SH Spotlight Test the midrange purity of your system and/or your computer speakers using Bing Crosby!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    "The magic of the music is in the midrange."

    Reverberation in music (echo, the sound of a large room, reverb, etc.) is one of the hardest things to reproduce on a stereo system. It requires accurate midrange reproduction, something that a lot of systems are weak on. The better, more realistic the echo/room sound/reverb/bloom or whatever you want to call it is on a song, the better the system. Even if a system measures well, the actual holographic intensity of the reverb capture can vary.

    If you don't have good midrange, all the treble and bass in the world will not help you get a decent illusion from your stereo system. There are simple ways to test the quality of your midrange, but the best way is to see how reverb and room spaces are reproduced.

    Your speakers (for example) might do better with a different amp or preamp or CD player or whatever. It's all about synergy. This little test can help you find that synergy.

    If you have a CD I did in the 1980's called "BING CROSBY SINGS AGAIN", it has the prev. unissued "You Are Too Beautiful" on it.

    You should give a listen, it was recorded as an "air check" during a dress rehearsal at the radio studio on Sunset blvd on one of Bing's Ampex machines. Even on this YouTube version, you can here the PA System at CBS Columbia Square at :27. (When Bing sings "Fooled by a feeling..."). This short phrase caused the studio monitor system to go right on to the vocal microphone, and if you can hear it, and hear it well, your system is giving you good midband.

    So neat, I use it to test midrange on systems. The best systems really make it obvious that his voice is being amplified in the studio at that point. Some systems have nothing at that point, others it sounds like he is suddenly in a large space, it's just the PA leaking into his vocal mic. Works so well as midband tester, I used to use it all the time to judge midrange capture and I'm passing on the tip to you. The CD is out there for probably 4 bucks...

    My old Adcom amp and preamp with my JBL Studio monitors had NOTHING at that point in the song. When I switched out the Adcom for Kevin Gray's old McIntosh 30s, suddenly I was swamped with the PA reverb at that point ( at :27 on the YouTube video). One of the main reasons I never went back to solid state amplification. I love the illusion of reproducing the dead.

    Try it, let me know if your system can reproduce the illusion. Keep it handy when you upgrade. The simple "illusion" (at :27 on the YouTube video) will get better, more real every time. If it doesn't, your upgrade ain't making it. I once upgraded the Telefunken tubes in my VAC linestage to the "latest and greatest" and the illusion went way down in volume and realism. Needless to say I put the Telefunken 12AX7s back in and the illusion came back. I was sold, the "latest and greatest" were returned to sender..

    Use the YouTube version to test your computer speakers, you might be surprised, hearing the PA system clearly at that point. My laptop reproduces the illusion, not well, but I can hear it.

    Report back if you're hearing it. This is one of those times that you need to train your ears to listen for a specific thing, ignoring everything else.

    Try it right now on your computer. What do you hear at :27, the house PA or nothing at all or somewhere in between compared to the beginning vocal? Try it right now, don't be shy. You might have to listen a few times at that point to hear what I'm on about.. It's like the ultimate "echo trail test" and it's over in two seconds, quick and neat...

    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  2. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds

    Los Angeles, CA
    yep, I can hear it although I wouldn't have noticed it if you didn't point it out. I also catch a bit in the word "for" from the phrase "for beauty" at 0:21 and briefly in other spots in the song. Cool. Bing Crosby was probably the greatest crooner ever.
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    No one notices it. But once you do, it stands out and is a perfect way to test if your system has midrange magic. And the better (nothing to do with money, everything to do with synergy) your system gets, the more obvious it will sound. Needless to say on my Audio Note loaner system the illusion is so profound that I can reach out and touch the acoustical space Bing is singing in. But on my vintage system that cost me a grand total of $2,100.00, the illusion is just as pleasing.

    Why this was never released is a mystery to me..
    domesticmachine, Dino and Veech like this.
  4. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Mid Atlantic
    My headphone computer system is the least of my 4 systems but reasonable fidelity: Juliet@ soundcard direct out to a Cayin tube headphone amp and Sennheiser 600s. I hear a very very noticeable expansion of the soundstage without hearing clear echoing from the PA speakers. There does seem to be a slight wavering in the voice at some points which doesn't sound like a single microphone chain but that perception is sporadic.
  5. rxcory

    rxcory proud jazz band/marching band parent

    Portland, Oregon
    Dusty Sommers and willied like this.
  6. crispi

    crispi Vinyl Archaeologist

    I even hear it on my iPhone speaker now that you pointed it out.
    mpayan and Om like this.
  7. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    Thanks, I've just ordered a copy of the MCA. I didn't make the mistake of ordering the Readers Digest LP set with the same title!
  8. sami

    sami Mono still rules

    Down The Shore
    I hear it on the You Tube video my Chromebook - gotta try it on my system!
  9. faskenite

    faskenite Forum Resident

    I had the good luck to stumble across a minty red label Verve copy of Bing Sings And Bregman Swings in a cardboard box in a used furniture store. Fantastic! Forget the movies, Bing was a brilliant singer. Although I like a lot of the movies too!
  10. AppleCorp3

