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Jan Vigne
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

Alex, we are once again at the point where, after pages and pages of testimony, everyone on the thread is saying you are wrong.

Yet you persist.

Is this you doing your dup imitation just to keep us amused? Or are you willingly disregarding all the evidence which points to the fact you have not made wise decisions to this point in time?

There really is no reason to continue to discuss anything with a brick wall.

bifcake
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

Let me simplify things once again.

A. Since we don't control the recording process and/or the equipment used to create a recording, then by spending lots of money on an enlarger, the best we can hope for is to constantly demonstrate the flaws of the disposable camera. Hence, there is no point in getting esoteric equipment and all that's necessary is to get the playback equipment comparable to that used by the pros in the studio.

B. If the pros are using high quality recording equipment, and we want to preserve the "truth" of the recording, then wouldn't we be better off purchasing the same type of playback equipment the pros use in the studio in order not to deviate from that "truth" as envisioned by the recording engineers?

In either case, it seems to me that the prudent thing is to stick to the same type of equipment used in the studio by the pros for playback.

If one is unhappy with the disks, then the most effective way of gaining fidelity from the playback system is to pressure recording studios to incorporate better equipment/techniques, rather than maintain the same poor equipment/techniques in the studio and sink lots of money in playback equipment that will show with ever increasing certainty that the negative sucks.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
Let me simplify things once again.

A. Since we don't control the recording process and/or the equipment used to create a recording, then by spending lots of money on an enlarger, the best we can hope for is to constantly demonstrate the flaws of the disposable camera. Hence, there is no point in getting esoteric equipment and all that's necessary is to get the playback equipment comparable to that used by the pros in the studio.

B. If the pros are using high quality recording equipment, and we want to preserve the "truth" of the recording, then wouldn't we be better off purchasing the same type of playback equipment the pros use in the studio in order not to deviate from that "truth" as envisioned by the recording engineers?

In either case, it seems to me that the prudent thing is to stick to the same type of equipment used in the studio by the pros for playback.

If one is unhappy with the disks, then the most effective way of gaining fidelity from the playback system is to pressure recording studios to incorporate better equipment/techniques, rather than maintain the same poor equipment/techniques in the studio and sink lots of money in playback equipment that will show with ever increasing certainty that the negative sucks.

AlexO - In both A & B you're missing the point. The ideal thing to have is equipment that will present the recording with the least amount of additive distortion. If it takes esoteric equipment to have the clearest window to witness the recorded event, that's ideal. If the recording equipment or studio equipment has some colouration, that colouration will be encoded in the recording. To use the same equipment for playback will add the colouration to the recorded colouration. For playback, you want the most neutral gear to present only what's on the source. This way, if recordings get better, you'll instantly reap benefits. If the recordings are poor, they'll be no worse.

bjh
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


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Alex, we are once again at the point where, after pages and pages of testimony, everyone on the thread is saying you are wrong.

I'm afraid to say that I believe you're going too far. While I may have some sympathy with what you're saying the point is that there doesn't have to be a right and wrong.

Alex has a certain set of beliefs, he's clearly given it some thought, has developed a framework that he's comfortable with, one that has helped him assemble his system. One can only assume that he's pleased with the result, after all I haven't witnessed him complaining about the sound of his system.

Differing opinions and experience surely must be allowed in the hobby. For example I'm told that Diana Krall recordings are not authentic because she has been close miked. I'm ok with this, after all why argue the point if the other party suggests unamplified voice in a natural acoustic is the ideal. Mind you for myself I can't help but think that very nearly every singer from the great American/Popular Song tradition that Krall fits into, e.g. Sinatra, Cole, Williams, Fitzgerald, Holiday etc., all sang into microphones and hence close miking was/is the norm.

So again one needs to be less dogmatic and allow for diversity of opinion and approaches. After all to suggest that there were any form of broad agreement even amongst audiophiles who recognizes the benefit of high end gear and even cables would be to ignore much, e.g. tubes vs. SS, vinyl vs. digital, etc. etc.

You may well get annoyed with questional debating antics, declarations of victory in the face of even overwhelming contrary opinion and what not, but I'm afraid that countering such with claims of the other party being "wrong" does little more than telecast that you can be easily toyed with; to the type that delighs in tormenting you might just as well put a "kick me" sign on your backside.

My 2 cents only.

Elk
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
For example I'm told that Diana Krall recordings are not authentic because she has been close miked. I'm ok with this, after all why argue the point if the other party suggests unamplified voice in a natural acoustic is the ideal. Mind you for myself I can't help but think that very nearly every singer from the great American/Popular Song tradition that Krall fits into, e.g. Sinatra, Cole, Williams, Fitzgerald, Holiday etc., all sang into microphones and hence close miking was/is the norm.


Eeeek!

I didn't mean to imply that close mic'd isn't "authentic". It is perfectly appropriate and typically preferred for pop music.

I have an objection to the huge amount of compression however. The resulting sound of Ms. Krall isn't "real" only in that it has little to do with how she actually sounds when she sings in a room.

A little clarification - earlier singers, such as Cole, Holliday, etc. sang into ribbon mics. These are fragile and can be easily damaged by moving air. Thus, the singers sang over or under them. They were thus typically at least a foot away. This gives a very different sound then a mic that is essentially touching the singer's lips.

(In fact, you will find lipstick on the mic after the typical modern female vocalist is done with it. Some will point out that the mic is very lucky.)

I don't know if an unamplified voice in a natural acoustic should be the ideal for a pop recording. Part of me says yes, as I would love to know what Ms. Krall can actually do with her voice - what expression is used, the actual timbre, etc. OTOH, her recorded voice is a studio creation and one that can readily be enjoyed on this basis.

A wonderful example of an effective studio voice is Amy Lee of Evanescence. On the albums her voice has a wonderful rich sheen. This is created by using a large diaphragm tube condenser mic, a vintage tube mic pre, a vintage limiter and lots of tracks. The instruments are also presented with lots of overdubs. It's a huge, rich, shimmering sound - great fun if you can handle emo-goth. But hardly real. But absolutely authentic.

Elk
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

AlexO, if your point is that we can best hear a recording by visiting the mastering studio and hearing the play back - you have a point. In this way we would hear exactly what the producer and engineers heard.

OTOH, the sound is spectacular and exceedingly similar in any good mastering facility. They are designed, built and equipped to precisely evaluate sound.

Similarly, IMO, our home systems should aspire to do the same.

bjh
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

Elk,

I have to say I still disagree. For starters Krall isn't an opera/classical singer and hence she's not going to present much by way of dynamic range to compress in any event.

The other thing is that I'm little impressed generally with the"Compressed Music" alarm that is being spread like bush fire these days. There has always been, and will always be, crappy recordings.

Take Springsteen's Magic, sounds absolutely dreadful, yet his 2006 Devils and Dust sounds great. I'm not saying the latter is the finest recording ever created, only that there is generally nothing about the sound to distract one from the performance/music.

I would say the same about Krall's From This Moment On, in fact for capturing the wide ranging tonal palette and the dynamic range of Big Band, whisper to all horns blazing, I find it is a *very* good recording; it does take a *good* system to reveal this however, very few small/budget systems can handle the Big Band in full blaze.

