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What are your priorities in sound? Eg Soundstage or Imaging, airy treble, tight bass?


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If you had to prioritise what types of sound you will get from your system, what is the order in which you would prioritise their importance?

 

I'm not sure what the list should contain, but here are some characteristics of good sound...maybe others can add to or else criticise my list...and I am wondering if people couldn't have everything on the list, what would be the ones they think are most important. Let me have a go and people can comment:

 

1- Broad Soundstage

2- Deep Soundstage

3- Pinpoint Imaging

4- Airy Treble

5- Definitive Mid-range

6- Tight, Strong Bass

7- Deep Bass

8- Complete Transparency

9- Analogue Sound

10 - Tonal Accuracy (EDIT additional point from awayward comment further down)

 

The reason I am asking is that I have changed some equipment recently and I am finding that the speakers/amps/DAC I am listening to at the moment offer quite a different presentation compared to speakers/Amps/DAC I had a couple of weeks ago. This makes me curious as to whether others have a consistent view of what is most important. 

 

In one system, it was strong in 2,4,7,9. The other system is strong in 1,3,5,6. I find my listening tends to differ because of this. In the first system, I was drawn to female vocals, string instruments and music that benefitted from a lot of air in the presentation. With System 2, I am listening more to electronic music, soundtracks, and music with drums.

 

Curious for other people's views.

 

 

 

Edited by tfj100
Correcting number headings, Added 10th point from suggestion
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Tonal accuracy - I want instruments to sound like the real thing, then recreate the air and stage of the original venue.

I've just been listening to the music for what it is lately, not worrying too much about those things. It's much more relaxing.    I like the warmer side of neutral with nice detail. Not to

One thing like every time these threads happen, is that different descriptives mean different things to different people.   Like aspects of tonality means different things to different peopl

1 minute ago, mrbugeyes said:

All of the above.

Excellent. Which system gives it all? 😄

 

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1 minute ago, awayward said:

10. Tonal accuracy 

and then the right balance of 1 to 9

Ah. good description. I was going to have one which was going to be neutral balance or something similar but I couldn't quite get the wording. I'll note an EDIT to my original post and add your point

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13 minutes ago, tfj100 said:

 

Excellent. Which system gives it all? 😄

 

 

Hah, Torben - I would say my current system delivers all of them well ... with the exception of #2, which I put down to my room size/spkr positioning (the Maggies are too close to the front wall, to deliver good depth (compared to my last room)  :( ).  

 

Andy

 

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1 minute ago, andyr said:

 

Hah, Torben - I would say my current system delivers all of them well ... with the exception of #2, which I put down to my room size/spkr positioning (the Maggies are too close to the front wall, to deliver good depth (compared to my last room)  :( ).  

 

Andy

 

Hi Andy, - nice to hear from you!

 

Maybe I need 11) fully remote enabled to downgrade you turntable fans...I am too lazy to get up and change a record every 30 minutes. Or have you moved to streaming yet?

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Rich and full bodied with a natural tonality.

 

I don't like anything to stand out, so a very even presentation.

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12 minutes ago, tfj100 said:

Hi Andy, - nice to hear from you!

 

And great to see a post from you, T!  :thumb:

 

12 minutes ago, tfj100 said:

Maybe I need 11) fully remote enabled to downgrade you turntable fans...I am too lazy to get up and change a record every 30 minutes. Or have you moved to streaming yet?

 

No, have not moved away from vinyl.  :)  But I can now control volume, balance and stored config (in the miniDSP) with a remote!

 

Andy

 

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I’m looking for cohesive, balanced sound across the frequency range. This probably relates closely to the tonal accuracy mentioned already.

 

I’m also looking for dynamic ability, both macro and micro.  I’m surprised dynamics haven’t been mentioned earlier.

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1 minute ago, jt301 said:

I’m looking for cohesive, balanced sound across the frequency range. This probably relates closely to the tonal accuracy mentioned already.

