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Can Bad Recordings sound Good?

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44 minutes ago, bluesman said:

I must respectfully disagree with you. First, unless you’ve only heard one recording of an artist, you should have a pretty good idea of what he, she, or they and their instruments sound like (assuming you have some familiarity with them, a decent system and a halfway critical ear).  
 

Second, many music loving audiophiles are quite familiar with the specific instruments played by their favorite artists in any genre.  They know what is being played and what it sounds like live because they’ve heard it live.  From Oscar Peterson’s Bosendorfer to Miles’ Martin trumpet to Wes Montgomery’s L5 Gibson, jazz lovers know.

 

Classical enthusiasts know that Isaac Stern’s favorite violin was the Ysaye Guarnerius.  Bob Brozman fans know the sight and sound of his National resonator guitars. Etc etc etc.  And pop/rock people are the same.  They may not be able to tell Carnegie Hall from the Academy of Music as a recording setting, but they have a good idea of the sound to be expected from a fine venue.  Further confusing this is the great variation in mic techniques and equipment. But the sound of the artist(s) is not camouflaged beyond recognition by any good recording in my experience.

 

And I respectfully disagree with you, at least with respect to the degree of certainty you appear to proclaim. You are expressing the point of view of a practicing musician with a "tuned ear". While many aspire to that level, whether they can achieve it is an open question. You assume that most audiophiles have heard their favourite artists live which, desirable as it may be, is also questionable. Moreover, even if they have, the nature of the venue and its unique acoustics may play a more important role in the characterization of the sound than the identification of the instruments themselves, especially if any amplification is used.

 

"It is the difference in opinion that make horse races." :)


"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"- William Bruce Cameron

 

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1 hour ago, bluesman said:

Many years ago, I recorded a series of instrumental solo passages on my high speed Crown deck for my audio dealer (and dear friend) to use when evaluating & demo’ing equipment. These included my Yamaha grand, my silver Getzen Eterna trumpet, my upright bass, my Martin D28, my flute and my alto sax.  As an experiment, I also recorded the same passages with my D28 using different kinds of strings.  We told the listeners only that each passage was different, and everyone was able to hear the difference.  We even did some repeated AB testing, and they clearly heard A as different from B.  But in over a decade, not one of his customers ever guessed that the guitar strings were the difference they heard. They guessed everything from altered tube bias to different crossover points to reversed phase because they expected the changes to be in the equipment.  Once they knew what they were hearing, they used that comparison to guide their choices.

 

I know from personal experience that a change of guitar strings can make a very significant difference in the sound of an acoustic guitar. But, so what? IMO, you are undermining your own argument when you relate that most people erroneously guessed that there had been an equipment change. I never suggested that people can't hear differences, an assumption from which your entire argument flows.

 

1 hour ago, bluesman said:

Nonmusician customers at an audio store heard everything I’m talking about, even though it was subtle and they didn’t know exactly why they heard it.  So I’ll ask you to ponder what seems like a dichotomy in your thoughts.  How could someone who can’t identify a performer with even a modicum of personal playing style despite hearing his, her or their recordings multiple times be able to pass judgment on the quality of recordings?

 

There is no dichotomy in my thoughts. If you will forgive me for saying so, I find your post to be rather pedantic. That is particularly evidenced by your concluding rhetorical question which, by virtue of its hyperbole, grossly misstates the issue. Regardless, while it was interesting to exchange views, I see no point in continuing this discussion any further. :)


"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"- William Bruce Cameron

 

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7 hours ago, Summit said:

 

any records that doesn’t sound very good doesn’t sound good because:

 

1. The record is heavily compressed. A good system is faster, airier, more open and more dynamic and have much better transient response than a bad system. All those aspects improves the better the system.

 

Indeed heavy compression is the hardest to 'tame'. Even with a system in a very high state of tune this type of mastering presents as a very aggressive, abrasive presentation - it's as if the musicians were playing at 11 throughout the song; there is almost no light and shade in the performance ... emotionally fatiguing, a single track's worth will wear you out. This is one place where remastering indeed will do a lot of good - I did decompression of a pop track where the use of compression was very simple; and this made a huge difference to the sense of the piece.

 

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2. The record lack bass and sound thin. A good audio system has a real density and fullness that a bad audio system is lacking. All those aspects improves the better the system.

 

IME all records have sufficient bass, and fullness - the density is there in the recording. Quite often when a setup reaches a high point the tables are turned - the "bad" recording is far richer, and more intense than nominally "good" recordings.

