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Audio reproduction is a matter of taste?


hopkins
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16 minutes ago, hopkins said:

 

It must be a cultural difference or language issue after all because I have no idea what these sentences mean. 

I'll say it another way. No matter what criteria you setup, people won't all agree about the sound of different systems.

Even when hearing the same soundwaves in playback, our brains make different conclusions about it. And even more so when comparing playback on 2 different systems. That's individual taste and preference. There's no objectively correct standard.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I am currently listening to Grace Jones "Hurricane".. Her music is al(l)(ways) with "drive".

Would I have seen the James Bond and would I have seen a local interview with her (at the age of 70) and would I know a little more of what she all did (good and bad) then ...

 

Then I would find this album convincing that it is her, at her age of 60 or so).

Would I ever think that it is accurately her ? Or worse: that my system is capable of representing her accurately ?

 

The whole accuracy thing doesn't even come to my mind.

Drive, spirit, fast, beauty, yes. And not because I see it. But I hear it (PRaT). Combined with visual experience from white screen or TV.

 

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XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

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IMO there is a sliding scale. Crappy systems, sure we can talk about accuracy to a general concept of what a decent system can do, or how faithful it is to the general idea of what a violin or bass drum sounds like.

 

But the better the systems get, these gross anomalies are reduced and personal preference rears it ugly head.

 

There, everyone in this thread is now labelled as being correct. Kumbaya.

 

 

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My previous post springs somewhat from all the (very) old recordings I show to auditioners, be that The Buoys or The Beatles and so many more from that era. Without exception I am told that I show them cover bands.

Not so.

This obviously indicates that so many can change to the sound that all our references are trashed, but also that we don't know what reality is (I never talked to John personally, you ?). Still, because all gray cymbals from back then have turned to the most realistic cymbals as if recorded day before yesterday (but without the compression), you(r brain) will know that the voice is the voice you were looking for too. At least this is how I more explicitly deal with it.

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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The level of detail retrieval, tonal balance and how speakers interact with the room are the main factors which contribute to the overall presentation. Depending on how one chooses to mix and match them the combinations are endless.

Listening is inevitable, even if measurements correlated with listening can provide helpful shortcuts.

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

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16 minutes ago, PeterSt said:

My previous post springs somewhat from all the (very) old recordings I show to auditioners, be that The Buoys or The Beatles and so many more from that era. Without exception I am told that I show them cover bands.

Not so.

This obviously indicates that so many can change to the sound that all our references are trashed, but also that we don't know what reality is (I never talked to John personally, you ?). Still, because all gray cymbals from back then have turned to the most realistic cymbals as if recorded day before yesterday (but without the compression), you(r brain) will know that the voice is the voice you were looking for too. At least this is how I more explicitly deal with it.

The Beatles are a good example. After the first couple of albums, they made no attempt to sound "real" on record.

Pretty much every intsrument had limiting applied to it's track in different amounts. Lots of echo and reverb added. Voices were altered, instruments and voices recorded thru Leslie speakers, etc. Tracks speeded up, slowed down, or even given speed variations. 

George Martin explicitly said he was trying to create a sound picture that couldn't exist except on the record.

No one can listen to that and say conclusively what's accurate and real. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1 hour ago, Jud said:

Of course if you had concentrated on understanding rather than a snide retort you might have grasped this without the necessity of a longer explanation.

 

Understanding the one sentence of your initial reply? Thanks for putting a little more effort into it this time.  I get that there are compromises we have to make with speakers. Possibly with other components as well (though these compromises may be different). 

 

There is a huge difference, however, between saying that there are "compromises" and saying that the different versions of sound reproduction produced by different components are all valid alternate realities, and that there is no objective accurate reproduction of a recording.  That's the simple point I am trying to make 

 

 

my blog

 

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11 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

At the late lamented RMAF, I attended a seminar on different forms of distortion given by Audio Precision. I learned that I can't abide slew rate limiting distortion and am particularly sensitive to it. My amp has a tremendously fast slew rate. On the other hand, the very wide bandwidth this requires can potentially cause problems with harmonic and intermodulation distortions, to which other people are more sensitive than I am.  Which of us is objectively correct?

 

In filtering used in software players and DACs, time-based distortions and frequency-based distortions are what are called "conjugate variables." Mathematically, as you reduce one the other necessarily increases. What is objectively accurate - maximum time-based distortion, maximum frequency-based distortion, or something in between?

 

There are "compromises," as you call them, throughout the playback chain. Different components make these compromises in different ways for different people's listening preferences. Please do tell us which of these is objectively "accurate," since you are the one maintaining such a thing exists. Which specific components, and what are the specs that make them objectively accurate?

 

I don't know about amplification. Not all digital solutions implement filtering so I don't see how that example is relevant. You make it sound like all components offer highly distorted reproduction. The panel of possibilities is wide, and there are significant differences between poor and higher quality components which are pretty easy to recognize. 

my blog

 

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8 hours ago, mfsoa said:

 

To those who are trying to accurately replay the sound on the disc -The disc has no sound. You are trying to replay what you think is the sound on the disc. Very different...

 

Since no two people think that a disc should sound the same way, it then comes down to personal preference and boom - it's all subjective ultimately.

 

Of course the disc has "a sound" - it is all the characteristics of the recording, meaning what was on the front side of the microphones, and everything behind them, including the peculiarities of the gear used for mastering ... if one wanted to forensically disassemble, dissect, analyse to the last bit every possible aspect to a track on a recording, it could be done - if you were dumb enough to want to waste your time doing this, 😁. And the result you would get now would be identical to doing the exercise in a hundred years time - the event was captured, frozen in time.

 

Accuracy means that the highest level, percentage of that capture is audible, with the least doctoring of that by the playback chain ... nothing like a compilation of pop hits to hit you between the ears with how this works - every track takes to a "different world"; like hopping on different rides, at random, at an amusement park - each ride has its own message, its own integrity, its own identity.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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8 hours ago, PeterG said:

 

 

 

The boom box guys are not doing this--they are simply listening for their own definition of best possible sound.  Even more in contrast is that certain indie artists make a conscious artistic decision to go for a "lo-fi" sound.  This is part of the aesthetic.  One example:

 

 

 

Lo-fi?  ... This is actually rather nifty, and about as far from "low resolution" as most of my CDs - if you want the genuine article, I can point to a track of a 70's pop group competition CD, which was probably made by a family member of one of the players in the group, using a small battery operated cassette machine of the day, while sitting way back in the audience somewhere - done as a memory keepsake, most likely.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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5 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Lo-fi?  ... This is actually rather nifty, and about as far from "low resolution" as most of my CDs - if you want the genuine article, I can point to a track of a 70's pop group competition CD, which was probably made by a family member of one of the players in the group, using a small battery operated cassette machine of the day, while sitting way back in the audience somewhere - done as a memory keepsake, most likely.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lo-fi_music

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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13 hours ago, hopkins said:

 

Yet after all this is said, we spend thousands of dollars to set up systems like this (sorry for always providing the same "extreme" example..).

 

image.png.e823d9553a2dd0f40e57ce07b92cad51.png

 

I guess no one sees the irony here, and the contradictions. You guys crack me up... 

 

 

Sure, it's easy, don't use headphones, eww 😉

 

 

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53 minutes ago, hopkins said:

 

I don't know about amplification. Not all digital solutions implement filtering so I don't see how that example is relevant

1 hour ago, hopkins said:

. You make it sound like all components offer highly distorted reproduction. The panel of possibilities is wide, and there are significant differences between poor and higher quality components which are pretty easy to recognize. 

For you to hear digital reproduction, filtering is involved. No digital to analog conversion takes place without it. So the example is very relevant. Every digital system that outputs analog audio makes a filter choice thats a compromise of some type. 

Different filters are all accurate - but in different ways, with different emphases on frequency and time accuracy. 

Which ones you prefer are a matter of taste, not objective reality of one being "less distorted".

