Classical Music Discussion

I second that list (only seen the first three live), and I’d add Marriage Of Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutte too.

I’d also add Magic Flute if there was a version in Italian, as I’m just not a fan of opera in any other language, which is a shortcoming of my taste obviously.

This is where I pop in to recommend “Nixon in China” and “Einstein on the Beach”.

You might actually want to try Verdi, his requiem is one of my favorite indulgences.

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@FLTWS, do you recommend just diving straight into Beethoven’s late string quartets or is there a path I should follow?

Knowing they’re such an important work, and being a chamber music noob, I have to admit I’m a little afraid of diving straight in, which is why I thought I’d dip my toe in the water with his piano and string trios, and then maybe start with his early quartets and work my way through them all. Or should I be brave?

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Beethovens string quartets matured much like his symphonies did. If you’re a fan of the 8th and 9th, go for the late quartets. (127, 130, 131, 132, 135)

They are, to me, the height of Beethovens ability on display.


Ditto! I would not hesitate to start with the “Late” ones.

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Here’s the context for my slow & steady approach…

Mozart’s piano concertos, symphonies and operas have been the foundation of my classical listening since the late 80s. Yes, I own other composers’ works, but given that my music listening has been 90% non-classical until a few years ago, I’ve tended to fall back on Mozart for the majority of that 10%. I’ve also tended to listen primarily to orchestral music, not chamber. Now that I’ve written that, it’s interesting to realize that my non-classical listening has been very adventurous and my classical listening has been the opposite. Go figure.

So my thinking is that I can go from late Mozart to early Beethoven as an easy transition and then hike from there, instead of helicoptering straight into the late quartets, which may result in me disliking them.

So what do you think: take a nice scenic ramble through some Beethoven countryside, or get dropped at the summit?


Well. Here’s the thing Paisley;

There is no wrong way to enjoy music.*

If you want to watch Beethoven develop, grow as a composer and listen to western music take shape in front of you over his career, that could be a wonderous journey.

If you want to drop straight to the uncut late Beethoven peak, that could be a fantastic choice.

We are talking about Beethoven. This isn’t like a garage band out of Poughkeepsie that really only figured their stuff out in brief moments of brilliance. This is Beethoven. You’ll be fine however you want to go about it.

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I’m a dedicated lowbrow when it comes to Opera. Anything by Gilbert and Sullivan is okay by me. I’ll even watch “A Night at the Opera” again if it comes on TV.

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“A Night at the Opera” is one of my favorite Marx Brothers comedy’s. When I first saw at the closing scene at the opera and the orchestra starts playing the Prelude to “[Il Trovatore” and then Harpo breaks out with a trombone solo playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” I choked I was laughing so hard. I finally bought it on blu-ray I enjoyed it so much over the years on TV.

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ok but you’re not wrong… except I’d say music for 18 musicians

the symphonies in order with some chamber stuff dropped in between won’t hurt. Plus, there’s something nice hearing the chronological development. A little beethoven bio on wikipedia (or a well written bio!) is a nice accompaniment. He developed the form and the 9 symphony rule, and you can really hear the connections between his life events/intentions and the development of the themes and pieces. A lot of later music will make more sense because later composers learned about beethoven in that way - chronologically.

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I am wondering if anyone has any tips for dealing with left-right balance issues for classical music and headphones. I have the SR1a’s, and while I don’t hear much forward projection to them (that is, I don’t hear the music coming from in front of me, but rather somewhere in the vicinity of where my brain is supposed to be) I do hear a lot of left-right spacialization. While this is great in giving each instrument its space, I find that it, in combo with the lack of forward project, also becomes an annoyance in orchestral recordings. These recordings tend to have an emphasis on the left channel, since often both violin sections are there as well as soloists. While this isn’t a problem in a concert hall or with speakers, where you do get front projection, and where the sound’s lateral location is relatively minor compared to the distance I am sitting from the stage, with the SR1as it really does sound often that all or most of the sound is from the left. After a period of listening, this unbalance starts to bother me.

Does anyone have similar reactions or tips for dealing with it?

I do not have that problem. I did a post here and at Head-Fi, probably in the RAAL thread, can’t find them now, about positioning and things to consider.

