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Old 26th June 2007, 07:48 AM   #21
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Default More thoughts

My ongoing disagreement about sound reproduction with Lynn Olsen gets me thinking. How can two reasonable and knowledgeable people have such different opinions on a common subject within their expertise? I then noted a comment he made which made me think.

Lynn, and many, view the sound reproduction of an orchestra as the end goal - they like classical/orchestral music. This is not my preference and I see things differently. Consider this:

If we have a playback room, as we all do, and that room is pretty small, as virtually all of us have, is it reasonable to think that the sound of a huge ensemble of instruments playing in a very large space could ever be convincing? You see, I don't see this as feasible at all. Any acoustic remnants of the small room will totally confound the perception of the acoustic of the larger one - this is unavoidable, the ear cannot be so tricked. Thus as a first requirement for this "symphonic" playback, we need a virtual anechoic chamber - no local acoustic. But the large space acoustic is multi-path with sound arrivals from all directions, so two channels is never going to do the job. It just does not seem feasible to me to ever get a really convincing playback of a symphony over two speakers in a small room, and I have yet to hear a playback that even comes close. Lynn and I seem to agree on this point.

But you see, I prefer to listen to small ensembles with a few instruments. These performances don't have much acoustic in them (and when they do it tends to be of a smaller space) and my playback room adds or emphasizes the acoustic in a very real manner. I have done personal recordings of a friend who is a concert pianist (Dickran Atamian) and played them back for him and myself. The imaging and realism was astounding. It was just as if the piano was in the room with us. So in this case the ideal of an acoustic playback that mimics the original is indeed very possible, achievable and even achieved.

We must be very careful in these kinds of discussions to outline what our expectations are. What are we trying to achieve? The ideal of recreating the analog of one being in a large hall listening to 100+ instruments over two speakers is probably not achievable (this seems best done with headphones where I have had this experience). But the ideal of creating the impression of a solo vocalist or small ensemble in ones own listening room is not only achievable, but I believe it is here today I have found in my own listening that the more instruments that there are in the recording, the less impressive I find the playback to be - even with good recordings. This is a generalization of course, and much depends on the recording, playback, an infinite number of variables, but as a general rule I find that small ensemble recordings sound more realistic when played back in small rooms. If all you want to listen to is a large orchestra in a large auditorium, then I fear that you will forever be disappointed in a small listening. I go out for this kind of performance.
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Old 26th June 2007, 09:39 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by gedlee


Thats the one. Thanks so much for posting this.
....

You're Welcome!
Thank you for making all these documents available...



I'm far away from being as experienced and educated in audio stuff as you or Lynn, or many others in this forum, but I think your last post put's it very nicely - Stereo reproductions has got it's limits, and if you set your objectives too high, you will hunt for that holy grail for the rest of your life, never reaching a point of satisfaction - or end up in the traps layed out by the high end industry...

Maybe it's just a matter of time until the reproduction of the Berliner Philharmoniker will be possible in my 30 sqm livingroom, but I'm afraid that will take much more than a CD-Player, Stereo Amp and two speakers.... Research in being done and solutions will be found, but most probably way beyond the questions of dipole, monopole, point source or multiway etc.

cheers. LC
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Old 26th June 2007, 10:53 AM   #23
graaf is offline graaf  Poland
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Re: Gedlee

You write:
If we have a playback room, as we all do, and that room is pretty small, as virtually all of us have, is it reasonable to think that the sound of a huge ensemble of instruments playing in a very large space could ever be convincing? You see, I don't see this as feasible at all

but isn't something different but equally realistic and attractive (and equally not easy to achieve) feasible?

don't You think that the problem of realistic scale is really a problem of realistic of perspective?

what You cannot certainly achieve in a listening room is a front row perspective of a large auditorium, that is beyond question
indeed an anechoic chamber would be neccesary

but imagine Your listening room as a kind of a box in an opera house
in other words - imagine Your listening room transported to the opera house - the front wall of Your listening room is taken out and You have a kind of realistic perspective
perspective from the plane where the stereo microphone (or a main microphone) is placed
isn't it achievable?
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Old 26th June 2007, 02:44 PM   #24
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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The issue again comes back to objectives. My objective is "reproduction of the original". Sounding "good" or "bad" is irrelevant, as is personal taste. What the producer intended is what I want to hear - maybe HIS taste is bad, or maybe the recording is pathetic, if so then that's what I want to hear.

