You are here

Log in or register to post comments
Catch22
Catch22's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 21 2010 - 1:58pm
Hell Freezes Over is a very nice recording

It's a little bit loud, but it is still a great record. It happens to land squarely where I think the sound isn't destroyed from too much DRC. ZZ Top's Antenna is another good record that has about that same level of DRC applied and was released around the same time.

The "smash them to bits" levels of compression hadn't yet reached the insane levels of a decade later. Still, even with Hell Freezes Over, later reissues were being futher compressed as the database confirms. If I were looking to replace my copy, I know which one I'd spend money on.

As an aside, HFO impressed me in a lot of ways, but particularly in how well the transients were captured. Lightning fast and very involving.

Pull up their Hotel California listings. Look at what reissues did to the dynamic range over the years. Make note of the time frames of when they were just getting crushed more and more as the years passed.

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
yep

Hi Catch

I don't think anyone disagrees on the loudness wars. I don't anyway. Where the disagreeing comes in for me is whether a system can play the music or not in an enjoyable way. As I have said I see much bigger problems in systems than I do with the recordings, not trying to marginalize the loudness wars. But until someone hears it, those are just words and I understand that. Still it doesn't change the fact that there are system out there that play these pieces of music really well along with all the reference audiophile pressings. I just hate to see music not listened to because a system won't play it, and that has been my point from the very begining of this.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
thread bump

Hi listeners

I wanted to give this a bumb as some of us are talking about referencing and how it can be used to make our systems better and others believing it is not so important to show their systems or talk about them when speaking about playback.

I over the years have found it not only extremely useful for me to have several systems in my own home, but also being able to bounce my sound off of others sound around the world. I'm always learning something when doing a reference with another listener. One thing I have learned and keep learning is how much is on a recording and how it is easy to overlook something in that recording. You can listen to a recording all your life and never hear it quite the same way twice. For myself this is like digging treasure, and has helped me develope methods I can, anyone can, use to uncover more and more of the music as well as look at a recording from different angles, something that is a blast once you start doing it.

Another thing that I find fun is when someone comes to my place and starts tuning on my system. They many times will go somewhere I didn't and I get to hear the music through their ears this way. It's not a matter of right and wrong but what they hear differently or with different priorities. Through this I have come to a better understanding of how we all perceive things at different levels of importance. Most of the time I go after the real size of a recording. This is where I find most of my answers, where someone else might be wanting to see the outlining of an instrument front to back with no halos, and yet another person it's all about how the highs respond ringing off of every note. All of these are part of the same recording and just as important as the next, as well every listeners likes and perceptions are just as important as the next guys. If we went listening room jumping right now we would all be surprised at the likes and dislikes of the systems as well as many different levels of listening.

Referencing together I think is one of the most helpful parts to this hobby and can be one of the most fun.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
the other guys

Today I received 1/2 of the collection of another audiophile listener. Tomorrow should be the other half. It's absolutely remarkable how much music is out there. I have a fairly good size collection, probably comparable to the average audiophile, but I have to say that when I get some of these collections I'm shocked at the music others have that I haven't even thought about or passed them by. They say two brains are better than one, well "they" haven't got anything on the collective of music lovers.

When you stop and think about it, what an opportunity we have to tap into each others listening brain. I will never stop being the audio student. There is something to learn every day.

have a great listen

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

pablolie
pablolie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: Oct 24 2013 - 11:58am
Headphones?

been reading through this, lively and interesting topic.

i can't add much because i don't own any Beatles or Dylan albums (yet, this topic makes me consider giving Abbey Road a listen). however -as a rule- effects and instruments that move around sometimes merely irritate me, because i typically find them artificial and distracting, unless there's a good reason [1].

but i am curious about people with a very good headphone setup and this topic. clearly the staging would be experienced quite differently, while the clarity of other elements could be easier to discern.

[1] and i shall assume the "sun" in the title indicates they attempted to illustrate the daily movement of the sun by moving elements "east to west" ie right to left...

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
A great track

There is a fair amount of movement but everything is so nicely laid out that it makes for a nice staging reference.