I also have no concerns about the way her voice has been captured, agian I'd say the recording is perfectly fine in that regard. Likely only her close musical associates are likely to hear her the way you desire (at rehersals), but then it seems to me what you desire is somewhat akin to wanting to hear Hendrix but with the guitar amp turned off!

Anyway I'm prefectly fine with agreeing to disagree on this one... and on any number of things for that matter.

Cheers,

bifcake
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
AlexO, if your point is that we can best hear a recording by visiting the mastering studio and hearing the play back - you have a point. In this way we would hear exactly what the producer and engineers heard.

OTOH, the sound is spectacular and exceedingly similar in any good mastering facility. They are designed, built and equipped to precisely evaluate sound.

Similarly, IMO, our home systems should aspire to do the same.

That's precisely correct!! So, shouldn't we get the same equipment that the pros use in the recording studio? Shouldn't we use the same cables, speakers, and ancillary equipment? That seems to make the most sense, doesn't it?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
I'm afraid to say that I believe you're going too far ... Alex has a certain set of beliefs, he's clearly given it some thought, has developed a framework that he's comfortable with ... Differing opinions and experience surely must be allowed in the hobby ... So again one needs to be less dogmatic and allow for diversity of opinion and approaches ... Yada yada ...

You misunderstand my position. But I think this is a good place to restate what we are discussing and see if we are all in agreement over just what that is.

First, I think Alex believes dup was correct when he repeatedly insisted professional equipment is superior to consumer audio. This is based on the belief that professional equipment is more competently engineered and the professionals which employ this equipment are more difficult to "fool". Or, in other words, what won't an audiophile believe?

Despite this higher pedigree of engineering inherent in professional gear Alex believes studio equipment is all flawed and of lower resolution when compared to consumer electronics. These flaws in the equipment and the preferences of the studio technicians result in colored recordings in all cases.

I am stating that Alex is wrong in his belief that references to the sound of live music are unnecessary and can be replaced simply by personal preferences. If Alex wishes a piano to sound one way today and another tomorrow, that is all that is required to establish fidelity. This is in reference I assume to dup's only two preferences for his system, SLAM and BIGness.

As I understand his position, Alex has repeatedly said knowing his preference for colorations - be they red, blue or fuscia; SLAM or whatever - are all that are required to assemble a "high fidelity" audio system since he doesn't know what the recording engineer/producer intended. The engineer has undoubtedly colored the recording and Alex cannot hope to have more than a flawed source.

His logic for this assumption is that all recordings are colored and therefore having a system that isn't also colored is unnecessary since coloration of some sort is all we can possibly hope for.

As I understand Alex's position, he feels reference recordings are unnecessary if not impossible to produce since all recordings are either limited in resolution or colored by the engineer's choices and the equipment used.

As I understand it Alex proposes we should only buy the highly engineered but flawed equipment the studio uses since that would allow us to hear the same colorations found on the recordings.

In each of those beliefs, I find Alex's logic to be flawed and his conclusions to be wrong.

Does anyone disagree with how I see what this thread is all about? Does anyone agree or disagree with Alex in those assumptions?

For my part I believe we all have preferences within our references which form subcategories upon which we can call to make finer distinctions about any particular recording whether it is flawed or of reference quality. Three of us may listen to the same piano performance and each of us may take away a different specific reference from the same source. One may prefer to use SLAM as their prevailing reference. Another might hear the PRaT of the performance. The third might feel the frequency extension of the instrument/performance is the most important quality to use as a reference. And, of course, all three of us can and hopefully will choose more than one quality to use as our total reference for "piano". But in the end we all three have a personal reference(s) that unmistakably says "piano". That places preferences within the context of a reference and does not replace a personal reference with nothing more than personal preference. We all agree the sky is blue and a particular shade of blue at dusk or dawn. we do not wish to exchange that reference for "blue"/"sky" with a reference that suggests the sky is green at either of those times. Without such references I feel there is no need for high end audio components if the goal of such a system is fidelity to the original.

Who agrees or disagree with those ideas?

Is there anything I've missed in anyone's position on this topic?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
That's precisely correct!! So, shouldn't we get the same equipment that the pros use in the recording studio? Shouldn't we use the same cables, speakers, and ancillary equipment? That seems to make the most sense, doesn't it?

That assumption begs two questions.

1) What would those cables, speakers and ancillary equipment be, Alex? What do the studios agree on that we could all agree to purchase for our own use?

2) Do we as audiophiles listen with the same intent or even the same requirements as the mastering studio? What are we listening for and what is the studio engineer listening for? If they are not the same thing, then there is no need for studio equipment in our homes. Do we need to know the microphone on the tom-tom should be moved six inches to the right? If not, what do we as audiophiles need from our systems?

bjh
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

Jan,

I think most semi-intelligent members are perfectly capable of following the various points of view, yours, Alex's, and the many other contributors.

But since you've gone throught so much trouble to recap and solicit opinion allow me to answer. Yes, no, maybe, and last but not least, yada yada.

bifcake
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:

Quote:
I'm afraid to say that I believe you're going too far ... Alex has a certain set of beliefs, he's clearly given it some thought, has developed a framework that he's comfortable with ... Differing opinions and experience surely must be allowed in the hobby ... So again one needs to be less dogmatic and allow for diversity of opinion and approaches ... Yada yada ...

You misunderstand my position. But I think this is a good place to restate what we are discussing and see if we are all in agreement over just what that is.

First, I think Alex believes dup was correct when he repeatedly insisted professional equipment is superior to consumer audio. This is based on the belief that professional equipment is more competently engineered and the professionals which employ this equipment are more difficult to "fool". Or, in other words, what won't an audiophile believe?

Essentially correct. Although a more precise way of saying is that it doesn't matter if the recording equipment is superior or inferior because what was recorded is the best we can hope to reproduce. Hence, getting pro equipment is probably the best way to go if one hopes to get to the "true essence" of the recording.


Quote:

Despite this higher pedigree of engineering inherent in professional gear Alex believes studio equipment is all flawed and of lower resolution when compared to consumer electronics. These flaws in the equipment and the preferences of the studio technicians result in colored recordings in all cases.

Not quite. What I said was that it seemed to me that this is what the consensus was on these forums and if this is the consensus, and IF the recordings are flawed, then we should STILL get pro equipment because anything better than that is a waste of money because we won't be able to play back better than what's on the disk. Furthermore, I have no opinion as to whether or not the recording equipment is good or bad or if the recording techniques are good or bad since I've never been in a recording studio and I know very little about it.


Quote:

I am stating that Alex is wrong in his belief that references to the sound of live music are unnecessary and can be replaced simply by personal preferences. If Alex wishes a piano to sound one way today and another tomorrow, that is all that is required to establish fidelity. This is in reference I assume to dup's only two preferences for his system, SLAM and BIGness.

Ok... not quite what I meant. What I meant was that you know what a piano sounds like and this is what you want to strive for in your musical reproduction. However, you are limited by the recording. So, no matter how you try, that recording is your reference because you simply can't do better in your reproduction than the source.


