Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

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Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby Raf » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:38 am

Hello All,

Ahhh…a long weekend and the gift of leisure…the calm before the Christmas bedlam ☺

I’ve been writing this since Friday…I am so driven to do this. I missed the audio show, and generally been to busy…SOOOO…lest all you guys forget I ever existed I’ decided to write again…some thing more than the occasional photography contribution…☺
Its been a good block of time since I made an audio related post. So much I have missed from you guys, I am so behind. Is there WS Audio Remedial Class? I should enroll. Actually, I am so worried that I may be repeating a well worn topic so I will post this in SYNERGIES…the moderator is my friend and if I manage to annoy him I trust that he will not stay annoyed with me for too long….Jack is just too busy these days engage me nalang in a discussion…the kind we so enjoy and have not had in a long time☺

However, If this topic is too well worn, please delete this thread if its redundant or OT. As always, a constructive exchange of differing opinions with you guys is always welcome and eagerly anticipated. I would like to add, beforehand, that each and everyone of you has followed his own path to Audio OZ. I acknowledge that your experiences are sacrosanct to you and I am certain that your individual joys and heartbreaks in this hobby have made it all the more meaningful to you

I will get to the topic of synergies…but allow me a few paragraphs to build up some context.

In many cases, successful synergies seem to be achieved through a good number of ways. Here are a few:
1. Trial and error, experimentation through mixing and matching gear, components and technologies all the way from the front end to the speakers. Mixing to your personal taste.
2. Sticking to one-brand systems.
3. Learning from our colleagues and their setups.
4. Era matching, vintage, modern, cutting edge, bleeding edge, beta versions.
5. Regional origin matching..e,g. Brit sound, Japanese, European, East Coast American and West Coast American….fill this up with more. Or combining to compensate weaknesses.
6. Collaboration with likeminded colleagues in setting up is so valuable in synergies
7. Reading, researching, auditioning
8. Experience is a big help
9. Technical and scientific understanding is also a huge help
10. PLAIN OLD LUCK…This happens
11. And there is also the “throwing money at the problem” by buying whatever you think might work.
12. Add whatever else missed out on…

AND THEN WE FIND THAT SOME SONGS OR MUSIC SIMPLY SOUND HORRIBLE ON OUR BELOVED SYSTEMS!!! WHY WHY WHY!!!???

Now to the meat of this write-up and what I write here is from direct experience from my own setup and what I’ve learned from my pals and mentors. And for those of you who know me…ITS NOT GOING TO BE TECHNICAL…so if your are expecting a discourse on physics, circuit design, materials, acoustics, brands, gurus, or inscrutable mathematical equations other than dynamic compliance, matching, do yourselves a favor, STOP READING NOW.

In achieving synergies, it’s best to start, as in most case, at the root of things.

1. It starts with a song we love..or the love and enjoyment of music for its own sake..or for dancing..or for singing along, or for playing an musical instrument. Love of music is the alpha and the omega of this hobby.
2. F*#^k being analytical. Just F*#^k the snobbery…if you hear a song you like playing in an SM department store, on AM radio, or blaring in a PA bullhorn or on the cheapest piece of consumer electronic junk…you will feel enjoyment. From Kundiman to Hip Hop, from spiritual Gospel to drug encouraging rock or electronica. It starts and ends with the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical stimulation that music brings…
3. Again, just to stress the Point… ….SCREW the technology, loose the snobbery. The real SYNERGY HAPPENS BETWEEN YOU AND THE MUSIC YOU LOVE. I’m really sorry but if you don’t agree with this, you ARE IN THE WRONG HOBBY
4. The technology is just a delivery system. That’s all it is…a system that reproduces recorded sound…any sound system can reproduce the recorded sound of an apocalyptic lingering FART, if you want.

Okay, now that I have shamed myself (and this community) by utilizing profanity and BTW I truly believe that deep down, no adult is really offended by profanity…its entertaining as long as its not directed at us or a loved one, right? OOOps OT. I use the foul language to emphasize a point I feel we should all acknowledge.

So, the synergy of musical genres to equipment, to me is the MAIN CONCERN. For me, that is the real challenge.

Jazz trios are often performed in small or intimate venues. Symphony Orchestras are performed in huge opera houses, Big Bands in dance halls,, Rock concerts in Stadiums….Different Genre’s of music require different delivery systems…

Before electronic playback and recording were invented, the design of the venue optimized the travel of sound from the source to the audience. Opera houses were designed differently from play houses. Palaces had special rooms to enjoy quartets or virtuoso soloists. Churches were designed to make the priests voice seem otherworldly…small arrangements with weak sounding instruments like a flute or a guitar required the listener to be very close to the musician like a lounge or restaurant setting…Again each genre required a different delivery, a different room…

So lets build this up. The second synergy is between the music and how it gets to human ears and ultimately and optimally to the soul of the listener.

Now we come to the era of recording and playback. Her now IS WHERE JACK and KEITH and probably a good number of you guys who range from simply content to positively orgasmic about your own setups will disagree. Some of you guys out there believe in the “ONE SETUP THAT CAN DO IT ALL”

But I say..that EACH KIND OF MUSIC synergizes better with a dedicated, application oriented setup….Setups should be music oriented. Musical...Moving more than accurate. Emotive more than precise...

But, as educated colleagues, we can disagree without feeling animosity or insult. I respectfully ask you to read further (since you are already at this point) and try to understand me.

At mid volume, my Spendor SP 3/1ps will hopelessly mangle and muddy up Sir Thomas Beecham’s Messiah no matter how good my front end and components are.. The Messiah is a big, bombastic, powerful piece of music and driven by a complex musical arrangement of a large symphony.

On the other hand, Jack’s Lamm and VR Setup likely have adequate speaker area, power, agility, and overall crossover technology to deliver the Messiah in a superior manner.
Similarly, If Jack’s VR setup was used to play dance or techno, his floor-standers would certainly elicit a stronger emotional reaction for the listener to dance than my monitors. His VRs have the lowest to the highest frequency range I have ever heard and all delivered judiciously and in a tonally balanced way, surely as a result of exquisite design.


I have heard Norah Jones played on a triode amp and a giant horn speaker system…Huge image, GINORMOUS image…colossal !!! But Norah Jones is not a giant…and her band (the Handsome Band, as they are called) are all playing their instruments in a gentle accompaniment to Norah. I don’t’ think Norah planned to terrify me into listening, I think what she really she meant was to be to heard as if she was 8 meters away and playing softly on her piano….
I hearD Led Zeppelin played on that speaker without a box…the music seemed (as martye aptly described) crawled across the floor, up my legs, and seemed to creep stickily to my ears.

My simple Technics rig plays 80s synth pop better than my Thorens-SME setup…

I’ve heard LS 3/5as fake the mid-bass, II could go on and on…but really we all know what I’m talking about…

I believe, that in some general and common sensical terms, some genre’s work best with particular kinds of setups….Conversely, equipment is designed to work best for different applications. Or, in this case musical genres and the specialized needs of the reproduction, the aspects of the types of music and reproduction that must stand out, factors that must be emphasized.

So what to do with this fact…how does one capture the large number of possible permutations…so many musical genres versus so many possible setups and technologies…HOW HOW HOW…do we all just settle, do we just pretend that our setup can do it all… do we all just become content…WHERE IS THE FUN IN SETTLING???? WHERE IS THE LEARNING, THE ADVENTURE…WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR EPIC TREK TOWARDS AUDIO PLAYLAND?

Here are some ideas I have and want to share:

FIRST- you must have a FRAMEWORK to work with…An end goal in mind…a personal preference to satisfy.

Know yourself first-For example… Know what music you like. If you like different kinds of music, it may well be that you may need to switch components...
Know the dimensions of your listening room and factor that into your plan. Know your budget, too.
Examine you preferences:
If you were hypothetically watching a concert of your favorite music, do you want to experience front row impact to knock you on the head, do you want to be mid hall and appreciate the layering and perspective, where do you want to be sitting?…this will help you choose the technology (tube or solid state) type, software type, amplification, power, speaker size, wattage.
The scary part is if you like many kinds of music, as most of us do, you really need several setups if you want to optimize the playback…Or, you can setup a generalist system and JUST ENJOY THE MUSIC

BUT REALLY, JUST ENJOY THE MUSIC…IT’S THE PRIMARY CONCERN ☺

PS

Clearly I have left a lot left to be said...I'm waiting for you guys to chime in :) Looking forward to reading about your experiences
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby Oldfogey » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:41 pm

Interesting and well thought out post, Raf. I agree with you on certain points.

