles, like the one
> behind the loudness compensation.

OK Chung -

The sound of mp3's is perfect and just like CD's. I am totally wrong, and
am not only wasting money but a damn fool for believing that CD sounds
better than mp3's.
 
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