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Stephen Mejias
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Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

In this month's "As We See It," Jason Victor Serinus writes, "There are times when high-end audio can actually sound better, and move us more, than the in-person experience."

Do you agree? Have there been times when a live performance failed to match the experience of listening to the same piece of work at home? In what ways can your stereo provide a better experience than a live music event?

JIMV
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

I strongly agree..I have attended maybe 100 concerts of various types over the last 40 years and have to say that only 3 or 4 were magic

1. Joan Baez at the Beacon Theater in NYC early 1980's
2. Lorenna McKennet at the state theater in Portland in the 1990's
3. Gordon Lightfoot at Merill Hall in Portland Me around 2005

Maybe one or two others (I do not include Broadway or plays of any type as they are always better than a soundtrack as is Opera)

All the others suffered from lousy engineering, rotten seats, poor acoustics, half-hearted performance and audience racket.

That is not to say that the event was not fun, just not a way to seriously listen to music.

lwhitefl
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

I agree a good audio system can sound better than a live performance. My audio system conveys precise positions, individual instrumental characteristics and dimensionality that are often impossible to hear in music venues with loud PA systems, or cavernous concert hall seating positions.

IMO in terms of quality sound, only acoustic music events in acoustically designed music halls or intimate clubs exceed a well executed home audio system.

JIMV
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

That is another good example, or caveat. I have really enjoyed cabaret and piano bar sorts of performances over the years and have never heard a live recording of such an event that comes close. Perhaps the smallness of the venue or the intimacy of he event makes recording impossible to duplicate.

RGibran
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:
In this month's "As We See It," Jason Victor Serinus writes, "There are times when high-end audio can actually sound better, and move us more, than the in-person experience."

And JGH just rolled over in his grave! Jason Victor are you serious?

I don't care who you are. When you start to think your system sounds better than live, you need to get out more often!

Monty
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

If you've ever seen Ozzy live, you have little doubt as to the validity of JVS's observation.

Buddha
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

JIMV, great examples you have listed.

When we ain't talking politics, I like your ear!

Plenty examples of home beating 'live,' but it's apples and oranges.

Sometimes, a symphony is great because I got to see my wife in (and out) of an evening gown, got to go have a nice dinner with just the two of us, liked the fact that someone else was doing the 'programming,' so to speak, etc....

Other times, I just want Haydn 88/89, and I want it now. Plus, if ain't nobody gonna be playing that piece at the symphony for the next decade, then I'll take the recording every time!

Right now, it's T-shirt and sweats and "Arabic Grooves," far superior to going out in BF Norcal and looking for live Arabic tunes.

Many live venues suck, sonically, too.

But, with live there is the epiphenomenon of 'relating' to the performer, with the performer moving an audience in real time and, in turn, the audience moving the artist. I love the vibe of such a thing and no amount of Hi Fi could ever recreate that frisson, even with better sonics.

Other times, the wife may want to cuddle up and listen to Coltrane. I'm his current live show would suck, utterly.

Recordings also allow me to travel in time to venues I've never been and to moments I could never have captured, so Hi Fi becomes my surrogate.

There are plusses and minuses to all of this....

Was I really meant to hear Carmen 200 times? Do we live in an age of artificial familiarity with great pieces of music? Are they ever diminished by repetition or performance on demand, with no effort put forth on my part or the artist's part?

Should we really need to hear repeat performances of "Live at the Pawnshop" in moments other than when it was created (if that?)

I love this question, obviously.

If Stephen Tyler needs to use heroin in order to pretend "Dream On" rocks {your city name here} 100 times per year, what does that say about us listeners and our infinite capacity for repetition?

Are we in some more mature way similar to two-year-olds who can play

JIMV
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

I believe we are in a golden age for recorded music...almost anything is available at the click of a mouse and the old problems with vinyl or digital are mostly gone in good systems. Venues for live music are better than ever and not a matter for guesswork.

Some events are a combination of visual and aural, which is why recordings of Opera or Broadway simply cannot approach live but simple music performance is often better when all the problems that mask the music at an event are gone...The idiot next to you talking into his cell, the 500db sound system with 100db speakers, the half drunk performer simply reading his lines, or the seat off to the right in back of the post...all that goes away with a good recording.

Yes, a good recording on a good system often trumps a poor performance in a bad venue live.

JasonVSerinus
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:

Quote:
In this month's "As We See It," Jason Victor Serinus writes, "There are times when high-end audio can actually sound better, and move us more, than the in-person experience."

