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RE: I believe Jim Smith points out in his book, Get Better Sound

There is often mechanically generated noise at live concerts due to HVAC equipment, nearby subways, etc. There is also thermal noise from random motion of air molecules hitting our ear drums. Unless deliberately edited or gated out during production, there is thermal noise from microphones that comes from the motion of air molecules as well as thermal noise from the microphone preamplifiers. This noise is quite apparent when listening to a live microphone feed and can often be heard with some analog tape formats and many digital formats, both PCM and DSD. Many digital recordings edit out this background noise (and even the dither noise associated with the recording format) in the gaps between tracks on a disk. IMO, this is a poor practice that only draws attention to these natural aspects of a recording. If a background noise is intermittent, e.g. an occasional subway rumble or audience cough, then editing out these distracting noises can improve a recording, but this must be done with caution because one can produce a recording that sounds good when a few seconds are heard and creates an unconscious sense of unease and artificiality when listened all the way through.

I try to listen to recorded music that has the precise original dynamics as performed by the musicians, something possible with just about any digital recording. Analog mastered recordings will generally have a few dB less dynamic range even if no compression, limiting, or gain riding was used in the recording due to saturation of magnetic tape. The typical dynamic range that one would observe in a live symphony concert performing large scale works such as Mahler symphonies is approximately 45 to 50 dB, comparing the loudest fortissimo passages against the start of the quietest pianissimo passages. There are quieter musical portions in most live recordings due to reverberation from the venue. Enjoying these recordings requires a powerful system (especially for organ recordings) and a quiet listening room.

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

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  • RE: I believe Jim Smith points out in his book, Get Better Sound - Tony Lauck 09:56:46 07/05/12 (0)


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