michaelgb

what is it with musicians and hifi

Recommended Posts

I’m a musician, but my wife isn’t. She will ignore the kitchen stereo and listen to radio 4 on her phone speaker, which to me sounds like a quacking duck, even if it is an iPhone 😕

  • Haha 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, HectorHughMunro said:

Hearing loss and tinnitus are a massive problem amongst studio engineers and musicians. I saw some statistics on it a few years ago and was quite shocked.  It’s an industrial illness and I do wonder if it is the reason that some recordings are so bad. 

That can be true but most engineers and producers that I know, and I know a lot of them, are sensible and monitor at much lower levels most of the time than many would assume.  You'd probably find many examples of people that don't follow that but the has become something of a stereotype (pardon the pun) - 'all engineers / producers are deaf'.  It's a ridiculous myth.  Of course, like all people, hearing does degrade with age but an experienced pro will be using their ears all their life and are constantly comparing / referencing so generally will compensate.  

The reason 'some recordings are so bad' is that where once, to make a record, you'd need to book in to a studio and presumably would have built up some playing chops which is why you'd have been at a decent studio in the first place.  Now, anyone with any skill level can make a record.  Much like photography, anyone can take a photo these days but you generally can tell something that craft/skill has gone in to it's capture/creation.  As with music, to quote Trevor Horn in an interview I recorded, "it's almost an achievement to make a truly bad record these days, much harder to make something that's truly outstanding".  

There are some fabulous records being made still.  It's always a pleasure being in a studio and having a producer excitedly play what they've been working on.  Making records that touch people and sound great is still what drives most of the people in the business, some may be at the start of the journey and may still have a way to go but still strive to make awesome records - they can't help who they're working with etc etc so it's to be expected that many recordings sound so bad :D

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
27 minutes ago, tuga said:

Sorry, maths were never my forte...

No, I think you will find it was never your fifthe...

  • Haha 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh...a revived topic. I must confess I'm not really so bothered about high-end hi-fi equipment these days. The best I had was an old Bang & Olufsen system I bought second-hand, long gone. Right now I have a Marantz TT170 running through a rather middling Sansui amp. This is just to enable me to play vinyl when I want to and shuts away in a cabinet (repurposed sewing machine cabinet). I can almost hear folk vomiting. With a good pair of headphones I'm often happy to listen to digital reproduction for most listening.

I studied classical trumpet w/piano many moons ago. Played in youth orchestras and did a summer stint in the orchestra pit of a ballet theatre and some other musical theatre. To be honest even though I care about sound reproduction, that job was for the sound engineers and I was more bothered about protecting my hearing and trying to sight read in fairly poor light.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, eddie-baby said:

Yeah, but if the most of those most musicians are playing at the local coffee shop or whatever, and they are concentrating on their musical qualities I can tell you that most of the audience are not enjoying their lack of not caring about the sound quality.

No Its really not like that. Most good musicians care deeply about the tone and sound they are pulling from the instrument and projecting into the room.

Your tone and sound are part of you musical quality.

I can really hear a good musician if I'm in the room with them experiencing their sound directly. Hifi itself is an illusion. 

Edited by michaelgb
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would second that... I would imagine they are more concerned about tone🎸🎻🎷

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also add that most musicians are not into music.. 

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hugely interesting topic :)

I have so far read just page 1 and look forward to reading the rest. So far @Klassik's comment about recorded music doing live musicians out of a job has triggered the thought that before recordings there was no such thing as the "definitive" performance. Your memory of a piece of music was largely conditioned by the performance the last time you heard it. Whereas now, you can go straight to your collection and compare this rendition with that rendition.

FWIW I've known some musicians who care very much about their HiFi, and others who are so into performing live that on the odd occasions when they are at home they don't mind listening to "old tin boxes". I've been a semi-pro musician myself but have always regarded my HiFi as an important way of letting me hear music - both for enjoyment and education. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, michaelgb said:

No Its really not like that. Most good musicians care deeply about the tone and sound they are pulling from the instrument and projecting into the room.

Your tone and sound are part of you musical quality.

I can really hear a good musician if I'm in the room with them experiencing their sound directly. Hifi itself is an illusion. 

