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Realism vs Accuracy For Audiophiles


tuga
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1 hour ago, Blzebub said:

Which tracks/words on the Goldfrapp? I played it about a week ago, and didn't notice anything amiss.

To the OP, I've never understood what "realism" is. Just like "musicality".

Did you read the pieces?

"Realism" can exist when you are reproducing a minimally mic'ed classical music performance. Such a setup will produce a documental recording which will recreate an impression of listening from the audience.

I actually struggle a bit with the term "musicality". This is how the Stereophile glossary defines it:

musical, musicality A personal judgment as to the degree to which reproduced sound resembles live music. Real musical sound is both accurate and euphonic, consonant and dissonant.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary-i-m

I guess "musicality" is mostly a matter of opinion. There is ample evidence that some distortions sound pleasing (even listening room induced distortions) and I suppose tht anything which makes the listening experience more engaging can calssify as "musical".

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38 minutes ago, Non-Smoking Man said:

I dont see why its 'versus'. Its 'and', isnt it?

Jack NSM

Yes, spot on. 

There is no reason you can't have both. 

If your system has accuracy, it *should* have realism as a by-product. 

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6 minutes ago, Bigman80 said:

Yes, spot on. 

There is no reason you can't have both. 

If your system has accuracy, it *should* have realism as a by-product. 

Did you read the pieces?

I think that "realism" in reproduction depends first and foremost on the recording.

And as any subjective term "realism" is also a personal call.

realism A subjective assessment of the degree to which the sound from an audio system approaches that of live music. This has meaning only when the recording purports to reproduce an acoustical event taking place in a real acoustical space. See "quality."

https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary-r-s

.

How then can we use the terms "musicality" and "realism" to describe sound when it means something different to different people?

Surely the goal of communication is to transmit meaningful information, otherwise it is like two people talking in different languages... 同意しませんか?

Edited by tuga
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22 minutes ago, tuga said:

Did you read the pieces?

"Realism" can exist when you are reproducing a minimally mic'ed classical music performance. Such a setup will produce a documental recording which will recreate an impression of listening from the audience.

I actually struggle a bit with the term "musicality". This is how the Stereophile glossary defines it:

musical, musicality A personal judgment as to the degree to which reproduced sound resembles live music. Real musical sound is both accurate and euphonic, consonant and dissonant.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary-i-m

I guess "musicality" is mostly a matter of opinion. There is ample evidence that some distortions sound pleasing (even listening room induced distortions) and I suppose tht anything which makes the listening experience more engaging can calssify as "musical".

Musicians use the word musical a lot including to state if an eq sounds musical. I don’t agree with Stereophiles description at all. 

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Realism cannot be versus accuracy: accuracy will produce realism. Whether you want that sound or not is another matter and there is no doubt that many audiophiles seek to introduce warmth to make their system more enjoyable and to enjoy a broader selection of music, especially stuff that is less well recorded.

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26 minutes ago, tuga said:

Did you read the pieces?

"Realism" can exist when you are reproducing a minimally mic'ed classical music performance. Such a setup will produce a documental recording which will recreate an impression of listening from the audience.

I actually struggle a bit with the term "musicality". This is how the Stereophile glossary defines it:

musical, musicality A personal judgment as to the degree to which reproduced sound resembles live music. Real musical sound is both accurate and euphonic, consonant and dissonant.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary-i-m

I guess "musicality" is mostly a matter of opinion. There is ample evidence that some distortions sound pleasing (even listening room induced distortions) and I suppose tht anything which makes the listening experience more engaging can calssify as "musical".

I would suggest phrases like musicality and emotion are audiophile nonsense. A system produces what you desire or it doesn't. It may be that what you desire measures brilliantly because your brain desires proximity to the original recording. It may be that your system introduces some distortion that pleases you and there is nothing wrong with that: it is a hobby, after all, and one with enjoyment of music at its heart. It cannot introduce emotion: that comes from the musician on the recording. 

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40 minutes ago, tuga said:

Did you read the pieces?

Frequency response is a huge part of timbre, and no existing speaker is able to produce a flat response outside of the sweet spot.

Timbre is a lot more than frequency response. You can take 2 systems with equally flat frequency responses, outside of extreme bass and treble, and the clarity of timbre can be very different. I think extreme bass and treble are a lot less important than a flat response in the critical listening range. Particularly for older listeners. 

i didn't read the pieces I'm afraid.

