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True to life recording? - We are fooling ourselves!

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Meaningless.wav

 

What do you hear? You would probably hear or imagine one or two words.  I can make this meaningless noise to have a clear meaning and no matter what you do you cannot undo once I assign words to it. This is what is happening in stereo recording and how recordists believe that their recording seemed to be true to life quality when in reality that is hardly so.

 

In this forum and many other forums, it appears that people really believe that stereo recordings are true representation of life performance when recorded and playback by state of the art equipment. It is not, it just you your imagination equating them to be real but it seems that I and a few are the only odd ones to reiterate that. I cannot perceive a fictitious extra large hall in my room nor I can hear sound extending beyond the boundary of the walls. It cannot because no matter how hard I create the virtual hall ambiance or eliminate the physical cues of the speakers location, the ear/brain still knows the reality. It still detects the original point where the sounds originates from. However, setting aside the reality and once I begun to enjoy the music, it transports me to another zone to associate with the music. Some system does this better than the other but as long as you have never heard another better system what you hear is capable of giving you intended pleasure.

 

We are programmed to decode whatever sound we hear to have a meaning. Once, you associate and decode the sound it is hard to undo it from your memory bank and our brain will try its best to associate whatever sound we hear to the one we previously heard. Of course it can harder when vision is involved. In McGurk effect is a good example. It can be "Baba or FaFa" depending which word is hear last before closing your eyes.

 

 

Now listen to this and listen again to the meaningless clip. Now no matter how hard you try to forget, every word in the Meaningless clip will be heard. I guess this the problem where we really believe what we are hearing to be true.

 

meaningful.wav

 

p.s. @The Computer Audiophile, kindly allow me to moderate this thread. Thanks

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Yep, just like the McGurk effect, once you've heard it, you can't unhear it. It's one of the reasons I think much of audiophilia is based on expectation or other types of bias. What you think you will hear, you hear, even if you aren't aware of it and even if you are sure you are being objective. Even if you consciously  think your expectations are "A", they might actually be "B". 

 

I also think this applies to high res. I don't think the difference between hi-res and the same master properly made into Redbook is large. It may be non existent. I've several times experienced hearing better detail retrieval etc on a hi-res version  and  said to myself , "wow, I've heard this music many times and never heard that before" Then I go back to the Redbook version and can hear that same thing I never heard before. It may not be quite as easy to hear, but it's there. It 's sort of the same effect as your clips. 

I think this may partially be dependent on having a system that does a really good job squeezing the last bit of info/detail out of Redbook. Not all systems do, and some may give better reproduction with hi-res, which results in the listener thinking his hi-res version is superior, when it actually is system dependent. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Yep, the true to life reproduction is a pipe dream, surely one can buy/build very nice sounding playback systems but it will never be like the real thing. And given many multi-track, overdubbed, post processed studio recordings...how can there be a live reference to listeners of such recording. And so much more factors to consider.....

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3 hours ago, firedog said:

Yep, just like the McGurk effect, once you've heard it, you can't unhear it. It's one of the reasons I think much of audiophilia is based on expectation or other types of bias. What you think you will hear, you hear, even if you aren't aware of it and even if you are sure you are being objective. Even if you consciously  think your expectations are "A", they might actually be "B". 

 

I also think this applies to high res. I don't think the difference between hi-res and the same master properly made into Redbook is large. It may be non existent. I've several times experienced hearing better detail retrieval etc on a hi-res version  and  said to myself , "wow, I've heard this music many times and never heard that before" Then I go back to the Redbook version and can hear that same thing I never heard before. It may not be quite as easy to hear, but it's there. It 's sort of the same effect as your clips. 

I think this may partially be dependent on having a system that does a really good job squeezing the last bit of info/detail out of Redbook. Not all systems do, and some may give better reproduction with hi-res, which results in the listener thinking his hi-res version is superior, when it actually is system dependent. 

 

I have previously written and given examples why A?B blind test may not be reliable for some types of differences. There are research which shows that we may fill in missing information based on our auditory bank to make the sound some sense to us.

