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Post Info TOPIC: What we accept as music (sound) today.


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What we accept as music (sound) today.


I can remember in my late teens, the late sixties, regularly going to a friends place to listen to his music, (and drink beer). His system records in perfect condition, we weren't allowed to touch them, the turntable with a strobe light for setting the speed, finely weighted arm. An expensive amplifier, big speaker cabinets. The sound was amazing. 

Lat night I went to a show, the music sounded crap, I'm thinking it was all down loaded from the net. I am very deaf, and I guess that through my hearing aids, I might hear differently than those with good hearing. But just the same I down load music via Itunes which I have to pay for, but through our sound bar it sounds pretty good. But this other music played back through small speakers etc. is too me sounding very poor.

Is it just me, or have we forgotten what good HI-Fi music sounds like, and are just excepting this rubbish we have now as the norm ?



-- Edited by iana on Sunday 5th of June 2022 06:37:38 PM

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RE: What we except as music (sound) today.


I just bought a new CD player $1300 because the old one died. The previous one was a cheap one. The new one has much better sound. I'm glad the old one died! The amplifier is a decade old, replacement cost would be about $3000. Van den Hul cables over 30 years old.

 

I think a lot of people just simply have no idea of sound quality. I am still using 40 year old speakers, replacement cost today about $4000, had to repair one of the cones a few years ago. The glue failed at the basket. A bit of Tarzans Grip fixed it.

 

If you have crap hearing the best thing you can do is go to a proper independent hi-fi shop & have a listen. They have plenty of CDs or take some of your own. You will be surprised what hearing you have left.

 

Another issue with sound quality is the minimalist room design with lack of thick soft furnishings. One doesn't have to spend a lot of money, just be a bit creative. There is plenty of information on acoustics treatment for home theatres, AV & hi-fi rooms.

 

I don't have a pair, but I have listened through a pair of Stax headphones... don't, ever try listening to these headphones or similar or you will never bear using ear buds again!

 

If you ever get the chance, listen to some electrostatic speakers, amazing sound, but you do need a bigger room & pockets with more depth!



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Back in the 1970s & 80s I went to a lot of hi-fi shows. Eye watering a lot of the prices. Today not only records are returning, so are valve amplifiers. It is interesting reading the various articles on valve amps, but will stick with what I have until it or me kicks the bucket.



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I don't have a subwoofer except in the car. This is an interesting website if you want to build your own.

 

https://www.subwoofer-builder.com/



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RE: What we accept as music (sound) today.


iana wrote:

I can remember in my late teens, the late sixties, regularly going to a friends place to listen to his music, (and drink beer). His system records in perfect condition, we weren't allowed to touch them, the turntable with a strobe light for setting the speed, finely weighted arm. An expensive amplifier, big speaker cabinets. The sound was amazing. 

Lat night I went to a show, the music sounded crap, I'm thinking it was all down loaded from the net. I am very deaf, and I guess that through my hearing aids, I might hear differently than those with good hearing. But just the same I down load music via Itunes which I have to pay for, but through our sound bar it sounds pretty good. But this other music played back through small speakers etc. is too me sounding very poor.

Is it just me, or have we forgotten what good HI-Fi music sounds like, and are just excepting this rubbish we have now as the norm ?



-- Edited by iana on Sunday 5th of June 2022 06:37:38 PM


I find the same thing with my hearing aids Iana, I have a top quality sound system in my car (no not the Landy) but if I listen to it with my hearing aids in it sounds more like a two dollar trany. Landy

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Whenarewethere wrote:

I just bought a new CD player $1300 because the old one died. The previous one was a cheap one. The new one has much better sound.


I find it impossible to believe that the fidelity of the digital ones and zeros extracted by a $1300 CD player is any better than the digital ones and zeros extracted by a $50 player.



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dorian wrote:
Whenarewethere wrote:

I just bought a new CD player $1300 because the old one died. The previous one was a cheap one. The new one has much better sound.


I find it impossible to believe that the fidelity of the digital ones and zeros extracted by a $1300 CD player is any better than the digital ones and zeros extracted by a $50 player.


 The À2D could be a little better, the pre-amp could be a little better, I suppose the motor could be a little more stable but *nothing* like $1250 better to my ears.



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Mike Harding wrote:
dorian wrote:
Whenarewethere wrote:

I just bought a new CD player $1300 because the old one died. The previous one was a cheap one. The new one has much better sound.


I find it impossible to believe that the fidelity of the digital ones and zeros extracted by a $1300 CD player is any better than the digital ones and zeros extracted by a $50 player.


 The À2D could be a little better, the pre-amp could be a little better, I suppose the motor could be a little more stable but *nothing* like $1250 better to my ears.


