plasticpenguin

Define "live" music and can this be...

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Amazed at how many speakers just cannot time properly, particularly when the volume increases.

Before anyone gets hot under the collar, my PhD was in time distortion in live sound and in particular DSP based systems. 

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Super Dealer

But  rolled off bass and adding huge dollops of distortion helps?

Keith

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6 minutes ago, moo-fi said:

Amazed at how many speakers just cannot time properly, particularly when the volume increases.

Before anyone gets hot under the collar, my PhD was in time distortion in live sound and in particular DSP based systems. 

Im wearing a t shirt! 🤣 my speakers time very well.. Even weller louder! 

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17 minutes ago, moo-fi said:

Amazed at how many speakers just cannot time properly, particularly when the volume increases.

Before anyone gets hot under the collar, my PhD was in time distortion in live sound and in particular DSP based systems. 

You'll have to educate me one day Fred, do you actually listen for timing? All I can say is that I've gravitated towards speakers and other named components that sound good to me, closer to the 'real' then than others may come to. And from reading various audiophiles interventions, I don't seem to be alone in thinking certain things do certain things :)   

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Super Wammer

OK, let me throw this grenade into the conversation....

Why would you want to replicate a "live" sound at home?

Do we have some sort of misty-eyed ideology that says you can't get better than the live experience? Well, forgive me but I've been to far too many concerts (of all genres) where the quality of the sound delivered was nothing short of embarrassing. Woeful, even. The biggest problem by far I have found is that most gigs are far too loud to be enjoyable. Actually I am convinced to this day that Sigur Ros at the Southampton Guildhall was the act responsible for my permanent tinnitus - it was genuinely painful. I had to put my hands over my ears. I learnt to always wear ear plugs from that point on, but horses, stables and doors spring to mind...

Other (amplified) gigs have suffered from muddy vocals that were unintelligible, or were tonally unbalanced with the bass overwhelming everything else. And it's not just rock / pop / metal / etc I'm talking about. I've experienced classical concerts in venues with naturally-substandard acoustics, meaning it's not been possible to hear certain parts of the orchestra over others.

Alright, so not every venue has been poor, and not every mixing engineer stone deaf. But on balance, IME probably only 20% of concerts I've been to have been acoustically acceptable or better. So I'm at a loss to understand why we have this obsession with the "live" sound. Leaving aside what has already been said by many on this thread, that recreating the sort of SPL that would begin to replicate a live concert would not only be societally unacceptable, but would be my Sigur Ros all over again. Much deafness will ensue.

When I listen at home, what I'm looking to hear is a sound that helps me connect emotionally with the music, with the artist. I want enough clarity, insight and detail to allow me to hear how the various strands of the music are interwoven, how they play off against each other or work with each other, without it being so separated that it's like a load of unrelated sounds. I don't have any desire to recreate Metallica at Donington, or LSO at the Barbican. (although I do admit there's something quite goose-bump inducing if "bloke-with-a-guitar" sounds like he's singing and playing at the other end of my lounge) I just need enough balance, and enough of an illusion, to let me forget the mechanics of the replay and relax with the music.

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7 minutes ago, Jules_S said:

OK, let me throw this grenade into the conversation....

Why would you want to replicate a "live" sound at home?

Do we have some sort of misty-eyed ideology that says you can't get better than the live experience? Well, forgive me but I've been to far too many concerts (of all genres) where the quality of the sound delivered was nothing short of embarrassing. Woeful, even. The biggest problem by far I have found is that most gigs are far too loud to be enjoyable. Actually I am convinced to this day that Sigur Ros at the Southampton Guildhall was the act responsible for my permanent tinnitus - it was genuinely painful. I had to put my hands over my ears. I learnt to always wear ear plugs from that point on, but horses, stables and doors spring to mind...

Other (amplified) gigs have suffered from muddy vocals that were unintelligible, or were tonally unbalanced with the bass overwhelming everything else. And it's not just rock / pop / metal / etc I'm talking about. I've experienced classical concerts in venues with naturally-substandard acoustics, meaning it's not been possible to hear certain parts of the orchestra over others.

Alright, so not every venue has been poor, and not every mixing engineer stone deaf. But on balance, IME probably only 20% of concerts I've been to have been acoustically acceptable or better. So I'm at a loss to understand why we have this obsession with the "live" sound. Leaving aside what has already been said by many on this thread, that recreating the sort of SPL that would begin to replicate a live concert would not only be societally unacceptable, but would be my Sigur Ros all over again. Much deafness will ensue.

