New Music High End Innovation Show in Brussels, October 15 & 16, 2016

flyer

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Dec 16, 2012
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#61
Looking at the pictures of the Aries Cerat//Magico/Entreq/SMT system I can not avoid an hypothetical question concerning the darkest side of audio: how would this system sound without the Entreq's?
The Entreq units were both the Powerus and Cleanus upfront as I had no power conditioner in any way (not even a simple distribution block). As many other exhibitors bring their own hi-tech distribution blocks and/or conditioners, the question would need to be what the difference is between the Entreq solution and the others... difficult, actually impossible, to say as you will understand.
We didn't do the test (for the fun) with/without as it was not the purpose of the set-up. You may want to evaluate yourself in your system if your local distributor allows a home trial.

Furthermore, there was one silver minimus connected to the DAC via the unused RCA connector and finally one silver minimus was connected to the negative terminal of each speaker which almost always gives a very nice result.
I now have the Aries Cerat stack in my demo room at home without any Entreq and the sound is very nice and have no immediate urge to connect the Entreq although I know it will improve even further by putting them in.

Now, if you want a definite answer on the Aries Cerat electronics with or without the Entreq, you are more than welcome to come and listen at my room (but only from January on as I am without music from next week on).
 

853guy

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Aug 14, 2013
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#62
Great pleasure reading such an elaborate and enlightening description and this thread. I have often referred this subject - the dynamics of silence in recording playback - but your contribution eclipses my words. I have referred it mainly in chamber music - my usual example is Shostakovitch piano trios, pieces of great tension, that would sound boring in most systems, as the tension is created also by the musicians, as the timing and intensity of their joins must be perfect, you need to feel their complicity looks through the recording.

Particular equipment can contribute to this feeling in systems - IMHO the Forsell turntable does it excellently. The Metronomes's also helped a lot in this sense. But it is a collective effort - anything can spoil it!

Looking at the pictures of the Aries Cerat//Magico/Entreq/SMT system I can not avoid an hypothetical question concerning the darkest side of audio: how would this system sound without the Entreq's?

Thanks!
Hi Micro,

Thanks for your kind words!

I fully agree with you on how tension is maintained across and in between notes/phases/movements. I think that’s exactly what I was hearing, but again it was a new experience for me to hear it from digital. I wish I understood it better, but I like the way you call it complicity/intensity between the musicians. That’s been my experience in making music, but almost never in listening to it via a hi-fi system.

And I also agree that certain components do this better than others. My idler-drive and master-tape experiences are the closest so far, which is why again, I was so surprised to hear it from digital, sitting on top of the pre, directly on the carpet, fed by USB! And I also think you may be right that it’s easy for this to be spoiled, which is perhaps why it’s less discussed. I think timing in general is a very difficult aspect of reproduction to articulate, particularly as we still don’t fully understand the mechanism by which we differentiate rhythmic cues from pitch: (https://evlab.mit.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Fedorenko_et_al_2012_JNeurophys.pdf).

That’s why it took so many words to try and talk about it, and why I directly referenced the making of music.

Flyer is definitely the person to address your Entreq questions - it was the first time I’d heard them so have no real basis on which to make any further comments, except I think they’re products worth exploring further. It’s impossible to know in which way they contributed to my experience, only that I couldn’t detect any way in which they might be contributing negatively in the way my previous experiences with power conditioning products have in the past, though I acknowledge the Entreqs are not just working in the power domain. I need more exposure to them in a before/after session.

bonzo75 said:
Are you guys referring to time intervals?
Hey Bonzo,

I’m not sure to be honest…! I’m only familiar with intervals as related to pitch and major/minor/augmented/diminished chords, rather than time (and only superficially, as most of my musical history is grounded in experience, rather than in theory). Maybe someone more knowledgeable can help us out. Any conductors here?

This is where language as prose falls down. Ideas from mathematics and physics are probably more apt, but I have only a child-like enthusiasm about such things, rather than any real “knowledge” (like, er, most other things actually…!).

Starvos talked about an interesting idea in his work which is that of a mechanical flywheel/pendulum and the way mechanical energy is conserved/continuous when the energy source is discontinuous (I’m paraphrasing here, and very poorly - Stavros probably said no such thing, I’m clearly betraying my lack of smarts here). I think the gist of it is that the energy is released when freed from the source of energy that supplies torque to it. And I think that’s also kind of what allowed this present energy to remain even in the absence of music being played. To stretch this out probably beyond its limits, if we imagine the torque is the energy applied to the music when being played by the musicians, it’s the flywheel/pendulum effect that keeps the energy present, intact and moving with momentum in the silences.

