Re: The Experience Of Sound

1

Christ, if there's one thing that gets my goat it's high-end audio snobbery. Unmatched toolishness.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:20 AM
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I'm with you on this one. I would add that the other reason to go to a performance is to learn more about the performer, and their versions of the songs -- because live interaction is richer communication channel.

Also being in a big, excited group, changes the experience and is either a positive or negative depending on the group.

I have been thinking lately, that part of why audio gets such a bad reputation is because so much "high end" audio is terrible, and there's so little to help a consumer navigate that it would be really easy for someone to have a bad experience, get frustrated, and give up on the idea that it's possible to get convincing sound out of recorded music.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:22 AM
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Well, it really depends on the music, band, venue, crowd, etc in question. Plus, it's not as if what you hear live is just what you'd hear on a CD with crowd noise thrown in, at least not if the band/performer.

The claim that a studio album is "once removed" from a live performance is laughable on its face, both because what you get in a live performance is just different, and because the way things are recorded (at least if you're either a popular music act or the Emerson String Quartet), the recording just isn't of a "live performance" most of the time. This is one of the reasons live albums, of some bands at least, are interesting.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:23 AM
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I attend the opera largely for the opportunity to yell "Classical music! Wooooo!"

(Note: I have actually done this. Renee Fleming, you rule.)


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:23 AM
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I agree with the post, but a lot of live performances combine sounding much worse than the band's recorded material with having thousands of times more energy and tension than the band's recorded material.

I've been burned by shockingly boring and sterile CDs bought at awesome shows several times, starting with Les Savy Fav back in 2001. I'm just starting to appreciate that album, but it in no way resembled their live show.

feed their will to power get laid achieve zen

Surely one of these should not be crossed out.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:24 AM
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if there's one thing that gets my goat it's high-end audio snobbery

Eh, there are two types of audiophile, those that put up with the gear for the music, and those that put up with the music for the sake of the gear. The latter are toolish, the former not necessarily.

(The corollary, even more true, is that there are two type of people who obsess about live music: "Those that put up with the scene for the sake of the music ...")


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:25 AM
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4--
know what you mean. i used to go to covent garden and hold up a lighter at the end.

on concerts--so true. sometimes horrible sound. i saw hot tuna way back in the early 70s, and my ears are still bleeding. ditto for the who. yes, i'm glad to have seen keith moon in his prime, but if you like music, don't go to arenas.

wigmore hall on the other hand--fabulous.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:26 AM
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Rock is a mix of music and noise, or there is a strong element of noise made music in even the most melodic rock and roll. Live shows are noisier, and in rock that can turbocharge the music in lots of ways.

So I'm questioning Ogged's experience/music dichotomy as arbitrary and reductionistic and overall not rock n' roll.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:26 AM
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If you'd taken me up on that Sleater-Kinney concert invite...


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:27 AM
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Just two nights ago I walked past a cafe where a swell jazz combo from Portland, the Blue Cranes, was playing. They were actually playing one of my favorite cuts from their album ("Polaris"), which I included on my "some songs" mix, and it was much better than the recorded version. For one thing, some sweet solos! And they were unamplified in a small cafe, so no real sound worries.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:27 AM
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Despite my noted apathy toward music in general, I do actually like to go to concerts, but I still agree with the post. In fact, thinking it over that makes quite a bit of sense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:28 AM
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And to actually respond to the post: yes, the venue can make a big difference with the quality of the sound. But you live near some really great venues. I was very impressed with Great American Music Hall.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:28 AM
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And they were unamplified in a small cafe

Ideal!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:28 AM
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High end audio equipment hits diminishing returns pretty quickly. At the higher price ranges, it's almost all tools.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:29 AM
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But, say, Richard Thompson, the Decemberists, the Dirty Projectors, Daniel Kahn, Barbez, some band whose name I can't remember, all these rock bands I have seen, perfectly fine sound at their shows, the whole experience is different, what's played is different, etc.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:29 AM
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14 meaning in principle I agree with 6, but in practice the toolishness is overwhelming.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:29 AM
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"High-end audio" products are near the top of the list of things that could do with a randomised-controlled double blind trial.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:30 AM
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13: Ideal for some purposes, not for others. It wouldn't work for, say, Boris.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:30 AM
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(That was a really weird concert: Damon & Naomi, opening for Boris.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:30 AM
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One Modey Lemon show I went to was even better than their recordings. The other one was worse. Why was it worse? One of the songs was extended into a 30-minute jam for no reason, involving the drummer throwing a cymbal that cut some guy pretty badly. High risk, high reward.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:31 AM
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Yeah, 17 is the worry.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:32 AM
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Ideal for some purposes, not for others.

Of course, I was just expressing my preference that, for the music I'm most likely to want to see live, that is the ideal venue.

Also, given my 2, that's a venue in which you're going to have the most direct access to the musician. You can see facial expressions, hear them tap their feet, etc . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:32 AM
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The thing that surprised me about the high-end audio world is how unpleasant the salespeople were.

My father is, in a small way that seems to have grown a bit more every time I happen to visit the Schloss Flippanter, something of an audiophile, and as well-informed about that sort of thing as I am about the contents of the Batcave (note to self: obtain giant penny). When he was in Byzantium a year or so ago we wandered into what he recognized as a well-known purveyor of this sort of thing, and eventually managed to have ourselves led to one of the listening rooms, but the salesdude was manifestly uninterested in talking to us or answering questions, which I believe is part of the sales process in many cultures. Perhaps we didn't look spendy enough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:35 AM
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"High-end audio" products are near the top of the list of things that could do with a randomised-controlled double blind trial.

