I have been thinking recently about the subject of my playback’s sound vs. Live sound and I have to tell you that those thoughts are much more complicated than one might expect. Under normal circumstances it would be foolishness to talk seriously about comparing between live Sound and reproduced sound. But it is ONLY if we compare sound as a factual property of sound reproduction. If however we look at Sound not as factual element but as a creative force that was made not as a self-contained goal but rather was made for sake of precise higher purpose then the view might be different.
Without going into unnecessary-long preamble I would say that I do feel that lately the Sound I get from my playback is more “interesting” then the sound I get from events. I heard those comments before from various people under different circumstances and I always suspected that they were idiots. Deeper familiarity with them proved that I was very accurate – the people who made those comments were either too primitive in their objective either too lightweight in their reference points. However, the most remarkable in my ridicules statement about playback vs. Live sound is that I neither idiot nor have too insignificant reference points. Let me to explain my view.
Unquestionably the sound that I get from my playback is VERY far from sound of live events. But my playback renders intend of recorded music with much higher amplitude then live events. To a degree it is not about my playback abut rather about the ability of playbacks to re-render the event or to replay the event, exposing the indented of performance in well controlled environment of listening room. It like a watching a tennis player do a serve in a slow motion – everything is there is well-depicted for understanding. With my playback played, and I primary refer to LIVE FM broadcast and the broadcast’s recordings (95% of my listening nowadays), the expressive exploits are right in your face, and vehement pressure of playback rises much fasted then acoustic pressure. I am not taking about the “attention to details” – I will live that BS to the kindergarten level of audio reviewers – but I rather taking about the whole compiled presentation of Sound that in my view is more “critical” and more decisive via playback.
When I listen some BSO play that I found was interesting and introduce some new twist in this or that moments I always try to re-listen this recording of the fragment and I very frequently discover “other” things that escaped my attention during the live event. The Live Sound if it was played properly is all about submission of own ego to the external superior force. The played back Sound is about not submission but cooperation and rivalry between the superior force and own character of a listener. By matching up the came from outside with the brewed inside some very interesting things usually grow up…
So, I think this makes playback Sound “better” then live sound. It might not grab us by testiculars in the way how live sound does but it gives a lot of room for thinking about sound/music and it gives to us a phenomenal opportunity to control our listening. Couple month back two separate local guys come to my room and I played to them fragments of my BSO FM recordings. One guy commented that “you never get THIS in Symphony Hole”. Another suddenly after 30 years of BSO listening begin to note in the sound of my playback some wonderful performing elements that he did not acknowledge in BSO live. I have a very same feeling. Live sound make you witness of the event. A properly reproduced playback makes a listener a participant of the event, not just ideal participant but rather as person responsible for the outcome of listening ceremony. Here is where my playback destroys most of the live events, unless you do your listening from a conducting podium…
Rgs, Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche