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post #166 of 345

What about when you hear a piece of music for the first time.

Say you're at a concert and a small forgotten sonata is being played. Do you listen to the sounds of the instrument, or the interplay of notes represented on the partiture?

post #167 of 345
Quote:
 

When I write, that I understand that it takes a while to appreciate classical, because kids usually have bad reproduction equipment, then I am talking about these missing bits (ever tried to hear a contrabass with iPod buds?). Of course you get the melody, but that limits your view more or less to the hit-singles. The richness and the beauty of the sound is cut off by cheap equipment, at least that is my experience. It is even cut-off by high-end stuff, but less so.

Maybe ... but you can still hear the large part of music ... maybe timbre is not right, maybe the frequency response is off, but you hear the important parts of music  - and you can emotionally relate to that. And again: I think equipment has nothing to do with kids not enjoining listening to classical music. It is just to complex question to debate it here. I think it is the matter of upbringing/education (as you pointed out), the environment we live in, time we live in, psychology ... etc.

And believe it or not even the hit singles have timbre, rich sound ... etc. Well at least some of them ;). Isn't it strange then that kids relate to pop/rock/rnb/disco/electronic music ... if that is what you are referring to with "hit singles"?

 

Striving for perfect sound is impossible task - therefore someones time, resources and energy are wasted on composing stereo equipment. It can be a compulsive behavior, which audio business live on. I don't want to be radical, so lets stay at 500$ point. When I cant enjoy 500$ audio system, it is not the fault of a stereo. It is just me being unhappy.

And there are some many phrases repetitively used in ads/media just to sell stuff. "True to live performance", "natural timbre", "big sound stage", "high resolution" ... does it ring a bell? None of that is particularity need, because all of that is already included in smaller hifi systems. Do you need 5% wider sound-stage? Will 3% of more natural sounding contra-bass make you happy? Maybe ... but feeling of satisfaction will probably last just for a few weeks. Or less.

 

 

Quote:
 There it is a richness in the modulation that a great singer can produce.

 

I think what you are describing is not "enjoying" the music but it is "listening" to the sound. I can't do such critical listening and simultaneously enjoy music. For me enjoyment is primarily emotional response, listening to sound is not ... is intellectual process. And it is difficult to keep both in my mind at he same time. Maybe you are different.

 

You have numerous examples of blind listening where reviewers cant distinguish cheaper from very expensive. But when people tag something as better is usually because they knew the item was more expensive (these facts are proven with tests, and not only in audio). Why is that? It is because experience is constructed in your brain, and brain is not only a grand virtual machine with libraries full of prepared generalizations (which are constructed from previous experiences), it also adds a bit of a spice on his own ;) So don't you think is possible that you attribute amount of musical enjoyment that you experience to notion that particular stereo system is good (resolution, spaciousness, natural timbre, etc)?

I think you have numerous examples that this is true. Why than people experience joy when listening to inferior stereo machines? In my experience there is not much difference in entry level hifi (500$) and expensive stuff (let say 5000$+). Not so much that either would guaranteed you more or less musical enjoyment. My grandmother was always crying listening to operas on buy-of-the-shelf stereo. Why? The sound was certainly not similar to live performance. The sound was not particularly good even by hifi standards? Do you think she didn't experienced strong emotional response?

 

 

Quote:

If I read between the lines of pbengs post, I think he aims into the same direction.

Most people that I know who enjoy classical, have been taken to live concerts by their parents when they were young. They started with the complete picture. These are the ones who tend to have the best sounding equipment among the people I know. There must be something about it and that is certainly not elitism.

Well it is ... as you yourself pointed out few posts back. How many can afford such systems? Even at 500$ point? In the world? Very small percentage. So it is not a bad word ... Elite.


Edited by torta - 10/10/13 at 5:36am
post #168 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by torta View Post

 

 

Quote:

If I read between the lines of pbengs post, I think he aims into the same direction.

Most people that I know who enjoy classical, have been taken to live concerts by their parents when they were young. They started with the complete picture. These are the ones who tend to have the best sounding equipment among the people I know. There must be something about it and that is certainly not elitism.

 

Well it is ... as you yourself pointed out few posts back. How many can afford such systems? Even at 500$ point? In the world? Very small percentage. So it is not a bad word ... Elite.

 

Yes, but feeling better than their poor neighbour is not the driver. Coming closer to the sound they are used to is. Which means, good equipment comes closer to that sound otherwise it wouldn't make sense to get it.

 

But it can also be the other way round. A friend of mine is a good pianist and also a violin player. He has a very mediocre sound system. I asked him why. His answer supports your points: he said, he knows his music and the real sound of his instruments so well, when ever he listens to music, even in the car, his brain fills in all the missing parts.