There are some products that have a well deserved reputation for delivering great performance, at a moderate price.

Take, for example, the Benchmark DAC-1.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much the definitive example of that case. I have no idea what would be a comparable amplifier, for example.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:36 AM
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Some academic references for those with access:
Golden Ears and Meter Readers.

High-End Audio

The abstract from the first one is good. The second one discusses some double blind tests (e.g., Carver).


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:38 AM
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One other depressing note, talking to a high-end audio shop in town, they said something I've heard a lot, that all the money these days is in home theater.

Half the people want something "good enough" to do big loud movies and care a lot about the big screen TV adn DVD player, but don't care that much about the audio components.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:38 AM
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I noticed that your moderately-priced component costs over $1000.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:39 AM
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17: Zero experience with $10K equipment, but my sense is you're exactly right. At some point you're just proving to yourself that your ear really is that rare and fine.

With the post, I'd say it depends, but that you shouldn't go to a concert expecting to hear a replica of a CD track.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:40 AM
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I thought the audio salespeople would be like the super-friendly piano salesman I encountered in Portland, Maine. He spent about an hour showing my friend all the different sounds this electric piano could make. My friend would start playing something, and the guy would be like "Hold on, hold on! Let's see what that sounds like in slap bass! What about celesta on the right hand and slap bass on the left hand!" "Slap bass" became a catchphrase.

"Like Handel's Water Music? You'll like it better with all the instruments turned into slap bass!"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:41 AM
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"The exception is classical music, where the richness of the instruments really is lost when it's recorded." Glenn Gould would have taken serious issue with you.


Posted by: theophylact | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:41 AM
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Glenn Gould would have taken serious issue with you.

And you do not want an eccentric Canadian classical musician mad at you.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:44 AM
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the great advantage of recorded jazz over live is that the solos stop when you want them to.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:45 AM
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I noticed that your moderately-priced component costs over $1000.

Via google, there are a number of places that stock it for under $1K, and I was responding to the scale given in the Slate article. I don't have a Benchmark, myself.

As far as price, there was a long time when I told people that they would be better off spending $2K on a stereo, and $400 on a computer than visa versa, but now computer prices have fallen so $2K is no longer the price of a typical mid-high end desktop.



Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:47 AM
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"High-end audio" products are near the top of the list of things that could do with a randomised-controlled double blind trial.

I think the Amazing Randy and the Skeptical Inquirer-type folk essentially have a $1,000,000 bet with the Pear Cable people on this very question.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:47 AM
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i saw hot tuna way back in the early 70s, and my ears are still bleeding.

When I saw Hot Tuna (late 80s), it was an acoustic show at The Big Barn at Daniel Boone Village and they served shrimp gumbo. It was awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:47 AM
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6: It's that way with anything that can be bought and then measured. Photography has its "pixel peepers" and "measurbators" now that digital tech makes getting numbers (whether they mean anything or not) easier. Those people fight with the people grooving on "The Leica Glow".


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 10:53 AM
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I mean, no doubt you can do better, but if you know anything at all about electronics it should be bleedin' obvious that the reduction in noise from buying expensive cable is going to be....down in the noise, as the fancy kit should filter 90+% of it anyway.

Of course, the smart thing to do is to spend any money you want to spend on hi-fi on speakers; that's usually where the problem is.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:03 AM
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to be honest, and to admit i have no soul, i rarely can tell the different between the good live shows and bad. I like and keep recordings of live shows only for the variacen in how the song is performed, with the changes going from rather minor to the really interesting, like the addition of "i can't help fallin in love" to " ladies and gentlement we are floating", plus the cover songs are fun. like recently the last phrase of "a kiss before i go" just made the song awesome. I think after a few hundred dollars you're getting to the point of things sounding 'different' but not better in any apprieciable way. just like how a really good chef makes things taste a bit 'different' from some other recipe. But its not 'better', in the way that learning to not forget to put an acid in the food is, or not overheating meat you're stewing. To be honest most the the albums i really like were recorded on a shit budget anyway so the hundred dollar spearker wire isn't going to be the weak link. Thats really no excuse for those 3 peice boomboxes that lots of people use. But 200kbs vbr lame mp3s are good enough for almost all things i want to listen to.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:04 AM
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39

actually spending one''s money on a good set of headphones is the best money ever spent.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:06 AM
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40

It's too loud

This is why God invented earplugs. I don't get people who go to live (rock) concerts without earplugs.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:09 AM
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Thats really no excuse for those 3 peice boomboxes that lots of people use.

I dunno, "It cost $200 and can play music at a nice floor-shaking volume without too much distortion," seems like a perfectly good excuse to me.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:10 AM
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This is why God invented earplugs. I don't get people who go to live (rock) concerts without earplugs.

The ringing in one's ears the next day and gradual onset of tinnitus gives one street cred. Just look at my Roger Miller Junior Achiver Club fan card!

True story: After 36 hours of wakefulness during exams period my freshman year, I fell asleep sitting on the amp at a Rye Coaltion/Klikitatikatowi show. I don't believe I was wearing earplugs.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:11 AM
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I noticed that your moderately-priced component costs over $1000.

If you listen through headphones, rather than speakers, really good components are much more reasonably priced. The setup I use for listening to music at work cost ~$600 all told, which includes both headphones and headphone amp. If I were to add the matching DAC, it'd take the total up to about $900. Which is still spendy, but nowhere near the level of home theater stuff.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:12 AM
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This is why God invented earplugs. I don't get people who go to live (rock) concerts without earplugs.

