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01-16-2005 Post mapped to 2 branches of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 510
Reply to: 510
Speakers: a hi-fi disaster.

People frequently ask me what would be a good speaker to buy for $5.000, for $10.000 for $20.000 for $50.000 and so on. The more I think about it looking at the park of available loudspeakers the more I come to the observation that there are no good speakers our there, for any amount money.

It kind of non-even-ironic how loudspeakers are out there! Do not get me wrong: I am not expressing the horns, ribbons of single driver attitudes. I am talking that each single know to me loudspeaker, whatever topology it uses, always present a large collections of inherited problems to user, and it’s completely irrelevant if it was $500 worth Dunlavy SC-1 or 125.000.00 worth Wilson’s Alexandria.

Yes, sometimes, here and there I met loudspeakers that more or less accurately masked own imperfections and were more or less problem-balanced. However it was always just a compilation of compromises for non-justifiable price instead of a presentation of things that the speakers did well, within the most beneficial design for the given advantages.

When I try to locate the 3 dominating causes why our loudspeaker are so bad then 2 reasons jump atop of my list: luck of proper drivers and absent of the civilized evaluations methodologies of loudspeaker’s performance.

The first cause: it is practically imposable to find a good performing driver for a given application. Ironically the worth application is the more bad-drivers are available. Furthermore the unfamiliarity of most of the speaker-makers with the musically-objective evaluation and assessment methods do not allow them to use successfully even better driver in a given design. Some people fish in the world of older loudspeaker but the result they get always is not really better. Some older loudspeakers (very few of them) had motivating drivers but it takes a lot of pain, expertise and taste to make some older drivers to operate more or less successfully in a targeted topology. Still, in most of the cases the “second cause” kicks in and assures that people get non-optimum result even if they managed to get more or less acceptable drivers.

The second cause: people, professionals and amateurs, mostly are completely clueless how to objectively evaluate the sonic results they’re getting out of their designs. Also, they are mostly disabled to provide any more or less rational music-related support for their design decisions. I spoke with many designers of popular loudspeakers and I was surprised how ignorant they were. Their primary ignorance was not in thier inability to jangler of the semi-technical phrases but rather in thier complete disassociation between their technical expertise and thier cultural backgrounds. As the result, they were completely impotent to merge their subjective assessments  (no mater how off the were) with their objective methods. Consequentially, thier judgment was fundamentally off the mark and in many cases juts essentially faulty. In addition to this, the personal cultural limitations of most loudspeaker designers prevent them objectively interpret the measurable data and navigate themselves across the engineering “language” even if the learn the proper evaluation methodologies.  Another “minor” sub-reasons that I would plug in this section would be a fact that the designers (and the rest people in audio) have no ways to educate themselves how reproduced music actual might sound if everything is done properly. The really serious installations that push envelop of what might be done in loudspeaker are extremely rare and mostly audio people have no access to them. If you find one then pay any amount money to hear “what might be done” and I assure you that you will be benefited to the rest of your life.

In the end, we the consumers, harvest horrible result and paying for it the horrible prices. We pay $90.000.00 for loudspeakers that cost $900 to manufacture and that perform worst then the cheapest loudspeaker in the same company line. Or we have $60.000.00 loudspeaker that have a major flow (converting the performance of this model to a nightmare) and to fix this major problem would cost for a company 50cents but the chef-designer knowing about the problem says: “Who the hell cares, lets run it as it”.

What I am saying that behind the luck of the proper materials and ignorance of the designers-manufactures there is something else of the 3rd reason on my list - the premeditated intentions of people do not deliver to consumers result as good as it could be. The industry targets the lowest common denominator and here is where the reason #3 comes dominating: luck of serious demands form the consumers. As I numerously mention: most of people in audio are Morons and Sound that they get in thier listening rooms is not the result of their personal demands but the “as is” results. Therefore, since we, the consumers, demand “as is result” then the designers-manufactures target thier predicts to satisfy the consumers “as is demands”.

This all works as a well-oiled machine in hi-fi industry and as a result, your loudspeakers are the worst element of your playback. The most important is not the fact that your speaker are bad but that you can’t not do anything about it.

