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That 'British Sound'?

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Archive through December 15, 2004John A.100
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J. VIgne
Unregistered guest

Oh! Now your riting TOMES!!!

How ARROWGANT!!!


 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2610
Registered: Dec-03
---YOP---
 

Veli
Unregistered guest
Hmm, it seems I have little possibilities to get myself understood. The last try:

MUSIC IS COMPLEX to us because it is sound and silence in a complex man-made structure intended (usually) to tell a message to other people (at least the western art music is supposed to be complex).

SOUND IS SIMPLE becouse it is SINE WAVES. The SOUND reproduction chain is trying to REPRODUCE SOUND. SOUND BECOMES MUSIC IN OUR BRAINS.

Human brains do not analyse sine waves. They analyse sound in blocks called critical bands of hearing. Sound is masked in the brains by the critical bands of hearing. Understanding the psychological aspects of hearing helps to understand what is important for good or bad sound.

The listening room has the biggest effect on the sound reproduction in HiFi environment, if the effect of the room is not taken into account in the loudspeker design. People usually do not have an anechoic chamber as a listening room (ultimate silence is weird for some people) :-).

All the best,

Veli

 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 110
Registered: Sep-04
Complexity is relative to understanding.

Psychology is still a developing science. It has very few answers, but plenty of theories.

Normal listening environments are not anechoic, usually. Most loudspeaker designs do take into acount that the sound they produce will be reflected off something or other in their application.

Regards,

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2685
Registered: Dec-03
I think it is important that we decide whether we want to reproduce the sound of music being played in our rooms, or the sound, in our rooms, that we would have heard if we had been at the original performance. If it is the latter, an anechoic listening room is the ideal, and certainly some soft furnishings to cut down reflections can make a huge improvement. Some UK speaker designs are very demanding from that point of view. The Quad ESLs are a clear case, (so i read..), radiating as much sound from behind the speakers as from the front. In contrast, it is designs like Bose that assume things about our listening rooms. How they think they know what sort of rooms we are using, I have no idea.

Alternatively, bringing the original sound to your room is OK for very large rooms, halls, cinemas, etc. but it is a different game and requires the recording engineers know they are trying to do that, too. In that case, it is the recording venue that is ideally anechoic. But that will interfere with how the musicians play and interact with each other.

In my opinion, transporting us away to the original venue, and perhaps to a live performance, made unself-consciously by artists unconcerned with the recording, is the best goal for domestic hifi. But, probably, trying to compromise and combine two incompatible objectives is the thing that really messes things up.

By the way, Veli, I think there is real insight in "SOUND BECOMES MUSIC IN OUR BRAINS". Therefore accurate reproduction of sound will be sufficient for accurate reproduction of music. this is why I refuse to believe there is audio equipment that is best for one type of music or another: the distinction between genres is entirely in our minds. That is not to say that music is "just" sound, or no different from other sounds. The difference between music and other sorts of sound is in how we perceive it. The main problem with some approaches to hifi is that they interfere with the sound in order to place one particular interpretation on it, thinking perhaps that it is possible to enhance the musical experience by those means. When technology is used to distort our perceptions, it becomes an end in itself. That is the opposite of what I want, personally. Watch the lurid and tasteless technicolor effects in films like "South Pacific", and you see the video equivalent or "ambience" modes in surround sound. Producers and engineers who do that show little repect for the listener or viewer; they are trying to force him/her to react in some way, at an emotional level. For me, that's entirely the wrong approach. Others may prefer to listen to the equipment instead of to the music. That's their choice. But we are all entitled to know which is which.
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 111
Registered: Sep-04
John, I have to disagree with your take on 'Technicolour' I'm afraid. Films like "South Pacific" and other musicals are meant I think to have a certain 'unnatural' qaulity to them, in perhaps the way the illustrator of a graphic novel may decide to use a limited or enhanced pallette of colours to convey the mood of the story.

Again, with music, I have been forced to think more on this issue with the purchase of the Digitally Remastered CD of Blondie's "Parallel Lines". It has a lot of bonus material, including live tracks. The studio work is upfront and accessible, while the live sound package sits 'further out' and isn't quite as nice to listen to. I'm sure that the attendees to the Boston concert got an entirely different sound presented. How to 'colour' that sound to bring it back into focus, I wonder, since I have only very basic tone controls? I still say it is very hard to determine what is a 'natural' sound, when listening to recorded material.

I have a good idea how I think it should sound - and that's colourless and balanced. You need to take into account the colouration of the Marshal guitar amps used in the concert and the method used to lay down the voice track on a recorded session to understand this fully. You won't, unless you're able to get hold of the engineer's notes on that particular album.

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 112
Registered: Sep-04
And of course - while we're on the subject of light and colour, I think it's worth mentioning some of my favourite paintings are from the 70's photorealist movement, such as Chuck Close & co. Here, the subject has been copied faithfully from a photograph - but is clearly and easily considered 'art' rather than some other description, such as 'labourious' graphic painting by numbers etc. Look at them, you will find an overall focus which is, for the most part, impossible to beget with a camera lens. If this is not true when using macro lenses, then it IS certainly outside the capability of the human eye, which is only able to focus on one subject at a time.

So if a studio mix is something akin to a photorealist's rendition, then the live recording must surely be likened to a photograph. In the latter, we do our best to find the best quality paper on which to print it.

Hope that puts what I'm saying into perspective.

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 113
Registered: Sep-04
I might also add that you should not calling into question the decisions of a director of photography. Rather, you should consider something amis with your TV set, if technicolour appears muted. To turn down the colour in this instance, is really the same as using a graphic equalizer to damp out what you don't like. If your equipment produces what the director or mixer intended, then we can assume it is working properly. That is objective listening and viewing.

V
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Veli - If your point is to reinforce the effect of the room on the reproduction of sound, I doubt there is little disagreement on that matter from anyone on this forum. Still, I feel you have made some miscalculations in your statement. More about that later.

"SOUND IS SIMPLE becouse it is SINE WAVES. The SOUND reproduction chain is trying to REPRODUCE SOUND. SOUND BECOMES MUSIC IN OUR BRAINS.

Human brains do not analyse sine waves. They analyse sound in blocks called critical bands of hearing. Sound is masked in the brains by the critical bands of hearing. Understanding the psychological aspects of hearing helps to understand what is important for good or bad sound."

I see litle point in discussing whether music, in and of itself, is a form of story telling. That seems to leave out a large segment of what is considered music that a loudspeaker and system might be asked to reproduce. "Chopsticks" is music but represents no such story telling event. (Does it? Have I missed something again?)
I really see little need for much understanding of the psychology of hearing, as I think you are using the term, to help design a loudspeaker and even less to design an amplifier or turntable. An understanding of how we percieve sound might be beneficial but will reach disagreement between designers and listeners as to what is important to create a "musical" product. The disagreement over the power response of a loudspeaker in a typical room is just one item that elicits varied opinions between convinced adherents of each approach.
Your psychological approach to design seems, to me, to be not much more relevant or true than the psychological effects of wearing a red necktie. As color associations vary between societies so do the perceptions of what is music. How else do you explain the non-musical sound of Eastern music to the Western ear? Why is the color white associated with death in Oriental societies and black is the associated color in the West? Why is a style of music such as Metal, HipHop or Fusion considered less than "musical" by so many? What of the many 20th century composers who created music that was not recognized as something of interest, if not beauty, because it failed to be "pretty". What you suggest seems to imply the need to design a system that is meant to play these forms and styles of music and not to acurately render Mozart's work. Or, should I say, the opposite way around.

Veli, I would be interested to know if the ideas you put in print are based on some theory you have developed or have had experience researching. Is this a field you have experience in that you use to put together the concepts you propose? I ask not to suggest that experience is the only teacher but to understand more fully how you arrive at the ideas you put forth. I ask because I fail to see the reference to "critical bands of hearing" and how our brain masks sound by their use. If we agree that sound is a group or series of complex sine waves (which it is but has nothing to do with music at that level) then we can only agree that our brains do analyze sine waves to determine what sound we are hearing, from what direction and from what distance in what environment. Why be afraid of a mouse one hundred feet away? Why not be afraid of the bear in the back of the cave? I feel I am woefully out of touch with an aspect of your argument that would pull all the disparate threads together. That is why I ask how you arrive at the concepts you put forth. Once again you seem to be arguing from both sides of the fence. The idea that sound is simple but music is complex appears, to me, to miss the point of both. How our brain percieves music seems to ignore too much of music's history, to simplify too much, to be accepted on face value.


"The listening room has the biggest effect on the sound reproduction in HiFi environment, if the effect of the room is not taken into account in the loudspeker design. People usually do not have an anechoic chamber as a listening room (ultimate silence is weird for some people) :-)."

As I said, if your only point is the effect of the listening room, there is litle to no disagreement. However, what affect that effect has on speaker design is a matter of disagreement among the various manufacturers. I remember the pictures of the KEF engineers out in an open field with their microphones aimed at the loudspeaker placed on a tall pole in an effort to get their (literally) "free field" response curves. The speakers KEF turned out using that method of evaluation are still memorable for their accuracy. On the other hand there have been numerous designs based on how the speaker would be used in a domestic setting. Allison and the Klipschorn are just two examples. Ignoring the fact a speaker will likely be used in a typical room will probably result in a poor product. Assuming there is such a beast as a typical room seems equally as dangerous.


 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
i've just stumbled into this thread by accident, and it's made me smile..no laugh. here my story for a bit of background, and then im going to throw in my massively contraversial thoughts..but thats later.

Ok I was into music and hi-fi since my early teens (im 38 now) and started to play the guitar at the same time. Im almost completely self taught at guitar, and whilst i have indulged in some lesson of musical theory if only to understand the science of what I am hearing. Bear in mind that I have a science degree, have no religious faith (as a scientist you prove to me why I'm here else I dont need it...you know we've all bveen there), so; I NEED to know why stuff works, and more importantly i like thisngs that makes stuff work; like hi-fi.

BUT, the guitar thing, see for me its all from the ether: I love the blues and rock. I collapse when BB King bends that same godamm note, that same minor 3rd bend but each time somehow its bent differently.

Scientific analysis will yield nothing: 0.0000001% THD, 0.000000000% wow and flutter (remember that spec?) but somehow, each time I hear one of my many favourite musicians play THE SAME SONG on the same record (so there is no live vs studio difference) its DIFFERENT. So, since my mom is an acupunturist buddhist whom for years I have disbelieved (show me and I'll believe you science), maybe just maybe there is something....... OK now to the fun bit.

My system for many years was A&R EB101 with the A&R arm and Linn K9 cartridge, a NAD 3130 amp, and a sherwood CD5010 cdp. The TT was and is always great, and the dcp well was great also, but i never really got on woth CD in the early days since it sounded so damn clinical. Anyway, the Sherwood dies, and I decide after 20 yrs to upgrade. I read the mags again (my they changed) and (foolishly?) listed to what hi fi..ish anyway. I bought the Cambridge audio azur 640 a and c amdp and cdp, having bough B&W DM303's 2 years ago (thanks again what hi fi! - except they are damn good, better I suspect than the latest Wharfedale diamonds, and certainly half the speakers they tested in the Dec 2005 edition since they beat them for the awards 2001 but hey what hi fi you guys have such great memories!, but more of that later..).

Ok so fired up the CA gear, looks great and boy it sounds great, but read elswhere somehow didnt satisfy, so the amp was changed to a trusty NAD whose SPIRIT i understand..stick with me here.

Xmas day kids get some compilation CD, which completely confuses the 640c, yet plays ok with every other CD player in my house, and friends house: its not scratched, but the CA just skips like mary popppins. Back if goes, replacement does the same...forget it, I need somehitng I know, so again thank you NAD for the C542. Suddenly the whole damn thing springs into life! There's no more detail (for the 640 is a detail monster) and maybe its not as precise in its leading edge attack (must be those suddenly inferior Burr Brown DAC's), but boy the thing sings, its to my ears much better. Now i have a CD player that almost equals vinyl, which finally (phew) gets to the point:

For me, music has become a spiritual thing, its the one thing in my life for which I do not seek explanation, it just "is". Here's a wacky theory, music when converted digitally loses its spirit, which is why I am not a huge fan of digital music. Vinyl is analogue so the chi stays with it, thus rendering it more musical: not suffering from deconstruction but from construction. In my psuedo sciento-spiritual state (again thanks to a particular distiller..) this is my conclusion of these recent events, and that somehow my affection for NAD gear has "coloured" my ears. Thus, the 640c with its latest techno wizadry doesnt work for me, though, and here we return to the real world for a minute, let me quote some comments and findings from What Hi-Fi (since there is no email address to contact them on, then you will have to defend yourselves in here):

Awards 2004

NAD C352 amp opf the year
"The combination of power and dynamics blah blah no right at this price"
Yep cant argue with that, sounds better than the 640 it replaced and miles better than my old 3130

What Hi-fi dec 2004 stereo speakers £140 - £200 group test (laughably the DM303's are absent again)

Page 81 "perfect partners" Oh its the NAD C352 and C542

Page 117 "Our top 3 hi-fi systems"

Budget is the CA 640 c and a

That's fair enough, but why didnt you use is as your reference in the group test.

Then in a masterstroke of journalistic brilliance comes Jan 2005 edition ha!

Stick all of the "one make" systems with different speakers, and guess what the cambridge stuff wins, this time though its the 540 range not even the 640. Which is perfectly fine except that every system was judged with A DIFFERENT SET OF SPEAKERS fer chrissakes!! It should have been conducted like a proper experiment!! Same pair of speakers throughout unless (like AVI) you actually design and make the whole lot yourself). Best Part? the C352 amp "product of the year" two monthe earlier gets a "If you like music with a lively twist then this system could be worth a listen".

And thus to end my way over the top rant, because I am at mildest bemused, at worst damn angry at such written drivel; Music is a spiritual thing, which is nigh impossible to convey, hence the sensible advice is to listen before you buy; but when the popular press can't even get the basic science believable, then boy you'd better believe your own ears!

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

?


 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2687
Registered: Dec-03
This thread is getting more and more interesting, in my opinion.

