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Great Modern Classical Recordings - Page 3

post #31 of 47

Do you have a 5:1 setup?

post #32 of 47
Thread Starter 

I dislike surround.  Very few surround discs or dvds are recorded to match my tastes.  And I used to work part time in the biz and got to hear setups costing well over 100K.  The typical big screen 5.1 setup you describe is more likely to clash with what I hear than enhance it.  I have never been in a movie theater that I consider to sound better than a good home stereo.  In fact, I keep my audio and video systems separate.  I purposely use lower quality stereo equipment for my video setup.  High end speaker systems make good recordings vivid and spatially present (especially the best multichannel ones) which makes watching opera unbearable to me as it exaggerates the gap between what I hear and what I see.  Better to have it flat and clear.

post #33 of 47

Well that explains why you haven't lined up image with sound stage. You're listening to a stereo downsample. It is very difficult to perfectly calibrate levels and EQ for surround, but when you do, it is incredible. Most 5:1 systems are calibrated for all the speakers to come from different directions. That works for movies, but for music, you need to mesh all the channels into a coherent sound field in left to right and front to back. I assure you in the right room with the right settings, it is possible. If you are ever in LA, I'd be happy to demo a 5:1 system you would like for you.


Edited by bigshot - 3/8/14 at 6:32pm
post #34 of 47

If anyone out there has a surround system optimized for music, I'd suggest two different approaches... Joseph Losey's Don Giovanni ( http://www.amazon.com/Don-Giovanni-Blu-ray-Ruggero-Raimondi/dp/B00A32GZOK ) and Glyndebourne's Meistersinger ( http://www.amazon.com/Die-Meistersinger-Von-Nurnberg-Blu-ray/dp/B008GY8R98/ ).

 

Don Giovanni is filmed on incredible locations cinematically. When it was released, it was the first film with surround sound, but the mix was awful. Recently they unvaulted all the stems and remixed a fantastic 5:1 track that perfectly matches the picture. Incredible acting and just about the best singers you could hope for.

 

Die Meistersinger is a stage production shot on video. The staging is inspired and the performers are charged up to give the performances of their lives. The sound perfectly captures the sound of a Wagner opera in a fairly small opera house. This is the best Wagner I've ever seen, in or out of the opera house.

 

I'd also recommend the Royal Opera's production of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. ( http://www.amazon.com/Romeo-Juliet-Blu-ray-Tamara-Rojo/dp/B002E2M5OG/ ). The dancers are fantastic, the acting and staging is perfect, and the sound is wonderful. Best of all, the video is shot to favor ensembles rather than focusing on snappy cutting and details. You really feel like you're in the best seat in the house. This video totally sold me on ballet which I was iffy about before.

 

For classical music, Tilson Thomas's Ives Holidays Symphony is a must. ( http://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Score--Ives-Holidays-Symphony/dp/B002SKF7H6/ ). The sound is great. I just wish they had used the rear channels for the antiphonal parts, but I guess it would have clashed with the reverse shots showing the musicians and singers in the balcony. In any case, the documentary on Ives that accompanies the work, and Tilson Thomas's comments are illuminating, offering an insight into the work you can't get in any other medium. Also, seeing how the two separate conductors work with different music and time signatures in the overlap parts is fascinating.

 

Classical music fans are kind of slow to adopt new technology, but as time goes by, more and more people will discover how great the fusion of picture and surround sound is.


Edited by bigshot - 3/8/14 at 6:49pm
post #35 of 47
Thread Starter 

My dear  bigshot,

 

Your offer is very kind but I'm afraid I have heard some fantastic systems and all fail my test. For me ALL video is inherently flat so good music will not be in the same plane as the music.  Furthermore the following always occurs -- there will be singing.  Sometimes the singer will be shown at a distance, then there will be a closeup and the singer's face will fill the screen. It is impossible for the sound to match those perspectives.  If the voice is natural it will sound too small if it is too upfront it wont match the long shot.

 

Easiest test is the following. Is any recording of a symphony improved by seeing the symphony on film?  My answer is no. Never.  If the sound seems to come even one inch in front of the screen it's offputting. IF you have sufficient depth and perspective again it's at odds with the flat video which is not the same as seeing 3 dimensional people in the flesh.  All video is big tv to me.

 

I do like the Losey production.  Meistersinger, meh.  At any rate, I've never seen any filmed opera that comes close to the verisimilitude of hearing the Solti Culshaw Ring on stereo.  And moreover I don't have to deal with incongruities of bad directing, lighting, or noticing details of makeup.

 

De gustibus.

post #36 of 47
Thread Starter 

One final note. I am not saying it is impossible to have fantastic surround sound in an audio only system.  But in that case you have the ultimate audiophile's dilemma.  Something that good works only for the tiniest fraction of recordings that are designed to produce quality stable soundstaging in front of the listener with no extraneous noises.  Many surround recordings assault you from different sides.  Most are made to sound unnatural.  This takes the problematic recordings of most labels and makes them intolerable to me.  At least with a stereo mix i can put up with DG blending or late RCA opacity.

 

But video is a distraction.  Talk to  me about video again once there is true 3d holographic video and when attending a play live in a good seat is only marginally better than seeing it at home on your holo video.

 

And as I said above, the fraction of opera recordings with good production values that look good at home is too small for me to care about.

post #37 of 47

You haven't heard my system! It isn't like any other 5:1 setup. I've developed a lot of very effective tricks through experimenting with room acoustics, speaker placement and settings like EQ and DSP.

