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#3084529 02/13/21 11:18 PM
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Rest in Peace Rupert Neve. Your creations are the sound we hear on records, thank you for the way the music sounds!!!!

I know other forums have tribute threads, this is the Studio Workshop and we should honor Rupert Neve here, an icon in the audio recording world.


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He was a very sweet man, with some ideas that were well ahead of their time. When I interviewed him in 1998, he was quite emphatic about human perception at frequencies well beyond the range of hearing, and suggested that a then-unheard-of sample rate of 192 kHz might be "just about enough" for truly accurate audio reproduction.


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Rupert Neve's vision for the future is based on an understanding of acoustics and how two notes can generate a subharmonic well below either of their frequencies. 192khz is probably as good as the perfectionists will require.
At the same time, he kept it real in terms of his products. He knew "What sounds great" and created practical solutions for the workflow that was current to his time.
Many of those products are highly prized today because of the sound they bring, great sound is timeless. Even those of us who are not working at the stratospheric heights of audio can hear great sound, it's not difficult.

It would appear that he understood very well that "The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good." Or at least that it CAN be.
Which makes him a Timeless Master of Sound". 30 years from now, Neve circuits will still be used for recording and mixing, even if they are all "modeled" and ITB by then.


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Rupert Neve's vision for the future is based on an understanding of acoustics and how two notes can generate a subharmonic well below either of their frequencies. 192khz is probably as good as the perfectionists will require.

It would appear that he understood very well that "The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good." Or at least that it CAN be.
If only those who purport to follow him understood that as well. There are interfaces out there that claim to do 384 kHz sampling, and then there's the DXD standard (24/352.8), originally used for editing tracks before conversion to DSD/SACD but also listened to straight up by audiophiles who claim they can hear the difference.


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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Rupert Neve's vision for the future is based on an understanding of acoustics and how two notes can generate a subharmonic well below either of their frequencies. 192khz is probably as good as the perfectionists will require.

It would appear that he understood very well that "The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good." Or at least that it CAN be.
If only those who purport to follow him understood that as well. There are interfaces out there that claim to do 384 kHz sampling, and then there's the DXD standard (24/352.8), originally used for editing tracks before conversion to DSD/SACD but also listened to straight up by audiophiles who claim they can hear the difference.

If they successfully identified the recordings repeatedly in a blindfold test, I'd give them that one.

We could make a new album with the lowest note being 30KHz and see if they can understand the lyrics?

Somehow, I am skeptical. I'd be happy to make something sound good on cell phone earbuds and some spendy home hi-fi speakers, say a pair that cost $10k.
Could probably do that with the recording interface set to 48KHz, maybe you'd need 96KHz.

That should cover 99.99 percent of the human population...


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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
There are interfaces out there that claim to do 384 kHz sampling, and then there's the DXD standard (24/352.8), originally used for editing tracks before conversion to DSD/SACD but also listened to straight up by audiophiles who claim they can hear the difference.

It's all about the converters, and in the past five years or so, converters have gotten better and better. There's more to high sample rates than higher frequency response. You get more samples, so you actually have better definition of the waveform. This can make a difference for some sources, but not a bit of difference for other sources. But it also gives you a leg up when it comes to error correction. Mr. Neve understood that and strove to use the best converters in his digital products so as not to give up that chance of sounding better.

As for me, I can only hear the difference between 44.1 and 96 kHz sometimes, and that's usually only on low budget equipment, not the $1000/channel converters, so my only argument with higher sample rates is practicality - storage and cost (to do it right).

Remember when Neve demonstrated that people could hear the difference between a 10 kHz sine wave and a 10 kHz square wave? Let's see if I remember this correctly.

In theory there should be nothing in the square wave between 10 and 30 kHz since a square wave consists of the fundamental and only odd harmonics. But he eventually determined that the difference he was hearing was due to a high frequency oscillation in the console that he was using, that, when combined with the harmonics of the square wave, produced frequencies within the normal range of human hearing.

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It appears that Inter-modulation distortion (IMD) and artifacts like comb filtering are what accounts for us being able to hear things above 20kHz. There are few on this board that can hear much above 13-15kHz judging from ages. You will not find scientific literature showing structures in the human ear that can respond to sound above 20khz. The cell structure just isn't there. You can posit magic fairy dust or extrasensory perception, some people do - but one doesn't need to in order to account for the fact that humans can perceive certain things that happen above 20kHz.

