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Harpsichord causing me problems

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george401:
Hello
I find it difficult to describe an audio problem but I will try.
Its mainly about an Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr  cd of Handel's complete violin sonatas on harmonia mundi HMX 2907259.
When I first heard it I loved it then bought the cd and got problems with the sound of the harpsichord at once. There is a quality that stops me listening to it at all, like very heavy reverberation. Am I right about the reverb or is that the correct sound from a harpsichord, if so I will be wary in future.
Can someone shed some light.
Thanks
george401

mc ukrneal:
Harpsichords can very much depend on the instrument and how you are listening to it. Harpsichords often have different timbres (like a unique sound signature), and so recordings with different instruments may sound different. I mention this, because even if you dislike the sound of this instrument, it doesn't mean you will dislike others. it could also just be the way this particular instrument was recorded. I don't own it, so I can't check.

Another thought is to change the equalizer and fiddle with different settings on the sound. Maybe reduce the reverb or some of the settings that emphasize this frequency. Alternatively, perhaps use headphones or stop using them or use different ones (just to see if that changes anything). If you do find a different setting that works, save it (in some way) for next time. I can't tell you how many times I've fiddled with something at some point only to change it later and forget the starting point.

Having said all that, you might just find listening to this harpsichord (or harpsichords in general) fatiguing (a minute is fine, 5 not so much). In that case, there are many other alternatives played on either modern or period instruments that might suit your ears better.

amw:
One thing I've noticed is that recordings of harpsichords almost all seem to fall victim to the loudness war: compressed sound normalised to 0dB. This makes them sound much louder than any other instrument. In reality the harpsichord is pretty quiet (much softer than e.g. the piano) and how resonant it is depends on the venue, but it seems difficult to find "realistic" recordings of one.

Mandryka:

--- Quote from: amw on October 10, 2017, 05:04:29 AM ---One thing I've noticed is that recordings of harpsichords almost all seem to fall victim to the loudness war: compressed sound normalised to 0dB. This makes them sound much louder than any other instrument. In reality the harpsichord is pretty quiet (much softer than e.g. the piano) and how resonant it is depends on the venue, but it seems difficult to find "realistic" recordings of one.

--- End quote ---

Possibly but this is not a problem with the aforementioned Handel sonatas, which sounds pretty good to me. I wonder what sort of equipment the OP was using, or whether he's got a bad recording.

In fact I think that harpsichord recordings are much better than they used to be, though maybe not on Spotify, and these days the problem of truthfulness is no greater for harpsichord than for piano.

Gurn Blanston:

--- Quote from: Mandryka on October 10, 2017, 05:34:04 AM ---Possibly but this is not a problem with the aforementioned Handel sonatas, which sounds pretty good to me. I wonder what sort of equipment the OP was using, or whether he's got a bad recording.

In fact I think that harpsichord recordings are much better than they used to be, though maybe not on Spotify, and these days the problem of truthfulness is no greater for harpsichord than for piano.

--- End quote ---

I pretty much agree with this. I think maybe the problem is that just like any other period instrument, the harpsichord (or tangent piano or spinet or virginal or clavichord or fortepiano etc etc) is an acquired taste. I first acquired it with Scarlatti, then Bach, which was essentially written for harpsichord and thus easy to slip right into since the only other piano Bach I had was Gould. Even then, the first time I heard Mozart on one I nearly lost it, it just wasn't the sound I expected and I was determined not to like it. Now, however, I have gotten well past that and greatly prefer my early Mozart and Haydn on harpsichord or clavichord even versus fortepiano. As it happens, I have that Manze/Egarr disk and only seem to hear a very rich and full harpsichord sound. Unless the OP's has an issue, as someone else mentioned.

8)

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