Real Music vs Audiophile Mumbo Jumbo


Lets talk about music when we hear hear it played live in contrast to our home systems. I have been going out lately seeing rock concerts but none the less, it really makes me think about listening at home vs what i hear when i go out. I read with the respect the vinyl supporters and how the digital sound will never touch the warmth and other special qualities of vinyl. Well, when you go out and hear live music and close your eyes, believe me, it does not sound like a vinyl rig. In my opinion, the sound has an in your face kick that is more like solid state systems. You can hear the bass lines and the pounding of the drums and the fire of the guitars. There is no tube glow and and warmth to it. It is alive and much different.
pettyfeversk
Personally, I've always felt that asking "does it sound like a live performance" is the wrong question, for several reasons, not least of which is that I don't think it is possible. There is something about the sophistication of our hearing and the brain as a processing center that makes it extraordinarily hard to "fake" a live performance. I can only remember being fooled once, in 1978 -- I was walking past a stereo store in East Lansing, Michigan, that had its front doors open, and I heard what sounded like live Jazz music coming from inside. I thought it was some sort of publicity stunt, and stuck my head in to look -- they were playing Klipschorns at near "live" levels using Luxman electronics. Until I wlaked into the store, I would have sworn I was listening to a live jazz band (that's when I started to appreciate Paul Klipsch's emphasis on dynamics and speaker efficiency as a key to music reproduction).

So I tend to accept each for what it is -- I enjoy both live performances and recorded music, and appreciate each for its own virtues. And my standard for judging my stereo gear is not whether it makes the performance sound "live", but whether it captures and holds my attention and "involves" me with the music.
a rock concert is never going to sound like a digital or vinyl rig, either driven by sand or valve. at best a rock concert is going to sound like the sound reinforcement system at the venue, and for what its worth most of these are driven by solid state gear. not much use to compare to our home stereos unless our home stereo is comprised of pa gear.

an unamplified concert is a more worthwhile comparison to our home stereo's.

as far as the audiophile mumbo jumbo, it helps advertiser's market product...and maybe also helpful when we try and describe what we are hearing to someone else, or sell our old gear online.
The version of "live" you describe is not live, but rather live played through a PA system.
believe me, it does not sound like a vinyl rig. In my opinion, the sound has an in your face kick that is more like solid state systems.

Yep, that system you describe is very likely solid state and even more likely driving huge horn loaded sound reinforcement speakers that don't do deep bass or extreme highs but will easily push 125 DB plus.

What I want is the sound of a live musician in the studio, or at least the sound from the microphone feed. That's difficult even with the best software.

As for reproducing "concert sound" It's reactively easy to get there. You can buy sound reinforcement gear at Guitar Center and blow your whole house away for much less than the nice gear I just viewed in you system thread.
I wear earplugs when attending rock concerts, especially indoor concerts. My preference is to get as close to the stage as possible and soak up the experience. The sound quality is very low on my priority list.
i assume that any serious listener , o.e., hobbyist or audiophile is interested in enjoying a musical performance, whether it is live or recorded.

manufacturer's advertising is just a form of economic activity. some are more successful than others, it depends upon the credibility of the message.

in any case it is designed to create sales. some are influenced by it , while others are not.

hopefully our ears are the final arbiter of what we own and buy, regardless of attempts of persuasion, which , i believe is what is meant by "mumbo jumbo".
Agree with posts so far. No way is a Rock Concert 'live' (sound wise) PA system and very high dBs. Way to get that at home is a bunch of 1,000 watt amps and big pro sound speaker stuff.
You neighbors as far as two blocks away will either love or hate you though! And shortly you will be deaf anyway....
Now a chamber music concert, or acoustic instruments with no amplification, or a small Jazz group in an acoustic environment IS a comparable thing.
Don't forget the amount of processing that goes on in the studio before it gets mixed down. I was in a studio several years ago and remember seeing a stack of processors literally from floor to ceiling that were for vocals only. You don't get that much attention at a live venue. I don't care how big the soundboard is it isn't studio recording gear.
if my home system sounded like an amplified concert i would abandon home listening.
Elizabeth and Hotmailjbc nailed it! I would`nt want any sound that remotely comes close to what the OP describes. Very loud amplified music via a PA system, ugh. I do believe that unamplified music in a good venue can be used as a template to voice one`s home system(I do this with local jazz clubs and classical music concerts).
Agree with posts so far. No way is a Rock Concert 'live' (sound wise) PA system and very high dBs. I go to 'live' concerts for the social networking, not the music, which is pretty bad considering most concert producers do not know how to properly 'tune' the space.
I've been disappointed at the "sound" of most concerts I've attended in my lifetime, whether it is rock, country, jazz, bluegrass, etc. Now, in most cases, I've been entertained and enjoyed the "show", but not the sound per se. For listening in my home, my system goal is to recreate, as accurately as possible, the sound acheived by top notch musicians and vocalists in the best possible environment for recording music, i.e. the studio. If I want studio recorded music to sound "live", all I have to do is set my gear up on the lawn and break out the lawn chairs.
12-11-10: Hotmailjbc
if my home system sounded like an amplified concert i would abandon home listening.


