How close is recorded music getting to the real thing?

How close is recorded music getting to the real thing?
It's there already
3% (7 votes)
Almost there
17% (35 votes)
Gets close sometimes
53% (112 votes)
A ways to go
18% (37 votes)
Not even close
9% (20 votes)
Total votes: 211

Many audiophiles spend thousands on state-of-the-art audio equipment, but does it really put you in the room with the performers?

Robert Clemens's picture

I've been a professional musician for the past 20 years, performing Symhonic music, Opera, Jazz, and some Rock- based music. My experiences as both performer and audience member have brought me to this conclusion: Recorded/played back media will always do no better than "come close" to the live experience, regardless of the quality/cleanliness of the components in the signal chain. Several factors contribute to this observation. First, music experienced in a real-time setting provides the listener with spacial, vibrational, and dynamic cues unique to the venue being used. Secondly, The acoustic signature of the performance venue is affected by the presence of a housefull of audience members. (I am constantly amazed at the difference between the hall's acoustic from dress rehearsal to concert night.) Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, is what I term "The Subjective Factor": Much of a listener's experience in the concert setting is atmosphere- or mood- related. Anticipation, seat location, even mood all contribute to the perception/reception of aural stimuli. Recorded performances simply cannot recreate these environmental perameters. This is not to say that the pursuit of "sonic truth" is a futile one. I am still impressed by the state of electronic reproduction today, and the technology seems to be ever advancing. I still enjoy many hours of listening pleasure, firmly ensconced in my little "sweet spot". I am simply convinced that, as in holography, sound reproduction can amaze, entertain, even fool us from time to time, but will always be a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional sensory experience. I will still spend money to get closer, but am under no illusions that said cash outlay will magically transport me to Lincoln Center or the 92nd Street Y. Amps, cables, speakers, etc. are fun, and a safe addiction, but they will only serve as a good substitue. My advice: find the coffee can filled with money earmarked for those tiptoes, and spend it on a pair of concert tickets. (My continued employment depends on it!

Mark Mason's picture

I hsve heard some really good systms, but rarely the magic of live

DRN's picture

Small venue only.

Dereck Baker's picture

Sometimes the CD is better than the actual live performance.