Quote:

As I understand his position, Alex has repeatedly said knowing his preference for colorations - be they red, blue or fuscia; SLAM or whatever - are all that are required to assemble a "high fidelity" audio system since he doesn't know what the recording engineer/producer intended. The engineer has undoubtedly colored the recording and Alex cannot hope to have more than a flawed source.

That is correct assuming that the recording is flawed, which is my impression based on what I read on these forums. Once again, I have no opinion as to whether this is true or not. I used that assumption to illustrate a point.


Quote:

His logic for this assumption is that all recordings are colored and therefore having a system that isn't also colored is unnecessary since coloration of some sort is all we can possibly hope for.

Almost correct. See above.


Quote:

As I understand Alex's position, he feels reference recordings are unnecessary if not impossible to produce since all recordings are either limited in resolution or colored by the engineer's choices and the equipment used.

Correct as long as we assume that what seems to me like the consensus on these forums that the engineer's choices and or the equipment is flawed or at least less than ideal. So, it goes to reason that if the recording techniques and equipment are ideal, then we should follow suit and use the same type of equipment that the pros use. If the techniques and/or equipment is not ideal, then we should still use the same type of equipment that the pros use because these colorations and flaws are the best we can hope for and anything else is overkill.


Quote:

As I understand it Alex proposes we should only buy the highly engineered but flawed equipment the studio uses since that would allow us to hear the same colorations found on the recordings.

See above


Quote:

In each of those beliefs, I find Alex's logic to be flawed and his conclusions to be wrong.

Does anyone disagree with how I see what this thread is all about? Does anyone agree or disagree with Alex in those assumptions?

I hope I have been able to clarify the point that I've been trying to make and the logic behind my reasoning is a bit clearer and easier to follow.


Quote:

For my part I believe we all have preferences within our references which form subcategories upon which we can call to make finer distinctions about any particular recording whether it is flawed or of reference quality. Three of us may listen to the same piano performance and each of us may take away a different specific reference from the same source. One may prefer to use SLAM as their prevailing reference. Another might hear the PRaT of the performance. The third might feel the frequency extension of the instrument/performance is the most important quality to use as a reference. And, of course, all three of us can and hopefully will choose more than one quality to use as our total reference for "piano". But in the end we all three have a personal reference(s) that unmistakably says "piano". That places preferences within the context of a reference and does not replace a personal reference with nothing more than personal preference. We all agree the sky is blue and a particular shade of blue at dusk or dawn. we do not wish to exchange that reference for "blue"/"sky" with a reference that suggests the sky is green at either of those times. Without such references I feel there is no need for high end audio components if the goal of such a system is fidelity to the original.

Who agrees or disagree with those ideas?

Ideally, I agree. Alas, since we are at least 2 generations from the original reference, which is the live performance, our reference in terms of ideal playback has to be the way the recording sounds in the studio because we cannot get any better than that. For us to be able to get better than that, the recording itself has to get better. Their reference is the live performance. I hope this makes sense.

rvance
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
Jan,

I think most semi-intelligent members are perfectly capable of following the various points of view, yours, Alex's, and the many other contributors.

But since you've gone throught so much trouble to recap and solicit opinion allow me to answer. Yes, no, maybe, and last but not least, yada yada.

Speaking for the semi-intelligent, I could certainly use a scorecard. What started as a defense for DUP (referencing Tim de Paravicini's interview -really?) has turned into serial evasive morphing away from Jan's counterpoints when Alex could not accept the unassailable logic presented him.

Sometimes it's better to admit you've gone astray and concede the point, BUT NOoooooooooo!!!

bifcake
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

Please read my previous post. I don't think I can get any clearer than that.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

Thank you both for your clarifications. I don't know what I would have done without them.


Quote:
I hope this makes sense.

Not really.

I think you've travelled a long way from redeeming dup by way of this thread. I can't recall dup ever basing his positions on the quality or lack of quality of the recordings. As long as it is SACD dup thought the recording was perfect and full of SLAM. Everything other than SACD is crap as far as dup is concerned but that is because audiophiles enjoy it and not for any other reason in dup's (dare I say it) mind. dup does not use professional gear in his own system so you seem to be mixing metaphors or missing the boat or something to that effect. dup beats the drum for the lack of engineering he perceives and the snake oil salesmanship he sees in consumer audio. That didn't drive him to own anything other than consumer audio. As I said earlier, dup quotes professional sources when they agree with his position and ignores the rest.

I'm not clear on why you think the consensus of opinion on this forum says all recordings are flawed. If anyone feels a recording to be less than stellar I would assume in most cases it is because they have a reference for good sounding recordings.


Quote:
If the techniques and/or equipment is not ideal, then we should still use the same type of equipment that the pros use because these colorations and flaws are the best we can hope for and anything else is overkill.

First, if someone wishes to own "overkill" and can afford to pay for "overkill", are they not within their rights to own "overkill"? It is their decision as long as they are harming no one in the process. Correct? It is not your place to tell them otherwise. A 600 horsepower engine is certainly overkill in the stop and go traffic of urban America. Most roads are crap. Does your theory then extend to 600 H.P. engines also? What would be the appropriate amount of horsepower since professional drivers tend to use excessive power? Professional photographers use very expensive equipment far beyond what the average consumer would purchase even as a dedicated hobbyist. Should everyone own a $20-30k camera outfit that the pros own?

You seem to believe studio equipment is less expensive than consumer audio and that is what makes consumer high end audio "overkill". On what do you base this assumption? If studio gear is more expensive than consumer high end audio components, would not the consumer gear still be the better value since it would represent "underkill"? If it is not cost which distinguishes "overkill" what does?

I would urge you to read Jeff's response once again.

The studio has a need for 64 to 138 channels of reproduction as far as they see it. Do we really need that amount of specialization? A mastering facility for a LP record has a lathe that costs many, many times the price of even dup's much despised Caliburn table which MF owns. The lathes are typically set in masive foundations which would dominate any domestic room. Is this what we need in order to play back LP's with the same equipment the pros use? If not, how do we differentiate which pro gear we should own and which we should not? Do I need a flanger?


Quote:
Quote:

I am stating that Alex is wrong in his belief that references to the sound of live music are unnecessary and can be replaced simply by personal preferences. If Alex wishes a piano to sound one way today and another tomorrow, that is all that is required to establish fidelity. This is in reference I assume to dup's only two preferences for his system, SLAM and BIGness.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok... not quite what I meant. What I meant was that you know what a piano sounds like and this is what you want to strive for in your musical reproduction. However, you are limited by the recording. So, no matter how you try, that recording is your reference because you simply can't do better in your reproduction than the source.

"So, no matter how you try, that recording is your reference because you simply can't do better in your reproduction than the source."

But I can do better than that recording. A single flawed recording is not a reference. A reference is stable and does not shift with each recording I place on my player. I have several reference recordings of a piano that do not sound exactly alike yet each represents something which can be called a reference sound for a piano recording. My reference remains constant and does not shift with the recording. I adjust the recording to my reference not the other way around. The Johnson recording of the train recalls and is adjusted to my reference of a real train.