In perception there is the well-known "cocktail party effect" in which someone with normal hearing can "tune in" to one of dozens of conversations all taking place at the same time and at the same level. Being able to resolve the position in space of the speakers is part of it, I think, and stereo helps to reproduce sound we can analyse in that way, but the other factor is that we have a huge reference line of language; we tune in to the sounds that convey meaning to us, and filter out the rest. Again, if someone in one of the many other conversations utters our name, we are unlikely to miss it; we attach particular significance to that, and we will tend to tune into that conversation. Listening to music uses very much the same sort of surveillance and recognition processes, I suspect. For example, if you play a particular instrument, you might wish to follow that instrument's line and can do so easily even when it is playing with many others, even much louder ones.

I think the job of a hi-fi is simply to give us the closest approach to the original sound, so that we can carry out these sorts of attention-directing processes as effortlessly as we could if we were there at the actual performance. It is surprising how few systems reproduce speech well enough for us actually to hear the words on a choral work, for example, where there are many voices and perhaps instruments too all performing at the same time.

I still submit that the designer of the hifi does not need to know, and, in fact, should not care, which part of the sound is of particular interest to us. We should get the whole picture, and be able easily to direct our attention to the parts of it we choose, for whatever reason.

How you create that whole picture is something we can discuss, but if we can agree that is the goal then we are getting somewhere, I think.

I agree with JV mostly, but think the "free field" approach is bound to make a better speaker. (And I now have some explanation for my affection for KEF speakers).

ca_convert, I could not agree more about equipment reviews. I have "Gone back" to reading both hifi (HiFi News) and music (gramophone) mags, and I despair at the way the reviewers line themselves up all sorts of items normal listeners never have access to, and then throw the whole analysis away by forgetting what it was they were trying to compare in the first place. It often seems like a case a attention deficit. Then they write about about how they feel about not having been able to decide, or why they feel something must have been there even if they couldn't actually say they could hear it.

As to the "chi" of analogue, I think you have a point, but it is still capable of being explained, and words like "spiritual" do not help much, imho. It also has to be said that a digital recording of sufficient resolution has, in the end, to become indistinguishable from an analogue one, unless you really are a total mystic. I think CD does not have that resolution, and DVD-A CAN be an improvement. As others have pointed out, though, it gets very difficult to filter out one's associations. For example, a little tape hiss can suggest continuity and give the impression of something real happening, even though it was not there in the original performance. I recently listened to the excellent Naxos CD of Britten's War Requiem, and there is something going on in the hall, perhaps air conditioning, which manages to convey the impression of being there, even though it is, strictly, noise and not music. Anyway, the recording is so good I am fairly sure it does not come from any part of the reproduction equipment itself. I have some early digital recording where I am sure I can hear a computer hard disc spinning all through the performance; it must have been there in the room, for some reason. Some audio artifacts can be reassuring, possibly subsituting for ambience. "Clinical" means absence of these things. Again, I submit that "clinical" is a recommendation of, say speakers or amps, but not of the sound they produce if the original was not, itself, "clinical" - it means they have subtracted something from the sound of being there, Digital recordings often have that effect. I think it is inherent in the format, but only at limited resolution, which has the effect of filtering out for us the complex and very faint sounds that make up the ambience of a recording venue. Just walk into something like a cathedral and you can "hear the silence". It is very complex currents of air, very long reverb times of the faintest sounds, e,g, your own footsteps, or a chair creaking. Even just one voice or intrument will sound totally different in different acoustics of that kind. All that gets lost if engineers go for close miking and/or low-res digital encoding. Perhaps they think they are filtering out noise, unaware that silence is part of music, and you can "hear silence" in the performance. (inverted commas because it is a figure of speech!).
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2688
Registered: Dec-03
"?" ?
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 114
Registered: Sep-04
Nah. Just give me the music and spare me the silence. I don't think hiss and crackle add anything to the music at all.

That's the very beauty of recorded music - you can dispense with all of the crap you do not need.

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 115
Registered: Sep-04
So does that mean you would complain if someone coughed in the audience and it were filtered out? That person probably shouldn't have gone to the concert in the first place; stayed at home where they belong. Just because it really happened, doesn't mean it's desirable to include it.

Regards,

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2690
Registered: Dec-03
Varney,

"Just give me the music and spare me the silence."

Music includes periods of silence. All genres. In composition, there are as many time-value symbols for rests as there are for notes*.

Live performance can be accompanied by coughs, air conditioning, creaking chairs, shuffling feet, doors opening and closing, and, in many cases, traffic noise - which can vary from a constant buzz of city traffic to a motor vehicle starting up and driving off somwhere in the vicinity.

"That person probably shouldn't have gone to the concert in the first place; stayed at home where they belong.".

Woa! Coughs can be involuntary. Have you never coughed? Who are we to decide who should be in the first place? Even worse, to decide who should have been there, and change the record of the event accordingly? That's a very dangerous path!

"That's the very beauty of recorded music - you can dispense with all of the crap you do not need."

Yes, but what counts as "crap", and who decides...?!

" I don't think hiss and crackle add anything to the music at all." Quite correct, in my view; they only detract from it. I am just offering the suggestion that a little unobtrusive hiss may create the subjective impression of continuity, and this may be to some people's liking. And its absence may then be one of the reasons people use the word "clinical". What counts as "unobtrusive" is also subjective - different people react in different ways. I agree that the ideal is no input from the medium itself. I also note that some people disagree with that. Strongly.

* I have heard a couple of recording of John Cage's "Four minutes and x seconds of silence" on the radio. I think I prefer the Frank Zappa version. Try to listen to it some time! Whether is really counts as "music" or not is another question!
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
No Im no mystic, just throwing a paradigm shift into the spokes of rational thought. I'm as rationally scientific as the next person, but, and A BIG BUT, music is much much more than science IMO. Therefore, to quanitify it (as what a ADC does effectively) is somehow (maybe) tampering with nature. After all, if one subscribes to the views of Nietche et al then it surely doesnt matter whether is sounds life like or not, because it IS real.

On the subject of intereference of extraneous noises such as coughs etc, its interesting that they are always so prominient when listening to a recording, yet if you were there at the event live you probably wouldnt notice it.

By the way returning to reality (sic) IMO the NAD CD542 blows the CA 640c into the weeds to use What Hi Fi speak. All I can presume is that I was unfortunate to have had two incorrectly set up 640's (hence the track skipping problem).
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2691
Registered: Dec-03
After all, if one subscribes to the views of Nietche et al then it surely doesnt matter whether is sounds life like or not, because it IS real.

Absolutely, and look where it leads: some races, cultures etc are endowed with golden ears and golden everything; experience some sort of higher form of reality; and are morally obliged to rid the World of the scum who can never know it, or at, the very least, to keep them in their place.

Apart from the practical consequences, it is total tosh.

This was the point is was attempting to make earlier on, to Varney.

When we agree there is a real world, or a real performance, then we can share what we each experience, compare, learn, and progress. And we don't have to keep going to war. Nietsche was just banging the table because he was not getting enough attention, in my view. It would have been great to read his column in What Hi Fi, of course.
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 117
Registered: Sep-04
"Woa! Coughs can be involuntary. Have you never coughed? Who are we to
decide who should be in the first place? Even worse, to decide who
should have been there, and change the record of the event
accordingly? That's a very dangerous path!"

Attendants waiting in the aisle; rush in; black bag over the offender's head; dragged bodily outside. That's the way to do it. Keep the recording clean at all costs.

"Music includes periods of silence. All genres. In composition, there
are as many time-value symbols for rests as there are for notes*.

Yes, I know. A lot of music I like includes brief periods of silence; a break. But silence is silence. Nothing else, just the silence will do. Because that's what it's meant to be. Anything else is just interfereance. I think if anything, if the musician makes the sound (fingers sliding on frets, breath between sax notes etc) then that should count as part of the piece. In other words - anything which goes on stage-side is part of the performance, anything auditorium side is an invasion to the piece.

Live performance can be accompanied by coughs, air conditioning,
creaking chairs, shuffling feet, doors opening and closing, and, in
many cases, traffic noise - which can vary from a constant buzz of
city traffic to a motor vehicle starting up and driving off somwhere
in the vicinity.

Yes, it can and often it does. I think your reward for taking the trouble to go there is hearing those sounds - They are part of the experience, however trivial. Since they are not part of the perfromance, however, they should not be included in the recording. That's the crap I'm talking about. Sling it out. Close miking sounds like a good idea to me. Audience cheering and clapping would still come through, pobably. There is a place for Auditorium noises and that's at the begining and at the end of the track - not during.

"Yes, but what counts as "crap",

See above. The stage is sanctum, the auditorium is the pit of crapness.

"and who decides...?!"

I do; I'm the one paying the money to listen to it.

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 118
Registered: Sep-04
"Absolutely, and look where it leads: some races, cultures etc are
endowed with golden ears and golden everything; experience some sort
of higher form of reality; and are morally obliged to rid the World of
the scum who can never know it, or at, the very least, to keep them in
their place."

That has nothing at all to do with it.

V
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
"Absolutely, and look where it leads: some races, cultures etc are endowed with golden ears and golden everything; experience some sort of higher form of reality; and are morally obliged to rid the World of the scum who can never know it, or at, the very least, to keep them in their place.

Apart from the practical consequences, it is total tosh."

Don't think that this at all is the philosphy of existentialism (and Nietzche was far from from being the only proponent of such theories table thumper or not). Anyhow my point was to question whether it is worth questioning what is real and what is not, and indeed worrying if it not. Existentialism has I beleive had far less an effect on human conflict that the non reality veiws of most religions (by definition require you to participate in a belief of higher state, or reason for existence - existentialism just accepts)

Back to my original hytpothesis: apart from the very obvious (i.e. human) reasons, when you convert state by deconstruction of facsimile which is what a ADC does, does soemthing go missing that cannot be transmitted, or is all sound and the ensuing emotion it creates purely in the mind of the receiver (this i think would be the "existentialist" view. If this is the the case, then why does my vinyl sound so much more "musical", a view that I seem to share with many many others, despite the proof of measured stats (THD, frequency respone etc), and even one ears can hear a clearer sound, but it still aint as good...
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 119
Registered: Sep-04
Sorry, CA, what ain't as good - the vinyl or the CD?

Does not human conflict ulitmately inspire music? Every love-lost song, every "You're cheatin' on me, babe" every "Done with that man" song; many heavy metal tracks; Holst's Planets Suite; Mars - and that's purely instrumental.

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 120
Registered: Sep-04
BTW, I cannot listen to Frank Zappa. I have tried hard to see what people like about it, therefore given him a fair go. It is the most unmusical of arty-farty rubbish I have ever heard in my life.

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2692
Registered: Dec-03
Varney,

I too think Cage's 4'33" could be the best thing Zappa ever recorded.

I found an interesting "Wikipedia" article on 4'33". Please take a look.

It is the holidays, you know, but I cannot resist suggesting this is the utimate test piece for those interested in the title of this thread.

Surely the BBC Symphony Orchestra recording will allow us to hear "That British Sound" with the minimum of distractions? Is the Zappa version "That LA sound"?

John Cage also makes the point very well: there are unintended sounds at any real performance.

Seriously: would you get a faithful reproduction of the 4'33" by turning off the hi-fi? Of course not. Yet so many recording engineers seem unaware of that, cutting into digital zero before the music has died away, let alone waiting until we hear he "silence" of the performance venue. They obviously think that we will think that is "crap". They have stopped you and I from making up our own minds on the subject!

ca,

I don't think Nitsche himself, or anyone else would describe him as an "existentialist": it is another topic. I doubt that there is an existentialist position on hifi, but it would be interesting to know. "Burn all audio equipment" would be my guess, but I really have no idea.

Going back to 4'33" by John Cage, I cannot find a recording for download. I wonder if there are any recordings available in surround sound.

Quote from the link, above:

In 2002, British songwriter Mike Batt released an album containing a track called A one minute silence. The estate of Cage launched a lawsuit against Batt, claiming it infringed the copyright of the earlier Cage work. The case was settled out of court for a large undisclosed sum.

It cannot be long before the copyright lawyers and digital rights managers get onto this. Silence will be copy-protected, and we'll all have to pay before we are able to experience it.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2693
Registered: Dec-03
Wikipedia gives a link to a Real Audio stream of 4"33" "performed by the staff of the Guardian Newspaper". It is the worst version I have heard, but it is always good to have alternative interpretions. Anyway, here is the link. 4'33".

I prefer the Zappa version. I have not heard the BBC SO.
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
Varney, I prefer vinyl to digital sound. I prefer the sound of an analogue vinyl over a digitally mastered version.

John A, at the risk of being accused of being a pedant, I have read a book written by Nietzche called on the subject existentialism! He and Camus are widely accepted as tow of the best known proponents of that particular strand of .

 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
Here is a small summary of Nietzche that I found:

"Nihilism is the complete disregarded for all things that cannot be scientifically proven or demonstrated. Nietzsche did not claim that nothing exists that cannot be proven, nor that those thing should be disregarded. What Nietzsche did suggest was that many people used religion, especially Judeo-Christian teachings, as a crutch for avoiding decisive actions. Nietzsche's contribution to existentialism was the idea that men must accept that they are part of a material world, regardless of what else might exist. As part of this world, men must live as if there is nothing else beyond life. A failure to live, to take risks, is a failure to realize human potential."

I interpret that Nietzche and his "like" would prefer digital sound, since it is scientifically better and more accurate therefore it must be better!
Since I personally do not subscribe to nihilsm or existentialism any longer (it did appeal some years ago when i was probably more naive), I have approached the issue from a more spiritual view point driven from my recent interest in buddhism!



 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2694
Registered: Dec-03
ca,

Many thanks. I did not know that. I associate existentialism with Sartre, mostly. But I am quite ignorant about these things. For what it's worth, which is not much, I mostly agree with that quote. Other influential people quoted Nietsche with approval, but they may have been selective, and given him a "bad press".