Again, it makes the most sense for me to talk about it in musical terms related to my own experiences of making music - the energy that’s present among musicians where we’re all completely attentive to the music and one another, as if being “conducted” by a metaphorical or literal conductor, keeping the intention and energy corralled between one another and focussed onto and into the music. It’s very obvious when someone is not present and attentive - the “energy” of the music tends to slip away and it becomes listless and, well, boring. My Aries Cerat experience was the complete opposite of that.
 

853guy

Active Member
Aug 14, 2013
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#63
hello bonzo and 853guy,

I have some catching up to do on this thread :eek:

of course you are both very welcome at my place. Though, the Kassandra i had at the show is leaving my room again and going back to the french distributor who kindly leant me his unit.
I ordered a new Kassandra Signature at Aries Cerat but there is an 8-week delivery time. And to 'worsen' things, I am in the process of selling my Rockport Avior speakers and looking at the response I have they should be leaving soon. To be clear, the Aviors are nice speakers and mate very well with the Aries Cerat amplification but I sell them because I have no commercial interest in having (and thus promoting) them. Reason why I was demoing at the show with Magico S1 (as the New Music dealer does distribute Magico).
In other words, I am converting into a total Aries Cerat system after having evaluated many avenues in the past. Next speakers are undecided but I already got some very interesting leads and I intend to take my time to ensure there is a good fit, sonically and commercially. I hope and expect to put this project to rest by the time I am getting my new DAC :p

Cheers!
Hi Flyer,

Fantastic! I hope the next eight-weeks remains relatively bearable for you...!

Looking forward to catching up you in the new year, then. Me - and my wallet - will be delighted to see you.

Take care, Flyer.

853guy
 

bonzo75

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#64
853, by time intervals I meant the pauses in the music, which sound musical. The pause can't really be defined in a beat, but by it being there, the rest of the music gets more emotion.
 

853guy

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Aug 14, 2013
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#65
853, by time intervals I meant the pauses in the music, which sound musical. The pause can't really be defined in a beat, but by it being there, the rest of the music gets more emotion.
Hi Bonzo,

Yes I think that's it. To me, what the Aries Cerat system did so well was not just that the silences sounded musical and emotional, but that they actually really mattered. The silences had meaning. If I understand you correctly, the silences gave greater context to the music. Artur Schnabel said this: “The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides”, and I think the Aries Cerat gave that phrase more meaning than pretty much any other system I've ever heard.

Speaking of Schnabel, a pianist whom I've become a big fan of since his 1997 debut with Sony is Arcadi Volodos. I'm listening to his Volodos Plays Mompou released in 2013 and just staggered by his silences - for me he's always mindful of the form no matter how densely complex the music becomes. If you've not heard his work I highly recommend checking him out (taste in pianist's stylistic mannerisms notwithstanding). He's actually playing on our wedding anniversary... Hmmm.

Also, just while I'm thinking about it, I wonder if the reason we struggle to convey the musical aspects of a system are related to this quote taken from the research paper mentioned above in post #62:

“Consistent with findings from the patient literature, we report several regions in the temporal cortices that are sensitive to musical structure and yet show no response to high-level linguistic (syntactic/compositional semantic) structure. These regions are candidates for the neural basis of music. The lack of sensitivity of these regions to high-level linguistic structure suggests that the uniquely and universally human capacity for music is not based on the same mechanisms as our species’ other famously unique capacity for language."

From that I take that because musical structure and linguistic structure are processed in different areas of the brain, we struggle to adequately describe one with the other, and vice versa.
 
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jkeny

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Feb 10, 2012
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#66
Brilliant pieces of writing, 853guy - very articulate - the most articulate writings I've seen of this aspect of our perception of music that is so difficult to describe. I have always enjoyed your posts & we seem to share a similar mindset, based on your past posts here.

Like you, one of my interests is in the research area of auditory perception as I attempt to find explanations for what I perceive in my own listening, experiments, research & what others report (as in your excellent posts)

So at the risk of maybe distracting from your beautiful words & disturbing the tone of this great thread let me try to articulate my current thinking on our auditory perception & how it may concur with what you heard in the Aries Cerat demo room. I have posted some of these thoughts before but your descriptions stoked in me a desire to articulate them again. Like you I reserve the right to be completely wrong & to change my thinking in the future - I consider these characteristics to be necessary to the concept of life-long learning.

