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robert_kc

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  1. At the risk of beating a dead horse … Some people claim that science completely understands human hearing, and cite theories like Nyquist theorem to assert that Redbook CD “exceeds human hearing capability” (whatever that means), and that hi-res formats don’t sound any better than CD. OTOH, some hobbyists with many years of experience, involving listening to many different recordings, report that modern hi-res recordings often deliver the best audio quality – for whatever reason. (If a hi-res recording sounds better, the naysayers will always say that it was recorded and mastered more carefully. Some people (including me) have the attitude – I don’t care why a recording sounds better - if it sounds better, it sounds better – I want the best quality audio recordings for the music I love.) Similarly, some people claim that science completely understands human hearing and how a few technical specifications like frequency response and THD affect our perception of audio quality, and insist that all modern amplifiers sound the same. OTOH, some hobbyists with many years of experience, involving listening to many different amplifiers, report that different amps sometimes sound different. Maybe someday science will provide better insights regarding these different views. For now, each hi-fi hobbyist has to decide if they believe theories, or their own ears. If a recording was captured and mastered in 24bit/192kHz, why not buy it in that format, vs. buying a version that was down-sampled to fit onto a 30+ year-old digital storage format – i.e., Redbook CD (16bit/44.1kHz)? (Similar question re DSD recordings.) Digital storage technology has advanced in the last 30 years – the same size disc that was used for CDs decades ago now is available in Blu-ray and Ultra HD format that holds vastly more data. Technologies like SACD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray, as well as hi-res downloads, are well established in the marketplace. For classical music, recordings are routinely released in hi-res format. Because I listen to classical music and opera, I have a clear benchmark for the audio quality of recordings reproduced via my home hi-fi system: The live performance of classical music in its intended venue - i.e., a symphony hall or opera house with world class acoustics – where no electronics are employed. In other words, no sound reinforcement system is used when classical music is performed in its intended venue. The sound is 100% natural. We know how a violin sounds. We know the sound of a trumpet, clarinet, cello, timpani, etc. Classical music lovers know how classical music sounds when performed in a world-class symphony hall or opera house (recognizing that there can be some variance in hall acoustics). IME, modern hi-res recordings often excel at creating the illusion of being in the symphony hall or opera house – particularly hi-res surround-sound recordings. And, the “extras” that Blu-ray provides deliver significant benefits for classical music, particularly opera and ballet. For a Hollywood movie, would you only listen to the audio and not also watch the movie? That’s the difference between CD vs. Blu-ray for opera and ballet, because they are visual as well as musical art forms. This is a non-trivial benefit of Blu-ray vs. CD. When you attend the symphony, do you like to watch the performers, or do you close your eyes? (I respect both preferences.) What if there is a soloist – do you like to watch them perform? (I’ve seen/heard Khatia Buniatishvili play piano live. I’d MUCH RATHER see Khatia, than not.) When listening to a language you don’t understand, would you rather try to follow along phonetically in a printed libretto (which has tiny print that requires you to have bright lights on, and wear strong reading glasses) and read the English translation, or have the English translation (or whatever is your preferred language) automatically displayed as subtitles on the HDTV screen? That’s the difference between CD vs. Blu-ray for opera. This is a non-trivial benefit of Blu-ray vs. CD. If you have a large room, and/or the speakers must be far apart, surround-sound can deliver a significantly improved listening experience vs. stereo. This is a non-trivial benefit of Blu-ray vs. CD. When buying a collection of many recordings, would you rather have it delivered on one hundred CDs (which often happens with classical music box sets), or on relatively few Pure Audio Blu-ray discs that deliver audio quality that is at least as good as the CDs, and possibly better? This thread is about classical music, and all of these potential benefits of Blu-ray are relevant to this discussion. For a modern classical recording that was captured and mastered in hi-res, what benefit would there be for a consumer to choose a CD, if a hi-res deliverable such as Blu-ray or hi-res download is available? If a classical music lover is in the market for a disc player, what benefit would there be to buy a machine that will play only CDs, vs. a machine that will play CD, DVD, SACD, Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray, plus hi-res downloads? (Unless the consumer’s budget is $10, and they want to buy a used CD player at a garage sale.) All I’m suggesting is that each consumer decide for themselves, based on accurate knowledge about what’s available in today’s marketplace. And I’m suggesting that the types of recordings that are available today for classical music is a richer variety, than - for example - recordings of 4 or 5 decade-old popular music that are limited by 4 or 5 decade-old recording technology. To each their own. I suggest that everyone enjoy the hobby they way they want to enjoy it. My opinion (which is based on my experience): Multichannel hi-res/hi-def audio/video recordings played via a state-of-the-art universal player and vintage tube amps and large high-end Klipsch speakers are the “cat’s pajamas” for classical music. (I point out that I’m stating my opinion, and not representing it as a fact.)