Your phrase "scientifically better and more accurate" is a problem for me. I think following that would take us far off topic. But thanks! Also from the summary "things that cannot be scientifically proven or demonstrated" - how do we know them when we find them? I have a broader view of "science", in which it is just "knowledge". One key ingredient is being consistent with experience; another is realising that knowledge is never perfect, there can always be improvements. So saying things do not exist because they cannot be scientifically demonstrated seems all wrong, to me. Again, how do we know? Another essential ingredient is relying on one's own experience and judgement, not that of someone who claims a position of special knowledge or authority. If someone says "science proves you are not hearing what you think you are hearing" etc. then I do not think they are scientists at all, not in the sense that I understand.

I know count three "interested in" buddhists on this forum.
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
John A Quote: "So saying things do not exist because they cannot be scientifically demonstrated seems all wrong, to me."

I so ABSOLUTELY agree with this! Maybe there IS another place, another reason, heck even a GOD!! There's heaps of stuff about this life that I am beginning to realise I cannot begin to fathom, vinyl vs CD being one relevant to this forum.

Im off now outside for a stroll, and to bow down before the sun and pray a little...:-)

Hmm though there is a nice little dimemma evolving in my lounge as we speak...since this out of the box C542 has been twirling now non stop for 48 hours, its nicely burning in, and boy does it sound fantastic. I have resorted to using at last socks stuffed into the ports on my 303's to stop the pictures on the wall vibrating and falling off. This thing rocks! Nihilsm is dead, I hear therefore I am!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
















































































































































http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/e/existentialists.asp

































































































































 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
click
cough
pop
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
(They are REAL jokes right??)

Nice one!

:-)
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"Absolutely, and look where it leads: some races, cultures etc are endowed with golden ears and golden everything; experience some sort of higher form of reality; and are morally obliged to rid the World of the scum who can never know it, or at, the very least, to keep them in their place."


That is Nietzche. The Superman Digital displacing the Everyman Analog. Fred would have favored CD and its power to dominate. Has nothing to do with the "science" of digital. We are told music exixts on a CD and we believe it even though there is nothing to see that represents music. It is the Ultimate Icon after the Dollar Sign. It is even encased in an iconic plastic structure that can be hung from the rear view mirror of a low rider next to a crucifix. Both "perfect forever". And when the sun hits both at just the right angle ...

F.N. might have questioned the existence of CD, and championed SACD with its one bit technology, but he would have appreciated its power to eliminate the weaker member of the market. Analog is the Existentialist's dream. In the grooves of a record, or the particles of iron on a tape, we can "see" the music. On an LP we can even see the loud and soft portions, the moments we think are difficult and easy to play through. But the only way we can experience the music is to play the record or tape. And the very operation of a stylus scraping through a record groove is the height of absurdity. Through scientific theory, it should not work any more than the bumble bee's wings. Too many opposing forces come into play. Shall we all thank goodness the rational Edison had a more profound effect on our life than that madman Nietzche?

Nietzche had nothing to do with Existentialism, however, other than his concept of you are only here once. Nietzche was, in most ways, the antithesis of the Existentialist who deified the average man. It is the strugle of the everyman against the Superman that is at the heart of Sartre, Camus, Ionesco and Beckett. Please read either "The Bald Soprano" or "Waiting for Godot". Better yet, my all time favorite is to watch a rerun of "Green Acres", the equivalent of Ionesco on a 19" screen! A single man against the absurdity of everyone else's perceptions. The Existentialists argued for the absurdity of the human condition, while Nietzche proposed the human condition was absurd because (some) men had led it that way. Nietzche is to Wagner as Existentialism is to Copland (or possibly to Shostakovich if you don't want your philosophy to be too pretty).








"Back to my original hytpothesis: apart from the very obvious (i.e. human) reasons, when you convert state by deconstruction of facsimile which is what a ADC does, does soemthing go missing that cannot be transmitted, or is all sound and the ensuing emotion it creates purely in the mind of the receiver (this i think would be the "existentialist" view. If this is the the case, then why does my vinyl sound so much more "musical", a view that I seem to share with many many others, despite the proof of measured stats (THD, frequency respone etc), and even one ears can hear a clearer sound, but it still aint as good..."



CA - Please go slap the one responsible for teaching you sentence structure and typing. And give a pie in the face to whoever taught you logic. Why your LP's sound more musical (than what?) has nothing to do with existentialism nor Nietzche. They sound that way because they do, to you. Measurements and reasons have more to do with Mahler than Mercury Living Presence or RCA Red Seal.






 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"(They are REAL jokes right??)"

If you think they are.




 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"(They are REAL jokes right??)"

What jokes?


 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"(They are REAL jokes right??)"


What's REAL?

 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 122
Registered: Sep-04
This coversation seems to have reached an almost unfathomable depth. What does Neitcshe, or Mahler, for that matter have to do with the differences between CD and vinyl?

"So saying things do not exist because they cannot be scientifically demonstrated seems all wrong, to me."

Why?

For everything that exists, there is a reason, which can potentially be demonstated scientifically. It only becomes scientific when demonstated, however. If something cannot be, then that is the fault of the scientist trying to demonstrate. To take any other direction on this, means that your precious world will begin to fall apart - the one you needed to agree on in order to establish what the peformance of earlier conversations sounded like. Taken to it's extreme, the ensuing rift may even open wide enough to allow the ghosts and flying saucers to invade.

Try to remember that today's magic is tomorrow's science.

Regards,

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2697
Registered: Dec-03
Varney,

The quote is from my post of Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 07:42 am, where I tried to decribe "why". It is an important question, but I agree with you, I can no longer see how we have got here from your original and very interesting post.

"Try to remember that today's magic is tomorrow's science". No, I think "magic" is mostly concerned with creating illusions.

Certainly a hifi would have seemed almost like magic before about 1890, I think, and we can easily think of many such examples. But, if you played his music from wooden boxes with cones in and with wires attached to say, Mozart, he could not say "I cannot explain this, therefore it does not exist". That is the point I was trying to make. A scientifically-inclinded contemporary of his would have to seek a way to describe and understand the process, a tough assigment, at that time. There are still plenty of things we cannot explain, today. That is not to say we never will.

I think you and I took this thread into philosophical realms. It is not always obvious what people want their hifis to do. I think I suggested "The British Sound" reflects a sort of empirical or, if you will "scientific" outlook (in a very broad sense) in which to goal is an accurate representation as possible of an original
performance. I could be wrong, and, even if it is right, Brits by no means have a monopoly on this approach. And there are plenty of romantically-inclined Brits who relish the illusion and are not too bothered about whether there was ever anything to represent.

JV., thanks for backing me up on FN. If we reduce philosophy into good guys and bad guys (!) then that one is in that latter group, in my opinion, and can be held responsible for giving intellectual respectability, briefly, to some shockingly harmful views and actions. What worries me is that it all seems to be coming back; we have not learned so much. Perhaps I am a disillusioned 60s optimist. I really thought everyone now knew the mistakes made in the 19th and 20th centuries, and we would not go there again. But look around. People still wish to impose their world views, claiming a special and privileged position, and not simply stating what they think and seeing if anyone else has a better interpretation. The latter approach I would also call "scientific".

One writer I admire traced it to Pythogoras, who had what we would all agree agree today was a ludicrous cosmology about the world being flat and resting on the back of a turtle, or some such thing. But he said "that's what I think; can anyone find fault with that, and replace it or improve upon it?". So he was "doing science". In contrast, the other approach is, broadly, "there was once a fellow with unique gifts who knew more than we ever shall. Our job is to try to get back to his pure and perfect insight, and to silence people who question, or misrepresent, what he said". I am afraid the latter view is still with us, and a considerable force in the world.

Massively off topic. Apologies to all.

I thought John Cage's 4'33" was interesting to consider, relevant to what we want from hifi and what counts as music. [Serious attempt to get back on track...].

Clumsy but serious attempt: would you get a better and more realistic reproduction of a performance of 4'33'' from vinyl or CD, or from, say, B&W or Bose loudspeakers? Whichever you choose, I do think "surround sound" could help. When I buy the first 5.1 DVD-A recording of 4'33", my family will finally call in the men with white coats, I fear.

Even the Real Audio version from the staff of the dear old Grauniad (try the link 4'33" on my post December 29, 2004 - 04:42 am) is surprisingly interesting. It seems obvious to me that you would need a really good hifi to do justice to "silence". If they had some music playing, it might be less obvious whether the hifi system was any good.
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
CA - Please go slap the one responsible for teaching you sentence structure and typing. And give a pie in the face to whoever taught you logic. Why your LP's sound more musical (than what?) has nothing to do with existentialism nor Nietzche. They sound that way because they do, to you. Measurements and reasons have more to do with Mahler than Mercury Living Presence or RCA Red Seal.

Why oh why do some people have to resort to personal insults, especially when perhaps they have failed to understand the original author.

I do not wish to enter into a petty argument on the history of philosophy, and whilst Nietsche was somehwat a maverick in his views, it is widley accepted that he had no personal responsibility for the ensuing rise in naziism. That his views were used in later years to support a political doctrine may have been the case; to suggest his views were reponsible for the doctrine is at best suspect and suggests a lack research on the subject.

Finally, and the real point is that of trying to understand why vinyl sounds different from CD. Yes I am very aware that it does because it does, but is that an acceptable reason? I was asking the question that since digital music OUGHT to sound better because of its science (I agree the very thought of a mechanical stylus tracking a groove is almost preposturous in the new millenium). Waht OUGHT to sound better DOESNT (and I know I am not alone by any means in this observation), so WHY? Intelligent answers only please!
 

Anonymous
 
youre all talking bollox
Im a brit, and have lived in the USA for 5 years, had 2 great sound systems
Both systems I have sound great, one usa made one uk made.
I cannot believe you guys actually spend the time to argue this crap like you do.
And to bring up the old "vynil v cd" shyte again
omg grow up!
THE BEST sounding music, is LIVE music, so if you dont like either vynil or cd, then go to some damn concerts!
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 123
Registered: Sep-04
So what, exactly did you come in here to do, Anonymous? Talk bollocks with us, perhaps?

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 124
Registered: Sep-04
John A. although I haven't really had time to read latest posts thoroughly, the points you are making bring in a certain perspective, which I find hard to disagree with.

I'm not seeing vinyl quite as the 'bumble bee' at the moment, because vinyl can be scientifically proven to work. If science fails to explain why the bee can fly, but can explain so many other things, then there is clearly something which has been missed. We should always remember that as humans we are fallable. The most analytical of brains can oversee a few things. I still don't understand why that thing shouldn't be able to fly though. It may be a slightly outmoded example. Who knows?

Mozart, I like to think of as the kind of fellow who would be enthralled by the concept that his music could be heard in the home, when the mood took even the common man to listen. As for the magic? I think although he wouldn't understand quite how it worked, he might assume it had moving parts and perhaps even strings, very akin to the workings of a harpsichord.

I think we in the 21st tend to assume much about our predecessors, based on how we veiw our advanced state of tech. This is aptly demonstrated by the fact that many in this day still assume Columbus's peers believed the world was flat. There is more than enough evidence to show that man knew well the curved nature of the planet; being entirely fanmiliar with the way the horizon keeps it's distance. There is also plenty to support the Church's avid interest in and co-operatrion with the scientific community.

I think you'll see my point from the above. Early man still probably had the capacity to understand that a machine can exist, just as there are still those who believe that red lights and trumpets on invisible wires are actually the dead communicating with them. Every age had it's geniuses, as (so they say) every village has it's idiot.

Sorry if I have assumed anything about your previous post - I just thought I'd like to make that point.

Regards,

V


 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 125
Registered: Sep-04
Hey - while I'm on that - could we say that amplifiers have moving parts? Electricity is very much the same as it's counterpart energy, steam? It moves around, buffered and allowed through gates. It's held back, turned around corners and, well, basically treated like the ball in the pinball machine (?).

Wouldn't take much to explain that, if you were a creative teacher, using an understanding of lighting and static as the basic underlay.

A friend of mine believes the ancient Egyptians had lightbulbs and a time machine. I don't, personally, but you see my point.

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2698
Registered: Dec-03
Posted on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 09:26 pm: A A
Anyone care to define the so-called 'British' Sound and how it would compare to a 'Japanese' or 'American' sound'?
-Varney


Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 05:24 am:
Finally, and the real point is that of trying to understand why vinyl sounds different from CD.
-ca_convert



Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 08:33 am: A A
youre all talking bollox ...Both systems I have sound great, one usa made one uk made....And to bring up the old "vynil v cd" shyte again....omg grow up!
-Anonymous


So your opinion on these quesions is...?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2699
Registered: Dec-03
Posted on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 09:26 pm: A A
Anyone care to define the so-called 'British' Sound and how it would compare to a 'Japanese' or 'American' sound'?
-Varney


Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 05:24 am:
Finally, and the real point is that of trying to understand why vinyl sounds different from CD.
-ca_convert



Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 08:33 am: A A
youre all talking bollox ...Both systems I have sound great, one usa made one uk made....And to bring up the old "vynil v cd" shyte again....omg grow up!
-Anonymous


So your opinion on these questions is...?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Anon - I would think this thread is like any other that a person can choose to read or not. If you aren't interested in the topic just click the arrow at the top left. I find it hard to fathom anyone responding to a subject they find beneath them. Maybe you, sir, should find another way to spend your time. It's awfully rude to intrude just to offer insults. Didn't your mother teach you any manners?



ca - Too bad you found my remark offensive. I was hoping for a reply somewhat like, "Yes, I know I have more fingers than keys on the board. And sentences do rather get lost, don't they? Well, it's the meaning that counts." But, apparently I have knicked a very thin spot. I'm not trying to be offensive, but go back and read the selection I offered and tell me if the whole makes sense. The idea of writing is to make yourself understood by the reader. If I have to struggle mightily to even decide where your sentence begins and ends, you have lost my attention no matter what your topic.

"I do not wish to enter into a petty argument on the history of philosophy, and whilst Nietsche was somehwat a maverick in his views, it is widley accepted that he had no personal responsibility for the ensuing rise in naziism. That his views were used in later years to support a political doctrine may have been the case; to suggest his views were reponsible for the doctrine is at best suspect and suggests a lack research on the subject."