My journey has brought me to this simple & maybe obvious preliminary conclusion - it seems that the low level audio stuff is the most critical for portraying what you have so eloquently described - the connection to the meaning & emotion of the performance & the performers.

Now underlying this simple statement there lies a number of aspects I believe are worth investigating/analysing:

- how low a level? I suspect that this level is below what is normally considered audibly significant. It seems to me that many dismiss such quiet sounds with the throwaway remark that "masking will make this inaudible". However, what we are talking about is the release portion of a sound (or alternatively, the quiet before the sound starts or the attack portion) - in other words when there is often no surrounding louder tones that are masking these low level aspects. Remember all sounds have attack, decay, sustain, release characteristics & in this way I believe it bridges the gap between sounds & music that you mentioned above.

- I agree with your differentiating between sounds & music & particularly with your emphasis on the fact that 99% (maybe more) of what we perceive is because of the processing engine happening in the brain i.e. we derive our moment to moment auditory perception by dint of moment to moment analysis of the signal stream. Many people seem to forget this. Furthermore, because we are using analysis to hear, we can/do also anticipate what is coming next & dynamically adjust (feedback to) our hearing mechanism so that (it seems) we can perform better than is predicted from some hearing tests i.e we can hear below the noise floor, we can use modulated tones to hear tones below noise floor (the so-called co-modulated masking release phenomena, CMR), we can apparently beat the uncertainty limit that applies to FFTs - the Gabor limit (by the simple fact of pattern identification & anticipation of a sound), etc. So I completely agree with you that the only real tests of the limits of hearing (should be called limits of auditory perception) is not to be found in tests with non-dynamic, non-patterned sounds

- is it the silence from which the notes emerge that is the important factor? Probably not because vinyl & RtR which have higher noise floors than digital & yet provide more realistic auditory imagery than most digital! So is it more about maintaining a steady noise floor? I suspect that this is partly the reason - steady state noise is far easier to analyse out than fluctuating noise floors. In digital audio, fluctuating noise floors in the presence of dynamic signal processing seems to be the norm. Even if this noise floor is measurably below vinyl & tape, the fact that it fluctuates catches the attention of our analysis engine & places an unnecessary processing load on it & often results in an unnatural change in noise. Note that the Kassandra DACis based on AD1865 ladder DACs & not sigma delta DACs which tend to suffer from this noise modulation characteristic.

- is it just that when this "sound floor" is attended to (such as in the Kassandra & others) that low level distortion is also reduced? Again the same considerations might apply - at what level are these distortions audible? Do the standard hearing tests tell us this? I doubt it as we know that we are more sensitive to higher odd order distortions. And again, remember that masking decreases with signal level, not increases which means that the ear can resolve more harmonic content from distortion at lower levels than at higher ones.
An interesting measurement of ultra low level signal distortion in amplifiers was done here & seems to subjectively correlate with blind test results but a bit early to say that it correlates to audibility with such a small sample size - see here It's also interesting to follow the discussions on some audio forums about these measurements & how the typical measurement mindset gets it so wrong.
I'm always looking for better measurements that are focussed on how our auditory perception actually works & can come close to predicting how something will sound yet I get accused of desiring some pseudo-scientific measurements that will support my thinking. It's amazing how some twist a genuine search for truth into an agenda (a self revealing debate tactic)

- is it that we can more accurately/better perceive the temporal aspects within the music because of this lack of dynamic noise?

- is it all of the above?

- there is no doubt that when we encounter playback systems of this ilk, we are fully engaged by what we are hearing - the realism illusion is captivating & often people hear this as a jump in quality, an illusion that snaps into place as a realistic vista into the performance. What I find accompanies this is that the soundstage depth takes on realism & layering making it easier to follow the musical lines of each instrument. I'm pretty sure that this perceived affect is the result of how we process the signal into audio objects in the audio scene analysis that is the goal of all this auditory processing

- one other final (for the moment) factor I wanted to mention is that I find this "believability" of the music is mainly the result of the source rather than any other aspect of the playback system given amplifier, speakers & rooms that are reasonably well behaved.

Anyway, I hope I haven't brought too much speculative analysis into what is a very enjoyable thread?
 
