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    Moderated By: Maxxwire
    Agoraquest Forum Index Amp/Receiver/Speakers/Connections/Cables
      
    21st century sound quailty of home audio. Why isn't better? Dashboard
    Replies: 374 | Views: 137,464
    Last Reply: August 23, 2012, 3:16 am

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    Author 21st century sound quailty of home audio. Why isn't better?
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-07 11:29

    .

    [ This message was edited by: mykyll2727 on 2011-08-07 11:43 ]


       


    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-07 11:36

    .

    [ This message was edited by: mykyll2727 on 2011-08-07 11:44 ]


       
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-07 11:43

    • Member Quote

    On 2011-08-07 11:29, mykyll2727 wrote:
    I received a short email newsletter today from Paul McGowen of PS Audio that I feel was very pertinent to what I was asking here.

    He wrote, "Asking the same questions over and over again brings fresh answers as advances in technology change the lens we are looking through almost on a daily basis."

    He goes on to say "Here are the fundamentals I am questioning:

    Why are even the best high end audio systems still not convincing us we are listening to live music in our home? Is it even possible? What's holding us back?

      Why do we need two speakers to create our stereo illusion? Can we do it with one?

      Why do we sometimes perceive greater dynamics on vinyl than on CD when technically the two aren't even close?

      Why are we OK accepting loudspeaker responses that are anything but flat--yet comfortable demanding electronics live up to a much higher standard? Simply because one can't get better and the other can?

    Reexamining everything we take for granted leads to discovery. What are you questioning?"

      _mykl


    [ This message was edited by: mykyll2727 on 2011-08-07 11:46 ]


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26067
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-07 17:07

    • Member Quote


    He goes on to say "Here are the fundamentals I am questioning:

    Why are even the best high end audio systems still not convincing us we are listening to live music in our home? Is it even possible? What's holding us back?

    Why do we need two speakers to create our stereo illusion? Can we do it with one?




    I started asking myself the same question about the inability of high end Audio Systems to deliver a convincing live Music listening experience over a decade ago and as Paul says "Reexamining everything we take for granted leads to discovery" and I finally made a set of significant discoveries that completely solved this problem in my Audio System the presentation of which starts HERE.

    I've found the question as to why we need 2 speakers to create Stereo imaging a much simpler one to answer.....we listen with 2 ears.

    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix


         
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-07 17:53

     My feeling is if someone like the head of PS Audio is asking these questions (which are simliar to and some of the same as I'm pondering) then surely others in the industry must be doing the same. If so, then maybe some, if not all, of my questions regarding 21st century audio tech and SQ are right around the corner. I for one will be very interested in knowing the outcome._mykl


       
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-09 11:27

    I got another of Paul McGowen's short newsletters today. I found the last two paragraphs particularly thought provoking. It is in regard to getting our systems to sound like the "real" event,


     "Many of the best designers and reviewers continually go to live music events to refresh their worldview of what actual instruments sound like so they can get closer to that version in their heads. This is fine if your goal is to color your designs to ignore what has been recorded - as opposed to reproducing live music.

     The truth is we listen to sound systems that playback only recorded music and everything we hear is filtered through microphones and personal biases of recording and mixing engineers. It is folly to believe you are getting closer to the "real" event when all you can get closer to is what has been recorded."

     mykl


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26067
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-09 16:39

    Speaking as a retired professional Musician who has also attended many live Music performances with all due respect the aspect that Paul is leaving out of his statement that...

    "Many of the best designers and reviewers continually go to live music events to refresh their worldview of what actual instruments sound like so they can get closer to that version in their head"...

    ...is the inescapable fact that no matter what venue they listen to that fine Music in it will be tainted by the time smear characteristics that the acoustics of the venue imbue upon it which is a level of distortion which is much worse than in any of the smaller rooms that we listen to Music from our Audio equipment in where time smear distortion can be not only tamed but virtually eliminated with carefully placed room treatments which is something that just can not  be accomplished in a large venue.



    That said Paul is correct about the sound of recordings being heavily influenced by the Mastering engineer which is why Mav' made this statement...

