Is live reproduction the goal of audio?

Is the ultimate direction of electronics to reproduce the original performance as though it were live?

The electronics engineer is highly regarded here as the expert on the field of hi-fi. I mean in universities they 1st took a hearing test in order to be excepted to the school of higher listening. It's funny that it's the musicians that are making the music. We are so stuck on the equipment that we believe it is the electronic engineer that "gets it". Does Yo-Yo Ma know electronics? Can he atleast build a 2 million dollar Stradivarius ? Do you need to be a 5 star chef to know flavor. I can take 1/2 of audiogon to a LIVE concert and they still won't "get it " How is he supposed to duplicate LIVE in his room when he can't "get it". Do you think an engineer can capture that if he won't go to one concert . Will the hi-fi fan duplicate the "live" feel if he can't "get it". Give him the best equipment what .Do you "get it" ???
I think it is to reproduce the recorded signal accurately, whether that signal is a live recording, studio mix of different takes, an electronic creation of the artist/engineer, etc. I benchmark electronics against original performances because I have heard unamplified live music and I "know" what it should sound like, presuming minimal loss in translation from mics, engineering, pressing, etc.
This will never be possible (thank God!). High End is to produce the most intriguing experience with reproduced music. High End and Live are two completely different stories - yet High End is the best way to listen to music outside the concert hall or venue.
There is no "getting it" to be gotten. It's all relative.
Aida I think said it best High End is the best (or closest) way to listen to music outside of a live performance. In other word, it's the next best thing.

How you perceive that is up to you since you are the one listening to your system the most. There are no rules, but I would assume people want accuracy and emotion to come through.

But don't get lost in the pursuit. I find myself getting anal about my system and making it perfect. I need to remind myself that the system is just vehicle to deliver music. If you think about your stereo more than music, then I think you are losing site of your goal assuming that it is the music.
It is relative...but electronics has as much to do with it as any thing else. It is a "whole" . If you want to duplicate the sound you must also capture the air as well as the notes. Your whole space ESPECIALLY the room has to have a say in the full ,and as close as possible reproduction of the whole musical experience. So enough with which brands can do what. And enough with the electrical engineer who knows nothing more about hi-fi than a doctor knows about life., Get it.
The goal of audio electronics and transducers is to sound as life-like as possible but this is not at all the same as "live".

Since real instruments have complex surfaces and venues have reflective surfaces that all radiate/reflect sound ....then the real thing is close to an impossibility for playback without a multitude of transducers and computer processing of signals.

An analogy would be a theatre play versus a movie.....the theatre is restricted to the stage where live actors can respond to eachother and the audience; it has major qualities in these dynamic interactions. A movie is flat 2D but an almost unrestricted visual palette for the director. Movies are edited and reviewed thousands of times to select the highest quality takes.

Both can be impressive but for very different reasons.

A movie will never fool you that it is real (even if it is impressive & engaging) and a live performance, so obviously real, will always be limited by the venue and the perfomers live abilities on that day.
To ACTUALLY perfectly reproduce a live orchestra is TOTALLY 100% impossible. Just as a television cannot create a living person. I my opinion the "GOAL" of home audio is to recreate as closely as possible the sound that the recording engineer hears during a LIVE session via the booth amplifiers and speakers. This is called "LIVE FEED". The live microphone passes thru playback amplifiers and speakers only; NO mixing boards or recording devices, or miles of cables, thousands of electrical components and connectors. This live studio playback type of sound is the same quality as you can hear when there is a live radio or TV program that has an in studio musician playing. The sound is clear, direct, with PACE, rythym, great dynamic range, without wow and flutter and a certain live "something" that is found in only the finest audio gear like Shroeder tonearms, SET amps, Supratek preamp, and high efficiency single frame full range speakers (Lowther). LIVE FEED is the goal and highest standard of comparison. Only the simplest (fewest components) and highest quality playback equipment can achievt this goal.
Yes and no.

I always believed it was, and still lean towards that view. I am now more aware of limitations though. I feel quite strange when some audiophiles focus on one aspect of sound reproduction to the detriment of the others.

Your question brings up the whole issue of rock and popular music, (let alone the computer generated or aided type)not having any kind of actual live performance to be captured.

The "it's all relative" answers simply serve to duck issues and are usually served to advance a totally subjective approach where ecverything and its polar opposite is justifiable or worst, seen as the truth.

The odd time I can be sucked into reproduced sound and either I think it is real or forget that it's not: no matter which, that's what the goal is it not? Too bad this magic doesn't work each and every time.

When the recording is bad, focus on the music. When the music is bad, focus on the recording. When the music and the recording are bad, don't blame your system.
In my opinion "no" I look at my systems as a musical instrument and I try to optimize its playback capbilities with that in mind.

I suppose I'd answer yes to the question, assuming the recording in the question was live.

Having said that, I have been closer to the live event in my system in the past than I am now, but I am enjoying my system now more than ever. In fact, I don't listen as much to "the system" as I do to the music. I am certain my system is less accurate than it was three years ago, but it's sure more musical.

Ultimately reproducing what is on the recording is the best you can do. Electronics have no intentions, the recording artists do, so even with perfect electronic technology the artist may decide to go retro with their sound and so should your system.

Like giving a painting proper lighting and place on the wall each CD/LP is a work of art and whether its good art or bad art the system at best should expose the true characteristics of the peice and give the listener enough information to discriminate the strengths and weaknesses of the many facets by which we judge art.

Modern Audiophiles engage in selective distortion in a sense they play Godhead or Creator, as they bend the work of others to satisfy themselves ( I am guilty) and this is the primary function of their system. This is why there is so much diversity in equipment as we do not build systems to accomodate intentions of the artist we instead build systems to suit our own aesthetic sensibilities, thus many of us are committing one of the mortal sins in our pursuit. On hobby level of course, no one is going to hell for this. :) But audiophiles put themselves first before the artist, and this is why a question like this can be raised with sincerity.

Creating "Live" feel is a distortion that some strive to attain....and at times do, but at a cost that another may not wish to pay. Distortion feeds into subjectivity, making subjectivity more important than objectivity. This of course is disasterous as in many areas equipment has improved little because the goal of what an "improvement" is remains unclear.

It is why high end is slowly dying, unlike Home Theater who's protaganists put the art first. Today, even the weakest lo-tech "High End Audio" company can survive on a good review and the attitude that whatever you like is right. When we all should have the fortitude to recognize that we may like the "wrong" thing and accept it. Smoking is unhealthy and if the goal is to be healthy then smoking is wrong. In a hobby which claims to deal in refinement and high performance, the reality is chaos and poor performance in the meaty part of the bell curve.

It is why outsiders don't "get it" and why sometimes our highly personalized systems give a negative impression to the un-enlightened and the enlightened alike.

At the time of my post there are four posts and all of them contain part of the chaos created by the lack of common ground on the matter. Let me finish make note of their thoughs so to highlite the incredible lack of consensus on such an easy topic.

"I benchmark electronics against original performances because I have heard unamplified live music and I "know" what it should sound like" (missing key detail) when recorder through X microphone and X processors, mastered on X speakers.... Over-simplification but the way it should be done.

"We are so stuck on the equipment that we believe it is the electronic engineer that "gets it".

The subtle rhetoric of exclusion and elitism

"High End is to produce the most intriguing experience with reproduced music."

The artist excluded, almost juxtaposed to the post above

There is no "getting it" to be gotten. It's all relative.

As permissive as it gets, no standards are good standards.

There will be more like this but why are these attitudes so prevalent and almost negative, when the answer to the original question is simply no.

Best Regards to you all.
No, the purpose of (specifically) electronics is to reproduce what's on the disk. What's on the disk may or may not reflect a recordist's attempt (successful or not) to capture something that sounds "live". But the recordist may have been after something else.

