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Audiophile Bill

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I really just wanted a copy of this because it is an interesting point of view.

But I will ask a question: do you think a violinist knows what a violin sounds like?

The perspective of a musician is very individually subjective but we are taught to listen, develop and refine our tone as brass players - same for string players and woodwind. The important thing for me is that this leads to different players having their own tone, style and signature but to be professional this will be beautiful in its own way and far from a non-professional sound.

Coming back to hifi - a huge proportion of systems don’t have a vague tonal resemblance of reality - not even close.
 

microstrip

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Francisco, if you understand what MF means by “blacker backgrounds”, could you just paraphrase it for us here and now? It is not clear to me and I’m not sure I want to go and read all of the references to try to decipher its meaning. If you think it means “A lot more perceived information”, why not just write that instead?

In the end, I don’t perceive anything resembling a “black background” when listening to live music in a concert hall, so it has no meaning to me when used to describe the sound of an audio component. My guess is that people use it to describe “lower noise“ but I am not really sure. You could also mean simply a stark or contrast of images and sounds. I got something like this effect with the use of tube traps and my pneumatic isolation platforms. It was the sound I liked for many years but I ultimately decided to move away from it.

Sorry, I am not gifted enough to explain it in a few lines. And since long I learned that explaining stereo subjective concepts or comments to people who just want to disagree on them is an impossible task. ;)

BTW I did not write that it means "A lot more perceived information”, just that IMHO it carries with it a lot more perceived information. I once wrote about the subject :

These words are more often used in the sense that the electronic and electromechanical mechanical background is so low that it is replaced by a natural background, the ambiance that is hidden in the recording. In these conditions the instruments and players are highlighted by the audience.

BTW2 The book from Philip Newell I referred a few posts above answers to many of your interesting questions when addressing the audio preferences of concertgoers.
 

PeterA

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Sorry, I am not gifted enough to explain it in a few lines. And since long I learned that explaining stereo subjective concepts or comments to people who just want to disagree on them is an impossible task. ;)

BTW I did not write that it means "A lot more perceived information”, just that IMHO it carries with it a lot more perceived information. I once wrote about the subject :

These words are more often used in the sense that the electronic and electromechanical mechanical background is so low that it is replaced by a natural background, the ambiance that is hidden in the recording. In these conditions the instruments and players are highlighted by the audience.

BTW2 The book from Philip Newell I referred a few posts above answers to many of your interesting questions when addressing the audio preferences of concertgoers.

Fransisco, I am not here to disagree with you. I am simply interested in learning through discussion. I realize that it is easier to refer people to other people's books, but this conversation is in the here and now, presently. Reading your reference books will take some effort and can be for a later time.

Your previous statement on the subject highlighted by me above is fascinating. If the background is more "natural" due to what sounds to me like a lowering of the noise floor, that implies to me that it can not be black. Black is a sameness from recording to recording and from venue to venue. Natural means it varies by hall, by recording, by any number of influences. The way you describe it makes it indeed sound like a coloration which ddk stated in his post above. I agree with him that if it is a attribute easily identified across all recordings, it is a coloration. If the lowering of the noise floor leads to any increase in perceived natural resolution and a greater variety from recording to recording, then that is not a coloration nor would I describe it as “blacker backgrounds”. This sounds more like an increase in transparency to me, or clarity.

Furthermore, if "instruments and players are highlighted by the audience", I think of this also as a coloration. In my experience, instruments and players are highlighted in a performance when the conductor or the score gives the instruction. If highlighting happens because the gear or the system makes it happen, that too is a coloration. No? I have heard this "highlighting" in many systems and it is decidedly not natural. It is a signature produced by something in the reproduction chain Including perhaps set up and room acoustics.
 
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microstrip

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If the background is that obvious and generally present to notice and assign it a quality or color then it's a coloration! You're right Francisco black doesn't mean quiet or silent, it's simply a faux coloration.

david

As anything else in stereo reproduction. People capture a physical signal and two point reproduction is so limited that most of us have to color it to enjoy it. The suggestion of being a true or a faux coloration is extremely subjective.

