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  1. #1
    Byron
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    Music Lover vs Audiophile

    I spend most Sunday mornings listening to music on my primary stereo in my living room which relaxes me and gets me ready for the upcoming work week. None of my family, co-workers, friends, or anyone I know shares this enthusiasm. Most would be perfectly happy listening to an inexpensive ipod which is frustrating for me because I would like them to share my enthusiasm.
    I think one of the problems is the high end industry and publications are catering more to only audiophiles as opposed to the general music lover. Some of the products reviewed and comments I read in the magazines by the reviewers support this conclusion. Most audiophile reviewers seem to put the equipment as the top priority and the music is there only to support the equipment. That is why a number of reviewers describe their favorite music as live acoustic "unamplified music". A musician or music lover would say something like they enjoy baroque music or perhaps describe a particular instrument such as the piano because they only care about the music. Amplified or not would never be used in the description. Another common audiophile preference seems to be their willingness to sacrifice bass for "midrange purity". When I bring people to listen to these expensive setups they can't understand why anyone would pay that much money for a bass shy system. They may notice one setup sounds more pure but if that system lacks the lower octaves it is not for them. About ten years ago a reviewer put together a $7000 system emphasizing midrange purity with a pair of $2000 bass shy speakers. This to me is an example of a system catered to audiophiles as opposed to the general music lover. I also noticed this trend at the Newport audio show last year. Stereophile reviewed a pair of speakers that were at the show. Even though they were $3400 a pair I thought they lacked bass which made them sound a little forward. John Atkinson's test results were consistent with what I heard even though the reviewer really liked the speakers.
    Fortunately there are floorstanding speakers out there for under $1000 and also inexpensive solid state and tube electronics to drive them. This would be the first step past an entry level system. Unfortunately the magazines do not review them, they are not at the audio shows, and are carried by only a small number of stores. This makes it difficult to introduce my kids and the younger generation into the high end audio activity.
    I would like to bring more people into this activity especially the under 30 crowd. I bought a ticket for my daughter to one of the shows hoping she enjoys it. Any other suggestions.
    Byron

  2. #2
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Yes!

    First of all stop thinking and writing that audiophiles aren't music lovers. The only difference between the music lover (as you picture them) and an audiophile is the amount of money spent. With very few exceptions audiophiles are true music lovers who will spend money to get the highest quality sound they can afford. By your post I'm certain you would consider me one of those "audiophiles". This of course ignores the 3500+ LP's or 1600+ CD's in my music collection. As far as I'm concerned that makes me a music lover who also happens to be an audiophile.

    You go on to complain about expensive bass shy systems with midrange purity. What's worse, bass shy midrange purity or cheap crappy anything that gets no part of the musical spectrum correct? I know if I have to make a choice I'll take bass shy midrange purity over bass heavy crap. What you seem to overlook is that many of those reviewers listen to classical orchestral music where thumping bass just isn't that important. Of course if the music you and your friends prefer is bass heavy modern popular music a reviewers midrange purity based system isn't going to win any prizes. I realize this, understand it and agree with this direction. If you don't get the midrange right IMO it's not worth listening to. I built my system around what I think is good midrange. The subs for good bass were added later.

    Frankly, many true music lovers as most musicians are really couldn't care less about the gear they use or how much bass they're not hearing. The proof of this is the usually awful systems most musicians own.

    The high end industry isn't interested in catering to the iPod/ear bud public who is satisfied with their low bit rate MP3's and $2.98 ear buds. Ferrari dealers don't cater to the Scion buyer. Why should Wilson Audio (for example) cater to the Bose Lifestyle buyer? You seem to find fault with things you don't like. The high end seems to be doing just fine without your support.

    Once you realize that Stereophile and The Absolute Sound cover the high end their not reviewing your pet sub $1000pr speakers makes sense. They are not high end products, neither are the inexpensive electronics you mention. If you want reviews of (by your definition) affordable gear read Affordable Audio, whathifi or HiFi Choice. If you want to have your wallet humbled read Ultimate Audio.

