I’ve been told that I’m opinionated, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m open minded, too — but only after a fair amount of scientific skepticism. When it comes to audio reproduction, my first opinion is this:
It’s my job to reproduce as honestly / accurately / faithfully as possible that — and only that — which is on the original recording.
This may sound obvious, but it comes with a few implications that are probably worth mentioning.
- On Musica Pristina equipment, bad recordings will sound bad.
- There is no “Musica Pristina sound”.
- Our equipment is rather minimalistic when it comes to providing you with tweaking capabilities.
Let’s take quick deep dive on each of these.
There are tons of bad recordings. In fact, I’m pretty sure most recordings I’ve ever heard fall in this category. Compression / loudness is a huge culprit. Bad mic’ing / miking. Poor quality analog recording equipment. An overzealous recording engineer. The list goes on and on. In our efforts to achieve fidelity, we’re going to uncover every single blemish on that recording which lies in wait to punish your ears. Consider yourself warned.
Good recordings will sound extremely good, and excellent recordings, well, sublime.
That Musica Pristina Sound
It’s not a compliment to say that a recording has that “Radio Shack Keyboard Sound.” Nor should it be one for any manufacturer to have a “sound”, not in the playback chain, at least.
On the front end, having a Hammond organ sound, or a Stradivarius violin sound, or a Moog synth sound — that works. And for an artist to have a sound, that also works. Both are about creative expression.
But the audio playback chain isn’t — or at least, shouldn’t be, in my opinion. Again, fidelity is about being faithful to the sound that’s there, not creating one of your own.
This means that a "Musica Pristina sound” does not exist. (It’s just the recording’s sound, faithfully reproduced.)
It would be so easy, and fun, to do. As a software guy, it might be a blast to create plugins that let the listener shape the digital signal. Or tweak other aspects of the playback chain. (Remember 32 band EQ's?) But if anyone out there wants to be a recording artist, there are already tools for that. You can grab a digital audio track, import it into your favorite WAV editing tool, and go to town. Reverb, chorus, flange, distortion, EQ and compress to your heart’s content.
Then, when you’re done, export a WAV file and play it on your A Cappella or Virtuoso.
But while you’re listening, none of those tweaks are available.
If any of this makes me sound opinionated, I’ll accept the compliment.