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The post in which Darko basically tells anyone who isn't a rich rube to ignore him and audiophilia in general

Atanasi

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If he were a true audiophile, he would run down to Home depot and grab some single-strand 12/3 house wiring and run house wiring straight to all the gear, thus eliminating the damned inherently inferior power cords altogether. Everyone knows that single-strand 12/3 house wiring sounds way better than any of the after-market power cords.
Even if they hire an electrician to make a fixed installation, it should be cheaper and technically better than those power cords. I wonder if any of those enthusiasts has advocated that.
 

Robin L

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But fortepianos also have rather ‘brittle’ mechanisms that make faster tempi quite challenging. I’m quit sure Liszt and the other virtuosi of the Romantic period were not admired for their slower tempi :) . But yes, Furtwängler’s tempi are sometimes glacial, but not because he didn’t know what the metronome markings meant, but because he ignored them.
Badly regulated fortepianos have "brittle" mechanisms. I recorded a pianist who collected antique fortepianos, used one of those instruments for a set of sessions. He spent more time tuning the instrument than playing. The "original" instruments are likely to have their playability undermined by parts that get out of alignment as they age. Peter Serkin made recordings of Beethoven's piano sonatas 27-32 on fortepiano [a Graf instrument, doubtless properly regulated]* for the Pro Arte record label. He played using Beethoven's metronome markings. Soon after, Peter Serkin re-recorded the "Hammerklavier" sonata on a modern instrument. I recalling him saying that the experience of playing these works on fortepiano enabled him to play in tempo on the modern instrument.

Liszt and the other virtuosi of the Romantic era were admired for their ability to sustain longer, slower lines than Beethoven and his contemporaries. This was due in large part to the newer instruments they played having more sustain, thanks to replacing the wooden harps of the Classical era fortepianos with the brass harps of the Pianos of the Romantic era. The wooden harps would warp over time. Many of the original fortepianos became unplayable because of this.

*edited these bits after looking up the recordings. Amazon Prime streams these recordings, FWIW.
 
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CDMC

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Did you try stretching them real tight and plucking them?
Thanks, I knew I was doing something wrong when listening to my cables. Tried it and all are dead sounding. I guess I need to switch to antennae wire.
 

Dmitri

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Once again, this has proven to be a truly fascinating...somewhat unusual thread. I need reread the last couple of pages, to absorb more of the erudite and interesting points about classical music, it’s changes, and reasons for, through time. The correlation of digital versus analogue, that in some ways such mysteries in the future will not exist because accurate, inherently non destructive reproduction is a given, I find kind of saddening...but it will also make it easier to pinpoint the human factor with less potential bias caused by instrumentation.

Like many here, I grew up with vinyl. I keep my equipment in order so that on occasion I might spin a record, but that tends to prove disappointing....lost soundstage, compressed dynamic range, high noise floor...the usual suspects. What used to thrill me sounds dead to my ears. And yet, I can’t...won’t give it up.

There is something iconic...and ironic...about having a good turntable in your system. In the digital domain...assuming the recording was mastered appropriately, vinyl simply cannot compete with digital. But digital source kit will never have the romance for for me, because to my ears, in the two channel world...it has reached a pinnacle of audio perfection and diminishing returns that in the past, with vinyl, was audible and measurable within the realm of human hearing. You could play with it.

Of course, it’s all about the music, and from that point digital is a wonderful medium. But the equipment used to be much more fun.

So, with all that behind me, I’m fairly sure I don’t need order some more expensive usb cables because my current ones have been exposed to so much Darko matter they’ve lost all their top end “airiness”. ; )
 
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Jimbob54

Jimbob54

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Where do I start? We know more about tempi and articulations in Baroque and Classical era musics because of lots of research. Beethoven put metronome markings on most of his music. 19th/20th century musicians thought the tempi were too fast, the articulation strange. But books on musical instruction, indications on scores, the physical designs of musical instruments in their older, "un-improved" form, all pointed to necessary changes in performance practice in order to properly represent the composer's intent. The way Beethoven was performed in the later 20th/early 21st century is no doubt closer to what Beethoven intended at the end of the 18th and start of the 19th centuries than the romanticized performances that were recorded in the early 20th century. There were exceptions of performance practice in the earliest recordings, acoustic era. As we have recordings, as we have scores, the truth isn't something mysterious. And while the Historically Informed Performance Practices may have been more controversial in the 1970's and 1980's, by 2020 it's pretty much a done deal. Because of, you know----research. Kinda like, because of science.

Sorry for the tangent.
Not sure tangents are possible in this thread.
 

