How to listen to large symphonic works?
Apr 15, 2006 at 6:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28

milkpowder

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I have a relatively ok rig, but it can't reproduce recordings of pieces like Tchai. 1812 and S-Saens Organ Symph well enough! I have Telarc and Deutch Gramm. recordings (respectively). Are there better recordings out there for either of them? The 32' pipes just aren't coming through and neither are the real cannons...
 
Apr 15, 2006 at 6:30 PM Post #2 of 28

jagorev

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You have two excellent classical music headphones (701 and 650) - maybe it's time for a beefier home amp to drive those? Headroom Micro with DM or the Headamp Gilmore Lite come to mind. Your Sony DVP source seems decent.

I can't comment on the CDs, since you haven't specified conductor or ensemble...at any rate, I seriously doubt that the recordings are the problem. I would venture that playing these back on a hi-fi speaker rig would show them to be perfectly adequate.
 
Apr 15, 2006 at 6:47 PM Post #3 of 28

milkpowder

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jagorev
You have two excellent classical music headphones (701 and 650) - maybe it's time for a beefier home amp to drive those? Headroom Micro with DM or the Headamp Gilmore Lite come to mind. Your Sony DVP source seems decent.

I can't comment on the CDs, since you haven't specified conductor or ensemble...at any rate, I seriously doubt that the recordings are the problem. I would venture that playing these back on a hi-fi speaker rig would show them to be perfectly adequate.



Thx for the reply. I am looking to purchase a home/dedicated headphone rig to come early next year when I go into university so home headamps are definitely a possiblity. I am also looking to get a dedicated home hifi setup with some help from my parents. I just went to a live concert in HK with the HK Philharmonic Orchestra playing the Saint Saens Organ Symphony. I was stunned at how much I was missing from my headphones! The bass extension of those organ pipes is rediculous and the soundstage so deep, wide and three-dimensional. I just want to recreate that at home. I already have a pretty nice Rodgers Trillium 790 organ w/MX200 Sound Module,SW 7.5a subwoofer, FR 1.7LXa speakers (no pipes
evil_smiley.gif
) at home that my dad plays on but the speakers are nowhere near up to scratch... I wonder if headphones with proper amplification can achieve that wonderful, resonant organ sound. FYI, I listened to the Organ Symphony in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, which has a 4-manual, 93-stop, 8000 pipe organ. That's one of the largest in the world. I guess I'm aiming to high...
 
Apr 15, 2006 at 11:51 PM Post #5 of 28

daycart1

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Quote:

Originally Posted by milkpowder
I have a relatively ok rig, but it can't reproduce recordings of pieces like Tchai. 1812 and S-Saens Organ Symph well enough! I have Telarc and Deutch Gramm. recordings (respectively). Are there better recordings out there for either of them? The 32' pipes just aren't coming through and neither are the real cannons...


Super low organ notes will stretch almost any system--you might want to try a subwoofer--even with headphones.
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 12:29 AM Post #6 of 28

Doc Sarvis

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Remember two things:

1. Accurately reproducing the live sound of classical is one of the ultimate goals of hi-fi - it isn't easy;

2. Classical has much more dynamic range than other forms of music - it takes a little getting used to at first.

Having said this, my best advice is: Turn it up!
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 1:18 AM Post #7 of 28

Tyson

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Large orchestral music requires speakers of large dynamics, good transparency, good soundstaging, tonal accuracy, and deep bass. Headphones simply do not compare. My speakers of choice:

RM40FST.jpg
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 2:23 AM Post #9 of 28

Ferbose

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Headphones are not for reproducing canons and church organs.
You need seriously big speakers and room and beefy amplifiers for that kind of stuff.
Fortunately, 98% of my music does not have canons or low organ notes.
So I say forget about it.
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 9:21 AM Post #10 of 28

milkpowder

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ferbose
Headphones are not for reproducing canons and church organs.
You need seriously big speakers and room and beefy amplifiers for that kind of stuff.
Fortunately, 98% of my music does not have canons or low organ notes.
So I say forget about it.



