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Thread: Worlds most realistic recordings? - Simpson Microphones calls for musician listeners

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    Default Worlds most realistic recordings? - Simpson Microphones calls for musician listeners

    The worlds most realistic recordings? - Simpson Microphones calls for musician listeners



    As part of our on-going research & development, Simpson Microphones (Poland) would like to hear from musicians & listeners of classical music.

    After the recent introduction of a new class of microphone we are in the process of conducting subjective trials, in order to gauge the subjective improvements that accompany a large reduction in mechanical distortion.

    As you may or may not be aware, until the introduction of the Model A, microphones had not fundamentally changed since the 1930s, so this is an exciting time for recorded music.

    When we perform location testing, due to the improved mechanical performance of the new class of microphone our recordings are very hard to tell from the real source, but we are interested in how this improved mechanical performance affects your listening experience.

    All we want you to do is listen to the following recordings and tell us how you perceive the sound quality (please include details of your listening system):

    Early Music Clip A.mp3

    Early Music Clip B.mp3

    * high-resolution .WAV files or CD also available by request

    These recordings were taken during a live concert that was part of the Jaroslaw Early Music Festival (Poland) and feature string ensemble with Soprano, Male Alto, Tenor , Bass & choir.

    The material is from the period 1600-1700, the composers are Antonio Caldara & Arcangelo Corelli.

    The recordings themselves are 2-microphone stereo recordings, calibrated to sound essentially identical to the real source.


    You can post your impressions here or write them anonymously via email to this address: Feedback@SimpsonMicrophones.com

    For example, do you notice a reduction in the sound of 'mechanical stress' in the recordings? - a feeling of dynamic freedom? - reduced ear-fatigue? More natural timbre?

    Thank you for your time & help, we hope to hear from you soon.


    Andy Simpson
    www.SimpsonMicrophones.com - Next Generation Microphones

    Hear the next-generation sound here: Early Music clip A.mp3 - Early Music clip B.mp3

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    Member kiwipolish's Avatar
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    I look forward to listening to your CD. For a proper comparison, shouldn't you record the same concert with your microphones, and other microphones side-by-side?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwipolish View Post
    I look forward to listening to your CD. For a proper comparison, shouldn't you record the same concert with your microphones, and other microphones side-by-side?
    In ideal circumstances I would prefer to compare the recording directly to the actual source itself, but as this is not practical on a large scale I am interested in the audibility of reduced mechanical distortion.

    To present the same pieces of music recorded with conventional microphones will perhaps be the next stage, but in the first instance I am simply trying to ascertain what kind of immediate subjective perceptions this improvement in mechanical performance can cause.

    As this is a case of mechanical performance, I consider the effects to be rather more absolute than subtle.

    In terms of comparison, I would be happy for you to compare the specimen recordings to any other available recordings or simply consider it alone.

    Andy
    www.SimpsonMicrophones.com - Next Generation Microphones

    Hear the next-generation sound here: Early Music clip A.mp3 - Early Music clip B.mp3

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    Member kiwipolish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simpson Microphones View Post
    In ideal circumstances I would prefer to compare the recording directly to the actual source itself (...)
    Yes, this would definitely be the way to go in the future, however it is more complex, since the playback components (amplifier, loudspeakers) also play an important role. You would need to place musicians and loudspeakers behind a veil for blind testing, and play the same piece alternatively live or recorded. If you are able to devise a combination of audio equipment where most listeners can't tell the difference between live musicians and their recording, then you have started a revolution bigger than that of Stefan Kudelski!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwipolish View Post
    Yes, this would definitely be the way to go in the future, however it is more complex, since the playback components (amplifier, loudspeakers) also play an important role. You would need to place musicians and loudspeakers behind a veil for blind testing, and play the same piece alternatively live or recorded. If you are able to devise a combination of audio equipment where most listeners can't tell the difference between live musicians and their recording, then you have started a revolution bigger than that of Stefan Kudelski!
    That's exactly what I do when I'm on location doing this kind of test - though I prefer blindfolds to cover the eyes rather than a curtain as it's easier to arrange.

