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Those of you who believe measurements aren't the whole story, do you have a hypothesis why that is?

Robin L

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Yep. Full dynamics is not for everyone, nor for casual listening. But for serious audiophiles who have the room and equipment to handle it, it's awesome. Classical music recordings don't have the heavy-handed processing that plagues other genres, but they do occasionally use dynamic range compression and I wish they would use less of it. Or, at least, apply it to the CD but not to 24-bit high res. Then the consumer decides. Better yet, don't use any compression at all and let listeners apply it on playback. This is readily available in DSP.
Just about all the early stereo recordings - Living Stereo, Living Presence, EMI - used gain riding. An assistant engineer, following the music from the score, would shift recording levels so that the loudest passages wouldn't overload, and the lowest levels wouldn't be buried in noise. Dolby A helped a bit, but it wasn't until digital recording became possible that truly uncompressed recordings became possible. And even then, many engineers and producers would have some compression so that the end product would be easier to play back on the vast majority of home equipment. Both Telarc and Bis had uncompressed recordings on CD with warning labels on the back telling the customers to beware of levels being too high, potentially leading to damage of audio gear. Remember that it's only a small number of audiophiles that are really concerned with compression in recordings. Most people are happy to have recordings that sound good at moderate volume levels.
 
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Robin L

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you guys wouldn't like music without any compression, this I can guarantee.
It doesn't sound natural at all since we don't hear music with ou ears 10cm from the instruments....and that's where the mics are
I haven't recorded anything 10 cm from an instrument. It's rare that a vocalist would be 10 cm from a microphone, more like 20 - 30 for pop recordings, much, much further than that for a classical recording. Most of my recordings of chamber music were 3 meters back and 2 meters up relative to the performers. I know there are recordings of rock performers with the microphones in very tight, but they are just about guaranteed to distort.
 

MRC01

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Just about all the early stereo recordings - Living Stereo, Living Presence, EMI - used gain riding. An assistant engineer, following the music from the score, would shift recording levels so that the loudest passages wouldn't overload, and the lowest levels wouldn't be buried in noise. Dolby A helped a bit, but it wasn't until digital recording became possible that truly uncompressed recordings became possible. And even then, many engineers and producers would have some compression so that the end product would be easier to play back on the vast majority of home equipment. Both Telace and Bis had uncompressed recordings on CD with warning labels on the back telling the customers to beware of levels being too high, potentially leading to damage of audio gear. Remember that it's only a small number of audiophiles that are really concerned with compression in recordings. Most people are happy to have recordings that sound good at moderate volume levels.
Yes I'm aware of and can hear the dynamic compression on the old RCA Victor recordings, and in many others both vintage & modern. My point was that it's nothing like the extreme heavy-handed compression in modern pop/rock recordings and doesn't detract too much from the music. Even though I would prefer not to have it.

That said, some classical recordings do take it too far. For one example, the Zefiro / Bernardini recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos from 2018. Such a shame, the recording practically ruins a wonderful performance. But when it comes to classical music that is the exception not the rule.
 

dasdoing

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and recorded,

what kind of recordings are these?

I haven't recorded anything 10 cm from an instrument. It's rare that a vocalist would be 10 cm from a microphone, more like 20 - 30 for pop recordings, much, much further than that for a classical recording. Most of my recordings of chamber music were 3 meters back and 2 meters up relative to the performers. I know there are recordings of rock performers with the microphones in very tight, but they are just about guaranteed to distort.

ok, don't take "10cm" literally. I meant close mic recording in general.
 

MRC01

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what kind of recordings are these? ...
Some I made myself, so I know no dynamic compression or other post-processing was applied. Others are made by recording companies who claim they use no dynamic range compression, and the big DR14 numbers suggest they are not lying. For example, try this one:
The album is DR20 overall, with some tracks as high as DR29. It sounds absolutely fantastic, one of the most lifelike recordings I have heard. Plenty of discussion about it in other threads here.
 

kemmler3D

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Oh it is more complex than that. Read about parallel compression as one example. Some of the track is compressed, some is not. So undoing that at playback end is going to be "wrong" no matter what you do.

Sure, and that's before you even get into multiband, automatic gain/release control, etc etc. I don't think compression applied in the studio is really reversible in general. But you could probably reverse some of it in a pleasing way on certain tracks that really need it. Like not good -> great, but maybe unlistenable -> barely listenable.
 

atmasphere

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you guys wouldn't like music without any compression, this I can guarantee.
It doesn't sound natural at all since we don't hear music with ou ears 10cm from the instruments....and that's where the mics are
Unless they aren't. I find I get far more natural electric guitar sound if the U67 is 8 or 9 feet away.
 

Cbdb2

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Because of that they are not masked by the music so much as they are masked by lower ordered harmonics (the 2nd and 3rd). IME its a common mistake to look at harmonic distortion components as separate signals- they are so small, how could anyone hear them?? But what is being ignored here is that harmonics define tone colors of musical instruments. Take a look at the waveform of any musical instrument and then ask yourself what will happen if you add more complexity to it in the form of higher ordered harmonics.
You think the tone of an instrument will change by adding the 7th at -100db? That needs proof.
 