Know yourself and your music:
Most of my music is set in intimate clubs (jazz) or smaller acoustics halls (chamber music) and although I do occasionally listen to Dire Straits, Derek and the Dominos, Allman Brothers, and The Who, but they are a small part of my collection. My room is not huge, maybe 25 sqm, and I usually listen at low volume levels. I don't listen to huge symphonies, or Kodo drums, or audiophile test discs.

About the gear:
I've totally given up on listening critically, life is too short for that. Soundstage, transparency, pinpoint instruments in a black background, all that audiophile technobabble, that's GONE!!! I can enjoy music in my car, at my home, anywhere the music is good. After having gone through way too much gear, I've concluded that there really hasn't been that much improvement in maybe the last 50 years. Except for my CD collection and frontend, I will happily live with flea powered gear using tubes from the 30's to the 50's.

Finally, to pick three words from your post, I would have to say moving, emotive, and musical, resonate with my tastes. Oh, and beautiful. Music must, like all art, be beautiful. To you, the listener.

Just my 2 centimes.
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby Mamimili » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:50 pm

I have stopped equipment seeking because the current economy has forced me to stop. Simple. This has been / is a blessing.
I realised i was at the wrong age when i got the equipment virus (the cost of raising children, school fees etc cannot be ignored) and with the current economic restrictions i have had to think, listen and plan. Now i know what i want for the future (as in retirement equipment). My plan does fit a few of your synergies.

I like my music to be musical above all, but i can listen to terrible recordings and still enjoy the music so long as it means something to me.
Which is why, after some 40 years of buying LP's my wish list is now a short list. After all this time i do not have "that many" lp's, but all of them "mean something". They must do, i know the lyrics to 95% of the tracks :D
I also have lots of patience, so building my retirement system slowly over the next 13 years is not a problem for me. I am pretty sure i will have synergy of equipment and genre, the room is the only open question. I see a hill, spectacular and isolated scenery, lots of land for lots of dogs and a music room with a bedroom and a kitchen attached to it ;) For me, space, peace and quiet (as in no city or traffic noise, and cell phones will be on quiet mode) are true luxuries to aim for in later life. Music will continue to compliment my life, my memories etc. I had better build a spare bedroom for the granchildren to visit and share the memories!

In the end, i plan to be in synergy/harmony/content with my life and those in my life.
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby JoeyGS » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:20 pm

For me, when the first time I heard a hifi set-up I realised that my appetite for music increased. This is in a sense that I began to like (up to the extent...love) other musical genre which I had no interest in the past. I then began developing my gear and as of this moment I'd say that I have 85% of what I wanted in gears and for the music genre its ever expanding.

In my audio journey what I focused on is on how I wanted music to be heard coming out of the speakers. Mine is what I call "brusko" which relates to transparency without harshness (highs) and mudiness (lows). I did not like sound that's too "refined" as it felt clinical and without life for me. And with "brusko" sound, every genre is given life and an engaging experience in each listening session. I like the music in life and the life in music.

Just me.....
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby keith » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:49 pm

Raf, I honestly didn't understand your sms this morning. Blame that on lack of sleep. Now I got you bro. :lol:

Always enjoy your posts. Looking forward to Part 2.
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby planarribbon » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:53 am

to use a phrase that must be killed:

ayuz toh!

i have said several times that i was in a music-related industry at several times in my life ( radio DJ, music reviewer) so music is a part of me.

that being said, i must also state that i grew up in the provinces, where Sony is King. i grew up listening to equalizers set in that "classic" deep V pattern. i rode in jeepneys setup with 12 inch woofers paired with super tweeters delivering shuddering bass and ear-itating hiss, and not much else. but if it was a song i liked, who the hell cared, right? (by the way, i found that jeepney setup to be the perfect way to listen to magazine 60's "don quichotte" - synergy!)

