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Audiophiles, hifi enthusiasts, engineers

Ghost of the dead horse

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Do you think there are two camps? Engineers and the artists? I feel that there are.

I place myself soundly at the engineer camp. I've bought speakers because of the SPL, SNR, THD and the frequency response. If you don't get any of that you haven't probably paid attention to the sound engineers.

So, where do you camp and why?
 

Ghost of the dead horse

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For such a ridiculously unpopular thread - which is usual for me - may I offer another question?

If you do test audio equipment, which are the tracks you run through in your audio tests?
 

Doctor Cringelord

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I thought I’d read that a lot of audiophiles like to test equipment with Dark Side of the Moon.

I’m not in the engineer or audiophile camp. While I can appreciate better headphones or speakers over shittier ones, I’m not one these people who can listen to various stereo setups and pick out every little nuance and flaw

Though as a self producing musician, I have been trying to train myself to think and listen more like a sound engineer so I can mix my recordings to sound better on a variety of speakers and headphones. I don’t have the budget to pay a professional engineer to mix my stuff
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I thought I’d read that a lot of audiophiles like to test equipment with Dark Side of the Moon.

That makes sense. Heavy use of stereo panning type effects and a lot of tones of all different frequencies.

I’m not in the engineer or audiophile camp. While I can appreciate better headphones or speakers over shittier ones, I’m not one these people who can listen to various stereo setups and pick out every little nuance and flaw

I can get OCD about these settings sometimes. I wish I knew how to find the right one. I suppose I need to get into the state of consciousness where I'm very keyed into the nuances of sound.
 

Ghost of the dead horse

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I'm not a professional with any kinds of music production, but I've sometimes tried to do the slightest bit of professionalism with some parts in audio production. I like to test equipment with tracks from Trent Reznor/ Atticus Ross, like In Motion, and rest of the soundtrack from The social Network. Also, Phil Collins, in the Air tonight.
 

Skimt

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May 24, 2020
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I consider myself an artistic engineer in the strides I take, the time sacrificed and sometimes health, to make the best user experience, but when I hear the term artist by itself these days I immediately think of lunatics who do not sacrifice their time for the art, but who sacrifice everyone else's time to promote a message.

I know nothing of audio equipment. Sounds come out of my headphones. That's good. It would be bad if it didn't.
 

Doctor Cringelord

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An update. I have been learning to master my own music. The process of mixing and mastering raw music tracks will give just about anyone "engineer's ears". I notice a lot of subtleties in recorded popular music now, not just in composition and placement of instruments, for which I have always had a good ear, but now moreso in the various levels and overall dynamics.

I'm no expert, just a measly amateur, but I do feel like I hear music differently since beginning to train myself in the dark art of sonic alchemy.

So I'm definitely more of an engineer than an audiophile, however, I find that trying to think like an audiophile (reading threads at a site like SteveHoffmanForums helps get in their heads) assists me to me learn what audiophiles are looking for and evaluating when they compare various models of speakers or different pressings/masters of the same album. As an engineer and producer, I try to mix and master my music to sound as good as possible on as many types of speakers as possible--from shitty little phone speakers up to expensive living room set-ups. Audiophiles, beyond being able to tell you the pros of a particular type or brand of speaker, tend to be good judges of what are bad and good masterings in releases of popular music. Their advice and wisdom is helpful. Most people are audiophiles but just don't realize it anyway. If you hear a poorly mastered or mixed song, you're probably less likely to enjoy it, and you may think you hate the song, but in many cases that has less to do with the instruments, chord progressions, etc than it does with the overall levels being mixed poorly or too loud--audiophiles just have the terminology and knowledge to adequately label and describe WHY some music sounds shitty.
 
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Coriolis

Odd man out
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An update. I have been learning to master my own music. The process of mixing and mastering raw music tracks will give just about anyone "engineer's ears". I notice a lot of subtleties in recorded popular music now, not just in composition and placement of instruments, for which I have always had a good ear, but now moreso in the various levels and overall dynamics.

I'm no expert, just a measly amateur, but I do feel like I hear music differently since beginning to train myself in the dark art of sonic alchemy.
How are you learning this? Trial and error hands-on with equipment, or have you found any decent online guides or tutorials?
 

Doctor Cringelord

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How are you learning this? Trial and error hands-on with equipment, or have you found any decent online guides or tutorials?
A little bit of both. I look at various subreddits and other websites/articles for music producers for tips on mixing techniques and effects, and sometimes youtube tutorials on mixing and/or mastering can be helpful. But I like to find my own method and flow, so I don't like to follow guides and tutorials too closely. I like the hands-on experience of trial and error--I learn better by researching something and trying to do it myself than I do by having someone show me exactly how to do it their way--I adopt others' techniques I find useful and reject those I do not (and come up with my own). Self-training is frustrating when you fail, but as you continue, you fail less and it feels good to slowly start to master things and be able to do it with more confidence.

