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Thread: Live performance v HiFi

  1. #1
    Join Date: Oct 2018

    Location: Forest of Dean

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    I'm Gary.

    Default Live performance v HiFi

    This was inspired by various other threads about what people want from their system, something that is often mentioned is the system sounding like a live performance.

    I've been thinking about this and with one exception (Brit Floyd) if my system sounded like most of the gigs I've been to I'd bin it and buy a Bose Wave thingy.

    With the obvious exception of sheer volume most live gigs sound bloody awful, one that springs to mind for me was Alice Cooper at Bournmouth a few years ago, the sound was so bad that I genuinely struggled to tell what song was being performed it was simply sheer noise.

    People also rhapsodise about soundstage and being able to hear where individual instruments are, again at a live gig your eyes tell you where the performers are not your ears, although there are usually two speaker arrays (plus delay towers) the audience are unlikely to get any stereo imaging depending on where they're sitting/standing.

    So is the "live performance" analogy really a good one
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  2. #2
    Join Date: Jun 2014

    Location: Chorley Lancs

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    I'm Steve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaz View Post
    This was inspired by various other threads about what people want from their system, something that is often mentioned is the system sounding like a live performance.

    I've been thinking about this and with one exception (Brit Floyd) if my system sounded like most of the gigs I've been to I'd bin it and buy a Bose Wave thingy.

    With the obvious exception of sheer volume most live gigs sound bloody awful, one that springs to mind for me was Alice Cooper at Bournmouth a few years ago, the sound was so bad that I genuinely struggled to tell what song was being performed it was simply sheer noise.

    People also rhapsodise about soundstage and being able to hear where individual instruments are, again at a live gig your eyes tell you where the performers are not your ears, although there are usually two speaker arrays (plus delay towers) the audience are unlikely to get any stereo imaging depending on where they're sitting/standing.

    So is the "live performance" analogy really a good one
    No, I personally don't think it is. If you listen critically to a live performance you would find guitars and vocals sounding like the speakers are being overdriven, and the "soundstage" could be pretty much anything, and will change every time you get a beer or go to the bog. At one gig I went to (Happy Mondays at G-Mex Manchester) our location was such that the sound bouncing off the rear wall was louder than the sound source, the result was rather weird.

    The live "experience" is exciting, and can connect you with the performers, but no way would I want that in my living room (apart from a bit more bass "slam", I'd have a bit more of that).

    A bit like F1 cars - very exciting to drive (I imagine) on a race track, but using an F1 car to nip to the shops in or do the school run, not for me thanks.
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  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos

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    I'm Jerry.

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    Yes, very sound points.

    I've only been to a few non classical gigs, including Alice Cooper at Hammersmith decades ago.
    Yes, the sound quality was rubbish tbh - it was all about the atmosphere, being there, the visual aspects and on stage 'performance' and the staging/light show.

    It's different for classical and other non-amplified music - a lot of jazz, folky stuff etc - where a decent seat in a decent venue can sound fantastic and very much an experience to be sought after on a hifi system.

    But even there your point about imaging has a lot of validity- it's rare to have the pinpoint location that can be heard on a hifi.
    Jerry

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  4. #4
    Join Date: Aug 2008

    Location: Suffolk, UK

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    I'm Paul.

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    I saw a video on YT last week by PS Audio, I think it was. The chap said that stereo as a means to convey real life is very flawed. I agree with that and what I think people want when they say they want something as close to that real thing is colouration. When I listen to some coloured speakers or speakers that react with the room in a particular way they almost seem to be reconstructing the way that a live event reacts with its environment.
    ~Paul~

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2013

    Location: Barry, South Wales, UK

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    I'm Rich.

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    When I think of the term live performance I always imagined it to mean the instruments in an acoustic state wherever possible, be it a cello, drum kit or double bass. That's the sound I'd like to reproduce, not the big rig set up of a concert.

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  6. #6
    Join Date: Nov 2011

    Location: Seaton, Devon, UK

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    I'm Adrian.

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    I think how a live performance is record and what it is will make a major impact on the resulting recording. Just taking a feed off a mixing desk and some ambient mics to get audience participation is unlikely to get a very good result, unless the recording engineer is carefully when it is all set up and present when the recordings are made. I can think of several well recorded albums like Deep Purple - Made in Japan, Hawkwind - Space Ritual, both unusual as rock music is often poorly recorded live. Another stand out album which is not necessarily live but was effectively recorded that way without an audience is The Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Sessions, recorded in a church with one omnidirectional mic, a mic for the vocalist and the musicians all sat on the main mic in a circle, they just played the tracks live onto tape, the quality of the recording is outstanding.

    With respect to classical music once again I think it is a bit of a mixed bag, I have a couple of Mozart LP's where the recording is live and the sense of the orchestra on the stage is fantastic, presumably careful attention was made to microphone positioning to get a realistic soundstage and sense of space. But I have quite a few classical LP's that to be honest sound rather flat and they are mainly recorded in studios which is the opposite of what you would expect.

    I think where live recording comes into its own is Jazz. Standouts for me are the Eva Cassidy - Nightbird recordings, Hugh Masekala - Hope both exceptional recordings and superb music. there are numerous other jazz albums recorded live, IMO it suits the genre better giving it more immediacy.
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  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2018

    Location: Forest of Dean

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    I'm Gary.

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    Some very valid points made.

    I've never been to a classical or acoustic style concert but can appreciate the points made about those
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    Project Debut II
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    Epos M5s
    Atacama Stands
    Maplin speaker cable cos I can't hear a difference
    Various interconnects as above

  8. #8
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

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    I'm Grant.

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    more for me like the person is in the room as opposed to a live performance. often to do with placement etc. although ive heard a few great live gigs, they dont sound great generally on an aural level.
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  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Sheffield - UK

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    I'm Mark.

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    The most you can ever hope to achieve is authenticity/accuracy to the recording. If the recording is capable of capturing a ‘live’ recording then there is a chance that it can be played back but, if not, then the Hi-Fi can’t magically create that which isn’t there in the first place.

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  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

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    I'm Geoff.

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    The sound system went down at a Clive Gregson gig I attended a while back. The venue (Greystones, Sheffield) is an intimate space, so Clive climbed down from the stage and into the middle of the room and performed acoustically for the rest of the show. Even though this venue has a very good sound system (and resident engineer) the acoustic part of the show was pretty special.

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