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SQC Club Международные соревнования по качеству звучания в автомобилях.

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Старый 29.06.2016, 14:17   #1
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По умолчанию SQC Club Competition Disc 2016 – The Methods of judging

SQC Club Competition Disc 2016 – The Methods of judging

Technical tracks to check the sound stage (2-6 tracks).

The above mentioned tracks are the 5 different instruments arranged by means of a panning according to 5 points: Left - Right - Center – Left Center (LC) - Right Center (RC).

Each instrument (the middle Tom (peak of 120 Hz), Bongo (peak of 300 Hz), A strike on the glass (the peak of the strike 1 kHz, an echo of the glass vessel 400 Hz), Triangle (6-12 kHz), Piano (from 100 Hz - 5 kHz) should stay as follows: - Left - Right - Center (2 times) then Left - Center - Left Center (2 times), then Right - Center - Right Center (2 times).

The Center should be clear in the center with respect to the left and right edges. Also, Left-Center must be in the Center with respect to the Left edge and the Center. Accordingly, the Right Center must be at the center with respect to Center and the right edge. All instruments are played in the same vertical line!

Each instrument must be well focused in its place, again, with respect to its size! For example, the images of the Middle Tom and Piano will be greater than Bongo, The strike on the Glass and Triangle, but not much more.

How to assess the location - if all 5 instruments are in their places, then 1 point is given for each one. For each instrument which is placed incorrectly 0 points are given. For example: The Left edge is at the pillar, the Right edge is also at the pillar. If the Center is clearly between the edges - 3 points are given, that's right. If the LC is shifted with respect to the LC and C – 0 points are given. The same with the RC.

The vertical - if, for example, Bongo sounds from one place, and the Middle Tom slightly to the right or to the left - it's wrong. In this case, 0 points are given for the instrument, which location differs very much from other instruments’ location in the vertical line.

How to assess the focus of the instruments - the sound should proceed from a single point, it should be focused, not smeared around the sides and without rebounds aside. For each wrongly sounding instrument 0 points are given.

Tracks 7 and 8. Ambience. Sound space. The tridimentionality (3D)

It’s very easy. The great album of Roger Waters which was recorded in 1992 using the QSound technology, that allows to achieve the tridimensional and voluminous sounding at the 2-channel stereo system.

The 7th track - at the very beginning at the 11th second the dogs start to bark. They must bark behind you, i.e. behind the head. It’s easy to evaluate: If the dogs bark behind you, in the back seats area – 1 point. If the dogs bark at the level of the ear, on the right, or it can’t be defined where the sound of the barking is (but definitely not behind you) – 0 points.

The 8th track – The ringing of the bells of the team of horses that are approaching in the direction of the listener is heard on the background of a woodcutter in the far left corner of the stage. The effect in that the team of horses must pass diagonally by the listener from the far left edge (the area of the left front pillar) to the right rear pillar. It's amazing, but such effect can be shown only by the properly configured system with excellent transfer of the depth, width and height of the stage. The automobile with unphased system is not able to show this effect.

It’s easy to evaluate: If the horses ran behind you to the back seat – 1 point. If they just ran to the right, or didn’t cross the front seats – 0 points.

Track 9 - Helge Lien Trio - Natsukashii

The hissing reverberation is being heard from the very beginning of the recording during the sound of the key. The microphone is overloaded, but it’s normal, and if this overloading is not heard clearly at the beginning of the recording, then, the sound will be shrouded in this system. This especially impacts on percussions, because in the majority they sound high.

All the instruments must be heard at the same level of the sound volume! If something bulges, then some melody can appear, which in general is not typical for this collective.

No melody! Only harmonious mood, and association with the album cover, fabulous sounds which sometimes bring to life by the sub-bass. The air usually moves in the car at 01.36.

12 points – Wonderful! The composition fully conveys the effect of immersion in the mood of the musicians! No separately playing instruments, one and all create beautiful music. Low frequencies at the above mentioned time intervals sway the with just an enormous invisible wave in the entire room wherever this music is heard! There are no questions to the presentation of the material.

11-10 points – Everything is fine, but the atmosphere of the music can’t be fully sensed. Something stands out from the background, some instrument is a little bit, tonally, not fully authentic

9-7 points – Some of the instruments stands out from the rest by the level. No bass segments that move the air are heard. Perhaps, low frequencies are greatly exaggerated.