I agree with Hotmail 100%.
I walked out on the last three rock concerts I went to. And I like all three artists. Three strikes - I'm done. I enjoy all of those artists far more on my home system then at either concert...by far and away...no contest. The concert acoustics were literally unbearable to me.

Well, when you go out and hear live music and close your eyes, believe me, it does not sound like a vinyl rig.

I really wish it were the sound of a vinyl rig, and yes, i do believe you, it's not the same. One makes me want to run screaming from the venue in search of Advil, and the other is profoundly enjoyable.
I agree with Albertporter - For years, I've been saying that many alleged hi-end fans would be happier and better served with a good sound reinforcement system. Then again, there is always Wilson. As to Klipshorns sounding like real music, to me they sound like real music played through someone's nose. But that's me
I agree with Albertporter - For years, I've been saying that many alleged hi-end fans would be happier and better served with a good sound reinforcement system. Then again, there is always Wilson. As to Klipshorns sounding like real music, to me they sound like real music played through someone's nose. But that's me
It is news to me that rock concerts are "real music". LOL
What I want is the sound of a live musician in the studio, or at least the sound from the microphone feed.
I respect Albert's insights tremendously, but I've gotta say "bull-puckey"!!!
I do believe that unamplified music in a good venue can be used as a template to voice one`s home system
Gotta agree w Charlesldad on this one.
I also have to say that rock concerts are really tough; but I will also say that there are other factors that can easily outweigh less than stellar sound. It's just like watching sports on TV. Your HD plasma will give you much better visuals but it can't match the experience of being there.
Swampwalker

I respect Albert's insights tremendously, but I've gotta say "bull-puckey"!!!

Guess I don't understand the conflict. What's wrong with a system that can duplicate what was being fed to the microphone? Isn't that what was going on when the recording was being made?

Everything we play on our system was fed from a microphone at the point of performance, regardless if live on location or in a controlled studio setting.
While I believe this discussion relfects the personal taste and opinions of members (which are not "wrong")I must point out that I am a fairly accomplished amateur musician and have been privileged to know some fine professionals (including one retired opera baritone with perfect pitch)who believe that the Klipsch Heritage line reflects some of the best and most accurate sound reproduction available. I attend live musical events whenever possible (operas and symphonies in particular). Hardly a rock concert produced over a blaring "PA system." I have quite a collection of Klipsch Hertitage speakers and love them. So .. to each his own but please recognize that there are some very knowledgeable folks out there with excellent credentials who disagree with you and let it go at that. With that, I'm out. Enjoy the music.
Yahoochaz - I can certainly see (and hear) the appeal of these speakers. I was a professional musician myself for many years and did a considerable amount of work in a fairly prominent recording studio that used K-horns for monitors, in addition to Auritones and Yamaha NS-10m(s) of course. The Klipsch have tremendous dynamics and impact that escapes many other speakers, which can make them extremely exciting and enjoyable to listen to. However, to me, and I think I made it clear in my post that this was my opinion only, the k-horns have a nasality that sounds like one cupping their hands over their mouth and nose. Perhaps it was just that room, but I have heard others with a similar opinion about those and many other true horn speakers. All speakers I can afford have compromises and I choose the compromises I can best live with. I assume most of us do the same. Enjoy the music.
Live unamplified sound is a great tool for judging a system's accuracy, but it is not the only measure. The fact is most audiophile oriented systems cannot deal with concert level rock music. An electric guitar is an amplified instrument. Does it really matter that the PA system is an additional level of amplification? I don't think so. Does anybody participating in this forum have a system that can handle a Marshall 100 watt head driving dual 4 x 12" cabinets? Of course not! The fact that so many concert venues do not sound good is irrelevant. The fact that most popular recordings don't sound very good doesn't mean that a great sounding pop recording cannot be made. It's the same with live sound. If the promoter wants to spend the money, time and talent to get good sound it's not that hard to do.

Regarding using sound reinforcement equipment in a home setting to get the concert effect -- it's not likely to work. It's not so much about the equipment as it is the acoustic environment. A concert hall is a big space and your listening room isn't. I don't understand why, but the sound doesn't scale down to the smaller space effectively. This is true whether the sound is amplified or not. To get an accurate reproduction of a loud instrument filling a large acoustic space requires at a minimum a similarly large acoustic space.

If you really wanted to reproduce the concert effect I think you would be better off trying large studio monitors type speakers in a fairly large, well treated room. Zu, JBL, Tyler and Classic Audio Reproduction also make audiophile oriented speakers that would be applicable.
my uncle has played in jazz bands for 50 plus years, has a degree in engineering and still tours the world playing jazz festivals. when he listens to my emotiva/magnepan system he is stunned with the sound quality.[ he is not a smoke blower either] whenever he comes to town he brings his groups most recent cd to listen. i ask him didn,t this sound good in the studio when you were making the cd? he said not this good. just an anecdote.......
Apogee speakers sounded kind of live to me when I had them.
(Stages, 1995.)
Actually, Broadway does a much better job with music. Hair on Broadway last year in a small theater sounded really fine; I really appreciated the intimate acoustics. But I usually need earplugs at rock concerts and can't listen to music for a day or two after I go to one.

Of course, when I listen to the Beatles, most of that never existed live in the first place. So live is usually a fabrication anyway with popular music, which only lives in the matrix anyway...