Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #1326
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    What type of music you are listening to is definitely a crucial component. If any of you remember, last year NPR had a test where you could A/B between four different songs and then had to pick which one was lossless, which was MP3, etc. I could nail the first three (I think it was a Neil Young acoustic song, a classical piece, and an alt rock song) but when they got to some Drake/Kanye/Katy piece o' compressed pop shit I could not tell the difference to save my life. That was on my office system. I suspect that on the big rig in the living room I may had done better but there's not a decent way to feed audio from a computer to that amp (thank god).
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  2. #1327
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    I would be interested in anyone's recommendation for the ultimate test recording.

    I have several favorites -- some for imaging, some for bass response, some for dynamic range. No one recording I've found combines everything.

    Still lookin'.....

  3. #1328
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I've never found the ideal either. I've got what I call my "audio disk" that begins with Flim & the BBs to Porcupine Tree with some classical and bluegrass and Pink Floyd in between but no track that does it all.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  4. #1329
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Me too. I have two CD-Rs, one for imaging and one for frequency & dynamic response.

    Flim is goddamn dynamic but not particularly realistic

  5. #1330
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Now, I admit I'm not familiar with the Lyle Lovett track they used (I'll have to track it down).
    Meh. "Church" isn't even a particularly good recording.

  6. #1331
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    It's more important to use music you know and are familiar with than finding the perfect song that does everything. I know I prefer to hear an acoustic jazz quartet as my first choice. Natural drums and cymbals, a piano, a horn, upright bass. But I also want to hear how a system handles macro dynamics, so a big classical piece is needed, then there's male and female voices, and just the general slam of a rock or electric jazz group, and the inevitable solo acoustic guitar or piano for timber and micro-dynamcs. I also have several CD's to use for these comparisons.
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  7. #1332
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Meh. "Church" isn't even a particularly good recording.
    Obviously you've not listened to it. "Church" is an extraordinary recording.

  8. #1333
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Oh I have, Ken. We respectfully disagree.

  9. #1334
    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Of the audiophiles here in this thread… how many of you are musicians or know how to play instruments and practice/play regularly?
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Well, I am a lapsed guitarist (and other stringed instruments, but mainly guitarist) who played professionally most of my adult life, and spent 10 years as house guitarist in a local studio where, as part of a rhythm section trio, we did everything from back singer/songwriters looking for a band to radio and TV ads, film and theatre music and more.
    Thanks for your reply -- appreciated! I suppose other audiophiles here are not musicians or do not know hot to play any instruments.


    Another set of questions for everyone here:

    Do you have good hearing?

    How often do you get your hearing tested?

  10. #1335
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Oh I have, Ken. We respectfully disagree.
    Perhaps you've given it a cursory listen. Maybe as an mp3s. Maybe 128mps on Spotify. My guess is you really haven't heard it at all.

    Joshua Judges Ruth is one of the great rock recordings. George Massenburg produced and engineered the album and it was mastered by Doug Sax. I have not heard the vinyl so I can only pass on what I've heard from the Redbook CD. It is considered by many (including myself) to be a reference recording. Mastering engineer Bob Katz has it listed in his Honor Roll: http://www.digido.com/media/honor-roll.html

    Here is what I hear when I listen to "Church":

    An expansive soundstage with pinpoint imaging of the various vocalists. Specifically the soundstage stretches about 1 ft outside each speaker and has extreme layering and depth. Vocalists can be precisely localized not only left <--> right but front <--> back as well. Very three dimensional recording. All vocalists scale to realistic heights - this is not a situation where the vocalists are 12 ft tall. I hear lots of air around all the vocalists. Dynamics galore.

    I couldn't imagine it sounding better.

    Since you are well versed with the track - tell us all exactly how YOU hear it.

