System versus live

To sound live, I have tried, in building my system, to get so many things correct. Dynamic range, Prat, Tone, Coherence, Body, Weight, Visceral momentum, Spatial perspective, etc. I remember being on a ferry ride, listening to a small ensemble, amazed at the beauty and artistry of the musicianship, along with the proper "air" of how the notes started and stopped, and being so engulfed in the performance. I have been on and near performers on stage, with the same amazement. My system touches on all of these things, but it is not "live". Before the system, room and listening position, one must consider the recording itself. Microphones, mic preamps, console faders, acoustics used for the recording, and a whole lot more. Then we have the monitors used for the final product(headphones or speakers) and the engineer(s) who put it together. Then, it is transferred and transferred again. Labels such as Mapleshade and Sheffield Labs(I just happen to have many)go to great lengths to minimize the "electronics", as well as some other aspects, of their recordings, to sound live and pure. Being a member of Audiogon, as well as some other forums, and, being a devoted audiophile, music listener, consultant and above all else, a human being, I ask this question. How "live" do you think your system really is ?
Not even close....but then, I wouldn't want "live" in my living room even if I could have it.

Most audiophiles like little baby images anyway...yes?.......little drum sets and all that.

I don't think live can ever be achieved. I'm as close as I've ever been and still fall very short.
I went with a FRD with no cross over in the 10 inch driver and it took me closer.
My room is well treated and I've biased my Almarro amp a little hot to achieve more dynamics and more trancient attack, but, as good as it sounds, it's still not close.
Maybe if I did achieve a live sound I would be disapointed.
But I don't think I'll ever come close.
I don't think it's possible to make a small space sound like a large live venue no matter how the speakers sound. An interesting experiment would be to have a single instrument play on a stage and record that event, then replace the live artist with your sound system in the same room and compare from the same listening point.
can you imagine how loud and bright cymbals would sound in your living room from 8 feet away?
With the right recording completely live.

Tower of Power Soul Vaccination Live "Diggin' on James Brown" is a good example of a really live feel - simply crank it - -totally convincing.

Another is George Benson Weekend in LA Live "On Broadway".

There are thousands of good live recordings.

Yes, a very small recreation is very possible. A single artist (maybe two).

I think VMPS does this at all the shows for the last few years....although their show room is "much" larger than almost all home audio rooms would be.

Went and saw Brian Blade at the Vanguard last Saturday, came right home after, and played a lot of the same stuff on the system. Have to say, I was pretty blown away by how close it was. Shocked, really. To be sure, not the same -- really not the same -- but one hell of a lot closer than I expected....
There's a recent A'gon thread that addressed a similar topic at great length. You can read it here. In that thread I wrote...

" my ears, the three principal characteristics that limit how real most systems sounds are: Dynamic range, spatial cues, and harmonic content. My suspicion is that dynamic range, spatial cues, and harmonic content are themselves chiefly limited by recordings, rooms, and equipment, respectively. Dynamic range is limited both by the inherent informational limits of recording media and by the elective use of compression during mixing. Spatial cues are limited by acoustically under-treated rooms, which obscure spatial cues, or by acoustically over-treated rooms, which limit the directionality of spatial cues. And harmonic content is limited by various kinds of equipment-induced distortion, whether harmonic distortion, IMD, TIM, etc.. This is of course an oversimplification, but the general point is that, IMO, the chief factors that limit how real most systems sound are dynamic range, spatial cues, and harmonic content (probably in that order)."

Mrdecibel - Those observations seem relevant to your OP. In direct answer to your question...
How "live" do you think your system really is?
My answer is: On excellent small scale recordings, my system is somewhat close, which is to say, I *very* occasionally hear something on my system that strikes me as indistinguishable from real. On large scale music, however, my system is nowhere close to the real thing.

If people have systems that sound indistinguishable from real with large scale music, I envy them.



I like your choices for music :-) I noticed your system...ATC -- another very nice choice!

Best regards,

Against amplified concerts, system easily. Against a piano or violin in a small room, system nowhere close. Then again, have one Marcia Ball CD that comes pretty close. No interest in chamber ensembles anyhow. The music I listen to gets amplified.

Funny that Shadorne mentions Tower of Power, because the last concert of theirs, closed my eyes and scrutinized a few times. Great to see though.
Probably a good test would be someone like Patricia Barber. Her recordings are very well recorded, and she performs at the Green Mill Lounge in Chicago often.

Huge concert hall stuff just does not down size.

Live, with the exception of classical,jazz and cabaret, is the worse way to listen to music, but it is a great social event. The amount of amplified sound you typically get makes it not worth listening to.
Hi all and thanks for the responses. I thought it would be a fun topic and I understand it might have been mentioned here before. There is no question that concerts that use amplification are somewhat easy to duplicate, or even exceed in quality, with a system. The live performances I am talking about are those without the use of any amplification. Everyone should experience some like this. When I lived in NY, jazz clubs in the city were small and set up like this. Street vendors in Central Park were always present, playing there hearts out. My wife playing piano(early in our marriage) was a great source of enjoyment. I was a singer in my early years and it gave me much experience listening to voices and accompanying instruments, all with out amplification. These are the types of "live" that I am speaking of, and this is what drives me to create duplication, which I cannot. Amplified arenas and stadiums are so bad, as mentioned by many of you, who would want this in there living room. But if I were Samantha of Bewitched and can twinkle my nose to have one of my favorite artists and the band in my living room, why not. I will take an "Unplugged" performance any day.It is scary to me and some of my audio buddies how realistic my system can sound, and I am not just talking decibels, but, at the end of the day, "it is far from being live". I think we can all agree that the "audiophile" recordings we own and listen to, that use less microphones, dubbing techniques, etc. sound more real, or live. Most recordings fail to bring us closer. Thanks again for joining this thread and happy listening. MrD
If you want live, by some xls 215 Cerwins. To me, audiophile speakers are more studio then live. The only refined speaker I have heard that offers a live sound feeling, but yet keeps audiophile qualities is Magnepan. But if you want that live feeling you should sit within 5-8ft (MMG's) 8-9 ft (1.6's) 9-11ft(3.6's) from them so they can play at levels you would hear live. I have a lot of experience with Live Sound, you should try hi end horn designs.