When I listen at home, what I'm looking to hear is a sound that helps me connect emotionally with the music, with the artist. I want enough clarity, insight and detail to allow me to hear how the various strands of the music are interwoven, how they play off against each other or work with each other, without it being so separated that it's like a load of unrelated sounds. I don't have any desire to recreate Metallica at Donington, or LSO at the Barbican. (although I do admit there's something quite goose-bump inducing if "bloke-with-a-guitar" sounds like he's singing and playing at the other end of my lounge) I just need enough balance, and enough of an illusion, to let me forget the mechanics of the replay and relax with the music.

You are at the mercy of the sound guy, or not even that someone who controls sound, but in general though in a live event it doesnt always sound that bad. But live music is in general better than reporduced music. 

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Super Wammer
11 minutes ago, eddie-baby said:

You are at the mercy of the sound guy, or not even that someone who controls sound, but in general though in a live event it doesnt always sound that bad. But live music is in general better than reporduced music. 

We'll have to agree to disagree on that last point, Eddie. I have all but given up on going to live music (OK, completely given up at this moment in time, obviously). I get far more enjoyment from listening in the comfort of my own home to the disappointment (and sometimes discomfort) of going out to experience a substandard performance or acoustic. Let's not forget, concerts are not exactly cheap these days, and I resent paying a decent chunk of cash in return for a less than enjoyable experience. In the same vein, I would far rather watch a film at home than go to the cinema.

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15 minutes ago, Jules_S said:

We'll have to agree to disagree on that last point, Eddie. I have all but given up on going to live music (OK, completely given up at this moment in time, obviously). I get far more enjoyment from listening in the comfort of my own home to the disappointment (and sometimes discomfort) of going out to experience a substandard performance or acoustic. Let's not forget, concerts are not exactly cheap these days, and I resent paying a decent chunk of cash in return for a less than enjoyable experience. In the same vein, I would far rather watch a film at home than go to the cinema.

Can see your point, but you must have a system that's pleasing to your ears then, as all those recording engineers edits you are listening to of recorded music can't have all got the same ears ;)

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I must be in the minority, I don't enjoy live music in the slightest for most of the reasons above. Terrible sound, realising your favourite artists don't play that well and do terrible improvs, thousand of gimps going nuts, definitely don't want to replicate that at home thanks. Never aimed for that musician in the room sound. 

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Super Wammer
Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, kernow said:

I must be in the minority, I don't enjoy live music in the slightest for most of the reasons above. Terrible sound, realising your favourite artists don't play that well and do terrible improvs, thousand of gimps going nuts, definitely don't want to replicate that at home thanks. Never aimed for that musician in the room sound. 

Sorry you have been to see the wrong bands .. Seen Jethro Tull many times great sound and performance, saw Ed Sheeran in a pub in Swindon just as he hit the big time - fabulous venue with a pub landlord who knows about sound - great PA. even Linkin Park at the MK park (outside gig but not the bowl) and the sound was surprisingly good for an outside gig.  Saw John Martyn on a few occasions - sound was really good.  God even in the 70s Camel at the Hammersmith Odeon, Giltrap and Brand X at Guildford Civic Hall .. in fact I have been trying to think of a performance i have gone to where the sound wasn't good (ignoring pub bands and the like) and the only one that disappointed me was Dire Straits at Earls Court (I will not go to a gig there again) where the echo off the back wall was awful .. 

As to musicianship .. I have not been to a gig where i was disappointed with the musicianship .. in fact some people live (Jeff Beck, Thin LIzzy (way back when), Police, The Script, Linkin Park, Dire Straits, bloody hell even the Housiers back in the early 2000s (one hit wonders who disappeared but were fab live), Jethro Tull, the late John Martyn. The Zombies (saw them at the Stables a few years back) all had a bit of something "extra" performing live that made it more magical than the albums and I find the same with a lot of artists who do live recordings - of note "on the night" Dire Straits, James Taylor (quite a few live ones now), Peter Gabriel (love the Secret World CD).

Horses for courses I guess but there is something magical about a live performance for me. 

I love the live experience

Edited by uzzy
spelling

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I have:

Very large rooms

Double glazing

A reasonable distance to my nearest neighbour

A 15 ips 2 track Studer

Some master tapes, including some live master tapes

Huge speakers that are flat down to about 20 to 25 hz that can play at a maximum of 119 dbs at 1 meter before I start worrying about voice-coil  burn out

:pop:

I think there's still room for improvement in the speaker department. I think there's scope to eke out a bit more liveness from my recordings...

