Do microphones capture what we hear?

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
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#1
Those of us who only care to reproduce the recording largely believe that the microphones capture a different version of reality than what we typically hear as audience/spectators. I am one of those, with one twist...

At the urging of my fellow audio buddies here, I attended a Schumann piano concerto with Yuja Wang, and then, Brucker's #9 with the BSO, sitting in the first balcony, seat A2, the closest seat to the orchestra, and in fact right over it as seen below, and notice where the microphones are (a few over the violins; three over the flutes and other small-wind; two over the timpani; two+two over the larger winds (can't see the trombones or tuba sitting behind the contrabasses, to the right of me)):

bso-bruckner-9.jpg

The sound was exactly as I had expected: in-your-face, bold, tremendous midrange body courtesy of the hall, the conductor has the best seat in the house (all instruments face him), beautiful tone, not as resolving in detail as the typical recordings I hear at home, not bright from where I sat or anywhere else in the hall before, but... this is just NOT what the microphones pick up, plain and simple. For example, the flute has always sounded small and subdued from anywhere I have ever sat, yet typical good recordings pick that up really well. Ditto for piccolo and all its brightness. By contrast, trombones sounded extremely loud live (even out of sight), yet this is not how most recordings sound. Keep in mind I have many BSO recordings as reference here.

The sound engineer had carefully placed three microphones close to the flutes; he was obviously looking to pick up the right balance, NOT what the audience hears. The microphones have a better perspective than anyone in the audience, and closer to what the conductor hears. I am convinced yet again that recordings capture an event entirely different than what we hear, though there is nothing wrong with either.

So do I still want to reproduce the recording? Well, yes, it's all I have. But, the problem is that a number of them sound unnatural in a number of ways: bloated chest-pounding bass (nothing like that in real life); overly bright; etc. So my goal right now is to have a more midrangy sound than ever before (how to achieve that is not part of this post). This does NOT mean I favor a dark system sound (where the treble is effectively missing), but one with articulated treble that is not as pronounced; basically, a more midrangy tonal balance. At the same time, timbral accuracy continues to be my top requirement.

The following day I went to New York to attend a high school Jazz competition, sitting in two different places. The first, right in front of all brass, and the sound was really dynamic and bright. The second, on the side, where the brightness abated - same first row in both. But alas, the microphones were right on the instruments. Again, they capture a different version of reality:

lexington-high.jpg

bls-big-band.jpg

One common trait between all of these concerts was the in-your-face, very literal sound, and what such microphone positions typically capture. This is one reason I usually don't care much for systems that constantly render a rather recessed perspective, or others that offer a chaotic and diffuse soundstage. I like systems that vastly change character between recordings - which I consider truer to the source - without an exaggerated, yet still resolving treble. Of all speakers I have heard thusfar, the only one that I truly feel does treble right is the Magico M3 driven by the Spectral DMA-500AR amps, and I have to assume the M6 as well.

Fun weekend!

-ack
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,486
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North Shore of Boston
#2
NIce post Ack. Do you think we can ever hear from our systems what the multiple mics at the BSO capture? What influence does the recording engineer have? I agree that all we have is the recording, but is that what the mics captured? We also have our vastly different sounding audio gear set up in combinations and positions in different rooms which suit our individual preferences and priorities. These different set ups surely influence what we hear from that same recording.

Here is an email I sent out this morning to our Boston audio group discussing this topic:

I have a couple more observations on this subject. I actually don’t think that what the conductor hears is like what the mics hear. Of course I can not be certain because I have not floated above the stage, but I have stood right behind a conductor in Vienna. The mics I see at the BSO are all over the place. The conductor has two ears, but there are twelve or more mics suspended in the air each capturing different instruments up closer than the conductor would ever hear, and the mics are weighted for those instruments by positioning where the conductor hears them in a more natural way in space as the musicians are arranged on stage. He basically hears a more immediate impression of what the audience up front hears. I suspect that is why Al and I prefer the up front seats. (As you say, the conductor has the best seat in the house) The audience that sits up close is hearing something similar to the conductor. Those in the back of the hall up in the balcony, perhaps not.

