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Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

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jancivil
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12872 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:55 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

whyterabbyt wrote:
Nowhk wrote:Not sure about your example.
On a forum text I don't care about these details (I just ignore them).
If I read a novel on a PDF or by original "hand-made" text perception CHANGE! Even the message from the author... seeing how author write letters and such.


So even the slightest change in the letters, from the change in rasterisation as text is scrolled, to variations in ambient lighting, that's what affects your emotional response to the writing?

And the words themselves, the sentences, they're not nearly as important.

While I'm definitely not going to follow this practically pointless argument down the rabbit hole, I will pose this question (and mention I don't think these are very good analogies for the purpose of this quest): Why would anyone care about special typeset or fonts?

All perception isn't equal anyway.

Back to music and timbre. Most people do not have ears that are terrifically fine, in my experience and that includes KVR Audio Forum. If it's *the music* that creates or reminds or what-have-you of emotion; analogous to *the words* are what does that on a page, not the appearance of the words, would it require recognition of "timbre" to the degree the audience is responding to specific instruments and the emotion is located here? Because that's what you said! Your analogy now is not in agreement with your earlier assertion.

@Nowhk, no, I wouldn't blame you for varying perception nor the notion 'music isn't concrete' like a mathematical question that has a definite solution.

As to Whyte's problem with <endlessly repeating 'how can people cope with perceptual inconsistencies'>, I wouldn't blame one for that assessment either really.

So back to something useful: Flat has been mentioned. A more flat (I don't know of any transducer for music that's totally flat or if that is very desirable) response is known as a reference, e.g., NS 10 monitors are known as a Reference Monitor. Then out in the world where people experience music the problems arise. Big boost to the bass is common, added action all over is not uncommon.

Environmental changes, I don't know specifically what is meant here, but let's say you have a cold, your hearing isn't the same. It's actually known that physiological differences create hearing variance. So, don't expect to do crucial mixes with a cold. Don't upload the thing you haven't lived with a couple of days such as my example where I didn't hear much where there was certainly a lot of difference created with that method. If you have a lot of bass, expect to try more than one set of speakers and/or phones, flatter for reference and then very colored.
Expect Soundcloud's codec to ruin that and if that's a big one for you, learn to master for Soundcloud.
Like that.
ghettosynth
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9497 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:09 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

Nowhk wrote:
ghettosynth wrote:Moreover, and I think that I mentioned this already, the understanding (really the lack of) of this is something that experience will mitigate. OP sounds like a beginner guitar player who can't quite get the knack of the Chuck Berry riff and is complaining that there must be some biophysical explanation that once understood, will somehow make a difference in the experience. There might be an explanation, but understanding it is rather pointless, practicing OTOH, not so much.

Or you are just so superficial in listening to music. Who knows...
Your awareness to have the right answers make me smile every time :)


I do, and that's clear from the examples that you've posted. Your attempt at equivocation is as empty as your understanding.

Again, here we are pages in and nobody knows what your goal is. Do you want to be able to mix music? Do you want to study music cognition? If the former, then get your ass to work doing it and after some experience it will fall into place, if the latter, you might start with taking a class in logic.
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whyterabbyt
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25064 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:13 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

jancivil wrote:While I'm definitely not going to follow this practically pointless argument down the rabbit hole, I will pose this question (and mention I don't think these are very good analogies for the purpose of this quest): Why would anyone care about special typeset or fonts?


Fonts arent what Im talking about. The impossibility of reproducing a glyph from a font 100% and it being perceived identically is what Im talking about, because that's what the OP is talking about vis timbre. The relationship of that (impossibility of reproduction and perception) to the emotional response and meaning of the writing is what Im talking about, because the relationship between timbre and emotional response is what the OP was talking about.
Really not sure where 'special fonts' come in. I'm trying to comment on what level of construct is or is not significant to cognition of a larger semantic structure.
But feel free to provide a better analogy if you have one and we can use that instead.

Back to music and timbre. Most people do not have ears that are terrifically fine, in my experience and that includes KVR Audio Forum. If it's *the music* that creates or reminds or what-have-you of emotion; analogous to *the words* are what does that on a page, not the appearance of the words, would it require recognition of "timbre" to the degree the audience is responding to specific instruments and the emotion is located here? Because that's what you said! Your analogy now is not in agreement with your earlier assertion.