In the case of the Mercury recordings or "Kind of Blue", I think we have all agreed we can now extract more information from the disc than the engineers likely heard from their master pressings at the time of the recording. Should we limit our equipment to only what the recording allows at the time of its release or should we, as Jeff suggests, allow for and expect improvements in system resolution? Pro gear is much better in many ways today than it was twenty years ago. Which should I aim for when buying pro gear if I will listen to mostly older recordings?


Quote:
... since we are at least 2 generations from the original reference, which is the live performance, our reference in terms of ideal playback has to be the way the recording sounds in the studio because we cannot get any better than that.

The studio is also removed by at least a generation from the live performance. I'm still unclear why it is you believe we should limit our reference to a flawed source and not to the live event the studio heard. If we accept flaws, how will we improve upon those flaws? If I have no reference other than a flawed recording, how will I know if I've made an improvement in my system or in my reference?

Sorry, Alex, your logic escapes me.


Quote:
Quote:
As I understand his position, Alex has repeatedly said knowing his preference for colorations - be they red, blue or fuscia; SLAM or whatever - are all that are required to assemble a "high fidelity" audio system since he doesn't know what the recording engineer/producer intended. The engineer has undoubtedly colored the recording and Alex cannot hope to have more than a flawed source.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That is correct assuming that the recording is flawed, which is my impression based on what I read on these forums. Once again, I have no opinion as to whether this is true or not.

How can you have no opinion of whether this is true or not when you have repeatedly stated it is true and you have based this entire thread on the belief it is true? Are you trying to say that since we have stated a consensus opinion (as far as you can tell) that recordings suck, it is our fault that you have this opinion? Or, that you have no opinion at all? Would that make this thread a farce or a tragedy?

Yep, your clarification has me more confused than when I asked for your clarification. Possibly, if you answer these questions, everything will be come clear for me.

1) What would those cables, speakers and ancillary equipment be, Alex? What do the studios agree on that we could all agree to purchase for our own use?

2) Do we as audiophiles listen with the same intent or even the same requirements as the mastering studio? What are we listening for and what is the studio engineer listening for? If they are not the same thing, then there is no need for studio equipment in our homes. Do we need to know the microphone on the tom-tom should be moved six inches to the right? If not, what do we as audiophiles need from our systems?

3) Do I need a flanger?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
Please read my previous post. I don't think I can get any clearer than that.

And that is the problem, Alex. Your conclusions have no logical basis and your thought process is not clear. As has been pointed out, this is no longer a redemtion of dup and really never was. The case you present is not dup's thinking since he never suggested he should own professional anything as he does not feel the recordings are a limitation to his enjoyment of SLAM! I don''t exactly know how we got to this point but I would say it began when Alex started a thread while lacking a reference point.

Does anyone other than Alex disagree with that conclusion?

bifcake
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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

You know Jan, sometimes I get this feeling that you relish in beating dead horses. I don't know how much clearer I can be than I have been. I have difficulty imagining how much more spoon feeding I can do to make my points clear. Perhaps I need to draw cartoons for illustrative purposes or at least a power point presentation.

Alas, I will take the time to answer the last two questions, rather than responding to the entire post, as it is beyond my communication skills to clarify my position any further than I already have.


Quote:

1) What would those cables, speakers and ancillary equipment be, Alex? What do the studios agree on that we could all agree to purchase for our own use?

The studios purchase a set of equipment for "pro" or "studio" use. There are lots of brands, there are lots of features. One would pick and choose the features most necessary for playback (a 2 or 4 track module instead of 16 track for example) and choose whatever brand that one would deem best based on one's needs and budget. The process is the same as th process the studios would use to pick out their own equipment.


Quote:

2) Do we as audiophiles listen with the same intent or even the same requirements as the mastering studio? What are we listening for and what is the studio engineer listening for? If they are not the same thing, then there is no need for studio equipment in our homes. Do we need to know the microphone on the tom-tom should be moved six inches to the right? If not, what do we as audiophiles need from our systems?

The answer to that varies with every audiophile. Personally, I listen for emotional involvement. Others may strive for that "truth". I assume that if you strive for the "truth" as represented by the recording, then you would pick out the appropriate equipment and if that equipment tells you that the tom toms need to be positioned 6" to the right, then that's what you need in your home.

The entire argument here is based on the presumption that the audiophiles are looking for the "truth" in terms of sound fidelity. If one is not looking for that "truth", then it really doesn't matter what equipment you get, how much you spend, whether you listen to records, tapes, MP3's, CD's or ham radio. Once you stop looking for that "truth", then the argument ceases and we all get to enjoy the music on which ever rigs we buy.

DUP was right where he argued that if one is looking for the "truth", then one can get as close to it as possible with pro gear (even though he doesn't own pro gear) and that the pros are much more critical with regard to the equipment they choose because they view it as tools (as the EAR founder stated). DUP was also correct in stating that a lot of snake oil charlatans permeate the hi-end industry and that the pros evaluate their tools with a more critical eye.

So, in the end, DUP was not the village idiot some made him out to be. He has his shortcomings and idiosyncrasies, but much of what he said has been redeemed by the interview with the EAR founder. So, that's it. Take it for whatever it's worth. Agree or disagree as you wish. I am not sure there's anything left to say on this issue.

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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

I thought I would try a visual explanation of the potential problem with the AlexO approach if we use the same gear as the recording studio for playback:

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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

Jeff,

That's a good point. I will ponder this further...

EDIT: Hi Jeff, I have pondered this. You are correct that if the recording equipment is distorted and you're playing it back on the same distorted equipment, you are adding to the distortion. However, if you play it on something else, you don't know if you are really playing on something neutral, revealing only the distortions of the recording or if you're simply adding different types of distortions, that makes it sound to your liking because the only thing you can go by is the flawed recording. I understand that there are different recordings and the argument can be made that a playback system can be gaged based on a sort of triangulation. I think that unless you have a reference recording that you know is "perfect", you can only guess whether or not you're adding distortions or simply revealing them.

If the recording equipment is not flawed, then the diagram you outlined is not correct because you're not adding distortions and you may as well use the same equipment in playback.

Thanks for the pics. They cut through a lot of fog.

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Re: Dup's redemption

Sorry if my reply seems out of context. I wrote it up last Thursday and then when I went to post, the thread dissappeared on me. So here's my response that belongs way up the line.

Great thread. I DO agree with much that DUP says, but tire of the way that he tries to express himself.

Last night I was writing something about how my system is now basically the same as my system in 1967, with a turntable, integrated amp and speakers as the focal center. Instead of a Scott/Garrard/Jensen system, it's a giantly more refined Pro-ject/Conrad-Johnson/Vienna Acoustic system. I've hung on an Oppo universal disc player and a Korg MR1000 replaces my old Sony reel-to-reel. The core system cost around $600 in 1967 and it's around $11,000 today (I bought one or two parts used in each case). Using a five-times multiplier, my new system cost about three-times as much, but I'm not a sophomore at Florida State anymore either.

About the pro audio guys, many really are very critical and spend a great deal of effort selecting top quality components. I had the privilege of playing in a band with an Emmy winning sound man and a studio owner that does jingles for Dick Clark and the BBC, among others. The studio guy had a collection of prized, vintage tube mics and was always in the market for more (he's got hundreds of thousands of dollars invested, just in mics). His boards were custom wired using very high grade wiring and interconnects. The Emmy guy had two levels of equipment, one very high for his studio and the other very functional and robust for on-location work. All of this was VERY EXPENSIVE.

