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Recordings as simulacra

Then I essentially believe that all recordings made today will be stage 4 simulacra (and I'm fine with that). (With possible niche exceptions like 2 mic stereo concert recordings).
Yep, that's the way I see it. The only way we get close to stage 1 or 2 is using some sort of minimalist recording techniques.
But the reality is that just mostly doesn't work in the real world. For single instrument or small group recordings it might be doable, but when you get to even large orchestras, the mic placement, technique, etc becomes very difficult if not impossible. As already been discussed many times, todays recordings of almost everything are total studio constructs, with instrument placement on that forward image; etc being decided by the guys at the mixing console, a "faked" soundstage so to speak. Some are brilliantly done, some not so much.

So now what? Do we forever try to make that faked-image sound as real as possible? OK that's one way, and it's good.
OR, we can try out the new paradigm and let the artists and engineers and ultimately the listener have some fun. Going back as far as the 1973, artists and engineers such as the collaboration of Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons on Dark Side Of The Moon were creating musical art in the surround style using Quad recordings.. Pink Floyd's live concerts had always been presented in a Quad arrangement whenever the venue allowed. Much more recently Mark Waldrep of AIX records has been doing most of his recording projects in a dual format, with a "stage-front" and a "listener in the middle" perspective, your choice.

Personally having started with Quad back in the early 70s, I've almost grown up in Hi-Fi on the idea that painting the acoustic image completely around the listener is not only a viable choice but a very enjoyable one. We see the boom in multich recordings today because the artists and engineers are enjoying the creativity it brings to the artistic plate. Todays top engineers from Steven Wilson, to Bob Clearmountain, Andy Jackson, James Guthrie etc are doing exciting things in the art of recording music
As a listener, you can choose to forever be locked into the "surround sound" is a gimmick attitude.
Or you can accept it as another choice in the presentation of the musical art form.
A big bonus of having a great multich audio system is its fun to watch movies on too. ;)
Your choice.
 
One theory: It's not much work to crank out long stretches of music that consist mainly of slow-moving synth pads, as long as you're not too proud to use preset patches. :)
I remember a CD by "Iasos" from the late 1980s. I got the same music by using presets on a Casio FZ-1 and pressing the keys down without actually playing anything.
 
I remember a CD by "Iasos" from the late 1980s. I got the same music by using presets on a Casio FZ-1 and pressing the keys down without actually playing anything.
Steve Roach has several albums that are basically full CDs of the same chord (or three). I don't think he craps them out as a low-effort thing, I think he really cares about the timbre and movement of the sound... but if you don't care about those things... well. You too can be a prolific, if crappy, new age musician.

e.g.
 
Yep, that's the way I see it. The only way we get close to stage 1 or 2 is using some sort of minimalist recording techniques.
But the reality is that just mostly doesn't work in the real world. For single instrument or small group recordings it might be doable, but when you get to even large orchestras, the mic placement, technique, etc becomes very difficult if not impossible.
Mercury managed to get a good capture of the sound of large orchestras with three spread omnis back in the late '50s, early '60s. The early Telarcs from the late '70s, early '80s used the same technique. Both series of recordings got a lot of praise in the audiophile press.
 
I think that falls into at least stage 2. Artists signing off on it masquerades as "official reality" when it cannot be reality. It is at least one step of abstraction as the artist's reality.
One thing I'd like to add here is to be sure whatever we're discussing, 2ch or multich recordings, High Fidelity is still job #1.
It makes no difference if the engineer has chosen to put the sound of the piano at front center stage, or up on the ceiling in the rear left corner (LOL), it still needs to sound exactly like a piano as much as possible. Hopefully the positioning choices made at the console won't effect the sound of any individual instrument, it shouldn't. Thats why I've often been heard to say that all speakers in a multich system be exactly the same, or as close as possible, specially in the bed channels. The four corners is easy (except for cost :( ) . Front-center a bit more difficult depending on the choice of any possible video system, etc. The ceiling speakers for Atmos etc can be very difficult. It's really hard to hang 4 large towers in the sky. :eek:
Thankfully most all modern multich pre-amps contain a DRC system, that helps at lot plus, it's tech gets better every day.
In the end it's just as important for the total system, from the source material to the speakers, to be as transparent as possible, not adding any FR vaiations or distortions to the intended sound.
Just sayin, ;)
 
