April 2023 Issue

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April 2023 Issue

Post by Aled Hughes »

Very interesting issue, thanks all.

Especially Jack Ruston’s health article, and the Ian Shepherd’s loudness piece.

Jack’s article is a refreshing change from the usual, very thoughtful and applies to a lot us I should guess.

Might I suggest that it would be great if the Ian Shepherd article could be shared freely? Ie. not requiring a subscription to read? It’s educational and something I’d like to share - this stuff needs to be read!
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

It will be in 5 months... :D
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Aled Hughes »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:24 pm It will be in 5 months... :D

We'll all be deaf by then if we don't share the article ;)

That's fair enough though. And well done and thanks for commissioning it - it scares me a bit how many tracks are still being crushed for no apparent reason. I still see/hear masters at -8 (or even -6) LUFS all the time. There is still a huge misunderstanding behind all of this, even (especially?!) by supposed 'professionals'. These kinds of articles are very important I think.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Matt Houghton »

Glad you enjoyed it. It really was a fascinating conversation!
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by RichardT »

I was interested to hear Ian thought the loudness wars have not been won.

Also his insight that music professionals are listening with normalisation off while consumers are listening with normalisation on.

If mixing engineers are listening without normalisation, then I can see it still makes some kind of sense to squeeze the life out their tracks - though I can’t understand why they think the results of doing that are good. To my ears, they sound dire!
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

Aled Hughes wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:15 pm Very interesting issue, thanks all.

Especially Jack Ruston’s health article, and the Ian Shepherd’s loudness piece.

Jack’s article is a refreshing change from the usual, very thoughtful and applies to a lot us I should guess.

I’m so glad you found it useful, Aled. I was hoping that the series might spark some further discussion about how these issues are handled, not least of all here in the forum.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Aled Hughes »

Jack Ruston wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 9:24 pm
Aled Hughes wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:15 pm Very interesting issue, thanks all.

Especially Jack Ruston’s health article, and the Ian Shepherd’s loudness piece.

Jack’s article is a refreshing change from the usual, very thoughtful and applies to a lot us I should guess.

I’m so glad you found it useful, Aled. I was hoping that the series might spark some further discussion about how these issues are handled, not least of all here in the forum.

Well, I’m currently trying to hold off my morning coffee for another hour… and what were you doing up at 9:24pm?! 😉

It would be worth starting a thread about it I think.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

Aled Hughes wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 6:29 am Well, I’m currently trying to hold off my morning coffee for another hour… and what were you doing up at 9:24pm?! 😉

It would be worth starting a thread about it I think.

Ha honestly my light is almost always off by 9 these days, but my little one was having a meltdown. I’m writing a similar series for ‘Don’t have kids unless you want your hair to fall out (again)’ magazine.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Drew Stephenson »

This is going to be another of those articles that results in an internal conversation something like this, isn't it?

Me: I have a science and engineering background, I follow the evidence.

Article: The evidence says you should drink less caffeine.

Me: Hush your crazy talk.

;)
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Aled Hughes wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:39 pmWe'll all be deaf by then if we don't share the article ;)

And over-tired.... :D

Seriously, I take your point, but SOS is sharing the article. Anyone interested can buy the magazine in their newsagent of choice, or subscribe online, or even just buy the article pdf.

But Ian is running a business here and he has lots of hungry editors and graphics people to feed (and other key staff members), so giving the good stuff away for free, when it cost a lot to create it in the first place, would be a great way of killing the magazine off.

...it scares me a bit how many tracks are still being crushed for no apparent reason. I still see/hear masters at -8 (or even -6) LUFS all the time. There is still a huge misunderstanding behind all of this, even (especially?!) by supposed 'professionals'. These kinds of articles are very important I think.

Totally agree. It's partly why we all do what we do. Sharing the knowledge.

I've long been of the opinion that nothing will improve in the crush-it-louder world without proper, enforceable regulation. There's too much pressure from the ignorant and worried clients to allow trained, skillfully mastering engineers to do their job better.