Congratulations,
Romy The Cat




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-16-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 511
Reply to: 510
But how can one become knowledgeable?
Nice post Romy, you're probably right, I can't say since I've never listened to a pair of speakers that really told me "what can be done". I've always owned and listened to speakers that are commercially made, and I've had to choose among the ones that I've found that seem more neutral to the different kinds of music I use to listen to. At least when listening to some wonderful symphony it doesn't sound as bright and disconnected as when listening to a rock studio recording. But ignorance is something that in this field is hard to overcome. There are also the room limitations, I would love having some horns, the very old professional horns I've listened to from Altec and JBL have "something" that is more compelling than anything that any modern commercial loudspeaker can do, but I don't have the space to fit those horn speakers into my room. Then one must accept trade-offs and compromises. I could get some Lowther or AER drivers and build some back loaded horns, but then I wouldn't know if that is actually "what can be done" or at least something close to it, or if I'm just trading frequency response for a bit of coherence.
Many of us probably would be asking for something more "right" if we knew what to ask for.

Regards,

Antonio
01-17-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 514
Reply to: 511
It isn't knowledge but self-awareness.

Actually I would like do not use the post above as a promotion of a specific speaker or a specific topology - it is what the cretins from Audiogon do. I’d rather like to suggest whoever cares to think about our idiotic consumer conformism when we, the consumers, bless speakers’ manufacturers with our outrages foolishness.

I am not kidding here: among all commercial speakers that I have heard (and it was quite a numbers of models) I do not know any of them that would performance-wise be worth more then $2000.  There is an army of very inexpensive, a few tens or hundreds dollars worth, loudspeakers that perform “no good not bad” - just like nothing. However, I absolutely assure you that in the scale of proper evaluation methods those speakers perform way more interesting (musical) then a high-end crap that cost $20.000-$80.000

Unfortunately the Morons-audiophiles do not recognize any musical results or an acoustic neutrality – they recognize only hi-fi glitz and the damn chest-pressure. I remember 4-5 years ago I foolishly brought in my home one retarded NH distributor who was sitting infront my playback and while I’ was playing for him music he was asking me: “Ok, and where is the Sound?”

So, boys and girls, next time when you meet your dealer and prepare to pay 86.000.000 for a new model of horribly sounding Karhmas, then please ask your dealer WHAT MUSICAL BENEFITS you will get with those speakers in compare to your crappy $150-worth Scott, JBL or EV.

I assure you that you will fire your dealer as soon you hear his answer…

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-17-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 517
Reply to: 514
Agree about expensive speakers
I have listened to some expensive speakers from B&W, Wilson Audio, Dynaudio, and also owned the SF Amati, you know already. Musically these ones were more musically interesting to me than any of the others, but still weren't something that completely satisfied me. Now I own less expensive, smaller speakers, more suitable for my worse room, and I find them musically much more satisfying, although I trade some "sound performance features" which do very little to increase my interest for the music sounding, but still I feel that things should be different. In any case smaller two-way speakers sound rigther than big ones, which lose completely the sense of "union" and coherence of the musical flow.

So what musical benefits could I expect from a back loaded horn speaker using a Lowther, Fostex or AER driver? I ask about back loaded horns because they could fit my room, no front loaded horn would fit it, nor any planar speaker. I know you're no dealer and you dislike advicing, but I'm not asking for advice, just want to read you speaking about "musical benefits", term which by the way, you should also register like "audio morons" ;-)

Regards.

Ant.
01-17-2005 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 518
Reply to: 517
More speakers attitude...

 Antonio J. wrote:
I have listened to some expensive speakers from B&W, Wilson Audio, Dynaudio, and also owned the SF Amati, you know already. Musically these ones were more musically interesting to me than any of the others, but still weren't something that completely satisfied me.

I do not think that they were more “musically interesting”. They were more “audio interesting” and it was it.  Dynaudio for instance (any model) is an exceptional example how horrible high-end speaker could be and what is ironic that the more expensive Dynaudios are the more ridiculously disgusting they perform.  Perhaps the larger Wilson might be a limited exception but they for thier price-tag have many “issues”.