Now, in addition to reproducing what's on the disk as accurately as possible, the electronics should also give the listener the means to alter that in whatever way he wants, to produce a sound he enjoys.
It is the only goal that can effectively market the product. How else would you sell a pair of speakers, or an amp? "Hi, we're XYZ audio, and we eschew accuracy, achieving instead the sound we know you will prefer." Bye-bye XYZ audio!

I think that as we put together a system that pleases us, our personal goal emerges en route.
Then Boa2, is the goal of individuals different than the goal of audio?
The goal of the individual is to pay taxes and start wars etc...The goal of hi-fi is to grab your money.

The goal of the engineer is to take his knowlegde and apply it. How many bridge builders graduate and how many actaully build a bridge. Would you let a doctor straight out of school operate on your son ,or would you go with the guy who has actually duplicated the action.

Just because you went out and purchased 1K or 100K worth of equipment , placed it in a very VISUAL pattern, and are now plug and play does not make you an audiophile.

Symmetrical and visual set up systems are great for taking pictures and posting. Rack right in the middle and the speakers all placed nice and all....has nothing to do with sound I'm afraid. You are listening with your eyes and have taught yourself to hear in straight lines.
The goal of individuals is different than the goal of 'audio' because part of the goal of audio is to sell equipment and make a profit.
The simple answer is YES as the goal, but what people end up with does not sound anything like live music.

Look at all the posts that use terms like....transparent, dead quiet, black background, crystal clear, yada yada yada.

Anyone who actually goes out to listen to live music will have to admit that none of these terms apply to that. It is a pretty noisy world out there. I have never heard "earth shattering bass" at a live event.

Secondly, unless you listen to recordings of live concerts (most audiophiles do not), you are not listening to live music. Studio recordings are so over-edited, processed, etc, they don't approximate live music, no matter the type of music.
Lackefrontroad, what I think Boa2 is meaning to say is that we as people who enjoy audio find the route we like when it comes to its reproduction. We all like different sound qualities and natually gravitate towards those products which produce those sounds which we like.

Personally, I think that the goal of audio reproduction is to:

in the case of classical music, give a production that is as close to a live listening as possible. Not only this, but give this reproduction from the standpoint of the conductor's ears.

for other types of music, give an a real-life image of what the ensemble sounds like, be it a rock group, jazz or any other ensemble. I also believe that the audio engineer should do everything in his/her power to place the artist as if they were playing in ensemble accross a stereo soundstage.

Natually with these beliefs, I tend to gravitate twards products that produce what I think to be a completely un-biased un-colored reproduction of sound...So I guess my answer to your question would be, yes, live production is the goal.
the 'ultimate' direction of electronics is to sell more electronics...the 'ultimate' direction of the consumer is to find enjoyment with what they have purchased.
What does it mean to "reproduce the original performance as though it were live?" Since it can't be done perfectly, it comes down to tradeoffs. I think just about every high end manufacturer believes they are making good choices in the tradeoffs they make, all in the name of "recreating the original event" or "capturing the emotional experience of live music." For some of us, you can't get there without dynamics; for others, deepest bass; for others, correct timbre. Which is "more right"?

I would also say that the goal of electronics, as Lakefrontroad put it, may very well be different from our personal system-building goals. Nothing wrong with that.
It is the proverbial carrot-on-a-stick of audio. I agree, it can never be achieved. Yes, it is absolutely relative to the listener, and thus there are no absolutes. The goal of the audio industry is to perpetuate itself through pleasing their customers and or creating a demand for their products. You can market the stuff with all kinds of angles and theoretical goals. Ultimately it comes down to what pleases do you want the stuff coming off that spinning disk to sound in your home. You may want it to sound just like a live performance, but if you attend many live performances, and that is your goal, I think you'll always be reaching for that carrot that is just beyond your reach. Sit back and enjoy the music, wherever you are listening. Like most things in life, as soon as you attach expectations to it, that takes you far away from the experience.

Thye point is...your cd disc ,or vinyl records have tons of info in them. You are not getting even 25% out of it ,and I don't care what brand or how much you paid for it.
"The goal of audio electronics and transducers is to sound as life-like as possible but this is not at all the same as "live"."

What music isn't recorded live? How else can you record an instrument if it isn't a live person recording it?

C5150 - that's deep.
Interesting question and responses. I think that equipment designers fall into at least two camps (I'm sure others can add more). There are those who strive to build equipment which accurately reproduces/decodes the signal being fed to it, so their response would be that they will leave it to the recording engineer and producer to get that live performance onto the recording, and they'll take it from there. However, there are also designers who appear to intentionally design their equipment to reproduce an emotional response from the listener, and perhaps part of this is an attempt to recapture the essence of a live performance that often seems to get lost in the recording process. I cite as evidence of the latter camp the large number of pieces of high end equipment which measure poorly but nonetheless have been critically acclaimed and have their ardent supporters. These designers might tell you, though, that their purpose is to bring out the best in the music being played through the system, not necessarily to reproduce the original performance. I guess my goal as the obsessive compulsive neurotic that I am is to assemble a system of components that gets me closer to the original performance if possible (I know that's never going to happen, particularly with full scale symphonic repertoire) but above all communicates the composer's/artist's message and the emotion of the performance and music being played.
I guess my to assemble a system of components that gets me closer to the original performance...but above all communicates the composer's/artist's message and the emotion of the performance and music being played.
What exactly entails "getting closer to the original performance"?

I've been struggling with this concept myself, and while I have owned components that have been technically superior in accurately reproducing the recording, my present gear clearly communicates the emotion of the performance in a more effective manner.

I'm not sure which of my several system iterations gets me closer to the original performance, but I tend to favor my present, less accurate system.
To answer your question, Lakefrontroad, I will refer to Jaybo's response: the ultimate direction of electronics is to sell more electronics. And the only goal by which the carrot is guaranteed NEVER to disappear is the pursuit of accuracy. Any other stated goal would send a company down the financial tubes.

For our part, we are more like those people who buy self-help books in order to find happiness, live in the present moment, be satisfied with our system, defend our way of doing the hobby, etc... The impossible aspect of this pursuit is that unlike a 315lb. person who sets their target weight at 175, we are operating in a realm of vague parameters. Sure, manufacturers can give us stats for their products, but how they stand up synergistically with their neighbors is strictly a judgment call on our part. Trust your ears, right? What I would contend--just my opinion, naturally--is that the way that many choose to combat the unsettling, ambiguous nature of this hobby is to search for an end goal of specificity. And the only one that fits the bill is accuracy. To say, "I've found it, the truth in audio." In fact, accuracy is the messiah of audio. And we all orbit that savior in much the same way we do religion itself. Agnostics say its all about the music, right? The devout are quick to "nuff said" others who don't agree with them. And the atheists? Well, they buy Bose. :-)
What music isn't recorded live? How else can you record an instrument if it isn't a live person recording it?
True. Yet, recording techniques vary, and some engineers/labels (think Chesky among others) endeavor to capture the live event more honestly than, say bands like Pink Floyd or Porcupine Tree, which utilize gobs of processing in the studio. Even the latest White Stripes CD was recorded down and dirty in a garage to avoid slick over processing.

"Live" recordings, like those by Chesky, can be better reference recordings by which to judge one's system's capabilities, since the instruments are often acoustic, and the recordings utilize little added processing.

Also, it's possible to record some instruments directly into a computer drive, using a midi keyboard and computer with Pro Tools software, for example. I would suggest that although this is a real person playing a real instrument, it's not what most would accept as live.

As in most things, a "live" recording can be many shades of grey.

Boa2, if I understand you correctly, you are proposing that our audio systems are God Portals? Whoa! I need to eat one more mushroom before I begin to listen tonight.

Mekka-lekka-hi-mekka-hiney-ho, Brother. :)
I think this thread is constipated, as are all such ideas of some idyllic, better-than-the-other, absolutism perpetuated to glorify this or that other of Man's wonderous, precious things he's brought to show'n'tell. And if it ever makes its way to the bowl, it'll be an explosion of rancid, worthless, rehashed, toxic waste that holds little value to anyone unless you plan to use it for fertilizer. I sincerely doubt anything would grow in it though.

