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viren bakhshi

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Hi,

Here's a quote from Jonathan Valin covering the CES in AVGuide:

"Of course, the excellence of Andrew Jones' $65k TAD Reference One is scarcely a surprise. Like the Anats, these speakers are, to me, the quintessence of great hi-fi. They have absolutely killer dynamics, sensational low-level resolution, wonderful soundstaging, and gorgeous timbre. All they don't have (or at least haven't in the past to my ear) is the breath of life.

"I'm going to be writing about this in the future because it is an interesting subject, but in a nutshell here's the conundrum: The way we review things--bass, midrange, treble, dynamics, resolution, soundstaging, etc.--you would think that more of everything in each of these categories would add up to greater realism. However, that isn't the case. Although bits and pieces of these things are necessary for a lifelike sound, those bits and pieces are highly select. In other words, achieving a convincing semblance of the absolute sound isn't simply an additive process; otherwise, the most detailed amp or speaker would always be the most realistic--and it ain't.

"Now, i'm saying these things about the Reference One, but I could be saying them about virtually every speaker I heard at CES. Almost all of the best of them sounded overly dark, almost all of the best of them were audiophile-laundry-list champeens. But very very very few of them sounded "real" rather than hi-fi."

What surprises me is not the content, which I have known for a long time, but that a prominent reviewer admits to the fact!

Regards,
Viren
 

suri

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Hi,

Here's a quote from Jonathan Valin covering the CES in AVGuide:

"Of course, the excellence of Andrew Jones' $65k TAD Reference One is scarcely a surprise. Like the Anats, these speakers are, to me, the quintessence of great hi-fi. They have absolutely killer dynamics, sensational low-level resolution, wonderful soundstaging, and gorgeous timbre. All they don't have (or at least haven't in the past to my ear) is the breath of life.

"I'm going to be writing about this in the future because it is an interesting subject, but in a nutshell here's the conundrum: The way we review things--bass, midrange, treble, dynamics, resolution, soundstaging, etc.--you would think that more of everything in each of these categories would add up to greater realism. However, that isn't the case. Although bits and pieces of these things are necessary for a lifelike sound, those bits and pieces are highly select. In other words, achieving a convincing semblance of the absolute sound isn't simply an additive process; otherwise, the most detailed amp or speaker would always be the most realistic--and it ain't.

"Now, i'm saying these things about the Reference One, but I could be saying them about virtually every speaker I heard at CES. Almost all of the best of them sounded overly dark, almost all of the best of them were audiophile-laundry-list champeens. But very very very few of them sounded "real" rather than hi-fi."

What surprises me is not the content, which I have known for a long time, but that a prominent reviewer admits to the fact!

Regards,
Viren

AIYYO!

i am going for sanyas!
 

arj

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Very true Viren. in fact this even boils down to the recording.
These days we have 5-20 microphones for recording the "instruments" and then the recording engineer plays god and mixes it as his view of music

earlier it was 2 microphones which recorded Music as by the musician(s) and the recording. I recently tried out the Beatles mono recordin reissues...they were a breadth of fresh air ..and one does not even care if it is mono/stereo
 

Asit

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All they don't have (or at least haven't in the past to my ear) is the breath of life.

Now the question is: what is the life that the reviewer is talking about?

When a musician starts performing (at least in the context of Indian classical music), for the initial few minutes, the musician is not fully settled. May be the sitting position is not fully comfortable, may be there is not enough feedback from the monitors etc. But after a few minutes, when the artiste is fully settled and completely immersed in the music, it is a sense of unexplainable joy. Every movement, every note is taken with a lot of LOVE, and nothing else in the world matters anymore, very exclusive.

Now as the listener is listening to this music, it is this LOVE that is actually touching him, embracing him.

Regardless of price, bass, treble, soundstage or whatever else we may talk about, the first requirement of listening is this LOVE that the artistes performing are making the music with. The listener has to get that message. This is why the listener does not have to be very technical about music, he or she just have to have a heart to receive the love that is being distributed.

