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Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

http://stereophile.com/asweseeit/122/index3.html


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15. The Gestalt.
Again, this is directed at listeners familiar with live music. Does the recording convey the feel of a live musical experience, or doesn't it? If it doesn't, can it be high fidelity?

16. Performance.
Finally, was the performance worth recording in the first place? A fantastic recording may be able to sustain itself for a few listenings, but even the best recording soon palls if the musical execution was sloppy, eccentric, or

Elk
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Re: Live Sound


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So what does the trumpet player actually sound like when he played the piece? We don't know.

Yes, we probably do. Particularly, if we are familiar with the sound of an actual trumpet. ... Even more so if we are familiar with a particular performer.

But we don't know any of this from the recording itself.

We don't know if the recording actually captures the specific sound of this trumpet player, playing a specific instrument, using a specific method of tone production. We cannot assume it does.

Recorded sound of even acoustic instruments is not "absolute" in any sense. All recordings are artifice.

Thus we must exercise considerable caution when using any recording, even classical recordings, in judging the accuracy of a sound system.

The problem is actually worse if you truly know the real sound of a specific instrument.

As an example, you know the sound of a Steinway as being dark and powerful. Yet by mic placement alone the recording has a bright, detailed, contained sound. The sound as a piano is delightful. This could be wonderful for a recording of Scarlatti.

We now try to judge a playback system using this recording. We know a Steinway Model D was used. We know it was recorded by a talented engineer, such as Michael Bishop, who knows how to capture precisely the sounds he wants. We assume he captured a dark, warm powerful Steinway sound.

Yet, on playback, it sounds bright and lightweight because it has been recorded that way. We know it doesn't sound like our expectation of Steinway sound because we are educated listeners. Thus we change the playback system to sound warmer and more powerful.

Our education and experience has just led us astray.

Now the system sounds like a Steinway - playing back this particular recording - but it sounds bloated and heavy on other recordings. We would never have made this mistake if we didn't assume the recording was going to sound like a Steinway.

Accordingly, we need to truly understand what we are listening to so that we can effectively use our chosen "reference" recordings.

Thus my premise: "There is no more absolute reference in an acoustic recording than there is in a studio recording of a rock band."

I previously wrote:

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As a result, recorded sound is not "absolute."


To which Jan replied:

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Of course sound is an absolute. It might not be for you, Elk, but for most of us, sound is absolute.

This is the source of your misunderstanding. By leaving out the word "recorded" you have completely missed the point.

You are arguing against your own premise, not mine.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound


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All recordings are artifice.

They are such only when they are compared to the absolutes of reality. Those absolutes certainly do exist. Recordings are a reality unto themself. They can become references which would then push them into the frame of "absolute". They would be an absolute to only themself but they become absolutes.


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Thus we must exercise considerable caution when using any recording, even classical recordings, in judging the accuracy of a sound system.

I'm going to assume you've ignored JGH's linked article on this matter.


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The problem is actually worse if you truly know the real sound of a specific instrument.

That is horsehockey! If you have no absolutes, please, do not try to steal mine.


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As an example, you know the sound of a Steinway as being dark and powerful. Yet by mic placement alone the recording has a bright, detailed, contained sound

Here we are again at a point I find every time the two of us enter into a thread. I don't seriously believe you've even read my previous posts.

I had asked you to kindly leave microphone placement at the doorstep. Yet this is the only debating point you have to pull against. This is your puny, little lynchpin, Elk, and I've no use for it as my wagon has more weight to carry.


Quote:
Yet, on playback, it sounds bright and lightweight because it has been recorded that way. We know it doesn't sound like our expectation of Steinway sound because we are educated listeners. Thus we change the playback system to sound warmer and more powerful.

Our education and experience has just led us astray.

Let me get this straight, you would change your system based on the performance of one recording?

How long have you been doing this, Elk?

That assertion is even more absurd than your constant reference to "most" would do such and such.


Quote:
Accordingly, we need to truly understand what we are listening to so that we can effectively use our chosen "reference" recordings.

And what do we call those things we "truly understand"?

Have you read that question, Elk? I think this is one you've been ignoring all along.


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Thus my premise: "There is no more absolute reference in an acoustic recording than there is in a studio recording of a rock band."

More, but deeper and more fragrant, horsehockey.


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This is the source of your misunderstanding. By leaving out the word "recorded" you have completely missed the point.

Uh, ... no.

I'll try this one more time, Elk. I take a photo of my mother. I hold my mother's appearance as an "absolute" in my mind. Her apperarnce is an "absolute" against all others when it comes to "my mother's appearance". I am confident I can pick out my mother from a crowd of thousands.

When I view the photograph of my mother, am I so illogical that I assume the two dimensional representation of my mother's features is the reality of being my mother? Of course not! I have the amazing ability to distinguish between what is a representation of something and what is the absolute reality of that something.

You apparently do not.

Elk, I've made my points many times as you've repeated the same things over and over. Your only consideration is microphone placement and you ignore everything else.

My position is clear I would think. I find your logic convoluted and contradictory while ignoring the obvious.

To repeat the same over and over is fruitless.

We disagree. Unless you have some compelling
"proof" other than what you've so far come up with, we can leave it at that.

john curl
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Re: Live Sound

'So What' Both literally and the recording.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

Well, it's definitely not a photo of my mother.

Elk
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Re: Live Sound


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'So What' Both literally and the recording.

Elk
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Re: Live Sound

Jan,

We are all well aware of the general belief that a sound system should be judged against its "real" counterpart, acoustic instruments in a performance space.

Many however simultaneously claim that even well-engineered studio recordings of electronic instruments can not be used as a reference. They argue this is because such instruments do not exist in the acoustic world and thus have no "absolute" reference.

My premise - the one that I am attempting to discuss - is that we must exercise considerable caution when using any recording, even classical recordings, in judging the accuracy of a sound system as the recordings themselves are one engineer's/producer's vision of what the sound should be.

I have provided many examples as to why the recording process itself has such tremendous impact on the sound that we cannot reasonably use even a simple piano recording to make a precise judgment as to how our system should sound.

Our following exchange illustrates this point:


Quote:
quote] Elk wrote: Yet, on playback, it sounds bright and lightweight because it has been recorded that way. We know it doesn't sound like our expectation of Steinway sound because we are educated listeners. Thus we change the playback system to sound warmer and more powerful.

Our education and experience has just led us astray.


Quote:
Jan replied: Let me get this straight, you would change your system based on the performance of one recording?

How long have you been doing this, Elk?

No, I would not make a change in my system based on any single recording.

Nor would you.

Why? Precisely because of the problem I have described:

We cannot use any recording, even classical recordings, to judge the accuracy of a sound system. All recordings are inherently colored, in a sense "biased", by the manner in which they are recorded.

Thus we must use many recordings, all of which we know well, and modify our system to a remembered, composite sound. We then hope to make our system sound better overall.

If there were, in actual fact, any truly accurate recordings, we could use any one of these many recordings to adjust a sound system.

Of course, we will recognize just about any recording of a piano as "a piano." But as audiophiles we insist on much more than just recognition. We want to recognize that piano as a Steinway Model D. As I have detailed however, we have no way of knowing if the sound on the CD or LP accurately captures this precise sound or not.

To use your mother photo analogy, we would all expect that you would recognize your mother from even a poor, grainy photo.

But would any photo truly match her precise skin tones and range of tones without diminution or exaggeration? Is there enough detail to catch every strand of hair, but not too much detail to destroy the overall impression of a warm human being or is it overtly clinical? How does the chosen focal length and point of focus affect her features? Does the lens chosen have good bokeh or does the lens have an anesthetic quality? Even people who know her exceedingly well and believe they have an internal "absolute" in their minds will be surprised by what they find and learn in some pictures.

Which photo is accurate? Which inaccurate? All of them. How they are inaccurate or accurate depends on how the photo was taken, under what conditions, with what equipment, how it was color balanced, how it was printed, etc.

I cannot use any single one of these photos to calibrate my computer monitor, even if I know precisely what your mother looks like. For that matter, I couldn't use any single photo of her to calibrate the monitor even if she was sitting in the room with me. The light in my room will be different than that when the photo was taken, etc.

By the way, your statements of incredulity, dismissals and insults do not further either your position nor discourse. They point only to an inability to consider a frame of reference other than that with which you are already comfortable.

Thus if you want to bicker and sling insults you are on your own. If you are interested in actual discussion I, and others, may be interested.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

What a cheap shot you took at the end. Bad boy, Elk, bad boy! I remember a time when you and I got along and you would not have done such a thing. I also remember the exact thread where you became someone who would post something like you did here. And then you say you want "discourse".

Humbug, Elk, humbug! That's like another "former" member of this forum stating he wanted discourse and then posting bogus information about me that he had made up.

I didn't fall off the truck yesterday.

I have no earthly idea why you have decided to return to this thread other than a day can't go by where you do not respond to something on this forum. So I assume this was just a slow day and you decided to reprint the same blather you've repeated how many times in this thread one more time just to see if I'd forgotten how the song goes.

I have not.

Your whatever? it was about the photograph of my mother is simply ridiculous. Not to mention I have no concept of what lens would have an "anesthetic" quality. Do you really mean to say the lens put my mother to sleep? I've seen my mother asleep, Elk. Your words are absurd.

And "bokeh"?! This is similar to your microphone placement, yes? Your entire debating point in all of this, as best I can tell, is that a photographer or a recording engineer can intentionally distort the accuracy of what they are capturing.

I agreed that is possible and that, at that time, the absolutes do not apply due to the intentional distortion. Been there, done that - pages ago.

However, you simply have not adressed the other factors which I have been discussing. You completely ignore those other qualities which will remain an absolute and focus instead on intentional distortions and then try to prove there are no absolutes because you can distort them should you choose to do so.

I simply don't know what sort of recordings you attempt to make, Elk. I don't know of talented professional photographers and recording engineers who cannot - i.e., are absolutely incapable and lacking the skills to - capture their subject accurately. In 99% of all the recordings I own I would say that was the intent of the recording engineer. I can pull out handfuls where the recordist specifically states their intent was to capture the performance as it existed in real time. Wilson, Reference Recordings, Dorian, Kimber, Vanguard, Mercury, RCA, etc. all claim that was their intent. I have to believe that is what most engineers attempt. If we are discussing absolutes only as, "We want to recognize that piano as a Steinway Model D", then that task can be accomplished by the vast majority of recording engineers who have the talent and the availability of adequate equipment to be working for a major or even semi-professional label and even by many Sunday recordists who have a small studio tucked away somewhere or who gather up their gear to take on the road.

To that end, here are the words of JA describing his recording of Attention Screen ...


Quote:
No equalization, compression, or artificial reverberation (other than Chris Jones's Moog and Boss effects pedals) was used in the mixing and mastering of this CD. The tonal colors, the stereo image, and the range of dynamic expression you hear faithfully reflect what the audience experienced that magic night in Merkin Hall.

I can only assume, having heard the recording, he also captured the performing style of the players as faithfully as possible. Those qualities remain absolutes unto themself.

That's my point, Elk, If you have nothing more to say than you can distort a recording, please, allow this thread to move on. Continuing to see you post the same thing over and over while ignoring all of my points of debate is really becoming tiresome.

If you insist on continuing this "distortion" BS, take the time to answer a question you oh so conveniently ignored when it was asked. Have you ever read the reason HP states for naming his magazine as he did? If so, can you restate those reasons in the context of your debating points?

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Live Sound

I am almost afraind to throw my 2 cents in here, but here goes.

If you took a concert and had 5 different engineers come in and record the performance 5 consecutive days without knowing what the previous engineers had done, they would all sound different, different mics, different mic pres, different AD converters and programs.

Plus, every audience participant in every seating positon has a different sonic perspective of THAT performance. What is one to do?

You try and take an average of what the sound in that rooom sound like as you walk around a practice performance to get a feel of the room, keeping in mind it is not filled with the audience yet. You are also making sonic decision based on a pair of headphones that are probably not totally accurate anyway. Close, but no cigar.

You then make some decisions on the various mic placements you try and give it your best shot to keep levels high enough with no overs and use no compression or limiting if that is how you roll. And then a lousy HVAC system can ruin it all.

You hope no surprises come about like my last time when the piano was moved after our practice and then not put back exactly where we practiced, further from the practice mic placement and turned away from that mic more towared the audience and that changed everything for that one track.

You will never capture it all no matter what mics, mic pres, or AD you use. I believe it is physically impossible. Can you get close? Yes. When you record you are the artist and control the paint brush.

Our home audio systems can only try and recreate that event. Our untreated rooms also play a huge part.

I am as interested in this subject as the next guy and do find it frustrating and try and make every new recording opportunity a learning experience. Getting better is what it is about for me. Comments that some of you make on my recordings is a great help to me to reach that end.

Finally, if you do not attend enough live acoustic events you may be hard pressed to remember what real music performance is for you to make a value judgement. You may know what you like, but how that compares to a live event is questionable. It does not make you or me wrong. It just means that we are looking for two different things. You should like what you like with no coersion from any of us about what is real to you. Why do people like or prefer pictures that a 12 MP camera can make over a 2 MP camera? It is that hard to attain ultimate resolution we all long for. Audio is no different.

Jim

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Re: Live Sound


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If you took a concert and had 5 different engineers come in and record the performance 5 consecutive days without knowing what the previous engineers had done, they would all sound different, different mics, different mic pres, different AD converters and programs.

If I "took" a concert?! One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know. Other than that, I don't take concerts. They should be left where you find them for others to enjoy. If you've been taking them, Jim, please stop, you're ruining this experience for the rest of us. Do you take wildflowers too?

Jim, Elk has infected the thread, you're suffering from the same problem of making up BS just to say you can prove a non-existent point. I agree you could find five "engineers" who would turn in five different results. However, there are two flaws in your logic.

1) Depending on the engineers, their skills and talents and how they made their decisions about their ultimate goals, you might find you have several recordings which sound very similar. That one engineer places a microphone five feet from the soundboard of a piano and another places the mic three feet from the soundboard does not make for incomprehensible differences. Even from microphones positioned above the fifth row of the house (you choose the pattern), a talented professional should have the ability to capture the sound of a particular instrument as it occurs in a live performance and make that sound recognizable to an educated listener.

Isn't that your goal, Jim? To capture what transpired? Isn't that how you judge your successes and failures as a recordist? By holding the final result up to a "absolute" you have in your mind? Isn't that how you would assume virtually every recording engineer begins?

Why then are those absolutes not the absolutes we all share?

Your statement is, at this point and without any sort of qualifiers, simply BS.

2) Once again, as with Elk, you focus on the final recording and not the absolutes which exist in the performance. The final recording is not an absolute in and of itself. It might posibly become a reference good enough to quaify as an absloute in the recording arts, many recordings exist as a reference for capturing one or more aspects of a performance. We hold Ansel Adams to be the "absolute" for a certain style of photography. So too we consider certain recordists and their recordings as having captured an "absolute" reference for jazz, blues or classical music. Do keep in mind we can have more than one absolute and not become over burdened. Have you ever listened to Alan Lomax's 1930's Library of Congress field recordings of Delta blues performers? Those are "absolutes" of their type. Compare all other blues recordings to those and you have absolute comparisons available.

I do not hold the recording as the absolute to which I compare the performance, it works the other way around. I have absolutes relating to the performance by which I can then judge how successfully (I feel) a particular recording has been made. The absolute of the live performance and the absolute of an excellent recording are not the same thing.

The bulk of your post, Jim, is in reference to your own personal problems encountered when you attempt to make a less than good situation fit into your scheme of a reference - an absloute - you have in your head. If it were not, then anything you put onto a tape or disc would be OK. It is only when you have those absolutes established that you have a method for comparison and therefore an absolute means to decide how to make yourself a better recordist next time out.

A pair of not great headphones, a HVAC system that cycles on and off, practice sessions that aren't relayed to the support staff, etc. These aren't the problems a major label has to attend to. We are talking "absolutes" here and, sorry to tell, you, I tend not to hold most amateur "Hey look at the neat digital pocket recorder I just bought" to the same standards that I have for a label such as Reference or Philips.


Quote:
Finally, if you do not attend enough live acoustic events you may be hard pressed to remember what real music performance is for you to make a value judgement.

Yes, Jim, if you have not taken the time and expended the energy to establish absolutes, then you can have no absolutes.