I cannot bear the feeling of the plugs in my ears. I realize this makes me an idiot, but I can still hear the mosquito-whine teenager ringtone, so I think I'm doing okay.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:13 AM
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39 is only sort of true. Good headphones have great bang/buck, but they can't actually do what a stereo can do, so may not be a replacement for you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:14 AM
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Just look at my Roger Miller Junior Achiver Club fan card!

If I confess that the first person I thought of when I read this was the guy who did the cover paintings for all those Yes albums—even though his name is Roger Dean!—will people stop calling me a hipster?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:14 AM
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So, two things: you don't have to be a weird "true to the music, man!" wanker to like big speakers making high-fidelity noises. I listen to mostly electronic music, where there weren't any live performers anywhere ever, and I love to listen to high-end audio equipment, because there's a richness and depth to the music that you don't hear any other way, including through high-end studio monitors, which are designed to do something totally different.

Second, there's a huge difference between appreciating well-made none-too-cheap amplifiers (e.g. those that use not-the-cheapest components and big gobs of solder and so on), and the "my speaker wire was wrapped around a flux capacitor by classically trained buddhist monks!" horseshit you find at the real high end, which is absolute nonsense.

But if you're saying there's no audible difference between (even) a $600 dollar Marantz home theater tuner and a couple of (maybe not even very expensive) monoblock amps insulated by lots of metal and air from any interference from the various tuner and DAC and whatnot components that get stuffed in the Marantz, that's also sort of crazy talk. And if you go further and say listening to a CD through headphones is just as compelling as listening to the same CD through large speakers with good acoustical characteristics, you should get your hearing checked, and I say that as a half-deaf person.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:14 AM
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48

44: Not all earplugs are created equal. Perhaps look into musicians plugs?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:17 AM
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It is certainly true that things sound better when I'm listening through the program mix on either the (not even very) fancy headphones or the (not even very) fancy speakers at the radio station than they do when I listen through my crappy speakers at home.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:18 AM
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Just look at my Roger Miller Junior Achiver Club fan card!

This might be your only chance
to prove it on your own
Tulsa's not that
Tulsa's not that far . . .

certainly in the oudemia Top 5.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:19 AM
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will people stop calling me a hipster?

No. Suck it up, hipster.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:19 AM
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47: It's the falloff at the high end I was talking about as `diminishing returns'. A good system makes a lot of difference, but that does not mean a particularly expensive system. Particularly if you don't want to get very loud.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:20 AM
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Ogged is right, though, that stereos, especially really good ones, aren't designed to make the music sound exactly like it would if the band was in front of you. That's what studio monitors are supposed to do -- give you absolutely flat response -- and even high-end studio monitors make music sound kind of boring and cold. Good home stereos are designed to make music sound better.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:20 AM
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52: yup, agreed. Shit, you can even get a pretty good extremely loud (like, club PA loud: not something you'd use at home unless you were (a) insane or (b) some of my friends back in the old days) system for not all that much money.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:23 AM
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Are we really supposed to believe that (b) isn't a subset of (a), Sifu?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:25 AM
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if you aren't going to wear earplugs, a few hundred grams each of NAC and ALCAR may prevent the hearing loss.

like most things in life, you should do better than most people, but not as good as the people who care about the subject. In this case before you get to the point of "no difference between A & B", you get to the point of "B doesn't sound like A, but they both sound good".


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:26 AM
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55: point taken. They're better now, though, mostly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:26 AM
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That's what studio monitors are supposed to do -- give you absolutely flat response -- and even high-end studio monitors make music sound kind of boring and cold.

Personally I like things that have a flat response (which, as far as I can tell, are described as "analytical" rather than "musical" in the audio press), but that's just a matter of taste.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:28 AM
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So, assuming a budget of let's say $1000-$2000 (not that I'm going to do this) what would y'all recommend someone buy if they want to listen to music at home (not through earphones). (Assume that's the budget for new equipment, and then we can all follow ttaM's advice and get comparable stuff for a fraction on ebay.)

And so the thread turns to high-end equipment...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:30 AM
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58 isn't intended as support for studio monitors, per se, just a general statement.

56.2 gets it exactly right (unless, like me, you're one of the people who does care about sound, specifically).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:30 AM
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(Assume that's the budget for new equipment, and then we can all follow ttaM's advice and get comparable stuff for a fraction on ebay.)

Why that caveat? ebay is not only cheaper, but gives access to older gear that may not be available new.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:31 AM
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One reason I'm not going to do this is that I usually listen by streaming things from Rhapsody...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:31 AM
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I think sports car snobbery is probably worse than stereo snobbery. You run into it far less; most people could aspire to stereo snobbery, not so for autos.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:32 AM
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(unless, like me, you're one of the people who does care about sound, specifically)

I don't think this actually makes sense.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:32 AM
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He's using "sound" in an idiosyncratic way, but you probably know that, YLB.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:33 AM
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I don't think this actually makes sense.

I wanted to include myself in "the people who care about the subject" and could't find a good one-word description of "the subject".


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:34 AM
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My current plan is to get on of these and an amp from, oh, ADCOM or NAD or something and listening to my MP3s all warm and blended and cheerfully piss off the purists.

I've said it before, ogged, but I just love Cambridge Soundwork's bigger bookshelf speakers, which are right in the range you're talking about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:35 AM
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32--
"the great advantage of recorded jazz over live is that the solos stop when you want them to."

when drums stop, then come big, big trouble.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:35 AM
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Subtract "ing"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:37 AM
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My current plan is to get on of these . . .

That looks neat.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:38 AM
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Discovering music by listening to the band live is much more fun than by listening to their tracks online. And it's not just fun: often the live versions of the songs are a better introduction, and one would have dismissed the band or not given them enough attention had one been at home.

