DJ system provokes new thinking on HiFi evaluation..

Non-Smoking Man

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I was at a record fair yesterday and the organiser had a DJ in to provide, er, 'atmosphere..'

Let's not concern ourselves with my opinion that he was inappropriately loud, but there was something else that occurred to me during the day (!) that led me to reshuffle my personal 'criteria of evaluation' of HIFI systems.

(Paul Messenger's list of criteria is the most reliable, systematic and comprehensive list that I have come across (in his reviews).)

Ok, its this - his system ( a pair of cheap direct drives 'after' 1210s, but not 1210s, Orto Concorde carts, mixer, active speakers 'on sticks') made everything sound the same.

I had a retake on the excellent systems that I regularly listen to, including my own, and realised that they were all portraying each artist, band, ensemble and orchestra, in such a way as to differentiate each from the other.

So, having now adopted this 'take' on evaluation, I shall be looking out for signs of differentiation when I listen - there may be more 'intonation' and 'characterisation' in the rendition of an LP on one system compared to another, or on the introduction of a new component, say...

One salient failure with the DJ system was that the bass definitely sounded the same whatever he played. Maybe that's a starting point to see if my idea has wheels..is the bass being played by the same guy with the same guitar..?

Jack NSM
 

Beobloke

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Which is why my DJ setup back in the day was always complimented for its sound - I prioritised this!
 
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tuga

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The most accurate system is that which will highlight the msallest differences between recordings.
But some people don't like this, which is understandable.

I posted the following recently in another thread:

Peter Qvortrup is one helluva snake-oil salesman but he once proposed an interesting method for evaluating equipment/system in a piece called "Are You On The Road To... Audio Hell?":

The Proposed Method: Comparison By Contrast
When auditioning only two playback systems using the usual method, we will have a least a 50% chance of choosing the one which is more accurate. However, evaluations of single components willy-nilly test the entire playback chain; therefore efforts to choose the more accurate component are compounded by the likelihood that we will be equally uncertain as to the accuracy of each of the systems associated components if for no reasons that that they were chosen by a method which guarantees prejudice. How can we have any confidence that having chosen one component by such a method that its presence in the system won't mislead us when evaluating other components on the playback chain, present or future?

The way to sort out which system or component is more accurate is to invert the test. Instead of comparing a handful or recordings – presumed to be definitive – on two different systems to determine which one coincides with our present feeling about the way that music ought to sound, play a larger number of recordings of vastly different styles and recording technique on two different systems to hear which system reveals more differences between the recordings. This is a procedure which anyone with ears can make use of, but requires letting go of some of our favored practices and prejudices.

In more detail, it would go something like this; Line up about two dozen recordings of different kinds of music – pop vocal, orchestral, jazz, chamber music, folk, rock, opera, piano – music you like, but recordings of which you are unfamiliar. (It is very important to avoid your favorite "test" recordings presuming that they will tell you what you need to know about some performance parameter or other, because doing so will likely only serve to confirm or deny an expectation based on prior "performances" you have heard on other systems or components. More later.) First with one system and then the other, play through complete numbers from all of these in one sitting. (The two systems may be entirely different or have only one variable such as cables, amplifier, or speaker.)

The more accurate system is the one which reproduces more differences – more contrast – between the various program sources.
 

dave

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One salient failure with the DJ system was that the bass definitely sounded the same whatever he played. Maybe that's a starting point to see if my idea has wheels..is the bass being played by the same guy with the same guitar..?

Bass is tricky in my experience and "timbre" when you can get it is really quite suppressing. In my limited experience the best bass comes for huge woofers with stiff suspension. Also very dependent on upstream electronics, but why and what seems a bit unpredictable to me at the moment.

Can't help thinking a bass horn built into one's large music room would be the optimum.
 

MVJ

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Your ears your choice! what is being proposed is hearing a system you don't like at a show & using it to evaluate your own system🙄
 

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The most accurate system is that which will highlight the msallest differences between recordings.
But some people don't like this, which is understandable.

