Stereo reproduction – how close to the real thing?

“Recently a friend of mine heard a Chopin concert in a Baptist church. I had told him that I had gone out to RMAF this year and heard some of the latest gear. His comment was that he thinks the best audio systems are only about 5% close to the real thing, especially the sound of a piano, though he admitted he hasn’t heard the best of the latest equipment. That got me thinking as I have been going to the BSO a lot this fall and comparing the sound of my system to live orchestral music. It’s hard to put a hard percentage on this kind of thing, but I think the best systems capture a lot more than just 5% of the sound of live music. What do you think? Are we making progress and how close are we?”

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1 Comment

  1. I can’t agree with 5%. I suspect that for the right system it can exceed 100%, simply because the recording can capture more than you’d hear sitting in the audience. Yesterday I listened to a ‘BIS Original Dynamics’ orchestral recording, and the recording was so brilliant, the ‘sound stage’ so clear, and the build up to the final crescendo so overwhelming that I struggled to remain composed – it was much better than I’ve ever heard in a concert hall, despite the lack of true 360 degree holographic ambience etc. which I think is a relatively small part of the experience. I think a common misconception, however, is that a so-called high end audio system with small speakers is in some way equal to a lower cost system with large speakers. I disagree: the system has to be capable of realistic volume levels with no audible limitation on bass. I would advise anyone to buy the largest three-way speakers they can, rather than some tiny jewel-like two-way boxes.

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