.

Edited by pmcuk
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4 minutes ago, DomT said:

Musicians use the word musical a lot including to state if an eq sounds musical. I don’t agree with Stereophiles description at all. 

Musicians produce music. Audiophiles reproduce recorded music. The two are very different things.

Suppose the musicians/producers opted for an EQ sounds "musical"; how will they know if the listener's system will reproduce that accurately?

And does "musical" mean the same thing to every producer? Not for classical because some like to close- and multi-mic whilst other prefer a more minimalist and distant setup - both produce very different results both in terms of soundscape as well as timbres.

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2 minutes ago, oldius said:

I would suggest phrases like musicality and emotion are audiophile nonsense. A system produces what you desire or it doesn't. It may be that what you desire measures brilliantly because your brain desires proximity to the original recording. It may be that your system introduces some distortion that pleases you and there is nothing wrong with that: it is a hobby, after all, and one with enjoyment of music at its heart. It cannot introduce emotion: that comes from the musician on the recording. 

I agree.

Did you read the pieces? (please say you did, I don't think anyone else did)

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It seems as no one has read the pieces linked above, which is a pity really because they're not intent in starting a war. They are very informative and educational.

Your loss...

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The word 'realism' is not a subjective term. It has a definite meaning in a given language. You can find that definition in a dictionary, like all other words. Or if you want to understand more fully the way the idea behind the word is understod or accepted as a concept in a conceptual system (other words for that are 'problematic' or 'paradigm) then you look at usage in that framework. For example Steve Guthenberg in his 'daily podcasts' gave a piece about a hifi glossary - a list of commonly used terms, amongst which was the word 'accuracy' and, I dare say,'realism'.

This not difficult. And its not subjective in the sense that this word or any other is open to be understood individually . The 'signifier' does not slide around over the 'signified' willy nilly according to the individual language user. Put simply its the job of a member of society to learn the correct and mutually accepted meaning.

So 'musicality' and 'realism' do not mean something different to different people (in the same culture). The Zande may use terms like 'magic' differently to us (see Peter Winch 'The Idea of a Social Science'). One learns the meaning of words as one goes on. Besides if you were writing a paper, or answering a philosophy exam question with these 2 terms, or any other pair, you begin by defining those terms and explaining the dichomotomy, or contradiction first, then go into your argument.

What Tuga should have done is set out the terms of the debate in his own words and invited comment. Instead its a jumble.

Jack NSM

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1 hour ago, tuga said:

If there are problems with the studio mix or mastering then a high res system will expose them mercilessly, and because we are dealing with the reproduction of a fabrication instead of reality I can conceive that a low fidelity system which will strip the recording of the sonic detail may redirect focus onto more musical (in a non-audiophile sense) aspects. But if this had been the goal of the artist then he would have made that choice in production.

At least that’s how I see it.

There are plenty of bad studio or poorly equipped studios and bad decisions made. Listen to U2 best of 80/90 and then listen to the same songs on the original albums. Completely different. The best of us poorly mastered. 

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2 minutes ago, tuga said:

Musicians produce music. Audiophiles reproduce recorded music. The two are very different things.

Suppose the musicians/producers opted for an EQ sounds "musical"; how will they know if the listener's system will reproduce that accurately?

And does "musical" mean the same thing to every producer? Not for classical because some like to close- and multi-mic whilst other prefer a more minimalist and distant setup - both produce very different results both in terms of soundscape as well as timbres.

Musicians are all about timbre - they spend fortunes on instruments that have beautiful timbre. This carries through into what they expect of their sound systems. Why wouldn't it? I realised this when I spent an evening with Jan Erik Kongshaug and fellow musicians including Jon Christensen in his Oslo studio where the ECM albums were recorded. He played the master tapes from a Keith Jarrett session. The mic placements and equalisation were so incredibly musical because Kongshaug was a very good musician himself. That was a lot of the secret of the ECM sound. It was recorded by a very fine musician. 

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Just now, DomT said:

There are plenty of bad studio or poorly equipped studios and bad decisions made. Listen to U2 best of 80/90 and then listen to the same songs on the original albums. Completely different. The best of us poorly mastered. 

Bad mastering is a massive problem.

The sound quality starts with the recorded signal, which is why we audiophiles should be tracking down the best editions of our favourite recordings. Easier said than done I must say, and some editions are prohibitively expensive (f.e. MFSL)...

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