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Old 11-04-2008, 04:51   #76
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Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler View Post
Another hugely interesting concept was conceived by a young engineer at Bose about 8 yrs ago now. He was playing with the idea of modulating Audio on an Ultrasonic carrier. Much like how Audio is modulated on the back of an FM carrier. He developed the ability to project two ultrasonic beams and at the point where they crossed, audio could be heard. The quality still had a lot of work to be done, but the concept worked. Just imagine being able to sit in the convergence area and hear high quality Audio and someone sitting just out of the area, not being able to hear a thing.
Well strangely, the US Navy bought all the rights to it and the concept was never heard of again. I remember we all were scratch our heads and coming up with conspiracy theories as to why the Navy would want it.
I've seen a couple of these setups.

One is invented by a PhD canditate, Joe Pompei, at MIT. This is his site.
The navy expressed an interest his his work, but I don't know more than that.

The other is by Woody Norris, who is tinkering sort of inventor. This is his site.

Ah, here is the article that kicked it off for me.
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:51   #77
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I don't know how one can evaluate natural sound when using over produced pop music as a standard. Can anyone explain that?
I am not sure what you mean by overproduced but if you mean introduction of distortion etc during post production or during the performance (a la Hendrix with feedback) then I tend to agree. But I think you will find that all the albums I mentioned, and I know the one Alan mentioned are not so. Vocals are mixed in etc (eg Jackson backs himself in all the tracks on the album I mentioned) and no doubt the instrumental also mixed in but they maintain their qualities (eg pianos are meant to sound like real pianos, etc).

For example in Alan's Dire Strait's "Private Investigations" the lead guitar is acoustic and in the intro (plus elsewhere if I recall correctly) a piano (both of which are not particulary easy to reproduce correctly at the listener end), as well as the things he mentions such as the breaking glass. While I have not listened closely to all of Dire Straits albums the ones I have appear to be very well put together - in fact "Brothers in Arms" which followed "Love Over Gold" that "Private Investigations" came off won the Grammy that year for the best engineered non classical album.

In the tracks I mention there is also broken glass, spoken voice, knock on a door, etc as well as a variety of vocal types (including choral) and instruments (including strings, from memeory) all of which are things we know the sound of and they certainly have not been manipulated in any way changing their character in the recordings.

Satriani on electric guitar, well who knows exactly what that sounded like in the flesh as the instrument is so versatile (and the player particularly skilful), however it should sound like a guitar. But I particularly referred to the percussion (part of which which is a clap and good reproduction of anything similar to handclapping requires very good equipment indeed at the listening to the CD end) which has very sharp attack and decay times in that track and runs right through the recording.

So, yes I agree, if wanting to use the likes of Hendrix and "Star Spangled Banner" or his smashing of guitars to assess a system you will probably struggle as who knows what it sounded like on the day (and I did mention Hendrix recordings in that light in my post).

Of course, one could choose from classical, jazz (and maybe who knows what some of that sounded like on the day too ?), etc according to ones predilection. In my view the important thing is to pick recordings you know well, have instruments that one knows what they sound like in real life, and which have content which is known as being difficult to reproduce well at the listener's end.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:51   #78
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Boracay-
"I should use "C" batteries but there are no rechargable ones available these days"
They do very much exist, even if they are not popular in your local shops. Check the mail order sources and if that fails, order them from an electronics house as simple "button top" style NiMh "C" cells. Panasonic, Sanyo, and other prime vendors make them, offhand $2-3 each.

defjef-
Wouldn't you compare overproduced pop recordings to the natural sound of the same folks in live concert? <VBG>

