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The Ill-Tempered Audiophool

My wife finds my Wall of Sound entirely inadequate and un-involving

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After about 20 years of snide comments and sneering dismissal, I dragged the wifey to see the remains of the Dead last Sunday (last week, in Santa Clara, CA). As they were tuning up, she asked me if it had started. I replied that it was about to, and it would be rather unambiguous. They kicked in about 20 minutes behind schedule with "Feel Like a Stranger" and about 79,999 of the approximately 80,000 in attendance of the 50th anniversary of the band that never had a hit were instantly on their feet and moving in phase coherence to the music. She gave in a few minutes later, deciding to suspend disbelief and cynicism for the duration (after all, 4.5 hours of sitting and stewing would require more effort). She actually seemed to enjoy it. Well, for a sarcastic Brit. (I like my women like my coffee: luke-warm, pale, bitter and freeze-dried.) Like me, she especially appreciated the Drums. The concert, BTW, was better than I could have hoped for. Those who wanted a drop-in replacement for the dead head Dead Head would be disappointed, but Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio did quite well (even with Alabama Getaway -- I had to explain the joke to her.)

So we get home, and a couple days later I decided I would play some excerpts of what I personally regard as the higher quality live recordings (one of these is the recently-released high-res "Wake Up To Find Out: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY 3-29-1990", which in my opinion has a particularly good Drums/Space that highlights Mickey Hart's talents).

She listens politely (a first), and then says "well, it is just not nearly as involving as the concert." "It doesn't sound realistic."

I couldn't blame the drugs. There weren't any (unless you could blame it on second-hand smoke).

I also tried with the flash-based audio stream of the concert (which I also captured with Quicktime and Soundflower), and got the same response.

Then she goes on to say "this is why I don't like listening to classical piano music on your stereo either."

It's almost like one of you guys paid her to say this. Right out of the audiophile playbook.

She always seems to get a kick out of kicking a guy when he is down.

So, any suggestions for making the percussion sound better?
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  1. Jud's Avatar
    Anything that will make "the percussion sound better" will have to make everything sound better, or it won't work. Will take time, effort, some money (not as much as a few years ago). Most often, people would like a quick fix, but I don't believe in those.

    So are you really up for that, or is it more than you want to put in to hear some Dead shows?
  2. esldude's Avatar
    Time for thinking outside the box. Buy a drumset, and hire aspiring drummers to play along. Should be as real as.............well real. Of course it still won't sound like the concert in a big space. :(

    You might try some of the amateur recordings of the concert too. Some of them are pretty good. I wasn't there of course. Still many of these were done with a couple good mics and not much processing.

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  3. wgscott's Avatar
    When I bought my system 5 years ago, her first comment was something like "you just spent $5K to listen to a bunch of crappy boot-legs." They are pretty crappy; she is right.
  4. wgscott's Avatar
    Maybe I need two of these:

  5. esldude's Avatar
    No, you just need about 8 speakers, all across the front of the room and the feed from each guy on stage. The at home version of the wall of sound.
  6. esldude's Avatar
    Also, I don't find the sound quality to be the difference. It is the entire atmosphere. I don't know if I have ever heard a large concert that was amplified that sounded 'good', much less great. Doesn't keep it from being a nice involving experience.
  7. wgscott's Avatar
    Good point. But where would I find a bunch of deadheads to fill the house, in Santa Cruz?
  8. Jud's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by esldude
    Also, I don't find the sound quality to be the difference. It is the entire atmosphere. I don't know if I have ever heard a large concert that was amplified that sounded 'good', much less great. Doesn't keep it from being a nice involving experience.
    Keith Richard and the XPensive Winos Live at the Hollywood Palladium has a very "live" sound (turn it up and feel the bass in your rib cage). Hot Tuna has at least one audiophile-grade live album available for download, but that's not a "large concert."
  9. Sal1950's Avatar
    A pair of Klipsch Heritage speakers like KHorns or La Scala ll with 100 watts of tubes on them plus a monster powered sub to keep up.
    You want realistic dynamics you need big horms.
  10. Ajax's Avatar
    You always make me laugh Bill!

    Suggest you simply ask her to support your hobby and hock some of her jewellery so you can upgrade your system. At the same time remind her that some women don't have husbands. I say that to my wife all the time and she says "lucky bastards".

    In any case no new shinny piece of kit is going to fix a woman's attitude who doesn't get it and doesn't want to get it. And before I get accused of being a sexist whatever my mates don't get it either - as long as it's loud and has plenty of base they are happy.
  11. Sal1950's Avatar
    "It's almost like one of you guys paid her to say this. Right out of the audiophile playbook."
    Ouch, doesn't sound like she has any interest in HiFi of music in general for that manner, don't blame that on us, you the one said "I Does" :)

    A .357 Magnum makes a very impressive percussion sound and will end the discussion on a final basis and save the divorce attorne fees. LOL
  12. wgscott's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax
    Y hock some of her jewellery
    That won't go far, since she has next to none. (No diamonds, especially, as she did not want to put money into the hands of DeBeers cartel).
  13. elcorso's Avatar
    First hand smoking, but the hydroponic strains :)

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    Roch