    Actually, I find that while the mechanical performance of the microphone & speaker is critical to the success, many of the other factors are less critical than has been assumed by the industry.

    For example, while the reproduction is usually not so similar that the audience cannot tell one from the other (ie. they can usually tell 'differences'), the success lies in whether the audience can tell which is the real source.

    In other words, if the audience does not know which is the real source, I consider it a success, despite the fact that the audience might be able to discern differences of spectra/reverb/etc.

    Andy
    www.SimpsonMicrophones.com - Next Generation Microphones

    Hear the next-generation sound here: Early Music clip A.mp3 - Early Music clip B.mp3

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    Member kiwipolish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simpson Microphones View Post
    I prefer blindfolds to cover the eyes rather than a curtain as it's easier to arrange
    Or how about hiring a panel group of blind people? They are so sensitive to sounds, that their opinion would be a real reference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simpson Microphones View Post
    the success lies in whether the audience can tell which is the real source.
    100% agreed. Each concert hall, instrument or musician may sound different; what is really important is not to be able to tell whether it is a recording, or a live performance.

    So, what's your success rate so far?

    If you get to a significant rate of success (i.e. if 80-90% of blind listeners can't tell the difference between a live performance and its recording), then you are definitely into something, but I think it should be marketed as a whole (not only microphones):

    - microphones
    - recording console and setup
    - high-end consumer audio (amplifier, speakers, CD player, cables etc.)
    - home acoustics treatments and setup service
    - recording label (CDs that sound real)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simpson Microphones View Post
    As you may or may not be aware, until the introduction of the Model A, microphones had not fundamentally changed since the 1930s
    And neither has the automobile! They still have four wheels, an engine and some seats... but I doubt many would prefer a 1930s vehicle to one of today's somehow.

    The fundamental principles of electromagnetic and electrostatic microphones have not changed -- because they are fundamental principles.

    But the technology -- and therefore the technical and subjective performance -- has improved in countless and often very significant ways over the intervening 80 years, not least because of the ability to measure and analyse what is going on in ways that weren't available in the 1930s.

    I'm all for new ideas and I wish you well with your intriguing product, but I can't let this misdirection slip by, having discovered it.

    Hugh

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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    Hi Andy,

    I am not a professional musician but I deeply enjoy the classical genre and quality of sound is of utmost importance for me. And although the strings are satisfactory most of the time, I see a huge space for improvement regarding the piano. I would love to hear a sample from you including this wonderful instrument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hugerr View Post
    And neither has the automobile! They still have four wheels, an engine and some seats... but I doubt many would prefer a 1930s vehicle to one of today's somehow.
    Hi Hugh,

    I realise that the statement I made is somewhat contentious.

    I also agree that the automobile case is interestingly similar to an extent.

    I would agree that the internal combustion engine itself has not fundamentally changed since the early days (despite rigorous refinement).

    An exception to this would be the introduction of the super & turbo charger, whose introduction alters the fundamental (limitations of) performance.

    I suppose we could consider the acoustic loaded microphone as a parallel with a turbo/super-charged engine.

    Further, it might be a better comparison to also consider the gearbox, without which the combustion engine is relatively ineffective.

    We might consider the acoustic impedance transformer of the microphone as similar to the gearbox.

    The fundamental principles of electromagnetic and electrostatic microphones have not changed -- because they are fundamental principles.
    While this is true, it is the relationship with air that has fundamentally changed with the introduction of the acoustic loaded microphone.

    It would also be a fundamental change if the acoustic impedance of air itself similarly changed.

    But the technology -- and therefore the technical and subjective performance -- has improved in countless and often very significant ways over the intervening 80 years, not least because of the ability to measure and analyse what is going on in ways that weren't available in the 1930s.
    I would of course agree that there have been significant improvements over the years but these I would not classify these as fundamental.

