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gdg
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Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I just got through reading Jason Victor Serinus's last 2 articles relating to how we judge audio "quality" in "How we see it". He has a real point when he notes that many (if not most) people don't use live acoustic sound as a reference and judge audio qualities very subjectively based on what they "like". I am a strong believer in using real unamplified instruments (including) voice as THE ultimate reference for how a piece of audio gear should sound. It is said that humans have poor "audio" memory but strangely I have found this to be completely false. While it may be hard to "remember" the sonic qualities of a piece of gear auditioned yesterday, the sound of real instruments that one has played with and listened to for hundreds or thousands of hours becomes part of you and something you never forget. In the mid eighties I played in the Jazz performance workshops offered at York University and participated in these ensembles for 3 years during all of the fall, winter and summer academic sessions. All the instruments were unamplified, except for electric guitar and the occasional electric bass. Strangely 20 years later, even though I no longer play, I can identify quite easily when a piece of audio gear gets it "right" using piano, upright bass and cymbals as references. While I may not notice when these are done wrong, I sit up, take notice and know immeadiately when they are being done "right". I find it both amusing and disturbing when I read the endless debates at Audio Asylum or Headfi as people search for, and argue about, their "prefered" sound in audio gear. This strikes me as utter nonsense since to me there is simply "right" and "wrong". The issue is NEVER what I want to hear or whether it is "pleasing" but rather, whether the equipment is capable of transmitting correctness of real live sound (assuming the origonal recording has an element of correctness to begin with). To seach for equipment that has audio qualities one finds pleasing ridiculous and akin to buying a TV monitor that exagerates one's favourite colors. This of course would never fly as a standard for assessing the quality of a video monitor but for some reason is acceptable in the audiophile world. Personaly I think the audiophile community lost it's way when it discarded the notion hi-fidelity as simply the accurate reproduction of the source, nothing more and nothing less. That's why I've lost patience with the audiophile mentality and lean more and more towards equipment used in studio where some semblance of "objectivity" still exists.

Monty
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I think there is still a healthy number of people within the audio community that subscribes to the accuracy perspective. If we could persuade the recording companies to deliver a relatively accurate recording to begin with, we could shove this debate in the right direction.

Still, as far as the gear is concerned, price limitations beg for compromises in sound quality. Since most of us can't afford the very best in equipment, we're stuck with having to choose the voicing characteristics that appeal to us...knowing that we are buying colorations. Once that process begins, it's simply a matter of taste on the part of the designer and the consumer.

gdg
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Agreed, to a point. One of the absolute best pieces of equipment I have ever encountered, the Benchmark Dac1, is dead accurate and relatively cheap to boot. The AKG K701s also fall in this catagory, yet both are seen by many as "sterile" and "analytic". I couldn't disagree more.
BTW one of my friends who is a poor University student did a little research, combined his PC with a Dac1 and the K701s and has virtually reference quality sound for an absolute pitance. In fact, listening to the K701s fed by my Dac1 or Presonuns Central Station (another piece of studio kit) has caused my to virtually loose interest in my main system (which is meticulously balanced for max bang for the buck and still just about as good as it gets in a conventional system IMHO):
PC>Squeezebox>Apogee Big Ben reclocking processor>Tact 2.0s room correction processor>Benchmark Dac1>Bryston 4bsst power amp>Thiel 2.4 speakers (hooked together with Wireworld Equinox 5 interconnects, VanDen Hul Revelation speaker cable, Appogee Wydeye Digital interconncts and plugged into a Monster Power HTS 3500 Mk2 line conditioner)

Ps I do agree that the recording is the currently the weak link but HD DVD may change that with high rez audio as part of the package (unlike DVD-A or SACD).

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Very good points. I also like to remember that the guy who is hanging the mics is the one deciding what we hear at home.

If every one agonized over this point more like people like JA, Tony Faulkner, Ray Kimber, Tom Jung, Al Schmitt, for example, more of what that sound was in that particular room would be preserved. I am amazed at how great Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue sounds and they didn't have DSD from Ed Meitner. Many will say that because it isn't and was recorded on mylar is WHY it sound so good. I would bet that you could give JA an old Nakamichi Dragon Cassette deck and he couild make a very nice recording.

Our own individual hearing differences and is probably more like the variations in freq response graphs in speakers than we would like to believe. Individual preferences cannot be overlooked as well. Ther are great piano players who prefer the sound and touch of the greatly differing Steinway, Yamaha, Baldwin, Kawaii pianos. The same goes for acoustic guitars.

I would also believe that if you own some of the gear, or comparable, from the Class B Stereophile list you are hearing 95% of what is there. The rub is that last 5% drives some audiophiles crazy that they might not be hearing it all.