I notice your structure and typing seems much better with this post, so I can only attribute your earlier lack of skills to some aberration, possibly the result of some medication you were taking. I understand the point you make, but, I fail to comprehend the leap you have made from my comments to your insinuations. I have read my post again and can find no reference to the political dogma you suggest I linked to Freddy. Certainly that linkage is in most biographical notes on Nietzche, but, I never made the slightest attempt to place him in the context of 1930's Germany. My remark as to his preference for The Superman has more to do with, as I did state, Wagner and his theory of The Ubermarionette, The Superman. There is no need to bring that whole distasteful epsiode into this discussion. That takes the subject of Nationalism into a direction that was never intended by the original question. I will simply end this discussion with the remarks I once read, "to suggest ... the doctrine is at best suspect and suggests a lack research on the subject." I would add, to suggest I, in my remarks, made the leap from Fred, to Richard to Adolph is to either walk a very tenuous thread; or, you have decided to "resort to personal insults, especially when perhaps they (sic) have failed to understand the original author."

I agree with Varney, this has wandered afar from the original question. If the discussion is to be about LP vs. CD, the subject should be made into another thread. Any further discussion of whether the soul of music is lost when transferred to a digital format will be left to those interested in the spirititual aspects of audio reproduction rather than the more mundane technical side.








 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Varney - Your comments about moving parts in amplifiers is acceptable on a conceptual level. The distinction needs to be made, I think, in the difference between transmitting and transducing electricity. It is in the transducers; the speaker, phono cartridge and microphone, where the greatest danger for inaccuracy exists. When one form of energy, electrical, is converted into another form of energy, mechanical, (or the other way around) the possibilty for loss is tremendous compared to the electrical flow merely being converted from AC to DC and back again. The "sound" of the various transducers in a system is, in large part, a result of this conversion of energy.

John - I may be out of step historically; but, weren't there mechanical reproduction devices around during Mozart's time? Early examples of player pianos, if you will?



 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

John - I don't think Anon has an opinion on any thing we are discussing. He (my assumption) is likely only on the forum to discover which subwoofer cable to purchase.



 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2700
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, J. Vigne and Varney.

I think we broadly share the same point of view on what we look for in hifi and much else. How to get what we look for then becomes something we can discuss. But many people on these threads state that the playback of the recording is the end in itself, for them, and they are not interested in going to hear live performances, or comparing the sound from a hifi with what was being recorded. I asked how, then, do we know what counts as "high fidelity"? I still do not see answer to that, except "something I happen to like". And, in that case, anyone's preference is as good as anyone else's, it seems to me, unless there are specially gifted people A la Nietsche who know what is best for the rest of us. Their answer would be something like "fidelity to my superior world-view and expectations". "What's wrong with our view?" we might ask. "It is inferior because you hold it" they might reply. Yes, there still are people like that. I work amongst them, actually. It's no fun. They more I ask them to be clear about what they mean, so that I or anyone may understand their position, the angrier they get.

I wonder if we need separate threads on, for example, the relative merits of LP versus CD. J. Vigne and I started one last May on the whether music sounds better in stereophony or "surround-sound". It seem to have taken on such topics as life, the universe, and the US elections on the way, but still makes progress from time to time, I think, because the original question has not disappeared completely.

It is still interesting to me that so many philosophical and psychological questions keeps coming up. People such as anon say things like "THE BEST sounding music, is LIVE music". A lot of this discussion is in area where it is difficult to distinguish fact from opinion, and either of those from personal preference.

Yes, I think there were mechanical instruments, organs and so on in Mozart's time. But they were mostly "real" instruments played by some mechanism. Again it is difficult to draw a line. A barrel organ or hurdy-gurdy is mechanically driven. I suppose any keyboard instrument has a mechanical part, replacing the action of plucking strings with fingers or a plectrum or striking them with a hammer.

I was thinking of artificial playback of recorded musical performance, which would surely have amazed anyone around in the late 18th century and before. The invention of the phonograph is credited to Edison, who came several generations after Mozart. Electrical amplification was a big subsequent step. We have discussed this before.

The electric guitar sort of misses out the original sound; it is a source for amplification in performance. If you intercept the signal from an electric guitar pick-up and feed it straight into a recording machine, you may not lose much from the sound, which was artificial anyway, but you will surely miss something from the music if the player is not able to hear the notes he plays, and more again if those with whom he is playing cannot hear him, either. Then I suppose the mixing and so on becomes an important part of the music. It is so difficult to pin any of these things down. I. personally, prefer music where the performers can hear themselves and each other. In fact, that seems to me to be largely the point of music: communication. Nevertheless some people will disagree with that, too, I am sure.

Must go. More wild geese to chase, there. Anon seemed to have some strongly-held views, and I still have no idea what they are.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

John - It's quite simple. Anon felt us all fools and he superior. That would make him King of the Fools. Too bad he's not around any longer, he deserves a good whacking and thrashing. Then we shall tie him like a Christmas goose and drag him behind our ice cream wagons to give him some real live music to listen to. This could be a job for The Ranger and Tonto.


I know i've mentioned one of my first questions to a client serious about upgrading their system was whether they ever listened to live music. Probably 80% said they never did and 90% of those that did hear live music said they never heard unamplified music. I have worked for more than one store owner who sold $100,000+ systems while they, themselves, seldom, in one case never, attended a live performance. One store owner's reference was the system in his truck. Thankfully, he is no longer in business.
When I was in the position to be bold enough with a few clients who never listened to live music, I would ask how they judged what was good. The answer was always, "I'll know it when I hear it." Equally distressing to me was the answer to whether the client ever listened to music while doing nothing else. I wondered whether they ever just sat and enjoyed music; or, were they always doing something else while the music played. At least 50% said they never sat down to listen to music.


 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2701
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Thanks. I agree.

I have just listened to Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony, yet another version (I think I have about five): this one London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus plus Felicity Lott plus a great baritone whose name I can't remember. Stereo box of reissue of whole LSO/Haitink RVW symphony cycle, at budget price, on EMI. Christmas present. What a pleasure that Sir Adrian Boult's natural successor is a Dutchman, Bernard Haitink. I think "freakin awsome" would be just begining to dip a toe, tentatively, in the relevant critical area, both for sound quality and performance. I also paid some money to Oxfam Asian disaster fund. I am therefore off-line to people who feel superior.

Here is a bit of the words set, from Walt Whitman, well-known American. I do believe it is relevant to the subject of this thread. Copied and pasted from Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams Text by Walt Whitman

Flaunt out O sea your separate flags of nations!
Flaunt out visible as ever the various flags and ship-signals!
But do you reserve especially for yourself and for the soul of man one flag above all the rest,
A spiritual woven signal for all nations, emblem of man elate above death,
Token of all brave captains and all intrepid sailors and mates,
And all that went down doing their duty,
Reminiscent of them, twined from all intrepid captains young or old,
A pennant universal, subtly waving all time, o'er all brave sailors,
All seas, all ships.

That's the flag I salute.

The best audio gear is made by people. That's all that matters.

Period. (UK: Full stop).
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 126
Registered: Sep-04
Yes, John and J.

I think we do share the same goal. However, I think you both (and others) got there first....

Well, I did purchase the Gales (as I promised myself). Now I'm on some kind of plateux. I'm sure you've all been here before - there was the beef sandwich; plenty of salad - but have you ever dumped on the horseradish just to see how much better it tastes? This was fomerly a nice roast duck with all of the trimmings.... now it has that much needed orange sauce poured all over. Most agreeable indeed, to the tastebuds I keep in my ears.

Okay - so I'm happy - very much so with my purchase. Have I reached HFN (Hi-Fi-Nirvana) yet? Tonight I feel that I have. They have not even been run in properly yet - so that's a good sign, no?

The point is - I'm ready to leave purchasing Hi-Fi for a while and concentrate more on buying music and paints for my airbrush. I'm now about to join a band, so I'll be needing some more costumes and props. So regardless of whether I have reached any measure of HFN, is purely evident in the point on the path the purchase places me, which is contentment in one area. Might seem trivial (but I know you will inderstand) I didn't quite feel able to move on with spending plans till I'd unlocked the full potential of some electronic music making aparatus.

So I cannot move any further forward now, this side of £ several grand, I am sure. I think I have reached the point where an entirely new system and more considered listening space would be the only measures to yield any significant improvements.

So if I'm hearing what it is I wanted to hear (and believe me, I knew exactly what was missing - because now I'm hearing it) then contentment, with an understanding that there is better out there - is a place I'll make home halfway up the moutain for now. I think you'll understand that I do not wish to hear anything else, because that would likely kill the spell I have woven upon my senses. The saying "If it ain't broken, it don't need fixin' " now springs to mind.

By the way, John - I thought of you as I got towards the end of a vinyl pressing (Fleetwood Mac's Tango....) It's more than acceptable, sound wise. I think there is something in John Mcvie's bass that hides on CD. Can't make these distinctions with the old AS speakers - they just don't show enough. So vinyl's tonal qualities really do depend on how they are recieved and magnified at the business end.

Now karma has dealt me a cruel blow to keep me on my toes.... I got out of the computer and on to the physical easel with my latest piece to gaurd against the possibilty of computer failure destroying my work, as it has done in the past. Would you believe, the one cam on the compressor is overheating dangerously and the pressure switch seems to have failed! That is around £400 worth of equipment going wrong which has been the single most reliable piece of machinery up until now.

So the question to ask yourselves now, my friends, is:
How far up the mountain can one get without causing an avalanche?

Deeply spiritual thoughts I prefer to replace now with "Sod is a b*stard who's law reigns bl**dy supreme". Then perhaps, god bought the Gales down in price, 'cos he knew my air-source was about to blow?

Regards,

V










 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 127
Registered: Sep-04
My speakers are British - so I guess the last post was relevant (just) to the thread :-)

Straw Grasping regards,

V
 

nout
Unregistered guest
interesting thread.

I agree with Varney: Frank Zappa is arty-farty crap :-)
But nothing beats Cage's artificial silence: some things can only be beautiful when they suddenly occur and you're aware of it.
Cage's "silent music" misses the point completely. The idea is good (talking about it is great), but actually listening to it is ridiculous, almost kitsch like a sunset on a 70's poster.

I'm not an audiophile and I'm not on a quest to find a hifi-grail which can reproduce a real live sound.
But I really enjoy reading these posts. All of you really seem to have a passion for music and music reproduction.

I have visited quite a few liveconcerts (classical music, real instruments) but I cannot use these experiences as a reference to feed my aural memory, simply because they were all different: soundwise, moodwise etc.
At one concert (Mahler 6) it was clear to me: not one hifi set would be able to reproduce such a warmth and texture in the strings.
At another (Bruckner 5) I listened to fat, undefined sound with sometimes ugly shrieking high pitched violin tones. (if I would hear those tones on my hifiset I would seriously consider to by a new amp or speakers).
My hifiset doesn't always sound the same to me, sometimes extremely good, at other times pretty awful. It depends on where I've been and how long it takes to adjust my ears to this (new) surrounding.
The only reference I have is based on what I don't like in sound: too bassy (what is that?) too shrill, too flat, too wide etc.
And with this reference I visit liveconcerts; some concerts sound good, others awfull.

How do you guys use liveconcerts to adjust your references?
I don't get it.

(sorry for my poor English)
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 128
Registered: Sep-04
Could someone please explain to me the nature of the much talked about Cage's "Artificial Silence", please?

If it's what I'm thinking it is, it will probably just annoy me by virtue of it's existance. I might even have a few things to say about it, since I harbour a deep hatred for most modern art. Especially blank canvases and exhibitions of 'Nothing'.

Can't really comment, 'till I know what Cage is all about though, can I?

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 129
Registered: Sep-04
"How do you guys use liveconcerts to adjust your references?"

Personally, Nout, I don't. I merely agree that if there is a standard by which we guage the capabilities of the equipment, it ought to be the 'event'. Whether this event is live or not is completely dependant on whether the recording is o not. I have already said I do not think this a very easy standard to gauge, because albums are generally cut behind closed doors and I'll add that live events can be coloured by what you think you heard.

I do not think it matters if the equipment really perfoms to this standard. It can't anyway - you'd just anoy your neighbours and be deaf within weeks if you replicated live rock music in your sitting room. The sound has to equate to an acceptable illusion that there is a band in the room, whether it be a recoded album or live event.

I might also add the manufacturer of my own new speakers have stated in their ops manual in the section about speaker placement - and I qoute:

"There is no right or wrong - it it sounds right to you, it is right"

They ought to know. They spend all their time developing excellent loudspeakers while we sit talking about the theory.

'Nuf said, I believe.

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 130
Registered: Sep-04
And yes, Nout - I do agree with you there about bad sounding concerts. Point is though - if your system manages to replicate the 'bad' as well as the 'good' I think we are really getting somewhere. Accuracy is the goal we should aim for and for a very good reason. If we decide to improve upon the event, we end up with a bank of sliders (as this is the only way - sound familiar?) which can only distort and destroy the accuracy of the reproduction.

That's all I think. Someone else's turn.

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2703
Registered: Dec-03
V,

Before you go, which Gales? I have their 3080W sub and think it is a great design and exceptional value, but I do not know much about subs. Gales are designed in UK and made in China, BTW. See www.audiopartnership.com I wonder how their "Real" speakers perform. They look like good, simple designs, to me. Identical in detailed spec to some Mordaunt-Short models, also owned by Audio Partnership.

Could someone please explain to me the nature of the much talked about Cage's "Artificial Silence", please?

I put a link in the post above, Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 04:31 am.

Good luck with the band.

nout,

There is a really fine Mahler 5 DVD-A with DVD-Video of the performance by Rattle and the Berlin Phiharmonic on EMI. It has a modern piece named "Asyla" as a DVD-V "filler", where the a BPO musician bangs the lid on a piano keyboard and the percussion seems to include tins of baked beans. Whether the composer was influenced by John Cage, I do not know. I should probably give it another go. (I can see no problem with your English, by the way; it is as good as anyone's here, in my opinion.) Yes, concerts are best, and also variable. Not so many people can get to live concerts of Mahler and Brucker, though. Recordings and broadcasts generate concert audiences, too.
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
The best sounding music is live music I agree. I guess I should post questions about spirituality on God.com, but my comments are made a little tongue in cheek.

