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Discussion Starter #1
I almost posted this in off topic but I think it's very much ON topic so I chose to put it here.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Before I get into this, I'm not asking you to pick one or the other. I'm just pointing out that they are two totally different things. I'm finding that I have music that I like and music that I like to hear reproduced. For example, I really enjoy the music on the albums Is This It by The Strokes and Californiacation by The Red Hot Chile Peppers. It's great music to listen to if I only have the speakers that came embedded in my laptop. But I can't enjoy the MUSIC if I have a quality system to listen to it on because it sounds so bad.:(

When the average person is choosing a song to listen to, either in the car or at home, I believe they consider one or maybe two things. The first being, how much they like the song they are about to pick. The second possible thing is usually how long it's been since they last heard the song. No one wants to wear out a good song or hear something over and over.

I believe the audiophile has a third criteria for his/her musical selection. That third segment is sound quality. If the musical reproduction isn't pleasing to the ears it makes it hard to enjoy the music. Like I stated earlier, I love the music written by The Strokes and RHCP but it pains me to listen to their recordings. This, unfortunately, usually leads me to pass over this music for my listening selection.

[Enter Nerd Land]

So lets think of our listening criteria as three point categories; music rating, playback frequency, and reproduction quality. A song that scores well in these three categories (Dire Straits - Money for Nothing) will get played more than a song that scores poorly in the three categories (DJ Unk - Walk it Out) But the problem I'm running into is that the poor quality of recordings is distancing me from good music.

Ideally you'd like to have good music with good reproduction. But in the event that they are mutually exclusive, what do YOU do? Am I the only one with this problem?
 

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Are we twins separated at birth?!? I like the way you think, dude. :)

I have many many examples of what you're talking about - music I love that sounds like hell. I've probably said it 100 times already but I don't care, Tool's "10,000 Days" marks the epitome of this for me. Love it, hate it all at the same time. :D:mad:

On the contrary, there's other music that I like that my naturally inquisitive mind has sort of ruined for me. I should have never started playing around with wave and spectral analysis software like Sony SoundForge because now all I try to hear is the poor recording management on the song. I've scanned everything from Michael Buble to Jimi Hendrix and found all kinds of dirtyness on tracks that I would never have suspected to find it.

I just put a pair of ultra-revealing midranges in my car the other day and tried to listen to Nirvana's "In Utero" and it made an otherwise ok recording painful to listen to. Swap those with another pair that's more forgiving and it's a totally different experience. Sure, one could argue that tuning may be necessary but if you think you can subtract from the natural essence of a speaker or try to polish it's inherent musical quality THAT much, you need to take up a different hobby IMHO. Try stamp collecting.
 

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I am in the same boat. There are some albums that are recorded so poorly that they are not enjoyable. I still like the song, but when I hear it, all I can do is pick it apart sonically thus removing all enjoyment.

There are several programs out there that can help you. Unfortunately nothing can fix a clipped signal once it's recorded that way, but something like Wavepad can help you restore poorly recorded music easily. There are much more advanced programs too, but those usually cost $$$.

At the end of the day however, I still need to like the music I hear. I don't go around listening to Focal CDs in my car. They are good for showing off your system, but that's it.
 

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I do think about this, and it is a challenge. A lot of stuff I really like is things like acoustic/live performances of songs that are hard to find, recorded on what seems like a walkman with the dude walking around the band, etc.

And like both of you, I have some HORRIBLY recorded songs that are some of my absolute favorites. To be honest, I would much rather listen to music I like on a somewhat forgiving *but good quality* speakers, rather than music I can only tolerate on some excellent speakers.

It is also difficult to hear a song I love with mediocre reproduction. But because I love it, I can tolerate it.

I am also one of those losers that thinks that music is not just something to listen to, but an important part of my life, and hearing a sad song at the right moment, or that heavy song after a bad day at work, etc, can change my mood.

The hardest part is that driving has always been the same for me, I dont know if it started when I was a baby, but driving is relaxing. Add in some tunes, even on the poor factory setup, and I am in heaven... not the best combination for saving dollars
 

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I don't go around listening to Focal CDs in my car. They are good for showing off your system, but that's it.