Comparably that new pair of Triangle Megellans that Clifton just bought cost more than all to many recording engineers spend on their mic and mic preamps. It would be hard to do, but the point is many are listening on gear trying to extract more than what went in at the recording session.

The amazing part is that on many of the recordings I do own I get a real sense that I am there and that is about all one could hope for. I am using "Cantus/ Mary Had A Baby" during our Chritmas Eve Service during the Candle lighting portion. To listen to that music and not feel like you are hearing 99 and 44/100% of what JA heard is a mistake. It is scarry good. That is when I WISH I HAD a pair of Megellans or Wilson Watt Puppies, or the Peak Consult El Diablos, or anything from the Class A "Phile" list. I enjoy what I have and try to not worry about what I don't.

We all deal with software quality being all over the place and the recording engineer is deciding long before we are even thought of, if we are at all. If it is just "another recording session" we will suffer some.

martin_n
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I agree. I would suggest that you

Elk
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I beleive Jim is absolutely correct; the sound engineer makes the first decision as to what we hear. Moreover, we all have preferences as to what is important to us to hear.

I do a good deal of location recording. There is substantial disagreement between "recordists" as to whether one should strive to bring the listener to the recording venue or whether the musicians should be brought to the listening room. Then there are the issues as to how one accomplishes each (consider JA's articles on recording Cantus and how he positions the mics, uses multiple mics, mixes in various amounts of each mic to obtain the effect he desires, etc. Scince and art combined to obtain a desired sound - but what is "real" at this point?)

No mic is flat in frequency response (many have frequency response curves built in), mic pairing (spaced omnis?, Blumlein pair, coincident, etc. all of which sound different) and then there is EQ, compression (a little compression can be a very good thing) and more.

The best playback equipment is that which recreates the emotional event for you. For some people this requires harmonic complexity, others seek detail (those of us that have played in orchestras often like to hear the clacking of a clarinet's keys, the infinitely small sound a violin string and bow makes before the note really begins as we hear these things as we perform), others want a visceral bass. These preferences are all valid.

Ideally, I want recorded music to sound like it does when I hear it as performed in a real space - bring me to the venue. However, others want to hear very different things than I.

If I could design audio equipment I would try to make it so that it precisely and completely reproduced that which was on the mastertape. In this way I would hear what the engineers have decided I will hear. I don't think a equipment designer can do any better than this.

Buddha
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Aloha!

Great topic.

I agree about unamplified acoustic music (UAM) being the proper reference for judging musical accuracy in a system.

Even if one were to be a purely "non-acoustic" music aficionado, knowledge of the sound of UAM is essential to be confident that one is trying to most accurately reproduce the original musical signal.

UAM is a reference we should all strive to be as well versed in as possible.

I also agree that everything we listen to/buy is flawed, and that we each have a certain set of preferences/compromises that we choose from when deciding on how to set up our systems, or which combination of these compromises is most pleaing to us.

Hence, the wide assortment of sonic signatures or "sounds" that exist in the marketplace.

As with any enthusiast hobby, we all end up with somewhat idisyncratic collections of gear that represent the sum of our budgets and tastes - and that makes ever more fascinating to go and listen to other people's systems.

Any system that brings pleasure to its owner is worth sitting and listening and chatting about.

It really is great that we have a hobby that spans the gamut from Lowther drivers and "flea powered" amps all the way up to half ton juggernaut speakers with kilowatt amps!

gdg
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.


Quote:
I beleive Jim is absolutely correct; the sound engineer makes the first decision as to what we hear. Moreover, we all have preferences as to what is important to us to hear.

Does that mean that the consumer decides what qualities are "important" to "see" in a video monitor and that designers ultimately incorporate the visual qualities they deem important and worthy? Nonsense.
Audio gear is not a musical instrument, it is a reproduction tool. The sonic decisions sound engineers and artists make is their perogative and part of the creative process. The process of reproducing thier vision is not. The only reason the subjective analysis of audio has gained any acceptance at all is because the vast magority of people have little or no reference by which to judge the accuracy of sound reproduction. Many people have heard little else besides artificially reproduced sound for their entire lives and the industry has capitalized on this ignorance with and unending procession of ultimately unsatisfying sonic "flavours" .

Buddha
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.


Quote:

Quote:
I beleive Jim is absolutely correct; the sound engineer makes the first decision as to what we hear. Moreover, we all have preferences as to what is important to us to hear.

Does that mean that the consumer decides what qualities are "important" to "see" in a video monitor and that designers ultimately incorporate the visual qualities they deem important and worthy? Nonsense.
Audio gear is not a musical instrument, it is a reproduction tool. The sonic decisions sound engineers and artists make is their perogative and part of the creative process. The process of reproducing thier vision is not. The only reason the subjective analysis of audio has gained any acceptance at all is because the vast magority of people have little or no reference by which to judge the accuracy of sound reproduction. Many people have heard little else besides artificially reproduced sound for their entire lives and the industry has capitalized on this ignorance with and unending procession of ultimately unsatisfying "flavours" tailored to "taste".