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If you've ever recorded live music from a normal seating position, there is too much "room noise" (reverb, etc.) when played back on a pair of speakers (or headphones) at home. It just doesn't "sound right" in a small room with all of the reverb (and any audience noise) coming from the same direction (the speakers).
Well that’s certainly part of it but only a part. If you’ve ever recorded live music from a normal seating position, there is virtually always too much “room noise” however, that’s typically on the recording itself. So, the question is: If that’s the real/actual sound that existed in that seating position why did we not hear it as having “too much room noise” at the time? The answer is “perception”, as we’re listening to the live performance of the orchestra/ensemble, that’s what our brains’ are focused on and in order to do that, it reduces the perceived level of everything else that’s getting in the way of what we want to hear, such as the reflections/reverb and constant audience background noise. A process similar to the “cocktail party effect”. We typically perceive this additional reverb when listening to a recording at home, even with headphones (and therefore no home room noise), because now we are sitting in a living room focused on a recording rather than focused on an orchestra while sitting in a concert hall. This brings me back to what I stated before and what we’re after as engineers; is it the actual sound which existed at a seating position in the concert venue or the sound we would probably have perceived in that seating position? As it’s the latter, that means a recording with more clarity and less reverb and noise than actually existed.
The only way we get close to stage 1 or 2 is using some sort of minimalist recording techniques.
But the reality is that just mostly doesn't work in the real world.
Again, I’m assuming everyone is referring to is the reality of the actual sound that existed as opposed to the “reality” of what one would most likely have perceived in that location? If that’s the case, then we do not want to get close to stage/classification #1 or 2! If we’re talking about getting close to the “reality” of what someone would most likely perceive, then multi-mic’ing techniques are the only way of achieving that (with the potential exception of binaural recordings).
One thing I'd like to add here is to be sure whatever we're discussing, 2ch or multich recordings, High Fidelity is still job #1.
It makes no difference if the engineer has chosen to put the sound of the piano at front center stage, or up on the ceiling in the rear left corner (LOL), it still needs to sound exactly like a piano as much as possible.
But that brings up another issue directly related to the above and the fact that we don’t want “High Fidelity”. For example, in the case of the piano (or pretty much any acoustic instrument) we mic the instrument quite/very closely because as mentioned above, we’re going to need more clarity and less noise (and in an ensemble, less “spill”) than if we mic’ed from a position more representative of where the audience will be seated. However, that means we will get a much higher peak level and dynamic range, as well as pick up a lot more mechanical noise and high frequency content. Indeed, most instruments sound significantly different from a few inches or feet away than from a more typical audience distance of several/many tens of feet. Therefore, your assertion is effectively a contradiction! Do you want high fidelity OR, do you want the instrument to “sound exactly like” that instrument? Typically we would choose the latter and forsake some of the fidelity, by applying some compression and/or a gentle LPF (or high shelf) to reduce some of the high freqs which wouldn’t make it to the audience and cause it to not sound exactly like that instrument.

Obviously we want the highest fidelity we can get when reproducing a recording but that is not the primary concern when creating the recording, what subjectively sounds right/good from an audience perspective takes precedence.
I'm not sure exactly why stage 4 simulacra have taken over musical "soundtracks" for movies and TV series.
Because the point of music for movies and TV is to aid the storytelling, everything else, including reality and fidelity is at best secondary and often lower even than secondary!
Mercury managed to get a good capture of the sound of large orchestras with three spread omnis back in the late '50s, early '60s.
There were experiments in the late 1920’s with multi-micing. EMI, Decca and others were advancing the practical use of multi micing in the early 50’s, before stereo was even released to the public. By the late 50’s they had already progressed further, beyond the famous “Decca Tree” (3 carefully spaced/arranged Neumann M50s) by adding a couple of outrigger mics. By the 1960’s, using a Decca tree (or a specific two mic main array) plus some outriggers was pretty much standard for large ensembles, by the 1980’s various spot and room mics were standard and more recently, more complex arrays for surround. Typically we would use around 40 or more mics for a symphony orchestra these days.

