MUSIC IS FUNDAMENTAL TO ALMOST EVERYONE

andromedaaudio

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From a nice WSJ editorial this morning....

How to become a calmer person? Cut down on your consumption of anger-producing material. Don’t search for outrageous comments by extremists on the right or left. And avoid political discussions if they are likely to become heated. Finally, spend less time reading about politics or watching political talk shows. Spend more time on calming activities. Play a sport, learn a new language and listen to music!!

Got that right!
Marty that would exclude reading audiophile review associated material as well as in the ability not to disturb the calm /peace
We all know about the recent CH story lol .
For listening to music luckily one only needs 2 speakers an amp and a source , magazines / reviews are not essential


Ps Extremism read (horn fundamentalism) is allowed on audio forums
 
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tima

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The point is not about criticizing others. It is about the fact that irrespective of who does it, it should convey what the component is doing.

You like speaking for other people.

Why I bother explaining this to you is beyond me. I am responding to a two-fold criticism by Ron Resnick and asked him for information. If he leveled insubstantial criticism for what you do in your finance job, you'd probably defend yourself too.

Forum member gshelley asked: "what is tonal density?" We were discussing descriptions of tonality, not components. I said I used the term "tonal depth".

In response, Ron Resnick cited a sentence fragment that I mentioned as an example in conjunction with the discussion of tonal words. That fragment came at the very end of a review paragraph describing (part of) what I heard from a component under review. I gave a Web reference for the review. I mentioned I used the phrase "tonal depth" rather than tonal density.

I do not understand why Ron Resnick decided to turn the discussion away from talking about gshelley's question and criticize me for a review I wrote 17 years ago -- not mind you for what the review actually said or for its relevance to describing tonality -- but 1) in relation to something he believes I said about someone else's writing and 2) for a sentence fragment failing to describe "what the electronics in that component are doing".

But whether about someone else's writing or about the component, neither of you bother to consider the context from which the sentence fragment was lifted. Taking something out of its intended context and using that for some other purpose is never a wise tactic for criticism. Here's the paragraph from that review:

"In quiet passages, drummers often mark a beat by laying a drumstick across a snare with the stick’s head resting on the skin and the other end on the snare’s rim while striking this drumstick with the other -- wood on wood with empathetic vibrations into the drum head. To give an example, I’ll choose an album you may know. Consider the title track from Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms [Warner Brothers 1-25264]. The ATS-90s present each stroke precisely. You hear the initial snick as one stick bites into the other, then the resulting resonance through the stick into the drumhead and the air within, and then it fades away. It happens very fast. I sensed this tonal depth on hearing the sonic variation between one drumstick striking the other slightly closer to the rim versus closer to the drumhead. These are fine-spun differences, yet the ATS-90s pull them from the groove to give an incredibly realistic picture of a musician at his instrument. And the Nightingale amps let us hear how the drummer’s beat takes on a different overtone when one stroke is harder than another. The faintest of high-hat touches have a crisp initial strike as wood meets brass, then a satisfying resultant tizz and decay. You can hear the decay from the Hammond Leslie horns rotating in their cabinets for what seems like forever after a finger is lifted from keyboard. Amid everything else going on in the tune, wherever your ear is drawn, the Nightingale amps let you hear deeply into tonal structures that ultimately breathe life and immediacy into the music."

The bolded words above are the fragment Ron Resnick took as his focus and labeled a "flowery feel good metaphor" and as failing to describe what the electronics of the component are doing. (Regardless of whether reader Resnick thought them "flowery", the emphasized words are not a metaphor - he should know better.) The reader can judge for himself if what I wrote is a description of a specific component's sound. I'm confident it is.

I don't care if he likes my writing but when Ron Resnick charges that it is similar to what I criticized someone else for writing (flowery metaphors), then first, that seems a very strained attack and he needs to show me where he believes that occurred. Otherwise it is BS. I label his an attack because his remarks had nothing to do with the current discussion, came out of nowhere, and were entirely gratuitous.