Hola,

I don't get the video analogies.

Video reproduction is not claiming to reproduce reality. Hi Fi is, at some level.

Video is such an obvious compromise from objective reality that we don't even have these arguments among video enthusiasts.

Can you picture a video forum where someone says that the video was so good, they thought Jenna Jameson was right there in the room with them?

Nope.

With audio, we can, almost, make the claim to acheive that sensation.

Also, there is a vast (maybe/probably bigger than Hi Fi) subjective component. Just pull up your "video temperature" control and you'll see a wide variety of subjective choices you can make. Only one can be "accurate," right? Yet, we have these crazy "subjective" controls!

Same goes for brightness, contrast, sharpness, black level, white level, other color levels - video is totally buried in subjective video performance!

To paraphrase you, "...the consumer decides what qualities are "important" to "see" in a video monitor..." every minute of every viewing day!

You say it's nonsense, I say it's the truth about the medium.

Filmakers make "subjective" choices all the time. You think what a director creates is only pointing a camera at something or somebody and then "accurately" capturing visual images?

Ha!

They make art, just like the musician. And then we have subjective leeway in the way we prefer it to be reproduced in our homes.

Think about all the color, shadow, composition, special effects, etc. that go into film making and how we like to watch it at home, and you'll realize that it has less to do with reality or reproducing an actual visual event than Hi Fi does with a sonic event.

If you think video is objective and judging a Hi Fi rig is subjective, I think you have your reality points reversed!

(No flames intended, in case I sound too iconoclastic.)

Elk
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I don't think we disagree. As I stated, "If I could design audio equipment I would try to make it so that it precisely and completely reproduced that which was on the mastertape."

My point however is that the recording engineer has already made a decision as to what he wants us to hear before we even get a chance to reproduce the sound of an instrument in our homes. His decisions, and those of the mixing and mastering engineers, have greater impact on recorded sound than what we happen to use to play it back.

My second point is that each listener has his own preferences as to what is important for musical reproduction. For some bass response is critically important, others crave image specificity, etc. Each person needs to decide how is system be optimized so that it is emotionally satisfying to him. That is what sounds "real" to me as a classically trained musician who performs almost exclusively in the acoustic world may not sound real to others with a different background/experience.

Recorded sound, no matter how excellent, never sounds real in an absolute sense. I can't imagine being confused as to whether a real piano is in the room where even a superb system is playing. There are magnificent systems out there playing in beautifully designed rooms. Yet, none I have heard has ever made me think I was actually listening to a real instrument. This - unfortunately - applies even to my own recordings.

You ask "Does that mean that the consumer decides what qualities are "important" to "see" in a video monitor and that designers ultimately incorporate the visual qualities they deem important and worthy?"

This is, of course, an entirely different topic but actually both are true. Televisions purposely are designed with a red push as consumers find this appealing, as well as extreme contrast, etc. As a group we like "realer than real" visually as well as sonically. I personally don't like this as a properly adjusted monitor/TV looks much better to me. But I am in the minority.

tandy
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I agree with you, playback should reproduce the original event as recorded.

I also think recording studios electronics, besides the mics, are a strong contender for weakest link. Passing a musical signal through dozens of OP amps (and many transistors, resistors in each op amp) is impossible without moderate to severe alteration of the music.

gdg
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If you don't get this you never will.


Quote:

Hola,

I don't get the video analogies.

Video reproduction is not claiming to reproduce reality. Hi Fi is, at some level.

Video is such an obvious compromise from objective reality that we don't even have these arguments among video enthusiasts.

(No flames intended, in case I sound too iconoclastic.)

I never disputed the vision of producer (or musician) is completely contrived. That doesn't give the end user the licence to mess with it, and if they do they compromise the vision. I also never claimed video was accurate, just that the standard for accuracy is obvious. Just because people like monitors that push red, pump up the contrast and exagerate sharpness these are not even remotely "videophile"qualities and meant to attract the unsophisticated and gullible consumer. A person looking for accuracy in a monitor knows EXACTLY what that is and it doesn't involve pumping anything. And, for your information, some high quality, properly calibrated High Def monitors do indeed come remarkably close to virtually being like looking through a window. Anyway, I'm not going to debate this further. The "I know what I like" camp is well entrenched. Go for it. I guarantee you will NEVER be happy with the "colorations" you choose and the mental maze you enter when you open that door has no exit. Hence the neverending merry go round of equipments buying and selling in a futile search for the "perfect balance of flaws". The industry is perfectly happy to perpetuate this.