And JGH just rolled over in his grave! Jason Victor are you serious?

I don't care who you are. When you start to think your system sounds better than live, you need to get out more often!

This month alone, I will have attended three live operas, one symphony date, one musical show close up, and one hip-hop opera/dance performance. Wait, make that countless more shows, because I'll be performing myself, and going room-to-room blogging some of the 40 other performances. Everyone one of those except the operas will be in a different venue, the majority intimate. And that's a slow month for me. I had to cancel two symphony nights and one recital due to lack of time.

Lick-T
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

As far as I know, JVS might see and hear unamplified music performances more than any other Stereophile writer. In this regard, I feel he knows of what he speaks.

I have had many similar experiences to what JVS writes about in this month

JIMV
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

About that audience thing. Try that when the audience is full of idiots holding conversations or playing on the mobile...

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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Because we shared a vision for our ideal sound, JA miked and mixed the album in a way that accentuated these qualities. Had we been recording Bob playing Bach
RGibran
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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This month alone, I will have attended three live operas, one symphony date, one musical show close up, and one hip-hop opera/dance performance. Wait, make that countless more shows, because I'll be performing myself, and going room-to-room blogging some of the 40 other performances. Everyone one of those except the operas will be in a different venue, the majority intimate. And that's a slow month for me. I had to cancel two symphony nights and one recital due to lack of time.

Yes, we remember the piece you penned in 2006, What's Real

Buddha
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

In the past month, I attended an intimate event with several Sikh's I hang with here in the wastelend of NorCal, with many players playing in a group at the Sikh temple (which I was alloed in to and lightning did not strike me dead) with groovy time spent listening to dilruba, taus, sarangi, and a rare collectible saranda. There wera pakawaj, rabaab, and sitar players, table and sarode, too. There were drums I can't remember the name of, and four generations amongst the listeners and performers.

The air was scented with exotic spice, and the food and atmosphere were killer.

(I think I'll see if my wife and kids would like to become Sikhs with me, I really love that group of people.)

No matter the recording quality, I ain't never gonna top that with my Hi Fi.

It really made me want to join a freaking religion, it was so great!

Heck, they had me at the potato and pea samozas, but I digress.

Tonight it's Joanna Newsome on the Hi Fi. See, now, in real life I would have had to arrange tickets, gone to the trouble of going out, and faced the daunting gauntlet of PA sound systems....and this way, listening to it at home, I can turn it right off and play something else!

I love knowing KOB by heart....but should it be that way?....yes!....no!...

Did you know that at the annual Sikh Diwali festival, it is the job of the people manning the street tents and cookeries to give away their food?

Try that at one of the street fairs in San Francisco!

Now, I'm listening to Natacha Atlas sing "Mani" and didn't even have to go to Algeria.

I also deeply appreciate the world music angle of recorded music. As JIMV pointed out, we live in the age of miracles and wonders, and that goes double for searching out music from around this great planet.

Lick-T
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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About that audience thing. Try that when the audience is full of idiots holding conversations or playing on the mobile...

True dat JIMV. But magic CAN happen in the concert hall.

JIMV
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

Stereo cannot compete with samosa's and lamb...

JIMV
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:

Quote:
About that audience thing. Try that when the audience is full of idiots holding conversations or playing on the mobile...

True dat JIMV. But magic CAN happen in the concert hall.


Agreed, but it should be neither as rare or expensive.

smejias
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:
Tonight it's Joanna Newsome on the Hi Fi. See, now, in real life I would have had to arrange tickets, gone to the trouble of going out, and faced the daunting gauntlet of PA sound systems....and this way, listening to it at home, I can turn it right off and play something else!


This is a job for the shocked emoticon.

Orb
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Quote:
This month alone, I will have attended three live operas, one symphony date, one musical show close up, and one hip-hop opera/dance performance. Wait, make that countless more shows, because I'll be performing myself, and going room-to-room blogging some of the 40 other performances. Everyone one of those except the operas will be in a different venue, the majority intimate. And that's a slow month for me. I had to cancel two symphony nights and one recital due to lack of time.

Yes, we remember the piece you penned in 2006, What's Real


Just read that and was really enjoyable.
Thanks for a great article and thanks also to rgibran for linking it for those of us that missed it in the past.

