\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment? (Read 472 times)

Offline ranjit

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 690
Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
« on: September 30, 2020, 09:08:22 AM »
I'm not necessarily referring to something fancy, just headphones/speakers meant to be neutral sounding, along with maybe a DAC and a good quality recording.

How would you compare both experiences?

Offline volcanoadam

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #1 on: October 29, 2020, 03:02:19 PM »
Of course no recording can compare to live performance if it comes to experiencing music and the unique atmosphere you can't expect from recordings.
Listening to records, however, has also plenty of advantages. The most obvious probably is the choice of music, I always can pick whatever I want and not just what is currently on. For the same reason I rarely listen to the radio. Also, I can easily rewind recorded music whenever I want,
Audience noises may add to the vibe during rock gigs, but can be really distracting during live acoustic concerts.

All in all, my preference is a bit more on the recordings side because I can experience music more, deeper, I'm able to hear more details in a great comfort (try to get comfortable in a concert hall), but I always enjoy live gigs, whatever they are, because live musicians don't play in the comfort of my home.

 
VA

Offline gustavowoltmann

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 4
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #2 on: November 04, 2020, 03:13:06 AM »
Hi, as you know speakers and headphones sound completely different, and people use them in very different ways.
When you listen to stereo speakers, you always hear both channels with your two ears. Headphones don't have that problem; the left channel is only heard by the left ear, and the right channel only by the right ear.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3567
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #3 on: November 04, 2020, 10:52:00 PM »
I'm not necessarily referring to something fancy, just headphones/speakers meant to be neutral sounding, along with maybe a DAC and a good quality recording.

How would you compare both experiences?
Nobody crinkling candy wrappers beside you.  Not positioned in a suboptimum spot for hearing the music.  No battling traffic to get there, find parking, then the same in reverse.  Those were my first thoughts.

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5737
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #4 on: November 05, 2020, 01:01:40 AM »
I think there is a place for both forms of listening.  Despite the sometimes less than optimal live listening experience, it is such a valuable experience to be part of music making as it happens.  As a listener you are able to engage with the creative process, to communicate non-verbally with the performers, to be inside the resonating chamber.

For recordings, even a modest setup will provide a very good experience.  Good headphones with a headphone amp, or a set of studio monitors, or neutral speakers.  Anything that allows you to hear what the recording engineer did, with minimal coloration. 

With recordings there is the convenience of listening in your own space.  It is not as immersive as live music, but you have more control over the environment.  You have the ability to rewind, dig deep and analyze.  If you want to hear it again, no problem. 

Nobody crinkling candy wrappers beside you.  Not positioned in a suboptimum spot for hearing the music.  No battling traffic to get there, find parking, then the same in reverse.  Those were my first thoughts.

Absolutely!  ;D
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Online j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2050
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #5 on: November 05, 2020, 04:01:58 AM »
Well, this is maybe a bit of a tangent, but I know there are many musicians, even those who are interested in jazz music, who despise the sound of the Hammond organ in that idiom.

However that may be, I consider it a good example of how recording the speaker (whether it's a Leslie speaker or a Hammond "tone cabinet") can be perceived differently IRL than in the recorded form (properly mic'ed, of course).

I've had long "arguments" with live sound technicians about how much of the live experience can be reproduced, and first captured, and particularly with the piano.

My own conclusion is that unless one is prepared to invest n amount of money into very capable speakers and drivers, it's not a question.

OTOH, I only know a small bit about live sound:  on a recording, take, the generally superb solo piano records at Maybeck Hall...I'd just guess that it sounds better reproducing the sound on my crummy, ancient Altec 15 and a generic power amp and preamp at home than sitting in the audience and listening to people unwrap their cougdrops and all that.


My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ranjit

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 690
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #6 on: November 05, 2020, 06:47:36 AM »
My own conclusion is that unless one is prepared to invest n amount of money into very capable speakers and drivers, it's not a question.
How has your experience been with higher end headphones such as the Sennheiser HD600?

Online j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2050
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #7 on: November 05, 2020, 07:58:45 PM »
How has your experience been with higher end headphones such as the Sennheiser HD600?

None, except for rarely listening through good cans belonging to someone else.  Grado SR-60s are what I've used for a long time, when I have to listen through phones.

I have a very pedestrian playback system at home, filthy vinyl records that I never clean, a no-name budget cartridge and stylus, and an only-just-OK CD transport, and amp+preamps combo.  Altec Dynaco speakers, and a Pioneer PL-10. 

My live equipment isn't anything much either:  JBL Eon 15, Mackie mixer, bunch of no-name cables, and that's it.

I do like to listen to recorded music:  usually deafiningly loud, always in the car since that's the only place I don't get the cops called on me and cited for some serious coin.  Explains why I'm half-deaf.



My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5737
Re: Listening to piano live vs with audiophile equipment?
«Reply #8 on: November 08, 2020, 04:37:27 PM »
Hi, as you know speakers and headphones sound completely different, and people use them in very different ways.
When you listen to stereo speakers, you always hear both channels with your two ears. Headphones don't have that problem; the left channel is only heard by the left ear, and the right channel only by the right ear.

CNET from 2012
https://www.cnet.com/news/headphones-vs-speakers-which-is-better/
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach