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what must one believe?

Wharfedale EVO4.4 Speaker

suri

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this is an excerpt from the wilson audio site -

"For Dave Wilson, the primary thing that countsand has from the beginning of his careeris the quest to reproduce music in a way that preserves the numinous and emotional impact of the live event. Its an objective thats nearly impossible to quantify yet amazingly easy to discern. Its units of measure are tingles in the spine and hairs on the back of the neckor even, perhaps, aqueous secretions from the lachrymal glands.

The challenge of creating a loudspeaker that can match live music is twofold: first, grasp the auditory cues that communicate the brio of live music to the brain, and second, in the unfeeling realm of drivers, crossovers, and cabinets, know how to manipulate those materials to preserve the ineffable effect that music plays in our emotional lives".

AND THIS - (separately)

i quote verbatim - (the words of an experienced person)

"While mixing a song, the idea is not to replicate the exact sound of an intimate performance you've just heard, but to give the music an edge that the performance could not provide. In other words, if we'd kept the recorded music exactly how it was recorded, which is known as a 'dry' mix, you'd probably get bored to death"

well, if this is true, then all attempts at recreating the un-amplified music event via a commercially available redbook cd are futile, and each one might as well try to listen to a version that appeals!

TERRIBLE! - such a waste of time!
 
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thevortex

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Very interesting. Instead of mulling about this problem, I guess it is best to go listen to the sounds we like on the systems we like.

I personally feel that it is very difficult to quantify and/or explain art and such other esoterics in so many words. If only music were just frequencies waiting to be produced and which every one perceived in the same fashion, all of us would not spend so much time here discussing pros and cons and all that.
 

nitinbose

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What's being mentioned in the latter quote is the way recording is done in a studio. Recording music in a studio is done quite differently, i.e., the singer sings separately, without any instruments and in parts. The musical instruments players also do their parts separately, for the different parts of the song.

These are then mixed to created the song.

Indeed, if we're to listen to the exact music that's recorded, it would be quite uninteresting.

The former quote talks about reproducing the sound of each instrument or singer exactly as you'd be able to hear if its being played before you.
 

psychotropic

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I think recorded music and live music are actually two very different animals to be enjoyed in their different ways and not subject to comparison to each other.

Live music has a lot of things going for it including the fact that you're actually witnessing the music being made, the interaction between the musicians, the immediacy and vibrance of the performance, the most natural tone of the instruments, and the uncompressed and natural dynamic range, and so on.

In all but the most intimate and superbly treated venues (with excellent sound systems and a genius engineer, if there is amplification) however, the level of clarity and detail that you're likely to catch are probably less than that on a high end audiophile rig and a good SACD or LP recording. For better or worse, the recording is likely to have few to no mistakes, clean singing or playing which is nearabouts the best an artist can achieve (because of the number of re-takes an artist can do in a studio) and precise, tight co-ordination. These are not necessarily all good things, but they are certainly palpable differences between live and recorded and therefore I believe there's much to be enjoyed in both forms of music, independent of each other.
 

suri

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What's being mentioned in the latter quote is the way recording is done in a studio. Recording music in a studio is done quite differently, i.e., the singer sings separately, without any instruments and in parts. The musical instruments players also do their parts separately, for the different parts of the song.

These are then mixed to created the song.

Indeed, if we're to listen to the exact music that's recorded, it would be quite uninteresting.

The former quote talks about reproducing the sound of each instrument or singer exactly as you'd be able to hear if its being played before you.

the inference to be drawn - is that the creative artist is the one who creates the mix?
 

BLASTO

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I feel real performance and recorded performance are two completely different things and my vote goes to the latter..

Sorry if it were out of sync to the thread.. But..

If you were to a movie shooting, you would have noticed how boring and stupid those were during the production time.

The final movie outcome is something that is the best amoung co-ordination between various talents (lighing, mixing, dubbing) and also the best amoung the individual talrents (retakes etc). No one including the actual people involved in the movie can enact the whole movie and produce the effect the movie produced. This is one of the reasons that the 'stage show dramas' are almost extinct.

