Painful Sounds In Music

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by A Saucerful of Scarlets, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Some albums have some seriously painful sounds throughout, like a knife through your ear. Severely hampers the enjoyment of an album when you have your finger on the volume the whole way through anxious another painful sound will come through. A Saucerful of Secrets by Pink Floyd has this big time and so does Funkadelic’s debut (especially I’ll Bet You). Is there any way to edit this and turn down these bits in the song that are so piercing? Using a treble reducer EQ still didn’t work for Funkadelic.
     
    Tim Lookingbill likes this.
  2. Are you listening to LP or CD? What equipment are you using? Headphones or speakers?

    Where does it happen in A Saucerful of Secrets? I've got the album. I can hear/see what's up.
     
  3. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Listening to digital (streaming). Headphones (DT250 80ohm) plugged into a mixing desk connected to my iPad or just my iPad or iPhone 6. I’ll get back to you on Saucerful.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  4. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Let There Be More Light is fine until around 4:09 where the guitar comes in it’s quire sharp. Not that bad though.
    Remember a Day with the ‘sshh’s at around 2:27.
    Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun gets pretty bad. 2:15 is a good showcase with the keyboard sounds. 4:29 also.
    The title track can get pretty bad at parts like 5:00 and 5:26 where that sound fades in all over this section of the song.

    Interestingly this wasn’t nearly as painful as last time I heard it for some reason and I still have it quite loud. It wasn’t that long ago I tried it and it was pure torture. I bought the LP and that definitely helped but wasn’t perfect either. Liveable though.
     
  5. I'll listen to Saucerfull tonight. Haven't listened to it in a while. I've got the Discovery remaster and the Capitol CD from around 1988.

    Do you have tools to look at spectrograms and frequency plots? What do the spectrograms look like in the sections where you hear problems? Is there a certain frequency that becomes prominent in those areas?

    What I suspect is that your headphones have a ringing artifact at a frequency that aligns with something in the music. Ringing artifacts won't show up in frequency response plots of a headphone, but can show up in waterfall plots. Combine the headphone driver ringing with headphone amps that are kinda bright and harsh (iDevices and mixing desks are in the bit bright and harsh category) and you can get certain sounds that can be nasty to the ears. Grados are an example of a headphone that have ringing artifacts that can sting the ears. It's one reason I'm a bit harsh when I review or comment on Grados. Many Beyer headphones have a treble spike that can ring. That spike tends to be around 9 kHz and more prominent on cymbals.
     
  6. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    I believe the version of Saucerful on streaming is the 2011 remaster and my vinyl is the 2016 rerelease.
    Unfortunately as I’m streaming I can’t have a look at the spectrums on Foorbar but maybe iTunes has something like this so I’ll have a look tonight.
    Not sure if you remember but you recommended me (a few times) the Fiio F10 headphone DAC I believe it was? I still haven’t gotten around to buying it, but would you say that’s a bright, harsher type amp?

    Thanks for your help and I hope you enjoy Sauceful :righton:
     
  7. The parts that you mention that bother you do have what I would call a metallic style of sound. I don't know what is causing that metallic sound in the recording. Maybe it's a combination of the echo chamber reverb combined with whatever audio processing they've done during the recording. On lower quality solid state amps that style of metallic sound could be quite annoying. Higher quality amps and DACs that have a smoother and less harsh sound will help tame those sorts of problems. And then combine amps and DACs like that with headphones that roll off or lower the treble and you'll have a combination that will allow you to crank up Saucerful Of Secrets. Use Saucerful Of Secrets when auditioning amps and DACs and you'll hear that the better amps and DACs will tame the harshness you're hearing.

    Studio headphones like the DT250 tend to have more treble. Audiophile listening headphones like the Sennheiser HD650 tend to roll off the treble a bit. Part of the reason audiophile listening headphones do that is because when you have a tweeter right on your ears it is not nice to have a lot of treble. Rolling off the treble a bit makes the headphones sound more pleasant and more enjoyable. Listening to music is not supposed to be auditory torture. Choose gear that makes it more pleasant.

    Here's measurements for the DT250 80 ohm: Headphone Review - beyerdynamic DT250
    The green line in the frequency response graph is what Golden Ears considers neutral headphone sound. You can see that the DT250 goes above that green line around 2 kHz and 9 kHz. If there are annoying sounds in the recording around 2 kHz or 9 kHz those sounds are going to be more prominent when listening with the DT250 than they should be.
    The measurements also show a waterfall graph that has a ridge at 9 kHz. That ridge is also going to make sounds around 9 kHz to be more prominent than they should be.