The above quoted paragraph and the rest of the sound portion of the review does not convey what "the electronics in a component are doing" as Ron Resnick cited me for failing to do. I"m not an EE and don't describe what electronics do to cause the sound they have -- such would be boring to many and not suited for the sound portion of a review. Rather, what I do is to describe what I hear and occasionally my reaction to that.

As I've said, these type of threads are not really your style. Be cheeky elsewhere.

Excuse the further interruption.
 
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bonzo75

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Ok sorry, I missed the context and that this was 17 years ago. I was just reacting to the statement that it should be about a component
 

kinch

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You're right. Reproducing music at home to a believable level is about a lot more than the frequency ranges of various instruments. That's just the starting point, and I've spent a long time on that subject before moving on because it is the essential quality upon which all other musical qualities should be built. Without appropriate tonal density, the rest doesn't matter, and it is the quality that needs the most attention with many of the hi fi systems I have heard around the world, in customers' homes, at dealer showrooms, and at audio shows. An emotional connection to the music eludes me if a system does not have believable instrumental tonal balance and density. That's why I have said in the past that I think that listening to a good table radio with good tonal balance is more musically satisfying than listening to a hifi that has been set up by someone who is allergic to midrange.

For a hi fi to reach you at the core, however, it must also have dynamics and attack, reveal a believable balance of fundamentals to harmonics (which is indicated on the chart by shading), and provide the sense of the performance space and the instruments in that space. I hope to be able to delve into these qualities a bit more in the future — time and interest permitting.

As far as scratching the itch is concerned, you know when you've hit the spot! I just think "the spot" should be a little easier to find than it is given the current state of the hobby. We need to define the "spot" better than we have done in the past to make our hobby more accessible and more enjoyable to more people.
Another issue surrounding tonal density and the relation of fundamental to harmonics in stringed instruments is: the overtones created by: a) the body of the instrument; and b) the other strings. When a strings teacher tells you to "make it ring" they are referring to the sweet spot near the bridge wherein the note played maximally resonates with the sympathetic overtones of the other strings. This is different from the overtone signature of the body, which depends on wood type, layers of lacquer, luthier, etc . This adds a layer of complexity and nuance to hifi. The tonal signature of a fundamental to its harmonics could be relatively easy for hifi to model. Even a particular instrument can likely be modeled given a demo on a Guaneri, or a well recorded template of one. But the overtones inherent to the strings themselves, which imparts the holy grail of "make it ring", needs to be correctly captured by hifi to suspend disbelief.
 

tima

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But the overtones inherent to the strings themselves, which imparts the holy grail of "make it ring", needs to be correctly captured by hifi to suspend disbelief.

Nice post about violin harmonics.

Wrt the sentence I quoted, would you say that one actually needs to hear a violin playing to hear those overtones and thus know what may or may not be reproduced by a stereo?
 

kinch

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Nice post about violin harmonics.

Wrt the sentence I quoted, would you say that one actually needs to hear a violin playing to hear those overtones and thus know what may or may not be reproduced by a stereo?
Exactly. More than that: one needs to hear a violin playing often, on their own shoulder or in a small space, to know the "make it ring" objective in reproduction. Most importantly, hifi needs to know the goal intimately, and - to know when to expect it -, in order to correctly reproduce it.
 
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tima

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Exactly. More than that: one needs to hear a violin playing often, on their own shoulder or in a small space, to know the "make it ring" objective in reproduction. Most importantly, hifi needs to know the goal intimately, and - to know when to expect it -, in order to correctly reproduce it.

Indeed.
Live acoustic music - the prerequisite to gauging reproduction.
 
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kinch

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Indeed.
Live acoustic music - the prerequisite to gauging reproduction.
Or: "only a musician can guage reproduction"
....discuss civilly my friends ; )
 
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tima

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Or: "only a musician can guage reproduction"
....discuss civilly my friends ; )

I gather you play strings and I appreciate your point. As a former musician I would not go quite that far...

