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jayed
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Different CD quality...what's up?

I haven't been in the high end scene (entry level) very long and ran into a "problem"... i purchased several cd's on-line - several of which came on a Sony disc...the packaging was new etc., and the company I purchased them from was a big/renowned company... These discs didn't nearly have the quality of the others i purchased although they were new (quality similar to discs I've played from a friend who ripped them at home)... My question for you experts(!) is what is the difference/is there a difference in cd's and can I identify them before I buy these particular "types" ? I'm using a Rega Apollo player btw...thx!

Catch22
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Quality of sound or quality of the disc itself?

In what way are the discs inferior?

jayed
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quality of sound... sounds as

quality of sound... sounds as if it's being played through a blanket or something...lacks definition and punch ( If that makes sense).

wkhanna
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you may find some answers

you may find some answers here: Dynamic Range Database

not all CD's (or any format) are created equal.

jayed
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much appreciated - i will

much appreciated - i will check it out

commsysman
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CD Quality

I have recently noticed that Amazon has gone to a system where some CDs are apparently "manufactured on demand".

In other words, they use some archived source to make copies of otherwise unavailable CDs by burning the music on a CD-ROM blank.

I assume that's what you got; it sounds like a Sony blank was used (in which case the usual publisher information about the disc would not be lithographed on the face of the disc).

I have been leery of this, and I don't know if Amazon was who you got them from, or some other source.

Obviously, if they use inferior methods or file protocols to transfer the music, that will give you an inferior disc.

Are the files MP3, or some other type of file?

You should be able to put the disc in your computer drive and examine each track to see what sort of file it is.

Please tell us who you bought them from and what sort of files they are.

You should identify the file type if possible. You should also call the company you bought them from and yell at them; tell them you paid for CD quality, and they did not deliver CD quality. They are obviously putting out a low-quality product that sounds like crap. Demand that they either give your money back or send you a better-quality disc.

320K MP3 files sound very good to me, BTW. Lower-res MP3 files are not as good.

jayed
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Thx for the reply... I

Thx for the reply... I purchased them online thru CD Universe. I had purchased 4 discs - 3 of them were on those Sony discs I mentioned, the 4th (original label) sounded just fine. I did contact them and told them how bad the quality was- and they did give me a refund (of course I had to pay shipping). As a newbie to the higher fidelity scene - this really pisses me off because I never know what quality of CD I'm going to end up with...and to top it off this company is charging top dollar for these poor CD's - the one that is of good quality was 1/3rd the price!  Anyway, I had sent them back before I saw your reply or I would have gladly checked the file type....

michael green
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wow!

This is horrible! I certainly hope this doesn't become a regular practice. I've done a pretty intense listening study to files and I can only recommend the originals.

michael green

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Copy Vs Original

I actually ran into a similar issue but I don't completely understand why? I have been doing a few demos and normally will burn a disk off my computer for the demo, but one of the dealers had the original version of the tracks and it definitely seemed to sound better.

What is the reason why copying a disk using secure rip with Jrivers to a NAS drive in FLAC and then burning a CD from that file would sound different. In theory this seems like it should just be 1&0 and shouldn't matter but there was definitely a difference in the track and sound. (should mention that while it was the same track, the dealers CD was a compilation disk opposed to the original album which my file was based on).

Just curious to why this could be, I assumed it could be the laser on the burner not being as good as a commercial one / the CD players ability to read the burned disk causing more errors in a real time scenario, but that being said I still think all the data has to be on the disk.

jayed
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I came across an  article

I came across an  article http://www.cdmasteringservices.com/dynamicrange.htm that I found interesting/disturbing. Bottom line - I'm just a humble consumer (who spent $5K on my system just to enjoy listening) and needs to have quality discs. Now it looks like i need to be a Recording Engineer to understand the difference between the good the bad and the ugly. Even if I miraculously attain this knowledge - I still have no way to identify the quality or dynamic range (or whatever it's called) of the disc before I actually fork out the money and load into my player....

commsysman
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CD QUALITY

Due to the copying time involved, I would assume that the CDs in question are done with MP3 files that are at a lower bit rate.

I find that 320K MP3 files are very hard to tell from the original, even on my hi-res $30K  stereo system.

As the bit rate goes lower, the quality deteriorates quickly.

No one has said what types of files were used or what the bit rate is.

All you have to do is put the CD in your computer drive and look at each file to see the file type.

michael green
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vibration

This is where numbers meet physics. 1&0 is only a language. It still has to travel through vibrating parts to get from A to B. We did a project with IBM, SUNY and some of the recording studios around the country where we took the digital signal and change the vibratory conditions and the signal in became diferent from the signal out. The audio signal language is easily manipulated. The fun for me comes in doing the tests in front of people especially engineers. Last year we took dacs and NAS systems and had listening sessions where we changed the mechanics of the suface where they sat and were able to change the sound greatly.  The tuning area was outside of the room so the listeners had no idea what we were doing. I took the test myself and it was dramatic.

I also had a client who was looking into the diferences so he sent me several file versions for me to test and I returned to him the sound changes that happened with the diferent copies. Again this was not subtle to me and the diferences were easily as big as changing out a component in a system.

michael green

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Follow up

Interesting, I agree with you that there was a sound difference. I was somewhat surprised. Sound like it has to be something with the real time nature of reading audio off the disk. I have to believe the 0&1 are on the disk are the same as the source file and if you were to compare the binary code on a computer it would be identical

Did you research ever narrow in on the cause. The vibration part above makes sense on the playback side as if i am correct, playback on a CD player is a realtime process with limited buffer to correct read errors. (I don't get into CD players as much as my system is networked based). 

The thing that still is making me think is that it was the same CD player for both test just one being original and the other being a copy. Again I have to believe the same code is on both and the player was the same so the only thing it seems to be was the physical disk or when i was writing the disk.

Also quick question, on your nas test, did you use any play from memory option. I'm assuming loading the music into ram before playing allows you to use standard PC protocols to transfer the data over the network and reduced the risk of read errors on playback.

Sorry for the technical questions, would be interesting to if anyone know the answer though.

Catch22
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Even the songs on a disc can vary in sound quality

I've found that the more popular songs on many discs are the worst sounding of the entire album. I chalked it up to heavy compression for radio play.

michael green
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The tests

Hi Guys

The tests were done to see if the audio signal would change along each step of the mecahnical conduits hosting and passing signal. The entire audio pathway, meaning every cap, resistor, wire, print, every part.  We made vibratory adjustments to every part that had to do with the chain including the electric power runing the parts and found that the vibratory code at every step along the way was variable and could be tuned to change the sound. While we were intersted in the change and how to control the signal there were probably others trying to figure out the math and language side. I know that some of the guys ran test to check the performance and they found changes as well but this was not my part. One thing though that might be of interest. After copies were made we were never able to bring back all the music. What ever came up missing in the sound ended up missing permanently.  The 1 & 0 did change was the general conclusion.

Also wanted to say that yes, we did tests from NAS storage. Keep in mind I was not the computer brains at these tests, more the tune it guy and part of the listening teams. I do know that there were many types of signal used but don't pretend to know all the numbers and file names, there were lots. A world all it's own.

I'm interested in the variable sound changes but I think once some engineers end up runing their own tests they will come up with theories about the why's.  To me it just makes sense that any language becomes a diferent one once the signal meets it's physical conduits that are vibrating to carry the signal as well as the electrical charge that provides the flow.  The numbers part is not so much of an interest cause I have seen how the audio signal works now and now know that the whole thing is highly tunable and that to me is the most exciting part.

If you read some of my post here and on my forums you will see that there is a method that we use to bring a much higher level of signal quality. How much is one of the things that is surprising. The other surprising part is what this means as far as the hobby goes. That's where the real mind bender comes in, but everyone who puts this to the tests comes away with the same conclusion except for a few guys who are lost in their own audiophile hell.

I say this because we have found that the average audiophile is not getting anywhere near all the original signal through their playback setups.

Here's another test we did with the NAS at one of the places. The NAS was located 3 stories up from the main listening area. I did a listen, then the NAS was move down to the same level and hooked up. Big change!  Another, just by placing the NAS up on cones 3 stories up the sound changed. But the huge changes with any of these devices were when the chassis were removed and the mechanical transfer tests began.

michael green

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to straighten something out

I'd also like to add something pretty important and will probably do this every chance I get till we understand this as an industry.

The language we use in audio "digital/analog", "pulse/current" is only part of the audio signal. This is something that will make your head spin if you only look at numbers, cause the numbers will not add up with the actual sound. As soon as the language meets a vibrating material (all materials in audio vibrate) a game of plus and minus begins. Too much vibration and the signal changes, too little vibration and the same. So when you are talking digital as an audio signal you should really be looking at it as the language part of the signal before it enters the movement stage. The movement stage is the language + materials performance in passing (vibratory code) + the electrical current.

As your playing around testing and trying to explain it to yourself and others the best thing you can do is set up listening tests so that you are able to hear the changing audio signal. Remember that the signal starts with vibration from the very beginning, and every where there is electron flow there is movement and this movement is in constant action and reaction mode (pressure), reacting to materials and environments. When your doing testing this is not the sound. The lines or squares on the screen are only a view of the measuring of a signal according to those also vibrating electronic devices.  It's not the actual pressure (movement or signal), it's a measurement of the signal. It's like looking at an ultrasound and sonogram. The ultrasound is producing the sound pressure, and the sonogram is the technique of looking at the ultrasound. Is it the whole picture? No, but it gives the general view according to the signals pattern at that particular frequency.

This hobby is fun and there are tons of guys who are into it as engineer types. That's great I took engineering and worked with some of the greats in engineering sound, but it's easy to take this to a place that becomes very inaccurate. When you are talking about capturing, storing and reproducing a soundstage (air pressure), all the test equipment in the world is at best going to bring you a measuement, but not the real signal. There's just too much going on in the proccess for that to really happen. I personally have never been in a listen demo where the measurement added up to creating a real soundstage, and I will add that anyone I have seen make these types of statements are quite frankly lying through their teeth. Those who have mastered or just beginning at tuning their systems know better than to follow a spec. Guys, if your ever going to have a soundstage that is real some of the myths need to be put on the shelves and you need to look at this hobby from the listening end as being the truth for you. Listeners who visit me ask "how can this be a 9 X 9 X 8 room and the soundstage is 30 X 30 X 10. This is a measurement according to the people who come to visit and listen in the small room. The answer is, I believe that a recordings soundstage is a real size event and if tuned as such (stripping away of the signal blockage) you will see the real event in your room.

I want to state again, we have over built this hobby and the signal is just waiting to be set free. Got to get out from behind that mic and computer and do some listening, and ask the right questions to the right people.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

wkhanna
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Copy vs Original
audiophile2000 wrote:

....I have been doing a few demos and normally will burn a disk off my computer for the demo, but one of the dealers had the original version of the tracks and it definitely seemed to sound better (should mention that while it was the same track, the dealers CD was a compilation disk opposed to the original album which my file was based on)..

You seem to have answered your own question.You mention that your file & the dealer’s version were not from the exact same master.

Many albums (especially popular ones) can have multiple releases & re-masters. Any one of which could be of stellar sound quality or quite disappointing. BTW, chronology is no guarantee of quality, either. The most recent release is quite often not the the one with the best sound quality. Also, new releases are sometimes tagged as 'remastered' more as a marketing ploy & only guarantees a different product, not necessarily a better one.

audiophile2000 wrote:

What is the reason why copying a disk using secure rip with Jrivers to a NAS drive in FLAC and then burning a CD from that file would sound different. In theory this seems like it should just be 1&0 and shouldn't matter but there was definitely a difference in the track and sound. 

Just curious to why this could be, I assumed it could be the laser on the burner not being as good as a commercial one / the CD players ability to read the burned disk causing more errors in a real time scenario, but that being said I still think all the data has to be on the disk.

There have been and still are ‘lively’ debates over whether or not errors exist in any copied file. I do know that if you rip a file of a CD, then burn a copy to a CD, and keep repeating this process at some point as you play back each subsequent copy, eventually you will detect degradation to the sound. This test has been verified many times. Why & where in the chain of the copying process these errors occur is not as easily verified. The number of variables is nearly infinite.

I like & use dBpoweramp for copying all my CD’s to FLAC.

Not only does it verify the integrity of the ripped & copied files by comparing it to all the other copies ever made of that file, (so you will know if there are errors in your copy) it does a wonderful job of importing metadata.

jayed
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In light of all the

In light of all the information shared here - purchasing a CD nowadays is basically a crap shoot on quality....great

wkhanna
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format quailty

Not really anything new.

From vinyl pressings to cassette to current Hi-Rez downloads (note some Hi-Rez  files being offered are in fact only upsampled versions of previous recordings).....there never were & still are not any guarantees.

As the saying goes, caveat emptor.

You must perform your due diligence.

This is one reason I find the  Dynamic Range Database useful

.It too, is no guarantee, since dynamic range will not always be the best or most foolproof indicator of sound quality, but it is a good place to start.

These are the just some of the common trials & tribulations faced by every audiophile since the first wax cylinder was cut.

Welcome to the fold!

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it's always been

Hi Jayed

It's always been a crap shoot, but the more you learn and experience the closer you can come to magic. Part of the fun of being an audiophile is the study of the music from not only the artist view but also what happens in the recording, copies, and playback. The exact same problem that people are talking about with CD's has happened in every copying situation in audio. Vinyl goes through the same thing from pressing machine to machine, tape also and now digital so none of this is anything new. People who say vinyl is better, or tubes are better are making very wide swipes with a very wide brushes for example.  It's part of the ego that comes with this hobby, but the question is this. Do we have systems that can play the music?

When I hear someone say I have a system that cost $$$ it says nothing to me. When I hear a person name their components it says little more. This hobby is about you and I taking a recording and bringing it to life. Owning brand X and Y is not going to make the music happen. Neither is buying this LP or that CD. What's going to make this hobby work for you and I is learning how to play a stereo and you deciding how you want to listen. Buying a stereo is like making a meal. There's a lot of people going to tell you how to cook but you have to eat it. A lot of folks who want to be experts but very few who understand the audio trilogy (acoustical, mechanical, electrical). The more we learn about how the "whole" works, the easier it is to get great sound. I've been in high end audio forever, and do you know how much after all these years, and spending all that money, my reference CD player cost? $24.00. People say I have one of the worlds reference listening setups and it's being done with a $24.00 tore down tuned piece of art. So many have said "can't be" till they get here or they tune it themselves. And there is the key word "tune". One can spend all the money in the world but if your system can't play it?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

jayed
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Hmmmmm

hi michael green,

wow! let me just say my system sounds freakin' awesome to me and they were fresh out of $24 players when i was shopping... and the quest for quality cd's will continue...i've joined the "war on loudness" army...

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that's good news

Hi jayed

It's great that your system sounds awesome! I laugh myself at the CD player choice. The mention of how much this beauty of a player cost does get a lot of reaction, but that's the way it is. I've never tied myself to dollars when it comes to music. I build one of the most expensive, most exotic listening rooms in the world, yet listen to a $24.00 player (moded of course) as my reference. Interesting isn't it? But for me that's the way the CD turns.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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Of course CDs differ in sound

Of course CDs differ in sound quality. Is that even up for debate any more after 30 years? Production is a variable. Compression is a variable. Quality of the electric power used in production (and playback!) is a variable. There are so many variables, most likely only a few of the total number of variables that affect a signal in a given signal path can be actually known, much less measured. And digital is still so relatively new, a great deal of what we think we "know" now will undoubtedly turn out to be wrong. And there seems to be very little understanding or even discussion in the mainstream about how the digital universe interacts with the analog, physical universe into which it is ultimately translated. The danger is in buying wholeheartedly into the arrogant audiophile conventional wisdom that bigger, heavier, more complex and shinier is always better. We do know that everything does vibrate, and anything that vibrates would affect, on some level, anything else that vibrates that it comes in contact with.

I have used one of those $24 players for a number of years, and have listened to it in comparison to expensive audio players and dacs, as well as other under $50 players. What makes that player so good is not its price, but its simple, minimalist and elegant design with comparatively little in the signal path, combined with its simple light weight which makes it tunable. Not all the inexpensive players sound good necessarily -- I've heard a few that do, because they were designed with a simple and elegant signal path and parts that allowed signal to pass easily.  

Catch22
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This sounds like something familiar

The proverbial "straight wire with gain."

This isn't new thinking or revelatory. In fact, it's more conventional than cutting edge. Audio enthusiasts have been designing simplicity into gear for a long time now. Things like battery powered components, passive preamps and transformer-less amplifiers, all with the goal of reducing variables and simplifying the signal path.

There seems to be an agenda connected with the constant posts of "the emperor has no clothes" as if there is some sort of audiophile cleansing that needs to take place to stop the evil manufactuers from hoodwinking the deluded consumers.

We get it. We got it before all the lectures and convenient links to the path of rightiousness. It's not new thinking...it's advertising and talking your own book and saving yourselves the cost of paying for an actual advertisement. It strikes me as slimy.

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missing the point my friend

Hi 22

Your correct, this isn't revelatory. Musical instruments have been made variably tunable since the beginning. So why are audio products not being made that same way?  And I in no way am on attack mode or needing to pound my own chest, and yes people do need to look at this as well as make a turn.

you said

"all with the goal of reducing variables"

This is exactly what I am saying we should not be doing. We need to increase the variables and make the products tunable so they will be able to keep the signal from going into distortion.

If you look at the history of the users you find that they are constently running into not being able to get the sound right. "This is distortion", and you do not solve distortion by using fixed methods. You simply trade one distortion for another. If you see this as slimy then you are missing the point and maybe have not looked into this deeply enough yet. What I am doing is spelling out reality and showing people where to go to see people who are practicing the art of tuning on and with their systems so that it makes it easier for those who are interested in making their systems stop distorting, able to do so. If this gets egos mad, it's not on me.

I do see how it makes someone at first a little put off hearing that a $24 CD player can be made to beat up on the very best $$$, but that is also not on me to sugar coat. I'm in this to say that if you or anyone else has a recording that you can not get to sound good on their system I can show them how to change that. Why that would be "slimy" to you or anyone seems odd to me. This industry needs to get off their high horse and produce products that can go the next step. Yes this means changing things and guys don't like to admit that they may have a problem. Well I'm use to hearing these problems and solving them and I'm also use to people saying they have the greatest when in fact they are sitting there frustrated. They say things about people like me out of that frustration. These people have been taught and trained to keep buying new products and they keep replacing one distortion for another.

lets get real

Why do you guys buy different components and keep replacing them?

Why are you guys hearing things that don't sound right to you?

Why are you guys limited in the types of music that sound good on your system?

If you and I put a piece of music on our system and it doesn't sound good, yet sounds good on some other system somewhere, what does this mean? It means when you put this recording on your system it "distorts". Why is this so hard to deal with? It's hard to deal with cause we haven't learned how to make our systems stop distorting. The answer is not making your system more fixed, it's making it less fixed and tuning in the vibrations to be in tune. Why would anyone find offense with this? Aren't we supposed to be having fun working toward better music playback? :-)

Please let me make one thing perfectly clear. I have a ton of respect for the designers and reviewers in this hobby, but my loyality is to the music and making this industry a better one. I have no problem with taste and totally understand that all of our taste are slightly diferent. What I do have a problem with is that we have put ourselves in a box and it is our egos, or lack of knowledge that are keeping many of us from not getting out of that box. When I hear that someone has a problem with their sound and they reach into the replace it bag, instead of realizing that this is distortion and fixing it, it blows my mind that the industry is still back in caveman days as far as how to use an audio system.  Sure this does and is going to make some mad. But that isn't something that I created, it's something that I'm fixing and know how to fix.

You say this isn't anything new, ok, who is making variably tunable audio systems?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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The reason you come across slimy to me

You post pretty much the same stuff in every thread whether it is even remotely related to the topic being discussed and it usually revolves around the suggestion or invitation to join your community, where futher information about your products can be discovered.

In this thread, for example, the topic was inferior  recordings having been bought by the original poster. This is and has been a distinct problem with audio engineers and record companies and the subject of many discussions around audiophile circles.

The concept known as the law of the instrument, Maslow's hammer, Gavel or a golden hammer is an over-reliance on a familiar tool; as Abraham Maslow said in 1966, "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." Not every thread warrants your hammer, is my point.

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the thread police

Hi 22

It's a little hard responding to a post like yours but I hope that if you get to know me you will see my intent.

you said

"In this thread, for example, the topic was inferior recordings having been bought by the original poster. This is and has been a distinct problem with audio engineers and record companies and the subject of many discussions around audiophile circles."

I thought I did address this. I'm sorry you didn't think so.

I'm also sorry this hits you wrong. I never want to come across any other way but helpful. I've enjoyed getting positive feedback from others reading my posts here, but I'm sure everyone who reads stuff on forums has their own take.

So, slimy as in nightcrawlers, or as in Ghost Busters?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

jayed
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entry level forum

much agreed catch22 thank you...  

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tuning

The fact remains; all the tuning tweaking and modifying in the world can't correct for recorded material that's a victim of the loudness wars and/or poor recording/mastering. I feel for those who have problems with this. Fortunately, those of us who are primarily interested in classical and Jazz have largely escaped the "loudness wars". The only real solution is to buy music that was recorded and mastered with higher audio quality in mind.

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the audio circle

I wrote a post in response then after looking at it I felt like this was going to become an audio circle. I'm happy that I have been able to be a part of this thread and share some things.

I've started a thread on "the loudness wars" on Tuneland, and welcome a little more open minded discussion there.

michael green

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close minded

How is saying that room and equipment tweaking can't compensate for poor recording and mastering close minded?

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open minded

First I totally respect your opinion, but it is an opinion and probably not a tested fact. What we deal in are tested facts in pretty sophisticated environments. Some say the most sophisticated ever made and I appreciate that, but I haven't been in every environment even though I have done a lot of traveling and learning. If you sat and listened in one of these spaces you would probably walk away with a few ideas that would be different from what you may be thinking now about the qualities of recordings, and playback systems. A lot of audiophiles and recording engineers have walked out of these and said "there is no way to believe it if I hadn't hear it for myself". So when people make statements I have two choices. Go around in a circle with them or invite them to experience it and make the call for themselves.

I don't come on these threads to stir up things, and if it comes across that way to folks that's not my intent. I do have an agenda though, and that is to show others that there are missing ingredients to this industry that we have found to be overlooked. Not only in High End Audio but the entire audio chain. The people who come and experience this for themselves rarely come back to High End Audio or typical Recording thinking. It takes a lot to teach the old something new in an industry like this. Egos and boundaries dig deep, especially when there is money and pride involved. I've walked this line ever sense I first presented these discoveries to reviewers. You may think that all the tweaks have been found but there is one, not tweak but method, that the industry has not got their arms around yet, and the industry members I have shown this to have told me they have no idea what to do with this. How do you move a fixed industry to a variable one? We are very use to trying fixed tweaks and making judgements about them, but this is not really tweaking at a level that is going to get someone passed trading one out of tune sound for another.

If you take a system down to the vibratory level, where you can hear the signal path and all the energies like electromagnetics, and rebuild this system to tune the signal as it passes through conduits you will experience the soundstage at a completely different level. The High End Audiophile sound is like in a tiny box compared to the signal being intune and playing. When this signal is set free like what I am describing you can still hear the compression but it doesn't sound anything like what you are hearing on a soundstage that is typically small. It's like someone has lifted the veil and many things that audiophiles call distortion are not even there. Most people are hearing distortions because they have systems that are not playing enough of the recorded info.

A question that I ask people when I am teaching recording or playback. If you are standing in the live room and then go into the control room, mastering or playback room and it is not playing things at the "real space, real size" of the live room, what does this mean? I hear all kinds of answers but none of them really match up to what is the real answer. If you are recording in any room you should be able to hear that size of a soundstage in your room. These boxed soundstages that the audiophiles have come to embrace are not even close to the real thing and once you hear the real thing it changes the entire hobby for you. this doesn't mean that you can't go back to these little stages it just means you now have a choice to make the sound how ever you want.

So back to your comment. If a listener has not heard one of these stages than yes they have had a closed mind as compared to listeners who are listening to these more proportionately accurate stages matching closer to the real size of the recording. How does this tie into the subject? When you have the closer to real size stage you can hear the compression squeeze but it doesn't sound as much like distortions (bad) as it does compact in certain ranges. I obviously prefer less compressed, but now at least understand the sound of compression. So you see I wasn't trying to be off topic or argumentative, just wanted to give a point of view that many other listeners are hearing that is maybe a little different from the typical audiophile setup.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

JoeE SP9
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Opinion my ass

To steal a quote from Bill Cosby; "Yabba, yabba, yabba!"

It's pretty much universally acknowledged that nothing, that's nothing, can compensate for poor recording and/or mastering. If you know of some way to alleviate the dynamic compression inflicted on many pop rock recordings please enlighten us with your "superior" knowledge. 

If you know how to do this you're better than the best engineers out there (NOT!).

As I tried to point out in my first post; Your responses have absolutely nothing to do with the OP's original and still unanswered (by you)  question.

To reiterate: The OP is asking about the poor sound quality of some CD's not gear or room acoustics. Perhaps you need to be introduced to the term GIGO (garbage In, garbage out).

Less pontificating and more answers! Double talk about vibratory rates and such, sounds like something straight out of E.E "Doc" Smith. I'm a retired EE and "I ain't hearing your line". What's next, a treatise on etheric vibrations?

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to the mods

To the mods at stereophile. If you feel I was off topic you may remove (or I can) any of the posts you feel did not either answer questions or suggest ideas or share our experiences. I saw the topic change from "bad CD's being shipped" to "loudness wars" so didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong.  I have always enjoyed my times with the stereophile reviewers and getting to know J. Gordon, Guy and others. I think it's great that you have this forum and it's refreshing that it stays civil.

As I said earlier though audio circles are a waiste of time. I have talked to others about coming up here and sharing their experiences, but their answer to me is If you would like to have others here who have knowledge to share about what we have found, their not going to come up if there are flames burning. It's sad because there is so much we can do in our hobby when people take the time to explore together instead of throwing insults. When High End Audio does (it will and is) become more tunable, hopefully people will look back at times people had doubts and wonder "why did we not see the obvious". I for one wish to give a lot more credit to those who have spent their lives as artist and recording engineers. The only way we keep making it better is check our steps and sometimes when we go too far one way we need to back up and see what we did and make the changes necessary to produce something better.  We are at one of those crossroads, and it could mean the difference between High End Audio becoming a  dinosaur or remaining the cutting edge.

to Joe, let me know when you would like to schedule a trip so you may see first hand

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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trip?

Are you serious? If you are anywhere near as condescending in person as you come off in print I'm certain I couldn't handle it.

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hearing is believing

Hi Joe

I think I would explain it this way. My last visitor came to my place with preconceived thoughts about what I was telling him. "how could these things be true, almost all of high end audio goes the opposite way" were his words.

Here's his post after his first listen. Keep in mind he is a musician and someone who has been in the high end audio business for many years.