These guys weren't always looking for the latest upgrade because of the learning curve and training required when new components are introduced into a system. Just like a computer network, if you're the network engineer you're not going to load on the latest version of MS Exchange unless you're certain that it's stable and will work with all the other components you've got distributed around the network. These guys have that same view.

When they make changes, they get the best they can find at the time and then they try to stick with it. Consumers can afford to work in a willy-nilly fashion and stay on the bleeding edge because if they have something go wrong they won't lose revenue for days while tracking down an issue. My experience with my two elite level pro buddies is that they care very much about sound quality, performance, reliability and ease of operation.

Back to DUP, I think that he makes tons of great points, particularly about the silliness of pricing for many components and the way many let themselves be duped (couldn't resist) by makers and retailers. He overuses hyperbole and just wears us out. He owns a bunch of vinyl and obviously sees something there, yet he'll trash the format to make a point. He knows about the potential of DSD and other digital formats to truly compete with analog, but he turns a blind eye to the dirth of listening material that lives up to that promise. And, of course, he can't spell "the" (at least he can't type it).

Oh well, DUP I assume you're reading. I hope you can find a way to contribute when you come back.

Dave

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Re: Dup's redemption

Looking at this thread in its total context, I'm struck by the failure to communicate. It's not that the arguments are flawed; it's just that the combatants aren't budging and never will. I think we'll get to a point soon, where we agree to disagree.

That doesn't invalidate the discussion. In fact, the heat of the discussion has inspired some incredibly elegant thrusts and counter thrusts.

My point of view is a little different from many here, in that I come to audio from the perspective as a musician sitting in the middle of an orchestra or band or standing behind a trumpet playing into an audience, with or without a mic. I know I'm not the only musician here, but I DO find audiophile musicians actually a little rare. The perspective of sitting right next to 8 double basses or being sandwiched between the horns, other trumpets, 'bones and tuba; or being one of five trumpets on the riser in a big band will just not be equaled by any recording. I think many musicians start with this realization and just never get into audio. They listen to a performance on any equipment and

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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

You know, Alex, sometimes I think you relish leaving out large chunks of logical thinking. You could make it clearer by thinking about what you write and not making it all up as you go along. It was said of you in another long, drawn out thread that you get a lot of mileage out of your assumptions. We have still more proof of that in this thread. Engaging in a thread with you is like trying to have a conversation with a hormonal teen ager. We careen from this to that as if we were driving with a GPS system plagued by a poor satellite link. How we got here, we haven't a clue. Assumption displaces fact when necessary and it seems to always be necessary. You largely agree with my assessment of your positions which were not meant as a validation of your linear thought process. Yeesh!


Quote:
The entire argument here is based on the presumption ...

I don't know if by that you mean the presumptions I've made that truth matters or the presumption you've made and lived by that truth is irrelevant.


Quote:
The answer to that varies with every audiophile. Personally, I listen for emotional involvement. Others may strive for that "truth". I assume that if you strive for the "truth" as represented by the recording, then you would pick out the appropriate equipment and if that equipment tells you that the tom toms need to be positioned 6" to the right, then that's what you need in your home.

You don't see the convergence of "emotional involvement" and "truth"? Really??? No connection there, eh?

OK. let's leave that aside for the moment. You see, Alex, I don't need to know whether the mic needs to be moved at all. But the person doing the recording engineering does. That person choses a tool that will allow him to do his job. That person makes up my truth when the mics are positioned. If the mic is not positioned correctly or the proper mic is not chosen or the levels or pan pot are set without some degree of truth as the final objective, the end result will become one of those colored recordings you have been babbling about.

When I sit down to listen to music I don't want to be judging the recording any more than I want to judge the sound reinforcement system or the acoustics at a live performance. Both should be transparent to the music. If I think the mic should be moved six inches, there's nothing I can do about it after the fact. So I don't think about that if I'm listening to hear the music. But before the recording is made, the engineer can use the studio equipment to make those adjustments and that ideally is what the studio equipment allows; as a tool its function is to allow that type of listening. Different types of listening might require different tools to allow the job to be completed successfully. When I listen for the recording technique, I listen one way. When I listen for the music, I listen another way.

In many cases the studio equipment is different for different stages of production. Different tools for different tasks. Do I need different systems to play different discs because I'm listening for something different in each case? In many cases, as has been pointed out to you in the body of this thread, studio tools are meant to serve the purpose of the engineer and they are not typical "pro gear". In many of the studios where reference quality recordings are made, the equipment is high end audio, as has been pointed out to you in the body of this thread.

You don't seem able to explain pro gear any more than you can explain anything else. It would appear that to you pro gear is anything that isn't home gear. Which means you've drastically missed all the argument that has brought us to this page.

"Pro gear" is different tools for different purposes. It should be seen as a tool just as a home listener should believe they are choosing the correct tool for the task at hand. If the studio engineer needs a hammer to get the job done, the engineer doesn't choose a drill. Need a shovel, don't get a rake. If the task is to find the truth, the engineer might choose a screwdriver with the name of a pro gear manufacturer or the name of a high end home audio manufacturer. (It has been pointed out that many reference quality audiophile recordings are made using high end audio equipment in the monitoring system; you've just chosen to ignore that bit of information, Alex.) Or the studio might have custom built electronics that suit the purpose and task at hand. The name and the face plate are not what is important here, Alex. The thing that matters is that both manufacturers are after the same truth. (It should be pointed out once again that only you, Alex, have concluded by some mystical means that studio equipment is somehow inferior in performance to home gear while the studio gear is, as you believe dup was saying, far better engineered and executed. How you divined that bit of information or how you manage to dance between the confines of logic it skirts, is beyond me.) If truth is the goal, then all things, pro or home, follow the same course and, if transparency is the goal, all things sound very much alike between the pro and home world. Simply because the truth is referenced to the real thing not some made up Alex thing.

I believe one of the things that is getting in the way here is that you, Alex, don't understand truth. Apparently never have. You prefer to make it up as you go along to fit your needs. You've made no attempt to understand the points anyone here has made that suggest home and pro gear often cross the line and blend into one another. That VTL and Manley are respected names in both fields and they come from the same company. You've ignored the fact that studios use B&W, Quad, Linn, Audio Research, etc, etc, etc, in their monitoring systems. The Mercury Living Presence recordings were all mastered using McIntosh amplifiers. You don't have a clue that some of the classic pieces of home audio came from the studio side of manufacturing. The LS3/5a's that I've used in and out of my system for decades came from the BBC studios and were orignally meant for mobile monitor purposes. They became popular with the high end home audio listener because they represent a good chunk of "TRUTH". Numerous companies have entered the high end market directly from the studio simply because they were honest products trying to be effective tools of the trade. Do you have no sense of the history of Wilson Audio or Mark Levinson???!!!

You've ignored anything that doesn't fit your desired truth. You talk in generalities and never make an attempt to find out any facts. You insist you are right without making certain you are even discussing the same thing as the rest of us. You make leaps of logic (and then, in the fianl analysis, leave the recording out of your conclusions) that astound!

In these and other ways, you are very much like your adored dup.


Quote:
DUP was right where he argued that if one is looking for the "truth", then one can get as close to it as possible with pro gear (even though he doesn't own pro gear) ...

You don't even see the ridiculousness of that statement. How dupian!


Quote:
So, in the end, DUP was not the village idiot some made him out to be. He has his shortcomings and idiosyncrasies, but much of what he said has been redeemed by the interview with the EAR founder.

Yes, one article proves everything. That's why dup constantly copy/pasted the same articles over and over without comment. Just, here, "This proves I'm right and you're a fool."

To that effect you've taken up the mantle and wear it well, Alex.


Quote:
The entire argument here is based on the presumption that the audiophiles are looking for the "truth" in terms of sound fidelity. If one is not looking for that "truth", then it really doesn't matter what equipment you get, how much you spend, whether you listen to records, tapes, MP3's, CD's or ham radio. Once you stop looking for that "truth", then the argument ceases and we all get to enjoy the music on which ever rigs we buy.

But, you see, Alex, that's not how dup went about business. The argument never ceased and the format was anything dup preferred which was not anything anyone else preferred. There is no freedom of choice in dupland. WATTS, SLAM, can't get it out of a clock radio, tubes bad, vinyl bad, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc.

I take it back, you're not even a good imitation of dup.

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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption

I surrender. You're right, I'm wrong. Let's put this baby to bed. I've had enough of this.

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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
I have to say I still disagree. For starters Krall isn't an opera/classical singer and hence she's not going to present much by way of dynamic range to compress in any event.


Actually, there is a huge dynamic range to even spoken voice when it is close mic'd.

Too much compression creates two problems. First, the timbre of the voice changes as soft harmonics are made loud and loud fundamentals are made softer. Additionally, especially for singers who are more subtle, we lose expression.

While I agree that the recordings of Ms. Krall's voice sound reasonably good, I think they would sound better and we would enjoy more of what she is putting into her singing if there was less compression.

This isn't a right or wrong sort of thing, just a preference.


Quote:
Likely only her close musical associates are likely to hear her the way you desire (at rehearsals), but then it seems to me what you desire is somewhat akin to wanting to hear Hendrix but with the guitar amp turned off!


Interesting thought. I don't like to think of a jazz singer's voice as needing compression to be complete as an instrument, but this is worth considering.

On the other hand, an electric guitar isn't an electric guitar without the amp. The amp is indeed part of the sound. However, some disagree and instead of recording the amp, record the guitar plugged directly into the board. That is, the sound of the guitar never sees the light of day.


Quote:
Anyway I'm prefectly fine with agreeing to disagree on this one... and on any number of things for that matter.


Excellent! It can be more fun this way.

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Re: Ignoring the truth is not dup's redemption


Quote:
Once you stop looking for that "truth", then the argument ceases and we all get to enjoy the music on which ever rigs we buy.

I've had more than enough of this. But, please, Alex, make some attempt to find the truth in all things you do and say. There is value in consistency.

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Re: Dup's redemption


Quote:
My point of view is a little different from many here, in that I come to audio from the perspective as a musician sitting in the middle of an orchestra or band or standing behind a trumpet playing into an audience, with or without a mic. I know I'm not the only musician here, but I DO find audiophile musicians actually a little rare. The perspective of sitting right next to 8 double basses or being sandwiched between the horns, other trumpets, 'bones and tuba; or being one of five trumpets on the riser in a big band will just not be equaled by any recording.


As a fellow trumpet player, I must agree with you.

Actually, I really do believe you are absolutely correct.

I think being a musician also messes up one's perspective a bit. I often like recordings where I can hear an oboe's pads, the sound of a French horn's rotary valves, that little sound emitted just as a violininst's bow starts to move but before the string starts vibrating, etc. I know these are just artifacts of the music making process, but they make things so very real for me.

I also find that many musicians are not audiophiles, just as you describe - although most listen to a lot of music.

Oddly enough, my brass quintet has three serious audiophiles, one who really likes the relatively modest but great sounding system we put together for her, and one that listens to music only as MP3's on his iPod (I love that he is the one that plays Monette trumpets, $30k+ each, but can't see putting more than a couple of hundred dollars into a sound system.) Humans are complex critters.


Quote:
we're happy with varying degrees of "clues" to what is real.


Very well stated. I like the concept that the clues allows us to fill in the blanks, resulting in a emotionally satisfying experience.

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Re: Dup's redemption

Tutti to you, Elk.

We'll have to compare horns and mouthpieces some time. (I'm not loyal to any brand).

Dave

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Re: Dup's redemption


Quote:
We'll have to compare horns and mouthpieces some time.

Out of context that's quite humorous

RG

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Re: Dup's redemption

reconcilliation?

Not sure if its appropriate to post threads from other sites here (moderator?), but there was an article in the last year, on another audiophile site, where the fan/reviewer visited several owners of a New York built (home audiophile market) speaker, and some of these owners mentioned that they take draft mixes home to listen on their audiophile systems, to help get a deeper perspective on what they're creating.

hmmmm.

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Re: Dup's redemption

fellow (sort of ex-) musician here.

Interesting tangent. When I was a dedicated semi-professional, I
a) didn't have money to buy a good system
b) Had the assumption/bias that recorded music was kind of like canned fish. Useful (for example to hear what others are doing, or to explore repertoire) but no substitute for the real thing
So, no concept of audiophile-dom

Then I sold out, got a day job, and my listening is very often about vicariously experiencing the music -- getting as close as possible to it...

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption


Quote:
Then I sold out, got a day job, and my listening is very often about vicariously experiencing the music -- getting as close as possible to it...

But all those who were or are working musicians (I think I've stated on this forum I decided early on which side of the proscenium arch I belonged on) have a reference for the sound of live music. No?

If so, what is that reference for each of you? How does that influence what audio equipment you choose? What are your subcategories of "personal preferences" within the larger file of "personal reference"?

I will add that in my experience selling to a working musician is usually a very difficult process.

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Quote:
Not sure if its appropriate to post threads from other sites here (moderator?)

Always fine to post links, but please don't copy and paste entire passages. Thanks for asking.

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Re: Dup's redemption

Quote Jan Vigne:

If so, what is that reference for each of you? How does that influence what audio equipment you choose? What are your subcategories of "personal preferences" within the larger file of "personal reference"?

Great question, with many correct answers.

With some of the replies on this thread coming from musicians, we can even consider the whole idea of what our

Elk
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Musician's Reference

As a performing musician (who makes a living otherwise), I tend to find recordings of smaller acoustic groups the most satisfying to listen to. To me they retain more of the "live" sound of performing. Playback systems don't even begin to get the sound of an orchestra correct.

Timbre and nuanced dynamics are the most important, probably followed by capturing the ambient space. I like little mistakes in the sound, such as a music stand being nudged, the rustle of piano music turning, etc. as it is so evocative.

Pinpoint imaging annoys me and is distracting - this isn't how instruments actually sound. (You can tell where each is located if you are close enough to the performer, but the sound of each blends seamless into the other. They don't sound as little isolated beacons of light against a dark landscape).

