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Thread: What is the art of sound?

  1. #191
    MartinT Guest

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    I'm not sure I agree with that, Nat. Yes there are expensive but narrow paths (such as some single-ended valve amps) but there are also some great high end products of universal appeal.

    It's all about system design and construction, working with the room and your music. I would hate to build a system that only suited certain kinds of music.

  2. #192
    Join Date: Apr 2013

    Location: Aotearoa New Zealand

    Posts: 119
    I'm Craig.

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    Detail for the sake of detail? Not me.
    Zero colourations and lifeless? Yeah nah!
    Toes tapping, head bobbing, eyebrows going up and down, bum wiggling and singing along badly( after 3 too many ) My Oath!
    Don't really know how to explain my style of listening, apart from thinking its more like being 5 rows back from the stage rather than sitting in front of the monitors and watching the band through the window

  3. #193
    Join Date: Apr 2014

    Location: Dumfries & Galloway

    Posts: 14
    I'm Ian.

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    Interesting thread. Here's my take, and I apologise if this has already been said better by someone else.

    Music is a puzzle. I have no idea why humans can get so much emotional pleasure from listening to it. But we do. We don't all get the same pleasure from the same music, however, so there is inevitably an enormous subjective element in the enjoyment of music which makes analysing the pleasure we get from it even harder.

    When it comes to the hardware we use to replay recorded music, pursuit of objective fidelity is desirable, and not to be scoffed at. However, the concept of fidelity has an irreducibly subjective component, because we're trying to create a emotional response. What works for me might not work for you, etc. This means there is huge scope for snake oil purveyors, because we can and do fool ourselves. The placebo effect is real. Vigilance against irresponsible foo is necessary and desirable, then, but there are bound to be areas where it's really hard to say what's foo and what isn't. (There have been several occasions over the years when I've 'upgraded' through several steps and convinced myself that my system's never sounded better, only to swop back to a much older system configuration for some unforeseen reason, to discover that the old system didn't in fact suck, as I'd expected, but actually gave more pleasure than the new one.) To sum up, neither unqualified objectivism nor unqualified subjectivism can be allow to stand. We all just have to muddle through, hoping to enjoy what we hear and trying not to be ripped off in the process. The message I take from all this is that a little humility is essential in any attempt to discuss what we hear.

    We also need to remember that listening to recorded music involves the imagination - we hear sounds emitted by an audio system, and we imagine we are hearing people singing, instruments playing etc. If all goes well, we get the emotional pleasure we sought.

    What this implies, of course, is that people who can enjoy music fully via lo-fi reproduction have superior ability to recreate a musical experience imaginatively compared to those who enjoy music most via hi-fi. I therefore regard my own hi-fi habit as sign of a kind of musical disability, and I try to remember this any time I post on a hi-fi forum.
    Last edited by irb; 03-07-2014 at 15:14.

  4. #194
    Join Date: Feb 2008

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    I'm NotTakingLifeTooSeriouslyTheseDays.

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    Good post Ian!
    A...
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  5. #195
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

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    Excellent post, Ian. I agree with much of it!

    Marco.
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    Turntable: Heavily-modified Technics SL-1210MK5G [Mike New bearing/ETP platter/Paul Hynes SR7 PSU & reg mods]. Funk Firm APM Achromat/Nagaoka GL-601 Crystal Record Weight/Isonoe feet & boots/Ortofon RS-212D/Denon DL-103GL in Denon PCL-300 headshell with Funk Firm Houdini/Kondo SL-115 pure-silver cartridge leads.

    Paul Hynes MC head amp/SR5 PSU. Also modded Lentek head amp/Denon AU-310 SUT.

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  6. #196
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 26,381
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irb View Post
    Interesting thread. Here's my take, and I apologise if this has already been said better by someone else.

    Music is a puzzle. I have no idea why humans can get so much emotional pleasure from listening to it. But we do. We don't all get the same pleasure from the same music, however, so there is inevitably an enormous subjective element in the enjoyment of music which makes analysing the pleasure we get from it even harder.

    When it comes to the hardware we use to replay recorded music, pursuit of objective fidelity is desirable, and not to be scoffed at. However, the concept of fidelity has an irreducibly subjective component, because we're trying to create a emotional response. What works for me might not work for you, etc. This means there is huge scope for snake oil purveyors, because we can and do fool ourselves. The placebo effect is real. Vigilance against irresponsible foo is necessary and desirable, then, but there are bound to be areas where it's really hard to say what's foo and what isn't. (There have been several occasions over the years when I've 'upgraded' through several steps and convinced myself that my system's never sounded better, only to swop back to a much older system configuration for some unforeseen reason, to discover that the old system didn't in fact suck, as I'd expected, but actually gave more pleasure than the new one.) To sum up, neither unqualified objectivism nor unqualified subjectivism can be allow to stand. We all just have to muddle through, hoping to enjoy what we hear and trying not to be ripped off in the process. The message I take from all this is that a little humility is essential in any attempt to discuss what we hear.

    We also need to remember that listening to recorded music involves the imagination - we hear sounds emitted by an audio system, and we imagine we are hearing people singing, instruments playing etc. If all goes well, we get the emotional pleasure we sought.

    What this implies, of course, is that people who can enjoy music fully via lo-fi reproduction have superior ability to recreate a musical experience imaginatively to those who enjoy music most via hi-fi. I therefore regard my own hi-fi habit as sign of a kind of musical disability, and I try to remember this any time I post on a hi-fi forum.
    What an excellent post Ian! I think you have hit the nail on the head there.

    Well done.
    Barry

  7. #197
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: Surrey

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    I'm Mike.

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    Well put Ian, particularly

    Music is a puzzle
    TAD CD / DAC / Pre, Technics 1210, MCRU PSU, Mike New Bearing & Platter, Stillpoints LP1 weight, Speedy Steve Ebony armboard, Fidelity Research FR64FX arm, Ortofon SPU. Aurorasound VIDA Phono Pre Amp, TAD Power Amp, TAD E1 speakers. Coherent RTZ 3 Grounding box, Coherent grounding cables, Creaktiv racks. Coherent Mains Cables. SR Blue Fuse. Interconnects : Coherent and Yannis 223.5 Connect Litz. Coherent speaker cable. Audio Magic Transcendence Conditioner. Coherent mains socket. Mains Filters : , PS Audio Harvesters, Russ Andrews Purifiers, Tacima, Vertex. Black Ravioli and RDC supports. Electric Beach S1NX platforms for TAD CD and Technics. Ferrite chokes everywhere except the above. Ears, brain

    Mike

  8. #198
    Join Date: Nov 2014

    Location: Torquay,Devon

    Posts: 58
    I'm peter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Toy View Post
    We believe that the actual process of selecting components and their ancilliaries before assembling and setting them up to make a system through which we can enjoy listening to music is more an art than science. Like with any art an element of technical expertise is of course essential. Just as painters need to master the techniques of mixing paint and putting brush to paper before they can create a masterpiece, the components chosen to deliver music into your home will have been well designed and engineered by by experts with considerable technical prowess.

    However, whilst favourable measurements taken of THD, dynamic range, power output, current delivery, slew rates, impedance, sensitivity (and whatever else we can actually measure) can be used to support your reasons for choosing a particular piece of kit, these arbitrary measurements will never be able to substitute what your ears and your own judgement can tell you regarding the effectiveness of the components in delivering enjoyable music into your listening environment. If you choose your kit relying solely on such measurements, the end result is unlikely to be particularly inspiring.

    Therefore, such a faculty for discernment using yor ears is vital to the success of building the kind of system that, with the right kind of music, will move you to tears, plant a big grin on your face, get your feet tapping and/or keep your attention for any length of time. If you do not place much importance on the process of actually listening for yourself and making your choices based on what you hear then perhaps there are other sites that will meet your needs better than this one.

