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Hifi's obsession w/ imaging...


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Two of the most challenging instruments to reproduce are piano and acoustic guitar, something about the percussive and chordal nature of those instruments is very hard to reproduce accurately.

 

While both are of course acoustic, they are seldom recorded to capture the room, and for good reason, they would be even farther away from the microphones greatly dulling the dynamics.  There are many microphone, recording techniques ( https://www.dpamicrophones.com/mic-university/stereo-recording-techniques-and-setups  )   and no expert, but believe many use a combination of say ORTF and close miking.  How many microphones does one observe at their symphonic hall ?  My bet is many more than just two.

 

Heard a story that Jimmy Page would often use two microphones on his amp, one close and the other farther way, muttering "Distance is depth", and use a mix of the two to get his desired result.

 

Perhaps some hands on experience recording your preferred ensemble would be more useful than idle forum chatter.

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On 8/6/2022 at 7:24 AM, Edgar said:

 

My own experience has been that imaging only occurs with unamplified performances. Once loudspeakers are introduced, it seems that the signal is often monophonic and the image is centered.

 

I believe your comment is correct

 

Live amphitheater performances amplified were in mono to my memory

I attended a lot of them, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia MD

 

Studio recordings, done properly, can reproduce the sound of an in person acoustic performance

Multi track live recordings, can be mastered in the studio to achieve nearly the same effect of physical placement

 

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In addition to King Biscuit I recall Don Kirshner,Barry Richards (local mid Atlantic?) Rock Show. There's a few more I can't recall right now. I have an album of prism recorded at Detroit's Royal Oak Music Hall that has great sound. It's clear blue too. Got it from Baltimore's 98 Rock Fire Truck when they used to go around giving out cut outs fo' free at local malls and such.

 

Got a photo somewhere......ah here it is.

DSC_3951 copy.JPG

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Could it be that recording a live concert is its own special case? I imagine that you record the individual tracks from the mixing console separately. In addition, the atmo of the hall or stadium is recorded. Later, mixing is done in the studio and all individual tracks are positioned on a stereo field. 
But apart from that, it can also be really stereophonic live. I saw Steeley Dan at the Beacon Theatre in 2015. It was quite honestly good stereo plus venue atmosphere.

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I owned a pair of Dahlquist DQ-10s for about 16 years. The DQ-10s and their early glowing reviews really kicked off the current imaging discourse. Of course, long before then, there was Klipsch Wide Stage Stereo, but few people had the room and pocketbook for that. The DQ-10s were great at "imaging" but not so great at other factors, like dynamic range. 

 

The best rock in-concert imaging I ever heard was from the Dead's Wall of Sound. Granted, I've not heard a lot of concerts recently, but I'm wondering if for amplified music anyone has ever approached that.

 

Live orchestras, just areas of sound, woodwinds on that side, strings on the other, percussion in the back, the usual. If you listen to the Philadelphia + Ormandy Columbia recordings made in the late 60s you will hear quite a bit of "added"  imaging and a very "forward" frequency balance. People either love or hate those recordings.

 

I tend to agree that most in-home imaging is created at the soundboard, and I'd further add that a lot of imaging, even in speakers that are not "temporally aligned" is due to beaming at the upper end of the midrange driver. There are very few three-way systems with conventional drivers that don't have this issue. FWIW, the DQ-10s crossed over at the point where each driver's dispersion narrowed to 60 degrees. So the 5.25 inch cone midrange crossed over at 1000 Hz to a dome driver than in turn crossed over to a smaller dome at 6000 Hz, and then at 12,000 Hz to the piezo tweeter.

 

I think PWK wrote a Dope From Hope on imaging.

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On 8/7/2022 at 5:19 AM, ODS123 said:

 

I'll take the former, thanks.  ...Hearing vocals only from one channel and guitar only from the the other is totally redic.  ..Not realistic at all.

 

In reference to The Beatles, the CD 1 is an ear-opener.  It’s the 27 #1 hit songs by the band, selected by Paul, George, and Ringo.  When listening to the whole CD, in addition to the great songs, what I heard was the development of George Martin as a producer.  To put it simply, the first songs are so-so quality mono, which moves to better and better mono, then switches to so-so stereo, then George Martin finally gets the hang of recording and mixing in stereo, with Sgt. Pepper being pretty much the first superbly produced LP.  If you have a listen to the CD (there’s also a cassette, but the LP(s) was only available in the UK), I think you’ll agree on the gradual improvement, although where you judge “so-so” became “much better” is up to you.