Sitting in that private living room in Boston hearing the string trio up close without mics, the audience is like the conductor but we are sitting instead of standing. We don’t hear the violin in our ear like the musician does, but a mic in that situation would be not unlike the audience in the first row or two in a pure simple mic set up. Of course two ears are different from one mic which has a different pick up pattern.

Finally, the recording engineer has something in mind when he mixes the different inputs from the mics. I presume he is manipulating the sound in the studio to approximate a believable rendition of what he thinks the audience would hear in an ideal seat in the hall. I have read reports that this is their goal, or at least the goal of some engineers. The mics above the instruments are not going to capture the depth of a soundstage and yet, we hear this on many recordings. There are twelve or so perspectives from those twelve or so mics at the BSO. What is correct? None. The engineer “creates” the perspective he wants the listener to hear.

So, I have a fundamental question and difference of opinion about this whole subject of a system reproducing what the mics hear versus what the audience hears from an ideal seat as “created” by the recording engineer. Of course, we all have heard vast differences of perspective from recordings, so to try to make our systems reproduce what we think the mic hears as opposed to what the engineer has created for us to hear seems a somewhat different approach to system sound.

My presumption is that the engineer/producer is trying to create a facsimile of an actual musical event (particularly with acoustic instruments on a stage) The mics are a part of capturing the sound for later manipulation. That is my impression, and I’m sure I don’t understand it completely.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,261
235
63
Manila, Philippines
#3
There's a reason the term used is reproduction and not recreation.

In the golden era of recording the goal of the artists, engineers, producers et al was to create a recording from "the best seat in the house". Today I firmly believe that the goals can range from that to simply the content creator's imagination.

No a mic doesn't pick up what we hear but it picks up enough information for us not just to appreciate but also to enjoy. What we get at home is part what they want us to hear and what WE want to hear. Every step of the way human decisions are being made.

That's why I highly appreciate the "other" artists. Those on the other side of the microphones. I say this because I do think of them as artists in their own right not just technicians. Their suites are their instruments and the best play with virtuosity.

We as audiophiles also sell ourselves short. The degree to which we attain our respective goals takes artistry as well.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
4,403
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Greater Boston
#4
There's a reason the term used is reproduction and not recreation.

In the golden era of recording the goal of the artists, engineers, producers et al was to create a recording from "the best seat in the house". Today I firmly believe that the goals can range from that to simply the content creator's imagination.

No a mic doesn't pick up what we hear but it picks up enough information for us not just to appreciate but also to enjoy. What we get at home is part what they want us to hear and what WE want to hear. Every step of the way human decisions are being made.

That's why I highly appreciate the "other" artists. Those on the other side of the microphones. I say this because I do think of them as artists in their own right not just technicians. Their suites are their instruments and the best play with virtuosity.

We as audiophiles also sell ourselves short. The degree to which we attain our respective goals takes artistry as well.
Excellent post.

"We as audiophiles also sell ourselves short. The degree to which we attain our respective goals takes artistry as well."

Yes, and there is no single "truth". Hence so many different approaches to reproduction at home. Each system is an intensely personal expression.
 
May 30, 2010
15,076
473
83
Portugal
#5
(...) My presumption is that the engineer/producer is trying to create a facsimile of an actual musical event (particularly with acoustic instruments on a stage) The mics are a part of capturing the sound for later manipulation. That is my impression, and I’m sure I don’t understand it completely.
Known since long that the engineer/producer is trying to create a subjective facsimile of the actual music event for a typical listener - very different from a physical facsimile of the actual music event. The fact that during sound reproduction we do not have a visual image of the event and the issues due to a technically limited format (stereo) are real challenges, and make the outcome of the recording an work of art and a technical achievement.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,261
235
63
Manila, Philippines
#6
I like the way you put it Al. "an intensely personal expression". One can really tell a lot about a person's musical priorities by just looking at the choices he's made, recordings, equipment and tuning.

As I prepare my stuff for the Red Cap upgrades, that will provide me a nice good window to rotate to full on tubes. Different sound, different beauty. :)
 
May 30, 2010
15,076
473
83
Portugal
#7
I like the way you put it Al. "an intensely personal expression". One can really tell a lot about a person's musical priorities by just looking at the choices he's made, recordings, equipment and tuning.