I actually have been. Disc 5(I think) track 11 is a song called "Everything must change" by Oleta Adams, and it has been on rotation in the car for some weeks now.

But generally, I am right there with you on this statement. I listen to music, not to judging tracks.
 

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One thing I absolutely cannot listen to are bootleg live recordings. No matter how good the performance, if it didn't come off the soundboard, I cannot listen to it. There are some sacrifices I cannot make. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just put a pair of ultra-revealing midranges in my car the other day and tried to listen to Nirvana's "In Utero" and it made an otherwise ok recording painful to listen to. Swap those with another pair that's more forgiving and it's a totally different experience. Sure, one could argue that tuning may be necessary but if you think you can subtract from the natural essence of a speaker or try to polish it's inherent musical quality THAT much, you need to take up a different hobby IMHO. Try stamp collecting.
I think about that too. Sometimes when reading reviews or suggestions for equipment I see people say stuff like that. "These speakers are so revealing you wont be able to listen to MP3's anymore." Most people tout that like it's a good thing. Initially, I thought it was, but now I'm not so sure. I feel like I'm headed to a point where accuracy and clarity will be at an all time high but musical enjoyment will be lessened.

So in your example fox, which did you consider to be the better mids? The revealing mids that made you hate your music or the more forgiving ones?

There are several programs out there that can help you. Unfortunately nothing can fix a clipped signal once it's recorded that way, but something like Wavepad can help you restore poorly recorded music easily. There are much more advanced programs too, but those usually cost $$$.

At the end of the day however, I still need to like the music I hear. I don't go around listening to Focal CDs in my car. They are good for showing off your system, but that's it.
So are you saying I could use something like Wavepad to make Californiacation sound GOOD? If so I need to learn how to use it immediately. I asked my girlfriend if she thought RHCP would ever release a remastered copy of Californiacation and she said, "Why?" So I'm pretty sure it's never gonna happen.

I actually do listen to the Focal CD's. Number six is my favorite. Night Mist Blues, You Look Good to Me are my favorite tracks. I think I really just like stand up bass. :surprised:

I am also one of those losers that thinks that music is not just something to listen to, but an important part of my life, and hearing a sad song at the right moment, or that heavy song after a bad day at work, etc, can change my mood.
If I listen to the song Push It by Tool at the wrong moment all hell breaks loose. I think the last time I listened to that song more than 5 times in a day I broke up with my girlfriend. :eek: (we're back together though because I realized I was stupid)
 

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you definitely hit the spot with that one... heres the thing, RHCP, for example has FLEA(the greatest bass guitarist, imo, of all time). His guitar skills are so unique and raw. He hits notes with that guitar that is so hard to musically produce. Hence, the muddy, somewhat distorted notes you are hearing. I had the same problem as you, and RHCP being my favorite band of all time, i was going through a very rough time trying to figure out a solution to this. Well i have somewhat solved it in my previous install in a 94 saturn station wagon. First of you will need a very good sub...sq wise. it has to be very musical but also has a good kick. Second you will need mids that would compliment these subs. Third, amps. You will need a dedicated amp for your sub, another for your mids, and another for your highs. AND heres the thing, they will have to be ones with no crossovers.....just raw clean amplification. Then you will need external crossover/processor. The sub you will be running has to have a frequency response of at least over 300hz.
Basically all your frequencies have to kind of roll into each other. So, for example, when your sub plays a bassguitar strum that goes down to 100hz, and reaches up to 900hz. You mids should play it down from 900hz down to 200hz.... and your sub should be able to continue that same strum from 300hz down to 100hz. HERE IS THE PROBLEM WE OVERLOOK....... your mids and subs are not running at the same wattage!!!!! And for that very reason the notes come out sounding so weird. Im pretty new here and have been around systems for 10 years or so.....so maybe not everything i wrote is the right way to approach this issue. It sure worked for me though. It wasnt a night and day diff.... but it was a big diff
 

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This is tough one for me.......

I listen to a lot of rap, Then stuff from 2000 in back, then disco, then techno, In that order.

A huge thing for me in music is the beat, if I cannot stand your beat I will switch right away!!

As far as sound reproduction, I love it, but it can get real boring real quick, There are some instances that I love listing to a good beat or something like that but it has to be really good to hold my attention. I love listing to drums in particular mainly cause I like when my heart skips a beat because of the Intensity.
 

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There is all of it, and the bad lets me recognize the good, so I welcome all of it. I do appriciate when care is taken in whatever is being done, whether it is live or recorded- that is where the difference is.
 

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This is where im at with this whole car audio fiasco.. what are some good quality speaker sets that meet in the middle? and sound good for most recordings.?
 

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I'm thinking about getting rid of my system all together and hiring a midget cover band to hang out in the back of my crew cab.
 

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This is where im at with this whole car audio fiasco.. what are some good quality speaker sets that meet in the middle? and sound good for most recordings.?
If there were an answer for this there would be a comapny cornering the market.

Chuck
 

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I like this post!

I love listening very good recordings but for the past 9 months or so I have been obsessed with accurate reproduction in my car, so I end up looking for deficiencies moreso than enjoying the songs. In addition to that I have a favorite album by Portishead 3rd...it's recorded so badly that it doesn't matter if you have a nice syste
or not! Lol...the funny thing is with this being a british trip hop / Alternative rock group they may have intended it to sound this way as most of their albums have a very dark aura to them.
 

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I love this album, but it's quality is pure ****
I empathize 100 percent, bad religion is one of my fav bands of all time, been listening to them since the early90's, my whole quest into audio occured because I wanted the music I love to sound right, but it does not matter what I do, it does not work. Most of what I like is poorly recorded, and I get so frustrated when I listen to it in my car. Done venting.
 

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I can relate to a lot of what is being said here. I find low-fi sound quite offensive to listen to. I'd rather listen to a lawn mower! The absolute worst, is some crap plastic PC speakers in an office I cannot get away from - across the room, all I hear are symbols and the occasional really irritating note that stands out in a pop tune. :( No, actually one thing worse - hearing two sets of crap speakers in an office that I cannot escape, each playing two different songs at once!! GRRRRRRRRR! SCREEEEEAAAAM!!! :mad:

Sorry folks, got a little off topic there, but I really needed to vent!:)

Alright, back on topic...

I certainly have a bias to listening to music that sounds good on my systems - both home and mobile. Now this is not simply wanting to show off (usually just to myself) my system, but there is so much more to music than just the notes that were played. As a muso myself, I have a great appreciation of quality instruments and this to me is a HUGE part of what makes music good to listen too - provided it is recorded and played back well.

Appreciating music has SO many factors that come together to determine the level of enjoyment that comes from it. For instance:

Quality of the song
Musical arrangement and delivery
Delivery of the vocal
Vocal harmony arrangement and delivery
Lyrics
Quality of instruments recorded
Recording quality of each of the above
Quality of the mix
Quality of the playback
Some nice low bass notes that I can FEEL :D
How I'm feeling at the time
How the song makes me feel (this often relates to the season of life in which I listened to the song first or most - ofen a holiday on which it was played extensively in the car)

All of these come together to make a great listening experience.

Some of these aspects 'sum together', where a lack in one aspect can be supplimented by other aspects (eg average lyrics can be overlooked if the rest is rock'n) Other aspects (like recording and playback quality) are like a link in a chain, and if they are not up to par, the entire experience suffers significantly.
 

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This is a great topic, and I'm glad to see so many people have the same struggle I do with this!

I totally understand we're the original poster is coming from. I'm a music fanatic and have been for pretty much my whole life. I'm also a huge stereo fanatic and I love accurate, smooth, detailed sound. Therein lies the problem, as a lot of music that I love, or grew up listening too, isn't recorded very well. I can totally sympathize with the reference to 10,000 Days by Tool. One of my favorite bands, but it's hard to listen to it on a good playback system. That being said, there are definitely times that emotion overrides logic for me and I just want to jam out to some Tool, regardless of how it sounds, quality wise.

My question for everyone is what to your ears constitutes a bad recording? Is it a tonality thing? Is it the mix being muddied w/poor spatial and imaging cues? Or is it the whole "loudness wars" effect that has been building for the past 2 decades?

Sorry if I got this a little off topic, but I love discussions like this. I'm just enough of a nerd I guess.... :)

-Ben
 
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