(But then, I'm spoiled because I'm in college and all the shows are free.)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:38 AM
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I was imagining that NickS spends a lot of time listening to Music on a Long Thin Wire or sine waves or noise music just for the sheer sound of it all.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:44 AM
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One reason I'm not going to do this is that I usually listen by streaming things from Rhapsody...

The Squeezebox has Rhapsody support.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:45 AM
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72: the combination of an analog synth and a big ol' stereo can provide a lot of joy along those lines. Heavily amplified sawtooth wave + clipping amp + big speakers = hours of fun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:46 AM
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I already stream to my stereo, but it seems like a waste to get high-end equipment for a 128K bit stream.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:47 AM
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If anyone would like to test out their home computing system's high fidelity by listening to samples of my band's CD that just went up on CD Baby today, email me.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:50 AM
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Audiophiles are in a hard place right now because of the mp3s. Mp3s transform how people listen to music, but MP3s severely limit the value of all that audiophile crap.

I play my Ipod into this boom box outside and it sounds great to me.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:55 AM
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76: e-mail sent!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:56 AM
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Y'all should email Wrongshore.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:56 AM
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Audiophiles are in a hard place right now because of the mp3s.

The only time I regret not having made accommodations for mp3 listening is looking at all of the mixes that have been posted to unfogged.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:58 AM
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Pfft. Variable (or relatively high) rate mp3s sound swell through (non-retarded) audiophile gear. So they don't sound as good as a CD? They still sound better than they do through little speakers. Anyhoo if you're into transforming your music listening without losing fidelity there's always lossless formats.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:01 PM
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sound test


Posted by: hijk | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:01 PM
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I want a service that will show me just how sensitive my listening is and then tell me just how crappy I can listen to stuff before I'll miss out. I tend to think that I know more about sound quality than I experience.

Some make me a service!

Also: are BOSEs any good, or are they just a well-positioned brand whose product is cute to look at?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:04 PM
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i saw hot tuna way back in the early 70s, and my ears are still bleeding.

Back in the early 70s nobody had a mixing desk at concerts, so of course it sounded like shit. Hell, Hendrix' live sound was an unholy mess by modern standards, let alone people who couldn't afford to spend the GNP of a small European country on their kit.

The first band I heard live with a mixer was Yes in 1973. They were still playing music for granddads in floral bellbottoms, but the sound quality was so good it was enjoyable. A week before I'd gone to see Tony Williams Lifetime at the same venue and had to walk out because of the noise.

No band has any excuse for their live sound being poor these days. If they're too drunk to do a proper sound check, then fuck 'em.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:04 PM
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82 is not that service, though boy wouldn't I have felt pwned if it had been.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:05 PM
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When I play shows they usually only let one band do a proper sound check. The rest of us get a quick level check and that's it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:06 PM
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I have yet to meet a Bose speaker that didn't sound crappy and tinny, but maybe I just haven't met the right one yet.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:07 PM
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are BOSEs any good

NO!!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:07 PM
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77,81:Got enough HD space, which is pretty cheap, you can go flac. Most of my mp3's now are 320 cbr, some 640.

But 2) I did a comparison test on four remasters of Days of Future Passed, and I no longer trust reissues or remasters. Or my ears (that sounds great!).

(I know, I know, DoFP but it was quality studio work for its time. Good test)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:08 PM
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Bose are alright but they cost like 4x too much


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:09 PM
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640CBR? What's the point in not using flac in that case?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:10 PM
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McManus likes to turn it up to 11.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:10 PM
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why would you use cbr?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:11 PM
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No band has any excuse for their live sound being poor these days. If they're too drunk to do a proper sound check, then fuck 'em.

The major problem I notice at smaller-to-midsize venues today (pretty much the only ones I go to) is just poor mixing. The sound itself is good, but since the bands typically aren't big enough to tour with their own sound guy, there's not necessarily anyone behind the boards on the sound check who knows how the final mix should sound. Poor monitor sound contributes a lot to this, and I've heard a lot of musicians really like the Empty Bottle in town for its monitor sound and general high-quality sound crew and equipment compared to most other local venues.

It is amazing the difference made when you get a band that's really into the sound of a performance though. Seeing Shellac (a band where two of the three members are coveted producers) live, it struck me for the first time just how incredibly clear and well-mixed a rock show could actually be. Impressive as hell, when you can find it.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:12 PM
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83:I oppose BOSE on principle, all my DSP settings are flat, with just a little volume normalisation


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:13 PM
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81 is very true, with bitrate somewhat dependent on both the quality of encoder used (way more variable than it should be at this point) and the type of music (essentially signal complexity) VBR goes some distance to addressing the latter.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:14 PM
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92:My playlist randomiser, Robodj, doesn't recognize flac. Wanna tweak the code for me?

Hey, I am old & deaf, 320-640 is good enough


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:15 PM
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93: all the psycho-acoustic modelling and VBR algorithms have flaws, CBR at high rates avoids this. It's not much of a gain most cases.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:16 PM
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The transformation of the hating on audiophiles thread is complete.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:17 PM
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93:Good question. I have an icon program that makes the files look all pretty, and somhow I just don't trust vbr. Even tho the last frauenhoffffffer advises JS, I also go true stereo.

Idiosyncracies, man. I am set in my ways.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:19 PM
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Christ, if there's one thing that gets my goat it's my goat's mistress. She always listens and really understands him in a way that Nanny-goat doesn't.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:19 PM
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(a band where two of the three members are coveted producers)

Coveted recording engineers.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:20 PM
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I just don't trust vbr.