As I prepare my stuff for the Red Cap upgrades, that will provide me a nice good window to rotate to full on tubes. Different sound, different beauty. :)
F. Toole considered stereo reproduction an individual experience - most of our hobby lives on the intensity of our particular experiences. He somewhat regretted that audiophiles prefer the less predictable and apparently more limited stereo reproduction to multichannel, that physically reproduces more of the event.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
3,008
303
83
Switzerland
#8
Those of us who only care to reproduce the recording largely believe that the microphones capture a different version of reality than what we typically hear as audience/spectators. I am one of those, with one twist...

At the urging of my fellow audio buddies here, I attended a Schumann piano concerto with Yuja Wang, and then, Brucker's #9 with the BSO, sitting in the first balcony, seat A2, the closest seat to the orchestra, and in fact right over it as seen below, and notice where the microphones are (a few over the violins; three over the flutes and other small-wind; two over the timpani; two+two over the larger winds (can't see the trombones or tuba sitting behind the contrabasses, to the right of me)):

View attachment 48718

The sound was exactly as I had expected: in-your-face, bold, tremendous midrange body courtesy of the hall, the conductor has the best seat in the house (all instruments face him), beautiful tone, not as resolving in detail as the typical recordings I hear at home, not bright from where I sat or anywhere else in the hall before, but... this is just NOT what the microphones pick up, plain and simple. For example, the flute has always sounded small and subdued from anywhere I have ever sat, yet typical good recordings pick that up really well. Ditto for piccolo and all its brightness. By contrast, trombones sounded extremely loud live (even out of sight), yet this is not how most recordings sound. Keep in mind I have many BSO recordings as reference here.

The sound engineer had carefully placed three microphones close to the flutes; he was obviously looking to pick up the right balance, NOT what the audience hears. The microphones have a better perspective than anyone in the audience, and closer to what the conductor hears. I am convinced yet again that recordings capture an event entirely different than what we hear, though there is nothing wrong with either.

So do I still want to reproduce the recording? Well, yes, it's all I have. But, the problem is that a number of them sound unnatural in a number of ways: bloated chest-pounding bass (nothing like that in real life); overly bright; etc. So my goal right now is to have a more midrangy sound than ever before (how to achieve that is not part of this post). This does NOT mean I favor a dark system sound (where the treble is effectively missing), but one with articulated treble that is not as pronounced; basically, a more midrangy tonal balance. At the same time, timbral accuracy continues to be my top requirement.

The following day I went to New York to attend a high school Jazz competition, sitting in two different places. The first, right in front of all brass, and the sound was really dynamic and bright. The second, on the side, where the brightness abated - same first row in both. But alas, the microphones were right on the instruments. Again, they capture a different version of reality:

View attachment 48719

View attachment 48720

One common trait between all of these concerts was the in-your-face, very literal sound, and what such microphone positions typically capture. This is one reason I usually don't care much for systems that constantly render a rather recessed perspective, or others that offer a chaotic and diffuse soundstage. I like systems that vastly change character between recordings - which I consider truer to the source - without an exaggerated, yet still resolving treble. Of all speakers I have heard thusfar, the only one that I truly feel does treble right is the Magico M3 driven by the Spectral DMA-500AR amps, and I have to assume the M6 as well.

Fun weekend!

-ack
As you noted, the microphones are not placed in such a way that it is really possible to capture what you hear in the audience. I don't think it is correct to say that the microphones don't capture what we hear but more that they are placed in a way that is unrealistic and then of course capture something DIFFERENT than what we hear in the audience.

1)I have a recording that was made using a single stereo ribbon microphone and was placed 6 meters from the front of the stage. It has only a couple db compression and no equalization. It is a recording of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and it sounds very realistic with regard to what one hears in the audience sitting in about row 10. I heard a live performance of the same piece sitting about the same distance from the stage and was struck by the similarity of what I heard live vs. my recording at home (after the performance I heard it again at home to refresh the memory).

