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The dragon of satisfaction and Einstein's theory of relativity


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Spent some time listening to music today after a loong time. I wanted to try something different this time, so I tried the Geek out 450 first (I generally use apogee groove since it's my best source). I don't remember enjoying this thing this much before. I really liked the sound. And I was playing with the filters between the sinc'ish for normal music vs the no pre ring filter for that dense feeling in synthetic stuff. After a few trials I felt myself reaching for the sinc'ish filter even for synthetic, there's something about the effortlessness/microcontrast that makes that filter more preferable (besides that's what's closer to ideal math).

 

So after 20 mins of enjoying the Geek out I swapped to Apogee groove. Now the geek out became unlistenable for either filter. Groove, as I remember, had much better detail/texture/openness/intonations,<<insert any other positive word>>. In general, geek out was a much paler representation of the instrument textures as compared to groove. Geek out has slightly blacker background than groove but it's also weaker and duller with massively smeared detail in comparison, especially missing out on the suspense factor in transients. Groove has a dimensional feel to the sonic images that geek out misses. Now I don't want to take out my burson fun which drives my srh1540 much better than the amp inside the groove and then not be able to listen to groove directly. Got a busy schedule and can't afford to spend too much time in <<distractions>>

 

Ok so what's the moral of the story. Given enough time away (to forget references), I can be contended with almost any audio gear. Satisfaction is relative. I have been enjoying my phone speakers for the last 1 month, and during this time I have been able to better my skills at vocals and flute (far more enjoyable than listening to a recording imo, regardless of gear).

 

Would this keep me away from eventually building the Amb beta 22 and buying srh1840? No, benefits are always there and very significant. But it does mean just in case I have to give them up, I can still be happy with a phone speaker (preferrably running usb audio player Pro).

 

Songs used: 20syl - voices, A.R Rahman - anarkali (from kangalal kaidhu sei), thee kuruvi from same album, nadishana - shu khur,.  All purchased from Bandcamp and played in flac format

 

Happy listening!!

 

Btw, not a review per se, I find the apogee groove to be massively underrated as a dac and srh1540 massively underrated as a headphone. They do pretty great things for their price (and the form factor is a welcome bonus).

IMG_20201110_230419__01.jpg

IMG_20201110_231722__01.jpg

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5 hours ago, manueljenkin said:

Spent some time listening to music today after a loong time. I wanted to try something different this time, so I tried the Geek out 450 first (I generally use apogee groove since it's my best source). I don't remember enjoying this thing this much before. I really liked the sound. And I was playing with the filters between the sinc'ish for normal music vs the no pre ring filter for that dense feeling in synthetic stuff. After a few trials I felt myself reaching for the sinc'ish filter even for synthetic, there's something about the effortlessness/microcontrast that makes that filter more preferable (besides that's what's closer to ideal math).

 

So after 20 mins of enjoying the Geek out I swapped to Apogee groove. Now the geek out became unlistenable for either filter. Groove, as I remember, had much better detail/texture/openness/intonations,<<insert any other positive word>>. In general, geek out was a much paler representation of the instrument textures as compared to groove. Geek out has slightly blacker background than groove but it's also weaker and duller with massively smeared detail in comparison, especially missing out on the suspense factor in transients. Groove has a dimensional feel to the sonic images that geek out misses. Now I don't want to take out my burson fun which drives my srh1540 much better than the amp inside the groove and then not be able to listen to groove directly. Got a busy schedule and can't afford to spend too much time in <<distractions>>

 

Ok so what's the moral of the story. Given enough time away (to forget references), I can be contended with almost any audio gear. Satisfaction is relative. I have been enjoying my phone speakers for the last 1 month, and during this time I have been able to better my skills at vocals and flute (far more enjoyable than listening to a recording imo, regardless of gear).

 

Would this keep me away from eventually building the Amb beta 22 and buying srh1840? No, benefits are always there and very significant. But it does mean just in case I have to give them up, I can still be happy with a phone speaker (preferrably running usb audio player Pro).

 

Songs used: 20syl - voices, A.R Rahman - anarkali (from kangalal kaidhu sei), thee kuruvi from same album, nadishana - shu khur,.  All purchased from Bandcamp and played in flac format

 

Happy listening!!