Ps I've been very satisfied with my system for a number of years now and feel no interest whatsoever in getting the latest and greatest. That is because the system is accurate and neutral eneough the reveal the subtle differences in virtually every recording (and track for that matter) that I play. Stunning recordings sound stunning and always inspire awe while less than steller recording are proportionally disappointing. This is a the REALITY of recorded music and to try and get equipment that makes everything sound good is ridiculously misguided. Furthermore I'm quite convinced I am very close to neatral because the sonic "signature" my main system is remarkably close to that my AKG K701s.

gdg
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More nonsense.


Quote:

I do a good deal of location recording. There is substantial disagreement between "recordists" as to whether one should strive to bring the listener to the recording venue or whether the musicians should be brought to the listening room.

What's your point, virtually everyone agrees that one of the weakest links in the chain is the recording itself. Is the fact that there is debate amoungst so many engineers who don't have a clue supposed to mean something?
You clearly havn't thought this through. It's IMPOSSIBLE to bring the musicians to the listener since every room imposes it's own sound distortions. One can, at best, bring the listener to recording venue. Headphones can come close by removing the listing room alogether. Room correction technology is clearly moving in that direction as well, but again, if you havn't thought this through carefully you need to go out and educate yourself in the field of physics.

Buddha
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Re: If you don't get this you never will.


Quote:

Quote:

Hola,

I don't get the video analogies.

Video reproduction is not claiming to reproduce reality. Hi Fi is, at some level.

Video is such an obvious compromise from objective reality that we don't even have these arguments among video enthusiasts.

(No flames intended, in case I sound too iconoclastic.)

I never disputed the vision of producer (or musician) is completely contrived. That doesn't give the end user the licence to mess with it, and if they do they compromise the vision. I also never claimed video was accurate, just that the standard for accuracy is obvious. Just because people like monitors that push red, pump up the contrast and exagerate sharpness these are not even remotely "videophile"qualities and meant to attract the unsophisticated and gullible consumer. A person looking for accuracy in a monitor knows EXACTLY what that is and it doesn't involve pumping anything. And, for your information, some high quality, properly calibrated High Def monitors do indeed come remarkably close to virtually being like looking through a window. Anyway, I'm not going to debate this further. The "I know what I like" camp is well entrenched. Go for it. I guarantee you will NEVER be happy with the "colorations" you choose and the mental maze you enter when you open that door has no exit. Hence the neverending merry go round of equipments buying and selling in a futile search for the "perfect balance of flaws". The industry is perfectly happy to perpetuate this.

Ps I've been very satisfied with my system for a number of years now and feel no interest whatsoever in getting the latest and greatest. That is because the system is accurate and neutral eneough the reveal the subtle differences in virtually every recording (and track for that matter) that I play. Stunning recordings sound stunning and always inspire awe while less than steller recording are proportionally disappointing. This is a the REALITY of recorded music and to try and get equipment that makes everything sound good is ridiculously misguided. Furthermore I'm quite convinced I am very close to neatral because the sonic "signature" my main system is remarkably close to that my AKG K701s.

Hi, Gdg, I hope I didn't piss you off.

You bring up a GREAT point about judging how good a system sounds: The headphone test. I agree with you wholeheartedly on that. I used to use a pair of Stax Lambda Pro headphones and listen to both the main speakers and the Stax's to look for differences.

They were not very isolating, so that was great fun. Even with a more isolating headphone, A/B'ing between the headphones and the main speakers is a great listening tool!

I do still disagree with you about consumers knowing EXACTLY what "good video" is. I agree with Elk as to what I like, but there is still plenty of subjectivism in video. Sorry, but it's there, and it's rampant.

I've gone to see more monitors and video systems than I can count...I like to tour CES each year...and sorry to say, even the million dollar tours de force come nowhere near "looking through a window." Believe me, I've looked through quite a few windows, and Hi Fi comes closer to fooling me than video ever has.

We can agree to disagree on the quality of the "absolute sound" of video and aficionados thereof.

On other fronts, we seem to have much overlap! I've had my main speakers since 1993, my preamp since 1994, my amps (with some visits to the capacitor-man in the interim) since 1992, and my second newest turntable is vintage 1986. I also agree with you about locking in what you like in a system leading to long term happiness.

My ears tell me the sonic accuracy is better than any video system's video accuracy. I get fooled infinitely more often by my Hi Fi than I do by and video source I've ever seen.

I bet you do, too.

Cheers.

Come to CES and we'll pour you some fine vino and check things out!

gdg
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Re: If you don't get this you never will.