Cheers
Orb

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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:

Quote:
Tonight it's Joanna Newsome on the Hi Fi. See, now, in real life I would have had to arrange tickets, gone to the trouble of going out, and faced the daunting gauntlet of PA sound systems....and this way, listening to it at home, I can turn it right off and play something else!


This is a job for the shocked emoticon.

I hid that in there, just for you, man!

Christian Slater is to Jack Nicholson as Joanna Newsome is to Kate Bush, if that makes any sense!

rvance
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Christian Slater is to Jack Nicholson as Joanna Newsome is to Kate Bush, if that makes any sense!

Does Joanna Newsome have a history of violent confrontations with the police?

Elk
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Was I really meant to hear Carmen 200 times? Do we live in an age of artificial familiarity with great pieces of music?


A delicious question. 'Artificial familiarity" is it.

Our knowledge and appreciation, in a sense, stems from deconstruction. We also do this to Shakespeare.

And do we really benefit from absolutely note perfect recorded performances?

Most performances I attend and/or record are classical and in a well-designed venue. No sound system even comes close (nor do my recordings).

There are plenty of times however that I have attended an amplified jazz or rock performance and would prefer to be home as far as the sound goes - but the energy and sense of "event" would be lost.

One odd thing is how we compare live sound to reproduced sound as if the reproduction is the model. We object that live sound doesn't have precise imaging, perfect tonal balance, etc.

Of course it doesn't. Acoustic sound does not have the same type of imaging nor sound qualities of live sound.

Elk
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Since they gave us working types random, leftover seats, I got to sit in many locations in Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall.

...

Compared to the live experience, the Reference Recordings all made the orchestra sound lit by Technicolor. Via the Reference Recordings of Mn Orch, each the orchestral timbres were rendered much more distinctly and the physical separation between instrumental sections was much greater than anything I heard live in the hall. Also the orchestra sound had much greater sparkle on disc than it did live. The sound of the hall's decay on these discs sounded much brighter and clearer than what any concert goers heard live, in any seat in the space.


Beautifully described, Eric.

Would you trade hearing the orchestra while sitting in one of the choice seats for listening only to the recordings?

The recordings can be "better" in some ways, but to me they really don't capture hearing a full orchestra live.

JasonVSerinus
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:

Quote:
Was I really meant to hear Carmen 200 times? Do we live in an age of artificial familiarity with great pieces of music?

One odd thing is how we compare live sound to reproduced sound as if the reproduction is the model. We object that live sound doesn't have precise imaging, perfect tonal balance, etc.

Of course it doesn't. Acoustic sound does not have the same type of imaging nor sound qualities of live sound.

I believe you meant to say,
Acoustic sound does not have the same type of imaging nor sound qualities of amplified sound.

Yes. But as I suggest in my AWSI, it's pretty dismaying when acoustic sound resembles the worst that poorly amplified or poorly reproduced sound has to offer.

Elk
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Quote:
Because we shared a vision for our ideal sound, JA miked and mixed the album in a way that accentuated these qualities. Had we been recording Bob playing Bach
Buddha
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:

Quote:

Christian Slater is to Jack Nicholson as Joanna Newsome is to Kate Bush, if that makes any sense!

Does Joanna Newsome have a history of violent confrontations with the police?

No, but she does practice harp abuse.

FSonicSmith
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Recycling of thoughts is not being green, it's more like dull ru

My mama used to be a marathon runner. She was so into it that when not running, she spent her free time reading "Running" magazine cover to cover til the next issue arrived. One day she put her new issue down and announced, "this used to so fun, but I now realize they are recycling the same stuff over and over again. That is the way I felt when I saw where Victor was going with his AWSI. IIRC, it was Mikey though it may have been Art or Mr. Baird or someone else entirely who did a piece a few years previously about going to see a great jazz trio at TVV in Manhattan and being squished elbow to elbow with some tourist wearing a face mask and coughing incessantly while being seated in the back where the acoustics were worse than the usual poor acoustics and several other mood killers that destroyed the experience. He of course made the same point; we can't control the live experience but we can control our own listening rooms (unless we have wives).
You gots to pick your poison, I say. I have lived in C-Bus O-HI-O for 30 years and have never been to the State Fair. On purpose. But this year Devo is playing at the Fair and my teenage son and I are going. I can't see Devo sitting in my listening room. So off to the Fair I will go and I will take my chances amongst the elephant ears and butter sculptures and rosey faced 4Hers who have no idea who or what DEVO is. I am going for the experience. If there is good sound, that will be an unexpected bonus. As to my subject line, I think it's bad enough that the reviewers tend to use the same lines and musical references over and over when reviewing equipment. Keep the AWSIs fresh and relevant. It's the beginning of the "read" for most of us, and starting off badly is like starting off a nice meal out with a really crappy appetizer.