it's true, raf - the first and most "real" synergy is between the listener and the music. pag narinig mo favorite tune mo, there is real pleasure. even if its over mall speakers.

but it's a big, big bonus to listen to your faves over a good system.

most of the time, i think, a lot of people get caught up in the means, and lose sight of the product. is this heresy in WS? i don't know. it's jst that sometimes, i get amusement reading about people quibbling over details in a search for a perfection that is, imho, a mirage.

but human nature is human nature.

i look forward to a part 2.

is there a part 2?

all the best,

planarribbon
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby Raf » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:11 pm

Hi guys, a very BIG THANK YOU for your contributions and for sharing your thoughts!!

Yes there is a part two...I want to talk about that pie in the sky dream called "an all-around" system as it relates to the ability to deliver different musical genres with equal quality..then maybe we can talk about what types of systems synergize with certain musical genres :)
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby abiedoodles » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:10 pm

Mamimili wrote:I have stopped equipment seeking because the current economy has forced me to stop. Simple. This has been / is a blessing.
I realised i was at the wrong age when i got the equipment virus (the cost of raising children, school fees etc cannot be ignored) and with the current economic restrictions i have had to think, listen and plan. Now i know what i want for the future (as in retirement equipment). My plan does fit a few of your synergies.

I like my music to be musical above all, but i can listen to terrible recordings and still enjoy the music so long as it means something to me.
Which is why, after some 40 years of buying LP's my wish list is now a short list. After all this time i do not have "that many" lp's, but all of them "mean something". They must do, i know the lyrics to 95% of the tracks :D
I also have lots of patience, so building my retirement system slowly over the next 13 years is not a problem for me. I am pretty sure i will have synergy of equipment and genre, the room is the only open question. I see a hill, spectacular and isolated scenery, lots of land for lots of dogs and a music room with a bedroom and a kitchen attached to it ;) For me, space, peace and quiet (as in no city or traffic noise, and cell phones will be on quiet mode) are true luxuries to aim for in later life. Music will continue to compliment my life, my memories etc. I had better build a spare bedroom for the granchildren to visit and share the memories!

In the end, i plan to be in synergy/harmony/content with my life and those in my life.


wow, i learned something here....
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby sgxp97 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:55 pm

ang ganda ganda pala ng voice ni Matuna Deecina, nuod ko sha guest sha sa victory party ni pacman, in place of show me da manny last sunday... heavenly synergy ang voice nya, Sony wega at yung small tv corner room namin... sana magka-cd sha, synergy sha e
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby JackD201 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:58 pm

Part 2 sounds absolutely Juicy! Looks like you're gonna be able to suck me back into writing brutha :devil: :devil: :devil:
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby marty_e » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:03 pm

It's the Indian, not the arrow
Cars don't win races, drivers do
Guns don't kill, people do

And the cliche's roll on.

Point being, the world if full of common albeit shallow wisdom separating man from machine - giving every credit (or discredit) to man than machine. In photography, there is the eternal debate of "Does a better camera or lens make for a better photographer?" While the knee-jerk reply is "Of course not!" try shooting an F1 race from the stands with a cellphone camera... Let's see how those snaps stack up with the guy in a 1DmkIII with the big ass red ringed white lens next to you. Does the system make the music move you or is it truly irrelevant to a music lover?

We've come long enough to know that man, machine and music are integral to the entire aural experience and that the sum of the parts can not possibly be greater than the whole. I cannot be a purist and state that the delivery system that takes me from A to B is immaterial. I can get to Makati from Alabang in a bus just as much as I can in an E30 M3 evolution but the latter is just soo much more fun. I can listen to my music in a Discman and a pair cans tied to a string but a valve driven system with a analog front end is sooo much more fun. Thus, and to quote some smart guy in the past - “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

I find that raf's post enlightens one in a way that adds a new element to the man-machine conondrum - music genre.

