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In Reply to: I disagree strongly posted by Frihed89 on November 3, 2005 at 00:32:43:
"What I don't agree with very strongly is that a musician can, by some objective set of criteria, tell another individual that A sounds "better" than B. For example, I have a recording of a live Neil Young concert at Red Rocks. It is not very good technically, but it was a fantastic performance. There are some tracks on this I use to audition everything I buy. Equipment I buy has to play the music I like the way i like it, period."
Neil Young is your benchmark? LOL well that certainly supports...
The real truth is, A likely does sound better than B. Just because there are chitloads of individuals out there that don't have a clue doesn't mean A does not sound better than B. What one "likes" does not automatically make it sound best. It merely states that many human beings out there are clueless with extreamly limited exposure which is very, VERY true. Individual taste is merely that and manufactures build to suit a wide variety of taste and are simply trying to make a buck is all. They could care less what is best or not...
You want accurate, listen "live". Otherwise what you get is a reproduction of a reproduction that someone else mixed as to how they believe accurate sounds. Best equates to most enjoyable...no more, no less.
depends on the recording. Some recordings are minimally miked with no post processing (I believe Chesky does at least some of this). Some are cut direct to disk so they are essentially live with no processing. These can be spookily realistic with an accurate system.
It's the whole "accuracy" argument in general. The argument is really "my system is more neutral than yours". Neutral is nuetral. Believing one's sytem is "accurate" is delusional. Okay, let's take the prossesing out of the equation. Direct to disk...by magic? Or is there some equipment involved, and is that equipment "neutral"? I simply find the use of the phrase "accurate system" (as in "my' or " "the one I listen to") to be self-serving, justification for ridiculous money spent and above all else...innacurate. Depending on the person, NOT THE EQUIPMENT, all music can be spookily engaging.
I think your post is a bit over the top.
Even if you believe there is an "absolute sound" against which to judge the fidelity of a playback system, there will be many different criteria with which to assess the system's accuracy. And the relative importance of the different criteria is a matter of opinion. So even if we could agree on what the ideal system should sound like, we're not likely to agree on which system sounds best.
And just because you think that tonal accuracy or realistic dynamics or [insert favorite criteria] is most important doesn't mean that anybody who thinks otherwise is clueless.
Yes they are clueless. The simple fact is that they are all very important to creating realistic reproduction. Systems designed to favor one thing over another (like a typical PRaT system that sacrifices tone, for example) cannot be called accurate. When designers get fixated on a particular aspect of reproduction (like low THD or flat on-axis frequency response) without care in other areas (like not destroying the tonal reproduction of the amp while pursuing that low noise or THD) that we get such strongly "flavored" gear. Gear that is not perfect in one area but excellent in all aspects of reproduction is almost always more natural and therefore accurate sounding. There is no perfectly accurate component but there is definitely better and worse ones.
Example: I heard a reference Burmester system last weekend (808MkV preamp, top cd player (forgot the model), 911 monoblocks, and B99 speakers). Every one of these components is a top rated piece by nearly every magazine that has reviewed them. However, the sound was dry and soulless in a way that can only tell me that people were listening to the trees (ooohhh great transparency, big bas impact) and not the forest (does it sound like real music?). I sat through ten minutes before my friend and I both ran from the room in relief. It is also interesting to note that in that 10 minutes we were there several people came in and left and we were alone with 20 empty seats around us.
This system cost well over $100,000. Yet I can only conclude from listening that it did not sound like music at all. The individual parts have all been praised by various reviewers who I am beginning to suspect see the trees and not the forest. It is not the first time I have heard a bad Burmester system (or other big names like B&W Classč, which was equally soulless but even worse not well integrated. At least I can say that in favor of the Burmester system).
Many people praise this kind of dry sterile sound as accurate when in fact it has a severe deficiency in the reproduction of correct tone and/or dynamic contrast. Most solid state stuff unfortuneately has this deficiency (not all though). Much tube stuff has deficiencies in other areas that SS does not. The best of both technologies have relatively minor limitations in on or more areas but are overall well balanced. An amp without good tone is not accurate. A speaker with slow sounding bass due to energy storage in the cabinet or phase shift is not accurate. An amp with good tone and poor high frequency dynamics is not accurate.
I can certainly agree that a component which excels in all areas is more accurate than a component that excels in few areas or one area. However, few audiophiles are able to pursue excellence with no compromises, so few audiophiles will have accurate systems. I think the process of deciding what compromises to make is largely subjective, and therefore it's hard to say which inaccurate system sounds best without being subjective. It sounds like you believe that a balanced approach to making compromises is best. If so, I agree with you. But even if we agree on that, we may not agree on what set of compromises provides the best balance. What I consider a minor deficiency in one area may be a major deficiency to you or vice versa.
Yes, in a world of flawed products a balanced approach is the best approach. However, this means that in picking each piece of gear it must also be balanced. I don't believe in trying to offset one flaw with an opposite flaw. This is because they are made in different ways and therefore unlikely to cancel each other out but more likely to hear BOTH flaws as the mechanism for the generation of the flaw is fundamentally different.
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