  11. #1336
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I started teaching myself guitar which is a real bitch for someone on the wrong side of 55. In high school I played trombone and knew the basics of piano. I've totally forgotten how to play trombone but for some reason I can still pick out notes on a piano. Anyway, it's kind of weird how my ear has adapted since I tried guitar. The other day I thought I should try to find the tabs for the Darth Vader theme. You know, the "duh duh du-duh" part. Before opening the web page something in my mind said, it's going to be something on the D string. Sure enough, I find this:

    E---------------------------------------*-
    B---------------------------------------*-
    G---------------------------------------*-
    D---5--5---5-5-5---5--5-------------(x4)
    A-------------------------------6-6-6--
    E---------------------------------------*-

    My hearing is average for a guy my age. I had it tested a few years ago. I can hear music quite well but often my wife moves her lips but makes no sound.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  12. #1337
    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jerjo!!

  13. #1338
    False Number 9 Pr33t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Thanks for your reply -- appreciated! I suppose other audiophiles here are not musicians or do not know hot to play any instruments.


    Another set of questions for everyone here:

    Do you have good hearing?

    How often do you get your hearing tested?
    I wouldn't really call myself an audiophile, but I certainly appreciate good sound and like to think I can hear things at an above average level. I understand a good deal of things being disucssed, but can't necessarily articulate anything in the way the more experienced listeners here can.

    I don't play any instruments - I did for about five years into high school, and could possibly read sheet music with a refresher, but for all intents and purposes, I'd consider myself a non-musician.

    I actually have had my hearing tested within the last few years and it fell completely within a normal range (I'm in my mid-30s). Despite having issues with conversations in loud and crowded places, isolated things like listening to music I have no issue with. I purposefully don't wear in-ear buds when I have headphones in, and do not jack the volume up above my surroundings.

  14. #1339
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Since you are well versed with the track - tell us all exactly how YOU hear it.
    Okay, since you axe

    Lyle's lead vocal is recorded with a single nearfield mic, probably on a stand rather than an overhead boom. He is mic'ed so close that his exhalations and inhalations are almost as loud as the singing. I believe the mic must be on a stand because we can clearly hear the resonance of his chest cavity -- the mic must have been well below his mouth and less than 4 inches away. There is considerable audible audio limiting as his breath hits the mic*.

    Because he is miced so close -- as seems to be George Massenburg's style** -- we get absolutely no sense of any space around Lyle's lead. It could have been recorded in an isolation booth, or in a very, very dead studio. Because the lead vocal is monaural, and mixed so far forward, it does not mesh with the other elements at all. On headphones, as well as on my speakers, it smears to a width of about 75% of the stereo field (VERY disconcerting!)

    Besides the lead vocal you have hand claps, backup gospel vocals, a piano, bass and drums.

    The backup vocals, since you specifically mentioned them, are much better recorded. They may have actually sung in the same room together, and there is some distance between them (they're recorded in stereo). Not everybody's the same distance from the mics. There's not much "air" around them but that's a judgment call ('dead acoustics' being a frequent goal twenty-five years ago, before digital recording pointed up the fallacy of this). The vocalist who solos starting at 3:29 at least has a realistic size to his image.

    The piano is also miced pretty close, and it appears to be a monaural pickup as well. There is no left-to-right as you go from the low notes to the high. In fact, the piano occupies a single point dead center in the mix. It is not distant -- as would justify such a placement -- but has apparently been mixed to "top dead center" by the engineer.

    The bass sounds like a Fender Jazz bass or something similar, with no high end or fret noise or fingerboard noise. It's just a dull rumble, hard to even hear what notes he's playing. Again, this was a common style of recording back in the day but I never cared for it.

    The drums are so muffled and damped back that the kick drum sounds like a Persian carpet was stuffed into the shell. The cymbals are all-but-inaudible (if you listen they're there, but WAY back in the mix). A DREADFUL drum recording IMO.

    The hand claps -- the reason the drums were almost mixed out -- provide the sole high frequency percussive content. They're oddly dead -- that sound should CLEARLY illuminate the recording space -- so I'm guessing isolation booth recordings again. Sounds like there's two passes of them, mixed 40% left and 40% right.



    In short, this is a typical multi-tracked studio production with unrealistic acoustics, overly-processed instruments and an awesomely-bad lead vocal mix. Maybe you can't imagine it sounding any better, but I certainly can.