  2. OP: How far apart are your speakers? IME, multi-channel (5.1) can be useful in a large room, and when the main L & R speakers must be widely spaced. (For example, in my basement system, the speakers must be 12 feet apart due to room layout.) OTOH, in a small room, if the main speakers are spaced 5 feet apart (which is the case for 3 of my hi-fi systems), there is not as much benefit IMO to a center channel and surround speakers. Also, part of the “live-concert-hall experience” for large-scale classical orchestral music isn’t just the surround-sound, it’s the amount of acoustic power. In the same size room, if you have quantity of 3, or 4, or 5 speakers (left, center, right, 2 rears), you’ll have more acoustic power than 2 similar size speakers. (As we’ve already discussed, subwoofer(s) can also help overall dynamics by off-loading the power-hungry bass from the main amp and speakers – if the sub is implemented correctly.) Because there is little rear channel content for classical music, and little distinction between the surround-left and surround-right channels, in a surround-sound system you might be satisfied with 1 rear speaker vs. 2, or no rear speakers. I have one 4.2 system (i.e., surround-sound with a single rear speaker), two 2.1 systems (i.e., stereo with subwoofer), one 2.0 system, and one mono system. They all work well in the room where they’re installed, for the purpose they’re used for.
  3. OP: It appears that Klipsch has a newer version of the RP-280F called the RP-8000F. Have you investigated this? The speaker’s “power handling” specification isn’t very useful, except perhaps in determining when the warranty is voided due to abuse. (Usually this happens when someone gets drunk at a loud party and “cranks it up.”) The more useful speaker specifications are: The RP-280F and the RP-8000F have a “sensitivity rating” of 98 dB. In your 13.6 x 13.4 x 10 ft room, at sane listening volume, I think that your Yamaha R-N602’s 80wpc would have adequate power. I doubt that a more powerful receiver would be a “high value” use of your money. The RP-280F and the RP-8000F’s “nominal impedance” of 8 ohms means that your Yamaha R-N602 is compatible with the Klipsch RP-280F and the RP-8000F. Now that you’ve discovered the potential quality of “hi-res” recordings, I encourage you to consider a universal player that will allow you to experience Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray audio/video discs. As I’ve said before, video is essential for opera and ballet, and IMO very enjoyable for orchestral concerts. (And it is extremely helpful to have an opera’s libretto displayed on the HDTV screen in the language of your choice.) The Blu-ray box sets (e.g., all symphonies by a composer) are also a great value. You’ll have a decision to make if you want to acquire a universal player (i.e., a player that will play all discs: multi-channel SACD, Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray, CD, DVD, etc.). It appears that your existing Yamaha R-N602 receiver does not have an HDMI input, which means that you would need a universal player with analog outputs in order for it to function properly with your Yamaha R-N602. (The coax and TOSLINK connections generally cannot deliver SACD output, or the full Blu-ray hi-res audio bit rate. In other words, you wouldn’t realize the full benefit of the hi-res audio when using the coax or TOSLINK connection. This is due to copyright restrictions, and bandwidth limitations.) The Sony ES UBP-X1100ES has analog audio outputs, and retails for $600. OTOH, the Sony UBP-X700 which has only an HDMI connection (no analog audio output) sells on Amazon for $158.44 including shipping (USA price – I don’t know about Bahrain). That’s a $441 price difference. You might consider getting the cheaper HDMI-only Sony UBP-X700 and a new AVR that has an HDMI input. (If you get a multi-channel AVR that is equipped with pre-amp outputs for the front channels, you might be able to use the new AVR to drive the center and rear channels, and your existing Yamaha R-N602 to drive the front channels. I’m not an expert on AVRs – I don’t own one – others can weigh in regarding this configuration.) If you’re certain that you only want stereo (not 5.1 multi-channel), then there are stereo-only AVRs (i.e., stereo receiver with HDMI input) such as the Onkyo TX-8270. (I assisted a friend with purchasing and installing an Onkyo TX-8270 and Sony UBP-X700. He got a great “open box” price for the Onkyo TX-8270 from a seller on Amazon.) Apparently, Pioneer offers a similar receiver: SX-S30DAB. However, I don’t know how the sound quality of either of these “HDMI receivers” compares with your existing Yamaha R-N602. (I’m a tube amp guy.) I’m just pointing out that you could buy an inexpensive “HDMI-only” universal player such as the Sony UBP-X700 and an inexpensive stereo “HDMI receiver” (such as the Onkyo TX-8270 or Pioneer SX-S30DAB) for about the same price as a universal player with analog audio outputs. (That’s what drove my friend’s decision to buy the Sony UBP-X700 and Onkyo TX-8270.) However, continuing with our discussion of stereo (not multi-channel), the more expensive Sony ES UBP-X1100ES (which has analog audio outputs) provides you with the flexibility to use any traditional hi-fi amp you want – which to many hi-fi enthusiasts is a significant advantage. Some people think all amps sound the same. FWIW, I’m not in that camp. (As I said, I’m a tube amp guy, but tube amps are for hobbyists, not John Q. Public, and I don’t know how practicable it would be to purchase and maintain tube amps in Bahrain.) Many hi-fi enthusiasts would never consider playing music through an AVR, while others are perfectly satisfied with an AVR for music. (FYI, there have from time-to-time been some great deals on eBay for “factory refurbished” Sony ES UBP-X1000ES (the earlier version of the Sony ES UBP-X1100ES), but I don’t know about shipping to Bahrain.) My recommendation: I suggest that you strongly consider an upgrade path that eventually leads to 5.1 surround sound, which is fabulous for classical music. Many modern hi-res 5.1 classical SACD and Blu-ray recordings are available. There are also some classical recordings delivered in Ultra HD Blu-ray, and Pure Audio Blu-ray. (Pure Audio Blu-ray delivers hi-res multi-channel audio, but no video). If you want 5.1, you might be wise to buy the cheaper HDMI-only universal player such as the Sony UBP-X700, and buy a new 5.1 AVR. (Again, I suggest you consider an AVR with pre-amp outputs.) You could use your existing speakers for the rear channels, and buy a matching Klipsch center channel speaker (e.g., RP-504C). IME Blu-ray audio/video is a significant step up in how to enjoy recorded classical music in the home. Modern Blu-ray concert videos, with a high-quality surround sound system and HDTV, represent the next best thing to being in the symphony hall or opera house. IME this is far superior to what CDs and streaming services can offer. It’s a lot to think about. I’m certain that others can share their experience with these options. Please keep up posted if you acquire the Klipsch RP-280F or RP-8000F.
  4. OP: Here's my 2 cents, based on great comments by several contributors: For approximately $20US you can download a hi-res classical recording from hdtracks.com. (I'm assuming you can do this in Bahrain.) This clearly represents an inexpensive test. If you can buy an SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer in Bahrain, and this is within your budget, this seems like a good investment, regardless of what you end up doing regarding your main speakers. Please keep us posted.
  5. I have full season tickets to the symphony, performed in a world-class symphony hall. And full season tickets to the opera, performed in a world-class opera house. I attend more than 20 live classical performances each year. One of the things that strikes me when listening to large-scale orchestral works in the symphony hall is the power of the sound, and the amount of bass content, particularly when 6 or 8 double bass are playing. The bass drum and tympani also have significant bass power. And, of course, the pipe organ. Here's my basement system: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II. (Each RF-7II: Dynamic 1.75" titanium Tractrix™ horn-loaded compression driver. Dual 10" high-output Cerametallic woofers.) A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7. Subwoofers: SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW. Even though the RF-7II are not "wimpy" speakers, the 15" and 16" powered subs really help recreate the feeling of being in the symphony hall. P.S. I'll reiterate a recommendation I made above: Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 "Organ" FLAC 24bit/176kHz https://www.hdtracks.com/saint-saens-symphony-no-3 A hi-fi system should be able to recreate this hi-res recording's delivery of the sweet sound of Noah Geller's violin in "Introduction and Rondo capriccioso in A Minor for Violin and Orchestra", the dynamic impact of the orchetra, and the deep notes of the organ in Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3.
  6. I have no experience with the RP-280F. I'm certain it's a good speaker. If it were me, I'd get the RP-280F in PIANO BLACK. Here's the good news: Your Yamaha receiver has tone controls, so you can tailor the sound for your speakers, in your room, for your ears. I can't say if your existing bookshelf speakers plus subwoofer would sound better than the RP-280F without a subwoofer. I don't think that you will go wrong buying either the SVS SB-2000 sub, or the Klipsch RP-280F. I think that they're both good quality products. You could buy one, and if your budget allows later, buy the other. If you like organ music, perhaps start with the subwoofer.
  7. I’ll agree to not rehash the hotly contested debate about whether “hi-res” consumer deliverables generally sound better. I suggest that each listener decide for themselves. OP: If you haven’t already tried the following, I’ll suggest an easy, fast, and cheap way to try a “hi-res” classical recording, and assess its quality for yourself. Find a modern classical recording on hdtracks.com that was recorded in hi-res, and is delivered in a hi-res format. Here’s a few examples that I own. (There are probably newer recordings with higher sample rates.) Beethoven Symphony 9. HDTracks has several hi-res recordings. I have this one by Abbado: FLAC 24bit/96kHz https://www.hdtracks.com/beethoven-symphonie-no-9 Beethoven: The Late String Quartets. FLAC 24bit/88kHz You can buy individual tracks, which means you can try a hi-res FLAC download for a few dollars. https://www.hdtracks.com/beethoven-the-late-string-quartets?___store=default&nosto=nosto-page-search1 Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 6 And 9. FLAC 24bit/96kHz. I have this one: https://www.hdtracks.com/dvorak-symphonies-nos-6-and-9-132397 Elina Garanca “Meditation” FLAC 24bit/96kHz https://www.hdtracks.com/meditation-191462 Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 "Organ" FLAC 24bit/176kHz https://www.hdtracks.com/saint-saens-symphony-no-3 (This will be a good recording for trying out your new subwoofer.) J.S. Bach Organ Works Volume II FLAC 24bit/96kHz https://www.hdtracks.com/j-s-bach-organ-works-volume-ii (Another good recording for a subwoofer) WAGNER: Preludes And Overtures FLAC 24bit/88kHz https://www.hdtracks.com/wagner-preludes-and-overtures-129214 Download the file to your computer, and copy it to a USB drive. Unplug the USB drive, walk it over to your Yamaha R-N602 receiver, and plug it in. See page 36 of the Yamaha R-N602 receiver Owner’s Manual for instructions for playing the USB file. (Of course, these recordings do not have video, and are stereo - not 5.1 surround-sound.) If you try this, please report back your findings. Switching gears, I didn’t intend to imply in my previous post that you can’t realize good sound quality with your existing Klipsch speakers. (RP-160M?) Augmenting these with a subwoofer might produce very good results. I’m certain that the SVS SB-2000 is a good choice. (I own an SVS SB16-Ultra.) I’d get the biggest subwoofer you can accommodate, because IME large-scale orchestral music can have significant bass content. P.S. If DLNA networking is easier for you (vs. USB drive), see page 29 of your Yamaha R-N602 receiver Owner’s Manual.
  8. As I said in my previous posts, IMO Step 1 is to equip yourself with the ability to play modern high-quality digital audio and video recording formats, and start buying high-quality hi-res classical recordings. The second step I’d recommend is to upgrade your speakers. I respect the fact that different people have different budgets. With that said, my advice is to wait and save up more money, and buy the best you can. That way you’ve invested in speakers that can serve you for the rest of your life, and you won’t have to upgrade again. My recommendation (if it’s an option in Bahrain): Consider Klipsch RF-7III. (I use RF-7II for classical music.) With RF-7III, subwoofers aren’t necessary in order to enjoy classical music. With that said, subwoofer(s) can enhance the experience of listening to large-scale classical music. However, subwoofers can be a PITA, because audio recordings and movies are not consistent in bass content. When my sub is adjusted to a natural level for classical music, with some Hollywood movies there is over-powering bass content. I reject any assertion that I must listen to a movie based on the LFE (low-frequency effects) levels that some audio engineer or producer want. Explosions are a common problem. Or, a movie character walks into a nightclub and there is obnoxiously loud pop music with thumping bass. I hate that. I refuse to be assaulted by moronic levels of LFE. IMO, a remote volume control (preferably with multiple presets) is a very useful feature for a subwoofer, so that when watching a movie, with one button push I can adjust the subwoofer to a tolerable level (i.e., an explosion doesn’t shake my listening room). Then, when listening to music that has natural tonal balance (e.g., classical music), I can restore the “normal” sub setting via a single button push (i.e., the double bass sound like what I remember hearing in the symphony hall). My suggestion for the next step, consider 5.1 surround sound. (Perhaps your existing speakers can be redeployed to the rear channels.)
