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 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 5:03 AM   
 By:   adamclark83   (Member)

When many of the remastered soundtracks are done, what do the producers believe is the best equipment to hear the final product's awesome quality? For example, the best way to hear the Superman Complete Score Box Set. A small 5 watt stereo wouldn't do.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 5:15 AM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

-

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 10:19 AM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

Well, I'm not a producer of remastered soundtracks, but I do record and mix independent films and soundtracks, plus am an official home theater design trainer for CEDIA and consult for several audio and video companies. Here is my input regarding what to invest money in vs. where you can safely save $$$ when building a decent listening system:

Worth the $$$:

Excellent speakers - bring listening material you are intimately familiar with and audition LOTS of speakers. Other than the quality of the recording itself, speaker choice is the single most important factor when determining sound quality, along with how those speakers interact with the room they are placed in.

Acoustic treatments for your room (try to avoid setting up your system in a room that's heavily reverberant with lots of hard surfaces. Hard surfaces = lots of reflections, harsh sound, poor frequency response, and poor stereo imaging. This can be mitigated by installing acoustic treatments in strategic locations).

Decent receiver / amp - make sure you have enough power to drive the speakers you choose to the volume you desire. Pretty much any name brand receiver with at least 75 wpc should do the trick.

Not worth the $$$:

Fancy cables and interconnects - for digital signals, one cable is pretty much the same as another, unless of course it is so cheap it can't even pass a signal wink. For speakers, basic 16 gauge speaker wire is fine for almost any reasonable distance, go 14 gauge if running long distances (over 25 - 30 feet).

Esoteric, high end CD or DVD / Blu-ray players - a basic, name brand CD / DVD / Blu-ray player will do the trick.

Esoteric, high end receivers / amplifiers - again, a well engineered name brand receiver or amp should do the trick.

Probably not worth the $$$:

Esoteric D/A converters, assuming your signal is coming from a computer. A decent, sub $50 sound card should do the trick, especially if you are simply passing digital signals for your receiver to do the D/A conversion.

Features I think are useful:

Auto speaker setup and calibration (on almost all receivers these days).

Hope this helps!

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 11:31 AM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

Meant to add - "optimal listening" would mean being to able to recreate as closely as possible the sound in the recording studio as the engineer mastered the CD. That would mean using the same model speakers, the same seating distance, and recreating the acoustics of the studio mastering room. Obviously that is just about impossible, but if you look at pictures of any mastering studios you will see certain brands of speaker predominate, and you will also see that they are acoustically treated to the nth degree. There are a few things we can learn from this (which ties in with the above):

Speaker selection is important (selecting a speaker model or brand known for flat response will help you along with this)

Room acoustics are important

Most people I have run across are very reticent to spend money on acoustic treatments, somewhat understandably so, since they are not the most attractive things in the world. However, it is amazing what you can do with rugs, furniture placement, wall coverings, and speaker placement. There is tons of good acoustic info on Ethan Winer's site:

http://www.ethanwiner.com/index.htm

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 11:56 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Speaker selection is important (selecting a speaker model or brand known for flat response will help you along with this)

Room acoustics are important


These are the two things that matter. Get the best speakers you can afford, and supply your listening room with carpets, racks, sofas, whatever - as long as you keep it stuffed.

Nothing else matters, hifi-wise.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   Mr. Shark   (Member)

Any suggestions for speakers?

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 3:42 PM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

Any suggestions for speakers?

Speakers are a personal call, so it pays to listen to many different brands with various different kinds of listening material. Beware a/b'ing speakers where one is clearly louder than the other. The louder speaker will almost always sound "better." Its important to match volume levels in order to evaluate speakers critically.

That said, here are some reputable brands:

JBL
Paradigm
Boston Acoustics
Mackie (these are extremely popular studio monitors)
GoldenEar
Definitive Technology
Energy

There are plenty of other well regarded speakers, so please don't take my list as anything definitive. Listen and trust your own ears.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 3:55 PM   
 By:   deglialberi   (Member)

Any suggestions for speakers?

I'm a big fan of Magnepan speakers for home listening. I use a surround sound array of 4 Magnepan 1.7s powered through a Parasound Halo A51 amp and a Definitive Technologies 500 watt sub. Magnepan speakers are more like a musical instrument rather than a piece of audio gear. They have won Audio Product of the Year time and time again and bring incredible results for those of us not willing to spend a king's fortune. The result is stunning reproduction - the way a composer would want to hear the music outside of the studio itself. However, the needs of the recording studio are different than those of the consumer. Engineers require hearing minute detail and flaws (such as distortion) in close proximity and there are certain speakers that are made just for this purpose. Genelec speakers from Finland are popular in many studios as they are very good at communicating the very inner details of less-than-perfect sound. Of course, there are other studio monitors such as B & W's that are very popular and provide outstanding results. Every recording engineer has a preference but for home listening I can't recommend Magnepan highly enough.

-Ned

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 11:17 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)


Room acoustics are important


Not when you're listening on headphones. They can save you a fortune on carpets and drapes. smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 2:00 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

And ruin your health in the process.

Also, modern recordings are optimized for speakers, not headphones!

As for recommendations, everything depends on the BUDGET.