    I'm all for new ideas and I wish you well with your intriguing product, but I can't let this misdirection slip by, having discovered it.
    It is certainly a matter of perspective.

    If we, for example, take all the microphones available from history to the present day (including my acoustic-loaded microphones) and make a direct comparison to a live acoustic source, we will see a fundamental limitation which is featured by all the conventional direct-radiator microphones, which will be absent in my microphones.

    If this difference is significant enough to transcend all the refinements of the last 70 years and categorise the microphones in two distinct groups according to acoustic impedance, I would say this is case enough of fundamental progress after fundamental limitation.

    For example, in comparison to my microphones, the ribbon & condenser have more in common than they have differences and from such perspective can be recognised as having a family resemblence.

    My ability to discern the differences between these different transducer mechanisms (ribbon, condenser, dynamic) has actually suffered from my long exposure to working with my own microphones and I tend primarily to hear the family resemblence of the direct-radiator.

    Andy
    www.SimpsonMicrophones.com - Next Generation Microphones

    Hear the next-generation sound here: Early Music clip A.mp3 - Early Music clip B.mp3

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwipolish View Post
    100% agreed. Each concert hall, instrument or musician may sound different; what is really important is not to be able to tell whether it is a recording, or a live performance.

    So, what's your success rate so far?
    At present I'm running these tests on a very small scale. In most cases the tests are informal and hardly worth documenting.

    When I do these tests in the workshop with simple sources (tambourine, guitar, piano, etc) if we spend enough time calibrating the test the results can be very compelling.

    Usually, the longer the test goes on for, the more the success rate reduces, so I tend to make the tests quite long.

    For example, if I only allow the subject to hear 2 brief passages of tambourine, his chances of picking the 'fake' are very low, but tend to increase slightly with repetition.

    Sometimes this is an indication of the test requiring further calibration, so it can be a convoluted process and the results are rarely clean cut.

    If you get to a significant rate of success (i.e. if 80-90% of blind listeners can't tell the difference between a live performance and its recording), then you are definitely into something, but I think it should be marketed as a whole (not only microphones):

    - microphones
    - recording console and setup
    - high-end consumer audio (amplifier, speakers, CD player, cables etc.)
    - home acoustics treatments and setup service
    - recording label (CDs that sound real)
    The question becomes more complicated when we consider the possible interactions of the variables, such as listener environment & scale. I suppose something like this could be approached on a consultancy basis, but I'm not sure I would have time!

    Andy
    www.SimpsonMicrophones.com - Next Generation Microphones

    Hear the next-generation sound here: Early Music clip A.mp3 - Early Music clip B.mp3

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    I`m still very curious about your microphones on many levels.
    You are somewhat cagey about the science going on here and how it is applied.
    This, combined with what appears to me to be an excessively high purchase price, makes it important that any potential clients ( of which sadly I am not going to be one as I cant afford the entry price) are able to fully convince themselves of the merits of the system.
    With a price point such as yours you surely have to be aiming your product squarely at the pro audio market & I think the point Hugh and I & others have been trying to make is that so far you haven`t really been very long on detail.
    If indeed you have a breakthrough technology going here, expand!
    I for one am cautiously excited at the prospect of something genuinely different.

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    Well that`s genuinely different, but not exactly what I was expecting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Terrible View Post
    Well that`s genuinely different, but not exactly what I was expecting.
    Just noticed this post sitting there all naked and unxplained. For thiose of you that missed it, I was commenting on the sudden appearance of a viagra commercial in the middle of the thread!

    Felt a word of explanation was probably appropriate.....

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    lol I was wondering, but didn't have the heart to ask ... lol

    That happens sometimes ... the viagra posting got deleted (and the poster banned) after another post was made.
    Kh
    Administrator


  15. #15
    Andante
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    I must have missed this first time round but have d/l and will listen with interest.

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