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Article: Why We Need Audiophiles, The subjective perspective
B0RK
post Apr 19 2009, 21:21
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 18 2009, 23:42) *
QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 01:22) *
But We are not talking about me now are we ?
Cause if you are , you could easily have had a taste of my ABXing in the LossyWav thread.


yeah, I see where you say you don't believe a 14/20 ABX run can be due to luck.

14/20 (p=.058) doesn't even break the 'standard' p<.05 threshold for a Type I error, much less an arguably more appropriate p<0.01 threshold.

Regardless of what you believe, a marginal run like that virtually begs for a re-test to see if indeed it WAS just luck.


Well there we have it don't we.
This is what people like yourself do all the time.

You are not looking for ABX Tests .. now are you ?

Let's face it What you are Really looking for was FAILED ABX tests.

When The Foobar ABX test result is negative , you just get all rosy & cherish the moment.

But when Foobars own stats system says when you guess 14/20 (%5.8 chance of guessing) that is just not good enough for you , & you dismiss it altogether.

You are so quick to dismiss it , that you didn't even notice I included more then one test result & got the chance to test a casual listener & posted the results, please do try & have another half a look before you post.

@kornchild2002 - I Have no problem with your poinion, youre entitled to it,
but last time I checked , you were not HA spokesman , so you can drop the WE when you have something to say.

I am stating my opinion like everyone else, not getting all touchy & personal against any other member ,& not shutting anyone up.

If what I had to say doesn't make ANY sense to you , why are you still reading this ?

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B0RK
post Apr 19 2009, 21:41
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 19 2009, 05:21) *
So, are you saying that you did your Foobar tests having never listened to a MP3 in your life? Can't be true!


Of course I did ,


QUOTE
It sad , if you know nothing else , or even the source product, on a deeper level.


QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 19 2009, 05:21) *
Do you seriously think that people are comparing MP3s to MP3's? That's what you just said.

Just for the record, people are compaing MP3s to .wav files much of the time. That's the source product, right? Where do you get these wild ideas from? Your buddy Fremer?

Really ? You PROMISE ? gee I had no idea ..

QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 19 2009, 05:21) *
I';ve been listening to various people's high end gear for decades. I might even have had a little of it myself.

What you don't seem to realize that some of us were held hostige in an analog-only world for many decades of painful love of music. Painful, because all we had to listen to was analog. I had to wait until I was in my l mid-20s berfore there was any good SS to buy. I had to wait until I was in my late 30s before there was any digital to buy. So, I spent about 25 years in a pure analog world. I had nothing but vinyl and tubes to listen to for all of that time. Not good. Not fun.


Ill ignore the other pearls you just threw my way, & Let me ask you a more respectful , serious questions then you offered me ok,

-In your opinion , considering current trends, how many iTunes clients have your experience in audio & know their lossy CD sources & Analog gear sound as well as you do ?

-Knowing what you know, Would you ever give that experience up , going straight to an iPod-iTunes combo ?

-Do you agree that you when choosing that path , that's right for you, after lengthy experiences with both,
made your decision clearer & more independent & more immune to whatever the new/old fixation might be ?

This post has been edited by B0RK: Apr 19 2009, 21:53
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[JAZ]
post Apr 19 2009, 22:49
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QUOTE (hybris @ Apr 19 2009, 12:43) *
I agree. But my point was that I would like to enjoy the entire experience. Eating great food blindfolded in a basement isn't as much fun as in a fine dining room. And at least for me the main part of this hobby is actually listening to and enjoying music, not assessing differences between components. smile.gif


The problem is when one compares an average meal in a luxury restaurant versus a good meal in a bathroom.
This is why blind is important. It should make sense to anyone that if you want to compare colours, you don't worry about forms, and if you want to compare parfums, you don't worry about the size of the bottle.

