Is it possible to reproduce orchestral dynamics at home?

January 4, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

2 comments on “Is it possible to reproduce orchestral dynamics at home?”

  1. Reproducing a human voice is a challenge, add instruments, whether acoustic or electronic it gets complicated. Through in like 250 voices and or a symphonic orchestra, now all depends on the recording and capability of the system to reveal the details like the live act as you explained perfectly clear. But also like you said earlier, it does not help that good recordings are difficult to recognize. Not on the cover, there should be a standard for audiophile recording and mastering and a system to certify compliance to that standard and print it to the cover. Unless you buy online where you can at least hear a part of the music before you purchase it. In the past I remember headphone sets in the record store where you could listen to any record or CD before purchasing, I asked our local record store recently about that and the reply was, we don’t do that kind of expensive service anymore, well fine compared with the time I am talking about the cost of CD’s and records went up faster then inflation so ?!

  2. It’s impossible to replicate the listening experience you get while at a concert hall at home on any level (each hall has such different acoustical characteristics so you can’t generalize any of them). To me there is nothing better then hearing a live symphony orchestra in all it’s glory in a concert hall. I can truly say I have never heard a high end 2 channel audio system that can faithfully reproduce what you hear in a hall (that includes that IRSV’s which I have heard) but that is because to me it’s a different listening experience. It can be different for each person. When I am in a concert hall and listen (sometimes with my eyes closed) I have a different listening experience then someone else might. When I listen to orchestral music on a high end audio system (again with my eyes closed) I just never get that same experience. It sounds pretty darn good but I don’t get that feeling I get while in the concert hall. I think music is just more than a listening experience. I think the physical location, the people, the orchestra, etc all play into this and how we perceive sound in a given live event vs listening at home. I think the same holds true for most music genres depending on the person. A good example of this that I have experienced recently. I went to see John Williams perform with a symphony orchestra (eg Star Wars, ET, etc soundtracks from the movies) and it was an incredible experience and much different then just going to listen to a classical music performance. The one thing that stuck with me was they play a long scene from the movie Jaws without the music, hearing the actors dialog and some effects. Then they added the live orchestra into the mix, replayed the scene as the live orchestra was playing. What a great listening experience that was and something I could never duplicate either listening to that soundtrack or watching the movie itself. It was a great listening and watching experience but what got me is how much the music made a difference especially being there in front of the orchestra. Again something you would not get just watching the movie.

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