Buddha,
How exactly do you turn my comments into a debate about he relative acuracy of sound vs video reproduction? The simple point is that the accuracy of a video picture is not subjective , nor is the accuracy of reproduced sound. Whether a TV gets closer to reality has nothing even remotely to do with the point.I should have signed off a while back. People don't change their position on this issue based on logic or reason. People need to justify what they do and no one is going to admit that the entire premise up on which the expenditure of thousnands is based is fundamentaly flawed. I just miss the days, before the concept of hi-fidelity was corrupted, marketed and turned into a scam.

Elk
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Re: More nonsense.


Quote:

Quote:

I do a good deal of location recording. There is substantial disagreement between "recordists" as to whether one should strive to bring the listener to the recording venue or whether the musicians should be brought to the listening room.

What's your point, virtually everyone agrees that one of the weakest links in the chain is the recording itself. Is the fact that there is debate amoungst so many engineers who don't have a clue supposed to mean something?
You clearly havn't thought this through. It's IMPOSSIBLE to bring the musicians to the listener since every room imposes it's own sound distortions. One can, at best, bring the listener to recording venue. Headphones can come close by removing the listing room alogether. Room correction technology is clearly moving in that direction as well, but again, if you havn't thought this through carefully you need to go out and educate yourself in the field of physics.

Claiming ignorance on the part of someone that states a perspective different than yours does nothing to further your argument. Moreover, I do not disagree with your premise. I too believe that playback equipment should accurate portray what has been recorded. However, it is important to recognize that what has been recorded is most often a creature that does not exist in nature.

The vast majority of recordings are made in such a way as to attempt to bring the musicians into your room. Those few that truly attempt to capture the experience of a listener in the performing space are rare.

Most recordings are very

commsysman
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Jim;

I find that with a system that is in the "class B" range you can get really good realistic sound on most pop or bluegrass recordings, or most chamber music for strings, or a lot of other things, if well-recorded (my SONY SCD-777ES, for example).

On the other hand, I NEVER heard a solo voice or a piano that really sounded absolutely CONVINCINGLY "live" (close your eyes and it is IN the room) UNTIL I put the AYRE C5xe player into my system (even though the rest of the system was already class A to start with).

Piano seems to be particularly problematical to record properly; the recordings I have that will actually sound like a real piano in my room are still only about 30% of the total in my collection, if that. I have yet to find a recording of the "Hammerklavier" sonata that is that well recorded, for example, but Murray Perahia's recording of Schubert songs IS "good as live", as is William Albright's recording of James P. Johnson's "Symphonic Jazz" for solo piano.

It seems that live venue recordings, such as Horowitz in Moscow, are more likely than studio recordings to be close to real than studio recordings, but even that is certainly not a rule; there are both studio recordings and 'live' ones that are very good. I think the best recordings avoid "studios" as such, however, and use large empty halls for piano recordings, even sans audience.

The big problem, I would suspect, with loud, dense, complex passages such as you get frequently in Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt, etc. piano works, is that any studio setting makes it impossible to get rid of all of the short-duration echoes that muddy the recorded sound.

I think that speakers are the least critical part of the system, in terms of how much you need to spend. I recently had a friend come over with a pair of old Celestion 3 speakers (small; $400) and connect them to my electronics, and the sound was really very very good, except for the absence of anything below 60 HZ (my regular speakers are Vandersteen 3A, about $3K).

I think that 98% of the Cd players and 90% of the turntables people are using, are putting out sound with substantial distortion, and that without a really top-notch front-end one is doomed to listen to 2nd-rate sound no matter how much money you put into great amplification and speakers. I did it exactly backwards for 20 years or so, so I have learned from bitter experience!

I advised my friend to spend $6K on the Ayre C5xe, $1500 for a nice Creek integrated amp, and $600 for the EPOS M5 speakers. He did so, and he now has a system that is quite excellent, unless you want to reproduce a pipe organ down to 32 HZ. This system sounds better than all but a very few systems I have ever heard. The AYRE is really magical, played through any halfway-decent system.

If you put the money into an excellent front end first, you know what is happening when you make downstream improvements. Doing it any other way means you will be tailoring results to the colorations (distortions) coming from a front-end that is seriously deficient. What comes out can't be better than what goes in, unless you simply obscure the most offensive distortions.

(P.S.- I know how good vinyl can sound; I have a very good turntable and several hundred records, BUT...the music I want to hear is simply not always available on records...and records deteriorate...etc. etc...vinyl is a dead-end I don't want to put more money or time into.)

Elk
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Great observations, commsysman.

I agree that piano seems near impossible to record well. The sound of just a single piano note is astoundingly complex. More than one . . .

It is probably the same reason that sampled piano and synthesized piano is unconvincing.

I have a SONY SCD-777ES. Now I *really* want to hear the Ayre!