 

Before, I mentioned DSPs that process stereo into 5:1. There's a DSP that isolates all sound common to the two mains and throws it to the center channel, splits off below 80Hz to the sub, and adds a subtle room ambience to the rears. The result is a soundstage that is exactly like a stereo soundstage, except larger and as if it was in a larger room. The effect is a massive improvement in spacial placement over two channel stereo. So even two channel stereo sounds MUCH better on a 5:1 system. It doesn't have to be a discrete multichannel recording.

 

Also, one of the main disconnects between sound and picture you are complaining about is due to scale. Inevitably, the sound is bigger than the picture. But with a ten foot screen at normal listening difference, the width of the picture exactly matches the width of the soundstage. I've carefully set up my room and speaker placement to precisely match scale and placement. The other day, I watched a musical that opened on a shot of a proscenium stage. A character entered from stage right singing and walked across the stage exiting on stage left. I was really happy to find that the positioning of the voice lined up perfectly all the way across with no shift in volume or timbre. Like you say, that isn't easy. But I've discovered it isn't impossible.

post #38 of 47

You should hear what the Solti Ring sounds like through the stereo to 5:1 DSP. It's like being in the Sofien Hall with them.

post #39 of 47
Thread Starter 

Enjoy yourself, but I already know our tastes diverge.  I never like DSP and I think all video lessens recording.  The fact that you don't notice labels tells me right away

we are fixated on different things.  And I don't WANT the sound to be limited by the size of the picture.  I want it so that if I first listen to the sound without pic and imagine

the soundstage that it will exactly match what I see.  But since what i see has no front and back it can't work ever.  For example, I enjoyed the Losey as movie but its soundtrack was badly recorded.  And doing Solti Ring in 5.1?? It wasn't recorded that way.  Blasphemy!

post #40 of 47

I remember when CDs came out and I said to myself, "I like LPs. They sound good and have nice big covers. I think I'll stick with them and not get a CD player." I wised up after a couple of years of hearing my friends' CDs. I'm sure eventually, you'll hear what you're missing too.

 

The soundstage on my system isn't "limited to the size of the picture", it's ENLARGED to fill the space of a ten foot wide screen. The whole front wall of my theater/listening room is now the width of the soundstage. It's double the size of a typical two channel setup with the speakers 8 feet apart. Exactly the scale of what a 15th row center seat in a concert hall would sound like. Staring at the center, the sound stage extends from one edge of your peripheral vision to the other. Instead of Wotan and Brunnhilde being the equivalent of three feet high in front of you, like a normal stereo soundstage, it is twice as big, making the characters real size in front of you. That totally fixes the disconnect between soundstage and image at the same time as making the sound natural scale to your listening room. (read: clear and realistic spacial placement)

 

I already explained about the Losey soundtrack. It wasn't badly recorded. It was badly mixed because standards for multichannel sound hadn't been established yet. They recently did a restoration of the film and went back to the original recording stems and remixed it for 5:1. The sound is now phenomenal. But you need a blu-ray player and a good 5:1 system to know that.

post #41 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

The soundstage on my system isn't "limited to the size of the picture", it's ENLARGED to fill the space of a ten foot wide screen. The whole front wall of my theater/listening room is now the width of the soundstage. It's double the size of a typical two channel setup with the speakers 8 feet apart. Exactly the scale of what a 15th row center seat in a concert hall would sound like. Staring at the center, the sound stage extends from one edge of your peripheral vision to the other. Instead of Wotan and Brunnhilde being the equivalent of three feet high in front of you, like a normal stereo soundstage, it is twice as big, making the characters real size in front of you. That totally fixes the disconnect between soundstage and image at the same time as making the sound natural scale to your listening room. (read: clear and realistic spacial placement)

God, that sounds good!
post #42 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

God, that sounds good!

 

It's taken me thirty years to get right. Now I'm like a pig in mud.

post #43 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by edgeworth View Post

I was hoping for some recordings of more classic work.  I don't do music of the modern era from late Schonberg on.  I can't stand to listen to anything beyond Mahler or Shostakovich.

 


(Massively off-topic, delete as appropriate)
Edgeworth, I agree regarding most modern composers, but have you heard the Eastern European composers who have continued on from Mahler and Shostakovich? Check out Schnittke's 3rd and 8th symphony, Kancheli's 7th, and if you're into chamber music the cello sonata of Godar.
post #44 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeresist View Post


(Massively off-topic, delete as appropriate)
Edgeworth, I agree regarding most modern composers, but have you heard the Eastern European composers who have continued on from Mahler and Shostakovich? Check out Schnittke's 3rd and 8th symphony, Kancheli's 7th, and if you're into chamber music the cello sonata of Godar.

 

Thank you yes.  I'm not crazy about Schnittke but I do have a large collection of Eastern European music that has developed along traditional lines.  For some reason my interest in Wagner has been reignited and I'm listening to many recordings that I've just bought, borrowed, or sample on Spotify.  Unlike bigshot however, I am more than ever convinced that opera on video is mostly inferior to good audio. The best opera on DVD still sounds to me like a live symphony accompanying a beautiful movie screen, whereas without video I can imagine I am hearing a live event.

post #45 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by edgeworth View Post

 

Thank you yes.  I'm not crazy about Schnittke but I do have a large collection of Eastern European music that has developed along traditional lines.

 


Fair enough. I can't restrain from a couple of quick recommendations, though:
Kancheli: A Little Daneliade 8.55 - delightful, my fave of his works, there is not yet an official recording!
(of three versions on YT, Spivakov is the best performance, despite the audio - Kremer totally misses the point)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOnBFfhGvf4
Schnittke: (K)ein Sommernachtstraum 11.20 - these variations are a sort of brief summary of music from Mozart to Stockhausen, a lot of fun and quite beautiful at times.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OaE_Esx8VA
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