My only point in the above was to question what level of accurate reproduction can we expect from two channel stereo? I think that is a relevant question - one that needs to be discussed. But preference is another issue altogether and I don't want to go there.
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Old 26th June 2007, 03:41 PM   #25
AJinFLA is offline AJinFLA  United States
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Thanks Lovechild, that's it.

Quote:
Originally posted by gedlee
What the producer intended is what I want to hear
That might be difficult to ascertain without being present at the final mix and possessing near perfect audio memory. But I understand what you are saying. The difficulty is implementing that with 2ch in a acoustically small room .

What I found fascinating about the study is not so much the modal region performance of the different formats, since that is very room dependent, nor the fact that the ported JBL scored the highest in the bass region - I'd wager that 90% or more of the testers owned ported box speakers themselves. It's the fact that whereas the Summa (as expected) outperformed the JBL (most likely) due to it's highly optimized horn and resulting mid-upper frequency performance, it was at most the equal of the Gradient.
The Gradient using what has to be considered an ever more compromised horn than the JBL - an active speaker cone with a rolled surround termination, poor throat with VC attachment, etc, etc.
Why was the treble and mid performance of such a non-optimal horn, made up of good, but far from stellar drive units, at least the equal of the SOTA driver/OS waveguided Summa?
Was the Gradient extensively measured? Was the controlled directivity the dominant factor for the Gradient even when the JBL fared so poorly?

cheers,

AJ
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Old 26th June 2007, 04:12 PM   #26
graaf is offline graaf  Poland
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Re: Gedlee

I would like to clear up my position -
"reproduction of the original" is also my objective

what I intend to write above had nothing to do with personal preferences, with >>sounding "good" or "bad"<<
Perhaps I shouldn't use the word "attractive" as it appeared to be misleading, all I wanted to say was that it could be "an ideal equally worth pursuing"

sorry if my english is clumsy
my command of Your language is weak and rather passive

You write:
>>What the producer intended is what I want to hear<<

of course the problem is that "the original" can be defined in two ways i.e. as "the orginal musical event" or as "what the producer intended"

Isn't it that if You say that "the original" is "what the producer intended" than Your REAL"original" is what could be heard from the producer's studio monitors in his control room and nothing other?
If so than don't You think that domestic loudspeakers should mimic as closely as possible the sound of studio monitors and our listening rooms should mimic as closely as possible the acoustics of control rooms?

Don't You think that this is the only way to hear "what the producer REALLY intended"?

BUT - are studio monitors and control rooms sufficiently standarized to serve as a model?

As to the question of limitations of accurate reproduction from two channel stereo may I ask You to answer to my question already stated above:
don't You think that the problem of realistic scale is in fact a problem of realistic of perspective?
Do You think that such realistic perspective is unachievable in domestic environments?
If You think so - why?
What is wrong with the metaphor, that I proposed above, of listening room as a box connected through the "lifted" front wall to the recording spaces?

