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Is it just me? H9 / Track / Distortion

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Earle
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Earle posted on Fri, Mar 3 2017 6:37 PM

So, just got my hands on a pair of H9's, and so far, I'm kind of not really convinced that it's worth it. For the deal I managed to find, it's great. At full retail, that might be another story. (This is just IMHO)

ANC is nice to have, but I find that it's at the cost of a 'fuller' warm bass experience compared to when ANC is off. I think I will appreciate it more when I travel in the next month. 

Anyway, I was listening to some Spotify playlists and came across the following track, and was hit by extremely noticeable distortion. I lowered the volume to see if it was simply poor mastering/production (as you can typically still hear distortion at low levels if that was the case), but the distortion actually disappeared.

If anyone can confirm it's not just my cans that are distorting, that would be awesome.

Track details and time where distortion begins are shown in the screenshot below. Again, I hear it every time the piano hits the high chords. I hate to think a track like this was so easily able to hit the high end capabilities of the H9's.

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Lee
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Lee replied on Fri, Mar 3 2017 6:54 PM
I can hear a bit of distortion on some of the loud piano chords playing through my BM8000 and Pentas. It's in the track itself. Whether deliberately or by bad production. tbh it's not very well recorded...

Lee
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Lee replied on Fri, Mar 3 2017 6:57 PM
If you listen to the original full track (i.e. Not the radio edit) the distortion is almost non existent. It's been compressed to death and sounds like clipping to me... probably to make it sound good on FM radio.
Earle
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Earle replied on Fri, Mar 3 2017 7:29 PM

You're right! Although I listened to the 'Original' on that particular release with the same distorted results. I listened to the same track on a different release and no distortion!

I remember when I was learning to produce music (a LOOOONNNGGG time ago), I read somewhere that radio-edits are usually compressed horribly. I don't know why I didn't think of that, but it was also nice to have a second opinion.

Anyway, the release with significantly less distortion is in the screenshot below. Though still not the best, it was clearly mastered differently from the release in my original screenshot. 

Thanks, Lee!

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Sat, Mar 4 2017 12:50 AM

This kind of overcompression to the point of clipping in order to fight the Loudness Wars, which is disgusting in the extreme - we finally get a good digital format and people abuse it, is one reason sometimes the MP3 of a cut like this can sound better than the original, depending on how much distortion there is. The MP3 type encoders tend to round off high frequency square waves that are the result of such oversaturation, which can result in an MP3 that does indeed sound better than the non-compressed cut. Of course, if the compression/clipping is especially egregious, there's only so much that can be done.

Jeff

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Mark-N
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Jeff:
is one reason sometimes the MP3 of a cut like this can sound better than the original

I like where you are going with this!  If MP3's can sometimes sound better than the non-compressed original , does it also mean that it can "sometimes" sound worse than the original! Big Smile

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