I know these posts are long but we also covered that a while back. The point of the thread is, IMO, whether there are absolutes we bring to a recording. That assumes we are discussing someone educated enough to have absolutes. I cannot be educated about the sound of anything by simply reading a book, I must hear something and do so on a regular basis with an intent to educate myself. I'm sure you've known someone who, after hearing a few bars of music, can tell you who is playing which selection and possibly other details you didn't think were important. How can they do that unless they have absolutes? How can some recognize the "sound" of a particular performer, a specific orchestra under any number of conductors or the old vs new hall unless they have absolutes?

Jim, rather than go on about the problems you face as a Sunday recordist, how about taking on several issues I have raised. For once I would like someone to sound as though they actually have read my posts and not that they just decided to post something about themself and their problems with doing something with accuracy or just repeating the same drabble over and over.

Discuss these points, Jim.

1) How did JA make the decision to state, "The tonal colors, the stereo image, and the range of dynamic expression you hear faithfully reflect what the audience experienced that magic night in Merkin Hall", if he had no absolutes to compare to?

2) Please take on the question regarding the naming of TAS.

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Re: Live Sound

Jan,

Your words: "which sound very similar".

You have made it clear that you are dug-in. Enjoy!

Nothing else needs to be said.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

Nothing more needs to be said or you can't come up with anything else? Jeez, Jim, you started this. One post and you've decided there is nothing more than needs to be said because I disagree with you and your personal experiences as a reflection of every other recording ever done. I disagree that the recording is the absolute we reference first and you decide I have nothing to say. You ignore my questions and declare there is nothing more to be said?!

You have not addressed a single point I made in my post. There are at least a dozen questions in my post to you. You have not addressed a single issue raised by any of those questions. Why not? (Shit! there's another question that will go unanswered!)

You have just decided I am unworthy of your precious time and you aren't about to allow anything to interfere with your set in stone decisions.

To be so dismissive of someone when you refuse to answer a single simple question is, to be kind, utter bullshit. To begin something and then simply ignore all the points made by the other person is simply rude to the maximum degree. Who made you such a authority on this topic that you can decide who has relevance and who does not?

Why do you keep returning to this forum, Jim? You get your feelings hurt and you leave. You come back and someone disagrees with you and you dismiss them as not being worthy of conversation and debate. What's the point?

If you cannot carry on a debate which you began, then it is you, sir, who has dug in and it is you who has nothing more to say and even less to contribute.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

Would someone please take on these two questions?

1) How did JA make the decision to state, "The tonal colors, the stereo image, and the range of dynamic expression you hear faithfully reflect what the audience experienced that magic night in Merkin Hall", if he had no absolutes to compare to?

2) Please take on the question regarding the naming of TAS.

Or has this forum become one where no one knows the sound of live music?

Mr. Atkinson, do you have anything to say in reference to this thread regarding your quoted statement?

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Re: Live Sound


Quote:
1) How did JA make the decision to state, "The tonal colors, the stereo image, and the range of dynamic expression you hear faithfully reflect what the audience experienced that magic night in Merkin Hall", if he had no absolutes to compare to?

The absolute was my experience at the concert and my memory of that experience. I worked hard to recreate the sound that I had experienced, with the only compomises being those due to the 2-channel nature of the recording and the fact that the image of the band is a little more wide-angle than would have have been experienced from an audience seat.

I freely admit that this is all a judgment call on my part, but that is the case for _every_ recording ever made.


Quote:
2) Please take on the question regarding the naming of TAS.

"The Absolute Sound" is somewhat of a misnomer because of the mistaken assumption that audiophiles can have access to the "absolute" sound locked within a recording's grooves or pits if only they had a good enough system. It is a mistaken assumption because of the issue I raised in my answer to your first question, Jan: that every recording involves a series of judgment calls made by the engineers and producers.

However, it is correct in a broader sense, in that comparison to the sounds you hear live does reveal shortcomings in playback equipment. But it is impossible to apply this standard using just one recording, as you just can't know if what you hear is a characteristic of the playback system or the recording.

You need, therefore, to audition components using a wide variety of recordings and be sensitive to common failings compared to what you experience live. This is neither trivial nor easy, IMO.


Quote:
Or has this forum become one where no one knows the sound of live music?

My apologies, I have no idea what led to this question. I'll start reading the thread from the start.


Quote:
Mr. Atkinson, do you have anything to say in reference to this thread regarding your quoted statement?

See above.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Live Sound

No, I have just chosen to not waste my time on any more of YOUR "bullshit"!

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Re: Live Sound


Quote:
I freely admit that this is all a judgment call on my part, but that is the case for _every_ recording ever made.

But you must have some sort of reference for your decisions, no? Would those not be considered "absolutes" in many, if not all, decisions regarding every recording? Your own or someone else's? Must you have been present at the performance to understand what has been recorded? Or would that even matter since you are not placed where the microphone might be located? What is it your aural memory is recalling?


Quote:
... every recording involves a series of judgment calls made by the engineers and producers.

Then allow me to ask the question in a different manner.

Are these judgements generally not based on something you would refer to as an "absolute"?

In one sense, you understand the live sound of an instrument within a given space and time and your decisions are based upon capturing that sound as faithfully as possible.

You base your decisions for which microphone to use as well as where and how to place the pick up devices according to near absolutes you have established during your prior experiences with similar instruments, microphones and venues. Experimentation with each situation is vital, of course, but through your experience you understand moving a microphone "thus" will result in a change which can be described as "this".