The crickets move east to west as the instruments go back and forth with fantastic huge cymbals that splash over the whole stage. So some things are moving, others staying still, some smaller and some big.

would be great to get your take on the stage

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

pablolie
pablolie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: Oct 24 2013 - 11:58am
i got a simple 16/44 flac of

i got a simple 16/44 flac of this song, and really enjoy the music and originality. the entire album is great. i remember my sister owned the white album and i liked many songs, but never got a copy, something i shall correct now. so thanks for that.

i listened to it through headphones, which definitely collapses the stage... (even using the DAC2-HGC and a Grado RS-1, a combo i love) but given the effects my feeling is that the stage is artificial and that the music was not recorded at the same time. the sharp separation of the bass on the sharp left and the drum "heartbeat" on the sharp right seemed a bit extreme, perhaps due to the headphone effect. i like the effect of the passing sun's energy, but found the wandering guitar counteracted it some, unless i miss some meaning to it.

it is a very craftily recorded album, but i am not sure i would use it as a staging reference because it is clearly mixed for effect. for staging i personally prefer albums where i know it was a carefully staged recording, everybody present in the recording room. or at least albums where i know the staging isn't simply the recording engineer moving a knob for the different tracks (that is my major issue with the current tendency to use Daft Punk as a reference, and vocoders omg). this is all just a personal preference. i love the music - not sure i'd audition new gear with it... clearly the latter is also a function of lack of familiarity with what i expect to hear.

PS: i will give it a listen through the speakers, because i enjoy the music. i never listen to music i don't enjoy simply because it's supposed to be a great recording, btw. this i got to hear again...

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
referencing

Hi Pablolie

Sorry for the late response. I was in the factory playing with the new speakers. We have 3 new models coming out soon and that means a lot of fun for me.

Abbey Road is a masterpiece done when Allan Parsons (engineer) was only 18 years old. Even though he did some paning for effect, the instruments stay true. You are also right that the recording was done in independent sessions then put together. The Beatles were going through a few issues.

I enjoy my studio engineered wild music cause I'm a soundstage nut, but I also like the stand still presentions as well, especially if there is a nice sounding hall involved or studio without too much dampening.

What are some of the recordings you like to reference with?

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

pablolie
pablolie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: Oct 24 2013 - 11:58am
michael - first of all thanks

michael -

first of all thanks for the response and the info. i am surprised by how much i liked the album. so much so that i went got a copy at rasputin (a Guy Massey 2009 remaster from original tapes) which i FLAC'd using dbPoweramp to the usual 16/44.

this copy sounds cleaner than the one i listened to yesterday. even through the headphones it has opened up. i also grabbed a copy of "let it be", since i know i liked songs on it when my sister and mom listened to it. and also because i read it was recorded *before* abbey road, yet released after, and supposedly they played it live in the studio without gimmicks.

on to your question about recordings i like for staging, and thanks for your interest. clearly as a designer your ear must rank above mine, i just know what i have gathered for my own listening in loooooong years of enjoying (and sometimes even playing and singing and recording) music.

i think before i make up my mind about minute aspects of staging i need to really become familiar with a performance. i like to listen to performances i love in different ways - first i take them whole and don't even analyze, just sit and enjoy. over time, i learn more and more about them, and layers open up. and *then* you have it and can explain what you hear to others, which you clearly can do very succinctly with "abbey road".

on my first listen to this new copy of "abbey road" today through my speakers (and with a glass of Barolo), you are right, many layers opened up, but i need to analyze them a bit more before i offer a new opinion to a topic that clearly has already opened very spirited and in depth discussion. perhaps i was reading too much into it, but i was wondering whether some of the extreme spatial separation in some instruments and the wandering guitar was a way to insert a message about the tension in the group. there is something different going on there, so i understand why this record captures your interest for staging. with this new version, and listening through it via speakers, i get it. as to how big and deep the stage is... i sit about 7ft from my speakers and they're about 8ft apart. the stage is definitely over 25ft wide and instrumentation very clearly layered, as well as the insect and frog menagerie. like it a lot. need to listen to it more.

i have some odd references for staging:
- for speaker setup, i use a CD (well a FLAC these days) from sheffield labs (XLO test or so), and track 3 is a walk around. that is a pure tool for raw setup, as is the rest of the CD. for *real* listening i use
- Kevin Mahogany, "songs and moments" and "pride and joy". very well recorded albums, acoustic instruments, a powerful voice from a guy that is 6'4 in the middle... and i am very familiar with it. very.
- classical, of course. we all know how a classical orchestra is staged. Karl Munchinger's version of the canon (unusually played with a full arrangements of classically set up strings, not a period ensemble), and Pierre Boulez version of Debussy's "The Sea". i also have come to enjoy Max Richter's "re-composed" version of the Four Seasons a *lot*. Deutsche Grammophon engineers take care of very capable staging.

that's how i'd evaluate a new component. if i keep it, i keep it for many years, and just keep occasionally experimenting with peripheral setup stuff.

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
fantastic

Hi Pablolie

Excellent! 25' plus is perfect for the crickets. I'm glad your doing this with the speaker/room setup. This is a great start. Many listener's systems start and stop with the crickets right at the right and left speakers, I like it setup to go much wider though as you can get more of the meaning. I think you'll enjoy the layering more with the speakers, as it seems you are doing. Headphones are cool but when you can make your room the headphones, all the more. Let me know when you get a chance what kind of depth do you have setup? Abbey Road is a surprising recording and was the one that opened up my eyes on the beatles. Lot's of mood and story telling on this recording. It does make you wonder what they were thinking as a unit and as friends about to leave each other.

