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Things change. . . things never change. . .

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  • Peter
    In going through some old paperwork this past weekend, I found some 20-year-old printouts of my exchanges with several members of what must have been one of
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014
      In going through some old paperwork this past weekend, I found some 20-year-old printouts of my exchanges with several members of what must have been one of CompuServe's professional audio forums, "Audio Hardware."

      All the exchanges were in the thread, "Tyll and Stereophile." This excerpt is my response to something written by Miles B. Astor, who was a TAS reviewer at the time.

      Here's what Astor had said:  "The real audiophile is in it because they want to recreate the illusion of real music at home and because they love music, be it jazz, rock, classical, country, etc."

      And here's my response:

      "By your definition I'm an audiophile, but none of my audiophile friends and acquaintances would agree because I don't take this stuff seriously enough.  One acquaintance who listens to classical mostly just dropped more than $20,000 upgrading to a politically correct system:  Thiel 3.6s (up against the wall of course because his wife didn't like 'em), the pricey MIT speaker cables, BEL amps, Jadis preamp, and I don't remember which CD player. He's a physician, so he learns the patter pretty quickly:  'The Jadis just blew the X away,' where X was another preamp he auditioned, and 'The BEL? Why it just blew the Y away!' where Y was another amp he auditioned.  And the Thiels? 'Superior imaging and soundstaging, etc. etc. etc.'"

      By virtually every other definition in the industry, this guy is an audiophile.  Yet, at age 50 (or thereabouts), HE'S NEVER BEEN TO A LIVE CONCERT!"

      Peter



    • Edward Mast
      The term audiophile is not a useful term for many of us. We need a new term to describe the person who loves and listens to live music, and wants to
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014
        The term 'audiophile' is not a useful term for many of us. We need a new term to describe the person who loves and listens to live music, and wants to reproduce it well in his or her home.
        Ned
      • Peter
        I don t know if there were any alternative words for audiophiles 20 years ago. On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:35 AM, Edward Mast nedmast2@aol.com
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014
          I don't know if there were any alternative words for "audiophiles" 20 years ago.




          On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:35 AM, "Edward Mast nedmast2@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


           
          The term 'audiophile' is not a useful term for many of us. We need a new term to describe the person who loves and listens to live music, and wants to reproduce it well in his or her home.
          Ned



        • Tom Mallin
          I m not sure that there are any alternative words today, either. Music lover seems to connote those who really don t care much for the quality of home
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014
            I'm not sure that there are any alternative words today, either.  "Music lover" seems to connote those who really don't care much for the quality of home reproduction, also without connoting whether live concert attendance is a qualification for such a person.

            Perhaps we could use "absolute sound seeker" for those seeking to reproduce, as closely as possible within any given budget, the live, unamplified concert hall experience at home.


            On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 7:44 AM, Peter alcomdata@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
             

            I don't know if there were any alternative words for "audiophiles" 20 years ago.




            On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:35 AM, "Edward Mast nedmast2@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


             
            The term 'audiophile' is not a useful term for many of us. We need a new term to describe the person who loves and listens to live music, and wants to reproduce it well in his or her home.
            Ned




          • Richard Tuck
            Hi Tom I think you have got the spirit of the thing but it s a mouthful. What we now need is some classical scholar to find a neat Greek or Latin short-form
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014
              Hi Tom

              I think you have got the spirit of the thing but it's a mouthful. What we now need is some classical scholar to find a neat Greek or Latin short-form   Or maybe a German composite word, we could we start with Tonmeister and  butcher it appropriately.

               If you look at Tonmeister in Wikipedia there are a lot of ideas.

              Richard 

               

              On 3 Jun 2014, at 14:43, Tom Mallin tmallin4@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:



              I'm not sure that there are any alternative words today, either.  "Music lover" seems to connote those who really don't care much for the quality of home reproduction, also without connoting whether live concert attendance is a qualification for such a person.

              Perhaps we could use "absolute sound seeker" for those seeking to reproduce, as closely as possible within any given budget, the live, unamplified concert hall experience at home.


              On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 7:44 AM, Peter alcomdata@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com>wrote:
               

              I don't know if there were any alternative words for "audiophiles" 20 years ago.




              On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:35 AM, "Edward Mast nedmast2@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


               
              The term 'audiophile' is not a useful term for many of us. We need a new term to describe the person who loves and listens to live music, and wants to reproduce it well in his or her home.
              Ned








            • Tom Mallin
              Oh, just say it a few times, Richard. It really rolls off the tongue quite nicely with the alliteration going on: absolute sound seeker, absolute sound
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014
                Oh, just say it a few times, Richard.  It really rolls off the tongue quite nicely with the alliteration going on:  absolute sound seeker, absolute sound seeker, absolute sound seeker . . . .  Or just "ass" for short.  