IOW, you understand the ramifications of selecting an omni-directional microphone or a cardiod patterned mic. You comprehend the significance of using three microphones across the front or 28 microphones all over the place. You can predict the consequences of compression and other effects.

Should you be looking to capture a near field experience from an instrument or performer, you understand where and where not to place microphones. Likewise, should you prefer a recording with more ambient room sounds, you know where not to place microphones or you know which microphones and which techniques not to use.

The ultimate success of your efforts can be judged by the absolutes you have in your head of what contitutes a "good" recording. These absolutes are by their very nature taken from previous experience with live music, the sound of individual single instruments or groups of instruments, the specific event captured and the mirror of other successful recordings against which your own can be compared.

Most of all you are attempting to capture the excitement and energy - the "moment" - of the performance. A good recording that does not convey the artistry of the performers is not a good recording.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

Very nice, Jim. However, you seem to believe I think I am posting bullshit. I am not. I am asking questions and presenting points of debate. I would like to have at least a few of those questions answered so we might proceed to a discussion of our differing opinions. I come to this forum to discuss audio. I find no one willing to answer my questions but many willing to declare they are bullshit.

Since you have annointed yourself as the "decider" of what is and what is not bullshit, why don't you address the specific aspects of my post you find to be bullshit and then answer those points?

Rather than run from a challenge, why not take it up and do what you say you come to this forum to do?

I didn't come here to be insulted, Jim, and I suspect neither did you. You posted in this thread and now you refuse to participate but you do choose to insult me. I find that to be ridiculous and childish. You said something, now back it up. If you are unable to do so, say so. If you are unwilling to do so because you can think of no good answer to my questions, just say so. But don't just insult me because I disagree with you. That is bullshit!

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Re: Live Sound

Jan, You ignorant slut!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

Screw you, I am looking for some intelligent discussion not more moronic BS.

If you have something intelligent to say about the thread topic, do so. Otherwise, refer to my first two words in this post and be the mindless reactive idiot you've proven you are capable of being.

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Re: Live Sound

Jan wrote: "Not to mention I have no concept of what lens would have an "anesthetic" quality. Do you really mean to say the lens put my mother to sleep?"

Sorry, this was a typo/spell checker error. I meant "aesthetic."

Jim wrote: "If you took a concert and had 5 different engineers come in and record the performance 5 consecutive days without knowing what the previous engineers had done, they would all sound different, different mics, different mic pres, different AD converters and programs."

Exactly. And all would be attempting to capture what he/she hears as real, or absolute. Jan, none of this is "distortion" as you have labeled it.

(Lots of other good points, Jim!)

JA wrote: "The absolute was my experience at the concert and my memory of that experience. I worked hard to recreate the sound
...
I freely admit that this is all a judgment call on my part, but that is the case for _every_ recording ever made."

Yes. We want to capture "real" sound as accurately as possible. Yet, every recording is the end result of many judgment calls. No one records acoustic music actively attempting to "distort" the sound. Rather we all want to present what is real.

For example, JA reproduced electric bass using a combination of DI and recorded sound from the bass amp. This provides the bass with a clean, energetic attack (the DI component) with the development and richness of sound that a concert attendee would have heard (the amp component). This may not be exactly what the audience heard, but captures the concert experience - we hear differently when we see as well as hear musicians perform.

I may or may not have done this but the resulting recording is superb. It is the results that matter, not the technique.

JA additionally wrote:

"'The Absolute Sound' is somewhat of a misnomer because of the mistaken assumption that audiophiles can have access to the "absolute" sound locked within a recording's grooves or pits if only they had a good enough system. It is a mistaken assumption because of the issue I raised in my answer to your first question, Jan: that every recording involves a series of judgment calls made by the engineers and producers.

However, it is correct in a broader sense, in that comparison to the sounds you hear live does reveal shortcomings in playback equipment. But it is impossible to apply this standard using just one recording, as you just can't know if what you hear is a characteristic of the playback system or the recording.

You need, therefore, to audition components using a wide variety of recordings and be sensitive to common failings compared to what you experience live. This is neither trivial nor easy, IMO."

This illustrates why JA is a writer and I am not. This is the point I have been discussing - but summarized vastly more clearly.

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Re: Live Sound


Quote:
Screw you, I am looking for some intelligent discussion...

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

Your mother must be so proud of you. Tell me, does she still have her visitation rights or has she just given up on you as the little parasite sucking on her teat?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound


Quote:
Jim wrote: "If you took a concert and had 5 different engineers come in and record the performance 5 consecutive days without knowing what the previous engineers had done, they would all sound different, different mics, different mic pres, different AD converters and programs."

Exactly. And all would be attempting to capture what he/she hears as real, or absolute. Jan, none of this is "distortion" as you have labeled it.

See my comments to Jim regarding this matter. The presumption you would have five completely dissimilar recordings is just that, presumptuous - at best.

Elk, the only thing I have seen come out of your posts is the idea you can change microphone positions to alter the sound away from accuracy. You claim you can shift microphone position to make a Yamaha and a Steinway piano unrecognizable to the educated listener. If it is not an accurate representation of the sound as it exists, then it is a distortion. If your intent is to make a Steinway not sound like a Steinway, that is a distortion of reality. As I have read your same repeated statement over and over I see you saying you can intentionally distort reality. How can you now say you are not intending to distort reality? Please, Elk, settle on one point of view and stay with it.


Quote:
Yes. We want to capture "real" sound as accurately as possible. Yet, every recording is the end result of many judgment calls. No one records acoustic music actively attempting to "distort" the sound. Rather we all want to present what is real.