If it's important to you, throw some money and time at it and get it to bring some of that wonderful music into your home. Find the stuff that sounds good to you and consider yourself fortunate that it's all there for you, and that others share your enthusiasm. Otherwise pop in a suppository and make sure to flush when you leave. Oh, and light a friggen match for god's sake.


I'm glad to see that your anger management program is working. So nice of you to move from personal opinion to personal attack of others. Especially in a forum where people spend waaaay to much on their hobby/passion/pursuit/livelyhood.

Thanks for reminding me how I was before the therapy.
I don't think it's possible to recreate a live performance, and it wouldn't even my goal either. Besides, I'm sure there would be many different definitions of "live" depending on who you ask.

I'm searching for a system to create my own personal musical nirvana. And that's it. It may be just as endless a path as trying to recreate a live performance, but it's one that gets me closer to what I want, and that's all the matters. I'm the only judge. Only two people have ever heard my system besides me.

Actually, the truth is, I don't own any audio equipment. When I'm not too busy retouching boobies for a living, I turn my Photoshop skills towards fabricating make believe virtual systems.
Lakefrontroad - I'm sorry, my Anger Manager is on vacation in Mexico. If you'd like, I can let you speak with my Anger Supervisor. She gets in at 9 tomorrow morning. I can have her get back to you if you like.

Actually, the truth is, I don't own any audio equipment. When I'm not too busy retouching boobies for a living, I turn my Photoshop skills towards fabricating make believe virtual systems.

Dean - You had me fooled with those sytem pics you cleverly fabricated/retouched. I always wondered why I got a woody looking at'em. I kept stairing at the knobs on that Blue Circle thinking, "man, those things can't be real?!"
i personally am not trying to get as close to live as possible,im just happy to have a good sounding rig:)
Hmmmmm..... as I read through this thread,why is it that I keep getting visions of the old RCA Victor add where the dog is listening to an old Grammophone with the tilted head

"His master's own voice"
I don't know but I'll tell you that the VR11's that lakefrontroad has will come pretty darn close to live (maybe as close as you're gonna get).

Anyway, it's really silly to argue or get a little brawl going over such a vague and personal thing as goals in audio.

I guess if I really boil it down and get rid of my idealistic thoughts and drop down to dirty reality my goal is to enjoy it now and make it mo' better later. There is no end goal. I'll keep it up and die maybe in the middle of an upgrade that I'll never hear.

Why do instruments have little knobs and levers? I mean why do we constantly need to tune them. How many reasons and variables are there? How does an engineer "voice" his tool in some other venue?????? and expect it to perform it your venue with you not adjusting it.?? It is fixed in his time and space and energy ! But he went to school and has golden ears and ....You buy into it .
We seem to have scared off the other 700 who follow the thread and don't participate.

That's unfortunate.

I am interested in how our community views what we do.

Please take the time to tell us.
I've worked on stage and in the studio in rock, blues and jazz. No studio recording sounds anything like a live performance no matter who's system is playing.

I have never heard any system that could re-create either a Hammond organ or an accoustic piano. Even the best recordings don't capture the transcients and overtones of a real instrument in a real room. Have someone bring in a trap set and play it in your room. I've never heard a system that could deliver that kind of attack and punch. Have a friend bring by a trumpet, sax, tuba, cello... hell, nearly anything including a kazoo and see if any of your recordings sound like the real thing.

With this in mind, I don't expect my system to sound "live". I do expect it to fill my room with the sound on the recording, capture my imagination and give me some emotional thrills. Sometimes I like to listen casually, sometimes I listen to detail, sometimes I like to rock the farm and sometimes we all just dance. My goal has always been to find gear and recordings that will do all of these well.

I may be in the minority, but I think music is about having a good time and playing with our emotions. Often, I think that the gear may be less important than the musicians and the recordings.

