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The myth of "The Absolute Sound"

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very few people are equipped to make such observations of "connectedness" - so your substitutional criterion fails, eh? 


"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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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

very few people are equipped to make such observations of "connectedness" - so your substitutional criterion fails, eh? 

Sorry, I think i must have not expressed myself well enough as you have seemed to misunderstand my point.

 

Very few people are equipped to make such observations of sound quality specifically because they have no such reference of having heard the live music which the recording derives from (meaning the exact take, live, in the room where the musicians played.

 

The point I make about being connected with the music is personal and individual, and inherently correct because of that:  If a change in my system allows me to come to a better connection with the Music, and develop a better understanding of the Music, then that is a change for the better-for me, in my system, which is of course all that really matters here.  And not some impossible to even define "Absolute".


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

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4 hours ago, barrows said:

I would also posit for further discussion, that even the idea of attempting, for a playback system or a recording, to reproduce a live event is flawed in theory.  A live event has the power of immediacy, presence, and being fleeting and in the moment, and has much of its power rooted in the interaction between musician, audience, and Music.  The second that a moment has passed it will never BE again.  Any attempt to reproduce the live experience after the fact is flawed in its approach.  A recording will always be a recording, just that.  I would suggest that instead of trying to reproduce a live experience, a recording should instead attempt to be the best recording of music possible, a separate entity from a live experience of music, acknowledged as valuable in its own right, but understood to be a different thing from live music creation.

 

Our systems should be evaluated on the basis of how much they allow each of us to connect with the music that is important to us, individually, and not on the basis of some impossible tp evaluate "standard" which does not even really exist or relate to most music in the world.   

 

I would dispute that ... here I'm different from Peter, say, 😊.

 

The sense of the music making moment is indeed preserved in the recording - part of the big shock I got when my rig first snapped into the mode of being subjectively competent was that "the power of immediacy, presence, and being fleeting and in the moment, and has much of its power rooted in the interaction between musician, audience, and Music" was there, in spades - from then on, listening to 'normal' rigs, no matter how expensive or pretentious, was nearly always, well, 'junk' ... as a subjective experience, 😉.

 

Our systems should be evaluated, IMO, as to how well they get out of the way, 'disappear' - and just allow what's on the recording to come through. If one has played around in this area as I have for 35 years then you get an excellent grasp for what is the true nature of the recording - which is something very, very special indeed ...

 

The real myth is, that one can measure by today's everyday methods the status of the playback's integrity, and present figures which "guarantee" that "it's good enough" - umm, that's 100% BS ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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2 hours ago, gmgraves said:

Everybody knows live music when they hear it. We audio types hear live music and marvel at the sound. We hear things that we have never heard reproduced in our homes, things that we know that we will never be able to hear from our systems. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to attain that level of playback accuracy. That’s what the idea of the Absolute Sound is all about. An unchanging standard against which our efforts to attain audio perfection are measured.

 

Yep ... let me correct the above bit - "things that if enough effort and patience is expended that a very few know will allow us to hear from our systems" ... 😜.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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23 minutes ago, firedog said:

References to Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir don’t work with George....

 

Hmmm ... the vastness of the sound spaces conjured up in this sort of recording, going way beyond the environment of a live concert hall, is something that people who mainly feel comfortable with "real" acoustics probably won't relate to ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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9 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

 Whether it’s the microphones used in the recording, or the recording gear or process, most of the time, the realism is not captured. Add to that the distortions added on playback, and the “Fi” we get in our playback is still severely limited. There must be a standard by which to measure our progress, and it can’t be that it “sounds good”. It must be a comparison to the real thing or the entire construct is flawed.

 

As I've said many times, the recording process has always worked well enough - the real shortcomings are in the integrity of the playback chain ... in simple terms, the the system must be able to go "loud" without 'collapsing' - if one knows what is possible, then it's very easy to hear the sound quality being compromised by the flaws in nominally capable rigs.

 

9 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Again, you are looking at this wrong. If the playback chain is accurate to the sound of real instruments, playing in a real space, then it will be accurate to the sound of electronic or electric music as well. It cannot help but be because it means that the playback system is adding nothing and taking away nothing from the signal it’s fed.

