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Everything posted by bluesman

  1. Any alteration of the signal is a distortion of the signal. EQ is distortion. Compression is distortion. “Tube warmth” is distortion. Etc. Not all distortion is bad, in that many forms enhance our listening pleasure. But if the waveform that hits your ears is not the same one generated by the source, it’s distorted.
  2. But the question of accuracy is usually based on comparison between the master and what you’re hearing from your system. We all agree that most commercial recordings are “distorted” in that the performance is processed, ostensibly but often unsuccessfully to reproduce a better and more universally playable and enjoyable recording. We all agree that most fail to present a pristine and perfectly faithful image of the actual performance that was recorded. So you’re right that it’s a rare commercial recording that captures the true and exact sound of musical instruments. But there a
  3. I didn't ask you to compare anything, and neither did Jud. You chose to compare the sound you heard from your speakers to that from your headphones, concluding that the guitar in question sounded different from the two sources and that you thought the headphone system made it sound "more distinct [and] resonant". I may have misinterpreted the bolded and italicized words in your statement that you "...have no idea whether it is an acoustic guitar or an electric (but if so, certainly with effects)". I took this to mean that you thought the sound was processed with effects in some audible way
  4. As Jud points out, it's a vintage archtop acoustic. I've never heard Dave Rawlings use any effects of any kind, so you've actually demonstrated exactly what I've been talking about. It certainly doesn't affect your enjoyment of the music. But it sure makes me less confident in your assessments of sonic accuracy and your ability to correctly identify distortion of any kind. This is not in any way an indictment of you or your knowledge / skill / experience. It's simply a fact-based observation that you confirmed yourself. Your disclaimer "to my ears" makes your statement that "
  5. This is getting silly. I simply used different artists and instruments as examples of the fact that there are audible differences among instruments of the same type. I have never suggested that you need to know who's playing what instrument or anything at all about the instruments. I do think it's nice for audiophiles to be able to recognize what general types of instruments they're hearing, e.g. trumpet vs trombone, violin vs cello, etc. But even that's not very important. What is important is simply that they can hear differences among those instruments. Whether it's the dif
  6. That's absolutely true. Once again, my point is simply that a true inability to hear differences of this nature disqualifies anyone from opining on true accuracy, in my opinion. So does a dogged insistence that they're unimportant - they're as important as being able to hear the difference between the sound of a violin and the sound of a cello. The lowest A on a violin is 110 Hz, which is also the pitch of the highest open string on a cello. They sound quite different even when playing the same note. You don't have to know who made the violin and the cello, and you don't have to know who'
  7. Perhaps so - but I suspect it's more the fact that "realism" is a matter of taste. So is "sound quality". GIven that there's no such thing as the best, this is both understandable and reasonable. If there were truly a "best" anything, most of us would be uniform in our praise and our desire to have it.
  8. Thanks! With all due respect, I think you’re correct about many but not all. Trying to differentiate between heavily distorted flying 32nd notes from Hendrix, Guy, and Stevie Ray is most often a fool’s errand. But in jazz, there are some clearly audible differences, eg the “thunk” of Tal Farlow, the sweet smooth sound of Johnny Smith, the woody sound of Mundell Lowe, and the relatively flatter drier electric sound of Wes Montgomery. All of them played amplified archtop guitars, and they all have distinct sounds both recorded and live (I’m old enough to have enjoyed them all - I even had a
  9. Your continued misinterpretations and misrepresentations of what I keep saying tells me that I've failed miserably to make my point...at least, to you. I absolutely do NOT "confuse being able to 'discern' sound differences, and being able to 'name' them or associate them with a specific instrument". I said in my preceding post in this thread that "whether or not you know anything about the instruments is totally irrelevant". In a prior post, I said that "I don’t give a rat’s rectum if an audiophile knows anything about musical instruments and I don’t base respect for people on such isolat
  10. You’re making many unwarranted, inaccurate assumptions and interpretations. First, I never said that anyone doesn’t care about accuracy. I said that many audiophiles assume that their systems are accurate because they hear what they expect to hear, whether or not it sounds like the performance (or the master, if they differ). Second, I said that whether or not you know anything about the instruments is totally irrelevant. No one can judge accuracy without being able to discern the difference in sound between two instruments that truly and objectively sound grossly different but h
  11. You might want to reread what I said before cementing the above in your mind, because you seem to have missed and/or misread much of it. All that matters is what you like. If that’s listening to music on your phone with ear buds, it’s fine with me. I have never condemned anyone for personal preference. I just can’t agree that anyone can judge the pure and simple accuracy of audio reproduction without knowing far more about the source material than most audiophiles do. The focus is on accuracy and nothing more. As for your separating recording quality from mastering, I said th
  12. Unless you’re exaggerating for effect, ya kinda lost me here, Chris. Anything and everything in the chain from mic element to the final product can and often does diminish the differentiators among instruments etc. So it’s simply not possible to do that for many, if not most, commercial recordings. Only if the recording is accurate can reproduction be judged for accuracy.
