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  »  New  What I am doing?..  What am I (Axel) doing?...  Playback Listening  Forum     15  67415  05-12-2009
02-16-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 6679
Reply to: 6679
Music in the Sound: a moving target
Nothng but bad electricity for quite a while now.  My system gets less use because of it, so when I do finally listen it takes longer for it to get going, and then there are more questions about set-up because sound is so variable.  Also, because the power remains less-than stellar, the system at its operational best is not going to deliver its Best in any case, either musically or in terms of sound.

Something I've noticed over the years, but more often since my system's Best is so much Better, is that if I use the music itself as the criterion for fine (record-to-record) adjustment of VTA, speaker positioning, etc., then the "best" music available may not coincide with the "best" sound I can get, where that is the criterion.  By this, I mean that lately , when power is not great, I am able to get the sound itself better if I am willing to forego musical content to do it.

I am reminded of the discussion about HDTT and some threads that talk about 2nd definitions; but somehow this case seems less obvious to me since the sound and the music seem to diverge pretty clearly before either is optimized.

What is funny here is that I just cannot abide "better sound" sans music, so I wind up opting for the musical value even as I realize it is not "the best" sound available at the time.

OTOH, when the electricity is primo (and all else is well, as well...) the Sound is the purest expression of the Music, so there is no sense of two disperate aspects to the Sound/Music, and I can hit the Sweet Spot in one fell swoop.

I don't get it.

Best regards,
Paul S
02-17-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 6685
Reply to: 6679
Poisoning of consciousness or Where the love has gone?

Paul, this in a way reminds the everlasting question “Where love has gone”. You said very nice: “when the electricity is good the Sound is the purest expression of the Music”. Then, when  electricity turns bad what happens to Music? Well, nothing happen to music, the music is still there. What I think is affected is out perception of sound as our senses got saturated with processing and filtration of unnecessary, and in some case alien, for our cognitively data. It reminds me as when I was learning to receive higher-speed Mors Code the people who trained me stroboscoped lights in the room and injected in into room the beeps from multiple feeds at different frequency.

It you are interested on the subject how “information” might be contaminated masked out or even reverses value then you might read Claude Shannon’s Information theory. Very briefly and ugly superficial: the Information theory presumes that a message of information travels from sender to destination via a communication tunnel. In the communication tunnel the message got contaminated by particles of tunnel’s language. Some of the contamination partials are alien to message and they juts coexist and co-travel in the tunnel, some of the partials partially got mixed with the message, altering the message value.  If to continue develop the Shannon’s theory (it was what I did) applying it to a reproduction of the spiritual ingredient of sonic nuisances then it might be seen that killing of a musical core after external playback condition have changed is just a presents of addition information that should not be there. Do not forget that a corrupted sinusoid is not just because of some “abstract distortions” but just a presence of other micro-sinusoids with different amplitude and different wavelength…

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
02-17-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 6691
Reply to: 6685
AI; you know... for kids...

Basically, it's the [apparent] Clarity of the divergence itself that frustrates/facinates me.

If I were trying to talk myself down I would probably summon Gadamer rather than Shannon, albeit it does look like "Artificial Intelligence" is at or near the heart of our current [collective] breakdown (I/O, I/O, so off to work I go...).

Meanwhile, I feel like a junkie myself, itchy arms and runny nose, twiddling switches and expecting music.

Worse, I need GOOD music.

Maybe I'll rent a colorized "The Seventh Seal" instead, to cheer myself up,

set the controls to "Auto"...

Best regards,
Paul S

06-19-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 4
Post ID: 10841
Reply to: 6691
When Lifelike Sounds Way Wrong
fiogf49gjkf0d

Since I haven't complained about it for a couple of days, my company truck's CD player is so bad that it gets almost nothing right, ever.

Still, while subjecting myself to this singularly terrible sound, I began to notice that every so often some sound from the speakers would sound "real" enough to make me wake up and think that this sound was "real" and that it was coming from somewhere other than the terrible speakers.  Even after tracing the sounds to the speakers did not diminish the "real" quality of the sound.

At the same time, there was never any thought that any of these "real" sounds were the real sounds of the music I aimed to be listening to at the time.

As an example, there were some clicking sounds that I quickly narrowed down to the exact sound of a stick or sticks striking something.  But further listening revealed that these "real" sounds of thin sticks striking "something" were the incorrect renditions of drum sticks striking a metal rim, etc.

Broadening out this example to create some thin ice to stand on, it is clear that even while the best Musical reproduction can put "real" sounds to good service, totally "realistic" sound/sounds is/are no guarantee of Music, at all.

Paul S

06-19-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
gormee
Posts 9
Joined on 05-28-2009

Post #: 5
Post ID: 10842
Reply to: 10841
Emotion
fiogf49gjkf0d

I was in my car the other night and switched to a local calassical radio station and a piece was playing. I suddenly became emotionally involved with the music even though the car radio system could easily be described as crap. It was Dittersdorf Viola Concerto in F Major and I had never heard the piece before. I can't help thinking audiophile enthusiasts somewhere in their journey get so anal-retentive on the sound, and because of this, miss the event. I am not suggesting that this comment applies to you Paul, but it has certainly applied to me in my journey. Sometimes we  cannot see the forest for the trees.  Why can we listen to a piece of music in the morning and then at night and get a different emotional feeling from it. Is it really because of bad electricity or some other technical abberation or is it simply we are more tuned to an event. I have learned from this site that listening to music is an event, whether it is live or CD or Lp record. Consequently, listening to the same piece of music at different times on our system is a different event and therefore likely to evoke a different emotional rection.