    * - As you know, singers who lift up their heads to sing will project better, will sing from their chests rather than their throats, and will not sound muffled and stifled as Lovett does here.

    ** - Compare Massenburg's 1992 recording of Linda Ronstadt on "Frenesi" -- equally flat & lifeless -- with Eric Schilling's 1993 recording of Gloria Estefan on "Mi Tierra", which is wonderfully dynamic and lifelike.
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 03-16-2016 at 05:37 PM.

  15. #1340
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    Based on what you are stating I would suggest there are some significant flaws in your system set up. I'm hearing tons of air and space. You didn't mention soundstage depth at all. Very odd comments - almost as though you were listening with cheap headphones.

    I guess we are all wrong and you are right.

  16. #1341
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's probably it. My stereo makes everything sound like a bad multi-track recording from 1992.

    Except when it doesn't. Probably need more crystals around the room
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 03-16-2016 at 06:37 PM.

  17. #1342
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    It is considered by many (including myself) to be a reference recording. Mastering engineer Bob Katz has it listed in his Honor Roll:
    Perhaps it's a character flaw of mine, but I've never been particularly swayed by Argument from Authority.

  18. #1343
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Of the audiophiles here in this thread… how many of you are musicians or know how to play instruments and practice/play regularly?
    Playing music since I was 10. When I was auditioning my first good Stereo in 1984 (Mostly NAD components, VPI Turntable & Euphonic Audio "nymphs" Speakers) I grabbed a few Music Majors from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. My reasoning was: Here are young folks who are going to make their living performing Classical music...they spend HOURS every day pursuing a more perfect tone on their instruments. I really wanted a faithful reproduction of acoustic instruments (that includes voice) from folks who spend more time in a room with actual instruments than listening to recordings. I was in agreement with most of them on their recommendations on equipment pairings. Hey, I was budget-constrained...but I was happy with my final setup. Have upgraded over the years (Jeff Rowland amps, pre & phono, Bryston crossovers & Martin Logan Speakers) but still use the VPI (with Rowland and Grado pre's) and the Nymphs are in the studio running off my Mackie recording board. Yes, my hearing isn't what it was when I was 24.....but DANG close! I was in a high-noise occupation for years and an annual hearing test was mandatory so I have a pretty good idea what frequencies are now diminished.
    On a related note....some "friends" say I have a bit of hearing loss.....really, it's just that I tune them out when they regurgitate their politics and bigotries.....I suppose you folks with significant-others have the same "hearing loss"
    I recall a few years ago an argument between my Mom & Dad. She was bitching at him again for not listening and he needed better hearing aids......when she left the room, Dad showed me the remote volume control for his "ears".
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  19. #1344
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Perhaps it's a character flaw of mine, but I've never been particularly swayed by Argument from Authority.
    So you are stating that Bob Katz is not an authority. You are a fascinating man.

  20. #1345
    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Another set of questions for everyone here:

    Do you have good hearing?

    How often do you get your hearing tested?

    Did read about this potential treatment for tinnitus recently:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0716124118.htm
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  21. #1346
    Member Firth's Avatar
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    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  22. #1347
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    What do they plan to do about groove noise and ticks and pops?

  23. #1348
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    What do they plan to do about groove noise and ticks and pops?
    Part of the analog ambiance I guess..
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  24. #1349
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    If you clean your records and have a fine line stylus, the groove and ticks are non existent on good vinyl. There may be some on old worn records though but it is mostly hidden in the music.

    As for being a musician, I was a keyboard player in my youth, only put that aside when I had kids, but I have also toyed with the sax and some minor guitar over the years.
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  25. #1350
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    What do they plan to do about groove noise and ticks and pops?
    Did you read the link? If you have a tangential arm turntable like my Yamaha PX3, the needle will follow the natural manner in which the groves were cut, not only delivering better sound, by also producing even friction and wear on the vinyl, resulting in less groove noise. Presumably, these folks claim that the laser cutting of the vinyl is way more smooth and does a better job addressing the topography. Although I wonder if a tangential tonearm like mine is optimal for how they adapted the cut for a typical tonearm.
    On the verge of indecision
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