Particularly with digital audio if the maths aren't done correctly and with insufficient oversampling, it is very easy for non-linear processes to produce audible IMD or full-spectrum comb-filtering. Humans are very sensitive to IMD (when two frequencies beat against each other). A 19kHz signal and a 20Khz signal will produce a 1Khz signal, among others, and anyone here can hear that 1kHz product. Compression and distortion plugins are non-linear processes. Non-linear digital processes generate IMD. One can create scenarios where 384kHz is right to get the IMD products low enough to not disturb the audible band. You may notice that on some plugins there is an option to enable or disable oversampling. For non-linear processors, keeping the oversampling enabled is almost always the right choice. Many non-linear plugins just do the right thing and internally oversample completely transparent to the user, returning the audio back at the correct rate after filtering out the IMD that was created way above the audible range.

That said, we have all been exposed to LOTS of IMD, and it may just be part of what we are used to. It is also true that even famous digital consoles have routing scenarios that result in full spectrum comb filtering due to the path delay of different paths through the mixer. And lots of shows are mixed every weekend on them.

This is all consistent with experience - what are the processors people really want to use OTB if they can afford to? Compressors and distortion. Equalization and gain are linear processes, and don't generate IMD unless distortion maths are added for "tone". Why is it important that Rupert Neve spec'd his analog gear to be clean to 100kHz? This exact reason. Nothing would fold down back into the audio band. The transformers removed HF noise that could contaminate or create audible byproducts when interacting with audio signals. Why did early digital distortions sound so bad? This. And now they don't. Oversampling to 8, 16, or 32x the project sample rate puts the distortion products above 48khz, and it is easy to filter back down to the sample rate without them. This is now almost "free" in CPU terms, and it wasn't a decade ago or more. Current digital and 20 year old digital are often not very equal in some of these matters.

We can't physically "hear" much above 20khz even as infants, and we quickly loose very HF perception in our noisy modern world. So this is why you also see 44.1, 48, etc as the common sample rates for delivery. They are adequate. Except when involving processes that might not be, and some plugins do sound different at different sample rates. So NARAS settled on recommending 96kHz for all productions. This gives a full octave of spectrum above the max limit of human biology as a buffer. The people doing film scores tend to use 192 or 384 because they can, and a gazillion dollars are being spent and it is something one can do. For high dollar work, very high sample rates archive the raw tracks for processing by better future algorithms. For most work, that may not be important. There are sound designers who use high samples rates to record sounds and then they pitch them down a few octaves by playing the samples back at standard rates. Easy monster voices.... So there are creative uses for high sample rates too.

It remains true that musicians are dependent on the trained and gifted design engineers to get all this right. When they do, the gear/code just sounds good. And people like Rupert Neve that took care of everything so that all we have to do is turn it on and use it? Producer's best friend!

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This folding back is really the essence of what Neve was getting at. It's not that you're trying to make a recording that only dogs and bats can hear – it's that you're making a recording where the low-frequency artifacts can be easily eliminated without affecting the higher frequencies. As pointed out above, this has gone from "cloud cuckoolander expensive" to "well within reach" over the last 20 years... and it's important to remember that Neve was advocating it on purely theoretical grounds over two decades ago. Pure genius.


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Looking at this thread again after a few days and I realize the title is incorrect.

Rupert Neve himself is no longer with us but he will never leave us. He changed the way things sound, forever. He will always be with us, whenever anybody listens to a recording they will hear his immense contributions.
Time has a way of overlooking the subtle underpinnings of all the amazing accomplishments of humanity and many today have no idea who Rupert Neve was or is. That shouldn't matter, it doesn't matter.
And while he stood on the shoulders of giants, from there he reached to the heights and brought us all good things.


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Here's an amazing set of interviews with Mr. Neve. The first is a reminiscence by the interviewer. The last three are the interview. It fully illustrates the points made in this thread and many more. Truly a great man.

https://www.audiotechnology.com/issu...udiotechnology

https://www.audiotechnology.com/inte...terview-part-1

https://www.audiotechnology.com/inte...terview-part-2

https://www.audiotechnology.com/inte...terview-part-3

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^^ Thanks Nathanael!

Something great to read this weekend.


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I've read the interview with Rupert Neve. An astonishing, fruitful life. His statements throughout the interview are easily understood and his observations on CDs are defined much more clearly than mine but after tons of vinyl well into my 20's, I could stand cassettes but I loathed CDs. Even now I own lots of great music on CDs and ripped to iTunes and I find either platform makes me want to just shut it off and goof around on my guitar (which sounds wonderful by comparison).

Some of his observations also made me consider that I might enjoy the built in effects in my guitar amps, even though they are inexpensive models - primarily because a guitar speaker is not capable of reproducing all the annoying stuff way on up there that trickles down into our skulls.


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
reproducing all the annoying stuff way on up there that trickles down into our skulls.
Because in the end, my friends, isn't that what audio is all about?

roll


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