• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

What is your audio Philosophy?

tomelex

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
846
Likes
395
Location
So called Midwest, USA
#1
My brief audio philosophy in statements is:

Two channel audio production over stereo can not replicate an original acoustic event so what I listen for in an audio reproduction system are detail retrieval, that is, I can clearly hear all the distinct sounds in the recording separated from one another.

I enjoy the attempt two channel stereo makes at creating a left to right image between the speakers and do not concern my self too much with depth, finding that most recordings are either all in your face close, all distant, or sometimes about right in their attempts at depth in any case. But detail retrieval is what I most admire. My ear/brain would like to hear an actual center channel, as for me, the stereo construct is never totally convincing but that's just me and I while I enjoy the left to right imaging there is never enough "energy" there in my own ear/brain world, I would have loved three channel stereo, that is a center channel speaker.

Also, while I do believe in the sanctity of the original recording, I do not have a problem with any process I may do in my playback system to tailor the sound to what I feel like hearing at the time. For example, sometimes I want the chorus effect of my SET amplifier and its interactions with the recorded music. So, I want my "normal" play back system to be accurate as possible, but I have no problem changing the sound with either an outboard processor or SET amp or different headphone etc to match my mood at the time.
 

Thomas savage

Major Contributor
The Watchman
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
10,084
Likes
15,112
Location
uk, taunton
#2
My brief audio statement reads...,

To recreate the essence of what music is to you in your home by what ever means, fare or foul. If you are fulfilled by a cheap radio and don't understand the need for more... Good for you imo.

If you go chasing the feeling you get at live events, get your wallet out and have some fun.

If like me you tend to enjoy music at home ' more' than when at gigs that's great. I can hear more of the instruments both individually and as a whole playing together at home than at any gig venue I go to. Other than some non amplified events in my local jazz pub, and big orchestral music that I never listen too anyway.

If you want to indulge yourself and come up with all sorts of reasons why things sound the way they do... Knock yourself out.

The only three truisms I have found is,
1. recording and mastering/ transfer trumps format and relative sampling rate etc. That's given the music being recorded suits your taste.

2. You are the problem.. You are the variable and weakest link in your hifi setup. ... But good luck upgrading yourselves.

3. Get over yourselves as nothing is real.

If you think any recording after 1978 is a pile of crap... Well that's ok too as you have enough great music to enjoy before that. I won't try and convince you how wrong you are.

Enjoy yourselves!
 

AJ Soundfield

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Messages
1,001
Likes
64
Location
Tampa FL
#3
Mine:
My methods and speakers are the greatest, my preferences are absolute.
You are an idiot if you disagree.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,437
Likes
595
#6
My brief audio philosophy in statements is:

Two channel audio production over stereo can not replicate an original acoustic event so what I listen for in an audio reproduction system are detail retrieval, that is, I can clearly hear all the distinct sounds in the recording separated from one another.

I enjoy the attempt two channel stereo makes at creating a left to right image between the speakers and do not concern my self too much with depth, finding that most recordings are either all in your face close, all distant, or sometimes about right in their attempts at depth in any case. But detail retrieval is what I most admire. My ear/brain would like to hear an actual center channel, as for me, the stereo construct is never totally convincing but that's just me and I while I enjoy the left to right imaging there is never enough "energy" there in my own ear/brain world, I would have loved three channel stereo, that is a center channel speaker.

Also, while I do believe in the sanctity of the original recording, I do not have a problem with any process I may do in my playback system to tailor the sound to what I feel like hearing at the time. For example, sometimes I want the chorus effect of my SET amplifier and its interactions with the recorded music. So, I want my "normal" play back system to be accurate as possible, but I have no problem changing the sound with either an outboard processor or SET amp or different headphone etc to match my mood at the time.
Not my own philosophy. Just some comments on 3 channel, which you raised. I think the most widely praised 3 from 2 channel derivation scheme for that is Meridian's Trifield, but that would set you back a pretty penny and require a revamp of your system preamp.

I am not sure how you go about setting up just a summed L+R center as Paul Klipsch did ages ago. But, he only did that to compensate for the KHorns in the front corners and a possible hole in the middle due to KHorn dispersion issues. With other speakers, you can just move them closer together, if you think you have that problem.

I do have a modest number of '50s RCA and Mercury SACD remasterings. They have the original 3 mike recordings and the 2 channel mix down from that, both in hi rez DSD. I do prefer the 3 channel versions, but sometimes the difference is not as huge as you might expect.

A center channel even in discretely recorded Mch is a bit subtle at first. Once you get accustomed to it, though, you can spot its absence on other 4.0 recordings. Some Quad-era remasterings do seem to have a huge hole in the middle compared to modern 5.0. I would not be without it, but I feel no need to have a derived center when listening in plain stereo with my main fronts at +/- 30 degrees.
 

NorthSky

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 28, 2016
Messages
4,999
Likes
706
Location
Canada West Coast/Vancouver Island/Victoria area
#7
Mine:
My methods and speakers are the greatest, my preferences are absolute.
You are an idiot if you disagree.
But that simply makes no sense; how could that be? :D
 

iridium

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 28, 2016
Messages
525
Likes
111
#8
Mine: If I enter a state of Bliss, the audio of the moment is correct.

iridium.
 

fas42

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
2,818
Likes
170
Location
Australia
#9
AJ has set a very high bar ... the unworthy ones will have to do as best they can ...

As Tom well knows, I come from probably as completely a different angle as possible, from his. Having achieved superbly convincing reproduction from boring ol' stereo numerous times over the years, I have zero interest in pursuing the normal standard of sound reproduction. For me the chase is always to achieve beyond a certain hurdle of quality in the playback, which then, magically it does indeed seem to be, produces a whole suite of listening effects: the speakers completely disappear, it becomes impossible to pinpoint their location by listening "for where they are"; true mono playback always tracks your position with respect to the speakers, it never dives back into the speakers; and of course the full depth and breadth of the recorded event is fully revealed, it forms a massive stage in the case of some recordings, where dozens and dozens of individual sound elements all exist in their own space, spread out in front of you.

This is brilliant stuff to listen to, makes ordinary playback feel like a trip in a Model T Ford; and allows recordings of quite "appalling" quality to work a magic on you, you still connect very strongly to the musical event - it's not just a sound curiosity.

My philosophy is to spread the idea that this sort of experience is possible for everyone - in the past this level of playback was exceedingly difficult to achieve, but it's getting easier and easier with the better gear for the money surfacing all the time - especially over the last couple of years major progress seems to have been made. So, exciting times are coming(!) - when I can go and listen to music just anywhere, and not groan at the awfulness of what I'm hearing ... I'm looking forward to this !! :D
 
OP
tomelex

tomelex

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
846
Likes
395
Location
So called Midwest, USA
Thread Starter #12
Not my own philosophy. Just some comments on 3 channel, which you raised. I think the most widely praised 3 from 2 channel derivation scheme for that is Meridian's Trifield, but that would set you back a pretty penny and require a revamp of your system preamp.

I am not sure how you go about setting up just a summed L+R center as Paul Klipsch did ages ago. But, he only did that to compensate for the KHorns in the front corners and a possible hole in the middle due to KHorn dispersion issues. With other speakers, you can just move them closer together, if you think you have that problem.

I do have a modest number of '50s RCA and Mercury SACD remasterings. They have the original 3 mike recordings and the 2 channel mix down from that, both in hi rez DSD. I do prefer the 3 channel versions, but sometimes the difference is not as huge as you might expect.

A center channel even in discretely recorded Mch is a bit subtle at first. Once you get accustomed to it, though, you can spot its absence on other 4.0 recordings. Some Quad-era remasterings do seem to have a huge hole in the middle compared to modern 5.0. I would not be without it, but I feel no need to have a derived center when listening in plain stereo with my main fronts at +/- 30 degrees.
The main thing a center channel did for me was allow more head movement without pinpointing of the speakers as easily. It also, for me, filled in that acoustic space with real information, real air wiggles, that provided a more convincing energy level between the speakers.

Agreed you can toe in and reduce physical separation between speakers to get rid of some of the loss on center energy, and I do actually do a lot more near field listening (with the treble reduced of course) than I used to. As I said, I don't really concentrate too much on the stereo image as much as details, so its not too big a deal with me that we took the easy way out with two channels, again and as always in commercial audio, because its cheaper to do that way, sigh.
 

Duke

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Manufacturer
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Messages
638
Likes
1,381
Location
Princeton, Texas
#14
Well I'm kinda fixated on speakers, so here's my speaker philosophy, but I suppose we could substitute the term "audio system" for "speaker":

A good speaker must do two things: First, it must do something so well that you can close your eyes and focus on that something and suspend disbelief. That something can be timbre, articulation, imaging precision, sense of envelopment, PRAT, impact, coherence, whatever. But a good speaker has to excel at something.

Second, and this is the hard part, having done something so special as to create that magical illusion, the speaker must not then turn around and do something so poorly as to spoil that fragile illusion and jar the listener back to the cold harsh reality that it's all just an elaborate hoax.

Music well reproduced (and well listened-to) can be easy-access deep meditation. I think it has benefits that go far beyond aural pleasure.
 
OP
tomelex

tomelex

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
846
Likes
395
Location
So called Midwest, USA
Thread Starter #15
good to see you here Duke, I hope to hear your speakers some day, maybe next axpona
 

Duke

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Manufacturer
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Messages
638
Likes
1,381
Location
Princeton, Texas
#16
good to see you here Duke, I hope to hear your speakers some day, maybe next axpona
Thank you tomelex. Amir told me about this forum at Axpona, and the threads I've read have been exceptionally informative. The signal-to-noise ratio here is exceptionally high.
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
11,322
Likes
11,624
Location
Riverview FL
#17
Second, and this is the hard part, having done something so special as to create that magical illusion, the speaker must not then turn around and do something so poorly as to spoil that fragile illusion and jar the listener back to the cold harsh reality that it's all just an elaborate hoax.
That's a nice way to put it.

I'm there...

Music well reproduced (and well listened-to) can be easy-access deep meditation.
My gauge for that is how long it takes for me to realize the music has stopped after it has, when it puts me into that 'almost asleep' state.
 

TitaniumTroy

Active Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2016
Messages
175
Likes
47
Location
South Bend/Mishawaka IN
#19
I'm also fixated on the speakers, though I do love the look of some of those high priced amps from Nelson Pass and Jeff Roland. I'm also fixated on room acoustics, as I know they are large part of the sound. Someday I want to have a big enough place to have a home theatre system and simple two channel rig. The two channel rig would be probably a pair of Magnepan 20.1's and the surround sound would be some less expensive form of the JBL M2's. I think that would be cool as I could switch between two different sounds and have the best of both worlds. One other option would be the KEF Blade speakers I really liked them at AXPONA.

To me imaging and soundscape, would be number one in what I want in a speaker. All other things being equal. As an example the Audience/Axis TV channel runs a lot of concert videos from various top artists, however the mixing is not very good. Everything is kinda mixed to a mono kind of soundstage, which does nothing for me and end up deleting it most of the time.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
34
Likes
16
Location
Baltimore
#20
Whether it's headphones or speakers, what I look for most in an audio system is soundstage: a wide separation left/right, and precise placement of sounds in space. Front/back depth of soundstage is good too but is trickier, and seems to me to be highly recording-dependent; though I have a friend whose system has terrific depth on most any recording, not entirely sure how he manages it... Anyway, I think soundstage is more important than having a perfectly flat frequency response. Sure you don't want wide variances, but my ear is not trained enough to say "wow there's a 2db boost at 500Hz, geez that sounds so unnatural." :p I think the ear/mind can get used to variances in frequency response within a few minutes of listening. But the soundstage and the precision/isolation of sounds is kinda either there or not. Of course, I've heard it argued this tremendous separation of sounds is artificial, that live performances would never be that way, and I get that point too; but I like studio recordings that are done well in this regard. So what if it's not "natural"?

Yeah I do measurements and tweak my systems a fair bit just for grins. (I'm a scientist; I like hard data.) But I'd rather have as clean a transport from media to final transducer as possible, rather than put the signal through a lot of processing. So I do lossless rips, don't EQ much if at all (some in my HT via the pre/pro, none with headphones), have only a single d/a conversion stage, etc.

Ultimately the measure of a system, to me, is the emotional impact that it allows the music to deliver. Yeah I can enjoy music on a crappy system (as long as it's good music!) but the emotional kick is so much bigger with a quality system. That's where it's at for me. (And unfortunately that's where we get into subjective audiophool territory...)
 
Top Bottom