 

Btw, not a review per se, I find the apogee groove to be massively underrated as a dac and srh1540 massively underrated as a headphone. They do pretty great things for their price (and the form factor is a welcome bonus).

IMG_20201110_230419__01.jpg

IMG_20201110_231722__01.jpg

Curious to know have you heard a system that sounds as satisfying a listening to live instruments like your flute for example? 

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1 hour ago, Rexp said:

Curious to know have you heard a system that sounds as satisfying a listening to live instruments like your flute for example? 

 

I would recommend exploring binaural/live recordings in your existing setup first. Something like this: 

Even an iem running off a decent dac, with usb audio player Pro (uapp) on a phone can portray realism fairly good on binaural. Few other albums to note are J.J Lin - from me to myself, a live album by Alice in chains, pearl jam - binaural, ottmar liebert, amber rubarth. Try to collect in the highest uncompressed resolution possible, get your digital chain right (most of the tweaks are free, like using wtfplay or playpcmwin or uapp, and set them in bitperfect: reference: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/59138-subjective-comparison-of-software-music-player/#comments), get any decent dac of your choice, and the best amp you can. If you want to compress it for storage purposes, I would recommend ogg vorbis over other formats.

 

Nothing gets as close to the real feel because the act of playing itself is very personal. Watching a live dance show is very different from watching a recording on a screen. Certain dances like classical forms which feel somewhat boring on a small screen, are extremely engaging when seen live. Every jump and turn move performed creates frissions which somehow is never portrayed in a recording. The life like visualization of these subtle things play a major role in this, and they are never conveyed on a screen (especially a small screen). And vice versa also sometimes holds true, what felt enjoyable on a phone screen no longer feels as enjoyable since the reference has shifted to something that is even more enjoyable.

 

Adding to it, the process of recording/processing does destroy a lot of things. For normal recordings that are not binaural/live they won't sound as correct as reality because they would have went through many processors (saturation, eq, limiting, compression,etc) which would have completely changed the structure of the signal. However our perception of things is generally through references and comparisons, so a manifold of the relative texture/timing differences that can be resolved would still be present in the recording, regardless of the processing used (mind is a very powerful organ, and very adaptable). To get this separated well enough though, you would definitely need good quality gear. Few elements of the songs would not have been processed much, like choruses but they will have to fight with other data thrown along with them. A well controlled well timed transducer + drive setup can do this separation very well, and while the other processed content may not be perfectly real, the choruses will sound very realistic.

 

There are two setups of mine that does present realism very well, with most recordings, regardless of how compressed/processed they are. Even with something like Linkin park - burn it down, which is a heavily crushed song, with good gear I can "see through the distortion" and distinguish layers of Chester's voice easily. Not so in lower fidelity gear. I actually find very crushed songs to be an incredible test of the transducer/drive/source chain capability, other songs I can think of that are very busy tests are are Kanaa Kangiren from ananda tandavam, are you shpongled album by shpongle, virtual riot idols (though it can be quite screechy!).

 

Apogee groove driving hd800 directly. Hd800 needs minimal current to run well once you can provide the necessary voltage swing from a stable source.

 

Apogee groove feeding my burson fun, driving my shure srh1540. Srh1540 does drink a lot more current. It is the same case with any other monitoring headphone of similar design like srh840,940,1440,1840, krk kns 6400/8400, Sony cd900. All are based on similar design philosophy. Try any of these headphones on a quality headphone amp, all of them resolve detail/depth insanely well, much better than the expensive headphones (including my hd800). Running them off portable/low power amps can be misleading since they do sound loud enough of any source but they lose all sorts of openness with a weak source. I have heard a few vintage headphones and I feel they are also very good in this area - Sennheiser hd250, Sennheiser hd425. Other headphones I've heard are sr009, he500, l300 Ltd, hd600/650 (multiple occasions), lcd2, lcd2f , focal clear and all of them have failed to impress me. Clear came the closest to impressing me but I felt it didn't do chord progressions well enough (the progression from lows to highs don't build up the way I expect a real music to). I collect headphones for fun, and I own a l300, cd1700, thx00, sextett, hd700, and few other headphones and again none of them come anywhere close to portraying realism though I definitely enjoy the different flavours they give.

