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Old 30th September 2012, 08:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by leadcoma View Post
1) How the mastering engineer intended it to sound.
The mastering engineer is not the original artist. S/he is an editor dealing with tools to try and subjectivepy reproduce the original recprding. And since there are millions of recordings and thousands of mastering people, which one, specifically, is "right"?

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2) How the voice(s)/instrument(s) sounds live in the environment targeted by the mastering engineer.
How can stereo contain the necessary information for this?

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3) How the voice(s)/instrument(s) sounds live in an environment I prefer.
Most paramount I would say is that the system be timbrally believable. Timbre is everything, along with dynamic range. the rest - Imaging/Soundstage is too recording specific a goal to really concern oneself with beyond "believable". That means one violin should not sound like a quartet, a close mic'd vocalist should not automarticaply be 15 feet tall and wide, and the sound should not draw much aggressive attention to its physical location. "Diffuse yet Concise".

Beyond those sheer "hyperbole" moments, I don't normally care.

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4) How I want it to sound.
As long as you want it to sound organic and accurate - not exaggerated or artificial or forgiving. ;P

if your favorite genre is electronik then you may not necessarily "care" about timbral accuracy but you'll find that it regardless translates to increased resolution and clarity.
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Old 30th September 2012, 08:25 PM   #12
T101 is offline T101  Bulgaria
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I go for:
1) How the mastering engineer intended it to sound.

And here is my strategy, I prefer to have the recording exactly reproduced and then go for switching different sound engineers and not systems or parts of my system.

It seems impossibe though. We can't even get to the exact sound that emanated (what a funny word) from the monitor speakers in the studio. I am pretty sure that amongst engineers there are allot of guys with good taste for sound and balance. What we get is that 90% of the recordings are making us try to figure out where is the problem.
One and the same system, play an album on CD and there are questions and many "qurious" things about the sound. Play the same album from an LP and then the only questions are about the art of music...

But sometimes... there are recordings and not systems that bring the orchestra infront of you... and that is the moment when you should figure it out that the recording is all Once on an Expo I listened to big MBL's driven by god knows what amplifiers, the record was an LP of Metallica and the sound was rubish... On another occasion I listened to a pair of vintage 2-ways say 40hz-16 Khz, a berilium transistors 15 watt amplifier and a smallish and simple beaten old turntable and it was fantastic.

Moral: Make big speakers! For many reasons, nicer to look at, pleasure for the neighbours (don't be egoist), great extension and closer to life dynamics with lesser distortion... Imaging is room/placenemt/record dependant either way and phase anomalies only occur in the crossover regions, so this all are ghosts made-up to scare small children.

And my rule: At least ten new records for every system upgrade or new component!

Best regards!

Last edited by T101; 30th September 2012 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 30th September 2012, 09:19 PM   #13
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interesting responses!

If I want #1, it seems like no speaker will ever reach this goal unless I'm sitting in the actual recording studio listening to the monitors used by the mastering engineering. So all this talk of the directivity and how it can make the sound of one speaker more accurate and/or desirable than the other is not so meaningful in the context of this answer.

If I want #3, that's also a challenge. The voices/instruments could be in environments that are on opposite ends of the % of reflected to direct sound scale. For example, small highly reflective room and a very large outdoor venue.I suppose we can make the latter sound like the former but not visa versa?

I'm leaning toward #4 because the other answers seem to contain too many unknowns and/or variables.

But #4 doesn't direct me to my desired solution because I can't hear what I like with all genres of music using one type of speaker in my environment.

I enjoy the open airy live sound of speakers with good off-axis energy when listening to concert recordings or classical music. I like the highly defined and dynamic sound of speakers with controlled or high directivity (horns) when listening to music with lots of percussion. I guess the answer is I need to split this down the middle and use a speaker that is a balance of both.

Is my target speaker monopolar, dipolar, bipolar or omnipolar?
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Old 30th September 2012, 09:22 PM   #14
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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I have several CD's that have "difficult" music. Joni Mitchel, Joan Baez, Julian Bream, and Harry James. When they sound right, I have it. Joni Mitchel seems very tough in mid-range voicing.
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Old 30th September 2012, 09:23 PM   #15
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Moving target. No matter what you go for you'll not always achieve the desired result on every recording. Maybe that's why there always seems to be the same old tracks played at hifi shows and found throughout audiophile collections.