    Were you a reviewer and had to choose between reviewing some mediocre sub $1000 speakers or a pair of YG Carmel's which would you choose? Bear in mind that by the time you're in a position to have this choice you've listened to truck loads of inexpensive mediocre speakers.

    Audio magazines are for the enthusiast. Enthusiasts are the same in every interest. While they may not have the means to buy that Lamborghini or Pass Labs amplifier they want to read about it. You want to read about the best buy in consumer gear read Consumers Reports. They gave a Porsche 911 a poor rating because it didn't hold enough grocery bags in the trunk. It's the magazine with reviews aimed at the non enthusiast. It's where I look when I'm buying a refrigerator or washing machine. Those are two things I have no enthusiasts interest in. For anything I have an interest in (automobiles, motorcycles, audio equipment, camera's etc) I look for an enthusiast's publication.
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  3. #3
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
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    Byron you knida answered your question in a round a bout way. one you have to think back to when you were a kid/teenager and remember what was more important?

    The Music, you didn't care much if it was on a AM station, flip top 45 player, 8 Track, cassette player or a all in one unit. You just wanted to hear your favorite song. As we get older/exposed to higher quality gear, our mindset shift from the music to how can I make the music sound its best, which puts you more focus on the gear. IMHO its not always the price of the gear that makes it Audiophile level, but the results of the sound quality. You can put together a awesome sounding setup for under 2K, but it may not register on the quake meter at Cal Tech. Then again you can spend a lot of money on a name brand and the results are only so so, but have the pleasure of saying to others and yourself that I own a pair of XYZ's.
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  4. #4
    Byron
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    Hey JoeE SP9. Lighten up on the tone. This is my personal opinion how the people I know do not share my enthusiasm for the activity and any suggestions on how to change this. If you had read any of my other posts or my user reviews you will realize that I also consider myself both a music lover and an audiophile. I have been a subscriber to Stereophile for almost 30 years and I still enjoy reading the magazine. I also purchased subscriptions for a number of friends who all let them lapse. I have back issues of The Absolute Sound going back to the 1970's. Stereophile introduced me to products in my past two purchases. A pair of Quickilver amps Sam Tellig wrote about and an Antique Sound Lab Preamp which I found out about the brand at the 2006 Stereophile show. I voted the booth best sound at the show Nola, Antique Sound Lab, and Kuzma. This preamp was favorably reviewed by AV Guide which I believe is connected to The Absolute Sound.
    We will have to agree to disagree on the importance of bass. I mainly listen to orchestra and big band and to me it sounds unnatural in a totally bass shy system no matter how perfect the midrange although I still enjoy listening no matter what. I also disagree that the industry will do fine without new support based on the number of high end stores that have closed.

    [QUOTE=JoeE SP9;383270] If you don't get the midrange right IMO it's not worth listening to.

    Music Lovers feel good music is always worth listening to no matter the system which was exactly my point.


    recoveryone

    You are correct that is exactly how I got involved in the activity. I eventually moved on to also enjoying the equipment back than ESS speakers, integrated amp, Rabco turntable. When i was in high school and college everyone seemed into the gear. Nowadays young people never moved on to higher end equipment and instead opted for an Ipod or laptop listening.
    Byron

  5. #5
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Ah! Where to start, Byron.

    Very many music lovers aren't audiophiles. For instance I know lots of classical ("unamplified", "accoustic") music lovers who are completely content with <$500 compact systems, and some who do most of their listening on iPod/MP3 player.

    On the other hand, most audiophiles are, indeed, music lovers.

    A preference for "midrange purity" over huge, pounding, (but perhaps muddled), bass isn't uncommon among audiophiles. Most often it depends on music preference -- e.g. classical or jazz just don't need huge, pounding bass but do benefit from resolution & transparency. In fact huge, pounding bass is mainly essential for various rock forms -- or maybe pipe organ.

    I agree with you the best-know hi-fi mags, i.e. Stereophile and The Absolute Sound pay too much attendtion to "high-end" very expensive equipment. I also agree that you can get pretty decent sound for, say, $1500.

    On the other hand I say you shouldn't be so disdainful of those willing to spend a good deal more: you can get much improvement in "midrange purity" and -- yes -- better bass. It is utterly wrong to dismiss these dismiss these folks as not really music lovers
    Last edited by Feanor; 05-21-2012 at 04:33 AM.

  6. #6
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Expecting people to share your enthusiasm is some extremely wishful thinking. Rather than give people copies of or subscriptions to an enthusiast publication they're really not that interested in I give them or help them purchase what I consider to be a good sounding system. In the past 25 years I've given away or set up at least a dozen friends and relatives with what I consider to be decent systems. Of that dozen exactly three have developed an interest in being an audiophile in addition to a music lover. One currently has Magneplanar MG-3.6R's with custom external crossovers. Another has a pair of recently restored Ohm F's. The third recently took delivery of a pair of Magneplanar MMG's. Those three are true converts and avidly proselytize "audiophilia".

    Most of the others that I've given systems to rarely use them, with some strange exceptions. My 86 year old mother buys several CD's every month and my brother has replaced his Kenwood receiver with an HK surround receiver and added a Polk powered sub. He has surround speakers in the works.

    As far as bass goes, I built two 12" transmission line sub woofers and I power each one with an 800 Watt SS amp. They are equalized using a parametric equalizer, REW and a meter to be flat to 18Hz. They, my tube driven front esl's and my bi amped dual sub woofer-ed rear esl's are all in an acoustically treated dedicated room. I would think four sub woofers provide enough bass for anyone. It is for me an ex-bass player. Even so, if the midrange wasn't right I wouldn't bother listening. I can listen to a bass shy system. I can't listen to a crappy midrange.

    I didn't mean to come of so snarky sounding in my original post. It's just that I don't expect a magazine aimed at enthusiasts to champion bargain basement gear. Enthusiast oriented publications cater to the enthusiast. Most audio reviewers do it part time as they also have real jobs. They have usually secured a position reviewing because they've been there and done that with the bargain basement gear. Given the option of reviewing a pair of mediocre $500 a pair bookshelf speakers or a pair of Wilson Alexandria's I know what I would choose. Stereophile and The Absolute Sound are enthusiast magazines aimed at the high end. That's what they review and otherwise right about. Of course they cover a certain amount of lower priced (in comparison) gear. However, even that stuff isn't cheap.

    If you want advice for Joe Six Pack Consumers Reports does just that. They periodically cover stereo equipment. However, they are not an enthusiast oriented publication and they cover non enthusiast products. They gave a Porsche 911 a poor rating because it didn't hold enough grocery bags in the trunk. If I'm buying a refrigerator or washing machine I'll go to their ratings. When I want information on a product in which I have a personal enthusiastic interest such as automobiles, camera's, bicycles, motorcycles, stereo gear and other things I'll peruse a magazine aimed at enthusiasts. Sure, they mostly cover the high priced spread. Isn't that a large part of what being an enthusiast is about?
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  7. #7
    Aging Smartass
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    In my experience, most music lovers haven't a clue what an audiophile system can sound like, and once they do, they're all but blown away. Musicians, in particular, always seem to have really lousy systems, and many prefer loudspeakers that seem to reproduce the particular instrument they (the musicians) play, rather than the entire audio spectrum.

    Audiophiles, on the other hand, aren't necessarily music lovers as many listen to their systems, and not to the music itself. There's been a long-standing joke in the industry about the audiophile who'se spent tens of thousands of dollars on his equipment, but owns only four records, or discs.

    Those of us on this site are likely both music lovers and audiophiles, or at least, audio enthusiasts. We are a particular breed, who'd like to see others join in with that which gives us such pleasure (listening to music on our systems), but sign in frustration when entering someone's home only to see a three-piece, plastic "stereo" as the source of recorded music.