"First impression was just "oh my God!". I have been talking about the tune with Michael for many years, and have experienced some of it at shows when he used to have rooms set up, and I use his products in my own system (only pillows and some old PZC's) which have made a big difference, BUT I was totally unprepared for what I heard! The sound was all around me, and in total balance, front to back and side to side. Initially I found (for me) that I had to leave my head in one spot for the particlar recordings he chose to play to get the full effect. But, I am back again today and after a little tuning, everything is in focus as it should be in any head position. That proves that all people hear differently, and there is no "one size fits all" which I knew anyway, I have discovered the magic of the tune, and that his systems allow the listener to configure it perfectly for their ears and their recordings.

I also want to add that I am now sitting in this bed/writtingroom as I write this, and I still hear a real sound stage coming from the music room!

Bottom line - I was skeptical at first, but now I am a true believer. Everyone should have a system that sounds like this. I can't wait until I get mine!"

He went on to write more posts

"Heard some great sounds this morning - live Pearl Jam and Robin Trower. The live recording had the ambience of the hall (unusual for a rock recording) and was very real. I also realized there's a lot more going on in Bridge Of Sighs than I thought!"

Neil Young Harvest

"I'll try to address this using a couple of Neil's songs. One of my favorites is Needle and the Damage Done which I have played many times on my acoustic guitar. It was surprising to me to hear the full body of Neil's voice about 6-8 feet behind the front wall, and the ringing of the guitar body after every note. Even at the end of the song when the applause starts, I could still hear the guitar body above the crowd noise - and the hand claps were all around me.
Moving on to A Man Needs a Maid - Neil's voice was as before, and the piano was full sized and to my left. When the orchestra came in it was all around me, the strings and the horns were very realistic, with the bells hanging in space. It's playing right now as I right this, and I'm still getting a soundstage in the next room.
On an electric guitar piece like Alabama, the pick strikes on the strings were obvious and the slightly over driven guitar growl was there like I was sitting in front on the amp - just like when I've played it myself on stage with my amp behind me."

"the soundstage is now about 40 feet wide! The orchestra on Man Needs A Maid just goes swoosh out to about 40 feet. The transients are starting to fill in and the layering is incredible. One final WOW!"

Again I'm replying to a post so I don't believe I'm being off topic, or trying to again stir anything beyond there is a way to go further than we have before, and some of the things that we think are problems in a recording are a result of us not being able to hear the entire recording because of our systems inability to playback the whole picture. So for example, lets say someone has a system that can not play Harvest to the size that is being described, with a deep and wide plus all around stage. If their stage is the typical audiophile size as I talked about earlier they may be thinking something is distortion when it is simply that the playback system is doing the distorting and not the recording at all.

Joe, this isn't meant to be condescending. This is just what people are experiencing. A much larger, fuller stage than they have had before, giving them a lot more information than what they have heard with over built componentry. If you wish I would be happy for you to name a recording (please make in one I can find) that you feel is distorting (not recorded well) and I will get it and tune it in on a tunable system and see if it has a problem or not. I understand that you may not trust my say so, so I will give my impression but also get the impressions from others.

Is this fair enough?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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Sound stage

What does any of that about Neil Young sounding "real" have to do with a poor recording?

I have no disagreement with the idea of improving the sound stage or recorded sound in general. I removed a wall in my home and turned my living and dining rooms into a single dedicated listening room with extensive acoustic treatment and meticulous choice and arrangement of my speakers and gear. And yes, I used a combination of measurements, experience in audio (46+years), 58+ years of playing strings and my acoustic reference (The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center) to tweak the sound. However, that has absolutely nothing to do with what the OP made his original post about.

The question was about poorly recorded and/or poor sounding CD's. Nothing can correct for poor source material. The most that can be realistically expected is a lessening of the audibility of the objectionable parts of the sound. I look at it as being analogous to they way some phono cartridges seem to make ticks and pops less obtrusive. The spurious noises are still there but they don't seem as objectionable.

A poor recording is a poor recording. All the gear and tweaking in the world can't change that.

An example of what I think is a poor recording is Sugar Ray, 14::59. It sounded so bad I returned (for exchange) the first copy I bought. Needless to say the replacement sounds just as bad (to me). I've since come to realize, it's supposed to sound the way it does.

As the OP didn't mention any specific recordings it's possible the ones he's complaining about are supposed to sound the way they do. 

I'd like to add, listening to one's system while in another room can't possible exhibit any sort of sound stage. I'm not discounting any part of the LIAR (listening in another room) test. I use it myself to help assess the sound of a system. Hearing a recognizable sound stage from the perspective of a different room is IMO impossible.

How can you mentally place anything in a "believable" acoustic space (sound stage) when you're in another room? That applies to live and recorded music.

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14:59 is cool with me

Hi Joe

14:59 is cool with me! I have tuned it many times at my place and others, and can see where if someone throws it on a system not in tune for that recording how it can be a turn off, but once it is opened up it actually has a fairly nice stage and good effects. On your system how wide does the stage go with 14:59? Does it have good front to back layering?

Lets compare stages a little and see why it might not being sounding good on yours.

BTW here's a response on my thread. http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t217-stereophile-forum#3805

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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I think I'm starting to understand MG a little better

I genuinely think we are at an impasse that can't be resolved because of the differences in approach to audio reproduction. It's a given that ANY system of reproduction is a compromise of variables that can only result in each listener determining for themselves what aspects put them closer to recreating the hierachy of sound that makes the combination more real to the individual listener. For some it's tonal balance, for others it's spatial cues, maybe dynamic range or realistic sound pressure levels (anybody remember Dup?!).

From the reviewers description of the album you guys are talking about, having read MG's link, I learned nothing about the sound of the album other than the reviewer liked the album. He didn't describe the sound quality at all, but he enjoyed the music. MG used the review in the context of demonstrating that the album was well recorded and that Joe's system must not be capable of taking advantage of the recording. The reviewer did give the album a rating of 86 for sound quality, though no context was provided that tells the reader what that means.

I can't help but be reminded of reading about some turntable guy, who upon discovering that  every album pressing required him to readjust his turntable geometry to compensate for the recording variables was becoming frustrating...but he just had to do it to enjoy listening. I think it was Miles Astor, but I'm not certain.

Alexander Hamilton once remarked (Federalist 31) that, "In disquisitions of every kind, there are certain primary truths or first principles upon which all subsequent reasonings must depend."

I think that is pretty much where we are going to land and rather than trying to reason with one another we should probably just wish each other luck and success.

Btw, one recording that stands out in my mind as being hopelessly terrible, though I still like the tune and the band is "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls. At least the soundtrack to the movie version. It sounds great in my car while doing 65 mph down the freeway, though.

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getting closer :)

At least it looks like some of the walls might be coming down and that's always a good thing. I also hope when people come to the thread they will see what I wrote about the recording and feel free to ask whatever. I will be happy to give a song by song review if they would like, and with that they could compare notes to their own home system.