JIMV
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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There are plenty of times however that I have attended an amplified jazz or rock performance and would prefer to be home as far as the sound goes - but the energy and sense of "event" would be lost.

The 'sense of the event'

Elk
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He of course made the same point; we can't control the live experience but we can control our own listening rooms . . .


Good point.

Enjoy Devo!

fitzcaraldo215
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

I go to quite a few live classical concerts myself in decent venues, and jazz, as well. I have also been to a few large and smaller-scale rock concerts. I think for the purposes of this topic it is important to keep rock/pop concerts separate from classical or jazz because there is usually a world of difference in the acoustic quality of the venue. Not to poke at rock fans, but the acoustics of their concerts usually, not always, in no way resemble classics or jazz. And, there is also the issue of acoustic vs. electonically amplified instruments and vocals.

But, JVS was talking about the typically better venue, the classical one. No doubt there are "bad" seats in any concert hall, short of the ideal, and each one is different. But, in over 50 years of listening live at concerts and in improving and constantly upgrading my audio system, I have never had an experience as JVS describes. My seats were not always the best, and I have experienced a fair number of halls in my native Philly, in New York and in Europe. I have a system that's not shabby - MSRP in the $60K range - and I have listened to a pretty fair cross section of some of the most highly regarded stuff from your pages. Bottom line, live is live and sounds live. Stereo, though greatly improved over the years, has never been able to remotely compare, in my view.

If JVS had said what he said comparing it to a hi rez multichannel system, rather than stereo, it might have more credibility for me. But, stereo? No way. No matter how expensive or highly praised, it gets nowhere near the live experience in a good acoustic venue. The effects of the hall reflections, which are an inseparable piece of the live experience, are just royally screwed up in stereo. If they are there at all, they are redirected at us from the wrong angles. Even the advantages in realism of a center speaker in 3 channel are quite obvious in the Mercury and RCA remasterings on SACD. I almost never listen to stereo any more, now that I an tuned in to what it lacks vs. live music. Hi rez Mch is simply miles ahead in recreating the live experience, though it still has a ways to go.

So, I know JVS and all you guys are big fan boys for stereo and what it can do. But, this is typical hyperbole and overreaching in your enthusiasm for your sound and your industry, and is basically crap, IMHO. Now, if Kal Rubinson had written this piece, I would have to mind my tongue and pay attention. But, knowing Kal quite well from his writings, I know he would just not make these unrealistic assertions.

Buddha
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

So, I broke down and went to a Joanna Newsome concert.

It was my 16th day in a row of live music in the past two weeks, and we were in seats T1 and T3.

The sound was kind of strident and a quarter tone to a half tone off pitch. The intonation was all wrong.

I suggested to my friend, Big Mike, that we move to seats A1 and A2 at the bar across the street.

"Do you think moving to another club across the street will make a difference?" he asked.

I suppressed a wink.

"Only one way to find out."

Those 90 feet turned out to be crucial....

(I got my July issue today.... ....)

RGibran
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Who was in T2?

I knew you'd come through!

Hey, you forgot to list your system and tweaks.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

So it appears that the "state of mind" has much to do with this issue? HMMMM.

I would tend to agree with JVS. Each venue would be akin to all of the sound qualities of all the different loudspeakers we each own and enjoy...to a degree. Then we throw in the varied seating positions and patron noises and we should not be surprised that the experience is varied.

I do think that the "at home concert" AD enjoyed is a much better test and is something I am considering doing for a test. Even a talented college string or wind player could fit the bill for an intimate performance. I have one coming up doing a recording for a band director (soporano sax) who is submitting recodings for her Doctoral application. It will be at her home with piano accompniment.

I have heard the ASO a few times in different seating locations and have found the sound there to be generally very good, even in the last row balcony.

Even at Emerson Hall at Emory in their smaller venue just about any seating position is excellent. That hall is tall, long and narrow with a seating capacity of only about a few hundred tops. I've posted a photo of it in the gallery.

Buddha
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:
Who was in T2?

I knew you'd come through!