Deutsche Grammophon is one of my favorites. I'm having my collection sent to me as we speak, and just got another one that is full of Deutsche Grammophon. I'll find my Max Richter's Four Seasons.

I let my recording play through a few passes so the haromonics get a chance to settle. Once the stage gets nice and plump is when I like to go in and do my listening. Kind of a different approach than most but it's what I've done for a long time. I have my listening rooms setup so they are not far from my writing, this way I can keep everything going 24/7 and it's easier for me to tell when it's right to go in and listen.

looking forward to listening with you

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

David Harper
David Harper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 51 min ago
Joined: Aug 7 2014 - 2:23pm
speakers

Michael, which do you hear a better soundstage from, a large,tall floorstanding speaker or a small bookshelf speaker? All my life I had the former, and I was recently amazed to find that the latter sounded better to me.

pablolie
pablolie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: Oct 24 2013 - 11:58am
hey david - like you, i have

hey david - like you, i have gone through mostly floor-standing speakers. i always seemed to prefer 2 and 3 way speakers, the latter though only in the large room I last had.

like you, i have recently embraced bookshelf speakers and i think i'll stick to that henceforth. i feel they are easier to set up for optimal performance (plus i don't think i'll ever have a very large listening room again). my pet theory is that bookshelf speakers resemble the ultimate ideal of a vanishing source more than larger constructs, which prolly need to play with more factors to optimally "converge". not sure i'd say they make the stage larger, but they sure provide a short path to staging accuracy. (not saying that can't be achieved with larger floor standing speakers. but i know my floor standers did not work in my current listening environment).

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
Speakers

Hi David

Speakers are interesting cause there's two sides to them in this hobby. One is the side of impressions by marketing and how people have made them into classes, a floor stander being a grown up version and the book shelf or smaller speaker being considered the junior of the two. The second side (which happens to be my view) is the speaker being part of the room and it's main job being to stimulate the room but then get out of the way of the room doing it's job. If a room is voiced to amplify the pressure well, you can do remarkable things with a smaller speaker. I'm using very small speakers right now playing Beethoven's 5th and there's no sign of any speakers in the room, and it's going deep and rich. Deep enough to shake the floor.

This touches again on what I have been talking about with the whole over built thing. Audiophiles have been programed to think about climbing the audio ladder as if this has anything to do with the sound, or replaces, the sound of their room. They think climbing this ladder automatically adds up to better sound, but this could not be further from the truth. Truth is your speaker/room combo is meant to work together as one and not one conquering the other. It's most of the time much easier to create a great soundstage with a smaller speaker, I like to use low mass ones the best. This is room dependent of course but in the typical size room a good bookshelf or smaller floorstander will man handle a big floorstander in the staging department most of the time.

In living rooms used as listening rooms with the furniture still in, a bookshelf can certainly walk away from a floorstander. If you look at my speaker designs for example you will see that even my floorstanders do not have the chamber go all the way to the bottom of the speaker cabinet. This is something that I discovered long ago. Speakers that have their chambers going all the way to the bottom have bass issues, and many times you will hear the drivers stand out and beam. My floorstanding speakers are designed more like bookshelves with the stand built into them. If you look in the back you will see a mass loading hole. Most of the time the hole is not used but there to make it easier to mate with different floors. Point being in the design to get away from the laminar effect that in most rooms on the floor is between 5" and 7" off the floor.

Going back to that living room thing though. If the bottom half or third of the speaker is being influenced by the furniture in the room and the upper part of the same cabinet is working with the pressure of the open part of the room there is a fight that takes place within and around the cabinet. A bookshelf doesn't have this fight and is resonating with more consistency.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

Catch22
Catch22's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 21 2010 - 1:58pm
It's always puzzled me why more people don't use Standmount

I've never had a room big enough to consider using floor model speakers. But, I've seen a lot of small rooms with floor speakers in them. I can certainly see using floor speakers to fill large rooms, but why anyone would want them in a small room always leaves me scratching my head.

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
a good point

It's pretty obvious to see the imbalance taking place, but I think truly that a lot of folks in this hobby are driven by the perception of that high end ladder climb, and not practicality. Basically "if I own X I'm going to get a better sound" instead of looking at how things are working or not in their setup.

We sit in our living room and the music is playing. We then stand up and the music opens up. We sit back down and the music shuts back down. You would think the light would turn on and the listener would say "why do I want my speakers being muffled by the furniture", but for some weird reason this is not registering. I really believe that many in this hobby have gotten to the point that they feel the brand X product cures all and the idea that bigger or more expensive is better drives them.

