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Why it has to be played loud


I know from my experience as a "rock" musician that there are certain amplifiers (Mesa Boogie, Gallien-Kruger and Marshall seem to be the best examples) which sound their best when the gain is nearly at full.  The harmonics are richer, and there is an edge to the sound that is just not present at lower settings.  In fact, one G-K amp I had sounded fabulous right before it caught on fire (really).  I don't know if this is a conscious engineering design (I suspect so) but I have found it's pretty reliable.  That's why the joke about "turning the amp to 11" in Spinal Tap had such resonance. 
Brian Gygi, Ph.D.
Speech and Hearing Research
Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System
150 Muir Road
Martinez, CA 94553
(925) 372-2000 x5653
-----Original Message-----
From: Laszlo Toth [mailto:tothl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010 12:28 AM
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Hearing Loss "False Positives"

On Thu, 23 Sep 2010, reinifrosch@xxxxxxxxxx wrote: > Old guys with undamaged hair cells have the advantage that they can fully > enjoy classical tonal music with its change from dissonant to consonant > chords and back. According to the Helmholtz consonance theory that > change is due to the presence or absence of beats generated by pairs of > partial tones of almost equal frequencies. These partials tend to be > soft, and their frequencies tend to be high. Do you know the answer to the opposite: why is rock music more enjoyable loud? I think that it would be important to understand. Laszlo Toth Hungarian Academy of Sciences * Research Group on Artificial Intelligence * "Failure only begins e-mail: tothl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * when you stop trying" http://www.inf.u-szeged.hu/~tothl *