    Whenever I traveled while working in the industy, I always looked out the window of the plane as we were landing, and realized how few of those thousands of homes I was looking at had any really decent audio equipment in them, and how few people have a clue how enjoyable listening to good music on a good system can be. Pity.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    If I were not a music lover I would not go to the trouble of tweaking and upgrading. For me the love of music drives my need for a better sound system.
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  9. #9
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    I think marketing has a tremendous amount to do with this. As mentioned, the tech sectors are focused on phone and mobile applications...there certainly aren't any ad campaigns featuring mod hipsters sitting in their Corbusier chairs getting their heads blown back by Pioneer speakers. That may not effect what is available but it certainly effects what is perceived to be available.

    (As a side note, if you want to see how much emphasis is placed on mobile technology today, commit to researching a phone purchase---hell, just Google, "Droid Razr vs. iPhone"---you'll see vitriol similar to the Great Cable Debates)

    I suspect it's noteworthy too that a lot of kids today have little to no idea of what live music really sounds like.

    Plus, not to avoid the elephant in the room, but as to the characteristics of "audiophile equipmentent" and "audiophile preferences" I've often felt that when some henpecked audiogeezers use the phrase WAF what they really mean is, "Keep your stupid hobby quiet and unobtrusive or get ready to sleep on the couch"...
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  10. #10
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    Just a quick comment on the OP's jab at "unamplified" music as a reference. This is actually quite defensible as it gives an outside reference point that is far freer of manipulation than something that's been though an equalizer, effects processor and had the volume manipulated in comparison to the other instruments on the recording.

    Who knows what the artist really wanted you to hear with a synthesizer, electric violin or sampled vocals and so on.

    Of course, this assumes the listener has some experience with live music. Sure, there are variances in sound between a Bosendorfer and Steinway or other pianos that most have not memorized, but that still doesn't deprive the usefulness of knowing how "real" a piano recording sounds when played through a particular system. With the recordings that have substantial artificial manipulation, one is essentially reduced to saying "I like it" without much ability to know if that is what you were meant to hear.

  11. #11
    Byron
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    Feanor
    I also agree that you can get pretty decent sound for, say, $1500.

    That describes my office setup based on Magnepan MMG speakers.

    emaidel
    Those of us on this site are likely both music lovers and audiophiles, or at least, audio enthusiasts. We are a particular breed, who'd like to see others join in with that which gives us such pleasure (listening to music on our systems), but sign in frustration when entering someone's home only to see a three-piece, plastic "stereo" as the source of recorded music.

    Yes my feelings exactly.
    Byron

  12. #12
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
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    My passion for music and equipment is shared equally. I would literally spend my last dollar on either one. I just prefer to do most of my listening on the best sounding equipment I can afford.

  13. #13
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlsstl View Post
    Just a quick comment on the OP's jab at "unamplified" music as a reference. This is actually quite defensible as it gives an outside reference point that is far freer of manipulation than something that's been though an equalizer, effects processor and had the volume manipulated in comparison to the other instruments on the recording.
    Using "unamplified" music as a reference really only benefits a single genre of music heavily(classical), one partially(jazz which is becoming more electronic yearly). The great majority of music has some sort of manipulation in it because the studio recording(which has some manipulation in it). Today's live mixer goals are to recreate a live version of the studio sound captured on the album. The "A" chain of a live sound system(speakers, amps, and DSP processing including venue/system equalization) has improved dramatically over the years. Artist today take a very active role in the quality of their live sound, so if the manipulation is there, it is there because the artist wanted it.

    Who knows what the artist really wanted you to hear with a synthesizer, electric violin or sampled vocals and so on.
    You know because if the artist didn't want it, it would not be there. Part of a road mixers job is to give the artist exactly what they need sound wise to make the performance happen. The mix of a live tour is designed before the crew hits the road via rehersal after rehersal of practice with the artist and band. If it does not jell in rehersal, it does not go out on tour. That goes for audio and visual elements of the production.