G
 
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Obviously we want the highest fidelity we can get when reproducing a recording but that is not the primary concern when creating the recording, what subjectively sounds right/good from an audience perspective takes precedence.
You seem to be thinking in a circular pattern that has no end. LOL
Yes we want the highest fidelity possible in playback, it's not my concern what happens during the creation, at least nothing I can control. I only have the product that's put in front of me to judge from. And ultimately the home listener is the "audience", not some imaginary person sitting in row H seat 15 at a concert hall.
If your doing a purist recording with minimalist miking then that may be a concern.
Our friend Mario of Play Classics Studios has brought us some incredible sounding purist recordings, They even came with the detailed listening levels @ X distance to speakers, speaker setup recommendations, etc. The reality of the presentation can be stunning.
But at the end of the day, how applicable is this to everyday real world music?
 
I would be interested in the opposite, how for example a fully artificial intelligent consciousness via a fully artificial constructed hearing apparatus would process and react to real live music?

Would the 4 categories still apply?
 
You haven't read the essay, correct?

Same relationship goes for the Wiki article vs. the essay itself. It's been a long time since I've read it, but IIRC the essay opens by referencing a Borges story where an emperor was so obsessed with knowing all of the details and extent of his domain that his cartographers produced a map which exactly matched the territory beneath.

The central issue is how to interpret representation. A map meant to represent a territory will always show the map to lack something, just like a recording can't capture the exact soundfield. But, if you let the map have its own reality instead of always casting it as being just a simulation of another, more basic, more important reality of the territory, then you can examine the map itself for its qualities.

Wander into a museum and look at the representational art from the Renaissance and later—earlier art of the Renaissance and Baroque relied on allegory (symbolic representation), later art tried more and more for photorealism (before photography, this was called "verisimilitude"), until you hit the modern era. In modern art, representation is less important than the impact of the images themselves, the dynamism of form and so forth.

Audiophile discussions constantly assume perfect representation as the base goal. Terms like "illusion" gesture in that direction. Their ideal is perfect simulation, using Baudrillard's term. But to the extent a person is willing to be empirical, they can drop the representational relationship and listen to recordings instead of "through" recordings. I think this becomes very clear for all of us if we listen to the earliest existing recordings and read the accounts of the first listeners. Those listeners were shocked at how real those recordings sounded. But with the passage of time and technical progress, we tend to focus first on the qualities of that old media itself and of all its distortions.
Yes I have read Simulacra and Simulation. Like you it has been quite some time. It did have the part about the map making. The Wiki quote was the best concise summation that fit with the topic I wanted to discuss. As asking everyone to have read Baudrillard's essay would limit participation.

I think you took my idea about this the wrong way perhaps. I'm not pushing the idea stage 1 is best. Or that there is anything wrong with stage 4 in terms of music. Many people did, including myself, get into this thinking stage 1 is the gold standard and all recordings should stay in that area. You still see the idea promoted while most don't realize how few stage 1 recordings they've ever heard if any. I think unraveling that would prevent wasted time pursuing goals that don't match what people want or are working with. It also might clear up some repetitive arguments we see. While listening to recordings instead of thru recordings is fine on the playback end, you find doing recordings you need to consider more than that. Which is why I posted this in the Pro Audio sub-forum.

Also I'm not too rigid about the four stages. More of a continuum obviously. Having the 4 stages hopefully illuminates the discussion somewhat.
 
I would be interested in the opposite, how for example a fully artificial intelligent consciousness via a fully artificial constructed hearing apparatus would process and react to real live music?

Would the 4 categories still apply?
I think the 4 stages would apply yes. That is the philosophical part which I am torturing into the recording of music aspect.

An artificial intelligence could exist only in an artificial environment. I think the LLM's are actually not real AI yet. At some point an AI could have connection with physical reality. Even if fed via sensors or other methods if the input is from reality it also exists in reality. It could also then be abstracted in layers until it also functions in stage 4.
 
Maybe it would help to give examples I have in mind. You can agree, criticize, object or disagree, but at least we'll know where my thinking is for better or worse.

So starting with stage 1.
The first stage is a faithful image/copy, where people believe, and may even be correct to believe, that a sign is a "reflection of a profound reality"...

