When did you ever hear a system sound so life-like

I am sure this has happened to so many of us, entering a room where the music sounds so damn close to live to discover it is an audio system.
What were the speakers and source?
If it's your own system mention the purchase that made the difference.
Actually , no it has never happened to me. I don't think I ever mistook a recording for a live performance. The two are. . . different. Neither is 'better' than the other. . Just different to my ears. G.
Well, this one time, I went to a bike shop in NJ where they had a NAD 3020 integrated amp playing into some Infinity 2-way bookshelf speakers (Model 2002 maybe; 8" woofer). The window was open and outside the shop it sounded like someone was playing a trumpet inside, but it was only the stereo system cranked up.

I'm pretty sure I have better gear than that now, but it just serves to show you how little it actually takes to fool the ear...

For me it was the Merlin Joule Electra room at the RMAF.
This is the effect I got everytime I played music through my former quad esl-63's driven by a vtl-85 tube amp.
I had been frequenting Keith Yate's brick audio show room for several weeks.
Each week Keith had one set of speakers in the large audition room. I had
heard a number of the best speakers of the day over my visits.

One day, when I entered, Keith wasn't there with his customary glass of red
wine. That turned out not to be the only thing out of the ordinary. This day, I
heard real music. Someone was playing a piano nearby. There was no
mistaking the sound with any hi-fi I had ever listened to.

Set on angle, some twelve feet apart, were two blonde cloth panels looking
like anything but a speaker. I walked up to one on perchance it was a
speaker. The piano concert sounded somewhere in the distance. I walked
behind, and the sound didn't change. No matter where I was in the room, I
heard the piano, always some distance away.

There was an open door. I went there, expecting to see Keith listening to a
piano recital in an adjoining room, but no. The sound went away.

Walking back into the sound room, I chanced upon Keith's prized Goldmund
turntable. It was spinning a record. I suddenly felt faint, realizing those
panels were indeed speakers. By some magical spell, they produced not a
sound, but a performance that remained real sounding from any listening

Later I learned the speakers were Apogee Scintillas. I fell in love.
one time I walked by a house with the front door open and heard a violin that was so rich, vibrant and dynamic I could not believe it. Who knew a violin got so loud? Of course it was a real violin and I learned a big lesson, no stereo is even close to the real thing.

Yes I knew that before but not to this degree...

HUGE difference!
I heard that sound from B&W 801 speakers with Levinson 20.5 pure class A monos. It was a big sound and it moved air like real instruments do, but it was a very large room and large rooms give big sound if you have the right system and enough power.
Interesting question. In the last 15 years I only heard 3 Systems which reproduced the real thing, the being in the performance.
The secret behind? Honestly, I think all of them had a very hugh knowledge in Records/Performance/real sound/record collecting...they really knew the recordings.
The first was at my beginning with High End and it confused me very much because it sounded so different to all the review winners and I started to learn that there are differences.
That first System had an "old" turntable from France, a Platine Verdier (not the actual one), SME 3012 with Quad speakers and FM Electronics...

The 2. System produced the Magic with active Horns and a more or less DIY Turntable which was very limited in official production (12 units). Air bearing, platter with 100pds, weight about 400 pds and active suspension down to 2hz. That was the only time where it was (is) possible for me to count the rows from the musicians during the performance (LSC2500). Arm was a Fr-64s with a different alignment (nullpoints).

The last System was the very best. In a way it was very frustrating. It does everything what all write about their units, but they never do in reality. Depth, space, Dynamic grip to die for die and a very remarkable power in the tone.
That System is more or less DIY from a record collector who has a very impressive technical knowledge. The Turntable was from Micro Seiki, but very seriously modified, Arm is FR-66s.
In these 15 years I did listen to maybe 100 Systems (owners or Dealers), there is (or was) everything from today.
The secret of all the 3 Systems?
I think, trying to understand what you hear and thinking about that which components (or Designers) can do it.
I've heard systems come close, but never hit the mark. It is almost completely dependent on the recording, so much so that the system may be less important than we think.
Found a pic from one of these Turntables
(System 2)
About 25 years back.At a dealer I heard Pacific Overtures being played on a Well Tempered turntable and tonearm with an original Benz cartridge.The electronics were all ARC and the speakers were the original B&W 801.
This was the closest to live that I have ever heard.
I've heard other Lps played in this same room with this same system and never felt the sound approached live.
So was it the recording....
The only time this has happened for me was upon first hearing a system comprised of a Shindo Garrard 301 TT, Shindo pre and Shindo monoblocks, and the larger Shindo Latours. That system nails lifelike for every type of music except for large scale, e.g., orchestral. And it is still awfully good for large scale music as well.
I've visited a lot of high end Hi-fi stores in my lifetime, and have heard very good playback systems that have come close... but ultimately no cigar awarded when compared to a live performance.
yes, a classe/Proac 4 system playing solo acoustic steel-string guitar in another room at an audio store almost fooled me, once. Its ability to reproduce the steely, ringing sound of such a guitar would not have worked so well on, say, a violin. I do not see how larger ensembles could even theoretically be reproduced realistically, as the acoustic space of the room itself is a limiting factor.
Goldeneraguy--That is an incredibly lifelike recording. One of the most realistic and convincing ones I have ever heard on my system over the years.
1) late 80s/early 90s- HP's IRS System- huge dynamics, concert hall scale and feel.
2) with all modesty on my sleeve... my system last month with a (non mentioned for fear of never getting another pair) mid 90s tube amp driving the MBLs. I never heard a system produce instruments that sounded so real. It was unnerving. It though lasted only two weeks- til the amp blew. I'll get it back up and running and invite over some witnesses. I never had any of my systems do THIS- the real instrument in my room thing, and like many of us I've been at this since 8 years of life!

