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Re: Amplification

Well, I *hope* we're not straying too far off-topic here!  Personally,
I think our choice of amplification and reproduction systems is a
crucial issue for our unique form of music, and
speaker/amp/mixer/headphone discussions should be right up there with
JamMan/Echoplex discussions.  

Some philosophical audiophiles believe there is a fundamental
difference in musical experience between live and recorded music,
which changes the way we listen.  And this isn't just a matter of
recorded playback sounding inferior to live.  Somehow, I suspect the
sound of King Crimson's "Great Deceiver" live cuts is superior through
my home stereo today than it was to the audience in 1974 or so.  But
more importantly, repeated listening changes our understanding of
music.  When we hear our favorite recordings, especially complex
pieces, we hear new and different things every time.  Not only do we
pick up nuances and detail, but we react emotionally depending on our
state of mind at the moment.  

Now, the music we *create* with our looping devices lies somewhere
between live and recorded music.  We're making live music, then
listening to it again, over and over, sometimes processing and
changing it dynamically.  We're improvising with recording devices.  

My first experiments with looping used a Boss Pitch Shifter/Delay with
1.7 sec of grainy 12 bit echo, fed into a tube guitar amplifier.  The
distortion and tonal change imposed by the amplifier smeared my loops
(especially close-voiced chords), and the poor looper trashed my
dynamic range and tone quality.  I later progressed to a Roland Jazz
Chorus amp and better effects to get more control over my tone, and
then on to a rackmount preamp with speaker emulation, monitored
through headphones.  I want to hear EXACTLY what is in my looper, or
at least as close as I can get without unpleasant coloration.  

I enjoy listening to my loops as much as creating them, and I often find
myself leaving a good loop alone just listening to it for a long time,
maybe reading or writing rather than creating more sounds.  So I want
a system that causes minimal listening fatigue as well.  Eventually, I
hope to run my looping output to a nice pair of single-ended
audiophile tube amps and monitor speakers.  Useless for live playing,
but beautiful at home.  :}  

But the basic point is, a big part of the beauty of looping is the
intricate detail and sense of motion in the sound.  To get the most
from the experience, we need to hear our loops as clearly as possible.
So amplifier and speaker issues are as much a concern as instruments
and delays.  

By "beauty," I mean that which seems complete.
Obversely, that the incomplete, or the mutilated, is the ugly. 
Venus De Milo.
To a child she is ugly.       /* dstagner@icarus.leepfrog.com      */ 
   -Charles Fort              /* http://www.leepfrog.com/~dstagner */