The streaming companies applying loudness normalisation more or less universally has helped, but I was both fascinated and pleased to read how Dolby's ruthless regulation of Atmos music releases has been so beneficial to music dynamics.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 9:55 am This is going to be another of those articles that results in an internal conversation something like this, isn't it?

Me: I have a science and engineering background, I follow the evidence.

Article: The evidence says you should drink less caffeine.

Me: Hush your crazy talk.

;)

Yes it is. :D

So caffeine, and particularly coffee is an interesting one:

Coffee consumption correlates with with a reduction in all-cause mortality. Studies vary as to whether it's beneficial or neutral in terms of the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. But considering how widespread its use is globally, if it were harming us, the signal would be very obvious.

We do need to consider that if we are drinking tea and coffee, what are we NOT drinking? Although some people are happy to drink water, others may be consuming large amounts of things that we know aren't a great idea - soda, fruit juice, energy drinks etc.

BUT, it does seem that there are some active benefits too, from polyphenolic compounds like the diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol. These things reduce inflammation, increase our endogenous production of the anti-oxidant glutathione, and cause the apoptosis (self-destruction) of tumour cells.

So what's controversial about this is that these oils do affect lipid metabolism, and can potently raise LDL cholesterol in the blood by inhibiting its uptake. This is a good example of how so many of the things we eat can be both harmful and beneficial at the same time.

So do they actually cause atherosclerosis? They don't seem to, and this is where we get into some funny territory around the causes of heart disease: Yes, LDL cholesterol, or to be more precise the apoB-100 low density lipoprotein particles that carry cholesterol do play a pivotal role in the development of atherosclerosis - they can get lodged in the arterial intima, at which point they're consumed by the macrophages of the immune system. This is the origin of the 'foam cells' that make up atherosclerotic plaques.

But there are a LOT of other factors that go into this process. How high is blood pressure? How damaged is the artery wall? How many LDL particles are there in the serum? How big are they (smaller ones are more atherogenic)? Are they glycated or oxidised - damaged by high levels of blood glucose, or excessive poly-unsaturated fats in the structure of the lipoprotein? Is there systemic inflammation?

If these polyphenols are beneficial in all other ways perhaps their effect is of net benefit, or at least neutral, even if they are affecting LDL uptake. This is what the literature seems to support. Can't we have our cake and eat it? Our cake, no. Our coffee, sort of. If we filter coffee with a paper filter, those oils are largely removed. We get some benefits from caffeine, but neither the benefits or harms of the oils.

Now, all this said, at the end of day sleep is everything (see what I did there?). If we're consuming so much caffeine, or if we're timing our consumption in a way that interferes with sleep, there will always be a price to pay. Sleep must come first.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Thanks for the response Jack, plenty to think about there - I'll sleep on it.
;)
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by ManFromGlass »

Usually 1 day here. If I have one after 1pm I won’t be able to sleep on it.
But it’s the taste of a good one I really enjoy. Coffee snob? Guilty!
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Aled Hughes »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:16 am
Aled Hughes wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:39 pmWe'll all be deaf by then if we don't share the article ;)

And over-tired.... :D

Seriously, I take your point, but SOS is sharing the article. Anyone interested can buy the magazine in their newsagent of choice, or subscribe online, or even just buy the article pdf.

But Ian is running a business here and he has lots of hungry editors and graphics people to feed (and other key staff members), so giving the good stuff away for free, when it cost a lot to create it in the first place, would be a great way of killing the magazine off.

...it scares me a bit how many tracks are still being crushed for no apparent reason. I still see/hear masters at -8 (or even -6) LUFS all the time. There is still a huge misunderstanding behind all of this, even (especially?!) by supposed 'professionals'. These kinds of articles are very important I think.

Totally agree. It's partly why we all do what we do. Sharing the knowledge.

