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Buddha
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Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipment designers?

I'm loving when the subjective accidentally meets the objective in these discussions. At this point, I am flat out dying to hear SAS Audio gear.

Dude, and amps too?

SAS flits easily from the realm of listening to his creations to the objective aspect of what's going on.

Can't ask for more input than that.

SAS, time for an amp and integrated.

I know I'd sign on!

michiganjfrog
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme

I'm loving when the subjective accidentally meets the objective in these discussions.

If you're referring to the "objectivists" that have "joined" us here of late, something tells me that's not an 'accident'....

At this point, I am flat out dying to hear SAS Audio gear.

Dude, and amps too?

SAS flits easily from the realm of listening to his creations to the objective aspect of what's going on.

Can't ask for more input than that.

SAS, time for an amp and integrated.

I know I'd sign on!

Not sure what "pure" means in this context, because I don't think there is such a thing as "pure objectivist" equipment designers, since even DBT's require subjective listening. At some point, even designers at harmon kardon or Pioneer are going to have to have someone listen to their designs, if only to make sure they work. Most high end equipment designers can be at least "classified" as subjectivist, even though all use objective means to measure, if not create, their designs. When it comes to middle end audio, distinctly "objectivist" practices may be characteristic of some of these companies (ie. the aforementioned harmon for certain, Snell Acoustics, Bryston, etc). So I'd say all use a combination of both practices, but a few are distinctly "objectivist". For some reason, they tend to produce the products that sound the worst.

I have no idea what SAS even makes, or what it might be like, because I've not read anything at all in relation to that. But I know I'm intrigued by whatever KBK is producing (I would def. put this designer in the "subjectivist" camp). Based on what I've seen him describe about how things should sound, I know this is one designer who definitely knows what he's doing (what good sound is about).

Buddha
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme

I think it would be great to take a tour of the great white north and get to hear several people's set ups.

I agree it would be interesting to hear what KBK might make, as well.

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme

I've spent time with Jeff Rowland on three or four occasions and he talked about his design philosophy. He designs objectively and refines subjectively. With certain critical parts of a design, based on decades of past experience, he'll try varieties of wire (silver vs. copper, for instance) and pick the one that he thinks sounds best. He doesn't call in a panel to perform 10 double blind tests, he simply puts in the wire, listens, then changes the wire and listens again. He says that when he hears a difference he goes with the sound he prefers. He says that he's often surprised by the option that he prefers.

He said that when some new parts come available, he'll try to place them in an existing design to see if he can hear or measure a difference.

There's relatively constant upgrading. For instance, in 2007-2008 he developed several new designs around "video" chips that gave him better overall performance, in his view.

Dave

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme

Buddha,
I would guess that there is a whole "spectrum" of designers that range from the purely 'objective' to the purely 'subjective'. However, I would also guess that the more successful ones are somewhere inbetween. The terminology is unfortunate, and divisive. No one really is only one or the other, IMO.

One can design and build gear that performs excellently by any of the conventional measurements, and sound good but not quite 'great' by subjective impressions. The opposite can be achieved as well, where things sound 'very appealing' but lacks in performance in some degree as judged by conventional objective measurements.

One has to go back to the fundamentals as what goal is trying to be achieved. Is it achieving the highest fidelity equipment or is it getting the best sounding equipment? That might answer the question on where each designer is along that aforementioned spectrum.

Whether we call it 'objectivist' or 'subjectivist' is immediately polarizing and clouds the issue of how to achieve the ultimate goal. I look for equipment that meets both the HiFi and the listening criteria, my personal goal.

j_j
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


Quote:
I'm loving when the subjective accidentally meets the objective in these discussions. At this point, I am flat out dying to hear SAS Audio gear.

Dude, and amps too?

SAS flits easily from the realm of listening to his creations to the objective aspect of what's going on.

Can't ask for more input than that.

SAS, time for an amp and integrated.

I know I'd sign on!

Define such, please? What would a "subjectivist" designer do? Making electronic equipment work requires quite a bit of formal mathematical analysis if one desires a good outcome, and so that would make most, if not all, circuit designers part-objectivist.

By the same lights, anyone who wants to sell their product would want it to look, feel, etc, in a fashion that appeals to some market or other, so there must be a subjective element involved as well.

So, I think a "pure" subjectivist would not have equipment that works, and so not exist.

