Hey Gregm,I would add, where the dynamics captured in the recording are clearly rendered by the system.
Indeed! Based on my experience, the biggest giveaway that you are listening to recorded vs live music are the dynamics, as you say and very specifically transient response. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the initial part of most notes from most instruments has a strongly percussive element. This includes the initial ‘burst’ of air from a brass instrument, the hammer hitting the strings of a piano, the ‘pluck’ of a guitar, the ‘whack’ of a drum etc. Live music obviously creates these percussive elements perfectly, but in a lot of systems, the transient response or rise-time of the system is too slow to capture the ultra-fast 0-100% rise in amplitude and therefore the systems attenuates this portion of each note. This has some major effects on what we hear. Firstly, the character and impact of each note is curtailed. Secondly and more vital to good sonics, the initial percussive element comes directly from the instrument and is critical to the brain’s ability to track multiple instruments, especially when they are playing the same or similarly pitched notes. There’s nothing worse in music replay than the outputs from 2 or more instruments combining tonally without the possibility of differentiating the instruments spacially. Then its not ‘messy’, rather its just an undifferentiated hodgepodge.