 

I personally feel dac/amp quality plays a good role in the feeling of realism than the headphones. If I had say 500$, I'd split it up as 200$ for a decent amp (like my burson fun, or a schiit Asgard, or pass labs whammy), 200$ for a decent dac (like my apogee groove fed through wtfplay, or any decent desktop dac with good usb interface) and the remaining 100$ on something like a hd25 or srh440.

 

Something I want to point out. People break their head over this word called "soundstage". I donot think it has any validity in gear comparison because

 

1. The perception of soundstage is extremely personal (even opening/closing eyes can change it)

 

2. Most recordings donot have soundstage of their own. Only live/binaural have a soundstage of their own. The best overall instrument rendition I could hear was when I could guess how far the singer was from the mic. This would mean a near in your face sound for most stereo recordings, with the studio monitors I mentioned above, on a good source, you feel like you are shot through to the position of the mic. The general results I've got are like 1-5cm outside the headphone for most stereo recordings, but for live/binaural, I am transported to the original recording space. Any headphone that has a very wide soundstage of its own on all recordings is a result of its own aberrations (pleasing or not) and it without a doubt compromises in realism, and falls flat in comparison to the studio monitors when it comes to live/binaural rendition.

 

The best headphone I've heard so far is shure srh940, but since it is fragile I have the 1540 instead. Both are technically similar but I like the diffuse field tone of srh940 more since it plays well with center panned music, and live/binaural. Srh1540 feels correct for side panned music but center channel is too in my face (thick and sharp both).

 

I hope this helped. And sorry I'm not a speaker guy, but I haven't heard many speakers yet. I haven't tried vinyl yet, might try someday. Need to experience lack of digital chopping and algorithm based sound someday right!!

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1 hour ago, manueljenkin said:

 

Adding to it, the process of recording/processing does destroy a lot of things. For normal recordings that are not binaural/live they won't sound as correct as reality because they would have went through many processors (saturation, eq, limiting, compression,etc) which would have completely changed the structure of the signal. However our perception of things is generally through references and comparisons, so a manifold of the relative texture/timing differences that can be resolved would still be present in the recording, regardless of the processing used (mind is a very powerful organ, and very adaptable). To get this separated well enough though, you would definitely need good quality gear. Few elements of the songs would not have been processed much, like choruses but they will have to fight with other data thrown along with them. A well controlled well timed transducer + drive setup can do this separation very well, and while the other processed content may not be perfectly real, the choruses will sound very realistic.

 

 

It doesn't actually ... this is one of the great myths of the audiophile community, unfortunately. The problem of why so many recordings fail to present well is all down to the lack of capability of the replay chain. Anyone who has evolved a system to a high enough standard knows that what you say here is largely incorrect; and "good quality gear" is a major assist in getting things working to a higher order.

 

In a competent setup, there is no such thing as elements of the mix "fighting" each other - for those who haven't experienced what's possible, it might seem miraculous how a soundstage can develop as it does for those 'poor' recordings - this is the good news, but most in the audio world are not particularly interested in exploring this further, it seems ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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@fas42 I think you are misunderstanding my words. I indeed do agree with you that a better chain will make almost every recording better and closer to sound experienced in real world (please read the post fully, all the paragraphs). I was conveying that even though the processing changes the wave structure significantly, the resultant still has a manifold of the original structure well preserved and enough for our brain to trace back the original instrument textures with the right playback chain (brain works in a very non linear fasion). However I would also have to say that a processed recording, will inevitably sound different from an unprocessed one with the better realism going to the latter.

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1 hour ago, manueljenkin said:

 

I would recommend exploring binaural/live recordings in your existing setup first. Something like this: 

Even an iem running off a decent dac, with usb audio player Pro (uapp) on a phone can portray realism fairly good on binaural. Few other albums to note are J.J Lin - from me to myself, a live album by Alice in chains, pearl jam - binaural, ottmar liebert, amber rubarth. Try to collect in the highest uncompressed resolution possible, get your digital chain right (most of the tweaks are free, like using wtfplay or playpcmwin or uapp, and set them in bitperfect: reference: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/59138-subjective-comparison-of-software-music-player/#comments), get any decent dac of your choice, and the best amp you can. If you want to compress it for storage purposes, I would recommend ogg vorbis over other formats.

