A short story which is also a quasi goodbye post

I don't understand how anyone can prefer a little boombox - even one as good as Muso - over a proper system despite room influences. Ditto a car, other than perhaps a virtually silent car, but I heve never experienced that. And whilst earbuds provide music, they are not things I want to keep inserted in my ears. And headphones are only a substitute for quiet listening as the feel is not there loud.

So, maybe for those experiencing a lack of satisfaction, perhaps judicous room treatment is what you are lacking, that and possibly finding the right speakers.

I don't think anyone is making the point that the earbuds or car stereo in any way "sounds" better; I think they are making the point that absent the hyper analysis of sound etc., they simply forget all that and enjoy the music. Because the best system out there cannot possibly reproduce the actual live music experience - it is impossible. I have read some here saying their system sounds better than live music, which for me is a total disconnect because it is like saying you like a copy of the Mona Lisa better than the Mona Lisa...the difference between liking music and liking hi-fi I guess.

My post actually didn't refer to sounding better, but to the preference that had been expressed. However, interesting question, the one of live vs recorded and liking music or liking hifi:

1) Many albums are produced in studios to present what the artist(s) want it to sound like - but then live they cannot always achieve the same sound, only an approximation. So which sounds better? 

2) I have always loved live music, at least partly due to the atmosphere and the spontaneity - but certainly not always for the quality of sound, which sometimes has been pretty poor, occasionally pushing unenjoyable, whether due to venue acoustics and my listening position, or the quality or set up of the PA system. So recorded music can indeed sound better, even if it lacks the live element. 

These points, especially the first, still relate to the music rather than hifi.


A live concert can be a tremendous musical experience experience, but definitely not guaranteed. Occasionally these can be successfully captured by recording equipment and, when played back on a reasonably competent system, give great pleasure. A well recorded studio album, on the other hand, can for me, provide the ultimate in listening pleasure.

I think what I mean is that I love going to live performances, whether the quality of the vocals or instrument playing is perfect or not. For home enjoyment when listening to my hifi my preference, in most instances, is for well recorded studio albums. Totally different things, and hence I personally don't worry too much about this preoccupation with replication of live sound felt by other contributors.


It's funny that you should raise these points, as only last week I was trying to explain to my best mate that many forum members are trying to recreate the listening to of live music on their systems at home.

He was absolutely horrified at the thought of this, as he explained that most of the gigs/concerts he attends actually sound pretty bad.  Admittedly he doesn't attend any classical concerts.

I have recently been with him to see and hear the Songhoy Blues and Cadillac Three and I'm not convinced that I wish to recreate this sound in my man cave either TBH.


Very true that some, perhaps more than not, live concerts have poor sound. Of course, in many such cases, you are already dealing with a "sound system". The last 3 concerts I have been to all had rather good sound, but I can recall some where it was awful. And I don't think any of us are attempting to recreate that sound!

I was thinking more of a live piano or guitar, or chamber ensemble. At some level, all music can be distilled down a to a live element that is (for lack of a better term) the "organic" nature of music produced by instruments.

Then there is the energy of a live performance, which is what I think I like more about most live vs studio. (Depends on many factors of course.) But a crummy recording, or a crummy live venue are both going to do a disservice to the content, this thing we call "music".

I’ve only a few of recordings where I was present, the recordings are only on CD ( Roy Harper’s 60th birthday concert at the RFH and Van der Graaf Generator’s reunion concert, also at the RFH) and in one case cassette (the Enid at the Dominion Theatre I think, a farewell gig they said, but it wasn’t), none of them live up to the live event. Where I prefer a recording to live (I’m mostly talking about classical here) it’s not the same performance nor usually performer, recordings are also selected from several takes/concerts as a rule so will be above average. I do find my mind drifting more in classical concerts than I remember used to be the case, unless it’s an outstanding performance. Don’t know if that’s too many concerts, too good a home system or too many so so performances (Reading isn’t a particularly prestigious venu nor does it have a very adventurous classical audience either, anything beyoud classic fm fare is usually half empty).

Apart from local band Twelfth Night who were gigging around when I lived in Reading (and the Target pub and Treats nightclub where I played my Rock disco for a few years, but that's a different subject), it was rather a dead place musically in early-mid 80s - but London is emminently reachable and I used to go there about once a week to gigs. As for mind drifting in classical concerts, back in the day I used to doze  off quite often when standing through many a support band in packed venues, regardless of sound level... 

My own intent with music replay at home is to give myself the illusion of being there - and I find it often does work, though does depend on the recording. And of course the atmosphere is absent even with live recordings. However with one genre in particular I find recorded definitely cannot compare, namely live is opera, where live you have the thatrical side (and for me, it doesn't work on TV, even on a big screen supposedly streamed live.

I don't think any hifi can accurately reproduce live acoustic music. The vocal, the acoustic guitar, the acoustic drums, the acoustic bass, the cello, nothing amplified, no electronics. On the other hand I think hifi playing a studio recording can get you closer to the music than a live gig where everything is amplified and played through a PA system.

When my speakers were away for repair I spent a long time listening to Hugo 2 with Audioquest Nighthawk headphones and thought the sound was phenomenal and could even beat my main ATC active speakers. When my speakers returned I was eager to compare. Result, speakers made what are top drawer headphones sound like a child's toy.

Quite, recorded opera isn’t up to the job unless that job is to prime you for the real thing.

Talking of opera I nodded off during the last act of Parsifal the one time I got tickets to Bayreuth, something to do with the bottle of proseco we’d each finished during the intervals.

