Again, though I wasn't involved in the review, to clarify: 'transparency' isn't the 'AGAINST' here: rather it says of the Marantz 'Just a shade soft and smoothed out – could do with a touch more transparency' (within the context of the test group assembled for the Group Test in question).
The way I read the test, it's simply that Rotel has raised the bar in this price-category.
Something I've always found interesting with What Hi-Fi reviews this, "the competition has raised the bar".
I wonder if products are actually revied and rated for how good they (actually are), or how well they compare with the competition. I mean there are always 5 star products in every category you can think of. Does that mean those products really are fantastic, or that they are the best from a selection at that price?
Hi-Fi technology doesn't change very rapidly, a £500 amp now will sound very much like a £500 amp 10 years ago. Yet we hear of raising the bar when newer models come out?
NAD C326BEE Amplifier, Sony CDP-XB930 CD Player, Pioneer PDR-509 CD Recorder, Arcam irDock with iPod Touch, B&W DM 601 S3 speakers, Jamo 20"Stands, Revolver Rack, QED cabling throughout, Sennheiser HD 518 & HD 565 Ovation Headphones, Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE ear buds.
What is this transparency anyway?
I'd be interested to know what people mean when they use the word 'transparency' to describe a sound.
I would interpret this as clarity of the sound.
Like others have said though if it sounds clear in one review it should in another, unless they don't rate products on their own true merits as mentioned in my previous post.
Main gear: Mac Mini > HRT Streamer II+ > Marantz PM66 KI > Mission 794
Also cluttering-up the place:
Thorens TD160 no cartridge; Marantz CD63 mkII KI; Technics SL-P777; Cyrus 2 + PSX; Cyrus Tuner; Nakamichi DR-1
Well, inflation calculators (at least for the UK) suggest that £500 in the mid-90s would be the equivalent of about £750 now.
Consulting Editor, What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision/whathifi.com Audio Editor, Gramophone
I'd look at the same price range now. A budget component 10 years ago was sub £250, that is still true today. The price sectors haven't changed.
I had a £300 NAD C350 amplifier from 12 or 13 years ago owned it since new. It has stopped working so I replaced it with a NAD C326BEE from today's range at £300. Is the new amp significantly better than the old one? No it isn't and it still slots into the same place in NAD's range that my C350 did 12 years ago.
I'd use the term 'transparency' in the context of lack of unwanted audible artifacts in the music, so as an example distortion in speakers and jitter effects from digital components, the window analogy if you will, with no obscurities.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Indeed: the hi-fi and AV sectors don't seem to do inflation.
These glib statements of improvements are made every time a new product comes out. It's called marketing and applies to practically every consumer product out there.
Sometimes advancements are actually made in real terms, as opposed to aesthetics or a change for changes sake, but usually any improvements are rather small, so it pays to buy a previous model when a new one is announced, to get the best VFM.
The real trouble is that the term is meaningless (as is "timing").
It's not meaningless, but you do need some sort of reference point to stop it becoming so.
Genuinely interested - please provide a (layman's) example / "reference point ".
IMO. Transparancy or clarity is what you get when when anything that reduces it (transparecy) is removed ie. All types of distortion, artifacts / noise introduced by elements like poor power, jitter etc etc....Nb. the effect of a room can undo transparancy.
IMO. Well designed streamers are often more transparent than CDPs (at the same price point); some NOS Dacs (eg Audio Note) achieve it; well designed SS Class A amps can be more transparent due to the elimination of Crossover distortion; the new breed of Class D amps are looking very promising on the transparency front (Nad, Primare, Bel Canto, Devialet); certain AB amps, like Bryston.
On the speaker end, you could be looking at the Reference type monitor, like ATC, Focal, Kef Refs, B&W 800 Diamond series...also you would need to include well designed Actives here as well.
Like most other adjectives to do with describing the way hifi sounds, it's subjective...both by the person describing it and the person reading it. If benchmarks are used by the reviewer, it helps put the remarks in context and makes comparison easier.
I seem to be waffling a bit - sorry.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Not really. I'd say you were about right on the money.
We judge products against similarly-priced rivals. In this case the arrival of Rotel's RA-10 has raised the bar, and shown that the Marantz could be better in certain areas.
By transparency we mean the ability of the amplifier to let the music signal through unchanged.
That's clear enough but how do you know what the original "music signal" sounds like so that you can judge the extent of any "change"?
BTW perhaps you could explain "timing"?
While waiting for a reply, this might help ie. explaining the relationship between Pace, Rhythm and Timing: http://www.tnt-audio.com/edcorner/prat_e.html
What would be some examples?
I was talking about all the elements of a system, right the way through, from the quality of the mains power; the possible effects of RFI / EMI; to any problems in a digital source (like Jitter); to amps where for example, AB amps suffer crossover distortion; to all the problems associated with speakers (cabinet design, ports, crossovers etc).....all of which effect transparency, which is what I was asked.
Yeah, but which ones have you heard doing all this? Same with timing. does an amp really have influence on this? In fact, does any component? Can we name and shame?
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