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Art & Herb Discuss Imaging

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  • Art & Herb Discuss Imaging

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdLTsgPkqBs

  • #2
    I only made it to 1.34 (I'm not big on watching talking head videos) but Art's view that there is no such thing as an "original" soundstage seems wrong if the recording was done live, or pseudo-live in a studio where the musicians aren't placed in isolation booths-- Myles or someone else had posted some video a while back of the recording of one of the early, great Neil Young albums, recorded in Nashville, I believe, and you saw the musicians in the same room, playing at the same time. You can hear that 'acoustic quality' in recordings that have it. Although I consider imaging only one among many factors and probably not as important in the hierarchy of attributes for me as it is for others, it is an attribute even on studio fabrications that give you a concocted presentation of how the instruments are arrayed. Once you get beyond a straight mic to recorder, and start mixing, one could argue that it has been fiddled with but a good mixer can do wonders, so I'm not down on the studio fabricated image either if well conceived and executed. Look at how much better the Steve Wilson remixes of Tull's Benefit and Aqualung are--and I don't really consider either of those records audiophile recordings. But I'm going beyond the original point.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
      I only made it to 1.34 (I'm not big on watching talking head videos) but Art's view that there is no such thing as an "original" soundstage seems wrong if the recording was done live, or pseudo-live in a studio where the musicians aren't placed in isolation booths-- Myles or someone else had posted some video a while back of the recording of one of the early, great Neil Young albums, recorded in Nashville, I believe, and you saw the musicians in the same room, playing at the same time. You can hear that 'acoustic quality' in recordings that have it. Although I consider imaging only one among many factors and probably not as important in the hierarchy of attributes for me as it is for others, it is an attribute even on studio fabrications that give you a concocted presentation of how the instruments are arrayed. Once you get beyond a straight mic to recorder, and start mixing, one could argue that it has been fiddled with but a good mixer can do wonders, so I'm not down on the studio fabricated image either if well conceived and executed. Look at how much better the Steve Wilson remixes of Tull's Benefit and Aqualung are--and I don't really consider either of those records audiophile recordings. But I'm going beyond the original point.
      Hey Bill,

      A few days ago, I viewed it once all the way through. I think it's worth looking at the whole video. It's not as bad as you perceived from the first minute and a half.

      BTW: Although just one parameter, who's level of importance is subjectively up to the listener, imaging (real or manufactured) can tell one a lot about system setup in regards to amplitude and phase relationships. This is much like you mentioned above.

      Dre
      **************************************************
      Every day is a good day to play analog.
      - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
      - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
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      Every day is a good day for live music.
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      Every day is a good day to listen to music.
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      • #4
        In particular I enjoyed the discussion about corroborating recording technique and certain mixes that when played back we assume should sound like 'being there' or the real thing when in fact its a manipulation of the actual event by the engineer, producers etc. this goes back to: how do we really know if our systems faithfully reproduce the engineers intent and how that relates to a system that can place images in a precise manner vs. suggesting where the instruments are in real space. Herbs analogy of contrasting his horn system with the watt/puppy speaker and how different they recreate the soundscape, is, I think something all of us have experienced at some point. I cant tell you how many times I have heard someone say "I dislike Maggies--or planars--because vocalist all sound like they have 5 foot wide mouths" or some such. so which is more 'accurate'?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Rob View Post
          In particular I enjoyed the discussion about corroborating recording technique and certain mixes that when played back we assume should sound like 'being there' or the real thing when in fact its a manipulation of the actual event by the engineer, producers etc. this goes back to: how do we really know if our systems faithfully reproduce the engineers intent and how that relates to a system that can place images in a precise manner vs. suggesting where the instruments are in real space. Herbs analogy of contrasting his horn system with the watt/puppy speaker and how different they recreate the soundscape, is, I think something all of us have experienced at some point. I cant tell you how many times I have heard someone say "I dislike Maggies--or planars--because vocalist all sound like they have 5 foot wide mouths" or some such. so which is more 'accurate'?
          Which is why, in my estimation, the notion of an "accurate" system is virtually meaningless. Accurate to what? The engineer's intent in manipulating the sound? Where is the frame of reference for that? (I guess if you were in the studio at the time, you might have a clue). Accurate to an actual live performance? Same question, and same answer, I think. Sounds like real music, rather than a reproduction of same? I think that better describes where I come out. I'll watch the video at some point (sorry, I'm more of a reader than a video watcher unless it is truly visual-- I can watch someone eat up the Nürburgring but even with press conferences or panel discussions, I get more out of a transcript).