A reviewer should surely expose them, then we prepare to pick those we prefer. Or do like some of us, try them and choose. ;)
 

microstrip

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Fransisco, I am not here to disagree with you. I am simply interested in learning through discussion. I realize that it is easier to refer people to other people's books, but this conversation is in the here and now, presently. Reading your reference books will take some effort and can be for a later time.
Unfortunately we reached a point where just discussion can be enjoyable, but will not improve our learning significantly - the famous circular arguments. I just read some of our opinions on black silence in 2015 and it is not different from the current ones. However a chapter on a reference book can help a lot. Can you imagine a reading club where people do not read the books? Beyond it is apparent simplicity stereo is extremely complex. I am sure you will enjoy the book, although there is a danger - once we start reading it we can't stop ...
Your previous statement on the subject highlighted by me above is fascinating. If the background is more "natural" due to what sounds to me like a lowering of the noise floor, that implies to me that it can not be black. Black is a sameness from recording to recording and from venue to venue. Natural means it varies by hall, by recording, by any number of influences. The way you describe it makes it indeed sound like a coloration which ddk stated in his post above. I agree with him that if it is a attribute easily identified across all recordings, it is a coloration. If the lowering of the noise floor leads to any increase in perceived natural resolution and a greater variety from recording to recording, then that is not a coloration nor would I describe it as “blacker backgrounds”. This sounds more like an increase in transparency to me, or clarity.
"it varies by hall, by recording, by any number of influences" . Yes, it is part of the hobby. We can specialize in some particular aspects of the recording and dig deeply inside it. However, everything is a compromise - in order to enhance these characteristics we loose in other aspects. I played this game a few times and enjoyed it, most of the time I forget about it - most times I simply do not care about the particular recording venue when I listen, I have never been there. But I look for the feeling of being there - or want I perceive as such.
Furthermore, if "instruments and players are highlighted by the audience", I think of this also as a coloration. In my experience, instruments and players are highlighted in a performance when the conductor or the score gives the instruction. If highlighting happens because the gear or the system makes it happen, that too is a coloration. No? I have heard this "highlighting" in many systems and it is decidedly not natural. It is a signature produced by something in the reproduction chain Including perhaps set up and room acoustics.
Again, you are describing preferences in objectives as often referred by Ron. Systems help us finding what we are looking for in the music playback, they do not create it. It is a manipulating process. BTW, how do you interpret the very disturbing sentence " we must have a tube somewhere in the system"?

You seem to think that using the reality as a reference creates a convergent process - unfortunately (or fortunately for the hobby) in stereo it creates a lot of divergence.
Coming back to the OP - it is why comparing something with experiences with other equipment is most of the time more conclusive than comparing with the real experience. At less we are addressing things that are traceable and comparable.
 

microstrip

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I guess highlighting can be coloration that alters the natural harmonic/tonal balance
certain frequencies are emphasised....
Surely. But remember that in order to deliver spatial information, stereo must manipulate the harmonic/tonal balance of instruments. Recording engineers do it, mastering engineers do it, high-end designers do it, audiophiles also do it.

BTW, I am supposing your use of the word natural is different from the DDK use ... ;)
 

ddk

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As anything else in stereo reproduction. People capture a physical signal and two point reproduction is so limited that most of us have to color it to enjoy it. The suggestion of being a true or a faux coloration is extremely subjective.
Absolutely not! Many of us know that there's no such thing as a black background in the real world and recognize the difference between natural ambience and faux coloration of a component, nothing subjective about it. Can't you tell the difference between natural real ambience and faux black coloration?
A reviewer should surely expose them, then we prepare to pick those we prefer. Or do like some of us, try them and choose. ;)
People are free to make up their own minds and have subjective preferences, it's not what I was talking about which is purely objective.

david
 

Ron Resnick

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Lot's of questions, Ron - you sound like a lawyer.

Here's my answer to your first: because I find little evidence to the contrary.

What's amusing is you seem to imply my observation is a criticism. Is it?

On this particular assertion I was, indeed, trying to put you to your proof.

My questions definitely implied that your observation was a criticism.

I felt that your observation implied a criticism. Did it?
 
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Ron Resnick

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. . . You seem to think that using the reality as a reference creates a convergent process - unfortunately (or fortunately for the hobby) in stereo it creates a lot of divergence. . . .

I think this is an interesting and insightful observation.
 

ddk

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Surely. But remember that in order to deliver spatial information, stereo must manipulate the harmonic/tonal balance of instruments. Recording engineers do it, mastering engineers do it, high-end designers do it, audiophiles also do it.

BTW, I am supposing your use of the word natural is different from the DDK use ... ;)
Not every recording is manipulated beyond recognition by the engineers! I've sat in many sessions, heard the performance, the raw tapes, the mastering and the final product which sounds very Natural and close to the actual venue, wether a system or setup is capable of Natural and real reproduction is a different matter.

