Random thoughts about our hobby

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by k4rstar, May 19, 2022.

  1. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    I wish I could agree. I largely stopped going to live music, for one main reason - it is always too fucking loud. A single live music show as a younger man gave me permanent tinnitus. I started wearing Etymotic ER-20 and that increased enjoyment greatly, but even with those, it's too much.

    Maybe I just have sensitive ears, maybe I'm a sissy, maybe I'm a delicate snowflake. But I just can't enjoy music at the volumes used for live gigs.

    I agree about a random street corner though. I was at The Forks one afternoon having lunch about five years agi, and a busker was absolutely nailing some nice folk music, just him and his guitar. Just awesome. I still think about that years later.
     
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  2. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    I do agree totally. I don't think I could take a rock concert these days. The music I see is, technically, classical acoustic, but it is amplified. And even this often requires me to remove the hearing aids and stuff cotton wool in my ears.
     
  4. Gazny

    Gazny Friend

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    Speaking of Live music. I think live music is much warmer than what I hear in recorded music. But live recorded music is my favorite, also the tonal balance is very different and much more slammy than what I hear normally in my room. But this all could have just been the show I went to.
     
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    Last edited: May 30, 2022
  5. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophileâ„¢

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    Probably because I only went to cheap concerts and I am less trained as a live music listener. But I have never been satisfied with live music as an audiophile. I thoroughly enjoyed them as a music lover and artist fan tho.

    As an audiophile, here are my nitpicking points
    • Most concerts are not as space-optimized. Sound engineers probably addressed most of critical issues but most of non-uber places suffer from suboptimal reverberation time and space coloration compared to recorded music.
    • Seat grades are mildly associated with acoustic excellence. What's worse, there's some inherent randomness that we are not guaranteed to sit on the sweet spot.
    • SNR is generally poor.
    • Usual disadvantages of live music: can't repeat as many times as I want. can't control volume (I partly feel @Beefy). can't analyze as well as I did it with the recorded music and home audio rig.
    I really want to go to legendary reference-level concert some day..

    And thus, my audio goal or magic definition is never to mimic live performance at home. I generally pull out more information from the recorded music. And audio is to make it more effective or easier.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Edison invented the phonograph. Sony and Phillips invented the CD. Stop being dumb on an audiophile site.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    In the top 5, maybe even top 3, of orchestras on East Coast and maybe all of the USA. El Lay people are lobbying for LA Phil it to be considered higher, but SF Symphony is better than LA IMO (different really).


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    What are you waiting for?

    Non issue above.

    Excuses.

    Excuses.

    Excuses.

    You aren't supposed to analyze music. You are supposed to feel it in your heart. Music is supposed to make you elated, cry, get up and dance, make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2022
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I'll bet that the acoustics of these smaller venues below are nothing short of amazeballs. Chamber orchestras in churches - nothing beats that acoustically from my experience. You live on the East coast where a ton of this stuff is accessible to normal people. The SF Bay Area has stuff like this, but normal people are priced out by the SillyCon vulture capital types. You guys have public transportation systems that actually take you from somewhere to somewhere!

    upload_2022-5-31_0-12-29.png
     
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  9. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophileâ„¢

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    Thanks for the suggestion. To my shame Phil orche was much closer than thought. 30-40 min on foot. Should check out summer to fall events. I only went to events at campus auditorium and live art centers where I could go virtually free. But that looks many leagues above. Must be worthy.

    And on the analysis you quoted front, 1) I don't think there's universal right way to enjoy music. 2) feeling music emotionally isn't fully excluded on my end but it depends on contexts. 3) By analysis I meant literally disentangling by atomic-ish units then do partial and full synthesis in the brain as I repeat to listen. Playing with subsets or a full set of disentangled parts and trying to come up with my own interpretation is what I found extremely entertaining in this hobby. I assumed we all did this more or less though.
     
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Don't discount the smaller chamber stuff in the churches. Different from the big orchestral, but my preference because of the more the intimate setting. Even if you sit in the pews at the back, you are still pretty darn close to the musicians. The secret is high ceilings.
     
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  11. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Definitely true for classical music (unamplified acoustic instruments and voice), because recordings are made with microphones much closer to the musicians than any listening position in the audience.
     
  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Or even the seat that you sat in. Even moving a seat or two can make a dramatic difference!The number of people in the auditorium will change things too. All sorts of variables that mean you could get lots of different experiences in the same place.

