does a stereo system sound like live music ?

i believe that a stereo system recreates about 10 % of what a live orchestra sounds like.

therefore, i also believe that a $350 Brookstone personal stereo based on the nxt technology sounds closer to most stereo systems, at any cost, than most stereo systems do when reproducing the sound of an orchestra.
I absolutely disagree.
I have heard live music many times where the acoustics were not good and actually enjoyed my reproduced sound far more. It also depends where you are sitting. For example, in Carnegie Hall, some seats allow you to hear the music much beter than others. Of course, there is nothing quite like live music where the acoustics are excellent. However, I get tremendous enjoyment from my system and would say that it recreates way way more than 10% of what live music sounds like, especially on good recordings. You also get a heightened sense of being closer to the instruments and hearing more details and a greater sense of space and depth on a super system, although it may be exaggerated compared to live. Your 10% rule may have applied many years ago in the infancy of audio.
If you think that the Brookstone stereo sounds closer to most stereo systems than most stereos sound compared to live, you may be right because most stereos are not too good and not set up properly to get the maximum performance. Of course there are those other systems that and magic and very enjoyable even compared to live.
Terrific. Go for it.
And what was the point of this thread?
05-02-06: Jafox
And what was the point of this thread?

Discussionis provocitus.

i like discussions, it stimulates my brain and keeps me young.
Mrtennis (Threads | Answers)
Jafox, I think Mr T is just bored again. As he is 64 years old (from another of his posts) I assume he has retired and is just trying to fill his day. We should be flattered that he finds us intelligent enuf to want to philosophical combat here. :-)
i believe that a stereo system recreates about 10 % of what a live orchestra sounds like.
So are you saying that I'm the audio system and John Holmes is the orchestra?
So are you saying that I'm the audio system and John Holmes is the orchestra?
Boa2 (Threads | Answers)
Does that make Seka the auditorium?
Not an empty seat in the house.
64. Now I know why Mr T is on just about every Audiogon thread...retire at 55? life enui? lol...
Discussionis provocitus?

Hmmmm, more like: penuria substantia. Quislibet volo emo a Bose Radio? Vicis parumper dormio.
Hmmmm, more like: penuria substantia. Quislibet volo emo a Bose Radio? Vicis parumper dormio.
Jafox (Threads | Answers)
Oh hell, John, now I have to go to the online Latin dictionary!
Don't you mean, "Provocitus Trollisaurus"?
Oh hell, John, now I have to go to the online Latin dictionary!
Just give Guidocorona a shout. I'm pretty sure the Babel Fish translator is his blog.
John, I haven't heard latin since my alterboy days, but isn't it penis substantia? :-)
Oh! You mean biggus dickus! Me sabe now, amigo.
Newbee, I suspect that question should be posted to And speaking of alterboys, I always wondered if that title had a double meaning.
Tvad: You're gonna get us all fired.
Oh, sorry, Jafox. I meant

iggusbay ickusday

The more that I go to concerts with sound reinforcement, the more that I realize that live music is beginning to sound like home audio and not the other way around.
It is easier achieving the sound of a rock concert or the like since all the music is miked and electronic. No referrent of natural/acoustic. Audio is not (near) getting a jazz trio, quartet, etc. to sound like it is in your living room. Listen to a $250k rig. How long with your eyes closed will it take you to know (if you didn't know already) if it's "live or memorex?" Seconds. I really don't think that goal (in my life time, at least) is attainable. Look, we all talk about soundstage like it is the next coming. Doesn't exist in the real music world. (correction: Symphony orchestra and big band, yes) When I'm at a jazz club (NY has oodles of them) and I'm seated right infront, I don't hear the drummer, or whoever, coming from deeper on the stage then he be. Intimacy is what you see and hear. Soundstage depth? I don't think so. Hey nothing to do on a rainy day afternoon. Sorry if I'm rambing. I had enough of Latin 101..carpi diem....pace, warren :)
Hrrrumpf! Did I hear my name just invoke in vane?

The profound if not exactly novel question raised by Mr. Tennis is essentially undecidable. It belongs to the same class of propositions such as:

"How many anally retentive audiophiles can dance on the outer edges of my soundstage?"

