How do you measure how ‘HiFi’ something is?
I was listening to the Themes album by Vangelis on cassette last night. In every measurable and scientifically-quantifiable way, it is inferior to the CD I own of the same album, because cassettes are less technically-competent than CDs, in the same way that records also are. So using technical competency as a method of ranking how HiFi something potentially will be, the cassette medium cannot possibly be considered as HiFi as CDs.
Yet I found the cassette version of the album far more enjoyable and immersive to listen to than the CD version. Assuming that the mastertape is at least as equally enjoyable and immersive to listen to, then the cassette version of the album, to my ears, is more HiFi than the CD, because it more faithfully reproduces those vital qualities.
But how can you quantify ‘enjoyment’ and ‘immersive’ so that you can put them on a new product’s spec sheet? If you could measure them, then it seems that totally against all odds my cassette deck (and probably my turntable) would have better figures for those two specs than my CD player and HRT DAC, even though the CDP and DAC would be vastly superior in every other measurable specification.
Certainly to my ears, those two qualities, which I feel are fundamental to how HiFi something is, are not inherently related to technical proficiency, bit-perfect datastreams, impressive S/N ratios, huge DRs nor anything else which is currently sold to us as being important.