I've long been of the opinion that nothing will improve in the crush-it-louder world without proper, enforceable regulation. There's too much pressure from the ignorant and worried clients to allow trained, skillfully mastering engineers to do their job better.

The streaming companies applying loudness normalisation more or less universally has helped, but I was both fascinated and pleased to read how Dolby's ruthless regulation of Atmos music releases has been so beneficial to music dynamics.

Absolutely, and I fully understand your point. I'll be sharing widely once it's freely available! The sad thing is the people doing the crushing aren't the people doing the rushing to buy and read SOS.

One of the most promising things about Atmos for me is the tighter loudness regulations. I had hoped we'd see the slow death of crushed masters following the introduction of LUFS standards etc, but sadly it doesn't seem to be the case.

It could be hugely beneficial if a well-respected pop/urban style mixing or mastering engineer were to do a simple, clear video speaking out about this.

I think it's a fairly easy topic to cut away a lot of the technical details and do a really simple, in-your-face example of two different masters before and after loudness normalisation, and also showing the similarities with films cutting to loud adverts at a quiet point in the film etc, and why all this is a good thing.

And also the simple explanation that a 'loud all the time' master is also a 'quiet all the time' master, depending on the consumer's volume dial!
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Eddy Deegan »

Jack Ruston wrote:things that we know aren't a great idea - soda, fruit juice, energy drinks etc.

No agrument there. I ceased drinking a lot of apple juice (my erstwhile goto of choice) when I joined the realisation on that score!

Jack Ruston wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 11:27 amBUT, it does seem that there are some active benefits too, from polyphenolic compounds like the diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol. These things reduce inflammation, increase our endogenous production of the anti-oxidant glutathione, and cause the apoptosis (self-destruction) of tumour cells.

So what's controversial about this is that these oils do affect lipid metabolism, and can potently raise LDL cholesterol in the blood by inhibiting its uptake. This is a good example of how so many of the things we eat can be both harmful and beneficial at the same time.

So do they actually cause atherosclerosis? They don't seem to, and this is where we get into some funny territory around the causes of heart disease: Yes, LDL cholesterol, or to be more precise the apoB-100 low density lipoprotein particles that carry cholesterol do play a pivotal role in the development of atherosclerosis - they can get lodged in the arterial intima, at which point they're consumed by the macrophages of the immune system. This is the origin of the 'foam cells' that make up atherosclerotic plaques.

But there are a LOT of other factors that go into this process.

I admire your thoroughness Jack and on a technical level I question nothing you said.

However we are all owners of a body and our bodies know way more than we do. By way of example counting calories is really hard work and, for the most part, an inaccurate ballpark but our bodies know exactly what to do with those we ingest and respond to them accurately.

My point is that there is plenty of science to engage with when it comes to consumption of caffeine in any form and you can cite scientific phrases all day which may be accurate when it comes to chemistry but in reality the upshot is "drink a bit (not too much) coffee or tea every day and you'll be fine."

I'm not wanting to get into a challenge here. I've no doubt the mechanisms you cite are pretty correct but IMO in a practical sense delving into that amount of detail is overthinking it. The vast majority of us are not into biochemistry such that we'd undertand half the terms you cite.

There is a Latin saying; "est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum" which translates to "there is a method in things, and finally the ends are certain. Those beyond and on either side cannot stand straight"

The bottom line is 'all things in moderation are fine'.

If you like tea, drink a couple of cups of tea a day. If you like coffee, drink a couple of cups of coffee a day.

I think the real takeaway from that is more about avoiding the milk and sugar additivites associated with so many tea/coffee chain stores than it is about caffeine in and of itself.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by RichardT »

I found Jack’s scientific approach very helpful. There also seems to be some evidence that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduction in dementia.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 11:32 pm
I'm not wanting to get into a challenge here. I've no doubt the mechanisms you cite are pretty correct but IMO in a practical sense delving into that amount of detail is overthinking it. The vast majority of us are not into biochemistry such that we'd undertand half the terms you cite.