"Real" has no value until it is referenced to something other than itself. You make a decision whether you have accurately or inaccurately captured the reality of an instrument, venue or performance by comparing the result to the absolute of the original. What part of this are you not understanding, Elk? If the original serves as your reference, then there are absolutes. You know whether you have distorted the result or not. Furthermore, the educated and experienced listener can also tell whether you have distorted the result without having been at the original performance. They do so through the same sort of comparisons against their own absolutes.

You admit JA had an "absolute" as he referred to it. So why are you still arguing there are no absolutes?


Quote:
... we hear differently when we see as well as hear musicians perform.

Show proof for this statement, Elk, I believe you are once again making things up to suit your needs. I listen the same way with eyes open or eyes shut.


Quote:
we hear differently when we see as well as hear musicians perform.

I may or may not have done this but the resulting recording is superb. It is the results that matter, not the technique.

What did you do? Not look?


Quote:
JA additionally wrote:

"'The Absolute Sound' is somewhat of a misnomer because of the mistaken assumption that audiophiles can have access to the "absolute" sound locked within a recording's grooves or pits if only they had a good enough system. It is a mistaken assumption because of the issue I raised in my answer to your first question, Jan: that every recording involves a series of judgment calls made by the engineers and producers.

However, it is correct in a broader sense, in that comparison to the sounds you hear live does reveal shortcomings in playback equipment. But it is impossible to apply this standard using just one recording, as you just can't know if what you hear is a characteristic of the playback system or the recording.

You need, therefore, to audition components using a wide variety of recordings and be sensitive to common failings compared to what you experience live. This is neither trivial nor easy, IMO."

This illustrates why JA is a writer and I am not. This is the point I have been discussing - but summarized vastly more clearly.

Please tell me what you are arguing now.

This is where I came in and this is what I have been debating ever since page two ...


Quote:
There is no more absolute reference in an acoustic recording than there is in a studio recording of a rock band.

That is your statement, Elk. And for the last two weeks I have been saying you are incorrect.

Are you now trying to suggest you just didn't make clear what you have been wanting to say for the last seven pages?

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Re: Live Sound


Quote:
The presumption you would have five completely dissimilar recordings [from five different sound engineers] is just that, presumptuous - at best.


Are you seriously claiming that that all five recordings would sound exactly the same?


Quote:
Elk, the only thing I have seen come out of your posts is the idea you can change microphone positions to alter the sound away from accuracy.


Then you have misread.

Microphone placement is one recording decision that determines the resulting recorded sound. All mic positions are compromise. All are "accurate" and all are "inaccurate." Every recording is the end result of many such judgment calls.


Quote:
If it is not an accurate representation of the sound as it exists, then it is a distortion.

Then, by this definition, all recordings are distortion - as is all playback.


Quote:

Quote:
... we hear differently when we see as well as hear musicians perform.


Show proof for this statement, Elk, I believe you are once again making things up to suit your needs. I listen the same way with eyes open or eyes shut.


This is well known in the literature of psychoacoustics. You may be the exception that does not have a different, richer experience when watching musicians perform.

Also, keep in mind that I made this observation in reference to JA's recording of Attention Screen which you hold out as a recording that captures the actual sound of performing instruments.

As I explained, he recorded the electric bass both with a mic on the amp, and direct injection into the preamp, and mixing to taste.

This is not the sound a concert goer would actually hear at the concert. He does not hear the DI sound, nor did he have his ear within inches of the amp. Rather it is an artifice that creates the sound of "electric bass" in the mind of a listener to the recording.

Yet, JA did a superb job communicating the experience of attending the concert. This is the engineer's role.

Few of us would know from listening to the recording that the recorded bass sound is different from live. When you first heard the recording did you immediately declare, "The bass is not real!" "This is not what the people heard live."? Of course not. You appreciated the engineer's art. You enjoyed, and were fooled by, the artifice.

Now that you know how it was done, do you object to what JA in recording the bass?

Do you claim that in recording the bass this way that he captured only that which the concert attendee would have heard?

Is his recording of the bass "distortion?"

As I stated, "There is no more absolute reference in an acoustic recording than there is in a studio recording of a rock band."

That is, both the rock band and the acoustic ensemble have a real world counterpart that we experience live, but the recordings of each are the end result of many engineering and artistic decisions.

As JA more succinctly explained, you "can't know if what you hear is a characteristic of the playback system or the recording."

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Re: Live Sound


Quote:
Are you seriously claiming that that all five recordings would sound exactly the same?

Still having problems actually reading my posts, eh? Why didn't you place my entire, exact quote within your own? The entire, exact quote makes sense ...


Quote:
See my comments to Jim regarding this matter. The presumption you would have five completely dissimilar recordings is just that, presumptuous - at best.

Now, did you take the time to go back and read my post to Jim? It would certainly seem you did not or you should not have asked such a question.

Do you actually read any of my posts, Elk? With each response you make I am more convinced you just don't bother to read.

Go back to my response to Jim and you'll find the answer to your question and you should hopefully, very hopefully, at that point realize you are once again being ridiculous and lazy.


Quote:

Quote:
Elk, the only thing I have seen come out of your posts is the idea you can change microphone positions to alter the sound away from accuracy.

Then you have misread.

Microphone placement is one recording decision that determines the resulting recorded sound.

Ahem, in your own words, Elk...


Quote:
Even using the same microphone in the same room one can obtain very different sounds from the same instrument. The vast majority would conclude there are two different instruments.

I can easily record a small Yamaha conservatory grand (such as a C3) and make it sound darker than a Steinway D.

