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The Rationale of Listening


PeterSt
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This is what Christopher by now asked twice, in the other thread.

 

When you are listening,how would you describe that listening? Are you listening for something in particular, some aspect of "sound quality"? Do you have a vocabulary that you use consistently regarding what you are listening for, or is it intuitive? I ask because I'm interested, but also because I wonder if listening is an irreducibly aesthetic experience and is only rational to a degree.

 

The first time Christopher asked, I already thought it could be an interesting subject but felt it was too off topic to proceed on it in that other thread.

 

My short answer (longer might follow later) is that I am an obsessive listener, always seeking for the better sound from my system. Always = literally always. In itself this won't be so much rare. However :

Notice that in my situation this could be called "for commercial reasons", as the improvement I am hunting for is always going to be shared with others, once fully approved.

This makes me listen to strange technical things, BUT waiting for the getting involved so much that it is sheer extacy. Say that this happens in 20% of listening sessions (which are there every day), following from almost always changing things (for the hopefully better). I am not talking about the tears in my eyes thing, but about the "shoot, it is impossible that this can be improved upon - how did I manage THAT !".

And now it depends on the album and track when I observe this first, what will be leading for the remainder of the (3 - 4 hour) session. Could be all basses, all drums, all voices, all space-like synths and so much more.

 

but also because I wonder if listening is an irreducibly aesthetic experience

Christopher, I know I already asked in the other thread what you meant by this "aesthetic experience" and that you gave an answer. If possible you may elaborate somewhat.

 

I am now going to play music (7:30 pm) and grab a beer, while dinner is being cooked. I will not ever be in a chair; I am always walking around.

 

Peter

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Thanks Peter,

 

I think of aesthetic experience as a philosophical term for the combination of perception and feeling (affective, emotional) in response to "beauty", like a beautiful sunset and other experiences of nature that are sometimes called "sublime". BUT, more particularly, I am referring to a case when we perceive/feel/respond to a work of art. Here, we are talking about music. So if I sit down in the evening to just enjoy music, but do this in an undistracted manner, then this is a good example. This would be considered, traditionally from an aesthetic perspective, a response to beauty that usually implies some kind of judgement. This is aesthetic judgement. Patterns of these judgments lead to predispositions toward art that I'll call "taste". Now taste is often considered to be subjective, and has a complex relationship to rationality (I don't arrive at my artistic tastes primarily through logic and reasoning processes). Hope that helps a little.

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Christopher,

 

So if I sit down in the evening to just enjoy music, but do this in an undistracted manner, then this is a good example. This would be considered, traditionally from an aesthetic perspective, a response to beauty that usually implies some kind of judgement. This is aesthetic judgement. Patterns of these judgments lead to predispositions toward art that I'll call "taste". Now taste is often considered to be subjective, and has a complex relationship to rationality (I don't arrive at my artistic tastes primarily through logic and reasoning processes).

 

I never ever played Coldplay (a mistake to begin with, possibly).

Last Sunday, the Glastonbury festival (UK) passed by on screen, and we got stuck on Jeff Lynne (ELO) to the sense of that my music playback was stopped and we watched for Mr Blue Sky to come along.

In the end it did while nothing did much to me/us.

 

Many hours later, it was close to midnight, regular programs and dinner had passed and the TV was on again on the channel of the festival. Relatively small HD screen at the dinner table. Coldplay was just on.

At a later stage and already many grappa's later (this could be important) Barry Gibb joined the band. Our son pressed the record button for his mother who already went to bed;

A few years ago we camped on Big Sur, with vision on famous Beegee sites ... (who ever camped on Big Sur I could ask you - thanks to a by now great friend we did).

 

... It never stopped to be the most beautiful performance, also when Barry had left stage. What the heck that audience looked beautiful in the dark at the HD TV ... (festival transmission ended at 1:45 am).

So much so that last night we played the performace to my son's mother (OK that would be my wife) and again we watched it out through the end. This time on the bigger screen - even more beautiful and with THE WORST sound because that TV is as it as with its back firing speakers.

The WORST sound and the GREATEST EXPERIENCE, never mind 3 days after I had seen it already.

 

This should be an example of aesthetics, though a bit of a strange one.

 

The more normal experience, quoted in my first post in this thread, would be that today I was able to play Sympathy for the Devil (Stoned - Get Yer Ya Ya's out) in such a normal modern fashion with the super real cymbals and all, that this is the proof of extacy and the aesthetics of modern playback from super old material.