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Always thought it interesting Sgt. Pepper's was recorded on a 4 track.  Sure they had to bounce the hell out of those tracks though. 

 

So I got a 4 track recorder, found a band, and had a lot of fun and good success at recording Drums, Bass, Guitars and Vocals from the soundboard and mixing them down to 2 track cassette. 

 

Got tired of lugging the 4 track around, it weighed 75 lbs, and moved on to just recording the PA feed to cassette, so much easier and almost same result.

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On 8/6/2022 at 8:24 AM, Islander said:

with the exception of Pink Floyd when I saw them at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in 1973.  They used 4-channel sound to great effect

Ding,ding,ding...I was going to post the same although I heard them at Ford Auditorium in DEEEEEEEETROIT. Must have been the same tour...Mono it was NOT. A live show can be done in Stereo(or quad) but if coverage of individual channels is marginal people in audience not in the sweet spot may feel cheated.

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On 8/7/2022 at 9:53 AM, geezin' said:

Detroit's Royal Oak Music Hall that has great sound.

That would be Royal Oak's Royal Oak Music Hall(used to be a movie house) Can't help myself from commenting cuz that's where I'm from. Saw Toto in that place. Saw Stevie Ray Vaughn there. As well as Stanley Clarke. Probably others i just don't recall. Great place for music show.

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On 8/6/2022 at 8:24 AM, Edgar said:

 

My own experience has been that imaging only occurs with unamplified performances. Once loudspeakers are introduced, it seems that the signal is often monophonic and the image is centered.

monophonic signal with biphonic presentation.

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27 minutes ago, babadono said:

That would be Royal Oak's Royal Oak Music Hall(used to be a movie house) Can't help myself from commenting cuz that's where I'm from. Saw Toto in that place. Saw Stevie Ray Vaughn there. As well as Stanley Clarke. Probably others i just don't recall. Great place for music show.

Saw Weather Report, Al DiMeola, Chick Corea Electric Band, Jan Hammer, the Fabulous Thunderbirds (not so fabulous) and Stevie Ray the same night. It was a different place then.

 

It totally sucked for me a few years back with Robin Trower. Having a bar with 200 people talking in the back ruining the expreience, while seated on metal folding chairs nearby. It made the $75 ticket, Dinner at restaurant with friends before, etc. an expensive mistake. I will not attend another rock concert again because of that crap. At home is much better.

 

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I had a great concert experience ( Luscious Jackson at Numbers, Houston ) totally ruined by worse:  Squeezed up close in front of stage, a rather large dude was flat out molesting a poor hapless girl right next to me.  I couldn't stand it, totally distracted and helpless to help, not able to find Security, I retreated to the back off the hall greatly upset.  Just totally ruined a great concert experience but I guess it kind of pales compared to Altamont.

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1 hour ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

I will not attend another rock concert again because of that crap. At home is much better.

My experiences there were a Loooooong time ago. Late 70's maybe very early 80's like maybe 1980 itself. Moved to Ca. in Sept 80 and I know I have not seen a show there since.

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22 minutes ago, babadono said:

My experiences there were a Loooooong time ago. Late 70's maybe very early 80's like maybe 1980 itself. Moved to Ca. in Sept 80 and I know I have not seen a show there since.

I was there about 3-4 years ago for the vacuous experience I had. Stevie Ray Vaughan was very loud as I recall from the 80's, but not as bad as the 113 db I measured at Andiamo's for Mark Farner about the same time as "the bar scene" during the Robin Trower concert There in 2019. I'm done with all that crap. Saving my hearing for my systems and the extra 850 CD's I just got less than a year ago. I don't need to SEE musicians play the music I like, if I want to see things I enjoy seeing, I will photograph more 20 something female models for my classes while playing recorded music, usually theirs! LOL.

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You get “imaging” with good recordings in treated rooms. With my stuff, I’m happy if I get a stable center image without it drifting.

 

“Soundstage” is different. Klipsch excels at this - filling and loading a room with sound, but not without some volume. I do think small monitors are better at disappearing and pushing the sound off of the baffle for a quasi three dimensional experience at modest volume levels. 

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25 minutes ago, babadono said:

Stevie's been dead for over 30 years...just sayin':(

He died in 1990. I saw him at Royal Oak Music Theater. He move his concert date to Tuesday and cancelled the Saturday gig to go on Saturday Night Live the year I saw him with his brother. I also saw him at Cobo Hall with Jeff Beck. What a terrific show that was!

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