The above is how I approach learning any skill or subject

BUT

the only time I really feel complete, purposeful and confident in myself is when I am sitting at my laptop recording or mixing my music. I'm close to being done with a full length album. That sort of confidence and willingness to trudge through every setback I find difficult to muster for most other tasks or activities.

I know my calling, but unfortunately it's regarded by most as a hobby and I make zero money from it (yet). But I consider myself primarily a music producer and composer, one who happens to also work a decent paying side-gig in logistics and procurement. But I'd leave it all to be a full time musician and producer in a heartbeat.
 

Coriolis

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A little bit of both. I look at various subreddits and other websites/articles for music producers for tips on mixing techniques and effects, and sometimes youtube tutorials on mixing and/or mastering can be helpful. But I like to find my own method and flow, so I don't like to follow guides and tutorials too closely. I like the hands-on experience of trial and error--I learn better by researching something and trying to do it myself than I do by having someone show me exactly how to do it their way--I adopt others' techniques I find useful and reject those I do not (and come up with my own). Self-training is frustrating when you fail, but as you continue, you fail less and it feels good to slowly start to master things and be able to do it with more confidence.

The above is how I approach learning any skill or subject

BUT

the only time I really feel complete, purposeful and confident in myself is when I am sitting at my laptop recording or mixing my music. I'm close to being done with a full length album. That sort of confidence and willingness to trudge through every setback I find difficult to muster for most other tasks or activities.

I know my calling, but unfortunately it's regarded by most as a hobby and I make zero money from it (yet). But I consider myself primarily a music producer and composer, one who happens to also work a decent paying side-gig in logistics and procurement. But I'd leave it all to be a full time musician and producer in a heartbeat.
It's great that at least you understand what your real dream or ambition is. Many people never get that far. I am a musician, too, but never got into the mixing/mastering side, just some minor editing on occasion. What kind of equipiment do you have?
 

Doctor Cringelord

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It's great that at least you understand what your real dream or ambition is. Many people never get that far. I am a musician, too, but never got into the mixing/mastering side, just some minor editing on occasion. What kind of equipiment do you have?
-I have a 2012 macbook pro but it's still proving useful and reliable for what I need.

-I use the DAW (digital audio workstation) software Logic Pro X on that computer. Once you start to overcome the learning curves, it's a powerful, intuitive program. I use it for recording, mixing, and am in the process of learning to master with it.

-I have a set of studio monitor headphones (I can't remember the brand, but they're about low to mid range as far as pricing is concerned, but get the job done). Monitor AKA studio headphones and speakers are designed to provide a flat sound without any added effects or sweetening, whereas most commercially available headphones are designed to accentuate the music and don't provide accurate audio for the producer (I once tried to mix a track using my Bose headphones and while it sounded phenomenal played back on the Bose, it sounded like shit on other speakers. I went back and mixed it with my monitor headphones and got it sounding good in my car, on my Bose headphones, and decent on a small phone speaker).

-I own a Korg midi controller keyboard (37 keys) and an Akai Mini MPK II. The Korg is preferred for composing and playing synth parts. I usually design beats and percussion with the Akai because it has a drum pad on it. All of the "instruments" in the music I'm currently working on are synth "voices" played with either of these keyboards. The Akai is also good for working with samples but I don't work with any samples currently--too much headache when you're working with others' sounds and run the risk of being sued.

-I have some guitars but haven't been using them much lately. I am actually out of practice as a performing musician, but most of what I currently do involves playing on keyboards, then rearranging or refining the individual instruments and parts in the DAW -- every "instrument" is recorded in its own track, the same as multitrack recording in most music production, except I'm working with audio generated as MIDI rather than sounds recorded from "live" instruments. But I would like to start incorporating more live instruments like guitar, etc into my recordings in the future.

Not sure if I forgot something but that covers the basics in my home studio. It's very lite at the moment and nowhere near as nice as some of the home studios I see in youtube videos, but it serves my needs.
 

skin

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Aug 4, 2008
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I enjoy this field a lot because it is an as-of-yet unsolved problem. It requires a good blend of subjective decision making and objective science, and is inherently biased.
Very NF-friendly in that sense. I'm slightly more in the engineering camp, but i'm ultimately interested in the end result on an aesthetic level, not the SINAD data or whatever.
 
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