 Antonio J. wrote:
So what musical benefits could I expect from a back loaded horn speaker using a Lowther, Fostex or AER driver? I ask about back loaded horns because they could fit my room, no front loaded horn would fit it, nor any planar speaker.

The drivers you mention are just fine midrange drivers and they must not be used for upper bass of upper mid rage. As far as “back loaded horns” – this is all utopia and celebration of wishful thinking and practically with those so-called full range drivers.  A “dipolness” can perform more or less acceptable at upper frequencies but as soon as load a room with any signs of lower frequencies then any dipole implementations begin to sound ridiculous.  All those semi-scientific evidence and proclamations of the dipole-enthusiasts about the benefit of dipole room loading are juts unnecessary intellectualism of people with brain instead of ears. I would not mention that “back loaded horns” has huge amount of other problem that no one who trued to built the “back loaded horns” was able to overcome. All those back loaded speakers sound as they should – the “helped” sound resembling the sound coming through body of a mammal.

Rgs,
The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-17-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 519
Reply to: 518
So no musical benefits?

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Well, this is a very interesting matter. It looks like after all we cannot speak about how reproduced music should sound without going back into the "audiophile jargon". I suppose it's a so personal matter that it cannot be explained, and also depends very much on how every one of us listens to the music, what we expect from music and what moves us in any music. I suppose I'll end up listening to my iPod and old Grundig radio more and more.

Regards,

Ant
01-17-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
MusicLover
Tulsa, OK, United States
Posts 18
Joined on 01-07-2005

Post #: 7
Post ID: 520
Reply to: 510
Re: Speakers: a hi-fi disaster.
Absolutely right! All ready made speakers sound bad, unless by sheer luck you get one that matches your surroundings.
THat's why I listen to my home made ones, or my late 1970's klipschorns (which are not perfect but great, nevertheless).
ML
01-17-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Brian Clark
Ongar, UK
Posts 78
Joined on 10-02-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 521
Reply to: 520
Pandemonium
The thing to remember about commercial speakers is that they are designed to compete in the showrooms so must shout "Here I am! Listen to me!" above the tumult of the market place.

Brian.
01-17-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 522
Reply to: 519
About the feedback semantics.

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 Antonio J. wrote:
It looks like after all we cannot speak about how reproduced music should sound without going back into the "audiophile jargon".
Yes and no. There is nothing wrong about "audiophile jargon” and it must be used in context of most available speakers.

Antonio, you might realize eventually then when you come across to an acoustic system that sound really worthy then none of  "audiophile jargon” might be applicable to it. I mean the better playback performs the less semantic could be associated with the playback. (Now you understand how well were the speakers that got the "raving reviews".) I constantly finding new solutions with my  own acoustic system and keep expose them to some selected people. Interestingly: the better (from my perspective) my playback sounds  (sometimes!) the less feedback I am able to get from those people. Sometimes I have to pull the worlds out of thier mouth…

Furthermore, when I hear a really serious installations then it is a huge educational experience and I feel hardily any semantic that I wiling to express. I think this is very universal tendency…

Yes, I might write a long essay about practically any available speaker that I heard.

Rgs,
Romy the Cat

PS: Actually, there is one “if” in all of this: the very serious playback might generate a very serious semantics but it semantics of very different level. Most of the audio-doodlessts that I have met in audio are not capable to do it – they have no creatively, talent, artisticy or just plain.... brains. I know very- very few audio guys who can.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-18-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Max Shatsky
Posts 19
Joined on 01-03-2005

Post #: 10
Post ID: 523
Reply to: 522
Re: About the feedback semantics.
I think the "audiophile jargon" is mostly used to describe the SOUND related
PROBLEMS. I can't recall any audiophile term to describe musical characters
besides a "musical sound".

I've only heard three home-made set-ups where all SOUND related terms become
almost (almost, since there were still some sound imperfections) irrelevant and
in order to talk about the musical qualities of such set-ups there was a need for
a 'higher order language'. Unfortunately I feel myself ignorant in this subject.
I still can't get that 1$ brochure by Lehnitsky on sound evaluation Smile


Romy, I don't agree:

>>> the very serious playback might generate a very serious semantics <<<


I don't think that a playback is able to 'generate' any semantics. It is we who
associate our musical semantics with a playback. I think it will be more
beneficial music-wise if we set on semantics apriori, i.e. before we approach a particular
playback.

Max.
01-18-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 524
Reply to: 523
Talking about the Audio Esperanto…

Max,

if you do admit an existence of “higher order language” then why you disagree that “a serious playback might generate a “very serious semantics”? An exposure to a “very serious playback” is an experience and we human tend to react to own sparks of experiences. Also why do you feel that when I said a “serious semantics” I necessary meant what commonly understood as a “better audio jargon”?

You see, there is a connection between a “seriousness of playback” and the seriousness of Music presented within a given playback. When I was talking about a listener’s exposure to a “serious Playback” I implied a certain stress (by a content) of the person’s sensations. This stress within any creative individual arouses the person’s associative viewing and abstract thinking. A “very serious semantics” quite likely be an outcome of those events (in fact it happen always but not all people are accustomed to listen and to “milk” themselves). With audio those stressful events even more “strange” because those events reproduced artificially and by all means by very untypical, semi-barbarian methods…

Rgs,
Romy the Cat

PS: BTW, the Lehnitsky’s brochure on sound evaluation is not bad first step. Lehnitsky with all his limitations of being a “narcissistic and paranoid radical conformist” presented in his little book a quite fruitful strategic direction. The important thing while reading his book is do not take it all literally (practically his “stricturism”) and do not buy into his revolutionary “aparatchik” attitude. However, the book pitches a few good concepts of audio evaluations. BTW, I absolutely disagree with the book and with some Lehnitsky’s articles that try to build a “new vocabulary” for sound evaluations – this was completely foolish intention. If you give to a “dead person” a collection of the words that Maria Tsvetaeva or Robert Frost used then the person still will end up with a “dead semantics”…


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-18-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 525
Reply to: 524
I understand
I agree that when you find trully "musical" gear, then it's harder to explain why it is, and topical "sound descriptions" become not useful to describe their performance. That's what I feel about the Bidat or the EAR phono preamp. But, in spite of that, there are ways to describe to the interested and aware people how they sound, and why they are more satisfying than other pieces of gear. The risk is that not aware people may misunderstand those descriptions. I suppose that describing how should sound a domestic system is more or less like explaining why you like better a Beethoven's symphony conducted by HvK, or Furtwangler and pretending to explain how the symphony should have been conducted.

To me it would be interesting to get a picture of what makes the sound of a loudspeaker musically interesting, and perhaps it's a naive question, but it's possible that I've never had the chance in my life to have listened to any. Here we don't have really serious home music aficionados, but a bunch of audiophile wannabees, and a few dealers that are as knowledgeable about music as a beetle. My own system is one of the least hifish sounding that I know of in my city so go figure. I suppose I'll know when I have the chance to listen to any, but that seems to me as hard as winning lotery.

Rgs

Ant
01-19-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Max Shatsky
Posts 19
Joined on 01-03-2005

Post #: 13
Post ID: 526
Reply to: 524
Re: Talking about the Audio Esperanto…

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Romy,

I was picky about the word "generate", since it means that a playback creates
some sort of semantics. I would say that a "serious playback" may open new
possibilities for a listener to use a higher order semantics, but those
semantics are "generated" within us not by a playback. Also, I meant that it is
better to think about a higher order semantics even before we recognize that
the new possibilities are available.  For example, how people interpret the
meaning of "dynamics"? Probably most audiophiles understand the dynamics within
the context of their set-up capabilities or somewhere close to what available
on the market (quite natural isn't it?). Let's say a new born audiophile comes
for a first time to a local Hi-Fi shop. A dealer WILL DEFINE for him what is
the dynamics. Actually it even will not use the word 'dynamics' (it bears too
much obscure meanings) but will use some more primitive expressions like "bass"
and so on. However, if that listener have defined for himself what is the
"dynamics" before entering a Hi-Fi shop, then probably he will not accept the
semantics GENERATED by a modern hi-fi equipment and a dealer.


