The article makes some interesting points about acoustics and psycoacoustics... but it does read like one big commercial for Audyssey receivers with digital room correction...
12 responses Add your response
The problem is, was, and always will be that when you play back (over loudspeakers) in ANY room, sound that was recorded in another room (call it the PRIMARY acoustical space) you are "mixing", or "blending together" the acoustical properties of the 'recording space' and the 'playback space'. It matters not whether that recording and subsequent playback is done with two, or any number of channels more than two. ("Two, or more than two" because 'two' is the minimum number of source points you need to present the equivalent of an audio parallax or depth perception to the two ears.) You can demonstrate this clearly and easily by putting an ear plug in one ear while listening to a 2 (or more) channel system,
But the problem of the "extra" acoustics of the playback space remains. And so far, there is still only one way (that doesn't involve digital manipulation) to get the full range, recorded event, unadulterated, into the listener's brain, and that would be through headphones PLAYING A BINAURALLY RECORDED SOURCE. For those of you who don't know what that is, Google: > binaural recording <
That is the ONLY way to provide the listener with the "original acoustical event" as it would have been heard in the original recording space. Think of it this way: You're sitting in front of the performer(s) in the room/hall/club/studio, and a microphone has been placed over each of your ears. A simple 2-channel recording is made, and now you listen to the playback over a pair of headphones in place of the two microphones. If you've ever experienced 'Binaural Sound', you know it's the ultimate (reproduced) sonic experience. Remember, I said, "to get the full range, recorded event, unadulterated, into the listener's brain" ;--)
So Neil does that mean you got rid of your speakers and now listen only to binaural recordings on headphones? Do tell, is there a large catalog of binaural recordings?
I chose the other route and now use a Lyngdorf DPA-1 digital preamp with room correction built in. It works wonders in my room. The system is better balanced and a lot more detailed, which also translates to more engaging and musical. In fact, my listening session today made me wonder how I got by without room correction for so long. I was playing Rodrigo y Gabriela's 11:11 and there were copious details on that excellent recording that I had never heard before (anywhere).
I used to listen to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Chandler Pavilion. I guess it was OK.
Sometimes I would hear them at the Hollywood Bowl, but invariably the bass was lean, the treble was distant and the midrange was muffled.
But man, when they applied some room correction by moving to the Disney Concert Hall, they finally sounded like the Los Angeles Philharmonic!
After hearing the LA Phil accurately performed, I will never go back to hearing them anywhere else.
Really, Plato. My purpose in judgement of the article is not to denounce room-correcting electronics, but to suggest a properly set-up two way system, with excellent acoustics is capable of outstanding staging and imaging. I have heard systems that swelled the room...front to back with surprising realism.
My experience with multi-miked systems is finite, having exposure to only three, all for short listening sessions. Two had exceeded my expectations in nearly every parameter; mostly in representation of decay and the subtle nuance of each instrument. More three-dimensionality.
Most of us can (still) remember a time when we didn't have the choice of physical v. electronic room correction. And one quick, cheap, and easy solution, was binaural recording and playback. It didn't require more expenditure than a pair of headphones; and though it wasn't the most socially acceptable solution ;--) it was an experience you could never forget. The recordings themselves (along with the first stereo recordings BTW) came in the form of R2R tape. But as stereo recordings quickly became available on vinyl, pre-recorded tape vanished practically overnight, and along with it, binaural recording.
Today, we can still make physical corrections to our rooms -- it's not difficult or expensive, and with today's room measurement software, easier than ever to identify the areas that require attention. I can't understand why people who spend thousands on their systems (even if they don't include analog sources), are then willing to add further DSP to all their source material.
Like Siddh, I don't consider those two solutions (physical v. electronic correction) equivalent by any stretch; any more than I consider CGI (computer generated imagery) in movie presentation equivalent to real-life locations (to say nothing of the hardships it imposes on actors ;--) But in both cases (audio and video) if the results are convincing ENOUGH for the average consumer, why spend time and money striving for authenticity (the old analog v. digital debate again!)
But I have an idea!
Since we now have the means of putting multiple layers of program material on an optical disc, why not make one of those layers a simply recorded DSD binaural version? Dust off those headphones, and enjoy the magic of real stereo reproduction!?
Siddh, I'm glad you clarified the purpose of your post as it was not quite clear.
I likewise have heard (and presently own) a two-channel system with excellent imaging, depth and marvelous tonal colors. That said, I'm sure it could be improved even more by inserting a Lyngdorf Room Perfect component.
One of the great benefits of using room correction like the Lyngdorf is that you can lay in other voicing curves (subtly different from one another) at the touch of a button, to get the best possible presentation from any given recording (both in the main listening position and in other positions you select during set up in your room).
For me, that kind of awesome control and flexibility is surely worth the price of admission. That and the fact that it sounds wonderful and can replace 3 or 4 other pieces of gear. In fact, I just sold my Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 because with the Lyngdorf it was no longer needed. I also removed a very good tube line stage because it didn't improve anything.
On the other hand, in another room I have a 5.1-channel Home Theater setup and it sounds marvelous because the room is excellent. Still, it does not approach the ultimate transparency and majesty of the Lyngdorf 2-channel system, which admittedly uses higher-end components throughout.
The bottom line is that it does not take more than 2 stereo channels to get great sound and imaging in a given room. We seem to be in agreement on that point.
As a owner of a Onkyo AVR with Audyssey I'm a believer. Once set-up properly, see (http://www.audyssey.com/blog/2009/05/small-vs-large/#comment-306965417) it can work wonders for a space such as an apartment room where acoustical mods are limited. It really smoothed out my Def Tech Mythos STS speakers and self powered subs.
I know when I have the funds to upgrade to separates for dedicated 2 chan audio the pre amp I choose must have a HT pass through. Until then I'm listening to music via CDP analog out to AVR analog in with Audyssey. HDMI for SACD.
Unsound, I'm not sure I'm understanding your question, but maybe I can be clearer . . . . .
No matter how many loudspeakers there are in the room, or whether they're all even playing the same material or not, as long as all the audio information is being delivered to your brain through ONE ear, and one auditory pathway, your brain will not have the information it needs to tell you about the space you are in (or the space the recording was made in.) The brain needs to "hear" differences in: arrival time, phase angle, reflection times (aka: echos) to "know" something about the spacial environment.
And this is true, whether the "information" is generated in the space itself (like you listening to a live performance,) or it's on a stereo/binaural recording, or if it is virtual space, generated in full or part using DSP hardware/software.
So, one ear = no sonic hologram! BTW, you should try the "one earplug" first, then compare that experience to no earplug (both ears working ;--) but with your preamp set to 'mono'. Do both situations sound the same to your or different?