By then Katarina Wagner was in charge and already trying to alienate their traditional audience. That was the Nazi production of Parsifal, I haven’t applied for tickets since. I’d rather support Longborough.

I have a similar dilemma with my vinyl.

I've just been playing Shirley Bassey, Supertramp and Shostakovich. All these are secondhand charity shop purchases costing less than a couple of squids.

And all sound better than any modern 180 gram £25.00 long players I've bought recently. Modern vinyl seems to have a more bloated bass and a lack of edge to vocals and less detail particular toward the top  end of the frequency spectrum.

Is this just my experience? 



Same thoughts here Cheeselet. See some of my recent posts.

I have found it's like the engineers on the CDs have pushed the gain up compared to the vinyl, perhaps to retrieve more detail from the legacy, perhaps fading, masters (assuming they got hold of them?) and in so doing have generated issues at the top end - think sibilance to my ears, with bloated bass too (as you say). 

The legacy vinyl is so much smoother but at the same time more dynamic (if that makes sense!).

Modern vinyl I have experienced is closer in sq  to mid fi digital services like streaming and mp3.

This, as you suggest happy, is probably because of the source or the engineering of that source.

But then today's mass market for vinyl is not primarily aimed at the high end audiophile, it seems, and the quality we are experiencing reflects that fact.

Hungryhalibut posted:

During my recent brief and foolish dalliance with vinyl, with a Planar 2, I bought the new London Grammar on vinyl for £16. The SQ was decidedly ropey and not a patch on 80s pressings. And not a patch on a high res download for £10, with extra tracks too. 

That's a bit like me saying during my brief and foolish dalliance with streaming with an iPhone ...............

not a patch on a vinyl pressing on my LP12.

I'm thinking, from reading this thread,  that different  people have varying opinions of how they perceive sound quality.

An example might be my Pink Triangle turntable-

To some it might sound open and detailed.

To others it might sound thin and analytical.

I know from personal experience when I change from different sources like cd, streaming and vinyl that my ears need to adjust to the different strengths  (and weaknesses) that each source will bring.


Bob the Builder posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

During my recent brief and foolish dalliance with vinyl, with a Planar 2, I bought the new London Grammar on vinyl for £16. The SQ was decidedly ropey and not a patch on 80s pressings. And not a patch on a high res download for £10, with extra tracks too. 

That's a bit like me saying during my brief and foolish dalliance with streaming with an iPhone ...............

not a patch on a vinyl pressing on my LP12.

So LP12 is to Planar 2 as 272 is to iphone? Interesting. Opens a new field in comparisons...


Hungryhalibut posted:

During my recent brief and foolish dalliance with vinyl, with a Planar 2, I bought the new London Grammar on vinyl for £16. The SQ was decidedly ropey and not a patch on 80s pressings. And not a patch on a high res download for £10, with extra tracks too. 

There are very negative feedbacks on Discogs 's release page, for press quality and  distorsion.

Someone said that Us or France press are better than GZ press.



Dalliance and not a patch on: something new learned. I can get the meaning more or less by ear (and knowing Nigel). Silly is already known to me...

My 2pence are: I have little doubt that a rega Planar 2 can't compete with fine files on a high quality streaming system; that a Planar 2 is not an LP12; that I wouldn't invest significantly on vinyl equipment; that pressings cannot be relied on a priori; that I still think that listening to a song on a good cellphone with good earplugs is a very pleasant experience, more complex if it's to be duplicated on the home system; and that I'd gladly buy a Core and a Nova (the Nova made my S-400s sound very well in our room, twice underlined), but the idea of putting ads, replying to them, not getting mad at those who write, ask for answers and pics then disappear, waiting for money transfers to show up, not getting mad at the taxes my Bank imposes pickpocketing money from me, packing, securing, shipping, waiting for the simple news that the pack(s) have arrived safely (and often not even receiving them) – no, thanks, not anymore. I'd rather go for being hung or electrocuted.

But why discuss infinitely? Why aren't so many unable to enjoy what they have without the need to make comparisons and induce doubts, temptations, uncertainty?

A good weekend to all,


Mr H,

I agree. On the other hand, while I am ready to swear in front of a bible and a judge that you very rarely compare, occasionally (but sparingly) contrast and never compartmentalise, yet you have a moderate tendency to objectivise the subjective. But it's usually transitory.

You should have a chat with Nigel, who is a fine, nuanced and quiet reasoner, ready to re-distribute importance on what in life has or hasn't, and who would prove to you that not all forum members are geeky blokes.

My very best,




A word about the title. it is related of Thackeray that,
hitting upon Vanity Fair after retiring to rest one night,
he leaped out of bed and ran seven times round the room,
shouting at the toop of his voice.  Oddly enough, I behaved
in exactly the same way when I thought of Summer Lightning.
I recognized it immediately as the ideal title for a novel.
My exuberance has been a little diminished since by the
discovery that I am not the only one who thinks highly of
it.  Already I have been informed that two novels with the
same name have been published in England, and my agent in
America cables to say that three have recently been placed on
the market in the United States.  As my story has appeared
in serial form under its present label, it is too late to
alter it now.  I can only express the modest hope that this
story will be considered worthy of inclusion in the list of
the Hundred Best Books Called Summer Lightning.

(From the preface to Summer Lightning, by its author, P.G.Wodehouse)

It is much in the same spirit that I hope that the right one, among various members sharing the same name, will recognize himself in the friendly description I had done of him, wishing him to be acknowledged among the Hundred Best Members Called Nigel.


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