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  1. #1

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    Default How do you describe sound quality

    In the pursuit of sound quality, I often see people use all kind of words to describe what they hear. This often happens when people try to compare the differences between different products - cables, speakers, caps, amps, tubes, plugs, you name it. However, I must say very often I found myself not knowing what do they really mean. I feel myself dumb. I mean, what does 'more air' mean? Is it a good or bad thing?

    So I listed some common terms that I see and tried to explain their meaning to the best of my understanding and guessing (which mean a lot could be worng ). I don't know if this information is already available somewhere or not, but at least I found nothing when I I tried to google "what does it mean when the sound has more air".

    Please provide your feedback. I want to learn the lanaguage and I'll update this post when there are consensus.

    ================================================== =================================
    COLORATION - The sound reproduction is biased at certain frequencies. The result can be pleasant or worse.

    SIGNATURE - A particular way of COLORATION.

    NATURAL/NEUTRAL - No coloration. Sound the same as it was recorded.

    MUSICAL - High and low frequencies are more noticeable in a pleasant way.

    DRY - High and low frequencies are less noticeable in an unpleasant way.

    SLOW - Lifeless sound with no impact, dull.

    FAST - Opposite of SLOW.

    DYNAMIC - A technical perspective of being SLOW or FAST. It is how components such as capacitors can react very fast to varying forces in terms of charging and discharging while maintaining desired capacitance and inductance.

    TRANSPARENT - It's like the speaker disappears and you are listening the flow of music directly from the instrument. The lack of transparency means the lost of details, precision and depth of sound (aka behind a veil).

    AIR - The transparency at high frequencies.

    WARM - Less focused on higher frequencies.

    THIN - Less focused on lower frequencies.

    FLUID - Somewhere between being AIR and WARM.

    SMOOTH/CREAMY - Somewhere between being FLUID and WARM.

    BODY/BONE - More or lack of sensitivity in the mid to lower mid frequencies.

    SOUND STAGE - Perceived distance and direction of the sound to the listener, vertically and horizontally.

    IMAGING - Presentation of the SOUND STAGE to the listener.

    FLAT - No IMAGING.

    DEPTH OF FIELD - The contrast of sound being close and away from the listener.

    FORWARD - A sound stage that's too upfront/close to the listener.

    BRIGHT - Being FORWARD especially on higher frequency.

    LAID BACK - A sound stage tends to be away and WARM or SMOOTH.

    EDGY - Unpleasant harmonic distortion at high frequencies.

    ROUGH - Unpleasant series of spikes across a range of frequencies due to delayed signal or destructive interference.
    • Online - Focal Solo6 BE, Polk PSW10, Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP, Lenovo x220t
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  2. #2

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    This Stereophile audio glossary may help you out:

    http://www.integracoustics.com/MUG/M...-glossary.html
    Main system: Denon DP-59L | Audio-Technica AT33EV | Marantz Reference Series SA-11S2 | Classé CP-50, modified | Classé CA-300, modified | Classé DR-10, modified | Classé RC-1 | PSB Stratus Gold i's | DIY Balanced AC Power Conditioner with surge/spike suppression | Acoustic Zen and NeoTech cables | Oyaide and Furutech AC power connectors and receptacles | Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme fuses | Dedicated 20A IG AC line

  3. #3

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    Wished I had known this link. Thanks! But.. wow.. 2000 terms.
    • Online - Focal Solo6 BE, Polk PSW10, Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP, Lenovo x220t
    • Music/HT - Lsi25, Lsi9 (Vr3), Lsi7, LsiC, Pioneer SC-68 & BDP-62FD, PS3

  4. #4

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    Nice job sk88 I can agree on most of those. As for stereophiles glossary, I've never thought of the male voice when I hear the word "chesty"

  5. #5

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    Me neither
    I guess I did mostly close, except for "bright".
    • Online - Focal Solo6 BE, Polk PSW10, Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP, Lenovo x220t
    • Music/HT - Lsi25, Lsi9 (Vr3), Lsi7, LsiC, Pioneer SC-68 & BDP-62FD, PS3

  6. #6

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    "Bright" to me is like a flashlight to the eyes but with sound. If you cringe, flinch or get general fatigue from listening. Speakers can still be forward without necessarily being bright to the ears.
    Theater Room: Pioneer Elite SC-35, RTi12's, Csi5, Fxi5's, Fxi3's, ED A5-350 sub, Optoma HD20, 92'' Elite Screen, Sony BDPS790, Xbox One, APC H15, MIT Exp 2 SC's, Pepster PC's

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  7. #7

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    http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2011/0...isten-now.html

    This is a link to Harmon's How To Listen software. This will allow you to actually listen to the effects of the various terms you mentioned. It will help fine tune your listening skills and help you to describe different qualities. Hope it helps!

  8. #8

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    Great link, will be playing with this later this evening. Yard chores to do today, just got the lawn tractor out of the shed last night and on the battery charger so I can cut the grass for the first time this year. Spring was slow to come this year.
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  9. #9

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    Within that software you can listen to the tracks they provide or add your own. I would suggest adding something you're familiar with but make sure it is a good quality recording or the tests will be very difficult. But otherwise its a great program. I'm actually curious what levels other people are reaching. Harmon requires their listening stamp,es to be level 8.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by B Run View Post
    "Bright" to me is like a flashlight to the eyes but with sound. If you cringe, flinch or get general fatigue from listening. Speakers can still be forward without necessarily being bright to the ears.
    I swear the last time I auditioned some of the lower/mid line Klipsch the sale guy turned them waay up and "BRIGHT" is the 1st word that came to mind. Still, I would like to find the time to listen to some of their other lines as well as JBL and others because the "forward" and wide soundfield could be an interesting thing for HT.
    FAMILY ROOM
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  11. #11
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    The Harman software is a fun experence, even a year later. They don't let listeners trial test their products until they've completed the software to a certain experience level.

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