Even during some interviews with some singers etc, when he sings the same song he sang before in a movie, It looks not as good. - Same reason.
 

deba

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With the host of audio processors and plug ins available, a well mixed and mastered studio recording can produce sound much better and accurate than a live performance..
 

thevortex

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At lunch yesterday, we were enjoying a very tasty dish. Turns out, it had nothing but salt, oil and some green chillies added to it. The entire taste of the dish was because the vegetables were rich in flavour, as is the usual custom in winters.

Of course, if the veggies were flat, one would have needed considerable more effort and the dish may not have been half as enjoyable.

One needs to consider that some of the best recordings and performances come with sync sound, whether it is Herbie Hancock, Jim Morrison & co, or The Beatles. And some of the worst too - our Indian recordings of Kishore Kumar have to be counted among the world's biggest musical tragedies, where a brilliant performer was hamstrung by low fidelity archives.

The same holds for the modern day of multitracking as well, but some of the largest studios did/do have rooms large enough to seat a full classical orchestra - so it's not like engineers have forgotten what the sound of a band together sounds like, or that they do not like that sound, or do not want to record it. Commercial considerations drive most decisions today, including physically smaller studios, and rushing through takes to hurry the process up. Much of modern music is made by assembly line process. This is the bigger issue, and it's beyond just an audiophile problem.

Tragedy of humongous proportions, Cranky - about Kishore Kumar. I buy CDs of his songs - HMV or Saregama. They are just a little bit better than MP3s. In some cases, I would be hard put to find the difference even! Atrocious. And sad.

One other thought about live music. Typically when we go to these theatres or studios, we always hear amplified music bound by the acoustics of the building. And as psychotropic puts it quite nicely, many a time I have come away feeling that my own stereo system could have done a better job with the details, presentation etc. But have we given thought about live music with minimal amplification and sans the closed boundaries? Granted that this cannot be had with a huge audience. I have had a few experiences with open air music performances (say in Parks and gardens) and they have been enthralling. But then all of this has been with respect to Carnatic Classical concerts which dont really involve a huge amount of detail retrieval unless we are talking of violin accompanists or even a solo violin recital.
 

BLASTO

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^^Have you been to a play? Live Opera? Ballet?

Yes.
But live performance could not be without errors simply because the artists cannot perform their best everytime and even if they do that there are other disturbances like audience caughing/talking.

But I know of people who actually 'like' this kind of errors rather than listen to artificially perfected CDs etc. So.. :)
 

humblebee

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Hi all,
first post here.
Nice discussion.
Suri, I think that the bigger issue would be to 'have an experience'.
There are 2 things i believe - one is the exact reproduction of the performance, or better still, an exact reproduction of what the performer 'wants' to produce.
This as u & others have rightly pointed out is hampered by 'assembly line' production & poor setups & corporate leeches selling pricey shit. But surely can be improved upon by whatever methods are discovered & suggested by the 'ones who know'.
The second is the actual experience. This is more important and thankfully it is in ur hands. What do u listen to? If u listen to soul music that goes deep then to 'connect with your pure self' & 'receive the experience' that the musician wants to give is primary criteria.

So, just 'let yourself have the experience'.
Give yourself permission to 'get in the mood'.
Allow yourself to have the 'luxury of a private comfort space'.
It all can be done. Try for a few times and dont give up.

So, nothings lost. 'Believe'

Sure, live misic, mixed music, remixed music, all provide their variety.
But also - live is live.
Ya there may be musicians whose music is not that great and the studio 'enlivens' it somehow to sell it.
What do u think guys?
 

psychotropic

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Wow! where did you get that? Theater is thriving.....My father in law is a theater actor and I know a lot of people who do theater. They are by no stretch of imagination 'almost extinct'. At least in Chennai, there is a vibrant theater scene and lots of performances. I imagine that a Mumbai or Bangalore will also be the same. Yes, they are not as popular as the movies, but to suggest that they are in any way inferior is bizarre! A good play is a phenomenal experience, which can't really be compared to films.

And ya, autotune and every other studio tool is the enemy of spontaneity. So many modern recordings sound awful because they sound so similar. Firstly everyting is recorded over a click track, so timing is perfect. All instruments are digitally processed and EQ-ed. Voices are autotuned. Compression is applied at the mastering stage. It's like many flawless machines. A case in point is this band called "kings of leon". I was listening to their songs and thinking 'these are good compositions, if only they'd not over-produced the hell out the tracks, they could have been really good.'