You should always look into models that are just being replaced by "new" ones. Huge savings there!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 3:34 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Also, modern recordings are optimized for speakers, not headphones!

Really? Is that just a passing observation or do you have proof? I know the headphones I use, the Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro, are widely used by recording engineers around the world. If recordings are optimised for speakers only, I wonder what in fact they use these headphones for.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 3:57 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Read the books on audio engineering, they will tell you that microphone placing and mastering are optimized for speakers. There is a single recording device, called the Neumann KU 100, which is custom-built for headphone-friendly recording (the "ears" are the mics):



But no mainstream engineers use it. All the other microphone placements, XY, AB, Decca Tree etc are geared towards stereo speaker playback, or else there are devices for 5+1 recording/playback.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 4:23 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

These are the two things that matter. Get the best speakers you can afford, and supply your listening room with carpets, racks, sofas, whatever - as long as you keep it stuffed.

That's me screwed then. I have no carpet in my house, it's all hardwood and tiled flooring.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 10:12 AM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

These are the two things that matter. Get the best speakers you can afford, and supply your listening room with carpets, racks, sofas, whatever - as long as you keep it stuffed.

That's me screwed then. I have no carpet in my house, it's all hardwood and tiled flooring.


Hard floors are not the real problem. In fact, many recording studios have concrete or hardwood flooring.

The main issue is the first reflection point, where the sound bounces off the side walls, ceiling or floor at a certain position and then negatively colors the sound. You can place a rug on the floor at this point to help with this issue, and hang acoustic treatments at the side walls and ceiling. There are fantastic articles on how to set up a basic room on the RealTraps site, with accompanying illustrations. The first link has to do with first reflection points only, the second with the rest of the room:

http://www.realtraps.com/rfz.htm

http://www.realtraps.com/art_room-setup.htm

The nice thing about Ethan Winer, who started RealTraps, is that he also provides information on how to build your own acoustic treatments rather than just trying to get you to buy his product.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 10:25 AM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

Also, modern recordings are optimized for speakers, not headphones!

Really? Is that just a passing observation or do you have proof? I know the headphones I use, the Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro, are widely used by recording engineers around the world. If recordings are optimised for speakers only, I wonder what in fact they use these headphones for.


I think there is a middle ground here. "OnlyGoodMusic" is correct in that most modern recordings are optimized for speakers in that the final mixes are almost always checked and mastered on speakers primarily. Headphones in a mix room are usually used to isolate other sounds (if you want to monitor the vocalist only, for example), or to "check" a mix. They are also used by musicians to get specific feeds for submixes, etc, and to eliminate feedback that would occur if the sound source where played back on a speaker placed in the same room as the microphone. But final mixes are rarely - if ever - created with headphones unless creating a mix specifically FOR headphone playback.

That said, a good set of headphones should translate a mix very well, but with certain limitations. Until the advent of certain recent headphone processing software (such as DTS' Headphone:X), it was impossible to get a convincing stereo or surround spread using headphones as your listening source. Any information mixed to the center would sound like it was coming from "inside your head," which is not what live music sounds like. However, it is a cool effect and some people really like it. To each their own.

I heard Headphone:X demo'd at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) earlier this year and was extremely impressed. There is a thread on it here, and guess what - the first release mixed in Headphone:X is Hans Zimmer's score for Man Of Steel:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1475529/dts-headphone-x-makes-debut-with-man-of-steel-score

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 11:38 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

True, but the thing is: If you own a truly fine set of speakers (floor standing or compact, depending on the size of the room), and if you've optimized the room acoustics as has been suggested above, THEN you'll get a soundstage right in front of you, like the one you'd have at a live concert, with the music actually floating in the room, independent of the equipment. That's when you reach total hifi bliss.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 11:53 AM   
 By:   BROMHEAD1   (Member)

I recently bought a new hifi specially to get the best out of my scores.

CD Player Audiolab cd 8200 £800
Arcam FMJ 19 Amp £650
KEF 50 stand mount speakers £800 plus £200 for stands
Atlas speaker cable. £100 for 2x2 meter lengths

After running it in for 2 months it sounds incredible.The speakers are studio monitor speakers that producers use.
I was listening to Uncommon Valor last night and its never sounded so good.

Just a note about the speakers they are very small...and sound fantastic in a small room which is why studios use them.Just google the reviews.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 12:01 PM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

I too own KEF speakers (Reference 203), like most British hifi gear, they'll agree with a lot of people. There may be snappier or boomier hifi, but the details are there and so is the soundstage.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 12:45 PM   
 By:   filmo   (Member)

i have audio research pre-, power amp and cd player along with sidewinder interconnect, which goes into my tranaparent cable and then into my focal jmlab speakers. all in all, an excellent sound system.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   The Projectionist   (Member)

The best thing you can have is a well mastered source. If the mix is too loud from dynamic compression, then no matter how sophisticated your equipment is, the music will be hard to enjoy.

Currently I'm listening to an album by Jeremy Pelt called Identity, through a pair of Beyerdynamic T90 headphones, connected to a Teac UD-H01 DAC which is connected to a computer holding my music collection in flac and alac. And I'm feeling pretty good!

 
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