What is 'what I said'? Could you quote, because Im not following what earlier assertion you think I made.
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whyterabbyt
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25064 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:29 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

Oh, and FWIW, the rest of your post, the advice on how to compensate for perception changes, is probably misplaced. The OP has already been given the same class of pragmatic advice, specifically and generally, multiple times over the past two or three weeks, and has not seemed particularly interested in any kind of actual 'solution' - it seems somewhat like the problem space is entirely academic.
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ghettosynth
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9497 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:38 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

whyterabbyt wrote: - it seems somewhat like the problem space is entirely academic.



Exactly, and yet, the OP is not up to the task of understanding it in that context or even able to process information without distorting it to support his pseudo-scientific forgone conclusions.

It's as if this entire discussion of timbre is really just a metaphor for the OP's cognitive inability to understand this discussion about timbre.
birrbits
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1739 posts since 3 Dec, 2004

Postby birrbits; Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:32 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

my sig will go here
rifftrax
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1686 posts since 26 Feb, 2008

Postby rifftrax; Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:46 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

slipstick wrote:But of course it depends on the sound you start with. What you can't do with EQ is change the harmonic content of the sound e.g.


I mean...
https://www.soundradix.com/products/surfer-eq/

Maybe time to break up the semantics here with some related fun:
https://dood.al/pinktrombone/
Snare drums samples: the new and improved "dither algo"
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BertKoor
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10041 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:56 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

whyterabbyt wrote:
Nowhk wrote:Not sure about your example.
On a forum text I don't care about these details (I just ignore them).
If I read a novel on a PDF or by original "hand-made" text perception CHANGE! Even the message from the author... seeing how author write letters and such.


So even the slightest change in the letters, from the change in rasterisation as text is scrolled, to variations in ambient lighting, that's what affects your emotional response to the writing?

And the words themselves, the sentences, they're not nearly as important.

Hmmm.
Last night I fully agreed with whyterabbyt, but this morning I understand where Nowhk is coming from.

One needs to understand there is a medium required to transfer the message / payload. First you judge the book by the cover. Your brain needs to adjust itself to unwrap the envelope and access the payload. The time this takes varies.

If I go to a concert there will be a moment where I become conscious of the room acoustics reverberations (part of the medium) but other times I just hear the instruments (the message). If I visit a new website I might first get upset about its stupid layout or styling (medium) but here at KVR I am not aware of styling anymore and focus solely on content. Then when I sit at an uncalibrated display I do get upset about wrong brightness / contrast.

My greatgreatgrandparent wrote a book in 1766, and when I first saw that I had to get used to reading the weird font with glyph f used instead of s. Not anymore after some time.

To be continued (train stops)
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whyterabbyt
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25064 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:43 am Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

BertKoor wrote:
whyterabbyt wrote:
Nowhk wrote:Not sure about your example.
On a forum text I don't care about these details (I just ignore them).
If I read a novel on a PDF or by original "hand-made" text perception CHANGE! Even the message from the author... seeing how author write letters and such.


So even the slightest change in the letters, from the change in rasterisation as text is scrolled, to variations in ambient lighting, that's what affects your emotional response to the writing?

And the words themselves, the sentences, they're not nearly as important.

Hmmm.
Last night I fully agreed with whyterabbyt, but this morning I understand where Nowhk is coming from.

One needs to understand there is a medium required to transfer the message / payload. First you judge the book by the cover. Your brain needs to adjust itself to unwrap the envelope and access the payload. The time this takes varies.

If I go to a concert there will be a moment where I become conscious of the room acoustics reverberations (part of the medium) but other times I just hear the instruments (the message). If I visit a new website I might first get upset about its stupid layout or styling (medium) but here at KVR I am not aware of styling anymore and focus solely on content. Then when I sit at an uncalibrated display I do get upset about wrong brightness / contrast.

My greatgreatgrandparent wrote a book in 1766, and when I first saw that I had to get used to reading the weird font with glyph f used instead of s. Not anymore after some time.

To be continued (train stops)


So far, Im not sure that you're disagreeing with what Ive said. ;) At no point have I disputed the fact that a change in state of the medium cannot be discerned, quite the reverse.
I just dont correlate that level of change as being of significant enough importance to the recognition of the information contained on that medium, compared to any of the other factors. In fact the shift in attention you're describing is one thing I think I mentioned earlier; as soon as you start focussing on detail, your level of attention to the larger picture is lost and vice versa.

And since the way we perceive is reliant on error-correcting pattern-recognition, ie our memory is relied on to provide the expectation of the corrected errors, then the relationship between changes in the medium and the information is not just transient, and subjective, but its subject to normalisation over time, as individual instances become folded into reference memory.
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BertKoor
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10041 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:09 am Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

OK, that's great feedback! At least we seem to be at the same page...

So we need a medium to transfer a message to the listener. To some extent you have control over that medium. That is: you can choose to publish on low-fi cassette tape, or upload to SoundCloud with crappy lossy mp3 encoding, or press vinyl and enhance the listener's experience with a nice 30cm folding album cover with pretty glossy printing of the lyrics and liner notes describing how you got Pino Paladino to play the bass and Bob Katz to do the mastering. All that can influence the listener.

But you don't have control over the hifi or lowfi the listener uses, while that also is part of the medium. (Side note: you can try though. I think it was a Lou Reed album that said in the liner notes it's best played at very loud volume in a very big room.) It's the responsibility of the mastering engineer to adjust the product such that the needle doesn't jump off the record, and the tracks you want on the same album sound consistent and not as if they were produced in entirely different studios.

A few pages ago there was a YouTube example of different guitar speakers. That is all about the artistical choice you have as a musician / producer. You can make it sound like you want with all the tools and means you have available. So that is about the message you want to send, not the medium.

There also was a PA speaker shootout video. Here you're influencing the medium, not the message, and you want that medium to be as much transparent and non-existing as possible. Colour & brightness correction of The Matrix is also about changes in the medium, not the message.

So the listener (often uncounciously) can discriminate the medium from the message. Unless the medium is obfuscating that message too much. And as a producer you do have some control over the perception of that message. If I create a vocal piece only accompanied by a piano, the chance of a listener hearing exactly what I wanted to put in is quite large. If I use 100 tracks simultaneously with layer upon layer of details spread across the whole spectrum, then the listener needs to focus on those details in order to really hear those tiny details. So then you give him/her quite a challenge to make sense of the bricks in the wall of sound. It's me, the producer, who has constructed that wall and put in some very big stones and lots of smaller stones. The mixing engineer (or bedroom producer) is responsible for aligning these bricks so they make a nice wall, and EQing each track so they don't result in mud.

Perceiving what you hear needs to be learned. Proof is the questions asked here weekly: how do I make this simple synth patch? Or what is that "organ" sound in this song? And then the answer is: that's no organ but a Fender Rhodes. Someone else says: that's not a Rhodes but a Wurlitzer e-piano. Can't you tell the difference, you stupid? Apparently some of us can't :shrug:
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ghettosynth
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Postby ghettosynth; Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:08 am Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

BertKoor wrote:A few pages ago there was a YouTube example of different guitar speakers. That is all about the artistical choice you have as a musician / producer. You can make it sound like you want with all the tools and means you have available. So that is about the message you want to send, not the medium.


Yes, or, said differently, when you start talking about electric guitar, the amp, speaker, and associated electronics are really a part of the instrument.

That said, timbre is timbre. What arrives at your ears is the data that you have to distinguish between some other set of data that describes a different timbre. To that end, I'm not seeing the point of distinguishing between message and medium. All aspects of the medium apply their transfer function to the message before it arrives at your ears.

I'm still not seeing what the OP is banging on about TBH. I remember as a child falling in love with the timbre, specifically of certain songs. One that I can clearly remember and still love to this day is Wings "Band on the Run." The timbre changes in that song are clear to me and drive the same emotional response whether I listen to it on the shitty gear that I had growing up, or on the stuff that I have today.

So, as has been said over and over again, yes, everything that audio passes through has some impact on timbre, so what? That doesn't make it some ridiculously variable experience. In fact, as I've said repeatedly, that variability largely falls under the noise floor of interest when compared to the timbral characteristics of interest. The guitar tone of "Reeling in the Years" comes through on practically any medium you can imagine. However, it should be especially clear on virtually any studio monitor system in almost any room, even it it's untreated.

Yes, there are exceptions of extreme that can render something unlistenable. I can't stand listening to music at warehouse parties where there sound is too small for the space. That doesn't mean that I don't recognize the music or won't remember it without the reverb. The timbral changes of Band on the Run will still come through, drowned in shitty large room reverb. However, to try to say that this means that somehow I'm participating in the creation of that music is absurd. Particularly if one thinks that these kinds of experiences should have any impact on the process of creating music.

I still don't know what the OP is trying to understand or trying to accomplish?