Eddy! Hope you're well, mate.

I hear you, and I absolutely acknowledge that some people find these mechanistic rabbit holes a turn-off. But please understand that others want to know all the whys. They're not satisfied with 'everything in moderation', and they're interested in the mechanisms.

It's very similar to music - while one producer just wants to turn the knobs on a box until it sounds good to them, another wants to know every detail of how it was designed and why it sounds good.

In writing the piece for the mag there was a balance to be struck in terms of appealing to the preferences of both camps. At the end of each part of the series there are some quick tips for that reason.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

RichardT wrote: Sat Mar 25, 2023 8:24 am I found Jack’s scientific approach very helpful. There also seems to be some evidence that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduction in dementia.

Thanks Richard. Yeah, so this is interesting because the studies are quite mixed. Moderate amounts of coffee seem to be helpful, but excessive amounts make things worse. Considering the significance of sleep in the context of neurodegenerative disease, this reinforces the message that we should enjoy our teas and coffees AS LONG AS we don't do so in a way that prevents restful sleep and so the clearing of misfolded proteins etc etc.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Kwackman »

I enjoyed Jack's article and the explanation here too, although we may need another glossary! It's going to be an interesting series in the magazine.

The coffee thing- would decaf be better, especially later in the day?
The placebo effect might help too?
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

Kwackman wrote: Sat Mar 25, 2023 9:49 am I enjoyed Jack's article and the explanation here too, although we may need another glossary! It's going to be an interesting series in the magazine.

The coffee thing- would decaf be better, especially later in the day?
The placebo effect might help too?

Personally, I drink decaf both first thing and then after midday. I have a a double shot of normal coffee mid morning. There are questions around the various decaf processes, as well as nuances around the loss of caffeine itself as a beneficial compound. Honestly I wind up at Eddy’s position on decaf. I’m going to drink it in some quantity and not think too much about it.

What’s perhaps more interesting is the fact that it’s blatantly revolting, and simply the fact that it reminds me of caffeine is enough to make me want to drink it. I find that an interesting aspect of our drive to seek out dopaminergic foods.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Sam Inglis »

Is the situation regarding tea different from coffee? I usually only drink coffee mid-morning but was always happy to drink tea any time. Since reading Jack's article I thought I'd try cutting out tea in the evening to see if I slept better. So far it seems to be working, but I'm not sure if that's down to lower caffeine intake or not having to wake up to go to the loo so often!
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

In a comparison between tea and coffee, generally tea is around a third to half the caffeine content, but there are lots of factors at play...the type of tea, how long you brew etc.

For example, the typical french press (Bodum etc) coffee has a lot more caffeine than a drip or pour over. Instant coffee has far less caffeine than fresh. Black tea is more strongly caffeinated than green. But matcha tea can have as much caffeine as coffee. Coffee shop coffees are often far stronger than those at home or in a restaurant, because they use blends of Robusta beans rather than pure Arabica. They do this because it is the caffeine itself that's compulsive. Of course, they also serve massive volumes of coffee. Cold brew is more caffeinated than hot, because of the very long extraction.

The upshot of this is that some cups of tea have about 50mg of caffeine vs 80mg for a cup of instant coffee made per the instructions - so not a lot of difference. Whereas others might be 30mg for a green tea vs 500mg for a 'nitrobrew' or whatever killer coffee product we're talking about.

BUT - yes, if you drink even 30 mg of caffeine late at night, you are going to affect your sleep. You might be able to go to sleep no problem, but you won't sleep normally. My personal experience is that it's better to limit even decaf in the late afternoon, and that those of us who clear caffeine slowly can easily disrupt our sleep with larger quantities of dark chocolate.

Of course there is a degree of bio individuality here. Some of us metabolise caffeine very quickly, others agonisingly slowly. A bit of experimentation will usually tell us what we need to know.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

On the subject of nighttime peeing (!) which is one that I'm sure affects many of us, me included.