6-4 points - A full welter, some melodies are playing, but it’s not comfortable to listen. It seems like every musician plays by himself.

3-1 points - Keep silent, hussars!

Track 10 – Isn’t She Lovely

The iconic track for the audiophiles by Livingston Taylor who is a singer-songwriter. It can be often found in the different demonstrational collections. It is rightly considered as one of the most difficult tracks for the tonally correct playback in automotive systems!

The singer is a little bit more to the left from the center, it can be compared with the clock (it is 3-4 minutes to 12). At the beginning of the track he starts to whistle. And it can be said that this whistle is divided into 2 components: the whistle itself and the aspiration. The aspiration must not prevail over the whistle, but the whistle in its turn, must not be intrusive and resonate. The whistle is clearly focused in one place, no rebounds, no “deviation” to the right or left - everything is in place. Then the vocalist starts singing. The vocal is beautiful, open, going well enough down over the frequency range. The focusing of the vocal is exactly in the same place as the whistle. At the very beginning it must be heard as Livingston raps in a step to the music on a wooden stage, this is the knocking sound of the pretty low frequency.

12-11 points – Amazing! Everything is very beautiful and sounds naturally, the minor details of what is happening on the stage are heard! The car transforms as if into the small hall! All the instruments perfectly complement each other, but, the beautiful male vocal pulls at the heart-strings above all. The whistle at the beginning of the track is very natural. Closing your eyes, you can exactly define living natural sound. Nothing prevents you from enjoying this gorgeous work!

10-8 points – Great! Everything is balanced enough, but hearing some moments you understand that this record limits your entry into deep nirvana. You can’t get rid of the feeling of being in the car.

7-5 points – Fine, if you don’t listen attentively. Well, the man is singing, ok)). The whistle sounds not so naturally, it sets the teeth on edge in some moments. It may give the impression that the whistle and the vocal are located in different places. There is a desire to turn the music down a bit. But overall it’s not bad.

4-1 points - This is bad enough. The voice is not natural, as if it floats across the stage. The same thing with a whistle, it sets the teeth on edge or sometimes breaks away into resonance. The stage is not stable, the vocal and the whistle swim the back and forth.

Track 11 - You Haven't Done Nothin'

Before setting upon the recording, it should be said about the process of the recording itself.

This is one of the best examples of Chesky Records studio! The first thing that marks it is that the process of the recording takes place not in the studio, but in the natural acoustic conditions for the musicians: in the concert halls, churches, small clubs. In such spaces the sound is most realistic and beautiful, no match for any of the best sound processors! The equipment is created from scratch specially for each of the spaces! All the equipment is “warmed up” before getting down to work, it is exposed to the sound check with the musicians, to test that the desired sound is being produced. The recording itself can last from 1 to 4 days depending on the type of the music. Instead of dotted record of each instrument a very special microphone Soundfield Mark V is used, which “sees” and “hears” the space by 360 °, reproducing all the minor details right up to the room. This microphone gives analytical accuracy and astonishing holographic spatial depth to the records! The electronics of the audiophiles that are created by the specialists of the studio allows to record even the lowest levels with the high accuracy, opening a huge dynamic range for the listener.

All the instruments and the vocal were recorded together in this track. The main goal of the studio is - to capture the moment and convey it with all the colors for the listener. In order to preserve the richness of the recording, and the full dynamic range, the studio does not use any compressors in the signal path.

What is so interesting in this record? The saxophone participates to the left in the depths, the contrabass is to the right (and the contrabassist hums with his lips all the time, the kind of beatbox) in it. It should be noted that he must be heard very well during the whole track. The female vocal is in the center. The general atmosphere of the track is - the feeling that the number of the instruments is greater, the size and the space in which the recording took place are heard very well, this can be noted from the arrangement of the musicians. The saxophone to the left is removed a little inland, thereby expanding the scene even more. The saxophone is slightly higher according to the location than the contrabass, if we look horizontally. But just a little bit! The contrabass must not play in the car too low with the respect to the saxophone.