    • Member Quote

    On 2008-01-05 16:46, maverick11359 wrote:

              I completely agree and i'm finding the recordings i like the best are usually recorded by the better engineers and have been recorded at the lower volume settings.

               Doug Sax engineered some of  my favourites,  "The Jazz king" on CD and another one of my favourite SACD's Dark side of the moon both extremely well put down with moderate volume levels .I also have an outstanding Steve Hoffman engineered SACD in "Bayou Country " Creedence Clearwater Revival.

         
              Cheers Mav'





    The Music from Steve Hoffman's DCC Collection which dates back to 1987 is considered by many to be some of the very finest  Mastering work ever done. The The Official Steve Hoffman Discography lists CDs, SACDs and vinyl LPs that Steve Hoffman has mastered over the years and contains Music from some of the of the most legendary Musicians of our time who chose Steve Hoffman to remaster their work.  

    My personal favorite very well Mastered set of CD's are from Nippon Columbia which was established in Japan in 1930...

        
    When I talked to Steve Hoffman I asked him why these 20+ year old CD's sounded so incredibly detailed and he told me that it was because what he referred to as the 'Asian Ear' is much more appreciative to this kind of acute detail where much of the Music Mastered for Americans is more bass laden.

    In conclusion, yes all Audiophile Grade Music must be recorded with microphones which are most likely highly sophisticated ones like Neumann microphones which pick up the sound of live Music directly from the instruments so that the sound does not have to be distorted by the poor acoustics a live venue where what the audience hears only has a fraction of the amazing fidelity of what a fine recording  device like a Neumann microphone picks up for recording right at the the source.

      

    Some of the classic Neumann microphones which have provided us with some of the best sounding recordings ever made the quality and exquisite detail of which far surpass what can be heard amidst the uncontrollable acoustics of a time smeared concert hall.

    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix




         
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-09 17:25



    Maxx_I thought this might generate some discussion and I greatly appreciate your input. I didn't completely buy into what he said but it definitey got me thinking. I'm in agreement with your opinions.


     You brought up something that I've been meaning to bring up on the forum for some time with regard to Asian recordings. I have several Japanese CD issues some of which I have American versions of as well and to me the Japanese versions sound better. One CD that really stands out to me is Elvis' #1s. The listing said it was a Japanese issue but when I got it I saw it says on the back cover that it was made in Taiwan. So when I put it in I wan't expecting that much. (I know shame on me for getting caught up into stereotypes. I do know better.) Now I'm not an over the top fan of the King but I do love some of his stuff. But it's not the songs, it's the disc that I want to mention. These songs were recorded in the 50s and 60s so technology wise the recordings of today should be recorded better. At least to my mind anyway. I have SACDs, HDCDs, 24bit. SHM, etc. yet this RBCD sounds perhaps better than any stereo disc I have no matter what format. I'm always amazed at the SQ of this disc. It's spectacular. I've heard the American version on my system ( I don't own it but a friend brought it over once for comparison) and there's no comparison. My version just truly blows it away. So for me this one disc shows that it's the engineering much more so than the format that determines SQ of the disc. Sure take an OK RBCD and expertly remastering it to say 24bit may be a definite improvement over the original disc but even many of the remastered discs I have aren't really anything to go crazy about. This disc is. It's simply awesome. I think if all RBCDs had this SQ very few audiophiles would be interested in other stereo disc formats._mykl


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
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    Rank: Sony Adept


    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26067
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-09 17:42



    _mykl- Have you ever checked out any of the excellent work from Music from Mobile Fidelity
    Sound Labs?

    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix


         
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-09 17:45

    Actually the only ones I have are Patricia Barber's SACDs_mykl


       
    David_S

    Rank: Sony Legend


    Joined: Aug 03, 2004
    Posts: 905
    From: BC, Canada

      Posted: 2011-08-10 02:29

    • Member Quote

    On 2011-08-09 16:39, Maxxwire wrote:
    ...
    The Music from Steve Hoffman's DCC Collection which dates back to 1987 is considered by many to be some of the very finest  Mastering work ever done. The The Official Steve Hoffman Discography lists CDs, SACDs and vinyl LPs that Steve Hoffman has mastered over the years and contains Music from some of the of the most legendary Musicians of our time who chose Steve Hoffman to remaster their work.  
    ...