Speaking of over-production I chanced upon the Vishwa Mohan Bhatt + Ry Cooder album 'meeting by the river'. Clear, pristine recording, using analog equipment, with no EQ or compression. Fantastic!


This is one of the reasons that the 'stage show dramas' are almost extinct.
 

thevortex

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Exactly the point. Music is art, and what you see in a gallery and in a amagazine and in the artist's studio, are all very different. music is like that, and it may be very different from the message the musician is giving out (if there is one). Which brings me to the next point...



Almost every modern boy band out there, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and 90% of the chocolate and candy brigade use Autotune. Which means they can't even sing to save their lives.

What is autotune, Cranky? Do you have any personal experience with this technology?

And psycho - yes, theatre is thriving here in Chennai. Even today dramas and stage plays are well attended - even when done in English. And yes 'Meeting by the River' is a good album.
 

psychotropic

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autotune is an audio processor that basically corrects the pitch of your singing or instrument playing. It was invented by some dude with Exxon Mobil originally to analyse seismic data while doing oil exploration! These days it is used not only to correct pitch but to also add a distinctive 'autotune' effect to the singing....first noticed in Cher's song "believe" and now used by every hip hop artist, not to mention almost every tamil music director. It sounds like crap, and makes everything sound the same. Singers also use it during live performances.

So basically you don't really need to be able to sing pitch-perfect, auto-tune will take care of it for you.

What is autotune, Cranky? Do you have any personal experience with this technology?
 

thevortex

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autotune is an audio processor that basically corrects the pitch of your singing or instrument playing. It was invented by some dude with Exxon Mobil originally to analyse seismic data while doing oil exploration! These days it is used not only to correct pitch but to also add a distinctive 'autotune' effect to the singing....first noticed in Cher's song "believe" and now used by every hip hop artist, not to mention almost every tamil music director. It sounds like crap, and makes everything sound the same. Singers also use it during live performances.

So basically you don't really need to be able to sing pitch-perfect, auto-tune will take care of it for you.

Most interesting! Thanks psychotropic. So you are saying that what we hear terms of playback singing in cinema songs is all via autotune?

Even if it be so, I would be amazed if senior and extremely talented artistes like SPB, Hariharan and Unni Menon use such technology when they are singing.

But frankly, if autotune is what tamil music directors are using, then why look for singing talent? Just about anybody could do the job right? Or am I missing something?
 

psychotropic

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Here's an excellent article on auto-tune

And to respond to your question. All that auto-tune does is correct the pitch. The tone, the timbre, the vocal range, the inflections, the dynamics and so on are something that the singer would themselves have to achieve.

And yes, auto-tune is a relative novelty in tamil, but it's definitely present and I wouldn't be surprised if it came to light that even the stalwarts use it, simply because it saves time. A whole song in one take :)...no re-takes just to correct one bum note....I have no factual information on this, but I have a sound engineer friend in kollywood. Let me do some digging and report back.

Most interesting! Thanks psychotropic. So you are saying that what we hear terms of playback singing in cinema songs is all via autotune?

Even if it be so, I would be amazed if senior and extremely talented artistes like SPB, Hariharan and Unni Menon use such technology when they are singing.

But frankly, if autotune is what tamil music directors are using, then why look for singing talent? Just about anybody could do the job right? Or am I missing something?
 

thevortex

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Meaning SPB, Hariharan et al?

I have heard both of them sing live even long back when I am sure there was no autotune or anything of that sort. I wonder why they would resort to it unless it was a question of time or expense or something like that.

This is a big let down. But then, in the same breath, is this extensively used by Western artists as well? Dire Straits, Sara Mclachlan, Diana Krall, etc.?
 

longshanks

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madonna and Celine dion use it.

It become like an integral part of 80% of the modern day recordings.Some even use it in their live performances.
 

ajinkya

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A reasonable way to tell if an artiste is using Autotune is to hear them live, and even them some overdub anyway (all Grammys/Oscars are overdubbed as they can't afford mistakes - the artiste never actually sings).

Cranky,
Thanks for that piece of information. I did not know it...and am saddened that the acceptance performance of the artist is a fake one. But i guess it's like an acceptance speech eh? Prerehearsed.

As an aside, I quite like Britney Spears... not for her singing though.

-Jinx.
 
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