Ravi Shankar has written in his Bengali autobiography something like this: the more love I put into music, the more of it I get back in return from the audience.

Those of you who have heard Begum Akhtar live would know that her singing would touch you in a very personal way. It seemed as if she was performing just for me, although there were an auditorium-full of people.

A good system should do the same. It should not matter if it costs 1 paise or 1 crore. I hope this is the LIFE that the reviewer is talking about.

On the other hand, since making of these audio equipments involves engineering science, there are certain parameters that one has to rely on for its design, construction and finally an evaluation. However, musical appreciation is the ultimate tool as elaborated above. If the listener does not have any musical appreciation, it becomes diifficult for him/her to evaluate a system. But otherwise, there should not be any confusion.

Regards.
 

psychotropic

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hey Viren, this is an interesting post, but what I (as something of a neophyte) would like to know is what this 'life' is? At the end of the day the reproductoin of sound is a mechanical process and full of measurable and tangible characteristics and paramters, so this 'life' must also have a paramater or characteristic that can be reference right? Or am I wrong?

If this has not been references, can you at least describe it? I know you guys are saying "like a live performance" but then studio recordings are not live performances, so then how can a studio recording sound like a live performance?

Can these components that possess this "life" make studio recordings sound like live performances? Aren't they being untrue to the source then?
 

odyssey

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Maybe I can take a stab at this -
Art itself is a potrayal of something that artist feels/wants to convey. Music falls very much into this category. I read "life" as in conveying an emotional aspect or emotional involvement...I guess its hard to describe. To some extent this may be a personal thing too, though when I have heard setups that I feel convey this very well, I often found most of the people (in the room) agreeing with this. I dont know about measurements but micro-details is one aspect that falls into what makes a system convey emotionality (the nuances), yes there are many other aspects too but I point this one out as its one often overlooked one in the pursuit for bigger and more macro dynamic sound/systems. I had one big western classical audiophile who visited us a few months back (his setup is probably worth more than half our inventory :) he played a certain piece and told me that the test of a system (for him) is the ability to move him to tears (that particular track). To him that is about a system that breathes.

cheers
 

anilva

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Good thread. There seems to be no end to pusuit of perfect reproduced sound. Sometimes it is good to be ignorant - have a decent system, which YOU think is quite good and be done with it. We all continue to burn money, time and family harmony for that .0001% extra...obviously we are helpless with this BUG.

Picking on Sridhar's experience of a western classical audiophile waiting to be moved to tears through a hifi system seems to be a 'western experience' (not belittling that expectation one bit..). Listen to any great Indian classical singer/artist - Hindustani or Carnatic, render their song with passion, one tends to be touched and gets goose pimples, even if the system is a simple cassette deck...and not a fancy McIntosh...listen to MS (and there are many many more artists) render her devotional songs and see what I mean.

Cheers.
 

thevortex

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Maybe I can take a stab at this -
Art itself is a potrayal of something that artist feels/wants to convey. Music falls very much into this category. I read "life" as in conveying an emotional aspect or emotional involvement...I guess its hard to describe. To some extent this may be a personal thing too, though when I have heard setups that I feel convey this very well, I often found most of the people (in the room) agreeing with this. I dont know about measurements but micro-details is one aspect that falls into what makes a system convey emotionality (the nuances), yes there are many other aspects too but I point this one out as its one often overlooked one in the pursuit for bigger and more macro dynamic sound/systems. I had one big western classical audiophile who visited us a few months back (his setup is probably worth more than half our inventory :) he played a certain piece and told me that the test of a system (for him) is the ability to move him to tears (that particular track). To him that is about a system that breathes.

cheers

I agree one hundred percent, Sridhar.