"So what to do with this fact…how does one capture the large number of possible permutations"

i've taken a step back from this hobby due to a number of other distractions. Those who are in touch with me nowadays also know that the audio malady has somehow crept back into my bloodstream in a veeeery minor way. The hiatus simply reinforces my belief that the most important piece of audio equipment you can ever own is a sense of perspective. There is not one audio system that can present the gamut of music in the best light - know that. Perfection is unattainable - know that too. Your music taste will evolve, so shall your system do as well? While your current system excels in some, it will fail in others miserably and if the quest to audio nirvana involves you swapping out system component one after another - expect burnout soon. Gear swapping and the Lewis and Clarke moment of discovery can be a thrill but know why you're doing this and recognize where it belongs in the pursuit of things.

Step back, take a breath, know thy system, know thyself and play some music- then kick back, chug a beer and relax...

In the immortal words of Johnny Whitefeather "ain't nothing but a thing..."
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby Mamimili » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:17 pm

marty_e wrote:Step back, take a breath, know thy system, know thyself and play some music- then kick back, chug a beer and relax...


I like Marty's points, they make me realise how lucky i am today (and how unlucky i was some 15 years ago when i was caught up in the change a piece of equipment monthly cycle).

It's easy for me to say i have stopped buying equipment and know what i want for the future, easy to blame financial restraints and easy to say the past two HiFi show’s allowed me to listen and decide what I want for the future.
I find I already have most of what i need or want.
I have 3 TT's, 2 arms and an integrated amp that i will keep. I know which amp I want. Of my current in use speakers i doubt i will keep any of them simply because i rediscovered my roots, the British sound of Goodmans drivers. I have spent a few years collecting the drivers i want "at the right price" on ebay, and the past two HiFi shows have given me the opportunity and time to listen to various enclosures to make the right choice for my drivers.
So 2010 for enclosures, then 12 years to find the retirement home to put them in, That is not a problem as I can happily listen to them while I wait for the right room, safe in the knowledge that I will eventually hear the full capabilities of my chosen equipment.

Once i tell myself i am "there", that will be it. Done. Finished. Time to chug that beer
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby JackD201 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:48 pm

Leave it to my good friend Raf, to drag me back to the keyboard for some intellectual gymnastics :D :D :D As I've mulled over his thesis as well as inputs from the well seasoned but never over done members here, there was this nagging imagery in my head. That was the image of a pack of greyhounds chasing after a mechanical rabbit in a track in Florida in the middle of summer. Could this be my subconscious telling me that's what we all are? Nah, too obvious that one. Dogs we may be at heart, hehehe, suckers NOT! Could it be a representation of the angst that drives the artists whose songs we hold so dear? Nah, too Gen X. Some amateur self psychoanalysis was in order then. I'm not the type of guy that tries to overanalyze anything. In fact I'm kind of proud of the fact that I value common sense in a man much higher than any form of genius he might possess. Then it hit me.

You can walk a greyhound with a leash but a chihuahua isn't going to catch no rabbits.

That's just me though. I can, and do, appreciate systems for what they do. I have five fully functioning free space systems at the moment each put together to do a job. From an iPod, ancient Yamaha integrated from Abenson's circa 1998, and entry level B&Ws for my kids to sing and dance to to the "No holds barred" one mentioned by Raf. I differ in that I think a system can do any genre. The question is.... does it do some better than others. Take my first example. It doesn't do any genre well :D :D :D :D The other one? Not too shabby considering my musical tastes are pretty broad as is my choice of music carrier formats. Pie in the Sky so to speak. My pie at least. Can it be beat "genre" wise? Sure! Horns will always have the advantage with swing and boogie or any type of music with upfront horn sections. Speakers with big paper woofers will always do rock better. Stats will always be that nth bit more coherent but these days not by much. The thing is, in my case, it's never been about being better. It's always been about being good enough. What do I mean?

It's all about what we're willing to trade off then isn't it? I wrote some years back that chasing perfection leads to audiophilia nervosa and that in my journey the overriding objective was and is the elimination of distractions that intrude upon the appreciation of music. This is easy to do via mental conditioning when you're driving a car, hanging out with friends or even singing along in the shower but not when the music is the center of attention. You're connecting with the music in "soundtrack" mode. It's firing up the memory centers or it's setting a vibe. When we set aside those special precious hours of "alone" time THEN everything changes! The big blinds have just gone up.......dealer, deal the cards.