 

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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14:59
michael green wrote:

Hi Joe

14:59 is cool with me! I have tuned it many times at my place and others, and can see where if someone throws it on a system not in tune for that recording how it can be a turn off, but once it is opened up it actually has a fairly nice stage and good effects. On your system how wide does the stage go with 14:59? Does it have good front to back layering?

Lets compare stages a little and see why it might not being sounding good on yours.

BTW here's a response on my thread. http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t217-stereophile-forum#3805

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

It's a studio recording with no "real" soundstage. Of course there is some "tweaking"  that attempts to produce a sound stage. What's there is IMO par for the usual pop rock recording. That is, there is a soundstage off what I call the "cardboard cutout" type. The stage is truncated and the performers resemble cardboard cutouts more than fully fleshed figures. This is IMO a normal result of most over processed studio recordings.

However, my compliant with the sound of 14:59 is not related to a soundstage or lack of. I don't expect a realistic soundstage from any heavily processed recording. The generally grungy tone and garage band type sound is what I find objectionable. There is nothing that can change that. That's why I said, " I realize it's supposed to sound that way".

As far as what IMO constitutes a "good" soundstage, any of my direct to disk LP's easily qualify. As for modern recordings, Jacintha, Here's To Ben is an excellent example. When played on my system the area around and behind my speakers opens up and it sounds like there is a large room with real people playing. I can tell when someone gets up from their chair and approaches the "solo" microphone. I can even "see" where the other musicians are seated and standing in that space

It's been my experience that recordings such as direct to disk LP's and Groove Note CD's (in particular) have an excellent soundstage. I attribute this to using a minimal number of microphones, a passive mixer, no studio processing and recording live to a two track master. For recordings that produce a good soundstage less is quite often more. Also, recording live with all the musicians present seems to add life, fire and spirit that all to often is missing from multi tracked studio recordings.   

That some recordings sound better and/or different than others is IMO a good thing. There are enough differences in gear, recording approaches and mastering techniques that different recordings should sound different. I think that hearing differences in different recordings is a product of having a revealing system. When all recordings start sounding the same, even if it's all good, there is something wrong in the reproduction chain.

Catch22: If my system made 14:59 sound good to me, it would make many other selections sound bad. Removing or reducing the "grunge" would result in well recorded music not sounding as good as (IMO) it does on my rig. Regardless, I like the CD and play it. I also play old Motown, Stax/Volt and other less than stellar recordings. I don't mind hearing Etta James bump the microphone while singing At Last. I'm just not a fan of grungy sound.

I could mention a CD single I have of Soul Quality Quartet that sounds absolutely horrid. They added ticks, pops, LP surface noise and tape hiss for "artistry"(?). It sounds awful. I like the music though.

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So

Does this mean I'm not getting the guest room ready? If your going to say recordings don't have real soundstages, than you are definitely in a different hobby, profession, than what I am in.  Some of the greatest soundstages in the recording world are studio made. They're extremely specific and very detailed. As detailed as any direct recordings are. Again if their not specific on your system that's your system but for the rest of the listeners out there, there's a whole world of great music to enjoy. I do agree that every recording has it's own code and a good system will show this. Where I disagree is that recordings are bad because someone has a system that can't play it. That to me means that system is stuck (fixed) in a particular range of signal reproducing that is not able to pass or be made to pass the whole audio spectrum.

People don't come to me because they don't want to hear their music. They come to me to find out how to hear their music. High End Audio systems should be as tunable as the instruments they play. My systems are, and so are the systems of the tunees.

Joe, here's my question for you. When you have a piece of music on your system that doesn't sound good, what do you do?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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It's back to that primary truths and first principles thing

 

"Catch22: If my system made 14:59 sound good to me, it would make many other selections sound bad. Removing or reducing the "grunge" would result in well recorded music not sounding as good as (IMO) it does on my rig. Regardless, I like the CD and play it. I also play old Motown, Stax/Volt and other less than stellar recordings. I don't mind hearing Etta James bump the microphone while singing At Last. I'm just not a fan of grungy sound."

That's the correct view in my opinion as well. There's a reason that "Iris" sounds ok in my car traveling 65 mph on the freeway, and it ain't because my home system isn't tuned as well as my car system. To be sure, not all bad recordings are bad in the same way. Recordings can be bad in a lot of different ways and for a multitude of reasons or simply one really bad flaw. To think that there is a fix for this sort of thing while preserving all the things that contribute to reproducing a high quality recording is nonsense.

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different strokes

You know I almost jumped back into this audio circle, but as I started to before I'm not going there.

The High End Audio hobby and business I belong to can tune in whatever sound we want when ever we want.  I can't imagine going back to listening to systems that can't play the music, then calling the music they can't play bad. It's just not the hobby I'm in.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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Any system?

Just getting in on this conversation... Is any system tuneable? Do you provide products that tune in a sound in a reproducible, predictable way, as well as ways of tweaking the equipment, such as you mentioned re: loosening transformers?

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Yes!

Hi Chris

Yes, all audio systems are tunable (home, pro, studio). However I recommend reading http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/ a little so you can see what the guys there are doing. A lot of times as the listeners start doing this they choose to go to some components that tune better than others. For example heavier components do tune, but when compared to components with less mass they typically don't go as far. A lot of guys who still choose to use their bigger stuff end up removing almost all the mass. That's up to the listener of course, I just act as a guide with whatever system comes along.

One thing though to be clear about is, according to the advertising rules here I don't want to talk about my products on this forum so I try to give advice as general as I can. I also don't sell any of the components I might recommend. I'm not trying to front a store on Stereophile but more keep on the subject of tunable audio being the next step to high end audio. I will say this, everyone but maybe 2 or 3 harden thinkers that have tried tuning have changed not only their systems, but their thinking on the hobby dramatically.

Everyone I talk to anyway, have had systems come close (some not so close) to the sound they want but then that one recording goes on, or a season of listening that isn't where they want to be. They say "if I could only do this or that, I'd be there". Well, tuning is the this or that. Since tuning, I rarely get a listener who says "I can't get that recording there". Tuning is a process of opening up the sound then tuning in the specifics. When the sound gets opened up things that someone thought were holes, or distortion, or noise clean up, or become something that is easier to deal with. On this thread I was talking about compression but the same goes true for any part of the sound.

We don't give the audio signal and the recorded information nearly enough credit is what the "tunees" have learned. Hope you explore this with us.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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confusing
michael green wrote:

Does this mean I'm not getting the guest room ready? If your going to say recordings don't have real soundstages, than you are definitely in a different hobby, profession, than what I am in.  Some of the greatest soundstages in the recording world are studio made. They're extremely specific and very detailed. As detailed as any direct recordings are. Again if their not specific on your system that's your system but for the rest of the listeners out there, there's a whole world of great music to enjoy. I do agree that every recording has it's own code and a good system will show this. Where I disagree is that recordings are bad because someone has a system that can't play it. That to me means that system is stuck (fixed) in a particular range of signal reproducing that is not able to pass or be made to pass the whole audio spectrum.