                [Actually, that's what BMW calls its supposedly-gas-mileage-increasing method of turning off its gasoline engine when you stop at a traffic light for more than a second or two and then the engine restarts when you take your foot off the brake:  Automatic Stop Start system, or ASS for short.  I had a 2014 X3 loaner for a week with this "feature."  I'll be changing to some other manufacturer the next time I buy a car, thank you.]

                Such absolute sound seekers are in contrast to those who never go to concerts and never hear live unamplified music, but who claim to know good sound when they hear it.  They are the good sound seekers.  We can call them gas bags for short.


                On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM, Richard Tuck rtuck@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                 

                Hi Tom


                I think you have got the spirit of the thing but it's a mouthful. What we now need is some classical scholar to find a neat Greek or Latin short-form   Or maybe a German composite word, we could we start with Tonmeister and  butcher it appropriately.

                 If you look at Tonmeister in Wikipedia there are a lot of ideas.

                Richard 

                 

                On 3 Jun 2014, at 14:43, Tom Mallin tmallin4@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:



                I'm not sure that there are any alternative words today, either.  "Music lover" seems to connote those who really don't care much for the quality of home reproduction, also without connoting whether live concert attendance is a qualification for such a person.

                Perhaps we could use "absolute sound seeker" for those seeking to reproduce, as closely as possible within any given budget, the live, unamplified concert hall experience at home.


                On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 7:44 AM, Peter alcomdata@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com>wrote:
                 

                I don't know if there were any alternative words for "audiophiles" 20 years ago.




                On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:35 AM, "Edward Mast nedmast2@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                 
                The term 'audiophile' is not a useful term for many of us. We need a new term to describe the person who loves and listens to live music, and wants to reproduce it well in his or her home.
                Ned









              • regtas43
                I just wish there were more of them, whatever one wants to call them! I spent a couple of days in Newport Beach at THE Show and one of the most obvious
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014

                  I just wish there were more of them, whatever one wants to call them! I spent a couple of days in Newport Beach at THE Show and one of the most obvious features of the scene was(as usual) the poor quality of the music being played--not only as music(in my view) but in terms of what it told one about the systems in question. Much of the music seemed to function only to prove that the system would play loudly. In theory any full bandwidth signal will tell one everything(if one knows what the signal is supposed to be!) But in practice there is a huge difference in listening terms--some things are far more revealing than others. This has been studied systematically. Best music is orchestral or(slightly better) female vocalist backed by an orchestra or other broad band ensemble. Worst  as I recall (of common types) was piano, bass, percussion jazz trio, which tends to sound quite good on almost any system and not to reveal much though people who really know piano sound can tell something(but most people apparently do not know the piano well enough to tell much and the other two instruments--bass and percussion- are almost completely useless).

                  REG.

                • Tom Mallin
                  I agree with full orchestra and female in front of full orchestra as the two best test signals for audio system evaluation, in my experience. IF (and only if)
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 3, 2014
                    I agree with full orchestra and female in front of full orchestra as the two best test signals for audio system evaluation, in my experience.  IF (and only if) you have a playback system which decodes HDCD, the Reference Recordings Rutter Requiem disc is the only one you really need to use to evaluate a system.  It has everything:  full orchestra, female vocals, mixed chorus, full and deep pedal organ, huge dynamic range, very detailed three-dimensional space, lots of small sounds like risers creaking, etc.

                    If you don't have HDCD decoding available, you can do quite well with using only this Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances recording of a full orchestra.

                    If you hear the real thing regularly, either of these will quickly expose system problems in a few minutes or less of listening.  Great stuff to take to audio stores or friends' homes to evaluate equipment and set up.




                    On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 1:06 PM, regtas43@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                     

                    I just wish there were more of them, whatever one wants to call them! I spent a couple of days in Newport Beach at THE Show and one of the most obvious features of the scene was(as usual) the poor quality of the music being played--not only as music(in my view) but in terms of what it told one about the systems in question. Much of the music seemed to function only to prove that the system would play loudly. In theory any full bandwidth signal will tell one everything(if one knows what the signal is supposed to be!) But in practice there is a huge difference in listening terms--some things are far more revealing than others. This has been studied systematically. Best music is orchestral or(slightly better) female vocalist backed by an orchestra or other broad band ensemble. Worst  as I recall (of common types) was piano, bass, percussion jazz trio, which tends to sound quite good on almost any system and not to reveal much though people who really know piano sound can tell something(but most people apparently do not know the piano well enough to tell much and the other two instruments--bass and percussion- are almost completely useless).

                    REG.


                  • mike44402903
                    Besides the things mentioned, I tend to use good recordings of string quartets and also of solo harpsichord to listen to timbre of treble instruments and check
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jun 4, 2014
                      Besides the things mentioned, I tend to use good recordings of string quartets and also of solo harpsichord to listen to timbre of treble instruments and check for irritation. Am I fooling myself?
                    • Richard Tuck
                      I m sure you all know what Beecham said about harpsichords. I can see it could be a good test but choosing the right recordings is would be essential, do you
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jun 5, 2014
                         I'm sure you all know what Beecham said about harpsichords.  I can see it could be a good test but choosing the right recordings is would be essential, do you have any favourites?

                        Richard

                        P.S  If anyone does not know their Beecham,  he likened it to two skeletons copulating in a biscuit tin.
                          

                          
                        On 5 Jun 2014, at 05:05, mike@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:



                        Besides the things mentioned, I tend to use good recordings of string quartets and also of solo harpsichord to listen to timbre of treble instruments and check for irritation. Am I fooling myself? 


                      • Edward Mast
                        My memory (likely faulty) is of a harpsichord sounding like two skeletons copulating on a tin roof . But by George Bernard Shaw, rather than Beecham. In
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jun 5, 2014
                          My memory (likely faulty) is of a harpsichord "sounding like two skeletons copulating on a tin roof".  But by George Bernard Shaw, rather than Beecham.  In either case, I doubt either of them was very familiar with the sound of authentic harpsichords as we're accustomed to hearing today.
                          Ned

                        • regtas43
                          Yes and no (about whether you are fooling yourself) . Almost all that listening to things like harpsichords tells you is what the top end is like in terms
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jun 5, 2014

                            Yes and no (about whether you are fooling yourself) .  Almost all  that listening to things like harpsichords tells you  is what the top end is like in terms of frequency response. They are very unrevealing of distortion characteristics. But assuming you know what the recording is like, one can get some sense of excess top or not.

                            The thing is that almost any broadband material if you know it well enough will tell you what is what. The question is what is the most effiicient way to tell what is what. Orchestral music covers the whole spectrum(except fhe absolute bottom) quite well. For instance, there are high percussion things in the Rachmaninoff Sym Dances recording we are always talking about that will tell you the same thing about the top as the harpsichord stuff.  String quartet recordings(if you know what they sound like) are good on midrange timbre questions. But "good" is hardly enough to nail down what they sound like exactly.(and indeed very few of them are good in any real sense).

                             

                            The really critical part of all this is that one has to know the recording. Most people tend to listen to recordings sometimes just any old recording(see remarks below on shows) and ask themselves whether they sound like actual music. But of course whether that is to be expected depends very much on the recording!

                            It is all rather tricky. Somehow one has to learn what a few recordings are actually supposed to sound like.

                             

                            I just finished the Newport Beach show. As always happens at shows, the sound of a given recording varied wildly among different exhibits. (and quite a few exhibits were playing only their own computer files which meant of course that one had no chance at all of making detailed judgments since one did not know the recordings).

                             

                            Audio is full of illusions. And one is that one can identify "good sound" intrinsically, without knowing what the recording actually sounds like. In a very limited very specific way this is true. Certain kinds of distortion arise in speakers but not so much in recordings. But very limited is the operative word. If one does not know the recording one has no chance of knowing exactly how it ought to sound on the speakers.

                             

                            People at shows ought to let you play your own material!

                             

                            REG

                          • Tom Mallin
                            And just how do you know the recording other than hearing it on speakers or headphones? How do you know what it is supposed to sound like unless you were
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jun 5, 2014
                              And just how do you "know the recording" other than hearing it on speakers or headphones?  How do you know what it is supposed to sound like unless you were there when the recording was made?  Even if you were there, how do you know that the microphones captures what you heard?  Some microphone set ups may produce results more like what your ears would have heard (e.g., Blumlein could be more trustworthy than widely separated omnis), but does that mean that you only use Blumlein recordings for evaluation?  

                              These are some of the uncertainties, but despite these problems, I know and agree with what REG is talking about.  You end up having to trust some recordings and types of recordings because you know from long experience that they should sound this way or that on systems with which you are familiar and which sound musically natural on a wide variety of your trusted recordings. 