 

AFAIK, no one could correctly identify a single sufficient with sufficient fidelity sound to be whether they are hirez, or coming from multi million dollars system. To the ears it is either it is real enough or bad. Only when you make side by side comparisons then other difference becomes evident. Once, I have randomly picked 10 different songs and played them true a SS Classe and Tube Supratek preamp. Without repletion of the song through the amp no one could score a perfect score in distinguishing whether the sound was from tube or solid state preamp despite when hearing the same song side by side showed a lot of difference. No preference was shown when heard in isolation which point what really mattered in sound reproduction is how close is to the minimum level where we perceive the sound to be real/good enough.

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I don't want 'true to life'.

 

Even if the recording is 'true to life' that's going to mean either the musicians in my room or me in the venue. So I get to choose between 'too loud in order to get the right tonal balance' or sitting with venue/audience noise.

 

No thanks.

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11 hours ago, GregWormald said:

I don't want 'true to life'.

 

Even if the recording is 'true to life' that's going to mean either the musicians in my room or me in the venue. So I get to choose between 'too loud in order to get the right tonal balance' or sitting with venue/audience noise.

 

No thanks.

 

It need not be too loud all the time. Church choirs or a jazz performance from a comfortable distance can sound pleasant without being loud.

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17 hours ago, hsmeets said:

Yep, the true to life reproduction is a pipe dream, surely one can buy/build very nice sounding playback systems but it will never be like the real thing. And given many multi-track, overdubbed, post processed studio recordings...how can there be a live reference to listeners of such recording. And so much more factors to consider.....

 

I agree about that, but also it is not even necessary to listen only to what the artist/recording engineer produced.  Absolute purity is not necessary to enjoy the music.  Sometimes, however, a cleaner, less processed/distorted product does sound better.

 

It doesn't seem healthy for a hobbiest to try to achieve audio perfection at the expense of enjoying themselves.  On the other hand, if there is a problem with the quality -- it might be worth trying to fix it.  Sometimes I have been astounded by improvements in recordings or equipment -- but it is for the purpose of the enjoyment of the music&hobby - not to compulsively achieve the singular, true perfection.

 

Balance is the key -- enjoy, not being a total perfectionist, but also open to new things -- might be pleasantly surprised.

 

John

 

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18 hours ago, hsmeets said:

Yep, the true to life reproduction is a pipe dream, surely one can buy/build very nice sounding playback systems but it will never be like the real thing. And given many multi-track, overdubbed, post processed studio recordings...how can there be a live reference to listeners of such recording. And so much more factors to consider.....

 

How it works for heavily processed recordings is that one hears, is aware of multiple spaces, in front of one; each with their own part of the overall sound - they overlay each other, and you can shift your focus from one to the other, quite easily - a good, everyday example of this is when two radio stations in the car fight for ascendancy in an area of poorer reception, they blend in with each other, but you can still hear the content of one as being distinct from the other, back and forth.

 

Is this realistic? Of course not! ... especially in the car radio example. However, in the musical creation of an album they are designed to complement each other - and so it still works as a listening experience.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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5 minutes ago, fas42 said:

a good, everyday example of this is when two radio stations in the car fight for ascendancy in an area of poorer reception, they blend in with each other, but you can still hear the content of one as being distinct from the other, back and forth.

 

That's known as Cocktail Party Effect.

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12 minutes ago, fas42 said:

everyday example of this is when two radio stations in the car fight for ascendancy in an area of poorer reception, they blend in with each other

 

You listen to AM Radio  in a car ?  O.o


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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1 minute ago, sandyk said:

 

You listen to AM Radio  in a car ?  O.o

 

Did I say, AM, radio? The term was used by STC, I recall - and last I checked there was just endless gabbling in that area of the broadcast spectrum ... :D.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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Just now, fas42 said:

 

Did I say, AM, radio? The term was used by STC, I recall - and last I checked there was just endless gabbling in that area of the broadcast spectrum ... :D.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_effect

In telecommunications, the capture effect, or FM capture effect, is a phenomenon associated with FM reception in which only the stronger of two signals at, or near, the same frequency or channel will be demodulated.


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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8 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Did I say, AM, radio? The term was used by STC, I recall - and last I checked there was just endless gabbling in that area of the broadcast spectrum ... :D.

 

Frank, are you posting for the sake of posting? I mentioned AM radio to point out your reference audio track was mastered to be played over AM radio. 