    Because of the very subjective nature of The Art of Sound, it is inevitable that for different people there will be different points of departure for how they would like their hi-fi system ultimately to transport them to their musical nirvana. These starting points outlined below are just that - starting points, for surely all of us would want absolutely everything from a system without compromise if such a thing were ever possible. As such the starting points listed below are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive so you are free to add to or combine them in any way you see fit:

    1) Playing the tune or tunes. Components are selected on their ability to make more sense of different melodies, how they fit together in time and generally give the greatest possible insight into the musical performance. The method used to make the selection is often refered to as "the tune dem."

    2) Recreating (or getting close to) life-like dynamics, scale and visceral impact. If you are a regular concert-goer you may seek a system that can recreate the drama and thrill of the live band at the arena or the orchestra in the concert hall.

    3) Detail retrieval. You want to extract the last tiny little drop of detail embedded in those silver or black discs.

    4) You want to listen to your system all day long without experiencing listener fatigue. For you tonal accuracy, low coloration and distortion are very important.

    Me, I fall into the first category although I seek elements of the other three in my system. People often think of Linn/Naim when tune or timing are mentioned. Some will even argue that there is no such thing as musicality/tunefulness and that it is just a marketing ploy touted by the aforementioned manufacturers and their brand-loyal followers. For me it is simply a way of evaluating kit, especially as there are a lot of manufacturers out there that excel in this area and it is by no means a foregone conclusion as to which brands or products are likely to be chosen using the tune dem method.

    For tune dem read also deriving the greatest insight into the musical performance.
    This has got to be the most sensible thing I have read about Hi Fi - thanks for the insight
    Peter

  9. #199
    Join Date: Nov 2014

    Location: Torquay,Devon

    Posts: 58
    I'm peter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irb View Post
    Interesting thread. Here's my take, and I apologise if this has already been said better by someone else.

    Music is a puzzle. I have no idea why humans can get so much emotional pleasure from listening to it. But we do. We don't all get the same pleasure from the same music, however, so there is inevitably an enormous subjective element in the enjoyment of music which makes analysing the pleasure we get from it even harder.

    When it comes to the hardware we use to replay recorded music, pursuit of objective fidelity is desirable, and not to be scoffed at. However, the concept of fidelity has an irreducibly subjective component, because we're trying to create a emotional response. What works for me might not work for you, etc. This means there is huge scope for snake oil purveyors, because we can and do fool ourselves. The placebo effect is real. Vigilance against irresponsible foo is necessary and desirable, then, but there are bound to be areas where it's really hard to say what's foo and what isn't. (There have been several occasions over the years when I've 'upgraded' through several steps and convinced myself that my system's never sounded better, only to swop back to a much older system configuration for some unforeseen reason, to discover that the old system didn't in fact suck, as I'd expected, but actually gave more pleasure than the new one.) To sum up, neither unqualified objectivism nor unqualified subjectivism can be allow to stand. We all just have to muddle through, hoping to enjoy what we hear and trying not to be ripped off in the process. The message I take from all this is that a little humility is essential in any attempt to discuss what we hear.

    We also need to remember that listening to recorded music involves the imagination - we hear sounds emitted by an audio system, and we imagine we are hearing people singing, instruments playing etc. If all goes well, we get the emotional pleasure we sought.

    What this implies, of course, is that people who can enjoy music fully via lo-fi reproduction have superior ability to recreate a musical experience imaginatively compared to those who enjoy music most via hi-fi. I therefore regard my own hi-fi habit as sign of a kind of musical disability, and I try to remember this any time I post on a hi-fi forum.
    Big puzzler for me Ian is why my wife doesnt particularly like any form of music and certainly not why I have to have kit that enables me to enjoy it. Great post
    Peter

  10. #200
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: United Kingdom

    Posts: 2,193
    I'm Richard.

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    I remember reading many years ago, round about the time Andre Previn and others were extolling the virtues of pretty average hifi, that these musicians carry the performance around in their heads, so only need a reminder of how it sounds. Whereas us mortals need all the help we can get.
    As I can hear the difference between mains cables, I obviously need more help than most.
    ABD.

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