Okay, so I'm still a newbie & here's a newbie question. My wife & I watched some opera DVDs through the Harbeth Super HL5 and really loved it. So I was wondering if we can do some movie-watching through Super HL5? I'm worried because of the special effects, explosions & hard peaks of some movies, plus I've NEVER seen Harbeth owners post that they watch movies through them, too. So is it ill-advised to do so? What about at lower volumes? Thank you.
You can also listen to Telarc's recording of the 1812 Overture. Just don't push them too hard.
The audio of many movies is quite compressed so the peaks are often not that much louder than the general sound. The Fugitive is a great example; it's loud the entire time. Thus, it is unlikely that you would run into explosive sudden sound that could create a problem.
It sure is fun to watch a good DVD with good sound, isn't it?
Thanks for the info, Elk. Yeah, the operas on DVD are amazing. Most of the films I'd be watching are quieter than those action movies, so I think it will be okay, after all...
I particularly like that one can include subtitles when viewing Opera DVDs.
Beverly Sills was right; adding subtitles for us non-native speakers of Italian and German can make watching an opera that much more fun. It's both art and entertainment.
I think the reason you don't read about many people using Harbeths for films is that they are not packaged or marketed for use in Home Cinema applications. Afaik they are sold as stereo pairs of near-field monitors, not as 5.1 or 7.1 packages with dedicated centers, surrounds and subs. The fact remains that they are excellent transducers and should reproduce any signal they are fed excellently (lamentably the SISO principle still applies ). I bet a film with a good soundtrack sounds super though the HL5s and I bet there are plenty of owners out there enjoying the 'secret'!
IMHO you are unlikely to overdrive them unless you either crank them up to ridiculous levels or try to drive them with an underpowered amp that clips (i.e. distorts) badly. My recollection is that Harbeths are "averagely" sensitive (~85dB/W @ 1m) and have an impedance curve that drops off a fair bit at high frequencies so I would recommend a SS power amp with at least 100 "real" watts to ensure clean power delivery at peaks. However as pointed out above, most soundtracks (and, lamentably, non-audiophile music recordings in general) these days are so compressed that your listening comfort is likely to be the limiting factor. Dynamic peaks are far more likely to be an issue on an audiophile recording of a symphony orchestra!
Just my 2c worth.
Thanks Struts! I can always count on you for the dish-out on the technical stuff. Maybe I should switch out the amp to Plinius when I watch movies, just to make sure the speakers don't get clipped...
Elk: I can't imagine watching opera w/o subtitles... too used to the technology.
Elk: I can't imagine watching opera w/o subtitles... too used to the technology.
Agreed. We are spoiled.
Even in live performance there is often sub-titles. It sure makes it fun.
On the menu tonight: Carlos Kleiber/Munich account of "Der Rosenkavalier," which I'm going to compare w/ the Kleiber/Vienna version of the same opera, which I will watch tomorrow. Over my spring break - yay, starting tomorrow! - Barenboim's "Ring."
I attended the Mozarteum in Salzburg as a music student (and studied philosophy at the University). Not only did I get to perform many wonderful works, the opportunities to see great performances - especially opera - were incredible. Moreover, most were either free or cheap to attend as a student and I often knew performers and received additional perks as a result.
And there were full high masses performed every Sunday at the Cathedral, quick trips to Vienna and Munich, Berlin for concerts. . . I was soooo spoiled and only appreciated vaguely the extent to which this was the case.
Then back home to study organic chemistry and other amusements. No cool concerts with this.
You are smart; you are essentially creating the same type of environment by making efforts to immerse yourself and your family.
Elk, that must have been amazing, studying in Salzburg! I can only imagine all those concerts & masses. This concert/opera-watching on DVDs is great & hopefully by acclimating my baby daughter to this little by little, I can build up her stamina to listen to long works. It's a pity how the younger generation (& I'm including my own generation here) has forgotten how to concentrate on longer works...
SD: that is exactly why our hobby is languishing - it is too hard for americans to sit still for even a halfhour and concentrate on something like listening. as the great group csn&y said "teach your children well".
I don't think we forget how to listen to longer works. Rather we need to learn how to do so.
Classical pieces typically paint a more complex picture on a larger canvas than pop. It takes experience, and often a little explanation, to understand the ebb and flow of classical pieces.
Pop music structure also needs to be learned but most songs last only three to four minutes. It is thus easy to fully gronk a pop song with little effort.
The difference is akin to reading a well-written novel instead of a collection of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. Both fun and satisfying, but each requires a different level of commitment and appreciation.