Oh I see... I won't be able to afford a large speaker system anytime soon. I was looking at the 803D, but they were too bass heavy and too expensive for what they offer. I suspect they'd be able to reproduce deep bass.
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 11:53 AM Post #11 of 28

milkpowder

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyson
Large orchestral music requires speakers of large dynamics, good transparency, good soundstaging, tonal accuracy, and deep bass. Headphones simply do not compare. My speakers of choice:

RM40FST.jpg



Right now, I'm (my dad actually. I don't play the organ) using this setup. I think the effect is pretty good. I think you're right about headphones being a little too feeble for listening to massive organ works
mad.gif
...

Organ


Speakers


Subwoofer
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 4:41 PM Post #12 of 28

Bunnyears

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Hi Milkpowder,

Tyson's setup is just beautiful, but there is a missing element there as well: space. When you to go to a symphony orchestra performance, you are sitting in a auditorium that is huge, and it needs to be huge. The size of those sound waves generated by organs, tympani -- kettle drums, gongs, tam-tams, Mahleresque hammers, et al., the brass -- deep tubas, trombones, etc. and the big string instruments -- cellos, basses, double basses, etc., is gigantic -- perhaps 20 or 30 feet in amplitude and perhaps even larger than that. From my personal experience, my daughter studied cello for a while and I was constantly being shocked by the volume of smaller child sized instrument. Similarly, no one puts a concert grand into a living room because the volume of the instrument, even with the lid down, is too great.

If you managed to produce a sound wave as large as those produced by orchestras in your home you would probably be rattling the pictures off the walls and the dishes out of the cupboards as the waves, without ample room to unfurl, hit against all of those hard surfaces within your normally sized home. We've all experienced the floor shaking that a good subwoofer produces and that is nowhere near the power of the full orchestra.

No matter what anyone tells you, there is no way to recreate the experience of a huge symphonic orchestra without the orchestra unless you are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on sound systems and specially designed rooms. The idea that you can get the same thing out of any headphones is not only erroneous, but dangerous. If you could reproduce all of the highs, lows and mids you would soon find yourself seriously hard of hearing if not deaf. The best anyone can get is a good approximation of the music from a great sound system, so the first thing you have to do is to relax and realize that you aren't going to get perfection from headphones.
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 4:49 PM Post #13 of 28

Doc Sarvis

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bunnyears
No matter what anyone tells you, there is no way to recreate the experience of a huge symphonic orchestra without the orchestra unless you are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on sound systems and specially designed rooms. The idea that you can get the same thing out of any headphones is not only erroneous, but dangerous. If you could reproduce all of the highs, lows and mids you would soon find yourself seriously hard of hearing if not deaf. The best anyone can get is a good approximation of the music from a great sound system, so the first thing you have to do is to relax and realize that you aren't going to get perfection from headphones.


I agree with Bunny - my "turn it up" advice was based on the fact that classical is typically recorded at a lower level than compressed pop music, and needs to be listened at a little higher level to appreciate the dynamic range. She's right, listening too loud on phones will cause permanent hearing damage. I know audiophiles who have given themselves hearing loss to rival Pete Townshend's.
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 5:11 PM Post #14 of 28

Bunnyears

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
I agree with Bunny - my "turn it up" advice was based on the fact that classical is typically recorded at a lower level than compressed pop music, and needs to be listened at a little higher level to appreciate the dynamic range. She's right, listening too loud on phones will cause permanent hearing damage. I know audiophiles who have given themselves hearing loss to rival Pete Townshend's.


Doc,

We all have to realize that headphones reproduce music with great accuracy, but it's more like a great photo of a landscape compared to the actual landscape. The colors, proportions, detail are all there, but it's never going to be the same. There's no way a picture of a sunset can equal a sunset.
 
Apr 16, 2006 at 10:44 PM Post #15 of 28

to_apeiron

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This is a very interesting question: In my opinion, with Symphonies like those of Sibelius, Mahler, Beethoven and Sjostakovitj, as with any serious organ-music--you simply need a pair of very BIG stereo-speakers (but absolutely no Sub!) ans a powerful amp for it to be pleasurable at all!

And it is not at all necessary with audiophile gear--this is a particularly apt situation for Vintage audio I think

Any old Marantz or Sansui amp in reasonably good shape and any old speakers (such as Pioneer or any other standard speaker with big low-frequency elements) will do this very well, I think!

And it needs to be played very LOUD!

With Mahler e. g.--look for the biggest possible orchestra/choir recordings

The Berlin SO and even Karajan are eminently suitable

Only get rid of any unsympathetic neighbours first!
 

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