This is why I like to look at the system because some things are obvious, and over sized speakers for a room is one of them.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

David Harper
David Harper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 51 min ago
Joined: Aug 7 2014 - 2:23pm
Beatles

I've read that much of the Beatles songs from "Sgt. Pepper" on where actually incapable of being performed live because they were recorded using tape tracks overlaid on top of each other over and over. In fact, many Beatle songs were never performed at all,(in the form in which we are familiar with them). A good example is "A Day in the Life". The song was created in the studio by combining tracks. The final result is incredible, but it calls into question the idea of a soundstage upon playback, given that no stage ever actually existed for the song.

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
?

Hi David, why do you think there isn't an actual soundstage? Or did I miss understand?

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

David Harper
David Harper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 51 min ago
Joined: Aug 7 2014 - 2:23pm
soundstage

The only way there can be a soundstage upon playback is if there was a soundstage when the music was recorded. If you place a microphone 20 feet in front of a live band, on stage,then when the recording is played back in you're listening room with the speakers located properly, in front of you, you should hear a reproduction of what you would have heard had you actually been sitting in front of the live band. In the case of music that has been created on studio equipment by multi-track overlays of originally separate tracks of recorded music,no such stage exists. Not only does no such stage exist,and this is the important part, but no such stage COULD ever exist. A soundstage must be a recording of an actual soundstage.
At the beginning of the rising crescendo at the end of "A Day in the Life", Lennon's voice say's "I'd love to turn you on". He wasn't standing in front of a symphony orchestra as the song was recorded, his voice was overlayed into the beginning of the orchestral movement on multi-track recording equipment, so what kind of soundstage could be presented upon playback?

Catch22
Catch22's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 21 2010 - 1:58pm
Artificial staging

That's never been much of an issue with me, though I'm certainly aware that some people find it objectionable. I love Live and studio stuff equally as much provided the recording is competently done. Either can suffer from bad engineering.

iosiP
iosiP's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: Jan 12 2014 - 4:41pm
David, don't forget the size of the transducers

You're trying to reproduce the sound of a grand piano using drive units that are at most 16-20" in diameter. No wonder that a drum kit takes as much as 5 mikes to be recorded properly.
Yes you have purist recordings made with only a figure-8 mike setup but these are rare and only cover a small part of the musical genres. So yes, most of the hall ambiance is added during the mastering process, but still this doesn't mean you should add your own room's reverb signature on top of the engineer's work.

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
talking about soundstage

At this point I'm gald to just see listeners talking about this topic.

There has been a debate about this in the audiophile hobby that doesn't even exist in the mainstream recording world. I've seen people even get hot about this, and I want to tell all that is not necessary, no reason for debating something that can be seen happening first hand. My recommendation would be to see if you could arrange to spend time in a studio control room during a session or in a mastering room after the recording, and then you could ask about this and see it happen in real time.

I'm a recording/live engineer from the 70's and 80's and have never even heard this talk come up till I read it in a high end audio magazine. As with many things in high end audio and the audiophile world there is a huge gap between talking and doing. Talking is not bad, but talking without seeing and hearing something actually in motion in front of you many times can leave the audiophile trying do figure "how does that work" in their head to make sense to them, but be miles away from what is really taking place.

What is a real soundstage and what is not, is something that goes back to the age when stereo was created, even before if you are a mono/mic purist. Here's the thing though, your never really going to know what a mic picks up or what a mixing board and effects can and will do until you sit down infront of one or be a part of, then these types of Q&A's make a lot more sense.

here's something that might help or might be confusing

Audiophile playback was something create for and by the audiophiles. The first ones who did this placed the speakers in front of them to create a stage effect. As this grew in popularity it became a standard of the way the hobby would listen, but we shouldn't confuse this to what realy goes on in the studio or in a mixing console. All recordings are more of a 3D event not a 2D in front of the listener event. Personally I think people in this hobby should think about looking into things for what they are and the effects that have been created for the playback instead of looking at it from the audiophile's listening perspective back to the recording. If they (the audiophile questioning the proccess) did recordings and the playback systems from the "real" space side this whole event would take on new meaning. Hey, there's a lot of studio engineers who are in this too that haven't explored real size and space so don't think your alone here.

It's cool that a bunch of studio engineers and reviewers have taken the time to one, paint the picture, and two attempt to interpret it, but there's more to this picture than throwing speakers in a room and turning the system on. The recording of a soundstage live or equipment based, is far bigger than these talks of right and wrong. It would be a mistake to assume that because studios have two monitors in front of them that the recorded soundstage is limited to a small frontal stage, and that the consoles and effects know to put the things in front only.

