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Neutral audio gear, how? - Page 2

post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by what? View Post
invite a friend over to sing and play their acoustic guitar for a while and record it.

ask your friend to play the same music on the guitar while you listen to the recording on your 'rig'

life headphones on and off, if things dont sound very close you need to change something.
but would your recording equipment be uncolored and truly neutral? would you be using the right microphone, preamplifier, mixing board, recording medium, and so on? what about acoustics of the room? compression? etc


I agree with rhythmdevils, neutral is not analytical, however I don't believe the op wants a truly neutral system, I think he just wants something that can reproduce good quality sound, go and listen to something truly high end, "reference quality" if you will, and see how you like it

as far as the comment about genelec, mackie, and dynaudio in recording studios, yes, they are found in some recording studios, you'll also find Yamaha, JBL (at a price range high enough to give most people a nose bleed), Bowers & Wilkins, and many, many others, engineers and studio designers have their own interests and tastes, and they don't always buy "studio monitors", so don't be so fast to talk rot about "audiophile rubbish" (which is a pretty ignorant generalization, audiophile grade speakers exceed $30,000 a piece, and we're not even talking about $5000 for the complete system here)
post #17 of 58
I recently gave out this link in another thread, but it addresses exactly what you're asking about, so at the risk of sounding like an acolyte:
The Road to Audio Hell

The article's authors claim you should judge neutrality by how different a component is able to make different recordings sound. So if a component gives every recording a certain sameness, it's not neutral. For evalutaion techniques, they recommend against quick A/B-ing using familiar recordings, in favor of long sessions with many various selections. The component that's able to present more contrast between recordings is the more neutral one.

Personally, I'm not sure how far one can take comparing for contrast, but it seems like a good technique for separating obviously colored gear from the more neutral.
post #18 of 58
contrast between recordings, in terms of what?

seems pretty subjective
post #19 of 58
Basically, the article contends that the traditional "comparison by reference" method of evaluation is flawed because its main criteria is the listener's preconceptions of how the music should sound. The problem is, we as listeners don't have enough information to say what any recording should truly sound like. The so-called reference is a moving target because of the vast array of combinations of equipment and techniques that are used in recording any performance.

There is no such thing as a 100% neutral/transparent/accurate recording system. Therefore, the creation of a neutral/transparent/accurate playback system is fundamentally hampered, and this includes monitoring systems, which feeds right back into the recording end of the equation. The article acknowledges this gap, and states that all we can really know is that every recording was uniquely captured.

For a brief summary of the comparison by contrast method, I'll quote directly from the article:
Quote:
Instead of comparing a handful of recordings -- presumed to be definitive -- on two different systems to determine which one coincides with our present feeling about the way that music ought to sound, play a larger number of recordings of vastly different styles and recording techniques on two different systems to hear which system reveals more differences between the recordings. This is a procedure which anyone with ears can make use of, but requires letting go of some of our favored practices and prejudices.
I feel like I've explained it poorly, so give the original article a read or two. It took a few times for me to really get a grip on what the authors were saying. If you're truly on a quest for accuracy and transparency, I think comparison by contrast is a valid and useful evaluation method.
post #20 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
Basically, the article contends that the traditional "comparison by reference" method of evaluation is flawed because its main criteria is the listener's preconceptions of how the music should sound. The problem is, we as listeners don't have enough information to say what any recording should truly sound like. The so-called reference is a moving target because of the vast array of combinations of equipment and techniques that are used in recording any performance.

There is no such thing as a 100% neutral/transparent/accurate recording system. Therefore, the creation of a neutral/transparent/accurate playback system is fundamentally hampered, and this includes monitoring systems, which feeds right back into the recording end of the equation. The article acknowledges this gap, and states that all we can really know is that every recording was uniquely captured.

For a brief summary of the comparison by contrast method, I'll quote directly from the article:

I feel like I've explained it poorly, so give the original article a read or two. It took a few times for me to really get a grip on what the authors were saying. If you're truly on a quest for accuracy and transparency, I think comparison by contrast is a valid and useful evaluation method.
That strategy sounds (no pun...) really interesting to me, partly because I've never heard of it before. I haven't yet read the article, but your summary was straight forward and I'll read up on it asap. Thank you!
post #21 of 58
oh, I understand what its getting at, basically instead of picking your favorite 2 or 3 test tracks, listen to the majority of your catalog, see which shows an improvement "overall"

its basically law of large #'s logic

honestly thats how I was always taught and always have compared equipment, and when you said don't use test tracks, I was sorta confused, as long as we aren't listening to our systems on pause, eh?
post #22 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by what? View Post
invite a friend over to sing and play their acoustic guitar for a while and record it.

ask your friend to play the same music on the guitar while you listen to the recording on your 'rig'

life headphones on and off, if things dont sound very close you need to change something.
Yeah, that would certainly be the most straight forward approach, but as obobskivich wrote, the recording equipment kind of ruins it. Too bad, because I thought you really had the answer there and then he kind of ruined the moment
Thanks to both of you for sharing