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          • #6
            I watched the rest of it- some additional observations:

            Herb's comments about wanting to hear the 'mic' struck me as odd at first, because to me, every mic has a coloration, its position is determinative, and the performer(s)' position relative to a mic greatly affects what you hear (which they discussed later). Herb then made a comment about not wanting to hear an image superimposed over what he was hearing, but Art, on the comeback, said spatial aspects are part of imaging (I agree) and they both left it there. (I'd add that superimposing an image sounds to me like artifice that isn't convincing; a good record shouldn't remind you that it is a reproduction unless that is intended--think of the 'Tannoy' voice on Aqualung- totally canned sounding, or the vocal on that Bad Brains record which were recorded over a jail phone- for effect-- "Sacred Love"). It ain't natural but it is meant to sound artificial as part of the composition and performance. (In the case of Bad Brains, I guess it was also timing- the singer was in jail for "herb" of a different sort).
            Much of what followed discussed the spatial aspects of the stage, width and height, which are, to be sure, part of the image. Herb chimes in with a "I want presence from the recording" (paraphrasing)- I assume he meant front to back depth, but presence could also mean "forward sounding" or very close mic'ing.
            Both seemed to dismiss pop music because of multi-mic'ing and manipulation; I think it was Herb who said he wanted to feel the location of the performers- they both then shifted to a discussion of mono recordings, and how much can be captured by a single mic. Herb talked about how changing his position while listening to Art play the guitar changed what he heard. (No surprise there).
            Art then referred to "recordists," which I take as an antiquated (and charming) term that speaks to the days when there were no multi-tracks and little to do by way of mixing or post-production- the job of the engineer/producer was simply to capture the sounds as best he/she could. I think this entire discussion puts us solely in the realm of acoustic instruments and minimalist engineering. I don't have an issue with that- some of the astounding records I've heard- classical and jazz-- were recorded this way, most of them older. (I know that some producers still do this for those genres today; a superb example is Chris Whitley's Dirt Floor, title track). But, I don't want to be so limited in my audio diet. I'm not going to reject a recording because it was done in a studio, multi-mic'd and manipulated. As that protege of Phil Ramone told me, it takes a lot of artifice to make something sound natural.
            At the same time, I'm not interested in sonics alone. I want to listen to the music I want to listen to-- which could range from very hard rock, to some outre stuff- psych/folk, or prog or some bizarre mix of psych/jazz/Eastern music. Think about that record a lot of us enjoy, both for the sonics and the music--Into the Labyrinth. If I am fully engaged, I'm not analyzing sound stage, image, or any other attribute--I'll get so involved in the music all that stuff is sort of beside the point and kind of transcends the immediate surroundings- I'm transported somewhere else. I don't think about the technical aspects at all if I'm fully engaged-- yes, I can have some WOW moments or 'goosebumps' but that has as much to do with the composition or performance as it does with the sonics. I have Toward the Within, the Dead Can Dance "live" album (an original early 4AD copy) that has some of these tracks, but can't remember how it sounds compared to the studio version. My point is simply that I don't have a problem with studio recordings that sound good if I like the music and it doesn't sound 'over-engineered' or 'over-produced.'
            I guess my take away is that they are talking about one aspect of what makes for good sound reproduction in the home. I'm just not sure I need to isolate that attribute from others in order to decide that the recording is "good" for my purposes. (Necessary but not sufficient? Or not even neccesary?)There are some recordings I have that put guitars in the room- it's a cool effect and makes the track more involving (e.g. the first May Blitz album, side 1, track 2, entitled "I Don't Know." The production was pretty bare bones, it was done in house at Philips in 1970, it certainly isn't "audiophile" but it it conveys an immediacy that is spectacular. (Sometimes, I get confused with "they are here" or "I am there" but it is a pretty convincing reproduction of unrestrained electric guitar psychedelic mayhem. Does it image well? What about the soundstage? Never even though of it in those terms.

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