VBR won't match CBR at the same bit rate, but if you are trading off file size it's going to be a big win.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:22 PM
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99: Labs is spinning in his tinny, noisy grave.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:22 PM
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99: meh. I can tell you all about the signal processing, but the component stuff beyond mid-range involves a lot of wankery. FL is right to hate on the audiophiles, they're mostly gullible twits.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:25 PM
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beyond mid-range

The trick is identifying mid-range.

But, really, 56.2 still gets it exactly right.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:27 PM
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all about the signal processing

really should read almost all about --- audio compression isn't one of my areas.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:29 PM
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The transformation of the hating on audiophiles thread is complete.

Is it really a surprise that the unfogged tends to ignore or embrace pointless perfectionism rather than hating on it?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:33 PM
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One of my idiosyncracies(sp?) is an aversion to short songs. With a probabilistic playlist, I don't want "Hey Me Rhonda" sandwiched between "Bitches Brew" and "Mother Sky" so I merge short songs into 7-10 minute blocks. It is also usually background, and a 2 minute song can just fly by unnoticed. I don't get a feeling for the artist or album. And you just don't listen to "Guilty" or "Louisiana", some songs require context.

But I don't want many 20 minute blocks, either.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:34 PM
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Oh, come off it, y'all. Nobody here's talking about balancing components on granite slabs. Music sounding good: objectively pleasant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:35 PM
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109:I can't type or spell today. Or think. "Help Me Rhonda"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:39 PM
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One thing that surprises me about the audio industry is not the wankitude at the higher end (that happens in most industries) but the sheer variability of relatively cheap stuff.

If for example, you buy random $100 computer speakers, you're going to be able to find stuff that sounds surprisingly good for the price, and stuff that sounds like crap. And it doesnt' seem to make much difference to the market.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:43 PM
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Hemp Ye Wando, Hemp Hemp Ye Wondo


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:43 PM
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112: a lot of it is looks, and a lot of it is that most people just don't know what good audio sounds like, is my suspicion. Shit, look at Bose.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:45 PM
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112: Don't want to be specific, since I'm taking a general impression, but such a distribution is not so anomalous. Seems true of whatever I get interested in.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:50 PM
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113--
one of dave barry's greatest moments was when he decoded the cryptic opening words:
"well since she put me down, i've had owls drooling in my head."

now! it makes sense.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:52 PM
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Question for you mixtapers:Is 109 wrong? "Help Me Rhonda" was not written to be listened in conjunction with two other Beach Boys songs, but between, whatever, Otis Redding & Rolling Stones. With a screaming DJ and a dragstrip commercial.

But hell, "Day in the Life", or, well "New Year"or "Transatlanticism" or anything off "Electroshock Blues" kinda suck as stand-alones. IM-IMS-O. Just put "Blinking Lights" or "Mellon Collie" into a random playlist? Crazy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 12:53 PM
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If they're too drunk to do a proper sound check, then fuck 'em it is Time to Rock.

Fixed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:06 PM
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The transformation of the hating on audiophiles thread is complete.

You need to read one of those articles by heebie to see that hating on all those other, bad audiophiles is an essential part of the audiophile culture. Everyone has to pick their own level, and then define others as obsessed with equipment not music.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:15 PM
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Looking for something totally killer to listen to on your $29.99 Toys 'R Us Audiophile Boombox by Bose, people?

My new mix, "Dance, dance, unfoggidycon, dance" is live. This mix is different than my other mixes, because (a) I used tracks I've used before, I think (but (a.1) I'm too lazy to check and (a.2) fuck you (oink's down)) BUT (b) I spliced it together in Audacity, so it is one gloriously continuous mix of transcoded beats, designed for maximum danceability!

Le Track List:
1. Gay Muppet Bar - Phil 'n Dog
2. Renegade Master - Wildchild (Fatboy Slim Old School Edit)
3. Adventures in Success - Stanton Warriors
4. Tenderoni - Chromeo
5. Hush Boy - Basement Jaxx (Soul Seekerz Remix)
6. Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above - CSS
7. Feelin' Alright Now - Dubtribe Sound System
8. Waterman - Olav Basoski
9. The Beat is Over - Basco
10. Drop the Pressure - Mylo (Rex the Dog Mix)
11. Zdarlight - Digitalism (Moonlight Edition)
12. Fool's Gold - The Stone Roses (Rabbit in the Moon's Message to the Majors Mix)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:27 PM
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Looks great, man. I was terrified for a minute when I saw track 11, since I'm including the internet teaser track "Ray of Zdarlight" from The Avalanches on my dance mix. Phew!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:32 PM
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BTW, re: ogged's audio recommendation request.

I put together a system like this with the low end rotel integrated amp (SA1 or SA2?) with some great bookshelf speakers, maybe even the same ones sifu recommended. Total price about $900? I've used ok cd players from harman kardon and onkyo because my wife likes having a turntable with a bunch of cd's on it. Oh yeah, and I did get the bottom of the line monster cable for the speakers. The sound was good - my neighbor just replicated it because he really liked the rotel's sound, and he's a free jazz nut with a bunch of lp's.

I also liked the arcam equipment at a slightly higher price point.

I'm now running an audio refinement amp and tuner, which I inherited from my father. It's significantly better, and very warm, though I'm not sure I have it set up right. I think it was originally pretty spendy, though it's the 'affordable' line for some high end producer.