 

Nothing gets as close to the real feel because the act of playing itself is very personal. Watching a live dance show is very different from watching a recording on a screen. Certain dances like classical forms which feel somewhat boring on a small screen, are extremely engaging when seen live. Every jump and turn move performed creates frissions which somehow is never portrayed in a recording. The life like visualization of these subtle things play a major role in this, and they are never conveyed on a screen (especially a small screen). And vice versa also sometimes holds true, what felt enjoyable on a phone screen no longer feels as enjoyable since the reference has shifted to something that is even more enjoyable.

 

Adding to it, the process of recording/processing does destroy a lot of things. For normal recordings that are not binaural/live they won't sound as correct as reality because they would have went through many processors (saturation, eq, limiting, compression,etc) which would have completely changed the structure of the signal. However our perception of things is generally through references and comparisons, so a manifold of the relative texture/timing differences that can be resolved would still be present in the recording, regardless of the processing used (mind is a very powerful organ, and very adaptable). To get this separated well enough though, you would definitely need good quality gear. Few elements of the songs would not have been processed much, like choruses but they will have to fight with other data thrown along with them. A well controlled well timed transducer + drive setup can do this separation very well, and while the other processed content may not be perfectly real, the choruses will sound very realistic.

 

There are two setups of mine that does present realism very well, with most recordings, regardless of how compressed/processed they are. Even with something like Linkin park - burn it down, which is a heavily crushed song, with good gear I can "see through the distortion" and distinguish layers of Chester's voice easily. Not so in lower fidelity gear. I actually find very crushed songs to be an incredible test of the transducer/drive/source chain capability, other songs I can think of that are very busy tests are are Kanaa Kangiren from ananda tandavam, are you shpongled album by shpongle, virtual riot idols (though it can be quite screechy!).

 

Apogee groove driving hd800 directly. Hd800 needs minimal current to run well once you can provide the necessary voltage swing from a stable source.

 

Apogee groove feeding my burson fun, driving my shure srh1540. Srh1540 does drink a lot more current. It is the same case with any other monitoring headphone of similar design like srh840,940,1440,1840, krk kns 6400/8400, Sony cd900. All are based on similar design philosophy. Try any of these headphones on a quality headphone amp, all of them resolve detail/depth insanely well, much better than the expensive headphones (including my hd800). Running them off portable/low power amps can be misleading since they do sound loud enough of any source but they lose all sorts of openness with a weak source. I have heard a few vintage headphones and I feel they are also very good in this area - Sennheiser hd250, Sennheiser hd425. Other headphones I've heard are sr009, he500, l300 Ltd, hd600/650 (multiple occasions), lcd2, lcd2f , focal clear and all of them have failed to impress me. Clear came the closest to impressing me but I felt it didn't do chord progressions well enough (the progression from lows to highs don't build up the way I expect a real music to). I collect headphones for fun, and I own a l300, cd1700, thx00, sextett, hd700, and few other headphones and again none of them come anywhere close to portraying realism though I definitely enjoy the different flavours they give.

 

I personally feel dac/amp quality plays a good role in the feeling of realism than the headphones. If I had say 500$, I'd split it up as 200$ for a decent amp (like my burson fun, or a schiit Asgard, or pass labs whammy), 200$ for a decent dac (like my apogee groove fed through wtfplay, or any decent desktop dac with good usb interface) and the remaining 100$ on something like a hd25 or srh440.

 

Something I want to point out. People break their head over this word called "soundstage". I donot think it has any validity in gear comparison because

 

1. The perception of soundstage is extremely personal (even opening/closing eyes can change it)

 

2. Most recordings donot have soundstage of their own. Only live/binaural have a soundstage of their own. The best overall instrument rendition I could hear was when I could guess how far the singer was from the mic. This would mean a near in your face sound for most stereo recordings, with the studio monitors I mentioned above, on a good source, you feel like you are shot through to the position of the mic. The general results I've got are like 1-5cm outside the headphone for most stereo recordings, but for live/binaural, I am transported to the original recording space. Any headphone that has a very wide soundstage of its own on all recordings is a result of its own aberrations (pleasing or not) and it without a doubt compromises in realism, and falls flat in comparison to the studio monitors when it comes to live/binaural rendition.

