View Full Version : brass bands

14-11-2008, 19:01
like to hear views from anyone listening to brass bands,and hi fi gear they use

14-11-2008, 19:09
Err.... :uhho:

14-11-2008, 19:15
Hi there NormMC, and welcome...

Brass is a pretty stretching sound, I know what you mean. I've been really disappointed with how some of the brass stuff I've got on vinyl sounded on my old turntable and am working to get a better TT system to handle it, and other stuff I've got of course (I'm not personally a massive brass fan). It's easy for things to sound shrill and edgy though. Hopefully someone else here might be able to help!

Ali Tait
14-11-2008, 19:48
I'd say that if your system can reproduce brass bands well,then it must be pretty sorted! A difficult thing to reproduce well IMHO.

14-11-2008, 20:11
Any tracks that you guys can recommend I listen to? I haven't tried my DAC out on brass bands, but it seems to be worth doing so.

Spectral Morn
14-11-2008, 23:06
At least Normmc has had a more friendly response here than on another forum. I suggested to him that this was a more friendly forum . Thanks guys for not letting me down much,shian 7 you have let me down,a bit. I know brass isn't for everyone and I am not a fan myself but lets be kind. I know Normmc and he is going to bring some of his music round and I will get to hear how my kit fares with what is a very system testing genre. I will report on how it does. I remember years ago before I had good kit certain things would up set my gear, I hope my set up passes this test.

Regards D S D L

14-11-2008, 23:23
,shian 7 you have let me down,a bit. I know brass isn't for everyone and I am not a fan myself but lets be kind.

My apolpogies....

I was mainly trying to convey the difficulty in reproducing such a challenging instrument....


14-11-2008, 23:25
Don't worry about Mike - he just likes using that biscuit-face gif wherever and whenever he can!

Ali Tait
14-11-2008, 23:27
Don't have any recordings myself,but I'd be interested in hearing some.I think a good recording of a brass band would be quite an experience on the right system.

14-11-2008, 23:28
Hi D,

I think Mike was just taken aback by Normmc's rather unusual first post - he certainly wouldn't have meant any disrespect. Mike's not like that :)

Anyway, welcome Normmc - you discuss whatever you want, my friend. You won't get any problems here :)

I also agree that big band music is very hard for a hi-fi system to reproduce accurately!


14-11-2008, 23:46
I know this is probably considered sacrilegious amongst both brass fans and hi-fi aficionados, but I'm amongst friends so here goes...


It's actually a rather wonderful collection of Carole King, Melanie and - the reason I bought it, from the States, for more postage than it cost to buy the actual item - Laura Nyro, 'their best songs in Brass'. It's an 8-track, but NOS and plays nicely on my Realistic 8-track deck, albeit 8-track often sounds compressed even on a decent player.

There's lots of good - odd - cover stuff out there from the 70's. I've another Laura Nyro album of arrangements by Ron Frangipane which is very brass orientated.


This is the one that I'm looking forward to hearing on my Lenco when it's finished.

Laura's music, coming out of the Brill Building sound, was always big on brass. The reel to reels I have of her stuff sound better than the CDs as far as the brass is concerned - analogue handles it better IMO.

Spectral Morn
14-11-2008, 23:50
Hi guys

Thank you. Just after suggesting norm come to AOS, I felt that gif was a bit off putting for someone who is a complete forum virgin. I thank you on his behalf for your kind response, boy this place is so much nicer than that other place. I think that many people react badly to Brass music. I must admit the first time I heard norm's music. My first thought was to get up and flee, this was a bit of a problem as I was in his house to help him find a system to suit a genre of music I knew nothing about except for a prejudice against it. Well with a lot of visits to norms house he has begun to break down that dislike I had. The power and majesty and emotion that this music can create is amazing. Norm has a great ear for how instruments should sound. I must confess to not being able to do this with brass(anything else yes but not brass).

The ability of a system to do this right is no mean feat and I will leave it to norm to discuss this on the forum but I think he is hoping to find a kindred spirit or two here ? as I have with john(who likes similar stuff to me).

Regards and best wishes D S D L

15-11-2008, 00:05
It's certainly an interesting area. I've got jazz stuff - sax, primarily, which sounds fine, but it's the more 'big band' sound that seems to stretch. I guess it's reeds versus horns and the horns are the challenging bit. Be interested to hear Norm's thoughts, and a bit about what variety of brass he's into - all brass not being the same ;)

Spectral Morn
15-11-2008, 00:10
This is norm's passion, his love and I am sure he will love to teach us about it.

Regards D S D L

pure sound
15-11-2008, 00:28
Last year I was asked by my sister in law, who runs choirs, to record a concert one of those choirs was giving in a nice, quite large church in Portishead. Also on the 'bill' was a young solo pianist and the Portishead town band. I used a pair of crossed AKG C3000B's directly into a Tascam CD recorder flown about 9 ft up in the air just in front of the centre of the stage.

the band were capable (especially in the front row) of developing tremendous dynamic swings.

Ther only thing I've heard that is capable of reproducing most of what was recorded are the horn speakers I use. Everything else tends to fall apart long before reaching the levels the band were playing at. Not just that the tone of the instruments gets altered significantly too.

Such music really is a serious challenge & its handy to have recordings you were actually at to make reference to.

Even a relatively cheap pair of microphones and a simple CD Recorder can give surprisingly good results.

16-11-2008, 08:30
Living in the Lancashire/ Yorkshire border region, brass bands are almost a way of life. Most of the collierys used to have a brass band associated with them (and still do) Almost every village or small town also has its own brass band.

From a personal viewpoint its a sound I generally like, its always a sound that "feels like home"

What I dislike about brass is when it is used to play a classical symphony or modern popular music, for me it just does not do it, however well thought out "brass music" composed by people from a brass band background for me can be a fantastic sound, dynamic, moody, gentle or full balls out!!!! .....its just a good sound and so difficult to reproduce with an real accuracy

16-11-2008, 09:41
For general tone of Brass, rather than the full on band sound try the Dennis Brain recordings of the Mozart Horn Concertos. For full on brass band anything from the 70's and 80's issues from Briggus, GUS,or Black Dyke that is more band than popular or classical centric. Any system that can keep the edge of brass, without the forced ''sparkle'' (screech?), and highlight a soprano cornet without setting your teeth on edge has something going for it.

(former tenor horn and soprano player- long since lost the lip)

16-11-2008, 16:34
The administrator has decided that Colin should be quiet for a while.


Can someone explain please?

16-11-2008, 17:32
What I dislike about brass is when it is used to play a classical symphony or modern popular music, for me it just does not do it, however well thought out "brass music" composed by people from a brass band background for me can be a fantastic sound, dynamic, moody, gentle or full balls out!!!! .....its just a good sound and so difficult to reproduce with an real accuracy

I love the sound of the Beethoven Funeral March at the Whitehall Remembrance Sunday ceremony though.

My Quads, in spite of the dB limitations, are excellent at reproducing brass band.

16-11-2008, 17:52

Can someone explain please?

Why not ask Colin? :)


Steve Toy
16-11-2008, 19:05
I think Colin's post should appear.

Steve Toy
16-11-2008, 19:27
I think Colin's post should appear.

16-11-2008, 21:25
Who's Colin?

16-11-2008, 21:47
Colin (Dudywoxer, as he's known on the Wam) - check the member's list :)


You'll need to ask his permission.