                              Kind of circular, but it's usually the best you can do.  One way to get a more "absolute" judgment of speaker quality would be to do a mono recording of a very familiar source (e.g., your wife's speaking voice) in a quiet outdoor location or in an anechoic room and then play that back in a room and compare the sound through a single speaker with the actual very familiar source standing right next to the speaker.  Or, pick a speaker which does well in the Gradient absolute fidelity test REG frequently has talked about.


                              On Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 11:40 AM, regtas43@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                               

                              Yes and no (about whether you are fooling yourself) .  Almost all  that listening to things like harpsichords tells you  is what the top end is like in terms of frequency response. They are very unrevealing of distortion characteristics. But assuming you know what the recording is like, one can get some sense of excess top or not.

                              The thing is that almost any broadband material if you know it well enough will tell you what is what. The question is what is the most effiicient way to tell what is what. Orchestral music covers the whole spectrum(except fhe absolute bottom) quite well. For instance, there are high percussion things in the Rachmaninoff Sym Dances recording we are always talking about that will tell you the same thing about the top as the harpsichord stuff.  String quartet recordings(if you know what they sound like) are good on midrange timbre questions. But "good" is hardly enough to nail down what they sound like exactly.(and indeed very few of them are good in any real sense).

                               

                              The really critical part of all this is that one has to know the recording. Most people tend to listen to recordings sometimes just any old recording(see remarks below on shows) and ask themselves whether they sound like actual music. But of course whether that is to be expected depends very much on the recording!

                              It is all rather tricky. Somehow one has to learn what a few recordings are actually supposed to sound like.

                               

                              I just finished the Newport Beach show. As always happens at shows, the sound of a given recording varied wildly among different exhibits. (and quite a few exhibits were playing only their own computer files which meant of course that one had no chance at all of making detailed judgments since one did not know the recordings).

                               

                              Audio is full of illusions. And one is that one can identify "good sound" intrinsically, without knowing what the recording actually sounds like. In a very limited very specific way this is true. Certain kinds of distortion arise in speakers but not so much in recordings. But very limited is the operative word. If one does not know the recording one has no chance of knowing exactly how it ought to sound on the speakers.

                               

                              People at shows ought to let you play your own material!

                               

                              REG


                            • Will H
                              Were the new SHL5Plus demo’d at the Newport show? From: regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com] Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2014
                              Message 14 of 22 , Jun 5, 2014

                                Were the new SHL5Plus demo’d at the Newport show?

                                 

                                From: regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com]
                                Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2014 2:22 PM
                                To: regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: Re: [regsaudioforum] Re: Things change. . . things never change. . .

                                 




                                <snip>

                                I just finished the Newport Beach show. As always happens at shows, the sound of a given recording varied wildly among different exhibits. (and quite a few exhibits were playing only their own computer files which meant of course that one had no chance at all of making detailed judgments since one did not know the recordings).

                                 

                                Audio is full of illusions. And one is that one can identify "good sound" intrinsically, without knowing what the recording actually sounds like. In a very limited very specific way this is true. Certain kinds of distortion arise in speakers but not so much in recordings. But very limited is the operative word. If one does not know the recording one has no chance of knowing exactly how it ought to sound on the speakers.

                                <snip>

                                 

                              • regtas43
                                No not that I am aware of. It will be along in some months. REG
                                Message 15 of 22 , Jun 6, 2014
                                  No not that I am aware of. It will be along in some months.
                                  REG
                                • Richard Tuck
                                  Probably a bit cramped in a biscuit tin heres the real quote which is attributed to Beecham: ôThe sound of a harpsichord û two skeletons copulating on a tin
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Jun 7, 2014
                                    Probably a bit cramped in a biscuit tin heres the real quote
                                    which is attributed to Beecham: 

                                    “The sound of a harpsichord – two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm. ”

                                    I  have an  LP (EMI HQS 1100) of a beautiful French harpsichord that has a sound surpassed by none I have heard.   

                                    One of the lecturers in liberal arts for us scientists and engineers at Brunel University when I was there was the composer and arranger Niso Ticciati, (1924 - 1972).  A few of us got quite friendly with him and went to his home which was close the university to hear his harpsichord and at a later date help him move it to the campus for a concert  The instrument by Robert Goble and Son, Oxford, with a sound that was delicate and  beautiful. I think the trouble must have started when people tried to increase the sound output, of what was parlour instrument to play with larger ensembles in bigger halls and the sound hardened as a result.  Maybe it was theses instruments that Beecham based his description on.             