 

The best headphone I've heard so far is shure srh940, but since it is fragile I have the 1540 instead. Both are technically similar but I like the diffuse field tone of srh940 more since it plays well with center panned music, and live/binaural. Srh1540 feels correct for side panned music but center channel is too in my face (thick and sharp both).

 

I hope this helped. And sorry I'm not a speaker guy, but I haven't heard many speakers yet. I haven't tried vinyl yet, might try someday. Need to experience lack of digital chopping and algorithm based sound someday right!!

Agree with your last sentance, my vinyl system provides me just as much satisfaction (although different) as a live performance. 

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1 hour ago, Rexp said:

Agree with your last sentance, my vinyl system provides me just as much satisfaction (although different) as a live performance. 

What would be a decent entry level vinyl system for me to try? I see two well regarded options in sub 1000$ space - rega p3 and Linn lp12.

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1 hour ago, manueljenkin said:

What would be a decent entry level vinyl system for me to try? I see two well regarded options in sub 1000$ space - rega p3 and Linn lp12.

The lp12 is a league above the p3, i take it you are buying 2nd hand. If buying new, Project do a good range for all budgets. Lots of other options, best check out Michael Fremers reviews on Stereopbile. 

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3 hours ago, manueljenkin said:

@fas42 I think you are misunderstanding my words. I indeed do agree with you that a better chain will make almost every recording better and closer to sound experienced in real world (please read the post fully, all the paragraphs). I was conveying that even though the processing changes the wave structure significantly, the resultant still has a manifold of the original structure well preserved and enough for our brain to trace back the original instrument textures with the right playback chain (brain works in a very non linear fasion). However I would also have to say that a processed recording, will inevitably sound different from an unprocessed one with the better realism going to the latter.

 

Hopefully, not misunderstanding too much, 🙂. Agreed, a processed recording will sound different from one using using very simple, straightforward recording techniques; and the latter will normally present a single soundstage in which the music is happening - which indeed correlates with what occurs on a stage, say. However, in a processed mix what you hear are multiple soundstages overlaying each other, each of which is realistic in its own context - which is as satisfying as the "completely natural" capture ... think of an interpretive painting, versus one which is 100% photorealistic.

 

A specific example: in The Phantom of the Opera recording, the male lead sings in a small recording booth, while the orchestra plays in a distant, expansive space. Each acoustic is clearly defined in the listening, and you can shift your attention from one space to the other, with ease - of course this is "not real", and obviously so; but that fact takes nothing away from enjoying the presentation, as a creative endeavour.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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14 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Hopefully, not misunderstanding too much, 🙂. Agreed, a processed recording will sound different from one using using very simple, straightforward recording techniques; and the latter will normally present a single soundstage in which the music is happening - which indeed correlates with what occurs on a stage, say. However, in a processed mix what you hear are multiple soundstages overlaying each other, each of which is realistic in its own context - which is as satisfying as the "completely natural" capture ... think of an interpretive painting, versus one which is 100% photorealistic.

 

A specific example: in The Phantom of the Opera recording, the male lead sings in a small recording booth, while the orchestra plays in a distant, expansive space. Each acoustic is clearly defined in the listening, and you can shift your attention from one space to the other, with ease - of course this is "not real", and obviously so; but that fact takes nothing away from enjoying the presentation, as a creative endeavour.

Gotcha. But for me atleast, most stereo recordings, other than the ones with very minimal processing like orchestras, feel like each instrument/voice has been modified to be able to see through the other. In this sense I'll actually say orchestras are closer to live recording than a normal modern stereo recording. I do agree that some of the elements, especially choruses can sound spacious even in a general modern recording but that's because the mic is distant from the instrument themselves. However, most guitar, vocals and especially drums are predominantly in the 1-5cm distance region. It depends on quality and mic positioning of recording.

 

Maybe we use different words for the same thing. I look for instrument separation and microtonal contrasts/subtleties, just not a wide distance. Everything will be well separated. For example, my hd598 sounds <<wide>> but considerably smeared. A crossfeed/pan can make things super wide but have other issues.