 

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3. The record has a harsh treble. A good audio system has natural sound that is smooth without smoothing over or loss of details and transparency. All those aspects improves the better the system.

 

Unsorted treble in a playback chain is the greatest vice that I come across - any harshness is due to flaws in the system. It may be hard to knock over all the little gremlins that do the damage here; but all the efforts made to achieve this will be well rewarded. There is real magic when one gets this right - play a track at high volume of a swing orchestra going full blast, recorded in the 1930's; the power of the brass ripping into it bowls you over - in a good way! 😉

 

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4. The recording sound bad because of artifacts and noise. A good audio system will revile those flaws more than a bad one. Those aspect is masked by the bad system so you can’t hear them as well.

 

Technical artifacts "disappear" when the SQ is good enough for one to completely tune into the musical presentation - this is an exact parallel to vinyl playback, where it's a well known characteristic that subjectively the pops and crackles get pushed aside, when the rig is performing at a very high level.

 

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This system can make even modest recordings sound really good. 

 

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These have the potential to sound impressive - I have yet to actually hear in person a system using these that doesn't sound like it's trying to physically assault me; but I know this is due to poor setup of the driving chain - so I'm sure one day I'll come across some that are workin' right ... 😁


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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3 hours ago, Allan F said:

 

And I respectfully disagree with you, at least with respect to the degree of certainty you appear to proclaim. You are expressing the point of view of a practicing musician with a "tuned ear". While many aspire to that level, whether they can achieve it is an open question. You assume that most audiophiles have heard their favourite artists live which, desirable as it may be, is also questionable. Moreover, even if they have, the nature of the venue and its unique acoustics may play a more important role in the characterization of the sound than the identification of the instruments themselves, especially if any amplification is used.

 

"It is the difference in opinion that make horse races." :)

(Not really answering the person I quoted, but showing general frustration about these kinds of discussions seldom coming to consensus)

 

Trying to discuss deviations from accuracy does require a commonly agreed upon language to discuss -- other than just creating a per-discussion blather (I use that term often -- for when the intent is sometimes not communications, but just making statements or unclear claims.)  Participating in the discussions can be frustrating.

 

Being totally accurate, and not pendatic: If anyone even talks about most pop/country and even some classical recordings providing anywhere near 'pure' sound -- stop there, because most of those recordings cannot even attempt an accurate representation of a performance or even not reproduce the original mixdown, without special clean-up.  I get so frustrated when someone is worried about even the truly BEAUTIFUL possibility of 1% actual distortion in a speaker system, yet doesn't consider the effective 20% distortion (or worse, relative to actual relative levels) in most available recordings.  I am not just speaking of THD or IMD, but there are other kinds of distortions which are other deviations from relative accuracy -- even 'distorted' relative to the artistically created mixdown at the original recording.  (These are technically demostrable facts.)    If the distortion manifest isn't the more common one started at the beginning of CDs and digitial distributions, there were still issues with making changes during mastering -- but not quite as heinous, it was more of a media issue before CDs.

 

I want people to have better access to clean audio, but I get frustrated over the futilityof these kinds of discussions -- there ARE very important issues that can/should be discussed about music reproduction -- and indeed 'sounding like' the real performance is an important issue.  There are SO MANY steps inbetween, where esp nowadays with moderately high quality equipment, the consumers sound system a the SMALL part of all kinds of distortion (excluding the transducers/speakers/listening space.)  Even then, getting an accurate copy of the performance requires a media source that has the correct information -- but most do not.  There are some esoteric recordings available, that haven't been twisted badly -- those aren't the music that I normally listen to (even though I can respect and appreciate the results.)

 

There ARE real problems with the sound getting to the ear from the performance -- but the most common audio problem isn't the consumers system (unless the system is something like a boombox.)

 

John

 

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Just collating below some posts from another thread that may be relevant here......If Quoting, maybe copy and paste the actual author's comments otherwise it may show myself as the author?

 

  

On 5/3/2020 at 10:20 AM, fas42 said:

Difficult recordings are those which sometimes sound bad on your, and other's systems, but which you know from experience can sound perfectly acceptable, or even exceptional.

 

Bad recordings are difficult recordings for which you haven't yet managed get the latter experience.

 

😉 ...

 

On 5/3/2020 at 5:08 PM, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

 

So bad recordings can sound exceptionally bad 😜

 

On 5/3/2020 at 10:23 PM, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

Aha , a topic i started and in which I said....

 

 

The risk is you color the sound to suit the recording type or otherwise gravitate to recordings that suit your colored system.If the goal is transparency, true transparency then bad recordings should be heard for what they are, not with sonic sunglasses.

 

 

fas42 said:

. it's far more interesting making "bad" recordings slip into precise focus,

On 5/3/2020 at 10:23 PM, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

only if you like seeing "bad" well focused 🙄

 

On 5/3/2020 at 11:01 PM, fas42 said:

 

Of course there's a risk ... the goal is to be able to put on any recording, and for it to show of its best - this is where experience comes in ... if one has done this sort of thing long enough, then one knows what most of the traps are - and what is possible.

 

 

Back into old territory, now ... the argument about whether if enough detail is revealed, with minimal added playback distortion, that the mind can discard what it knows doesn't belong - you believe it can't; I believe it can.

 

On 5/12/2020 at 9:41 AM, fas42 said:

 

Which is a good thing of course - where it becomes interesting is that the "new normal" will have edges to it; meaning, a particular recording will sound "better", or "worse" than what you experienced previously, with the the prior setup - that it sounds worse is a giveaway that something that is not as good as it should be in the overall system is now more aggressively highlighted, because of the changes made ... a highly effective approach to improving the setup is to be grateful for this insight, and to constructively use this extra knowledge to refine the system.

 

On 5/12/2020 at 9:48 AM, gmgraves said:

Looks like somebody is back to playing that broken record again. This person seems to never get tired of hearing that “click, click, click” every revolution Like the rest of us do.

 

On 5/12/2020 at 11:51 AM, fas42 said:

I see in a recent post of yours, George,

 

 

that your "broken record" is that the status of a recording is firmly set, deep into hard concrete - for you, and others, many recordings "just sound wrong and unsatisfying", no matter what ... 'tis a pity - because you're missing out, on so much ... 🙂.

 

On 5/12/2020 at 2:06 PM, gmgraves said:

Seems like my comment went WHOOSH! right over your head. Frank, you are the broken record, and the click, click, click is you singing the same old song in every post and in every thread you participate in. 

 

On 5/12/2020 at 9:10 PM, fas42 said:

 

George, I was pointing out that the broken record that you accuse me of is a response to the steady mantra of those who assert that the lacking in the quality of what they hear is the recording's fault - the same excuse has been trotted out, to me, constantly over the last 35 years ... and that groove has worn down to the point of breaking through to the other side, for me.

 

You seem unaware that hardware is now coming out that is capable of getting so much closer to the true sound of the recording with relatively little tweaking - progress is being made, whether you like it or not.

 

On 5/13/2020 at 1:48 AM, Summit said:

It is not true that a recording either sounds good or bad regardless of the playback system. Some records are more complex and difficult to reproduce and can sound bad on a lesser audio system but good on a better one.

 

It is a myth that a bad recordings sound worse the better the system. The better system will still sound better even if we can hear some flaws more clearly. It is those over-analytical midfi “HIFI” system that lack bass and that emphasize a sharp and bright sound that can sound worse, but I don’t consider them to sound good and lifelike.

 

On 5/13/2020 at 9:12 AM, fas42 said:

 

Yes ... how it works is that low resolution, midfi systems simply don't extract all the details of the recording; the "bad bits' of the technology, as well as "good bits" of the music just don't come through - this compromise works quite well. Improve the resolution of the playback, and you "hear everything" - where this goes wrong is that the remaining distortion misbehaviour of the rig intermodulates with less than perfect capture or storage of the event; two very distinct wrongs are too much for the ear/brain - "bad recordings" abound. The solution is to push the playback chain to a higher level of integrity, so that its distinctive sound signature vanishes. Then the listening mind only has to accommodate a single style of distortion; that of the particular track - this is very obvious when you play a compilation album, each successive track changes the acoustic world you experience, sometimes dramatically - but each works, because the listener very rapidly adapts to the new soundscape; it almost immediately makes sense.

 

10 hours ago, gmgraves said:

So, it doesn’t matter that your comment was a non-sequitur? And that you are answering a question that nobody asked?

The fact is, Frank, that most commercial recordings are sonic junk. Every now and again, somebody gets it right, but most of the time they don’t. What’s the use of having “hardware (that) is now coming out that is capable of getting so much closer to the true sound of the recording“ if the recordings coming out for the general public to buy are so sonically incompetent? Pop recordings are so compressed and so hard limited These days, that I’m surprised that even millennials can listen to them with ear-buds!

Where do you get the idea that I’m unaware of the advancements in playback hardware? Or that I don’t like such advancements? And finally, isn’t this revelation antithetical to your usual mantra that high-end hardware is not necessary and that all you need is some cheap mid-Fi equipment, a pair of boom-box ghetto blaster speakers and the famous “Frank method“ to get as close to the original performance as technically possible and make every recording sound like you are in the room with the musicians irrespective of that recording’s origin or quality? As I have been saying all along Frank, you are as full of it as a stuffed Christmas goose.

 

10 hours ago, gmgraves said:

Seems to me that you are contradicting yourself. In one breath you say that bad recordings don’t sound worse on good systems, then you say that good systems reveal more of the flaws in a bad recording. In what universe does revealing more flaws not equate to the bad recording sounding worse?

 

8 hours ago, Summit said:

 

In this universe because a good audio system is about much more than digging up and showing flaws. Maybe one day you will understand that.

 

4 hours ago, gmgraves said:

Since my system makes my recordings (as in those that *I* recorded) sound like the live performance sounded when I was there recording it, believe me when I say that  I couldn’t agree more. A good audio system is about very “much more than digging-up and showing flaws“.

In my previous post I was asking you to explain, if you would be so kind, what you meant with that seemingly contradictory comment about lousy recording quality and good, revealing systems and I was gently (I thought) chiding you about it. Reading it some hours later, I can see how you might have taken it as an attack. Understand, it wasn’t meant that way, and I apologize for my wording. Very terse of me, and I should have read it over before I hit the “Submit Reply” button!

 


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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5 hours ago, Allan F said:

it may be difficult or impossible to distinguish a bad recording from a good one absent knowledge of both the recording venue and particular instrument played

If you know what a given artist sounds like on multiple recordings and systems, and you encounter a recording on which the artist clearly sounds different from what you’ve heard before, the odds are great that the different one is somehow flawed whether or not it sounds more pleasing to you.  If you also know the live sound of the performers, you’re even more likely to be correct.

 

I agree that we’re not communicating. Let’s leave it at that. Stay safe!

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@gmgraves said,


 

Quote

 

So, it doesn’t matter that your comment was a non-sequitur? And that you are answering a question that nobody asked?

The fact is, Frank, that most commercial recordings are sonic junk.

 

No. Most playback setups add enough distortion, so that they sound like, "sonic junk".

 

Quote

 

Where do you get the idea that I’m unaware of the advancements in playback hardware? Or that I don’t like such advancements? And finally, isn’t this revelation antithetical to your usual mantra that high-end hardware is not necessary and that all you need is some cheap mid-Fi equipment, a pair of boom-box ghetto blaster speakers and the famous “Frank method“ to get as close to the original performance as technically possible and make every recording sound like you are in the room with the musicians irrespective of that recording’s origin or quality? As I have been saying all along Frank, you are as full of it as a stuffed Christmas goose.

 

 

My mantra is that low cost gear gets enough right to deliver a satisfying listening experience - but, may require tweaks to deliver that. The previous NAD and Sharp combo had so many rough edges in them, especially the NAD amp - partly because of age - that I've spent ages debugging all of that. The new digital speakers have really surprised me, because they have done so much to avoid all the issues that I've had to deal with in that NAD combo - now, the new and the old are relatively neck and neck in SQ terms; the NAD still did some things better, and the Edifiers are ahead in other ways.

 

What they both do is deliver a good 95% of what I know the recording can deliver - my method is to keep pushing the envelope until what they can do takes full advantage of their engineering, without getting silly about it.

 

The advancements are that something like the Edifier is silly cheap for what it does, even in raw form - meaning far less tweaking is required ... it still surprises me how good they sound from a dead cold start in the morning; I haven't come across a rig before that did this as well.

 

Does "every recording sound like you are in the room with the musicians irrespective of that recording’s origin or quality"? ... No, but it has excellent potential - the throwing up of a soundstage is vastly better than most of the expensive gear I heard at the last hifi show, and overall integrity is of a very high order.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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On 5/12/2020 at 7:22 PM, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

Can bad recordings sound good?

 

This seems to be a recurrent theme across some threads eg

  

 

 

 

 

My view is that over 90% of "Hi-Fi" is in the quality of the recording. GIGO.

 

The better the reproducing system the more transparently it will reveal what sounds like real (unamplified) sounds in a real acoustic space.

