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your favorite perspective

Poll Results: Do you want your system to make you feel like you are in

 
  • 33% (8)
    the middle of the musicians, on stage
  • 20% (5)
    the front row
  • 45% (11)
    a few rows back
  • 0% (0)
    back of the hall
  • 0% (0)
    back of a cathedral
  • 0% (0)
    back of the space shuttle hanger
24 Total Votes  
post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

This survey question is somewhat related to science because it's about how we use attention, probably in aspects that could be tested.

 

Depending on the recording and playback systems, music can have a close-up perspective or far-away perspective. Is there one you prefer (answer survey) and if you could elaborate on it in a textual post.

 

I'm using the same survey for headphones and speakers. Of course all headphones give a more close-up perspective than speakers, but one still has a sense of what the recording was like, and some headphones are more "forward" than others.

 

Some people want to be totally immersed in the music. I actually prefer a bit of distance/perspective because it gives me more freedom in what I pay attention to. Note that I listen to a lot of counterpoint, with many simultaneous lines, and at any given moment, I may be particularly interested in one of those. I don't want sudden sounds in other voices to drag my attention around-- I want to be in control of it.

post #2 of 13

A few rows back, in the center, obviously. That's why I use my xfeed fb2k plugin. Without that or bs2b I wouldn't want to listen with headphones. :)

What I hate most without it, is some sound or voice in my left or right ear only and the other ear feeling deaf (unnatural stereo separation). Of course it depends on the music, but even if sounds are not panned hard to the left/right I still prefer some distance.


Edited by xnor - 6/7/12 at 7:14am
post #3 of 13

Front row for me. Although with my face right on the bass drum is more like it.

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

What I hate most without it, is some sound or voice in my left or right ear only and the other ear feeling deaf (unnatural stereo separation). Of course it depends on the music, but even if sounds are not panned hard to the left/right I still prefer some distance.

 

I notice this on a lot of recordings. Especially older jazz and whatnot. It's strange listening to a piano or sax solo and it all being focused on one ear. Unnatural stereo separation is one of the major reasons I do most of my listening with my speakers. Speakers can create a sort of "wall" of sound where you can position sound all along the x-axis. Instead of just being focused on your left ear, it's positioned on the left side of the soundstage, but both ears are still receiving the sound waves. With headphones though, it's harder to create a middle ground unless it's a binaural recording.

 

As for overall positioning, I prefer to listen as if I'm a few rows back. A good recording will give the illusion of there being a distance between the instruments and the listener.

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by OJNeg View Post

As for overall positioning, I prefer to listen as if I'm a few rows back. A good recording will give the illusion of there being a distance between the instruments and the listener.

That is a good recording if that is the presentation you are after, but it is a truly subjective judgement to define that as a good recording. I, for instance, favor a recording that puts you among the musicians, as if they were in playing in a circle. Not a common choice, but in the real world (live situations) I have found it most appealing to me. Again, very subjective and no more or less defensible than any other choice.

 

Having experienced music in such intimate environments, I would have to say that the usual recorded presentation is pandering to a nostalgia for the normal audience experience. The makes it familiar, not inherently superior. You have to realize that when musicians are creating or developing new music, they don't face one way as in a rehearsal. They play for each other. That sounds more intimate, but most people never experience it.

 

With very large ensembles that take up a lot of real estate, like a modern symphony orchestra, this is not possible or desirable. In the performance space, you are too far from many instruments and too close to a few. That is why the experienced conductor, from his location at the focus more or less, is relied upon to indicate the dynamics. It could also be noticed that the guest soloist, if present, is next to the conductor. There is wisdom in that as well.

 

The bottom line for me is that recording is a chance to generate a BETTER presentation than we normally encounter. The fourth row standard is old reliable all right, but I like front row center. In the studio anything goes, and it seems silly to me to not go for the experiences that are denied us in the real world by circumstances we need not be constrained by. Remember that those circumstances include playing for more than one person. In the studio we are each deserving of a private performance. Why not take it?

 

Nice topic, by the way. And yes, that is subjective.


Edited by Clarkmc2 - 6/7/12 at 8:18pm
post #6 of 13

It changes with my mood, but lately I've really been enjoying that 'on stage with the musicians' type of sound. I think this presentation is fabulous with rock music. Distant sound cans like my DT880 feel pretty boring to me at the moment, although I do go to them when I want a laid back and relaxing listen.

post #7 of 13
Center-front on the balcony. I giggled at "back of the space shuttle hanger" as an example. biggrin.gif

In terms of what headphones accomplish this - I like an "ethereal" presentation - 'stats, auranomics, etc. Let everything fan out in space.

The "on stage" presentation can be fun sometimes too, I think it really depends on the recording though.
post #8 of 13

Few rows back

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

The survey results make sense. Most people like to be relatively close to the music, but differ on whether they want that totally immersive experience. So the results mostly split between "in the middle of the musicians" and "a few rows back."

post #10 of 13

I guess "the middle of the musicians" is an appealing option because this is a headphone forum and with many headphones you get that feeling, if not even in-head localization.

post #11 of 13

Depends where on stage, in the middle of which musicians.  For example, in an orchestra, maybe the stupidity of the violas is contagious, so around that area might be a bad pick.  wink_face.gif

 

Okay, to be real, around the middle or front (closer to audience) of most ensembles is okay.  I've never liked being in the sides or back.  However, I can't say that I've heard any of these configurations with headphones.  It generally doesn't sound to me like being on stage, being in the audience, or anywhere.

 

 

Actually, among all the options, I would take a few rows back for preferred listening, so that's what I actually voted for.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

The experience of perspective is determined not just by the headphones but by the recording as well. For instance, close-miked vs distance-miked. For large ensembles, I like single-point miking (from a nice distance) the best. I think a close-miked (many mikes in the case of a large ensemble) recording with mixing in post-production screws with the sense of blending in the orchestration.

post #13 of 13
It varies with the music. Pop music, right up close. Chamber music, a little way back. Orchestral, further back still. Choral music, even further back.
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