In a more serious vein, we could analyze the issue until we turn blue in the face. It should be sufficient to say however, that the high end audio experience is qualitatively different from the live experience. It simultaneously far exceeds the beuty of a live performance and falls often short of it. While it gives me joy and awe, I shall pursue it. When it stops doing it, I will concentrate on other pursuits. . . . or at least I shall get my ear-canal cleaned up by a specialist.
the point of this thread is to observe the futility of configuring a stereo system and expecting it sound like live music and the idea that a good cheap reproducer of music is closer to an expensive stereo than an expensive stereo is to live music.

the other thought is to give you guys someone to attack. it's cheaper than going to a therapist, beating your wife, or other anti-social behavior.

keep those adjectives coming. i'm enjoying every minute.
"the point of this thread is to observe the futility of configuring a stereo system and expecting it to sound like live music....."

And you want to have philosophical discussions with anyone foolish enuf to believe that they will ever have a audio system in their home that sounds like live music.......go figure.

For the sake of your consistency meter, as I said in another thread, your posts are like fishing in a trout farm pond with an empty hook..........

As to personal attacks, what can I say but that you are so effective at setting yourself up for them, even I can't resist, and I'm one of the nice guys here. :-)

If I may be so bold as to suggest, if you really want to enjoy real dialog with forum participants stop setting up rediculous good v bad situations in which you intend to be a 'moderator' and utlimately win the debating contest by implementing your of your newly discovered use of logic (see, in another post you set your self up for that comment as well, sorry - the devil made me do it.)

You may be please to know that this will be my last post on any of your meaningless threads. If you have something interesting to share or assistance you may need I will, as I alread have, happily respond.

Good luck.
If I may be so bold as to suggest, if you really want to enjoy real dialog with forum participants stop setting up rediculous good v bad situations in which you intend to be a 'moderator' and utlimately win the debating contest by implementing your of your newly discovered use of logic.
The real hole in the argument:

Cheap gear vs expensive gear is a real choice (given access to enough cash).

Gear (any sort) vs live music is not a real choice:
Hey, should I put on a cd or run out to see a show tonight?

You make your hardware decision based on your own personal diminishing returns analysis for that purchase.

Then - go out and see a show!
"the other thought is to give you guys someone to attack. it's cheaper than going to a therapist, beating your wife, or other anti-social behavior."

Hmmm, I think MrTennis might like punishment. Quick, get the Cat O 9 Tails!
Hmm, looks like to me our Dr. Pingpong is actually the one who is enjoying the show of the little golden carps in the pond swimming frantically after the mechanical froggie! 'member guys and gals. . . keep smilin' or the old ticker may start a'rattlin'!
if my rig sounded like live music i'd throw it all in the trash & start over,really i would.

no low end bass,bloated mid bass & harsh highs,not the sound for me jack,to me live music is more about enjoying the (event) than it is about critical listening.

next thing your gonna tell us is all amps sound the same as long as thier not clipping.
The other thing you miss when listening to recorded symphony music is the sound of old geezers opening up their cellophane wrapped cough drops during quiet passages in the piece. Always a treat: Crinkle......crinkle....cough, cough, cough, chair squeaks, people mumbling, paper rustling, farts, deep lung hacking, etc. Ah yes, there's nothing quite like the live event.
I agree with Bigjoe, live events are to be enjoyed & have little to do with critical listening unless you have been an active Audiogon member for many years & you find yourself evaluating every source of music. I caught myself one time evaluating my car stereo, thinking it sounded pretty darn good but lacked in transparency however I quickly reminded how ridiculous this is.

Years ago was a simpler time for myself when ignorance was bliss. I wasn't concerned with audiophile terms like soundstaging, imaging, transparency, etc. It was the music & only the music. Now with more experience, the genie is out of the bottle, there is no going back, but once again I want to be more focused on the music & less focused on critical listening if thats possible.

Anyway a stereo system will never sound like live music and as Bigjoe mentioned some people wouldn't have it any other way.
the purpose of this thread and others is to stimulate thinking about long held beliefs about a lot of subjects.

the idea of comparing good vs bad confronts beliefs held about a subject.

what is meaningless or irrelevant to one person may be relevant to another. as to moderating and winning debates,
with the idea of winning them, this is your interpretation. in a philosophical discussion, there are no winners or losers.

as to this subject.

i consider the experience of listening to recorded music in the home as comprising two phenomena--that of sound and music.

i believe that a cheap stereo can rival an expensive stereo as a medium of enjoying and relating to the musical content, while, presumably, an expensive stero can sound better than a cheap stereo.

so, it depends upon your priorities.

a bad sounding concert of un amplified instruments sounds better than any reproduction in the home.
"i believe that a cheap stereo can rival an expensive stereo as a medium of enjoying and relating to the musical content"

I thought that this was an interesting line in one of Mrtennis' comments above.