    Of course, this assumes the listener has some experience with live music. Sure, there are variances in sound between a Bosendorfer and Steinway or other pianos that most have not memorized, but that still doesn't deprive the usefulness of knowing how "real" a piano recording sounds when played through a particular system. With the recordings that have substantial artificial manipulation, one is essentially reduced to saying "I like it" without much ability to know if that is what you were meant to hear.
    So you understand, we don't mix for individual environments, we mix for optimum sound quality first, with the understanding the recording will be played back on a wide variety of sound systems, in a wide variety of rooms. Secondly we do not mix in a vacuum. The artist always(and I mean ALWAYS) has the last word on what goes on disc, and through a live PA system in a concert setting. If the artist does not like what they hear in a live setting, then it does not go out during performance. There is a lot of communication during pre-production, production, and post production between the artists, and the mixer/recorders.
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  14. #14
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    Using "unamplified" music as a reference really only benefits a single genre of music heavily(classical), one partially(jazz which is becoming more electronic yearly).
    I agree that simple miked acoustical music (of any number of genres) remains the best way to evaluate the performance envelope of audio components. There truly is a live reference with which you can compare to your long term audio memory. That fact certainly doesn't in any way limit what I listen to - only which recordings I use for evaluations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    The artist always(and I mean ALWAYS) has the last word on what goes on disc
    So, even successful artists like Katy Perry want highly compressed, bandwidth limited somewhat hard sounding recordings with a flat perspective? Really? There are quite a few pop artists whose work could most certainly benefit from improvements.

    Similarly, most of the classical recordings I have on DG also have next to no apparent depth. They've multi-miked them to death - even if the performance itself is compelling.

    I guess what you're saying is that there are quite a few artists who are utterly clueless as to what really good recorded music can do. That's a sad statement.

  15. #15
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post

    Similarly, most of the classical recordings I have on DG also have next to no apparent depth. They've multi-miked them to death - even if the performance itself is compelling.
    Glad I'm not the only one - I see the DG label and I start looking for something on another label - pretty much any other label. eesh.

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    Once again Terrence, you gave a lengthy response to issues that misses the point of my comments.

    When a person buys a recording of heavily processed music, there is simply no independent reference a listener can use to know if he's hearing what the artist intended. An artificial sound, whether created synthetically or an acoustic instrument that's had the daylights processed out of it is just that - artificial. Since it has no real counterpart, a listener has no way to know if he's hearing what's intended. He can only say he likes it, or use his imagination to think some other sound quality would have been better.

    I also find little similarity between live, heavily amplified rock concerts and recordings, though I don't have much interest in the touring rock extravaganzas that seem popular with others. (I always find it amusing when classic rock types start obsessing about "soundstage", as if that replicated something live. Plus, there is something wonderfully ironic when one claims to be an audiophile but has to wear ear plugs at a live event to protect hearing.)

    I think we just live in different worlds, Terrence. You're at the forefront of an industry doing a lot of things that have little interest for me.

  17. #17
    Byron
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    [QUOTE=Sir Terrence the Terrible;383340]Using "unamplified" music as a reference really only benefits a single genre of music heavily(classical), one partially(jazz which is becoming more electronic yearly).

    I totally agree. I enjoy big band jazz such as Gerald Wilson, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Gerald Henderson among others. I could care less whether it has amplification or not. Although with electric guitars and electric bass I am sure it does. I also enjoy classical music Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Tchaikovsky among others. Again the fact it is not amplified is not a factor. In this case I am sure it is not. The performance by these performers is very important to my enjoyment. The products I buy services the music not the other way around so I bring my favorite records and Cd's to evaluate the components I may buy. Fortunately, my current local high end shop Shelley's has a wide selection of records and Cd's to demonstrate their equipment and a very knowledgeable staff to guide me. As far as sub $1000 speakers I find even my Magnepan MMG's can be extremely satisfying to me. In my very small office it goes down to almost 50hz which just gets me enough bass and has a midrange that suits me. While this might not be the preferred way of evaluating equipment the results have been very similar to what other music lover/audiophiles own and I rarely have had buyer's remorse with the exception of not buying a pair of Dahlquist DQ10's in the 1970's.

    Also I tracked down the article I referred to in my original post. It was by Robert Harley titled "An Affordable Audiophile System" in the table of contents. So the author also considered it an audiophile system. It was an outstanding article because he pointed out the strengths as well as the flaws of each component and the speakers may have been my only change to that system which he even stated others may prefer different speakers or later adding a subwoofer. I would have preferred either the Vandersteen 2ce's or the Magnepan 1.6's at the time. I also learned about his system approach for building a system and will admit it was educational.

