How to get the impact of a live concert?

Yes, I know, big speakers, lots of power. : ) But I really am looking to "feel" the dynamics of the music, like you would at a concert. I'm not only talking about bass, although that is certainly a part of it. My wife and I were at Dave Matthews Band concert last night and it always amazes me, how impactful music is when it's live. Obviously, I understand they have a LOT of power driving a LOT of speakers, but they were filling the whole outdoors (outside venue). I'm only trying to fill my listening room. Would a good sub help? Different speakers?

I currently have Gallo Reference 3.1's and Klipchs Forte II's (Crites mods) driven by a Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista M3.
Also often more current delivery with many speakers, probably including the Gallo's but less so for the Klipsch.

The Gallo bass drivers fire sideways as I recall so that alone would probably up the ante in terms of power needed to deliver a certain level of impact at the listening position.

Proper damping of the speaker by the amp is very important.

Build quality of drivers and the overall speaker design is important also though size does of course matter when it comes to attempting live concert like impact.

A good sub can certainly help if integrated well, though that can be tricky to achieve well in many cases.

I love the Bel Canto ref1000m/OHM 5 omni speaker combo I use in particular in this regard. This combo does it all in regards to reproducing the impact of a live concert in my room. I can't imagine it being any better.
Take a moment and go to Audio Asylum. There is a current thread in the 'General' forum discussing the importance of Dynamic's and what that term means. It is an excellent post and some of the contributors also discuss the practical ramifications of trying to get good results at home.

It is not definitive but I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to approach the goal of live music at home, or at least wants to know why you won't ever get there.
The Audio Asylum thread is a good one with valid points.

Its not easy and requires first knowing what "there" means to you, and then a lot of work and experimentation over time perhaps to get there. It took me years (decades actually) but I do not necessarily agree that one can never get "there".

"There" will always be a reproduction with some limits/variations in practice, but these can be made insignificant to the point where it really should not matter to most. Money, time, and knowledge are certainly the keys.

2kw per channel in your living room.
Yep, in general, the quick recipe to best get impact of a live concert is larger speakers with more and or larger quality drivers, the highest power and current quality power amp you can manage to drive them, and a quality source to feed it all.

Bottom line, you need an effective combo of both quantity and quality. ALso larger and/or less lively rooms will require more quantity than others. In smaller/livelier rooms, less can be more.
The only speakers that I ever owned that reproduced the sound I would hear at a concert are Klipschorns. I am sure there are others, but I'll bet they are horn designs as well.
the closest to live i ever heard was with the Wilson Audio WAMM system consisting of two (18") subwoofer cabinets in the back and a pair of "trees" with
different speaker arrays on them that could be pointed independently and a complex crossover as well to tune the system to the room and listening position.
IMHO Wilson should re-introduce this concept again even if it is just for experimentation to see what is possible. anyway, the sound was so enveloping and powerful (loud but not ear-shattering) on a live rock concert and a symphony recording i was fairly speechless afterwards. but you would need a room 25 X 30 to set the WAMM up properly. it sure would be nice if everyone could get a chance to hear something like that- but i guess the easiest is of course to buy tickets and attend a concert (if you can get good seats).

My OHMs do it for me as well but require a larger amp to do it best.

They are not horns nor conventional box/dynamic speakers. The OHM CLS Walsh driver configuration used is fairly unique.

I have heard some very large and expensive conventional box design speakers do very well with suitable amplification. Same with horns, but with fewer watts.
My Aerial 10t in 17x22 room do it with 2x sunfire SRA biamp that push them with nearly 1kw per each. They spec to blast 140db/m of SPL. Klipschhorns would cripplecrack after they reach 125db/m.
Also remember to consider that continuous SPLS above 83-85 db or so are generally regarded to be harmful to our ears. SO, practically, be careful about what you wish for in terms of loudness and dynamics like a live concert. You just might get it...too much...too often. Better for a music lover to preserve their hearing as best as possible. A very loud, very good, very dynamic home system can literally be the equivalent of a lethal weapon to your ears.
Again, I'm not talking about volume. I'm talking about the impact, dynamics, feeling, whatever you want to call it. For me, that's more import to making the music sound live, than throwing a huge soundstage or getting every note exactly right. That of course, is just my opinion.
live and recorded music will always be different.
I have been lusting fir a pair of Ohms for years, but always went in another direction. But there is still time.
I believe that you are right, because I respect your opinion, and because I was just recalling an experience that I had at an audio show in NYC. Richard Shahinian was demonstrating the Diapason/Double Eagle system, and the dynamics were astounding.
Marakanetz, please explain how the Aerials do 140dB.
"Again, I'm not talking about volume. I'm talking about the impact, dynamics, feeling, whatever "

Obviously, these all depend on volume/SPL levels attainable cleanly. Can't have impact and dynamics and maximum feeling without sufficient volume/SPLs.