  9. If you want the capability to try newer "hi-res" recording formats, and try audio/video (e.g., hi-definition classical concert videos), and possibly multi-channel (which is very useful in larger listening rooms), you need to carefully consider the bewildering range of options for music playback. (Ripping CDs to a hard drive (or converting them to FLAC) won’t improve their audio quality. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. Garbage-in / garbage-out. If you want top-quality audio, you need to start with a top-quality hi-res recording.) If you want the capability to play newer "hi-res" recording formats, you need a “universal player” – i.e., a player that supports all modern digital recording formats. If your receiver has an HDMI connection (which I don’t think your current unit does), you can buy an inexpensive player that supports only an HDMI connection. I have no experience with the Sony UBP-X700, but it appears to support all modern hi-res disc formats (audio and video). I have no affiliation with Crutchfield; they sell the Sony UBP-X700 for $180. If your receiver does not have an HDMI input, then you’ll need a universal player with analog audio outputs (i.e., red & white RCA connections). (I suggest that you be very wary of outboard DACs. Can you use an outboard DAC to play the SACD layer of an SACD (i.e., NOT the CD layer)? Can you use an outboard DAC to play the DTS-HD MA 5.0 track of a Blu-ray disc? How many outboard DACS support multi-channel (e.g., 5.1)? FWIW, I would not invest in a technology solution that only plays the 30+ year-old Redbook CD format.) I use Oppo UDP-205, but they’re no longer manufactured. For stereo only (i.e., not multi-channel), consider the Sony ES UBP-X1100ES. (You might be able to get a deal on the previous model Sony UBP-X1000ES.) A universal player is where I’d start in your quest for better audio quality. And then start buying hi-res classical recordings. If you’re interested in this path, I can recommend Blu-ray audio/video classical recordings. Following are just a few examples that might whet your appetite. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Danish NSO Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9 Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233 Audio options: · PCM Stereo · DTS-HD MA 5.0 Video: 1080p Excellent performances. State-of-the-art audio and video quality. ----------------------------- Jean Sibelius: Complete Symphonies Audio options: · PCM Stereo · DTS-HD MA 5.1 Video: 1080i Excellent performances. State-of-the-art audio and video quality. -------------------------- "Tchaikovsky, The Complete Symphonies". Audio options: · PCM Stereo · DTS-HD MA 5.1 Excellent performances. State-of-the-art audio and video quality. ----------------------- I also have Blu-ray audio/video box sets of symphonies by Brahms, Bruckner, Schumann, and Mahler. Plus several other classical concerts on Blu-ray. Plus numerous modern opera and ballet audio/video recordings on Blu-ray. (And a few in Ultra HD Blu-ray.) After experiencing modern audio/video concert videos featuring high-def video, and hi-res audio featuring surround-sound (played via my vintage tube amps, large hi-end Klipsch speakers, plus 2 powered subwoofers), I greatly prefer this to listening to CDs. And the audio quality is fabulous. Often, I’ll find new hi-res recordings (e.g., SACD, Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray) just by searching Amazon. There are several web sites that catalog hi-res recordings. https://www.hraudio.net/ lists some, but certainly not all hi-res recordings. https://www.nativedsd.com/ https://www.channelclassics.com/ http://store.acousticsounds.com/superhirez https://www.prestomusic.com/classical
  10. One if the most important ways to improve the audio quality of classical music reproduced in the home is to focus on the quality of the recordings. Classical music lovers sometimes must decide which is more important: performance quality, or audio quality of a recording. I’m not a music scholar, and I’m not hyper-critical of a performance. However, I have no tolerance for poor audio quality. I therefore choose modern performances of classical music that were recorded in hi-res (i.e., 24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD). (In contrast, some classical music fans are willing to tolerate less-than-state-of-the-art audio quality in order to enjoy what they regard as the best performance of a classical composition – which may have been recorded decades ago.) My goal for the sound quality of recorded classical music played via my home hi-fi systems is to have the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house where classical music is performed live, with no