The timbre of any recorded work played in some environment is always going to be the same at some point X in that environment when measured by reasonable test equipment and assuming that we are sweeping the effects of things like outside temperature and humidity under the rug. If you stand at X, you will get the same experience every time. This is obvious. What you perceive is also a function of your own state and that, for the most part, can't be measured. The fact that there are an absurdly large number of points X and near infinite environments that could be defined doesn't change the fact that if you choose almost any one of them at random, Band on the Run will always have those cool timbral changes, EVERY...SINGLE...TIME!

Now, maybe those changes have no impact on you, ok, that doesn't mean that they're not there. They are, and they can be quantified and identified and, even if you had never heard them before, once defined, you will be able to hear them given that you understand the quantification and have sufficient sensitivity to such.

There's no point in caring about that one time that someone chose to play Band on the Run on a Victrola inside of a water tank with an alligator tooth superglued where the needle should go. By the time the system is so shitty that you can't sense the timbral changes, you may not even be able to recognize the song.

So, I still contend that without a goal, without some understanding of what is meant by "change", that this conversation is just going around in circles about nothing.
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Nowhk
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678 posts since 2 Oct, 2013

Postby Nowhk; Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:49 am Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

For "my perception" it seems that ghettosynth is just a troll here.
For "your perception" it seems that I'm a total noob that isn't on anything.

This all depends by my english expression I believe. I write down N times what is my dubt. I think the way we italian generally "speak" about hypothesis is different from your. From now, I will try to not "claim" anymore in the way I would do speaking with my native language. I'll try to put only questions.

Some notes:
I'm not here for "claim" somethings.
I'm not here for "find a solution".
I'm not here for say to you "you stupid mfs, making music has no sense, why did you do it?".
I'm not here for be "bragger" against your skill.

I'm here for understand HOW things (in the end) works. Is it so hard to catch from my words? Daamn... if only my english teacher could read this...

Write down a line, retry, and go ahead...
_________________________________________________________________ (<< this is the line)

I'm producing & mixing music since I was 14 (thus, I'm not here with this topic to learn guitar riff or lessons of mixdown). From vst to (recently) modular synth approach. Some years ago I'm entered in the world of DSP: what a rocket science! It does change my life, and also the way I "listening" to music.

Working on some own plugins, I got the habit to listen "deeply" to the sound they are making. Involuntarily, I've started to do this also on basic production I do and on every other music we have within the world where we are living (from Rolling Stones to Squarepusher). I only DO heavy electronic music: noise/glitch/ambient/core.

So, lets doing an example. I go to my studio, I open up my favourite subtractive/addictive synth, and let start to making a kick: complex waveform with a custom decaying sweep envelope modulation for pitch; than sidechaining (better to say "ducking") another background layer, having harsh sound on high frequencies (it will be the tail of the kick). Tweak it for hours and hours, and finally get the "sound" I like. Now let doing a track around it (yes, I do glitch music); than a fancy mixdown, a bit of mastering... and I've sculpt my "final" product. Fantastic!!!!

Now, lets listening to it on setup A (pro loudspeakers; yes, major of people listen to music not on flat studio): it gots emphasized higher and soft transient. My brain "build up" (because sound I perceive is made by brain, from stimulus and memory) a sound that is soft on punch and metallic on the tail, on EVERY beat within a pattern. (on a 4/4: soft punch/harsh tail soft punch/harsh tail soft punch/harsh tail soft punch/harsh tail).

Change setup, go to setup B (another pro loudspeaker; notice I want to hear the human frequencies range, and its able to do this, as well as setup A). It has hard transient and higher bass/medium than treble (i.e. different frequency response, and more decaying ringing; "Big boost to the bass is common", as jancivil correctly stated). My brain "build up" (because sound I perceive is made by brain, from stimulus and memory) a sound that is harder on punch, with heavy bass, and a bit muffled on higher; a sound resulting more "power" than the other on a 4/4 pattern: powah punch/strident tail powah punch/strident tail powah punch/strident tail powah punch/strident tail.

its not really a revolutionizing difference, but the pair punch/tail differ a bit (on transient and timbre). Of course it COULD trigger different emotions, being different sound perceptions.

Now, I turn up my head, to the sky, looking at god, and thinking: uhm... so what I've done, in the hell, as producer? Switching to two different setups, I got two sound perception (what I call messages). Which will trigger of course (with the same bio/status) different emotions.
PLEASE: don't confuse this to my lacking of experience. The same happens with any track I'm listening (from Rolling Stones's Charlie Watts drumfill to Squarepusher badass electronic kicks).

I go than to KVR, asking "what the hell is happening?", placing as example the timbre, for its "changing" sound aspect (because I consider it the most recognizable).

After 12 pages of very few cues (feeling accused to be a total idiot which know nothing), now I (re-re-re) ask to you (considering a fixed listener Steve, as me, not the different perception by people):

is the perceived "sound" (build up by my own brain on different listening) really different or is it just a BIAS?

If the answer is "yes, it is going to be perceived different (even if slightly) every time": what's the purpose of making "sound (thus, music, in the end)" if I won't never catch the same sound/perception (which wrap the message) every time? (notice: that's my old hypothesy of "putting just "bases" and hope in variances").

If the answer is "no, your brain build up the same sound/perception every time": can you give to me some books/abx test/articles/examples/whatever you want to proof that my different sound perception due to environments are just hallucinations?

I really can't be more clear than this now.
I cross the fingers...
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BertKoor
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10041 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:15 am Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

What you describe here is what we call whether it translates. That means the payload should not be too different when played on various speakers.

You create by definition on non-flat speakers. Usually you over- or under-compensate the message to get clear through that medium. So the trick is to average it out, finding a compromise that translates well across a variety of speakers. So take the medium out of the equation.

Triggered emotion is always out of your control, since there are lovers and haters. So emotion has to go out of the equation.

Repeat: all speakers are different. This is out of your control. In your studio you cannot get bass so loud that it makes your trousers flap.

So it is a bit of a gamble. Not a problem, but fact of life.

So what :shrug: Make music and have fun. Live long and prosper.
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slipstick
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104 posts since 2 Feb, 2017

Postby slipstick; Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:10 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

If you play the same thing on a different system, different speakers etc the ACTUAL sound will almost certainly change to some degree. Suitably calibrated instruments could measure the changes. But the PERCEIVED sound in your brain may or may not change depending many things including how different the actual sounds are and how carefully you are listening.

But what does that have to do with "the purpose of making sound/music"? The purpose of making music is to make it available to many people who will listen to it on many different systems, all out them of your control. Isn't your job to produce something that sounds as good as possible for all those people taking into account the fact that you can't control their listening environment etc.?

Steve
himalaya
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4238 posts since 23 Mar, 2006, from pendeLondonmonium

Postby himalaya; Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:32 pm Re: Why EQ a sound doesn't change timbre?

Nowhk wrote:is the perceived "sound" (build up by my own brain on different listening) really different or is it just a BIAS?



The "perceived sound" will be different across different playback systems. This is ok. This is how it is and how it should be (due to the design of different playback mediums).

Nowhk wrote:If the answer is "yes, it is going to be perceived different (even if slightly) every time": what's the purpose of making "sound (thus, music, in the end)" if I won't never catch the same sound/perception (which wrap the message) every time? (notice: that's my old hypothesy of "putting just "bases" and hope in variances").


You make music, produce it, mix it, master it, release it. What happens after that is out of your control. You will never be able to ascertain if the listener is actually able to "catch" whatever "message" you have imbued your music with. It's out of your hands.

In other words, if your music track was meant to stimulate your listeners with great emotion, you just do not know if this will happen, regardless of the playback medium. Should you worry about this? Not really. You have noticed that music played on Speakers A differs to Speakers B? That's ok. In context of how people perceive music on the emotional level, this difference is a non-difference and should not prevent you from making music.

what's the purpose

You make music to fulfil your drive to make music. Make the best music you can. Produce it in the best way you can. Give it to others to mix and master, so that it can sound even better, But after that....once the music piece you have created is released it's out of your control how it is received. There is virtually nothing you can do to make sure that whatever 'message' your music contains is received and understood by your listeners, regardless of the speakers used.

Now, when I listen to a song which affects me deeply on the emotional level, I can experience this emotion when listening on cheap laptop speakers and expensive studio monitors? Why is this? The song will sound drastically different on both playback mediums and yet I get affected in the same way?

This is me though, and I can certainly imagine that another person would stop when listening to the song on cheap laptop speakers and say, "my gosh, this song sounds crap on these laptop speakers, I can not stand listening to my favourite song like this!"....and that's fine. Remember: It's out of you control how people will react to your song on various playback systems. Some will be ok with listening to the song on different speakers and will still 'get' the song (despite the mix coming across differently on various speakers). Yet, others will stop and be troubled by this difference. You can't help it. Just let it go.
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