Quite often in Stereophile there is an interview with a musician. Invariably, the musician is asked what his music system is composed of, with the interviewer hoping that the response will contain a list of approved audiophile components. However, often the answer from the musician is that he has a boombox or some mass market system. This has happened enough times that I recall reading a letter to the editor on the topic, or possibly it was a thread here on AudiogoN years ago. The letter, or thread, raised the point that many musicians, who presumably know a lot about music, don't seem to care too much about high end equipment. They focus on the music, and hear past the sonic limitations of the equipment they're listening to. This is the essence of the quote above from Mrtennis. If you're really into the music, the equipment doesn't matter too much. I also see this attitude in posts from some other AudiogoN members. Somebody makes a comment about how they once had a system worth many thousands of dollars, but they've since pulled back and now have a system worth much less,...and they're now a lot happier enjoying the music, even though the soundstaging, imaging, etc., etc. is less than their previous, expensive system. The constant upgrading in search of audio nirvana, in addition to taking a toll on the pocketbook, seemed to be an addiction that diverted one's attention away from enjoying what they had. And they didn't realize it until the addiction was broken and they settled back into a nice, small system, refocusing on music rather than on equipment.

I have to say, I'm starting to feel that way myself more and more.

The impression I get from reading thousands of posts and ads in AudiogoN over the years is that most of the people here are equipment addicts, not music addicts. I make no criticism of anybody in this comment; neither do I intend disrespect to people's personal priorities in pursuing this hobby. I merely state what I observe in an objective a manner as I can. And as such, I agree with the comment from Mrtennis.
Guidocorona sez the proposition,
"How many anally retentive audiophiles can dance on the outer edges of my soundstage?"
is undecidable. Actually, I think that's quantifiable IF we all agree on the definition of anal- retentive. Then it would just be a matter of solving a space-time equation...:)
Mr Tennis sez
i believe that a cheap stereo can rival an expensive stereo as a medium of enjoying and relating to the musical content, while, presumably, an expensive stero can sound better than a cheap stereo
Quite so. Presumably, better sound can enhance the musical enjoyment and also open a wider window into the actual musicians' performance -- avoiding, that is, those rare occasions when the reporduction of Berlioz by Beecham sounds like Baroque by Leonhardt...
Methinks you've provided an adequate answer to your question.
Markphd: It's hard to argue with what you're saying; however, that's not exactly what Mrtennis said in his post. Actually, his post makes no sense at all. His first sentence is probably somewhat true, but please tell me what he's saying in the next paragraph. They're not even remotely connected.

Indeed, many musicians aren't all that concerned about the illusion of reality when they listen to a system. They're more interested in technique and the big picture. There's nothing wrong with that. But for many of us, the better the quality of reproduction, the more we will enjoy the experience.
Mrtennis, that would depend on your definition of 'better'. Having been into music for the last 45 years, I am less and less sure of what that means. One thing I know is that , in order for me to have the same acoustic experience listening To Lara St. John playing Bach on the Violin whilst being at a live concert, I would need not only to be on stage, but close enough for the proximity to become socially unacceptable in most musical circles, with the added danger of repeatedly experiencing the thrust of her bow in my eyeballs, or her elbow in my solar plexus, depending on orientation.
On the other hand, as pointed out by others, the live experience has an sensorial, social and emotional complexity and personal implications that reach far beyond the simple sonics of the source, and which are not, by definition, reproduceable electronically.
Thus, when I think of the live performance of Carlo Chiarappa Playing Bach's Ciaccona in D minor on his Stradivari under the 16th century portico of Groznjan in Croatia, I know my experience can't be ever repeated nor reproduced. Yet, was it simply the sound of his fiddle, reverberating from the vaulted ceiling which made it unique, or was this combined with Chiarappa's stage presence in checkered shirt-sleeves standing on the worned flagstones, the arched portico itself in the ancient little village square, the youth from both sides of the Iron Curtain congregated there to do and breathe music for three unforgettable weeks, the summer night with its own sounds. Or is it perhaps the longing and the 30-year-old memory of it all?
At the risk of being viewed as a pariah, multichannel does a much better job of replicating a live performance than two channel.

As mentioned above, soundstaging is a figment of imagination that lives only in a stereo system, not the real world, but how many people here obscess about their sounstage, imaging etc. which have nothing to do with reproduction of a concert.

Note, I'm talking about a well-recorded multichannel recording of a live performance, not DSOTM where stuff comes from everywhere.

