For those of us that refer to some systems as “too analytical” …

Would live performances also fall into that category?

Way too hard a question, I think. Too many factors come into play. Acoustic? Amplified? Seating position relative to performance? Even, who is performing? I’ve been, for example, to unamplified HIP classical concerts that sounded like robots were playing - it was an “analytical” performance, but sonically sounded like nice acoustic instruments. So to me there’s more than one way to define the analytical cat. :smiley:

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Some modern concert halls have variable acoustics that can be tuned to the music being performed. I’ve mentioned in these forums before several concerts at Harpa in Iceland, one of the world’s great modern halls, which with the right music (Kalevi Aho - “Minea”) is scarily analytical. It takes a bit of adjustment.

It won this European award for best architecture.

An earlier winner on the list is the Oslo Opera House. I’ve been to some performances there as well, and the remarkable thing about that venue is that they can do a full orchestral concert in the afternoon and then stage an opera two hours later. Very few venues can do both, because the acoustics are so different. For orchestral it has a much more mellow sound, but still a great venue and absolutely stunning.

The problem can be in venues if low frequencies mask higher frequencies and you get mush. You can get the same with your stereo is the speakers are not set up properly.

The single most important factor is reverberation time, it makes or breaks a venue for classical music, 1.9 seconds is I think the ideal time.

I tend to think of analytical as dry, lacking in warmth. Few live shows I have seen sound like that. Harshly loud, no lack of bottom end. I actually prefer my home sound to any but the most unusual live shows. I have not seen an orchestra show in maybe 58 years so I can’t speak on that. I tend to go to rock, jazz, blues, alternative and “Other music” live shows.

In my town there are excellent rooms. But most of the shows I see are at First Avenue. There the endless crowd chatter drives me away. Once in a while the performance is such that all thoughts of bowling trophies and sportsball leave the collective consciousness and we all stay quiet. For me those are the only shows that matter.

Analytical is something that doesn’t interest me. Detail, sure. To put it in perspective, the DSD MK1 was the opposite of analytical. It was warm and soothing.


The worst live sound I heard was Stevie Wonder in a stadium hall. It was sterile, cold. Analytical is nothing I connect with live music.

What these :arrow_up: two guys said. Analytical and detail are not the same thing.

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In Chicago we have a House of Blues. When I used to go, a significant portion of the audience hung out at the bar and yakked and yakked. Drove me nuts.

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If you want reasonably quiet with a listening oriented audience and have a preference for jazz in Chicago I’d suggest Constellation, Elastic Arts, and Hungry Brain. Each run by some fine jazz enthusiasts. On the right night The Green Mill can be quiet with respectful audiences, but unfortunately not consistently. Then there’s John Corbett’s gallery, and Fulton Street Art Collective.

As far as Chicago Blues, rowdiness is part of the demeanor and decorum IME. I had been a long time fan of B.L.U.E.S. which sadly is no more.

Fitzgeralds in Berwyn is still going which can be rowdy or quiet, more of a crap shoot.

I never liked comparing systems to live. I know it should be the big test, but live concerts are either:

  • Good Sound, or
  • Bad Sound

I never thought the two, live and home, are comparable.

Bruce in Philly


I agree in general, but it depends on the space, the scale of the performance and the players. I have recently heard acoustic jazz quartets in a salon style small space. My impression was the dynamics, sense of scale, tonality and coherence were special, very special. The space, Chicago’s ProMusica, offered by Ken Christianson. I should add, Ken is a recording engineer, instructor, and operates a brick & mortar HiFi store. A stand up guy.