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ARSCLIST  April 2015

ARSCLIST April 2015

Subject:

Re: SACD "surprise"

From:

John Haley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 5 Apr 2015 15:34:28 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (372 lines)

The comment about being superfluous shows you how your own house can become
a glass house when you live long enough for your own schtick to go out of
style. 12 tone music is pretty much a dead duck by now.
Beat, John
On Apr 5, 2015 3:21 PM, "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> All good points. Schuller is talking specifically about the influence of
> recordings on careers, but the need to be "different" has always been with
> us, and the overall picture is that what Schuller is describing is the
> process whereby, over time we get further and further away from the real
> musical style of the composer, an understanding of which his contemporaries
> would have been taking for granted. Here, recordings over the last century
> can be very instructive, and we should study them. Not to imitate them,
> but to learn from them. Egs--the way Caruso applies his superb legato to
> the music of Puccini and the way orchestral conductors encouraged beautiful
> string portamenti before they became verbotten in the more clinical,
> "objective" decades that followed.
> Best, John
> On Apr 5, 2015 3:00 PM, "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I disagree with Schuller somewhat on this, and keep in mind that as a
>> composer, his investment is in the score-loyal side of things. With
>> classical music scored in such detail, I think the only thing that makes it
>> interesting is the different interpretations by its conductors and players.
>> Slavish devotion to every notation in the score is one interpretation,
>> maybe the best in some cases. But it's not always the best. By the way, I
>> don't know what sort of radical "be different" was going on in 1997, unless
>> it was who could be the most dull and generic! Go back 40 years earlier and
>> you get different.
>>
>> A great case in point. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, whatever one may think
>> of them, took the "rock" genre in a new direction by interpreting and
>> "rock-izing" classical pieces. There's a documentary about them on YouTube,
>> apparently the video that's on a DVD in one of their box sets.
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNv_CycsWmc
>> One of the interesting stories told by the group is how they got
>> permission to use Aaron Copland's "Rodeo" in their own arrangement and
>> setting. According to the band's manager, shown telling the story in the
>> video, the publisher gave them a flat-out "no" and did the equivilent of
>> turning their noise up and walking away. Well, the manager found Aaron
>> Copland's home number in the phone book (remember those), and "rang him
>> up." Copland said, send me a tape. A few weeks later, permission was
>> granted by Copland's people, and word got back that Copland loved ELP's
>> interpretation of his music.
>>
>> Schuller's interest in jazz stands in interesting contrast to his
>> statements about obeying scores. The whole point of jazz music is to not
>> obey a score, but rather use it as a "head arrangement" to facilitate
>> improvisation.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 12:05 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>
>>
>> Here's some more from Gunther Schuller and his advocacy for the score:
>>>
>>> "The difficulty in this discussion lies in the fact that no human being,
>>> no artist, no conductor can ever be totally objective in
>>> artistic/interpretive matters, or - to put it another way - can ever avoid
>>> being subjective to some extent. Clearly, the argument generally mounted by
>>> the opponents of textual fidelity - to wit, that someone is too 'objective'
>>> in his performance, too cold, too intellectual, too inexpressive, too
>>> reliant on the score - is itself false and specious, because even that
>>> alleged 'objectivity' is bound to incorporate a great or lesser degree of
>>> subjectivity....
>>>
>>> "We are, after all, what we are; and conductors are what they are. No
>>> conductor is purposely bad or purposely good. Every conductor is trying to
>>> evolve out of his talents the highest and most personal expression.
>>> Unfortunately, this often fails because (a) there is among conductor's
>>> views of themselves a sizable gap between perception and reality, that is ,
>>> between their perception of themselves and the reality as seen by others;
>>> and (b) conductors now increasingly try 'to be different' in order to carve
>>> out for themselves some special career niche....
>>>
>>> "This alarming trend can best be seen and heard in recordings...in that
>>> conductors, battling it out in the fiercely competitive recording market,
>>> have now learned that they will stand out, will be reviewed and discussed
>>> more readily, and will thus attract more attention the more they can
>>> interpret a work differently from the several dozen recordings of it that
>>> are already in the market place. This has become more than a trend in
>>> recent years; it has become an obsession and a specific skill, eagerly
>>> supported by managers and, of course, most record companies. At that point
>>> the composer's score becomes, alas, a total irrelevance, an annoying
>>> burden. In this perverse view of things, the music becomes fair game to be
>>> exploited for whatever career gains it can provide. Beyond the immediate
>>> negative effects of specific personal mis-, under-, or over-interpretations