Anonymous,
We're not talking bollocks here, just I think you fail to understand it, or more likely too lazy to think. If your going to troll a message board at least do it properly..;)
sit iucundus tibi dies, culus!
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 131
Registered: Sep-04
John,

Thanks for the well wishes and the link to Cage. I perform tonight to see the New Year in!
www.http://www.beautifuldeadlychildren.fsnet.co.uk/
Is the link to the band.

The Gales are the 3030s. I wanted the 3040s but apparently have been discontinued. Looking them up on the website, I found the black ones on a clearance for ust £49.95! When I got there, they'd only got the Beech, which was still at £150.00. Crazy, but that's Richer Sounds for you.

Seeing my disapointment (I was going to buy two pairs, or the 3040s and one pair of 30s) the salesman made me an offer of £99.00. He also threw in some free cable. Not bad, considering I think these speakers weigh in around the £200 mark.

Regards,

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2704
Registered: Dec-03
Varney,

Thanks. Looking at the specs, the 3030s could well be the better speaker. For any electromagnetic speaker, a two-driver design is optimal for phasing, and the two models have the same quoted frequency response, so there is no trade-off except a little power handling which is already more than adequate on the 3030s, I would think. Our sub is "beech", and looks good, in my opinion. I am very pleased with it.

Really cool web site. Good luck with the performance.

Nout, I agree about Cage and 4'33". Even if it is not music, it makes you think, though. As well as listen.

Ca, too; Veli; JV: and all here, Happy New Year.
 

nout
Unregistered guest
Thanks for the replies.

I do not think it matters if the equipment really perfoms to this standard. It can't anyway - you'd just anoy your neighbours and be deaf within weeks if you replicated live rock music in your sitting room. The sound has to equate to an acceptable illusion that there is a band in the room, whether it be a recoded album or live event.

I agree, Varney
And when upgrading I'll only use the current system as a reference, nothing outside my room. It's in my personal space where music will be played, how artificial my set will sound anywhwere else, if it sounds natural to me in my room than I'm happy.
Another reference I have, by the way, is listening to peoples voices.
If spoken word through my speakers sounds pretty much the same as the voices of friends in my room than I'm on the right track, I guess.

John
I don't have a DVD audio player.
But Rattle is a pretty amazing Mahler interpreter. (Mahler 2 for instance with the City of Birmingham Orchestra).

I recently bought Rudolph Barshai's Mahler 5 on Brilliant Classics (with the 10th symphonie in a 2cd box). Very good recording and performance. (In Holland we have a drugstore called "Het Kruidvat" which sells cd's too and many times it are really bargains: excellent performances (licensed from big record companies such as EMI, BIS etc.)for a mere $2 (2 euro) per cd).

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest


"sit iucundus tibi dies, culus!"

I think ca's typing skills came into play and he just called Anon clueless. (Laugh at that one, ca.)


Nout - How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
The same applies to anything you wish to appreciate. If you wish to learn Italian, you can't learn it in a vacuum. You must hear it being spoken by the people who use it as a native language, to whom it is second hand nature. If you wish to learn to cook Italian food, you don't taste your first attempt at risotto and say, "Finito". Try tasting your first bottle of Barbaresco and you may swear off wine from the experience, if you make the wrong pairing with your meal. Fish, you'll stick to Budwieser. Chicken, you'll wonder what the big deal is. Beef roast, you'll think it's interesting. Venison over a wood fire, you'll never want for more. The point being knowledge can only get you so far, you must experience the actual thing many times to develop an appreciation for what is available. On a more immediate level, reading Nietzche to find out about God will only get you so far. Until you have experienced that faith that is at the center of God's existence, you have not experienced God, no matter what and how much you have read. (This from an atheist.) It is then your interpretation of faith in a Supreme being that makes God personal to you.

In that vein, using live music as a reference for choosing a system is going beyond the reading on this forum or subscribing to the magazines. It is experiencing the real thing over and over and over again. It is learning not how a hifi, or a violin, sounds, but, rather how music sounds. Learn first what you should be hearing when you attend a symphony. You don't have to become a concert master to appreciate music, but, you should have some idea how the conductor approached the music when he decided this was an interesting piece of music. Learn at least a bit about the composer and the times that suurounded the composition. There is very little that is lasting in art that does not reflect the social and political times of the piece of work. (The question was asked; what does Mahler have to do with hifi? Considering Mahler lived in an age when the great advancements in science were the "proper" considerations of the day, Mahler's world was filled with numbers and theories of a different sort than the world of Bach. How relevant is this to his music? When you know a bit about Mahler, and his times, you can place the part into the perspective of the whole.) When you have these few basic concepts in mind you take them to the concert and use them as the frame work upon which you hang your interpretation of what you are hearing and experiencing. You can begin to understand what has just happened at the end of the performance. But do remember most contemporary audiences are too polite to start a riot over a piece of music. (Too bad, in my opinion.) One thing to do when you are at the concert is to not listen to your hifi. Don't think in terms of detail, imaging or soundstaging. If you understand why the violas are placed where they are in a given performance, you will understand your audio system all the more. (And if you understand why the oboe exists in the performance, you are on your way to understanding your system.) When and how the music plays back and forth between instruments is what you should be listening for at the concert and at your home.

Now, when you get home, forget your system. Again don't listen for the hifi aspects of your equipment, but, instead, listen for the interplay of the musicians. (So far this has been a discussion that has been about classical music, mostly. If you can follow this idea so far, you will begin to hear how it works with all music.) When you are expecting the music to shift it's rhythm and timing, or to move to a different mood, you will hear that if your system is capable. How well you hear that shift is what will drive you to a better system. It is also what will get you to the point where you no longer have to upgrade your system to hear more music. When your system can communicate to your satisfaction the intent and application of the performance on a regular basis, you can walk into any hfi shop or anyone's home and hear a system that is better than yours and still be satisfied with what you own. What you will hear is why it is better than yours, or not. If it is better, you will hear the communication between artists and the link to you, the listener. If it is just a better hifi, you will hear that too.

I have said on this forum there is no such thing as accuracy in an audio system. Take any speaker and put it in a different room and it will not be the same sound. So trying to get your system to sound exactly like what you heard from the violins at this concert or the bass at a particular jazz club last weekend, is, in my opinion, an exercise in frustration. As you have heard, every performance you attend will have its own character. Every room and every instrument will sound different from the next. Every performer will take an instrument and make something different of it than the last or next. (That's what they get paid for, you know.) You will never (probably) get to the point where you can place a symphony orchestra in your room. You might get to the point where you can believe a small group is in front of you. But, even if you accomplish that and have no idea why Count Basie is a performer of note, you have nothing but a hifi. What I always tried to steer my clients toward was a music system. The two can exist together, but, seldom do.
The bottom line, for me, is a music system will let more recordings sound interesting and the music will be more accessible with anything you put through it. A hifi will make more recordings sound bad.

(The long time defintion of an audiophile was someone who spent more money on their equipment than their records. A music lover spent the other way around.)








 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2056
Registered: Dec-03
well you know my stance on all the above Jan.

Don't generally like live music and prefer studio recordings!

I love a lot of music and can follow it while I sit on my couch with my eyes closed.

I don't look for accuracy as far as reproducing the event.

I modify my equipment to make it sound how I want.

I enjoy my music very much , I also enjoy my music system.
I listen to both 2 channel and surround.


So am I a music lover or an audiophile? Or something else?

As long as I enjoy putting on some tunes and listening does it matter?

In fact I took a vacation day today to sit home and Jam!
But I also tested all my 12ax7 tubes, marked them and paired them up
So I could do some hard core compairisons today.

My reason for responding on this thread is it seems many feal that you
need to listen to live music and apprectiate/understand it
in order to enjoy music or setup your system correctly.
I say that's a bunch of bull! I love listening to music and tinkering
with my system, it's just fun for me. What I look for in my system is
how well it seems to play fairly flat to my ear with the treble and bass
ever so slightly elevated "for me" with some descent imaging "mainly center vioces".
Then when I seem to have that down I move on to playing many music choices and see
how those all sound , tweak if I feel the need to.
Then I listen at different volumes to see if the system still performs upto my standards.
I'd say about 70% of the time I listen at fairly lower volume.

But the other 30% I want to rock out while keeping my system clean and clear.
THAT IS THE TUFF PART!

So I don't think there should be a set of standards you "should"
adhere to so that "you" get "your" system set up right for "you"!

What motivate's or motivated me to wanting better was not that I didn't like
what I had or didn't think my room sounded live enough.
But it was hearing systems that were better than mine and wanting what theres
sounded like. After years of listening I've come to realize what I appreciate in
a sound system. Along with that a whole new world of music opened up because
of how good I thought it sounded on my system!
Probably the other way around from many but the music seperated more for me
and instruements sounded real, you could pick them out and appreciate
what they did or how the player used them. More so the individual parts
instead of the whole! But that is what I like.
 

nout
Unregistered guest
Thanks Jan.
Listening and reading about music is far more interesting than reading about hifi. I agree.
It will give you a better idea of how things should (and can) sound than
reading about sound and analyse the sound of a system. But many times things are very straighforward and plain: a harsh high note, a fat bass (when listening to a bad recording or a liveconcert with poor roomacoustics) and then you use these words, not concerned with the bigger picture (Mahlers life and time he lived in).

As for the liveconcerts: I don't want to build a system wich can sound like it. I don't even have the room for it. Why on earth do I want to have a huge and broad sound in a small room? I just want to listen to music on a scale that suits my room best.

When your system can communicate to your satisfaction the intent and application of the performance on a regular basis, you can walk into any hfi shop or anyone's home and hear a system that is better than yours and still be satisfied with what you own. What you will hear is why it is better than yours, or not. If it is better, you will hear the communication between artists and the link to you, the listener. If it is just a better hifi, you will hear that too.

Most of the time I'm just listening to music. Occasinonally I listen to a hifiset, when some fluidity is offered for detail, some grain in the midds. But I've heard very expensive gears at shops that doesn't sound as good as my system in my room.

I learned the music of Mahler, Bartok and others on a simple cassetteplayer through headphones, I wasn't listening to hifi then.
And when I, all of the sudden, hear an old (long forgotten) song on the crappy carradio, I don't listen to hifi also, just the nice music.


 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

My post was not intended as a comdemnation of anything that I think is beneath my standards. On the contrary, the ability to listen to the simplest form of reproduction is the beginning to understanding what I have suggested. I find car radios are sometimes the best way to hear music despite their sound. When I see the person next to me tapping the steering wheel to the music they hear, I see the beginnings of a music system. No critical ear for the highs, lows or anything in between. The music is the only thing that matters at that point. Where someone takes that from there is their business.

I said I tried to steer my clients to a music system instead of a hifi, and I believe you can see why I did such a thing. I also said many of my clients never attended concerts. And I said a hifi and a music system can exist together. Did I stop someone from buying a system that I didn't care for? No. Actually I often told my clients that my taste in a system was likely to be very different from what they chose. Even if they asked me to come over and help with their system, my job was not to criticize what they owned. If they asked, I would take their likes and dislikes into account and give what I felt to be a constructive comment, but never a criticism. If, in the end, they had what I considered to be not much more than a good hifi, as many did, that was their decision, not mine. If they chose to change it in some way, that was their decision, not mine. If they got no closer to a music system when they were done, I still did my job.

As to my system, I made it plain it was only important that it please me and the standards I apply to my own music listening. I also told most clients they probably would not care for my system. I still think that's true.
It doesn't do that many things that most of my clients listened for.

If a client ended up with a hifi that I thought to be not a good music system; what should I have done? Tell them they can't buy it because it's not a good enough system? As I said, a hifi and a music system can exist together. If you judge your system on how the highs sound to you; what of it? Several of us on this forum have expressed a preferrence for what we think approaches the reality of a live performance. And we have expressed our dislike for production methods that alter that perception. Those are our preferences and needn't be anyone else's. On that point, we all had agreed, or so I thought.

The question that was posed to me was:

"How do you guys use liveconcerts to adjust your references?
I don't get it."

I gave an answer that was from my view point, as one of "you guys", that I thought would explain how I used a live performance to adjust my system. If I gave the impression that my way was the only way to accomplish that goal, either I failed as a writer or the failure was on the part of the reader. Much of what I suggested goes to the idea of synergy between components that we have discussed elsewhere on this forum.

How many ways are there to put together a good hifi? Too many to count. How many good hifi's have I heard and sold? Quite a few. How many music systems have I heard and sold? Not as many. What does that prove? Only that there are many things I haven't heard. If you're happy with your system, fine. If you think live performances are a waste of money, fine. One thing I also always told my clients was, "As long as you pay for it, I won't come to take it away from you."






 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2057
Registered: Dec-03
"If I gave the impression that my way was the only way to accomplish that goal, either I failed as a writer or the failure was on the part of the reader."

Actually Jan your probably right, you were responding to someones question
and I may have taken it wrong. It sounded to me you were saying that you need
to experience live events in order to truly enjoy music or underestand how
a propper setup system works!

My appologies Sir!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"But many times things are very straighforward and plain: a harsh high note, a fat bass (when listening to a bad recording or a liveconcert with poor roomacoustics) and then you use these words, not concerned with the bigger picture ... "


Nout - This is again my opinion of how I listen to music. Yes , many times you will hear bad sound at a performance. I've been in many halls, clubs and particularly outdoor events where I suffered through the sound. Yet, others around me seemed to hear a completely different event than what I heard. I've attended student recitals that made my shoulders climb up around my ears. But in most cases, I found something to learn from the experience. If nothing more than the memory of someone trying to coax the music out of an instrument their hands and head still didn't understand.

I grew up outside of St. Louis, MO. I heard enough performances in Powell Hall to think I would never hear good sound. I moved to Dallas and the symhony performed in the the Music Hall, where the bass rolled through the space several times before dying away. I lived a few blocks from a club that I swear to this day, had a monkey on the mixing board. Levels went up, down and sideways. And the worst part of it was it was such a small club they didn't even need amps and speakers. Bad sound has ruined many a listening experience for me. But the music was always there. And that is why I came to the performance, not for the sound itself.