The same piano recorded the two ways I described will produce recordings that will sound as a different instrument.

Both represent one way of presenting a piano to the listener. We will recognize it as a piano. It's "piano-ness" is absolute, but that's it.

one can easily record a small Yamaha conservatory grand and make it sound darker than a Steinway D. And vice versa

In fact, in a dry room there will be little, if any, sense of the acoustic - yet the instrument will sound significantly different between nearfield and distant mic placement. I have already described a number of these very specifically.

And this is only one aspect of acoustic recording that changes the sound. We haven't even considered the differences in microphones; transducer types and polar patterns and how each greatly influences the sound which is captured.

etc., etc., etc.

If you didn't intend to make microphone position your main qualifier to the recognition of absolutes, then you spent an enourmous amount of time including comments on microphone palcement in each of your responses - if, that is, you were not trying to make mic placement your deus ex machina. When you repeat in post after post after post your main debating point is your capacity to make a Yamaha or a Steinway not sound as the real thing, then you are time after time saying you can deliberately drift away from accuracy. If it is not accurately captured, then by the classic definition, it is a distortion to the reality of the original. That's how it works, Elk, and that is what you have stated for the better part of this thread.

You are now arguing, within the same post, that you are being both accurate and you are being inaccurate in the same recording. It is impossible to debate someone who tries to hold two contradictory positions at the same time. Need further proof of your conflicting positions?


Quote:

Quote:
If it is not an accurate representation of the sound as it exists, then it is a distortion.

Then, by this definition, all recordings are distortion - as is all playback.

How's that for straddling a fence with iron knickers on?

As to your statement, of course not! No more than an Ansel Adams photograph is a distortion of what existed at the time the photo was taken. I think we all can grasp the concept that a reproduction is not the real thing, Elk. Stop being so simplistic. Absurd reductions such as the one above do not make your case any more believable. They merely serve as further proof you have no real position and you make up BS as required by the words which precede whatever contradiction you feel like making at the moment.


Quote:
This is well known in the literature of psychoacoustics.

Then you should have no problem finding a link to someone other than yourself who claims such. Restating your own made up BS in your own words is not proof, Elk. I realize that is a shocking thing for you to find out.

For godssake, stop acting like I am incapable of seeing through your BS. Provide a link to prove your statement or this remains just more made up BS from Elk capped off by the over generalization that we "all" do such and such at Elk's whim because he needs this to make yet another contradictory point.

Take this thread for example, http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showf...=true#Post87535

... which you also started and where none of the subsequent respondents agree with your your made up premise.

Furthermore, Elk, how we hear with our eyes open or closed has nothing to do with the "absolutes" we bring to a listening experience - which just happens to be the main topic of this thread. But do provide a proof. I would love to see you actually back up any of your "we all" statements for once.


Quote:
Also, keep in mind that I made this observation in reference to JA's recording of Attention Screen which you hold out as a recording that captures the actual sound of performing instruments.

Wait a minute, here! JA "holds out" the Attention Screen recording "captures the actual sound of performing instruments." I simply quoted JA for your edification. Honestly, Elk! do you not read my posts at all?

Here's the quote again in JA's own words ...


Quote:
The tonal colors, the stereo image, and the range of dynamic expression you hear faithfully reflect what the audience experienced that magic night in Merkin Hall.

Thus, when you say ...


Quote:
This is not the sound a concert goer would actually hear at the concert. He does not hear the DI sound, nor did he have his ear within inches of the amp. Rather it is an artifice that creates the sound of "electric bass" in the mind of a listener to the recording.

You are once again being absurd and you are contradicting the very person who you then go on to quote as proving your point.

Must all concert goers have their ears a micrometer from all the performers in a symphony to "accurately" capture the sound of a symphony? What do you think should be the answer this time, Elk? Oh! that's right, you don't answer questions. You just continue to make up ever more BS.

John spent considerable time justifying his choices. If you had read his article on the recording process, you would have found that out. Once more taking in any information which does not suit your immediate needs is not what you are going to do.

So, must we sit at a concert with our ears glued to each and every instrument to educate ourself to the recognition of an instrument's character? Of course not.

Does any of that matter if we extend absolutes to take in anything more than "microphone position"? Emphatically not!

That has been my exact point for the last seven pages. At what you point do you find yourself at any one time? Kinda depends on which of your own statements you're contradicting at the moment, doesn't it? I can't figure out where you will head next or which fence you will jump in which direction in order to contradict yourself yet again.

You are either by intention to obscure your inadequate proofs or by inattention to the main topic drifting this thread away from its point of debate.

In yet another contradiction to what you have posted in a previous statement of "Elk factoid", you yourself concede ...


Quote:
This may not be exactly what the audience heard, but captures the concert experience ...

We have already established a recording is not the same as the real thing, Elk. Therefore, 1) restating the same thing over and over just because you find nothing else to say does not prove your point any more the twentieth time it is said than the first time when I conceded the fact a reproduction is not the same as the real thing and, 2) that a reproduction is not the real thing is not the point of this thread. The point of this thread remains established absolutes we bring to a recording.

Then, after restating the obvious for an innumerable time, you once again launch into your BS about hearing with eyes closed.


Quote:
As JA more succinctly explained, you "can't know if what you hear is a characteristic of the playback system or the recording."

Distortions of the playback system remain outside the main issue of absolutes we bring to the listenting experience. We cannot detect such distortions unless we first possess absolutes which we have established through our educated experience with the real thing. I believe that is why, when JA refers to "what I heard that night" while comparing a component's ability to reconstruct the experience, he is referring to those absolutes which were established for him during the live event. Just a guess on my part, of course, but I feel pretty secure in that belief.