 

100% agree.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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The way I see it...  If a change in my brand of single malt allows me to come to a better connection with the Music, and develop a better understanding of the Music, then that is a change for the better-for me, in my system, which is of course all that really matters here. 

 

See the problem with "connection"?


"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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Now, about "real space"...  how many channels does it take?

 

Hint: the answer is > 2


"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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12 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

Now, about "real space"...  how many channels does it take?

 

Hint: the answer is > 2

 

A simple formula applies, if wanting a sense of "real space" ...

 

If the rig has less than the necessary integrity, then as many channels as one can engineer, by whatever means, will be necessary; if the rig has at least the necessary integrity then 2 channels will be perfectly adequate.

 

😉 ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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3 hours ago, gmgraves said:

Starting with a live recording, any step along the way, from the microphone to the listener’s speakers (and, of course, the listener’s room) that changes the sound of an acoustic instrument, has broken the chain, and the “Absolute Sound” is lost.

That begs the question, how can one tell what to change next in order to come closer to the "Absolute Sound", the recording or the playback system? 🙂

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11 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Bell Laboratories, in the 1930’s determined that perfect stereophony was attainable with only two channels. They started with one microphone and one speaker for each instrument in the orchestra. The speakers were placed in exactly the same place on stage that the instruments that they represent occupied in the pick-up venue some distance away. Then they started to consolidate larger and larger groups of instruments into sharing one channel, until at last, there were just two microphones in front of the orchestra, and two speakers in the listening venue.

 

better tell Kal...


"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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7 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

The flaw in this thinking is that fas42 is assuming that things like microphones are perfect transducers. They are not. He is also assuming that mic preamps, mixing boards and audio recorders, both digital and analog are likewise perfect, distortion-free devices. This too is a falsehood. Both ends of the system are seriously flawed because the arts and science of electronics and acoustics are nowhere near perfect, and the must be to perfectly reproduce the sound of live, acoustic instruments realistically!

 

 

The recording chain is not "perfect" - and never will be ... however, the sins that are committed there are not the ones that 'sabotage' the quality of "realness" that most aspire to hearing. This is clearly so when one listens to a succession of different recordings, that come from different eras, using various techniques and all sorts of qualities of gear - each recording causes you to enter a different "listening world"; it's almost a shock at times at how much it changes with each new album you put on ... but what happens is that one's hearing very rapidly adapts, and it still "sounds like the real thing". An analogy might be meeting someone you know, who has changed by the passage of years, or is wearing completely unfamiliar clothes, or makeup - the underlying person is still exactly as before, and never comes across "as fake" - the person is always a real person, not an android ...

 

This is what a system capable of convincing playback presents - all the technical issues of the recording 'vanish' - and this is because human hearing is remarkably adaptive, given the 'right' qualities in the SQ.

 

Every audiophile who has had a shock hearing a recording they thought they knew well sound dramatically more impressive on a 'magic' rig is experiencing this - the system is not distorting the recording to make it "sound better"; rather, it's adding less disturbing artifacts, allowing you to be subjectively more aware of the intrinsic qualities of what was captured.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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1 hour ago, gmgraves said:

I suspect that you know what a live trumpet sounds like

Sure, but at what distance?  In what room?  Played how?  Which trumpet?  These all can sound very different.  This is my point, that there is no absolute.

 

1 hour ago, gmgraves said:

Now, to be honest, here, with what I call “Studio Music” where it is all electronics and over-dubbing and different tracks laid down at different times and often in different venues, the reality is that if you weren’t there at the mix, listening through the same studio monitor speakers in the same room as those who made the mix, you will have no idea how the producers and artists wanted their music to sound

Agreed.  This again supports the idea of no real absolute.  Since the vast majority of all recordings are made this way, including most classical music and jazz.  Only a very few, so called "audiophile" recordings are made differently, and even many of those are not so "pure".  Even Jared Sack's work with Channel Classics is mixed through a console (albeit in analog) and recorded using many mikes.  Consider Allison Krauss' "Paper Airplane", certainly an audiophile favorite, and then go look on the Internet at the recording details, especially on her voice, the amount of processing applied was quite shocking to me, punching in and out different plug ins multiple times even just on single syllables.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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