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Re: [ARSCLIST] Harmony acoustics, 1925

On Thu, 26 Oct 2006, Aaron Z Snyder wrote:

> What 's usually missing is the
> "floor" of these instruments (i.e. the fundamental), without the sound still
> remains distant from reality. Finding and amplifying this floor for the
> brass bass on the aforementioned Coon-Sanders Nighthawks recordings
> immediately brings life and a sense of reality to the sound. However, if
> bass data are not present on a recording, then no amount of restoration will
> improve that part of the spectrum.

Your comment reminds me of the audio examples I am preparing for a talk I
have to give this weekend. In an effort to explain why many musicians
decided not to make acoustic recordings, I put together some examples of
comparisons of electric and acoustic recordings.

While my observation is not "technical," it has crossed my mind that when
we listen to an acoustic recording, we might be filling in the bass in our
own mind. Listening last night to the Paderewski acoustic recording of
some Debussy sounded pretty good...until I spliced in his electric
recording at selected points. Not only was I reminded of vast differences,
especially in the lack of the fundamentals in the acoustic recording,
but also of the difficulties in listening objectively. Then I tried to
compare it with the roll technology of the acoustic era...c. 1916. The
thought came to my mind that the only way to accurately reproduce a piano
recording is to have the piano play the recording, assuming the
technology would capture every aspect of the playing...leaving me to
wonder if not in the future someone will invent a recording system where all of
the sounds will be played back on reproducers that can be configured
to vibrate like the original instruments...however, then one would need a reference
sample of the original instrument and then configure the playback vibrating medium
to replicate that original instrument's vibrating characteristics. And
then one would need to somehow compensate for the acoustic of the
recording venue. Somehow I vaguely recall reading about
something like that in a science fiction book.

No doubt, "they are working on it..."


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