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Musical monitor: Okay, what's this "musical" tag here mean, really??

Posted 8th July 2012 at 01:24 AM by fas42
Updated 16th July 2012 at 12:21 AM by fas42

I alluded to this in the first post on the thread, and it's worthwhile "defining" it a bit more.

Everybody would have a gut understanding as to what I mean, but what actually is it, and how do I measure it, to assess whether I've achieved it? There are the people who live and die by the conventional audio measurement yardsticks, and then there are the others who feel that these animals leave a lot to be desired. Again, look at the activity on the "Sound Quality Vs. Measurements" thread ...

Well, I'm pretty obviously in the latter camp, the standard numbers that an AP setup will pop up will mean very little, and since my project includes speakers the nightmare of getting meaningful distortion figures for the full path of the sound exists. So, I'll use the next best thing, my ears.

To make life easy here, I'll use a pretty accessible test object: the acoustic piano. We have one of those beasts in the listening area, my wife plays, but not I -- I'm "ashamed" to say that I have pretty miserable music playing bones, unlike many in this hobby of audio, tried once or twice in the distant past but it never really gelled.

Our piano has been used a few times as a reference "sound", its tone is not brilliant, an upright Korean effort, and somewhat out of tune, but the richness and resonance of the soundboard, etc, is there. The tweaked HT setup has no trouble matching and besting the tonality of this: a recorded, Steinway grand definitely is in another class! At a touch below maximum volume on the HT the sound levels are correct for an in room piano ...

Both the direct and far sound has to be correct: the latter is the "LIAR" test, the "Listening In Another Room", which I can't see being mentioned anywhere in the forum. At the other end of the house the recorded piano has to ring true ...

So, the purchased monitor is well down in this regard, definitely sounds like "a piece of audio kit playing a piano recording" anywhere - next to it, in the next room, etc. The aim is to get the "someone's playing a piano in the house" response instead.

There will always be limitations of the final quality because I don't have control, so to speak, of the source quality -- I believe totally in whole system engineering as the only real solution to optimum sound -- but at least the dynamics and consistency of sound quality with volume will be addressed.

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