Our interest in hydrogenaudio is scientific, not commercial. We don't care if a white laptop with a white apple in it sells better than a grey laptop with two letters in it. We would care if a task A is better done on laptop 1 or on laptop 2.
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B0RK
post Apr 19 2009, 23:48
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QUOTE ([JAZ] @ Apr 19 2009, 15:49) *

Our interest in hydrogenaudio is scientific, not commercial. We don't care if a white laptop with a white apple in it sells better than a grey laptop with two letters in it. We would care if a task A is better done on laptop 1 or on laptop 2.


JAZ, Team pride aside, While what you say is indeed true in many parts of HA,
IN THIS CASE, this is inaccurate to say the least.

scientific interest , usually ,is not the opposite of commercial ,they are unrelated terms.

Now in THIS CASE, If you meant purely Scientific VS Subjective .. then that's not true as well I'm afraid.

ABX tests , Are Subjecive tests.

If the debate here was truly conducted from a scientific point of view,
then You don't need HA debates, ABX or any subjective experience at all,
as Scientifically, Any lossy audio , is an inferior , More Corrupted audio version,of the original, where even , The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).
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rpp3po
post Apr 20 2009, 00:51
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Would showing off prototypic traits of personality disorder qualify as scientific contribution to this thread?

QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 20 2009, 00:48) *
....The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).


Congrats! You have just proven your authority to evaluate the scientific nature of audio related questions. I'm really interested to hear more.

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pdq
post Apr 20 2009, 00:58
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QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 18:48) *
ABX tests , Are Subjecive tests.

Hearing is subjective. ABX is a technique for evaluating hearing objectively.
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Ron Jones
post Apr 20 2009, 02:17
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Subjective (adjective): taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias
Objective (adjective): undistorted by emotion or personal bias; based on observable phenomena

Hmm...I wonder which one ABX tests are! Certainly not the latter!

QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 14:48) *
The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).

"Corrupted". Interesting word choice. Corrupted in what way?
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 20 2009, 02:27
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QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 16:41) *
-In your opinion , considering current trends, how many iTunes clients have your experience in audio & know their lossy CD sources & Analog gear sound as well as you do ?


Umm problem with the question - in general commerical CDs are not lossy. Therefore the phrase "lossy CD" is an oxymoron. I can't answer questions about things that in general, don't exist.

QUOTE
-Knowing what you know, Would you ever give that experience up , going straight to an iPod-iTunes combo ?


Irrelevant question - while the number of people who have only ever heard music reproduced via an iPod-iTunes combo must be increasing, at this time it represents a miniscule fraction of all music lovers.

There is no general lack of opportunity for young people to hear live acoustic music - as long as most high schools offer band, orchestra, and chorus.

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Emon
post Apr 20 2009, 05:03
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QUOTE (2tec @ Apr 16 2009, 09:55) *
This is the detail that matters: Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space.


No they fucking don't. He doesn't even really know what synesthesia is, he just read the Wikipedia article, diagnosed himself and uses it to justify his bullshit hobby.

I should clarify. Certainly there can be audiophiles who are synesthesiacs, but the claim that all or most audiophiles are synesthesiacs and therefore have some heightened sense or perception and need better equipment is a damn lie. As I recall, synesthesia doesn't have anything to do with sensory resolution, just perceptual methods. A synesthesiac who "sees" numbers when doing a calculus problem does not "see the numbers better" on paper, they perceive them differently.

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cpchan
post Apr 20 2009, 07:24
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QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 20 2009, 00:48) *
....The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).


Please enlighten us with your "superior" knowledge of digital audio. rolleyes.gif

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bug80
post Apr 20 2009, 09:27
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QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 23:48) *
as Scientifically, Any lossy audio , is an inferior , More Corrupted audio version,of the original, where even , The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).

a) Please define "original". Did you know that air "corrupts" sound waves too? You will never hear the "original" unless you put your head in the instrument.
b) In a scientific sense there is no problem with comparing "A" and "B" using an ABX test. As long as you formulate your hypothesis correctly, of course.

