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Recreating The Ilusion of Real Music in Your Listening Room

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  • Recreating The Ilusion of Real Music in Your Listening Room

    What quality (s) at minimum must a system have to allow you to even suspend disbelief even for a moment? Soundstaging? Imaging? Tonality? Dynamics? Micro-dynamics? Sense of space? Bass? Texture? Ease?

    No three things turn me off faster, are deal breakers and kill that illusion faster than pancake thin, two dimensional images, a lack sense of space and a lack of tone color. (that is maybe with the exception of upper midrange aberrations!) I must feel like there is a focused, three dimensional radiating body on say a string trio; instruments a harmonic envelope; and on live recordings or great classical recordings the feeling of them playing in a club or hall, not an anaechoic chamber.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    lightning fast transients
    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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    • #3
      I have always appreciated dynamics and imaging, especially vocals. But soundstaging, the sense of venue and being at that venue seems to be much more important to me now. As I've started to go to more live (unamplified) concerts, real life imaging isn't as razor sharp as our systems depict it. But the sound is always 3D, always immersive. Nowadays, this is what I strive for more in my system/room.
      Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

      Comment


      • #4
        Suspend disbelief? Neither my system nor any system I've ever heard has ever been able to suspend disbelief. I hope for a system with no distracting and/or annoying artifacts so as to immerse myself in the music. Come to think of it, that might be a good definition of "musicality".

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        • #5
          For me to actually listen to the music and do nothing else I first have to be satisfied at the most basic level (again for me) so my minimum requirement is good tonality.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rust View Post
            Suspend disbelief? Neither my system nor any system I've ever heard has ever been able to suspend disbelief. I hope for a system with no distracting and/or annoying artifacts so as to immerse myself in the music. Come to think of it, that might be a good definition of "musicality".
            I always refer to that as a lack of mechanicality. Something for me that digital just can't do.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

            Comment


            • Johnny Vinyl
              Johnny Vinyl commented
              Editing a comment
              Mechanicality - My new word for the day! :P

            • MylesBAstor
              MylesBAstor commented
              Editing a comment
              That something that tape does and few cartridges do. That ability to release the tension in your body, that sense of ease to the music, when listening to the system. The ZYX's for example, are one of the very few cartridges in my experience that that lacks that mechanical feel, that artificiality.

            • david k
              david k commented
              Editing a comment
              Fluidity of the ZYX Universe Premium and absence off any perceptible mechanical intrusion is what set it apart for me from most others. It is like listening to great R2R.

          • #7
            At some point, to paraphrase, it is all in the ear of the believer. To me, if the piece of music has personal significance, it is easy to listen past whatever system is reproducing it into the music. Of course a better system makes the experience more enjoyable, but the system is not the be all and end all. A system would be meaningless without music.

            HP wrote an article years back that a system, in combination with certain personally significant recordings was a time machine. Indeed, some pieces bring me back to times and events, bringing them into sharp relief. Significant events, all too many absent friends, places that no longer exist except in memory.

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            • #8
              First and foremost I must have a connection with the music, because no matter how good the system I won't be able to truly appreciate it. If everything works on par, then one of the things I look for right away is proper instrument/voicing clarity (definition and space). I want to hear the silence between notes and I love good depth in a recording. Flat recordings leave me, well....flat.
              Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

              Comment


              • #9
                While I appreciate all the goodies listed from a top notch system I often find them also getting in the way of the music. Many times while visiting clients and audio buddies I come across amazing systems that the owners have perfected to death. We start listening and the first thing you notice is the incredible depth, the amazing bass or beautiful mids but what about the music? In a way I find the most impressive systems are the worst because there's no way for me to suspend disbelief when the system is in competition with the music and is showing off its abilities, this is totally unnatural. My approach is to get the system to disappear and become as unimpressive as possible. Ideally the listener shouldn't be able to pick out any part of the sound and say wow this or wow that, the only thing there should be the music and the system doing its business without showing off. Unfortunately making a high end system humble is a very difficult task. Then its possible to suspend disbelief with almost any half way decent recording. Its all about "Natural" and the degrees of "Naturalness". Myles's description is perfect, "That ability to release the tension in your body, that sense of ease to the music, when listening", or depending on the music (not the system!) get you all worked up is basically how I rate a system, degrees of "Natural" could care less about the pyrotechnics...

                david

                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                What quality (s) at minimum must a system have to allow you to even suspend disbelief even for a moment? Soundstaging? Imaging? Tonality? Dynamics? Micro-dynamics? Sense of space? Bass? Texture? Ease?

                No three things turn me off faster, are deal breakers and kill that illusion faster than pancake thin, two dimensional images, a lack sense of space and a lack of tone color. (that is maybe with the exception of upper midrange aberrations!) I must feel like there is a focused, three dimensional radiating body on say a string trio; instruments a harmonic envelope; and on live recordings or great classical recordings the feeling of them playing in a club or hall, not an anaechoic chamber.
                Last edited by david k; 03-02-2016, 02:18 PM.
                Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                Distribution: NEODIO

                Special Sales: van den Hul
                Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                Comment


                • #10
                  David - I'm a little confused. Are we talking about music and how it captures your fascination or the recording quality of said music and what you want said recording to reveal? Maybe I am not reading your post correctly, but it seems like you've combined them.

                  IMO, and to use Myles' description "That ability to release the tension in your body, that sense of ease to the music, when listening", should be attainable on ANY system, from a tabletop radio, portable or systems such as our members here are able to put together. If it doesn't, then one is not listening to the music.

                  We buy our systems for 2 reasons. The first (hopefully) is for the music itself and the other for the improved sound quality. When we listen to our systems we can choose to be totally engaged with the music and accept what we hear, or we can also dig a little deeper and focus more on the qualities of the recordings we play. Nothing wrong with that and I do the same on many occasions, which is why I'm always on the look-out for a better pressing at times. TBH though...I wish I wouldn't care, because the music itself (not the quality) is why I listen.

                  Sorry, but I'm not real good at expressing myself in-depth like many of you, but I hope you get what I was trying to convey.
                  Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Hi Johnny,

                    The music. Nice to have the best ones but I'm fine with the majority of just decent quality analog recordings.

                    "That ability to release the tension in your body, that sense of ease to the music, when listening", I'm not talking about background music but active listening and you're right you can have that from a portable radio too. The way we've been educated for the past 30 odd years in the West better sound quality often equates to more system pyrotechnics, read the HP its all and only about that. So many ultra expensive high end system are pieced together while looking and listening for those hifi values, maybe that's being an audiophile but I find most detached from music with impressive systems of the nature. IMO a true high end system shouldn't openly compete with the source, i.e. music, that's what I mean. The less attention the system commands the more "Natural" it sounds, of course at the highest end all those hifi elements come into play, but the listener shouldn't be aware of it. At least that's what I want from any system.

                    david

                    Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
                    David - I'm a little confused. Are we talking about music and how it captures your fascination or the recording quality of said music and what you want said recording to reveal? Maybe I am not reading your post correctly, but it seems like you've combined them.

                    IMO, and to use Myles' description "That ability to release the tension in your body, that sense of ease to the music, when listening", should be attainable on ANY system, from a tabletop radio, portable or systems such as our members here are able to put together. If it doesn't, then one is not listening to the music.

                    We buy our systems for 2 reasons. The first (hopefully) is for the music itself and the other for the improved sound quality. When we listen to our systems we can choose to be totally engaged with the music and accept what we hear, or we can also dig a little deeper and focus more on the qualities of the recordings we play. Nothing wrong with that and I do the same on many occasions, which is why I'm always on the look-out for a better pressing at times. TBH though...I wish I wouldn't care, because the music itself (not the quality) is why I listen.

                    Sorry, but I'm not real good at expressing myself in-depth like many of you, but I hope you get what I was trying to convey.
                    Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                    Distribution: NEODIO

                    Special Sales: van den Hul
                    Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                    Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by david k View Post
                      Hi Johnny,

                      The music. Nice to have the best ones but I'm fine with the majority of just decent quality analog recordings.

                      "That ability to release the tension in your body, that sense of ease to the music, when listening", I'm not talking about background music but active listening and you're right you can have that from a portable radio too. The way we've been educated for the past 30 odd years in the West better sound quality often equates to more system pyrotechnics, read the HP its all and only about that. So many ultra expensive high end system are pieced together while looking and listening for those hifi values, maybe that's being an audiophile but I find most detached from music with impressive systems of the nature. IMO a true high end system shouldn't openly compete with the source, i.e. music, that's what I mean. The less attention the system commands the more "Natural" it sounds, of course at the highest end all those hifi elements come into play, but the listener shouldn't be aware of it. At least that's what I want from any system.

                      david

                      Bingo!
                      Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        What quality (s) at minimum must a system have to allow you to even suspend disbelief even for a moment?
                        The same qualities music has: proper Tonality, Dynamics (at all levels), and Timing. While I agree that every sound occurs within a context, soundstaging, imaging, space, etc. are psychoacoustic, not (to me) required qualities of music.

                        Same as what others have said, In a slightly different vein: the music/sound must get past my reviewer brain to my paleomammalian brain. Suspension of disbelief is not an intentional or cognitive act; it is an after-the-fact account of experience. When I hear real music there is no suspension of disbelief. Being within the suspended state (gawd that sounds like Heidigger) is non-cognitive. Or to quote Vladimir Lamm: "the problem of sound-quality assessment is almost completely solved in the first 10-15 seconds of listening at the intuitive level."

                        As I sometimes say: I like gear that doesn't make me think about it.
                        Last edited by tima; 03-03-2016, 02:18 AM.

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                        • #14
                          I'm liking the company here. I seem to be perfectly in line with Tim and David. Get out of the damn way system! As David stated but in Myles' terms it is the lack of mechanicality (hahahahaha did I get that right?) that can be the hardest challenge. Hard enough to do when you've got speakers larger than Shaq in front of you, what more Ddk's pair of vintage autobots? Gotta thank the good Lord for light switches and eyelids.

                          I kind of liken it to film vs 4K. Sure the 4K can be impressive but you have to ask yourself sometimes if you've gone a little too far when you see the make-up on Tommy Lee Jones' face. I'm greedy. I want to hear it all. That's actually my mantra BUT I want things presented to me in a manner that is simultaneously easy to interpret but without feeling force fed. Feel or detail for detail's sake? I spent too many hours in the editing suites in front of ultra revealing monitor systems. Good for work but not for play.

                          I always tell new comers to the hobby that the hardest part of all of this is figuring out the right balances between the different aspects that float our individual boats. It's something each one of us has to discover for ourselves. It's not something that can be taught although there are days when I can't figure things out when I wish it could.

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                          • #15
                            When timbre is off -- I find it challenging to suspend disbelief.
                            Vbr,

                            Sam

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