Try a good multichannel system with a good multichannel recording if you dare. Years ago going to stereo from mono was heresy - notwithstanding the objections here, some time from now, two channel will be a quaint memory, with the same chuckles about the objections.
hi 9rw. it is the opinion of some that sound quality enhances the enjoyment of music. i say that the enjoyment of music has nothing to do with sound quality. it depends upon innner (psychological) qualities which make one receptive to appreciating and enjoying music.

there are plenty of studies, including two from stereophile several yeras ago, to support my position.

i respect your opinion that for you sound is important. but that's your opinion. it has nothing to do with making sense or nonsense.

i think the theme of my posts has been that all experiences are purely subjective, have nothing to do with knowledge and the concept of quality is not absolute.
I remember one reviewer wrote, what digital sources like CD have done to music is borderline criminal and that these sources have failed to reproduce the original recording faithfully, rearranging the music in an artificial way. Furthermore any gear in question and its reproduction of music should be evaluated based on pure musical enjoyment & not the adjectives that most audiophiles use to descibe a satisfactory system. I also believe he prefered mono as opposed to stereo reproduction, no doubt old school & purely analog.

Anyhow, this thread brought to mind an old ad: "Is it Memorex or is it live".
9rw... I wasn't referring to the whole post of Mrtennis when I said that I agreed with his comments. It was just the one sentence which I quoted which really hit me and which I commented on. I haven't really even thought about the totality of his post. It was 4:00 A.M. when I wrote what I did, and my ability and concentration to reflect on the broader content of the post just wasn't there.
Mrtennis: Audiophiles who love music (not all do) usually are seeking accuracy in a system, and accuracy isn't subjective. Some people simply are not qualified to judge because they do not have the points of reference or perhaps they lack the hearing ability. Personal preference has nothing to do with accuracy, as some people may prefer exaggerated treble or bass, and neither can be considered accurate.

My guess is that you have not heard a really good system set up properly. Still, nothing comes close to a live acoustic performance.
hi 9rw. there is knowledge, opinion and facts.

your first statement about love of music and accuracy is not based upon knowledge. there is no proof to support your premise.

therefore its an opinion. you can make your statement appear it has some weight, but it is an opinion. is accuracy subjective ? the way to ascertain accuracy in the context of stereo systems is subjective, as there is no definitive comparison between live and recorded music possible. if you mean accurate to the recording, there is no way to know what a recording sounds like and no way to know whether a stero system has reproduced the recording aaccurately, to whatever degree, as there are too many variables.

my guess is that you do not speak of knowledge and your last statement is without merit.

i have auditioned thousands of stereo systems and can say to this day that my favorite stereo system consists of stacked quads with low powered tube amps and tube preamps.

it's still subjective regardless of what you say because your statements are not based upon knowledge.

in my opinion, i have heard many stereo systems that were properly set up, but have disliked the sound of most of them.
Okay, it's not 4:00 A.M. anymore, so I'm thinking more clearly now.

The thread starts with:

"i believe that a stereo system recreates about 10 % of what a live orchestra sounds like."

I agree that reproduced music does not sound like live music. The 10% number seems to be just picked out of the air. I don't attribute any special significance to it however, other than to emphasize the proposition that reproduced music is not like live music.

In the second paragraph, it is stated:

"therefore, i also believe that a $350 Brookstone personal stereo based on the nxt technology sounds closer to most stereo systems, at any cost, than most stereo systems do when reproducing the sound of an orchestra."

The point I take from this paragraph is that just as reproduced music is not like live music, in a similar fashion, an inexpensive music system is not the same as an expensive music system. I would agree with this.

The relative difference between the two comparisons, I cannot answer as I don't know how to quantify it. Is a reproduced music system closer to live music than an inexpensive reproduced music system is to an expensive reproduced music system, or vice versa? I don't even know what to think on this point.

Not being able to resolve this question, I started thinking about something related to the inexpensive/expensive reproduced music proposition.

I started to think about how the expense and quality of reproduced music is not necessarily related to one's enjoyment of music. That's where the musician interview comment in my post arose from. People who know a lot about music, and who love music dearly, do not necessarily care about expensive, high end components. On the other hand, there are many people for whom "better" components, however you define it, do add to their appreciation of music. In other words, it's highly subjective. Some people appreciate music without a need for high end components. For other people, music is appreciated more with different, or more expensive, components. I don't see either approach as inherently superior to the other, although they do differ in price.