    Nope, neither have I. Well, maybe with the exception of the orchestral classical music that people are talking about. Oh, and one experience of The Grateful Dead: the sound was amazing, managing to be loud without any trace of discomfort, let alone pain.
    Totally agree, although there are occasions (too many!) on which the necessary bottom-line-comfort quality failure has driven me away. Otherwise, I find my brain has amazing ability to adjust: I've noticed the sound getting better when I can see the sound board and nobody has been near it.

    Eye contact counts! Even in my backwater genre, I avoid almost all performances in halls where there will (or even can) be hundreds. My favourite hall seats about 150. before covid, maybe 200 could cram in. But audiences are more often measured in tens. And front row seats are easily available --- especially to the guy with the camera :).
     
  13. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    SFS is a rung higher than LAPO, but they're still definitely not a first rate orchestra. The main thing they had going for them for a long time was MTT being their principal conductor for basically forever, and he's not bad but he's really not a particularly compelling maestro either. I hate to say it but he kind of did spend his entire career trying to be a second pressing of Bernstein.

    The problem also comes with the fact that even if they were first rate and had the best conductor (lol) in the world at their helm, they would still pale in comparison to the orchestral palette and depth of interpretation people were putting out a couple decades ago. The gap between first rate and third rate is way smaller than it used to be a couple decades ago, which I guess you could argue is a good thing because it means the lowest common denominator has improved (pretty drastically too), but the top 1% has eaten shit at the same time and we don't really get exceptional interpretations anymore. Especially for American orchestras where there wasn't necessarily as much diversity of timbre and tone from orchestra to orchestra, most of them have been homogenized almost to the point of facelessness (though the European orchestras are not far behind, which is where the real tragedy is).

    The only recording I can think of from Philly that's been significant post-Ormandy is Muti's Scriabin cycle. They're pretty deep into irrelevancy and then some. The big five have all eaten shit one way or another but Philadelphia might have been hit the hardest over the years followed by Boston. Of course, they still make enough money to retain their status as high profile thanks to their history, so good for them.

    Chamber orchestras can be alright, but man, do you know how much it sucks hearing Bruckner played by a clearly undersized and underpowered ensemble? This sort of stuff is best when it's playing repertoire written specifically for small orchestras, and there's a lot more of it than you'd think, but basically any symphony from the repertoire written for full-sized orchestra does not sound satisfying at all played by undersized string sections regardless of how good of a job the arranger does. Doubly so if it's intertwined with dubious at best HIP practices which generally speaking just sound plain bad, full stop.

    None of this is, of course, trying to discount live experiences for what they are. During the school semester I basically went to the LA Phil if anything on the programme was even slightly interesting to me, just to hear the works live instead of scrutinizing the playing. I got student priced tickets so I never really felt like I was getting ripped off, and while the performances weren't spiritual experiences or anything, they were competently played and the interpretation was fairly middle of the road (as they tend to be these days), so I basically got exactly what I came for and not much more. I don't know if my impressions would be the same if I paid for full price seats though.
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    LOL, you have a high bar. You make is seem as if the top orchestras in the USA have slid to the point of being utter shit if one pays full price admission. I guess @Vtory shouldn't bother and hit that STP concert (without Scotty Weiland).
     
  15. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    Animus is a classical music snob, and snobs gonna snob.
     
  16. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    That's not what I'm trying to illustrate, my point was mainly in how the gap between the best orchestras and the worst orchestras has been greatly compressed. If everyone was distributed on a 1-10 scale a couple decades ago, then now they're in like a 4-8 scale instead. The worst orchestras are nowhere near as bad as they used to be, and the average orchestra has even moved up one or two steps, but the very best orchestras have also gone downhill compared to just how good they were capable of being. The LA Phil has always been an average or slightly above average orchestra, so I would say they've either stayed the same or gone up slightly in playing quality as a whole (though losing Giulini unquestionably affected the sound of the orchestra), but Philly was genuinely capable of some fantastic playing under Ormandy, and I think it's pretty sad that they lost it the same way Cleveland lost their sound after Szell. As for ticket prices, well hey, rent right smack in LA can't possibly be cheap, so I can hardly blame them.

    If anything, I think the bigger issue is the conductors. That's a whole other topic I could probably write a book about.
     

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