Real Live Experience, Classics unplugged (Off Topic)

by soundcheck @, Germany, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 12:31 (4006 days ago)

Hi there.

Last night I was lucky to visit a real nice small classical concert.
It took place at a small church closeby my place.
Around 100 people showed up.

A chamber formation (3 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello 1 contrabass, 1 cembalo)
of the Young Philarmonic Orchestra Cologne, was presenting 4 seasons, a
Mozart piece and a Tchaikovsky piece for clarinet.

A russion guy called Dima Feinschmidt had the violin solo part.
He is one of these numerous very talented players.

I had the luck to get the very center seat in the first row. Strange though but the first row was the last unoccupied row when we entered the church. Nobody was sitting in front of me and my wife. Great.

Distance to the musicians were about 5-6m.

(Just to mention it: I think the average age of the audience was about 65.
Me and my wife felt like youngsters again! :grin: )

The overall performance was quite good and enjoyable.

Now: Why do I post this story! ( I could also bore you to death with Linux stories! :grin: )

I never really had a chance before, to compare Hifi at Home with live classical music in such a very realistic similar to "Home-Audio" setup.
( Don't take me wrong here! It was not my first classical concert I visited!)

I spent a couple of minutes to do analytic listening. ( I conducted even a blindtest!)

My impression. We are extremely close to real live reproduction. (Despite the sweet spot fact!)
Probably we're even overdoing it, with our strive for brutal dynamics and 3 dimensional pinpointing and endless deep and wide staging.
When it comes to the instruments, especially the contrabass is much less audible in a real live situation.

I had to conclude again, that it is just the poor way of recording today, which messes around with the sound. ( That's not acually new to us - right?)

The most obvious and enjoyable (audio) fact at the concert:
I did not hear any fingers scratching the strings, bow scraping, musicians breathing, paper turning and mainly all other nasty noises are gone when you listen to unplugged live-music even at a distance of 6m. The only sound which came to my attention were the moving valves of the clarinet around 4 m away from me! ( And an ambulance driving by the church.)

The performance in general just provides a silky, fluent and very emotional sense of music! (not too silky though! :wink: )

When it comes to the way of recording: I don't see any other way of realistic recording than using just one microphone.
nnearfield microphones just record sounds which nobody wants to listen to.
It just disturbes the overall performance!

Good to have quite some ONE-Mic recordings at home! :grin:

So far so good! I gotta get back to my Linux project.



Real Live Experience, Classics unplugged

by MirkoW @, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 15:58 (4006 days ago) @ soundcheck

Hi Klaus,

I have the same impression, which leads me to a question.

Why do you listen to stereo, if you? Have you tried listen to mono even if it is a "stereo recording"? Does it let you enjoy THE music better?

I would be interested to learn about your conclusion.

Cheers, Mirko


Real Live Experience, Classics unplugged

by soundcheck @, Germany, Monday, January 29, 2007, 19:33 (4005 days ago) @ MirkoW


Mono playback. Hmmh. I don't know. Might be a bit too drastic. :wink:

However - perhaps there is some thruth in it.

When reading last weekend about brutefir and its capabilities and applications, I came across a term called "cross talk cancelation filter".

Cross talk stereo effects are technical effects and not natural, just to create for us audio freaks a nice virtual stage.
In case an instrument stands on the left hand side you can hear it with both ears from the left side. Assuming there wouldn't be a reflection on the right side, there shouldn't be a sound coming from the right side.

This is not the case in technical stereo terms! You'll hear right hand sounds
on the left hand speaker, much quieter though.
You got two sound sources (I think they call it "dipoles") instead of one!

I read somewhere that when doing cross talk cancellation the soundstage becomes more realistic. I think that's not a really new subject. They use it pretty much when speakers are placed very close to each other.

Perhaps somebody else might help, if I mixed up the theory.



Real Live Experience, Classics unplugged

by Eddie @, Monday, January 29, 2007, 22:01 (4005 days ago) @ MirkoW

Hello Mirko, Klaus and others,

Hi Klaus,

I have the same impression, which leads me to a question.

Why do you listen to stereo, if you? Have you tried listen to mono even if
it is a "stereo recording"? Does it let you enjoy THE music better?

I would be interested to learn about your conclusion.

Cheers, Mirko

I was at a very good concert too on sunday afternoon. The famous Dutch cello player Pieter Wispelweij played three cello suites written by J.S. Bach. It was in a fully occupied concert hall of about 500 seats. We were sitting almost in the back. I was amazed of the sound level obtained by the cello, the distance must have been more than 20 meters but it was by all means loud enough. But to comment on the story of Klaus: "... at sufficient distance you do not hear fingers scratching the strings, bow s****ing, musicians breathing, paper turning ...". This is definitely true, but .... at such a distance also a lot of the fine nuances of the acoustical instruments are gone!:shame:

If you sit for example at the piano yourself, you press the right pedal and softly hit one key, then you hear a lot of other strings vibrating along, you hear resonances from the metal frame, the wooden enclosure. You can hear how the tones change tune while the sound level decreases. When you play regularly you hear that the instrument changes day by day etc. For other instruments similar remarks can be made, what about different reeds on a clarinet, different strings on a guitar, all the resonances you get from all parts of a large drum kit. This makes playing acoustical instruments such an exiting experience. My brother plays already almost 40 years in a large, high quality brass band. He is not impressed by my high-end equipment, it does not come close to what he hears while he is playing. Or, try to imagine a famous piano player giving a concert on a digital piano .....:no:

The explanation is straightforward. Frequencies above 5 kHz damp quite fast when propagating through air. Just put your ear very close to a tweeter and you will notice how much the sound changes. But, now the big question is, can we and/or do we want to have all these fine details when we listen late at night to a CD. Maybe not, it could be an overkill. Besides that I do not know what the state-of-the-art of the recording technology can bring.