And Anilva - I guess one can substitute one's own preferences and predilections in that example. Some may enjoy the bhakti 'bhava', others might like pathos. Others might like effervescence. It is, in that sense as well, personal.
 

sidvee

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I concur with JV's conclusion - hi end audio is one thing, but utter musicality is another thing entirely, at least IMHO. Of-course a lot of it has to do with ones perception, but usually musical products do not appeal to a lot of folks looking for hi-fi attributes - soundstage pinpoint imaging etc.
Cheers
Sid
 

Kamal

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Interesting thread!
In fact, this is an issue which, methinks ,needs to be brought up now & then so as to keep our focus solidly on the essentials in our hobby.
I quite agree with what Asit has written in his post-in fact ,I had briefly touched on this aspect in my listening impressions of the Lyrita Amity speakers.
Great artistes have often said that when they are deeply immersed in a performance, they feel the presence of God.
This emphasises how every particle of their being is immersed in the emotion of their art while they are performing-the art & the artist become one, & a truly appreciative listener is also totally immersed in the experience, with every particle of his being.
When you are witnessing a live performance from close enough quarters( I'm reminded here of some Indian classical music performances that I've been privileged to attend, to try to convey my thoughts on the issue), or a good video of the performance, you have another sensory input, the visual one for conveyance of the emotion/the Joy/the Love, as Asit has put it, of the performance.You can see the transported expression on the face, maybe the sparkle of tears in the corner of the eye, the body language of the artiste & of the accompanying artistes, to reinforce the auditory cues.
But in a purely auditory experience like listening to a performance on a music system,it is the capability of the system chain to also faithfully convey the subtle nuances in the performance,the little details, that Odyssey has put so well in his post , which is crucial in an emotionally involving listening experience.When a system can do that, the tears will come.So you need the overall tonal balance,the macro & micro dynamics,high resolution,imaging etc plus ingredient X, the ability to pull out the low level details that are so important to convey the emotion;these may be very slight variations in the pitch, intensity,spacing/pauses, seemigly dissonant breaks in the voice/tone....
I'm reminded here of the habit of Ustad Vilayat Khan saheb of very softly humming along when deeply immersed in the exploration of a bandish.He hums very softly & sometimes, his voice breaks while humming-that conveys his emotion so poignantly!
I'm also reminded here of a long discussion I had a few days ago with Shaizada, in Cal, USA.
When I asked him to compare his Omega Hemps single driver speakers with the Wilson Alexandria's of his friend. he said that the Alexandrias do everything so right, they're so Hifi but the Omegas' are Music....
 

suri

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hi viren - I GOT THIS - i have seen the light on my way to vanvas and sanyas and i am returning (heeding thevortex's words) - the whole thing has become very clear to me - I KNOW WHAT THIS "LIFE" IS!

and anybody who has heard sonus faber (i have heard Guarneri Memento and liuto wood and audioengr has heard almost all of them) and viren's lyrita (i have heard lyrita harmony one) will know this truth - BOTH THESE SPEAKER SYSTEMS ALLOW THEIR CABINETS A DEGREE OF CONTROLLED RESONANCE, UNLIKE THOSE SPEAKERS THAT MR. VALIN REFERRED TO - this gives them their life!

EUREKA!

i feel like the buddha must have felt under that peepul tree so many years back!:)
 

stevieboy

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the one thing that springs to mind is how many a classical music reviwer reviews pianists or a violinist. they fall into two categories, those who are technically proficient indeed highly proficient and those who are not only technically proficient but add life to the score being played.

the first category is like systems that do everything 'right' in their subdivided parts of treble, midrange, bass, soundstage etc. the later category somehow make the music come alive and you feel you're hearing the artist's intent when he created that music, whether live or in the studio. to me that's the life i look for in a system. or rather have stopped looking for it ;) :D
 

venkatcr

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I think it is important that we understand the financial level we come from from and accept that with a certain level of humility. If you hear a set of drums in real life, you will find that the same drums sound when looped through a set of any electronics, will sound different. The two will never meet even if you use electronics costing a few million dollars.