24 minutes ago, 2010*zuma said:

I would second that... I would imagine they are more concerned about tone🎸🎻🎷

That is what I meant. They do care about sound quality as you say, it is part of the performance.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, eddie-baby said:

That is what I meant. They do care about sound quality as you say, it is part of the performance.

Performance is sound production, their means of expressiona and livelihood.

Domestic reproduction of recorded music is another matter.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have played on and off in bands since 1981, to what level isn't for me to say lol.my recent gigs have been in a punk covers band fairly successful in our area.live music is dynamic and the places I play usually pubs is also intimate. Recorded music is so much more personal. Myself I luv both and while earning through live music have bought decent gear but personally I have what I think is decent hifi gear for ky budget,  I just luv music full stop 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe it's like sex?  They are practitioners not voyeurs.  They may view us as a load of W******?

  • Haha 3
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I care very much about how my drums sound to the audience and will have a band member play them while I adjust the sound from the audience perspective. Each room is completely different and the sound much be adjusted accordingly. 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a professional musician trained at the Royal Academy of Music, and I've played most genres from orchestral through jazz to rock and bits of folk, Brazilian and other things. Of myself I'd say:

- I don't listen loudly and most of the time I don't listen at all in the sense of sitting in a chair between the speakers and doing nothing else but listen to what's playing. I don't really have any reason to do that except to check the sound of the amplifiers I build. I do however listen most nights when I go to bed - I put on an hour's playlist and find this a very receptive time until I nod off. I listen during the day when I'm at my computer, even though this is at 90° to the speakers. Soundstage means nothing to me - I'm only interested in tonality (instrumental timbre) and clarity. My listening is "functional" - I want to hear everything and instruments have to sound exactly like they do live, or nearest-to. 

- As above, my listening is focussed on what I want or need. I've heard my CD collection so many times I have a pretty good mental picture of it in my head. Much of my listening is connected with songwriting. Checking out lyrics, arrangements, new artists, beats at various b.p.m., and listening to arrangements and lyrics I really like and use as models, like Steely Dan and Weather Report. I listen to Debussy, Faure, Messiaen etc with the score on YouTube to check the chords they use, and go to the piano to play them. It's all very functional. Sometimes I'll listen to some music just because I like it. If I'm in my workshop I'll put on a whole opera. 

- I like ambient sound. Silence in the sense of no music, but I love the various sounds of life. Children playing in the street, the whoosh of cars, anything and everything from drilling to ambulances. I even enjoy being inside a hospital scanner with all its scrapes and bangs. 

- I'm much more likely to watch TV or videos than just listen to sounds. Call me shallow or lowbrow if you like, but I like to see what's happening. I'm used to live music and I like to watch the artists. So I love YT videos. 

That's pretty much it. Musicians have very good ears for distinguishing subtle variations in sound and tonality - until they go deaf or are overcome with tinnitus. But music is work, not recreation. Some interesting research was done by R. Schuter-Dyaon into the differences in brain activity between ordinary music lovers and professional musicians. The musicians increasingly developed left-brain responses, noticing and analysing details. The non-musicians retained a largely right-brain response to texture, images and other sensory and non-rationalising elements. Music might suggest rain, love, anger, moonlight or whatever. In a way they got "more" out of the music in terms of sensory pleasure, while the musicians were more focussed on musical details. Playing free improvisation can be cleansing for musicians since it takes the mind off technical performance and uses more of their right-brain activity. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we're musicians because we love music. It's like writers - they love literature but often have a love-hate relationship to actually writing books. 

Edited by pmcuk
  • Like 3
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
14 hours ago, michaelgb said:

I care very much about how my drums sound to the audience and will have a band member play them while I adjust the sound from the audience perspective. Each room is completely different and the sound much be adjusted accordingly. 

I used to do that - it never ceased to amaze me how the pitch of drums changed according to the venue .. what sounded tight and higher pitched in one place would sound less precise and lower pitched in another.  You had to do that with the bass drum especially (as with my Yamaha 8000 kit you could hardly hear the bass drum behind the kit but out front it was killing them punching them in the stomach) ... then there were the big venues when they would mic the drums up (and the instruments and put all through the PA) and the tuning required was different again.

Which reminds me I really ought to clean it all up and get em sold now that I no longer play - it is criminal to have the kit and my Paiste 2002 sound edge high hats - Zildjian and other cymbals sitting in the garage doing nowt now .. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.