Do we really belive that the goal is to reproduce live music? - Page 2 - diyAudio
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Old 21st October 2008, 11:00 PM   #11
DaveG is offline DaveG  United States
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Even the holodeck could not be considered real, but it probably beats 2 channel audio.
If the real image or experience is realized between our ears, then whatever it take to get the mind to believe "real" would be a good system. Personally, for very brief moments
my 2 channel audio system has tricked me to believe I was there. The local movie theatre, or a large HD television with good speakers has never once fooled me. With my eyes open, my imagination cannot run wild. I'm always still looking at a flat, 2 dimensional image.

Much music can take my mind on a journey, with familiar, natural sounds or artificial sounds, but the music still produces an enjoyable event. My imagination lets me enjoy it but my mind is still aware it is not real.

Since I have actually been in small clubs with live music, maybe when similar, enjoyable music is reproduced well, in a somewhat similar small listening room, my imagination can make the leap easier to convince my mind that I am really there.

The right audio input, maybe a glass of wine, and I occasionally hear 3 dimensional sounds with startling realism.
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Old 21st October 2008, 11:05 PM   #12
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I think the goal is to be satisfied with what one is hearing to a level such that comparison to the real thing becomes irrelevant.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 12:01 AM   #13
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I think the whole idea is to just be able to sit back and enjoy whatever music you decide to play. No system is going to be perfect no matter how good it is. I would think that the goal is just enjoy yourself.

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Old 22nd October 2008, 12:13 AM   #14
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I asked a similar question in a previous thread or two.
While being able to reproduce all sorts of live music may be a difficult endeavor the closer the system can get to that level of reproduction the better ALL types of music will sound, even my son's grunge metal rock sounds almost like music on my better speakers.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 12:14 AM   #15
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99% of the music to which I listen is of a type where there is indeed a real event (not a studio construct). My goal is not to produce a reproduction of the actual event however, but rather a plausible event. In other words I am not trying to reproduce a particular concert but rather an experience that very well could be an actual concert. It is I suppose a subtle difference but I think an important one.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 12:18 AM   #16
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"In other words I am not trying to reproduce a particular concert but rather an experience that very well could be an actual concert. It is I suppose a subtle difference but I think an important one."

Well said - whether it's a live or recorded event is really immaterial - it's about hearing what you would hear if you were there at that particular event, regardless of venue.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 12:32 AM   #17
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One meaning of "reproduction" is a producing a facsimile, not the real thing. Think of a modern car or vacuum tube company producing a reproduction of a classic model for example. By that definition it's more clear that we shouldn't expect an exact duplication of the experience of someone in another place and time, just an enjoyable facsimile.

Your point about sound reproduction being a thing in and of itself is very true ptwining. It's not a one way street. Music exists on it's own and is reproduced, but musicians also listen to sound reproduction systems and it influences their music which is then again reproduced and so on. Toole had some interesting comments in his new book about the popularity of Jazz being spread by recordings and the limitations in these recordings producing a sound and style that was reproduced in live Jazz that came after. The Beatles and most everything that came after are of course the end result of this, music that only exists via reproduction.

What happens in the recording control room then has to be taken as another layer of the original art. Unfortunately that artist (the guy at the mixing desk) is usually listening to a system of speakers & room that is very different than what most people have at home. It's his job to try to make something on that system that he thinks will sound good on a wide variety of other systems. A lot of guys still mix on monitors that have anything but a flat frequency response. How do we then "reproduce" the final mix and mastering that ends up in our hands? Well, the guy mixing in the control room doesn't usually expect us to duplicate his setup, he doesn't even listen to it that way at home, but there as basic things that almost everyone will agree make the reproduction sound better.

The sections in Toole's book about large scale blind listening tests of speakers is very interesting. It turns out that in controlled tests where one can only judge on sound (not brand, technology, appearance or "belief system") people generally like the same speakers *IF* they have very close to normal hearing. Age or occupational related hearing damage makes us more individual because certain speakers will correct for our defects and others will make them worse. It also makes us unreliable in our ratings, the same speaker may be loved in the morning and hated in the afternoon. For people with normal hearing there is surprising consistency in preference despite widely varying experience levels. This would come as an absolute shock to someone reading the variety of opinions in the RMAF thread but that kind of setup is testing a huge number of variables, sound quality being very low on the list.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 12:59 AM   #18
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"For people with normal hearing there is surprising consistency in preference despite widely varying experience levels."

That is quite refreshing to hear - something I've believed would be the case but didn't know that it had been demonstrated. It is counter to a lot of the philosophy on the forum, where there is "lively" debate ad nauseum.

Another aspect of the psychology of listening to reproduced sound is that we may have a tendency to find fault with it only because we KNOW we are listening to a reproduction. A musical instrument has no faults - it is a natural sound source so it is what it is, but a reproduction of that instrument, well, we could find imperfections in the reproduction that just might not be there were we comparing the two in a blind test.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 01:15 AM   #19
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I think for some people reproducing live music is most important. They are the concert goers. Mostly of the classical ilk. They want the perfect tone of the instruments and soundscape provided by the concert hall in their living rooms. I agree, it is an impossibility. Our feeble electronic music systems can only provide the best allusion we can engineer.
For me, at least, it's the music that matters most - not the sound of the music. Whereas, those who suffer from acute audiophile-nervosa get too hung up on the sound of the music and miss the emotional involvement of the notes and lyrics, when applicable.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 01:29 AM   #20
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Speaker doctor I agree on most counts if the reproduction isn't distorted and that depends so much on SPL, as I'm more than a little deaf and like my music a little louder than I used to I find I actually need better speakers, to avoid that distortion.
Anyway thats the excuse I use when I tell the wife I need to buy better drivers
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