Also, just as with various forms of popular music, not all forms of classical music will appeal to every person. For some Baroque is scratchy, hyper, cold unemotional; for others Romantic is overblown emo nonsense. Thus, when exposing a beginner to classical it is important to appreciate what the listener already enjoys. For example, do they like movie scores a great deal? As most movie scores are emotionally descriptive Rachmaninoff may be a good start.
I am not convinced that younger people lack the ability to concentrate for long periods or to follow through. As a group they will happily sit through a 2 1/2 hour movie, will spend hours on perfecting a video game, etc. To get them interested in music it is necessary to understand why these alternatives trigger longer session commitments than does music.
Perhaps over exposure to music is an issue; music is now a backdrop to every activity in our culture. It may be difficult for many to think of music as being capable of standing on its own and holding one's attention.
A side note: Guitar Hero is a great entry into rock and rock classics. There is a whole new group of people know familiar with music they would never otherwise hear.
I succeeded in convincing my nephew that if he dedicated the hours he put into Guitar Zero into learning how to play a real guitar he could be a fine musician. He talked his mother (who plays just about everything) into buying him a fretless bass (she taped in the fret locations) and he now spends hours playing it - often without an amp just to practice. He is getting quite good. Bass is a great choice as one learns a great deal of what makes music work if you understand bass. Plus there is nothing more important than a good bass player in a rock, pop or jazz group.
I think it's important for children to have music lessons (piano or whatever) early on, to learn something about how music works from the inside. It's hard for anyone to follow a larger work without understanding something about its formal structure (fugue, sonata, rondo, etc.), and to reach this level of comprehension, one must first understand shorter "song" structures and then see how they can be built up. (Kids also need to learn to read early, starting naturally with short stories and poems, to develop the ability to focus and concentrate on longer works.)
The WORST thing you can do for very young kids is just plop them in front of the TV for hours. They will almost certainly develop ADHD, and may in fact be brain-damaged for life.
Yes, every child should have music lessons. I think piano is best as it is capable of playing all styles of music, pianos are ubiquitous, and I have never heard a 20 year old say "Damn, I wish I didn't know how to play piano."
I suggest lessons from perhaps four or five to about 12. At that point if they love playing they will go on, and may have already decided to add or substitute another instrument. If they have had enough at this point, that's fine.
And no, it's not optional. You will learn to play music just as you will learn the proper use of a salad fork.
Then again, I'm child-free and full of opinions on how human puppies should be raised.
At the risk of veering slightly OT here your post made me reflect on how alarmingly quickly young children pick things up.
Alice started picking up the piano at age 3 when I started playing for her. The problem is I don't really play that much. Firstly because I'm not that good so don't really play for my own pleasure and secondly because I bought a smaller child-sized 3-octave keyboard suitable for Alice's tiny hands - so it is pretty cramped for an adult. Left on her own she will play for 10 or 15 minutes and then lose interest and go on to something else but if we sit and play together we can easily burn an hour or more without even noticing.
The thing that surprised and slightly disappointed me was when I went into a music shop to get a book to teach me how to teach her (she can't read after all) since I had no idea really where to start. The assistant asked me how old she was. "Three" I told her. "You're mad!" was the response. Well I could assure her I wasn't. Anybody who has children of their own and has seen their lust to learn up close knows that most of the limitations are in adults' minds. I was really disappointed that there didn't seem to be any material addressing the market for teaching really young children (if anyone knows of something please let me know). It seemed to me that some of their most receptive years are being squandered. Surely, we shouldn't be surprised that a 3-year-old can learn something, it's far more miraculous to me that a forty-three-year-old can still learn anything!
So my point here is not that Alice is any kind of wunderkind (she isn't, although she is very cute ), but that any child with an interest in music will pick things up if you just expose them to it. And I firmly believe that there is no lower age limit for that. Louise (1yo) is already expressing much more interest in music than Alice ever has. She has only been walking for a couple of months but she starts dancing as soon as anything reasonably boogable is played. And somewhat inexplicably she positively freaks out with excitement whenever I play certain Mozart pieces, flapping her arms as if attempting to take flight.
So I think exposure is the most important element, both in terms of listening and playing. The child's own curiosity and instinct to imitate will do the rest.
Neat kids and lucky to have such a parent.
Oh shucks Elk, you're making me blush . Fact is I expect I am just like most parents; I want my kids to have everything I had and everything I didn't have. But I don't want to spoil them of course...
Wait a second, how is that going to work? Answers on a postcard please!
(Okay, so now we really are OT!)
Struts! Thank you so much for the Gibran poem, what a gesture. No wonder you're such a great parent. You're really a classy guy, you know that?
I think I was inspired by your poem to start blogging again. School + audiophile nervosa had really stalled that site. Thanks for getting me going again.
Oh cut it out you guys, enough already!! I am quite useless with compliments.
Now what were we talking about? That's right, Harbeths!