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Old 5th October 2012, 02:59 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gedlee View Post
Only 1) is Hi-Fi. All the rest are you, the listener, taking control of the art - the equivalent of dying a Picasso painting from his "blue" period because you don't like blue.
But that's exactly what the mastering engineer did.

To be honest, I think the OP meant "mix engineer".

But in terms of "hifi", as conceived of by the gents in the 30s, before Les Paul started warping space and time and creating things that couldn't actually be performed live, there are several levels of reality.

There's the sound that was created in the studio, but that's not a recording.

There's the sound from the main monitors that the musicians heard when they decreed, "That's a take". (or the producer, in the case of the majority of musicians who lack real artistic control of their work)

There's the sound of the final mix through nearfield monitors, approximating what they think it will sound like at home.

There's the sound in the mastering studio, which used to be "what wouldn't cause the needle to jump out of the groove"... I'm not sure what they're looking for these days, worst case is probably "That won't suck on You Tube!".


I think Pano was being lightly tongue in cheek, but I did, for many years, use Altec 604Es for home listening. From other threads, I know my listening habits and criteria are not the same as most of you. Such audiophile euphonics as "spaciousness" are lost on me, I prefer to listen nearfield when I'm in the room with the speakers. But mostly these days, I listen to classic rock as background music, and it's about going back in time... and I like the feeling there's there's really a drumset in the next room. Currently, EVM12Ls matched to sectoral horns playing at about +106dB do that for me. I tend to judge speakers on the impact and timbre of the kick drum. If that's right, my brain can blame the rest on EQ or mic choice.
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Old 5th October 2012, 03:09 PM   #62
DrDyna is offline DrDyna  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gedlee View Post
Coloring a B&W movie is more like converting a mono recording to stereo, there is some justification for both. But changing the audio playback is equivalent to readjusting the color on a color movie to make it more red or grenn because you "like it better". There is one color setting that "reproduces" the original best and thats all. Its not a preference thing.
I guess I'm trying in vain to convey the analogy.. but I can do it by staying with the color thing.

For instance, something they do in Hollywood sometimes on movies like "Traffic" for example, where the director clearly changed color filters to "yellow / orange" for the parts that take place in Mexico, and "blue / gray" for the parts that take place in the city.

Now, we could say that the colors inflict un-natural tones, but they do convey a message.

So, we could have two trains of thought on it. The first train of thought, which can be called "realism", we can attribute to the director's view. We say it's "realistic" because it follows their intention of what they wanted it to look like. We're applying "realism" to someone else's idea and conveying that in an unadulterated manner. The 1.) crowd. Agreed that this is nearly impossible to ever achieve because of the nature of audio reproduction, but the pursuit can be fun.

The second train of thought could be that we should digitally process it so that it's more even and skin tones show up properly, trees are the right color, etc..meaning realism is a perfectly transparent window to what it should look like.

This probably doesn't happen much in the videophile world, but us audio guys really seem to have a hard time agreeing on how audio recordings should be handled. I think perhaps, realizing that option A is almost nearly impossible for audio, we fall back a bit on option b, which encompasses all of the multiple choices given by the original post except 1.
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Old 5th October 2012, 03:14 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Pano View Post
I don't want to sound defeatist in my answers, but I just don't think #1 is really achievable. For me, it's not even desirable. It's not wrong, it's just not my concern because I can never know what it was.
Making "what the mastering engineer desired" sacred assumes that they really achieved something worthy. Replicating the mastering experience assumes they had the perfect system or at least achieved the recording that perfectly compliments their mastering system, i.e. a perfect playback.

I've hung around enough recording studios to have a more jadded view of that. Most recording studios have speakers optimized for durabilty and output rather than any sort of accuracy. The studio engineer wants everything revealed. In the old days rising top ends were good for revealing poor tape edits, so that was a good thing. High directivity and near field listening gives a better view of recording faults, so that is a good thing. It may not be like you want at home but that isn't of concern to the recording engineer.

Every engineer has an oppinion about what will sell and they shape the sound accordingly. They also spend a lot of time learning to translate what they hear into their notion of what is good sound, or what the public wants, so even if their system is highly nonlinear they can mentally compensate for it.

Trust me, a lot of people on this forum have better sytems and can recreate a better experience at home than they would have heard standing behind the producer while the recording was being made.

My goal would be, rather than to be in the mixing room behind the console, to be in the studio itself hearing the performance live. I know that many recordings are assembled from parts rather than of a real time performance, but that would be my ideal.

Short of that, then give us tastefully done recordings with minimal gimickery, and playback systems that find the right compromise between pure accuracy and plausible recreation of an appropriate venue.

David S.
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Old 5th October 2012, 03:44 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speaker dave View Post
.......
Trust me, a lot of people on this forum have better sytems and can recreate a better experience at home than they would have heard standing behind the producer while the recording was being made.