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jkeny

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Feb 10, 2012
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#67
As regards the silences - is it the case that the "silence" now has very low level audible detail which gives it a sense of naturalness (there's no such thing as real silence in nature) & this natural detail gives the "silence" it's captivating quality & sense of tension - just like in real life?
 
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jkeny

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Feb 10, 2012
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#68
As regards the differences between the Naim Vs Wadia - I'm wondering if the following interpretation of your perception might be relevant?
Naim is designed to put an emphasis on dynamics - the leading edge of notes - the attack portion but doesn't have enough attention to low level noise/distortion for the finer, lower level details to be equally portrayed & have equal emphasis?
Wadia's design focus is on system wide low noise so it is perceived to have a quite background from which notes emerge & into which notes fade but it doesn't have the dynamics needed to present an equal perceived weight on the attack portion (perhaps it isn't able to remain low noise when processing dynamic signals so we find a fluctuating sound floor which interferes with our perception of dynamics, flattening them somewhat? Or, as the above article on low level signal measurements shows, the Wadia has some distortion down at this level? Hard to tease out the device characteristics behind what we perceive?
 
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853guy

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Aug 14, 2013
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#69
Brilliant pieces of writing, 853guy - very articulate - the most articulate writings I've seen of this aspect of our perception of music that is so difficult to describe. I have always enjoyed your posts & we seem to share a similar mindset, based on your past posts here.

Like you, one of my interests is in the research area of auditory perception as I attempt to find explanations for what I perceive in my own listening, experiments, research & what others report (as in your excellent posts)

So at the risk of maybe distracting from your beautiful words & disturbing the tone of this great thread let me try to articulate my current thinking on our auditory perception & how it may concur with what you heard in the Aries Cerat demo room. I have posted some of these thoughts before but your descriptions stoked in me a desire to articulate them again. Like you I reserve the right to be completely wrong & to change my thinking in the future - I consider these characteristics to be necessary to the concept of life-long learning.

My journey has brought me to this simple & maybe obvious preliminary conclusion - it seems that the low level audio stuff is the most critical for portraying what you have so eloquently described - the connection to the meaning & emotion of the performance & the performers.

Now underlying this simple statement there lies a number of aspects I believe are worth investigating/analysing:

- how low a level? I suspect that this level is below what is normally considered audibly significant. It seems to me that many dismiss such quiet sounds with the throwaway remark that "masking will make this inaudible". However, what we are talking about is the release portion of a sound (or alternatively, the quiet before the sound starts or the attack portion) - in other words when there is often no surrounding louder tones that are masking these low level aspects. Remember all sounds have attack, decay, sustain, release characteristics & in this way I believe it bridges the gap between sounds & music that you mentioned above.

- I agree with your differentiating between sounds & music & particularly with your emphasis on the fact that 99% (maybe more) of what we perceive is because of the processing engine happening in the brain i.e. we derive our moment to moment auditory perception by dint of moment to moment analysis of the signal stream. Many people seem to forget this. Furthermore, because we are using analysis to hear, we can/do also anticipate what is coming next & dynamically adjust (feedback to) our hearing mechanism so that (it seems) we can perform better than is predicted from some hearing tests i.e we can hear below the noise floor, we can use modulated tones to hear tones below noise floor (the so-called co-modulated masking release phenomena, CMR), we can apparently beat the uncertainty limit that applies to FFTs - the Gabor limit (by the simple fact of pattern identification & anticipation of a sound), etc. So I completely agree with you that the only real tests of the limits of hearing (should be called limits of auditory perception) is not to be found in tests with non-dynamic, non-patterned sounds

- is it the silence from which the notes emerge that is the important factor? Probably not because vinyl & RtR which have higher noise floors than digital & yet provide more realistic auditory imagery than most digital! So is it more about maintaining a steady noise floor? I suspect that this is partly the reason - steady state noise is far easier to analyse out than fluctuating noise floors. In digital audio, fluctuating noise floors in the presence of dynamic signal processing seems to be the norm. Even if this noise floor is measurably below vinyl & tape, the fact that it fluctuates catches the attention of our analysis engine & places an unnecessary processing load on it & often results in an unnatural change in noise. Note that the Kassandra DACis based on AD1865 ladder DACs & not sigma delta DACs which tend to suffer from this noise modulation characteristic.