Which means of course, he agrees that there is a lot missing.

post #169 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by limpidglitch View Post
 

What about when you hear a piece of music for the first time.

Say you're at a concert and a small forgotten sonata is being played. Do you listen to the sounds of the instrument, or the interplay of notes represented on the partiture?

Both. I certainly take in the heavenly timbre of the instrument (otherwise I'd just listen to MIDI renditions on my computer). But of course I'm hearing the pitches. There are also articulation, rhythmic quality, and qualities of expression that do not exist either in the sound alone or in the pitches alone.

post #170 of 345
Quote:
 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by torta View Post
 

Maybe ... but you can still hear the large part of music ... maybe timbre is not right, maybe the frequency response is off, but you hear the important parts of music  - and you can emotionally relate to that.

 

For me timbre is one of the "important" parts of music! If the timbre is not right you've just killed an awful lot of the beauty of the music.

 

Quote:
 I think what you are describing is not "enjoying" the music but it is "listening" to the sound. I can't do such critical listening and simultaneously enjoy music. For me enjoyment is primarily emotional response, listening to sound is not ... is intellectual process. And it is difficult to keep both in my mind at he same time. Maybe you are different.

 

I think people are different here. I actually associate listening to the parts of the music that aren't altered in a bad stereo (pitches, crude representation of dynamics, etc.) to be more of an intellectual response, while listening to glorious sound is more gut-level. I have no trouble doing both at the same time.

post #171 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbeng View Post
 

Both. I certainly take in the heavenly timbre of the instrument (otherwise I'd just listen to MIDI renditions on my computer). But of course I'm hearing the pitches. There are also articulation, rhythmic quality, and qualities of expression that do not exist either in the sound alone or in the pitches alone.

 

See, I can't do that.

My mind is primarily occupied with trying to decipher the mood, and then I might add a bit of (cursory) analysis of harmonies and tempi.

Unless it it is something really simple the tone of the instruments is more of a sub conscious frisson, and if the music is so simple that I can take a more active effort, I'm most likely already quite bored out of my mind.

post #172 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbeng View Post
 

 

For me timbre is one of the "important" parts of music! If the timbre is not right you've just killed an awful lot of the beauty of the music.

 

 

But the timbre of an instrument translates really well even on rather cheap equipment.
I'll give you that if FR is restricted, enjoyment can be too, but even cheap headphones go reasonably low with little distortion.
Add a bit of EQ to even out the response, and you've got little problem hearing the difference between between f.ex. phosphor bronze and brass.

post #173 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by torta View Post
 

 

I don't agree ... I think young people just don't have connection to older music. It is difficult to say why. And I am certain that is not equipment ...  one argument to support this is that young people do have good equipment. 

It's comprehension; it's a social custom. Classical music has often been given its own significance of several qualities to the young general public. It's not that they have no appreciation for it, it's that they have no interest. There are numerous amounts of students who are in school bands and have school concerts in which many other students attend. Their general lack of interest is mostly due to the fact that their knowledge of the Classical genre as a whole is small. I don't speak for many young people, because being young myself I can testify to loving classical music and I know several others my age and even younger who adore Classical music and have an enormous knowledge of how it works. Of course, most of us young people are musicians as well. I personally have a huge history of the trombone (being a player for almost 7 years now). I don't think you have to have good equipment to enjoy music. You forget that there was a time when the only way to listen to music was to hear a musician perform in person.

post #174 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroysall View Post
 

It's comprehension; it's a social custom. Classical music has often been given its own significance of several qualities to the young general public. It's not that they have no appreciation for it, it's that they have no interest. There are numerous amounts of students who are in school bands and have school concerts in which many other students attend. Their general lack of interest is mostly due to the fact that their knowledge of the Classical genre as a whole is small. I don't speak for many young people, because being young myself I can testify to loving classical music and I know several others my age and even younger who adore Classical music and have an enormous knowledge of how it works. Of course, most of us young people are musicians as well. I personally have a huge history of the trombone (being a player for almost 7 years now). I don't think you have to have good equipment to enjoy music. You forget that there was a time when the only way to listen to music was to hear a musician perform in person.

To me, music is a holistic, spiritual experience that transcends rationality. That makes me a music lover more than an audiophile. Therefore I don't believe in art that one must have knowledge about in order to appreciate, perhaps with the exception of literature, where allegory and allusions require some prior knowledge of mythology, etc. But when it comes to music, I believe truly great music should just hit you upon first exposure. No need to think about it, no need to learn about it, no need be "cultured" in order to appreciate it. It should work on that primal, emotional, intuitive level.

post #175 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroysall View Post
 

It's comprehension; it's a social custom. Classical music has often been given its own significance of several qualities to the young general public. It's not that they have no appreciation for it, it's that they have no interest. There are numerous amounts of students who are in school bands and have school concerts in which many other students attend. Their general lack of interest is mostly due to the fact that their knowledge of the Classical genre as a whole is small. I don't speak for many young people, because being young myself I can testify to loving classical music and I know several others my age and even younger who adore Classical music and have an enormous knowledge of how it works. Of course, most of us young people are musicians as well. I personally have a huge history of the trombone (being a player for almost 7 years now). I don't think you have to have good equipment to enjoy music. You forget that there was a time when the only way to listen to music was to hear a musician perform in person.


I'm much the same, though I can't really put my finger on one single factor that made me take a closer look at that dusty old stuff.
I suspect it was a collection of a number lesser influences, like outings to the concert hall and learning music history in school. I remember I liked how one could by just listening to a piece of music decide when it was made, and often by who. Being able to categorize things usually helps me.

But also very importance is availability to the music, the possibility to explore.

There weren't a massive amount of the stuff at home, but I remember there were at least some Chopin, Mussorgsky and Grieg in the book case, which is all of the rather accessible variety. Not very likely to scare away a young lad bored out of his mind a sunday afternoon.

 

And can you imagine listening to a Maria Callas recording on equipment from the same era? I bet it would sound splendid.

post #176 of 345
Quote:

Originally Posted by torta View Post

 

Striving for perfect sound is impossible task - therefore someones time, resources and energy are wasted on composing stereo equipment. It can be a compulsive behavior, which audio business live on. I don't want to be radical, so lets stay at 500$ point. When I cant enjoy 500$ audio system, it is not the fault of a stereo. It is just me being unhappy.

And there are some many phrases repetitively used in ads/media just to sell stuff. "True to live performance", "natural timbre", "big sound stage", "high resolution" ... does it ring a bell? None of that is particularity need, because all of that is already included in smaller hifi systems. Do you need 5% wider sound-stage? Will 3% of more natural sounding contra-bass make you happy? Maybe ... but feeling of satisfaction will probably last just for a few weeks. Or less.

 

Striving for perfect sound is possible, attaining it is what's impossible! But I think your numbers are W-A-Y off. Poor performing stereo systems are light years away from from what a proper stereo system will do. And the benefits of a better system last as long as you own it. Forget about price, when I can't fully enjoy a stereo system of whatever price it is indeed the fault of the system. It's failures are what is interfering with my musical enjoyment. BTW, a good system does not have to be all that expensive, just well chosen.

 

I think what you are describing is not "enjoying" the music but it is "listening" to the sound. I can't do such critical listening and simultaneously enjoy music. For me enjoyment is primarily emotional response, listening to sound is not ... is intellectual process. And it is difficult to keep both in my mind at he same time. Maybe you are different.

 

To me, the better the sound, the easier it is to emotionally respond to the music. The best is live concert, of course. But the closer my system comes to this, the more my brain can relax and respond emotionally rather than "fixing" or "listening around" the sound, which is an unnecesary diversion of mental process and generally also unnecessary in live music appreciation. I think you are confusing audiophiles in the process of evaluating a system with when they listening to that system for musical enjoyment. The evaluation process is useful mainly in optimising the system so that normal musical enjoyment is enhanced.

 

You have numerous examples of blind listening where reviewers cant distinguish cheaper from very expensive.

 

Not really...

 

But when people tag something as better is usually because they knew the item was more expensive (these facts are proven with tests, and not only in audio). Why is that?

 

Vast generalization, not always true and far from "proven".

 

It is because experience is constructed in your brain, and brain is not only a grand virtual machine with libraries full of prepared generalizations (which are constructed from previous experiences), it also adds a bit of a spice on his own ;) So don't you think is possible that you attribute amount of musical enjoyment that you experience to notion that particular stereo system is good (resolution, spaciousness, natural timbre, etc)?

 

Of course the hearing/brain system is an indispensable part of musical enjoyment/discernement. But to me, the differences between a mediocre and excellent stereo system are so vast that anyone of normal hearing and perception who cares to (not that everyone does, for reasons of their own) can readily tell the difference. Whether that difference is important to them is a matter for them to decide.

 

I think you have numerous examples that this is true. Why than people experience joy when listening to inferior stereo machines? In my experience there is not much difference in entry level hifi (500$) and expensive stuff (let say 5000$+). Not so much that either would guaranteed you more or less musical enjoyment. My grandmother was always crying listening to operas on buy-of-the-shelf stereo. Why? The sound was certainly not similar to live performance. The sound was not particularly good even by hifi standards? Do you think she didn't experienced strong emotional response?