    I realize some of you may disagree with my approach or way of thinking but just keep in mind these are only my opinions. Also the diversity of likes and dislikes of equipment and the approach to evaluate products are one of the things that makes this activity fun.
    Byron

  18. #18
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    I agree that simple miked acoustical music (of any number of genres) remains the best way to evaluate the performance envelope of audio components. There truly is a live reference with which you can compare to your long term audio memory. That fact certainly doesn't in any way limit what I listen to - only which recordings I use for evaluations.
    The number of microphones you use has no relevancy to the sound quality you get. There have been some really horrible simple miked recordings, and some really good recordings that use many microphones. It not the number of microphones, it is how they are used.


    So, even successful artists like Katy Perry want highly compressed, bandwidth limited somewhat hard sounding recordings with a flat perspective? Really? There are quite a few pop artists whose work could most certainly benefit from improvements.
    Do you blame this on the original recording, or the duplicated release product? Do you blame this on the original tape, or the playback format? What if the culprit was the end users system, and not the recorded product?

    Similarly, most of the classical recordings I have on DG also have next to no apparent depth. They've multi-miked them to death - even if the performance itself is compelling.
    Can you really blame the problem on multi miking, or the playback format? Or how about the difference between the monitoring system of the masterer, and the consumer playback system. Or how about the differences between the acoustics of the studio and the playback room. There are too many variable to simply blame multi miking as the culprit.

    I guess what you're saying is that there are quite a few artists who are utterly clueless as to what really good recorded music can do. That's a sad statement.
    No that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is their is straight recording, and there is shaping a particular artistic sound during the mixing or mastering process. The latter is just as legit as the former, whether you like the results or not. No artist should be constrained to another person idea of artistic sonic integrity. Some music would be rather boring if artistic license was not allowed.

    I am not a one size fits all for either recording or playback.As an artist, I would not have somebody's opinion of "sad statement" effect my artistic license and creativity. Homogenization is pretty bland in my book.
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  19. #19
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlsstl View Post
    Once again Terrence, you gave a lengthy response to issues that misses the point of my comments.

    When a person buys a recording of heavily processed music, there is simply no independent reference a listener can use to know if he's hearing what the artist intended. An artificial sound, whether created synthetically or an acoustic instrument that's had the daylights processed out of it is just that - artificial. Since it has no real counterpart, a listener has no way to know if he's hearing what's intended. He can only say he likes it, or use his imagination to think some other sound quality would have been better.
    I would dare say this goes for any recording heard by the end user. You have no reference to a recording of all acoustic instruments without listening to the original file or analog master, you can only say you like it or you don't. There is no real reference unless you have access to the masters. What you cannot seem to wrap your head around is that the artist approves every release that goes out of the studio. So what leaves the studio is exactly what the artist wanted you to hear. They have far more input in shaping the sound of any release than they used to have when the sound war was in full effect. That CD or digital file is exactly what the artist wants you to hear, so that is your reference good or bad.

    I also find little similarity between live, heavily amplified rock concerts and recordings, though I don't have much interest in the touring rock extravaganzas that seem popular with others. (I always find it amusing when classic rock types start obsessing about "soundstage", as if that replicated something live. Plus, there is something wonderfully ironic when one claims to be an audiophile but has to wear ear plugs at a live event to protect hearing.)
    There is little similarity between live and recorded sound because their jobs are fundamentally different. One serves the needs of the venue, the other is for our rooms, ears and playback systems.

    I am a audiophile, and I wear ear plugs to protect my hearing because I am not the only person listening. The sound system has to serve thousands of people, not just me in my listening room. The sound will be loud to some, and not so loud to others in the crowd. A live PA must cover a very large space with even sound, and my playback system just covers me. The recording is a snapshot of the sound from microphones at strategic positions, the live sound covers the entire venue. Live and recorded sound cannot and should not be compared to each other, the jobs are quite different, and so are the tools.