Cbdb2

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Unless they aren't. I find I get far more natural electric guitar sound if the U67 is 8 or 9 feet away.
Whats a natural electric guitar sound, which varies greatly with genre and even individuals? At 8 or 9 feet your recording a lot of room, so all your guitar sounds will always have that signature. And electric guitars usually have a lot of compression way before the mic.
 

Cbdb2

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Sure, and that's before you even get into multiband, automatic gain/release control, etc etc. I don't think compression applied in the studio is really reversible in general. But you could probably reverse some of it in a pleasing way on certain tracks that really need it. Like not good -> great, but maybe unlistenable -> barely listenable.
Yah I've said that before. Just having different attack decay rates than the original would sound weird. You have individual tracks compressed differently than mixed together. You have feedback compressors and feedforward which respond differently. Its almost impossible to reverse the compression correctly, and it would be different for every song, and sometimes during a song.
 

Cbdb2

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I haven't recorded anything 10 cm from an instrument. It's rare that a vocalist would be 10 cm from a microphone, more like 20 - 30 for pop recordings, much, much further than that for a classical recording. Most of my recordings of chamber music were 3 meters back and 2 meters up relative to the performers. I know there are recordings of rock performers with the microphones in very tight, but they are just about guaranteed to distort.
I've seen close mics constantly in pop/rock recordings. Drum mics 5cm, electric and bass guitar cabs 5-10cm (and or direct into the board), vocalists vary but some are 10cm know how to use the proximity effect and most wont overload because they back off when they get loud.
 

atmasphere

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Whats a natural electric guitar sound, which varies greatly with genre and even individuals? At 8 or 9 feet your recording a lot of room, so all your guitar sounds will always have that signature. And electric guitars usually have a lot of compression way before the mic.
A natural guitar sound is that which sounds like the guy is really playing right in front of you. I found it striking how much more real it sounded by using a good mic and setting it back a ways. You'd have to hear the guitar playing in real life to know if it sounds right; nothing for that except run a studio, which is part of what I do.
 

Cbdb2

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Again, whats real in a pop recording? I prefer a sound that works in the song to "real" and often the room dosnt cut it.
 

cookiefactory

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I fall into the 90/10 camp, strongly favoring objectivism but open-minded toward variations based on perception differences, legitimate placebo, and/or unknown unknowns.

We already know that "objective" physical phenomenon can be perceived differently depending on the observer's frame of reference (relativity), and coupled with Anil Seth's contemporary research on consciousness (i.e. one's reality is a controlled hallucination by the brain) taking an absolute hardline stance that measurements are "everything, case closed" just seems unnecessarily dogmatic.
 

Verig

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I fall into the 90/10 camp, strongly favoring objectivism but open-minded toward variations based on perception differences, legitimate placebo, and/or unknown unknowns.

We already know that "objective" physical phenomenon can be perceived differently depending on the observer's frame of reference (relativity), and coupled with Anil Seth's contemporary research on consciousness (i.e. one's reality is a controlled hallucination by the brain) taking an absolute hardline stance that measurements are "everything, case closed" just seems unnecessarily dogmatic.
I must nitpick here. Placebo by definition is just placebo. Of course it's a real phenomenon but it's never "real".

Perception differences are interesting. With speakers for example I've noticed that we pay attention to very different details. Some speakers sound just about broken to me while a friend sitting next to me is happy as a clam. These cases don't have any unknowns, it's just what we prefer and especially what we don't mind.
 

cookiefactory

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I must nitpick here. Placebo by definition is just placebo. Of course it's a real phenomenon but it's never "real".

Perception differences are interesting. With speakers for example I've noticed that we pay attention to very different details. Some speakers sound just about broken to me while a friend sitting next to me is happy as a clam. These cases don't have any unknowns, it's just what we prefer and especially what we don't mind.

Placebo is absolutely real, in that it has real cause and effect especially on human perception (i.e. the relevant context at hand). https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect.

Still, the point of my post is best captured by Anil Seth's Ted talk on consciousness. If you have not watched it I urge you to do so as it is both entertaining and highly informative.
 
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Verig

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Ok, in that sense placebo is real (for a person) and absolutely powerful. It's just not real for the rest of the world where measurements happen etc. False input and positive output. I don't think we disagree on anything, just semantics and too short forum posts. I'll check out Anil. I don't think I've seen this one.
 

Robin L

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I've seen close mics constantly in pop/rock recordings. Drum mics 5cm, electric and bass guitar cabs 5-10cm (and or direct into the board), vocalists vary but some are 10cm know how to use the proximity effect and most wont overload because they back off when they get loud.
Guess I haven't been witness to pop/rock recordings. My recordings were of classical music, almost entirely.
 

Verig

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Guess I haven't been witness to pop/rock recordings. My recordings were of classical music, almost entirely.
It's very close quarters stuff. Or even more often zero distance, direct to DI, for the instruments. And drums machine or triggered... quite different game I'd say.
 
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