 

I can't address "your experience" with audio equipment, mine is quite different and as self-evident to me as your position is to you ;).  

 

Music in and of itself can create joy (or sadness, or excitement or...) to some degree regardless of sound quality, after all just thinking about music can bring some level of satisfaction. But your Grandmother may have experienced even more intense emotional response if she had a better system. Certainly, I hope and trust she had heightened emotional reaction at a live concert. If sound doesn't particularly matter, why does anyone go to the bother of live concerts (leaving out those who go there to be seen, prove their "culture" or to make a partner happy)?

 

To answer the OP's original question "Do audiophiles "like music", the answer is some do and some don't, just like some non-audiophiles do and some don't.

 

Kevin


Edited by k3oxkjo - 10/10/13 at 8:54pm
post #177 of 345

Answering question in that kind of quote, it would be alot easier to read it if you put some bold to the text for example. Or make the actual answer bigger in font, 

post #178 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by dosprompt View Post
 

Hello Everyone,

 

This may be hard to explain correctly, and without offending, but as someone who is standing on the outside with one toe into the audiophile community, I must express a (hopefully) misconception that I cannot help but form as I read through these and other hi-fi forums.  

 

Basically, it appears that audiophiles don't actually like music - as in the music itself.  Rather, they like the delivery and experience of sounds, with a focus on how they are hearing something and not what they are hearing.  I'm sorry, but you could spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a system and you may be hearing Nora Jones' voice as if she were in the room.  But at the end of the day its....Nora Jones.  I use her as an example, not that I dislike her specifically, but she screams of that sterile, boring, reference point voice.  (Here is a woman singing a song.  My system replicates that better than yours).  It is like the music is one variable in a long equation.

 

For example, I recently watched a video on YouTube where a guy walked the viewers through his system piece by piece and it was just so incredibly cool.  From the furniture in the room to the chair to the ambiance of the space.  Finally, he gave a quick tour of his vinyl collection.  It was all soundtracks and reference material that was purchased for no other reason than to showcase a particular ability of his system.  There was not one "real" album.   I nearly fainted.  All this.....for that?

 

Now, I am sure this is what the response (if any) to this will be.  "This is a forum about equipment, not about music.  What you're saying is equivalent to going to a Calloway message board and wondering why the people are talking about golf clubs and not about their love for golf."  I'll counter that by saying that in a situation like that you can still tell that their equipment is helping them get closer to their best game of a game they love.  I don't feel the love for music here.

 

Personally, I hope it starts with the music,  And not the music that has the ability of "sounding" the best or that was recorded the best but the music you love.  I totally understand a quest to start with that music and spend your whole life finding the equipment that helps you hear that in a way that is best for you.  I hope when you get new equipment you want to go back and listen to all your favorite albums and find small pieces that you never heard before, rather than wanting to go out and buy new albums with a better range.

 

I am a consultant and have the good fortune to be able to listen to music while I work all day.  I listen to at least 5-6 hours of music a day.  That feeling of discovery, of hearing something for the first time and absolutely knowing that it could change your life.  That album that you buy for $15 and then wouldn't give up for $1,000.  Is the audiophile world the extension of that?  Or the opposite of that?  Are most kids with earbuds and beats having a better listening experience than you?  I hope not.

 

BONUS QUESTION - Is there one album that you would willingly sacrifice your entire system for if the alternative was never listening to that album again?  If so what is it?

 

Yeah, when I first joined, it seemed as though this place was just equipment-oriented. I haven't really been around too much to see if that is really the case though. But personally, the reason I joined this site is because I wanted to enjoy my music even more with enhanced equipment so that I can hear everything that I am supposed to hear. I guess this quote does a better job at explaining this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spastic View Post
 

And for the reason why I own different headphones, I'll put it this way. Back to the camera example, each headphone to me represents a different viewpoint or perspective to the same scene, different and distinct yet the same. Take for example, AT's bright, sparkly nature compared Sennheiser's dark and laid-back nature same music different perspective, listening experience and emotion.  

 

Well that's how I've always viewed this hobby, it works as an amplification to my music rather than a replacement but anyway take my view with a grain of salt since everyone sees this differently.  

