See through sound
Audiophile terminology helps the initiated communicate what they’re hearing: a means of describing with words sounds that we hear.
One of my favorites is transparency—see through sound. I love this term because it makes no sense until you’ve actually heard it.
Sound is the movement of air at wave frequencies too low for our eyes to record. Hearing is the job of our more mechanically minded tympanic membranes called ears.
What our ears record our brains interpret as imaginary images: a trumpet player, a vocalist, a standup bass. Each of these imaginary musicians hold a fixed space behind the loudspeakers. Often, they crowd out other musicians in the set preventing us from seeing around them—a lack of transparency.
As a designer of circuits that improve transparency, how in the world would I ever explain this phenomenon in terms a measurement-based engineer might understand?
I fear the divide between camps is far too great to reach common ground.
There’s just not enough transparency.
Last night our Octave Records recording crew went live at a beautiful church venue here in Boulder. There we set up the Sonoma 8-track recorder, a Decca Tree microphone arrangement with DPA microphones, and recorded a spectacular string quartet.
What a great experience and I can’t wait to share with you the recording in a future Octave Records release. This particular recording will be on the upcoming Audiophile Guide setup SACD.
What caught my attention for the subject of today’s post was the little introductory speech I gave to the ladies before they began to play. Our producer, Giselle Collazo, asked me to brief them on what we were hoping to achieve with this recording. Soon I found myself explaining who audiophiles were and what makes us different than someone with a Sonos speaker or a Bose radio. Their blank stares were really telling.
Our world of high-end audio is so far removed from what people consider good home music reproduction as to be mind-boggling. I wish I could have invited these musicians over to PS Audio after the session and play for them their recording in Music Room Two. They would have been quickly brought up to speed of what’s possible in our world. But, alas, the pandemic…
Better is always a relative measure. Sometimes it is so far removed from what most consider normal as to be remarkable.