... how 'bout this: The more time you spend around musicians playing their instruments the better you will know if your stereo sounds like those instruments sound.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Exactly. More than that: one needs to hear a violin playing often, on their own shoulder or in a small space, to know the "make it ring" objective in reproduction. Most importantly, hifi needs to know the goal intimately, and - to know when to expect it -, in order to correctly reproduce it.
not really. we can choose many things to guage music reproduction realism. one of them is live music. but it's easy to hear.

if i hear 20 different violin recordings it's not hard to select the most real one or 'one's'. but maybe if we hear 20 different violins recorded in the same session then the trained ear could discern between them. and the trained ear could describe what is different both in the 20 recordings and the 20 different violins in the one recording. help us to understand what is different......but we can tell they are different. but the hearing is not that hard. it jumps out......or can jump out.

but maybe it depends on the system playback reference.

not saying that getting into the weeds about 'make it ring' does not have value.....but it's not essential for making system building or media buying decisions. or enjoyment. i'd like to know more about the details, but for me i just want to be sucked more into the enjoyment. thinking too much is a distraction. i don't need it. it can get in the way. maybe a trained musician is stuck dealing with things that other's can be free from? a good or bad thing? or just a thing?

i suppose i'm happy supporting musicians. i've done plenty of that. and over the years i have learned the more i explore aspects of classical music.

understand that i listen to music many hours a week and mostly classical. i respect the process for making it. but not knowing much about it does not hold me back from it.
 
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cmarin

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…but for me i just want to be sucked more into the enjoyment. thinking too much is a distraction. i don't need it. it can get in the way.
Exactly! Well said.

Thinking too much in the sense of a left brain emphasis on the details of the reproduction, like hearing artifacts/noise in a system, distracts from the very different pure left brain emotional (rather than analytical) enjoyment of (being sucked into) the music.

And the recent technological developments in removing artifacts/noise from digital sources (servers and DACs) is in large measure what has produced the “non-diminish returns” improvements in the pure enjoyment of reproduced music we’ve seen evidenced in the latest postings in the Wadax and Taiko Extreme threads on WBF; precisely becasue the reduced levels of artifacts/noise no longer distract us into focusing on “analytical details” and makes it easier to melt into music.
 

cmarin

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CONCLUSIONS

If the system doesn’t play music on a convincing level, then is it any wonder that some people have a hard time seeing the point to high-end audio? I believe that this is about a lot more than the notion that spouses don’t want to look at an ugly assortment of hi fi gear in living spaces. The larger reason they often send their hi-fi-loving partners packing to the basement with all their gear has more to do with the fact that they don’t really like the way the systems sound.

If hunkering in a basement cave fiddling with equipment is what it’s all about for you, carry on and enjoy. If you would like your hobby to become more inclusive, then I think the best option is to find a knowledgeable specialty audio dealer who has years of experience putting together good sounding and good looking hi fi systems in real-life listening environments. A good specialty retailer will work with you and your significant other to make a plan that takes into account musical interests, budget, and the physical realities of the listening space. Even if overnight you can’t afford the time and money to transform your current system into a dream system that the whole family will enjoy, you can eventually get there with a good plan.

I want to know more about the progress we have made or not made to make hi fi a more inclusive hobby with the important people in our lives. Tell us about your experiences, please.
Karen,

Thank you for this wonderful “emperor has no clothes” perspective.

So many wonderfully insightful points that resonate now so much for me. The CONCLUSION section should be mandatory reading for every audiophile. ;)

Wish I had found it earlier.

Thank you again.
 

tima

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tima

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Exactly! Well said.

Thinking too much in the sense of a left brain emphasis on the details of the reproduction, like hearing artifacts/noise in a system, distracts from the very different pure left brain emotional (rather than analytical) enjoyment of (being sucked into) the music.

And the recent technological developments in removing artifacts/noise from digital sources (servers and DACs) is in large measure what has produced the “non-diminish returns” improvements in the pure enjoyment of reproduced music we’ve seen evidenced in the latest postings in the Wadax and Taiko Extreme threads on WBF; precisely becasue the reduced levels of artifacts/noise no longer distract us into focusing on “analytical details” and makes it easier to melt into music.

Do you consider the overtones created by a violin's strings and body heard when playing or hearing the instrument played - as described by Kinch - as details similar to hearing the artifacts and noise created by digital reproduction technologies that distract you?

For me, hearing those same aspects of string music in a reproduction that I hear live enhances my enjoyment. Mike parcels them out as details unessential to enjoyment - getting into the weeds - and no doubt for some they are details. I find hearing them lends believability.
 

Mike Lavigne

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You say the 'gold reference' for music reproduction is mostly what the mastering engineer is hearing.

Since you do not have access to that particular reproduction, what else do you choose to "guage music reproduction realism" aside from live music?
all my listening. music and non music. format comparing over 30 years. live music listening. gear comparing. lots of focused listening in a mature music reproduction system. i have recordings where i have what i view as the source work parts. i try to get native versions of recordings when possible. it's helpful to do that and fits into an overall viewpoint of what is going on.

where is the line where your reference is legit? and it's not legit? that line does not exist in my viewpoint. there are simply degrees of your experiences. all of them.

how others view your path is another matter. do you care about that?

if i was an intense professional musician, or concert goer with lots of experience, i might have a different reference, but my choices for system building would be no more or less legit. i guess we listen to the various systems and try to connect the dots where we find our own truth.
 
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Elliot G.

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CONCLUSIONS

If the system doesn’t play music on a convincing level, then is it any wonder that some people have a hard time seeing the point to high-end audio? I believe that this is about a lot more than the notion that spouses don’t want to look at an ugly assortment of hi fi gear in living spaces. The larger reason they often send their hi-fi-loving partners packing to the basement with all their gear has more to do with the fact that they don’t really like the way the systems sound.

If hunkering in a basement cave fiddling with equipment is what it’s all about for you, carry on and enjoy. If you would like your hobby to become more inclusive, then I think the best option is to find a knowledgeable specialty audio dealer who has years of experience putting together good sounding and good looking hi fi systems in real-life listening environments. A good specialty retailer will work with you and your significant other to make a plan that takes into account musical interests, budget, and the physical realities of the listening space. Even if overnight you can’t afford the time and money to transform your current system into a dream system that the whole family will enjoy, you can eventually get there with a good plan.

I want to know more about the progress we have made or not made to make hi fi a more inclusive hobby with the important people in our lives. Tell us about your experiences, please.
Perhaps I have always chosen the wrong partners since none of them had any interest in listening. That is not to say they did not like the system I had but rather they just didn't care to sit and listen. I found that more and more the women in my life cared more about the experience of going to the concert, what they were going to wear, what they were going to eat and what city and hotel were we staying in than the music itself. A few of them liked the club experience's of being able to sit at a table and drink while listening i.e. a Vegas showroom. I guess as I said that my relationship choices never gave a damn about sitting and listening to music without other stimuli. I never really had an issues with this since I am very happy sitting in my room alone and traveling the musical world solo.
For me I always tried to take a Mental (an audible) picture in all the concerts I attended. I have been to hundreds of all kinds from small intimate acoustic events to large amplified stadium mega shows. I always tried in the following days to see what I could and could not reproduce in my room at home. This was my path and probably still why I today I really love live recordings. I think Karen that you are a rare person as to why there isn't more inclusion of women I really don't have an answer since in my experience it wasn't about the sound of the systems ( maybe it could be) but they never sat and even tried to listen other than to make me feel good for 5 minutes.
 
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PeterA

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all my listening. music and non music. format comparing over 30 years. live music listening. gear comparing. lots of focused listening in a mature music reproduction system. i have recordings where i have what i view as the source work parts. i try to get native versions of recordings when possible. it's helpful to do that and fits into an overall viewpoint of what is going on.

where is the line where your reference is legit? and it's not legit? that line does not exist in my viewpoint. there are simply degrees of your experiences. all of them.

how others view your path is another matter. do you care about that?

if i was an intense professional musician, or concert goer with lots of experience, i might have a different reference, but my choices for system building would be no more or less legit. i guess we listen to the various systems and try to connect the dots where we find our own truth.