 

I’m also looking for dynamic ability, both macro and micro.  I’m surprised dynamics haven’t been mentioned earlier.

Another good addition. I guess dynamics show up in a few of these (3,5,6 particularly). 

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One thing like every time these threads happen, is that different descriptives mean different things to different people.

 

Like aspects of tonality means different things to different people.

 

Some people tie everything to the frequency responce.

 

*shrug*

Just mentioning it.

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I've just been listening to the music for what it is lately, not worrying too much about those things. It's much more relaxing. 

 

I like the warmer side of neutral with nice detail. Not to fussed where I sit in the theatre/hall ie. soundstage.

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Pretty much all of that but order of priority 10, 8, 5, 4, 3, 2, 7, 1. 

 

The list needs more criteria added and the types of speakers for that do it most in each category I have come across so far are:

 

1- Broad Soundstage - ESL, Kef Blade

2- Deep Soundstage - ESL, Kef Blade

3- Pinpoint Imaging - ESL, WAR Audio Ref 1, Kef Blade, Yamaha NS5000

4- Airy Treble - ESL, WAR Audi Ref 1, Kef Blade, Yamaha NS5000

5- Definitive Mid-range - ESL, Yamaha NS1000/5000, WAR Audio Ref 1, Kef Blade, Spendor SP100

6- Tight, Strong Bass - Yamaha NS5000, VAF I-93, Magico S5

7- Deep Bass - Yamaha NS5000, VAF I-93, WAR Audio Ref 1

8- Complete Transparency - ESL, Yamaha NS1000/5000, WAR Audio Ref 1, Kef Blade

9- Analogue Sound - ESL, Kef Blade

10 - Tonal Accuracy - ESL, Yamaha NS1000/5000, WAR Audio Ref 1, Kef Blade

11. Drive, dynamics, impact and composure at high volume levels - Yamaha NS5000, Magico S5, Edgar Horn, VAF I-93

Edited by Al.M
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I'm thinking it's a balance between all the listed factors, as compromises are always part of the equipment (and room).

 

Until you move into the very high-end equipment, which becomes high-end because it encompasses all of the above.  And then you are still at the mercy of your room.

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13 hours ago, tfj100 said:

1- Broad Soundstage

2- Deep Soundstage

3- Pinpoint Imaging

4- Airy Treble

5- Definitive Mid-range

6- Tight, Strong Bass

7- Deep Bass

8- Complete Transparency

9- Analogue Sound

10 - Tonal Accuracy (EDIT additional point from awayward comment further down)

 

70s version

 

  1. flat frequency response
  2. super low distortion
  3. graphic equaliser with as many bands as possible
  4. all the controls - tone, loudness, presence, rumble filter, hiss filter, mono
  5. switching - multiple speaker pairs, multiple inputs and tape loops
  6. big VU meters and cool FM dial with a BIG inertia knob for tuning
  7. wood lattice speaker grills

note:  purposely skewed towards adjustability in lieu of inherent sound type

note2:  appearance was important to the enjoyability of the sound :) 

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Values 2, 5, 8 and 9 for me...thank you!

I have a preference for a deep soundstage...deep bass and analogue sound...with definitive Mid-range...and detail that is not overly uber bright and fatiguing to listen to for more than five CDs...if I like the sound no matter how low in volume it's played I know it will distract my attention from whatever jobby I am currently involved with... 

I think I swim against the general hi-fi tide with a preference for a musical lushness that does not drown out or blur the various musical details...

Being a Sansui Amp fan from way back my listening preferences have been spoilt by that lush sounding 'loudness' switch! :)  which I try to tame/balance with silver RCA's/Speaker cables to help delineate  the details...a lush deep oceanic soundstage with schools of reflective silver details for interesting contrast/flavour...

Oh and as @aussievintage mentions...the appearance of the hi-fi equipment is important to the enjoyability of the music...

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Thanks for all the responses.