"Throwing a huge soundstage or getting every note exactly right" also depends significantly on volume.
"How to get the impact of a live concert?"
Well when you say impact... it comes down to high sensitivity speakers and some real juice with the power amp... You'll get plenty of impact.
I actually tried to get the live sound years ago. Large warehouse, high ceilings, 2 Klipschorns, 2 Jbl B460 18" sub woofers, 2 Jadis DEFY stereo amps, Dahlquist crossover Jadis pre-amp (JPL) etc.

I came VERY close, Stevie Ray Vaughn was AWSOME. Every one that heard it, including some serious audiophiles, had the same commement.

"I didn't think that was possable" as they slowly shook their heads.

It was a lot of fun.
There is a small auditorium in the Music Museum in Phoenix, Arizona that has the very best sound I've heard in a venue like this. These speakers are clearly labeled Tannoy. I go to events there even if I don't know or have an interest in the performance, knowing full well, that I will come away enthralled.
I moved to Surprise AZ. last year, and was told that museum was great, but I haven't gone yet. I will check it out.
What town do you live in?
Back in the 70's with the help of some friends, Jack Daniels, and most importantly a pair of Altec Voice of the Theater speakers, with Hendrix and the Doors, I truly believe we exceeded the impact of a live concert. Impact was not only heard but felt those speakers could literally bring down your home.
My BOSE 901's with wood glue coated paper cones gets me very close to a LIVE CONCERT now !!....WOW

I owned a pair if Altec A7s for years...part of my PA all through the 70s (eventually bi-amped), and made cool (albeit large), sweet sounding (that middy horn and woody wood box) stereo speakers although somewhat colored sounding by today's standards. As a pro musician (and owner of a modern small but MUCH better than the "old days" PA system) and live sound tech I have to say this thread seems silly to me. Any good home system with full range speakers (I use a REL it) should be dynamic as hell or it's kind of pointless. Just turn the damn thing up if you need to. Gigantic live systems can sound better than ever, or worse if an idiot is mixing the show...and often are stupidly loud, which is lame.
You can get volume, you can get dynamics, you can get bass you can feel in your chest, but recorded music never sounds like live music. It's a simulation of live music. I am reminded of that at the most unlikely of times. Most recently, it was in the lower concourse at Grand Central Station. My wife and I were going downstairs to get something to eat on the train and over the din we heard some guitar music. It was a vendor promoting his self-produced CD and was playing thru a small amplifier, cranked up to be audible over the crowd. As I heard the first few notes, it was very, very clear that there was someone actually playing a guitar, a couple of hundred feet away, behind a pillar, in an acoustically very live, very noisy space. I think it's likely that you can get closest with rock & pop, which are usually highly processed, rely v. little on an instrument producing notes in real space (an electric guitar or piano doesn't sound like much w/o an amplifier and lots of processing does it?) & has a more limited dynamic range.
The impact of a live performance isn't necessarily measured in volume alone... Very high sensitive speakers and I should have added with alot of cone mass combined with a big quality dynamic amplifier will give move more air and give you dynamics that you typically just can't experience in your everyday system. Of course the speakers need to be well designed, but alot of cone area that is well designed with real sensitivity combined with big power, then you will give stunning realism even when not played at 120 db. It doesn't have to be loud to show the speed and dynamics of a system like this. Its not necessarily the screaming volume, but instead it the feel and impact that helps put you there.

07-11-12: Swampwalker
...recorded music never sounds like live music. It's a simulation of live music.

Swampwalker definitely hits the nail right on the head although most issues brought up here are quite valid. The process of getting live music onto recording and the capturing of sound through the microphone. Try imagining the big wall of sound converging to the head of the microphone before being converted to electrical signal and amplified/reproduced through loudspeakers. The sound that we get at the end of loudspeakers is a simulation of live music, in other words an illusion that the musicians performing in live shows or recording studios are brought into our rooms before us.

We can replicate or improve the illusion or feel of a live concert in our homes by proper setting up of the system and room treatments(apart from selection of loudspeakers) but we can only go so far with the equipment/technology that we have. I would look at dynamic speakers and the room if one wants to get a more live concert feel in the room.
Ok, never mind then.
I'm a little confused Ecruz maybe you can set me straight are you asking us how to feel the impact of a live concert or are you wanting an exact duplication of the sound? I believe we can easily feel the power of the music but to duplicate the sound I'm not so sure.
Klipschorn: 105 dB at 1 watt input. Max 125 dB, which is about 5dB beyond threshold of pain, and requires about 125 wpc to reach it.

