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In Reply to: RE: far too many ... posted by Fitzcaraldo215 on July 10, 2012 at 08:32:12
>>Perhaps the key difference between you and I is that I can go to a live concert, as I do often. Then, I can go home and expect a reasonable facsimile of that sound<<
Hmmm, lets see, I've attended this year alone, Van Halen, Roger Waters, Prince, (& musical plays such as The Lion King) and a slew of much smaller venue acts (mostly blues based or jazz based musicians). My bucket list, this year alone, includes Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.
Look, I don't want to turn this into some silly competition, but trust me, my exposure to live music, acoustic or not, and how it gets reproduced within my system, should not be your concern.
>>Rock just does not have that opportunity in abundance. I honestly do not know what rock listeners can use as a standard for judging their sound systems. But, it surely is not the sound of live acoustic music.<<
Well, Rock is generally an amplified experience (although not always), but then again ... EVERY TYPE OF MUSIC PLAYED BACK ON ANY AUDIO SYSTEM is amplified!
Therefore ... criteria is somewhat IDENTICAL!!!
Look, although my equipment choices (and unique refinement) has much to with my luv for reproducing R&R, it's hardly reflective of what my system can accomplish on complete musical whole. In fact, just the opposite is true, my system includes superb frequency extension & wide bandwidth (esp on top), is designed to include a truly low noise floor (rare in most systems, regardless of cost), and it can parlay a very wide dynamic contrast without distress at any particular frequency over it's entire bandwidth (a major problem for most systems regardless of cost), while remaining quite tight, controlled & transparent. It does not introduce compression (like most systems do) and remains harmonically consistent even during very difficult passages in which the vast majority of systems smear, morph and/or complicate instrumental impact.
Trust me, because it does R&R quite well, it does not mean it can't do justice to other forms of music. Oh contrare ...
Some history, I grew up with a step brother who was an acoustic guitar phenom. He was so well versed and naturally talented, that he was frequently asked to play at surrounding venues & school concerts. I grew up with him practicing that damn guitar nearly every night. Trust me, I know what LIVE 6 or 12 string acoustic guitar sounds like, with any system. Obviously I used that experience & criteria (along with others) to build and refine my specific system.
So lets not get too caught up in format choices based ONLY on musical genre. That said, I will admit that if I was only into classical, I'd definitely be looking into SACD, so I can totally understand that requirement to a point.
>>I honestly do not know what rock listeners can use as a standard for judging their sound systems.<<
I isolated the above statement again, only because it's truly ignorant of ALL MUSICAL requirements. I won't go into the specifics (they are VERY obvious) but believe it or not, R&R is actually a true form of music. Yes, it has musical requirements related to REAL INSTRUMENTS, w/real instrumental impact, w/the ability to separate real instruments within a 3 dimensional field, keeping them separate from each other even during difficult passages, much like the requirements of other types of music and sound systems. In fact, one could say that R&R has some unique requirements all it's own.
>>Sorry, if you have had a bad experience with SACD players, especially in comparison to CD. While some claim to hear no difference, you are the first to claim that CD sounds consistently better than SACD.<<
I'm certainly not the "first" and/or last!!!
And I've never said that CD sounds consistently better than SACD. In fact, I've often stated the superiority of SACD is obvious with well recorded DSD material (believe it or not, the best sounding CDs are also related conversion, or lack of). But as I've always stated, SACD does not win by simple default (which many SACD fanatics consistently imply, much like some MC fanatics here). SACD requires the EXACT same criteria that CD or LP requires in order to sound good, and it is just as dependent on hardware as any format.
As for my "bad" experience ... certainly not ... it was simply just a matter of comparing equipment and software ... in which most (not all) SACD players I've owned or auditioned came a consistent 3rd to my current sources. Far more educational than bad.
>>The higher residual background noise of LP is unmistakeable to everyone I know in any system, including some quite superlative ones. I am at a loss to understand why your comparative listening has failed to reveal it. Certainly, measured technical specs confirm it to be there.<<
Perhaps you're at a loss, simply because you've never heard otherwise. Until you've had the luxury of hearing a highly refined vinyl based system with a truly superb noise floor, you'll most likely never understand. And I don't expect you to understand either, especially with the amount of myths you've implied about vinyl in this thread. Even though you've claimed to have heard such a beast, well, obviously ...