As another reference point however, I have a friend who is a superb organist. She and her husband have a successful business doing location recordings. They will record only at a significant distance from the stage using spaced omnis. This provides a good sense of being an audience member with a performing group some distance from you. There is little imaging other than a vague sense of left to right, but wonderful timber and ambience. They feel that recordings are only good if the capture the sense of being an average concert attendee in the middle of the audience space. Their clients are happy as the recordings sound as it does for the audience - but one can feel quite removed form the performers.

(As a side note, one of Sony's lead recording engineers retired from his LA post a couple of years back. They bought his reference system and he set it up from them. This guys has astounding ears. I learned more from him in a morning of helping him then I could have imagined. He set up the speakers, sound treatment (absorption and diffusion) etc. all by ear, having us move speakers, subs and treatments around, sometimes by a 1/2 inch. He never backtracked, but just perfected. Incredible final result.

He can tell you what board was used in recording a project by the sound. He can tell if the master was analog or digital. He easily hears the difference between a treated and untreated CD, to the point of scolding me when I pulled out a new CD that I had played a couple of times but had not treated. He pulled it from the player after about 60 seconds to treat it - "unlistenable until treated". Scary.)

Selling a system to a musician would be dreadful. Not only do musicians have different appreciations as to what really matters in reproduced music, we tend to be very opinionated about it and don't compromise well.

(trumpet gear: I am currently playing a Yamaha Xeno Bb and a C (amazing quality control and cheap for a pro horn), Scherzer Bb/A rotary piccolo. Monette mouthpieces - and a Bach 7EW, 127 backbore, for the picc when I am getting tired.

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Re: Musician's Reference

"Treated" how?

Great story. Let's go find that guy and hang out with him some more.

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Re: Dup's redemption

Buddha,

Great post, lots of compromising attitude on display, a welcome counterbalance to much that has been articulated here.

I also enjoyed the word usage, some used in somewhat novel connotations, others were entirely new to me... I swear I had to look up "plotz"!

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption


Quote:

But all those who were or are working musicians (I think I've stated on this forum I decided early on which side of the proscenium arch I belonged on) have a reference for the sound of live music. No?

If so, what is that reference for each of you? How does that influence what audio equipment you choose? What are your subcategories of "personal preferences" within the larger file of "personal reference"?

I will add that in my experience selling to a working musician is usually a very difficult process.



Quote:

But all those who were or are working musicians (I think I've stated on this forum I decided early on which side of the proscenium arch I belonged on) have a reference for the sound of live music. No?

If so, what is that reference for each of you? How does that influence what audio equipment you choose? What are your subcategories of "personal preferences" within the larger file of "personal reference"?

I will add that in my experience selling to a working musician is usually a very difficult process.

Just to be clear, I'm not a "working muscisian" even though I do it for pay quite often. I'm a serious amatuer that plays with high regularity in some high level groups, but no LA Phil, NY Phil or even Dallas or Denver. I know some of those guys (and a gal here and there). Still, I'll try to answer from my point of view.

Of course, live music is part of my listening model. My listening focus is on the realistic midrange, where the trumpet and female vocal resides. If I couldn't afford full range speakers, I'd give up bass, but I'd rather not listen than give up accurate mids. I "hear" inaccuracies instantly in this range. I've disqualified highly acclaimed speakers from my personal list after just a few seconds of listening to what sounded like Miles Davis playing a toy. There's a common, plastic-like resonance in the mids of many high end speakers that immediately turns me off.

My second priority is accurate bass, with no upper bass hump whatsoever (another immediate disqualifier for me). So many people set their systems up for this hump and overdone bass that it amazes me. System after system adds "mud" to the bass, often do to poor placement. It can start rolling off in the 30hz to 40hz range and not bother me, so long as it's dynamic and I can hear the body of a double bass or the fundemental and harmonics on electric bass.

No recording is going to give me the perspective of sitting with my back to the organ pipes as the sound waves flap my pants legs. Nor will I hear the bass drum, tam-tam and typani over each shoulder as me and my compadres blow our brains out in some Strauss or Wagner piece. I never even shot for that. A few recordings do deliver the feel of being on the conductor's podium and I want a system that'll deliver most of that, when it's available.

Would I accept a recording from the perspective of the first balcony? Yes, indeed, in fact, that seems to be the dominant recording mode for classical. It's not my first preference, but I've had really good seats in the second balcony and I like that.

How 'bout studio recordings? My preference there is toward timbral accuracy. I've sat in the control room and heard the live feed with no processing applied. I don't want that for my relaxation. However, I do want EQ, Aphix aural processing and compression applied with as much taste as possible. The raw feed is just that, raw. Selection of mics can change the color quite a bit and add or detract color and presence. I actually love several voices as presented by literally whispering into the mic from very close range (an inch or two). I also like the sound of vocals from a foot or so and, for operatic for instance, I like the sound from a few feet. I like all that, so as the timbral sound is attractive.

With instruments in the studio, it's always the timbral thing. I also find myself annoyed when the piano stretches across the soundscape, with the low keys on one side and the high keys on the other. I DO notice and get annoyed when one play is in the booth and another is out in the studio and yet they should be blending. The mic schemes on drummers is treachory and I'm amazed and surprised when it's done well. All that said, I'm generally please with what I hear coming from studios. I listen to very little pop.

Dave

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Re: Musician's Reference


Quote:
"Treated" how?


CD's treated with something like Optrix. He didn't have any preference for the various applications. He suspected it was primarily an issue of cleaning of the processing gunk and leaving behind a nice shiny surface that reflected laser light well.

I bugged me however that this guy who worked in Sony Classical, didn't care for pop at all, could immediately hear the lack of a CD treatment on new pop disk I had brought along thinking that he might find it amusing.

He explained that once you know what to listen for, its obvious.

He was able to help me hear what first order reflections do by varying the sound treatment in the room and explaining what to listen for. I'm sure with practice we could all learn to hear these things. (I bet Ethan can instantly hear a lot about a room from his experience with such things.)

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption


Quote:
No recording is going to give me the perspective of sitting with my back to the organ pipes as the sound waves flap my pants legs. Nor will I hear the bass drum, tam-tam and typani over each shoulder as me and my compadres blow our brains out in some Strauss or Wagner piece. I never even shot for that.


And our hearing wouldn't survive anyway.

Sitting in front of four professional trombone players in an orchestra is enough to totally re-align one's concept of volume and power.


Quote:
How 'bout studio recordings? My preference there is toward timbral accuracy. I've sat in the control room and heard the live feed with no processing applied. I don't want that for my relaxation. However, I do want EQ, Aphix aural processing and compression applied with as much taste as possible. The raw feed is just that, raw. Selection of mics can change the color quite a bit and add or detract color and presence. I actually love several voices as presented by literally whispering into the mic from very close range (an inch or two). I also like the sound of vocals from a foot or so and, for operatic for instance, I like the sound from a few feet.


This is one of the best summaries of studio sound I have read. Nicely done.

You describe well my struggle in deciding exactly what to do with my live to two track recordings.