I had a pair of Altec 9845A studio monitors. About 101 dB on 1 watt input. I could make a big band record sound live in my dorm room with a 44 wpc *compact* (receiver w/turntable mounted on top). People were running around the dorm looking for the live band.
Hire the Rolling Stones to play at your house.
Why would anyone want to try to sound like a live concert.Most times concert sound sucks.Just loud.
I think you, as well as many people here, would be better served with high-end sound reinforcement gear than traditional home stereo speakers. Companies like EAW and JBL Pro make the speakers you hear at these concerts and they are specifically designed to deliver the sound you want to emulate.
Can there be one answer to this question?

The "live" sound of a paint-peeing rock band (which as Bobo notes, often sucks -- in a good way), and the "live" sound of an un-amplified singer/songwriter are very different things (and so on for many different genres), so getting them right might ask for pretty different systems.

IMHO, many of the comments above seem to have rock, or large scale music, in mind.

"Most times concert sound sucks.Just loud."

VEry true, but sometimes it is done well, sometimes to essential perfection. THose are the ones I have heard that I use as a reference.

Omnidirectional speakers and the OHMs I use specifically are uniquely able to to deliver a "live sounding" sound in my home. Other conventional design speakers and planars I use or have used in the past, less so, and better suited for how most of use are used to listening to recordings. These are two uniquely different things, different ways of presenting the same recordings. WHich is better will largely come down to a matter of preference.
The simplest answer to the original question is: It can't be done. The impact of a live performance can't be duplicated in the home; no playback equipment is good enough to replicate it faithfully. You may get close (although, "close" means different things to different people), but I think Swampwalker and Ryder got it right.

As the OP reminds us, it's not the volume he is after, and some keep telling him that yes you need the volume. Sure, if you are talking about rock music you need a healthy volume. But the impact of what sheer volume brings to the "impact table" can't be separated from the volume (size) of the space that the music is being played, or played back, in; that's always going to be a limiting factor. How 92db FEELS from a middle of the hall seat in a concert arena is going to be very different from the way 92db feels in a listening room at home. IMO, what gives music impact is the speed of the transients, the micro dynamics, not simple loudness. I've heard plenty of stereo systems that can play at "concert levels" and that sound dead and unexciting, and simply made me run out of the room. I have heard fewer systems that at moderate volumes get a lot closer to the feeling created (for example) by a live kick drum and snare, and which as a result allow the bass playing on the music to be much more realistically in synch (groove) with the drummer, and not just a stodgy mess. That's what creates impact and excitement in playback.
Live jazz in a good club can give you the impact Ecruz is talking about. Here in the Bay Area, the two Yoshi's clubs are fine-sounding rooms with excellent Meyer Sound systems. But even unamplified, the impact of a cymbal crash -- you can feel it in your chest! -- is something I've never heard reproduced well on a stereo system. How come?
Smoke a fat one and crank it up to 11.
I know a small place in Maryland that books name acts in a club-like setting and the sound is always spot on. I have been there about a half dozen times seeing various acts and seated in the "sweet spot".

Find a place like this, that cares about good sound along with the rest of a quality product, even if just with local talent, and use it as a reference for the kind of live sound one might have a chance of reproducing very well at home.

Symphony halls often have great live sound as well, but getting your room to match acoustics of a large venue like a symphony hall is not a good place to start :-).
Live Sound

And yes I make them :-)

Good Listening

Use a hi quality horn loudspeaker. Horns are the sound of live amplified music.
Even though I have certain reservations about the speakers....

...the closest thing to a live rock performance that I've ever heard on a hi-fi system was a demo of a live blues rock recording at the Strereophile LA show 5 or 6 years ago. The speakers were MBL 101s demo'd at ear splitting SPL. If you get a chance to see MBL demo their products at a show, you might want to take it in. Love 'em or hate 'em, these speakers (when fed enough juice) can do the live rock thing very impressively.

I think the single most important element that defines the difference between the sound produced at home vs a live venue is the room itself. In most situations at a live show, the % of direct vs reflected sound is much greater at the live show - unless you are seated next to or just infront of a wall.

It's the room, baby!
Mapman, what venus are you speaking of in Maryland?

Pbnaudio, yes you make them, and they do look impressive; but "Live Sound"? No offense, but I doubt it. I don't want to derail what could be a very interesting discussion by bringing up the issue of the appropriateness of using a thread like this to tout one's wares, but I would have been a lot less sensitive to and critical of your unabashed sales pitch if you had offered some kind of substantive and relevant commentary as well. How does your design differ from so many like it, that also strive for "Live Sound"? What exactly can Ecruz expect to hear from your speaker that will bring him closer to the impact of "live"?
I noodle along on an electric guitar or bass using a tube amp with my PA driven drum tracks for hours you could merely come to my house. Also, modern "constant directivity" PA horns in high quality systems are often pretty clear...nothing like the old stuff, and the "phased array" type wide and short stacked boxes have very short throw horns designed for wide dispersion, high sensitivity, and acoustic coupling with each a gigantic hifi.
"Mapman, what venus are you speaking of in Maryland?"

