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Is audiophile sound, natural sound?


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I regularly visits concerts, classical and jazz, and I must say that my hifi system gives instruments and voices a different character than the originals. I have never listened on a hifi system, regardless price, that have reproduced a natural sound. Has hifi sound its own character to be regarded as hifi.

 

/lg

/sorry for my language

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I regularly visits concerts, classical and jazz, and I must say that my hifi system gives instruments and voices a different character than the originals. I have never listened on a hifi system, regardless price, that have reproduced a natural sound. Has hifi sound its own character to be regarded as hifi.

 

/lg

/sorry for my language

 

Welcome to CA.

 

Understand your perspective. Your language is fine.

 

To quote Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, (You're All I Need) "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing...". And CSN, "When you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with..."

 

Enjoy the music,

Richard

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I regularly visits concerts, classical and jazz, and I must say that my hifi system gives instruments and voices a different character than the originals. I have never listened on a hifi system, regardless price, that have reproduced a natural sound. Has hifi sound its own character to be regarded as hifi.

 

/lg

/sorry for my language

Welcome as well. I've always maintained the position that Hifi and Live are two very different things, so I'm not a big believer in the theory of trying to develop the "Absolute Sound". Both can be very pleasing experiences though.

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I regularly visits concerts, classical and jazz, and I must say that my hifi system gives instruments and voices a different character than the originals. I have never listened on a hifi system, regardless price, that have reproduced a natural sound. Has hifi sound its own character to be regarded as hifi.

 

/lg

/sorry for my language

 

If you got a guitarist in your room and he/she played you a classical number, the chances of reproducing that same tone and clarity

on a HI FI system would be impossible.

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If you got a guitarist in your room and he/she played you a classical number, the chances of reproducing that same tone and clarity

on a HI FI system would be impossible.

 

I am aware that it is hard to reproduce live sound. But should not live sound be the goal for the design effort? Otherwise, what is the design goal?

 

//regards

//lg

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I am aware that it is hard to reproduce live sound. But should not live sound be the goal for the design effort? Otherwise, what is the design goal?

 

//regards

//lg

 

To get as close as possible to the natural live sound, some brands are better than others, as your a jazz classic fan, most of what you hear comes from acoustic natural sound, I enjoy rock, so live its bypasing electrical equipment as does HI FI, so clearly easy to reproduce on record.

 

I don't know what HI FI suits the genre you like, but there are brands out there that suit that natural live classic sound.

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I regularly visits concerts, classical and jazz, and I must say that my hifi system gives instruments and voices a different character than the originals. I have never listened on a hifi system, regardless price, that have reproduced a natural sound. Has hifi sound its own character to be regarded as hifi.

 

/lg

/sorry for my language

 

Is audiophile sound, natural sound?

 

I think it depends on who you ask; some prefer a more realistic soundscape and natural tonal balance while others enjoy sonic effects like "air" and "sparkle" or "presence" and "soundstage" better.

And in fact this question only makes sense if we are discussing the sound of live unamplified music on a natural acoustic space; a lot of music is close-mic'ed in the semi-anechoic ambiance of the studio and then fabricated in the mixing console.

 

In my view, an as realistic as possible represention of a live unamplified concert requires minimalist mic'ing techniques and adequate positioning of the microphones in order to pick up a sonic perspective similar to that of the concert listener.

Mic frequency response should be flat on the high frequencies and it might be necessary to EQ a bit for a "fuller" and "warmer" sound and less "sparkle".

On the playback end, one needs "transparent" electronics and speakers with a full-bodied sound (no floor-bounce) facing the listener and positioned away from the side walls.

These recordings sound quite nice to my ears.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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To me, the goal of this hobby is to reproduce the sound of the recording being played as accurately as possibly without coloration.

 

Whether or not it sounds like it would if you were in the studio listening to the artists recording it depends on the equipment being used in the recording process as well as the engineer and how he masters the recording.

Longtime audiophile. Longtime IT professional. Two worlds finally collide!

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I regularly visits concerts, classical and jazz, and I must say that my hifi system gives instruments and voices a different character than the originals. I have never listened on a hifi system, regardless price, that have reproduced a natural sound. Has hifi sound its own character to be regarded as hifi.

 

/lg

/sorry for my language

 

A natural sound is the stated goal of many manufacturers and consumers (including me). Equipment that reproduces the original faithfully is the only thing that could possibly play every genre of music well.