 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"It sounded to me you were saying that you need
to experience live events in order to truly enjoy music ... "



NOPE!




 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 133
Registered: Sep-04
J. Vigne,

" I've attended student recitals that made my shoulders climb up around my ears."

That made me smile for some reason. It's always a pleasure to read from someone with such descriptive panache :-).

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 135
Registered: Sep-04
Thanks John,

The performance went very well indeed. I've posted a little about the experience in my other thread, to keep irelevant posting to a minimum.

Thanks for the low-down on the Gales, also, John.
I absolutely love them and find some relief for not obtaining the 40's in the thought that there is, additionally, no crossover present when I bi-wire, as opposed to the fact I still have one in with 3 cones. I don't know if I'm thinking along the right track here - but one thing is certain:

These speakers not only ROCK!.... They EXTENNNND like nothing else I have ever owned! They can also stop when they should and turn on a sixpence.. I think you'll know what I mean by that last description.

Very very pleased.

Cheers,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 137
Registered: Sep-04
Actually, I have a question about my new Gales I'd like to run past you guys....

I wonder if you'd care to check out my "Ballast Chamber..." thread, I've aptly left in the 'Speakers' forum?

Thankyou,

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2708
Registered: Dec-03
J.V.

Yes, halls make all the difference. It is a whole branch of architecture. San Francisco spent millions just re-fitting Davies Hall to improve the sound. The Royal Albert Hall has suspended "flying saucers", introduced in the 60s, purely for their acoustic effect (they look b.... aweful). There is a really good modern hall at Warwick university, The Butterworth Hall; it was Rattle's choice venue when he was in Birmingham. I wonder how it compares with the Philharmonie in Berlin, where he now is. The latter looks a bit too big, to me, like an aircraft hanger. I've never cared for the London Royal Festival Hall, for the same reason. From the back it you need binoculars, and would probably hear much more of the music from listening to the broadcast on headphones.

Varney,

That is a vivid and strong recommendation of Gales. It good to read. Yes, I know what you mean! Back to base: do Gales have "that British sound"?
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 140
Registered: Sep-04
Well, back to the "Are you an audiphile or a music lover...?" thing first:

I found a post in another forum entirely, which matched exactly my personal stance on the subject:
" I can spend my time listening to the music and not worry (so much, anyways) about the gear."

Someone else's words, but my sentiment entirely. Yes, I love music - but I have to hear absolutely every nano-spec of it. I'm into VFM, so it follows if I spend a fiver on a CD, I want to hear it all. All this, with the full consciousness of what budget range I'm in. I expect a certain standard within that range and if I get it, I'm happy. If I don't, I get that 'itching' feeling inside my head, which I am sure many of you will have experienced at some time.

Are the Gales British sounding? Well, I don't know. That's why I started this thread - in order to find out what that sound entailed. As far as I know, and taking J. Vigne's description to heart - ("Midrange above all else....") I would say yes, they do embody it. That doesn't mean the bass isn't there, but it's controlled in perhaps a very 'English way'. Seemingly reserved on the surface, but spreading it's roots down below the ground.

The system doesn't sound 'debauched' as I call it in, say, the car stereo sort of way - it's very clean and wholesome.

You have to spend time and really sit with it for a while (perhaps that's the warm up period) to gain that involvement. The action going on just under the surface (bass guitar, effects etc) are stong enough to get your attention and pull you further into the music. The crescendo moments can still be disected into smaller parts in the mind while they are in full flow - and that is possibly the single most important feature to me when we talk about timing and seperation of instuments. If a system can't display those properties, to me it's a mess.

V

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2711
Registered: Dec-03
Well expressed, Varney. Yes, that are many "debauched" approaches and systems. At the other end of the scale I offer "emaciated". I will look for your other threads!
 

nout
Unregistered guest
ca_convert wrote:

NAD C352 amp opf the year
"The combination of power and dynamics blah blah no right at this price"
Yep cant argue with that, sounds better than the 640 it replaced and miles better than my old 3130...

...Page 81 "perfect partners" Oh its the NAD C352 and C542

Page 117 "Our top 3 hi-fi systems" Budget is the CA 640 c and a
That's fair enough, but why didnt you use is as your reference in the group test.

Then in a masterstroke of journalistic brilliance comes Jan 2005 edition ha!
Stick all of the "one make" systems with different speakers, and guess what the cambridge stuff wins, this time though its the 540 range not even the 640. Which is perfectly fine except that every system was judged with A DIFFERENT SET OF SPEAKERS fer chrissakes!! It should have been conducted like a proper experiment!! Same pair of speakers throughout unless (like AVI) you actually design and make the whole lot yourself). Best Part? the C352 amp "product of the year" two monthe earlier gets a "If you like music with a lively twist then this system could be worth a listen".



Hahahahaha

Just wait for the next amp grouptest and you'll read What Hifi's infamous phrase (placed under a tiny picture of NAD C352): "Still a nice amp, but the competition is getting tougher". 4 stars
It happens every year.:-)

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

One thing that went with my discussion of hifi's and music systems, when the client caught on to the music system concept, was this, "There will always be a better hifi, if that is all you're interested in. If you own a music system, you will never want more hifi."

There will always be competition catching up. I have "Stereophile" and "Absolute Sound" that go back into the '70's. Every now and then I have to get something out of the closet where they are kept. Inevitably I will open the box and pull out a copy only to read, "It is the most revealing (amp, pre amp, speaker, cartridge, etc.) I have had in my home." I put the magazine back and return listening to my forty year old McIntosh tube amps.

Varney - Good description of the Gales and a thorough analysis of why they are no longer sold in the US.


 

nout
Unregistered guest
I put the magazine back and return listening to my forty year old McIntosh tube amps.

That puts things in perspective, very often the posts I read on forums are posts from people who are eager to upgrade their hifi stuff that is nearly 3 months old.
It's a shame too that many good electronics loose a big percentage of their value in only a year or so.
I am in a sence to blame also, when buying I'm not thinking about used equipment. I bought everything new.
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 145
Registered: Sep-04
I thank you, J. Vigne and Ca_convert.

J, are you trying to say your fellow American prefers a little more debauchery? You should see (no, I mean HEAR) what goes on over here! Hehe! (no I mean YUK!).

John - great description, but to be honest, I don't believe I have ever heard an 'emaciated' sound - rather though, plenty of 'Obese' ones, as opposed to 'lean' or 'fit', other than a transistor radio.

Mrs. Varney has been politely asked to stop dancing in front of the speakers as I suspected her @rse was absorbing some of the bass. That's one sure way to get a firm smack across the midrange.

Joking aside (I don't think "bass absorbing" was a fair review of said lady's behind....)
" "There will always be a better hifi, if that is all you're interested in. If you own a music system, you will never want more hifi." "

I absolutely WANT to agree with that, J. Vigne. Okay, so how true is that, from your POV?

Nout - I try to read older reviews whenever I can - they help me to select good second hand equipment. It's always good to have a few copies from the 80's around. One has to ask - just how much has actually improved since then?

I actually think (feel free to challenge this, anyone) that it's a good idea to stick with the equipment from the era in which the source was actually at it's technological hieght of development....(?).

By this, I mean to ask - do you really think turntables (and other analogue sources) will continue to improve while so many other digital formats are jostling for attention? This is really the era of the DVD surround and the mini-disk. Of course, there will always be the puritan engineers who may still strive to improve on it. Personally, I think they can only find ways of bringing products down in price by researching alternative materials, (such as vibration absorbing resins, etc). The technology itself must have reached it's zenith perhaps during the late 70's or early 80s. This makes sense to me, when you look at the basic principles of magnetism, movement, azimuth and acoustic dampening, by which the whole technology was based and ultimately improved. Old stuff now, I'm sure. I'm no turntable expert, but I'm sure I'm on the right track here, thinking I'd do better with a second hand Rega than with the latest offering from any electronic leader of the 21st C.

Now, let's assume we're stuck in one era and we walk the path from the source to the front end, whilst staying in the same time-line. Looking around us at the stalagmites and stalagtites hanging before us in this ancient cave, at what point did the transistors really start to show an advantage in sound over the old valves? Did they ever at all, or was this just a leap in the direction of mass production, proffit and space & power saving?

Did the valve technology really stop developing when the FETs took over? Can it be improved upon? Would the hell you ever WANT it to be?

Just an additional question to aid my own interests - at what price bracket could I enter into 'off the shelf' valve amplification without actually building one from a kit for cheapness? If this technology actually reached it's zenith already, then I get to stop at a satisfactory point while the transistors keep racing ahead with new products?

I am a firm believer that good Hi-Fi need not be dependant on disposable income - but on knowledge, both technical and product-historic; coupled with an aptitude for bargain hunting. These are the skills I aim to improve upon, because I think it's more fun that way.


I could go on and on (sorry) but I'm wondering now (at the risk of starting yet another ridiculous conspiracy theory) that the makers of MOSFET gear have already reached their zenith and are slowly releasing their improvements in accordance with a clever marketing ploy.

Oh, now what have I done!? I'll just retire behind these sand bags while I await the retorts :-)

Regards,

V













 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 146
Registered: Sep-04
"It's a shame too that many good electronics loose a big percentage of their value in only a year or so.
I am in a sence to blame also, when buying I'm not thinking about used equipment. I bought everything new."

Yes, Nout.
I am a great believer in staying just one step behind the development of tech. I prefer the 'next to' latest thing. And that is not only because it is cheaper to do this.... with computers, especially, what you are using in practice already has many of it's 'bugs' fixed at roughly the time you purchase it. I do not trust MP3 players, for instance - I think they have a long way to go before they are worth the money; if they are not phased out altogether by someting entirely better. And as for mobile phones - I am already eyeing up now what I'll buy in about 2 yrs time for a few quid, since no-one will want it. Same goes for Hi-Fi.

V
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"There will always be a better hifi, if that is all you're interested in. If you own a music system, you will never want more hifi."

I absolutely believe that statement. It was not said just to convince my clients to purchase equipment I liked. In a way I was working somewhat like the doctor who would prefer to prevent or eliminate the disease; if I was successful I would eventually put myself out of business. Like the doctor, I knew that would never happen.
In my opinion, buying hifi is easy. Go into the shop and point at something that doesn't sound or look like what you already own. When you tire of it, repeat the process. The good thing about that process is you get to tell your friends about all the various pieces of hifi you have owned and what you found lacking in each and how what you own now is the most revealing (amp, pre amp, speaker, cartridge, etc.) you have had in your home. The bad side is it's expensive and you seldom get to enjoy the music.

Buying a music system takes some thought and some listening. You have to understand the synergy that you are after that will make the few components you gather together work in a harmonious fashion. To do so doesn't take enormous amounts of money, but, rather a simple understanding of what you are hearing. It's a bit like understanding your car. The fashion for years has been to put large, wide tires on all wheels for looks and performance. If you want the looks, that's fine. You could be sacrificing the performance though by putting too much tire on for the weight and drive configuration of your vehicle. If you understand less tire and various tire pressure can give better performance in many cases, then you can understand the synergy of your music system.
Those who've read my posts for a while know most of my audio system is quite ancient by the standards of this forum. I've owned the same forty year old amplifiers for over twenty years, the turntable for over twenty, the pre amp and speakers are about fifteen. I have components that I purchased over thirty years ago and my LS3/5a speakers were designed in the early 1970's. Each piece was regarded as quite good when it was new and I resisted the flash in the pan products. For the most part every component I purchased was built by a company still in business that has changed little in how they go about their business. There are many products on the market that suit the criteria I use for selecting audio components. I always found it more interesting to piece together a low priced system that made music than just sell a hifi, no matter the cost. The repeat hifi customers did give me the commissions to buy my equipment though, so I can't be too hard on them.


 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

As to technology and the advancing hordes, I would agree with most of what you have said. The exceptions I see are thus. As the computing power the designers have at their disposal continues to increase, the ability to build a better product will continue to improve as long as there is a buyer. I'd have to say, over the past decade, there haven't been vast improvements in players for 78 RPM records or cylinders. That, however, brings up the point of do you want to improve some items. Wouldn't it be better to hear those things as they were designed? How can an amplifer with a board full of IC chips replicate what your grandparents heard through their wind up Victrola? I had clients who wanted to hear the music Elvis turned out in 1956 through the equipment it was meant to be played on. An interesting idea to me.

As audiophiles we tend to forget how small a portion of the market we represent. Where the market is headed is to miniaturize components and make them more convenient. The concept of music as a commodity is the direction the industry is headed. Sound quality is secondary to how many songs can you access at any one instant. I believe 50,000 is the current limit. All that on one Ipod that will fit in your pocket. (I must be misunderstanding the one product I saw. It was meant to record FM radio. Can anyone explain that item to me?)

I know where valves had their best moment and if you look at the prices for tubes that were built before 1970 (what are called NOS, New Old Stock) you will see many others know also. But where did transistors have there moment? Audiophiles would say it is still to come. The salesperson at the Apple store would look at you as if you were daft if you asked for a transistorized anything. Pretty much the same with FETs.

As to the P2 vs. a new VPI Scout. Hands down the VPI is the better product. An old P2 vs. a new P2? The new is better. How much? There you will enter into the world of diminishing returns. After a point the difference gained is much smaller than the money spent. And only the individual can set where that occurs for their needs and desires. The easy access to the used market makes that point much wider than it was fifteen years ago. The downside to the used audio market seems to be many of the sellers would embarrass the sleaziest of used car salespeople. (And, by the way, I have sold used cars also.)


 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2071
Registered: Dec-03
Jan to use one of your analogies on this:

"That, however, brings up the point of do you want to improve some items. Wouldn't it be better to hear those things as they were designed? How can an amplifer with a board full of IC chips replicate what your grandparents heard through their wind up Victrola? I had clients who wanted to hear the music Elvis turned out in 1956 through the equipment it was meant to be played on. An interesting idea to me."

I kinda aquaint that to the restoring or modding of an old car.