Oh by the way obobskivich, I actually do want neutral because it would seem logical to me that such a system should do justice to any genre of music. I listen to music covering virtually all genres and I don't want to make any compromises as to what music will sound great and what will not.
I also want to hear the same sound that was recorded on the media without (ideally) any "coloring".
By recorded to the media, I mean the sound that is actually on the CD, not the live-sound of the artist or what it sounded like in the studio etc. Just to make clear to anyone reading this that I'm not living in a fantasy-world No disrespect to anyone.
post #23 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
oh, I understand what its getting at, basically instead of picking your favorite 2 or 3 test tracks, listen to the majority of your catalog, see which shows an improvement "overall"

its basically law of large #'s logic

honestly thats how I was always taught and always have compared equipment, and when you said don't use test tracks, I was sorta confused, as long as we aren't listening to our systems on pause, eh?
The way I interpreted, you should choose recordings of as much diversity as possible (genres, "recording-soundcharacter", perhaps recording quality etc.) and try to conclude which components gives the clearest differences between those recordings. Hmm, did that make any sence? I'm not always great at explaining things
post #24 of 58
I think the article is saying that a colored headphone will make recordings that should sound drastically different, sound sort of the same, because it will always be adding the same coloration of it's own to the music. If a heapdhone is truly neutral (or closer to it) then since it is adding nothing (or less) of its own to the music, then the differences in recording will shine through.

To use my food analogy as before, it would be like taking two foods- brocoli and cauliflower. A neutral headphone is like just steaming them straight up, with nothing added. The colored headphone would be like sauteing them with curry spices. The saute will make both brocoli and cauliflower taste similar- both tasting like curry spices, whereas the steamed ones will have more different flavor of their own... And this would also explain why people think the grado HP2 is boring! ha ha

I think that is fascinating! Never thought of that before. It makes sense though, because when I listen to phones that to me are not neutral like the K701 or unamped HD650, everything has that same sound sig. You can go from a crappy blues recording from the 40's to Sufjan Stevens with the K701 and they both sound airy and light!
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post
I think the article is saying that a colored headphone will make recordings that should sound drastically different, sound sort of the same, because it will always be adding the same coloration of it's own to the music. If a heapdhone is truly neutral (or closer to it) then since it is adding nothing (or less) of its own to the music, then the differences in recording will shine through.

To use my food analogy as before, it would be like taking two foods- brocoli and cauliflower. A neutral headphone is like just steaming them straight up, with nothing added. The colored headphone would be like sauteing them with curry spices. The saute will make both brocoli and cauliflower taste similar, whereas the steamed ones will have much more distinct flavors...

I think that is fascinating! Never thought of that before. It makes sense though, because when I listen to phones that to me are not neutral like the K701 or unamped HD650, everything has that same sound sig. You can go from a crappy blues recording from the 40's to Sufjan Stevens with the K701 and they both sound airy and light!
and see I couldn't disagree more, and view the K701 as the ideal reference, so we've also got to consider personal preference here

I think the OP has zero idea what he's asking for, what he's talking about, and very little to no experience with high end audio, to be quite blunt
post #26 of 58
First rule in system building: set a budget. Secondly: list all of the items you need. Then start building. I have been in the slow process of building up a system that I am happy with and it has taken years.
In terms of neutrality the most coloured part of the audio chain is the speakers - next would be amplifiers and lastly cd players, tuners, etc. (don't even ask about turntables). One of the surest ways to get a neutral sound is to use self-powered speakers and remove the amp from the chain (this is probably the best way to go for people who use their computer as a source)It can also be a cheaper alternative. In the studio I work in we work on a Mac run through a mixer into a pair of Berringer active monitors - the sound is clean, neutral and very dynamic - the speakers were only about $600. Is the sound warm, lush, romantic? No, not in the least - just as accurate as the speakers themselves.
post #27 of 58
god I hate behringer

personally I've yet to hear a pair of active speakers that can touch the clarity/accuracy of passive speakers at the same price range, possibly excepting the newest round of ML products, and I might change my view on the Klipsch XF-48 if I could spend 48-96 hours with a pair on my system, they're still overpriced as hell
post #28 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
and see I couldn't disagree more, and view the K701 as the ideal reference, so we've also got to consider personal preference here

I think the OP has zero idea what he's asking for, what he's talking about, and very little to no experience with high end audio, to be quite blunt
Based on?
post #29 of 58
based on that you're asking for a "neutral reference that must be truly neutral to appreciate all genres of music", even after being told such a thing doesn't exist, cannot exist, and that you'll always be limited by the recording

and that your question could have "neutral reference" replaced with "high quality" and still be intelligeble, and you'd probably get some pretty good and honest responses

it sounds like all you're looking for is a jack of all trades capable system, something that sounds good/revealing with anything you throw at it, a lot of systems like that exist, most of them aren't "entirely neutral"
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
and see I couldn't disagree more, and view the K701 as the ideal reference, so we've also got to consider personal preference here

I think the OP has zero idea what he's asking for, what he's talking about, and very little to no experience with high end audio, to be quite blunt
You think the K701 is neutral? not to bring the K701 thread down here, but honestly, even just focusing on bass response- have you ever heard a pair of speakers that reproduce bass like that? Maybe my macbook. j/k A bass drum should sound like a "thud", not a "thwak"
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