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05-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,958
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 19313
Reply to: 19313
How does it sound?

I got an email from… I do not from whom, somebody from internet. The guy sounds like build his home inhalation and considering some bass horns. He read at my site about my midbass horn project. He was inquiring how my midbass horns sound and if it was worth to build them. With all reasonability of his questions I refused to response. Furthered it made to think about the subject more globally, as usually...

What audio people except what they somebody characterization about sound of this or that devise?  The reference points in sound among audio people are so wide and so disconnected. The way how audio people not only think but even to talk about sound are very broad. Even the understanding the definition of “sound good” is very mach wary from audio person to audio person. I intentionally use a colloquialism “audio person” not “a person” as among audio people the diversity of perception is much wider then among regular mammals due to acquired industry aberrations.

So, what my accidental correspondent was asking? How my midbass horns sound and if worth to pursuit that project? How can I characterize the sound of my midbass horn to a person about whom I have no idea and who has no idea about me. I can talk about specific particularity of sonorities in Bruckner and how room might be fulfilled by horn midbass.  However, it might be very much not something that somebody else would looking and I know it is the fact as I any other midbass horns the I heard did the things other than my horns. Not that my horn are better or worse compare to others but they set to do exactly what they meant to do in context of my room, in context of my listening objectives, reference points and life style. How can I characterize to that internet fellow the sound of my horns not to mention how can I assess if it worth for him to undertake this project?

Probably if case of pre-manufactured cookie-cutter audio systems and for two typical audiophile head-banger who slip with TAS under their pillow it might be possible to ask “how it sounds”. They will wispier to each other the magical and meaningless industry developed words that send to each other subliminal pleasure messages. I do not feel that however that it always possible in case of independent audio development.  The independent audio thinking might be anything, and it might be a nightmare. I have seen a huge number of dependants so-called DIYers who had horrendous sound and absolutely barrack objectives. However, it is very hard to type-cast dependant people if they do not support the mainstream of DIY industry (let face the DIY audio is also the industry with own shepherds and own flock of brain-dead followers).

So, my question to you: what do you expect when you ask or when you are being asked “how that or that component” sound? What techniques you use in order to get the necessary references about your conversation partner in order to get or to give a right characterization of sound?

Romy the Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
United Kingdom
Posts 247
Joined on 03-01-2008

Post #: 2
Post ID: 19314
Reply to: 19313
Multiple choice exam
I suppose the richness of the musical language is a hint, but it can only ever be a hint, for taste is measured by preference not someone's justification of a preference. The same seems to me to be true of visual art and literature: criticism here is fundamentally "manicular": one points to what is good and what is bad; the talk is more or less beside the point.
So perhaps the closest one could get is a multiple choice exam where one has to choose between sets of recordings of performances differing in ways that illustrate someone's musical sensibilities -- not just about content but also about reproduction. Perhaps it should be a "wall" one has to get through to ask a question on your forum...  
05-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Behind The Sun
Posts 235
Joined on 01-15-2009

Post #: 3
Post ID: 19315
Reply to: 19313
We need a common language

Yes, these kind of question „How does it sound“ are very old and a classic. Answering those I gave up long time ago. I replaced my answer to the socalled audiophile language and my friendships are growing:

Discriminated Audiophile:  Hey Stitch, how does your Cartridge sound?

Stitch:  Black

Discriminated Audiophile:  Woah, really?

Stitch:  Yes, super dark black.

Discriminated Audiophile:  And the Soundstage?

Stitch:  Clear

Discriminated Audiophile:  Boah. Totally clear?

Stitch:  Yes, and in the corners a touch of gold

Discriminated Audiophile:  Oh man, that sounds good

Stitch:   Yes, like the real thing

Discriminated Audiophile:  No, c'mon T-H-A-T good???

Stitch:  Better

Discriminated Audiophile:  So it's worth $15000.00?

Stitch:  Easy

Discriminated Audiophile:  Hm, how can I tell it my wife?

Stitch:  Get divorced

Discriminated Audiophile:  Are you divorced?

Stitch:  Of course

Discriminated Audiophile:  But she owns the house....

Stitch: and so on and on and on

Next week I'll go to High End Show....there are all the Junkies around the Dealers with big eyes and whispering about the  looks and "performance" ...Luv' it

Kind Regards
05-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,397
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 4
Post ID: 19316
Reply to: 19314
Old and Dead Hi-Fi Editors vs. GSC Collective Consciousness

This takes me back to previous discussions we've had about differences between the languages of Music and of Hi-Fi, and I hereby refer readers to these posts.  I'll add a link or links if I can find them.

In direct response to the subject post, 50 years ago, I just wanted to be able to meet and talk with people on the subject of hi-fi, itself, and it was mostly like early rocket science, I suppose; we just patched stuff together and listened to the results, with LPs, tape, or FM sources.  I think that meeting some people in the recording and hi-fi manufaturing "industries" early on had a sort of "mechanical" or "grounding" effect on me that took me many years to get over, if indeed I ever did.  In those early days, I was excited when J Gordon Holt began to develop a sort of "Esperanto for Hi-Fi", in an attempt to codify the language of what we hear.  Although I made every effort to learn and speak this language, it was not widely accepted, even by the other Stereophile writers, and it was basically ignored by most other people "in the industry", and it quickly faded into oblivion.

At this time, I read and/or listen to others for clues about not only what they say are hearing but also what they are listening for.  I think it helps me if someone talks about the Music itself; but it's hard to be sure.  While this "system" is bound to be hit or miss, speaking about Sound itself and in terms of Music is all I know to do at this time, "supplemented" by a truly bastardized "electro-speak", where standard electrical/engineering terms have been hijacked and morphed to serve musico-auditory ends.  The truth is, I don't often talk about hi-fi to anyone outside of GSC!  Add the Romy-isms, and one could say we have our own, evolving language here, and (not to be philosophical), I guess this lanuage stems from and reflects the GSC "collective consciousness".

Best regards,
Paul S

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