Also, what interests me is if it is possible to separate the semantics of a
playback equipment from semantics of the pure musical experience.  I mean, can
we appreciate-evaluate-experience a pure musical event without a context of
electronic equipment. I personally hope that it is possible not to be dependent
on that annoying electronics, but going back to the above primitive example
with the dynamics I experience that equipment abilities to express the dynamics
DO influence my sense of dynamics in a musical performance. With time I feel
less such kind of influences, but I'm afraid I'll not get rid of them
completely.

Max.

01-19-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
guy sergeant
United Kingdom
Posts 258
Joined on 08-03-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 527
Reply to: 526
Re: the sound of real life
For a relatively small outlay I can go and listen to some chamber music, a jazz band, a choir or, for a little more, an orchestra. The quality of 'realness' I hear is consistent regardless of how good the performers are and how great the merit of the material they are performing is. It is this quality of realness which, to me, can be thrilling (when I like the music, sometimes when I don't) and it is this which I am trying to recreate at home. Regardless of whichever systems or components any of us have chosen, it is certain that these systems cannot recreate this purity of sound. It will always be an approximation.

There is a danger, when talking in elaborate language about audio equipment, that the sound quality of the software, a component or a system might be perceived as being somehow beyond or better than that of 'real' sound. Certainly many dealers and reviewers make their living selling this perception.

But do we actually need a special language to describe sound? After all, do we need a special language to describe colour? My young son can tell the difference between 'real' sound and 'reproduced' sound. He does not need work his way through multiple levels of 'music/hi-fi appreciation' to 'get' that difference.
It does seem to me that this issue is perhaps being over intellectualised. It is not dissimilar to the way certain religions work, where there are guru's who are apparently closer to the truth, and acolytes who can't or don't understand the faith quite as much and therefore look up to the more knowledgeable for guidance. I'm not sure it's healthy.

I enjoy reading criticism of musical performances, and appraisal of pieces of music but when reading about equipment I also want to be entertained as well as informed. If a reviewer has a writing style that is amusing and has perhaps an original viewpoint then isn't that enough? I'd want to listen to any item I was interested in at first hand anyway. Just as I'd want to test drive a new car.

I have arrived at a set of criterion which suit my taste. I would not expect these to suit everyone, just as I would not expect the car I chose to suit everyone. I wouldn't suggest for a moment that they were absolute. They simply work for me.

regards,

Guy
01-19-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Max Shatsky
Posts 19
Joined on 01-03-2005

Post #: 15
Post ID: 528
Reply to: 527
Re: the sound of real life

Guy,

Then why do we use language to communicate?

I think, in order to go deeper to appreciate any cultural context a systematic approach will help. Development of a proper language is just a good starting point, though the goal is not the language itself.

Max.

01-19-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
guy sergeant
United Kingdom
Posts 258
Joined on 08-03-2004

Post #: 16
Post ID: 529
Reply to: 528
Re: language
I agree. Objective evaluation of equipment does require a systematic approach. However it should be possible to keep the methodology and language used to describe these phenomena relatively simple.
If we are to encourage others to share our interest and passion for music and reproduced sound it needs to be described in a more accessible way. This does not necessarily mean 'dumbing down' the subject.
It seems to me that some of the evaluation methods described on this site are unnecessarily convoluted, almost in a (vain) attempt to justify some of the more extreme equipment choices that various users have made.

However proud anyone is of their precious playback system, however correct they say it is; it still isn't going to sound as lifelike as my local choir, symphony orchestra or the little girl next door having her piano lesson. I don't feel the need to eulogise these sounds. They just 'are'. You, doubtless, are familiar with your own equivalents.

Having an elaborate, carefully evolved method for evaluating equipment doesn't, in my view, give anyone the right to make broad, sweeping criticisms of particular manufacturer's tastes, products or the customers that choose to use their products. Well, maybe it does, but those opinions will have no more validity than any others (except perhaps within the narrow context of the particular criteria used.)

Also, somewhere in the thread above, it was suggested that the experience of 'more serious playback' was linked directly to 'more serious music' suggesting that the experience of realness increased with complexity. I don't share this view. Yes, more serious music may engage your senses more but I don't believe the sound itself becomes more real. Similarly, smoking pot when listening to music can also make the experience more intense, but not more real.