 

"and there are significant differences between poor and higher quality components which are pretty easy to recognize"

So what? The issue is when one is comparing higher quality components. Then determining which one is better isn't "easy to recognize" and depends on personal preference and taste.

 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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6 hours ago, PeterSt said:

My previous post springs somewhat from all the (very) old recordings I show to auditioners, be that The Buoys or The Beatles and so many more from that era. Without exception I am told that I show them cover bands.

Not so.

This obviously indicates that so many can change to the sound that all our references are trashed, but also that we don't know what reality is (I never talked to John personally, you ?). Still, because all gray cymbals from back then have turned to the most realistic cymbals as if recorded day before yesterday (but without the compression), you(r brain) will know that the voice is the voice you were looking for too. At least this is how I more explicitly deal with it.

 

Unfortunately, those who haven't experienced setups that can retrieve all the detail, without significantly compromising such, will likely never understand the potential of competent playback - if one has a taste for extracting the most from these 'gray' recordings, then this preference can be satisfied ... but first one has to concede that such is possible, 😉.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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2 hours ago, hopkins said:

Not all digital solutions implement filtering

 

There are a tiny handful that don't, because if you don't use it you get lots of intermodulation distortion.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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3 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Of course the disc has "a sound" - it is all the characteristics of the recording, meaning what was on the front side of the microphones, and everything behind them, including the peculiarities of the gear used for mastering ... if one wanted to forensically disassemble, dissect, analyse to the last bit every possible aspect to a track on a recording, it could be done - if you were dumb enough to want to waste your time doing this, 😁. And the result you would get now would be identical to doing the exercise in a hundred years time - the event was captured, frozen in time.

 

Accuracy means that the highest level, percentage of that capture is audible, with the least doctoring of that by the playback chain ... nothing like a compilation of pop hits to hit you between the ears with how this works - every track takes to a "different world"; like hopping on different rides, at random, at an amusement park - each ride has its own message, its own integrity, its own identity.

Again, no matter where the problem is -- it is about removing the distractions.   If there are distractions in the recordings, then remove those.   Most people accept the garbage in most commercial recordings.   This is like speakers...   Almost no speakers/environment are really super good from a technical standpoint, but there are some speakers  in a controlled environment that are technically really good.   It is all about avoiding the distractions, and trying to solve them, if possible.   If you have good speakers, but they appear boomy -- there are a few possible solutions, one or two of them might help.   Looking at the problems one by one will allow enjoying the system as it grows (if needed.)

 

IMO, the *source* material going into the playback chain is mostly severely damaged to the point of being *almost* impossible for me to listen, but sadlyeven though the tools and my time/capabilities have expanded, my hearing has diminished.  I really wish that back in the 1980s that the tools existed for me to remove the distractions -- back when I could hear reliably and well -- solving the problems would have been helpful for everyone.   As it is now, even when the source problems are corrected, I really cannot enjoy the results as I might have in the past.

 

On the other hand, just looking at someones normal, $2k system might be a distraction for someone expecting to listen to equipment that looks prettier.  There is nothing wrong with 'packaging' being part of the subjective experience -- some of us do NOT care about packaging at all.

 

It is a subjective experience, and taste matters for the individual listener.   To me, removing distractions is much more important that a general sense of 'good taste'.   Even back when I could have EASILY afforded a $50k system, I wouldn't have considered a boom box as being 'bad taste'.  It is personal taste and matters of personal distraction being remedied.

 

Trying to fix *everything* will drive you nuts.   Trying to fix the problems as they come  is the only way to enjoy music without being confused with trying to be an engineer.   Frankly, most of the silly or extreme HW stuff being sold today is specious considering the (really poor) quality of most source material.

 

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12 hours ago, mfsoa said:

Not really sure what this has to do with what I said but if I had to guess, I'd answer that minimonitors present the soundstage in one way. Planar speakers present the image in another. Please tell me which is better so I can make sure I don't make the wrong choice as subjective preference for a one or the other is apparently the wrong way to go about this. 

 

 

Let me simplify it for you, does a speaker from ATC for example image better than a speaker from Edifier? 

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