Mike, Music certainly seems fundamental to your enjoyment of life. I think we all try to assemble systems that we enjoy. Some of us have very few if any restrictions or constraints toward that pursuit. From what you are writing, I have the impression that your primary goal is enjoyment.

In the pursuit of that goal, how important to you is thinking that your system sounds like live unamplified music made in an actual space? Are there other considerations that are more important to you in terms of enjoyment? I guess another way to ask it is: is your enjoyment dependent upon how convincing the presentation is?

You seem to have access to, and the ability to buy, any audio gear or accessory that you want. When you are assessing differentDACs, footers or cables for instance, what criteria do you use to make your decisions?
 
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kinch

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Do you consider the overtones created by a violin's strings and body heard when playing or hearing the instrument played - as described by Kinch - as details similar to hearing the artifacts and noise created by digital reproduction technologies that distract you?

For me, hearing those same aspects of string music in a reproduction that I hear live enhances my enjoyment. Mike parcels them out as details unessential to enjoyment - getting into the weeds - and no doubt for some they are details. I find hearing them lends believability.
Agree! Didn't mean to get too contentious but I knew this would be a can o' worms... In the pursuit of artifact reduction an ee could be removing the essential overtones which are only recognized by a pro ear. A hifi enthusiast wouldn't necessarily pick it up or indeed could be conditioned into the ee modeled sound. In shaping a "house sound", hifi needs to acknowledge that correct overtones exist inherent to the instrument (and apart from the venue), and should seek to reproduce their correct spectral spray. Going to concerts or small chamber venues isn't enough for a dev to understand what an open A on a viola should sound like. For perfect pitchers thats a Platonic template and for everyone else, its an Aristotlean result of enough examples. Both avenues in hifi dev can lead to "musical truth". A self proclaimed "golden ear" in house, or brought in as consultant, isn't enough; I like to see a trained musician integral to hifi product dev.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Mike, Music certainly seems fundamental to your enjoyment of life. I think we all try to assemble systems that we enjoy. Some of us have very few if any restrictions or constraints toward that pursuit. From what you are writing, I have the impression that your primary goal is enjoyment.
i have plenty of constraints. what "apparent" assets people commit to hifi is a different thing than their balance sheet. i'm guessing i have far greater constraints than many here. but i am more committed....to finding a way. and my biggest asset, my room, is long ago bought and paid for. i get by with 10 year old speakers, 15 year old RTR decks, minimal modest cables, and cheap acoustic treatments.....and much sweat equity.

yes, i want to enjoy myself, but that comes from the feeling the music is real and i can lose myself into the experience. no different than many others. it's fair to say i don't over think whether performers are playing a certain way, and why the music sounds better. if i like it better, it's better. not because i understand how it was played or not.
In the pursuit of that goal, how important to you is thinking that your system sounds like live unamplified music made in an actual space?
read my Wadax performance description. my biggest take away is how much more real in real space the presentation is and that part is new for digital. recording dependent of course. the more natural the recording, the more we hear this.
Are there other considerations that are more important to you in terms of enjoyment? I guess another way to ask it is: is your enjoyment dependent upon how convincing the presentation is?
absolutely. i like music in any way i get it. but dedicated listening must be convincing or it's not worth the effort.
You seem to have access to, and the ability to buy, any audio gear or accessory that you want.
do you see any Zero, or K3, or M9? my guess is you could buy these if it was your choice. not me.

but getting top performance from relatively (to the tip top level) modestly priced pieces is how i must do it. a great room helps. i have splurged on the digital recently, although i got good value from my previous gear.
When you are assessing different DACs, footers or cables for instance, what criteria do you use to make your decisions?
less real, or more real. more a sense of reproduced, or less a sense of reproduced. better textures and timbre, with natural tonality. better flow? more involving? do my shoulders relax? more physical and organic?

right now i'm assessing doing more cable treatments; i've suspended my pre to amp interconnects and then used the Audioquest Fog Lifters under it and under my power cords. it definitely did increase the realism. but did it tilt the tonality? i did this on Sunday and by yesterday determined it was a 100% win. no downside. but i wanted to take my time about it.
 
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