Does Music Have To Sound Real To Elicit Emotion

Kingrex

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I started out with the thread really thinking natural and real sound was not necessarily required to elicit an emotion. As I ponder and have additional experiences, I am starting to think that a high level of realism surely does not hurt. And may really help to put ones mind in a place where they can more easily access the meaning the artist put into it and respond to it.
 
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Rt66indierock

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I started out with the thread really thinking natural and real sound was not necessarily required to elicit an emotion. As I ponder and have additional experiences, I am starting to think that a high level of realism surely does not hurt. And may really help to put ones mind in a place where they can more easily access the meaning the artist put into it and respond to it.
I think you may be right in many cases. But I am very glad my professional training in public accounting and my audio training as a teenager allow me to manage my mood. My home system is designed to nudge me toward a live experience. And my office system is designed to just amplify whatever mood I’m in a touch. I’m also lucky I can hear the music. So even the cheap transistor is good enough to elicit emotion.
 

Kingrex

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Since upping my vinyl with the Mammoth cart and dialing in my tape, my digital leaves me totally flat. Sitting here digesting and typing. A time my stereo can pull me out of whatever and grab my attention. Not tonight. I may have to drop some vinyl.
 

bryans

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Since upping my vinyl with the Mammoth cart and dialing in my tape, my digital leaves me totally flat. Sitting here digesting and typing. A time my stereo can pull me out of whatever and grab my attention. Not tonight. I may have to drop some vinyl.
Given you digital is leaving you flat, are you going straight vinyl?
 

PeterA

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Since upping my vinyl with the Mammoth cart and dialing in my tape, my digital leaves me totally flat. Sitting here digesting and typing. A time my stereo can pull me out of whatever and grab my attention. Not tonight. I may have to drop some vinyl.

Rex, I’m surprised that the simple addition of a new cartridge has made you lose interest in your digital? Did you enjoy your digital before the new cartridge?
 

Kingrex

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I am not leaving digital. I use it way to much. There are lots of albums I find via digital. It plays all of my background music. My wife uses it all the time.

For years I played my vinyl and digital against one another to understand what was in need of improvement. My digital now needs improvement, but I fear I am at a tipping point. The I would have to spend significantly more to get better.

For all intents, anyone not as picky as, shall I say us, would say my digital is great. Its balanced, clean, dynamic, non fatigue. It lacks the soundstage and the instruments don't have near the life. Vocals are still nice. Once you have it, its hard to go back. I really hear it on the tape. The tape wipes my vinyl. Its way better. The layering and how all the parts of the music come to you so easy. The new cart took a good step that direction. But I still have a ways to go. Im probably going to try the Channel D 3.3 phono pre. I will have to stop there with vinyl.

And I need to rebuild my rack. But that should move the vinyl more than the digital.

So my digital is not to be abandoned. But it has been pushed out of critical listening terrain. And heck, there are times I crank up pop music like Bruno Mars or Lorde. My digital is just fine for that. But the good jazz album or classical don't cut it.
 
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marty

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Thats a bummer. I was starting to consider Texas as a new place to land. Country music makes me angry.
Sorry to go OT but nobody should ever knock Texas when it comes to music. The music scene there is as rich as anywhere on earth. I lived there from 2003-13 and was on the Board of the Fort Worth Symphony, and was a season ticket holder at the Dallas Symphony at sonically glorious Meyerson Hall. I'm not a country music fan with one exception which is Texas Swing (Bob Wills is still the king. Even Willie Nelson knows this). Austin is the real "Music City" in the US where you can't go 30 feet without hearing great live music on the street from a local bar. Every major rock group and concert artist passes through the major venues regularly. Concerts are clean and safe even though littered with stoners and drunks because obeying the law means something in Texas. Music really is at a very high level in Texas from performance art to genuine appreciation.
 

Kingrex

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Well it happened again. I was breaking in my new cartridge and playing a Tchaikovsky piano concerto 1 on vinyl. I remembered I had a tape copy so I fired up my Otari with heads wired out to Music Technology preamp.
I got lucky with this tape. I have been hit and miss with copies of classical music. This one is an over the back wall hit. I became completely engrossed in the music. I was in the hall playing the piano. I was air beating at the piano keys for over 20 minutes. Absolutely wonderful experience.

I then put the vinyl back on. Not the same. No emotional impact. The vinyl copy I have is flat and lifeless. It failed to move me. It was just a nice song. That was it. The tape I have is one of the closest to being there recordings of an orchestra i have. You really hear it in the piano. The orchestra also becomes a set of individual instruments coming together as a whole. You hear all pieces but you don't have to focus on them. They just come to you in pieces, and jell as a whole.

