Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mix: The Emperor's New Sampling Rate

Audiophiles have been singing the praises of various high-definition audio formats (SACD, DVD-A, 96KHz sampling, 192KHz sampling, 24-bit, etc.) for years, while others have claimed that it's all hype and wishful thinking.

A double-blind study (from 2008) demonstrates (and to me, proves) that the nay-sayers are right and the audiophiles are wrong.

According to a remarkable new study, however, the failure of new audio formats — at least the ones that claim superiority thanks to higher sample rates — to succeed commercially may in reality be meaningless. The study basically says that (with apologies to Firesign Theatre) everything you, I, Moorer and everyone else know about how much better high-sample-rate audio sounds is wrong.

The study was published in this past September's Journal of the Audio Engineering Society under the title "Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted Into High-Resolution Audio Playback."
It was designed to show whether real people, with good ears, can hear any differences between “high-resolution” audio and the 44.1kHz/16-bit CD standard. And the answer Moran and Meyer came up with, after hundreds of trials with dozens of subjects using four different top-tier systems playing a wide variety of music, is, “No, they can't.”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Forbes: Vitamins Lack Clear Health Benefits, May Pose Risks

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Back in December, Forbes wrote:

Vitamin fans, take note: An editorial in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that multivitamins provide no health benefit in the long-run, and in fact, "should be avoided." The authors of the piece, "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements," summarize the work of three review studies in the same journal, which together find no effect for vitamins on cardiovascular health, cancer risk, cognitive health, or mortality. The bottom line, at least to the authors, is clear: We should stop wasting our money on multivitamins, since there’s little evidence to their benefit, and some evidence to their detriment. But as always, others say they jury is still out on this one.

It does go on to say, however, that this is in the context of trying to prevent chronic conditions and extend life. If you don't get enough of something your diet (e.g. many women have iron deficiencies, and people who eat a lot of junk food may lack all kinds of vitamins and minerals), then you should take supplements to make up the difference, but that's a completely different scenario from the person taking large doses of vitamins in order to try and prevent cancer, for example.

Read the rest of the article for more details.