Dinner was ready when Honky Tonk Women just had started - aesthetically the wrong moment for dinner being ready (when music stops and watching e.g. Master Chef Australia begins ;-)), already also because the song reminds me of being in love at some primary school (not with it), when No Satisfaction came from good sound but merely from the music and environmental experience itself. Call it aesthetically irresponsible that such a thing will not happen with today's music that I can imagine.

Ask our son.

 

YMMV.

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Peter: I think this could become a really interesting post; thank you and Christopher for getting it going.

 

I alternate my listening between "critical" and "relaxed enjoyment." In "critical" mode I'm listening for what to add and what to subtract. An example of "add" would be deeper more defined bass when it becomes clear the reason I'm not hearing it the same way it was recorded is because my system isn't reproducing all that was there in the recording venue. Subtraction is harder because I rarely know what to subtract until I do something and realize an annoyance that was previously there is now gone. That annoyance could be a room reflection, ringing, jitter, or other distortion. I have done improvements of the "veil is lifted" variety where I'm hearing the music more clearly or deeper into the soundstage than before. But there are also times where more "clarity" wasn't good, for example when a filter has introduced too much reverb or post-ringing in a way that at first sounds louder and more exciting, but after a while is more tiring.

 

After a couple "critical" listening sessions, I try to leave everything alone and just sit back and listen to a broad range of music. Over time I can usually tell whether I have improved my system or not through these more casual listening sessions.

 

I also know that what excites me the most is to be able to recapture the ambience of a space in which I heard that music before live. It can be a concert hall, it can also be a football stadium, or a small nightclub, or the village square by the sea in Portofino; but if a recording can give me the chills because I suddenly vivdly remember when I was there and what it sounded like then, for me and perhaps just for me, I have accomplished my sound system objectives.

 

I also think an aesthetic does develop over time, like learning how to enjoy wines. For someone who doesn't drink a lot of wine a "wow, that was incredible" wine is likely to be different than the one it takes to elicit the same response from someone who regularly tastes lots of "fine" wines. Often the more you taste the more subtle your likes become. For that person many qualities are just too powerful to taste good over a long period. That doesn't make one taste right and the other one wrong, it just means that one wine may be better for regular consumers and another may taste far better to someone who drinks once a month.

 

I think audio can be the same way and that the more you listen critically, the more your tastes will vary from someone who listens only casually or occasionally. Again, neither is right or wrong, but they are different.

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That's a really helpful post, sdolezalek. Thanks. I look forward to Peter's response. On my part, much to think about and much required for adequate reply. Briefly, one sentence that rings true for me is: " After a couple "critical" listening sessions, I try to leave everything alone and just sit back and listen to a broad range of music. Over time I can usually tell whether I have improved my system or not through these more casual listening sessions." This just might represent the kind of discussion of practical wisdom that I'd love to see more of. I wonder how subjective this is? Could it be a good "rule of thumb" that could apply to many of us? Why not collect potential rules of thumb?

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I am an obsessive listener, always seeking for the better sound from my system. Always = literally always.

 

Undoubtedly people will think this will go along with great attention, no matter I don't even *have* a listening chair or couch (really not).

But it is the exact other way around, and in my view 100% crucial :

 

I listen with explicit unconsciousness.

:)

 

Warning : This probably does not work for most of us, because it first has the prerequisite of the reproduction being quite OK. Thus :

 

Subtraction is harder because I rarely know what to subtract until I do something and realize an annoyance that was previously there is now gone.

 

So true !

... But can be not about my means of doing it. Well, maybe it can, but it would be difficult (because it always needs "interpretation" of what to accept for granted for the moment (I may have an example of that later on)).

 

My means requires some base of which you know that it does not disturb really anywhere. Example of the ultimate that : no single standing wave you can detect by ear, not even in the most difficult corner (please take it from me that this is caused by the better ("best") quality of the chain as a whole).

With that said (as something you may not believe to begin with), you may see how a "nothing disturbs" could really exist.

 

With that set you will always want to improve. That is, you have learnt that "it can't be better" never exists and if it does, it was for a short while only. And thus the desire for improvement is explicit.

... and done by implicit means ...

 

My literal listening comprises of putting up some first music, when dinner is about to be cooked. In our case this takes 3-4 hours easily, including the thinking of what to cook. It could be important that this could be my personal first hobby instead of music, with that only saying that it gives the desired distraction of music I actually like to have. ... To be unconscious with it.