A pure objectivist, I'm not sure how one could ever be one. What objective would the objectivist want to use to measure?

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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What would a "subjectivist" designer do?


They would randomly short out traces on a circuit board until they liked the resulting sound:

Circuit Bending

Yes, the above link is dead serious, and probably represents the height of "subjective design" skills.

--Ethan

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


Quote:

Quote:
What would a "subjectivist" designer do?


They would randomly short out traces on a circuit board until they liked the resulting sound:

Circuit Bending

Yes, the above link is dead serious, and probably represents the height of "subjective design" skills.

--Ethan

This is spiraling downward into an absurd argument that relies on semantics. It's the wrong question. The right question would be are there any designers that *evaluate* their products exclusively by subjective criteria (just listening) or exclusively by objective criteria (just by measuring). If that is the question. (and I think it is) the answer is yes there are designers that are exclusive in their evaluations to one method or the other.

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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yes there are designers that are exclusive in their evaluations to one method or the other.


How is this any different from circuit "bending" at random? This is a serious question. Any engineer worthy of that title knows how electronics works. And by extension such engineers understand the importance of aiming for and achieving good specs. Anything less is just as silly as randomly throwing together components hoping to come up with a "design" that sounds good to them. Now, if you said a "subjective" designer also listens to make sure all the design efforts didn't overlook something, then that makes sense. But if you show me someone that uses only subjective listening, that's a company I'd never give my hard-earned money to.

--Ethan

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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How is this any different from circuit "bending" at random? This is a serious question. Any engineer worthy of that title knows how electronics works. And by extension such engineers understand the importance of aiming for and achieving good specs.

You seem to be painting a world where the likes of Bill Johnson and Nelson Pass don't even exist. Here are some excerpts from the Joule Electra website. Do you think Jud Barber is worthy of the title 'engineer?"

"even with hardware that measured magnitudes better than that available in the fifties and sixties, recorded music still did not sound very good let alone create an illusion of the real thing.
.... I should have been able to make the discovery that turned this thing around, but being an engineer, I was convinced that what measured the best, sounded the best! For fifteen agonizing years the audio community struggled with the realization that tube hardware used judiciously in a playback system almost always produced a more enjoyable sound and a better illusions of live music."

" You will notice that I don't use the term accuracy. This throws us back into the engineer's argument with the artisans that the most accurate is the best. The answer to that is a flat no. "

It seems to me Mr. Barber is not so concerned with "aiming for and achieving good specs" if fact he clearly argues that it is a guided goal.


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Anything less is just as silly as randomly throwing together components hoping to come up with a "design" that sounds good to them.

Is that what Jud Barber is doing at Joule electra in your opinion? You set the bar with this assertion "Any engineer worthy of that title knows how electronics works. And by extension such engineers understand the importance of aiming for and achieving good specs." and i think Jud clearly is setting the bar somewhere quite different than you when he says "
" You will notice that I don't use the term accuracy. This throws us back into the engineer's argument with the artisans that the most accurate is the best. The answer to that is a flat no. "


Quote:
Now, if you said a "subjective" designer also listens to make sure all the design efforts didn't overlook something, then that makes sense.

It would not have been an "accurate" statement though. I'm sticking with my assertion about subjective designers. I think I have pointed out a pretty good example of one in Jud Barber.

But if you show me someone that uses only subjective listening, that's a company I'd never give my hard-earned money to.

--Ethan

That is your choice. Clearly not everyone agrees with you. If they did folks like Bill Johnson or Jud Barber would have been doing something else all these years. I wonder if you would find their work lacking in subjective evaluations under blind conditions.

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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It seems to me Mr. Barber is not so concerned with "aiming for and achieving good specs" if fact he clearly argues that it is a guided goal.


It's very easy to explain the faulty logic in aiming for anything less than high accuracy:

Let's first assume that the mixing and mastering engineers who make the recordings we enjoy are the final arbiters of what the music should sound like. They adjust the microphones and knobs to sound as good as they can on their speakers in their rooms. Agreed so far?

Now, those "knobs" include EQ, compression, reverb, and even distortion. So buying gear that adds more distortion, or has a non-flat response, can only make the sound farther from what the artist and engineers intended. A far better goal is to aim for total accuracy, and that includes having the same excellent speakers and treated room the engineers mixed in. Only then can you hear what was intended. The Number One obstacle to hearing what the artist and engineers heard is an untreated room. Number Two is having lower quality speakers.