 

While this is the goal, the fact that as you've noticed it is not the reality shows how far we have yet to go. Some part of the hobby (for consumers) and profession (for software developers and hardware designers and manufacturers) has to do with getting as close to the goal as we can, given the current constraints; some part of it to identifying what is keeping us from getting closer to the goal (where distortion and loss of essential information occurs); and some other part of it, for consumers at least, to enjoying the music we have in our homes, even if it is not identical to being there at the musical event.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I regularly visits concerts, classical and jazz, and I must say that my hifi system gives instruments and voices a different character than the originals. I have never listened on a hifi system, regardless price, that have reproduced a natural sound. Has hifi sound its own character to be regarded as hifi.

 

/lg

/sorry for my language

 

What is natural sound? Sound in a concert hall? in a living room? in an amphitheater? In the woods? On acres of farmland (Woodstock)?

 

There are infinite possible "natural sounds".

 

So, no, the purpose of HiFi is not to produce "natural sounds". Hifi, just like the others, has a character all its own.

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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My sound system sounds as natural as a fart coming from my arse .

 

Would that be reproduced in 16 bit, 24 bit, or DSD? :)

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What is natural sound? Sound in a concert hall? in a living room? in an amphitheater? In the woods? On acres of farmland (Woodstock)?

 

There are infinite possible "natural sounds".

 

So, no, the purpose of HiFi is not to produce "natural sounds". Hifi, just like the others, has a character all its own.

 

To the extent that a piece of equipment or software colors the music with its own sound, all the different things you have described will have that same "color," and will therefore have a sameness to them, which becomes boring and eventually irritating. To the extent the equipment or software is faithful to what is input, all these different sounds you have described will sound more like themselves, and therefore different from each other. When trying to determine the most "natural" sounding equipment or software, therefore, what you want is the greatest variety of sound: different recordings, even different tracks on the same recording, sounding very different from each other. This avoids boredom and maintains interest in the music.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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To the extent that a piece of equipment or software colors the music with its own sound, all the different things you have described will have that same "color," and will therefore have a sameness to them, which becomes boring and eventually irritating. To the extent the equipment or software is faithful to what is input, all these different sounds you have described will sound more like themselves, and therefore different from each other. When trying to determine the most "natural" sounding equipment or software, therefore, what you want is the greatest variety of sound: different recordings, even different tracks on the same recording, sounding very different from each other. This avoids boredom and maintains interest in the music.

 

The truth in a recording's evolution, IOW, does a piece of equipment reproduce the sound that everyone involved in the recording wanted, may or may not be what you want. That is a personal choice.

 

The OP was referring to an inherent quality of sound. A solo violin recorded in a studio should sound, upon playback, like a solo violin being played in the listening room.

 

At least that was my interpretation. To that extent, no piece of stereo equipment will succeed.

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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At least that was my interpretation. To that extent, no piece of stereo equipment will succeed.

 

I agree, and said something along the same lines in my initial comment in this thread. That, though, is what I am aiming for when I evaluate any change I am thinking about in my system - does it get me a little closer to that goal?

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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The truth in a recording's evolution, IOW, does a piece of equipment reproduce the sound that everyone involved in the recording wanted, may or may not be what you want. That is a personal choice.

 

The OP was referring to an inherent quality of sound. A solo violin recorded in a studio should sound, upon playback, like a solo violin being played in the listening room.

 

At least that was my interpretation. To that extent, no piece of stereo equipment will succeed.

 

But I think you will agree that some recordings and some playback systems do create a better illusion of the real thing...

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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My take is that equipment should *not* reproduce the sound the artist and engineers and producer wanted. How could the equipment possible know what that is? How could the equipment possibly know if they achieved the sound they wanted?

 

The monitoring in most studios certainly isn't going to tell anyone what they have. And even in most audiophile setups I've heard, the expectation is that the gear can just be plopped down and will perform magic. In my experience, this is like placing a projector in a room, without carefully aiming it at the screen and focusing, yet expecting to see high quality video. I've seem some audio "projectors" aimed *away from* the "screen!"

 

The equipment, in my opinion, should reproduce the sound of the *recording*, whatever that is.

It is up to the artist, engineers and producer to make sure their recording sounds they way they want it to. (Unfortunately most will never know.)

 

I think the equipment should reproduce the recording and the recording should capture the sound of the event (real or artificial).

Progress is iterative. The best can be pretty good (*much* better than is typically heard, particularly in studios). We can still tell the difference but in the very best cases, it is *starting* to become difficult sometimes, which may be good news.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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I think the equipment should reproduce the recording and the recording should capture the sound of the event (real or artificial).