Again I get the impression that attempting to link 'serious music' as a pre-requisite to 'serious playback' is over intellectualising matters. It almost suggests that someone who listens only to solo singers or simple music gets less 'realness' from the experience. The equipment, of course, doesn't know what kind of noise it is being asked to reproduce.

Guy
01-19-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 17
Post ID: 530
Reply to: 527
Different things
 guy sergeant wrote:
.....
There is a danger, when talking in elaborate language about audio equipment, that the sound quality of the software, a component or a system might be perceived as being somehow beyond or better than that of 'real' sound. Certainly many dealers and reviewers make their living selling this perception.

But do we actually need a special language to describe sound? After all, do we need a special language to describe colour? My young son can tell the difference between 'real' sound and 'reproduced' sound. He does not need work his way through multiple levels of 'music/hi-fi appreciation' to 'get' that difference.
It does seem to me that this issue is perhaps being over intellectualised. It is not dissimilar to the way certain religions work, where there are guru's who are apparently closer to the truth, and acolytes who can't or don't understand the faith quite as much and therefore look up to the more knowledgeable for guidance. I'm not sure it's healthy.

.....
regards,

Guy


Hi Guy,

I think we talk about different things. One is trying to speak about "sounds" which already has a quite well described and proficiently developed language, which is used by reviewers and ourselves while talking of "audio gear" in a more or less sterile way. Another one is talking about music and the "real sound" which makes all the aforementioned language useless. And finally there's the concept of "reproduced music", which Romy explains on his "Audio for dummies" articles, that never should be trying to meet the "real sound" of live music, but it has its own goals although quite hidden for people without exposure to "music-proficient" systems. I agree with Romy's insight. The more a system tries to re-create the sound of real music, the worse it sounds from a strictly musically interesting point of view. To explain this "seriously reproduced musical sound" is for what perhaps a different language would be required.

Rgs,

Ant.
01-19-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 18
Post ID: 531
Reply to: 529
Content loaded audio...

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 guy sergeant wrote:
Again I get the impression that attempting to link 'serious music' as a pre-requisite to 'serious playback' is over intellectualising matters. … The equipment, of course, doesn't know what kind of noise it is being asked to reproduce.
I very much insist on the fact that I do not retrieve my position on this mater. The relationship between a ‘content loaded music’ and capacity of a 'serious playback' is the only mater that counts and this is the threshold where ‘real audio’ become.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-19-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 19
Post ID: 532
Reply to: 531
Meaningful music?

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 Romy the Cat wrote:


I very much insist on the fact that I do not retrieve my position on this mater. The relationship between a ‘content loaded music’ and capacity of a 'serious playback' is the only mater that counts and this is the threshold where ‘real audio’ become.

The Cat


I have been thinking carefully about this thought of yours, Romy, since the first time I read it from you, quite a bit ago, and I understand that what you call "serious playback" is related to the ability of the system to display the "content" of the recorded music you feed it with. But this is a very personal and insightful matter, since music may have many readings, not all music has any porpose or meaning or intention, and perhaps the goal of some music is just the way it sounds (like some avantgarde jazz). Can, in your opinion, really a system show all these different contents of the music to anyone listening to it, or just to its builder? Is there any way to connect the "sounds" a system can reproduce with its ability to uncover the contents of the music it plays? Is there any way to know, into a recording one is listening to for the first or second time, if the system is unfolding all the meanings inside?
I know, this is also a very intellectual and selfawareness related matter, the same way you can understand certain books at the first, the second or third reading, or you may not understand them ever, and another reader can get all the purposes the writer had, and some others will never do. This leads me to another question, how can one know that he's diving into the content of some music thanks to the system's performance, and it's not an effect of the own wish to understand something, which perhaps was nobody's intention?

I'd better stop here, this is enough for now. I hope to read more opinions about this.

Rgrds,

Ant
01-20-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 20
Post ID: 538
Reply to: 532
Astronomy and Audio…

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Anthony, without making it too wordy (no strength to write for a long now):

 there are some natural rules of sound creation, sound distribution, sound propagation, sound consumption and so on. They are not my of anybody’s else rules but the rules “as is”? The sound reproducing machines might imitate, mimic or at least comply with those rules. If they do not do then we the listeners activate our driftnet interpreters to associate the heard. Yes, out brain is not Win95 and it can run multitasking but the process of FORCED association has a lot of negative effects to our perception and blocks some important things.