Another problem with using "colored" gear is that imparts the same coloration onto everything you play. So that reduces the variety across the recordings and makes them sound more alike even when they are not. Again, the sound of most untreated rooms is highly colored, so using colored gear just makes the "sameness" problem even worse.

--Ethan

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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Another problem with using "colored" gear is that imparts the same coloration onto everything you play.

Well, who's the end consumer, Ethan? The listener or the producer?

If someone prefers a particular coloration, well, I think it's a bit rude to tell them they can't hold their preference.

What they can't do is claim it's MORE ACCURATE, or HAS MORE INFORMATION, or anything other than "this is what I like."

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


Quote:

It's very easy to explain the faulty logic in aiming for anything less than high accuracy:

It's very easy to explain the faulty logic in aiming for "accuracy" as well. but no argument can be made either way without defining goals. "Accuracy" without a reference is meaningless.


Quote:
Let's first assume that the mixing and mastering engineers who make the recordings we enjoy are the final arbiters of what the music should sound like.

Sorry. can't accpet that assumption. This is not a hypathetical situation. We have a vast library of actual real world recordings out there. And one can find out that this is all too often not the case.


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They adjust the microphones and knobs to sound as good as they can on their speakers in their rooms. Agreed so far?

For the sake of argument I'll accept this premise. your argument falls on it's face with the next step.


Quote:
Now, those "knobs" include EQ, compression, reverb, and even distortion. So buying gear that adds more distortion, or has a non-flat response, can only make the sound farther from what the artist and engineers intended.

How do you know that? Um you skipped a pretty important aspect of *your* premise. I'll quote you."They adjust the microphones and knobs to sound as good as they can on their speakers in their rooms." as if their speakers and rooms were somehow a trivial part of the picture. if you think you are getting the same sound as those engineers because you are using "more accurate" equipment you are fooling yourself.


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A far better goal is to aim for total accuracy,

Whoaaaa. Hold on here a moment. *Goals* in audio are aesthetic choices. You can not arbitrate that for anyone else. That may be a far better goal for you even if it is built on faulty logic but you can't speak for anyone else on what is a better goal.


Quote:
and that includes having the same excellent speakers and treated room the engineers mixed in. Only then can you hear what was intended. The Number One obstacle to hearing what the artist and engineers heard is an untreated room. Number Two is having lower quality speakers.

Sorry but that has little bearing on reality based on conversations with a number of recording engineers. The recording engineers I have spoken with who record live acoustic music don't consdier the sound in the control room to be the reference but the sound in the concert hall from a chosen perspective. All the engineers I have spoken with consider the sound in the control room to be quite compramised compared to *their* goal.


Quote:
Another problem with using "colored" gear is that imparts the same coloration onto everything you play.

That is an assumption at best on your part. I would say that there are real world examples where the opposite is true. As if colorations can't be sypathetic to the original feed. Nope, you are just plain wrong there and I can cite examples if you wish.

I see you didn't comment on whether or not Mr. Barber is worthy of the title "engineer."

j_j
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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That is an assumption at best on your part. I would say that there are real world examples where the opposite is true. As if colorations can't be sypathetic to the original feed. Nope, you are just plain wrong there and I can cite examples if you wish.

Err, a coloration can make something MORE in a sensory direction, and you might like it more.

But this isn't "accurate".

It's what you like. And that's fine, for you.

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


Quote:

Quote:
That is an assumption at best on your part. I would say that there are real world examples where the opposite is true. As if colorations can't be sympathetic to the original feed. Nope, you are just plain wrong there and I can cite examples if you wish.


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Err, a coloration can make something MORE in a sensory direction,

that pretty much is what I am arguing.


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and you might like it more.

I often do.


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But this isn't "accurate".

Accurate to what? One needs a reference before one can discuss accuracy. Again this comes back to one's goals.


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It's what you like. And that's fine, for you.

What I like is ultimately personal. No getting around that. For me the best sound I have ever heard has been live acoustic music. Not all of it. But some of it. Those exceptional expereinces set the bar for aesthetic excellence for me. With playback added colorations have often gone a long ways toward enhancing an illusion of live music, the sort of live music that sets the bar for me for aesthetic excellence. Stereo recording and playback is about creating an aural illusion not a literal reconstruction of an original acoustic event. If some added colorations enhance that illusion then in the *spirit* of "hi fidelity" they make the playback more "accurate" to live music. The idea that accuracy in every link in the chain is a good thing is IMO misguided because the goal is an illusion rather than a literal recreation. Not to mention we have at least two instances where one can't even make a meaningful comparison between the input and output of a component for the sake of measuring "accuracy."

