OFF: What hi-fi equipment do you use to listen to Hawkwind?

Alastair Sumner alastair_sumner at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 16:57:18 EST 2005

Thanks for the explanation about stereo Doug. That was just what I was
looking for.

In this months Hi-Fi Choice magazine in the UK there is a brief one page
interview with Holger Czukay. He talks a little about Can's back catalogue
being remastered for SACD. He comments that the format worked out well
despite their initial skepticism, especially when the engineers didn't try
to 'improve' the sound. He then talks a little about how the original
recording was done:

"...It's a remastering, not a remix, because we recorded everything in
stereo, straight onto tape, and we mixed it during the recording. We used
two microphones that were facing the singer, the one on his right side was
standing by the organ box while the one on the left was standing by the
guitar amp, and the band were all playing into these two microphones.
"When we made a recording, we then had to go back and overdub it as a
group, not seperately. We were only allowed two overdubs, because otherwise
the hiss would become too predominant...".

Incidently, I bought a £30 Cambridge Audio interconnect to go from my CD
player to my amp. I was always skeptical about how much difference a cable
could actually make, thinking it would be negligible. But I have to say I
was blown away by it because the difference is massive. CDs sound much
better now.

On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 14:00:10 -0500, Doug Pearson <jasret at MINDSPRING.COM>

>On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 11:48:07 -0500, Alastair Sumner
><alastair_sumner at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>>One of the things that always intrigues me is why some music sounds great
>>>on headphones but some doesn't, often because it seems to need that space
>>>you refer to, to "breathe" somehow...
>>Here's a short article about Stereo that I found yesterday. They make a
>>distinction between multi-track recordings mixed down to two channels and
>>true stereo recordings. I wish I knew more about this from a technical
>>point of view because I've no idea what techniques are actually used in
>>modern music recording industry.
>Recording in "true stereo" is one of those things that's an interesting
>concept, in theory, but is questionable to implement as an actual process.
>Basically, what it means is that *every* part of a piece of music is
>*recorded* in stereo (i.e. with two microphones in such a way that the two
>recorded signals make up an audibly-pleasing stereo image).  In the normal
>recording process, this isn't possible because most instruments are
>using close-micing techniques.
>For instance, the normal way to record a guitar that will be mostly in the
>left channel in the final mix is to stick a microphone in front of a guitar
>amp, record the guitar part to tape, and at final mixdown, pan the guitar
>track towards the left channel.  The "true stereo" way to record this would
>be to place two microphones in a room, one close to the guitar amp (the
>channel mic), and one on the other side of the room (the right channel
>at final mixdown, the tracks wouldn't have to be panned, because the guitar
>signal is already in the left channel more than the right one.  In order
>this to be effective, the microphones have to be far away enough from the
>guitar amp to pick up the "sound" of the room (the reverberations of the
>guitar sound in the room), wheras with close-micing technique, the
>microphone *only* picks up what's coming out of the amplifier, and any
>reverberations are at too low a level to be perceptible.
>Sticking with the guitar example for the moment, modern recording
>absolutely *rely* on being able to close-mic a guitar; moving the
>in front of a guitar amp a couple inches, or tilting it a few degrees can
>*drastically* change the recorded sound (sadly, it appears that microphone
>placement is becoming a lost art as more and more "Pod[tm]" people run
>guitars straight into some digital box into a computer; I'll say right now,
>that for rock guitar, absolutely NOTHING beats the sound of a Les Paul
>through a Marshall tube amp recorded with an SM57 [inexpensive
>industry-standard dynamic microphone] onto analog tape, preferably through
>preamp with good transformers, like a Neve or API; no digital approximation
>comes close to THAT).  So "true stereo" recording of an electric guitar
>track isn't really a practical option (although adding room/distant
>microphone signals to an existing close-miced guitar track can - depending
>on the circumstance - greatly enhance a guitar sound, overcoming the main
>problem with close-miced signals: the lack of ambience/environment/"room"
>sound/reverb, which is otherwise done with some sort of artificial reverb).
>There are a few applications where recording "true stereo" tracks makes a
>lot of sense: anything through a rotary speaker (Leslie), small-to-large
>ensembles like string quartets or horn sections, or massed backing vocals
>(useful because it allows the placement of individual singers across the
>stereo spectrum).  The latter is probably why the only "true
>stereo"-recorded album that I'm aware of is the Beach Boys' 'Sunflower'.
>"The songs on this record were recorded in true stereophonic sound; they
>not 16 monophonic signals placed somewhere between right and left speakers
>blended together with echo, but rather total stereo capturing the ambience
>of the room and the sound in perspective as heard naturally by the ear.
>Although more difficult to perfect, this type of recording is far more
>satisfying to hear, as will be demonstrated by playing this album."
>>One area where I frequently hear the stereo effect is through my bog-
>>standard Nicam Sharp tv. When you are sat a certain distance and angle in
>>front of the two little loudspeakers the speakers themselves seem to
>>disappear and you can hear voices and other sounds way over to the left or
>>to the right. You can hear the whole space, not merely left channel, right
>>channel and middle. Interestingly the effect seems to be much more common
>>and pronounced on Channel 5 than it is on BBC 1 or 2. I've always wondered
>>how this works through headphones because it seems like the angle of the
>>listener in relation to the two loudspeakers is crucial.
>Stereo perception through headphones vs. stereo perception from speakers
>two very different animals.  What works for one won't necessarily work for
>the other.  For instance, the simple way to make "fake binaural" recordings
>is to delay one channel of a stereo signal by a few milliseconds (true
>"binaural" recordings [a fad in the late 70s, see Lou Reed's Arista LP's
>example] are those recorded with stereo microphones placed to simulate the
>placement of one's ears - some studios have microphones for this purpose
>that actually look like a head with mics where the ears should be).  Heard
>through headphones, this creates a perception of "space" because it sounds
>like the delayed signal is coming from farther away than the un-delayed
> However, when the two signals are blended together in the air, coming from
>speakers, they'll interfere with each other, causing frequency
>that make the music sound like certain pitches are lost, or that there's
>some sort of weird "flanging" going on; this can also interfere with
>and make the sound "mushy".  Proper stereo reproduction with speakers is
>much trickier than with headphones, since speaker angle, height, and
>listener location relative to the speakers can have a large effect on the
>listener's perception.
>Blah blah blah ... ;^)
>    -Doug
>     jasret at

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