[edit]By the way, very funny this BS about audiophiles being synesthesiacs. My girlfriend is a synesthesiac, and she's very happy with her portable player full of 128 kbs MP3s... wink.gif [/edit]

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Gag Halfrunt
post Apr 20 2009, 10:25
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I would have thought that the number of synesthetes within the audiophile community to be in proportion to the number of synesthetes in the wider population. If anything, I'd even make a wild guess that the number of those with sound->colour synesthesia that own audio equipment would be slightly lower than the wider population, because if I had an in-head visualizer permanently switched on, I'd be more editorial in my listening.

That audiophiles can hear a three-dimensional 'soundstage' would suggest one of three things:

1. They are making stuff up
2. They all have OCD when it comes to setting up their systems, and this is the pay-off
3. They are making stuff up again

I know #1 and #3 are similar, but it's such an important point, it's worth repeating.

I suspect this 3D stuff is smoke and mirrors, especially as whenever I attend an unamplified classical concert, I struggle to identify the point in space where the second violinist sits if I close my eyes. But perhaps what they are describing is their brain over-compensating because supposed distance cues are being artificially rebuilt from something a fraction of that distance away in reality. The fact that the instrument may have been less than a foot from the microphone and the only mechanism for stereo positioning at the engineer's desk is a pan-pot is irrelevant - if you have an instrument that you anticipate being 20 feet away, your brain will attempt to locate it 20 feet away. If the loudspeakers are giving precise HRTF cues to the distance of that instrument, but that places the instrument six feet away instead of 20, your brain might conceivably struggle with the dichotomy and over-compensate by making you think stereo is more three-dimensional. This over-compensation could potentially be more noticeable if the loudspeakers are in very precise placement relative to the listener and the loudspeaker-room interaction was particularly favourable. And if there's one thing most audiophiles have in common, it's precise placement of loudspeakers and listener.

That's a whole lot of 'ifs' and 'maybes', though. Trouble is, we'll never know for sure, 'ifs' and 'maybes' seem to be all part of the audiophile magical mystery tour. If you ask 'why', chances are you'll get a Yoda-like response: Disturbance there is in the dark side of the cables. Phase is what you seek, yesssss.

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2Bdecided
post Apr 20 2009, 10:29
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QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 18 2009, 03:22) *
The distortions present in high bitrate MP3 etc are astonishingly minor compared to any number of effects in mastering, recording, etc.
I liked the rest of your argument, but that part doesn't hold water. We could debate how you quantify "distortions" - but I think it's more helpful to separate "distortions" from "differences"...

If you move the microphone two feet, the signal may be dramatically different - but you can move your ears two feet too, and get a similar amount of difference. That's not a distortion.

If you EQ something, it's a change from the ideal, and maybe a kind of distortion, but it's similar to what you experience by listening on different speakers, or at a different distance from a real instrument, or listening in a different room etc. It's a change, but it's comparable to changes that you can easily experience in real life. Sometimes!

Dynamic range compression is different - that is a kind of distortion.

The very process of capturing a live sound via a microphone is a terrible distortion of the original sound field. That's probably an order of magnitude worse than anything else we do to it subsequently.


Those last two aside, I think it's simply wrong to equate distortions in the recording and mastering process with those of high bitrate mp3. Measurably, high bitrate mp3 does huge damage to the signal. Any non-psychoacoustic based process doing a similar level of RMS damage to the signal would be completely unacceptable - like bad AM radio!


Of course it doesn't sound bad. It often sounds perfect. But in terms of measurable quantity of distortion, it's not a small factor.

Cheers,
David.
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2Bdecided
post Apr 20 2009, 10:59
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Can we stop treating BORK like he's the devil please?

Thank you.


Many of the individual ABX test runs in the lossyWAV thread (and also the 16-bit thread) were inconclusive on their own, but if added together and treated as one big run, became more conclusive. I'm not sure how statistically valid this is, but it makes some kind of sense: if you do lots and lots of tests, and you don't cherry pick them, then overall if there's no real effect you should converge on a 50/50 distribution of correct vs incorrect answers. A 55/45 distribution might be meaningless in a few tests, but over lots and lots of tests, the stats tell you that it's very unlikely to happen by chance. The high number of mistakes shows it's very hard to correctly identify the problem, but the fact there are more correct answers than mistakes shows there's something real there.


