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Truthfulness

viren bakhshi

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#1
I know this is belabouring a point, but it is still ignored, and needs to be reinforced:

Accuracy in music reproduction has to be seen relative to the sound of real instruments.

This is eloquently put by andy evans in a recent thread in SET Asylum:

""The timbre and tone of live instruments is pretty easy to assess and compare against the reproduction."

This is exactly how I feel - I'm a professional musician and the sound of acoustic instruments is permanently imprinted in my brain. I keep going on about timbre and tone mostly talking to the void, but it's nice to come across a kindred spirit.

"The one that let's an instrument sound the most like you would hear live is the one that is more accurate to a human. It usually isnt' the one that measures better."

Amen. Exactly. Humans and music lovers do the actual listening, not robots."

Think about it,
Viren
 
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koushik

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#2
"The one that let's an instrument sound the most like you would hear live is the one that is more accurate to a human. It usually isnt' the one that measures better."

Amen. Exactly. Humans and music lovers do the actual listening, not robots."

Think about it,
Viren
So true. But how to explain this to spec-headed people out there?
 

Fantastic

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#3
Many people buy hi-fi equipment based on what sounds good to their ears. They have also heard live music and know what real instruments sound like. But all musical instruments ( of one type) sound different from each other ( like say violins ) and only musicians know the differences best. I think others really don't worry too much about such things. As long as it sounds 'nice' to them, they seem to be happy about it. That's OK.

In today's world it's very hard to say what the actual instrument sounded like in the studio. So there is no absolute reference for a particular musical piece to compare the reproduced sound to. Besides there is so much electronics and processing in between the original signal source and it's reproduction , the chance of the reproduced signal being 'exactly' like the original is probably a bit remote. Similar yes, but exactly the same ?

Most good manufacturers always talk about their equipment being true to the original signal. It is probably only true as far as the electrical signal is concerned. Then there is the loudspeaker and the acoustics of the room. It's never perfect . So it's a really hard act to try and get the studio into the listeners room.

I'd think the best system would be one that sounds musical and involving ( not necessarily absolutely exact .....as we can't determine what is really exact !). This factor will vary from person to person and which is why we have so many different technologies being used to produce sound at home and by so many hundreds ( thousands ?) of brands. There are technical limitations in reproducing the "exact sound" as in real life. A close imitation is possible and that's what we have all been doing for a long time ! It's been refined over several decades with occassional "great advances (?)" in technology but the end is still not in sight. It's like a mirage. The closer you seem to get to it, the further it goes ! Fascinating ...isn't it ? :)

Now sit down with your favourite music and enjoy what we have.It's great as it is ! If the music is great, some loss of fidelity or accuracy is probably acceptable . Most of us have been doing that a long time ! ;)
How much is acceptable is determined by how deep our pockets are ! :D
 
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reubensm

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#5
great point!!

When live music is referred to, the everyday jack believes that one has to just go to a concert and listen in to the live performance

What purists actually mean is to listen to instruments play without amplification of any sort, that's why more often than not, they tend to use brass bands or military bands playing in the open, without amplification, as a reference point.

I remember reading an article in a British magazine long ago, on how difficult it is to record and reproduce the actual sound of thunder (especially during a violent storm)
 

humblebee

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#6
And then the next question is :
How does someone who wishes to buy such a truthful system, but has not listened much to real life instruments, go about buying such a system?
Who will guide him?
Or what path should he take?
 

viren bakhshi

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#7
It's quite straightforward, isn't it?

Why not listen to real instruments first; take your time doing it.
Then use your own ears to decide what you prefer in a music system.
 

greenhorn

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#8
honestly there is room for both.

Equipment that plays back one instrument beautifully might struggle or distort with another one- are we going to test every possible one? Testing against spec might help identify these issues earlier ( resonant peak somewhere in a speaker's freq response)

Alternately, if you measure only one set of specs (for example, frequency response), you might miss something else (IMD etc) which might show up with real music.
 

keith_correa

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#9
honestly there is room for both.

Equipment that plays back one instrument beautifully might struggle or distort with another one- are we going to test every possible one? Testing against spec might help identify these issues earlier ( resonant peak somewhere in a speaker's freq response)

Alternately, if you measure only one set of specs (for example, frequency response), you might miss something else (IMD etc) which might show up with real music.
Holy Grail? Does not exist! The sooner we realize it, the better for all of us and the equipment purveyors too.
 

alpha1

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#10
1. What is the definition of the term - Hi fidelity?
2. There is an debatable assumption in the post that a hi fidelity will not result in reproduced sound being closest to the actual live.

""The timbre and tone of live instruments is pretty easy to assess and compare against the reproduction."

Of course, that is why humans invented instruments. To MEASURE accurately and consistently what he could see, hear, smell, taste, and even feel (electric current, vibrations etc).

If our world was being run on human qualitative standards, we would still be using our optical judgements to measure the lengths, instead of the tape - because it is so easy to "see" the length! (Never-mind the optical illusions)

"The one that let's an instrument sound the most like you would hear live is the one that is more accurate to a human. It usually isnt' the one that measures better."

Debatable assumption: one that measures better will never result in reproduced sound being accurate to listen to.
 
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Sumanta

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#11
What I do is play a mouthorgan myself while listening to say "Lakdi ki kathi" song of movie Masum. Scale of instrument need to match.

Similarly, I play CDs or records which has talks of singers, or other performers to judge.
There are some good Bengali CD (of Dohar group for example) to check. Or songs of say Moushumi Bhowmick, Joan Baez, Dohar are good sources to check indoor and outdoor recording's reproduction capability of my system.
But I never could check anything with any instrument. None of the parameter in T/S or in graphs actually represent timbre, tone, hisses in throat, sounds coming out of friction between palm and leather of a table.
To me, checking accuracy and quality of reproduction rests in my ears and in brain. T/S parameters and graphs are tools to make a music system but not to judge it.
 

reignofchaos

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#12
Regarding measurements, I read a really enlightening post from one of the most distinguished DIY'ers in the business on another forum I frequent. I quote it verbatim.

Hi,

Looking at this, I do not see Jitter. I see 50/100Hz (or 60/120Hz) components most likely caused by a ground loop in the measurement set-up.

One should expect someone performing measurements and publishing them to show enough competence to first make sure they do not measure "instrumentation ghosts" and to secondly be able to interpret such measurements correctly.

Sadly this mistake is common, I remember two high profile Reviewers measuring similar components as Jitter on one product I helped design.

Except it was not jitter but 60Hz related hum, to be precise at around -115dBFS from the 2nd Harmonic of a small amount of hum, which was interpreted as around 200pS P-P Jitter, when all it was was -105dB 60Hz hum converted to H2 in the tube stage.

I would say is not bad for AC powered gear with Tubes.

Anyway, the actual jitter was equal to the noise floor, which was as expected 16Bit audio,sofor 16Bit audio at least there was zero jitter added by the product...


So making measurements and interpreting them is a challenge.

I spend a fair bit of my 3 years for my EE Degree in the classes of a formidable gentlemen who started classes by loudly intoning "Wer misst, misst mist!" (Who measures, measures manure - literally from German).

He alerted us to the fact that making measurements is fraught with occasion for errors, interpreting measurements even more so... The name of the Module he was teaching? Measurement Technique!
 
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