Overly dynamic soprano voices ?

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chaccone

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Overly dynamic soprano voices ?
« on: 26 Jun 2020, 02:15 pm »
Do you guys face any issues playing operas with loud soprano passages?

My system when it plays opera music, the soprano voices sometimes suddenly soars very high and loud that it gets a bit unbearable.  I was listening to some Handel Operas like Alessandro and Floridante, mostly recent recordings.
 
thanks

Mike-48

Re: Overly dynamic soprano voices ?
« Reply #1 on: 28 Jun 2020, 05:08 pm »
Yes. This is a problem especially noticeable if one uses speakers with an extended HF response (which need not be peaky) or one is listening in small or medium rooms with hard untreated surfaces.

Among my tests for system setup are the Queen of the Night's arias on various recordings.

I have made some progress with acoustic treatment, better equipment, toeing in speakers less to provide more of a HF rolloff, and power treatment (this last to my surprise), but soprano "glare" is difficult to eliminate entirely. A very high ceiling would help, I think, but that's not an easy fix for most of us.

I believe that a major contributor to the problem is recording technique, which places mics much closer to the voice than one's ears ever would be. In a large performance hall, the soprano would be far away, and the many seats and nonparallel surfaces would reduce that glare. Many microphones also have a rising high-frequency response, and many classical recordings are bass shy, which accentuates any overemphasis in the treble.

By the way, I've experienced the issue in person, which tells me that recordings and/or hifi systems exhibiting this are not necessarily at fault. In a poorly treated medium-sized room in a North Carolina town, a recital by a visiting soprano had me running for the door. Even the Musical Director of the series, herself a concert pianist, found the singing of this "diva" objectionable -- not in any technical sense, just for excessive loudness at the top of the range.

Tyson

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Re: Overly dynamic soprano voices ?
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jun 2020, 05:32 pm »
Yep I am extremely sensitive to the soprano voice and I have traced it down to an artifact of speakers that don't have absolutely perfect/seamless midrange/tweeter integration. 

Blackmore

Re: Overly dynamic soprano voices ?
« Reply #3 on: 28 Jun 2020, 08:18 pm »
When I was at the Aspen Recording Institute for two summers, Dan Craik told us, "Sopranos will always beat you" and taught us to keep your fingers on the sliders when she sang.  It's tough to capture the power of that vocal range without distortion. 

Elizabeth

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Re: Overly dynamic soprano voices ?
« Reply #4 on: 29 Jun 2020, 02:55 pm »
There are moments, spine tingling moments in Opera with soprano soaring over all..
The op complaint here is a system problem. Most likely a digital problem... exaggerated by poor quality AC coming in.
I have a system designed just for treble!  which is what I love most...
Magnepan 20.7s and a lot of stuff..

chaccone

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Re: Overly dynamic soprano voices ?
« Reply #5 on: 30 Jun 2020, 01:24 pm »
I am using Audience AR-2P filter for my power amp and some diy power filter for my source equipment.  Not sure if it's a power issue.  I have added acoustics treatment diffusor and absorption panels, they help quite a bit.  But it seems like it's still something that I have not been able to fully address.  I must say my system sounds fine with violins, no glare.. it's just the sopranos !

Mike-48

Re: Overly dynamic soprano voices ?
« Reply #6 on: 3 Jul 2020, 08:29 pm »
You may be hearing what's on the recordings. Some just don't sound good, due to poor recording or production practices.