They sound great, but "raw" as you describe. A little bit of compression and a little high end EQ to open them up gives them a nice sheen and ease, yet it moves them away from the "realness" of the original. It is exceedingly hard to find the right balance.

I need to spend some time with a good mastering engineer with no vested interest in the original recording.


Quote:
I also find myself annoyed when the piano stretches across the soundscape, with the low keys on one side and the high keys on the other. I DO notice and get annoyed when one play is in the booth and another is out in the studio and yet they should be blending. The mic schemes on drummers is treachory and I'm amazed and surprised when it's done well.


Exactly!!!

I am also bothered by artificial reverb (no matter how good) added onto natural ambiance, or when two different types of reverb are applied to different voices or instruments. They are singing a duet but each is in a different room?!

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption


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This is one of the best summaries of studio sound I have read. Nicely done.

You describe well my struggle in deciding exactly what to do with my live to two track recordings.

They sound great, but "raw" as you describe. A little bit of compression and a little high end EQ to open them up gives them a nice sheen and ease, yet it moves them away from the "realness" of the original. It is exceedingly hard to find the right balance.

I need to spend some time with a good mastering engineer with no vested interest in the original recording.

Thanks.

In another thread I was talking about my two sound engineering buddies. I wish I'd spent more time picking their brains about mastering. I do know that the process, at least for these two guys, was painstaking. One guy does jingles for the likes of the BBC and Dick Clark. You could say that his career started at 12, listening to a collecting jingles from his NYC home. Right out of school he went to work with a premier jingle company in Dallas, which he soon acquired.

He talks about a "Dallas Sound", "LA Sound", "NY Sound", "Nashville Sound" each of which has nothing to do with the music, but more to do with the proportion of EQ/compression/reverb, etc. He did talk about the tradeoff between covering mistakes and transparency.

Most of his customers want him to create "Radio Sound". These jingles will never see the outside of a studio and the only concern is their impact after broadcast. Dallas was the epicenter of jingles for a long while, so the "Dallas Sound" is very much a "Radio Sound". Anyway, these mastering engineers know the formulas for these different sounds.

Back to audiophile recordings, is it just me, or are all the recordings either in very reverbrant halls or in studios with the artists whispering into the mics? The reverbrant halls allow mixing without adding reverb and, hopefully, no compression. The whispering gives a nice proximity effect from the mic and the sibilance satisfies the need colorful voice (but demanding tremendous control from the singers) and allows a really sparse instrumental backing that might conceivably fit in our living rooms.

Dave

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption


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Back to audiophile recordings, is it just me, or are all the recordings either in very reverbrant halls or in studios with the artists whispering into the mics?


It sure does seem that way, doesn't it?

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption

"
If so, what is that reference for each of you? How does that influence what audio equipment you choose? What are your subcategories of "personal preferences" within the larger file of "personal reference"?
"

Not an easy answer. The quick one is that I tend to prefer chamber music, and non-close-miked sound in small, dryish hall is very attractive.

Its easy also to say: yes, I look for a sound that is like the real live sound, especially voice and bowed strings. These sounds seemed to most separate the system components I like from those that leave me cold. Certainly I search for neutral, detailed sound.

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption


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Certainly I search for neutral, detailed sound.

No offense meant but this sounds like a pat audiophile answer. It's similar to the guy who asks for a recommendation of what to buy and, when asked what type of sound qualities he prefers, says he wants, "tight, deep bass; clear mids and clean highs". Well, yes, we all do. I've never met anyone who doesn't believe what they own embodies the best - most natural, detailed - sound until they want to upgrade.


Quote:
I look for a sound that is like the real live sound, especially voice and bowed strings. These sounds seemed to most separate the system components I like from those that leave me cold.

To all; if you listen for "a sound that is like the real live sound", how do you discern that quality when in the shop's demo room? What mechanism allows this divination, this intuitive perception, of "real live sound"? How do you know you aren't tricking yourself by way of the visuals or previously disclosed information or any other means that might serve to "fool" the unsuspecting and gullible audiophile?

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A Sound like Real


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To all; if you listen for "a sound that is like the real live sound", how do you discern that quality when in the shop's demo room?


If the system elicits an emotional reaction and allows me to more fully appreciate the music I am happy. If it does this more than once, especially after a week or two has elapsed, I'm ecstatic.

In fact, this is why I would like to know more of "flea" amps and sensitive single driver speakers. There are many that derive great musical satisfaction from them - I want to experience why this is the case. A small second system would be a neat addition to the ElkLair.

trevort
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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption

"
No offense meant but this sounds like a pat audiophile answer.
"
True, I was being a bit lazy. Spent too much time thanking everyone for their non-acoustic recommendations, but wanted to chip in on this topic as well.

Like I said, not an easy answer. Perhaps its sufficient to say when listening to that sound, I'm not reminded (very strongly) that it is not a real sound.

IE: that recorded violin sound fits within the envelope of violin sounds I've heard (in my living room, in the concert hall, at the beach, played by my buddy, played with my other bow, etc etc) and I can accept without being distracted.

Then I'm free to carry on and enjoy the music.

Still a bit of a cop out, will ponder for a while. tx for the question, though.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption

Not to shut off thought, but ...


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IE: that recorded violin sound fits within the envelope of violin sounds I've heard (in my living room, in the concert hall, at the beach, played by my buddy, played with my other bow, etc etc) and I can accept without being distracted.

But up close a violin or many other instruments will sound "brighter" (?) for lack of a better word or more "present" than what is typically placed on a recording; particularly so if the recording was made with a directional microphone. Does anyone do a live vs. Memorex comparison when judging audio at home? Do you ever have anyone play an instrument or even just speak in the same room and location as the speakers and make direct comparisons? In a round about way this is where Wilson starts their speaker set up to find the most neutral location within the room. Is this really a valid comparison given the "sweetening" most recordings get in the post production phase?

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Re: Ignoring facts is not dup's redemption

I think it would be a great comparison, except you don't know what you're listening to. Are you listening to your stereo or are you listing to the way a recording was made? So, it's great in that it gives you a reference point to see how much of a deviation you have, but then, it's not quite clear what you can do about it.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Ignoring facts is not Alex's redemption

Do about it? Golly, let me think about what I would do with a system that sounded off on one recording.

Crimeny, Alex, get off this one recording thing you have going. Do all your recordings sound alike? Mine certainly don't. Have you not caught on how to go about listening with a reference? I thought that's what this whole thread was about - eventually at least - after we got passed the dup stuff - and then the equipment thing - and then the art and wine and photography examples - and then the dup don't use that stuff stuff - not to mention the studio guys use this stuff stuff - and then the dup stuff again.

OK, if you don't understand how to do this, sit back and read how others do it. That's the reason for the question.

(You didn't pay attention during this thread did you, Alex? You just ignored the stuff that you didn't want to see; didn't you? You made your assumptions to suit your needs and ignored all the facts, examples and opinions presented by others. Is that the problem here, Alex?)

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Re: Ignoring facts is not Alex's redemption

Ah, so!

Neat points!

I still respectfully disagree with much of Alex

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Re: Ignoring facts is not Alex's redemption


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... no one system will ever be able to claim to be a perfect

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