People don't come to me because they don't want to hear their music. They come to me to find out how to hear their music. High End Audio systems should be as tunable as the instruments they play. My systems are, and so are the systems of the tunees.

Joe, here's my question for you. When you have a piece of music on your system that doesn't sound good, what do you do?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

 

Most studio recordings IMO can't have a realistic soundstage because there was never one to begin with. The term itself has certain implications. JGH and HP both talk about the sound of  musicians playing in a definable space being a soundstage. There is no such animal with most studio recordings. You can't recreate what was never there.

Yes there are studio recordings that manipulate the sound to give the illusion of a soundstage. With a system of sufficient resolution the result while bearing a resemblance to a "real" soundstage actually sounds contrived and artificial, because it is. 

If you can "tune" a system to produce a soundstage when there wasn't one to begin with that's all well and good. However, technically what you're doing is adding distortion. Distortion by definition is anything added to or removed from the signal.

To answer your question:

I think you have misunderstood my posts. I believe you are confusing bad music with poor recordings. There is a very large difference between music that doesn't sound good and a recording that doesn't sound good. I don't listen to music that doesn't sound good to me. Many poor recordings are of music that I like therefore I listen to them.

A poor recording is something that you can't correct. You may be able to ameliorate some of the "nasties" but it's still a poor recording. 14:59 sounds awful to me. It has nothing to do with a soundstage or lack of. I simply find the grungy sound of the recording not to my taste.

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that's odd, now I get it

When I listened with J and again at Harry's place those soundstages sounded pretty real to us.

I and the other audiophiles must have some pretty creative imaginations. How dare us, making up stuff that isn't there. I better call these guys and tell them their listening to distortion. Hey Alan Parsons how could you fool us like that. I thought your recordings were masterpieces now I'm finding out it was all distortion.

If what I and millions of audiophiles have been listening to is distortion I'll take the cool-aid gladly. I've been a part of mono recordings, stereo, multi-channel, direct to disc, and if you wish to call these distortion you are on a very small island my friend. BTW according to your definition stereo itself would be distortion, along with seating in a room with 4 walls ceiling and floor. You keep coming back with all these different angles but it seems like each one is taking you futher from reality. 

Right now as we speak their are listeners tuning in their systems to become more accurate than they ever thought possible. Your telling them this is all a lie.Their really not hearing an environment being recreated in their listening or theatre rooms. This is one of the greatest hobbies that has come along in history and your trying to reduce it to something that only makes sense to a very few stuck thinkers. Why? Do you feel you can come up on a thread like this and convert people to mono non-compressed recordings, which according to your set of rules is the only true reproduction possible. Let me edit that. Even the pressure pushing on the mics diaphragm  would be distortion according to you. Every mic diaphragm responds to the pressure differently after all. So where do you want to draw the line for us. Perhaps we can come to your place and invite the chamber in. Oops, this wouldn't be real cause the sound would have to travel through the air and take on the shape of the room. I know, we'll sit around with our hands on the instruments and feel the music. Rats, we can't do that cause our hands will change the pitch of the instruments.

I know, while your deciding where the line is for us between real and not, the rest of us will be tuning the sound in.

let me add something

You know why this hobby and the high end audio industry is dying, because the rest of the world is moving forward. The rest of the world keeps improving by recreating itself, and when improvements come along they are open minded enough to pay attention to the possiblities and try the new instead of talking about why it can't be. 

I have people every day (go look at them) who are rediscovering this hobby for themselves. They've tried all these audiophile paths yet the sound still isn't there. These people are tired of having to go out and buy yet another component. A component that has the same problem as the one they just finished listening to. Their tired of buying a part that doesn't deliver. They got into this hobby because they want that illusion you talked about. But where your dead wrong is, that illusion is very real and the rest of the world uses and appreciates it every day. The closer they come to the recreation of an event the more that event becomes something of value. Some yes, are here to be a collector of equipment, and some to express their inner engineer, but the hobby of listening to music (the audiophile) has out grown high end audio's base. They want something more than the tiny boxed soundstage that sits in front of them. They want to be there. You want to call this an illusion, go for it. In my world though every time someone turns a screw and fines out they have control over the sound of their system a new hobby begins for them. A hobby that is related to the very instruments being played. That's why I'm here. I represent a hobby that takes people further away from distortion instead of staying in the middle of it. You don't like that, it's fine with me but it doesn't change the facts that audiophiles are setting their systems free and getting rid of the distortion of over built products. It's easy to talk, but that only proves you haven't picked up a screw driver and tried it.

Hasn't the listener heard enough? One myth after another and all the time the music was sitting right in front of them. Do you know how many guys already since I've been posting here have come over to the tune and started setting their systems free with incredible results just by turning a few screws? A few screws loose, how about that :) we have a screw loose. LOL. People are sitting there listening to systems that can do much more than they thought if only they want to take the time to discover.

I'm gonna keep moving forward with my hobby. There's a world full of music to listen to. And I'm going to put that music right in my room and get it as real as the day it was recorded if I can. I don't care what it cost me little or great, I'm gonna get it. You want to keep shrinking the industry go right ahead. Shrink it right along with the stage, and while the music lover makes music more real you can sit there a watch whatever is left of the parade go by.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

ChrisS
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Thanks, Michael!

I'll have a look. It's the vinyl part of my system that seems to need "opening up". I have an LP12, but Linn has their way of doing that....

JoeE SP9
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where to begin
michael green wrote:

When I listened with J and again at Harry's place those soundstages sounded pretty real to us.

I and the other audiophiles must have some pretty creative imaginations. How dare us, making up stuff that isn't there. I better call these guys and tell them their listening to distortion. Hey Alan Parsons how could you fool us like that. I thought your recordings were masterpieces now I'm finding out it was all distortion.

If what I and millions of audiophiles have been listening to is distortion I'll take the cool-aid gladly. I've been a part of mono recordings, stereo, multi-channel, direct to disc, and if you wish to call these distortion you are on a very small island my friend. BTW according to your definition stereo itself would be distortion, along with seating in a room with 4 walls ceiling and floor. You keep coming back with all these different angles but it seems like each one is taking you futher from reality. 

Right now as we speak their are listeners tuning in their systems to become more accurate than they ever thought possible. Your telling them this is all a lie.Their really not hearing an environment being recreated in their listening or theatre rooms. This is one of the greatest hobbies that has come along in history and your trying to reduce it to something that only makes sense to a very few stuck thinkers. Why? Do you feel you can come up on a thread like this and convert people to mono non-compressed recordings, which according to your set of rules is the only true reproduction possible. Let me edit that. Even the pressure pushing on the mics diaphragm  would be distortion according to you. Every mic diaphragm responds to the pressure differently after all. So where do you want to draw the line for us. Perhaps we can come to your place and invite the chamber in. Oops, this wouldn't be real cause the sound would have to travel through the air and take on the shape of the room. I know, we'll sit around with our hands on the instruments and feel the music. Rats, we can't do that cause our hands will change the pitch of the instruments.