CECE
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

$45K Zander, sounds the best, the DISTORTION is part of the bliss, according to some ears. Now you are telling me distortion is no good? I be confused, MF hears magnetism in vinyl, surely he knows best.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I would agree with most you said. The piano is most difficult as is the human voice.

Most failings come from the recording engineer using poor mic pre amplifiers and, mics as not everyone is willing to ante up for the best Neumann has to offer. I krep looking at the DW Fern Tube mic pre and drool, but at nearly $4K...I will just drool.

I am lookaing at the RME FireFace 400 for my next project.
RME

An engineer can get it right if he cares and works hard at getting the mics in the "right place".

I have owned the Jolida JD 100 cd player and found it along with the Cairn Fog 24/192, the Audio Analogue Maestro, the better Musical Fidelity players, and the Quad 99 convincing enough and all way less the $5K. There is no doubt in my mind the Ayre 7 or the 5 are the player to own if cost is no object.

I would add that speakers are critical as the lower midrange must be accurate to get the voice from sounding tubby.

tandy
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Re: More nonsense.

I agree with alot of what you said Comm. Nice post.
_____________

"By the way, there are many recordings made without any op-amps in the chain."

>>I agree. I have some and they can sound quite nice. I was referring to the majority, esp from DUP's link in the cable section.

"Most recording engineers eschew op-amps as avidly as the most devoted audiophile."

>>Glad to hear that.

"Additionally the A/D and D/A converters typically used put almost all audiophiles

Elk
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Jim:

The Fearn is wonderful, but with a less gain that I would like/need for many of my recordings. It also pretty much precludes the use of ribbon mics. But a wonderful choice!

The RME looks like a fun piece of kit.

I recall reading that you were interested in obtaining a DV-RA1000. I have one and it is indeed a wonderful unit. I imagine that you would be pleased as well. It is an astounding buy.

Elk
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Re: More nonsense.


Quote:
"By the way, there are many recordings made without any op-amps in the chain."

>>I agree. I have some and they can sound quite nice. I was referring to the majority, esp from DUP's link in the cable section.

"Additionally the A/D and D/A converters typically used put almost all audiophiles

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

As I have yet to take the plunge, I am still considering the Tascam, but the thought of moving all my location work from DVDs into my computer to work on them seems like the wrong choice...interesting, but possibly wrong for my clients. What they intend to sell is CDs and score/composition booklets.

I still think the new Tascam DVRA1000 with the built in hard drive very attractive. I have looked as other items from Presonus, Echo, Digidesigns, Lexicon (mostly firewire interfaces) but the RME piece looks even more like it is what I NEED! Major portability with very good ADC/DACs and very good mic pres and tons of flexibility. And when just listening at home, I'll bet a pretty good sounding playback DAC from a cd spinner.

I'll know next week when I go audition it. Regards.

Elk
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Moving the files from the Tascam-burned DVD to a computer for editing is very easy. The files are stored as WAV files and it is simply a matter of putting the DVD in the drive and copying the file over to edit. From there you can master a CD on your computer as usual. Of course, you can also record directly to CD with the Tascam. There also is a high speed USB interface on the Tascam but I haven't used it.

While I lke the idea of a harddrive in the DV-RA1000 it is another $1k! Eeeek! The "bad" thing is that one would necessarily need to use the USB interface to transfer files at this point or transfer them from the drive to DVD.

Please do let us know what you think of the RME piece. I am very curious. It looks pretty amazing and RME makes good equipment. Happy shopping!

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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

If I used the Tascam it would be as a DSD recorder and then transfer those files (analogue output) into my computer. USB is proven and known to be a high jitter transfer link and not audiophile quality. It may be aceptable in some circumstances.

I am leaning more to DicWelder Bronze and hirez DVD authoring at this point and truncating back to redbook et al.

I am curious as to your thoughts as to the Tascam being a very good cd redbook player?

tandy
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Re: More nonsense.

"-Just remember that DUP has quite an agenda and works hard to find negative things to link to. But there are indeed many dreadful recordings out there."

>>Hard to forget, but I am afraid some will actually believe him. He brings up a link and then seems to insuinate that all cables are snake oil. Pretty soon one gets geared towards responding to his silly comments and then one gets off course.

"- What kind of equipment are you thinking of as pre and post electronics?"

>>Heard a couple of tube preamps. One was pretty good but just a little sterile. Just doesn't sound like a live instrument. Another was also pretty good. A solid state one was another, pretty good, but static electricity could really mess it up. Got to keep the humidity up with that one.
Usually I check out DIY designs and make my own. Most DIY designs, though, aren't that good sounding to me.

"Things like mic preamps on the pre A/D end?"

>>As far as pre, don't have anything in mind. Just what I do not like, OP amps.

