Observation on gear colorations
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zowie

Headphoneus Supremus
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A few days ago I recorded a jazz trio - clarinet, bass, drums - to a Sharp MD with the Sound Professionals in-ear binaurals (fabulous mics for the money!).

On the way home, right after the show, I listend back on Ety 4S with the fix-up cable through the MD phones out. I thought it was a fairly true representation of the show, with the main negatives being that the drums had lost dynamic impact (more than I would have expected), and the bass was too low compared to the live show. And I couldn't really make out the musicians' banter between tunes. I figured the dynamics were reduced because I used LP2, and I'd need higher end mics to fully capture the bass. Still, I was happy with the results for a low budget rig.

A day later, I listened again with the cheapo Sharp stock ear buds. I'd never bothered with them before. Some have commented that they're better than the typical free buds, but still not good. ZOWIE! The bass was so totally there! Not perfect, but fairly naturally rendered. The dynamics of the drum kit were greatly enhanced. And I could clearly hear the musicians speaking to the audience or each other. However, the drums had become too loud, especially the high end, and the timbre of the clarinet was wrong, unpleasantly so.

Today, I played the MD through the aux-in on my Denon minisystem at work. The balance of the instruments was now right -- that is, consistent with what I heard live. The midrange seemed at bit recessed however. The speaking is virtually inaudible again.

What truly strikes me from this experience is how difficult it is to determine whether the gear you're listening to is accurate (in my mind, the ultimate goal, although I'm into "euphonious" too). Without having heard the live event, I'd hardly know which of the three was properly reproducing it (actually none of them). As it is, I cannot really tell where the weak links are, e.g., is the bass level too low on the recording and artificially boosted back by the buds, or about right on the recording and rolled off by the Ety's? An interesting lesson.
 
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