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Too detailed for background music?

invaderzim

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#1
I will admit that by the Audiopheliac's definition I am not really an audiophile because I rarely just sit and listen to music. And that got me wondering if different presentations of music are better for different instances. For a related example when we first got our big HD TV I noticed that I could no longer really work on something and watch TV at the same time. I also rarely use the TV for background noise anymore while puttering around the house. There is just something about that big, super clean image that requires my full attention. The low resolution image on the old regular tube TV worked great as a non-distracting background.

In my garage I currently have a pair of old Heathkit A9-C tube amps and one of Neurochome's a LM3886DR amps that I've been building. If I'm just sitting there listening to the LM3886DR amp I really enjoy listening to it but if I'm working on the car I actually enjoy the old tube amps more.
I hadn't realized this until the other evening and it got me wondering if when my brain is focusing on other tasks it just doesn't like that much detail in the music; similar to it not liking to process a HD video image just out of the corner of my eye.

Or am I the only one that also turns down the radio in the car when I'm concentrating on finding a specific destination? Maybe I'm weird and my brain just can't handle that much input at once.
 

RayDunzl

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#2
Am I the only one that also turns down the radio in the car when I'm concentrating on finding a specific destination?
Your "radio" doesn't talk and give you directions now?

After 1/4 mile turn right and you have reached your destination
Turn right
Turn right
After 1/4 mile make a U-turn
...
Turn right
ad-nauseum
 

invaderzim

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#3
Your "radio" doesn't talk and give you directions now?

After 1/4 mile turn right and you have reached your destination
Turn right
Turn right
After 1/4 mile make a U-turn
...
Turn right
ad-nauseum

Nope, I just drive around in circles until I find the place like we were meant to do ;)
 

RayDunzl

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#4
Yeah, I drive past and then the problem becomes to remember where it was I was headed...
 

L5730

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#5
Hmm, interesting.
Certainly in terms of dynamic range, if I want background music I will add a DSP compressor/limiter to flatten things out a bit. Maybe some EQ to beef the mids a little too. It all starts to sounds a bit like the processed sound you get on any regular radio station.

I can't tolerate a horrid thin rattly sound no matter is making it. It's gotta have some bass or low mid, even if it starts sounding a little woolly. My parents are worse than me for this and they will turn turn controls on radios to their most muffled setting - then I'll come along and tweak it back a bit, where it normally then stays.

If the background sound is too clear and spatial it can cause constant distraction. I keep spinning my head around as if I've heard something odd, but it's just the music and not really listening properly I don't know what it was.

I'll say that two setups are required for the two purposes. One for listening and enjoying wonderful sound, the other for background filler.
 

amirm

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#6
I think you have to pick the right music for background work. Not every piece of music works that way. I listen all the time while doing reviews and some music works for that, some does not. Occasionally the music gets me to stop and just listen to it. Or turn up the volume. Same deal with music in my woodshop. I do turn down the volume or shut things off sometimes as you say when I get a call, etc. But otherwise, it works almost all the time to have music running and at high fidelity.
 

amirm

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#8
Maybe I need a bigger collection of Muzak :D
Maybe you need Roon with Tidal subscription. :) I play a favorite album and then let the Roon "radio" feature take over and play content with similar mood. It does that for hours and I rarely have to intervene and change the course.
 

L5730

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#9
I tried (free) LastFM's auto radio thing a few times a long while back, where it detects stuff you play and then creates a playlist based on that, but of stuff you don't have. I didn't enjoy that. But this was years ago, and last fm is last fm.
I'll have a look into Tidal.

At work, someone has his laptop on Youtube or Deezer and plays random radio-style stuff.
 

jsrtheta

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#11
Or am I the only one that also turns down the radio in the car when I'm concentrating on finding a specific destination? Maybe I'm weird and my brain just can't handle that much input at once.
As for the last, I tend to find places the old way, too, and there are most definitely times (like all of them) I have to turn the damned radio or music OFF! The distraction itself becomes a distraction.

As for the rest, there are a lot of albums and artists who will distract me if I listen to them while working. OTOH, I hate working in silence, too.

What to do, what to do...
 

March Audio

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#13
Maybe you need Roon with Tidal subscription. :) I play a favorite album and then let the Roon "radio" feature take over and play content with similar mood. It does that for hours and I rarely have to intervene and change the course.
I do exactly the same. I discover stuff I didnt know I had in my collection :)
 

pwjazz

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#14
I love http://somafm.com/ for background music.

In terms of what aspects of sound seem to draw my attention, I find that adequate or boosted energy in the presence region (1-4 KHz) tends to grab my attention because it makes voices and guitar really pop. When this is recessed (like on the Audeze LCD series) it makes the music fade into the background a bit more (for me).
 

invaderzim

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#15
You can start by not believing anything Steve Guttenberg says. besides, he need a haircut.
I should have put the sarcastic wink at the end of my statement about the audiopheliac. I bet he has some great stories to tell but I take his recommendations with a few grains of salt. But at least he hasn't yet jumped the shark by putting a doorstop on a DAC ;)

It turns out much of the problem with the listen-ability was the speakers. I think cheaper speakers may like less detailed amps better. I connected the LM3886DR to my living room speakers and dozed off listening to moderately loud music playing.
 
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