    As a comparison, here's measurements for the Sennheiser HD650: Headphone Review - Sennheiser HD650
    And the LCD-2: Headphone Review - AUDEZE LCD-2 (Rev-2)

    Both the HD650 and LCD-2 are going to be more pleasant for listening to Saucerful Of Secrets than the DT250.
     
  8. I haven't listened to the DT250. Does it tend to have a metallic style of sound or emphasize metallic sounds with other music? Does it tend to sound a little metallic in general with your amps and sources? If so, that would help explain why Saucerful Of Secrets sounds annoying with the DT250.
     
  9. Here's spectrograms for those tracks:

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    OP, I know exactly what you mean. There are lots of examples of terribly loud sharp noises in music which affect how I listen to those pieces. It would be nice to get rid of some of them.

    The long sustained note on 6:45, for instance.

     
  11. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    That’s actually not so bad in my headphones, but yes that is definitely what I’m talking about. The louder I put it the worse, sharper it seems to get.

    It does a bit I’d say. Sort of hard to tell in comparison as I don’t have much to compare to. But it does sound quite metallic overall yes, but rarely unpleasantly so. This and Funkadelic are the only things I can think of that become this sharp to the point it hurts or just sounds bad. I love the sound of them otherwise and the bass sound is perfect for me. I did contemplate getting the 650’s earlier but decided pretty quickly I wanted some closed headphones instead.
    Good to know what frequencies are causing me troubles. I’ll make some edits when I rip my vinyl. Which I think I might do now actually since I’m in the mood for some Saucerful!
     
  12. You can EQ away some or most of the brightness caused by the headphones. However, you cannot EQ away the brightness and sharp sound caused by the amp and DAC. To fix any brightness and sharpness caused by the amp and/or DAC you need to get a better amp and/or DAC that is smoother and doesn't have that brightness or sharpness. EQ can fix part of the problem, but not all.
     
  13. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Ah, got it. I'll see how much I can do for now.
     
  14. SirMarc

    SirMarc Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    The organs on Alabama Song on the AP 45 rpm reissue of The Doors S/T. Holy crap man, kills my ears...
     
  15. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    that's just feedback. it's rock and roll, baby.

    never buy an older Prurient album
     
  16. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Way to ruin such a legendary song. Never had any issues with any Doors stuff in the slightest in that regard. Sorry to hear.
     
  17. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Look at my username. I play guitar and am quite aware of what feedback is. :D

    It doesn't change the fact that in this instance, it's quite painful to listen to on some recordings... and that is the purpose of this thread.

    The feedback on Voodoo Chile (no, not Slight Return) towards the middle of the song is also quite painful to me. But the feedback in songs like Guns N' Roses' Estranged isn't painful to listen to at all. It's de-emphasized on some recordings and kept at the same level on others. Either way,... not pleasant to listen to when it's blaring loud and high-pitched.
     
  18. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    gotcha! i think the only way to avoid feedback and not destroy the rest of the song is the volume knob
     
  19. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Exactly. It's a shame but I guess the two ways of dealing with it is either turning down the volume knob manually each time or editing the song so its volume goes down during that short section.
     
  20. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Location:
    Bi-Regional
     
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  21. krambigmac

    krambigmac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bellingham MA
    The original CD of The River has that effect on me during Ramrod. Luckily, the remaster and the vinyl issues are much better but I hated that song originally.
     
  22. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Another example is the unnaturally loud snap of the snare before the main riff of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Couldn't Stand The Weather is played. Very very loud for really no reason.
     
  23. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    There is a bit in Pink Floyd’s “Cluster One” that is an incredibly high pitched sound which makes it to where I can’t listen to it. This is on both the US and UK original CDs. I would find the exact time it starts, but the house is asleep, and I don’t do headphones.

    Natalie Merchant’s live cover of “After The Gold Rush” has a sustained guitar note at about 2:02 that used to drive me crazy. My latest equipment has tamed it.

    The chorus on Duran Duran’s “Friends Of Mine” has a portion where Simon sings “Oh no! Not me...” where the “me” is at a piercing point on both my Wally LP and original US CD. Speaker placement usually tames this, so I use it as a room calibration test track.
     
  24. basie-fan

    basie-fan Forum Resident

    In the introduction of Your Gold Teeth II by Steely Dan there a screeching sound at about 0:16.
    Is it a synthesizer? Really bugs me, but otherwise it's one of their better songs.

     
  25. SirMarc

    SirMarc Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Its still overall the best I've heard the album, but the organs can get piercing at times. I'll have to dig out my early 80's German pressing to compare
     

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