Take your chevelle for instance.
Some would love to have the thing all original,matching numbers,bone stock.
While others would love to tear it appart put in the roll cage,tube the car with
a set of 12" slicks and hood scoop to clear the intake feeding the bored
out 427 with a dominator. (non original)

Who's to say whats better or who will have more enjoyment out of there car.
I'm not sure which one I'd pick.
The clean look of the all restored chevelle would be very cool.
But driving the modded one would be real fun too!

Sure there both fine pieces of machinery that would do what they are intended to.
But they would drive completely different and be used completly different.
The modded one is definatly not what the factory had in mind?
Or is it but the factory could not produce such a thing?

If you antiquate that to audio and take a tube amp in mind. "I know it's a strech"
You could have the original or a modded one that maybe has mods the manufacturer
would of liked to do but couldn't with there budget or selling price or
having to follow guidlines set by the industry.
 

J.Vigne
Unregistered guest

The point you raise is one you and I have discussed before. I'm not necessarily in disagreement with the idea of a 454 c.i.d. with 2004 fuel injection. The old Corvette style from the '60's wasn't very good anyway, stock or not. But that doesn't address; "how can an amplifer with a board full of IC chips replicate what your grandparents heard through their wind up Victrola?" That can't be done. And there should be no argument about that. If that is the true sound you want, there is only one way to achieve that end result.

In the case of my McIntosh tube amps, it would be hard to make the case Mac couldn't or didn't do something due to market restrictions. Mac and Marantz were the two higest priced audio lines at that time and were locked in a battle for the title of "best". They WERE the industry standards and budget was at the bottom of their list as to considerations. My MC240, at $289, and the MC 275, at $399, in 1962 represented a sizable chunk of income for most working slobs. The sobriquet "Doctor/Lawyer stuff" didn't get placed on those two lines by accident. I believe in 1962 you could have purchased that Corvette for less than $6,000 and a Chevy Belair went for less that $2,000.


 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2073
Registered: Dec-03
Jan:

""how can an amplifer with a board full of IC chips replicate what your grandparents heard through their wind up Victrola?" That can't be done. And there should be no argument about that. If that is the true sound you want, there is only one way to achieve that end result"

Agreed but that's what I meant by leaving the chevelle stock.
If that is what you want to experience than aftermarket performance parts
will not give you that.

But as you had mentioned you replaced some of the resistors and caps in
your mac's to "improve them" so there are some "better parts" out there
than what was used by the factory be it new technology that has come along
or parts they choose to use at the time.
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 149
Registered: Sep-04
Again,
"There will always be a better hifi, if that is all you're interested in. If you own a music system, you will never want more hifi."

J. Vigne - It is the one statement above all others which has really made me think deeply about what this is all about and why I want music to sound a certain way. I think I've said before the system as it were should include the room, the floor and the listener's attitude, as well as the 'Hi-Fi' which seems to be the the thing most people focus on when thinking of a 'Music System'. No, I do not think for one minute it was a statement just made to make clients purchase to your standards - I think it is probably the truest thing I have read on the subject of audio anywhere so far. It kind of puts everything into perspective for me.

Regards,

V
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ca_convert

CardiffUK

Post Number: 13
Registered: Jan-05
"There will always be a better hifi, if that is all you're interested in. If you own a music system, you will never want more hifi."

Absolutely!!

BUT..!

There is also an enjoyment to be had simply from the gear. It's no sin to have an interest in understanding, and maybe designing your won amplifier for example, and tinkering with it, much like a kit car perhaps. Just because my caterham sits on the driveway for a year unused mid rebuild does not mean i dislike driving.

Possibly therefore, hi-fi "addiction" as opposed to addiction to music is satiated by constant upgrading...music becomes the means. This is not my own opinion, but I can possibly understand that for some folks that IS what hi-fi is about.

Personally, I hope to keep my gear for at least 20 yrs...I hate to go all "spiritual" on you guys again (:-)) but like a guitar it improves with age. It does, really, it does! Why? I don't really want to know why...
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 153
Registered: Sep-04
Ca_,

Of course, I agree with that too. Whether a person likes rebuilding steam engines, old microscopes, cars or computers, it's all the same really. I guess the performance of the item changes according to the likes and skill of the individual. I do the same with airbrushes myself and I'd like to collect many more. They all have a unique character and some, even it is said, no two copies of the same model are quite the same.

With spray equipment, the same old debate can easily spark up - am I interested more in the painting, art itself or the handpiece used to create it? Well, the answer is both - always. I have one which is a joy to use and I am conscious of using it. I have another which I forget I am using because it becomes a natural extension of my hand. In most cases, it's the music I'm listening to which helps me into that state of mind while working with them. When one can forget the hi-fi, one is in touch with the music. The airbrush can become a tool for art. It is also a work of art in itself, if engineered with love in the first place, such as the old aerographs with the engraved handles.

Driving the car takes you to your destination - but it also takes you to another place inwardly, should you be also in love with the WAy it drives.

My wife calls it a 'boy' thing. I cannot argue with that. I seem to be the same with so many things.

V
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2713
Registered: Dec-03
I think there is real insight in that, Varney.

It is the same with musical instruments, as you may agree. Also, probably with any tool, a saw, a screwdriver, even a pen or a computer. To paraphrase George W (who nicked the quote) they are either "with you" or "against you". When they are "with you" they seem to become part of you. That is probably why the guitar seems to improve with age; It is not the guitar which changes.
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 154
Registered: Sep-04
Well, although I can see the psychological aspect, applied to many things - I have good evidence to believe this is not so with musical instruments.

I was once foolish enough to buy a brand new guitar when in my teens. It cost £100. There were some second hand bargains in Musical Exchange for around £70. Later a friend of mine who played told me I would have been much better off with the older (and cheaper) one. The reason? Well, the wood coninues to age and season. In a similar way to bones, I speculate there may be porosity, humidity and movement & stretching involved. An acoustic instrument I am sure changes with the decades. There are also the human intervention factors, which I call 'use'. Many an old guitar you will find the ownwer has packed (something at the top - what the hell is it called now?) with cardboard, usually part of a Rizla packet. The bridge! Thats it!.

Anyway, yes - like I said with Hi-Fi - it would be hard to actually obtain an instrument which has really been loved second hand. People rarely sell them on.

V
 

Veli
Unregistered guest
Dear J. Vigne,

I try to answer to some of your comments and questions. This time I will try make myself very clear - unfortunately this means a lot of text for this kind of discussion group message.

I know some composers like John Cage have made some experiments on how wide area the definition of music can cover. Anyway I would not call his 4'33'' music but just performance. In other (some would say more primitive) cultures the definition of music is probably quite narrow. In Europe the definition of music dates back to ancient Greek, where the theory of music was developed and first melodies were written down (the earliest known being The Delphoic Hymn and the Hymn to Apollo from around 130 BC). I could change my definition of music to "a combination of sounds and silence in rythm and intended to produce emotions to listeners", but even this would not be exact enough. I did not mean opera libretto when I previously said music is intended to tell a story - I merely meant that it carries some message (simple or complex) to produce emotions (initially pleasant emotions) to listeners. If there is no definition for music, then all sounds (and silence) is music ;-). From HiFi system point of view it does not matter whether it is reproducing "pure sound" or music, if it can reproduce all sounds a human being can hear (reproducing silence is quite simple - just turn the system off and you here only ambient noise :-)).

Music and psychological (or psychophycsical) phenomenons go very much hand in hand: music carries a message that causes some kind of emotions. Colour and music actually seem to be linked at least in two different ways - sound can be interpreted as colours or one can find dependencies between heard sound and seen colour. One of my frieds made her doctoral thesis on colour aspects in Olivier Messiaen's piano compositions. Sorry to use this phrase again, but "a classical example" of combination of sound and colour is to paint a Stradivarius violin with a very thin layer of titanium oxide (which does not have any actual effect on the sound but makes the violin completely white). Most people seeing the violin to be played would consider the sound from the white Stradivarius to be much worse than the sound from the same Stradivarius without the paint. Another example is, that a red concert hall is surely said to have a "warmer sound" than a blue concert hall - even there is no actual difference (this applies of course the western culture).

Because loudspeaker has a big role in sound reproduction the psychological behaviour of hearing has also a big role. Of course the same psychology of hearing applies to e.g. an amplifier, but the actual physical phenomenons and thus the effect on reproduced sound is somewhat different (e.g. different types of distortion) - I do not have enough knowledge to discuss this further.

To explain my background, I have studied acoustics (althogh nearly 25 years ago), have built some loudspeaker sets, done research work on impulse noise and sound absorbents, have worked in an architecture design office lead by a well known concert hall designer, have recorded many concerts and as an amateur ensemble singer have been singing in over 600 concerts (so I should know what music is about). However, I have not done any research work on loudspeaker design and its relationship with psychology of hearing. Here I mainly refer to my friend and his studies and experiments concerning loudspeakers.

Well designed loudspeakers tend to sound the same in an anechoic room. In practical listening situations (e.g. living room) the deleayd reflections from room surfaces introduce colour i.e. anomalities to the sound. The amount of colouring depends on the relationship between delay and wavelength of the sound. The human hearing analyses sound using "biological band pass filters" called critical bands of hearing. Below 500 Hz the critical bands of hearing are around 100 Hz wide, above 500 Hz they are roughly one third wide. Inside the critical bands of hearing the unevenessies of the frequency response cannot be distinguished. If a sound is delayed and summed to itself you see a comb filter effect. A delay of 0.1-2 ms causes very big anomalities in frequency response around the most sensitive area of hearing - the adjacent peaks and valleys are situated in different critical bands of hearing and thus can be heard. If the delay is made bigger, the colouring effect moves toward the low frequencies and thus it is not so important (the sensitivity of hearing gets also smaller in low frequencies). If the delay is more than 12 ms, the adjacent peaks and valleys are so close together (many of them inside the same critical band of hearing) that the sound is considerd as unaltered. The reflected sound also increases the volume and thus changes the colour of the sound if the distribution of frequencies is altered a lot during the reflection of the sound from different surfaces of the room. Concerning long delay reflections this is the only colouring mechanism. Short delay reflections can cause colouration if they pass through a frequency selective material (like chair) or the directional pattern of the loudspeaker directivity is asymmetric or uneven. Interesting is that in the most favoured listening situation (the loudspeaker acoustically at the same height as the listener's ear and roughly 3-4 meters away) the delay of the sound reflected from the floor is the worst possbile i.e. around 1-2 ms. The conclusion of my friend was, that the early reflections should be avoided. There exist two solutions: anechoic room or controlled directivity of loudspeaker (meaning that the directivity should not be frequency dependent or asymmetric). He has been designing loudspeakers according to this principle for around 20 years - and with excellent results. One note: around 25 years ago some people got the idea of linear phase loudspeaker meaning that they tried to avoid all phase changes occurring due to loudspeaker element placement or crossover design. However, the changes of hearing any advantages due to phase linearity seem to be very small due to much bigger effect of early reflections.

When I was studying acoustics I did not have to go to an open field to measure the loudspeaker response. We probably had one of the best anechoic chambers in the world in our use. The low limit frequency was 62 Hz and ambient noise well under 20 dB(A). It was so big we once carried a piano inside the ancechoic chamber and I made measurements of its directivity patterns.

I assumed that the concept of critical bands of hearing was well known because it was taught to me at the university 25 years ago. Perhaps this is the earliest reference:

E. Zwicker, G. Flottorp and S.S. Stevens (1957) "Critical bandwidth in loudness summation" J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 29: 548-557.

Anyway, from psychophysical reasons, hearing is far from a perfect instrument and does not behave according to pure physical rules: we do not hear everything included in a sound and at the same time we hear something that is missing from the sound (e.g. a missing lowest partial of a harmonic sound). Music has the emotional aspect added to psychophysics of hearing (and here I do not consider 4'33'' of ambient noise as music, although it has the emotional aspect - the audience thinking whether they "hear" music or is the composer pulling their leg).

Finally, I am not saying the above presented approach to loudspeaker design is the ultimate answer, but to me it represents a very rational approach to things that seem to matter most.

All the best,

Veli
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2715
Registered: Dec-03
Varney,

Thanks, yet again. Yes, instruments can get better. There is no doubt that they "break in". Most people agree the stringed instruments from the Cremona school are probably still doing that after 400 years. Unfortunately it is difficult to find examples that were not "improved" (sic) in the 19th or 20th centuries. So I am told. Interesting Veli mentions Stradivarius...

Veli,

Thank you so much for a long and interesting post. It seems churlish to disagree on details, but surely...

Never wishing to detract from the genius of Ancient Greece, all that can be said about the Delphoic Hymn and the Hymn to Apollo etc. is that they may be the earliest notation of melody we know about. So far. I think is is absurd to think that the Greeks were actually first to think of doing it. Perhaps you did not mean that. Given stone age bone flutes made from crane femurs etc it seems to me that written musical notation could well be as old as written language, and music itself as old as language itself. BTW there is apparently overwhelming evidence that Neanderthals did ritual burials. It would be odd if they had no music, and did not, at least, sing and chant.

If there is no definition for music, then all sounds (and silence) is music ;-).

Not so! I don't think you really mean that, either, which accounts for the ";-)". (Small end of long piece of string; let us not go that route).

But thank you again for that post, addressed to J.V. I personally try to eliminate reflections. I think this is essential in multi-channel, where you have speakers to give you the originals. But you are correct, it cannot really be done in a domestic setting. And is worth saying that an anechoic room makes a really awful music room. So a good music room and a good hifi room are entirely different. So, visually, we can never hope to feel "at home" with hifi, as it were.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Veli - My, you do ponder your response for a long time, don't you? Probably better than those of us who respond only to be met by yet another argument.

As I see your statement referring to critical bands I have no disagreement with your facts. They are well known, but, I originally thought your mention of them was in the context of how we perceive music. If I am understanding you, what you have now referred to is the correct usage of the term as it corresponds to how we hear sound itself, independent of music. That is where I hoped I had made the distinction of the physiology of how we hear vs. the psychology of what we hear. But I still think we can be considered in slight disagreement about certain statements you have made.