I tried looking for that recording for many years.No luck so I gave up.
Enjoy your music
I can identify with the mbl's. To my ears they are one of the few best speakers with proper setup.
The only other speaker up there next to the mbl's are the wilson x2 alexandria, totally believable!
I feel that playing the system while sitting in an adjacent room could easily fool me at times.
Peter What caused these amps to blow ?? I worry that if it can happen to someone with your expertise it can certainly happen to me.If they are being repaired in NY can you tell me who,here would trust with the repair ??
Many years ago I used to walk past my neighbour's house every morning and evening on the way to the bus stop. Sometimes in the evening, I can hear their son practising on the piano. He is quite good, but not concert pianist good.

One evening I walked past and the unmistakable sound of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata came singing out to the street. I stopped and listened, it was so good that a passing jogger stopped and listened as well.

I thought no more of it, then the next day heard him practising the Hammerklavier. But this time nowhere as good. I knocked on the door, and it was only then that I was told that they had taken delivery of a new sound system!
I am liking my system right now. The biggest improvement would be the Merlin TSM's. Right now I am saving up for the VSM. I can't even imagine how they will sound on my system. The album I am listening to is Getz Au GO GO on Japanese Vinyl. The Telephone Song sounds very convincing and intimate through the MC275 or 100.2 and Merlins. The Merlins are just absolutely incredible speakers for the money.

I have never heard a system sound like the real thing.
A pair of Meridian 105 monos, a pair of KEF 105s, an Oracle Alexandria, FR tone-arm with a Dynavector Ruby cartridge set up right and you've got live sound!
there are literally hundreds of thousands of great (and not so great recordings) that contain fantastic music. any one of them can bring any loudspeaker (at any price right back down to earth.
Dear Pedrillo: I think that what you ask can/could happen to many of us under some special circumstances and depending on our each one experience/knowledge with live/real music evnets.
Our mind could be foolished with audio performances when we heard it off-axis, with some kind of recordings and as I say: de`pending on our each one experience/know-how on live music and musical instruments.
I never had that kind of experience where I " suffer " that " confusion ".
IMHO if you are and have deep experience in live music it is impossible to " suffer " a mix-up/confusion on-axis an almost impossible off-axis.

The sound of a live instrument performance is unique and with no single factor that could make we be confused about.

There are many characteristics in the sound of live music but at least these ones IMHO are unique and till today impossible to achieve in a home audio system ( I heard more than 100 different systems ranging from 10K-15K to 500K. ): the attack and transients, dynamic, full music " presence " , non-distortions/colorations/noise: REALITY!

How can we be " foolish " with those specific live music characteristics?

Some one posted that a recording is " different " from a live performance: well it is not only way different but a live performance IMHO is way better.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I've had the experience where I thought someone was at my house singing along with my stereo when I thought I was alone. It creeped me out at first until I realized what just happened.
Ok I believe those that claim it is impossible.
But wouldn't it be interesting to get a top notch system and have it set up on a stage next to live musicians and do an a/b test between live and recorded playback.
How many can claim they will definitely tell the difference, I would love to partake in that experiment.
Not writing this to pose a challenge but as a learning step.
Not life-like is the last refuge of the audiophile scoundrel. :-) By that I mean it gives us something to hide behind when our systems don't quite move us enough.

And yet, isn't it still the goal?
Dear Pedrillo: +++++ " on a stage next to live musicians and do an a/b test between live and recorded playback. " +++++

so what you are suggesting is R2R live recording against " live ". This could be interesting and obviously different from live music against LP playback.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hi Mr Pedrillo I believe this has been done a few times in the past.A couple of examples though a bit humorous come from smart advertisers that tried to catch the attention of the masses.
1959 Fisher electronics demonstrated to a shocked audience live VS their new stereo sound and most could not tell the difference.
1970s remember the TV commercials with Ella Fitzgerald, is it LIVE or MEMOREX?
Interesting thread... I think you can make a good case for how good an audio system can reproduce music. I have had 2 channel systems for 40+ years and have enjoyed a lot of good music. I have also attended quite a few concerts and have enjoyed those performances as well.

The real separation comes if you are a musician. I have played piano for 50+ years and the guitar almost as long. Nothing comes close to being part of the performance. You hear it, feel it, touch it and the music is part of you and you are part of it. You become "one" with the music.

Pickup a used acoustic guitar and start learning to play. It's never too late to learn. As you caress the instrument, hear the music and feel the vibrations in your chest, you'll understand and be changed forever.

Pedrillo, when you live it, whatever notions you had before are erased. I think that is why it comes off creepy- you **know** that it isn't real, assume that it can never **sound** real, so when it does it can be a bit freaky.

FWIW we did exactly as you described at THE Show a few weeks ago with VMPS Audio. We had live musicians, recorded them and then played back in the same space.

Having worked with live recordings a lot over the years, its the media that has the most limitation- certainly far more than amps, speakers and microphones, as flawed as they can be a live microphone feed sounds very real.
John Atkinson of Stereophile fame recently undertook an analysis of the sound of a recorded piano recital and THE live recital itself. He wrote about his experience and conclusions in the Feb issue of Stereophile. Interesting reading even if the conclusion would seem obvious.
I hear it every time I put on a cd.Eric Clapton Unplugged.If you were to sit down and close your eyes,It would be easy to see yourself there.live, front and center. .Allman bros @Fillmore East.another cd that sounds incredible.BE THERE (demo cd usher).so crisp , so clear.
the pieces are 79dvideck modded ,the AXIOM pass/pre w/cad upgrade.supra 1.6 speaker& link 100 rca.KG4,s,however during repair,a $50 pair of manchester,4 speaker floor standers w blown surrounds,sound pretty good,almost life like