Pay even less money for an MP3 player and then you won't have to worry about the fidelity of the motor.

BTW, I think you mean D2A.



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If you go to an independent hi-fi shop & listen to cheaper & more expensive players you will hear the difference.



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Whenarewethere wrote:

If you go to an independent hi-fi shop & listen to cheaper & more expensive players you will hear the difference.


I won't hear any difference because I'm too old and because I wouldn't expect to hear a difference even if I were young again. You will probably hear a difference simply because you need to justify the additional expense. These hi-fi shops undoubtedly bias their tests in some way, even if it is only by identifying the source before you hear it.



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dorian wrote

BTW, I think you mean D2A.


I do, thank you - fortunately, in the real world, I have never interchanged them :)

I had a fiery relationship with a classical musician of some note a few years back: her "hi fi system" was a mid range ghetto blaster and she seemed quite satisfied with its sound.



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A ghetto blaster vs a hi-fi system are two different things.

 

Good hi-fi shops have very long term customers who know their stuff & will lend them equipment to try in their own home before they buy. I have been to the same shop for decades & I am at the pauper end of customers. It's frightened what you can spend, upwards of $30,000 just for an amp, & people will buy two, one each for left & right channels.

 

As far as hearing, most of us will lose the high frequencies first, other half has lost hearing down to about 4kHz, but that is no reason to give up in the mid range frequencies. Also having good quality bass, & I don't mean head banging noise, will help the midrange sound better.

 

Don't give up!



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Its not really just the quality of the pre-amplifier or amplifier, but has to start with the quality of the recording, down loaded or otherwise, the digitizing. Chopping off frequencies MP3 & MP4, the sample rate etc. Then there's the other end, back then the size of the speakers - tweeters, mid range and bass was important. Its about the movement of air, creating pressure waves, now we use small enclosures, just put speakers in boxes.

At our life style village apparently we have a very good sound system, but for events (Dances) they use a portable PA system -- for music ! , I asked does it sound OK to you? and the reply is yes, to me it sounds like a speaker in a kerosene tin.

So I am saying that the poorer quality audio (I think) we use to day, is being accepted as the norm. Ask Seri or Google.

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We were in a dance hall & the acoustics were about as bad as you can get. I suggested they move the speakers to the centre of the room. Vast improvement.

 

The quality of the equipment was a separate issue, but at least we could now "hear"!

 

I did stick some of the Hall's thick yoga floor mats at the ends of the hall, anything is better than nothing for acoustics.



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I think too price has too much influence these days...it is pretty expensive to set up a quality sound system.

A good amplifier and speaker system will amplify and produce sounds from a base of 20 hertz to treble of 20,000 hertz which allegedly is the hearing span of the human ears hearing ability...when all is in pretty good nic.

As we lose our hearing the high end of the spectrum seems to be the first to be "clipped". I wonder whether some hearing aids just aren't capable of reproducing sound in either of those extremes? That would leave decent base sound inaudible and possibly some trebles as well....the mid range sound is quite boring if that dominates.

I see a number of sound systems these days that start at a base of 50Hz and then to a treble of often less than 20,000 Hz.

I was a sound engineer for rock bands many years ago and the base bins we used were massive, it took 2 bloke to carry one of them, and the "horns" used for treble were pretty big and heavy as well. That said, these days it is quite amazing what sound is produced by even tiny 2" speakers.

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I bought a couple of those Bluetooth speakers for camping. They're not as good as the Denonl sound system at home but still surprisingly good.

 

The thing that seemed so stupid to me was that the app seemed to give more emphasis on connecting more speakers than having stereo output. Do the young people of nowadays know what stereo is? 

 



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I have a couple of these.
www.mydeal.com.au/logitech-ue-boom-2-bluetooth-portable-waterproof-speaker-8311141
I used to use them in class when showing demonstrations through the TV. The class could hear the instructions. I also use them in the caravan for the TV or phone. Great clarity.

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As we age, our ability to hear treble diminishes. Even if it was boosted to 10 times the level, a typical retiree won't hear the higher frequencies at all. And at that setting it would be intolerable for someone with good hearing range to listen to. So producing high quality treble is pointless for the typical grey nomad. As for distortion, a discerning young ear can pick up tiny imperfections that would go unnoticed by us. Just not as much of a drop off as the high frequencies. But we can usually still hear mid ranges and low bass quite well.

Cheap to midrange amplifiers can produce good quality with high sound levels. Once you get to a few hundred dollars, most people would not pick the difference with spending more money.