    AppleCorp3 Forum Resident

    I thought I'd give this a shot even though I don't have the CD. I have a cable that hooks into my preamp so I can listen to my ipod if I get lazy. Not as optimal as the vinyl or a CD but whatever, Saturdays are usually my night to tinker with my record collection/stereo system anyway.

    I definitely hear it - it's quick and if you're not listening for it I could see where it could be missed. His otherwise "dry" vocal gets a bit of resonance, for lack of a better term, "way back there." Almost like someone opened a door in the studio during the performance and his vocal echoed in the hallway. That's my unsophisticated way of describing it.

    On a side note, every year, after playing the hell out of Bing Crosby for a solid month at Christmas, I vow to get more non-holiday music. Maybe this CD is a good place to start. What a great song. I could listen to him sing all day.
    Grant and rxcory like this.
  11. Exile On My Street

    Exile On My Street Senior Member

    Long Island, NY
    I just ordered the CD and I'm looking forward to testing my modest setup. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. :p
    supermd likes this.
  12. Charlie DJ

    Charlie DJ Forum Resident

    Dallas, Tx USA
    I'll echo what others have said - I can hear it but doubt I'd notice without you pointing it out. Hmmm....maybe its time for an upgrade
  13. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    I heard it.
  14. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Thanks for that...I have massive Adcom mono amps I have been using for years with my Thiel 3.6's. Well, I thought they sounded good...until I read your!
  15. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

  16. barno

    barno Active Member

    Thank you Steve for this.. Yes, I can hear it om my Altec computer speakers, but like others, may not have notuced it if you hadnt said anything.. And YES, the second video DOES sound just excellent! Perfectly recorded and mastered in my opinion.. Super relaxing as well.. When your system can give you that relaxed feeling, It has done its job well in my opinion...
  17. Linus

    Linus Senior Member

    Melb. Australia
    Can hear it through headphones, (a pair of "vintage" Pioneer SE-255's), but cannot hear it through my speakers yet - I'll keep trying!
  18. Using my computer's cheap-o Creative Labs speaker system, I hear an in-depth kind of echo resonance at :27. Der Bingle was a favorite on 30's and 40's jukeboxes because his baritone was especially suited for the primitive amps and those field coil 15" speakers.
  19. thematinggame

    thematinggame Forum Resident

    I'm glad some people know what this is about
    GerryO and klockwerk like this.
  20. Flipje

    Flipje Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Couldn't hear it on a cheap headphone but it was very obvious on my main system!
    I was always a bit worried about the midrange from my system but i am a little less now, cool!
    PC-USB out-Behringer UCA-202-optical out-Arcam AV250 Optical in-JPW 205 versus PC-USB out-Behringer Headphone out.
  21. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    Central ME
    I hear slight reverberation of vocal lasting about a quarter of a second at :27 on my Bose SoundLink Mini portable speaker system.

    I regard it a pity that I listened to audio for a huge chunk of my lifetime with distorted tone and at too high a volume. It's a blessing, however, to rediscover old favorites while listening in a proper manner, which includes an an accurate and balanced representation of sound across the entire audible spectrum. Something a lot of folks are guilty of is going overboard on bass, which reverberates in the listening area and obscures detail especially in the midrange. Listening at too high a volume will increases detail-killing reverberation as well. As my tinnitus condition has worsened due to abusing my ears, I found it necessary to lower my listening volumes and discovered that I could hear detail far more clearly than ever before.
    SinnerSaint and zebop like this.
  22. ricks

    ricks Senior Member

    Just as the past with "So Far" and "Born To Run #2 mastering" one of these type posts done broke the internet :)
    Bing's Sings Again is now #1 seller in an Amazon category - but why is it "Classic Broadway Vocalists" ?

    There will be some eBay battles for the ones that end tonight those sellers sure will be surprised.
  23. SuperFuzz

    SuperFuzz Forum Resident

    I can hear it. It's like a very brief "blooming" effect. I never would've guessed what caused it though.
    Jerk The Handle likes this.
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Try the test and find out. You might be good!
    SinnerSaint likes this.
  25. timztunz

    timztunz Audioista

    I don't get too much with the computer sound system but I did pick up on some of that "bloom" but had to listen more than three times for it. I've ordered the CD and can't wait to try it on my real systems! Cool stuff, thanks Steve.

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