In that scenario, I think it's worth listening to those listeners, and what they say about their experience of ABX testing.


I think there's a huge tendency developing here to jump in with a knee jerk reaction when ever people perceive that someone might have some sympathy with a subjectivist mindset.

This causes people to over state things:

There's endless praise for lossy audio in this thread, despite there being many successful ABX results of 320kbps mp3 documented right here on HA!

There's complete scorn at the idea that an "expensive" system is any better than in iPod, despite the obvious advantages of hearing music over good speakers driven by capable amplifiers.


You know the kind of subjectivist rant that we all go and have a good laugh at? Well, this thread is turning into an objectivist rant that is straying so far beyond the boundaries of reality that any subjectivist could drop in and have a justifiable laugh at it!

I think some people are getting carried away, and it's not pretty.

IMO!

Cheers,
David.
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cliveb
post Apr 20 2009, 11:32
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QUOTE (Gag Halfrunt @ Apr 20 2009, 10:25) *
That audiophiles can hear a three-dimensional 'soundstage' would suggest one of three things:

1. They are making stuff up
...

What exactly do you mean by "making stuff up"? Are you saying that they are lying, or that there's something going on in the brain that generates the 3D experience? I believe it's the latter.

I've been listening to audio systems for over 40 years, and can recall one time - just ONCE - when I heard an absolutely solid, holographic image of a band playing before me[1]. This was about 20 years ago, playing a vinyl LP through a pair of Linn Isobarik DMS loudspeakers - famous for their *lack* of imaging capability. I have since played the same track on the same system, and the same track from CD through better systems, and never again did I hear that 3D soundstage. I conclude that the perception of 3D soundstages from audio systems must be something to do with the listener's state of mind rather than anything to do with the capabilities of the equipment.

I tell you one thing, though: the experience of hearing that holographic soundstage was simply breathtaking. If I was able to repeat it on a regular basis, I'd be a very happy bunny indeed. Maybe audiophiles who routinely hear a 3D soundstage are somehow able to get themselves into the right frame of mind. I am extremely envious.

[1] If anyone's interested, the track in question was "The Lord is Listenin' To Ya, Hallelujah" from "Carla Bley Live".
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Gag Halfrunt
post Apr 20 2009, 11:51
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QUOTE (cliveb @ Apr 20 2009, 11:32) *
What exactly do you mean by "making stuff up"? Are you saying that they are lying, or that there's something going on in the brain that generates the 3D experience? I believe it's the latter.


Well, potentially both.

I don't think 'lying' is the right term, though. I suspect audiophiles (make that 'most' audiophiles) are sincere in their belief that they can hear in 3D, but whether that is merely self-delusion or the result of some psychoacoustic processes is unclear. What would be interesting, however, is if you could 'deprogram' an audiophile, would they stop with the 'holographic imagery' too? Some of the less febrile are starting to question the audiophile articles of faith... will 'soundstaging' disappear along with the need to spend crazy cable cash?

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rpp3po
post Apr 20 2009, 12:10
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 20 2009, 11:59) *
There's complete scorn at the idea that an "expensive" system is any better than in iPod, despite the obvious advantages of hearing music over good speakers driven by capable amplifiers.


No, there isn't. The debate is not cheap vs. expensive but against putting money into the absolutely wrong end of the chain. As horrifying this may sound to people, who conceive audio gear as part of their ego: technology has advanced up to a point where perfect (in terms of a given FR and SNR) reproduction of recorded material has become possible with commodity parts. With one exception: speakers. This is where money still can make a huge difference, this is where the biggest deviations (several db) from a flat FR happen. Compared to that the differences between iPods and high end CD players or Foobar with a vinyl saturation plugin and an actual vinyl records are laughably small if at all existent. And when people like B0RK let off blunt bullshit it must be allowed to react bluntly. He didn't refrain from personally attacking other forum members himself.

I own a DAC that was more expensive than necessary myself, also an amp that could have been cheaper without the 'look'. That doesn't keep me from playing AAC files from my portable computer and and enjoying a mind blowing musical experience. Sometimes I go the extra route and reimport lossless files from my archive. But that's pure fancy. I would never try to convince people that not doing the same would necessarily lead to an inferior experience.

