How often should you re-calibrate your ears?

I went to see a jazz quartet last night in an intimate setting. It had been waay too long since I've been out to experience live music. Sitting at home listening to music and critiquing the accuracy of the recording is really worthless if you don't periodically experience a true reference...... a live event.

The experience provided me with some sorely needed perspective. I am now of the belief that twice a year is the minimun those in this hobby should experienc a live musical event of the type of music you listen to on recordings.

I now know I have been far too dependent on recorded music for too long. Live is still where it's at.
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You're absolutely correct that live is where it's at, but twice a year? Way too little. If we don't get out and support the arts, there will be less of them to sample live in the future (this coming, admittedly, from a trustee of a symphony orchestra and a singer in a number of good but not heavily attended choruses, but I think the point is objectively valid). about twice a month? That's about how often I hear real music during our orchestra's nine-month season. Some of us have REALLY short aural memories.
I used to listen to live jazz about twice a month, then life intervened. I woke up 15 years later to find out how much I have missed of what I used to really love to do. I got addicted to audio equipment and actually forgot about the real thing (live music)

Rcprince, your assessment of getting out more often to support the artists is right on the money....I will now make a conscious effort to do so.
Do it daily.
Buy an instrument and pay 1/10th of what you'd spend on audio gear on lessons, and 1/10th the time obsessing about gear on practice, and you can recalibrate at will.
It works for me.

For sure it's nice to hear, see and support an artist, but I find a new appreciation in the music when trying to emulate it.

It's obvious that many spend far too much time and effort on the equipment and not the music.

I agree I am studying classical piano as is my son; my daughter violin and piano. I also think we all need to get out more to support and appreciate the arts. The gift of music is grand.

I go to concerts a minimum of once a month, usually more. I also sing in a chamber group, so I hear vocals weekly at least in rehearsal.

My reference has always been live...
I went to a concert in SF this weekend (jazz). It made me realize that my system wasn't sounding as "bright" as I thought. The concert hall and live music sounded a bit harsh and when I closed my eyes the instruments weren't localized at all.

Morale is, Quit expecting perfection from my stereo.

Nothing beats the live stuff.
I heard a flute, drum set, acoustic guitar, bass, and a violin in an outdoor setting last summer. No reflections to muck things up. No amplifiers, no cables, no wires, no transistors. I was about 50 feet away.

Sounded like my Vandersteens.....Powered by McIntosh tubes.

To YOUR ears, another combination may give simular results.
Personally, I find concert halls to be a bit harsh and like mentioned above, there is poor localization of the instruments due to the "Bose Effect" of too many reflections.

Of course, if you LIKE that sound, buy Bose!!

Whatever sounds good to YOUR ears, man!!
As the father of a budding musician, my ears get recalibrated every day as my son practices. Of course, sometimes it's a bit TOO realistic (ouch).

But seriously, your point is well taken. We do need constant exposure to that reference. That's why I feel so fortunate to live in Nashville where they are building a new concert hall with world class acoustics designed right in. When completed, its acoustics are supposed to rival the best halls in all the world. And yes rcprince, I did contribute generously, within my means, towards its construction. I can't wait. :o)
If live were still where it's at, we'd be accessing ticketron instead of audiogon.
To all above who have posted:

From a music teacher............Thank you.

Keep supporting the performing arts!

all my best

I go to at least twice a month to see various live shows, some times they are amped sometimes not. I also play the drums almost everyday, no speaker can reproduce those dynamics, or source for that matter.
Kinsekd: That's great--but watch out, they may come after you to be a trustee if you give too much!!! We're fortunate here in NJ to have the NJ Performing Arts Center in NY with a very fine hall. It really shouldn't, in theory, make that big a difference in my enjoyment of the music (after all, it is the same music I love and played well by the same musicians), but it really does, as there are many seats in Avery Fisher Hall, for example, that make the musical experience almost unpleasant. When are they supposed to finish the construction?