I'd say take along whatever you are used to listening to, and buy the set that makes it sound best for you. If I really wanted to put a stereo through its paces I'd take along the Grand Canyon Suite--there's a triangle hit after the storm clears, that really tests for clean highs. And an 1812 real cannon, guaranteed to test the bass. (In fact, on cheaper car stereos they will go silent at that point, as the bass exhausts their power!)
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Old 11-04-2008, 14:19   #79
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overproduced pop recordings
A recording Studio has a whole lot of tools that "enhance" a recording. Whether that "enhance" is positive or negative is "in the ear of the beholder" I guess. The first major tool used is called the compressor/limiter. As I said earlier, a compressor squashes down the sound to fit an upper and lower limit. A limiter simply cuts off any upper peaks. One of the major differences in studio's today compared with years ago, is the equipment in use today is all digital. In fact the fellow from Steely Dan(I forget his name) recorded "The Nightfly" back in the 80's. It was the first digitaly recorded album. And we still use that album today as a "benchmark". Some of it is not compressed audio and is extremely rare to find on digitaly recorded tracks. In fact, no existent.
Anyway back to the story. Good clean pure sound is all about the "peaks" being reproduced. But that is not so easy to do. This today is still the main difference in sound between analogue and digital. Much of the argument about the "old sound" being better is due to peaks being reproduced. If anyone has an old tape recorder, you would remember have the needle on the signal input set at a "medium" point. As long as you didn't allow the needle to peak, you were OK. today, all digital is set to peak. It is how the digital equipment work. The limiters and compressors stop the information going over the peak and creating digital clipping. Which is very nasty sounding stuff.
Of course, modern day Music does not go down with a generation that was brought up on the 70's and 80's great bands. Today's music, especially C-Rap is about getting a message in vocals out there. In the "good ol band" band days, the music was as much the message as the words. Rap, or RAP is "rhythim and poetry". Over production is the use of equipment to make "messages" louder. Then we have equipment that can keep a singers voice in tune. Ever note how a live vocal at a concert can often sound plain terrible, yet they nail even the hardest notes in a recording? It's all done with tools. Even down to the recording itself, being finaly masterd on a cheap pair of stereo speakers. It is no point in mastering for a sound that only the best HiFi equipment can reproduce, when 95% of your audiance are listening on cheap getto blasters. You may as well mix for 95% of your public.
Quote:
I'd say take along whatever you are used to listening to,
Exactly. Use something you are used to hearing on your home system. We are talking a major compromise on a boat. Hi end audio reproduction should not need to be a concern. Sounding OK, small space and cheap to run should be the concern.
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(In fact, on cheaper car stereos they will go silent at that point, as the bass exhausts their power!)
More than likely they simply don't reproduce that low. Sting on his opening Track "fields of Gold" starts off the track with a low frequency sound that goes al the way down to 20Hz. Only some very good systems will reproduce it. Car stereo's simply don't.
To give you an idea of how low 20Hz is, Kick drums have there fundamental sound centered at 63Hz. A 6 string Bass gat. can go down to 32Hz. 20Hz is sitting on the threshhold of our lower end hearing. In fact we tend to sense it than hear it. The diameter of our air cannel does not allow anything lower. It is a natural defence to stopping us from becoming deaf when someone closes a door etc.
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Old 11-04-2008, 21:47   #80
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Hey Alan...How about some 16Hz from a 32' organ pipe!
Pictures at an Exhibition has it:
http://www.circlesinternet.com/shop/right.html...though you might need a basement subwoofer to hear it!

I have lots of favorite demos from over the years and with good equipment and speakers, different bits can show off the relative merits or shortcomings of particular products. But for buying a boom box, any CD that is well recorded and represents the type of music that you listen to most is useful enough in making comparisons between units. Since no specific models have yet been mentioned let me suggest:
Sony ZZS2ip...under $100...decent full range sound for the $$. Ipod and other MP3 inputs.
JVC Kaboom Box...around $250...is the current "best monster party box" if you really want to kick butt at around $250...weighing in at 21 lbs!! We use one on the docks here and everyone complains!!
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Old 11-04-2008, 22:09   #81
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Reminds me of the days (err, more than a year or two back ) when it was a fad to use big concrete drain pipes for speaker enclosures .

John
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:51   #82
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Mate! I bet that thing chews up the D cells.

As for a pipe organ, especially a Cathedral Pipe Organ, what a truly amazing sound.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:11   #83
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There are these.
Stereo micro systems from Panasonic
The "mini system" at the bottom of the page can be found in many brands. I think they fit many boat situations. They are cheap, reasonable sound quality, look very attractive and take up very little room. Mains voltage required of course, but then a small inverter would run most of them just fine.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:45   #84
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Hey Alan...How about some 16Hz from a 32' organ pipe!
Pictures at an Exhibition has it: SEEmusicDVD ...though you might need a basement subwoofer to hear it!
As I was reading this thread the Mussorgsky came to my mind, as well. I use that one to check the integrity of the bass, since it has bass chords. Only on better speaker systems will the separate bass notes stay clean. I'm not familiar with the recording you linked to (I fixed the link above, BTW). I use the Dorian recording of Jean Guillou in the Great Organ of the Tonhalle, Zurich. It is a very high quality recording and the bass chords are finely separated on my home system. Heaven.

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Old 12-04-2008, 11:28   #85
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Dacust... OK...you have me curious...what are you using for speakers? "Pictures" has always been one of my favorites. The Telarc original recording of it in my collection is the first fully digital recording of a full symphony and we could generate a lot of speaker sales by selling it to customers...who promptly blew out their home speakers since the dynamics were unrestricted. Good times!
Telarc International:
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Old 12-04-2008, 13:22   #86
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Dacust... OK...you have me curious...what are you using for speakers? "Pictures" has always been one of my favorites. The Telarc original recording of it in my collection is the first fully digital recording of a full symphony and we could generate a lot of speaker sales by selling it to customers...who promptly blew out their home speakers since the dynamics were unrestricted. Good times!
Telarc International:
Actually I am using some cheap DCM KX12s I bought about 12-15 years ago for about $200 each. 12", midrange and tweeter with adjustable crossovers.