 

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14 hours ago, manueljenkin said:

Gotcha. But for me atleast, most stereo recordings, other than the ones with very minimal processing like orchestras, feel like each instrument/voice has been modified to be able to see through the other. In this sense I'll actually say orchestras are closer to live recording than a normal modern stereo recording. I do agree that some of the elements, especially choruses can sound spacious even in a general modern recording but that's because the mic is distant from the instrument themselves. However, most guitar, vocals and especially drums are predominantly in the 1-5cm distance region. It depends on quality and mic positioning of recording.

 

Ummm, if you mean "see through to the other", then that is just a natural result of how the brain processes what it hears - I find that every 'processed' recording has that quality about it, irrespective of age or how the recording was done. This doesn't bother me - as long as each sound element in the mix is convincing in its own right; that it can stand alone as a recording of something interesting then I'm fine with this combining with other, distinct sound elements.

 

Sounds even when recorded close up still pick up the echo of the space that the instrument or voice is in - there is no such thing  as a completely dead space with normal music captures - and this is what gives added 'personality' to each of the sound elements.

 

14 hours ago, manueljenkin said:

Maybe we use different words for the same thing. I look for instrument separation and microtonal contrasts/subtleties, just not a wide distance. Everything will be well separated. For example, my hd598 sounds <<wide>> but considerably smeared. A crossfeed/pan can make things super wide but have other issues.

 

 

We are looking for the same things. IME, when a setup is in a good stage of optimisation, "everything works". That is, you get separation, width, distance, contrasts/subtleties, zero smearing - there are no downsides. But, there is a downside in that one has to work at it, to get a rig in that state - it is essentially impossible to just buy some equipment, plug it all in, and have competent playback happen. The variation in how good it is is mainly due to the motivation and determination of the listener for doing all the 'debugging' that's normally needed.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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2 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Ummm, if you mean "see through to the other", then that is just a natural result of how the brain processes what it hears - I find that every 'processed' recording has that quality about it, irrespective of age or how the recording was done. This doesn't bother me - as long as each sound element in the mix is convincing in its own right; that it can stand alone as a recording of something interesting then I'm fine with this combining with other, distinct sound elements.

 

Sounds even when recorded close up still pick up the echo of the space that the instrument or voice is in - there is no such thing  as a completely dead space with normal music captures - and this is what gives added 'personality' to each of the sound elements.

 

 

We are looking for the same things. IME, when a setup is in a good stage of optimisation, "everything works". That is, you get separation, width, distance, contrasts/subtleties, zero smearing - there are no downsides. But, there is a downside in that one has to work at it, to get a rig in that state - it is essentially impossible to just buy some equipment, plug it all in, and have competent playback happen. The variation in how good it is is mainly due to the motivation and determination of the listener for doing all the 'debugging' that's normally needed.

As I hope you really know, the source material is the key factor. if the recording space hasn't been captured, no amount of rig tweaking will bring it back. Life is too short to spend it polishing turds. 

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48 minutes ago, Rexp said:

As I hope you really know, the source material is the key factor. if the recording space hasn't been captured, no amount of rig tweaking will bring it back. Life is too short to spend it polishing turds. 

 

Luckily, that's not true. Assuming the musical content is interesting to you - because otherwise it's pointless trying to get the SQ as good as possible from it - then there is always recording space. Many setups make a mess of reproducing low level detail - that is, the turd quality lies with the playback chain, not the recording - I have had many moments over the years where 'unrescuable' tracks finally come together, and the vibe of the track is fully happening.

 

It's an easy out, to say the recording is the problem - means you don't have to put the next round of effort into it, to make things better. This works as a solution - but means that you never get to appreciate what is actually on the recording ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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1 hour ago, Rexp said:

As I hope you really know, the source material is the key factor. if the recording space hasn't been captured, no amount of rig tweaking will bring it back. Life is too short to spend it polishing turds. 

All correct. But the thing is, without a very clean rig we won't get to know how much of the recording space has been captured and how much is missing (ie how good the recording could be). The recording might still be retaining a manifold of the natural contrast/low level info and a cheap reproduction chain might actually be truncating these, making them feel far worser/smeared than they really are.

