Realism: The room vs. the recording? Why do great recordings sound great in bad rooms?

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
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#1
Great recordings sound "very good", and even "great" in crappy rooms and setups. Mediocre recordings can sound really good in a great room.

What is that "extra information" in those great recordings that makes "a great room" less relevant?
 
Jan 29, 2014
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Cape Town South Africa
#2
Caesar , a bad room is a bad room , even with a great recording it will still pollute...the recording that will sound great in a poor room would sound glorious in a good room. As to bad systems , apart from bose clock radios , I havent really heard one muck up the sonics the way a room does.
What makes a great recording is another matter..one could write reams...
 

gian60

Active Member
Apr 17, 2016
1,255
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#3
I have a room with some small problem because no acoustic treatment
Special recording sound amazing
But if I do a good room treatment will sound much better
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,082
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#4
Great recordings sound "very good", and even "great" in crappy rooms and setups. Mediocre recordings can sound really good in a great room.

What is that "extra information" in those great recordings that makes "a great room" less relevant?
there are some recordings which naturally fill any room. so the source of the sound is more likely to disappear. to me this is the characteristic which allows signal path and room distortion to be minimized. to me it's this 'beyond' the reproduction chain' aspect of these recordings which boost them beyond the limits of systems and rooms.

play 'Little Duece Coupe' in any format, on any system, in any room and it works. the reproduction chain disappears. that is an extreme example.....but it's what i'm referring to.
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,617
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La Jolla, Calif USA
#5
Caesar , a bad room is a bad room , even with a great recording it will still pollute...the recording that will sound great in a poor room would sound glorious in a good room. As to bad systems , apart from bose clock radios , I havent really heard one muck up the sonics the way a room does.
What makes a great recording is another matter..one could write reams...
+1
 
#6
Recently I have been able to reduce jitter significantly over my previous products. They already had low jitter compared to other products I tested, but I had no idea that I would hear such a difference with even lower jitter.

The reason that this is relevant to this thread is that the "fill" or "soundstage" that I previously attributed to the recording was actually the result of jitter, filling in the gaps.

Since this revelation, I have revisited most of my familiar recordings Here is what I found:

1) all recordings have better separation and focus of each instrument and performer

2) almost all studio recordings now have a stark difference between the sound of the vocalist and the sound of the instruments. This is not so much because of the mixing, but because of the sound booth that the vocalist was in and the instruments were not. I don't hear any of these effects in live recordings or classical recordings.

3) The "fill" that I used to hear sounded sort of like echo in the venue, but it was synthetic, not real. Now there is jet blackness between performers and instruments unless the venue provides echoes and sound reinforcement.

4) The effect of this is:

a) if your room is properly treated and the speakers are optimally positioned, you get a real sense of the size, shape and echoic qualities of the recording venue. You can almost put a measuring tape on it.
b) if your room is not optimized acoustically, you can get a strange result on some recordings and others appear to be grander than they actually are

Some of the recordings that I used to believe were some of my best are not that anymore, particularly piano pieces. Others that I though were mediocre have suddenly become great.

This is why it's so important to both optimize your room and speaker placement and minimize jitter in your system.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 
May 30, 2010
13,919
9
38
Portugal
#7
Recently I have been able to reduce jitter significantly over my previous products. They already had low jitter compared to other products I tested, but I had no idea that I would hear such a difference with even lower jitter (...)
How are you measuring jitter? Are you reducing jitter in general or just a few components of the spectra?
 
#8
How are you measuring jitter? Are you reducing jitter in general or just a few components of the spectra?
I measure jitter directly using a programmable 7GHz sampling scope. It has a jitter measurement software package.

The jitter that I measure is not a single number, its a distribution over time. I have found this to correlate more to the sound improvements. Usually, if I can see a difference in the distribution, I can hear it in music playback. Because of this technique, it is not showing spectra. It is real-time plots.

This particular change to my products was not a small change though. It was immediately obvious listening to music. My customers that are starting to get this will be posting impressions on my forum on audiocircle.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 

DSkip

New Member
Aug 26, 2013
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Arlington, TX
www.audiothesis.com
#9
It seems like much well recorded music lacks a ton of complexity where there are only a few sources in the soundstage. Perhaps this has some effect, or lack thereof?
 
May 30, 2010
13,919
9
38
Portugal
#10
I measure jitter directly using a programmable 7GHz sampling scope. It has a jitter measurement software package.

The jitter that I measure is not a single number, its a distribution over time. I have found this to correlate more to the sound improvements. Usually, if I can see a difference in the distribution, I can hear it in music playback. Because of this technique, it is not showing spectra. It is real-time plots.

This particular change to my products was not a small change though. It was immediately obvious listening to music. My customers that are starting to get this will be posting impressions on my forum on audiocircle.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks. Are you referring to this type of cycle-time measurements? http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=116570.0
 
#11
It seems like much well recorded music lacks a ton of complexity where there are only a few sources in the soundstage. Perhaps this has some effect, or lack thereof?
I still find the "fill" to occur when there is any audible jitter present, even small amounts. Just sounds like venue echo. When you play complicated music, it can become musical soup due to jitter.

Try this: If you have a decent track of Doors "Riders on the Storm", see if it has these attributes when you play it:

1) vocalist seems totally disconnected in space from the other instruments, like he is in an anechoic room
2) rain and thunder are way in the background, like 30 feet back - this part sounds like a live recording
3) instruments are very forward

Kind of a mixture of studio and live, with the studio being in different rooms for vocalist and instruments. Interesting recording, but once you hear what is really happening, it's a bit contrived.

If you don't hear these things, and you are playing digital, there is too much jitter in your source.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio