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The Purpose of Audio Reproduction


fas42

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Time to crack this back open again, 😄.

 

Yes, what's the point? There could be a zillion answers, but my answer is to be true to the contents of a recording ... I was going to post this to that unloved thread, now gone to zombie land, but I'll do it here, instead,

 

 

Bit of a mess, eh? And, this is the remaster, from 2015!! - I've got it on a double CD from 1998 - a low cost release - sludgy, plus? ... You bet!

 

What should a system do to, for this? In my book, absolutely nothing more than the best job possible to being accurate to the data - now, what I'm getting at the moment is not elimination of the sludge - but is a realistic pickup of what was heard in that club. The reproduction, currently, is not the best it could be - my active speakers still need to be refined more; which will gain me greater clarity, a better connection to the musicians doing their thing ... this sort of track is very helpful in making it clear where the shortfalls are.

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9 hours ago, kumakuma said:

 

 

1*DDsOx6D3oe8ZxcA-OTfIDA.jpg.a8fb3271c33bdf0b4c7e51791ac9b917.jpg

 

I believe the myth of Sisyphus is totally misunderstood.

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Just bumped into this post, in my wanderings,

 

This is obviously what I keep talking about - that this happened, out of the blue, well over 30 years ago is still something intensely vivid for me - and the fact that this standard of SQ was so ephemeral, at the time, only burned the sense of the behaviour more deeply into my consciousness.

 

What is happening is that the mind accepts the illusion - no if's or but's. But it requires such a degree of attention to detail that many may give up trying to achieve it - what has improved, in current times, is that the standard of equipment has risen enough so that excellent value for money gear, carefully chosen and tweaked, will approach such a level, and be mighty close to being fully convincing; enough to satisfy in most occasions.

 

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People talking of "best volumes" always get me shaking my head - a competent setup can easily go up and down any number of dBs with ease, while still delivering the impact of the music presentation. What you also get with this is a continual succession of "Wow!" moments, so to speak - on any music that has dramatic changes of pace in it, say.

 

Classical is a good source of this - yesterday, on the excellent value for money Edifiers I had a very ordinary CD on, Elgar with voices - and over and over again there was this magic of bursts of musical sound images emerging from almost silence; beautiful stuff! If you go to live music occasions, and you delight in this richness of the sound tapestry that is woven by creative arrangements, then you will appreciate what capable audio replay will do. What you especially get is the visceral impact of that unexpected sound delivery, bursting upon you - this is so satisfying, and makes the effort to achieve that standard worthwhile.

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I'm frequently amused when people are disturbed by the fact that digital volume controls "throw away bits!", as if this is something terrible, and will ruin the SQ in audible ways. Many would be amazed at how much information can be captured in the least significant bits, which will never be heard because masking by the primary sound sources completely dominates - you could literally embed a completely different recording in those lower bits, and barely be aware that this has happened, when listening - and then strip out this "hidden" track, amplify the latter to normal levels - and it would sound fine.

 

Losing a couple of bits in a volume control is nothing. Absolutely nothing. If the gain structure in the chain is as it should be, you will never, ever hear "the loss of bits!". I've done listening tests where ridiculous amounts of the data were thrown away; and if the right dithering is applied, what you hear is a pretty noisy, in the analogue sense, recording.

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Hmm, while overall I like her contribution I can't quite see how she gets to the view that 'most non-audiophile systems do a good job' and ends up putting the blame onto audiophile systems for getting attack over-emphasized. Also in a later post where she seems to be responding to people's curiosity about her own system, her 'reason' for not revealing it strikes me as disingenuous as she deflects from specific components towards 'not talking about specific brands'.

 

Going back (later) to her opening post on that thread I'm left wondering what her meaning of 'space between the notes' is as she says live music doesn't generally have that. To me that phrase is synonymous with 'instrumental separation' the ability to follow streams within the music without distraction. But maybe I've gotten it wrong and 'space between the notes' is really only an artifact of a hi-fi system?

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Rereading that post of hers, I'm still OK with her point that audiophile systems can emphasise qualities, that detract from the 'musicality' of the playing. As regards brands, I guess part of it could be because of some tie ups with other manufacturers; and, of course, that the component is not important, if the real work was in the fine tuning of the setup.