Maybe it's because I grew up in the studio and live rooms that gives me a different look into what is going on, but it surprises me at times that audiophiles create debates over things that really have no debate to them. For example, do you know why monitors started to be put in front of the engineers in studios? It's because studios started in the same rooms with the musicians, then because of over feed went to separate rooms, then went from solid walls to walls with windows. It was not until studios had already had walls with windows that the stereo games began. Early engineers were not making recordings to be frontal but to fill the room. Their goal was to bring the music in the room with the listeners. Multichannel (including stereo) was created to make the speaker/room/ear event one. Keep in mind there were two ways of listening going on then, headphones and in-room speakers. If you put on the headphones the recording was all around you or, in your head space wise. If you listened to in-room speakers you could create placements that would give you different space effects, infront, side to side, behind, and even over head, all coming from the same recording. With early in-room stereo you had two usual setups. One being where the speakers were placed apart in different coners of the room, and the other where the speakers were placed on a wall spread apart with the listener sitting in front of them. This is when the term soundstage started to take place and speaker companies played into the stereo effect along with the studio engineers. Recording panning became a part of almost all recordings being made, with a few purist that wanted to do one mic recordings but, because of the stereo movement this became almost obsolete. The audio purist still used the name sake of one mic recording but filler mics ended up be used for room effect. This made almost all recordings part of the studio mult-mic proccess and from this point on the soundstage was an illusions based technology, not that one mic recordings weren't.

Not long after stereo came out, engineers started pulling speakers out into the room more and found that there was more on the recordings than just side to side. They found that by placement they could bring out more of the space effect that was in all recordings, live room recordings or effect produced alike. Because of limited space in the control room, it was easier for the engineers and musicians to sit in the room and make stage decisions together. because the on/in wall type speakers were giving a flat sound, not representing the space, studios started using two sets of speakers in the control room. One to give a basic stage without the depth that was on the recording, and one that was closer to them giving more of the recordings space front to back. It was impracticle to setup up a true space playback in the control room so a blend of in-wall, near-field and headphone setups were used to listen to all the way from a very 1D sound through 3D (somewhat). But this still wasn't enough to give the decision makers a true sense of the depth of space that was really on the and every recording. This is where the mastering room and playback rooms and systems came into play. Between the control room's three setups and the mastering room and playback setup the recordings space is supposed to be realized, but the "real" space of a recording is still yet to be discovered through typical playback. Most playback reference rooms for studios are based on where most of the listeners might be listening in and not the whole picture of what is on the recording. Expert say that we are 10% of the way there. Meaning we are hearing about 10% of the space that is actually on the recording.

I'm a soundstage professional meaning my work is to bring out as much of the "real" space and "real" size of recordings as is there. What I have experienced is that the audiophile hobby is mainly focused on having a frontal stage that is limited in size to give them the effect that the performers are on a stage in front of them. This is a nice effect but it is still an effect and is not giving the whole recording stage. As to the equipment made stages they are huge and are extremely 3D in nature, often times with a good frontal/extreme nearfield setup going 360 all around the room and behind the listener as well as infront and side to side and up and down. I've seen audiophiles make the case for these soundstages not "being real" but the reality is all soundstages are subject to interpretation and can be as big as the listener wants and their equipment and room will give them.

You know, it's a fun hobby and all of us love it, but we have to be real in the fact that the audiophile world has taken a piece of this hobby and made their set of rules to suit, and this really doesn't make it true in the sense of the whole story. The hobby of listening to music doesn't stop where todays studios or end listeners decide for it to. Music recording and reproduction is just getting started and where it goes will depend on how far listeners decide to take it. The audiophile scene found a nice comfortable place to call home but this is not by any means the end of the ball game. It's really just the beginning of transporting the event, equipment or live based, into a persons home for them to enjoy.

michael green
MGA/Roomtune

David Harper
David Harper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 51 min ago
Joined: Aug 7 2014 - 2:23pm
Sgt. pepper

For me, " Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" is the greatest music I ever heard. It doesn't have anything to do with a "soundstage". The genius of the Beatles was in the studio, not the stage. I still listen to it regularly , as well as "Magical Mystery Tour". "The Walrus" never fails to amaze me,even though I've heard it a hundred times. Much of Pink Floyd's music is incapable of being performed live,but that doesn't make it any less good. "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" begins with the sound of a boat being rowed,something which obviously was never actual reality. My point is that end results are a legitimate art form. It doesn't matter that the music never existed in physical reality in the first place. I've read that most of Steely Dan's (who I detest) music was created completely on studio equipment. IT WAS NEVER ACTUALLY PERFORMED AT ALL!!! I've been pounding down some beers here, so I may get stupid. Pay no attention if I do that. I ordered, on line, the SACD of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". I paid a lot for it, so I hope it's as good as I think it will be. Rolling Stone called it "one of the best albums of all time". I agree. It will be the first SACD I've ever had. Confession time; I find Amy Winehouse' "Back to Black" one of the best female vocalist performances I ever heard.