2) I have also made a recording of my ex playing a Stradivarius in my apartment where she practiced for a concert (24 Pagannini Caprices...from memory :eek:). For fun, we had her stand literally inbetween my loudspeakers and I setup the single, mono, condenser microphone at my normal listening position at approximately ear height. The recording was done directly onto R2R Analog tape (refurbished mid-70s TEAC semi-pro machine). First of all, it was a total nightmare to keep this single instrument within the dynamic range of the recorder! I had to delicately set the level such that overload on the tape didn't exceed about +3db (something you absolutely cannot do with digital) and hope the quiet passages were loud enough (they were but tape noise becomes quite audible). What was the outcome? Played back through my system (at that time Acoustat 1+1, Silvaweld SWC1000 preamp and Sphinx project 14 amp) it sounded extremely close to what was heard live...just the ambient acoustic was drier than originally heard (as it was actually a double dose of that acoustic ). The dynamics are stunning and poweful...and yes kind of in-yer-face...just like the live event.

3) I once recorded my own voice direct to disk. It was a microphone, cutter amp (tube one) to a small cutting machine. The guy put on a fresh lacquer and away I went. The playback of my voice through a simple tube amp with single driver speaker (fine range for human voice) was stunning...I never heard my voice played back so realistically! It was like looking into an aural mirror. I had recorded my voice direct to tape and digital (DAT tape...I had a nice little Casio portable DAT that I did some remote recordings with) and neither was close to this.

I don't think in the end it is the microphones per se, but their positioning and the way the information is processed after the microphone (pre-amp, mixer, recorder...post processing, transfer to medium etc.) that matters much more. I have made some simple, direct recordings of small music (solo, duo, trio) and they are quite realistic sounding, indicating that not too much was lost. Big labels like DG have Tonmeisters that mix from the multi-miked positions and ambience mics to get a sense of hall replication...but it is manufactured.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#9
NIce post Ack. Do you think we can ever hear from our systems what the multiple mics at the BSO capture?
Yes, it's possible; but there is a more important question: can the recording capture the orchestra in all its glory and reality, as experienced by the conductor? I don't think so, we are limited by technology.

What influence does the recording engineer have?
100% influence

I agree that all we have is the recording, but is that what the mics captured?
Yes, by definition this is what the mics captured. Is it a good recording? It depends; it's a chain, and there are bad microphones as well.

We also have our vastly different sounding audio gear set up in combinations and positions in different rooms which suit our individual preferences and priorities. These different set ups surely influence what we hear from that same recording.
Yes, for sure. And this is why the only thing I can focus on is timbre and nothing else; the rest of it is really relative.
 
Last edited:

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
3,008
303
83
Switzerland
#10
Yes, it's possible; but there is a more important question: can the recording capture the orchestra in all its glory and reality, as experienced by the conductor? I don't think so, we are limited by technology.



100% influence



Yes, by definition this is what the mics captured. Is it a good recording? It depends; it's a chain, and there are bad microphones as well.



Yes, for sure. And this is why the only thing I can focus on is timbre and nothing else; the rest of it is really relative.
Disagree that the recording is really what the microphones captured...there is so much lost on the way to a commercial recording...
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,261
235
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Manila, Philippines
#11
I may be splitting hairs here Brad. I have no doubt that you feel what you heard was very close to what you recorded. If you had an array of microphones at your disposal you would have heard differences in similar orders of magnitude as you would have with different cartridges or different speakers. Which microphone to use is even more important than where you put them. Placement depends not just on perspective captured . Placement is in a very large part chosen depending onn the mic chosen.
 

Leif S

Industry Expert
Feb 14, 2015
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www.vonschweikert.com
#12
I may be splitting hairs here Brad. I have no doubt that you feel what you heard was very close to what you recorded. If you had an array of microphones at your disposal you would have heard differences in similar orders of magnitude as you would have with different cartridges or different speakers. Which microphone to use is even more important than where you put them. Placement depends not just on perspective captured . Placement is in a very large part chosen depending onn the mic chosen.
So true. Mic selection and placement have so many different effects. A mic 4" from a drum head vs 1" totally changes the attack and tonality by a very large margin. IMO this is one of the reasons we have so many not so good recordings along with many other reasons.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
5,486
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North Shore of Boston
#13
Ack, you write that "by definition, the recording is what the mics captured". And then you write that the recording engineer has 100% influence. Do you think the final recording sounds the same as if all of the various mic feeds were transcribed simultaneously onto the recording?

It seems to me that the recording is not what the mics hear, but it is an attempt to be something similar to what we hear live from the best seat in the house. The mics are simply picking up the data which is later used and manipulated to make the recording. The recording engineer, at least for the kind of performances done at the BSO, is attempting to reproduce the sound of what is heard from the best seat in the house, or his imagination of it. He uses the technology available to him, his own expertise, and his judgement and artistry, to create a recording that seeks to reproduce that sound for the listener. The mics are just a necessary and useful tool.

We then buy that recording which attempts to reproduce the sound of the orchestra and we alter its sound further through our own choices of audio equipment, set up, and room to our own preferences and tastes.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#14
Ack, you write that "by definition, the recording is what the mics captured". And then you write that the recording engineer has 100% influence. Do you think the final recording sounds the same as if all of the various mic feeds were transcribed simultaneously onto the recording?

It seems to me that the recording is not what the mics hear, but it is an attempt to be something similar to what we hear live from the best seat in the house. The mics are simply picking up the data which is later used and manipulated to make the recording. The recording engineer, at least for the kind of performances done at the BSO, is attempting to reproduce the sound of what is heard from the best seat in the house, or his imagination of it. He uses the technology available to him, his own expertise, and his judgement and artistry, to create a recording that seeks to reproduce that sound for the listener. The mics are just a necessary and useful tool.

We then buy that recording which attempts to reproduce the sound of the orchestra and we alter its sound further through our own choices of audio equipment, set up, and room to our own preferences and tastes.
From what I understand, mics quality and placement both influence. Some mics can capture more dynamic range than others, so some are good for small scale and not so once a drum or tympani comes into the picture. That's why Decca and Mercury could do large scale better than many quality smaller labels as they had much more expensive mics. After the mics do their capturing, the mastering engineer creates a panoramic left to right effect, and sends the tape to the cutting engineer, who uses some forms of Eq, delimitters, compressors to put that onto the LP. The same stuff captured by the same mics and mastered stuff cut by different engineers on the same equipment sounds different. The equipment, whether tubes or SS used in the path, also matters. This is a broad picture I understand and I do not know the details
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
3,008
303
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Switzerland
#15
I may be splitting hairs here Brad. I have no doubt that you feel what you heard was very close to what you recorded. If you had an array of microphones at your disposal you would have heard differences in similar orders of magnitude as you would have with different cartridges or different speakers. Which microphone to use is even more important than where you put them. Placement depends not just on perspective captured . Placement is in a very large part chosen depending onn the mic chosen.
No doubt you are correct about the microphones, my point was more that I think that more of the signal is being lost after the microphone and that the mic is picking up quite a lot.
 
Jun 12, 2011
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Hertfordshire, UK
#16
A mic listens passively. We listen actively in that we use our brain to filter out sounds we hear with our ears to pick up on others - we listen to the flute say even whilst the full orchestra is doing its thing.

So mics do not listen like we do - not even binaural mics.

We rely on multi mics to pick up the various musical components on different tracks and then a recording engineer to assemble all this in some convincing way, perhaps like it was on the night but perhaps also with regard to the limitation of the recording medium and even, perhaps, who and how he thinks we will be listening (I don't know much about these influences).

Then, on top of that, we replay it on our gear of varying quality and in our room of varying influence (or car or headphones....) using our brains of various experiences.

It's a bloody marvel that we hear anything resembling music at all when playing these recordings. Don't we love it when we do!
 
Likes: ack

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
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#17
Ack, you write that "by definition, the recording is what the mics captured". And then you write that the recording engineer has 100% influence. Do you think the final recording sounds the same as if all of the various mic feeds were transcribed simultaneously onto the recording?
Some recordings are "pure" and will use two or maybe three mics. If we are talking about multi-mic'd, then the answer is probably No.

It seems to me that the recording is not what the mics hear,
It all starts with the mics. But strictly speaking, if there is any distortion or eq downstream, then sure, we can broaden this to the recording chain as a whole instead. Keep in mind though that people usually talk about the "mic feed" to represent what is eventually stored onto some medium by the recording chain. "Mic feed" may be an oversimplification, but I also think we may be splitting hairs here.

but it is an attempt to be something similar to what we hear live from the best seat in the house.
That's how the engineer manipulates the placement of the mics, and doesn't change the definition of a recording being what the mics and redording apparatus capture. You are talking about perspective here. And I can't see how placing the microphones up close, or on stage, can ever capture what the human ear hears from the typical seating positions.
 
Last edited:
Feb 8, 2011
20,882
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Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#18
From the musician's perspective? No.
From the live audience's perspective? No.
From the studio recording music mixer? No.

But we all love to believe our imagination, and to pursue our fantasy dreams in the real world.
It's our best escape closest to reality short of being there in the now live.

IMO, YMMV, ...all that jazz.
 
Likes: PeterA
Jul 5, 2014
656
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Salem, OR
#19
Your question as stated seems at the very least rather open-ended.

Taking into consideration what you hear vs what anybody else hears, what experienced or inexperienced recording engineers have done during and after the recording, the quality, locations, and type of microphones used, the recordings you’re thinking of, quality of recording equipment and playback equipment, etc, etc, I presume like snowflakes no 2 playback systems sound identical across the frequency spectrum. Given the above variables (and more) the obvious answer would seem to be no.

But to add another dimension to your question, I’m reminded of Robert Harley’s (TAS editor-in-chief and former sound engineer) who stated in the March/April issue of 2009, “I believe that something catastrophic occurs at the recording mic’s diaphragm that prevents much of the music from ever reaching the recording.” Paraphrased. Harley then went on to describe an Ed Meitner (EMM Labs) experiment conducted using a guitar and amp implying that it was really Meitner who derived at this supposedly catastrophic conclusion.

Not that Harley has any credibility (especially since his MQA endorsements), but Harley's statement was made 10 years ago which may have well been a more innocent age or perhaps Harley just experienced a rare intellectually honest moment.

But if there’s any truth to Harley’s declaration, we’re faced with a few additional issues:
  • Is there a significant shortcoming somewhere in the recording/playback chain?
  • Is catastrophic an accurate word to describe the shortcoming?
  • Is much of the music info actually reaching the recording?
  • Is the supposed catastrophe the result of some significant engineering shortcoming at the recording mic’s?
Again, if there’s ANY truth to Harley/Meitner’s catastrophic sound conclusion, I’d venture the answer to your question taken on its face is a definite no.

Those of us who only care to reproduce the recording largely believe that the microphones capture a different version of reality than what we typically hear as audience/spectators. I am one of those, with one twist...

........

-ack
Personally I can’t imagine anybody seeking to reproduce anything more than what’s embedded in the recording, but I know such types exist.

Even setting aside or pretending there is no such catastrophic occurrence (per Harley/Meitner’s claims), it would seem impossible for us to hear we what the microphones heard. Simply because of the many variables listed above.

OTOH, given all of the above variables (and perhaps more) being potentially all over the map I happen to think that whether inferior or superior, the vast majority of recordings I’ve experienced on my playback system are quite listenable and enjoyable with very few actually being intolerable.

Hence, I think the vast majority of recordings I've experienced are reasonable to excellent and some even outstanding. Therefore, in response to your question and relatively speaking, I have to believe that there exists few/minor shortcomings at the recording microphones. Considering all the potential variables (think compromises), I also have to assume recording mic’s in general are quite capable of doing a good to outstanding job of capturing what is heard at the recording hall. From the microphones’ perspective / location of course.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,486
376
83
North Shore of Boston
#20
Considering all the potential variables (think compromises), I also have to assume recording mic’s in general are quite capable of doing a good to outstanding job of capturing what is heard at the recording hall. From the microphones’ perspective / location of course.
I thought one of the arguments presented in this thread is that microphones do not capture what we hear while sitting in the audience precisely because they are positioned in a different location above the stage.

I am also curious about whether or not the microphones can actually capture all that "they" hear (the information presented to them), regardless of what we are able to hear. Perhaps the "corruption" that Harley is talking about is the notion that the microphones can not capture what they hear because the technology is somehow flawed.
 

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