And I run rhapsody through both systems and it sounds better than through a crappy one. I also have a little onkyo cd player/amp at the office which I run my rhapsody into for listening at work, and it's very pleasant.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:44 PM
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hey, a music thread...I still haven't figured out what "C.1" means, figure I'll ask one last time if anyone here knows what it is. It appears on my classical guitar sheet music, like this:

C.1..............,
-----------------------------
(music notes)
-----------------------------

i've already tried using google and wikipedia to find the answer to this, naturally


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:44 PM
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123: that should be a barre, methinks.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:45 PM
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So I guess you aren't the people to ask about getting a decent pair of speakers that doesn't cost over $200 to replace the Pinnacles that Mr. B. managed to blow out, are you?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:46 PM
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125: Pinnacles usually cost a fair bit more than that, I think.

That said, there should be something on eBay. Brands aren't coming to mind at this very moment, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:49 PM
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124. well, it's over the treble clef, is that what you mean?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:49 PM
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119: Which is why 17 should be repeated. More double-blind trials!

It's annoying how hard it is with some equipment to get an a/b switch setup going.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:51 PM
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So, assuming a budget of let's say $1000-$2000 (not that I'm going to do this) what would y'all recommend someone buy if they want to listen to music at home

You're going to build your own boxes and stands, (or ceiling inserts) right? I suppose you want to include supplies for that into your budget, too, huh?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:53 PM
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123: I think ttaM eventually answered that in yesterday's unpublished thread (that's where you posted this query originally, isn't it?). Perhaps a blogger could dig it out for you.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:54 PM
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I don't know what he paid for the Pinnacles; I think we've had them for almost 20 years. I just know that I can't afford to spend over $200.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:56 PM
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130. damnit. like sleeping through a blowjob.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:57 PM
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127: Sorry I missed this the first time round. I don't read much these days, but I recall C.1/2 and C.1 as notation that you should barre (or 1/2 barre) at that point.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:57 PM
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wait, that's wrong. it was 1/2C or C, followed by teh position. But that would tend to be over a chord, so I'm not sure what it would mean over the clef.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 1:58 PM
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no, that makes sense, soup! You bar for a measure sometimes so that you can get the correct fingering all the way through. Thank you!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:00 PM
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what sort of music. I'm used to this from classical music, but if it were folk or something that might make sense fora capo position I? Looking at the notation, would that give you a bunch of useful open notes?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:01 PM
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135: ok, yeah, that might make sense for the whole measure, too. Glad if it helped. Damn it's been a while since I read.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:02 PM
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It's annoying how hard it is with some equipment to get an a/b switch setup going.

A difficulty is getting the volume matched exactly.

I was just recently doing an a/b test of CD players with a friend, and the two players sounded quite different (at approximately the same volume) until he decided that it was worth introducing a second volume control into the line to match the levels exactly, and they sounded much closer.

The first tests were probably within a db of each other and it was impressive how much that influenced the entire character of the music.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:04 PM
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it's classical. and nope, i don't think a capo wouldn't be advisable. there's not a much barring to be done, just here and there. it is a pain, though, i'm my cheap fender.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:05 PM
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it's classical. and nope, i don't think a capo wouldn't be advisable. there's not a much barring to be done, just here and there. it is a pain, though, i'm my cheap fender.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:05 PM
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As for speakers, I think Flippanter Senior likes a brand called B&W, but I don't know anything about them apart from the name.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:05 PM
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120.12: Woot! I can't wait to get home and download. I'd like to note that Rabbit in the Moon did one of my favorite covers of one of my favorite Depeche Mode songs. I like them a great deal.

I have no comment on sound quality, etc. On the one hand, yes, I'm a musician; on the other hand I marched in front of the drums for a long time. I am deaf as a post and have trouble picking out definition in a loud or heavily heterogeneous mix of sounds. My little Klipsch 2.1 setup for my home office works a treat for my ears and Rah's home stereo works great for piping stuff to the living room. We are not fancy people and it all sounds great to me. In all honesty, were I an imaginary ogged with an imaginary large to drop on speakers to be used for the streaming of online music I would hop on down to Best Buy, pick up a reasonably priced home stereo boomboxy thing to which the computer can be connected or some decent computer speakers and walk home with acceptable sound and $850 in my pocket. Yes, I am a terrible person with terrible taste.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:06 PM
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Hey, I also have a question for the audio-wankers!

My honey and I are sort of desultorially in the market for an audio system. My cheap-ass, seven-year-old boombox finally pooped out. He's listening to his music on CDs in his desktop and veddy nice headphones, I'm using a walkman for my NPR fix, but eventually we're going to need something that broadcasts sounds beyond one person. We have a mixing board, but I guess that doesn't count as an amp, does it. Any suggestions? Oh, and we primarily listen to classical, with the occasional gangsta rap and break-beat drum-n-bass.

Uh, the budget is going to be small. Say, under $300.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:21 PM
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140: Yes, if it's classical they don't mean for you to use a capo. I'm pretty sure we've arrived at the right conclusion (barre for the measure).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:24 PM
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we primarily listen to classical, with the occasional gangsta rap and break-beat drum-n-bass.

Awesome.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:26 PM
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because the way things are recorded (at least if you're either a popular music act or the Emerson String Quartet), the recording just isn't of a "live performance" most of the time

Incidentally, the Emerson's Shostakovich cycle of a few years ago is recordings of live performances; the quality of both performance and sound is improbably good.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:39 PM
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Please! Have mercy! Somebody put up a new non-audiophile top post! And not a swimming one either! What are we work procrastinators supposed to be reading?

I can't believe I missed a great divorce lawyer war story and now I'm stuck with stereo components. Life is so unfair.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:41 PM
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147, you could talk about your troubles with average-sized condoms.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:42 PM
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So, ah, nobody has any advice for me?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:43 PM
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Twenty-two minutes and already you're complaining about the lack of response? I need to kill this blog.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:50 PM
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149. this, perhaps.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:52 PM
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So, ah, nobody has any advice for me?