If the right channel sounds too loud move that vertical cushion only forward and back on that ear to see if you can focus a center image - I like a test tone to do that. Then try it with the other side keeping the other cushion in place. Perfectly symmetrical heads don’t happen, the ear canals on both sides of your head can be in different positions. Are yours ears equally flared out (or In)? Get the wings parallel to each ear which usually means two different amounts of flare on the wings The position that feels most likely right may not be positioning the ribbons to hit each ear equally.

And the obvious, make sure the 3.5MM plugs are fully inserted. And switch cable sides between whatever boxes you have in your chain to see if the balance changes. The SR1a is capable of revealing problems in your chain you may not notice with other phones.

You could also try swapping the ribbon elements also.

If it doesn’t happen with other HP’s it’s probably not your hearing itself.

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Found it.

The SR1a and Fine Tuning Channel Balance; something to consider:

Imaging or a 3 dimensional sound stage/field in front of you? With speakers (or live) you have L-R and R-L information going to each ear in addition to the L and R information. Without that, sound stage and imaging will be affected. While the SR1a’s open wing design allows for a minimal amount of information to cross over it’s just not enough as occurs live and with speakers so the sound field in front of your eyes will still be different or possibly mostly inside the head. Angling the wings out more may help.

If you were to draw a straight line through your head from center of chin to top of skull the two halves would not be equal in appearance, shape or dimensions. In particular the eyes and ears would be at slightly different heights and distance from the center line of the nose. Ears are generally not the same size in the vertical and horizontal and in height of the ear canals which could be at slightly different positions on each side of the skull. Additionally the shape of the ear canals and how they run in may not be identical. And to make things worse it’s unlikely both ears will respond identically to a frequency test by an audiologist.

With a dynamic driver or planar magnetic (or Electrostat) I position the cups so my ears feel equally installed inside each cup with the ear pad around the perimeter of the ear. These drivers generate sound over the size of the driver / diaphragm and fill that ear cup.

Now take the SR1a, you don’t have that much physical feedback as the points of contact are the 2 narrow vertical pads on either side of your head roughly in the upper jaw area and the ribbon is a narrow vertical line source.

Place the phones on in the normal positions you use that feels right. Play, say, a 1KHZ test tone, white or pink noise that’s in phase and recorded equally loud in both channels. (A centered vocal soloist would work as well, provided he was recorded on center - that’s why I like some pink or white noise). Hold the right wing in place and move the left wing in very slow steps fore and aft. Do you find a spot where it really locks that test tone in the center of your head which differs from your usual placement. Now repeat the same test holding the left wing firm and moving the right wing. This is the ultimate balance control. The splay of one’s ears and degree of open or closed wings could have an effect as well. If each wing is parallel to each ear that should work well enough.

That’s been my experience with channel balance and the SR1a. My dynamic and planar magnetic drivers don’t really have enough “comfortable” space inside the ear cup to make a lot of placement changes with my ears but because they do seal around the ears the way they do the chances are I’m less likely to run into a channel balance / imaging issue that is the fault of the HP provided one of the drivers isn’t damaged or cable connections are loose or intermittent.

Once I lock that center position for say a test tone or solo singer, the sound stage really improves and imaging as well. It only takes a few seconds for me to hit that spot on the fly now because of familiarity and knowing what I’m trying to do with placement, and what I know I can and can’t achieve with an earphone.

Just some random musings on the SR1a and how I fine tuning channel balance. Something worth trying and there’s no cost involved!



These are what I use for a variety of things audio



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Thanks for all the information! I played around with placement as re your directions, but it hasn’t solved the problem. Test tones and many pop music tracks sound well centered. I don’t think the issue is the position on my head or a technical defect with my SR1s.

I think the issue has to do with the immersive–at the conductor’s podium–position that the SR1a tends to give combined with the predominance of 1st violins, soloists, etc, on the left. Much of the most important and most noticeable music is often from the left, which in the intimate space of my brain (where I hear the sound) sounds unbalanced/is annoying.

I also don’t think its my hearing (though ear shape, maybe). My hearing test suggests, if anything, my right ear is better, so I’d expect the orchestra to shift right.

You may need to, like I do, use a bit of EQ on the bottom octave to bring up the cellos and double basses.

Oh, and my right ear is better FR response wise than my left ear as well.