Catch22
Catch22's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 21 2010 - 1:58pm
Steely Dan

Loved those guys from the first moment I heard them and have everything they have ever done that I can get my hands on. Babylon Sisters is a track I often use for referencing.

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
the music

Well you guys are naming some of my favs :), and thanks for the comment David. Helps me understand where your coming from. Wish you were here, I'm still convinced was not written by humans lol. Floyd is off the charts brilliant. Met Roger a couple of times, and got to play with "Pros and Cons".

Steely Dan, played the Palms a couple of years back and I got to hang out. Another one of my favs. I love all of Donald's solo stuff too.

michael green
MGA/Roomtune

wkhanna
wkhanna's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
Dandy Dan......

More years ago than I care to acknowledge, I was able to see Steely Dan live at an outdoor pavilion. I have a good friend who is a lighting designer & engineer. He is contracted by musical groups to design & manage the stage lighting for tours.

For the show, The Wife & I were sitting with the engineering crew & even had our own set of headphones patched directly to the mixing console.

The mix of their live performance was every bit as impressive as the studio material.
In fact, it was the best ‘live’ larger-scale (non-classical) performance I have ever heard in my half century of attending live shows.

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please –

David Harper
David Harper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 51 min ago
Joined: Aug 7 2014 - 2:23pm
taste

I respect everyones taste. Just because I don't like an act, that doesn't mean anything. I used to love Blondie. I still do. "Heart of Glass" is sublime. So is "Sunday Girl", and "Call Me". Debbie Harry was bewitching(in my opinion).

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
that's what makes it fun

Hi Bill

great experience! As well I think it's great that you go hangout with people like Bob Carver. That's pretty darn hip.

Hi David

This is what makes the hobby so great, and for me this type of thread of sharing our references is the way to get to know what drives us both musically and what we have our systems for. there's a wide range of audiophile types as well as an even wider music selection for us to explore from many different tastes and experiences. I like Debbie too, specially her jazz side.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
hearts and bones

I've been having fun with two CD's today. First one was "Hearts & Bones" and now have moved on to "Negotiations & Love Songs". Of course Paul has 3 songs from H & B on the compilation.

Most of the time when listening to Paul Simon, I set my system up to have a nice flow to the midrange, the top float-y and the bottom with a smooth bump to it. Both of these recordings do a great front to back stage, and if you setup 360 stereo you can hear the instruments moving forward and then go back as the fades drop.

I'm not crazy about flat stages (soundstaging that only goes 4-6' deep). This is where a lot of folks get messed up when listening to CD. If you don't get that stage close to real space and size you get this sound that people call "digital", but that's not the recording. That's the systems playback. This weekend I got calls from 3 guys talking about digital, and how they have learned to tune it. I bring this up here because this is where they have been reading me. They each told me of recordings they use to play thinking it was the recording that was making the tilted sound. Then after starting to tune their systems they discovered the front to back was missing in their system and as soon as they got the front to back to match the side to side the "digital" sound went away.

I don't know if they will join in here, but I thought each of them had something going on similar. First their components were all different, second they were all using High End gear stripped down to some degree and third, they had all found how Pre-Amps shutdown the stage with CD's. If they want to share the names of those components that's up to them, but I will say they were pricy Pre-amps. I owned some of them myself.

Now they all use either very simple Pre's or use amps with built in volume controls. They have also moved to 22 gauge cable. Two of them use mine which is solid core and I forgot to ask the other if it was solid or stand. These guys don't know each other but it's remarkable how similar they sounded describing their systems and setups and most of all soundstages.

So here's why I bump this. Everytime I hear someone talk about digital sounding bright or hard I know, that in some way, they have a collapsed stage. Guys who say this and that about digital in negative ways don't understand digital itself, or recording, or their playback system. They don't know the difference between distortion and compression, and they haven't learned yet how the mechanics of a playback system works. They may be on their way, but until you hear that hard tilted sound go away, you have an audio chain issue.

The way to put this to the test is to put on the same recordings an explore the sound we are getting together. Unless you want to visit me and we explore this together. When this hobby gets back to listening to the same recordings together and referencing them, will be the day that we all find that sense of community that gets misplaced when all people have is talk. I know for some it's a matter of a little pride, but do we want this to stop us from playing our favorite music?

By request, and again thanks for your comments, I'll spend more time referencing what I am listening to.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
50 ways

As promised here's some more referencing if you wish to follow along.