I like looking at audio in this sense. It is a sort of acceptance. I am not always looking for a holy grail of sound but merely accepting the event and letting it give me what it will. Hopefully in the future this will let me discern more easily the difference in audio systems. Thanks to the philosophies on this site I am getting morte joy from my music listening and hopefully in the future I will not be regarded as an audio fool or moron(tongue in cheek). 

It would appear that you have managed to isolate an electrical problem but I would caution that most audiophiles are fooled when listening to music because they are not relaxing and listening to a wholistic event but are listening to the particular sounds which make up that event. Although these isolated sounds make up the music, listening only to the isoated sounds is foolish and results in moronic conclusions.

Gordon     




06-19-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 10850
Reply to: 10842
Good post, a few things to elaborate.
fiogf49gjkf0d

Gordon,

An interesting post. I would like to “correct” and to elaborate a few things – nothing that I have not written before but I like to advance this point.

There is no contradiction between positive experiences we have from listening in our cars, listening the cheap table radio at home or listening some audio mega-installations (probably with exception that most of audio mega-installations out there are worse than a table radio for $50 – this is not exaggeration).

The attentive or not perception of music does not vary depending of different audio system but vary from our internal tune from our current psychological, mental, emotional and intellectual state. I am sure it was many time when you attended a very good concert but something else blocked your communication with the performing event. Opposite is true as well – I am sure that there were many times what the vent was top notch but your listing consciousness was super-sharp and very fertile. So, in my view the key is an ability of us to moderate our own state of mind, formatting it in the most communicative and beneficial arrangement for the consumption of given artistic event. So, it is not better audio that makes better music reproductions but rather our own ability to understand and to control ourselves. So, how the “better audio” come to the picture?

This is tricky to explain. Let pretend that listening is eating and different audio is able to inflict different “poisoning” or different “stimulations” of listening perception.  It is like if you eat a very fat food then a hot a spicy marinade pickle would neutralize your discomfort from the fatness of you meal. So, different audio elements and audio solution do not change the way how reproduced music sound but rather change the way how the audio “poisonings” and audio “stimulations” applied to a listener and by doing this they predispose the listener for better psychological, mental, emotional and intellectual state.

When I make my playback to “sound better” than it does not produce better sounds but it shape my perception to recognize the sounds in a different, more thoughtful and more solicitous way. The audio people mostly do not understand it and they usually operate by surrogate comprehending – that is way I mostly discard their opinions and views. However, even deadliest among them do recognize sometimes (when they are not drunk or high) that “some playbacks” catalyze their listening attention. The exploration and management of the mechanism that are responsible for it is where I see my interest in audio.

From here is very obvious that audio is just a tool, a method but not the purpose. With certain training (how it happened with some musicians) or with certain naturally accruing state of random mind (as it happens with you in the car) it is perfectly possible that the simulative effect of better audio become absolutely not necessary. So, I do not see any conflict between good “car experiences” and pursue of happing via the high-end audio means.

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
06-20-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 7
Post ID: 10858
Reply to: 10842
Vector Control
fiogf49gjkf0d
Of course we have to fill in gaps and use our imaginations and aesthetics to listen to Music, whether playback or live.  And likewise, we should not get stuck listening to isolated sounds alone, at the risk of losing the Music.  But isn't this place about making hi-fi that makes the most of the Music?

Gordon, it was my intent in my initial post in this thread to describe how I identified the electricity as a vector/delta that can split/skew the optimal sound away from the music, as though they are separate "elements" in playback.

The post you just responded to identified a number of realistic sounds as being none-the-less unrelated to and irrelevant to Music, and I pressed from there to postulate that a system's ability to produce lifelike sounds is no guarantee that it can or will reproduce anything remotely resembling Music.

I have had plenty of great musical experiences via crappy playback; but the most and the best great "reproduced" musical experiences I have had - by far - have been via my own system at its best.  By this I mean that on most of the great occasions of "reproduced" Music, the Sound itself is also optimal; the vectors are missing or their effects are minimal.

I accept that Music is a state of mind.  But this does not mean, at all - that I repudiate hierarchical hi-fi.  I absolutely embrace the idea of hierarchical levels of playback as this relates to my own listening to Music. Some systems suck, no getting around it.  Some are pretty good pretty often.

The idea of Total Immersion in the Sound is probably another Ideal, (more's the pity...), especially with the hi-fi.