"On the post end there really isn't an "after D/A"."

>>? CD players I have seen use OP amps after the D/A converter, and some use tube stages. Really can't see either designs being that good. Parts quality is pretty cheap and the tube designs are pretty basic, like some DIY designs.
If meaning after "A/D" converter, yes, my mistake. Been thinking too much about playback instead of recording.

"Very cool to hear a master tape! Unbelievably fun, isn't it?!"

>>Yes, the Cd is a copy (from 1950-60's master tape, tube equipment) of an RCA engineer who did a 90 second voice recording in a famous theatre in Montreal. Pretty open sounding.

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Re: More nonsense.

Getting back to the original point, here are my thoughts. Basically it is that, for those of us who have to purchase our music, it's just NOT possible to truly duplicate the sound of an acoustic instrument in a commercial recording, even on a million dollar system. The why is very simple, audio engineers just love their compressors and just can't leave them out of the recording chain. This results in the "attack" transients getting hammered and we lose those transient cues that can make an instrument recording sound real. Drums and plucked strings take the hardest hit in this regard but compression effects every instrument to some extent. While I understand the need for compression I just wish that every recordist understood the impact of compression and was a bit more trusting of the lower noise floor of digital recording and just dialed back on the gain instead of dialing in more compression. Maybe that is one of the driving forces behind the whole audiophile community, the striving to make all of our records sound like those occasional superbly recorded gems that weren't overmastered.

So, while it's a nice sounding goal, I don't think that it's achievable. The simple fact is that most music that is for sale was mastered for the "average consumer" and won't ever sound truly live. So I don

CECE
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Re: More nonsense.

Agenda? Whatcha' talkin' bout' Willis? Hey, did you happen to glance through the Music Direct Catalog. Legacy FOCUS is their best selling speaker.....BUT they also have pages of cables and cables, each and everyone one with it's own special magic, one does this the other does that...one thing the same for all is the absurd prices for the stuff. Kinda embarrasing when they have some really great stuff EMMLABS, Marantz players, Legacy line, but they gotta get them cables in there, that's where teh money is. cables of birds, mountains, snakes,rivers......the cable business is the most creative picutres and ideas based on nothing.golden rules, heated, frozen,twisted, flat,round, air,vacuum, turned.....there are more cable scams then there are religious scams. 21st century, wire might be bigger than religion, nah, never happen. religion still does more money. Same scam though, all based on nonsense.

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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

Tascam makes great stuff.

Buddha
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Re: More nonsense.


Quote:
Agenda? Whatcha' talkin' bout' Willis? Hey, did you happen to glance through the Music Direct Catalog. Legacy FOCUS is their best selling speaker.....

Well, great. If you go by "best selling," then Bose must be even better, and Brittany Spears is better than Matt Oreo.

Would that also mean that their best selling cable is the best cable?

Why don't you buy those?

Elk
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Re: Acoustic instruments as THE reference.

I wouldn't bother to transfer a DSD recording on the DV-RA1000 via analog to a computer. At this point one has lost the quality of DSD and the analog signal is now subject to the typically bad A/D's in computer sound cards, etc. Additionally you have just put your poor music through two more digital/analog conversions. Ouch. Plus it is slow!

Record in 24/88.2 or 24/44.1, keep your levels backed off so that you capture all transients (you have 144dB of dyanmic range to work with) and then copy the file from the DVD-RW to your computer for editing. (Also remember that you can record to CD-RW).

DSD sounds great! but is only available to listen to when played back on the Tascam or if one has a stand alone DSD D/A. There is no way to burn a SACD. There are very few (expensive) DAW's to edit DSD. Thus, DSD is primarily a cool toy for all but a select few.

I have DiskWelder Bronze (it comes free with the unit!). It does not provide any sort of editing. It only burns DSD files to DVD-A at 24/96. This is a slow process (lots of number crunching). One is better off simply recording at 24/96 to begin with.

USB has a good deal of jitter and is not appropriate as a real time data link to a D/A converter. However, jitter does not matter when all one is doing is transfering a data file from one place to another, such as from the DV-RA1000 to a computer. This is not in real time, it is a very fast data transfer to put the file on a PC hard drive for editing, etc.

The unit has a good D/A and make a fine Redbook CD player. It is not spectacular and doesn't compete with an excellent quality stand alone transport. Anyone but a knowledgable audiophile would be very impressed however.

The DV-RA1000 is an astounding piece! If you do any serious recording you will adore it.

Elk
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Real and Compression

There are indeed many heavily compressed recordings out there, especially pop and rock. However, there are lots of recordings with very little to no compression as well.

Some compression can often make a recording sound better, especially pop and rock. Drums wouldn't have their punch, electric guitars their sustain and the typical pop/rock vocal would be a disaster without compression.

