I'm more then happy about this text below from Javier of Wadax. Why? It closely correlate with what I'v been trying to say out loud and what corresponds to my findings regarding the music, music reproduction and digital in general. I have NDA access to some of the MRI scanning of music being played from four sources (digital, processed digital, analog and live music) to a group of seven different people. Results were closely mirroring my findings and write ups, that I've accumulate over the past two and half decades. To put it into perspective... We react very differently to the sources; live music, digital, analog and processed. One additional thing, not being mention in text below is the level of stress being introduced during this process. Our body by nature reject typical digital audio and reacts with the certain level of stress, while listening to analog and in some cases via processed digital audio stress is reduced down to minimum.
Javier is mentioning the live music affecting us on the emotional level and here is particual agenda I've been addressing in my reviews and articles for long time. The emotional bond!? Yes, its not the matter of fiction and imagination :)...
When things are set corectly, not only with audio sources, but in a system as general, there is certain sublime connection being establish that acts on completely differnt level and introduces particular emotional state, similar to what we're experiancing with live music. That's why, (again repeating myself) the only true reference comes clearly in only one form. Live music! Not as a matter of elitist endeavors. With live, un-amplfifed and non processed music we're having bigger chance to be exposed to the real thing.
Science is slowly unveiling the layers of mystical
relationship between humans and music. Finally 21st century and technology is working for us more then ever. Well, in smaller portions, but at least taking the right path with the fruitful and encouraging results. Latest discoveries even point towards the part of the brain that is strictly dedicated to the music!
Everything closely correlates with the findings of many audiophiles and music lovers regarding the analog, some digital and recordings.
After all, vinyl phenomena and the enjoyment people are getting out of it might be more connected to the way we're reacting to music rather then dealing with (as often advertise by pro digital minds) rituals and self delusion.
Luckily some of the top digital I've had luxury of listening to (MSB, Totaldac, Aries Cerat) comes with the great unmasking potency. I'll surely try to experience what Wadax Atlantis seems to bring in its own way and report back...
“Wadax Atlantis is the result of a very interesting project going on for the last two years. We have been involved in a project with a well known spanish university -health related-, together with other teams from different knowledge areas. The aim is to dig deeper into psychoacoustics as applied to cochlear implants and other hearing aid devices. The current State of the Art still shows many limitations, like musical playback. They are focused for speech use and music is perceived very poorly.
We liked the idea of using our know-how and aquired experience to help improving life for those that cannot enjoy music the way we do. The idea was to advance on leading research on cochlear implants, finding alternatives to traditional approach. That is where Wadax contributes their mite, using our mapping technology as a start, beginning with a different starting point instead of the standard vocoder (voice coder).
For the project we had access to many costly harwarde resources. The latest generation functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging equiment (fMRI), plus latest generation EEG (electro encephalogram) equipment . fMRI (different from classic magnetic resonance machines in Hospitals) is a machine that maps what areas of your brain are activated and with what intensity, in real time, with a time resolution of 1 second. I can be talking about it for hours, I really enjoyed it. But let's get to the point.
There were many challenges to overcome; the machine is huge and the pacient exposed cannot wear any of the most typical metals as the magnetic and RF field generated by the fMRI machine is huge. So we had to stretch our minds to allow us to experiment while estimulating the patient with our test stimulus. This point, that may be stated lightly, took almost 5 months to solve reliably and safely. Involved new materials, custom circuitry, sensor work, .. beautiful team work that resulted in a truly exciting experience.
This fundamental research work will hopefully translate in a better hearing experience of music for many hearing impaired, something very limited to them as of today. And as collateral, a new perspective in the physical-neural mechanism of emotion build-up from LIVE music. Now we know a lot more; what is lost during a digital recording and what should be preserved. Many surprises here... this fundamental work will be linked to the Atlantis name for the years to come.
One of the most interesting conclusions we got, may seem trivial, but has more implications in high end than can be apparent. This is the inference rationale: Emotion build up is a target for a listener. Live music has the potential to build up emotion. Music playback equipment should be able to recreate LIVE essence, as closely as possible. Bass, treble, texture, density,... all these analitic ingredients can be there, but still NOT deliver the LIVE essence required, as decoded by the brain. This does not mean that currently equipment do not generate emotion, and of course they do. Our conclusion is that a LIVE event triggers emotion to an intensity that no playback device has ever reached. That was confirmed by fMRI and later with electrodes and EEG equipment in LIVE music events, with blinded eyes.
And there is another very interesting conclusion inferred from our research. Different subjects can perceive tonal balance differently, bass weight may be too high or too low, texture of a voice very present or natural,.. but every subject can 'lock' to a LIVE presentation and identify as such. Emotion build up is an inmediate consequence.
So there is something UNIVERSAL across different listener types.
And this is our challenge, get as close as possible to the emotional intensity of a LIVE event.” - Javier, Wadax