Best regards,
Paul S

06-20-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
gormee
Posts 9
Joined on 05-28-2009

Post #: 8
Post ID: 10863
Reply to: 10858
The Holy Grail
fiogf49gjkf0d

In reply Paul,

My original post specifically mentioned that my comments perhaps did not apply to you. I am well aware from reading many of your posts that you have reached a level of maturuty and experience to be able to identify nuances(vectors) in your reproduced event and have the knowledge to change a piece of equipment to suit. Unfortunately for many audio enthusiasts they do not have this ability. I was perhaps trying to make a point to the more general population of audio listeners. To use 
Romy's analogy on food, what if a plate of food was given to someone who had no language. No way to describe whether a taste was acidic or fatty or many of the other words used to describe the event. The taste of the food elicits an emotional response and the experience does not have to be put into words, it simply exists. Until that person can be educated how to change the taste of the food it would be foolish to try. This is what happens in the hifi industry. We have a whole bunch of self-appointed uneducated experts expounding and teaching their opinion on sounds.

It might be better to get in touch with the emotion of each particular event before trying to change that event to suit. This concept of filling in gaps is an interesting one. Why even bother trying to fill in the gaps or have an imagination as to how a piece of music is to sound. Why not simply listen to the event.  If music is a state of mind then your state of mind before listening is vitally important. For example, let us say you have an emotional reference to a piece of music and that every time you play this music you want  to re-enact this feeling. You play this music and it doesn't happen. Your next reaction is to spend countless hours and many thousands of dollars in pursuit of this feeling. Occasionally you get it right but more often than not it is just not there. So you finally identify the problem but cannot resolve it. Where to now? Does this mean you are now going to be less than satisfied every time you play a musical event because you cannot elicit this feeling you so long for. 

Total immersion in an event is not an ideal, it is only your opinion. You do not have to fill in gaps or use your imagination, you only have to accept the inevitable. If you have no expectation of how will feel about this event then your only choice is to experience it. 

I see the purpose of this site to firstly teach people about music. After that education we then can use audio equipment to build an enjoyable system. You do not need to know anything about music to get an emotional feeling from it. This is a crass and elitist attitude. If you want to build an audio systen you will need to know more about what goes into making that music. This is now where all the problems start. Every event is a different reference so what reference do we use. There is no point in using live events because a hifi system cannot copy this. Our only reference can be a present emotion we are feeling when listening and to try to identify what is causing this feeling. Is it the sound of the cello? Is it the way the instruments are communicating with each other? I love this in Mozart's music. How many times has an audiofool changed a piece of equipment to get better bass only to destroy the midrange which was perhaps the part of the music giving enjoyment. We must be very careful when changing that it is indeed for the better. Upgraditis I think is the word used. We listen to to sales hype and expert opinions and wonder why we waste money.    

A buddihst monk was teaching his student how to make chapatis. Every time he made a chapati he would look at it and say, "Perfect". The student asked, "Master, how come every chapati is perfect, this cannot be so". The Master answered, "Every moment is perfect if you accept it as such". Does your hierarchial levels of playback include the philosophy of acceptance. Another advantage of using this concept of acceptance is that I will warrant that the more a person gets in touch with their feelings of each event, the easier it will be be to discern what is causing that feeling. Whether it can be changed or not may not make a great deal of difference to our overall enjoyment.     

If this place is about making hi-fi that makes the most of the Music then it would be wise for anyone visiting to understand what is interpreted as music. Most people ending up here have pre-conceived ideas and without an open mind will find Romy's ideas difficult to understand. What is the point in changing hifi equipment without musical knowledge. My ultimate point if I have one is that I feel it is important for everyone to continually question their own convictions on the audio search for the holy grail. For me personally it is the acceptance of each event. No pre-conceived ideas on how the evnt should sound and watching carefully my emotions. 

regards,

Gordon

 

06-21-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 9
Post ID: 10865
Reply to: 10863
Like, Absolute Idealism and Stuff...
fiogf49gjkf0d
Gordon, I did not respond to you with the idea that you were specifically addressing me, but only out of an interest in what you are saying.  But now I wonder if I understand correctly that you think your emotions are ultimately the litmus for your hi-fi?

I also enjoy the per-event emotional kaleidoscope, but this has not been something I have been able to organize to put it to use to develop my hi-fi system.

Still, I think that one may develop some viable references over time, with respect to both Music and hi-fi, as well as ideas about how to get dynamic Music from hi-fi.  In this case, I still think that Background is of great practical importance, and I think that the Great Mystery of this Background is that it somehow both informs and largely comprises one's sense and aesthetics with respect to both Art and any vehicle thereof or thereto.

Of course we will see and hear no more than we are prepared to, regardless of any means we might choose or stumble upon, and this will condition in turn any event we might experience.

That today's Epiphany might be tomorrow's ho-hum is something that still puzzles me after more than 45 years messing around with this stuff, and it certainly keeps it interesting, at least.

None the less, as the years have piled up I find I have settled down considerably with respect to my approach to hi-fi, even as I seem to get more and more from Music.

In this way, the Music/hi-fi thing strikes me as a sort of Language, in which it is possible to grow, not merely by an acretion of facts or hardware (signs) but through the expansion of awareness via Art, through Dialog, with risk and loss ever part of the Process.

Not to start with the Hegel...

Best regards,
Paul S
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