12-11 points – Brilliantly! It seems like you're behind the microphone which is recording this track. The space is open; it can be heard like the room plays alone with the musicians, especially saxophone. The vocal is saturated, sometimes bluff, but not enough to wince from it. It’s very natural! The contrabass is a little convulsive but very taut.

10-8 points – Excellent! All the musicians are in their places, everything is audible, but it lacks the feeling of space, and it can look like studio recording. The contrabass is a little “fat” and “bloated” at the bass. Well, maybe it’s beautiful enough, but it doesn’t play live like that. But it’s a live record.

7-5 points – It’s not bad in general. The contrabass localizes too low to the right. The vocal is a little boring, but quite normal to listen. The beatbox effect in the refrains is no longer audible so clearly. The general impression is – unremarkable recording.

4-1 points - It would be desirable to reduce bass or general volume in a system a little with the first entry of the contrabass, because buzz is clearly heard. The saxophone to the left is a little screaming, the vocal is not fascinating, but frankly annoying.

Track 12 – Angels

It would seem that we deal with unremarkable representatives of the indie scene, however, there is something special in their creativity that distinguishes this team from the thousands of similar young bands. You can call it whatever you like: sincerity, honesty, straightforwardness - all options are correct. There are two voices responsible for the vocal: male - Oliver Sim, and female - Romy Croft. They sound harmoniously: romance and sensuality, sadness and joy, tenderness and severe dignity are intertwined together in this dialogue. As for the musical content, the influence of the classics of rock of the 60s is heard there: The Kinks, The Animals, also the representatives of the new wave: The Cure and New Order. An unhurried post-punk guitar, relief funk bass and smooth, delicate bit of a drum machine are - a minimum set of tools, allowing to achieve very special, full-fledged sound in a wide range of moods: from the dreamy sadness and twilight melancholy to the sublime enlightenment.

In our case, the title track “Angels” from the album “Coexist” is considered. The general impression about the track is – airy, filled with the wraparound bass support. But the main thing for the participants and judges to note is - the vocal of Romy Croft. Below is the text of the first couplet, this will be quite enough for the scoring:






* - the moments that are most exposed to the “muttering”

When Romy starts singing, her voice passes very well over the problematic range, and in most cases we hear muttering instead of the beautiful languid female vocal.
And at the same time, the voice must not be too lightweight, the “fullness” must be heard in it. The vocal must sound lightly and beautiful, without the extraneous overtones. The 3rd line of the couplet is most exposed to these problems. If you can hear every word clearly and filled, the assessment should be high, the same applies to the entire couplet in general. The voice in any case must not be louder than music.

12-11 points - Great, atmospheric, air track! The vocal drives the listener mad as a hypnosis. Nothing should hinder the listening!

10-8 points – It’s still great, but sometimes you feel that nevertheless this is the stereo system. There are still minor flaws that interfere with enjoying the music at full strength.

7-5 points – It’s normal, but something is wrong sometimes. The bass component is heard too much and it’s a little rough, or vice versa, the component is a bit lacking, and it’s too facilitated. The vocal doesn’t make you believe in miracle, and some words are hardly distinguishable because of the muttering.

4-3 points – There are obvious problems with the vocal. The 3rd line of the 1st couplet sounds like unpleasant muttering. In all other respects, it’s not interesting to listen because of the vocal problems.

1-2 points – Come on! Are you serious?

Track 13 – Girl From Ipanema

This is another very old and well-known track used as an acid test for any audio system)

The male vocal is entering. It must be really manlike! Such vocal is called “baritonal tenor”. It’s clearly heard, and it doesn’t create any hum and splashes in the combination with the later coming contrabass in the region of 120-150 Hz. The contrabass is well audible and it sounds at a volume limit, but not louder than the vocal and it must not buzz! The female vocal enters next, in the right channel, it’s very beautiful and open. It localizes quite high along the scene horizontal, at eye level.

12-11 points – Super! Could you ever think that the record of the 60s may sound so magical? The male vocal charms, it makes you disconnect from the world and just listen, listen! It is very velvety low, at the same time it is tender, and every word is well audible! The contrabass sounds ideally, it does not prevail over the vocal, also it doesn’t weaken.