    I think we just live in different worlds, Terrence. You're at the forefront of an industry doing a lot of things that have little interest for me.
    And yet you are here criticizing......hummmmmmmm
    Sir Terrence

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    Having worked in mental health services for many years I'm not keen on being labeled with any word ending in phile.

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    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    You have no reference to a recording of all acoustic instruments without listening to the original file or analog master, you can only say you like it or you don't.
    You really don't have a notion of what any number of acoustic instruments sound like devoid of getting played through PA gear or countless processing steps? Sorry to hear that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    What you cannot seem to wrap your head around is that the artist approves every release that goes out of the studio. So what leaves the studio is exactly what the artist wanted you to hear.
    That is a truly depressing testament. Are all artists really that deaf to not have any understanding of dynamic range?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    ...and not so loud to others in the crowd.
    120 db is "not so loud to others"? Waddit you say? Huh?

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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    I agree that simple miked acoustical music (of any number of genres) remains the best way to evaluate the performance envelope of audio components. There truly is a live reference with which you can compare to your long term audio memory. That fact certainly doesn't in any way limit what I listen to - only which recordings I use for evaluations.
    ...
    Similarly, most of the classical recordings I have on DG also have next to no apparent depth. They've multi-miked them to death - even if the performance itself is compelling. ...
    Whether or not the number of microphones was the issue, I agree that most Deutsche Grammophon recordings of decades ago were poor with respect to depth and ambience.

    DG's "Original Image Bit Processing" remasters are a bit of an improvement. I gather that they took their original, multi-multi-multi-track tapes and selectively added time delays, etc., to render a better sense of depth.

  23. #23
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    I would dare say this goes for any recording heard by the end user. You have no reference to a recording of all acoustic instruments without listening to the original file or analog master, you can only say you like it or you don't. There is no real reference unless you have access to the masters. What you cannot seem to wrap your head around is that the artist approves every release that goes out of the studio. So what leaves the studio is exactly what the artist wanted you to hear. They have far more input in shaping the sound of any release than they used to have when the sound war was in full effect. That CD or digital file is exactly what the artist wants you to hear, so that is your reference good or bad. ...
    I like to think that I have a nuanced view of the importance of the live reference.

    For a start, what is a individual's "live reference"?? For one thing, live sound differs according to various parameters, including at least the music(!), the ensemble, the conductor, the venue, and one's personal seat in the venue. Consequently the individual has no single live references. Rather a person's live reference is really pastiche of many live listening experiences.

    Furthermore I believe people "idealize" their live reference composite according to their preference in sound. An individual's perceived "live reference" as very far from an objective thing.

    Sir Terrence, I agree that the relevant entity is the recording: each is its own artistic and technical product. As far as accuracy is concerned, absolutely the only benchmark is what the sound engineer heard in the mastering room. Accuracy per se is with respect to the recording, not to the "live reference".

    Just the same, the only way to understand what (acoustic) instruments sound like, is to hear them live.

  24. #24
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    You really don't have a notion of what any number of acoustic instruments sound like devoid of getting played through PA gear or countless processing steps? Sorry to hear that.

    I would wager I know far more about what acoustic instruments sound like than you do. How many concerts have you recorded? How about film scores? ASSumptions are never a good thing.


    That is a truly depressing testament. Are all artists really that deaf to not have any understanding of dynamic range?
    The artist has no choice in this aspect when the marketing department is telling you the record company wants it loud so it plays well on the radio.


    120 db is "not so loud to others"? Waddit you say? Huh?
    Stick to TALKING about audio Ralph, you wouldn't last twenty seconds on the comedy circuit.
    Sir Terrence

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    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    I would wager I know far more about what acoustic instruments sound like than you do. How many concerts have you recorded? How about film scores?
    And yet, you don't seem to understand or retain what you've heard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    The artist has no choice in this aspect when the marketing department is telling you the record company wants it loud so it plays well on the radio.
    Bingo, we have a winner!!!! Now you've acknowledged the real answer.

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