electronics involved (i.e., no sound reinforcement system). My preferences for consumer deliverables: My favorite is Blu-ray audio/video (featuring DTS-HD MA 5.0 surround-sound). (A few Ultra HD Blu-ray opera recordings are starting to become available.) High-definition audio/video is particularly relevant for ballet and opera. Additionally, I think that high-definition audio/video is very enjoyable for classical concerts. My second choice in formats are SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray that feature surround-sound. (No video.) My third choice are 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz FLAC stereo downloads (e.g., HDTracks). In all cases provenance of the recording is critical – i.e., modern recordings that were captured and mastered as hi-res. (In a few cases high quality analog master tapes have been digitized at hi-res with fairly good results - e.g., some RCA Living Stereo - however these pale in comparison with modern hi-res recordings.) I use Oppo UDP-205 universal players to directly drive vintage tube amps (i.e., using the Oppo’s built-in DAC, pre-amp, and bass management) for surround-sound, and stereo. Following are some posts relevant to the reproduction of classical music that might interest you.
  11. There's been a lot of discussion in other threads about what terms like “accurate reproduction", or “true high fidelity”, or "audio nirvana" mean. It seems to me that the $64k question for a hi-hi system is this: What is your benchmark for the quality of sound you are hearing from your home hi-fi system? My goal for the sound quality of recorded classical music played via my home hi-fi systems is to have the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house where classical music is performed live, with no electronics involved (i.e., no sound reinforcement system). I’ll clarify what I mean: Classical Symphonic Music vs. Pop Musicians Performing with Orchestra vs. Outdoor Performances My local symphony orchestra performs a Classical Series, plus a number of “pop concerts”, and a few outdoor concerts. For the Classical Series – which involves classical music performed live in the symphony hall, there is no use of a sound reinforcement system. I’ve confirmed with the symphony’s Executive Director that the microphones that can be seen hanging above the stage are used solely for recording, NOT for amplifying the sound in the symphony hall. My local symphony hall has world-class acoustics, and the natural sound is amazing. OTOH, when pop music is performed in the same hall, electronics are often used. An example is when a pop singer uses a microphone to sing. And for some pop concerts, electric guitars and/or electronic organs are sometimes used. And, of course, on the rare occasion when the symphony performs an outdoor concert (e.g., outdoor Memorial Day concert), then of course a sound reinforcement system must be used. Opera vs. Musicals One of the hallmarks of opera is that the singers do NOT use microphones. And the orchestra does NOT use a sound reinforcement system. No electronics are involved when an opera is performed by an opera company in an opera house. OTOH, musicals typically involve signers using microphones. And, of course, on the rare occasion when an opera singer performs the National Anthem at the baseball park, then they must sing into a microphone. Chamber Music Chamber music performances generally do not involve a sound reinforcement system. (I’ve been to one concert by a string quartet that used sound reinforcement because the venue had poor acoustics. I won’t attend another concert at that venue.) For classical music, the artists are the composer, the conductor, and the musicians - and IMO the “work of art” was the live performance (i.e., musicians performing together in the symphony hall). I’m using the term “work of art” in terms of what represents a benchmark for the sound quality of the recording when played via a home hi-fi system, not in terms of Intellectual Property law. The same might be true of other genres that involve natural music performed live, such as some big-band, some jazz, some folk, etc. I’m not knowledgeable about these genres, so I can’t say. (OTOH, reportedly some pop music is completely different – particularly if there never was a live performance, and electronic sounds were cobbled together by recording engineers, or deliberately distorted.) For those of us who regularly attend live classical performances (I attend more than 20 classical concerts each year), we have a pretty good memory of what a violin should sound like – independent of whether we were at a particular recording session. We have a pretty good memory of what a string quartet should sound like – and a pretty