Cno touched on this earlier - an amp that rolls its bass off a little early can sound faster. Because it isn't producing the lower notes that many speakers (and probably amplifiers) can't keep a grip on, it sounds like it is more in control, and therefore sounds faster, seemingly exhibiting more accurate pace and timing.
This is just a perception of being faster, it isn't actually faster. If you counted the beats from a portion of the same track at a given time period on a loose "slow" amp, and the same on a tight "fast" amp the results would be the same, at exactly the same time.
So if "good timing" means "tight/fast" or it has good definition, I wish they would just say that. I think "timing" is the wrong word to use and it obviously is a cause for confusion.
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Oh you mean as in a lean sounding speaker, or leaner sounding against one with a fuller bass? This is down to an interpretation of how we describe bass. More to do with the ability of a speaker to reproduce bass depth than "timing" of the music itself though I'd suggest.
I'm afraid all this whole discussion does is demonstrate the futility of subjective reviews. Good reading material on the john, not very helpful when spending £00s or £000s on hifi.
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No, but I know a man who can
I was hoping for a somewhat more informed answer. Failing that, mere coherence would have sufficed.
A bit harsh.
It should be part of the decision making process, not be the decision making process. If the item is reasonably accurately described, and given context, it can help make a shortlist....it may be subjective, but if the reviewer is experienced, it still plays a useful role.
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I'd go along with that Cno, I find reviews by and large very useful and an experienced journalist will bring more to the review than just a collection of buzz words. In the end, people should be using reviews as but one avenue to finding out and investigating a potential new purchase. Much in the same way as you wouldn't solely rely on reading off the spec sheet alone.
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Actually I agree with that. I used the WHIFI reviews (and others) to generate a shortlist. I ignored the EDITED words and went with consensus views. It worked for me but the EDITED does annoy me!
Are distortion figures not printed in most hifi product specifications?
Measurements will show distortion or artifacts, but wether or not you can actually hear and identify them is another matter entirely, which is where 'audibly transparent' comes in.
Playing devil's advocate, is there any reason why there can't be an 'audibly transparent' passive crossover?
I'm sure not, but out of all components in the audio chain, I'd say that speakers would be the component to display the most obvious traits of any lack of 'transparency' (if that's the term we are going to use for generic unwanted noise).
One thing must be certain, if there is so much difference in sound presentation (as per reviews) between even high end and equally priced components, then they cannot all be audibly transparent.
I guess that I've been lucky and chanced upon such components in the form of DACs, as I've not found anything to really split them, even cheap ones.
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A similar example would be cars. You can read all the spec sheets and details, but you have to drive the car to know if it is right for you. Hi-fi is the same. Certain people will like the way that certain manufacturers deliver the sound. Do all hi-fis sound the same? Do all cars drive the same? Of course not. Given that music is much more of am emotional feel than cars, it shouldn't be too hard to work out.
Helpful to make a shortlist is agree with, although you are a good example of someone who points our there is a far wider choice than that which appears in WHF. 'Accurately described' is kind of the point, this thread has proved that no individual or magazine understands or uses the subjective words in quite the same way, so information is never accurately relayed.
I only asked because I've only recently seen this phrase cropping up and wanted to see how it was being meant. I think it may be being used a little indiscriminately. I can see the point of digital sources being audibly transparent (ie bit perfect with only inaudible levels of jitter), DACs (which measure flat below and above the range of human hearing) and well designed amps (where distortion inherent in certain designs can be negated with negative feedback and bias, I think). A loudspeaker, however, can never be audibly transparent, they cannot recreate real sounds perfectly, they do not measure flat. Of all the reasons why that is the case, I would have thought the crossover is one of the least important, although I recognise the various technical advantages that removing a passive crossover from the chain has.
Interested that you say transparency = generic unwanted noise. I don't think we can use that definition as the point you make about high end components (especially speakers) sounding different is correct. The point therefore is that people *want* their components to be voiced differently, it is 'wanted' noise in the form of smile frequency responses, harmonic distortion, comb filtering etc. It's not hifi with its traditional ideals, but people can choose what they want.
That does reveal a problem with the term 'transparency' as it is subjectively used, because a review may well on the one hand describe something as transparent but on the other describe its sonic characteristics which have been voiced away from perfect reproduction.
Hmm, personally I would say that frequency responses may differ, but do not necessarily equate to distortion, but I'm sure that there are many other issues that affect the voicing of a speaker.
I agree that speakers are the least likely to be 'audibly transparent' but perhaps some are. Panel and electrostatic speakers are supposed to have very low THD, but I don't know at what level various distortions are actually audible and that is the crux of the matter.
If I had the budget and space to have a completely neutral system, then that's what I would choose, but unfortunately, like most people, have to work around various limitations.
Also in the original review there is absolutly nothing in the " AGAINST" section it says " Nothing of Note"
and in The Worlds 30 Best Amps edition it says " if not completely impossible to fault at this price" and there is no mention of smoothing over or softness!
But move on a few months and faults are found from somewhere!
One thing for sure is, it is a very good well made amplifier.
Well, apart from the lack of transparency.
Well its not made out of see through Acrylic, but that would be
So if I described my Pioneer amp as "transparent, coherent and with impeccable timing", while my DAC has a "truly organic sound" what do I really mean?
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