- is it just that when this "sound floor" is attended to (such as in the Kassandra & others) that low level distortion is also reduced? Again the same considerations might apply - at what level are these distortions audible? Do the standard hearing tests tell us this? I doubt it as we know that we are more sensitive to higher odd order distortions. And again, remember that masking decreases with signal level, not increases which means that the ear can resolve more harmonic content from distortion at lower levels than at higher ones.
An interesting measurement of ultra low level signal distortion in amplifiers was done here & seems to subjectively correlate with blind test results but a bit early to say that it correlates to audibility with such a small sample size - see here It's also interesting to follow the discussions on some audio forums about these measurements & how the typical measurement mindset gets it so wrong.
I'm always looking for better measurements that are focussed on how our auditory perception actually works & can come close to predicting how something will sound yet I get accused of desiring some pseudo-scientific measurements that will support my thinking. It's amazing how some twist a genuine search for truth into an agenda (a self revealing debate tactic)

- is it that we can more accurately/better perceive the temporal aspects within the music because of this lack of dynamic noise?

- is it all of the above?

- there is no doubt that when we encounter playback systems of this ilk, we are fully engaged by what we are hearing - the realism illusion is captivating & often people hear this as a jump in quality, an illusion that snaps into place as a realistic vista into the performance. What I find accompanies this is that the soundstage depth takes on realism & layering making it easier to follow the musical lines of each instrument. I'm pretty sure that this perceived affect is the result of how we process the signal into audio objects in the audio scene analysis that is the goal of all this auditory processing

- one other final (for the moment) factor I wanted to mention is that I find this "believability" of the music is mainly the result of the source rather than any other aspect of the playback system given amplifier, speakers & rooms that are reasonably well behaved.

Anyway, I hope I haven't brought too much speculative analysis into what is a very enjoyable thread?
Hey jkeny!

Nice to hear from you.

I wish I understood more about this process, but from my take on the neuro-physiological research I’ve been trying to keep an eye on, thankfully it’s appears we’re not the only ones asking these sorts of questions. And aside from the fact that I am, like I mention above, simply someone with a very genuine enthusiasm about these sorts of phenomena, my ability to fully comprehend the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’ is ultimately very limited.

As far as I’m aware, there’s no-one who’s claiming superior and definitive knowledge on why within the animal kingdom it’s only human who appear to have a distinctive and specifically localised set of neurons that process music exclusively without activation of the brain’s linguistic functioning despite some sharing of lower-level functioning. It’s still all so new. So until further research helps us better understand the parameters and processes, we’ve only mostly got a lot of unanswered but very relevant questions like the ones you’re asked here. Me? I have no answers, only some experiences and a bunch of nascent research to go on. And I think as far as the neuro-physiological research goes, they’d concur they’re really only at the beginning of the process. More research is needed.

However, I’m completely in agreement with you that running the same old non-patterned, non-dynamic tests based on audibility (that by definition, needs to be reported by the hearer and subject to the flaws inherent in such testing procedures) should be only a base line upon which new research is instigated that attempts to uncover what the brain is processing in real time (via fMRI data acquisition) in which the robustness of the sample population is able to be more thoroughly and transparently controlled. Surely that's the best way forward...?

The link above sampled “participants (who) were right-handed native speakers of English without extensive musical training (no participant had played a musical instrument for an extended period of time; if a participant took music lessons it was at least 5 yr prior to the study and for no longer than 1 yr). All participants had normal hearing and normal or corrected-to-normal vision and were naive to the purposes of the study. All protocols were reviewed and approved by the Internal Review Board at MIT, and all participants gave informed consent in accordance with the requirements of the Internal Review Board. Four additional participants were scanned but not included in the analyses because of excessive motion, self-reported sleepiness, or scanner artifacts.” I’m not aware of a single study from the hi-fi world that has anywhere near that level of population vetting. That, and the fact that the research makes explicit the participants were paid.