 

What happens now - with, remember, no annoyances in order in the first place - is that things could annoy. Mind you, an audiophile easily bytes through a lot of annoyances, because he wants to listen to the music itself just the same. That others around him start all to wear headphones make him only realize that the volume maybe should be lower, while he actually does not want that. But he feels that would be the best thing to do.

Over here it doesn't go like that. Instead another album is put on of which I can expect that it does not show the annoyance.

And such a switch can happen again.

 

But wait.

When that happens it disturbs me in cooking because instead of stirring the pot I must find that next album. I realize that I am going towards more and more "easy" stuff that won't annoy, until at some stage I am sure something has to be wrong.

 

This is what I call unconscious listening, but with the still explicit motivation to improve SQ. Cause remember, I changed something (can be a setting, can be an OS setting, can be hardware, can be anything).

Often I don't realize that something was changed, but because the annoyances, something has to have.

 

Now the other way around :

I start out with some playlist which almost always comprises of a "demo tracks library" I built throughout the years. Well, why not take the example of Sympathy for the Devil, I talked about earlier on. So it can now happen, like yesterday, that I put this on (it is in my demo library together with Honky Tonk Women) and that I think : wait, this sounds soo much better than the last time, ... my tweak from last week really works out and this track shows it !

And then I might load the whole album and play it throughout.

Btw, yesterday this went a bit different because I started with Let it Bleed (16/44.1) and heard the washboard of Gimme Shelter as about the loudest instrument in the right speaker while I don't even recall washboard in there at all. I actively jumped to the track Let it Bleed itself and that again motivated me to visit Get Yer Ya Ya's Out because it really is a test album while it ever back sounded to far away and lifeless (while being live) and dull.

Never mind the blah; this is how it goes the other way around. Now again I can't be busy with cooking because I need to find more and more and more examples of the proof that some change really is working out. And I need to do this fast because (listening) time passes by.

Dinner gets later, the booze stock shrinks and the extacy gets higher.

 

Both of these examples are really obvious to you (me). Both actually disturb, but it is about the acknowledgement that without you really wanting something, you *are* disturbed continuously because something really has changed.

 

The third example is this one :

Because the system needs to warm up by playing a first 20 minutes (but after one hour the being cold still has its effects (no matter all is on 24/7)), I usually start out with some complete album. I start my stopwatch so I know when I can get really loose (the 20 minute mark) but I find myself not doing that. The album keeps on playing.

Hmm.

It now can happen that after this I select an album of the same style or even the same artist, and that one too plays all the way ...

 

While this feels as a waste of time (because I did not try to enjoy the best music while I could have), it explicitly shows that all is fine. No annoyances, but also no distractions of "the best" which all so often appear not to be the best but only attract. Example : hey, the cymbal now sounds as loud as it does for real ! Yes, that can attract you, or actually it will. Until it hurts because plainly too loud; not really annoying, but the sheer fact that it keeps on wanting your attention is again a measure of "not good".

 

All these things are a real measure. And they are because they are not deliberate. You're not biased, nothing.

Btw I recall that test (here on CA) with resampled 24 bit (or not) stuff, which I approached the same, just because I had to cook dinner and had no time for the required hour or so of listening. The "exhaust hood" being at full power (at a later measured 70dBSPL) and I had the best results. So I am good ?

No, it works when NOT paying attention. And the blasting noise just over your head apparently is not much important either.

Btw, I play at ~ 90dBSPL (speakers at a 10m/33' distance).

 

PS: This post was too long; won't do that any more.

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Over time I can usually tell whether I have improved my system or not through these more casual listening sessions.

 

Super crucial (,thus).

 

I claim to need 5 days before I can affirm that a change has been for the better. I must say though that the 5 days start to be too short because things get too "fragile" in a rough sense (huh ?!). Example :

 

Those Stones again;

If that end of 60's music suddenly shows me a super improvement in clarity (which is what it comes down to), then I must wonder how it is possible that I did not notice any of this in the say 100 other albums I visited under the same conditions; Apparently I was listening to the wrong albums, because the end of 60's improve so much and in an area I did not expect. Now what shall I test from newer material to check whether something doesn't go bananas of it ?

Now I need a 6th day at least because it looks dangerous to let it go as it is.

 

I will stop about this kind of "testing" stuff now. I hope I showed sufficiently what means of listening I apply and for what reason.

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I wonder how subjective this is? Could it be a good "rule of thumb" that could apply to many of us? Why not collect potential rules of thumb?

 

Never ever lay aside perceived poor recordings.

What did I say ?!