>>The addition of a discrete center channel plus surrounds is definitely capable of phantom imaging the sound much more into the room toward the listener vs. stereo. The frontal depth of image is enhanced quite naturally, as a result. But, it needs proper source material to be able to hear it. Mch classical recordings do just that, but I do not think there is much rock material that exhibits the same effect.<<
A fine recording, w/any music, played back on my system not only has the ability to make my two speakers disappear, it makes my back wall disappear ... recreating a 3D type soundstage that should be reminiscent of the recorded venue. Certainly, it does not require additional channels to do what it routinely has accomplished - for years.
>>I do not know anyone else in my circle of friends, even rock listeners, who agrees with you. But, then we have no idea which recordings you are talking about. It certainly is unlikely to be classical recordings.<<
How do you know that I don't use classical?
Why are you making such an assumption, simply because your bias towards those who luv R&R?
The fact is, I have a specific set of music that I use for evaluation, and classical (Reference Recordings HDCD mostly) is included.
Again, lets not pretend that because I luv R&R, I don't understand the requirements of other types of music, or live acoustic instruments in general.
Your reply is choke full of simplistic generalizations - which are dismissive & ignorant of my (or anyone's) musical based experiences. Contrary to what you "think", classical lovers are certainly not the only audiophiles who understand instruments & musical reproduction.
First, I think I was the first to emphasize rock as your primary music reference (based on your Inmate Systems description). It was not intended be a negative. Unfortunately, it became a huge and unnecessary distraction to the discussion.
That said, the vast majority of my SACD collection is classical and jazz but I’m sure I own more than 100 multi-channel SACD rock, pop, R&B and some rap, too. Some of the best produced are from Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Earth,Wind & Fire (taken from live performances) that were *originally* recorded in multi-channel and where the original band members were actively involved in the multi-channel mix to create a production that met the *intent* of the artists. Almost all are more compelling than their two channel equivalent also on the same disc.Unlike with classical music, for example, the “creativity” quotient as well as the audio quality can soar.
That doesn’t mean you (not you personally) will like it. But what is it not to like unless excessive gimmicks are employed (like early stereo)? Like all multi-channel recordings I am able to switch between the two channel content and the multi-channel content “on-the-fly”, a most compelling comparison that you can find in hi-end audio. What can I say, in almost all instances the multi-channel content simply sounds astonishingly better, far more “open”, vastly larger sound stage, more impact, more creative, etc. sorta like “man this was what the artist was trying to do all along”. Or in the case of the Earth, Wind, and Fire SACDs the reproduction sounds far closer to what I actually heard live.
I understand that you have a difficult time fathoming that a system, especially among Inmates in this thread, can be even close, equal to, or heaven forbid exceed what you have described in your system. You have made that patently clear. The inference being “I don’t need no stinkin’ multi-channels” because what you have does everything that *any* multi-channel can do but only better. But your system is not without equal or is unparalleled even within the confines of this forum. But to the point *every* strength you have written about your system can be improved upon.....dramatically.
But also, everything you have mentioned about your system or what you have shared in Inmate Description (perhaps an update is in order) has limited relevancy to a meaningful two-channel/multi-channel comparative discussion. Although I personally subscribe to the belief that the better your two channel mains the better the overall system potential, not all multi-channel listeners subscribe to that belief. Otherwise, the notable attributes of your system are merely important ingredients to the recipe of an exceptional multi-channel system.
******my system includes superb frequency extension & wide bandwidth (esp on top), is designed to include a truly low noise floor (rare in most systems, regardless of cost), and it can parlay a very wide dynamic contrast without distress at any particular frequency over it's entire bandwidth (a major problem for most systems regardless of cost), while remaining quite tight, controlled & transparent.****
Yeah but, how does it sound? Just kidding, of course. I’m sure it sounds fabulously.
Certainly yours is a very high bar but your system is not singular in this regard. There are other systems among Inmates, including yours truly (even in two channel) that exhibit those same traits. My system will exhibit those virtues in 2 channel from 15hz (potentially lower because it’s a sealed system) to 40kHz. But so what? It does it better, more effortlessly with 5 channels. Why? Heck. I don’t know for sure. Perhaps, in part, because there is more “real estate” (speakers) of comparable quality to handle the workload. In that regard its like going from 8 cylinders to 12. Years before this thread I detailed the very traits that you describe in Inmate Descriptions.
***It does not introduce compression (like most systems do)***
Unless I am misunderstanding you I’m sure every system has it limits. It’s a rare event, but I have experienced it, most likely with my large pipe organ collection played at excessively loud levels when sub 20hz notes kick in. But whatever the limits my system may have had/has with two speakers those limits are extended in multi-channel. This would be true of any system.
