Tag Archives: sound

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

I just want it to sound great!!

They’re not instruments

Reader Timothy Price posed an interesting thought:

“How many musical instruments project sound in a narrow dispersion?  Even a trumpet or better yet a clarinet seem to have fully tonal perception off axis.  They may sound louder when heard directly in front but there is no lack of identification and little loss in dynamics when heard a bit off to the side. Yet, loudspeakers don’t mirror the dispersion properties of the instruments they are reproducing.”

While that’s an excellent observation that begs the question of why we don’t craft loudspeakers to more closely mirror instruments, the answer might surprise you.

Loudspeakers shouldn’t be designed to reproduce the characteristics of musical instruments. Instead, they need to be faithful analogs of microphones.

It’s not the sound of instruments we’re after, it’s microphones we chase.

When you think of the problem in that light it makes it a lot easier to wrap your head around the problem. We cannot know what will be recorded so fashioning the response of a loudspeaker to better mimic one dispersion pattern or another is nothing short of tail chasing: get the trumpet right and you fail at the violin.

Capturing the essence and soul of music is the job of the recording engineer and her bevy of microphones.

Reproducing the sound of microphones is what we do.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Digital gaps

It’s common wisdom that because digital breaks up sound into bits there’s missing information between those bits—information not lost with analog. But is that accurate?

The comparison between the uninterrupted straight line picture of analog and the chunky digital copy might lead us to imagine differences that don’t necessarily exist.

If I were to side with the measurementists I could pretty definitively demonstrate there is nothing measurably missing in a proper digital recording.

If were to then take the opposite side and agree with the analog proponents that correctly point out the audible differences between digital recordings and analog recordings, we would then be at a stalemate.

If nothing is missing in digital what explains the differences in sound quality?

We can say with absolute certainty that a PCM recording of a live music feed sounds different than an analog or DSD recording of the same event.

Yet, it is also true that a PCM recording of the analog playback is nearly indistinguishable from the analog playback.

Tomorrow I am going to suggest what might be going on.