Ron Pellegrino's Quest for Audio Excellence Audio Report 1
Sunday, April 21, 1996
Acoustic Jazz Piano
Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley
Standard university concert environment. 9 foot Steinway grand.
Jazz pianist with a wildly inventive musical mind and a beyond-belief
The Key Principles:
The key psychoacoustic principle at play today is that the human ear/mind is highly adaptable to
the low end of the dynamic range, that is, soft sounds. Roberts
opened the concert with extremely soft (my wife maintains tentative)
playing. He was beginning an afternoon of thinking musically out
loud (real-time composing), but initially thinking out loud very
softly. The soft opening encouraged the audience ear/mind to adjust
and extend downward the range of dynamic sensitivity. The net
effect was to increase the overall musical dynamic range and set
the stage for increased sensitivity to musical nuance.
One key practical principle is to avoid electronic sound reinforcement if at all possible.
If it can't be avoided, use the lowest amplification level possible
and let that level be set by a musician who knows the instrument,
the music and the performer. Insist that a knowledgeable musician
instructs the audio engineer in the appropriate sound levels and
equalization settings. All electronic sound reinforcement systems
inherently color - read, distort- the acoustic energy (sound)
that they process and reinforce. Even the best audio engineer
with the best audio equipment must live with that inherent deficit
- distortion. Audio blurring or loss of definition, a radical
reduction in the musical dynamic range, overdriven physical mechanisms
of the ear, and overt audio assault are common audience experiences
in music treated with electronic sound reinforcement. Insist that
musicians decide on appropriate sound reinforcement levels. Don't
leave that decision to audio engineers; the vast majority of them
are hearing impaired, especially in the 2-5 kHz range, the range
of greatest human sensitivity.
Booking information and comments.
©1996-2004 Ron Pellegrino and Electronic Arts Productions. All rights reserved.