Jan Vigne
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme

I believe I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty there are no two studios with identical systems and spaces than there are audiophiles (or average consumers) with identical systems and spaces. To establish this as the pinnacle of "accuracy" is simply unrealistic. By that "logic" we would need many different systems and rooms just to attempt any recreation of "what the 'artist' wants".

Most everyone knows what the artists and the producers and anyone associated with the vast majority of recordings want is to have a best selling release. Accuracy is hardly the word to use when twelve microphones are placed on one drum set which is them isolated within its own room in order to make editing and mixing of 64 or 128 tracks more accessible in post production. Accuracy is tossed out the window when those twelve tracks are chorus'ed, overdubbed, delayed, etc in an attempt to create a sense of space that never existed around that drum set.

How many steps and hands will the average recording make on its way to release to the public? Does anyone suppose all of those stops through recording, to post production and mastering are done on the same system? In the same room? At the same time as all of the other artists involved in the recording?

If "accuracy" was the honest goal, there would be no flangers, compressors or other "sweetening" devices employed in the trip from the artist's hands to the listener's ears. Effects are created in the studio that cannot be replicated in a live performance.

"Accuracy" cannot be defined as having the same system as the studio. Removing the room through the use of broadband acoustic treatments is an equally unsuccessful venture unless one aims for an anechoic chamber as their listening room.

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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If someone prefers a particular coloration, well, I think it's a bit rude to tell them they can't hold their preference.


I admit to being rude sometimes. Okay, a lot of times. But this hobby is called "high fidelity" for a reason. Of course you're correct that people can like coloration, and it's their money and their choice. I guess I bristle at being told - by them of course! - that their choice of coloration sounds better. As in vinyl lovers. And my point about intentional color making things sound more alike even when they shouldn't is valid, no? That's the main problem with loudspeakers that have a nasty resonance, because everything you play has that resonance's sound. Or room resonance for that matter.

--Ethan

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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"Accuracy" without a reference is meaningless.


Sure, but the reference is the original source material. So accuracy is very clearly defined. Not meaningless.


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if you think you are getting the same sound as those engineers because you are using "more accurate" equipment you are fooling yourself.


Explain.


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*Goals* in audio are aesthetic choices.


Yes, but those choices are made by the engineers. Now, you could argue that people can use an EQ to make the music sound however they want, and that's true. But that only takes them farther from the artist's intention.


Quote:
All the engineers I have spoken with consider the sound in the control room to be quite compramised compared to *their* goal.


Okay, but it's the closest they were able to get to recreating the live sound. Again, anything less than a transparent / accurate playback chain only takes you farther from the live sound. Further, a lot of recordings have nothing to do with a live performance. I'll venture that the vast majority of "pop music" - basically everything other than a live concert - is created totally in the control room.

Scott, why would you not want to hear what the engineers heard, and the artist approved, as closely as possible?

--Ethan

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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Accuracy is hardly the word to use when twelve microphones are placed on one drum set which is them isolated within its own room in order to make editing and mixing of 64 or 128 tracks more accessible in post production. Accuracy is tossed out the window when those twelve tracks are chorus'ed, overdubbed, delayed, etc in an attempt to create a sense of space that never existed around that drum set. ...

You, sir, are far, far too kind. Not saying I disagree with you, mind...

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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Again, anything less than a transparent / accurate playback chain only takes you farther from the live sound.

Well here is where we disagree. Adding some kinds of distortion, coloration in spectrum, etc, can actually "make up" to some extent for the gobs and gobs of missing information that we enforce by having only two channels of information (or 5 or 7, but they are better).

It's not accurate, but in fact it might sound more "real", in some cases.

The example I prefer to use is LP distortions. While it is clear that LP's distort and have much less dynamic range, it's also true that the rising distortion with level means that they sound like they have (in terms of minimum to maximum LOUDNESS, as opposed to INTENSITY) more dynamic range than they measure with.

Likewise, most LP playback systems enhance the L-R component at mid frequencies. This can "enhance soundstage" and also help move sounds out to the side.

