Amplifying the Sound. Yes/No?
Sat, 29 Jun 1996 11:51:30 -0400

Dear John,
     I agree that the acoustic world should it says... acoustic. But
the situation  he's dealing with is an extreme example of an acoustic
'dead-zone'. Certainly my first response was simply to focus the existing
sound more efficiently, the choir-shell idea is certainly the best for this
purpose.(IMHO). I agree with you entirely!

   But we do have to acknowledge that there are times for sound
amplification, and indeed times when it is absolutely essential to support
the sound and allow the audience to get full benefit from the artist's
efforts. We did not mike the Baldwin in the reflective cavern, we simply
focused the sound a bit. We did mike the Yamaha, but there WAS no piano-sound
without some (electronic) help. I let Avery know the two extremes I had dealt
with, and left it to him to decide on the applicability to his own needs. (He
has privately posted me that the sound-shell idea may fly. He was also
interested in the sound-systems because the pianos are located in a new venue
each year... he never knows WHAT he may need to do, until they decide where
to hold their shindig. Could be almost any kind of acoustic dilemma or...
possibly a dream?).

     I certainly understand and agree with your expressed opinion. But will
admit that I've recieved good results in otherwise disappointing situations
with a little help from my (sound-techie) friends. It's a wide world, isn't

Jeffrey T. Hickey (Radical Piano-forte Technophile)

ps- People truly do not realize how much is lost in "Digital-Sound" systems.
Those highly touted CDs, for instance, lose a HUGE amount of flavour and
color of tone to the whole concept! All these systems are relying on a
"sampling" of the music in tiny surgucal slices; They tend to kick out as
"noise" much of the true character of the music... be it acoustic, vocal,
orchestral, or the latest grunge band from Seattle with a new release.
     We have a gentleman out here who patented a new speaker-wire with
tremendous increases in it's ability to allow signal to flow without flaw or
deformation. What does he listen to in his custom sound room? Yup... those
old vinyl discs. He cannot tolerate the silky smooth, overly purified,
disgustingly 'clean' sounds that digitizing produces.
     I agree with him, too! Try the experiment at home; Find an old record
that you have a matching (! improved! sound-enhanced!) CD for. Crank
them up and compare 'em. The CD will sound like a poor tape with too much
DOLBY in comparison... truly listen to the backround of the record. Here all
those little grunts and puffs from the players? Hear those shifting chairs
and creaking floorboards? The digital system will read these as random
"spikes" and assume them to be noise! It's amazing how much is lost in the
translation. There are variations in the extremes this goes to, of course...
but there IS much to be said for true acoustic performance (...and digitizing
ain't got it!) IMHO


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