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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Well I suppose the shallow vs. steep argument will just go on and on
Well I suppose the shallow vs. steep argument will just go on and on
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:07 PM   #321
DBMandrake is offline DBMandrake  Scotland
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Originally Posted by gedlee View Post
I have a different take on this issue. To me it comes down to ones taste in musical genre more than a listening taste. "Field" recordings will definitely benefit from the added spaciousness of very early reflections (VER), but studio work will definitely not. In studio work a great deal of attention is paid to the imaging on the recording and there is no real room acoustic since studio go out of there way to minimize this. So VER will degrade this image creating a less than ideal playback experience. Field recordings do not place a strong emphasis on image as there isn't a strong image to a large orchestra.
My problem with the idea of very early reflections adding, lets call it, some 'spice' to the recording, is that it adds the same spice to everything you play whether it is warranted or indeed even appropriate.

Would you add a particular cooking spice intended for fish to everything you ate even if it was a bar of chocolate or a peanut butter sandwich ? No.

For me, a good part of the enjoyment of listening to a good stereo system and recording is being transported to the acoustic illusion present in (many) recordings. Every recording has the potential to sound different, to offer a different environmental illusion (since it is just an illusion with two channels) and that can be quite intoxicating in some really well done recordings.

If there is too much coloration from the room, everything is just going to sound like my room, and I don't want that.

Like you I prefer studio recordings for stereo listening - the idea that you can truly capture a live experience with just two channels seems unlikely to me.

I've heard some live stereo recordings that sound quite enveloping and enjoyable even in two channels, (a lot of that comes from the low frequency ambience I think, but you lose that completely unless your speakers can go down to at least 30Hz) but I'm under no illusion that it sounds close to actually being there. Enjoyable and engaging, but not a replica of the real thing.

On the other hand a studio recording is an artificial construct and is whatever the engineer chooses to make it - if you ignore the circle of confusion and the differences between mixing room and living room acoustics and speakers it is, at least in principle possible for a recording engineer to create a soundscape and for you to hear a very good reproduction of that in your home, and thus hear what the artist (engineer) intended.

You say "field" recordings may be subjectively improved by VER - but are you just lumping in all acoustic (live, minimal mic) recordings together or do you specifically include concert hall classical type music with long reverberation times...

If the latter I'm not sure I agree. If you have strong VER then these have very short delay times - much shorter than the first reflection in an actual concert hall which has comparatively long first reflection delays and a very long tail.

In my opinion mixing in strong VER or any of the reverberation in a small room for that matter does not enhance this kind of recording and will tend to disguise and overpower the longer reverberation in the recording.

I've always found this kind of recording sounds more "real" and natural with a somewhat dead listening room (and moderately directional speakers) that lets what ambience is on the recording shine through.

If you're talking about "field" recordings that are live recordings of say a small jazz band in a room then the characteristics of the listeners room would more closely match the characteristic of the room the recording was made in and thus blend more naturally, although I would argue if the balance of ambience in the recording was correct, unnecessarily.

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We'd like to think that good speakers are good for all recordings, but I no longer think that is true. Some approaches are better for some genres than others. My tastes are for studio work and hardly any Field recordings, so naturally I tend to minimizing VER in both the room design and the speaker design. Floyd, for example, is only interested in Field recordings and hence he tends to the spaciousness approach. I have discussed this with Floyd before and he tends to agree that one-size does not necessarily fit all. Floyd suggests room modification on-the-fly, but to me that is a band-aid and I prefer the ideal for my genre of choice. As my adviser used to say (he hated all-purpose-rooms) "All Purpose rooms are good for nothing."

I now truly believe that you have to make a choice to achieve the optimum. Of course one may choose to live with a compromise for both situations, that's a personal decision. But just be aware of the fact that a manufacturer is never going to say that they optimize for one situation or the other. That would not be good marketing.
I'm not sure that a reasonable compromise isn't possible.

If you have a very dead room recordings with a lot of recorded ambience will sound fantastic but many other recordings with little or no ambience will sound dead and lifeless as if the singer was speaking into your ear or you were listening on headphones, on the other hand if the room is too live it adds a signature of its own to every piece of music and will overpower the ambience in many recordings ruining them.

However I believe you can have just enough ambience in the room to "spice up" otherwise dead recordings, (the listening room ambience dominates) but at the same time for it to not be enough to overpower the ambience in recordings that do have a lot of ambience. (the recording ambience now dominates)

This is what I try to do. My current room is a little bit on the live side but I've had rooms in the past that came a lot closer to this elusive balance between the two.
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Last edited by DBMandrake; 7th December 2017 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:13 PM   #322
marco_gea is offline marco_gea  Italy
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Originally Posted by DBMandrake View Post
My problem with the idea of very early reflections adding, lets call it, some 'spice' to the recording, is that it adds the same spice to everything you play whether it is warranted or indeed even appropriate.<snip>
Well said! All of it. I couldn't agree more.
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:42 PM   #323
youknowyou is offline youknowyou  Canada
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Originally Posted by Juhazi View Post
Toole has recently given a lecture of how he sees the whole picture now. This is in youtube
YouTube

This is good too Room Reflections & Human Adaptation for Small Room Acoustics | Audioholics
yes, the articles is the repeated studies of Toole.
personally I aim for a at absorbing all early reflections, and let all secondary reflections run wild, but early reflections are just that, measuring wise detrimental

ime, in small rooms, to state that removing the side panels should improve the sound is absolutely detrimental to the SQ ime.
i prefer no coloration.
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:56 PM   #324
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Originally Posted by DBMandrake View Post
On the other hand a studio recording is an artificial construct and is whatever the engineer chooses to make it - if you ignore the circle of confusion and the differences between mixing room and living room acoustics and speakers it is, at least in principle possible for a recording engineer to create a soundscape and for you to hear a very good reproduction of that in your home, and thus hear what the artist (engineer) intended.