Recently, I sold off a very expensive system loosing many thousands in the process. I had listened to the sales hype, bought the flagship stuff and was stuck with a system that sounded descent on about 10 of my recordings. It never sounded real. The other 2,800 recordings I own sounded like shit. I returned to gear that thrilled me and I've haven't looked back.
Spudco sez:
I do expect (a system) to fill my room with the sound on the recording, capture my imagination and give me some emotional thrills
filling the room with we are talking.

Ok , now if you fill your room with 100% sound . Imagine an empty room. Lots of alive sound ,don't need to raise the volume of your voice to get it to fill the room. Imagine amplified. Now we do need some control , but what is the right amount , and how do we keep it 360 degrees. Everytime we add furniture ,carpet ,people ,etc we are chopping up the #'s.When we place the system into a visual spot we have chopped down the 360 part and now have 2 dimension sound.

We are not talking about components yet. That's the equivalent of a guy with a really deep voice or a guy with a regular voice or a girl with a high voice. The source does NOT matter. How do I let all 3 voices come out right.I need to understand the room.

At least that is what I think and strive/listen for. And I think reviewers also look for similar quality. That is why in reviews they use words like 'life like', "as if He/She is right there infront of me", " I can walk around the musicians", " Presence". etc...

Now I know that is the listener's or reviewer's perception we are talking about. If it actually sounds like that in real life is highly questionable. Although the current SOTA reproduction could sound like live event in ear of the beholder, it is quite different then the real live event. It is the subtle ques of real instruments- tone, nuance, pace and rhythm when reproduced gives and impression that listener is listening a live event. Nothing wrong with that if it brings tears and joy to an audiophile.

Yep Live reproduction is the goal of high end audio. The goal so close and yet so far...
Lakefrontroad wrote "I am interested in how our community views what we do." Except for Jax2 who tries to inject a laxative into this constipated thread.
Sociallite has many good insights, I wish I was so good at writing.
The common goal here seems to be finding your own idea of perfection. Rock groups used to say they needed to have a "sound". Likewise the system needs to have a certain pervasive "sound" which it imparts to the music. Maybe that sound is "no sound".
The difference between consumer goods and industrial purchases is that consumers tend to change out stuff more often for the latest and greatest, emotional reasons, boredom etc. while businesses buy for more pragmatic reasons; ie: to serve a specific purpose. Look at those desks from the 50's the State still uses. Functional but that's about it.
I would vote for sound which is not annoying or detracts from my enjoyment of the music. A system which pleases on its own terms. Then adding more detail and volume at the frequency extremes as long as this does not cause problems.

I don't want some "technically perfect / musically dead", hyped up, nervous, twitchy, race-horse of a system that I can't relax with. When listening to my p.o.s. system, I enjoy the *music*, don't worry much about the *sound*. That, to me is a major success.
Besides you don't have to own stuff to enjoy reading, talking, and learning about it. I think the term is Armchair Ace.
Jax2 thinks he's clever; one of the wisest moves he made was his cessation of posting a month or so ago. Unfortunately, he's not so wise anymore.
LOL Cdc...touche! Charlie 101 - I've no doubt produced greater wisdom out
of the crack of my derriere than your witty retort has demonstrated you to be
in posession of.

Seriously...I do regret my acerbic post went a bit overboard, nonetheless the
core sentiments are heart felt (or is that fart felt?), though personal insults
were not intended in that post, believe it or not.