 

I guess the conclusion I am drawing from them is:

 

Everything is a priority 😂

 

I would like to rig up a survey (is it possible in SNA?) and the ask people to rank them, and then see what the result is when people have to pick rather than to just say "everything is important". I get that you can having everything if you buy a pair of Kef Blade or Magico S5, but I can't see that for the majority of respondents , their system (and speakers specifically) give them everything.

 

My recent experience (with speakers under $10k worth, and amps under $10k worth) as highlighted in my post is that one system I listen to prioritises one set of outcomes, and the other gives a different set of strengths. That doesn't mean that the other qualities are completely absent, it is just that these aspects are more noticeable. The process of comparing one system against another automatically draws you to make comparative conclusions...even if you are comparing a Magico 5S vs a Kef Blade, you won't come away saying they both give you the same of everything. You are like to say something like "The Blade is stronger on deep bass vs the Magico - the Magico gives a wider soundstage" or something like that.

 

Let me see how do to a survey...😂

5 minutes ago, BLAH BLAH said:

Values 2, 5, 8 and 9 for me...thank you!

I have a preference for a deep soundstage...deep bass and analogue sound...with definitive Mid-range...and detail that is not overly uber bright and fatiguing to listen to for more than five CDs...if I like the sound no matter how low in volume it's played I know it will distract my attention from whatever jobby I am currently involved with... 

I think I swim against the general hi-fi tide with a preference for a musical lushness that does not drown out or blur the various musical details...

Being a Sansui Amp fan from way back my listening preferences have been spoilt by that lush sounding 'loudness' switch! :)  which I try to tame/balance with silver RCA's/Speaker cables to help delineate  the details...a lush deep oceanic soundstage with schools of reflective silver details for interesting contrast/flavour...

Oh and as @aussievintage mentions...the appearance of the hi-fi equipment is important to the enjoyability of the music...

Nice! Best answer so far! You are excluded from my summary which I was writing as your comment came in. 😂

Edited by tfj100
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45 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

I'm thinking it's a balance between all the listed factors, as compromises are always part of the equipment (and room).

 

Until you move into the very high-end equipment, which becomes high-end because it encompasses all of the above.  And then you are still at the mercy of your room.

Room is a good point. I have a Victorian house and my room is a fairly standard rectangle about 5m x 6m with high ceilings (say 4m) and floating wooden floors. I don't have any real room treatment (I but a couple of bookshelves and cushions in recently. The room is solely a work study/listening room so at least I can put the speakers exactly where I want and my listening position should be fairly perfect.

 

If I was to guess, I would say the room is fairly "alive" compared to deadening it with treatment. I'm inclined more to find a system that works with the room rather than treat it to fit the system.  

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11 minutes ago, BLAH BLAH said:

lush deep oceanic soundstage with schools of reflective silver details for interesting contrast/flavour...

 

Love the imagery.

 

...  would that be sardine flavour :) 

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9 minutes ago, tfj100 said:

...I would like to rig up a survey (is it possible in SNA?) and the ask people to rank them, and then see what the result is when people have to pick rather than to just say "everything is important"...

Creating a poll thread in SNA:

When you create a new topic, there are two tabs - the default is "Content", the second is "Poll" where you can get people to select either one option from the list or multiple options.  I don't think it's possible to create a poll where items are ranked.

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10 minutes ago, tfj100 said:

My recent experience (with speakers under $10k worth, and amps under $10k worth) as highlighted in my post is that one system I listen to prioritises one set of outcomes, and the other gives a different set of strengths

 

 

Don't get hung up on retail cost.   I have yet to hear a demo of any equipment in the  +$10k bracket that makes me think the price is justified.  I have heard some nice systems, but also I often am quite disappointed.  That's good though, because I go home and listen to my own sub 10k systems and thoroughly enjoy myself.

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10 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

Love the imagery.

