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   Home » Playback Listening » About the undeveloped audio installations. (4 posts, 1 page)
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  »  New  Critique audio performance before acquire new element...  Critique audio performance before acquire new element....  Audio For Dummies ™  Forum     0  39547  12-31-2004
05-28-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,051
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 10639
Reply to: 10639
About the undeveloped audio installations.

I wonder why audio people do not WORK with their playbacks. This subject always annoyed me.  Let pretend an audio person build up some kind of playback installation. It is irrelevant what would it be: a huge vintage Bell Labs system, a contemporary glossy Krell system or $500 worth a little table radio with two little speakers.  In all cases it is some kind of playback installation that has own character.

Now, the installation owner might like of do not like what his playback does, or like of do not like some specific aspects of the sound that s/he is getting. That is normal. What is not normal in my view is what happens with most audio people next.  Most of audio people do not have their mind tuned to recognize the sound that they are getting and to react upon what they hear. I mean audio people do react upon what they do not like but they typically react in accordance with some external mostly artificial logic but not in accordance to the sensations they develop from listening of their playbacks.

As the result most of the audio installations out there are vastly undeveloped. By “undeveloped” I mean that any given installation performs at a fraction of own capacity. Then the system owner, not been satisfied by something, changes the components without recognizing that the formal playback did not have problem with ingredients but had problem with system owner did not make the needed internal rearrangement in order to get the best from what was available. Then a system owner changes some elements and the new round of audio that delivers a fraction of own possible capacity starts.

So, why audio people do not work with their playbacks? Many audio people foolishly believe that knowledge in audio derives from some kind of technical or musical education or knowledge, but in reality there is nothing that can be further from the truth. I know very capable musical people absolutely inapt in the subjects of audio and I know plenty of highly knowledgeable technical experts (some of them are very prominent audio designers) who in my views absolutely dead in the subjects of audio and sound. The knowledge in audio derives from an ability of an individual to recognize own natural auditable experiences and to interpret them by the means of audio methods. This is absolutely different type of training and unfortunately most of audio people do not have it and do not spend efforts to develop it. As the result, most of the audio installations out there perform “as is” because people who own them driven by some external precompiled algorithms that were pre-developed for them and implanted in their minds instead to the actual needs of those installations…

In my estimation around 70% of audio people have purely algorithmic playbacks and their playbacks have no feedback of playback owner recognitions. Around 25% of audio people to more or less degree work on their playback, trying to get better from what they have before referring to external help of other components. I would say that only a few percents of audio people “work” with this playback up to the point where a given playback gives up all that it is able to. I think my estimation is quite accurate and it depicts a very sad stage of practice among most of audio people.

Romy the Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-29-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Boston, MA.
Posts 42
Joined on 12-13-2007

Post #: 2
Post ID: 10643
Reply to: 10639
Very informative
I no doubt fall into the category of the 70%.  My playback has not been as satisfying as I would like.  Many of us do not know where to turn when we hit a brick wall with extracting the best results. The default reaction is to look for a piece of equipment or cable to swap out.  Sometimes a helpful and astute listener can enable us to move beyond preconceived boundaries we have become locked into. 

As an example the setup instructions for my speakers indicate it is best to sit in an equilateral triangle position with speakers toed in toward the listeners seat.  I have been toying with this setup for nearly two years by slightly varying the angle of toe in or moving a few inches closer to or farther away from the rear wall with minimum results.

Recently a friend came by and after listening for a short while went into the bathroom tore two long strips of toilet paper off the roll sat them atop the speakers and allowed them to hang over the face of the drivers.  This had the affect of nearly vanishing some HF energy that was grating and irritating with certain types of classical music.  Next he had us move the sofa to nearly the back wall of my living room. This had a profound affect upon the sound.  The bass became much richer, more naturally fuller.  Midrange improved with better separation of instruments which was immediately noticeable.  We were now able to remove toilet paper. This yielded an improvement beyond my expectations.  I have recently rearranged the living room to accomodate this change.

While there are some areas of improvement I am still looking to attain this experience taught me to break the rules, even taking radical steps beyond conventional recommendations.  The sad thing is I would have looked to an equipment change to get these results had it not been for my visitors help.  I have in a sense become liberated from the typical audiophile imposed restraints.

This may be my first step in discovering where the DPoL sound exist in my listening space.



"It's like an act of murder; you play with the intent to commit something"--Duke Ellington
05-29-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
San Francisco, California
Posts 526
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 3
Post ID: 10646
Reply to: 10643
There is a third alternative
In my case I have sat and thought quite some time about the exact characteristics of the stereo system, why it sounds a certain way, what are the weaknesses, what are the flaws, how can it be corrected, what compromises must be made, etc.
I did reach at some point a situation where the sound was simply good enough. I recognize the flaws and I have a good understanding of to what extent things can be changed or improved.  It is close enough and achieves the goals that I want such that I am satisfied although it is not 100% perfect.
I still have several projects on the workbench, but these days there is always something else I need to attend to, so the hobbies get put on the back burner for now.  It's not like my college days, when I could spend days sitting and soldering without a care.
Oh well.
05-04-2020 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Posts 440
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 4
Post ID: 25844
Reply to: 10639
Method and Process
I am a trumpet player and teach as well. For my trumpet "beginners", I have a standard repertoire of exercizes to develop their playing. In the beginning, we find the tones that they can easily produce and build from there. As soon as a minimum of "tones" can be reliably played, we start with simple songs as the reason to play trumpet is to make music. Over time skills are built and part of my teaching method is to train my students how to choose an instrument. This is not a case of finding one to play higher, louder faster, rather one that responds to the inner desires more easily.

When we look at audio, where are the lessons? What would even be a desirable "method" to start? What logical steps would lead to a point where the "system" starts to line up with inner desires?

I believe that this is missing in the audio world and mostly "luck" is the driving force. Even for those that "get it", I am sure that they got to this level first by luck. The truly lucky ones maybe saw the "light" and were able to take fate into their own hands. Maybe it would be useful to think about what first steps/lessons could be?

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
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  »  New  Critique audio performance before acquire new element...  Critique audio performance before acquire new element....  Audio For Dummies ™  Forum     0  39547  12-31-2004
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