 

The better the reproduction system the more it will reveal good and bad bits of a recording.Good bits of bad recordings can make the presentation sound less unpleasant, indeed pleasant if one is able to mentally tune out the bad bits.One can rediscover many old recordings in this way. The bad bits however are still revealed and no amount of system tweaking will overcome this if transparency is maintained.

 

Tweaking a HiFi system to make the bad bits of recordings sound "good" (less bad) = coloration. All recordings start to sound of the signature of the color chosen and one may gravitate to certain recordings that suit the color. In essence you convert a HiFi system into a mid or more likely Lo-Fi system. Radios and car stereos can sound 'good' with bad recordings because of the information discarded - you end up with a truncated, compressed, music-in-a-tin sound. This is fine to get the gist of the melody and rhythm especially for familiar tunes.

 

The other biggy with tweaking of course is the possibility of confirmation bias. But the emperor has no clothes if nobody else perceives it.

I think you're asking the wrong question.

 

From my perspective it should be "Can I listen to music that I enjoy that has been poorly recorded?"

 

I have a lot of albums that for whatever reason sound like they were recorded with a portable cassette player.  We all do.

 

When I listen to a MoFi recording of Kiko, i appreciate how wonderful a great recording can be.

 

When I listen to one of my father's 10" jazz LPs, something like Meade Lux Lewis and Louis Bellson - Boogie Woogie Piano and Drums, I just don't care.  

 

it's all about the music.  If it sounds great, you're there, you can see and feel it and you're in harmony with the universe and we're all in it together, that's great.  

 

When it's not quite like that, but it's Blue Oyster Cult and Before the Kiss, a Redcap on that poorly recorded debut - I'll take it.

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5 hours ago, bluesman said:

Second, many music loving audiophiles are quite familiar with the specific instruments played by their favorite artists in any genre.  They know what is being played and what it sounds like live because they’ve heard it live.  From Oscar Peterson’s Bosendorfer to Miles’ Martin trumpet to Wes Montgomery’s L5 Gibson, jazz lovers know.

 

Not necessary by their favorite artists.  If someone plays or has learned to play a certain instrument, for example, acoustic guitar, then he would know what it sounds like and from that memory, he can tell whether the recording reproduced closely to the sound of an acoustic guitar and from that he can tell whether the recording is good enough.  However, may be only the guitar sound is good and the other instruments are not. 

 

Once upon a time, here in my place, some magazine reviewed an album and commented that the electric guitar sounds good and based on his comment, I bought the album and the recording is not bad BUT it is not an electric guitar but simply a classical guitar.  OMG!🤣


MetalNuts

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28 minutes ago, SJK said:

I think you're asking the wrong question.

 

I think it's a fair question to ask but granted it can be interpreted differently and therefore answered differently

 

28 minutes ago, SJK said:

 "Can I listen to music that I enjoy that has been poorly recorded?"

 

A different question, and for me the answer is Yes, sometimes. It depends. If I can get past the flaws or even discard the part of the signal with the flaws, then yes. To the latter I actually prefer very bad recordings on the car radio eg pretty much anything from the Stones which i think is great rock music.Some bad recordings have enough good bits to make them shine on a good system.

 

I would also agree that you need to distinguish whether you are listening to music or listening to your system. As I see it tho, it is when the system totally gets out of the way of a good recording that the emotional connection is strongest. Good sound in the service of good music.

 

 


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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6 hours ago, Allan F said:

 

"The absolute sound" definition is a only reference ideal or goal. Unless one is present at a recording session, it is virtually impossible to know how the instruments sounded in the "actual space in which they were recorded". No single recording is likely to reveal the fidelity of a playback system. However, listening to a range of what is generally regarded to be well recorded acoustic music can establish that a system is one of high fidelity or accuracy. One can assume that such as system will reproduce all recordings with fidelity.

 

In the context of the specific type of example that you provided, it may be difficult or impossible to distinguish a bad recording from a good one absent knowledge of both the recording venue and particular instrument played. In such cases, one is presumably left with how the recording subjectively involves us on an emotional level.

 

I totally agree. The ideal is to be at the recording venue as a point of reference to judge fidelity to the source. Now, clearly that is not even remotely possible for most of us.

 

That doesn't mean we don't know what a piano or guitar or human voice sound like. It may mean that certain coloration or distortions obscure various qualities but there should still be a 'realness' quality nonetheless, even if not totally true to the actual real sound.When it departs from what we can perceive as potentially real we know the system is failing. IOW the greater you can suspend disbelief gets you closer to life like even if not 100% accurate to the actual living event. They sound like real guitar strings, even if not obvious what the brand or type of string is.