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2Bdecided
post Apr 20 2009, 12:30
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Now there's a blind test I'd like to see (!) - an iPod vs a Linn CD12.

Both sides of this debate find that idea laughable for opposite reasons. So it's a great test case.

The practicalities of such a DBT are a headache, but not insurmountable.



This "sound stage" thing - do people really not hear instruments spread out between their two speakers? Or do you simply not hear any depth / height? I certainly hear left/right locations, and sometimes some depth. I've only heard height once with 2-channel, and that was a dummy head recording. (unless you mean bass at the bottom, and treble at the top - which is easy with oversized speakers!)

Obviously you can get reliable height, and fantastic depth, with more channels - though you can fake depth with 2-channel stereo somewhat reliably.

Cheers,
David.

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Gag Halfrunt
post Apr 20 2009, 12:54
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It would be interesting to see how the results were interpreted by the audiophiles, although the CD12 is long gone now. Someone would likely cry foul just because it's out of production. A new Wadia player would be all-round interesting, though... just because the company has that iPod 'transport' thing, too. That would make it 'audiophile approved', and would mean you could run CD and iPod through the same DAC.


As to loudspeakers: I hear instruments spread out between the speakers, and sometimes beyond if the engineer has gone mad with the pan-pots. But I've not experienced a hologram appear in front of me between the loudspeakers. If I did, I'd have a larger collection of bad 70s funk with wah-wah pedals.
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MichaelW
post Apr 20 2009, 13:04
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I'm interested, without any knowledge, in the soundstage phenomenon.

Like Gagg Halfrunt, I often listen to orchestral concerts in rooms that give me very little acoustic sense of the location of performers; sometimes that's just auditory image overwhelmed by visual cues, I guess, but I deliberately tested this during a performance of a Handel Oratorio, and I specifically heard the voices of the quite small choir coming from all around me--very much delocalised. And, of course, in a rock concert we know where the sound is coming from: those banks and banks of speakers (at a Bob Dylan concert I attended in 1978, at Blackbushe Aerodrome, I was lucky enough to get a position just in front of the second row of PA towers: Bob looked very small that far away).

So I suspect that the spatial location thing may be fairly specific to the reproduction of music, rather than being in the audience of a live performance (it's probably interestingly different if you're actually in the middle of the performers).

One of the things on which all flavours of listeners seem to be agreed on is that it is a mark of really, really good, and probably cripplingly expensive, speakers that they give a good soundstage. So much so that I wonder if this is the chief difference between speakers that are merely good, and those that are superb--which would be a consolation, since that kind of precision of placement wouldn't be important to me, even if I could afford it, because it doesn't match my live experience.

Lastly, cliveb's experience of hearing, once only, a full 3D soundstage reminds me of an optical trick that might be comparable. Stereo pictures are made with a pair of photographs, made from slightly different points of view. Normally you use a stereo viewer to feed the appropriate image to each eye, but it is possible to learn to see them without a viewer, and apparently reconnaissance photo interpreters learned to do this routinely. I once set myself to acquire the trick, and I could manage it with some difficulty, but the knack vanished if I didn't practice. This makes me think that it is quite possible that some listeners do construct a soundstage for themselves, but that this is a legitimate construction based on real cues in the signal, and intersubjectively verifiable. It would account for the reported finding that professional listeners are most sensitive to soundstage.

Sorry to ramble on, but it might be good for peace to focus on an area where there might be common ground.
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botface
post Apr 20 2009, 14:06
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I'm finding this discussion of imaging, hearing in 3D etc very interesting. I "see" a 3D image all the time when I actually listen to music; rather than it simply being on the background. It only happens when listening via speakers. Headphones seem to just squeeze the sound into your head. It's completely different - as is live music. Anyway what I'm finding interesting is that I thought everybody heard stereo that way. Otherwise why do engineers bother trying to create a sound stage? Why doesn't everybody listen in mono? Incidentally, it makes no difference whether I am listening to a digital or analogue source.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 20 2009, 14:52
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QUOTE (MichaelW @ Apr 20 2009, 08:04) *
I'm interested, without any knowledge, in the soundstage phenomenon.