1. It's normal to pee once or twice during the night. If we're peeing 3-4 times we might want to see if there's something we can do...

2. There's a difference in approach if we pee because we keep waking and feel that we might as well pee because we don't want to get back to sleep only to wake up again genuinely needing to, and peeing volumes every time.

3. We can lose our tolerance for a full bladder and can, to some degree, retrain that.

4. Aiming to drink most of our fluid in the 10 hours after we wake, tapering it in the last few hours of the day is a good idea.

5. Weirdly, when we drink fast, we absorb less and pee more. So if we feel thirsty at bedtime and chug a big glass of water, we're going to be getting up to pee. If we sip that glass of water slowly over the 3 hours before bed, we might avoid doing so.

6. A 'salt shot' before bed can be a bit of a miracle 'cure' for some nocturia sufferers. 1/4 teaspoon of salt in just enough water to swallow it, right before bed. This is going to shift electrolyte balance towards retaining blood volume rather than reducing it. Some people may be worried about blood pressure and sodium. That depends on what the rest of the diet looks like, and how sensitive we are to sodium intake. The endpoint we're interested in is blood pressure, and that's very easily measured. If this practice raises blood pressure significantly, it may not be the right one for us. In most people it will not, particularly in the context of a whole-food diet.

NB - if we're peeing a lot all the time, we need to see the doc, particularly if there are other signs of metabolic issues, like excessive fatigue or sleepiness after meals, weakness or shakiness if meals are delayed, skin tags, dark patches of skin, blurred vision etc etc. These are generally things that are easily tackled, and a bad idea to ignore for a long time.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Folderol »

Back on potential coffee issues, is that proper ground coffee, instant or all types?
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Jack Ruston »

I’m not sure to what degree instant removes the oils from coffee. Paper filters do. As discussed those oils may be both beneficial and harmful, but in terms of harm the signal just doesn’t seem to translate into bad outcomes in a meaningful way, as long as we don’t also see a negative impact on sleep.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Folderol »

Ah thanks.
Actually I already make a point of no coffee after about 3pm.
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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by Martin Walker »

And I have a policy of no tea or coffee after 2000 (the year not the time), so caffeine is most definitely out of my system for good! ;)
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Sphere DLX/LX

Post by marioraunig »

Thanks for the great review of the UAD Sphere Mics. The info in the box "Isolation Stations" might be misleading, though. The "Isosphere" feature is not intended to emulate mic shields, but it is supposed to enhance recordings where the actual shields are being used.

More info here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB6bQOxvphA

Microphone isolation filters (also referred to as reflection filters) and portable acoustic booths are a boon to home recordists, but they also impart their own undesirable coloration to the sound, and their effectiveness at reducing reflections and background noise is limited, especially at low to mid frequencies. IsoSphere optimizes how the Sphere L22 works together with commonly-available isolation devices—such as the sE Reflexion Filters, Aston Halo, Kaotica Eyeball, and even vocal booths. It enhances off-axis behavior for maximum rejection and modifies frequency response to compensate for unwanted coloration, leading to even better-sounding recordings.

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Re: April 2023 Issue

Post by tea for two »

Nutritionist known as Jack :geek:8-)

I been looking into Hinduism Yogic eating health. There's utube vids on this.

::

Piling on approx 20KG :headbang: during lockdown hasn't been the best for me. Once I loose approx 10KG I might volunteer to help ooot a bit at a farm I can get to fairly easily to get back into some better shape.
Just natural hard work and walking. Not into gyms. Not into running.
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Re: Sphere DLX/LX

Post by Sam Inglis »

marioraunig wrote: Sun Mar 26, 2023 8:06 pm Thanks for the great review of the UAD Sphere Mics. The info in the box "Isolation Stations" might be misleading, though. The "Isosphere" feature is not intended to emulate mic shields, but it is supposed to enhance recordings where the actual shields are being used.

Whoops! Well spotted, thank you. We'll update the online versions.
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