A track that we used to good effect at a recent listening session, along with Audiophile Neuroscience (David L.) and another couple of friends, was "The Storm" from the Hybrid Chesky SACD ....5.1 Surround show. It sounded O.K. through Mark Levinson mono blocks, but seemed lacking. We then listened with big Pass 150W Class A monoblocks, and it made you involuntarily jump a little, just like a real storm with the illusion of height and being rained on. The difference between both highly regarded amplifiers was very obvious to all present. This was from the RB CD track too !

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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The equipment, in my opinion, should reproduce the sound of the *recording*, whatever that is.

It is up to the artist, engineers and producer to make sure their recording sounds they way they want it to. (Unfortunately most will never know.)

 

As is often the case, I think Barry's right. The best you can hope for is to reproduce what's on the recording without adding anything or taking anything away.

 

Another thing worth considering (probably obvious, but WTF) is that just about any room will color the sound, whether it's the performance venue (concert hall, club, recording studio) or the listening room. I think most audiophiles probably want to capture the "sound" of the performance venue (along with the sound of the performance), but it seems to me that an important aspect of this is to minimize the coloration added by the listening room, whether that's by passive or active means, or a combination thereof. I don't pretend to know how to do this well, but I do make sporadic efforts in that direction. For me this is the toughest part of achieving sound that's "natural" or "transparent."

 

--David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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Most real sound I have heard, occurred in two very different instances.

 

One was an up close recording of an acoustic guitar. Played back over a good (not great) speaker with a not fully dead cabinet that overall was about the same surface area as the guitar. Played back over only one channel. I played that thing over and over and over listening to it as it sounded so real like the guitar was Right OVER THERE!. Of course to use that approach we need a mic and speaker for every instrument (probably a different type speaker for every type instrument). And you get the sound of the instrument in your room, not where it was recorded.

 

The other is hard to hypothesize why it worked. Went to a friend's house late at night. He had Maggie MG2's driven by a GAS hybrid amp, playing a piano recording off the FM radio with his Tandberg tuner. He left his front door open (that also was the room where his system was) and most anywhere on his porch it sounded like a real piano was just inside. It also was so very REAL sounding it was stunning. Step inside the doorway, and it sounded good, but not real.

 

Both involved only one instrument, very minimal miking and some serendipity.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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snip

 

Another thing worth considering (probably obvious, but WTF) is that just about any room will color the sound, whether it's the performance venue (concert hall, club, recording studio) or the listening room. I think most audiophiles probably want to capture the "sound" of the performance venue (along with the sound of the performance), but it seems to me that an important aspect of this is to minimize the coloration added by the listening room, snippage..

--David

 

I think this is one of the things that differentiates audiophiles from non-audiophiles. Audiophiles want the sound of the hall or other venue reproduced in their room. A chance to be aurally transported elsewhere. I have to come to believe most non-audiophiles not only don't want that they dislike it. A sound of the recording in their room is their preference. They consider hall sound spurious noise or a bothersome confusing distortion.

 

Peter Walker of Quad used to describe his goal as two windows into the space of the real recording using his speakers.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I wonder why so many people associate sonic realism to imaging related characteristics...

And most system and recordings that I have listened to at shows are overflowing with artificial "detail", "air" around instruments, "sparkly" highs and "operating" noises from both instruments and vocals; I never hear these "sound effects" at live performances an they are superfluous from a musical point of view.

It's amusing to note how significant the word "soundstage" has become these days; one would have a hard time finding a magazine review or forum talk on sonic performance that doesn't mention it...

 

For me, "natural" sound has a lot more to do with timbre, things tonal balance, transient response, dynamics, resolution at low levels, or space-generated natural reverb; the sound of acoustic instrument playing in a natural acoustic space from the audience perspective.

 

But if the engineers and producers don't get this right at the recording stage, there's no way that the playback system will be able to make it (more) "natural", though "bright" or "cold" recordings and even speakers can be made more "digestible" with a little EQ...

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I think this is one of the things that differentiates audiophiles from non-audiophiles. Audiophiles want the sound of the hall or other venue reproduced in their room. A chance to be aurally transported elsewhere. I have to come to believe most non-audiophiles not only don't want that they dislike it.

 

Interesting point, and I think probably dead on.

 

This isn't the same thing — since I'm all in favor of accurately capturing the sound of the performance venue — but I think some audiophiles* slide beyond naturalness or transparency into what I'd call hyperreality. Maybe an exaggerated high end or an overemphasized low end or both, or maybe just brain-numbing volume levels. I've heard a number of very expensive systems that sound impressive but not necessarily what I'd consider real.

 

[Edit: Oops. Looks like semente beat me to this.]

 

*Certainly no one at CA. :-)

 

—David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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