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Addictive Imperfections?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Roger Adams, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. Roger Adams

    Roger Adams pfm Member

    We were sat bored out of our skulls this afternoon.

    There is something about a tight band, even on digital media, that catches the ear - just as so many of us prefer to listen to vinyl - even if the recording itself is a digital one comprising nothing but synthesised sounds.

    Is the ear, and therefore our attention appreciation, drawn to micro imperfections in tone or pitch that are inaudible to the ear, but are there purely as a result of an analogue process?

    Much modern music that is streamed and relies entirely on digital composition and playback instrumentation has a certain sterility that limits attention IME. Why? What is missing?
    Mr Pig and Torris12 like this.
  2. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    eevo1969, Paddy, Canton and 2 others like this.
  3. Roger Adams

    Roger Adams pfm Member

    An organic tone to it I agree. That happens when weed meets a touch screen?
  4. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    For me, I would say that what’s missing is emotion.
    I used to listen to the live shows from the Metropolitan opera in New York many decades ago on my little Creek 3040 tuner, Nait 1 and Linn Kans and oh my god, the emotion was really there !
    I also had that same feeling while listening to a LP direct disc of Bach cantatas in a small church on my LP 12 with the same amp and speakers.
    Lately, I heard an unplugged version of a rock show being played live at my favorite rock station : it was mouth dropping !
    I’m not saying FM or vinyl is better than streaming, I’m just saying it got me into the mood instantly and kept me captive for the whole show.
  5. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I thinks it's more of a joint effort !

    I'm a dyed-in-the-wool vinyl man with valved orgasmic CDP as an accomplished back-up. Having no experience of non tangible music software, I couldn't compare. Don't really need to though, t.b.h.
  6. wylton

    wylton pfm Member

    Yes, me too, though I have been enjoying the Cambridge CXC, that I bought recently for the office system upsairs. I'm looking forward to finding the time to rewire the Audiomods arm on the LP12, that resides in that system, to compare the two!
  7. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    "Show" seems to be the important word here - sense of occasion, even at one remove.
    Are streams of live broadcasts, or of recordings of live concerts, any more captivating?
  8. tuga

    tuga European

    May I suggest the following piece?

    Analogue Warmth

    The Sound Of Tubes, Tape & Transformers
    By Hugh Robjohns

    Analogue warmth seems to be the Holy Grail in these digital days. But what is it, why does it hold such appeal, and how can you use it to enhance your recordings?

  9. tuga

    tuga European

    By the way, I find that analogue has a place in multi-track studio productions where it can be used as another tool or instrument to enhance the final result.
    Many (most) pop and rock studio productions result from the collage of an assortment of (spatially unrelated) takes of different instruments and vocals, sometimes in mono, with instruments/vocals playing/singing in semi-anechoic spaces and registered with "substandard" equipment, which are subsequently edited and mixed into a fictional or fabricated space to "create" the final work.


    Collage - soundscape is made up, timbres are modified

    Classical music on the other hand should be accurately recorded from a documental perspective in digital using a real stereo minimalist mic setup (stereo pair for small groups, main pair + ambience pair for large groups with a spot or two if absolutely necessary).


    Documental photograph - soundscape is real-ish, timbres are accurate-ish
    TheDecameron likes this.
  10. Fretbuzz

    Fretbuzz pfm Member

    What's grown to be one of my favourite albums is Out of Silence by Neil Finn (2017). It was made and recorded live, and the practise and recording sessions were also streamed at the time and you can find them on YouTube - called the Infinity Sessions. IIRC, the first two were practise ones (which also included webchats with fans you can skip); the third one more of a jamming session/gig; the fourth was the longer recording session. Anyway, it's just lovely to watch - seeing the songs develop, the general collaborative atmosphere and energy, and the general insights into live recording.

    And that's exactly what comes across in the album - the whole thing has a beautifully natural, human feel to it.
  11. zippy

    zippy pfm Member

    tuga and Gervais Cote like this.
  12. PBB

    PBB pfm Member

  13. Roger Adams

    Roger Adams pfm Member

    Just for me personally, there is something about listening to a live drummer. Now they can be absolutely marvellous and many are. Do, even the very best, have micro imperfections in timing between bars? I'm no musician obviously. I just can't believe that even the best are totally perfect.
  14. mega lord

    mega lord Centre tapped

    Steve Gadd is like a metronome.
    Alan Brown, Roger Adams and TimF like this.
  15. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    This throws some light on the 'flavour' question.
  16. tuga

    tuga European

    VHS or Blu-ray?
  17. Roger Adams

    Roger Adams pfm Member

    Surely a different sense?

    Just as we recoil to a degree when touching something we do not recognise (by touch alone without other senses). I don't know what happens with "blind smelling" - I must admit it's not a trial I'm interested in taking part in.

    Do not senses give us different clues and therefore act independently? At least three of them are processed by three separate lobes within the brain. Music and rhythm are certainly processed in a different lobe to vision - even though they are all part of the CNS.
  18. tuga

    tuga European

    Apparently it's a lot easier to evaluate accuracy with an image than with a sound because the general consumer is buying into 4k HD TV and MP3.

    But you have a point regarding how we process music; I believe that the problem or difficulty in assessing accurate sound reproduction (basically identifying shortcomings in the performance of the equipment) comes from the fact that we use music for that task and our senses and judgement are being overloaded by the musical aspect instead of focusing on sound.

    Instead of performing critical observation many people are merely tasting how a particular piece of music or 12 sounds when played over a given system. To add insult to injury some focus on how the system is generating a soundstage effect.
    Roger Adams likes this.
  19. Roger Adams

    Roger Adams pfm Member

    It's a fascinating area given how little we understand about the brain.

    I didn't realise for instance that different groupings in the auditory cortex were responsible for PRAT compared to those used for the specific musical pitch of an instrument and the combination of tonal information. All that in just a peripheral area of the temporal lobe.

    Maybe Ivor was right all this time :)
  20. tuga

    tuga European

    Foot-tapping is almost a Pavlovian reflex. It can't be used for gauging sound quality.

    Pace, rhythm and timing are properties of the music. If the system can reproduce the signal AKA the recording AKA the music accurately enough then you get PRAT.

    But PRAT can also be achieved by deliberately introducing distortions which create effects that alter the preception of the sound being reproduced.
    John Atkinson often talks about the way a cone breakup resonance in the presence region is often perceived as "enhanced detail".
    Harmonic distortion produces an effect akin to the reverb used by sound engineers, which is perceived as "enhanced spaciousness".
    The problem, if there is one, is that all the distortions used to produce such perceptual effects generally have come with not-so-harmless side-effects. Cone breakup in the range where the ear is most sensitive can render violins unlistenable.

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