How does stereo reproduction depend on distortion of harmonics and tonal balance?

david
 

microstrip

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Absolutely not! Many of us know that there's no such thing as a black background in the real world and recognize the difference between natural ambience and faux coloration of a component, nothing subjective about it. Can't you tell the difference between natural real ambience and faux black coloration?

People are free to make up their own minds and have subjective preferences, it's not what I was talking about which is purely objective.

david
Do you realize that we are just debating semantics, as usual? I am not addressing black background in the real world, I only debated "real" black holes for work ;) ! I am just addressing perception of sound reproduction. It is why while I understand what you mean by a "natural" (DDK TM) sound reproduction I object to the use of the ambiguous and misleading use of word natural when debating particular aspects of sound reproduction.

Trying to mix real world and sound reproduction at this simple level is mostly a marketing strategy. They are different realities, connected by the listeners. And sorry, nothing that in sound reproduction is not correctly measurable or statistically analyzed is purely objective.
As always, IMMO, YMMV.
 

ddk

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Do you realize that we are just debating semantics, as usual? I am not addressing black background in the real world, I only debated "real" black holes for work ;) ! I am just addressing perception of sound reproduction. It is why while I understand what you mean by a "natural" (DDK TM) sound reproduction I object to the use of the ambiguous and misleading use of word natural when debating particular aspects of sound reproduction.

Trying to mix real world and sound reproduction at this simple level is mostly a marketing strategy. They are different realities, connected by the listeners. And sorry, nothing that in sound reproduction is not correctly measurable or statistically analyzed is purely objective.
As always, IMMO, YMMV.
If you say so but you were clear about what you said is subjective, don't see the confusion of semantics. There's real and natural sound and there's fake and distorted sound, what's confusing about that? The vocabulary you call ambiguous seems to be very clear for many others.

david

Edit- Better let people get back to the OP and the turntable.
 
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Vienna

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The most realistic experience of music is the alpha and the omega. In the middle we compare gears.
Off topic but I am glad you are using the Greek Alphabet as an expression
 

microstrip

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How does stereo reproduction depend on distortion of harmonics and tonal balance?

david
Text books on stereo need full chapters describing it. Briefly in one sentence simple stereo has no capability to create a real image besides a line between the two speakers. The sound field of stereo is completely different from the sound field of real instruments. In order to create an illusion similar to reality sound engineers have to manipulate the signal. BTW, as far as I see binaural is the closest think to a non manipulated signal and surely fails when reproduced in stereo systems. We learn a lot about stereo caracteristics when reading from people who develop and analyze binaural - they are not objectively kind to them!

Different stereo microphone techniques manipulate the signal differently, both in time and spectral properties.
 

microstrip

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Ron Resnick

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I have read the last couple of pages of posts, and I cannot tease out what are the views in contention. As is very often the case I think some of the debate arises from a failure to define terms, and to agree on the definitions.

I think:

1) There are different ambient background levels. The ambient background noise in a concert hall filled with people will be a lot higher than the ambient background noise in a recording studio.

2) The inherent sonic "blackness" of a stereo system reflects the cumulative noise signatures of the electronic components, and is different than the pre-music playing ambient sound of a live venue once the recording "starts." I think we hear this in three stages:

A) the noise level of a stereo system when you turn up the volume with no source playing

B) the ambient background sound level after the source is initiated (listening to vinyl lead-in grooves) but before the music starts (needle begins tracing musical waveforms)

C) the difference in sound between B) and the reproduction of the musical performance

3) I think the concept of signal to noise ratio is relevant and makes sense. Whatever "blackness" you are contrasting with music playing inevitably reflects a signal-to-noise ratio.

4) I think the idea that hearing the same blackness across recordings is a coloration may or may not make sense. A) above is going to remain constant.

What are the differences of opinion on this?

Where does the concept of "faux black coloration" come into play in the above framework?
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Ron,

there is also the build dilemma of aspiring to have perfectly quiet (absence of any sound) circuits with a zero load, but the best performing one's are not necessarily that way. with a load their musically significant noise level is very, very low, allowing the music to be unfettered, but with no load and your ear to the tweeter you hear something.

which is more 'natural'? dynamic or static blackness? does the process of eliminating static zero noise, strangle part of the musical flow and ambience?

and pardon me if as a non techie my words are not conveying what my mind is attempting to.

for myself, how my system sounds with zero load is not that relevant (within limits). most visitors do view my system as quiet....as do i.
 
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