Robin L

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Nah, this puppy is dead on target. We need some variety here, for sure....
Fortepianos vs. Modern Grand pianos is a whole lot like tube gear vs. solid state: the older stuff sounds different, sometimes because it is out of spec, mostly because of different designs and different design goals. Some of the older stuff is no longer useable. There's defenders of the antique stuff, though they seem to be the odd men out. There's modern replicas of Fortepianos, but some of the "magic" seems to be missing, sometimes due to "improvements". The specs of the Modern Grand pianos are much better. The goals of a Steinway or Yamaha Grand Piano are more bass, more volume, bigger dynamics, less self noise.
 
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KaiserSoze

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The Gardnier/Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique set of the Beethoven Symphonies is now 25 years old. They were recorded for "Archiv", DGG's label for "Early Music" [Bach mostly, to start with] since the 1950's. The 1990's were the time HIPP started being applied to classical and romantic era composers. There were earlier examples, but Historically Informed Performances of Beethoven became a "thing" in the early 1990's. HIP Baroque as the norm has been going on longer than that.

I'd say that issues with deterioration of audio recording are all over the place. Analog tape can deteriorate from bad storage, wear obviously applies to the disc formats. And then there's CD rot, like that Hannover Band set of the Beethoven Symphonies that I found [the first complete Historically Informed set], all the silver coating on the discs turned to grey, rendering the discs unplayable. Storage of digital sources might hold up better over time, but that will require a lot of back-ups of digital data. Hard drives wear out, SSDs can lose all data catastrophically, lord knows how long Micro SDs hold up [I've got one filled with 500gb of music, another, redundant, Micro SD with 400gb.] For me, the greater concern is that audio discs, LPs, 78's and so on, have the sound quality go downhill right from the get-go, due to the groove slowing down as the stylus gets to the end of a side, something that cannot be worked around. It doesn't matter how much money gets poured into playback gear or discs, the sound quality will go downhill on an LP as it plays.

Interesting choice, Beethoven's 9th. The first recording I heard [50 years ago] was Bruno Walter's New York Philharmonic recording, taken from two sessions, a 1949 session and one made a few years later, all on a single LP. I think that was the first complete Ninth on LP. The adagio had to be split in two over two sides, both sides were over 30 minutes in length. The sound wasn't very good in the first place, but it got much worse by the end of the choral finale. Didn't hear a properly dynamic recording of the 9th's scherzo until Solti's recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra of the 1970's, where the symphony was spread across 4 sides with the scherzo having a side of it's own. Of course, by the time these recordings made it to CD, the point was moot.


Robin you have a lot of knowledge of a lot of things, and I certainly have no objection to your sharing it. However I am compelled to say that I am a little bit miffed (just a little bit ...) that in sharing that knowledge you obfuscated the fundamental point that I had twice attempted to make, in my effort to explain the true reason that digital encoding of audio is infinitely superior to analog encoding of audio.

Certainly it is true that CDs rot and that other physical media used for digital storage similarly degrade over time. Digital encoding of information is effectively immune to these things. This is the important point that critics of digitally encoded audio (and of digital encoding of information generally) seem unable to grasp. Every type of physical media eventually degrades, but whether this affects the information itself depends on how the information is encoded. With digital encoding of information (any information), you make diverse copies of the encoded information along with the redundancy check. The redundancy check is engineered so that the probability of an undetected, uncorrectable error is so low that it will never, ever happen. After some time has passed and many of the physical copies of the digitally encoded information have deteriorated to the point of uselessness, there will still be numerous copies of that information that remain identical to the original, as confirmed by the redundancy check and by virtue of the fact that they are all identical to one another. These copies of the information are used to make new copies of the information, and the new copies are fully identical to the original version that was used to calculate the redundancy check. Thus, the digitally encoded information itself is effectively immune to the deterioration of the physical media on which it is recorded. It is for this one particular reason that digital encoding of audio is infinitely superior to analog encoding of audio, in opposition to the malarkey that Michael Fremer and other ignoramuses like him expound in a patently disingenuous manner.

Had digital encoding of audio not been invented, there would come a time in the future when no copies of Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" speech would remain intelligible. There would likely even be debates over the exact wording of the speech, and there would be no way to settle such debates. Future generations would not be able to hear it the way Churchill actually spoke it, nor would they even be able to know with certainty the exact wording of the speech. Thanks to digital encoding of audio, the actual sound of the speech is now preserved for all time. Yes, it really is. Ten thousand years from now, students of ancient history will be able to hear Chuchill's voice delivering the speech as it sounded when the best surviving analog recordings were first digitized for archival preservation. Without the invention of digital encoding of audio, this would not be possible. This is the foremost reason that digital encoding of audio is infinitely superior to analog recording of audio. Michael Fremer will never understand it, but thankfully there are plenty of people who do.
 

Robin L

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Robin you have a lot of knowledge of a lot of things, and I certainly have no objection to your sharing it. However I am compelled to say that I am a little bit miffed (just a little bit ...) that in sharing that knowledge you obfuscated the fundamental point that I had twice attempted to make, in my effort to explain the true reason that digital encoding of audio is infinitely superior to analog encoding of audio.