Paul's 50 Ways to leave your lover.

This morning I was playing with the ringing of the drums harmonics. If you are hearing the notes and tone within the space try this. I tuned in the harmonics on all the drums so you can hear the internal ringing of each hit. You can hear the inside, shell harmonics tight to the shell, halo and space. What I did was set things up so I could make an adjusting top tune which allowed me to move the focus in and out. When I got to a certain mid-point I could see the front of the mic shell and the drum bouncing off of it.

I skipped ahead to Hearts and Bones to see what I changed as a result and ended up unlocking a space that spread way out as if everything was playing inside of this dynamic hush. At this point I could tell that this wasn't just a greatest hits but a nice mastering job. Once I got to this place it felt much more like these songs were meant to go together and not so much like a bunch of studio blends thrown together. Just days ago with the same recording, it felt like I was jumping from studio to studio with tape in hand. Both ways had their treats and frame of reference, but being able to view this from different angles using the same info is what makes this exciting.

Well, session coming up. stay tuned

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
the stage is everything

I was listening to Brad Mehldau's House On Hill, and about half way in I started thinking about how some are not able to reproduce a playback soundstage on their systems. It's like they're saying there isn't one, when in fact that's what stereo means.

How can you be an audiophile and still not be able to reproduce the stages made in the recordings? What's worse is, how can you know the message without the stage?

It's a little freaky when you read people saying they don't understand or aren't getting the soundstage of any recording really. How could I possibly understand Brad Mehldau's House On Hill without this stage? Or the trio period. How could I understand the reasoning in movements and moments between Rossy & Ballard, and how this is part of Brad's flavoring?

When I hear people say "staging isn't everything" I know they don't have a good one, or at least a consistent one. I also know they have no understanding of the recorded code, or how to make this matching the system to the recording work.

Another thing. Someone says "this is a bad recording", yet they haven't figured out how to get the "soundstage" to play. How would they know if it is a bad recording or not if they can't even find the stage with their system? All stereo recordings have a soundstage, and if you can't play that stage in real size, you really have no idea what is good or bad about any recording. You can't hear true tonal balance without a stage, and you can't judge detail without one either. The same goes for compression or any engineering effect. If you can't produce the stage first your missing most of the recorded info to begin with, so any of your judgements are based on a very limited view of what's there.

a revealing system?

A revealing system is not a system that can't play what is there, but one that can play the info. A very weird thing has happened to the audiophile ever since the loudness wars has come into play. First compression has always been there. Second, and I bring this up a lot, if you have a system that does any of the standard playback problems, your system is out-of-tune and it's not the recording. A recording for example doesn't make your music run into the speakers, or give you a banana shape stage, or keep your music only between your speakers. Sure we all know the differences (or should be able to spot) between a good copy of something and a bad one. But when we have certain problems with our systems not being in-tune with a recording there are certain sounds that happen on any system. If your system sounds bad when something is played in most cases it is your system not responding well to the info provided, and not the info necessarily itself.

Let me give an example of this

You put on a recording (any recording) and your soundstage doesn't go as deep as it does wide. That's a system problem, not a recording one. Recordings are not made only to give width without the same depth. Another one. Do your recordings start at the plane of the speakers and go backward from there? That's again a system problem and not a recording one. A true stereo stage goes in all directions equally. Recordings are not made 2D but 3D, and if you are hearing a soundstage that is only 4-8 feet deep, your missing a ton of info, and if your missing that much info, how can you judge anything but your system setup? If I go to any system, at any price, with any recording and the stage is not going equally in all directions, this means that system is not revealing the recording. If sound is in the speakers same thing, banana same thing. Most times I have been called in to listen to a bad recording, the first thing I find is the system is out of tune with that recording. And many times that listener, pro engineer or home hobbyist is not understanding the basics of recording and playback. This doesn't let recordings off the hook (of course not), but if you understand how recording and playback work you can tell what is bad or simply something wrong with the system. But here's what I'm saying, don't call your system a revealing system if it can't play a recording cause that is nonsense. Nonsense meaning that doesn't make any sense. I have a wide range of equipment and have for years, and if I treat any of them as a "one" sound system they are not going to do as well as one of the ones "tuned" to the recording. Doesn't matter what recording it is. The system can either play it or it is out of tune.

Also, don't use price as a guide for successful listening, use simplicity vs complicated. The more filtering you do with your music, the more the music will sound filtered, basic math.

my invite

The only real way to test my words are to do some referencing with me, and I am more than happy to do so.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

rrstesiak
rrstesiak's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 22 2015 - 5:38am
I found this the most enjoyable Audiophile experience to date!

Thank you OP!