Anyhow, it was one of those rare moments. And again, it was when the music was played back in a very natural and real way.
 

BillK

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It actually varies by media.

I often tell a story that I always loved the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album, but in recent years I found I just didn't really care about it much.

I thought it was just overexposure and/or I had grown tired of the songs.

Then, for the first time in about twenty years, I pulled out the LP rather than the CD to listen to it.

All the joy, the passion I felt for these songs was instantly back.

It made it clear that wasn't that I had grown tired of the songs, I had grown tired of the presentation of the songs from digital.

From the LP all the warmth, the soundstage, the intonation that made me fall in love with the music when I first bought the LP in fall 1984 came flooding back.

I've been a LP person for a long time now, and could give you a laundry list of titles that sound much better on LP than their CD counterparts, but this was the first time I noticed the emotional component of it, and why without that emotional kick, I grew tired of the songs themselves as they just became essentially background noise.
 
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Rensselaer

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Why is it either/or?

Why can't one emotion be triggered by an old song playing on a cheap car radio causing you to reminisce, and another completely different emotion be triggered by a recording on your hi fi because it sounds real?

What about an unknown but incredibly moving collection of notes, a stanza only? An unknown melody heard briefly from the open door of a shop you walk by. Does it sound real? Does it bring back nice memories? Or, is it something inherent in the phrasing and timbre that sparks an emotional response that is different from the two suggested in TOP's question?
 

Kingrex

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Maybe it has to be divided into two types of emotions. The first the heart felt remembrance of past events. That can happen anywhere.

The other, the hyper engagement to the attributes of the song. Like when you feel the need to air guitar or a sense your there in the crowd.
 
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brad225

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Well it happened again. I was breaking in my new cartridge and playing a Tchaikovsky piano concerto 1 on vinyl. I remembered I had a tape copy so I fired up my Otari with heads wired out to Music Technology preamp.
I got lucky with this tape. I have been hit and miss with copies of classical music. This one is an over the back wall hit. I became completely engrossed in the music. I was in the hall playing the piano. I was air beating at the piano keys for over 20 minutes. Absolutely wonderful experience.

I then put the vinyl back on. Not the same. No emotional impact. The vinyl copy I have is flat and lifeless. It failed to move me. It was just a nice song. That was it. The tape I have is one of the closest to being there recordings of an orchestra i have. You really hear it in the piano. The orchestra also becomes a set of individual instruments coming together as a whole. You hear all pieces but you don't have to focus on them. They just come to you in pieces, and jell as a whole.

Anyhow, it was one of those rare moments. And again, it was when the music was played back in a very natural and real way.
Which artists version was on tape King?
 

microstrip

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Well it happened again. I was breaking in my new cartridge and playing a Tchaikovsky piano concerto 1 on vinyl. I remembered I had a tape copy so I fired up my Otari with heads wired out to Music Technology preamp.
I got lucky with this tape. I have been hit and miss with copies of classical music. This one is an over the back wall hit. I became completely engrossed in the music. I was in the hall playing the piano. I was air beating at the piano keys for over 20 minutes. Absolutely wonderful experience.

I then put the vinyl back on. Not the same. No emotional impact. The vinyl copy I have is flat and lifeless. It failed to move me. It was just a nice song. That was it. The tape I have is one of the closest to being there recordings of an orchestra i have. You really hear it in the piano. The orchestra also becomes a set of individual instruments coming together as a whole. You hear all pieces but you don't have to focus on them. They just come to you in pieces, and jell as a whole.

Anyhow, it was one of those rare moments. And again, it was when the music was played back in a very natural and real way.

I think that as long as we focus our general discussions in individual single experiences we will not make any real progress in understanding the relations between emotion and gear. Being a perceptual and human aspect it should be analyzed statistically, involving a very large number of experiences with many people. What we need is knowing in what conditions statistically most of our recordings can provide us great enjoyment and pleasantness, something needed to trigger the emotion.

IMHO it is a very difficult task, particularly because as F. Toole wrote in his book, our stereo hobby is an hobby of cues, not of realism - "It is not necessary to replicate the sound field of a real space in a listening room; it is sufficient only to provide key cues to elicit a recollection or an emotion." (quoted from " Sound Reproduction")

The hard question - in stereo the emotion is triggered by realism or the emotion triggers our feeling of realism?
 
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Kingrex

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Kingrex

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I wonder if I can find the album. It would be interesting on a different level.
 

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