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41 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Luckily, that's not true. Assuming the musical content is interesting to you - because otherwise it's pointless trying to get the SQ as good as possible from it - then there is always recording space. Many setups make a mess of reproducing low level detail - that is, the turd quality lies with the playback chain, not the recording - I have had many moments over the years where 'unrescuable' tracks finally come together, and the vibe of the track is fully happening.

 

It's an easy out, to say the recording is the problem - meintonations ans you don't have to put the next round of effort into it, to make things better. This works as a solution - but means that you never get to appreciate what is actually on the recording ...

All agreed. Just that I don't use the word "soundstage" for this. For me soundstage as such can be faked by reverb and panning. I look for "instrument separation" and the intonations in each instrument. The 1-5cm I said was only pertaining to the distance perceived. The individual instruments and their notes are distinct and well resolved, the nuances in claps, Foley's etc, or the shades of a cymbal crash. Things that sound more than 1-5cm on a general recording (rule of thumb, varies from recording to recording), often miss out on these nuances, atleast in the context of headphones.

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11 minutes ago, manueljenkin said:

All agreed. Just that I don't use the word "soundstage" for this. For me soundstage as such can be faked by reverb and panning. I look for "instrument separation" and the intonations in each instrument.

 

Fair enough to distinguish creation of acoustic space by manipulation in the studio - but I wouldn't add the word fake to the concept. One could then say that every recording space that is altered by adding acoustic panels, etc, for the recording, to improve the pickup by the mics, is being "faked". Personally, I don't find the addition of reverb, etc, by manipulation a problem - pieces containing nothing but synthesizer sounds can evoke remarkable acoustic density and richness, if well reproduced.

 

Instrument separation and intonation comes automatically, as part of the package, when the system works well enough - you "get it all" ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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23 hours ago, Rexp said:

As I hope you really know, the source material is the key factor. if the recording space hasn't been captured, no amount of rig tweaking will bring it back. Life is too short to spend it polishing turds. 

 

Just played a track which gets close to meeting your suggestion of "bottom of the barrel" SQ - I have an el cheapo CD of Tijuana Brass hits, and "The Lonely Bull" track, recorded in '62, on their first album, has always been a 'testing' one. The tonality and clarity of everything on this, and especially the biting brass, is borderline; for whatever reason - which makes it an ideal torture test, and has always been that, for assessing replay competence.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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23 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Fair enough to distinguish creation of acoustic space by manipulation in the studio - but I wouldn't add the word fake to the concept. One could then say that every recording space that is altered by adding acoustic panels, etc, for the recording, to improve the pickup by the mics, is being "faked". Personally, I don't find the addition of reverb, etc, by manipulation a problem - pieces containing nothing but synthesizer sounds can evoke remarkable acoustic density and richness, if well reproduced.

 

Instrument separation and intonation comes automatically, as part of the package, when the system works well enough - you "get it all" ...

Agreed. And I definitely enjoy that. But we donot have a reference to compare if it is being done the correct way. An unprocessed good recording of a voice or instrument, we can, since we can try it out in real life and have a valid reference point. Also, while reverb etc can give the illusion of a spacious sound, the real dimension map is extremely non linear (timing and level differences between the two channels) and I don't think the tools used in the reverb process actually fully model these parameters. There will always be something taking away from true realism in this case though they can sound extremely well separated and enjoyable on their own.

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1 hour ago, manueljenkin said:

Agreed. And I definitely enjoy that. But we donot have a reference to compare if it is being done the correct way. An unprocessed good recording of a voice or instrument, we can, since we can try it out in real life and have a valid reference point. Also, while reverb etc can give the illusion of a spacious sound, the real dimension map is extremely non linear (timing and level differences between the two channels) and I don't think the tools used in the reverb process actually fully model these parameters. There will always be something taking away from true realism in this case though they can sound extremely well separated and enjoyable on their own.


If the direct sound of the voice or instrument rings true, then I'm not fussed if the reverb is somewhat artificial in nature - there are pop pieces with massive echo chambers filling out the voice - he's singing into the Grand Canyon, 🙂. Obviously an artifice, but if the texture of the voice is correct, and it feels like a real person performing in front of me; that I can relate to the emotion of the vocalist - then I'm OK with it.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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