Certainly it is true that CDs rot and that other physical media used for digital storage similarly degrade over time. Digital encoding of information is effectively immune to these things. This is the important point that critics of digitally encoded audio (and of digital encoding of information generally) seem unable to grasp. Every type of physical media eventually degrades, but whether this affects the information itself depends on how the information is encoded. With digital encoding of information (any information), you make diverse copies of the encoded information along with the redundancy check. The redundancy check is engineered so that the probability of an undetected, uncorrectable error is so low that it will never, ever happen. After some time has passed and many of the physical copies of the digitally encoded information have deteriorated to the point of uselessness, there will still be numerous copies of that information that remain identical to the original, as confirmed by the redundancy check and by virtue of the fact that they are all identical to one another. These copies of the information are used to make new copies of the information, and the new copies are fully identical to the original version that was used to calculate the redundancy check. Thus, the digitally encoded information itself is effectively immune to the deterioration of the physical media on which it is recorded. It is for this one particular reason that digital encoding of audio is infinitely superior to analog encoding of audio, in opposition to the malarkey that Michael Fremer and other ignoramuses like him expound in a patently disingenuous manner.

Had digital encoding of audio not been invented, there would come a time in the future when no copies of Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" speech would remain intelligible. There would likely even be debates over the exact wording of the speech, and there would be no way to settle such debates. Future generations would not be able to hear it the way Churchill actually spoke it, nor would they even be able to know with certainty the exact wording of the speech. Thanks to digital encoding of audio, the actual sound of the speech is now preserved for all time. Yes, it really is. Ten thousand years from now, students of ancient history will be able to hear Chuchill's voice delivering the speech as it sounded when the best surviving analog recordings were first digitized for archival preservation. Without the invention of digital encoding of audio, this would not be possible. This is the foremost reason that digital encoding of audio is infinitely superior to analog recording of audio. Michael Fremer will never understand it, but thankfully there are plenty of people who do.
I'd say you're optimistic about the potential longevity of digital media, I'm skeptical. Check back in in 10,000 years, ok?
 

KaiserSoze

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Once again, this has proven to be a truly fascinating...somewhat unusual thread. I need reread the last couple of pages, to absorb more of the erudite and interesting points about classical music, it’s changes, and reasons for, through time. The correlation of digital versus analogue, that in some ways such mysteries in the future will not exist because accurate, inherently non destructive reproduction is a given, I find kind of saddening...but it will also make it easier to pinpoint the human factor with less potential bias caused by instrumentation.

Like many here, I grew up with vinyl. I keep my equipment in order so that on occasion I might spin a record, but that tends to prove disappointing....lost soundstage, compressed dynamic range, high noise floor...the usual suspects. What used to thrill me sounds dead to my ears. And yet, I can’t...won’t give it up.

There is something iconic...and ironic...about having a good turntable in your system. In the digital domain...assuming the recording was mastered appropriately, vinyl simply cannot compete with digital. But digital source kit will never have the romance for for me, because to my ears, in the two channel world...it has reached a pinnacle of audio perfection and diminishing returns that in the past, with vinyl, was audible and measurable within the realm of human hearing. You could play with it.

Of course, it’s all about the music, and from that point digital is a wonderful medium. But the equipment used to be much more fun.

So, with all that behind me, I’m fairly sure I don’t need order some more expensive usb cables because my current ones have been exposed to so much Darko matter they’ve lost all their top end “airiness”. ; )
Indeed it is very interesting and informative, but also ironic because it both misses the point that I had tried to make, and illustrates the point that I had tried to make. If analog recording had been around back in Beethoven's era, it would not have prevented debates of this very nature, because each time the analog recording had been copied over the past two centuries, new errors would have been introduced, which accumulate over time. With digital encoding of audio this does not occur, not if it is done with reasonable attention to proper methods of handling digital information. Fremer doesn't understand this, and many other people similarly do not, but it is absolutely true nevertheless, and this is the true, genuine reason that digital encoding of audio is infinitely superior to analog encoding of audio.
 

CDMC

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I've heard putting a potato in the chain can really juice up the signal!
If he coats the piano wires with sugar will they sound sweeter? Maybe a proprietary blend of sugar, syrup and cinnamon to provide the proper balance of sweet, syrupy, and spice. Whatever formula, not to much syrup as it will smear the signal.
 

Atanasi

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I'd say you're optimistic about the potential longevity of digital media, I'm skeptical. Check back in in 10,000 years, ok?
I think it is rather probable that if digital technology still exists in 10 000 years, the most important media will be preserved also.
 

MattHooper

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Of course, it’s all about the music,
Nah. That's the shibboleth audiophiles often mouth, but it's clearly not true. If it were, we wouldn't have forums like this and many others (and magazines) devoting so much time and discussion to the gear. The gear aspect to guys, in this hobby and elsewhere, is like shiny dangling things to a cat. We can admit it. :)
 
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