One step further

Join Our Community Subscribe to Paul's Posts

In yesterday’s post I put forth the idea that it doesn’t seem to matter sonically what you might feed into a guitar amp/speaker combo – a live guitar or a recorded version of the same – what you hear will be so close to the same one cannot tell the difference. Reminds me of that old ad for Memorex tape “is it live or recorded”?

But this observation seems to fly directly in the face of what most of us would consider to be a basic truth – that we can easily tell differences in recordings – certainly the difference between a digital recording and an analog recording – and live vs. recorded. Yet this simple thought problem would seem to counter that.

OK, now let’s go one more step. Take that same setup with the guitar and amp/speaker and record the sound with a microphone – as they many times do in a recording studio when a musician wants their sound to be captured. Now, play it back through a high-end loudspeaker. Will it sound identical to the original? No.

It can’t because even if the high-end loudspeaker used for playback is 100% neutral in its colorations (none are) it can never sound the same as what you hear standing in the room.

Why, you might ask? There are at least two big hurdles: first there probably isn’t anywhere you can place that microphone that will capture what you’re hearing in the room and even if you could the playback speaker is typically in another environment as well.

Only when you have the playback speaker replace the original source of the sound in exactly the same spot in exactly the same room might you have a chance.

To make matters worse, there’s even another problem which we’ll discuss tomorrow.