Like everyone else you are certainly entilted to your opinion. I'm curious though - to what, or, to whom, do you listen on your system?
While I generally enjoy live music, I don't believe that what a person hears at a PAC or small club usually sounds very good. Concerts are fun because a person gets to sit in the room while a favorite musician interprets favorite tunes. It is the experience that people enjoy more often than the quality of the music.

There are a few audiophiles who will admit that their systems sound better than most live music. Generally they will not post it here though, for fear of being mocked and ridiculed.

Some people think the only way to determine the accuracy of their system is to use live music as their standard, but in reality this is simply impossible. The listener does not have enough information to determine the accuracy of what they heard at the show, and what they hear at home.

Everyone should attend concerts regularly, which I will be doing Saturday night, but I don't have any illusions about the ability to determine anything from it.
Yes in deed. And if you can situate yourself right in front of the mixing board in most cases you'll get the best sound. We did that at just this past weekend for some truly great american roots music. And the absence from your system for a few days makes it sound even better when you get home.
Nrchy is correct. Live performance and recorded music are two completely different things, from an auditory standpoint. Audiophiles have a false sence of real if they think that what they hear from their system is a live or real sound.

I stand before live musicians every day. From my observation, live is certainly not the same as what comes from my system every night.

Recorded music is so much more controlled than live music. Even recordings made from live performances have more controlls put on them than one tends to realize.

It is simply my hope that music lovers, not necessarily audiophiles, will continue to support live performance. Without support, live performers will cease to do, what it is that they do....perform. :-(
I try to get out at least a few times a year to experience live music. Live is live and IMO no amount of money can buy a Hi Fi system that can equal the live experience. Last year I went to a Jazz concert and the next day I visited a local Hi Fi dealer who had a system set up worth about $150,000.00. I heard a CD played on that system of the Jazz group I had heard the night before and it was NOT the same. It seems to me that once a recording is made something is just lost in the process and no amount of money worth of high end audio equipment can bring it back. The biggest difference I noticed was with the drums, especially with cymbals. They just had such a sweet metalic shimmer that was NOT there when the same recorded CD was played back on even a system in excess of 100 grand. It's like comparing a photo of a certain place or event, just not the same as being there.
We may be missing the point RCPrince made ...

NJPAC/Avery Fisher/Carnegie are concert halls playing UN-amplified, live music where your ears get to hear an instrument without any mixing board in the way. I would think this is in fact, a reference - even though we all do not necessarily like classical or "pop" music.

Listening to any amplified music thru a mixing board and amplifiers/speakers etc is, as has been pointed out above, not a reference at all. In these cases we are subject to the choices made by the mixing engineer, and the effects of transmitting and amplifying the music electronically (even when standing right in front of the mixing panel).
most every recording is meant to sound like a recording. even most live recordings are remixed and overdubbed.
i listen to tons of live music of a lot of different typse, play blues in clubs and have a brother that is a talented sound engineer.

The biggest difference, eerything else being equal which it ain't) is that live show system move so much more air than most home systems could ever dream of. The result is that while my home speakers are supposed to be flat to sub 30 db, and a pair of dual 18 EV subs are good into the 40's and not flat at all, the EVs will prvide the chest pounding that the home unit won't.

Likewise, when i listen to Bonny Raitt for example, i get the sence that somewhere in the recording room there is a raging blackface Fender Super Reverb but the impact from those 4X10s on the verge isn't conveyed; and it usually doesn't translate all that well through a PA either. Stage volume has a huge effect on the overall feel of a show because that is the source of the dynamics before the compressor/limiters get ahold of things. Getting it all through the mains is like listening to a untweaked mega system thrown into a bar).

And to comment on Ez2hear's remark about hearing through the board or the speakers, he's dead on. Once you get through the rack into the mains and into the room, that sound will often little resemble the dry sound off of the board. Effects and EQ can cover a lot of ills, as does taking an offending musician out of the mix while he's engaging in hog cutting.