I agree however that if you want the music louder, turn up the gain. Don't crank in more compression and more make-up gain.

Too much compression ruins the sound of all instruments. Not only does it have an effect on transients, it changes the harmonic structure. That is, previously soft harmonics become louder proportionately. This can sound good or bad depending on the instrument and recording, but alters the sound beyond "real". Evantually, everything sounds pretty odd.

A fun compilation is Bob Katz's (mastering engineer) Honor Roll of Good Sounding Pop CD's. Take a look and see what he says about each. It is a great primer from one of the best engineers and set of ears in the business.

www.digido.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=45

Buddha
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Re: Real and Compression

Great list.

Thanks, Elk!

I agree there is alot of quality sound on his list.

CECE
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Re: More nonsense.

Nooooooooooooooo, my reason for mentioning Legacy Focus (also big seller in studio for PROS) is #1, it's about time a superior product sells well. GM, McDonalds, sells more than their competitors, I have nothing to do with any of em, it's junk.. I'm sure "Monster" cable sells a lot of overpriced WIRE. It comes in special packaging, which gives it it's POWERS. Cus just wire, comes on spools, without snake or elaborate RETARDED names and images of streams and mystical ZEN, and Fugata-Tech or whatever that word don't mean. It's good to see Legacy selling , obviously, there are people that GET IT!.

CECE
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Re: More nonsense.

ELVIS also sold more than anyone, and he made more money for teh last 5 years than any DEAD celeb...and he IS the best. sometimes things go right. this year cus' the maniac wife sold off stuff from the Schlub curt Cobain (absolute junk) so it beat Elvis, but Elvis did like $32 MILLION previous year, he has been DEAD for 27 years!!! Next year he will again be #1 selling DEAD celeb. #1 and the best...

Buddha
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Re: More nonsense.

Oh, I see.

So, sales figures back up your argument when they agree with your opinion, but not when they don't.

I kinda had you figured that way.

I forsee a Presidential run in your future.

Jeff Wong
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Re: More nonsense.

I thought you put him on ignore. I'm getting close to clicking the button myself.

Buddha
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Re: More nonsense.

I know.

I'm guilty.

It's just that some days I can't change the channel when the footage of the train wreck comes on.

It's almost like a game: Which post will it be? AVA? Legacy? Matt Oreo? Magic wire? "XXXXXX" is a rip off?

We could almost have betting.

Call it intermittent morbid curiosity.

Scooter123
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Re: Real and Compression

It is a great list. What is sad is that no recording made from 1990 on made the list. I just don't get it, compression was a must back when analog tape was the master. Now we have digital recording at it's peak, with about double the dynamic range of tape, and the recording engineers are hammering the dynamics into a 20 or 30 db range.

Maybe instead of a list of quality recordings there should be a list of recording engineers who are complete hacks. That might shame them into treating music as Art instead of a source of income.

Of course, I don't know why they even bother. Most of what I hear on the radio today is nothing but filler, basically elevator music for cars. I think one big reason that the music industry is in trouble is that they are totally unwilling to take any risk. Pop music today has been homogenized, hammered flat, and processed into a formula so rigid that it's getting hard to tell who is playing. What it's led to is music that nobody cares enough about it to actually buy a record of it.

Elk
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Re: More nonsense.


Quote:
Call it intermittent morbid curiosity.

Is IMC a form of distortion? Can IMC be measured?

tandy
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Re: More nonsense.

"I'm guilty.
It's just that some days I can't change the channel when the footage of the train wreck comes on."

Laughing my butt off. Good one Buddha.

Elk
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Re: Real and Compression

Bob Katz passes this video on as a good way to understand compression and the loudness wars:

"...this awesome demo about the loudness race at YouTube. It may not convince your clients, but it probably will get them thinking about it in a new way."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

commsysman
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Re: Real and Compression

If you want to hear REALLY REALLY great recordings, with NO compression or equalization ever, get some CDs or LPs from opus3 in Sweden; they are the best ever in my book!

DELOS International is very very good also. "Engineer's Choice" is a great "sampler" (R2D4).

commsysman
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Re: More nonsense.

That really does hit the nail on the head, doesn't it?

It's like someone telling a joke that you know is gonna make you groan, but you listen anyway, because the outrageousness of it is a wonder to behold....

ohfourohnine
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Re: Real and Compression

"Pop music today has been homogenized, hammered flat, and processed into a formula so rigid that it's getting hard to tell who is playing. What it's led to is music that nobody cares enough about it to actually buy a record of it. "

You hit it right on the head, Scooter, and that sir, excuses about illegal downloads, wholesale piracy, etc. notwithstanding, is why the "music industry" is in trouble. We won't keep buying crap in any format at any price.

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