**** and remains harmonically consistent even during very difficult passages in which the vast majority of systems smear, morph and/or complicate instrumental impact.*****
Again, this a hallmark of my system (even with two channels), too, and others I have heard here in the Bay Area. The point is no matter how good it is I’m sure your system *can* get better; way better.
****Until you've had the luxury of hearing a highly refined vinyl based system with a truly superb noise floor, you'll most likely never understand.***
One does not preclude the other. Why not have both, especially since the software overlaps very little.
*****A fine recording, w/any music, played back on my system not only has the ability to make my two speakers disappear, it makes my back wall disappear ... recreating a 3D type sound stage that should be reminiscent of the recorded venue.****
You don’t think this is unique? This is old hat. Any speaker system I have owned since the 80’s, such as my Ohm Fs, could pull off this illusion in broad daylight. And it has only gotten far better since then. Any hi-end speaker/system worthy of the name should be able to do the same thing otherwise I would not consider it. In my experience when hi-end systems don’t do or don’t do it well its usually (not always) the *room* that is the culprit more than the *gear*. Or the source will give the speakers away. There are situations where one source renders the speakers completely “invisible” but the next source will not permit that degree of transparency.
Regarding “**makes my back wall disappear**, this is a commonly expressed two-channel paradigm. Again that is not unusual, in fact it’s the norm, in my experience even with two channels. But with well implemented multi-channel this is far less of an issue because all walls disappear. The perceived sound stage is not limited to the size of the room because you are “transported” to the venue. The venue itself, figuratively speaking, becomes your room. Instead of experiencing a “3D *type* experience as you said, you have a full 3D experience. Huge difference.
But again the only relevancy I see with any of our (yours and mine) stellar system virtues in a comparative discussion of two channel and multi-channel is that the latter simply makes it better.
Robert C. Lang
So therefore, we have very different ways of accomplishing our goals, and vastly different ways of building a sound system ... and therefore our experiences within that context cannot be compared. To that end, although we are talking the same audio language, I know that our understanding of this hobby is based on a completely different experiences and accomplishments.
The bottom line, we are arguing the same argument, but from completely different angles.
> > First, I think I was the first to emphasize rock as your primary music reference (based on your Inmate Systems description). It was not intended be a negative. Unfortunately, it became a huge and unnecessary distraction to the discussion. < <
Not your fault Robert, when certain people generalize and improperly assume - then - it becomes "unnecessary distraction to the discussion."
> > Certainly yours is a very high bar but your system is not singular in this regard. There are other systems among Inmates, including yours truly (even in two channel) that exhibit those same traits. My system will exhibit those virtues in 2 channel from 15hz (potentially lower because it's a sealed system) to 40kHz. But so what? < <
Well, you might be surprised, certainly I was ...
This is not about specs, because if it was, near every system would sound identical. This is less about theory, more about experimentation, failure, success, and practicality.
I'll provide an example ...
I've had some pretty good amps over the years, and although I thought that they all brought their own mix of musicality to the class, I really didn't consider the importance of amplification as critically as the above source based components (well, in some regard, I still don't). All these amps were excellent, they all accomplished that required-by-audio-law 20khz to 20hz criteria on paper, and to a degree in practice, they all did just that ... that is ... until I heard amps that redefined that one specific criteria.
Example: I've heard very few amps (and overall systems) that reproduce a cymbal properly, especially a very hard hit cymbal. The true power and shimmer always gets lost, furthermore it diminishes accordingly when a system is required to multitask ... in other words ... to recreate an entire band (or orchestra) with many other instruments all struggling for individuality, tonality, true instrumental power, ambient space and bandwidth.
I "thought" I understood what 20 to 20 meant, I thought I understood extended bandwidth (esp as it relates to dynamic power)... but I didn't ... not until I got the DR3's.
> > Again, this [harmonically consistent even during very difficult passages] a hallmark of my system (even with two channels), too, and others I have heard here in the Bay Area. The point is no matter how good it is I'm sure your system *can* get better; way better. < <
Nope, not that I've heard!
Actually, this is one area in which R&R music is a good test bed. My biggest issue with recreating my stereo system (not just R&R) was based on the criteria above. In the vast VAST (irrespective of cost) majority of systems, when the music builds, becomes more & more dynamic, most start to sound louder, but they close in, they compress the extremes, very few actually expand and become even more powerful & realistic. In those cases, I quickly reach for negative volume.
That's because nearly every system adds it's own form of distortion & compression during peak periods, especially when it's required to recreate many different instruments at full tilt, with all their individual characteristics & power (and R&R is all about emotional power). Very few really can duplicate a live R&R experience.
