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Ears

High fidelity vis-a-vis what?

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It strikes me that in assessing hi-fi we're hoping to find equipment that reproduces the sounds we know are made by the source that's been recorded. But what do we know about the sounds that some sources make?

If we're talking about acoustic music, we're on fairly solid ground (allowing for a multitude of different recording locations, techniques, etc.) as we know what a guitar or violin sounds like when plucked / bowed etc.

But if we're considering any music that is produced electrically or electonically (amplified guitars, synthesisers, etc.), at best we're seeking to reproduce the sound made through the amplifiers and other gubbins used by the group when they perfom live.

For many pieces or tracks even this isn't the case, the music being created not as sound waves in the air but as (these days) 1s and 0s within the recording equipment.

Thus, with this type of music how can we really assess the veracity of our hi-fi? Aren't we at best saying that the sound that it produces pleases us (not unimportant in itself, of course), rather than being a high fidelity reproduction of the original?

Yours confusedly,

Earsconfused.gif

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surely each type of music has it's own appeal and each listener his own way of enjoying it. If you want to 'test' how good your hifi is against a known source, then go ahead and choose kit that reproduces acoustic music accurately, as you describe. Many people however find other things that appeal...sounstaging, rythm, pace, detail and for some poor souls, singing along to a tune is enough to make them smile. Lots of room for all kinds here I hope.:)

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All you can do is listen to the sounds you do have a reference for. if they sound OK then you have to assume that you are hearing the others as the artist intended you to hear them.

All this assumes a well recorded and produced CD to start with, there are many that aren't.

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As Rockmeister says,

"If you want to 'test' how good your hifi is against a known source, then go ahead and choose kit that reproduces acoustic music accurately"

I suppose the question leading to my posting is "How do you do this for electrical / electronic music?" since the original sound of the source is unknown?????

Ears wink.gif

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The nearest you can come, in those circumstances, would be to contact the studio, discover which pro amps/monitors they use and hear your tracks through that set up as a reference...then go and buy kit that emulates that sound. There's lots of 'studio monito' type sounding kit around still if that's what turns you on:)

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Would just press play and enjoy to be honest. I think "acurate reproduction" is a good idea for studio monitoring, but has little value in the home.

Fact is that when you are talking about the overwhelming majority of recorded music there is no such thing as a pure and original sound due to the amount of signal processing that goes on during the recording and mastering process.

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I think that's a very good point and one that at times has occurred to me also.

Apart from truly live recorded performances, the stuff we listen to never existed as a performance in the first place but is built using processed sounds in a multi-track recorder.

Real problems for us audiophools arise when we spend more time listening to the hi-fi than we do the music.

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well i drive my hifi rather often thankyou v.much! ;)

But with regard to this post.. in hifi the fundamental aim is to .. as a basic proposition; hear the music more clearly,and this applys to the whole gamut of musical reproduction.. granted, in electronic music, the 'instruments' (synths) were never real per se, but with a better system you can hear more clearly the reverbarations, the decay, the trembling synth bass line underpinning the track.. details that aren't picked up on lesser equipment.

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"with a better system you can hear more clearly the reverbarations, the decay, the trembling synth bass line underpinning the track.."

I agree, but were they there to start with or are they an artifact of the system you're playing the track through? There's no way of knowing, is there? :?

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nixon_fiend wrote:

in hifi the fundamental aim is to .. as a basic proposition; hear the music more clearly,and this applys to the whole gamut of musical reproduction

Yes, I think I agree. I'm mainly in to classical music (where there is an absolute reference of sorts), and my wifethinks that my hifi is unrealistic because you can hear more than you can at a concert hall!

I find it hard to honestly disagree with that. But, hell, I like it ! :cool:

_____________

.... also, the whole "soundstage" or "imaging" thing is great - and is one of the main things I listen for when trying new kit - but you simply don't hear that sort of positioning clarity live. It's all an artifact of the music recording/reproduction chain IMO. But for me it'ssomething that helps replace the visual element at a concert - where you can see the performers and where they are. I tend not to notice soundstage effects so much when I'm watching a concert DVD.

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