Accurate or musical

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karatestu
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Accurate or musical

Unread post by karatestu » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:09 am

What is accurate ? Been reading stuff (some of it reviews) where people describe kit as accurate.

How do they know what is accurate ? Have they access to the master tapes or something. Surely accurate can only be a relatve term, relative to what they have heard in the past. Accurate surely has little to do with how recordings sound compared to live music - pitch definition and timing excepted.

Musical is a much easier term to define. Like real music, dynamic and free. Instruments sound like real instruments, the full harmonic range is there, timing is excellent (timing is the essence of all good music) and the emotion and technical ability of each musician can clearly be heard. Great bands usually have a group of musicians with the collective talents working together as one, the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts.
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Lotus Seven S
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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by Lotus Seven S » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:20 am

How about just "Pleasing"?

I agree that "accurate" is wobbly ground at best, and "musical" for me is just a term of approval (sometimes used snobbishly). Instead of trying to describe the sound, I prefer to describe, what the sound does to me.

And the bottom of the line for me is: Does the music please me? Does it delight me? Does it satisfy me? ETC....

There are lots of hidden parameters to the answers of these questions (contingent preferences) which I am not entirely conscious of. But the results are oftentimes clear to behold.

And if in doubt, I apply the maxim: There is no doubt.

S.
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Lurcher300b
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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by Lurcher300b » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:42 am

Musical is a much easier term to define. Like real music, dynamic and free. Instruments sound like real instruments, the full harmonic range is there, timing is excellent (timing is the essence of all good music) and the emotion and technical ability of each musician can clearly be heard. Great bands usually have a group of musicians with the collective talents working together as one, the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts.
This is where words are a problem. I would describe what you have said as accurate. I don’t understand what "musical" means if its not the same as accurate.

I also know what Accurate doesn’t sound like.

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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by CN211276 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:45 am

I don't think the term accurate can be used. I was at a gig last night, the sound good, music very familiar (Bootleg Beatles), but would i want that sound in my living room, NO.
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Berty bass
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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by Berty bass » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:08 am

I'd be stuck for the single word or concept that describes my preferences because they're based on how well I think my system resolves the information available to it. The irony, of course, being I've no reference point for the quality of that information in the first place so, in reality, I've no idea how it well it meets that criteria! Musicality as at least as much to do with the recorded performance as it does with your system's ability to reproduce it accurately so, yes, maybe pleasing is the best any of us can hope for.

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karatestu
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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by karatestu » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:21 am

Lurcher300b wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:42 am
Musical is a much easier term to define. Like real music, dynamic and free. Instruments sound like real instruments, the full harmonic range is there, timing is excellent (timing is the essence of all good music) and the emotion and technical ability of each musician can clearly be heard. Great bands usually have a group of musicians with the collective talents working together as one, the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts.
This is where words are a problem. I would describe what you have said as accurate. I don’t understand what "musical" means if its not the same as accurate.

I also know what Accurate doesn’t sound like.
I think you have hit the nail on the head Nick.

Words are the problem. I just see the terms accurate, neutral, musical used all over the place to describe how something sounds. I don't find it very helpful and I am guilty of using musical myself. How does an ordinary person (layman) know it is accurate ? If musical is accurate then why do so many people say NVA speakers are not accurate but many say they are musical (not always the same people) ?

However I find the term "musical" easier to define. Something which is not musical would be an item that sits on dynamics and kills the music (harbeth speakers anyone?). I think if you know what inaccurate sounds like then maybe it is easier to judge what accurate is.

Tying myself up in knots here maybe.
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Dr Bunsen Honeydew
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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:38 am

How about enjoyable, defined by less or more, and then why - using musical descriptions of different tracks. I think we have been doing really well recently in the NVA review thread, most have referenced music and the changes they hear, that IMO is the way it should be done. A long way away from the classical reviewer speak most of us here have learned to despise and take the piss out of. Product reviews on AoS, PFM and Wigwam still seem to mostly have reviewer speak, and the blogs like Pig are hilarious, especially when Jerry did them.

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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:00 am

'Accurate' should be 'musical' too, but bear in mind that real live acoustic instruments aren't always overly 'musical' when played straight at you (trumpets rasp, violins can sound like strangled cats-with-a-cold and drums will push you into the back wall :lol: ). I know, by the time these instrument are recorded, much of the dynamic rasp and 'attack' is diluted and compressed and the harmonic content is perhaps emphasised slightly, but the best sorted systems, which DON'T have to cost the earth, seem to offer a great balance of tone and dynamics, so you can forget the mechanics of music reproduction completely - why I so respect NVA amps for example 'cos they make this so easy.

Apparently all you need for 'accurate' amplification is a Yamaha AS-701 as it measures so very well and has some power. I can't afford to buy one to check, but I wonder how well it reproduces the musical nature of a recording, as so many products like this have added 'tricks' to make them measure right but which take the heart and soul of the music away subjectively in the process, making music-listening boring.
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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by Daniel Quinn » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:39 pm

They are both marketing terms aimed at selling something to you
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Lotus Seven S
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Re: Accurate or musical

Unread post by Lotus Seven S » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:45 pm

This is a bit of a hairy chestnut!
Words are the problem
I hope not. But maybe the usage of words contributes to the confusion.

I think at its roots this problem is based on two quite different world-perceptions. On the one hand we have the cosy, traditional understanding that we have direct contact with the world through our senses. Thus it would be easy to know what is accurate (and not). But there is a more modern understanding that suggests we have no idea whatsoever about the world's furniture - the only thing we have to help (and hinder) are words.

I belong to the second class of understanding. After thousands of years of grappling with the stubborn world we have learned to revise the noises we make (speech), so we are better at getting what we want - and it is all those words which have carved up the world to all that we can identify today. From mountains to amplifiers and the sounds they make.

There is no understanding without speech (and of course lots of misunderstanding). Even the measuring instruments of objectivists are based on speech. We live in a totally human world.

There will of course always be disagreements and shifting consensus and we learn to play in different word-games. The accurate/musical dimension is one such game. Pleasure/enjoyment another.

I don't know whether that has tied the knot tighter or loosened it. But I suppose we all get to choose, what we buy into.

(And yes marketing is evil.)

S.
Last edited by Lotus Seven S on Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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