Robert, to that end ... I've rarely heard ANY system do R&R like mine. Instead of sounding "louder", it builds upon itself, adds power ... very much like a live event. In fact, a great system should INVITE VOLUME. (equipment limitations aside, my system can (and has) destroy speakers/drivers with relative ease - if I'm not careful)
But again ... my system is unique, and it should be better than most, simply because of the amount of refinement it has relieved over many years which were specifically meant to meet specific sonic criteria.
Therefore, as stated in an earlier thread, this is not a case in which I add three extra channels & "additional" equipment ... and then suddenly ... by default of MC ... it would INSTANTLY sound superior.
Without reservation, in my case, it certainly wouldn't, at least not until it was further refined in a matter befitting the rest of my system.
That is why, like I said earlier, I'd build a MC system from scratch.
Most of what you have said about your system I (and many others) have said about my two channel system (including many visitors from this forum), but now even more so with multi-channel. But that really misses much of the point I have attempted to emphasize, especially in the last few posts of this discussion. That is, the emergence of stellar multi-channel software is what makes it incontrovertibly more palpable than with comparable 2 channel systems. The gear is what it is. The higher quality the gear the more it enhances home audio reproduction whether, especially in a hi-end system, multi-channel or two channel. But as I have stressed in previous posts it’s the *software*, far more than the *gear* which is the game change that is taking music reproduction potential in the home to unmatched pinnacles never before attained.
< < The point is no matter how good it is I'm sure your system *can* get better; way better. < <
You then said:
***Nope, not that I've heard!***
Within the context of a top tier system/room (regardless of the number of channels) I truly do believe you.
Your statement, however, reminds me of the history of the revered Porsche 911 (since you used a car analogy earlier, allow me). Beginning with its introduction in 1963 Porsche had done everything technically possible to improve the 911 with weight reductions, cutting edge cylinder bores, horsepower increases, SOTA fuel injection implementations, turbo charging, and literally *hundreds* of other improvements, large and small. But by 1968 Porsche had completely maxed out its flat 6 air-cooled 2 valves per cylinder engine. (Actually, the handwriting on the wall was first acknowledged in the 80s when an official corporate decision was made to phase out the 911 in favor of the 928. But heavy demand saved the 911). It is said that by 1998 Porsche could not eke out even a single additional horsepower from the platform. They had stiffly turned a nose up at new technology (which was not so new anymore) and, I dare say, even though it was the best Porsche 911 *ever* it had begun to fall behind the competition, including, I dare say, Honda. The technology Porsche spurned was 4 valves per cylinder.
But it was not 4 valves per cylinder technology Porsche actually spurned. The problem was far more fundamental. You can't add two additional valves per cylinder to an air-cooled engine. An engine must be water cooled (or in the case of my BMW motorcycle, oil-cooled which is far less effective in a stifling hot closed-in engine compartment) to accommodate 4 valves per cylinder. Porsche would have to swallow an entire new paradigm. It would have to scrap its fabled air-cooled engine and essentially start from scratch (the engine, not the entire car or concept) and develop a water-cooled 4 valve per cylinder design. This represented a completely different (and mega expensive) paradigm but opened the door to entirely new vistas that allowed the Porsche 911 (and Porsche itself) to not only to survive but also to thrive. The Porsche 911 would have withered away by now. Of course, that has not prevented the air cool purists from grumbling incessantly to this day.
This is certainly an imperfect analogy, especially since unlike with the 911, almost all technology from two-channel systems is fully and wholly transferable to a multi-channel system. And while two channel has begun to wither (although less so among audiophiles) its not going away anytime soon. Nevertheless, it was not until Porsche broke free of the air-cooled shackle and embraced new technology that the 911 was able to reach the pinnacle it has attained today.
It is understood that for you, personally, there is limited incentive for change, especially given the dearth of software of your preferred music choices. But understand also that for others here there is a substantial number of excellent multi-channel SACDs.I certainly have far more than a thousand, including more than 50 this year so far.(By the way, I have also purchased 7 or 8 remastered Lps and a bunch more than that at an estate sale, not to mention 2 channel SACDs during this time period).
Robert C. Lang
Robert, your are absolutely right that software is the key. But, the disconnect still exists between genres. The are just under 5,000 titles in classical at sa-cd.net, with a high proportion being in Mch. Meanwhile, there are about 600 in rock/pop, with a much lower proportion in Mch. At least, that is what I see. So, it is quite clear that classical is where the predominant emphasis is for Mch recordings, and for SACD, in general.