 

I suspect the "space between the notes" relates to very sparse arrangements, where there are literally moments where a single note dies away, into the acoustic - it's space between successive notes, of a single instrument. Which is how some audiophile recordings come across. Following streams in the music is a different thing, to me; here, each instrument has its own 'space' separate from others, depending upon how it was recorded - if one instrument is right next to the other one, physically, and a single microphone picks it up, then almost no physical space will be perceived between them. Which doesn't have anything to do with the ear's ability to clearly pick up, and "separate", each of those two instruments.

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Reading this,

 

I had a friend who belonged to a record of the month club, and every one of them was what is now considered an iconic album of the time, in the beginning of the 70's - "What's up this time?" ... "Uhh, that Rolling Stones band - I really like this track, it's called, umm, Brown Sugar ..." :).

 

Quote

To be honest, I have much better sound now but much less of this enthusiasm nowadays.
And I still go back quite often listening to music I heard between 14 and 20 years of age, still hoping ...

 

Yes, the music was magic, and a very ordinary record player back then released it, easily ... can it happen in the digital age? Well, the good news, of course ^_^, is that it most certainly can - and what is even better is that the full glory of those masterpieces of musical creativity can emerge with much richer colour and depth than they ever did then. So why is it so difficult? The unfortunate answer is that the manufacturers of the replay gear have taken soooo long to understand that a lot more care has to be taken in the implementation of their kit - just throwing the bits together, with the right numbers popping out, just ain't gonna cut it ... and never will.

 

If you want best SQ, especially of the old stuff, then best design and construction practices for the audio chain parts are essential - lacking that, DIY tweaking with understanding can make it happen. Obviously, that's what I do, but there are quite a few individuals out there who also work out what can be achieved - who mostly go about it from a different angle than myself.

 

A real buzz with getting the SQ spot on is that the enthusiasm, for the music itself, is fully in place - a single album can be totally satisfying; you don't need to hear "something else" to top up your inner batteries, ^_^.

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Here's another good reason for optimising SQ - went to a local shopping area, next door was a charity shop, went in and grabbed a handful of CDs, the first ones that looked half reasonable - all classical. 6 for 10 bucks, pretty good value :).

 

Going through them now, had Heifetz playing Gershwin - no duds yet! :D

 

Currently,

 

cGVn.jpeg

 

And sounding lovely, too...

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I am continually facing a phenomenon. People don't surround themselves with what's best to them, but with what they bought cheaply. What is "best," though?

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Music itself is what's "best" - the machinery is merely a means of accessing the experience. Of course people will get pleasure from what presents nicely, visually, in the machinery - but if it doesn't deliver the experience, properly, I don't see the point to it. At one stage of my life I knew someone well who enjoyed photography enormously - that is, he was obsessed with getting the "next thing", in the machinery - but all I ever saw as a result of that enthusiasm were snapshots ... hmmm

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I see what you mean. I look at it from a slightly different perspective. All experiences come and go. The objects are constantly changing, the knowing subject, i.e., me, remains unchanged. Thus, it makes no sense to attach too much importance to experiences. If you know what is important, all experiences become right.

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On 2/5/2022 at 11:42 PM, AnotherSpin said:

I see what you mean. I look at it from a slightly different perspective. All experiences come and go. The objects are constantly changing, the knowing subject, i.e., me, remains unchanged. Thus, it makes no sense to attach too much importance to experiences. If you know what is important, all experiences become right.

 

By contrast, the "me" I see as continually evolving - frankly, it seems pretty boring if that remains unchanged, say for eternity :). Like, playing a single note on an instrument, and have it hang in the air, like forever - "Gawd, that bloody note again! When's it going to go away?!!" :D.

 

Experiences are the means for progressing the "me" - how you react to them is "food for the soul" ... so, they are not important in themselves, but are part of the apparatus that allow one to become a "better me" ... hopefully, O.o.

