You’re right. I’ve never been more into Mahler than now with my recent dive into headphones!
Classical music can be challenging. Big amps with appropriate speakers can put out volume that can be uniquely satisfying. I have found(very recently) that headphone listening can really make us hear the balances of an orchestral performance. Mahler is especially challenging because he can go from huge explosions of sound and then immediately go to chamber-like sounds.
Try this with speakers and large orchestral recordings such as Mahler or Prokofiev:
Place the speakers about 4 or 5 ft apart then sit exactly 4 or 5 feet in front of them dead center. Adjust the volume appropriate for this near field listening. You need to have your ears at the same height as the tweeters. You will hear a nice wide soundstage and a listening experience similar to headphones and at a much lower volume than you normal use to fill the room at greater listening distances. And in most cases if your speakers are away from the back wall enough you will here wonderful soundstage depth as well and your volume will be low enough so that any decent amp will give you a good result.
However I still prefer headphones for these large works and opera.
When I was 11(1971) my older brother brought home a pair of Sennheisers, the model that had a 2 orange foam on ear design. I had just discovered The Beatles White Album and we owned a large furniture console. Needless to say it sounded awful, but when I plugged in the Sennheisers, something amazing happened; They sounded wonderful in comparison. Ever since then headphones found a place in my heart.
God I had a pair of those in the '80s. Although I think there was more than one pair that shared those pads. Wish I could remember the model. Either way they were a revelation in comparison to my cheap Sony Walkman cans.
As a small child my grandmother had something like this around this house…
And something like this too…
It entertained me well enough at age 4.
I know the mow the lawn issue. IEMs help, noise canceling helps if it’s not too hot. Buying a Fiskars push mower helped even more, but was a lot of exercise. Now I mow with noise canceling or IEMs and a Cobalt 80 volt max electric mower.
I do like the sound engineering of the Boulez/ Mahler recordings. Some people have complained about the musical interpretation. I just listened Boulez’ recording of Mahler Lieder. I thought it was great.
LOL… i don’t use headphones/listening to music while doing yard work. I am seriously concerned that the music will take away my attention and I may end up in the hospital with a severed finger,.
If you are of the Bernstein school of Mahler or others of the last century and like your Mahler overtly emotional then Boulez may seem tame. For me I got tired of the histrionics and find Boulez refreshing and great for repeat listening.
I’ll give a listen for sure. I never thought I would listen to so many variations of the same pieces.
Do You mean the Sennheiser 414
(photo credit to CNET.COM)
Had the originals and have a pair with black plastic release in the 90’s?
@Lotek Oh, wow. I think mine must have been the '90 model because they were black. Although I swear I owned a pair by '85 or so. Thanks for posting this!
I have fond memories of my old tape walkmans and minidisk players, but one thing that first blew me away and was the ‘wow’ moment when it came to audio… spending far too much money was the Sony NW-S705F I loved this little olayer with built in noise cancelation, superb phones (which annoyingly you cant use on any other device due to the notch on the plug) and the sound wuality was insane with rediculous bass.
I picked one up again recently, but annoyingly you cant add tracks to it from a mac so it jusy sits here with fond memories.
Yes you are correct. I happen to love the fullness of details in some dsd files. And no ya can’t really put your finger on the reasons why but it’s there and with the right DAC and amp it’s fulfilling. However DSD on my normal stereo isn’t worth it overall.
There is some claim that DSD comes close to analog sound without the harshness of Digital Sound. The search continues.
I do find
that DSD stereo is a bit better than standard RBCD/best recorded sound. It just feels like the speakers “disappear.” Yes,the difference between well recorded stereo RBCD and DSD Stereo is “slight” but I feel that it is there. The quantum question about DSD(and Blu-Ray Audio) is the Multi-Channel option. IMHO,multi-channel,well engineered is better than standard stereo. Many home A/V systems are already driven by multi-channel for video purposes(action films etc) but most people and recording artists are completely unaware of the possible advantages to multi-channel recordings.
Most respectfully,I feel that the supposed Histrionics of Mahler by Bernstein are overblown. There are some interesting videos on YouTube about Bernstein recording his second cycle of Mahler symphonies. I think that the worst mistake is to take out all the emotionality of a Mahler Symphony. Can I give you an example. Yes. There has been the start of a total Mahler Symphony Cycle with Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra. The sound engineering is spectacular. However,the interpretation is soooo objective and devoid of emotion that I feel that it is unlistenable. It is metronomic and no more although the sound engineering can be called state of the art.
LOL… I’ve gotten three responses from BurgerPlace Audio but I don’t know where to put my response. First of all,my first major exposure to music was AM radio(*USA) and it was DISCO. I next experienced JAZZ…Ella,Sinatra etc but with a special focus on Astaire as a dancer. Then I tried to listen to Classical. Initial hearing were unsuccessful. One day I was driving and listened to my local classical station(WQXR-NYC) an they played Rossini’s Sonata for Strings by Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic. Something clicked. So I began the search.
Have you ever heard of or listened to this album as intended (4 CDs and 4 systems)?
I’m curious but haven’t attempted it myself. Note that two of the Flaming Lips follow-up albums were extremely well received in some circles.