I think it's a natural expectation to want to try to attain the experience of live
reproduction. After all, it is truly miraculous that these groups of boxes and
circuits and wires can do what they do and bring so many aspects of
reproducting space and time through sound to an entirely different space and
time. Whether it's possible or not to reproduce, verbatim, given the current
state of technology should not even be an issue to anyone who's been around
the hobby very long. Like many such debates, this one seems to draw out
two distinct camps: The scientists who, come from the head/mind, and
demand white papers, bars and graphs and numbers, statistics...something
tangible to justify their existence, and in this case, their investment. Then
there are the artists, who come from the heart and tend to trust in their
feelings, experience, perceptions, sun, moon, stars and tofu ice cream. For
me...well, I guess I can see both sides as being full of it, though I'd count
myself among the artists. Both are trying to justify their existence here (aren't
we all), whether it be through audio gear, music, or some earth shattering
invention or profound artistic statement. It's all quite wonderful, it's all a load
of crap, and in the end, none of it matters, and it's all entirely relative to our
own personal experience here. We all leave as we came, with nothing. The
question brought to bear makes as much sense to me, and the answers as
meaningless as if asking, "What's the ultimate goal of vanilla ice
cream" or "What's the pinnacle of beauty in a human being"
or "What's the best car (beer, wine, bicycle, watch...or fill in the blank
with any such thing we like to banter about, obsess over, and get passionate
about). It's all relative, there is no "right" answer, and none of it
means anything, except what we each make it mean. I make no apologies
that this does not seem to be a popular view to those who wish to put their
"passions" on a pedastal. There is no Santa Claus kids, and there
is no "Absolute Sound" (unless you are talking about a bi-monthly
magazine). It's just my crotchity, existentialist point of view these days. I'd
heap it in among those I addressed in my previous post, and laugh at how
ridiculous I am (I'm sure many of you have got the jump on me there). BTW,
though you wouldn't know it from what I'm saying here perhaps, I am quite
passionate about music and the audio gear I use to enjoy it...I think it's all
pretty wonderous and amazing. It just strikes me as so wrong (ain't this
ironic) when folks start talking in absolute terms...right/wrong...bad/ ultimate. So when I see it, I feel compelled to say
something. Perhaps it's a knee-jerk reaction. But there it is.

Even if the question were met with a rousing and unanimous "
YES", and even if actual verbatim live reproduction were indeed possible
via the technology available, I can guarantee you that there would be many
among us who would still prefer some form of "colored" version,
or some control over how "reality" sounded in their own space.
But then you folks in agreement could take great comfort in the company of
one and other's assurances that yours is the "right" way, and there
is only just one "right" way. Sound familiar? Hitler used it to his
advantage. It is the 'glue' of fundmentalist religious propoganda (Muslim,
Christian, ....etc.), Jim Jones sold his grape Kool Aide solution to a good
number of unfortunate people that way.

Marco, well said.
Let's ask the question 'Is the goal of home cinema the goal of presenting the authentic or real version of visual events'? The answer to that can serve as the answer to the audio version of that question.
Bob P.
From what one poster points out, I must be one of the few audiophiles that almost exclusively listens to live recordings..hopefully this is not true.

Overly compressed music makes me tense. So I don't bother buying it or listening to it on my system. Although, I will listen to it on a boombox or a car stereo as it was intended.

IMHO It should be the goal of the recording studios to bring us as close to live as possible. This means less compression and the use of real instruments and musicians while the recording is being made. Once you hear a recording with zero compression and the real Mccoys standing in doing their thing. You understand the most important part of an audio system is the recording itself. Without it no matter how many electronic components and speakers you throw in front of it. It will never turn the recording into something it wasn't to begin with.

Maybe it's just me? I'm frugal about recordings more than anything else. I think I may have been ruined as a child playing the violin in a school orchestra.

Let's ask the question 'Is the goal of home cinema the goal of presenting the authentic or real version of visual events'? The answer to that can serve as the answer to the audio version of that question.