When I take that cutter out to free that new LP from its sheath to listen to something I've never heard before or when I pull out a favorite piece to follow a different set of musical threads this time out, when the goal is to immerse myself in that experience physically, mentally and emotionally, then as marty puts it, that cellphone cam isn't going to do the job. When I do my serious listening, it's an almost solemn thing. Almost monk like. The kids even have their instructions to get their Chuckies before I start because nobody but nobody is calling me unless something MAJOR happens. The goal is to reach a point of relaxed focus and inner clarity with the music as the medium. It's about self discovery as much as it is musical discovery. That's my rabbit and yes the greyhound has helped me catch quite a few.

Serious as all this sounds, the system has got to be able to set a vibe too! That's when it becomes a greyhound on a leash. Use an iPod playing ancient 192kbps rips, tweak the EQ on the mixer, set the volume so voices need not be strained and go on for hours on end. If this was all I was to ask of it though, my kid's chihuahua system would do ;)
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part II

Postby Raf » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:20 pm

All of the above posts make wonderful sense. The responses were so full of honest, and dearly held personal sentiments and preferences… dreamy plans of future setups…Thank you all!!!

The open-ended portion of Part One really begged the question of “What about High Quality Sound?” to better enjoy that KIND OF MUSIC we love so much…Marty was right, in his analogy of getting to Makati because there really is such a thing as travelling in comfort over simply travelling…or in our case listening to quality rather than just hearing something we like.

Jack has masterfully summed up what I meant by having an end goal in mind…being transported, immersed and connecting with the music, firing up your soul, so to speak. he is describing what he ultimately desires from his equipment and his listening session...we should all know what our end goals are...otherwise, we will swing between disappointment and despair...I dont like to swing about that way very much and it has happened to me often enough in audio.

Then, he mentions five applications oriented or job oriented setups…one setup does something different from the other, it has different qualities and different effects...

If I were to understand what he meant about trade-offs, it would be that his system(s) can do some or most music well…and what music it does not do as well does not cause him anguish because he accepts and understands the limitations. AFFIRMATIVE!!…there will be trade-offs…JACK IS RIGHT!!! And this is PRECISELY WHY it’s the LOVE OF MUSIC that is central.. Even if your setup does not deliver it in the best way…the love of the music will override the shortcomings.I am learning to acknowledge this…but it rankles and hurts at times because of the magnitude of cash we throw at our beloved hobby…SOME ADDITIONAL MATURITY ON MY PART IS DEFINITELY CALLED FOR...Expectation management, too.

But what Jack discussed about horns, paper woofers and stats are essentially the trend of thought that I was pursuing. These comments were definitely close to what I was hoping to learn about the framework of matching components to genres

So I guess the FRAMEWORK is starting to take much better shape thanks to all your contributions and undeniable experience, passion and common sense!! How do we each or individually go about matching and choosing the components of an entire setup to BEST deliver the kind of music we love. GIVEN THAT AN ALL AROUND SYSTEM does not really exist.

I kinda predict that personal preference is going to make this discussion a bit tough. But we can all be open minded enough to acknowledge obvious commonalities and general or self-evident truths. These can be the parameters describing our common ground.OH, and for the sake of a measure of impartiality and to maintain the collegial atmosphere, could we kindly avoid debating the benefits or disadvantages of one brand over another…lets stick to technology instead ☺

So how do we set up for the kind of music we like best. What should guide our choice of components?

In order to go through this logically and in an organized fashion, we must hold certain aspects of a hypothetical setup as constant and critique each component individually while holding the other parts as equal…

SOOO all other components being equal:

Lets start with Speaker-sizes, types, and technologies as Jack has chosen to do. Later if we are still at it, we can move down to amplifier technology all the way to the front end.

Again, it all started for me because of the problem of very large music through small monitors. The Messiah-Symphony Orchestra and the disappointing result I experienced as it was delivered to me through my pair of reasonably good quality monitor speakers…the effect was much like trying to park 10 cars into a 2 car garage…muddy and lacking in perspective and layering.