As much as we keep looking at equipment critically, we must learn to criticize and control our own emotions and listening. For me, for example, one song that always brings tears to my eyes is 'Choo Kar Mere Man Ko' from the movie Yaaran. I have heard it on my entry level Sony connected to WS receiver, on a iPod, and on more expensive systems. Irrespective of all these, I always close myself to the surrounding and focus on the song whenever I hear it. There are a number of other songs that bring the same effect on me - Ennavale Adi Ennavale' in Tamil; Banana boat song, Hotel California and a number of songs by Chris de Burg in English. This is only a sample, and the list is quite long.

In terms of being respected as a critique, many of us choose the oath of least tread, hoping no one lese will have the 'guts' to question us. Someone can come and say a Rolls Royce is a better car - but to me that statement has absolutely no value. In music it is even more so, as there are no absolutes and reviews are always subjective.

Cheers
 

stevieboy

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hi viren - I GOT THIS - i have seen the light on my way to vanvas and sanyas and i am returning (heeding thevortex's words) - the whole thing has become very clear to me - I KNOW WHAT THIS "LIFE" IS!

and anybody who has heard sonus faber (i have heard Guarneri Memento and liuto wood and audioengr has heard almost all of them) and viren's lyrita (i have heard lyrita harmony one) will know this truth - BOTH THESE SPEAKER SYSTEMS ALLOW THEIR CABINETS A DEGREE OF CONTROLLED RESONANCE, UNLIKE THOSE SPEAKERS THAT MR. VALIN REFERRED TO - this gives them their life!

QUOTE]

:D so now i see those lovely designs of yours undergoing a rethink eh suri?
 

suri

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hi viren - I GOT THIS - i have seen the light on my way to vanvas and sanyas and i am returning (heeding thevortex's words) - the whole thing has become very clear to me - I KNOW WHAT THIS "LIFE" IS!

and anybody who has heard sonus faber (i have heard Guarneri Memento and liuto wood and audioengr has heard almost all of them) and viren's lyrita (i have heard lyrita harmony one) will know this truth - BOTH THESE SPEAKER SYSTEMS ALLOW THEIR CABINETS A DEGREE OF CONTROLLED RESONANCE, UNLIKE THOSE SPEAKERS THAT MR. VALIN REFERRED TO - this gives them their life!

QUOTE]

:D so now i see those lovely designs of yours undergoing a rethink eh suri?

ya, got to start all over again!!!:)
 

suri

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Is there a Sujata in all this?

hi asit,
my sister's name is sujatha, and my wife's name is sushma.

as of now sushma is like the sujatha before buddha corrected her ways!:)

regards
suri

ah asit! - perhaps you mean the milk she offered before the buddha was enlightened? - then that sujatha must be stevieboy because i had milky tea at his home!
 
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stevieboy

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buddha and his 'tree'




the speaker was wondering who the distinguished gentleman was who wanted to pose with her and playfully gave him a pinch in the rear. hence his surprise. now that's what you call an 'active' speaker!

 
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Finyl Vinyl

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Very true Viren. in fact this even boils down to the recording.
These days we have 5-20 microphones for recording the "instruments" and then the recording engineer plays god and mixes it as his view of music

earlier it was 2 microphones which recorded Music as by the musician(s) and the recording. I recently tried out the Beatles mono recordin reissues...they were a breadth of fresh air ..and one does not even care if it is mono/stereo

This is incorrect. Lots of labels capture the "ambiance" of a studio. Instruments and mics are placed in certain places in the studio to capture height and depth of the recording room. (Chaurasia and Hussain-Venu; Rykodisc recorded 1973/74, Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz-I forget the album on Sony Jazz, Coltrane-Blue Train) and many more. Don't write the recordings from the 50's and 60's off this way
 
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