So in this I would put minimalist techniques with no processing of the recording. Spaced omni's, crossed figure 8's, narrow microphone pairs like DIN, ORTF, Jecklin discs. Maybe J_J's soundfield reconstruction method which I guess he isn't allowed to develop. It used 9 closely spaces microphones to record MCH including height. J_J's method did involve a couple simple math steps so some processing. There are also similar MCH arrangements using as few as 3 microphones or 4 if you need height. The Bell Labs 3 channel system from the 1930's can do very well.

Now even here you cannot just plop the mikes in the best seat in the house and record. You have to move closer than being in person. Often you put the mikes up in the air. Despite limitations these are pretty unfiltered recordings having a good direct link with a real event that was recorded. You can check out Mario's free examples for a taste using figure 8s in a Blumlein configuration.

These recordings done this way can sound pretty real, give a good sense of space where the recording was, let you hear directionality in good agreement with reality. Not perfection, but pretty good as a facsimile for physical reality of the sound. At least the end of your room will open up as if there were a larger space there.

So doing recordings like this, the result was very pleasing. I was surprised at how easy it was to get this good audiophile approved sound. If you had a good group of musicians and a decent to good sounding space results were generally nice.

Why would you record any other way? The recordings were a failure. A failure in the sense of people listening to them. A commercial failure had that been the goal. I ended up with a rule of thumb from this. If you cannot listen and enjoy it in a car, most people won't listen to it. Few have a dedicated quality listening room like most of us here. While they might stop and just listen, they often listen in a car, over phones or with other things going on. They don't have the high audio temple for music. They want to listen to music and enjoy it in many more places and circumstances. So you need some compression, and possibly skillful limiting and gating to get these close to what people might make use of. You might do a minimalist recording of a rock band in a club and get by, but they are likely doing compression and other stuff to start with. Not mention distorted electronic/electric instruments are already a step away from basic physical reality.
 
Stage 2:

The second stage is perversion of reality, snip..... Here, signs and images do not faithfully reveal reality to us, but can hint at the existence of an obscure reality which the sign itself is incapable of encapsulating.

So in this stage, you might start with a minimalist pair as a base, and add spot mikes or solo mikes. Or outriggers. You'll definitely do some EQ, compression, reverb, delay. You'll end up at least close miking everyone if not recording them individually and creating a group that never played together. You'll mix, pan, and alter everything to make it sound almost like something that could have been real. Sometimes with great skill you'll fool someone into thinking it was a real event or close enough no one cares. As soon as recording gear made this possible this quickly supplanted stage 1 recording.

You might do this in a concert hall or a club or a real space. Mostly you'll do it in studios where the processing can mold it into something fun, enjoyable and close enough to real no one will complain. This is nearly into stage 3 by that point.

Here there is a real source, a sound reality though obscured. The instruments were real, singers real, space likely not any hall sound is not real. So reality is not faithfully revealed as the whole purpose is to create the unreal. You've abstracted the process away from the real though still with the intent of servicing it and presenting it as "possibly real". In time it becomes what most consider the reality.

So a perversion of a reality that hints at an obscure reality to which this does still have a connection.
 
Stage 3:

The third stage masks the absence of a profound reality, where the sign pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original.
Baudrillard calls this the "order of sorcery"


So hear I would put some Pink Floyd music or Alan Parsons. You might do things like test various real spaces with impulses you then convolve into reverb. That would let you take a sound made close miked in a dead space (or anechoic space) then apply the reverb to make it sound like anywhere you want. Even this does have some tenuous connection to a real thing, but you have no way of figuring out what the real is as most of it is not. The final result is not a copy of any real thing, but a creation from your sorcery, your magic. It may sound like something real, but there is no recording of real here only a creation that never previously existed.

I think a problem with some music is doing stage 3 creation is so easy with our modern capabilities. Yet many are thinking they are in stage 2. Results might be better to acknowledge how far from real they are as it would free them to make it rather than torture something they recorded with terrible processing until it makes for unpleasant sound. I think Adele's music is ruined by this problem. Not the music, but the production of it. I think it would be liberating to approach recording her as more artificial.
 