  13. And that's the bottom line. Truth be told, we have no idea what we're hearing by the time most recorded material hits our speakers unless the liner notes tell us. For pure listening pleasure, most of us want to hear what we like to hear. That may be specific instruments (e.g. a Fazioli, a Guarneri, or a DeAngelico New Yorker), genres played on "correct" instruments, etc. It may be a specific sonic palette or a combination of other personal preferences. But if it sounds good, it is good whether or not the reproduction is true to the recorded performance or the concept sought by the product
  14. Then again, that may be the dynamic of the original recording. Musical performance is not perfectly symmetric - it’d be pure coincidence if left-right balance were exactly 50:50 even if one or more performers (or their sound reinforcement or pan placement) had been dead center. You could try “remastering” it to balance content exactly, just to see if it sounds different.
  15. That’s exactly what I had in mind when I came up with the topic and approach! There are many pro tricks available to us too. And even those who won’t be doing this to their own files will benefit from knowing more about how recordings are made. The mid-side decomp is particularly useful and common, but there’s an endless stream of tweaks out there. Enjoy!
  16. I have Tracktion 7 on my Win10 PC and agree that it's well worth considering. Strengths include good VST instrument support and a simple one window GUI with logical work flow from left to right. As I recall, it does not have a separate mixer window and I missed that. I've also installed it on Linux boxes, RPi 3 and RPi 4. It's still a 32 bit RPi program, so it doesn't take advantage of the latest 64 bit Raspberry Pi OS (which means that it can't access more than 4 gigs of RAM). It works very well on my Ubuntu 20 media center.
  17. There are no raw tracks because the processing projects described in the article are done on stereo mixes. So there are 3 links to wavs in the article, and all 3 are stereo mixes of multiple studio tracks of individual instruments. The first is a mixed and normalized but otherwise unaltered segment with an acoustic guitar, a resonator guitar, and a harmonica. The second is a complete basic master track of these parts plus the vocal, and the third is a “remastering” of the second one using mid-side processing that added the delays, EQ etc described in the article. You could go back
  18. REALISM VS ACCURACY FOR AUDIOPHILES: “DOCTOR, CAN I PLEASE GET A PRESCRIPTION FOR BETTER RECORDINGS?” In the first article in this series, we discussed realism, accuracy, and reasonable expectations of each for audiophiles. The second part examined the real sounds of musical instruments, along with their variance, susceptibilities to alteration and distortion, and how these factors can affect the accuracy and realism of recorded performance. So you already understand some of the differences between realism and accuracy. You know enough about how and why the “same” instrumen
  19. Most headphone out jacks are purely analog and are driven by the DAC on the computer's MOBO. Several Mac models over the years have had a combination analog headphone jack and 1/8" optical output, as do Chromecast audio and a few other devices. This doesn't take a standard TOSLINK cable - it needs either a cable with an 1/8" optical connector on it or an adapter (cheap and easy to find). If you insert an 1/8" TRS headphone plug into those combo jacks, you'll get analog output. The Apple support page to which you linked above is from 2017, and it only identifies late 2014 Minis
  20. She said that accordionists really know how to push her buttons.
  21. What's the least heard sentence in the English language? "Be careful - that's the bagpiper's Porsche!"
  22. On the other hand, after an exhaustive search, I stumbled across a bagpiper with a healthy dose of redeeming social value despite being accompanied by an accordion. It's probably a pretty good test of system fidelity - but after a few minutes of tweaking, I've concluded that the best way to enjoy this is with the volume set to 0:
  23. It's OK with me! It's not exactly music to my ears. But if it's in the interest of science and education, I'm all for it.
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