Accurate? No. Percieved as an improvement? Sometimes, yes.

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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""Accuracy" without a reference is meaningless."

Sure, but the reference is the original source material. So accuracy is very clearly defined. Not meaningless.

the original source material? That would be what? IMO that would be the live performance with live aocustic music. It is meaningless with studio productions. But then let's consider a very very important question. Why do we honor the source? Knowing this is key to forming aesthetically meaningful goals IMO


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"if you think you are getting the same sound as those engineers because you are using "more accurate" equipment you are fooling yourself."

Explain.

I think Jan explained it best. what they heard included speakers and a control room. Unless you are building a unique system and control room for each recording you are not getting the same sound that the engineer got. More "accurate' equipment ain't going to change that. Might make it worse in many cases.


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"*Goals* in audio are aesthetic choices."

Yes, but those choices are made by the engineers.

They are made by consumers. Engineers and artists just give us product from which we chose. They do not dictate *our* aesthetic goals. They cater to them.


Quote:
Now, you could argue that people can use an EQ to make the music sound however they want, and that's true. But that only takes them farther from the artist's intention.

1. How do you know the artists' intention? 2. And who cares? They are there to serve me not the other way around.


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"All the engineers I have spoken with consider the sound in the control room to be quite compramised compared to *their* goal."

Okay, but it's the closest they were able to get to recreating the live sound.

So? Why should I stop there by choice?


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Again, anything less than a transparent / accurate playback chain only takes you farther from the live sound.

That just isn't always true. Not IME.


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Further, a lot of recordings have nothing to do with a live performance. I'll venture that the vast majority of "pop music" - basically everything other than a live concert - is created totally in the control room.

Much agreed which is where the "source" as a reference becomes really dicey.

Scott, why would you not want to hear what the engineers heard, and the artist approved, as closely as possible?

--Ethan

Because I dictate my own aesthetic values.
If you really want to the obvious answer to that question I suggest you listen to the most recent Led Zeppelin remasters that were supervised by Jimmy Page. They are ear bleeding awful. Do I have to suffer the "artist's intentions" when the artist is an old rocker that probably needs massive compression and horrible high frequency boost just to hear what's on the tape?

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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Adding some kinds of distortion, coloration in spectrum, etc, can actually "make up" to some extent for the gobs and gobs of missing information that we enforce by having only two channels of information.


Well, I still think adding distortion is the engineer's job, but I see your point. I'm not aware that adding distortion can add new spatial information (versus adding reverb), but I defer to your superior knowledge of psychoacoustics.


Quote:
While it is clear that LP's distort and have much less dynamic range, it's also true that the rising distortion with level means that they sound like they have (in terms of minimum to maximum LOUDNESS, as opposed to INTENSITY) more dynamic range than they measure with.


Yes, but again the mix engineers can and do add distortion. I've done that too with great success.

Anyway, horse for courses or whatever the saying is. Me, I'll take accuracy every time.

--Ethan

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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But this hobby is called "high fidelity" for a reason.

What reason do you believe that to be? How do you think that applies to the practical execution of hi fi?

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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How do you think that applies to the practical execution of hi fi?


Is that a serious question? The definition of hi-fi is, well, high fidelity!

--Ethan

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


Quote:

Quote:
How do you think that applies to the practical execution of hi fi?


Is that a serious question? The definition of hi-fi is, well, high fidelity!

--Ethan

Yes it was a serious question. Why do you think fidelity (faithfulness) is a goal in audio? I don't think this question can be addressed without stating the source. faithfulness or fidelity means nothing without a reference. What do you consider to be a reference and more importantly why?

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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What do you consider to be a reference


What the mixing and mastering engineers heard when they did their work, as I've stated at least a few times already.


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and more importantly why?


Because presumably they are the experts. I don't know if you've ever been a recording engineer, but most artists have a very clear vision of what they want their recordings to sound like. So if you're a fan of Steve Wonder, or Itzhak Perlman, and they put their stamp of approval on what they heard in the control room, why wouldn't you want to hear the same thing?

--Ethan

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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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"What do you consider to be a reference"

What the mixing and mastering engineers heard when they did their work, as I've stated at least a few times already.

why would you make that your reference when 1. you have no access to it 2.(in the case of live acoustic music) even the engineers will tell you that pales in comparison to the original source? It seems like that reference is as arbitrary as it is inaccessable. Why not have the same "goal" as the engineer? Why use damaged goods as a reference?