 

a. I tell you that 95% less of that exist than you all think.

b. They are THE means for you to improve.

 

And besides that, very often those poor recordings are about your youth and you like to play them (loud) but can't because too poor.

 

I almost always play Get Back (Beatles) for an auditioner. In 100% of cases they don't believe it is the original Beatles already for the sheer reason it sounds like it was made yesterday (in a good sense). Try it - cymbals sound infinite to the means of a next hit overrules the first (I am not saying that "your" system will not do this).

Point is : this is this super gray material from my youth (which would be 45 years ago) and that with a father who was working on the same goals as I do today.

If you run into something like that, keep it for revisiting later, after a change. But don't try it with the Bieber's from today.

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I also think an aesthetic does develop over time, like learning how to enjoy wines.

 

Yes.

 

Although many examples exist, I can tell about one which is not all so obvious, but quite comprehendable a the same time :

 

A really jaw dropping feature of a system can be that - when playing crazily loud - the highs remain to be separate from the basses. Not any mush anywhere. This goes along with the sheer fact that you create concert levels in the listening room (think 100dBSPL+ now) while totally nothing goes wrong (standing waves thing again).

 

When I hear such a thing, I somehow think of art and that to the sense of : how on earth is this actually possible.

 

A typical moment where you learned again.

And crucial of course : when at a later stage this does not work any more, something has to have been destroyed.

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quote_icon.png Originally Posted by christopher3393 viewpost-right.png

I wonder how subjective this is? Could it be a good "rule of thumb" that could apply to many of us? Why not collect potential rules of thumb?

 

Play loud ?

I already said it in between the lines, but undoubtedly every audiophile wants to play louder, assumed that neighbors etc. permit. But do you really ? or does it perhaps start to hurt your own ears a little ?

 

I told you, I play fairly loud (unless 90dBSPL is not that). But I also do that for mentioned 3-4 hours in a row, every day again and with my music, which often is regarded test signals by the family (with the exception of Sundays, when the wife is in charge of music selection).

 

So there you have it. 90dBSPL as a base (and often going louder and louder towards the end) and the family just around. Read a book, browse the iPad, play a game.

I tell you : this can only exist when nothing is hurtful. No-thing.

 

And so it is a measure again.

You can't do that ? well, improve somewhere. ;)

 

PS: ... With the notice that the stuffed ear feeling is more hurtful than harsh sound. So only saying : all super fresh and snappy meanwhile.

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Christopher, allow me to inject your other post about this in the other thread.

 

 

Responding to Peter St.:

 

 

Well, I think we would agree that musical preferences are largely a matter of taste. How rational are these choices? What is the role of sound quality (if any) in making these choices? Many people make a distinction between listening for sound quality and listening for enjoyment of music. How clearly can we distinguish these 2? For me they are always interrelated, as is my mood at any given time. Now some seem to suggest that you should strip away any subjective element when listening for sound quality. Is this even possible, I ask myself. And if it is, why is it desirable? So is rationality sometimes overemphasized to the exclusion of the full experience of listening? When we listen FOR sound quality: what kind of human behavior is that? Is it "critical" listening of a very particular sort? What is the difference between listening "appreciatively" (as in music appreciation) and listening critically, not as in music reviews but as in audiophile reviews? I suppose one is paying attention to different things. But can we ever listen to just the music or just the sound quality? And either way, isn't the full experience diminished one way or the other?

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quote_icon.png Originally Posted by christopher3393 viewpost-right.png

Many people make a distinction between listening for sound quality and listening for enjoyment of music. How clearly can we distinguish these 2? For me they are always interrelated, as is my mood at any given time. Now some seem to suggest that you should strip away any subjective element when listening for sound quality. Is this even possible, I ask myself.

 

FWIW :

 

It could be very personal, but when I am in a bad mood, there is no way to enjoy music. Also, for me it is impossible to let music make my mood improve. The only thing possible it to take out the source itself of the bad mood.

 

For me it is even so that I need to stop playback when in a bad mood (may happen 5 times per year).

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quote_icon.png Originally Posted by christopher3393 viewpost-right.png

Well, I think we would agree that musical preferences are largely a matter of taste. How rational are these choices? What is the role of sound quality (if any) in making these choices?

 

Personal again : I already told about in in between the lines : but when SQ is poor for whatever reason, I can not play the album of concern. Best example for me would be hires, because it is almost always flawed somewhere and will not improve by (my) tweaking. I try it, but usually not longer than 60 seconds (exceptions exist).