Another point you mentioned is the bass weakness you experienced during a live concert. There are two factors that might influence this. First, we are used to listen in releatively small living rooms where standing waves can easily increase the bass level considerably. Second, the bass level in a concert hall often strongly depends on the position of the seat. At the front, with a lot of room behind you, it can be expected that the bass level is relatively low. This is a drawback of all concerts, you caNot tweak the conditions.

Now I would like to give my comment on Mirko's question about mono playback. I have a very good recording from Billy Holiday with a 6-man band of outstanding jazz musicians made in 1957. After playing it many times, and liking it very much because her voice sounds so extremely natural, I slowly got the feeling that there was something strange with this recording. So I looked in the booklet and found that it was mono!

The reason why I did not hear it before was because my attention was caught by the singing which was clearly heard in the centre with the orchestra in the background. Later when I listened to an individual instrument I heard that it was also placed exactly in the centre of the sound stage. Once you realize this the effect is rather strange especially when you change your attention from one instrument to the other.

A test that I made later was to lisen to this CD with only one loudspeaker. This was a big disappointment, the voice and all instrument were there, but the soundstage was not much more than a point. If you are used to the sound stage of a good stereo system than one-channel mono is an enormous step back in the sense of reproducing the live concert. Two-way mono is just acceptabel for incidental listening, but the sound of real stereo is much more enjoyable and can even be very close to the acoustic performance in a music hall.:clapping:

Kind regards,

PS Surround souns system are no good for music reproduction.




by PeterSt. ⌂ @, Netherlands, Thursday, February 01, 2007, 10:52 (4003 days ago) @ MirkoW
edited by unknown, Thursday, February 01, 2007, 11:02

Hi Mirko,

From the point of view that "an instrument is a mono source" (:secret:) this could be an interesting subject. There are a few things on my mind though, which you might think over (some things have been said (in)directly already by others).

First off, an instrument is IMO not a mono source. It's not stereo either. In the context of the subject it's a multi source. Take the cello as an example, and the whole (vibrating) cabinet produces the sound and timbre. For sure not only the "music slits" in it, and even those are large than a "point" *and* there are two of them. :cool:

Besides this, even a real point source -let's say a small flute- will never act as a point source in real life, because there will be reflections always. And they contribute to the sound.

Then there is the aspect of : it's kind of the other way around;
We have two ears, and those two ears have been created to locate a source. A bird in the field can be located by your ears, because you have two. With one you wouldn't be able to locate anything by means of its sound production, although to a certain extend you can because of your body senses too (and that is interpreted by the brain).

Actually, being able to listen to music (etc.) the way it was recorded (where is the singer, where is the piano, etc.), is a small miracle. For 100% sure it wasn't intended, because at the time sound recording was invented for sure this wasn't the idea behind it, not even when stereo was invented.
The "fact" that we are now able to see where instruments are, just came by itself, and it came with the improvement of quality (the quality of 25 years or so ago, is sufficient for that sensation).

With mono this is impossible.

The subject itself seems to allow for 4 speakers (formally quadrophony), but sadly that doesn't work, because sitting on the podium yourself as a listener, is hardly reality ever. With movies and the implied sounds it may do, *if* and only if it is about sounds like overhead aeroplanes and stuff like that.
Besides that, a center speaker is kind of the worst from all, because that immmplies mono really, and the spaciousness disappears with that. I mean, with normal stereo, and sounds which are intended to come from the middle, will come from the middle, unless the system is of poor quality.

On the risk of getting vague on the subject, one last step further is 3d spaciousness from even behind the listening place, with a two speaker system;
The beauty of this -when achieved- is, that whenever such a thing happens in music, it is natural, and you can sense it was intended. For this matter I'm not talking about QSound intentionally doing that (though created for headphones it works with a good system from speakers just the same), but about music in general, where nature forces this to happen.

The magic word is "nature", which phenomenon is used by myself more and more to achieve utmost playback. This obviously starts with passing through the music as exactly as possible as how it was stored on the source.

It is commonly known that two microphones are sufficient (if not best) to reproduce the image as how it was during recording.
Sidenote : ... while reflections from the recording studio / hall / church etc., should be passed through as well, and where I "state" that this is rather unrelated to the listening room where all is played back. This is a subject by itself I can (and will) workout further and further, with already enough proof to make it a physical law, although the contents of that law is unknown to me yet.

3d spaciousness is created with phaseshifts. Deliberately like with QSound, or by nature because there (during recording) it just happened.
Phase is the keyword to everything and once you have that right, the image will be correct.

Do note, no matter how unbelieveable this may sound :eek:, that when 3d spaciousness is working properly you can walk through the room and an instrument coming from, say, one meter behind you, 3 meters aside, will just stay at that position. Even when you walk behind that instrument. In fact you can walk around it.

Phase in a mono playback system, does not exist. There will be no image at all, there will be no spaciousness at all.
Phase in a stereo playback system, though the music recorded with one microphone, will have spaciousness, but no image. It could well be that any stereo playback system showing spaciousness from a mono recording, has phase problems (disalignment) within itself (or really bad reflections from the room).



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