In all honesty, I’m really happy to share my experiences (especially the positive ones), and equally content to share my views. But I’m not out to convince anyone else of their veracity - I have no interest in taking a position, even less in defending one. Like you, I too reserve the right to appear to be a complete ass about whatever it is I think at any given moment. Hah - “appear”? I kid myself. Being on this forum amongst a diverse membership has its privileges, and after some inelegant rhetoric in earlier posts on my part I’m simply content to offer up my limited perspective for whatever it may be worth. I wish I had more sophistication in order to address your questions specifically, but A) I don’t know enough expect to say “Yes, you could be right, those are great questions”, and B) my client in Melbourne is not paying me to be writing on this forum right now.

jkeny said:
As regards the differences between the Naim Vs Wadia - I'm wondering if the following interpretation of your perception might be relevant?
Naim is designed to put an emphasis on dynamics - the leading edge of notes - the attack portion but doesn't have enough attention to low level noise/distortion for the finer, lower level details to be equally portrayed & have equal emphasis?
Wadia's design focus is on system wide low noise so it is perceived to have a quite background from which notes emerge & into which notes fade but it doesn't have the dynamics needed to present an equal perceived weight on the attack portion (perhaps it isn't able to remain low noise when processing dynamic signals so we find a fluctuating sound floor which interferes with our perception of dynamics, flattening them somewhat? Or, as the above article on low level signal measurements shows, the Wadia has some distortion down at this level? Hard to tease out the device characteristics behind what we perceive?
Yeah, ultimately it’s an apples to oranges comparison, because as you say, their respective design topology and implementation are not equivalent. That’s more-or-less how they sounded to me, but again I lack the technical knowledge to say why they sounded that way, and the best I think I can do is allow my experience with them to shape my preferences going forward, as they have. And it’s not to knock either or their products. It’s just to say that after owning various classic Alfa-Romeo’s and lived with them for a while, massive torque-steer, systemic electrical component failure and catastrophic rust are not things I feel like having in my life much anymore, even though the cars had a lot of great qualities too. The Naim and the W**** (cat’s out the bag well and truly by now though, right?) did a lot of things well, but after living with them for extended periods I’ve realised those qualities come with various downsides I prefer not to live with if possible. Which is what was so unique for me in hearing the Aries Cerat. It’s not that they’re “perfect” and contain no weaknesses - I’m sure they do. It’s that not only did they possess qualities I’ve really come to value through the experience of owning, selling and auditioning a lot of gear, they possessed characteristics I’ve only ever experienced via the playing of live music. And that for me is a first.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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48
North Shore of Boston
#70
853, by time intervals I meant the pauses in the music, which sound musical. The pause can't really be defined in a beat, but by it being there, the rest of the music gets more emotion.
I once knew a wonderful jazz singer in NYC named Carla White. She was a great admirer of Shirley Horn and used to say this same thing about Shirley's phrasing and timing. She told me that Shirley Horn would hold notes, pause, and extend the silences between her singing keeping the audience in constant anticipation of what was about to come. Carla said that Shirley could hold the audience in her hands. Carla thought this was fairly unique to Shirley's style and was one of the reasons that she was such a powerful performer. Her silences, and controlled time intervals (pauses) was a big part of her technique.

One of my favorite LPs is The Shirley Horn Trio, "A Lazy Afternoon", with Buster Williams and Billy Hart, SteepleChase SCS1111

I have heard few systems capture this aspect of reproduction, accurately. I agree with jkeny that is depends a lot on the capabilities of the source/front end.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#71
I think great performers have that. A lot of people don't like Dylan's voice, but the way he sings, though it seems simple, has a lot of timing and pause effects. So does led zep. In classical it permeates throughout. One of the reasons I loved the thorens reference in DDk's system was it seemed to do it best. I also found that in the Schopper modded thorens 124.
 
May 7, 2016
51
0
6
Melbourne
#72
853, by time intervals I meant the pauses in the music, which sound musical. The pause can't really be defined in a beat, but by it being there, the rest of the music gets more emotion.
853guy: "the moment of silence - that moment of tension is as palpable as any sound...."

microstrip: "the dynamics of silence in recording playback..."

The silence \ pause is part of the continuum of the preceded played note. The tension was an integral part of the complete musical content of that note which "carried" into the silence \ pause. That is the dynamic element, in my view, of silence. And since we do not have any visual cues to witness all of this, we rely on a good system to provide us this completeness of the musical event.

It is the hallmark and \ or duty of a highly resolving system to not only retrieve subtle musical detail but also SPATIAL detail. It is due to this spatial resolution and transparency of the playback system that allows the listener to experience a FULLY developed performance. The pauses between individual notes or musical phrases are extensions of the musical content of those notes \ phrases. They constitute the musical space of those notes and this space \ pause \ silence is a function of recording and playback factors.