Taking this thought one step further, it has occurred to me that there are many audiophiles who chose the wrong path. These people appreciate music to a level of personal satisfaction without the need for very expensive gear. Yet they unwittingly found themselves on the upgrade treadmill, the route chosen by audiophiles who appriecaite music more with endless tweaking and upgrading. As a result, they spent more and more but were not any more satisfied. At some future point, they realize that spending more money isn't increasing their appreciation of music. They scale back their system, focus on the music, not on constant upgrades, and now they're content and happy. They had simply chosen the wrong route. Again, there is no judgment as to which route is best. It's subjective. Not all people choose the same route in order to appreciate music. Nor do they need to. Unfortunately, some people simply chose the wrong route needed for their personal satisfaction, and it took some reflection, and a lot of money, for them to realize it.

So Mttennis has succeeded. He has gotten me thinking about things. I just don't have the time to write dissertations on the daily barrage of open ended threads.
Mrtennis: Not to belabor this pointless discussion, but there are indeed very reliable methods to objectively determine accuracy. Talented speaker designers do this all of the time. They certainly would not rely on the judgment of a person who has a difficult time distinguishing between a "$350 Brookstone personal stereo" -- whatever that is -- and a true reference system. I stand by my post as written. Enjoy your boom box and don't give it another nonsensical thought.
And of course Dr. Pingpong is not even considering that his beloved 'live' music is but a pale instantiation of the infinite variety of potential much superior performances inferred by the composer's musical score. In turn the score is but a pale instantiation of the original musical thought conceived by the composer. Hence applying the odd syllogistic pingpongism, the recorded performance is at least three order of magnitude inherently inferior to the original abstract musical conception. As a former classical music composer this inherent superiority of what's in my mind fills me with undisguised pride and gloting. Yet, as a lover of beauty, wherever it may be found, I just know that this is just a bunch of unadulterated hogwash! Which just reminds me, I better run and reconnect my system, after todays glorious audio extravaganza at Arnie's (Babybear) place. Just listening to the Music Of The Spheres in the depth of my mind is just not for me any longer.. . and how many times did I repeat the word 'just' just in this post?
Guidocorona, probably too many times. But that is just the way you are. Oops, I said it too.
if there are reliable ethods to objectively detrmine accuracy, the question is accuracy to what ? is the reference live music, in which case how do you compare the sound of a recording through a stereo system to the sound of the instrument themselves ?

if the reference is the recording, how can you verify the accuracy of the stereo system relative to a recording when the sound of a recording is unknown as well as that of the components which comprise the stereo system.

its fine to make statements but you have no evidence to back them.

you are again providing evidence that this endeavor is indedd subjective and not objective as you state.

in addition , 9rw, you have misinterpreted what i said. i did not say that there was no difference sonically between a $350 personal stereo and an expensive stereo.

there is a difference, sonically.

finally my experience listening to 100s of stereo system and a good set of ears obviously is the basis for evaluating stereo systems.

but i realize that what constitutes a reference system is subject to disagreement, because it tooo is a matter of opinion.
no. never will

but i postulate that it aint the playback system it's the recording that has the main effect. Especially multi channel mixed stuff where the engineer gets to monkey with things so that they bear no resemblance to the balance that you would experience live. I say this because playing recorded music back through a PA don't sound like live music. Live music is the result of a bunch of independent sources interacting whith each other and the room creating a stage volume which may be further altered by shoving it all through the board and effects and then the mains and then into the room. no way can that be recreated, even multichannel. even solo instruments aren't accurately recorded IMO. the dynamics and texture of my 40 watt guitar amp would challange about any system to reproduce it due to what goes south in the recording process.

When building or evaluating a system one can shoot for more realistic accurate timbres on the instruments, which are much more pleasing through a high dollar rig than a cheap one. You get way more details out of a high dollar rig than a cheap one. The artificial soundstage on a well set up high dollar rig provides an interesting environment to escape into. This last factor is most important for me.

As to musicians not caring about high dollar gear most musicians i know dig a good system but they tend to have GAS and don't make a lot of money. In a decisions between money poured into play back gear or source material which can be used to advance their playing the source material wins. A bass player friend of mine has 11 peach crates of LPs and thousands of cds all played through a cheap reciever/CD system with old bookshelf speakers and a 30 yr old turntable. All his money goes to music.
A photograph also doesn't look like the real thing but that doesn't mean the difference between a Leica and a cheap disposable is not meaningful. However, there is a market for both. So it does depend on what you value and can afford.

That was so well said.
Excellent articulate statement and I concur.
I enjoy music on whatever equipment whether it be a walkman, car stereo, dvd player through the tv! Right now as I type I am listening to music through a cheap Creative pc speakers set up. Very enjoyable. But when the big system gets turned on....Bliss.
I do enjoy my 10%.
Ps Mrtennis, out of interest how do you get to a figure of 10%?