Originally Posted by TimVG
Interesting. As an active classical musician I've always appreciated the sound of a good compression driver and also don't like to hear too much of the room. Perhaps it has to do with how we experience the real thing. Some people are used to hearing the orchestra from the audience, but those who are usually in it may have a different 'reference'.
Just an anectdote: as someone who plays an instrument dependent entirely on reflections (the horn), it's of vital importance that we adjust the way we perform to the venue and ensemble in question. People who often play on commercial recordings for instance, are more likely to use somewhat 'larger' sized equipment (instrument tapers - mouthpieces - ..) and will tend to even place the bell on the knee or leg, which dampens out some of the higher overtones. This gives the impression of a good horn sound even when close mic'ed.
Orchestral players on the other hand who play in large auditoriums will often choose their equipment wisely to add a bit more 'zing' to the sound. A fortissimo passage can sound like glass breaking at that point, but for the audience, it will more often than not, sound just right.
I'm generalising somewhat now, as there many 'schools' and styles of playing.. but you get the picture.
Thanks for sharing this perspective! After we did the big "JBL M2 vs. Revel Salon2" shootout - with the Salon2 pulling just ahead in terms of overall preference - one of the biggest qualities noted regarding the two speakers was that the Salon2s had a silkier string sound vs. the somewhat harsher sound of the M2. After much discussion (which incidentally involved many of the highly respected people who post in this thread), it was determined that this "harsher" sound was probably due to the fact that the M2 presented more direct sound vs. reflected sound, which lines up with what you are saying.
No that I have the Salon2s and the M2 derivative SCL2s in the same room, I can still switch back and forth between the two speakers at my leisure. One of the things I have noticed is that I still prefer the Salon2s by a pretty large measure when listening to most orchestral and pop music, but close mic'd horns / woodwinds and percussion have a bit more persuasive sound on the SCL2s (when I listen to the Jen Chapin recording of "You Haven't Done Nothin'" with its close mic'd saxophone, the SCL2s make it sound like the sax player is right in the room with me).
What do you play? I used to play trumpet back in high school, but play and compose on keyboards now. I have conducted a full orchestra on a couple of occasions, and to me the only speaker I've ever heard that fully captures that orchestral sound is the Salon2.
With solo, close mic'd instruments, though, sometimes I really like the SCL2 / M2 sound.