Quote:
"and more importantly why?"

Because presumably they are the experts. I don't know if you've ever been a recording engineer, but most artists have a very clear vision of what they want their recordings to sound like. So if you're a fan of Steve Wonder, or Itzhak Perlman, and they put their stamp of approval on what they heard in the control room, why wouldn't you want to hear the same thing?

--Ethan

I am a fan of Led Zeppelin. So does that obligate me to listen to those crappy JP remasters?

Here is my take on it. Fidelity is a goal because *I* have heard live acoustic music and *I* know from that experience that at it's best it sets the bar for aesthetic beauty. *I* want to be faithful to *that* because it is intrinsically superior. So fidelity is a goal for me so long as we are using live music as a reference. Not the stuff form the control room. Stevie Wonder has no say so in the matter. With that in mind I find "artists' intentions" and master tapes to be fairly arbitrary references not to mention completely inaccessable references.

ethanwiner
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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why would you make that your reference when 1. you have no access to it


This is the entire point! If you have an accurate system and a room that does not add undue influence, then you do indeed have access to the same sound quality as the mixing engineers.


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(in the case of live acoustic music) even the engineers will tell you that pales in comparison to the original source?


My own feeling is that duplicating the experience of being there in person is highly overrated. I'll usually take a well-recorded concert DVD over being there live every single time.


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Why not have the same "goal" as the engineer? Why use damaged goods as a reference?


How does using a conspicuously damaged playback medium like vinyl get you closer to the reference?

--Ethan

j_j
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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I am a fan of Led Zeppelin. So does that obligate me to listen to those crappy JP remasters?

He does have a point, Ethan, especially in modern times, where "LOUD IS GOOD" (even when it's not) seems to be the case.

He also has a point that he's entitled to listen to what kind of sound he wants to listen to.

Yes, there is a question of artistic intent, but when the buyer wants to modify the intent to their own taste, well, now what? Who's to say someone's preference is wrong?

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Are there any "pure" "objectivist" or "subjectivist" equipme


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This is the entire point! If you have an accurate system and a room that does not add undue influence, then you do indeed have access to the same sound quality as the mixing engineers.

No, you still need their speakers and their control room. while were at it you need their electronics (not always the most accurate) And this assumes that they are getting exactly what they want. So if i'm going to listen to some classic Blue Note recordings from the 50s do i need to recreate Rudy Van Gelder's control room? let's look at that from a different angle. Have you compared the Rudy Van gelder remasters to the Hoffman/Gray remasters? I can tell you that the Hoffman/Gray remasters sound a great deal more like live jazz and they are simply aesthetically superior to my ears in every way. so do i abandon my aesthetic values to honor those of the recording engineer? In a word, No.


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"(in the case of live acoustic music) even the engineers will tell you that pales in comparison to the original source?"

My own feeling is that duplicating the experience of being there in person is highly overrated. I'll usually take a well-recorded concert DVD over being there live every single time.

That might suggest that you and I have different aesthetic values. which is totally cool. so long as we get to serve our own needs as audiophiles.


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"Why not have the same "goal" as the engineer? Why use damaged goods as a reference?"

How does using a conspicuously damaged playback medium like vinyl get you closer to the reference?

There are two different answers to that question depending on the reference of choice.
If the reference is live music at it's best...
I didn't actually mention vinyl. I can't give you a technical answer when it comes to vinyl's aesthetic superiority although mastering is usually the biggest difference.

I can break it down like this. If I take the position that it's better to have "accuracy" on a micro level (input/output of each component) and that the artists'/engineers' intention is the standard I have a serious dilema when I listen to the Led Zeppelin reissues on CD compared to the Classics LPs. I have a serious dilema when I listen to the RVG remastered CDs compared to the Hoffman/Gray LPs. These are not unique examples. They are the rule far more often than the exception. That is an obvious reason to reject those axioms about accuracy on a micro level and artist/engineer's intent.

If the reference is the what artists/engineers heard the answer is simple in the case of the vast majority of recordings. The LP was their reference. The test pressing was for the most part the final reference by which a recording was judged. The master tape was just a step in the chain leading to the LP. Go figure. By your reasoning and standards you really need the original vinyl for most recordings.

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