Hmm, well, its very small and only a few tables in the sweet spot, so I am going to be a bit selfish and not disclose openly here.

I would send you an email if that were still possible incognito in A'gon?

Maybe I can give a clue or two. It hosts well known national acts almost nightly year round and is ~34 miles from Washington DC according to google maps in Maryland and not in Baltimore although there is an affiliated venue there.

ALso FWIW, their web site claims a current #1 nightclub ranking in the world. Definitely one of the best I have attended.

Another I have been to only once but delivered an absolute top notch sounding event when I did several years back was Snug Harbor Jazz Club near the French Quarter in New Orleans.
I have heard fewer systems that at moderate volumes get a lot closer to the feeling created (for example) by a live kick drum and snare, and which as a result allow the bass playing on the music to be much more realistically in synch (groove) with the drummer, and not just a stodgy mess. That's what creates impact and excitement in playback.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! It's not the volume, it's the "snap, pop, impact", whatever you want to call it. I'm not saying I want concert level volume. I just want that feeling that live music gives or I should say, I want to get closer to that feeling. And I'm asking how I can get closer?
"I have heard fewer systems that at moderate volumes get a lot closer to the feeling created (for example) by a live kick drum and snare, and which as a result allow the bass playing on the music to be much more realistically in synch (groove) with the drummer, and not just a stodgy mess. That's what creates impact and excitement in playback."

Part of this may be dynamic limitations with the playback system and or recording format (like CD) but this may not be the system necessarily. It could be an aspect of many recordings as well as due to our ear's lowered sensitivity to low frequencies at lower volume. This is the kind of thing loudness controls and other forms of equalization are designed to correct by again INCREASING VOLUME of the needed frequencies ONLY. As the chart shows, this is less of an issue at higher volumes in general, which is why upping the volume knob almost always helps.

"Live" music occurs typically at fairly high live volumes/SPLs. There is no volume knob available to turn it down and have these effects come more into play although typically listening from a more remote location would have a similar effect.
"Pbnaudio, yes you make them, and they do look impressive; but "Live Sound"? No offense, but I doubt it. I don't want to derail what could be a very interesting discussion by bringing up the issue of the appropriateness of using a thread like this to tout one's wares, but I would have been a lot less sensitive to and critical of your unabashed sales pitch if you had offered some kind of substantive and relevant commentary as well. How does your design differ from so many like it, that also strive for "Live Sound"?"

I have not heard those speakers so I cannot say how they sound, however I think the design principles evident in the photos alone would lend these well to the task at hand in that they are large and use larger multiple drivers in a symmetrical pattern that I would expect to help in regards to overall coherency and imaging accuracy with a large multi-driver design.

I've seen some Daedalus speakers with similar design characteristics and have heard a lot of very good things about those.

So I think at least the evident design approach is smart and I would not discount PBNs claims right out of the shoot anyhow based on that, but of course the proof is always in teh listening....

Well if you read the text in the link there are some information about hat I think differs my designs form the rest of them. Live sound to me is very dynamic and to do dynamics you need driver radiation area and power to move it accurately. We make both.

If its appropriate or not to bring a sales pitch to a forum I guess depends on how you look at it - I see nothing wrong with it, for one it could be that the OP did not know about my speakers - actually probably highly likely that he did not, now he does. Of course I hope he does some research and then decide if he wants to go further with it. If I went in stealth and touted how great they were well that would not be approiate - however my screen moniker would probably make it easy to put two and two together anyway.

I frequently post in these forums about what we make as it is my job to create awareness about our product - back in the days of the good old Audiogon I advertised on the site but with the new layout I don't see it as valuable tool.

As always

Good Listening


Personally I think it great that vendors participate in teh forums as long as they are forthright about it which you were.

Hopefully audiogon gets past the malaise that the very poorly conceived and executed recent "big bang" site upgrade seemingly created.
Here's some reality...relatively "uncompressed" sound is one difference that the live stuff gives you...and NO home audio speaker I know of could handle even one live miked kick drum thump without exploding...none. need extreme "pro" drivers for that with huge voice coils and proper acoustic loading to get anything close to live uncompressed thump, and, frankly, I don't personally care to use that in my sweet little hifi rig. If you want live sound, hire musicians.