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How does visual stimulation affect your listening?

Fluffy

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#1
This sounds like the right forum for this topic, because it's completely psychological.

I've found that often, visual stimulation has a big impact on how I experience listening to music. This comes from a completely mental point of view, and has nothing to do with how the sound is produced. For example, sometimes listening in a bright environment, or even in front of a bright computer screen, causes me more anxiousness and mental fatigue than listening in a dark setting, given the same music, gear, and volume.

While traveling (say on a train or bus), I've grown accustom to sitting by the window, and the fast moving landscape makes the music flow more easily than staring at a static view like the back of the sit in front of me.

In my computer set up I have two screens (for video editing), but occasionally when I want to concentrate on the music, I turn one screen off and put the second screen right in middle of the desk, so I have something to stare at that's directly in front of me. This somewhat helps augment the illusion of imaging and increase my focus on the music.

And of course, I suppose everyone has experienced that listening with eyes closed is a very different experience than with eyes open.

I don't claim that things sound better or more precise when I do these things. It's the way the mind perceives and experience the sound that's changed. It's just one more thing that shows that the brain is a wholly inaccurate and biased instrument, and can be easily influenced and manipulated.


I wonder if you had similar experiences, or different ones that I haven't mentioned?
 

solderdude

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#2
Yes, similar (listening in the dark or mood lighting or bright light, during the day or evening, tired or not, when on the verge of dozing off)
Varies day by day sometimes.

Also when looking at a video of a performance the sound of a T.V. can sound really convincing.
Set the picture to black and only listen to the sound and it sounds really mediocre.

The brain is a weird and wonderful thing.
 

BillG

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#4
I prefer a dimly lit opium den type sitting for music listening. As a matter of fact, my listening room is called "The Opium Den" on several WiFi access applications I use... :cool:

Download.jpeg
 

LTig

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#5
Yes, similar (listening in the dark or mood lighting or bright light, during the day or evening, tired or not, when on the verge of dozing off)
Varies day by day sometimes.

Also when looking at a video of a performance the sound of a T.V. can sound really convincing.
Set the picture to black and only listen to the sound and it sounds really mediocre.

The brain is a weird and wonderful thing.
This is true. When I really listen to music I close my eyes. It makes sound often better, probably because my senses focus on sound only. This happens not only when listening to recordings (as with Ravels Daphnis and Chloé half an hour ago) but also in live concerts, like yesterday in our local concert hall with the local philharmonic orchestra.

On the other hand when I watch a concert on Bluray the sound is fantastic until I close my eyes and realize that SQ is not that good and it's difficult to follow the singer any longer. Nightwish's Showtime, Storytime is such an example.
 

GrimSurfer

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#6
I prefer a dimly lit opium den type sitting for music listening. As a matter of fact, my listening room is called "The Opium Den" on several WiFi access applications I use... :cool:

View attachment 33624
Ha ha, you beat me to it @BillG

I was going to say something about strippers and the audibility of a back beat.
 

PaulD

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#7
All sighted listening involves visual stimulation of some kind. There are many papers on it, such as these two (that immediately come to mind):
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=6338
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=19405
Two things that I liked in these is that the bigger speaker had better bass only when it was listened to sighted, and that experienced listeners had a bigger change between blind and sighted listening than inexperienced listeners - classic Dunning-Kruger! <insert laughing emoji>
 
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#8
So you just explained why MTV took off in the 80's - watching music videos made your cheap TV speakers sound amazing, memorable and almost euphoric. Hmmmm... I'm now inspired to shift my home theater budget to a lower price set of speakers and increase the TV size/quality.
 

GrimSurfer

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#9
So you just explained why MTV took off in the 80's - watching music videos made your cheap TV speakers sound amazing, memorable and almost euphoric. Hmmmm... I'm now inspired to shift my home theater budget to a lower price set of speakers and increase the TV size/quality.
The bigger question is if this is the very thing that is killing audio.
 
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#10
The bigger question is if this is the very thing that is killing audio.
I think the thing that's killing off high-end is mainly the cost. Many middle-class people have already spent a couple of grand on a big screen and their Best Buy audio kit to go with it and they say 'that's enough'. And to some degree they're right when you take into account that the system may be nearly as good or better than what was available as 'high-end' 10 or 20 years ago.
 