 

And as usual, you now jumped to another subject without addressing the cocktail party effect. 

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11 minutes ago, sandyk said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_effect

In telecommunications, the capture effect, or FM capture effect, is a phenomenon associated with FM reception in which only the stronger of two signals at, or near, the same frequency or channel will be demodulated.

 

Alex, we need to keep on topic ... ^_^. I used the example of, yes, FM radio music playing stations 'layering' to respond to a post - in our car, the switching, if such occurs, is so rapid that effectively you can hear two stations at once.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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7 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Yes ... I'm just pointing out that such a listening 'technique' also works for highly manipulated recordings ...

 

Listening technique? Wow...you have some far fetched mind control or believe that you do. :) 

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25 minutes ago, STC said:

 

Listening technique? Wow...you have some far fetched mind control or believe that you do. :) 

 

Yes, I call it the Cocktail Party Effect ... it means that I'm able to switch my attention from one source of sound in the environment, to another, when there's a mix of sounds occurring ... I'm not sure whether I'm the only one who can do this, though ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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20 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Yes, I call it the Cocktail Party Effect ... it means that I'm able to switch my attention from one source of sound in the environment, to another, when there's a mix of sounds occurring ... I'm not sure whether I'm the only one who can do this, though …

 

You didn't say "cocktail party effect" but gave an impression like some sort mind control technique where in reality it is a common occurrence and nothing to do with stereo reproduction in the context of the discussion.

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12 hours ago, STC said:

 

You didn't say "cocktail party effect" but gave an impression like some sort mind control technique where in reality it is a common occurrence and nothing to do with stereo reproduction in the context of the discussion.

 

Cocktail party effect is relevant, because it means that when one listens to say a highly 'artificial', extremely rich mixing of all sorts of sound elements in a track, each of which occupy their own acoustic space, that one can switch, quite effortlessly, one's focus from one to the next 'inner track' of the mix ... this is akin to those music documentaries where they play the original multi-track tape of a famous album, and bring up a single track within it, muting the others; to show what the contribution of one of the musicians was.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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add more channels for more realism


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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On 8/16/2019 at 11:43 AM, fas42 said:

 

Yes, I call it the Cocktail Party Effect ... it means that I'm able to switch my attention from one source of sound in the environment, to another, when there's a mix of sounds occurring ... I'm not sure whether I'm the only one who can do this, though ...

Its basically attention focusing. Let’s say you’re not concentrating on the music and the violins register as sounding a little irritating. When you actually pay attention you hear some perfectly good violins and some voices hitting high notes very close to the violins’.  Don’t pay any attention and the sound you hear becomes something of a wash and the similar frequencies aren’t separated. But pay attention and you hear immediately that the voices are happening in a slightly different part of the soundstage and can be easily separated from the violin tones, if you pay attention to the music. 

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4 hours ago, Blackmorec said:

Its basically attention focusing. Let’s say you’re not concentrating on the music and the violins register as sounding a little irritating. When you actually pay attention you hear some perfectly good violins and some voices hitting high notes very close to the violins’.  Don’t pay any attention and the sound you hear becomes something of a wash and the similar frequencies aren’t separated. But pay attention and you hear immediately that the voices are happening in a slightly different part of the soundstage and can be easily separated from the violin tones, if you pay attention to the music. 

 

And this is precisely why I aim for the SQ that I describe, which is achievable if one goes to enough effort ... whether you choose to focus or not, the music never registers, subjectively, as "irritating" - I can have the system running at "maximum volume", and be doing something completely otherwise for some time - and I never get a buildup of irritation ... If I do, then I know something's wrong with the sound! ;) ... that's my "measuring stick"!

 

IOW, the soundstage is fully consistent, no matter how little or how much attention I pay - just like having real musicians in the room, you see ... :P.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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1 hour ago, fas42 said:

IOW, the soundstage is fully consistent, no matter how little or how much attention I pay - just like having real musicians in the room, you see ... :P.

 

1)How soundstage and real musicians in the room are related?  

 

2)Looking at some of your examples, it looks like you (fas42) could still hear soundstage ( as happened in in actual recording) with one speaker place in front and the other places at the back. True?  

 

Please give direct answers and dont hit don’t hit around the bush. 

 

 

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