Spectral Morn
17-11-2008, 18:59
Hi Guys

I went round to Norm's house this afternoon to have a listen to his system and some of his music. Well I have to say that I liked what I heard. I would certainly not be put off listening to Brass. He played a number of Bands the ones I can remember are Corry and The black dyke band(I think thats right, If I am wrong, Norm will correct me). Wow the power and dynamics were breathtaking. The one thing that was very interesting was that one recording(which norm does not like) was suffering from dynamic compression and loudness. Heck I thought this was only to be found in pop/rock recordings(such as the horrible Metallica Cd). It was lifeless, flat,distant and compared to the others he played which were open and fabulous, this cd was pure crap, bar one track which was better but still not as good as the others he played.

Hes coming round on Wed so it will be Interesting to see how my kit does with the same recordings.

Regards D S D L :)

17-11-2008, 19:20

that would be difficult, since I seem to have been sort of banned, unsure what for though, unless it was the hi-fi world comment.

I can assure you that you haven't been banned. If you're experiencing difficulties let me know what they are and I'll sort it out. I've sent you an email regarding this matter :)


17-11-2008, 20:41
As I was trying to say before something technical, got technical, for the tome of a brass instrument try the Dennis Brain recordings of the Mozart Horn Concerto's. For some real Brass Band stuff look out anything from Briggus, GUS, and Black Dyke recorded in the 70's and 80's thats 'band' centric rather than classical or 'MORE' type stuff. The range and wings are system testers. The edge of brass can easily become a glare.

(and ex soprano cornet and tenor horn player whoose 'lip' has long since gone)

Thanks Rob

17-11-2008, 20:47
Good to see you back with us, Colin :)


17-11-2008, 20:52
Thanks Rob

My pleasure buddy, not a clue what happened there! :confused: :scratch:

Glad you're back with us mate. :)

Spectral Morn
19-11-2008, 18:24
HI Guys

Well Norm came round this afternoon and had a listen to my system, which he liked. However he came to an awareness of the short comings of digital, even very expensive digital. Ever since I have known Norm He has been trying to improve the reproduction of brass bands on his system. He has always be keenly aware of the differences and in deed deficiencies of trying to do that, as we all are. Today he and I once again heard how poor red book digital is at capturing and reproducing the subtle things that make a recording come alive(all be it that will always be limited compared to real life, until some one invents away of doing it).

After playing a number of cd's Norm asked to hear my TT, he had brought some Brass on vinyl and I put on his Chandos lp of the Black Dyke Band(he knows them very well and all the things that go to make this band/musicians sound as they do). Within seconds he looked over and said that sounds real, and that was despite the clicks and pops. The instruments had a depth, harmonic and textural quality that the cd just did not have. It was like cooking fresh vegetables compared to frozen ones the flavour was eroded.
I think everyone has heard how poor digital destroys the sounds of cymbals and the like. The air and shimmer, plus the decay is missing and what your left with is flat and dead(a friend calls this dustbin lids).

He had vinyl in the past but abandoned it because of surface noise. Today he and I had a reminder that everything that is new does not always offer an improvement. I have heard all this before but it took some one who understands how particular instruments sound (cornets etc) to make it really clear that digitally reproduced instruments( this goes for recording too) can and indeed do sound like cardboard cut outs and lack the life of the real thing. I know that piano enthusiasts also struggle to find a set up and kit that does justice to this harmonics rick instrument as well.

Analogue isn't perfect but it does a much better job of preserving the flavour of all types of acoustic instruments. Today it was the equivalent of dining in two restaurants, one the very best food, the other out of a plastic box with the instruction heat and serve.

Vinyl Rules.

Regards D S D L :)

19-11-2008, 18:30
Sometimes I like to listen to some of that crazy Eastern European brass music, really tests the system but have to be in the mood

20-11-2008, 16:03
thanks to all for their input on brass bands.It has been a long time since I listened to vinyl,Thanks to D.Louth I was able to do so.There is a lot to like about the music vinyl creates But I cant get bye the crackles and pops.What A good system D.Louth has I thank him for the time I spent listening to it.On the cd side I may content myself to listening to cd of brass bands that I enjoy as some cd are poorly recorded and this was backed up by D.Louths more supperior system.Thank you again for your comments normmc