GrimSurfer

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#12
I think the thing that's killing off high-end is mainly the cost. Many middle-class people have already spent a couple of grand on a big screen and their Best Buy audio kit to go with it and they say 'that's enough'. And to some degree they're right when you take into account that the system may be nearly as good or better than what was available as 'high-end' 10 or 20 years ago.
That's possible. Everyone wants their big screen, two SUVs, boat, big home, laptops, cell phones, vacation... and they want it now. So they either buy cheap or go into debt (or both). But the time they hit what should be their peak earning years (40s, maybe 50s), they're tapped out.

Much different than the 70s, which was the peak of hifi. M&D had cracked the mortgage (or were close to it), owned one car all their lives, still owned the crappy old console TV set, etc.

So there's a shared responsibility for the demise of quality hifi, broadly wrapped up in consumerism (which has reached an unsustainable point unless the relative price of goods become cheaper... as they largely have).
 
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#13
I think the thing that's killing off high-end is mainly the cost. Many middle-class people have already spent a couple of grand on a big screen and their Best Buy audio kit to go with it and they say 'that's enough'. And to some degree they're right when you take into account that the system may be nearly as good or better than what was available as 'high-end' 10 or 20 years ago.
Great point here. Consumers do indeed package "hi fi audio" together with their "home theater system", so if that system budget is $10,000 and $6,000 was the video side (projector, screen, etc.) that leaves $4,000 for the AVR surround system, etc. For $4,000 you can put together a very good 2.1 channel theater system, but most consumers will spring for the AVR plus 9.1 speakers which ends up being a very mediocre sounding system that may not even have Dirac Live.
 
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#16
I firmly believe that listening to music without seeing the musician should not be done -at least with jazz. I can only do Diana Krall justice seeing her singing while playing the piano - which is much harder than singing standing. Jazz musicians are characters and part of the music. This forum seems to have a majority of classical music fans which may explain while people are not that fanatic about it.
And I think the sound is better when the picture is better - hence Blu-ray concerts are good. There is even a 3D jazz concert on Blu-ray.
And because seeing fills gaps in audiophidelity the audio equipment can be lees expensive, add Multichannel and it can be even cheaper on a per unit base.
Sure, background music can be without a video. But this a bit like eating while watching Tv or driving - that does not do the music (food) justice. Listening&Seeing should be an event and reserved for value time honoring the music and the artist. Like a real concert.
 

GrimSurfer

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#17
How about when watching/listening to a music video? Can you critically listen to music while watching that same song choreographed to video?
Possibly, but only if the visual stimuli compliment the musical content. There's a qualitative aspect to this. Musicians will want the music to be right. Every other muppet (execs) will focus on the visuals.

I suppose it is all about control. It's difficult talking about musical content with a talented musician... unless you're one yourself and have gained a measure of respect in the field. If the subject changes to visuals, the issue of control becomes less clear.

If it's done right, one medium reinforces the other. If done poorly, it's shite.
 
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#19
I firmly believe that listening to music without seeing the musician should not be done -at least with jazz. I can only do Diana Krall justice seeing her singing while playing the piano - which is much harder than singing standing. Jazz musicians are characters and part of the music. This forum seems to have a majority of classical music fans which may explain while people are not that fanatic about it.
And I think the sound is better when the picture is better - hence Blu-ray concerts are good. There is even a 3D jazz concert on Blu-ray.
And because seeing fills gaps in audiophidelity the audio equipment can be lees expensive, add Multichannel and it can be even cheaper on a per unit base.
Sure, background music can be without a video. But this a bit like eating while watching Tv or driving - that does not do the music (food) justice. Listening&Seeing should be an event and reserved for value time honoring the music and the artist. Like a real concert.
Well said! I never thought of jazz this way, and now I'm going to have to get some good multi-channel jazz blu ray discs, any suggestions?
 

Ceburaska

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#20
I think the thing that's killing off high-end is mainly the cost. Many middle-class people have already spent a couple of grand on a big screen and their Best Buy audio kit to go with it and they say 'that's enough'. And to some degree they're right when you take into account that the system may be nearly as good or better than what was available as 'high-end' 10 or 20 years ago.
Really, have you seen the tests of current AVRs? Not remotely high end.
 
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