My Theory of Sonic Cues to Explain Different Sounding Systems

Ron Resnick

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at home we are trying to recreate the FEELING of live performances

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Thank you for your comments.

What do you like about your Spatial Audio M3 Sapphire?
 

the sound of Tao

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Im not qualified to react on this article, I had to look up too many words to understand it... But it is nothing less than an academic hit-piece on dance music and and deep base lovers. All the elements are there: drawing lines from our evolution to fear of bass addition. "Liking such overstimulation is likely to spiral into patterns of addiction"
We dont know enough aubout our evolution to draw practically any psycological conclusions from it, its just an intellectual parlor play. And all talk about addition unless it is really a physical addition to a substance is overreaching and silly.
Maybe we can infer someting about why we like a sound today, what are our cues, any why we like a particular music system, but drawing from the history or speculating about our brain? No. Feel free to do it, but I dont buy it.
I dont think we have any certainty about our auditory evolution, and much less about what that means for the later music. Actually we dont know anything about the cues of the Romans or the Egyptians. I would love to hear the entertainment music or the military music of the romans, if they had it. The egyptians certainly had instruments, but the music is gone. I have listened to an ancient egyptian horn, and it was terrifying. Very discomforting sound. So what was the cue and who had it? The Gods?
Subsonic sounds is an interesting subject, going into medicine, and a part of our urban predicament. Deep bass is the foundation of any music in my opinion, from classical to dance.
The science papers published in Frontiers are cited and peer reviewed science. Either way this all very much resonates for me in my experiences but all good if it doesn’t for you.
 
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Tangram

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+1

Thank you for your comments.

What do you like about your Spatial Audio M3 Sapphire?
Hi Ron,

My room is small. All of the ported box speakers I tried (small monitors, bigger monitors, floorstanders) energized the room in a manner that created poor quality bass. The Spatials, being open baffles, produce high quality and high quantity bass that is really enjoyable to my ears. My amp seems to do a good job controlling the twin 15” woofers. They are also really punchy, which makes the presentation exciting and engaging. Finally, to my ears, they get the balance right. Despite copious amounts of bass, vocals are a good size, appearing to be forward in the soundstage, which I like. Nothing stands out more than it should.
 

Ron Resnick

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select [my] gear not by choosing among a few sonic cues but rather by recognizing something similar in the presentation that reminds [me] of the whole experience of listening to live unamplified music, the gestalt or complete expression of sound/energy/experience have when attending a live performance.


I understand you look at it this way.

The theory says that embedded in that recognition -- baked into the sound/energy experience -- are sonic cues you have used to select the components and assemble the system you have -- even if you don't consciously realize it.
 

Al M.

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Hi Ron,

My room is small. All of the ported box speakers I tried (small monitors, bigger monitors, floorstanders) energized the room in a manner that created poor quality bass. The Spatials, being open baffles, produce high quality and high quantity bass that is really enjoyable to my ears. My amp seems to do a good job controlling the twin 15” woofers. They are also really punchy, which makes the presentation exciting and engaging. Finally, to my ears, they get the balance right. Despite copious amounts of bass, vocals are a good size, appearing to be forward in the soundstage, which I like. Nothing stands out more than it should.

ASC IsoThermal TubeTraps for room node bass control would help. They are very potent for that task. They may also help with your current speakers that you are already satisfied with.
 

Ron Resnick

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The Spatials, being open baffles, produce high quality and high quantity bass that is really enjoyable to my ears. My amp seems to do a good job controlling the twin 15” woofers. They are also really punchy, which makes the presentation exciting and engaging. Finally, to my ears, they get the balance right. Despite copious amounts of bass, vocals are a good size, appearing to be forward in the soundstage, which I like. Nothing stands out more than it should.

Thank you. I think embedded in these preferences are sonic cues derived from hearing music which lead you to select your components and now allow you to feel that your system "recreates the feeling of live performances."
 

bonzo75

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I understand you look at it this way.

The theory says that embedded in that recognition -- baked into the sound/energy experience -- are sonic cues you have used to select the components and assemble the system you have -- even if you don't consciously realize it.

Well if you have a theory of our subconscious and unconscious we cannot debate it - there is another similar theory that says desire to buy tall speakers is Freudian, even if you don't consciously realize it.
 
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Bjorn

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An interesting topic. Whilst I think there are some truth to what Ron shared in the first post, we can't overlook the importance of experience either. As one works with acoustics I also believe our different acoustic environments matters greatly. Where for example some speaker dispersion patterns work better in certain places.

We also know that bias, price tag, reviews, marketing, and even color and finish of the speaker plays a role. In blind tests, a great majority seem to prefer the same which should tell us a lot.
 
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Kingrex

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For those who didn’t get out of the nightclub early enough that audio boner is still tintinabulating to this very day.
I use to take my electric guitar and AB my Marshal, Fender and Roland together. Then I would mic my amps through the PA. Then I would put on industrial hearing protection, turn it all up to 11 and rock out. My neighbors 8 year old kid would come over. I would put ear protection on him and he would scream and thrash around while I ripped cords and pentatonic scales. I still love that Feeling. And it was all feeling. Shook your entire body. So I guess I was really reverting back to my caveman days of spear hunting a herd of Zebra or something large.
 