 

 

6 hours ago, bluesman said:

 unless you’ve only heard one recording of an artist, you should have a pretty good idea of what he, she, or they and their instruments sound like (assuming you have some familiarity with them, a decent system and a halfway critical ear).

 

 

Agreed, Most can do this on even a car radio

 

 

6 hours ago, bluesman said:

 

 
 

 many music loving audiophiles are quite familiar with the specific instruments played by their favorite artists in any genre.  They know what is being played and what it sounds like live because they’ve heard it live.  From Oscar Peterson’s Bosendorfer to Miles’ Martin trumpet to Wes Montgomery’s L5 Gibson, jazz lovers know.

 

If so,I agree, an even better point of reference for judging fidelity

 

 

4 hours ago, bluesman said:

I think it’s fair to say that many music lovers who play no instrument can identify many of their favorite performer(s) in any recording of average quality played on a system of average quality.  This has been my experience consistently, from parties to public background music to restaurant sound tracks.  BB King sounds like BB King almost regardless of the guitar and amplifier he’s playing or where and how it was recorded.  So do Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Lowell George, Norah Jones, Arthur Rubinstein, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Julian Bream, the Philadelphia Orchestra, etc etc etc.
 

Agreed

 

4 hours ago, bluesman said:

 

I don’t think it’s possible for a music loving audiophile with even average “ears” to listen to multiple recordings of most performers who have distinct styles and sounds and not develop a pretty good idea of how they typically sound.  And if they sound different on one recording from most other recordings that audiophile has heard, I would expect that difference to be heard.  I don’t think or care that they could tell you what’s different (like my guitar example). But they darned well ought to be saying “This recording makes X sound funny - I know he / she / they don’t usually sound like that”.

 

agreed

 

4 hours ago, bluesman said:

Many years ago, I recorded a series of instrumental solo passages on my high speed Crown deck for my audio dealer (and dear friend) to use when evaluating & demo’ing equipment. These included my Yamaha grand, my silver Getzen Eterna trumpet, my upright bass, my Martin D28, my flute and my alto sax.  As an experiment, I also recorded the same passages with my D28 using different kinds of strings.  We told the listeners only that each passage was different, and everyone was able to hear the difference.  We even did some repeated AB testing, and they clearly heard A as different from B.  But in over a decade, not one of his customers ever guessed that the guitar strings were the difference they heard. They guessed everything from altered tube bias to different crossover points to reversed phase because they expected the changes to be in the equipment.  Once they knew what they were hearing, they used that comparison to guide their choices.

 

 

This is where you loose me ( I get lost easily :(). Nothing in that example surprises me. The difference was heard and whether it was a change in the recording or the playback, I respectfully ask what is the point exactly?

 

 

4 hours ago, bluesman said:


 

Nonmusician customers at an audio store heard everything I’m talking about, even though it was subtle and they didn’t know exactly why they heard it.  So I’ll ask you to ponder what seems like a dichotomy in your thoughts.  How could someone who can’t identify a performer with even a modicum of personal playing style despite hearing his, her or their recordings multiple times be able to pass judgment on the quality of recordings?

 

?

 

 

1 hour ago, bluesman said:

If you know what a given artist sounds like on multiple recordings and systems, and you encounter a recording on which the artist clearly sounds different from what you’ve heard before, the odds are great that the different one is somehow flawed whether or not it sounds more pleasing to you.  If you also know the live sound of the performers, you’re even more likely to be correct.

 

Again, agreed.

 

 


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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2 hours ago, SJK said:

When I listen to one of my father's 10" jazz LPs, something like Meade Lux Lewis and Louis Bellson - Boogie Woogie Piano and Drums, I just don't care.  

 

 

 

Speaking of that style, and age of music, I have a whole CD stuffed with tracks of that era ... this can work quite marvellously, and my active speakers do them pretty well at this stage ,,, a sample - and this is the precise version of this number that I have,

 

 

Both the big band crescendos, and the piano hit the mark - Bev wants this CD to be played, ever day! 😁


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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2 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

I think it's a fair question to ask but granted it can be interpreted differently and therefore answered differently

 

 

A different question, and for me the answer is Yes, sometimes. It depends. If I can get past the flaws or even discard the part of the signal with the flaws, then yes. To the latter I actually prefer very bad recordings on the car radio eg pretty much anything from the Stones which i think is great rock music.Some bad recordings have enough good bits to make them shine on a good system.