good memory of what a symphony orchestra should sound like – when performing live with no sound reinforcement system. (Recognizing some variance due to the acoustics of the venue, and the listener’s seat location. For my season tickets at the symphony and opera, I sit in the first elevated tier, front row, near center of the hall.) No recording is perfect, and no hi-fi system is perfect. And my memory isn’t perfect. Nonetheless, for classical music, my benchmark for the sound quality of music reproduced via one of my home hi-fi systems is based on my memory of the sound of classical music performed live in its intended venue. I want the inevitable imperfections in the sound from my home-hi-fi to sound pleasant vs. unpleasant. One of my priorities is for the timbre of the orchestra instruments to sound natural. (This is why I generally prefer tube amps.) And I like to achieve dynamic range that approaches the live concert experience. (This is why I like Klipsch speakers.) Here's a link to one of the relevant discussions:
  12. The quality of recordings is extremely important. Provenance of the recording is critical. Modern recordings that were captured and mastered in hi-res (24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD), and delivered in a hi-res format (e.g., Blu-ray, SACD, 24bit/192kHz download) will generally deliver the best audio quality. Poor quality recordings, and recordings in low-bit rate formats, can sound harsh. If you decide to try a new amp, I suggest that you audition tube amps. I greatly prefer tube amps with my Klipsch speakers. 6L6GC sound great with RF-7II. 7591 sound good with my Palladium. (I have no experience with RP-8000f.) FWIW, I like vintage amps. I experience no listener fatigue, and no harsh brightness, when listening to modern high-quality hi-res recordings of classical music via my Klipsch speakers and the right tube amp. Tone controls can be very useful IME. Simply turning down the treble might solve the problem. Is your system stereo? 2.1 (i.e., stereo with subwoofer)? 5.1? If stereo, there are a few universal disc players that have analog stereo outputs that can connect via red & white RCA connections to a traditional hi-fi amp. (Traditional analog line-level RCA connections to the amp. HDMI to the HDTV.) You don’t need an AVR (or pre-processor) to play multi-channel digital music recordings (e.g., SACD, DSD download, Pure Audio Blu-ray, Blu-ray audio/video, Ultra HD Blu-ray). An Oppo universal player (e.g. UDP-205, BDP-105, or BDP-95) will decode any digital recording. The Oppo UDP-205 has built-in "pre-amp" functionality (i.e., analog RCA line-level connections), including selectable downmixing (e.g., 7.1, 5.1, 5.0, 2.1, 2.0), bass management (i.e., configurable subwoofer crossover and RCA line-level connection), trim levels for each channel, and remote volume control. Additionally, you can simply not connect the rear channels and have 3.0 or 3.1, or combine the rear channels for 4.0 or 4.1. IME, the combination of an Oppo universal player, vintage tube amps (I own a bunch), and Klipsch speakers can sound excellent. Bottom line, some people are satisfied with an AVR and Klipsch speakers, but some people aren't. Synergy between the amp and speakers is important. Where do you live? A forum member near you might be willing to let you hear different equipment combinations.
  13. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos | Danish NSO Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9 Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233 Audio options: • PCM Stereo • DTS-HD MA 5.0 Video: 1080p Excellent performances. State-of-the-art Blu-ray audio and video quality. ----------------------------- Jean Sibelius: Complete Symphonies Audio options: • PCM Stereo • DTS-HD MA 5.1 Video: 1080i Excellent performances. State-of-the-art Blu-ray audio and video quality. -------------------------- Tchaikovsky, The Complete Symphonies Audio options: • PCM Stereo • DTS-HD MA 5.1 Excellent performances. State-of-the-art Blu-ray audio and video quality. ----------------------- I also have Blu-ray audio/video box sets of symphonies by Brahms, Bruckner, Schumann, and Mahler. Plus numerous other classical concerts on Blu-ray. Plus numerous modern opera and ballet audio/video recordings on Blu-ray. And a few in Ultra HD Blu-ray. (Plus many excellent quality audio-only surround-sound recordings on SACD, and Pure Audio Blu-ray.) After experiencing modern audio/video concert recordings that feature high-def video, and hi-res audio featuring surround-sound (played via my vintage tube amps, Klipsch RF-7II speakers, plus 2 powered subwoofers), I greatly prefer this to listening to CDs.
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