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the absolute sound

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
not the magazine, but the concept. is there such a thing? how would we define it? is it relevant? Is there an objective standard baseline with which to compare...well everything? Live amplified instruments and voice? How so?
post #2 of 26
Well, the "absolute sound" would simply be the raw, unprocessed air pressure variations. Of course, those are meaningless without being picked up by the ear and processed by the brain.
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ingwe View Post
Live un-amplified instruments and voice?

That's mine. I try and visit the local jazz club as often as possible for re-education.
post #4 of 26
I'd say live, unamplified music (of course electric guitars are the exception here) is the "absolute" sound. Maybe even take that and put it in a nice anechoic chamber.
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cAsE sEnSiTiVe View Post
That's mine. I try and visit the local jazz club as often as possible for re-education.
Agreed. My favorite reference:

post #6 of 26
I'm a fan of recorded and produced music, so to me the "absolute sound" is what the sound engineer/musician/whoever heard and/or wanted me to hear.
post #7 of 26
I gave up that idea already, not even live un-amplified.

Which guitar sounds better? Taylor or Guild? what about drums? Pearl or Tama? Which.......etc
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by colonelkernel8 View Post
I'd say live, unamplified music (of course electric guitars are the exception here) is the "absolute" sound. Maybe even take that and put it in a nice anechoic chamber.
For me, the anechoic chamber is out. The acoustics of the performance venue add to the experience. Think of a choir singing inside of a cathedral, a rock band performing in a hall full of excited fans, etc. Even when I'm listening to a recording, I sometimes want these "imperfections" to be part of my experience.

--Chris
post #9 of 26
Well, bearing in mind we're talking about sound reproduction, I'd say that "absolute sound" would be produced by a system with absolutely dead flat frequency response and no distortion, etc. As soon as it's recorded it's impossible to recreate the original atmosphere, so that can't be the goal. The goal should be to represent what's on the CD or record as accurately as possible. Doing that is certainly possible in theory.

Is this possible in the real world? I doubt it.
post #10 of 26
I enjoy live music, but I've been to so many concerts that sound terrible. I'm pleased that my gear doesn't live down to those live sound experiences.
post #11 of 26
Studio sound

I want what the artist created, not what they reinacted

Just not in love with the pursuit of making the music sound "live" - though I understand that that seems to be the reference point for many
post #12 of 26
I think people misunderstand what is meant by making the music sound live.

It's not about recreating the sound of a live show, but rather reproducing the sound in such a way that it doesn't sound like it's a recording anymore. Getting the system to "melt away", as it were.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ingwe View Post
not the magazine, but the concept. is there such a thing? how would we define it? is it relevant? Is there an objective standard baseline with which to compare...well everything? Live amplified instruments and voice? How so?
Hi ingwe

Thanks for posting. Welcome aboard.

For those of us that believe in the community that HF has created, this forum has been a long time coming. This is the place where the rubber can meet the road without being deleted......... maybe.

USG
post #14 of 26
"...Audio actually used to have a goal: perfect reproduction of the sound of real music performed in a real space. That was found difficult to achieve, and it was abandoned when most music lovers, who almost never heard anything except amplified music anyway, forgot what "the real thing" had sounded like. Today, "good" sound is whatever one likes. As Art Dudley so succinctly said [in his January 2004 'Listening,' see "Letters," p.9], fidelity is irrelevant to music.
Since the only measure of sound quality is that the listener likes it, that has pretty well put an end to audio advancement, because different people rarely agree about sound quality. Abandoning the acoustical-instrument standard, and the mindless acceptance of voodoo science, were not parts of my original vision.”

-J. Gordon Holt

the full interview can be found here:
Stereophile: 45 Years of Stereophile

he touches upon nearly everything discussed here, but perhaps his most prudent observation concerning us, the end user, is his belief that "absolute sound" may be a lost cause, not because it can't be achieved, but because consumer audio companies are no longer trying to reach that goal (though i suspect pro studio gear still aims at it).

i suppose "absolute sound" is akin to "truth": it's not always going to be pretty or enjoyable, but it's going to be honest.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaedrusX View Post
"...Audio actually used to have a goal: perfect reproduction of the sound of real music performed in a real space.
This makes sense to me. Whether the music was originally played all at once in a "live" venue, or was mixed at the recording studio, it was still played live at some point. I want the audio gear to get out of the way and make me believe the guitarist, for example, is in the room with me. A lofty goal, but we all need goals.

Quote:
That was found difficult to achieve, and it was abandoned when most music lovers, who almost never heard anything except amplified music anyway, forgot what "the real thing" had sounded like.[...]”
-J. Gordon Holt
Apparently this is a dig at amplified music, which I don't understand. Almost all music instruments are amplified, even if not electronically. The violin is built to amplify the vibration of the strings, for example. Same with drums, wind instruments, and so on. And electrically amplified music is often the only way those instruments can make sound. A synthesizer?

I don't get what Mr. Holt considers to be "the real thing", I guess.

Regardless, the article is an interesting read. Thanks for the link!
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