Sunday, May 17, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

How does this Sound?

I got this Takamine guitar 30 years ago.

(From a comment I made on
What Does Good Sound Sound Like?

There are some wonderful sounds to be made using technology. Even my guitar sounds better with today's advanced strings, or does it? Even that, "real", acoustic sound is affected by subjectivity and location. It made me real happy hearing an E chord on my Sears Silvertone after putting on a new set of Black Diamond strings that I got at the Alpine, Texas drugstore, back in 1960. It's up to the ears that are listening and the extent of our listening experience, I suppose.

Music that has been recorded
is another art form. It is an image. Whether it's realist, impressionist, or something that only electronics can produce, it can still be music, (good or bad). Some of the worst, "live", recordings I have heard, were done in the symphony hall with a couple of condenser mic's hanging from the proscenium arch. Some of the best representations of real instruments have been the result of technical enhancement. ( My favorite recorded cello sound is in the Beatles song, "Piggies ".)

My favorite, "live", album is Ray Charles at Newport, the 1959 release, (Someone tinkers with the volume knob in the 1970's re-mix.), as soon as I figure out how to get music from the Library of Congress, I will get it back in my collection.
Here is a later live performance, 1964 I think. RAY CHARLES LIVE

As to compression;
There are different kinds of compression. Some amounts of, "dynamic compression", is good for the recording and can help capture nuances that would otherwise be lost. Too much and you lose space and separation.

Too much
, "data compression", can produce a disconcerting effect in our auditory senses, (Some MP3 formats contain only 15% of the original sound data, leaving our brains to fill in the blanks).

I have several sound systems at home, only one is actual flat industry standard. Good recordings sound good, no matter what I play them on, (except the speakers in the TV set).

The Systems

Old school 3 way speakers driven by stereo receiver.

Little speakers are part of this Philips system.

Sub woofer hides under desk.

Control and right speaker for bedroom sound.

Sub woofer and left speaker hidden by the bed.

These are the three main sound systems in my apartment. The "old school" system produces the closet thing to studio, "flat", realism in sound. The Philips powered system on my desk produces the, "popular", large bass sound, and the bedroom system is similar to the Philips, but noticeably lesser quality. Still, the one in the bedroom makes the TV sound good.

I often test recordings with all 3 and remix to overcome their differences. I play the final mixes through my computer speakers, ear buds, headphones, and all three systems to see if the mix is, "bullet proof". I then save that mix and go on to other things for a day or two before listening to it again. Sort of like cleanisng my auditory palette. If it still sounds good when I come back to it, I just might keep it that way until I add something new.
More on my sounds here; HappyPhil

Space Tomato

"It doesn't look dangerous." (Stock Photo)

What started as a science experiment to grow plants in space has blossomed into a drought-resistant, nutritionally rich tomato -- patent pending.
NASA Tomato

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes

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