 

I would also agree that you need to distinguish whether you are listening to music or listening to your system. As I see it tho, it is when the system totally gets out of the way of a good recording that the emotional connection is strongest. Good sound in the service of good music.

 

 

Since the question can be interpreted differently, why not change it to something more specific? 

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21 minutes ago, Rexp said:

Since the question can be interpreted differently, why not change it to something more specific? 

The answers will reflect how people see the question and that is quite interesting


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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4 hours ago, SJK said:

I think you're asking the wrong question.

 

From my perspective it should be "Can I listen to music that I enjoy that has been poorly recorded?"

It’s difficult, but I can. Case in point, Chandos recording of Resphigi’s “Church Windows“ that I accessed on Tidal, sounds terrible (like most all Chandos label recordings), but until I find a better one (Like the excellent Ormandy/PO recording from the mid ‘Sixties [and to my knowledge, Sony has never reissued on CD], I’ll have to put up with the Chandos (there is a very early Reference recording of this work, with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, but the performance is poor in my estimation).

4 hours ago, SJK said:

 

I have a lot of albums that for whatever reason sound like they were recorded with a portable cassette player.  We all do.

I have stereo recordings that sound worse than some 78’s from the late ‘Thirties and ‘Forties. So, yeah. And it’s hard to fathom why anyone would make and release recordings that poor. Especially since we’ve had the ability to make incredibly lifelike stereo recordings since the Mid ‘Fifties and did make them!

4 hours ago, SJK said:

 

When I listen to a MoFi recording of Kiko, i appreciate how wonderful a great recording can be.
 

Can’t comment on that. Never heard (or heard of) Kiko.

4 hours ago, SJK said:

 

When I listen to one of my father's 10" jazz LPs, something like Meade Lux Lewis and Louis Bellson - Boogie Woogie Piano and Drums, I just don't care.  

 

it's all about the music.  If it sounds great, you're there, you can see and feel it and you're in harmony with the universe and we're all in it together, that's great.  

 

When it's not quite like that, but it's Blue Oyster Cult and Before the Kiss, a Redcap on that poorly recorded debut - I'll take it.

OK


George

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Since the Rolling Stones have now been added to the list of baddies, I decided to pull out the real roughie - the very first album, https://www.discogs.com/The-Rolling-Stones-The-Rolling-Stones/release/919169 ... I regularly used this 15 years ago, to get the last ounce of detail to come to life.

 

Hmmm, not too bad - but not as articulate as it can get - there are a whole variety of borderline aspects in the qualities of parts of the soundscape that can be used to monitor the SQ; for example, the tambourine used at times is a good indicator. What it strongly indicated is that more mains filtering is needed - definite gains when I pulled the plug on appliances, etc, on separate circuits.

 

Mono recording, and I was pleased to see that the phantom image tracked completely from in front of the left, across to the right speaker. Wasn't able to carry past the outer edge of the span of the speakers - but this is a good result at this point in the tweaking.

 

Does it sound, good? Ummm, this is a tough one - the recording quality in many areas is marginal; and requires absolutely pristine playback to pull it off ... some people would appraise it as a fail, at this moment; but I'm quite happy with the standard achieved so far.

 


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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10 hours ago, MetalNuts said:

Once upon a time, here in my place, some magazine reviewed an album and commented that the electric guitar sounds good and based on his comment, I bought the album and the recording is not bad BUT it is not an electric guitar but simply a classical guitar.  OMG!🤣

One of my classic disagreements with Harry Pearson was over the Absolute Sound review of Dave Grusin’s Sheffield D2D vinyl “Discovered Again”.  It praises the sound of Ron Carter’s “Fender bender bass” and the wonderful capture of its sound “we’ll below 40 Hz” in the track of the theme from Baretta.  I could be mistaken, but I’m 99.99% certain that Ron Carter is playing an acoustic upright bass on it.  He did play an electric on some fusion gigs and albums, but it didn’t sound like this.
 

It sounds like Ron Carter always sounds on acoustic bass, except that the bottom shows a bit less of the chime and bloom for which he was so well known.  It was EQ’d and processed in real time during recording, as is confirmed in the Dave Grusin archive notes about that album.  Grusin thought the engineers were trying to make Carter sound more like Ray Brown, and he didn’t like it.  Fortunately, they failed.  It was an interesting paradox because Sheffield was praised for purity - and their SQ was very fine overall.  In fact, it was so good that Ron Carter was still easily recognizable despite their efforts.