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Yesterday played another cheapy, that I hadn't touched for a long time ... $3 new, from some record shop, years ago - still has the price sticker on it. The Belart (??) label, which licensed a 1971 recording of Gulda and the VPO from Decca, of Beethoven ... took my breath away - a massive, massive space in which the instruments were played, huge sound; almost tooo much, :).

 

This is special stuff - an experience, :D, that goes straight to the good places inside one's being ...

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5 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

By contrast, the "me" I see as continually evolving - frankly, it seems pretty boring if that remains unchanged, say for eternity :). Like, playing a single note on an instrument, and have it hang in the air, like forever - "Gawd, that bloody note again! When's it going to go away?!!" :D.

 

Experiences are the means for progressing the "me" - how you react to them is "food for the soul" ... so, they are not important in themselves, but are part of the apparatus that allow one to become a "better me" ... hopefully, O.o.

 

We're talking about different "me". You mean your body and your mind, and that, of course, is infinitely variable beyond the slightest hope for stability or security. In truth I am neither body nor mind. There is no time to be bored in eternity. Mind only get bored when mind feels the lack of something. And how can there be a lack of anything for essential "me" that knows everything?

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You are the perfect "me". And it has never been otherwise. Only the mind ceaselessly tells its never-ending stories of "evolving", "developing", "achieving", etc. Nothing wrong with tinkering with components, but know the truth and truth will set you free 🙃

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I may be "perfect" x-D ... but does that mean I should sit around all day, luxuriating in my perfection, doing nothing, until I fall over sideways, dead? I mean, I could go to India, sit in a cave, and endlessly mediate; until I keel over, because starvation kicks in ...

 

Tinkering is what makes life interesting - if there was no tinkering, I would be living a lifestyle pretty much the same as an ape; all the bits and pieces that make up the human world would not have come into existence - do you see that as being preferable?

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6 minutes ago, fas42 said:

I may be "perfect" x-D ... but does that mean I should sit around all day, luxuriating in my perfection, doing nothing, until I fall over sideways, dead? I mean, I could go to India, sit in a cave, and endlessly mediate; until I keel over, because starvation kicks in ...

 

Tinkering is what makes life interesting - if there was no tinkering, I would be living a lifestyle pretty much the same as an ape; all the bits and pieces that make up the human world would not have come into existence - do you see that as being preferable?

 

There is no need to stop doing what you are doing. Have fun. Especially since no one really chooses what to do or not to do.

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Getting back to what the purpose of the audio game is, as soon as a system makes me uncomfortable while listening - then it's failed ... doesn't matter how unbelievably ornate, how incredible the level of visual bling; if it can't have me enjoy a recording that I know should sound a lot better than it does at that moment - then it's a dud ... the rig, that is :D.

 

The system is always just a means to an end - which is to get satisfaction from listening to whatever recording happens to be playing ... it's a very simple goal; but which may require lots of, yes, tinkering to make happen :).

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8 minutes ago, AnotherSpin said:

 

There is no need to stop doing what you are doing. Have fun. Especially since no one really chooses what to do or not to do.

 

I thoroughly disagree here ... we are constantly choosing what to do or not do; everybody is fully in control of their lives - and one of those choices can be to believe that we are not in control of our lives ^_^. Laziness, complacency, a desire to fit in, are easy ways to put off being more aware of our options - at any moment a person could radically alter how they live ... you are in control, :).

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Suppose you are hungry. Have you chosen to feel hunger? Next, you have two options in front of you, pasta or a burger. You didn't choose to have these “choices”, they just exist in front of you. Did you choose to like pasta and like the burger? It probably just happened in accordance to previous conditioning, you love pasta and you love the burger. For a while, probably not long, these two options will be in your mind, and then one of them will apper to be stronger, than the other for a reason you didn't choose. And you will eat one or the other. Where was your choice here? The "choice" in all other cases is similar. The options arise in front of us without our input and we pick up the one that is stronger.

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This sounds like Sociology 101 - we are completely a victim of events around us, and are ultimately totally predictable ... and hence totally boring :).

 

I'll take notice when some "expert" watching a chess game between two champion players, says confidently he can predict what each person's next move will be - and is always right, :D.

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If you are driven by mind's logic then yes, you are a victim of every single thingy around you, no way out. Know who you are in truth and see then.

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