I know, while your deciding where the line is for us between real and not, the rest of us will be tuning the sound in.

let me add something

You know why this hobby and the high end audio industry is dying, because the rest of the world is moving forward. The rest of the world keeps improving by recreating itself, and when improvements come along they are open minded enough to pay attention to the possiblities and try the new instead of talking about why it can't be. 

I have people every day (go look at them) who are rediscovering this hobby for themselves. They've tried all these audiophile paths yet the sound still isn't there. These people are tired of having to go out and buy yet another component. A component that has the same problem as the one they just finished listening to. Their tired of buying a part that doesn't deliver. They got into this hobby because they want that illusion you talked about. But where your dead wrong is, that illusion is very real and the rest of the world uses and appreciates it every day. The closer they come to the recreation of an event the more that event becomes something of value. Some yes, are here to be a collector of equipment, and some to express their inner engineer, but the hobby of listening to music (the audiophile) has out grown high end audio's base. They want something more than the tiny boxed soundstage that sits in front of them. They want to be there. You want to call this an illusion, go for it. In my world though every time someone turns a screw and fines out they have control over the sound of their system a new hobby begins for them. A hobby that is related to the very instruments being played. That's why I'm here. I represent a hobby that takes people further away from distortion instead of staying in the middle of it. You don't like that, it's fine with me but it doesn't change the facts that audiophiles are setting their systems free and getting rid of the distortion of over built products. It's easy to talk, but that only proves you haven't picked up a screw driver and tried it.

Hasn't the listener heard enough? One myth after another and all the time the music was sitting right in front of them. Do you know how many guys already since I've been posting here have come over to the tune and started setting their systems free with incredible results just by turning a few screws? A few screws loose, how about that :) we have a screw loose. LOL. People are sitting there listening to systems that can do much more than they thought if only they want to take the time to discover.

I'm gonna keep moving forward with my hobby. There's a world full of music to listen to. And I'm going to put that music right in my room and get it as real as the day it was recorded if I can. I don't care what it cost me little or great, I'm gonna get it. You want to keep shrinking the industry go right ahead. Shrink it right along with the stage, and while the music lover makes music more real you can sit there a watch whatever is left of the parade go by.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

You certainly are full of yourself and still quite condescending.

I'm not surprised that you heard a good soundstage at HP's or JGH's places. The type of music you heard there was most likely classical. That in and of itself means it was recorded with a soundstage.

You're putting words in my mouth. I'll try again. How can you have any sort of "realistic" soundstage when every single note is a product of an individual microphone (if not direct into the board),  recorded at separate times and sometimes in different studios? What soundstage are you starting with? If you manipulate the signal to mimic a soundstage then by definition you're adding distortion. That is inarguable. That it sounds good to you doesn't change the fact that it's a manipulated (distorted) signal. 

In order to reproduce a "realistic" soundstage there has to be one to reproduce. Any soundstage you or anyone else hears from a modern over processed studio recording is the result of signal manipulation. This is a fact not an opinion. That doesn't mean it can't or won't sound good. However, good is a relative term.

You can't reproduce what wasn't there from the start. Yes, you can produce just about anything with signal manipulation. I'm not disputing that. What I'm saying is that IME, with most (virtually all) modern multi track, highly processed studio recordings the soundstage (if there is one) is a product of signal manipulation and has never sounded quite "real"  to me. My "go to" music (classical, Jazz) tends to suffer less from this because the recordings (smooth jazz excepted) tend to be recorded live with all the musicians present in a room at one time. This means there is a soundstage to reproduce.

Even if there is some later "sweetening" and processing performed there was/is a soundstage that can be reproduced.

To reiterate: In order to reproduce a realistic soundstage there has to be one to reproduce.

BTW: This doesn't change the fact that there are some truly horrid recordings that simply sound bad. Are you unaware of the loudness wars? All the tuning in the world will not alleviate any of the dreadful sound of an overly compressed recording.

FYI: IMO I have "the sound" as you call it. The Pizza delivery guy has asked me, "Who you got in there jammin'?". With a decent recording I can sometimes suspend my own and others disbelief and see/hear live musicians over there where my speakers used to be. My audio buddies think my rig sounds damn good. I am a happy camper. I'm just a realist.

I'm also a music lover who regularly attends concerts at local jazz venues and the Kimmel Center. The Kimmel Center is my acoustic referrence for orchestral music. My system (room, speakers and gear) was put together to get me closer to the sound of live music. 

In addition, the ladies like the sound of my system. t's been my experience (46+years) that when females like the sound of a system you're on the right track.

michael green
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I'm glad for you

Hi Joe

Regardless how far apart we are, I'm sincerely happy you have a system you love! This is a fantastic hobby and I feel so blessed that I've been able to be a part of it from all the angles I have.

When I listened with the reviewers, any of them, there was usually a wide range of music. Glenn Hammett (TAS) had some of my favorite and turned me on to some wonderful goodies. All of the guys and gals though had pretty wide selections that would range from classical to pop. We studied the soundstages together on everything, and I can't remember any of the gang staying with only classical or jazz, or recall them saying these were the only legitimate sources of music. If they did feel that way they didn't act like it or put on only classical or jazz as a reference. BTW I was usually at reviewers, designers or other listeners places to play with their soundstages. I honestly really couldn't say that any of them were stuck on only jazz or classical. I have to think back through, but I really don't think that was the case. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, most of them played a large range of studio produced music. And, I never heard any of them say the studio stage was an illusion or not legitimate. At Michael Gindi's (TAS) we (Tom Miiller, Kenny Stevens and others) listened to Paul Simon "Hearts and Bones". Guy Lemcoe, listened to a wide range, so did Les Linton (and drives a mean 911). The more I think about what the reviewers listen to it was a pretty wide range of studio music and we specifically were listening and shaping the soundstages of these pieces. And I would be surprised if any of them or any of the engineers I worked with or any of the listeners would say these sound stages were less than real. I mean the object is to recreated the event recorded in a studio and engineered or in a music hall recording live.

You and I just seem to be at two different places in the way we view things. I hope people reading this enjoy your points of view and comments as well as some of mine. I've received mail about this thread and find it interesting others points of view as well.

I wish you the very best with your hobby and appreciate the points you have made. I think it's a good example of how we all see the hobby through our own eyes. My view is everyone should be able to take this hobby wherever they want, and make it as real as they want. I believe that being able to tune in the sound is the way to go vs having only one flavor to listen to, and jumping from one fixed flavor to the next. To me it seems that the answer is found in how flexible we can make our systems after getting rid of the distortions. It makes sense to me and the listeners who are doing it at least.

I wish you well Joe

michael green

MGA/RoomTune 

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