Find new stuff to listen to and send me $20.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:53 PM
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wait, you're looking for an all-in-one type deal, aren't you. n/m.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:54 PM
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Looks interesting, Michael, but so many speaker-unit-thingies!

I need to kill this blog.

Dude.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:55 PM
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JM, what if you just got a setup for your Ipod? Here's one


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 2:56 PM
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My ipod? [Hollow laughter.] I am currently rocking one of these.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:02 PM
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So, ah, nobody has any advice for me?

Nothing specific, but buy used. There are loads of high-quality components out there which can be had quite cheaply. I believe ttaM knows a thing or two about this.

If you don't mind just running speakers off your desktop, you may find that the $99 Klipsch Pro Media speakers are just fine.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:07 PM
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There's no question that good stereo systems sound massively better than the bottom end consumer crap. That's just true.

However, the diminishing returns this is also unquestionably true. Sound systems that sound great don't have to be hugely expensive and once you get over a certain price point, you are into the buddhist monks wrapping undirectional fibres made from copper treated with the unobtanium alloy mystic bollocks. As ogged has mentioned above, I prefer to buy stuff second hand because I am a cheapskate, but I still want a decent sounding stereo.

I rip my CDs to flac and then stream them with a cheap Phillips streamium box. It's surprisingly good and cost about $100.

In most of these arenas that attract gear-obsessed geeks there's a kernel of truth. There are camera lenses that produce a great look to images, there are great sounding speakers, acoustic guitars that have a beautiful tone, etc. There's just a lot of tossers looking for an excuse to show off how refined they are around.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:10 PM
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re: 123

I provided a detailed explanation of what C.1 means in the other thread, where you originally asked.

It's barre chord notation. The numeral represents the fret that you barre. If there's a fraction before the C it's telling you to only barre some of the strings [usually a half-barre over the G, B and E strings]. Sometimes the numeral is a roman numeral, but the notation means the same thing.

re: 157

I don't really know a huge amount. I've just had good look with buying good quality solid-sate amps from the late 70s/early 80s and pairing them with equally good quality speakers that are a bit newer. So I have a good Sansui amp [late 70s], and a decent Denon amp too [late 80s], and a couple of sets of Tannoy speakers [both early 90s]. There's a lot of good advice out there online. At the $200 dollar price range, here in the UK, there are loads of good bookshelf speakers.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:13 PM
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that should have read 'good luck'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:14 PM
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Earlier amps can also look really cool. They tend to be bigger, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:15 PM
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Looking around the latest Klipsh products, this RoomGrove is a bit pricey, but neat! The page mentions that it will work with your computer, too, which I imagine is also true of the iGroove, which costs half mas much.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:22 PM
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(I should've included what's so neat about it. it's wireless, and if you have more than one, they'll work together...wirelessly!) Also: pretty.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:24 PM
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oh, and thanks for answering, Matt!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:26 PM
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I do hate wires!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:29 PM
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Sounds like you need to do Ebay or Craigslist, JM. You'll end up with much better sound quality in that price range if you buy used.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:41 PM
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re: 161

Yeah, my Sansui amp is just from the period when they started making them black rather than aluminium and chrome.

Bottom one of these:

http://www.classicsansui.net/images/Literature/Integrated%20Amplifiers/AU-117-AU-317/AU-117-317.jpg

I've owned a couple of the early 70s chrome ones, too. They sounded great but weren't very reliable. The three I've owned all failed within a couple of years and it wasn't cost effective to repair them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 3:42 PM
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De-lurking to provide some advice for people who asked:

(1) Bitchphd: When you say that Mr. B blew out the speakers, what do you mean? There's a really good speaker repair outfit in what I think is your neck of the woods, and they might well be able to resurrect them for less than $200.

(2) The electronics board on Bay Area craigslist has an absurd amount of high-end and medium-grade audio stuff showing up on a regular basis. NYC not as much.

(3) Ogged, you might be interested in this, which is in your price range and sounds fantastic. And it's an all-in-one unit, so you don't have to worry about component matching.


Posted by: bza | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:15 PM
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168: Hm. Maybe they can be repaired.

What I mean is that at high volumes (which happens rather often, since Mr. B. is deaf), or with heavy bass, they rattle. A lot. And it's very annoying. Orange county is *kind* of a long way away, though. And the particular speakers that need replacing are the ones he uses with the television, not the stereo; those still work fine.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:44 PM
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169: that can generally be repaired, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:46 PM
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Wow, thanks bizzah.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:47 PM
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Also, $200 probably can buy decent speakers for TV use, so it may not be cost effective to get them fixed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:51 PM
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I've heard a few shows that sound better than the record, but not many, because usually they're way too loud. If it's just lousy mixing you can at least make out some of the musical parts but when they overload your ear drums so the ear nerves are reporting square waves to your brain it's got to end up sounding like mud, no matter what's going into the other side of the amplifiers. I see a lot of people driving cars that are way too big too.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:51 PM
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See, what I want here is clear, specific orders. Like, "get a pair of Blah Blah XP500JKs." Or, "Pinnacles? Get them fixed, they'll still be better than anything at the same price."

FWIW, they're bookshelf type speakers. Like 18 inches high, that sort of thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:54 PM
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Pinnacles? Get them fixed, they'll still be better than anything at the same price.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:55 PM
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Now you're just saying that.