The low E on a standard bass is 41.2 Hz at concert pitch (A=440).  There is no bass note on that track “well below 40”.  There is no bass note on that track at 40.  This is objective fact - you can’t have an opinion about it - it’s easily verifiable.

 

I wrote to HP about these clear errors.  His response was that he didn’t write the review, so he wasn’t responsible.

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11 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

This is where you loose me ( I get lost easily :(). Nothing in that example surprises me. The difference was heard and whether it was a change in the recording or the playback, I respectfully ask what is the point exactly?

The criticism to which I was responding is that being a musician keeps me from knowing or understanding how non-musicians hear music, specifically:

 

 You are expressing the point of view of a practicing musician with a ‘tuned ear’. While many aspire to that level, whether they can achieve it is an open question.

 

I was directly refuting that assertion, which I believe is simply incorrect.  The guitar string example is simple proof.  You don’t need to be musicians to hear differences in performance, even those that originate in the instruments or how they’re played. Listeners may not know why they hear a difference, but they hear and respond to it. They hear differences in saxophone reeds, drum heads, trumpet bores and metals, etc.  Another comparison demo I made for Dan was the same passage played on my silver trumpet and on my brass cornet.  
 

Listen to Warren Vache’s early recordings and you’ll know there’s something odd about the sound of his trumpet.  That’s because it’s a cornet, which most people wouldn’t know - but they hear it.  Hearing differences in both instruments and how different artists play the exact same instrument is a large part of our ability to know whether we’re hearing Art Pepper or Paul Desmond playing Here’s That Rainy Day on a Selmer Mk 6 alto sax coming from the ceiling speakers at Morton’s.

 

The sonic differences between sets of otherwise identical guitar strings differing only in that one set averages a few hundredths of an inch thinner is very real, but it’s not very dramatic.  These are the kinds of differences that are apparent in a “good” recording and are reproduced well by a “good” system.  There are many many such tiny cues, and most audiophiles have heard enough of the music of their favorite artists enough times to have internalized the unique soundprints that define their sound.  So when you find yourself saying “That sounds a lot like James Taylor’s guitar playing, but I’m just not sure that’s who it is” you’re either identifying a bad recording (or a terrible sound system) or you’re listening to someone else whose soundprint is a partial match for JT’s.

 

This thread started with the premise that good recordings are pleasing and sound like real instruments in real space. I responded that for me, a truly good recording brings the sound of the actual instruments and artists to you, sounding as they did when recorded.  Responses to that were based on the belief that most audiophiles have no idea how the performance sounded, so it only matters that the sound is convincingly real.  
 

I’ve proved many times with tests like the guitar string and trumpet/cornet switch that many audiophiles do indeed hear these differences and can correctly say “A sounds more like Miles than B” even though they couldn’t tell a Harmon mute from Mark Harmon.  They can hear the difference between a 5’8 grand piano in a club and a 9’6” grand on a concert stage, in person and on even a halfway decent recording.  

 

We’re all happy when our music at home sounds real and live and pleasing. But the question was  whether bad recordings can sound good. The answer is yes.  For me, a recording that makes Ron Carter sound even a little like Ray Brown is a bit of a bad recording.  But I love Dave Grusin’s Sheffield album “Discovered Again” anyway because the playing is excellent, the band is tight, and the music (although a bit too smooth-jazzy for me today) is fun to hear when I’m in the mood. It sounds good to me.

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We can recognize who is on the telephone on a low quality phone. We can hear which type of instrument and sometimes also models on YouTube, a radio or on a lousy recording. We can also identify who it is in a simple caricature. The quality can be low and we still have no problem to pick up the key characteristics between Elvis Presley and Elton John or a grand piano and a regular piano or a Gibson and a Fender.

 

High fidelity is not about hearing and identifying those basic key characteristics. It’s about listing at records at home and not only identify who is singing or playing, it’s about getting the feeling that you hear those musicians live on a stage – that it sounds real and lifelike. But to trick us to believe that we actually are listing to real musicians live on a stage is next to impossible and we have to be satisfied by coming close to that. How close depends on type of music genres and the listener’s experience.

 

BUT to come close is no easy task and everything from the recording to the room and audio system has to be superb for it to happen.

 

Bad Recordings can’t sound good, because if they did they would not be bad recordings. It the same with audio system, we cannot use bad recorded music and hope to really evaluate the how good a hifi system is.  

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