Speaker systems is where the most difference can be achieved. Producing midrange at reasonable volumes is pretty easy. But those low frequencies are a challenge. It is physically impossible to produce decent volume at low frequencies with small speakers. Physics tells us that this requires moving a large volume of air, so large speakers are required (or numerous smaller ones which is impractical).

The cheaper systems overcome this by boosting mid bass levels (around 100-120hz) to well above the level of other frequencies. The low bass frequencies are cut altogether because the speakers can't handle the required cone movement. This gives a boomy sound which seems to satisfy a high percentage of people. Then there are others on the other end of the spectrum that have subwoofers (mainly in cars) who think that no amount of bass is too much. I consider both styles an assault on my ears.

At home, I have a fairly powerful subwoofer. It starts taking over from my tower speakers below 120hz, and goes all the way down to below 20hz. This is too low to hear, but at that frequency you feel it rather than hear it, and at high volumes the floor will vibrate and some things in the room will rattle. I used a frequency meter on the whole system to tune it as close to a flat frequency response as I could. Hard floors and windows don't help with room acoustics but that's what I have, so I live with it.

Listening to music, the subwoofer does not get a lot of exercise. It's working all the time but is rarely noticeable. But those recordings with the low bass certainly come to life, sounding closer to a live performance. Movies are where a subwoofer shines. Feeling the floor rumble as a train goes past, the boom of surf on the beach, or just the full spectrum of sound from everyday life brings home entertainment a lot closer to the theatre experience.

It's a good thing I don't have close neighbours.



-- Edited by Are We Lost on Monday 6th of June 2022 02:25:48 PM

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My son tells me I must get a better system

I have a basic modern TV and I have a Bluetooth speaker to listen to music.

All installed in the lounge room of my little unit.

I go to my sons house and he has special surround sound. He has a music player that is connected to what seems like 20 speakers ??

His room is huge and is apparently designed with furnishings and curtains or drapes if you mind that all go to enhance the sound.

To be honest I cant tell any difference between mine and his unless he has the volume to a level where you need to leave the house.

Even to watch a movie on Tele is frightening at times.



-- Edited by Ivan 01 on Monday 6th of June 2022 04:36:59 PM

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A quality system is not 11 on the dial. This is why people are going back to valve amps because they sound better at normal (lower) levels.

 

Curtain or drapes & all that stuff helps, but one needs to be careful not to make the room sound too dead. There are tools to design the room acoustics.

 

I have had the chance to be in an anechoic room, when you speak there is zero echo, the room sucks up all sound, really eerie stuff.



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The sound of music directly depends on the gadget used to play it. You can never compare the music that sounds in a concert hall with the music that sounds in your headphones.

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Welcome to GN's Forum Brendan - No venue will ever be able to produce the clean sound of a recording studio - Listen to any "Live Album" unless all the extraneous shouts, cheers and farts from the second row are digitally removed, it is a cacophony.

Note the thread that you have come upon is almost a year old.

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People of our age who claim to be able to hear nuances in the recordings are kidding themselves. Presbycusis renders all these discussions pointless. Instead of squandering your retirement savings on oxygen free cables and other audiofoolery, rejoice in the fact that you will hear no difference between the top of the range audio gear and an ordinary MP3 player.

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Dorian, while I agree we lose a lot of hearing quality as we age, I disagree on not distinguishing between top of the range and an ordinary MP3 player. Maybe it depends on what you mean by an ordinary MP3 player. I am thinking of the typical system you would pay several hunded dollars for, mostly soundbars and subwoofers now.

I know i don't hear a huge range of treble sounds and even some beeping alarms are not audible to me anymore. But I can detect the muddy sound from compressed audio if it is played on reasonable quality equipment. Maybe I wouldn't pick the difference on the MP3 player, but would if played on higher quality systems.

Also it depends on the material being played. Most popular music lacks definition so quality matters little. But put on something where you hear the nuances in voice and can clearly distinguish the sound of each instrument and it does.

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I have a tinnitus spike a 8.1 kHz due to Astrazeneca, but I can still hear up to 13 kHz.

 

Other half has lost all the top end, can't hear any of the alarms as they are too high frequency.

 

But she says our expensive hi-fi sounds a lot better than the various cheap radios we also have.

 

Mobile phone & cheap audio push the frequency of the overall sound track north. It might, to the uneducated sound ok, but the frequencies are pushed north.

 

My phone has pushed the frequencies north about 1kHz & then there is nothing an the bottom end as I can't seem to find its 8+ inch driver.

 

My Wharfedale E50 speakers (wanted E90, but budget constraints at the time) with 8 inch divers are more than adequate!

 

Having the frequencies where they should be on a $5k+ setup you will hear things you would otherwise have issues with.



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