    I have several DCC CDs mastered by Steve Hoffman, including the excellent sounding Bayou Country mentioned by maverick11359.

    Steve Hoffman remastered Bayou Country in June 1993.

    "Progress" produced a remastered set of CCR albums that were released in June 2001.  I did buy the box set when it came out.  This new "better" release was mastered with 20 bit K2 Supercoding using 20-bit A/D converter with DIGITAL K2 interface.  The technology is impressive & sales jargon is good.  Give me the older Hoffman mastered CDs any day, they are clearly superior to the 2001 re-release.  The CCR SACDs are also from the 2001 K2 Supercoding mastering, I am skeptical about their sound quality.

    Few people listen to music for the pure pleasure of listening to music.  We are a diminishing market & fewer products aim for the audiophile that enjoys good sounding music.



    -----------------
    TA- E77ES E80ES E1000ESD E9000ES
    TA- N77ES F555ES, ST-S730ES
    RM- AV3000 AX1400 (2)AX4000
    STR- DA4ES DA3100ES (2)DA5700ES (2)GX10ES
    DVP- (3)NS999ES NS3100ES CX777ES
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    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-10 02:38

    David_S_I almost bought that box set. Now I'm glad I didn't. I considered the SACDs too. I'll be holding off buying any more Cds for awhile as I convert to a computer based source. One of my reasons for the change is to stop buying CDs and reduce, maybe even eliminate all of the storage space.

     You may be right about us being a diminishing market. Personally I hope that we're not a dying breed._mykl


       
    Maxxwire
    Moderator
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    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 26067
    From: Portland, Oregon - USA

      Posted: 2011-08-10 03:15

    • Member Quote

    On 2011-08-10 02:38, mykyll2727 wrote:
    I'll be holding off buying any more Cds for awhile as I convert to a computer based source.




    I think that is a very good plan on your part. The Digital Music that I am now getting from my computer's sound card through Glass Toslink sounds much better than CD's used to sound played by a Digital Transport and sent to the 5 ps jitter i2s Bus Digital front end over that same Glass Toslink plus the V-Link Asynchronous USB to S/PDIF converter that I will begin testing later this week portends to boost the quality of the computer based Audio playback to even higher levels of fidelity.





    ~Maxx~

    Sony H-9 MaxxPix




         
    dontsleep33
    Premium Member

    Rank: Sonyphile


    Joined: May 03, 2008
    Posts: 742
    From: MG,Brazil

      Posted: 2011-08-10 06:22

    To put things into perspective I think both areas are still lacking.
    For example when you listen to the best recording on the best audio system you can find you can almost be fooled that it is live where as when watching Blue ray I never even come close to thinking it might be real.

    I don't know how video will ever reach that point because that's not my area but I know recording and so far the hardest part of making a recording sound real is the use of compression.We compress the intruments individually and then on top of that again at the overall mixdown and mastering session.
    Secondly the choice of speakers upon playback is also crucial.I think the rest of the recording/playback equipment and is pretty much up to the task at the highest levels of quality.
    Tweeters in general are usually the worst offenders after compression of the recording once we hit the play button.Drum cymbals for one just don't ever sound convincing to someone who has been a musician his or her whole life.There is a lot going on with audio but we're getting there.
    Video although beutiful and fun to watch is never convincingly real at all.
    I hope I could help with this dicussion. 


         
    mykyll2727

    Rank: Sony Pro


    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 4171
    From: Las Vegas

      Posted: 2011-08-10 08:37

    dontsleep33_You're input is much appreciated as always and I found your perspective very thought provoking. I hadn't really considered that despite the geat advancements in picture quality that video has experienced since the release of the DVD how far from "real" it still is. Your post made me think about it and I agree with you. I also feel that recorded music brings us closer to real than does video at this point. But I do feel that video has come alot further in the last decade or so to getting to real than audio and that video seems to have a greater drive to get there as well. Perhaps as David suggested it's because we audiophiles are a diminishing market._mykl


       
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