Stage 4
The fourth stage is pure simulacrum, in which the simulacrum has no relationship to any reality whatsoever. Here, signs merely reflect other signs and any claim to reality on the part of images or signs is only of the order of other such claims.

I don't consider this a problem not in music. Here is where Hearts of Space music, ambient or soundscape music resides. It creates the sound of moods, emotions, environments none of which have any pretension to reality. The only reality is what is created in the listening of it by humans. There can of course be music written for real instruments that can achieve some of these aims ( a viola is good at this), but in this case it is done without that.

I like this kind of music. As a recordist however there is nothing to record. It is a creation. Unfortunately for me I'm not creative enough.
 
The following is copied from the wikipedia page on the Jean Baudrillard essay Simulacra and Simulation.

Simulacra and Simulation delineates the sign-order into four stages:

  1. The first stage is a faithful image/copy, where people believe, and may even be correct to believe, that a sign is a "reflection of a profound reality" this is a good appearance, in what Baudrillard called "the sacramental order".
  2. The second stage is perversion of reality, where people come to believe that the sign is an unfaithful copy, which "masks and denatures" reality as an "evil appearance—it is of the order of maleficence". Here, signs and images do not faithfully reveal reality to us, but can hint at the existence of an obscure reality which the sign itself is incapable of encapsulating.
  3. The third stage masks the absence of a profound reality, where the sign pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original. Signs and images claim to represent something real, but no representation is taking place and arbitrary images are merely suggested as things which they have no relationship to. Baudrillard calls this the "order of sorcery", a regime of semantic algebra where all human meaning is conjured artificially to appear as a reference to the (increasingly) hermetic truth.
  4. The fourth stage is pure simulacrum, in which the simulacrum has no relationship to any reality whatsoever. Here, signs merely reflect other signs and any claim to reality on the part of images or signs is only of the order of other such claims. This is a regime of total equivalency, where cultural products need no longer even pretend to be real in a naïve sense, because the experiences of consumers' lives are so predominantly artificial that even claims to reality are expected to be phrased in artificial, "hyperreal" terms. Any naïve pretension to reality as such is perceived as bereft of critical self-awareness, and thus as oversentimental.
I have considered nearly all or all recordings simulacra for some time. I read this Stereophile article which had me thinking about it.

You don't really need to read it. It simply skims over lightly all the reasons the idea of re-creating a sonic reality from recordings was never going to work. And posits that as a reference was always misguided. Probably intended to get people to give up on the idea of high fidelity and accept more subjectivity. That is not what I have in mind.

Now the above 4 stages of simulacra do fix in my mind how I view recordings of music. You regularly have discussion/disagreement between audiophiles about factual fidelity the idea there is an Absolute Sound of reality while at the other end are those who point out music can be completely artificial which means there never was an Absolute Sound. Now the Four stages of simulacra seem to pretty well lay out where the various types of recordings lie. Maybe something like many Pink Floyd tracks are in stage 3, it sounds plausibly real, yet has zero relation to any reality as it is all a total artificial construct. Yet most of the sounds are recognizable as something we have heard or think we could hear in the real world. Stage 4 is maybe "Hearts of Space" types of music. Ambient electronic creations that sound real yet are of sounds that could not exist and we have never heard anything like it. Now such music doesn't claim to be real or have more authority than real music or at least few of the artists would think that. They likely think it liberates them from the constraints most musicians have to work within.

Anyway, just wondered if anyone has some contrary or alternate thoughts and ideas on this. As someone who records music now and again, I think examining which stage you want the result of your recording to exist within is helpful in making decisions. I enjoy, respect, and find worth in music in all the 4 stages of simulacra.

Great post.

We could argue that certain factions of audiophilia (in the vernacular sense, not the simple meaning of loving sound) posit a) an analog reproduction chain (and listening to same) as a pure sacrament or b) the process of somewhat stochastic acquisition and experimentation with esoteric gear as a pursuit of the sacramental order. Contra this, ASR people often see such (and the language of poetic subjective reviews) as a play of signs.

For my part, my preferred music is often entirely synthetic. But I could argue that a synth is just as real as a viola. A virtual synth, even, but we are not always comfortable with dematerialisation.