Then, we get to the engineering differences between rock and classical in terms of what they are trying to accomplish with Mch. Classical mostly tries to capture the natural ambience and space of the hall in live performances. Rock tends to use Mch for engineered effects on studio recordings, with instruments panned into the rear channels. The exception is the occasional closely miked live rock concert. Again, for tbone's benefit, this has nothing to do with the music and is not a put down of rock. I am not saying one is better than the other. It is just a description of what is.
So, as a practical matter, I fully understand that rock listeners may prefer stereo to Mch, and I do not think there is any convincing him or others. What he hears with rock and what we hear with classical are two entirely different things, beyond the music, even, given the engineering tendencies of the recordings. And, neither his findings from listening to rock nor ours to classical are truly universal. But, you and I know quite well that against the standard of classical live performance, Mch is exponentially better at capturing the sound of the live event than is stereo. That may also be true for the small numbers of jazz recordings in Mch.
I believe that SACD and SACD multi-channel have missed the boat with the paucity of this genre to the detriment and demise of the format itself. For sure classical music listeners have always benefited first and most from cutting edge audio technology. Classical music ushered in LP, CD, and SACD and SACD multi-channel. But Sony screwed up big time by giving short shrift to rock, pop, and R&B when launching SACD. The Sony catalog alone is flush with these entire genres much recorded during the multi-channel (quad) era. All music lovers, including classical music lovers have been collateral victims of this miscalculation.
While I am a classical music listener foremost my formative music experiences are firmly rooted in R&B with generous helpings of jazz, pop, and some rock. And as a videographer I have been to numerous rock concerts and rock venues. I will be attending one on July 31 in support of my son’s best friend who is a drummer in an up and coming local hard rock group.
Classical music listeners benefit most from multi-channel due to the more realistic capturing and reproduction of an actual venue “space”. The same applies for jazz......big time. I think rock’s chief benefit, though, from multi-channel is from the “artist creativity” aspects of the final product. Multi-channel unleashes the creative shackles, for better or for worse, of the artist and the engineer. We both appreciate the huge difference in the listening experience between stereo and multi-channel classical music. But it pales by comparison when talking about a rock recording. I have done on-the-fly A/B comparisons with much, if not all, the MC rock in my collection and the differences are astonishing.....for some listeners maybe too much of a good thing. And this is usually done without “abusing” the technology. So, artistically, you get the sense that this (MC) was what the artist was attempting to do all along but could not pull it off in stereo. But sonically, there is, too, a tremendous upside with multi-channel rock. It is simply far more “open” than that same disc could possibly be when played in the same system.
Capturing a live event whether rock concert or classical music concert have far more spatial similarities than differences. And so multi-channel unmistakably enhances the palpability of a live R&B or rock concert. A few years ago I submitted a review at SA-CD.net of a live Earth, Wind and Fire concert, “Gratitude” which at the time gave me the most “you are there” experience of any disc I had heard to date.(Whoa! I see that the asking price for that SACD is $181.12 used at Amazon.com).
So, I can’t see how a rock listener would “prefer” stereo over multi-channel when listening to the same disc in the same system., just as they would not prefer mono over stereo. Sure, there may be individual discs where the listener my disagree with what the artist and/or engineer intended, but on the whole 5 channels is *far* superior than 2 in the same system that is implemented to do both well. Of course, given the dearth of rock titles I understand why most rock listeners have voted with their feet and left SACD.
Robert C. Lang
I have no interest whatever in Rock or Pop music but the economics means that they dominate marketing considerations. So, unless those genres and their fans are incorporated and successful, efforts at new formats will fail (as they have been).
I also have no interest in Rock & Pop and wonder why you are bothering to review Patrica Barber latest BD disc due to rave comments of PB I bought 'cafe blue'found it to be a load of rubbish and a waste of money I suppose you assume that if the PB BD disc gets a rave review this will help to subsidise Classical recordings ? I see now you are only doing to compare various formats ,what a waste of time.
I was asked to contribute comments on the sound quality of the Patricia Barber BD as an adjunct to a more complete music review because, perhaps, the music reviewer does not have a suitable multichannel system or as much multichannel experience. All this is to provide information to our readers, some of whom like and enjoy the music.
You can dismiss this as a waste of time but your perceptions are not shared by everyone.
I do not think many rock & pop enthusiasts would appreciate mch SACD ,or stereo only SACD especially as most people have never heard of it.The problem is as told to me by the manager of a large HMV record store in Oxford St London long ago is that Rock & Pop etc is financially supporting Classical recordings however Robert C Lang is correct when he says Sony's failure to support an abundance of Rock etc on SACD is the cause of the problem of SACD missing the boat.
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