>>> by these conductors, there is an unfortunate cumulative effect as well: the
>>> varied distinctive qualities and characteristics of the great symphonic
>>> masterpieces are submerged in one generalized, (ironically) depersonalized,
>>> generic, amorphous, androgynous performance style. Instead of the
>>> personality of the composer - and the true personal and special essence of
>>> the work in question - we get the personality of the conductor."
>>>
>>> That was published in 1997. The record companies are not so influential
>>> now. These days it looks like the same marketing is deployed more broadly
>>> to 'save classical music.'
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
>>> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:41 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>>
>>> I'll say this about Boulez -- I love that he's so polarizing! Good for
>>> him! A big part of my disinterest in most orchestras and conductors today
>>> is that they either try to be everything to everyone, or they pander to try
>>> and "get the kids interested," or they are stuck in the mud of
>>> over-caution. None of that is interesting. Boulez is different and
>>> controversial. I like some of his recordings, do not like others. I even
>>> like that he's played the Legend card in France to amass a big pile of
>>> state funding for classical music (who has the power to do that here?). The
>>> very things that David Lewis mentioned -- the "ice cold" interpretations,
>>> the super-precision to certain scores, are liable to totally turn off
>>> American fans who, for instance, loved the Bernstein approach to music.
>>> There's nothing wrong with that! Alternative and even opposite approaches
>>> to music are great, and so is debate about it. What's not great is
>>> un-original thinking, over-caution and working so hard to be "inclusive"
>>> that one never plants their foot on decisive lines. Be bold or be bored!
>>>
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:21 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>>
>>>
>>> BTW, the DAC2 is a substantial improvement on the DAC1, various
>>>> versions of which I've owned since
>>>> it came out over ten years ago. Even the analog path is better. Still,
>>>> I hear a difference with it
>>>> between Toslink and coax from the same Redbook source. Always have. I
>>>> know, I know.... The async
>>>> USB is also audibly better than with the standard driver, whatever the
>>>> data rate. It was such an
>>>> impressive upgrade that I splurged on their new amp. It replaces a
>>>> Bryston, which is no toy. The
>>>> combo is highly revealing, yet not annoyingly so, as there often is a
>>>> tradeoff between
>>>> transparency and musicality. I find it correct for whichever hat I'm
>>>> wearing, mixer or
>>>> music-lover.
>>>>
>>>> Another aside, regarding Boulez. I don't dismiss the work of such a
>>>> sophisticated and accomplished
>>>> musician, who has gained the respect of some of the most demanding
>>>> orchestras out there. It can be
>>>> instructive to hear his way with music. His old Debussy series was
>>>> praised for its objectivity and
>>>> scrupulous attention to detail, and is still valuable for it. Similarly
>>>> his Mahler, yet it needn't
>>>> displace Barbirolli, et al. Just as with audio arts, there is no one
>>>> correct way, and we don't
>>>> always see the value in something until time gives us perspective.
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
>>>> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf
>>>> Of Tom Fine
>>>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 8:49 AM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>>>
>>>> Hi John:
>>>>
>>>> I think what you're hearing with 96k is the 24-bit word length. I am
>>>> not convinced that the
>>>> super-high sampling rates capture anything audible above what 44.1 or
>>>> 48k capture, but I do think
>>>> that the Nyquist filtering and other factors make the audible top end
>>>> sound better. However, many
>>>> DACs up-sample 44.1k before filtering and converting anyway. For
>>>> instance, the Benchmark design,
>>>> of which there are many variants, up-samples everything to three
>>>> hundred and something kiloHertz,
>>>> re-clocking so as to strip out jitter, then converts to analog.
>>>>
>>>> Here's a "white paper" about Benchmark's DAC1 approach:
>>>> http://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/white-papers/13127453-
>>>> asynchronous-upsampling-to-110-khz
>>>>
>>>> For the DAC2 series, the describe the "improved" system this way:
>>>> -------------------------------------------
>>>> UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System
>>>>
>>>> UltraLock2™ is an improved version of the UltraLock™ system used in the
>>>> DAC1 and ADC1 product
>>>> families. DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB, sample
>>>> rate is 211 kHz, and
>>>> jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level
>>>> of the music - well below
>>>> the threshold of hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock2™ system eliminates all
>>>> audible jitter artifacts.
>>>> ---------------------------------------------
>>>>
>>>> Up-sampling and over-sampling DAC designs have been around for a long
>>>> time, but I do think modern
>>>> designs are more sophisticated in how they strip out jitter from the
>>>> source. The consumer high-end
>>>> designers first got the jitter-rejection religion, especially when they
>>>> started recognizing
>>>> consumer demand for USB interfaces (USB is notorious for jitter due to
>>>> inconsistent clocking built
>>>> into typical computer CPUs). Companies like Benchmark and Mytek and