 

More severe is the situation that I myself f*cked up, or that I have no time to revert easily (time constraint) to the well-working situation. What remains as an often possible escape is 40 minute whatever Klaus Schulze tracks; they still exhibit nice low bass and the highs are mostly easy on the ear.

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In my opinion, listening to music and evaluating performance are distinct tasks and as such require the use of different "tools" and mindsets in order to be effective.

 

For the latter, proper methodology is mandatory.

 

R

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quote_icon.png Originally Posted by christopher3393 viewpost-right.png

What is the difference between listening "appreciatively" (as in music appreciation) and listening critically, not as in music reviews but as in audiophile reviews? I suppose one is paying attention to different things. But can we ever listen to just the music or just the sound quality? And either way, isn't the full experience diminished one way or the other?

 

This is a more difficult one; I think that the one can't exist without the other BUT one has to have first the experience of being able to get involved.

 

N.b.: I say this latter because I can quite explicitly do without that. I mean, I can listen very technically, like watching the bass only.

 

Anyway, I like to sort of turn this upside down into another prerequisite : "environmental experience" first.

sdolezalek has said it already : you want to re-experience the live performance you ever back visited. But that is just an example.

For me it can be the first album of Supertramp I didn't play since my youth, that one now showing so beautifully how that era was. Or regard all progressive rock to show that. And if *that* starts to sound good meanwhile, you have back the whole experience.

So what I try to say is that when the SQ is (close to) "perfect" you will (!!) start to get the senses of what the artist intended. Maybe this is hard to believe or bring across, but this really is so. At the low level you will start to hear how the violin player expresses his mood (or the intended mood for the piece) in (via) his instrument. At the high level you will perceive an era. And do notice the cruciality of voices/words which can not be missed any more once SQ gets really at a better level. Without all the words (once in there of course), most will be about "nothing". With, it is about expressing something. Try Fleetwood Mack en the continuing story of Stevie Nicks (once you know the insights anyway). I think they sneaked in more than they knew themselves, ever back (this is about the super fragile emotion in voices).

 

Moral : Once you are out of the technical listening and are quite satisfied with the lot, the foot tapping can begin which later appears to be about something else; You can see what really happened and learn and it can't be missed.

 

I play a lot of what could be called electronic (but goes way beyond that). This is an easy example of complete albums not making any sense at all anywhere, vs. you hopping through the room from start to finish.

The only difference is your system working out, or not. And mind you, the "not" can easily happen next week but only noticeable by that type of music. And now disaster : when the foot tapping etc. is not there, the technical listening remains. There's just nothing else (to do). Besides, the emotion overrules the technical listening (to my experience).

 

Now I'm out for a while (relief - relief !).

Peter

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In my opinion, listening to music and evaluating performance are distinct tasks and as such require the use of different "tools" and mindsets in order to be effective.

 

For the latter, proper methodology is mandatory.

 

R

 

I'd be interested in your "proper methodology", given that I obviously do my share of writing on evaluating performances on my blog.

 

In any case, I agree there are three different ways of listening to me:

 

- casual listening: I have music on whenever I'm at home.

- critical audiophile listening: mainly used to compare equipment, which I don't do that much any more, but sometimes I just put on an album just for the pleasure of the excellent sound.

- listening to evaluate the performance: This can be done completely independently of sound quality. I could do this even on an Iphone speaker, as I just have a completely different area of focus.

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That, my friend, is a job for Superman... :)

 

I don't have the time right now for the extensive essay describing my experiences and thoughts that the subject deserves but I could start by saying that my goal is to reproduce "classical" music in a way that it sounds as realistic and natural as possible within my budget (something which is obviously recording dependent), meaning the highest possible fidelity to the recorded signal.

 

R

 

 

 

P.S.: I have just realised that I should have written "equipment performance", and not having done so has led you to believe that I was referring to musical interpretation.

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Preoccupied - Engaged in some mental or physical activity while playing music in the background.

 

Distracted - listening to music but mind wandering / daydreaming.

 

Critical - thinking about sound quality or performance while listening.

 

Mindful - listening deeply to music without discursive thought.

 

Lost - listening and forgetting I exist.

 

I can live without numbers 2 and 3

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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quote_icon.png Originally Posted by christopher3393 viewpost-right.png

What is the difference between listening "appreciatively" (as in music appreciation) and listening critically, not as in music reviews but as in audiophile reviews? I suppose one is paying attention to different things. But can we ever listen to just the music or just the sound quality? And either way, isn't the full experience diminished one way or the other?