Sure it was nice at low volumes. But at middling levels, it fell apart…no, actually it got all mixed up and jumbled…a soupy mess. All things being equal, Steely Dan and Bill Evans always sound pretty damn incredible when played through the exact same setup. So does The Who, Sarah McLachlan, and so does the Pat Metheny Group…but not Handles Messiah…WHY Why Why?

In your experience, what kind of speakers can best handle big orchestra music, all other components being equal? To expand this, is there a speaker type/size that synergizes with a type of music, all other things being equal? Another way to pose this question would be, what speaker type (in your opinion) can best handle the frequency range of Techno/Trance dance music? What about vocal dominated Genre’s such as standards? I can’t list down all the Genres because I don’t really know all the Genres…but we probably can discuss rock, chamber music, trios, vocals…etc…

Here is a proposition to get things started-In my experience Techno/Dance music are very well (in general) handled by full range floor standers with large area drivers and woofers

Cheers!!
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby JackD201 » Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:51 am

Okay Raf let's start there then. A disclaimer though. From the get go I shall clearly state that I'm a sub 20 to over 20 guy. Regardless of genre, ultra full range is the way I wanna roll. The reason is my technical background. While you guys know I did recording engineering etc my training was specifically for sound on film. This means the focal point is intelligibility supported by localization and laid out in a definable space. Yup there's that Transported thing again. It's my recurring theme. Intelligibility lives in the midrange obviously but to be able to put the characters in the scene, to give them a palpable contextual atmosphere all the background noises must be true to what you see on screen and what you would expect of the staged venue even if it isn't, like a seagull's squawk at the beach or crickets chirping in the woods. This localization is carried by the transient behavior of the very highest frequencies of the sound source. Dull far away, intense close by. You can't be fully fooled into being transported however without true deep bass. The real "ugong" or "gapang" as opposed to the fake hollow boom. The definition of space lies in the bass specifically the recreation of the venue's reverberant field. This is where your Mahler choked your spendors. It isn't the sudden kick that will choke an amp or heat a voice coil, it's prolonged high powered sustains. To reproduce a large reverberant field at sane listening levels requires subsonic chops and a whole lot of grunt. Of all the big systems I've heard only those with powered dedicated subs have passed muster like the big Genesis systems, Infinities, and ehem... :lol: :lol: :lol: Not even the Grand Slam or Ivy could do it. I suspect the Field Coil Grand Utopia EMs would be able to do it though.

This then would be the basis of a "Do it all" system but unfortunately that "do it all-ness" would be limited to the three criteria and not take into consideration predispositions for certain tonal balances and appetites for certain types of distortions. What it can do is play any size ensemble and fill a room in an enveloping way. HA! There I said it. To be transported without the need for medication or an over taxed imagination first you must be fully engulfed!

So let's get on with it shall we? .....

We need to breakdown popular dance music which does not include Hip Hop and R&B as these carry their own classification as per retailers. Most dance music sub-genres such as Garage, 2-Step, House, Techno and Breakbeat are what we can call club music. Meaning the venues are more often than not the usual club or to our older members "discos". These are intimate venues that would share their size with jazz clubs or at most the live revues during the big band era. No surprise then that this subset would play well on systems geared toward swing, rock, jazz and jazz fusion. No need for any serious extension here but big punch at 250Hz is a must have. Some 8" woofered two ways can do it, twin 6.5ers can do it, 10" singles in a 3-way will do mighty fine. Needless to say, play this on a horn stack and you get club music in the home since clubs use horns most of the time anyway.

Two sub-genres though have much more stringent demands technically and musically. These are Progressive House and Trance. Born in the open fields of the UK, these are the genres that are played in the largest venues. A headcount of 5,000 is not at all unusual. Stadiums have been filled as well as entire town squares including side streets. To get this feeling at home we're talking a system capable of huge soundscapes. These soundscapes are possible only if a system is capable of exemplary phase coherence as well as projection. The system also has to be dynamically capable as unlike other sub-genres these two, which can be hard to tell apart at times, often have quiet breakdowns with nothing more than layers of soft harmonies meant to provide dancers with some much needed rest.

