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Re: [ARSCLIST] Harmony acoustics, 1925

see end...
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Miller" <lyaa071@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> 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
> the sounds will be played back on reproducers that can be configured
> to vibrate like the original instruments...however, then one would need a
> sample of the original instrument and then configure the playback vibrating
> 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..."
Well, the first problem would be that each musical instrument has
its own point(s) where its sound vibrations originate...and our
ideal "reproducer" would have to duplicate that/those characteristic(s)
exactly (and, to complicate things, all of the echoes, reflections
and cancellations of the venue in which the instruments were played!).

As well, since the "reference ideal" would assume that the two ears
of the listener were in a given pair of locations...this ultra-
recording would only be accurate if the listener was located in
that exact same spot!

Finally, because of the ever-present possibility that age, infirmity
or other agencies had left the listener with imperfect hearing...in
order to obtain fully perfect results, the sound would have to somehow
be transmitted to the otic nerves in nerve-recognizable electric

But, once we solve those little problems, we should be able to
transmit related data to the other sensory systems, so the
"experiencer" (the term which will have to replace "listener")
can actually revisit the space/time/location continuum in
which the event was recorded...

Steven C. Barr

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