                                    Richard

                                    On 5 Jun 2014, at 13:59, Edward Mast nedmast2@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:




                                  • djanszen1
                                    If Beecham can get away with it, I suppose I won t be skewered for saying that I loved the sound of harpsichord when I was a child, but now it sounds to me
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Jun 7, 2014
                                      If Beecham can get away with it, I suppose I won't be skewered for saying that I loved the sound of harpsichord when I was a child, but now it sounds to me like a swarm of staccato mosquitoes. On the other hand, as a child, I thought the violin sounded like scraping fingernails on a chalkboard, but now love it. All the other instruments I have loved from first memory. (FWIW, there was a significant head injury in late elementary school from a bicycle accident.) 
                                    • Edward Mast
                                      There are certainly some wonderful harpsichord makers today, building different styles of instruments; Flemish, Italian, French, etc. All sound different.
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Jun 7, 2014
                                        There are certainly some wonderful harpsichord makers today, building different styles of instruments; Flemish, Italian, French, etc.  All sound different.  What I noticed recently when I listened to a recording of the Goldberg Variations on harpsichord, was how much softer the sound was than when played on piano.  I have several recordings on piano also, and do enjoy them.  But it is a percussion instrument, and attacks the strings quite differently from a harpsichord.  Of course, some may find all the overtones of a harpsichord like too much buzzing; I revel in the richness of the sound.  
                                        Ned

                                      • mike44402903
                                        Hi Richard, Yahoo has me baffled. Perhaps 2 variants of my reply will appear. I typically use Hantai s Goldberg Variations on Opus 111. It is an excellent
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Jun 7, 2014
                                          Hi Richard,

                                          Yahoo has me baffled. Perhaps 2 variants of my reply will appear.

                                          I typically use Hantai's Goldberg Variations on Opus 111. It is an excellent performance in very good sound. His later version on Mirare is also good for the purpose, but I'm less familiar with it.

                                          Occasionally, I also use one of the Parmentier Bach recordings on Wildboar.

                                          Regards,
                                          Mike
                                        • regtas43
                                          I think the harpsichord is usually very badly recorded. Also people play it back too loudly. In live performance harpsichords usually sound rather
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Jun 7, 2014

                                            I think the harpsichord is usually very badly recorded. Also people play it back too loudly. In live performance harpsichords usually sound rather attractive(to my ears at least). But recorded too closely and played back too loudly, watch out!

                                            REG

                                            PS The Sitkovetsky Bach Goldberg Variations String Orchestra version has a nice harpsichord part--and one hears there(in a recording where nothing is separately miked), how subtle it is in relationship to the whole ensemble. Worth a listen if this sort of issue interests you(and of course also very much worth a listen for the music!)

                                          • Richard Tuck
                                            Hi Mike Thanks for info. IÆve so many Goldbrgs: for Harpsicord, several for Piano, the setting for strings that REG loves, for the Harp with Catrin Finch,
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Jun 8, 2014
                                              Hi Mike

                                              Thanks for info.  I’ve so many Goldbrgs: for Harpsicord, several for Piano, the setting for strings that REG loves, for the Harp with Catrin Finch, and  finally Jaques Lousier’s jazz version.  I love them all.

                                              Richard


                                              On 8 Jun 2014, at 03:59, mike@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:



                                              Hi Richard,

                                              Yahoo has me baffled. Perhaps 2 variants of my reply will appear.

                                              I typically use Hantai's Goldberg Variations on Opus 111. It is an excellent performance in very good sound. His later version on Mirare is also good for the purpose, but I'm less familiar with it.

                                              Occasionally, I also use one of the Parmentier Bach recordings on Wildboar.

                                              Regards,
                                              Mike 


                                            • mike44402903
                                              RT I’ve so many Goldbergs: for Harpsicord, several for Piano, the setting for strings that REG loves, for the Harp with Catrin Finch, and finally Jaques
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Jun 8, 2014
                                                RT >> I’ve so many Goldbergs: for Harpsicord, several for Piano, the setting for strings that REG loves, for the Harp with Catrin Finch, and finally Jaques Lousier’s jazz version.  I love them all. << 

                                                Me, too.  I have over 20 of them. It's often the last thing I listen to before heading for bed.  Dan Tepfer (piano) has his Goldberg Variations Variations, with an improvisation after each variation. I enjoyed listening to it and have to, again.
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