Really?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:56 PM
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18 inches high is biggish for bookshelf speakers. I can't really offer concrete recommendations, though. When I read US sites about hi-fi I usually don't recognize more than 1 in 10 of the brand names, so any recommendations I'd have would be useless.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:57 PM
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Pinnacles are very good, and I'm always in favor of repairing old speakers over getting new ones when it's economical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:59 PM
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Maybe they're 15. I dunno. I'm not going over there with a ruler, but they're taller than a foot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:59 PM
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178: Okay. Plus, it's all green n eco-conscious n shit, I guess. Thanks!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 6:59 PM
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Acoustic-ish acts are often better live, in my experience. Patti Smith, earlier this year, was fantastically good, with very clean sound, in a small-ish club. Much better than any of her records.

ttaM, where is a good place to look for decent second-hand speakers in the UK?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-10-07 11:55 PM
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re: 181

I've just bought from ebay [but restricted to local sellers where I can check them out first]. I did bookmark a couple of dealers when I was looking for an amp earlier this year.

http://www.steveshifi.co.uk/used-hifi-loudspeakers-1.html

http://www.retrohifi.co.uk/links.html


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 12:24 AM
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ttaM has some lovely advice embedded in 182: never buy used speakers you don't get a chance to listen to first. Too much can go wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 12:26 AM
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I don't know shit about nice, listening-to-classical-music speakers, but my cambridge soundworks speakers work just fine for everything, and I bought them like 12 years ago for $100. My folks have expensive speakers, and they're very impressive, but not so much so that I want to spend an extra grand on them. No piece of hardware in my machine has aged so well as my speakers, and I love them for it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 12:47 AM
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re: 183

Yeah, definitely.

I had a lesson in that when I was given a set of speakers free with the amp I have. They looked amazing [fairly high-end late 70s speakers, huge hardwood and leather enclosures] and I was happy to take them for nothing. Took them home and found both woofers completely blown and the size wasn't standard so replacements would not have been cheap.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 12:55 AM
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23: condescending attitude of music store staff? Something like this? (Fourth video from top.)


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 3:55 AM
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I've had some shows ruin recorded music for me. Neko Case was so great, her cd's seem watered down. I liked Cat Power on CD, but Chan Marshall was so annoying in person that I can barely listen now.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 4:39 AM
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I have a nice set of Cambridge Soundworks speakers on the desk in my office, for which I paid about $150, and they sound great at any volume I'm comfortable with in my apartment. (I work at home, and have neighbors who do the same, and one of the reasons I'm so happy here is that we're all attentive to volume, so that we never have to suffer a lot of unwanted intrusion through the walls.)

My beef with a lot of the audiophiles I've known is the same as with a bunch of other collector types: so many of them seem to be looking for reasons to be unhappy. That's a luxury I can't afford, not on disability benefits. When I scrimp and save a bit for something like those speakers, I like it when I feel satisfied with purchase and enjoy the benefits of it for a good long while. I don't think that being sensitive to high-end expensive details has to mean being a grump, either, since I know some really happy audiophiles who can give recommendations for low-end gear that don't carry a subtext about how one really ought to turn into another audiophile or what a worthless bum the non-audiophile is. But certainly there are a lot of folks out there who are basically anger/frustration junkies.

Music is one of the great pleasures of my life, and I'd hate to lose it to a standard that wouldn't let me be satisfied with what I can afford and still attend to my other obligations and interests.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 5:00 AM
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Music is one of the great pleasures of my life, and I'd hate to lose it to a standard that wouldn't let me be satisfied with what I can afford and still attend to my other obligations and interests.

Yeah, that seems a reasonable sentiment. I play guitar, and have played for 20 years. Many of my friends are gear-obsessives. Seeking that perfect tone, that amplifier or guitar that will give them the 'sound'. Personally, I've owned two electric guitars since 1987 because I tend to be satisfied with 'good enough'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 5:26 AM
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reasons to be unhappy. That's a luxury I can't afford
You need to save up.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 5:47 AM
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My beef with a lot of the audiophiles I've known is the same as with a bunch of other collector types: so many of them seem to be looking for reasons to be unhappy.

That sort of people tend to confuse consumerism with asperation: if I buy that expnesive highend turntable I'll be a better person. With normal people is usually home ownership, especially when it's a fixer-upper.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 6:03 AM
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Nakku, I have never before been actually moved to say "this is made of win", but your #190 does that. Thanks. :)

Interesting comparison @191, Martin. I hadn't thought about that, but makes sense.

Matt: It'd be interesting to map out the extent to which a willingness to make do is a general personality thing, and how much is just that we don't all obsess over quite the same topics. :)


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 6:14 AM
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re: 192

Matt: It'd be interesting to map out the extent to which a willingness to make do is a general personality thing, and how much is just that we don't all obsess over quite the same topics. :)

Probably a bit of both. I know some people who obsess over pretty much everything and who have that gear-obsessed/perfctionist mentality about everything. But I bet there are very few people who don't have it at all in any area.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 6:22 AM
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But I bet there are very few people who don't have it at all in any area

I'm trying to think if I know any. There are arcs of discovery, where you become aware of how much better something you may have done for a long time can be. For a while, following that can feel transformative. Fresh, properly raised food is an example many people have had in the last few years; as the saying goes, you don't know what you're missing.

Whenever I go through one of these periods of raised standards, I reach a point of diminishing returns, and become interested in other things, but usually my standards and knowledge stabilize at a much higher level, so I feel the process is worthwhile. I see obsessives taking the process further until it's painful and disappointing, for the reasons just outlined.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 6:38 AM
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re: 194

Yeah, that process of 'raised standards, diminishing returns, stabilizing' pretty much describes my own experience.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-11-07 6:44 AM
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