Making matters worse

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In yesterday’s post I expanded the thought problem to using a microphone to now capture the live sound and then what happens when we play it back. It doesn’t sound the same. In fact, it cannot unless you try placing the playback setup in exactly the same space as the recording took place.

Now let’s make matters worse. Have you ever sat in a meeting or at your kitchen table having a conversation that you happen to record? When you playback that conversation it sounds very different than when you were at the kitchen table – it’s hollow sounding and includes the room echo. Does this mean the microphone making the recording is being unfaithful? No, it’s exactly the opposite – your auditory system is the unfaithful one.

When we are speaking in a room our ear/brains have learned to tune out all those irritating room reflections and we ignore them – to the point where we simply don’t hear them at all. When we place a microphone in that room and record the conversation and then play it back, the room echoes are apparent instantly because we no longer perceive them with their timing and phase differences so our brains can ignore them. They appear to us as a single sound source.

The only way you’re going to get close is to go into a studio that’s deadened the room reflections, record the conversation and then play it back in exactly the same space and place in the kitchen. Then you might have a chance – but that won’t happen.

Tomorrow the outer edges.