My system is largely old stuff left over from used stuff I bought back in the 70's when I was running sound for bands in Athens. I'm not a sound engineer, but I have a good ear. I just use what sounds good to me.

4-DCM KX12s
2-JBL Urei 175 watt stereo amps - 4 ohm (note 1)
2-10 band Soundcraftsman stereo equalizers (note 2)
Technics pre-amp
Technics AM/FM tuner
Technics direct drive turntable
Sony single CD
Sony 300 CD changer
Kenwood Cassette
external Teac Dolby unit (note 3)

Notes:
(1) At one time JBL wanted to get into electronics. They bought a small independent (Italian?) manufacturer, Urei. Nobody wanted to buy anything from JBL except speakers, so they either folded it or sold it or something.

(2) For good recordings, especially for classical, the EQs are actually run flat because the system is well balanced as doesn't need adjustment. But for cassettes and old recordings or sometimes live recordings, I do some tweaking.

(3) I have 2 of these, originally used with a Teac 4 channel 8 track Simulsync (sp?) reel-to-reel.

For a purists, my stuff is not very impressive, but the people that really know good sound when they hear it, shut up after a demonstration.

I'm gonna have to check out the Telarc recording and the Virgil Fox DVD since, though the Dorian recording is flawless, to my untrained ear Jean Guillou's playing sounds a bit egotistical to me. This recording also has Stravinsky's Three Dances, and I have another Dorian of him playing various pieces on the Great Organ of St. Eustache, so I don't think my judgment is because of the pieces. I have an RCA recording of Barry Douglas playing Pictures on piano. It sounds better as an interpretation, but the recording is not the quality of the Dorian. I would love to find an organ recording with an interpretation I like. I can't tell from your link, is the Telarc on an organ?

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Old 12-04-2008, 14:41   #87
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Just a couple of small points and bearing nothing negative toward any above information.
Remember when I and Rick talked about Phase coherencey? Well phase Coherency is also affected by tone control. When ever you increase or decrease a particular freq. bandwidth, you shift that bandwidth in time.
Remember that the best ears can only hear to 20Hz. Even then, sounds below 50Hz progressively shift from ears to body in the means of sensing. Believe it or not, the jaw bone transmits a tremendous amount of sonic information. Although low frequency is mostly picked up by the chest cavity and you "feel" bass rather that hear it. Although there are some amplifiers that will work down to 10Hz, no CD or or CD player will work below 20Hz. However, having subs that can work flat below 20Hz(mine start to roll off at 18Hz) means you listen or feel a flat response to that 20Hz mark.
A CD is recorded with a Dynamic range of 10dB. If you have play Music at 10W, you need a 100W amplifier to reproduce the entire dynamic range. If you are using 100W for your music level, you need an amplifier of 1000W to reproduce the entire dynamic range. This range of extra power above the normal content is called "headroom". Orchestral Music is considered to have the highest dynamic range of any. Don't confuse Head room with the "loudness" of the system. These dynamic peaks are not heard as loud. They are of too short a duration to be sensed as "volume". Using an amplifier of huge power out put and run at a comfortable listening level will open up a sound image in the room that is quite stunning.
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Old 12-04-2008, 16:05   #88
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Using an amplifier of huge power out put and run at a comfortable listening level will open up a sound image in the room that is quite stunning.
I have a total of 600 watts, but normally play in the single digits. When I want to rock out I may push double or even triple digits, but then the neighbors start calling cops. When I ran sound for bands I had eight 300 watt per channel stereo amps (plus others) than I ran at less than 10% with very clean results. When we did outdoor concerts and I had to crank it, even though the equipment handled it just fine, the quality suffered. Not enough so many other people noticed, but I did. Headroom is important in the rest of the system as well.
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Old 12-04-2008, 17:57   #89
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I can't tell from your link, is the Telarc on an organ?
It's Ravel's later orchestration of Mussorgsky's original suite for piano.

I have never heard Pictures on organ (except in Emerson, Lake & Palmer's rock version, that for the non faint hearted but worth a listen, which I did have on vinyl but long sold) but organ sounds very interesting - especially for the likes of "The Great Gate of Kiev".
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Old 12-04-2008, 20:41   #90
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DaCust...LOL...I actually know the guy who designed your speakers and can tell you a little story about them! Steve Eberbach was the designer for DCM and came to fame with his TimeWindow and TimeFrame series of speakers which even today are sought after by budget audiophiles. (Interstingly...he was a transmission line design believer and very concerned with phase coherence just like Wheels!). One of the big chains in the USA became their biggest dealer and wanted something more rock and roll oriented than the frames/windows and gave DCM the mission to produce a line of speakers designed to play louder than Cerwin Vega's on the showroom floor and be kick butt rock oriented speakers. Steve stuck to transmission line to get that output but was not particularly concerned with the subtleties! I doubt that there is anything on the market even today that plays louder than your top of the line KX12's even today!
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