Moulton suggests that if we supress the reverb of the listening room after 50 ms the listening room becomes just a carrier of information about acoustics of the recording space:
He says:
>>But if you take a look at what's really going on in recordings, playback rooms are generally small and the early reflections happen very quickly-whereas in a recording space (or simulation of a recording space that we do with artificial reverb), those reflections are much, much later in time.
What happens is that the early reflections of the playback room carry information about the recording room quite well<<

Is anything wrong with what he states?
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Old 26th June 2007, 04:23 PM   #27
graaf is offline graaf  Poland
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Re: AJinFLA

You wrote: >>The difficulty is implementing that with 2ch in a acoustically small room<<


the real problem lays elsewhere IMHO

after all the producer is also producing with only two channels in an acoustically small control room

so two channel and an acoustically small room is not the real problem, e can easilu replicate that conditions

the real problem is with lack of studio quality of the electronics and the loudspeakers (in the first place) and dissimilarity of acoustics of our living rooms with that of control rooms

the real problem is also how to reproduce "the original" in the other meanig i.e. "the real musical event in real (or somehow artificially created) space" in an acoustically small room and using only two channels
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Old 26th June 2007, 04:24 PM   #28
graaf is offline graaf  Poland
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I'm sorry
it should be:
so two channels and an acoustically small room are not the real problem, we can easily replicate that conditions
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Old 27th June 2007, 05:12 AM   #29
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by graaf
Re: Gedlee

You write:
>>What the producer intended is what I want to hear<<

of course the problem is that "the original" can be defined in two ways i.e. as "the orginal musical event" or as "what the producer intended"

Isn't it that if You say that "the original" is "what the producer intended" than Your REAL"original" is what could be heard from the producer's studio monitors in his control room and nothing other?
If so than don't You think that domestic loudspeakers should mimic as closely as possible the sound of studio monitors and our listening rooms should mimic as closely as possible the acoustics of control rooms?

Don't You think that this is the only way to hear "what the producer REALLY intended"?

BUT - are studio monitors and control rooms sufficiently standarized to serve as a model?

As to the question of limitations of accurate reproduction from two channel stereo may I ask You to answer to my question already stated above:
don't You think that the problem of realistic scale is in fact a problem of realistic of perspective?
Do You think that such realistic perspective is unachievable in domestic environments?
If You think so - why?
What is wrong with the metaphor, that I proposed above, of listening room as a box connected through the "lifted" front wall to the recording spaces?

Moulton suggests that if we supress the reverb of the listening room after 50 ms the listening room becomes just a carrier of information about acoustics of the recording space:
He says:
>>But if you take a look at what's really going on in recordings, playback rooms are generally small and the early reflections happen very quickly-whereas in a recording space (or simulation of a recording space that we do with artificial reverb), those reflections are much, much later in time.
What happens is that the early reflections of the playback room carry information about the recording room quite well<<

Is anything wrong with what he states?

We can only judge "what the producer wanted us to hear".

The rest of your discussion is a very real question and not a new one (check Floyd Tooles discussion of this same issue). We are not going to resolve these problems here. But the bottom line to me is that we must be seeking to have loudspeakers with better and better "transparency" (trueness to the original signal) in both the mixing room and our own listening spaces. This is why standarizing on a particular speaker is a problem - it doesn't allow for improvement. Its a never ending circular issue - improve monitors > improve playback systems -> further improve monitor -> further improve playback systems.

What you quote Moulton as saying is quite incorrect. The rooms early reflections dominate the perception of "space" and image and nothing from the recording comes through in that period of time. After 50 ms the small room's acoustic is basically gone and the recodring acoustic will come through, but at that point our hearing system has already made its decision on the acoustic space - its a done deal - and the contradictory acoustics between the early and late periods only confusses it.
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Old 27th June 2007, 07:42 AM   #30
graaf is offline graaf  Poland
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now I see
thank You so much for the answer

BTW it is really sad that someone like Moulton (who seems to be a serious engineer and researcher) is disseminating informations that are "quite incorrect"

anyway thank You very much for admiting that the question I put forth is real even though we are not going to resolve these problems here

I hope that someday we will

best regards,
graaf

ps.
only one more question
What's Your opinion on the Stereolith three-channel stereo?
It is so unusual but it appears to work as promised, though the way it recreates the soundspace somewhat differs from that of standard stereo set up: http://magazine-audio.com/essais-hi-...intes-hi-fi/22
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