Exactly how many positions can you hold at one time, Elk? And how many times in one thread can you switch between those positions to satisfy your contradictory beliefs? It gives me a headache trying to keep score of your BS.

I still don't understand why you are rehasing all the same BS you've thrown into this thread. Elk. You make stuff up, you generalize your experience or just your imaginary desires to represent "most", or worse yet, to "all" people's experience when clearly it is not, you contradict yourself on a post by post schedule, you deny what you have posted in a previous statement when I can easily quote your exact words to showcase your duplicity or, at the very least, inconsistency of thought, etc., etc., etc.

Why bother when this could go on ad infinitum and ad nauseum as you just continue to make up more BS and back away from your previous BS? What are you trying to prove when you still refuse to answer any question I pose to your ridiculous, ephemeral, BS concepts?

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Re: Live Sound

Jan,

I, and others, have tried our best to help you understand. We have apparently failed.

I have provided many concrete examples, Jim added his thoughts and experience, JA succinctly summarized the issues for you. None of these efforts have succeeded.

Sadly, your myopic quest to establish that I am "wrong" has blinded you.

I suggest you reread JA's recent post.

JA's writing is precise, clear and easy to comprehend.

Pretend that no one else posted in this thread, focus solely on JA's post, and perhaps the issue will make sense to you.

Best wishes.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

No problem ...


Quote:
The absolute was my experience at the concert ...

That has been the same point I have made since page two of this thread. Our experiences with live music become our absolutes which we subsequently bring to each listening event. My position on this has never quavered. I cannot say the same for your numerous, ever shifting, ever contradictory positions, Elk.

Goodbye, Elk. This hasn't been fun.

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Re: Live Sound

Again, Jan, you have a personal issue to resolve that has nothing to do with the topic.

On topic, and for easy reference, I have included JA's text below. He nicely sets out the issue:


Quote:
"The Absolute Sound" is somewhat of a misnomer because of the mistaken assumption that audiophiles can have access to the "absolute" sound locked within a recording's grooves or pits if only they had a good enough system. It is a mistaken assumption because of the issue I raised in my answer to your first question, Jan: that every recording involves a series of judgment calls made by the engineers and producers.

However, it is correct in a broader sense, in that comparison to the sounds you hear live does reveal shortcomings in playback equipment. But it is impossible to apply this standard using just one recording, as you just can't know if what you hear is a characteristic of the playback system or the recording.

You need, therefore, to audition components using a wide variety of recordings and be sensitive to common failings compared to what you experience live. This is neither trivial nor easy, IMO.

I know you desperately want the last word. I will happily let you take it.

Here is your opportunity! Make all the irrelevant, nasty personal comments about me that you would like.

You can end the thread with them.

My hope is that this will both make you feel better and will provide you with the sense of "victory" that you seek.

I suggest lots of exclamation points!!!!! Bright colors and BOLD TEXT to emphasize your points.

Have at it!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Live Sound

Elk, why defame me yet again? It's too bad you see my comments as irrelevant, nasty and personal. I don't know how you could reach that conclusion when it's obvious you stopped actually reading my posts a long time ago.

There's no discussion when one party doesn't care to participate. When one party refuses to acknowledge questions put to them. When one party simply repeats the same thing over and over and then denies ever saying it.

Tell me how that's wrong, Elk. Did you go back and read my response to Jim? If you had, you wouldn't have posted such a ridiculous question.

Did you ever respond to a single question I posed to you? Not that I saw, not even when I repeated the question and asked a second time for an answer from you. I'm not supposed to consider that rude?

If you refuse to acknowldege anything I say or ask, how is that a discussion?

I saw you posting the same thing over and over - you can make a Steinway not sound like a Steinway. That has nothing to do with "absolutes".

You are contradictory, you did make up things where you generalized everyone to be the same as you or how you prefer things to be at the moment. You proved nothing you said other than to say you've said it so it must be so. You answered no questions. Not one. You often made irrelevant statements to the issue which attempted to make the discussion about something other than the absolutes we bring to the listening experience.

The same with Jim, that the HVAC system turned on during his recording has nothing to do with "absolutes". That the piano was moved has nothing to do with "absolutes". It has something to do with a lack of preparation but that too is not my fault.

I ask people to prove what they state. No one seems capable of proving anything they post. Why then should I not be frustrated by being ignored?

You want to make this my fault that we disagree when it certainly doesn't seem as though you've moved away from your original position other than to distract from the issue. You want to make me sound angry when I'm not angry at all. You portray me as wanting to insult you when all I want is for you to stop producing your BS. Your vacilation between points is just that - BS. You claim I am myopic and yet you can't even find the topic of the thread in many cases. And you've certainly not changed your opinion in any way. But that makes me myopic?!

This is not my problem. It is just more "Elk BS" that you try to make it so.

This is not about auditioning equipment. It is about the absolutes we possess. Not once throughout this entire thread did you even say, "Yes, Jan, I see your point", or, "I concede that point." But I am being argumentative in your mind. I am the one with "personal issues".

Elk, for once admit you are wrong and that you have not budged from any position you made up. Admit you have answered no questions and you have not read my posts thoroughly.

You really don't even care to consider what I have said at all.

You cherry pick JA's quote (despite his admission he did not read the entire thread before he answered) while ignoring what cuts to the chase of this issue.


Quote:
The absolute was my experience at the concert ...

What part of that do you not understand?

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