AudioHR

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Well if you have a theory of our subconscious and unconscious we cannot debate it - there is another similar theory that says desire to buy tall speakers is Freudian, even if you don't consciously realize it.
As I see it Ron has laid out a theory for us to consider, a think piece. He would like us to consider it and comment accordingly. This requires that we try to understand where he is coming from to see if it fits for us or makes sense.

I think it could be seen as a debate as we share understandings and counter arguments . You are very good at expressing your ideas and point of view which helps to create better understanding for all. There doesn't have to be a winner though
 
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bonzo75

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As I see it Ron has laid out a theory for us to consider, a think piece. He would like us to consider it and comment accordingly. This requires that we try to understand where he is coming from to see if it fits for us or makes sense.

I think it could be seen as a debate as we share understandings and counter arguments . You are very good at expressing your ideas and point of view which helps to create better understanding for all. There doesn't have to be a winner though

I don’t think incorrect theories can be think pieces.

For example, which cues do audiophile use from the instruments they play to choose their equipment?

Nice theory, just not valid.

To assume audiophiles have such a sonically rational process where they learn to play instruments then choose the system accordingly and trying to explain system preference differences on the back of that is giving audiophiles too much credit.

Similarly, for going to live, and taking home cues.

Plus, even those who go to live don't really try to fix cues and try to force equipment into those cues.
 

Kingrex

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I don’t think incorrect theories can be think pieces.

For example, which cues do audiophile use from the instruments they play to choose their equipment?

Nice theory, just not valid.

To assume audiophiles have such a sonically rational process where they learn to play instruments then choose the system accordingly and trying to explain system preference differences on the back of that is giving audiophiles too much credit.

Similarly, for going to live, and taking home cues.

Plus, even those who go to live don't really try to fix cues and try to force equipment into those cues.
OMG, it all makes sense now. I always wanted to play drums, but guitar guys got the girls. I always listen to drums and select my gear based on which system does that best. Now I know how to build my system. Thanks Ked.
 
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Ron Resnick

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For example, which cues do audiophile use from the instruments they play to choose their equipment?

But this isn't the theory. (Unless I am misunderstanding you.)

I haven't suggested that audiophiles who play a musical instrument derive the sonic cues they use to to choose their audio components from the instruments they play. They might derive their sonic cues from listening to live, unamplified music played by others (in a living room or in a concert hall) or perhaps from listening to their own band.
 
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bonzo75

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But this isn't the theory. (Unless I am misunderstanding you.)

I haven't suggested that audiophiles who play a musical instrument derive the sonic cues they use to to choose their audio components from the instruments they play. They might derive their sonic cues from listening to live, unamplified music played by others (in a living room or in a concert hall) or perhaps from listening to their own band.

Sorry Ron, maybe you missed. I was making an extension of your theory to show how it is incorrect. Audiophiles neither play instruments nor do they go to live concerts, so why should they take cues from them (aside from 5% of those who do). Thing is, why state in a theory something that is not correct
 

Ron Resnick

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Audiophiles neither play instruments nor do they go to live concerts

I understand this is your basis for disagreeing with the theory. But I never said that I think on-going attendance at live concerts is a necessary condition for the theory to be valid. That is a requirement you injected yourself, and then you declared it to be unsatisfied, and then you rejected the theory.

I think that most audiophiles at one time or another in their lives have been to one or more live music events -- whether unamplified classical concerts or amplified rock concerts. Maybe the last time an audiophile went to a live music event was years ago. In the opening post I don't specify that an audiophile has to go to a live music event a certain number of times per year, or a certain number of times at all.

All the theory says is that at some point in the past sonic cues were derived from live music experiences. In the opening post I referred to "concert hall" (having in mind unamplified acoustic music). But if an audiophile focuses on rock and pop (or jazz), his/her sonic cues could be derived from prior attendance at amplified rock concerts (or jazz clubs).
 

bonzo75

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Or maybe it was derived from their first system. When they heard the new component do more than their previous one. Which I think is correct
 

PeterA

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Plus, even those who go to live don't really try to fix cues and try to force equipment into those cues.

How is that even possible when we are told it’s all subconscious and we can’t even identify the cues? How can we correlate the gear choice to the live music experience when we can’t define or identify what the sonic cues even are?
 
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bonzo75

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How is that even possible when we are told it’s all subconscious and we can’t even identify the cues? How can we correlate the gear choice to the live music experience when we can’t define or identify what the sonic cues even are?

it’s a think piece. You are thinking too much
 
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Ron Resnick

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How is that even possible when we are told it’s all subconscious and we can’t even identify the cues? How can we correlate the gear choice to the live music experience when we can’t define or identify what the sonic cues even are?

This is not correct. I never wrote that it is "all subconscious."

I said it is subconscious for you -- because you are unable to identify for yourself the sonic cues you are using.

I suspect that most audiophiles, if they think hard on it for a while, can trace the connections between what they hear in live music, and what they hear from audio components, that reminds them more effectively or less effectively of what they hear in live music.
 
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bonzo75

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I suspect that most audiophiles, if they think hard on it for a while, can trace the connections between what they hear in live music, and what they hear from audio components, that reminds them more effectively or less effectively of what they hear in live music.
Almost all sounds, including my voice will have an aspect that can be traced back to live. That does not mean those who hear me speak take cues from live and seek me out. Let’s not confuse cause and effect.
 

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