>>>> Lynx, which have feet in both
>>>> consumer and pro audio, have put out well-reviewed and good-sounding,
>>>> to my ears, jitter-rejecting
>>>> products in recent times. The other focus where I think some strides
>>>> have been made recently is
>>>> the analog stage after conversion, there are some super-quiet and
>>>> near-transparent designs out
>>>> there now. A modern digital system should operate so quietly that it
>>>> essentially has no audible
>>>> noise floor in even a quiet real-world room.
>>>>
>>>> A simple test would be to convert some well-known analog material at
>>>> 96/16 and 48/16 and see if
>>>> you hear a difference. Then 96/24 and 48/24, and then compare the
>>>> 24-bits to the 16-bits. I think
>>>> that's where you'll hear the differences.
>>>>
>>>> To my ears, 24-bit makes a difference, especially with "air and space"
>>>> in something like an
>>>> orchestral recording. Just transferring in 24-bit makes a difference,
>>>> if you've got a good
>>>> dither-down conversion system to get to a CD master.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 2:44 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> CORRECTION. When I said "catching a whole octave above 48 kHz in
>>>>> frequency," I meant "catching a whole octave in frequency above what is
>>>>> captured by a 48 kHz sampling rate." Sorry about that.
>>>>>
>>>>> Best,
>>>>> John
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 2:38 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> Thanks for posting the NY Times Boulez article, Tom, which could have
>>>>>> been
>>>>>> entitled "A bunch of famous musicians sitting around kissing up to
>>>>>> Pierre
>>>>>> Boulez." They remark how "influential" (i.e, famous) he is. That he
>>>>>> is.
>>>>>> Does that make him a great conductor? Nope. I loved the Gunther
>>>>>> Schiller
>>>>>> quote. Obviously, Boulez has occasionally succeeded with a piece of
>>>>>> music. Like they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
>>>>>> And many
>>>>>> great orchestras could occasionally deliver a great performance even
>>>>>> while
>>>>>> ignoring a monkey on the podium.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> If DGG digital recordings had max resolution of 48 kHz, as you know
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> is not an appreciable difference from 44.1 kHz. The difference in
>>>>>> frequencies (pitches) those sampling rates will capture is the
>>>>>> difference
>>>>>> between 22,500 and 24,000 Hz. Way up there, that is a difference of
>>>>>> only a
>>>>>> note or two (think extended piano keyboard). I have never been able
>>>>>> to
>>>>>> hear the slightest difference between a recording at 44.1 kHz and one
>>>>>> at 48
>>>>>> kHz. Recording at 96 kHz is a whole 'nother thing, catching a whole
>>>>>> octave
>>>>>> above 48 kHz in frequency, but also seemingly able to capture more
>>>>>> detail
>>>>>> based on double the number of samples. Or maybe I should say capture
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> detail with greater accuracy.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Since we routinely make hi-def dubs (at least 96/24) from analog
>>>>>> master
>>>>>> tapes these days that can sound really great, I have to wonder if,
>>>>>> all else
>>>>>> being equal, those results will outshine an original digital
>>>>>> recording made
>>>>>> at only 48 kHz.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I am another one who has never felt that your average DGG orchestral
>>>>>> recording captured a lot of the sheer excitement of the sound of a
>>>>>> great
>>>>>> symphony orchestra.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>> John
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 8:21 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]
>>>>>> >
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Hi Mark:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> So from what you're saying, I gather that the maximum resolution of
>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>> Boulez/CSO master would be 48/24?
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Donahue" <
>>>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>>> Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 6:13 PM
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 10:31 AM, Tom Fine <
>>>>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I can't recall if it was Yamaha or Studer digital consoles, but I
>>>>>>>> think
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> you are correct in your descriptions of "4D". being a true DDD
>>>>>>>>> system in
>>>>>>>>> that the last time anything was analog was when the mic plugged
>>>>>>>>> into the
>>>>>>>>> console and the mic preamp went to a ADC.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Tom,
>>>>>>>> The DG 4D system was comprised of a stagebox containing custom
>>>>>>>> remote mic
>>>>>>>> preamps and Yamaha converters that connected digitally at 24
>>>>>>>> bits/44.1/48k
>>>>>>>> to an RTW bit splitter that allowed them to record 24 bit 16 track
>>>>>>>> on a
>>>>>>>> Sony3324. The signal was also distributed to the input of a pair of
>>>>>>>> Yamaha
>>>>>>>> DMC-1000 digital consoles. The normal orchestral kit that I would
>>>>>>>> see
>>>>>>>> here
>>>>>>>> in the states was a pair or three stage boxes with a pair of
>>>>>>>> machines for
>>>>>>>> 32 track recording. It was basically modular and could be scaled
>>>>>>>> for the
>>>>>>>> job.
>>>>>>>> All the best,
>>>>>>>> -mark
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>

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