Last night we were fortunate to have a wonderful experience - we sat in on a bit of a rehearsal of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
I was able to sit right in the middle with the orchestra very close and all around. The communication between the players and Richard Tognetti, all done with body language and eyes, is fascinating.
The most impressive thing for me was the quality of the sound. I listen to too much music through small computer speakers and headphones, but it's amazing what poor reproduction even good headphones produce compared to the real thing.
There is a richness of tone from a bow being drawn across a string, I think the cello in particular, that doesn't seem to come across in recordings.
I recall hi fi sales blurb that used to claim that certain systems were "just like having a symphony orchestra in your living room", the reply was always to ask if that was really desirable as they'd drink your house dry.