When was the last time you listened to live music?

I'm an avid audiophile from the late 50's when stereo wasn't even invented yet (gee, am I that old already?).

The first tube amp and speaker combo started me on the quest to have live music be reproduced in my parent's home. We used to go to Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, etc. which gave me a good feel as to what live music sounds like and to use that as a basis of comparison for the reproduced music at home.

As I grew older (and much older), I attended live classical concerts less and less. I had relied on my home equipment to listen to music on vinyl and audio tape. Along with the less frequent visits to live concerts, I started to form opinions of the equipment I bought and sold and listened to at friend's house.

I started to compare their equipment to mine, or the audio store's. I somehow quit comparing them to live music as a reference.

So, my question is shouldn't we compare all equipment in the audio chain to live music rather than to other equipment?

When was the last time any of us listened to live music?

And I don't mean concerts where the instruments are all electronic, rather than acoustic. In that case it doesn't make any difference since the music you hear is already amplified and through speakers. Would having the same audio equipment in the home as the musicians have at the concert be the ultimate match of "live" music to home reproduced music. I guess I'll have to buy a few Fender amps and Public Address speakers.
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+1 Elizabeth.
Got all excited about a bluegrass performance at local, historic, small theater (seats maybe 200?). Sitting in a back row I easily conversed with two of the performers on stage at normal volume. Once the show started they fired up the microphones for instruments and vocals. Bad sound! How stupid! I spoke to the manager at intermission, pleading to have her turn off the amplification as it was not necessary. She said the older folks don't hear as well so they preferred it on. Ugh!
I agree with most all of your analysis'. Then we can safely ask:

"What is live music and what do we use as a standard of comparison for our home system?"

It seems that there is no basis of comparison. It's what you think it should sound like, not what it actually does.

So I guess whatever we think the sound should sound like is correct.
I'm actualy suprised how good an amplified small acoustic ensemble can sound through a half decent PA system with a live microphone feed in a small venue. This is just proof of how much information (and dynamics) get lost in all the recording, mastering and other stages of the production process for recorded sound.
To the original question: 'last night'.

Years ago I used to do PA systems for special occasions, using a set of Fulton J-modulars for the speakers, tube amps and the like. People would ask me 'why did you lug all that stuff here if you aren't going to turn it on?'

It is possible to make a nice PA if you really want to :)