As with John, I see no point is squabbling over details, particularly since my experience agrees with 98% of your content. I would point out I never suggested you need climb a pole in a field. It was an illustration of a technique employed by certain engineers before the wide spread use (and ability to construct) anechoic chambers and the results that can be obtained without such a construction. And the possibility, I agree more couched in my words, that the reliance on such devices as an anechoic chamber can be deceiving to those accustomed to an acceptance of new technology. As they say, they don't make 'em like that anymore.

Where I have the most difficulty with your statements is in this one point; "Well designed loudspeakers tend to sound the same in an anechoic room". First, we should have to get beyond the term "well designed" for it is in this absolute term that I find the most disagreement. Though the idea that is represented in "well" can be taken as allowing for a wide latitude in opinion, I feel you have a much narrower concept of "well designed loudspeakers" as a whole.

As I mentioned in my response to your last post, the power response of a loudspeaker into the room is a point of disagreement among designers and among listeners. Some prefer a speaker that has a wider dispersion characteristic at all possible frequencies than others would allow for being "well" designed. As I see it, taken at face value, your statement would tend to leave out quite a wide selection of well regarded and classic designs from what you consider to be "well" designed products; I would ask one thing of you before we can proceed. Assuming you wish to go forward.

Can you tell me, with examples, what you consider to be "well designed loudspeakers". Conversely, please give me an idea what you consider to be not w.d.l.'s. Any exceptions, which your statement doesn't seem to allow, would also be accepted. I am always fascinated by absolutists. Here in the US black/white has long been a distinction that has resonated.

Secondly, the idea that the most damaging reflections come from the floor in front of the listener (I did understand that correctly didn't I?) is another statement I have seen disputed among those whose life is spent in an anechoic chamber and those in the real world. A point of contention between those who believe numbers and those who believe their ears.

Mathematically you are correct about reflection time and so forth. If you are using an anechoic chamber as your model they would be consistent with what you (do not) hear in that environment where each surface is treated as an equal. The reality of the typical listening environemt, however, is most floors have something that represents acoustic absorption material placed over and on the reflective surface. I myself take the floor to be far more damaging, as you suggest, to the soundd of my room than any other surface. It is where I focus my first and most intense interest when trying to calm a room. The surface that has, in a real world, the most damaging effects is the surface opposite the floor. Obviously the ceiling. The problem with the ceiling in a domestic setting is the lack of acceptable treatments for what is the largest, uninterrupted reflective surface in any given room. The difference in the dimension from the woofer to the ceiling also contributes to longer reflection times and hence to more time/phase inaccuracies at the listener's ear. Many would find this far more troubling than the reflections from the near surface of the floor, where a woofer can be placed at a known distance from that surface. I have yet to see a manufacturer announce they can place a woofer with absolute certainty a given distance from the ceiling of any room the speaker would be used in. Acoustic engineers are well aware of this problem and treat the ceiling of a performance space or conference room first since they can assume a certain amount of absorption at the floor level. Or at least they did whenever I worked with them.

Of course, to separate a room into it's various structural components ignores the fact that it is the room's aggregate volume, dimensions and shape which determine its characteristic sound. But that is what you get when you use an anechoic chamber, which doesn't exist outside of itself, as your model.

Please don't take this wrong; but, every time you have suggested your friend's research it seems the results have been skewed by poor thinking in the first place.




 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

One last point, the idea that you have listened to Cage's work and had enough of a response to it to have formed the opinion it is not music would seem to reaffirm the fact that it is music. Your reaction and decision was based upon your intellectual and emotional response to the work. (Surely you can't suggest you are such an automitron you have no emotional response to what your senses take in. Possibly one of anger or disgust or mere dismissal.) If you can agree you had this emotional and intellectual response, you must then place the work into your context of what is the definition of music. It contains musical notes in an arrangement that fits within a rhythmic structure. Whether they conform to your concept of musical notes or rhythm is not the point, or should I say, it is the point. The performance evoked a response form you the listener. That, I believe, is how you wish to define music. If it is not, please calrify your position. I would guess this questioning of what you have taken to be your beliefs is the reason for Cage's work.

You also seem to separate music from performance as if the two can be apart. In your broad sweep of primitive culture you seem to dismiss the ability of music to be more than a structured presentation of notes and rhythms for no purpose other than to be music. This is not looking at music as a ritual divorced from the artistic merits it might have. This runs into the concept of art/craft/ritual which contemporary man has such a problem understanding. We would prefer to compartmentalize all the various aspects of our experience. This is the recurring theme of "modern art". I for one, prefer the world of Antonin Artaud.

This from "Bohemian Ink":

http://www.levity.com/corduroy/artaud.htm


 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Of course Artaud was mentally deranged and addicted to halucinogenic drugs. But, what a life he lived. Strongly held convictions that stirred riots. Even when he was wrong he was more right than most people have the courage to be.




 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Veli - I await your response.


 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 161
Registered: Sep-04
J. Vigne,

With all due respect to your knowledge of and sensitivity to music and art, culturally speaking -
I think that if you were in the business of creating to survive as many artists must in order to make a living, you might reconsider your apraisal of this (4.33) self indulgent nonsense.

I am for once almost speechless with a feeling which flickers from a simple dismissal to a slightly more complicated disgust.

Let's break it down in another thread....

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/116567.html
 

Veli
Unregistered guest
To John A.

Yes, I certainly had the Neandertal people in my mind but without explicit knowledge of them (and being lazy) I referred to eldest known European records of music (which I also have performed).

Anechoic room is a nice listening room for one person wearing a thick pullover: no disturbing reflections and NEARLY complete silence to reveal all details of the most silent parts of the music (and unfortunately also noise from the recording and system components). Note: complete ambient silence could perhaps drive a person crazy due to overwhelming noise from the body itself.

To J. Vigne

Thanks for good comments. I really would not have expected someone actually to wait for my answers.

Yes, I ponder but I also write this kind of text slowly (and still I make typos :-) - and I have to use a dictionary to understand your text (I did not find the word "automitron" from any of my dictionaries, but it seems to be a negative term...). I also do not have time to read this forum so often.

I tried to make a clear distincition between sound and music, but here again: critical bands apply sound and thus music, because music is only sound if we peel away the emotional aspects related to rhytm, harmony and in many cases words. Probably we have a different understanding of what music is about. Hopefully we will not dive into discussion of whether the phenomenons in ear cells are physics of psychology :-).

Sigh, again I was too lazy to explain what I meant with "well designed" - and now I have to do it: I meant that the basic things are okay: even frequency response along the main axis and no abnormal behaviour in the elements (e.g. no nasty resonances of metal cones). Here my concept certainly is narrower than yours, but according to the original study of my friend this is enough in an environment where the reflections are eliminated - i.e. anechoic room. In practical listening conditions the "well designed" is something else as you say.

I have been discussing the effect of reflections and their relationsip with the dircetivity pattern of the loudspeaker but surely there are other aspects - like how close to the back wall the loudspeaker is situated. I am afraid that I do not have enough knowledge of loudspeaker design to discuss all the details in the depth that you require (and it seems you also know much more than I do). If you mean by examples some commercially available models, the problem is, that they are not avaialble in US. Anyway, I am sure that a loudspeaker designed according to the directivity principles of my friend has a much better change to sound good in normal listening conditions than a loudspeaker designed without those principles. Especially if you take into account their low price due to very simple and thus cheap construction (prices starting from around USD 400/pair).

Concerning reflections, it is also probably well known, that the ray theory does not apply reflection of sound in all cases. This is perhaps not a big problem in normal living rooms, but unfortunately e.g. many public places and especially meeting rooms are designed without taking into account all applying acoustic principles.

Finally, it seems I have no more to give to this discussion concerning loudspeaker design.

My written definition of music is far from perfect. I wrote I would not consider Cages 4'33'' as music - you and others may well consider it as music. I called it a performance meaning it is more like a theater scene. Surely it causes emotions - that is what I also wrote - but those emotions do not fulfil the requirements I have for the term "music". Okay, there is also music theater in place so perhaps I could call 4'33'' an "ambient noise opera" :-).

Performance (as I understand it) and music are often related but in many cases not. Originally music was perhaps not a distinct performance but part of the normal behaviour of people. You are completely right concerning compartmenatlization. In our days music has been institutionalised e.g. by orchestras (and their performances) and people in western culture do not use music in everyday communication (any more). The other phenomenon is using music as "ambient noise". I suspect we have the same kind of thinking here although we do not seem to use the same words. Anyway, discussing the concept of music in this thread is perhaps much off topic, altough interesting. And of course a HiFi system is also supposed to reproduce also other sounds than music - like speech, which is actually very revealing concerning the performance of loudspeakers.

Funny that we have museums for modern art. I assume everything in a museum to be out-dated...

I am just a simple engineer so Antonin Artaud's world is well outside of my brain capacity. Or another obvious reason: I do not have the courage.

This is fairly understandable to me:

http://www.esasaarinen.com/?kieli=en

All the best,

Veli
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2725
Registered: Dec-03
Having introduced 4"33' (Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 12:00 am) let me just say that my point was that we should not, actually, expect true silence, but rather the sort of background ambience upon which you would expect to hear "real music" superimposed. So you would not, for example, get the sound of the real "performance" by switching off the amplifier.

Many recording engineers and hi-fi users seem not to understand the difference. And digital sound recording gives the engineers the opportunity to insert dead silence, "digital zero" in pauses in the music. I have many recordings like that; if I am listening in the way that I would had I been there at the performance, then it feels for all the world as if I have been struck deaf, or submerged in water, which is massively disconcerting.

I could cite so many specific discs. On some, you can even hear them turn the recorder back on again, suggesting they suddenly realised they had made a mistake by turning it off (example: last few seconds of Elgar 3rd Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on Naxos, otherwise an outstanding recording, imho).

Then there is "compression" which is based partly on the assumption that faint sounds are unimportant, and can be eliminated without loss, which is nonsense, again.

I was not intending to raise questions such as "Does 4"33' count as 'music'?" but all posts on this have been interesting, so thanks! Robustly argued, Varney! Yes, it is much like the blank canvas presented as "art".

I do think a good recording of 4'33" would be a useful disc for testing a hifi system and the competence of recording engineers. Not on its own, of course. And, if "unexpected sounds" are what Cage wanted the "listener" to become aware of, it seems to me that surround sound has special value, here - you cannot even assume anything about the direction from which the sounds will come.

Veli, your English is excellent; I thought it was probably you native language. What is the point about Esa Saarinen; are you and he the same person?! As usual, it is the mistakes in language that elude people, and which the "native" can correct from context. I saw at once that Jan meant "automaton". But English is really all I have, so there would be no excuse. I have not a single word of Suomi, unfortunately.
 

Veli
Unregistered guest
John A.

Sorry, the reference to Esa S. was just a try to prove that a simple minded engineer like me could have some linkage to less concrete things than frequency curves. Anyway I once started to read his book about the history of western philosophy and found it interesting - although sadly I never had time (or energy) to finish the book. Esa S. is a very famous philosopher here having done a lot to make philosophy a public matter (he even has a lectureship at the Helsinki University of Technology).

Filling the pauses with ambient noise, if the recording was done in pieces, is probably peanuts. The problem then is perhaps the producer, who does not understand the totality of a composition from the listeners point of view. The modern digital processors amplifiers could do that even on-line with the overwhelming capacity of their DSPs (this would of course upset all audiophiles). Of course recording the whole work with one take would be ideal.

Kaikkea hyvaa - all the best,

Veli
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

John - I think you've misunderstood compression.

"Then there is 'compression' which is based partly on the assumption that faint sounds are unimportant, and can be eliminated without loss, which is nonsense, again."

Actually compression is going to make the quiet sounds more audible. By bringing the dynamic range of the entire work down several dB's the loud portions are what are assumed to be unimportant. The quiet portions are made louder by raising the level of the quietest signals in relation to the average.

I believe what you are thinking of is the Mpeg formatting. It assumes there are signals that are unimportant because they are masked by the louder portions of the music. The quieter portions are then discarded to make more space available for the average. This is the basis for MP3 recordings and was originally introduced on the MiniDisc by your favorite company, Sony, in the mid '90's. It allowed Sony to put as much recorded material on a 3" disc as they had previously put on a 5" disc because they didn't put the same amount on both discs because they didn't have to since they decided they knew you couldn't hear what they had put on the 5" disc so you would not know you were not hearing it on the 3" disc and since you didn't know you would not care since you thought it was there all the time when it was not because when it was there you did not know it was there and so ...

Actually it does have its basis in fact and studies that have proven the theory. So don't you go arguing with fact and theory, John.



 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2728
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Well, if I think I can hear the difference, that's all that matt- No, sorry. I am short of time, but not that short.

"Compression" means several different things, I think. The sense in which you use it is probably most common, so, yes, knuckles burn from being rapped with ruler. Sorry, Sir, will try not to do it again.

I think DTS "Perceptually lossless compression" works in a similar way to the MPEG compression. MP3 can be not too damaging to the sound at higher sampling frequencies. "Apple lossless" is a good way to go on iPod etc; it is "compression" in the computer sense, like MLP: the files are made smaller, but all the information is still there, and are the same as the original after they have been unpacked.

Argue with fact? Futile. Argue with theory? Essential.

It is telling the difference that is the problem, I find.

"I hope this answers your question".

Must go.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2729
Registered: Dec-03
Veli,

Tack sa mycket. Thank you for the reply, well received. Little time. Will return later. Cheers.
 

TR
Unregistered guest
Sorry to use your board, but i could never get registered. I have a class D Mosfet 2000w amp i am about to hook up to two pyramid 1000w subs. I have a 95 Ford Escort and im pretty sure that if i kept it on 1500w the amp would completely drain my battery. Would the wattage the amp is pushing directly corelate with how much power it draws. Do you think i would be safe running 1000w everywhere i go, or maybe 500w?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2737
Registered: Dec-03
TR,

I think this thread is continued on Let us make some noise over this silence..... Yes, usually wattage correlates with power drawn. The battery should be OK as long as you keep driving. Though you might have to engage a lower gear for the loud bits. 4'33" should be no problem.
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 182
Registered: Sep-04
TR,

Does this Ford Escort have furry dice and a green stripe across the top, with your name on?

"Do you think i would be safe running 1000w everywhere i go, or maybe 500w?"

Not if you parked it outside my house.

V
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