The “content loaded music”, and this it very ironic, employs the similar natural rules (the rules that deeply entrenched into cultural humane background and vise-versa). Believe you or not but by manipulation and turning (if a person know how) some aspects of “audio exchange” (the exchange - is the intricate mechanisms of conversion of Performing Reality into electromechanical algorithms and then back to Sound) a person can moderate the level compliance of the playback system with the seriousness of played material. If you do into farther research on the subject then you might discover that more, content-wise, complicated music require more aggressive level of playback compliance with “a language of the original process” (something that I call the “Beach Effect”).

 One more aspects: unfortunately, most of people in audio do not make audio server the original process but rather make audio to server the interest of the “exchange mechanism”. Sort of a possess for the sake of a process… In this case the process itself become self-serving concept and as a cooling star begin to fill out the entire operational space. The Content Serious Music, in that astronomic example acts as a super condensed material with own comparable gravitation force that prevents the “Cooling Audio” to expand unpunishably…

Rgs,
The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-20-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 21
Post ID: 539
Reply to: 538
Had to read it twice
but I get the point. The remaining question is then, how can one tweak, modulate, control, or shape the response of the system or the speakers to really become more accurate to the original "meaningful music"? For my own experience I know what you said, the more the brain has to "convert" wrong data into meaningful data, the worse is the experience. Listening fatigue and lack of involvement with the music easily appear.
I suppose you must accomplish the physical rules of acoustics and sound, but for sure there must be features more important than others. I mean that probably "fighting" to get a completly flat-full-range frequency response in our room is less useful than getting a less distorted sound, but which are in your opinion other important features? Phase distortion control? Time alignment? ????

Rgrds,

Ant
01-24-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Thorsten


United Kingdom
Posts 65
Joined on 12-06-2004

Post #: 22
Post ID: 578
Reply to: 510
Re: Speakers: a hi-fi disaster.
Hi,

 Romy the Cat wrote:
People frequently ask me what would be a good speaker to buy for $5.000, for $10.000 for $20.000 for $50.000 and so on. The more I think about it looking at the park of available loudspeakers the more I come to the observation that there are no good speakers our there, for any amount money.


I wrote something similar recently, where I was writing the leader for some product info.... Here my take:

"In high-end audio many speakers are manufactured and marketed commanding serious amounts of money to purchase. Yet they are, in their fundamental design, entirely conventional and follow the same principles as a £150 pair of speakers with the addition of a £150 subwoofer. It stands to question the wisdom of simply refining designs full of compromises and problems that drastically prejudice the possible outcome. Many such speakers suffer from the same audible problems as their cheaper counterparts, despite commanding often 100 times as much money. Few high-end speakers, admittedly, succeed in working around the various issues and reducing them to near inaudible (or at least inoffensive) levels. They do so however at huge material and engineering cost which of course translates to exorbitant High Street prices."

I have also posted some fairly detailed thoughts on the actual technical issues. These are fairly controversial, for one I suspect Romy would largely take exceptions, but I have written them anyway. You can find them here:

www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=48247

Ciao T


"It is to Madame Justice that I dedicate this concerto, in view of the holiday she seems to have taken from these parts." V
01-24-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 23
Post ID: 579
Reply to: 578
Good writing, T...
..., thanks for the link. Although I do not agree with few of your conclusions (surprise?) but the core of the problem caught quite illustratively. A few days ago a local guy called me and complained that his $22.000 2-channel loudspeakers use a cheap (I have to add improperly designed and sounding) woofers with retail price around $200 per driver and he was also very “fascinated” with the fact that his 9.000 subwoofer uses an amplifier that is available as an over-counter kit for $150. I am not stressing that the price differents is too ridicules but I would love to pressure that fact that the same $300-retail (~100 wholesale) worth loudspeaker could be perfectly packed into $500 product and it will be performing absolutely identical to the $22.000 hi-end gismo. In fact most of the cheap $500 speakers do overperform thier blown-off hi-fi competitors.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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