 

Proper equipment is needed to enjoy music to its fullest. It is possible to still enjoy your music with the simplest of ear buds but the quality definitely won't be the same. So the equipment, to me, enhances my appreciation for the music. With that said, there's no way I would sacrifice listening to an album. I've survived years without knowing/using Sennheiser's, Grado's V-Moda's, etc. The music itself will always be more important to me.

post #179 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueangel2323 View Post
 

To me, music is a holistic, spiritual experience that transcends rationality. That makes me a music lover more than an audiophile. Therefore I don't believe in art that one must have knowledge about in order to appreciate, perhaps with the exception of literature, where allegory and allusions require some prior knowledge of mythology, etc. But when it comes to music, I believe truly great music should just hit you upon first exposure. No need to think about it, no need to learn about it, no need be "cultured" in order to appreciate it. It should work on that primal, emotional, intuitive level.


Forgive me, I meant in terms of artists and styles of music. I completely agree with music being a spiritual experience.

post #180 of 345
Quote:
 Forget about price, when I can't fully enjoy a stereo system of whatever price it is indeed the fault of the system. It's failures are what is interfering with my musical enjoyment. BTW, a good system does not have to be all that expensive, just well chosen.

No it is not. You interfere with your enjoyment. Stereo is just a machine ... you put in on the shelf, you press the button ... and then ... is the machines fault because you are not happy? My advice would be ... relax and listen, and be happy that you are able to.

 

 

Quote:
 To me, the better the sound, the easier it is to emotionally respond to the music.

For me not ... the more relaxed I am the more I can enjoy music. But emotional response is almost always there. I can be also irritated with music I enjoyed a few days back.

 

Quote:
The best is live concert, of course.

Why? I don't care if it is live concert or studio recording? Why again limit yourself?

 

Quote:
 But the closer my system comes to this, the more my brain can relax and respond emotionally rather than "fixing" or "listening around" the sound, which is an unnecesary diversion of mental process and generally also unnecessary in live music appreciation. 

You see ... It is your notion that things will get better with better equipment which interferes with relaxing/enjoying.

 

Quote:
 I think you are confusing audiophiles in the process of evaluating a system with when they listening to that system for musical enjoyment. The evaluation process is useful mainly in optimising the system so that normal musical enjoyment is enhanced.

No I am not. I have pointed that out myself. Mainly for the illustration of the placebo effect ... that is: notions which can affect judgments. If you read latest psychology researches you can be very disappointed if you think you are consciously able to have sober judgments about reality. We are never sober, our judgments are constantly affected with emotional processes and thought patterns. I think a lot of audiophiles just think that enjoy music more because of the system changes. It is a way to cope with wasted time and money. And I don't doubt they enjoy music ... but not because of their systems. Ordinary people enjoy music in-spite their ****ty rig, audiophiles enjoy music in-spite all the audio-troubles they constructed in their minds.

 

Quote:
 

You have numerous examples of blind listening where reviewers cant distinguish cheaper from very expensive.

 

Not really...

 

Yes there are ... really. The answer is in previous paragraph. Maybe I can clarify word reviewers ... Listeners would be more proper, but that includes professional gear reviewers.

 

 

Quote:
But when people tag something as better is usually because they knew the item was more expensive (these facts are proven with tests, and not only in audio). Why is that?

 

Vast generalization, not always true and far from "proven".

No, it is not. It is proven as far the scientific studies go. True, you can find trained people who can distinguish different equipment, 320k mp3 to 192 mp3 ... and similar. But that is not the point of above statement.

 

 

Quote:
 Of course the hearing/brain system is an indispensable part of musical enjoyment/discernement. But to me, the differences between a mediocre and excellent stereo system are so vast that anyone of normal hearing and perception who cares to (not that everyone does, for reasons of their own) can readily tell the difference. Whether that difference is important to them is a matter for them to decide.

Bingo! You see it? You see it??

 

Quote:
 If sound doesn't particularly matter, why does anyone go to the bother of live concerts

Because is ... well different experience as whole. For me is way to socialize. I also like to hear music in different environment, and to feel the collective energy of audience and performers. Sound is also included, of course ... but for me enjoyment from live performance comes from ... khm, live energy (setting, people, connection with performers. I don want to sound to new agey so I wont dive further into this ;). The things your "better" stereo will never be able to reproduce. And it is a scientifically proven fact.

 

 

 

Quote:
 Music in and of itself can create joy (or sadness, or excitement or...) to some degree regardless of sound quality, after all just thinking about music can bring some level of satisfaction. But your Grandmother may have experienced even more intense emotional response if she had a better system.

Hahahaha! You are a funny chap nevertheless :)  More intense? Screaming? Fainting? Poor grandma! Well she is deceased now, maybe for the better, or she could loose her mind listening to my spendor speakers.


Edited by torta - 10/11/13 at 12:15am
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