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In the Forum: Playback Listening
In the Thread: Ways to use audio methods.
Post Subject: the root of sonic barbarism and what to do about it?Posted by stuck.wilson on: 9/5/2006
i certainly know a lot of 'audiophiles' with a vast array of gear-- some good, some bad -- but i think there are a variety of reasons people are so confused about what constitutes good sound.

one of the most heinous-  outside public opinion-  is the current state of 'studio recording'-  not scrupulous and thorough transparent use of good recording equipment, but the economics-derived aesthetic of 'louder is better' overcompression of everything so that screechy/boomy pop music is louder than commercials!  sadly.. i think few people hear human produced music in any context.. so the idea of 'harmonic integrity' is a really confusing ideal to people who haven't grown up around live music. and to a certain extent, it's difficult to find even amongst instrument builders, who cater to musicians expecting hyper-exciting tonal balances out of their instruments as thats what they hear on the radio!

sadly, folks who grew up in an era of pop-radio hits have mostly heard ONLY the super-mediated, studio manipulated recordings of their musical heroes.  good recordists haven't presented the plate, the evils of 'production' have..  this being the case-- a very skewed form of 'good' has been presented to most people, as their musical tastes don't always include less screwed-with music.

i end up listening to a lot of small ensemble jazz, as well as classical, rock, and field recordings-  but even still, i've caught myself expecting a more real than real presentation at times!   theres definitely an education gap in expectations of what music sounds like-- whether live OR reproduced these days, and i think it goes even beyond the likes of audiophile magazine, audio asylum, the local hi-fi con-artist, or even the gear manufacturers.. and as compressed audio becomes the norm, we're getting even farther from honest sound! 

how is it that people who wish to have a semblance of 'good sound' in earnest find it WITHOUT the help of well-trained folks who DO in fact, know 'how to use it'?  i feel pretty lucky that i've found a small cache of folks who work really hard at not overblown, tonally correct, and really gratifying playback-- but for the people who don't have access to smart folks with truly beautiful sounding systems can pull themselves out of barbarism? 

i say this, as i myself grapple with the expense of assembling both knowledge and gear which would represent what i feel is good within the context of my space, aptitude, and ability to listen!



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