As a general set of statements:

Some recordings sound more live than others. Forget about anything with a red DR rating (No chance of sounding live with that much dynamic compression).

Some houses and rooms allow hi fi systems to sound more live than others.

Some systems sound more live than others.

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4 hours ago, simon g said:

What's all this about powerful PA systems and the like? I could point you n the direction of some 50's and 60's Jazz recordings that really do capture the 'live' experience; this certainly can be very closely recreated on a decent system, even in a smallish room.

Absolutely. Of course the band was effectively playing live and recorded with barely a handful of microphones, even with acoustic instruments close mic-ing was not possible so the recording technique would would be very different from today.

Typically mixed to 2 track, soloist on one, rhythm section on the other, playback would be on Altec A7s, maybe 604s. You would still need a reasonable sized room and understanding neighbours to get close, but not that difficult.

3 hours ago, George 47 said:

There are a lot of systems that disagree with you on that. ;)

Any fast paced rock music can become a real mess with some accurate systems. 

If the system can't handle the rhythmic complexity, then it isn't accurate, by definition.

I did say that it wasn't difficult, it isn't, but it is certainly not cheap either, regular budget or mid-fi systems will not come close. Power and dynamic range are key but from a practical point of view the resulting sound can be difficult to live with, but then, so can living with a live jazz band!

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For those of you who do not like live music, I don't know what to say.

Decent live sound is really not difficult, when it is bad it is invariably down to competence and budget. Certain bands will pay a fortune for costumes, special effects, whatever but paying for a proper PA is usually not at the top of the list and sound engineers whose primary competence is scoring drugs do not exactly help.

Mrs M and myself seek out live musical experiences wherever we can, we live within 10 mins walking distance of two pubs that have live bands at least 2-3 times a week, Wimborne Minster and Tivoli theatre are a short drive, we try and do something at least a couple of times a week.

Even on holiday we find things to see and hear, right now, this would be our second week, we should be on the Jalisco coast, enjoying blues and latin based music at Nacho Daddy and Que Pasa, in Peurto Valarta. 

Missing it a lot!

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7 hours ago, uzzy said:

Sorry you have been to see the wrong bands .. Seen Jethro Tull many times great sound and performance, saw Ed Sheeran in a pub in Swindon just as he hit the big time - fabulous venue with a pub landlord who knows about sound - great PA. even Linkin Park at the MK park (outside gig but not the bowl) and the sound was surprisingly good for an outside gig.  Saw John Martyn on a few occasions - sound was really good.  God even in the 70s Camel at the Hammersmith Odeon, Giltrap and Brand X at Guildford Civic Hall .. in fact I have been trying to think of a performance i have gone to where the sound wasn't good (ignoring pub bands and the like) and the only one that disappointed me was Dire Straits at Earls Court (I will not go to a gig there again) where the echo off the back wall was awful .. 

As to musicianship .. I have not been to a gig where i was disappointed with the musicianship .. in fact some people live (Jeff Beck, Thin LIzzy (way back when), Police, The Script, Linkin Park, Dire Straits, bloody hell even the Housiers back in the early 2000s (one hit wonders who disappeared but were fab live), Jethro Tull, the late John Martyn. The Zombies (saw them at the Stables a few years back) all had a bit of something "extra" performing live that made it more magical than the albums and I find the same with a lot of artists who do live recordings - of note "on the night" Dire Straits, James Taylor (quite a few live ones now), Peter Gabriel (love the Secret World CD).

Horses for courses I guess but there is something magical about a live performance for me. 

I love the live experien

I couldn't imagine seeing Sheeran live without a basket of bricks to throw 

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7 hours ago, MGTOW said:

If the system can't handle the rhythmic complexity, then it isn't accurate, by definition.

Agree and they must be able to reproduce the dynamics and the power and the pace of music but a lot do not. They have a flat frequency response and that is it. Yawn.

For classical music, I do not want the sound of an orchestra in my living room. I want the sound I hear from my seat in the concert hall. The orchestra would not fit for a start and a full orchestra can generate close to 100db.

I went to the Yes concert last year at the Albert Hall and it was loud and distorted even from the balcony. A month or so later at the David Gilmour concert the sound was equally loud but very clear and it was easy to hear what the musicians were playing and every word sung (mixed blessing with his newer stuff!). You would have thought Yes could afford a decent PA system or an engineer who does not overdrive it.

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