Musically it is also one of the most demanding. To understand how this can be, consider that the synthesizer has come a long way from the time Pink Floyd used Moogs. Those mini-moogs were monophonic meaning they could only play one note at a time. Today's software synths are 120 Voice Polyphonic. 120 notes playing at once! Hang on. That's just one synth engine, many more can be slaved via MIDI. So what's so great about lotsa notes? Well, these individual notes are actually samples of actual instruments recorded digitally at very high quality. If you remember the movie Fame from 1980, there's a scene where a guy was composing a major work with a boatload of analog synths. Even at that time it was a far cry from Switched On Bach. Trance and Progressive House has more musical threads and individual elements, more individual layers of texture than any type of music even dare I say it than classical music whose composer's imaginations were limited to a hundred or so good men and women. It's a cross between native percussion, classical arrangements and the evil child of psychedelic rock's effects thrown in. These genre's need a JD201 spec All-Rounder to be minimally appreciated at home but nothing can come close to being one in thousands at a real live rave. Alas......the fear of hearing the dreaded "Hi Tito!!!!!" is now too great!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby Mamimili » Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:15 am

Hello Tito

I am so pleased i do not like Trance et al.
I can stay with my own plan.

Because if i did, right now i would be changing my plans.
Well written Jack, before this piece i always thought of a sub as a boom box :clap: :clap:

I have a small one, never been used, perhaps i should try it.......
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby JackD201 » Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:44 pm

Why not Paul? :)

The key to subs is to use them to kind of fill in the foundations "subliminally" -pun intended- You should feel it but not really hear it in the midband ;)
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby Mamimili » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:13 pm

JackD201 wrote:Why not Paul? :)

The key to subs is to use them to kind of fill in the foundations "subliminally" -pun intended- You should feel it but not really hear it in the midband ;)


You hit the nail on the head Jack.
I don't want to "feel" bass. The boom boom thump thump bang bang bass of HT has always turned me off. I know this is an exaggeration, but you get my drift.
One day i will have a room worthy of low bass, right now even my Minima's on a Tono Personal can vibrate the ceiling.
I openly admit i have only heard one system with a sub integrated properly, but the cost of the rest of the equipment plus the cost of the dedicated room did not encourage me to try it in my own system. I am also under the impression that it is quite difficult to integrate a sub properly.

As i have thought about it a few times lately. I will try it (I think what I have is more for HT, but there's no point leaving it in its original packaging forever! I cannot even remember what brand it is.)
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby northwardnimbus » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:48 pm

Raf wrote:Hello All,

Ahhh…a long weekend and the gift of leisure…the calm before the Christmas bedlam ☺

I’ve been writing this since Friday…I am so driven to do this. I missed the audio show, and generally been to busy…SOOOO…lest all you guys forget I ever existed I’ decided to write again…some thing more than the occasional photography contribution…☺
Its been a good block of time since I made an audio related post. So much I have missed from you guys, I am so behind. Is there WS Audio Remedial Class? I should enroll. Actually, I am so worried that I may be repeating a well worn topic so I will post this in SYNERGIES…the moderator is my friend and if I manage to annoy him I trust that he will not stay annoyed with me for too long….Jack is just too busy these days engage me nalang in a discussion…


-sic- mod edited for easy reading :)


...............do you want to experience front row impact to knock you on the head, do you want to be mid hall and appreciate the layering and perspective, where do you want to be sitting?…this will help you choose the technology (tube or solid state) type, software type, amplification, power, speaker size, wattage.
The scary part is if you like many kinds of music, as most of us do, you really need several setups if you want to optimize the playback…Or, you can setup a generalist system and JUST ENJOY THE MUSIC

BUT REALLY, JUST ENJOY THE MUSIC…IT’S THE PRIMARY CONCERN ☺

PS

Clearly I have left a lot left to be said...I'm waiting for you guys to chime in :) Looking forward to reading about your experiences


WHATEVER YOU'RE HAVING MAN, I'M HAVING IT TOO!!! :call:
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Re: Musical Genre and Synergy with the Setup Part I

Postby marty_e » Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:11 am

Tail wagging the dog.... :lol:
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