 

...  would that be sardine flavour :) 

Hmmm...fishy like carp there... :) 

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55 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

Creating a poll thread in SNA:

When you create a new topic, there are two tabs - the default is "Content", the second is "Poll" where you can get people to select either one option from the list or multiple options.  I don't think it's possible to create a poll where items are ranked.

 

Thank you - let me try that.

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49 minutes ago, BLAH BLAH said:

Hmmm...fishy like carp there... :) 

Well smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast  (bonus points for who famously said this)

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15 hours ago, tfj100 said:

If you had to prioritise what types of sound you will get from your system, what is the order in which you would prioritise their importance?

 

I'm not sure what the list should contain, but here are some characteristics of good sound...maybe others can add to or else criticise my list...and I am wondering if people couldn't have everything on the list, what would be the ones they think are most important. Let me have a go and people can comment:

 

1- Broad Soundstage

2- Deep Soundstage

3- Pinpoint Imaging

4- Airy Treble

5- Definitive Mid-range

6- Tight, Strong Bass

7- Deep Bass

8- Complete Transparency

9- Analogue Sound

10 - Tonal Accuracy (EDIT additional point from awayward comment further down)

 

The reason I am asking is that I have changed some equipment recently and I am finding that the speakers/amps/DAC I am listening to at the moment offer quite a different presentation compared to speakers/Amps/DAC I had a couple of weeks ago. This makes me curious as to whether others have a consistent view of what is most important. 

 

In one system, it was strong in 2,4,7,9. The other system is strong in 1,3,5,6. I find my listening tends to differ because of this. In the first system, I was drawn to female vocals, string instruments and music that benefitted from a lot of air in the presentation. With System 2, I am listening more to electronic music, soundtracks, and music with drums.

 

Curious for other people's views.

 

 

 

I have voiced my setup for these priorities (in order).  I have achieved 1-4 & 6, working on 5, as my choice of tubes has a definate impact to point 5  - midrange.  My current set rolled in -  6H6's, gives me a good balance of sweet mids and lower highs, but at the expense of extended highs, but with 6H30pi's, the mids arent as sweet, but the highs shimmer more and is far more extended.  The Mundorf SilverGoldOil caps definately added much more depth and improved on the imaging - which is now easy to pin point instruments, vocals within the soundstage.

 

1- Broad Soundstage

2- Deep Soundstage

3- Pinpoint Imaging

4- Airy Treble

5- Definitive Mid-range

6- Tight, Strong Bass

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Totally agree with some of the comments above.

Nothing is perfect no matter the cost, comes down to personal taste once you get to a certain level of performance.

Great thread btw.

Like fine wine, sometimes I struggle to put words to why I like something. It’s just tastes good or sounds right can sometimes be enough.

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4 hours ago, MrBurns84 said:

I have voiced my setup for these priorities (in order).  I have achieved 1-4 & 6, working on 5, as my choice of tubes has a definate impact to point 5  - midrange.  My current set rolled in -  6H6's, gives me a good balance of sweet mids and lower highs, but at the expense of extended highs, but with 6H30pi's, the mids arent as sweet, but the highs shimmer more and is far more extended.  The Mundorf SilverGoldOil caps definately added much more depth and improved on the imaging - which is now easy to pin point instruments, vocals within the soundstage.

 

1- Broad Soundstage

2- Deep Soundstage

3- Pinpoint Imaging

4- Airy Treble

5- Definitive Mid-range

6- Tight, Strong Bass

 

That is a good summary - it aligns with my experiences with tubes (and Class A which I will put in the similar camp). They particularly gave me a very pleasant presentation, strong on soundstage and airiness around the treble, mid range and string instruments. Class A/B and D were stronger with mid-range and bass, and a more forward presentation. Not that one is particularly better than the other, I am trying to work out if it is possible to have both but without breaking the bank!

 

 

 

 

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I've only heard a good, 3D, deep and high soundstage on one occasion. I was intoxicated by it and its the thing i seek most to replicate in my own setup. Unsuccessfully.