Like Gagg Halfrunt, I often listen to orchestral concerts in rooms that give me very little acoustic sense of the location of performers; sometimes that's just auditory image overwhelmed by visual cues, I guess, but I deliberately tested this during a performance of a Handel Oratorio, and I specifically heard the voices of the quite small choir coming from all around me--very much delocalised. And, of course, in a rock concert we know where the sound is coming from: those banks and banks of speakers (at a Bob Dylan concert I attended in 1978, at Blackbushe Aerodrome, I was lucky enough to get a position just in front of the second row of PA towers: Bob looked very small that far away).


I think that everybody who goes to live performances and listens carefully notices that the sound field becomes highly diffuse, even when you sit pretty close to the source.

I recall that Bose early on said that the ratio of reverb to driect at a typical set in a concert hall was 8:1.

If we call the direct sound the desired signal, then when the reverb/direct ratio is 8:1 the signal-to-noise ratio is *negative*. The ear can reliably perceive signals when the SNR is negative, but under these conditions intelligibilty is highly degraded.

Of interest is the 1:1 region which we call the critcial distance. IME that might be on stage or just a few rows of seats back, depending on the type of room.

I don't begudge audiophiles their favorite recordings with readily-discernable imaging. However, they aren't talking about recreating the concert hall experience. They're talking about a listening experience that has few if any real-world equivalents.
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2Bdecided
post Apr 20 2009, 15:11
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QUOTE (Gag Halfrunt @ Apr 20 2009, 11:54) *
you could run CD and iPod through the same DAC.
Oh, I wasn't going to go that far - I was going to use the standard analogue outputs of each piece of equipment.

Cheers,
David.

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Gag Halfrunt
post Apr 20 2009, 15:12
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QUOTE (botface @ Apr 20 2009, 14:06) *
I'm finding this discussion of imaging, hearing in 3D etc very interesting. I "see" a 3D image all the time when I actually listen to music; rather than it simply being on the background. It only happens when listening via speakers. Headphones seem to just squeeze the sound into your head. It's completely different - as is live music. Anyway what I'm finding interesting is that I thought everybody heard stereo that way. Otherwise why do engineers bother trying to create a sound stage? Why doesn't everybody listen in mono? Incidentally, it makes no difference whether I am listening to a digital or analogue source.


Most (all?) people are able to derive a seamless stereo from two identical - or near identical - loudspeakers. Record producers have a great tool on hand for this - it's called a 'studio engineer'. They in turn have an array of tools they can call upon to simulate the effect of a stage sitting in front of you, in between your loudspeakers. By using panning, phase, reverberation and a stereo ambiance recording (as well as gentle massage of some original sources - adding vibrato to a guitar sound, for example), a producer can effectively build a good simulacrum of a live event. Producers T-Bone Burnett and Ethan Johns are particularly good at this.

This can be extremely effective in creating stereophonic sound, instead of a separate left channel and a right channel as heard on early stereo pop recordings (where the singer is in the right channel, the band is in the left and nothing in between). But, no matter how good, it is a simulacrum. What I question is those who think it's a Holodeck.


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post Apr 20 2009, 15:18
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 20 2009, 13:52) *
I don't begudge audiophiles their favorite recordings with readily-discernable imaging. However, they aren't talking about recreating the concert hall experience. They're talking about a listening experience that has few if any real-world equivalents.
As someone who gets most of their most from recordings (most of my favourite artists are dead) and broadcasts, I'm always surprised by how quiet and distant classical music sounds from most seats in a typical concert hall.

However, an intimate chamber music venue, or sometimes just sitting very close to the front, actually delivers something very close to the kind of audiophile experience I think you're describing.

And I like it. Being just a few metres away from a singer or acoustic instrument (though not brass - too loud!) is magical. Takes my breath away.

Cheers,
David.
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