Soundstaging and imaging are qualitative parameters. A "hi-fiish" system will present an artificial ( maybe impressive to a fledgeling ) soundstage, often in a hurried, rushed manner and devoid of this "extended" musical content which exist in the "sustain and decay domain \ space" of the music. It will, therefore, be an incomplete reproduction of the recorded event.

On the contrary, a highly resolving \ transparent system will portray the same event in an unrushed, unhurried manner, revealing the complete content of the recorded note, INCLUDING the silences \ pauses within the overall acoustic space, which is not simply a blackness, an absence of noise or just the air of the room. This silence, although it has no amplitude in dBs , is in a sense "emotionally modulated" with the note that created it and we feel the musical tension within this "silent modulation" ( hence, perhaps, microstrip's "dynamics of silence" ).

All of the above may sound like an intellectually vague description ( others will say waffle ) but it is very much a feeling, an auditory witnessing which is facilitated only by a good system, embodying the attributes that I have described earlier. Such a system will resolve, i.e complete the whole personality of the note which includes its spatial boundaries. It is not a paradox that in a good system, a small instrument ( a piccolo flute for example ) will have a much bigger sonic personality, even if it is relatively close-miked, because the system and especially the speakers will render the complete sonic space of that instrument. This includes non sonic-related aspects such as tension and other expressive inflections inherent in the interpretation of music.

Ultimately, we are dealing with an issue of low level signal retrieval and the silences \ pauses are one aspect of this phenomenon. As pre-requisites, therefore, we need components of a very low noise floor in conjunction with highly resolving and transparent speakers. The apocalyptic Martin Logan CLXs are amongst the most " SPEAKERLESS" speakers that I have encountered, allowing me to witness and experience auditory and musical phenomena that sonically and emotionally connect me with the recorded event.

PS: These subtle playback phenomena, as expounded in this thread ( tension within silences, pauses, spatial content, etc ) are difficult to conceptualise and verbalise but can be relatively easy to demonstrate and, although English is my step-mother tongue, I would have equally struggled in my mother-tongue ( Greek ) for such is the nature of the topic.

Thank you and cheers, Kostas.
 

flyer

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Dec 16, 2012
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Belgium
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#73
On the contrary, a highly resolving \ transparent system will portray the same event in an unrushed, unhurried manner, revealing the complete content of the recorded note, INCLUDING the silences \ pauses within the overall acoustic space, which is not simply a blackness, an absence of noise or just the air of the room. This silence, although it has no amplitude in dBs , is in a sense "emotionally modulated" with the note that created it and we feel the musical tension within this "silent modulation" ( hence, perhaps, microstrip's "dynamics of silence" ).
Very interesting to read how there seems to be a convergence on the importance of silences and its correlation with dynamics for the best restitution, yet totally relaxed.

Pierre-Alain Volondat, the winner of the Queen Elizabeth piano competition in Brussels in 1983 who unfortunately almost completely disappeared from the large public scene since then, said it as well (just like others I guess): Playing music is playing the silence...

In the case of our set-up at the Brussels show I can ascertain that, as I have that stack now in my own demo-room, yes it has to do with the Kassandra DAC as much as with the Impera preamp and last but not least the Concero 65 amps. Each of the components do have their substantial contribution, and will do so in any other system (like for example the Impera did when matched to my Tenor Audio 350M amps) but their combination is more than a sum of their parts.

My demo-room that has a high resolution characteristic, as it only has SMT diffusion panels and not one square centimeter of absorber, achieves very well at getting anyone to hear that. Now, this does not only have big impact on the level of natural restitution (vinyl-like some would say I guess) with a realistic timbre density but when it is combined with an amazing dynamics capability of which the Conceros are capable, then we get that unique mixture that lead to 853guy's (and quite a few others) reaction at the show. Of course, having the latest Magico tweeter in the room did help things as well, just like the Entreq accessories.

It strikes me that effectively long (recorded) decays are so well reproduced though barely hearable but enough to hold your breath till the next bar, or have your mouth opened as you are about to start singing yourself. As i am a choir singer myself, I experience this phenomenon now much more than ever before and that says it all in my modest opinion.

Disclaimer:
Do I have a commercial interest when saying the things above? Yes.
Am I making this up for a commercial interest? No. I select my system for my own pleasure in the first place and seek to commercialize it thereafter, this is my operating model. Otherwise, how can you convince others of something you are not convinced yourself?
 

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