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9 minutes ago, Jone5y said:

I've only heard a good, 3D, deep and high soundstage on one occasion. I was intoxicated by it and its the thing i seek most to replicate in my own setup. Unsuccessfully.

I agree with this! And then of course you spend you whole life firstly getting the system in place, and then trying to find music which allows you to hear it 😂

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it has really made me realise the impact of a room on things like soundstage. My soundstage has remained very consistent regardless of gear in its current room, but when I took it elsewhere and listened in a totally differently shaped room, the result was incomparable

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1 minute ago, Jone5y said:

it has really made me realise the impact of a room on things like soundstage. My soundstage has remained very consistent regardless of gear in its current room, but when I took it elsewhere and listened in a totally differently shaped room, the result was incomparable

That is good to know. I was about to add a comment about rooms in my previous post

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I tend not to examine the music/sound technically more so because I have never taken the time to learn the technical jargon of music/sound reproduction.  So my two bob's worth is (as all on this forum would know) different systems/components have different attributes.  

I would say I look for all of the attributes listed but weight some more than others eg I prefer a deep sound stage and transparency and less on deep bass.  Our tastes in music too can change with age.  I have noticed I lean more to vocals as I have gotten older (or is it just a stage) so hence system that highlights vocals more attracts me.

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I can't ever remember hearing a consistent, deep, and high soundstage (n a hi-fi sense) when listening to actual live orchestral concert with my eyes closed. Actual instruments project differently and as a result can sound further forward, higher, or further back than when you can see them and know where they are.

 

Listening on a hifi is a purely audio experience in that way, and seeing speakers, meters and LEDs is a visual experience in a quite different way.

For me, separation of instruments, and hearing the way the musician plays or sings is still the big thing. I want to be able to follow both the big picture of a performance and hear through to the individual strands. I thought I would move on from that to some of the things listed here, but instead found myself fascinated by different things - the way a timpani or bass drum fades into a hall or studio acoustic, hearing deeper into the doubling of instruments in some early music, and finding out what some of the noises in closed miked music actually are.

28 minutes ago, Jone5y said:

it has really made me realise the impact of a room on things like soundstage. My soundstage has remained very consistent regardless of gear in its current room, but when I took it elsewhere and listened in a totally differently shaped room, the result was incomparable

And, yes, this. 

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30 minutes ago, Jone5y said:

it has really made me realise the impact of a room on things like soundstage. My soundstage has remained very consistent regardless of gear in its current room, but when I took it elsewhere and listened in a totally differently shaped room, the result was incomparable

A challenge that i had in the last 2 houses i lived in with my current floorstanders.  The room layout and acoustics can be challenging to get a soundstage that has good width, height, and depth.  Usually width is easier to achieve if the width of the listening space is wide enough.  The problem with depth is WAF and ability to pull the speakers out front and giving it enough space between the back of the speaker to the back/side wall.  

 

When we purchased the current place, i made sure that the current listening room was wide and deep enough for my floorstanders.  My speakers are placed where it has 1.5m to each side wall, 1.8m to the back wall and i am about 2.5ms away from the speakers to my listening position.  This was the best compromise to give me enough sense  to mimic a 3D listening space that produced good pin point imaging, depth, highs and bass response overall.

Edited by MrBurns84
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It took me several hours to get my Dynaudio floorstanders to place the vocals dead centre.  My lounge is not symmetrical with a large opening on one side - although I do think my Dyns are reasonably forgiving for this. I recall a video (over one hour) where the speaker to an audiophile audience would attend people's houses to properly set up their speakers.  I assumed they were very high end and hence owners paid $$$ for professional set up.  If I recall him correctly one of the tracks he used was Jennifer Warnes' Ballad of the Runaway Horse off her famous Blue Raincoat (cover album of Leonard Cohen).  He was saying he used this track to centre the vocal at I think 5'2"

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