You say "field" recordings may be subjectively improved by VER - but are you just lumping in all acoustic (live, minimal mic) recordings together or do you specifically include concert hall classical type music with long reverberation times...

If the latter I'm not sure I agree. If you have strong VER then these have very short delay times - much shorter than the first reflection in an actual concert hall which has comparatively long first reflection delays and a very long tail.

In my opinion mixing in strong VER or any of the reverberation in a small room for that matter does not enhance this kind of recording and will tend to disguise and overpower the longer reverberation in the recording.

I've always found this kind of recording sounds more "real" and natural with a somewhat dead listening room (and moderately directional speakers) that lets what ambience is on the recording shine through.

I'm not sure that a reasonable compromise isn't possible.

However I believe you can have just enough ambience in the room to "spice up" otherwise dead recordings, (the listening room ambience dominates) but at the same time for it to not be enough to overpower the ambience in recordings that do have a lot of ambience. (the recording ambience now dominates)

This is what I try to do. My current room is a little bit on the live side but I've had rooms in the past that came a lot closer to this elusive balance between the two.
First, I think that we are almost entirely in agreement, but let me back up and say this. It is difficult in a small paragraph to be accurate about the nuances of what is saying. I am old and lazy and write as succinctly as possible, often just leaving out details. There is, of course, a continuum between the extremes of "studio work" and orchestral "field" recordings of a large hall, but if one has to make the two ends apparent then these two examples are what are required. A small jazz group in a small club would be almost exactly in the middle as it can have the "studio" level of imaging and yet actually be done in the "field".

What you say about the negative role of VER goes against almost everything that Toole has shown, as has been pointed out here. I too have always disagreed with Floyd on this point, but knowing Floyd and Sean as I have for several decades, I cannot so easily discount their work, which is always of exemplary quality. However, in much of their studies they would specifically ask about "spaciousness" and the listeners preference for it, but not ask about "image" and its quality. This, to me, biased the whole body of work one way.

I should point out that I agree with Floyd almost 95% of his position, but disagree on the role of VER. Floyd appears to have softened his position here, but I have not read his latest book, nor listened to his talks. The only place that Floyd and I would disagree is on how wide the constant directivity should be. Virtually everything else we are in complete agreement on.

I have given Floyd's position a lot of thought, given that I disagree with it and my position on the "they are here" versus the "you are there" illusion preference is the only way that I can resolve this difference. For example, in one of Floyd's studies he talk about how the playback enhanced the ASW - i.e. widening it. To me widening the source image is exactly the wrong thing to do. It just goes to show how what we are seeking can be vastly different things.

"I'm not sure that a reasonable compromise isn't possible." "Reasonable compromise", sure there is always such a thing depending on what you call reasonable. But a reasonable compromise is not what I seek. I want to maximize the playback of the "studio work" end of the spectrum, not the middle. Not everyone will want this, I accept that.

Basically my idea is the same as yours, to minimize the VER and maximize the later reflections for some significant room ambiance. This yields exceptional studio playback with very good medium "average" field/studio work, but lacks the Toole claim for "preference" of recording spaciousness and ASW.
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Old 7th December 2017, 05:00 PM   #325
youknowyou is offline youknowyou  Canada
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exactly my thoughts and experience and then some

thanks
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Old 7th December 2017, 05:14 PM   #326
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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personally I aim for a at absorbing all early reflections, and let all secondary reflections run wild, but early reflections are just that, measuring wise detrimental
I think that Floyd, once again, makes a good point here. Sound absorption on a wall is anything but effective broadband. To me one must avoid the VER with source directivity as that is the only real solution to this problem.
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Old 7th December 2017, 05:17 PM   #327
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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exactly my thoughts and experience and then some

thanks
Thanks, but you said "Toole studies are out to lunch in my experience" and I took offense at this as Floyd is by far the most knowledgeable person on this subject that there is. You just cannot write off his claims.

Even in his publications links above, he admits that VER "widen" and blur the image, although this does not seem to bother him. It bothers me. That doesn't make either of us wrong, just different.
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Old 7th December 2017, 05:19 PM   #328
graaf is offline graaf  Poland
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For example, in one of Floyd's studies he talk about how the playback enhanced the ASW - i.e. widening it. To me widening the source image is exactly the wrong thing to do. It just goes to show how what we are seeking can be vastly different things.
accuracy vs realism, realistic sound reproduction

real sound sources have width
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Old 7th December 2017, 05:20 PM   #329
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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real sound sources have width
So studio generated sounds are not "real source"?
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Old 7th December 2017, 07:18 PM   #330
Juhazi is offline Juhazi  Finland
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A diffcult topic, but fascinating. I have learned to know several "hifi afficionados" lately. Almost all of them seem to be accuracy of imaging -fanatics unlike most of "ordinary listeners" and even musicians that I know. I classify myself in the latter group.
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