Hey, you forgot to list your system and tweaks.

I'm changing things around. Now, I listen only to tweaks and don't need the electronics and speaker stuff any more.

Buddha
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


Quote:
So it appears that the "state of mind" has much to do with this issue? HMMMM.

I would tend to agree with JVS. Each venue would be akin to all of the sound qualities of all the different loudspeakers we each own and enjoy...to a degree. Then we throw in the varied seating positions and patron noises and we should not be surprised that the experience is varied.

I do think that the "at home concert" AD enjoyed is a much better test and is something I am considering doing for a test. Even a talented college string or wind player could fit the bill for an intimate performance. I have one coming up doing a recording for a band director (soporano sax) who is submitting recodings for her Doctoral application. It will be at her home with piano accompniment.

I have heard the ASO a few times in different seating locations and have found the sound there to be generally very good, even in the last row balcony.

Even at Emerson Hall at Emory in their smaller venue just about any seating position is excellent. That hall is tall, long and narrow with a seating capacity of only about a few hundred tops. I've posted a photo of it in the gallery.

I've been to several "house concerts" and have never had a downer experience.

I'd love to see this movement continue to grow.

We are trying to get one set up in our place with a singer/songwriter/guitarist we are fond of, but one requirement is to find him a second local gig...which is tough - outside my realm of "how to!"

Lick-T
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Would you trade hearing the orchestra while sitting in one of the choice seats for listening only to the recordings?

I would rather hear the orchestra live in any seat in Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall than listen to a CD.

Buddha
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Would you trade hearing the orchestra while sitting in one of the choice seats for listening only to the recordings?

I would rather hear the orchestra live in any seat in Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall than listen to a CD.

Don't forget that the editorial was yet another "which type are you" piece.

Fuzzy, woodie, sharpener, leveller, live, Memorex....

Great for generating conversations!

(Or, is it divide and conquer?)

Now, if y'all will pardon me, I'm off to attend my seventh live Wagner performance in the past 45 minutes.

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Now, if y'all will pardon me, I'm off to attend my seventh live Wagner performance in the past 45 minutes.

I'll join you for the Magic Fire music and the Immolation Scene, Buddha. Save me the hottest seat in the house.

Buddha
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Now, if y'all will pardon me, I'm off to attend my seventh live Wagner performance in the past 45 minutes.

I'll join you for the Magic Fire music and the Immolation Scene, Buddha. Save me the hottest seat in the house.

Jason, wherever you are is the hottest place to be!

JasonVSerinus
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Quote:

Quote:

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Now, if y'all will pardon me, I'm off to attend my seventh live Wagner performance in the past 45 minutes.

I'll join you for the Magic Fire music and the Immolation Scene, Buddha. Save me the hottest seat in the house.

Jason, wherever you are is the hottest place to be!

Oh Buddah. If only I weren't married...

Buddha
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

Which reminds me.

Did you catch any of the L.A. Opera's new version of the Ring?

The visuals were spectacular!

Elk
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Would you trade hearing the orchestra while sitting in one of the choice seats for listening only to the recordings?

I would rather hear the orchestra live in any seat in Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall than listen to a CD.


Me, too - even if more detail can be heard in an excellent recording.

I know Orchestral Hall wall (three blocks away at the moment) from both playing on stage and listening in the audience. While the Reference Recordings made there are spectacular (and I would adore sitting in on a session!) I don't really hear Orchestral Hall in the recordings the same way as I do when I am there.

Lick-T
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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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While the Reference Recordings made there are spectacular (and I would adore sitting in on a session!) I don't really hear Orchestral Hall in the recordings the same way as I do when I am there.

I could not agree with you more. These albums sound very "hi fi" to me most of the time.

The album that really falls flat for me is the Rite of Spring recording. The woodwinds are miked so close and mixed so loudly in the opening that when the ferocious rhythmic strings come in, there is not enough contrast to serve the music IMHO. To me, the opening of RoS needs to have a distant, burbling and churning sound that is suddenly interrupted by the strings. The Reference Recordings version favors catching all of the orchestral instruments' color and emphasising seperation in favor of the natural perspective you would get in the hall.

That said Reference Recordings are generally very impressive sonically and I wish I knew all of the tricks Keith Johnson knows.

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Hi Buddha,

I live in SF, and don't have the resources to fly to operas I'm not reviewing. Frederica von Stade's farewell in Carnegie Hall was an exception, and I did that on a free trip from SWA. (Three cheers for all the shows I blog for Stereophile; they made it possible).