Edit: ok, you've just expanded, I may need another coffee ...
Another edit: I swear I chose viola before reading @Blumlein 88's post above :)
 
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I like the analysis here. I think there still might be a debate as to whether stage 1 is truly possible, and to what extent, but at least that boils down to a technical argument rather than philosophical.

If I'm reading right, you could butcher it as:

1. Realistic recordings in the sense of (having the potential of) sounding truly real
2. Recordings trying to be realistic and failing
3. Recordings that are realistic in the sense of having real instruments, but are entirely artificial
4. Recordings that never pretended to be realistic in the first place

Seems like a useful framework.

A reduction of the text of course, but I agree useful for this discussion.
 
My Hi Fi goal is to create an avatar of the simulacrum.

I like the illusion of a sonic event happening in space. It also renders me pretty forgiving of the flaws involved in the sonic reproduction chain, so long as I get imaging I enjoy.
 
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Perhaps its about the way we approach the recording.

In your example, people (the producer, the artists, the recording engineers and others) intend the illusion of a quintet.
The recording makes no pretension and is simply a captured signal. The recording does not pretend to represent a quintet, or a series of comingled solo performances. The recording is what it is, it's own reality.

Of course a recording of a quintet represents a quintet. Just not exactly. Perhaps you mean it does not reproduce a quintet? Again, I'd say it does, but again not exactly.
 
You haven't read the essay, correct?

Same relationship goes for the Wiki article vs. the essay itself. It's been a long time since I've read it, but IIRC the essay opens by referencing a Borges story where an emperor was so obsessed with knowing all of the details and extent of his domain that his cartographers produced a map which exactly matched the territory beneath.

Borges in turn may have drawn from Lewis Carol's 1889 story Sylvie and Bruno Concluded which also featured a 1:1 scale map (I thought Swift had done it earlier, but maybe imagined that).

“That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”

“About six inches to the mile.”

“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”

“Have you used it much?” I enquired.

“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr: “the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well. ...

I love the conclusion that the country can "nearly" substitute for the map. :)

We don't have quite that unfolding/scale problem with sound however, as it takes up almost no space (intrinsically, even though the storage media and reproduction equipment may). Reproducing the original performance space (where applicable) does return us to the same problem however. Then we run into the question that concludes the text quoted above:

... Now let me ask you another question. What is the smallest world you would care to inhabit?”
 
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Yes I have read Simulacra and Simulation. Like you it has been quite some time. It did have the part about the map making. The Wiki quote was the best concise summation that fit with the topic I wanted to discuss. As asking everyone to have read Baudrillard's essay would limit participation.

I think you took my idea about this the wrong way perhaps. I'm not pushing the idea stage 1 is best. Or that there is anything wrong with stage 4 in terms of music. Many people did, including myself, get into this thinking stage 1 is the gold standard and all recordings should stay in that area. You still see the idea promoted while most don't realize how few stage 1 recordings they've ever heard if any. I think unraveling that would prevent wasted time pursuing goals that don't match what people want or are working with. It also might clear up some repetitive arguments we see. While listening to recordings instead of thru recordings is fine on the playback end, you find doing recordings you need to consider more than that. Which is why I posted this in the Pro Audio sub-forum.

Also I'm not too rigid about the four stages. More of a continuum obviously. Having the 4 stages hopefully illuminates the discussion somewhat.
Sorry, I'm not following. Where did you and I disagree? Besides having some fun at your expense when suggesting you didn't read the source text.

Right, ultimately the stages aren't important. Baudrillard is asking a social question about what produces and sustains these relationships. You can ask the same about the hifi world. His answer would the be clear: the never-ending upgrade spiral is sustained by a fantasy of making simulation work, of filling in all the gaps.

Recording in some sense means preserving a moment. Engineers can be very deliberate about this and that intent is seen in the detailed study of the technical characteristics of their gear. In that way they establish the capabilities and limits of what is possible for them to capture, and also suggest a way forward for technical improvements. That is a wholly scientific, wholly anti-representational endeavor. Maybe this is where you see a difference in perspective and I don't. Representation as a linking feature tying together the original, the simulation, the dissimulating act, isn't the only order of things. They may all be linked together through a different point of view, one that is active in the attempt to define limits.

I don't want to venture too far into obscure reasoning without understanding what you mean first.
 
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