 

This is a more difficult one; I think that the one can't exist without the other BUT one has to have first the experience of being able to get involved.

 

Whilst I can sometimes take notice of certain aspects of playback performance when listening for pleasure, I find that if I am fully focused on assessing performance I am unable to get emotionally and intellectually involved with the music.

And I think it makes sense that I (and probably many others) function in this manner because playback performance is about sound and one presumably want's to be attentive, concentrating on the different particulars of reproduction.

But if I am truly deeply immersed in the music then I hardly ever take notice of the system's performance unless there's been a change to one of it's composing elements.

 

Nowadays I hardly ever listen attentively to rock/pop recordings, with the exception a few select bands.

When I play this kind of music, at home or in the car, it's generally as a backdrop to work or driving, as a form of entertainment so I don't really take notice of aesthetic, philosophical or other aspects.

But the fact that this kind of music is "produced" does have this particular attribute that can add another layer of interest (aesthetic or other) to it when compared with recordings made from a "documental" perspective.

The "documental" approach, if adequately done, should provide a "natural" and reasonably "realistic" reconstruction of a musical event, both from a tonal as well as a spatial perspective but in a "processed" recording the sound can be moulded in a creative manner to increment on the sonic aspects that provide the listening pleasure.

As we dig deeper beyond the more basic and obvious sonic aspects into the multiple layers that constitute a musical work, our perception is challenged at a more elevated levels: aesthetic, cultural, intelectual, philosophical, spiritual.

At this point we are separating the wheat from the chaff because some music just doesn't have much to offer.

 

When listening for pleasure I seek isolation, silence and absence of distractions but this is not an easy thing to achieve when your listening room doubles up as the family living room...

 

R

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

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Do you find that when an audiophile asks you to evaluate to her/his hi-fi system, she/he (usually) wants you to agree it’s good/great/orgasmic?

 

Do you get the feeling that oft times, it may be (usually) less painful/harmful to tell an audiophile that her/his tastes in music kind of sucks instead?

 

Which is strange, no?

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That, my friend, is a job for Superman... :)

 

I don't have the time right now for the extensive essay describing my experiences and thoughts that the subject deserves but I could start by saying that my goal is to reproduce "classical" music in a way that it sounds as realistic and natural as possible within my budget (something which is obviously recording dependent), meaning the highest possible fidelity to the recorded signal.

 

R

 

 

 

P.S.: I have just realised that I should have written "equipment performance", and not having done so has led you to believe that I was referring to musical interpretation.

 

Thanks anyhow!

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... I find that if I am fully focused on assessing performance I am unable to get emotionally and intellectually involved with the music.

And I think it makes sense that I (and probably many others) function in this manner because playback performance is about sound and one presumably wants to be attentive, concentrating on the different particulars of reproduction. But if I am truly deeply immersed in the music then I hardly ever take notice of the system's performance unless there's been a change to one of it's composing elements...As we dig deeper beyond the more basic and obvious sonic aspects into the multiple layers that constitute a musical work, our perception is challenged at a more elevated levels: aesthetic, cultural, intellectual, philosophical, spiritual...R

 

This interests me. How to describe these differences in types of listening and what psychological capacities they are drawing on. I'm wondering if the word "analytical" is right for concentrating on the sound quality of playback performance? It is very clear, and makes great sense, that for you, the system tuning listening is clearly in service of what you describe as the more immersive, deeper, more "elevated" listening.

 

I also wonder if, when musicophile is doing evaluative listening to a recorded performance, and is comfortable doing this with mp3s, if this is more analytical as well, although quite different form of analysis than system SQ listening. I've been surprised to see that standard textbooks for music history are packaged with mp3 discs or links to mp3 streaming (naxos usually). If one is simply trying to follow a score, I suppose this is just fine. But I'd like to know how you can evaluate a performance with confidence by listening to mp3s on your phone. I'm not sure I could do that with full confidence.

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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Do you find that when an audiophile asks you to evaluate to her/his hi-fi system, she/he (usually) wants you to agree it’s good/great/orgasmic?

 

Do you get the feeling that oft times, it may be (usually) less painful/harmful to tell an audiophile that her/his tastes in music kind of sucks instead?

 

Which is strange, no?

 

That, my friend, is a good question, and made me laugh for some reason. I honestly don't know the answer or if this hunch is true. Do you think that listening to the system's sound quality trumps (apologize for that word) listening that judges the quality of the music?

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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