My goal would be, rather than to be in the mixing room behind the console, to be in the studio itself hearing the performance live. I know that many recordings are assembled from parts rather than of a real time performance, but that would be my ideal.

Short of that, then give us tastefully done recordings with minimal gimickery, and playback systems that find the right compromise between pure accuracy and plausible recreation of an appropriate venue.

David S.
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Old 5th October 2012, 03:50 PM   #65
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It reads like the "change Picasso" argument is being used to refute the "change Picasso" argument.

And hi-fi, no matter how you define it, isn't about getting closer to the producer but getting closer to the performer.
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Old 5th October 2012, 04:00 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by speaker dave View Post

Short of that, then give us tastefully done recordings with minimal gimickery, and playback systems that find the right compromise between pure accuracy and plausible recreation of an appropriate venue.

David S.

I take my Chesky discs out for a hug every now and then.
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Old 5th October 2012, 08:42 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by gedlee View Post
But changing the audio playback is equivalent to readjusting the color on a color movie to make it more red or grenn because you "like it better". There is one color setting that "reproduces" the original best and thats all. Its not a preference thing.
That's a rather good analogy, but it does have some flaws. As I calibrate video displays for a living, let me expand on that.

There is a standard for video display laid down by SMPTE (and the EBU). Very few displays can actually achieve it, tho many can get close. The vast majority of all displays are not adjusted to meet the standard, even if they could. Part of my job as been to calibrate those displays so that they come as close to the standard as possible. Once that's done, they look great - and also look a lot like other calibrated displays. Most pros don't think it can be done, until you show them.

Unfortunately, music recording and playback does not have a SMPTE standard. Cinema sound does, music does not. Many video producers and technicians are surprised how good their stuff looks when shown on a display that is calibrated and meets spec - much better than they've ever seen it. In the same way as David mentions that many of us have better playback equipment than is found in most mix and mastering suites.

Is it wrong of us to do "better"?

Yes, I understand that everyone's definition of "better" might be different, but for me "more faithful to the source" is better. Although I can measure my way 92% toward that goal, the final 8% has to be a judgment call. Does it sound real? The answer for a lot of systems I hear is "No - it sounds like Hi-Fi."
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Old 5th October 2012, 08:55 PM   #68
KSTR is offline KSTR  Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gedlee View Post
Only 1) is Hi-Fi. All the rest are you, the listener, taking control of the art - the equivalent of dying a Picasso painting from his "blue" period because you don't like blue.
Didn't Picasso also say : "If I don't have green, I use red". Production can be as arbitrary as reproduction, it seems.
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Old 5th October 2012, 09:48 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pano View Post
That's a rather good analogy, but it does have some flaws. As I calibrate video displays for a living, let me expand on that.

There is a standard for video display laid down by SMPTE (and the EBU). Very few displays can actually achieve it, tho many can get close. The vast majority of all displays are not adjusted to meet the standard, even if they could. Part of my job as been to calibrate those displays so that they come as close to the standard as possible. Once that's done, they look great - and also look a lot like other calibrated displays. Most pros don't think it can be done, until you show them.

Unfortunately, music recording and playback does not have a SMPTE standard. Cinema sound does, music does not. Many video producers and technicians are surprised how good their stuff looks when shown on a display that is calibrated and meets spec - much better than they've ever seen it. In the same way as David mentions that many of us have better playback equipment than is found in most mix and mastering suites.

Is it wrong of us to do "better"?

Yes, I understand that everyone's definition of "better" might be different, but for me "more faithful to the source" is better. Although I can measure my way 92% toward that goal, the final 8% has to be a judgment call. Does it sound real? The answer for a lot of systems I hear is "No - it sounds like Hi-Fi."
Oh man, I wish reproducing a picture was the same as reproducing audio, imagine if everyone's room was made of mirrors that all had varying degrees of image delay and we were trying to recreate a lifelike environment of video!

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Old 5th October 2012, 10:50 PM   #70
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I am with Linkwitz: "Unbiased listeners have no difficulty recognizing accurate sound reproduction, even with hearing damage or with hearing aids"

[SL obviously means realistic when uses the adjective "accurate"]

realism is not about microscopic details or reproducing of >20 kHz overtones

a lot of the so called HiFi equipment is pretty good at reproduction of microscopic details or reproducing of >20 kHz overtones
Linkwitz is on the money, it is possible to get an audio system to be subjectively realistic, and you don't have to run tests to check whether it's in the groove or not: every fibre of your being knows that the sound is right, irrespective of the size of the speakers, amplifiers or the cost of the gear.

Part of the "correctness" is that every part of the sound landscape you're listening to sounds right, nothing jars, is intrusive or doesn't gell. In simple terms, you can completely relax your mind and body when listening even at high volumes, in all the "wrong" places in the room and the sound never fails to be fully convincing ...

Frank

Last edited by fas42; 5th October 2012 at 10:56 PM.
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