I'd lean towards #1 because at least there is some accepted standards there but even that's got a lot of open ended interpretation.
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Old 30th September 2012, 10:18 PM   #16
Rudolf is offline Rudolf  Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadcoma View Post
But #4 doesn't direct me to my desired solution because I can't hear what I like with all genres of music using one type of speaker in my environment.

I enjoy the open airy live sound of speakers with good off-axis energy when listening to concert recordings or classical music. I like the highly defined and dynamic sound of speakers with controlled or high directivity (horns) when listening to music with lots of percussion. I guess the answer is I need to split this down the middle and use a speaker that is a balance of both.
The airyness of the classical concert or the precise definition of percussion should be in the recording - and not a property of your room or speaker. If your speaker's directivity is sufficiently controlled and room reflexions subdued (compared to the direct sound), you will hear the recording and not the characteristics of your room or your speakers.

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Old 30th September 2012, 10:27 PM   #17
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Since we are talking EQ, a system that is free of large peaks, has not too many dips and follows the old Bruel & Kjaer curve will sound well balanced. Do that, and you'll find that most recordings sound right.

Not many home systems follow that EQ, tho.
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Old 30th September 2012, 10:57 PM   #18
fas42 is online now fas42  Australia
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All the variations that contain the words "How the voice(s)/instrument(s) sounds live"; the fiddling by the engineers has little impact on that unless those sounds can been put through high level mangling devices -- which, of course, there is plenty of these days!!

As said by many, the voice is key and the easiest to pick, you've got references to what this is really like every day of your life, in spades. Simply put, a person's voice should always sound right, never have an edge or artificial tinge to it; if it does then at least something in your system is not right. If you get to the point where voices always sound real then, as also said here, every other element will also fall into place ...

Frank
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Old 30th September 2012, 10:58 PM   #19
ScottG is offline ScottG  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadcoma View Post

How should music sound in my environment when reproduced through my stereo system?

2) How the voice(s)/instrument(s) sounds live in the environment targeted by the mastering engineer.

(INSERT: Followed by: )

1) How the mastering engineer intended it to sound.
"2. CRITERIA OF LOUDSPEAKER PERFORMANCE

2.1. Terms of Reference

It is assumed that the ideal to be aimed at in the design of a sound reproducing system is realism, i.e. that the listener should be able to imagine himself to be in the presence of the original source of sound. There is, of course, scope for legitimate experiment in the processing of the reproduced signals in an endeavor to improve on nature, however, realism, or as near an approach to it as may be possible, ought surely to be regarded as the normal condition and avoidable departures from this state, while justified upon occasion, should not be allowed to become a permanent feature of the system.."

Title: THE DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH-QUALITY MONITORING LOUDSPEAKERS: A REVIEW OF PROGRESS

Source: BBC (1958)


This was an internal paper written for conference specifically for the creation and use of a Monitoring Loudspeaker for Studio use.

.."the original source of sound" references the "Listener", which necessarily includes the environment the original source of sound is produced in.

However when the "source of sound" has no "Listener", or more specifically was never intended to be a performance in a "live" space - it falls on the intentions of the engineer.

Despite this "fall-back" position (number (1) above), the paper also references that goal of the engineer should "avoid departures" from a result different than "the original source of sound". This essentially "loops back" to our number (2) above.

The exception would be those *intended* departures from the "original source of sound". These intended departures are of course common-place today depending on the genre of music. Today's "Club" music would be a good example - and would characterize an occasion for number (1) above.
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Last edited by ScottG; 30th September 2012 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 1st October 2012, 06:32 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pano View Post
Since we are talking EQ, a system that is free of large peaks, has not too many dips and follows the old Bruel & Kjaer curve will sound well balanced. Do that, and you'll find that most recordings sound right.

Not many home systems follow that EQ, tho.
You're right.

Don't blame "bad" recordings when the problem is elsewhere....
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