10-8 points – Excellent! The vocal is pleasant, but when it leaves to the lowest notes, some voice unrest appears. The contrabass is really on the edge, sometimes it also merges with the vocal, which does not color the overall picture very much, but in general everything is detailed and very beautiful.

7-5 points – Good. It can be listened without squinting). Though, there is a problem in the voice, it buzzes, distracting from the listening pleasure. The contrabass extends beyond its acoustics capabilities.

4-1 points – It is bad enough. It’s not interesting to listen because the half of the words merged into the muttering. You want to switch or turn the music down.

Track 14 – Both Sides Now

This track was chosen for the Best Audiophile Voices II for good reason. The recording is on the edge).

Note the piano attack from the 1st and to the 12th second. Taking into account the proximity of the microphone to the strings (copper ones) of the piano, the instrument must sound natural on the loud notes, without the "plastic" taste.
The female vocal contains a large amount of sibilants, and they must not stand out. The reverb tail (echo) must be heard very well at the 45-46th seconds. This aftersound even leaves in the depth of the scene.

12-11 points - Fascinating! Steve Dobrogosz’s piano playing makes you close the eyes and enjoy! There is nothing that could stop enjoying the magical female vocal! Nothing sticks out, there is no compulsion, everything is in detail and beautiful!

10-8 points – Excellent! It’s still quite fascinating, but there is something that spoils a picture even a little, the slightest nuances are lost. The assessment cannot longer be higher than 10 points.

7-5 points – Good. Though, you want to turn the music of the piano a little down at the first seconds. This is a sure sign of low evaluation. The same thing is with the vocal: if sometimes sibilants stick out, the assessment is reduced.

4-1 points – The feeling of a bad recording which is overloaded by the loudness of the music. It’s not very pleasant to listen to it. The vocalist is clearly more bigger than half the size of the windshield.

Track 15 – Next Question

Benny Greb is one of the world's best drummers in the professional milieu. It is said that he is not from our planet).
We will consider his gorgeous solo from the track “Next Question”. The arrangement of the drums corresponds to the visual image of a real drum set. The drum set is located between the edges of the left and right centers. The toms must not “sing”. All the beats are accurate and jerky. Every element of the drum set is audible. Note the aftersound of the crash cymbals, they must be continuously fading.

12-11 points - You just sit in front of playing Benny Greb). You literally see every single element of the set! You can clearly identify what and where is playing. In short, you listen not the recording, but the live drums!

10-8 points – Very well! All the localization and locations are clear and viewable. The toms join in the song. Here, the listening impression is a little decreasing.

7-5 points - There is a feeling of the sound vapidity and the lack of richness. Some elements of the set sound unnaturally.

4-1 points – It is impossible to define what and where is playing. A set of sounds with echoing beats by the toms. It doesn’t impress.

Track 16 – Alles Neu

In 2001, Peter Fox suffered from facial nerve paralysis that was not treated quickly enough because of a false diagnosis. The right side of his face still is slightly paralysed; however, that has become his own special signature, and this does not prevent him from singing and creating unique music).

In this case, we will examine the title track from the album “Stadtaffe”. The sound of the stringed instruments (rosin) is quite bright at high frequencies. But, it must not be “poisonous”! Peter’s native German gives the vocal even more brightness to the overall sound of the track. Any unevenness of the MF-HF range turns the listening into torture. The localization of the instruments of the orchestra corresponds to the standard arrangement of a symphony orchestra. The violoncellos are in right-center; the violins are in left-center. The back vocal sounds in the chorus on the background of the upstage (from 1min.02sec to 1min08sec). The bass is assembled, with the elements of the ultra-low frequency around 30 Hz (17th and 23rd seconds).

12-11 points – Amazing! The track just knocks you down with the pressure and dynamics! Everything is calibrated and on a large scale! You want to turn the music up! Nothing prevents you from enjoying this quite unexpected cover on a work by Shostakovich!

10-8 points – Excellent! The track is playing pretty smoothly, but there are some moments in the chorus when you want to turn the music down.

7-5 points - It creates the feeling that the level of MF range is slightly increased, the ultra-low frequency at 30 Hz is almost not heard. The track does not seem like it’s very well recorded.

4-1 points - It's almost on the verge of collapse. In some places it looks like a loud low-quality music in MP3 128 kbps.
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