I think it was Godard who said: "Cinema is truth at 24 frames per second". Even in the realms of the documentary film we can take a look at a film like "David Holtzman's Diary" or even any of Michael Moore's "documentary" films, and realize that that particular question is far more complex and multilayered than the one asked here. I might draw the paralell to looking at the more simple single frame of photography. Again, you can go to a chat group on this subject and find the "scientist-types" telling us that large format film cameras cannot be matched for their rendition of "reality" because of their fine grain, sharp lenses, superior resolution and their ability to record tremendously subtle tonal gradation. Yet the film they used is limited to that which is not capable of taking in nearly as much as the human eye. And do any of these qualities a great photograph make? To answer that question just give an average hobbyist shooter an 8X10 camera with thorough instructions as to precisely how to use it and get the most from it. In turn compare the work he/she might produce with that tool, to the work Cartier Bresson or Eugene Smith did with a 35mm camera and tell me which is the more engaging photograph. It is not the tools that necessarily determine the success or failure of the translation of "reality", but the people behind them. Add to that the advent of digital manipulation and give a master at that a crack at "reality" and then where to you draw your boundries? Is that manipulaiton any different from the audio engineer at the sound board who determines how to shape and define that sound that is recorded? Also, just look at the poor quality of many of the older recordings, such as those of bluesman Robert Johnson, yet the magic of his musicianship continues to be an inspiration to so many of his contemporaries, and comes through in spite of the lack of technologies wonders. Many musicians I've known just don't give a rat's ass about the quality of their system, even when presented with a system that is astoundingly good at reproducing a musical event. They care more about the music itself, and many are just as happy listening to music through a boom box as they would be a more advanced system. Who's right, who's wrong? The question I pose is why do you need to ascribe that of any of us, and why is there some need to determine some universal, ultimate goal of audio gear? It's all pretty amazing to me...I tend to go with the stuff I enjoy listening to the most myself. I find that it is not always appreciated as much by others, but I sure do like it.

To equate a virtual infinite reality with a know finite medium is interesting. It's not parallel. Good thoughts, but cinema relies on it's stengh of visual impact, not recreating reality. The sound is mediocre at best.

I've never heard anyone suggest that film is a live performance.

But, I've heard "live" music reproduced as live.

I do agree that the trappings of live music per se can't be done. We're not there, we don't see the performers sweat. We aren't privy to the outtakes...

But, as to reproducing music to the point that it's believable that the performers are in that room right now, I have heard it and so have others.

No, it's not live and I do accept that there are parts to life that surpass sound, but when you close your eyes, is Louis in the room in front of you?

Yup! at least in a very few rooms I've been in.

To depend on the opinion of professional musicians as to their interest in listening to music at home doesn't even seem related. I don't think I needed Einstein's view of nuclear weapons to have a personal view of their value.

I don't agree with your analogies, but I am interested in your ideas.

Clearly there are many different what's right? Budget, availability of live performance and taste probably are as important in those decisions.

If I lived in Manhattan, I wouldn't have much of a system. I'd spend the evenings listening to live music. I'm too old to travel to the city at night and get home at midnight. So, I'm sticking to reproducing live music. It doesn't do it everytime, but it does it part of the time.

I'm interested in what motivates others here, not just me.

Thanks for your thoughts.

The reason I brought up musicians, Bill, was solely to illustrate the point that
the "goal of audio" can have different meanings to different
people. Obtaining a "life-like" presentation may be one that is
quite exciting to many of us, but not necessarily to everyone. Folks get
enjoyment from this stuff at all different levels, and to elevate one above all
the rest seems a bit silly to me. I do like a life-like presentation as well. I've
heard it done on different levels, but have not had the experience you've
described where the whole thing comes together in all ways to yield a "
live" music experience. The conflicting factions I've experienced seem
to be that either the music has tremendous impact, dynamics, and detail, yet
lacks the delicacy, dimension and airiness that I somehow associate with
'presence'...or, it has the latter in spades, as in the case of the SET/horn
systems I've enjoyed the most, yet lacks the chest-pounding impact of more
powerful systems. That's perhaps a simplistic observation on my part, but it
may help to understand where I'm coming from. Yes, in both cases, I can
close my eyes and Louis would seem to be there in front of me, but in neither
case is the illusion complete. Ultimately, the more powerful solutions have
always occured to me as an amplified version (I am more conscious of the
intervening technology), while the solutions I prefer are more convincing to
me, yet still do not convey the 'impact' of live music somehow, yet render the
parts of the equation I am most fond of.

Hey guys .

I know it's hard to match realities and analogies with each other. If you really want the 100% truth to all this you will be very disappointed .

This is a web site and we are just discussing a subject. It is not the subject , but a wild discussion of it. This a hi-fi web site period . True.