(AbbeyRoad, Track 10, 44.1/24 USB)

I actually was wrong in my initial statements of speaker placement, so I'll list the accurate ones here:

I have a nearly perfect triangle of speakers 7' on the dot apart with my listening chair 7' diagonally away from each speaker on the dot! I only measured AFTER I had performed my own optimal placing. The Backs of the speakers are 1' away from the rear wall, and toed in roughly 15 degrees. Room Size is 10' wide by 14' deep and 7.5' High; with open wall to left and other three sides walls or walls with windows, and carpeting.

I noticed on my 44.1KHz digital recording a preponderance of Bass, so I turned off tone controls. I do that a lot when critical listening.

So there is a lot of information to take in here, but I actually took notes and here are my little system's results. (My system is described in detail in the Home Audio Gallery)...

I hear Drums, Bass, and Guitar all start on left... The crickets and frogs start to far right then just crickets shift and span across and centered pretty deep in my little sound stage...imagining them extending 4 feet back into the wall behind the speakers..quite an effect actually!
Drums are furthest Left
Bass Guitar is next in but left, and "in front" of drums, with guitar further to right (but again all to the left) and guitar is also "in front" of other instruments. The sound stage itself does reach about 2 feet out to the right and left further than my physical speakers as well.

IN my system, with this recording, the soundstage as often does starts just at a couple of feet to the left and right of my speakers, with front to back starting at about the front of my speakers and extends behind to the wall (a couple of feet) with the instruments of this song, but the vocals do pleasantly project out onto center stage into the room about a couple of feet; with the crickets again extending the furthest back; creating that 3D space out of merely two speakers I so crave and enjoy! :)

As the instruments pan to the right in the beginning of the song, I notice an upwards arc, perhaps the banana being referred to; but the sound levels are all equal and it is quite a pleasant pan.

In my opinion there is far too much movement left to right and around the soundstage as the song progresses to comment much more without drowning in minute details... this should be enough to answer the OP's fascinating question and comparison with other's systems on this reference track.

As for feeling "in the recording", I can honestly say I really do; but the feeling is most pronounced when the vocals come into play. IN the very beginning I do feel as though I am "observing" the recording like from a near-field mixing console, but again the sound stage opens up with vocals.

THANK YOU for such a wonderful discussion! I intentionally have NOT read any other comments yet as I did not want my responses colored or slanted in any way as to what I am "supposed" to be hearing. Now onto a thorough read!

Listen On!

Kindest Regards,

Ronald R. Stesiak
Research Scientist
National Science Foundation

rrstesiak
rrstesiak's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 22 2015 - 5:38am
Suggestions for a Second Reference Listening Critique?

Might I suggest we all try "Wish You Were Here" By Pink Floyd? I often use this when tuning listening position.... any takers? It is a more simple song and maybe all can describe it with more detail due to its simplicity.

As a teaser, When I am carefully listening to the 88.2/24 version I luckily have, the airiness and presence of the vocals in the recording space can often times be "spooky" in a good way. :)

If Pink Floyd isn't enough people's cup of tea, I do have a good vinyl pressing of Sgt. Pepper's...

Another good song where there are sonically interesting things going on and which a lot of people may have in their collections is Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix...

Kind Regards,

Ron

rrstesiak
rrstesiak's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 22 2015 - 5:38am
After reading the other comments...

After sitting down to what I thought would be a pleasant read of other people's impressions of Track 10 Abbey Road, my initial response is one of disappointment... I was hoping for many more people to just sit down and describe their listening experience to a popular track almost everyone probably has in their collection. I was truly saddened to see the original topic mostly unanswered. I hope more people take the time and do this ... isn't this what Audiophile is all about? Describing our system and what WE hear?

PLease... Join in this fun exercise... the more comments, from more disparate and different points of view and different system setups the better!

Now on to my response of the few who did reply with their impressions:
I was highly educated and humbled at the same time! My little system seems it has a very "collapsed" sound stage compared to every other reviewer... It's funny, because I thought it to be very capable and I am very happy with it. However, it is interesting to know I have a lot of room to grow over the years of this extremely enjoyable past time.

My total system cost is about $4,000. Maybe other people have spent an order of magnitude more? Or maybe just experience and tweaking...

I am humbled, again, but also I do enjoy my system every day and look forward to listening sessions.

Listen On!

Ron

michael green
michael green's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
Excellent!

Hi Ron

I'm all in on the referencing! I might have to disappear to be on TuneLand or helping clients, but I'll come up as often as I can to join in. I'm totally please (ear to ear grin) that you are here to have fun! I just had one of my "wish you were here" out, now I have to find it LOL. I have about 5 copies so you would think I could put my fingers on stuff, but for some reason they scatter quickly into the other listening areas, and get lost in the crowd.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

Pages

  • X