I did, however, just see Die Walk

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The Reference Recordings version favors catching all of the orchestral instruments' color and emphasizing separation in favor of the natural perspective you would get in the hall.


Superb description.


Quote:
I wish I knew all of the tricks Keith Johnson knows.


Indeed!

I somewhat hate to admit it, but if I am recording something with significant timpani I will sometimes use a spot mic. This provides that solid, crisp thwackboom we are used to hearing in recordings. It's a compelling sound.

I am afraid that experimenting with spot miking is like trying crack . . .

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Quote:

Quote:
While the Reference Recordings made there are spectacular (and I would adore sitting in on a session!) I don't really hear Orchestral Hall in the recordings the same way as I do when I am there.

I could not agree with you more. These albums sound very "hi fi" to me most of the time.

The album that really falls flat for me is the Rite of Spring recording. The woodwinds are miked so close and mixed so loudly in the opening that when the ferocious rhythmic strings come in, there is not enough contrast to serve the music IMHO. To me, the opening of RoS needs to have a distant, burbling and churning sound that is suddenly interrupted by the strings. The Reference Recordings version favors catching all of the orchestral instruments' color and emphasising seperation in favor of the natural perspective you would get in the hall.

That said Reference Recordings are generally very impressive sonically and I wish I knew all of the tricks Keith Johnson knows.

Has anyone who criticizes these recordings listened to them in either HDCD or 176.4/24 HRx format? Do your criticisms still hold? I ask because both formats move the sound a major step closer to what Keith was attempting to create. This may not change your criticism - I really don't know - but it's an important question. Because if the 176.4/24 master version sounds much closer to the real thing, then your indictment is more of the CD medium's limitations than the recording process itself.

jason

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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True


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Has anyone who criticizes these recordings listened to them in either HDCD or 176.4/24 HRx format?

Yes indeed. My old Classe CD player decoded HDCD and that's how I listened to all of those old Reference Recordings back in the day. I also used to sell Levinson back in 2000-02 and we had the top Levinson digital gear at the store, which also decoded HDCD.

For me, my criticism lies not in the quality of the recording, but the choices made in recording and mixing some of these albums. Mind you, I feel that many of these recordings do not suffer from overproduction. However I feel they all shoot for a slightly technicolor presentation of the orchestra. Sometimes this presetnation goes a bit far and presents an orchestra sound that is beyond real and occasionally (as in my Rite of Spring example) does not serve the music.

Contrast the Reference Recordings albums of Minnesota Orchestra with the more recent BIS records of the Beethoven cycle. Same hall, mostly same players, VERY different presentation of the orchestra on a recording.

To me the BIS recordings sound more like that orchestra in that hall. Whereas the RR albums sound like a Platonic version of what an orchestra "should" sould like but never does. Both sound awesome.

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I am afraid that experimenting with spot miking is like trying crack . . .

Yeah. You should spot mic the singers for sure, and the whole woodwind section, and the solo violin, and the violas (you can't have enough viola) and the harpsichord and, and, and...

Yep, its crack alright.

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Quote:

Quote:
I am afraid that experimenting with spot miking is like trying crack . . .

Yeah. You should spot mic the singers for sure, and the whole woodwind section, and the solo violin, and the violas (you can't have enough viola) and the harpsichord and, and, and...

Yep, its crack alright.

I've noticed on many recordings (in all catagories) that spot miking wood and skin instruments adds an organic texture that increases my involvement with the music and artist(s). And on many rock recordings, the separation and emphasis of different instruments can change from song to song depending on the levels chosen by the engineer. It's a real artistic balancing act and a wonder recordings get made without endless noodling and experimentation. It would drive me crazy to be responsible for those decisions!

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It's a real artistic balancing act and a wonder recordings get made without endless noodling and experimentation.

Oh, but that's how they're ALL made!

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Re: Live as Canned, Reproduced as True

Showing just how complex concert halls and symphony orchestra sound quality is the following masters thesis I am linking (sorry to say it has a lot of detail and runs to 61 pages).
This thesis is interesting as it is actually based on a commission by Chalmers Room Acoustic Group for a professional symphony to improve the stage acoustics at their main concert hall, with focus on both musicians and their diverse instruments/location-section on stage and audience.
https://document.chalmers.se/download?docid=1108191524

Cheers
Orb

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