I posted the following recently in another thread:

Peter Qvortrup is one helluva snake-oil salesman but he once proposed an interesting method for evaluating equipment/system in a piece called "Are You On The Road To... Audio Hell?":

The Proposed Method: Comparison By Contrast
When auditioning only two playback systems using the usual method, we will have a least a 50% chance of choosing the one which is more accurate. However, evaluations of single components willy-nilly test the entire playback chain; therefore efforts to choose the more accurate component are compounded by the likelihood that we will be equally uncertain as to the accuracy of each of the systems associated components if for no reasons that that they were chosen by a method which guarantees prejudice. How can we have any confidence that having chosen one component by such a method that its presence in the system won't mislead us when evaluating other components on the playback chain, present or future?

The way to sort out which system or component is more accurate is to invert the test. Instead of comparing a handful or recordings – presumed to be definitive – on two different systems to determine which one coincides with our present feeling about the way that music ought to sound, play a larger number of recordings of vastly different styles and recording technique on two different systems to hear which system reveals more differences between the recordings. This is a procedure which anyone with ears can make use of, but requires letting go of some of our favored practices and prejudices.

In more detail, it would go something like this; Line up about two dozen recordings of different kinds of music – pop vocal, orchestral, jazz, chamber music, folk, rock, opera, piano – music you like, but recordings of which you are unfamiliar. (It is very important to avoid your favorite "test" recordings presuming that they will tell you what you need to know about some performance parameter or other, because doing so will likely only serve to confirm or deny an expectation based on prior "performances" you have heard on other systems or components. More later.) First with one system and then the other, play through complete numbers from all of these in one sitting. (The two systems may be entirely different or have only one variable such as cables, amplifier, or speaker.)

The more accurate system is the one which reproduces more differences – more contrast – between the various program sources.
I don't get it. So the one with more extreme sound is the more accurate?
 

slavedata

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You started by saying the DJs bass all sounded the same. When I was still teaching I can remember talking to my students who were keen on a sub woofer in a car. I explained the physics of the enclosure and how they were tuned to fart loudly a single note that bore little or no resemblance to the music playing. Lots of PA systems do the same as it is a cheap way to give bass feel and of course a lot of the audience are drivers of farting cars.
 

BarefootGuy

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Every system consisting of differing parts that reproduce audio will sound, or measure, differently (I added "measure", as it is possible that the differences may be so small as to be inaudible to most or all people). Some systems will sound significantly better or "different" than others, and others significantly worse. It also depends on who is listening. Some people, including someone on my street, think that "good sound" is a minimum of 100db on a cheap AV system and budget speakers with the subwoofer up to maximum gain and "doof doof doofing" so loud that it will all but shake the fillings from their teeth. If this fellow, and I am assuming they are male, had to listen to my system, with its reserved, tight, accurate bass, usually played around 60-65db, they would probably say it sounds sh*t. And same would be true if I listened to his distorted, bloated mess of a system. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Good taste and good audio likewise.

Personally, I wouldn't use someone else's system to evaluate my own. Judge each system by its own merits...and don't forget to enjoy the music, be it on a £20 bluetooth speaker or a £10000 system. That's the whole point, after all.
 

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I don't get it. So the one with more extreme sound is the more accurate?
That not what @tuga wrote. Audio Note’s view is because all recordings are different these differences should be heard. If a system does not highlight differences then it’s not revealing. You may or may not like this. No mention of the word extreme. No more no less. This seems perfectly logical.
 
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zekezebra

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This is difficult for me. I usually have Radio Paradise bluetoothed to my soundbar on during the day a rarely notice poor recordings.

However, if I hear something new to me that I like I make a note of it and find it on Roon/Tidal and play it through my HiFi setup. Then I often start to hear the flaws in the recording and don't enjoy it so much. This was even worse when I had D&D 8C's which at times were too revealing.
 

StingRay

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That not what @tuga wrote. Audio Note’s view is because all recordings are different these differences should be heard. If a system does not highlight differences then it’s no revealing. You may or may not like this No more no less. This seems perfectly logical.
Yet some systems over emphasise certain frequencies, does not mean they are more accurate.
 
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BarefootGuy

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That not what @tuga wrote. Audio Note’s view is because all recordings are different these differences should be heard. If a system does not highlight differences then it’s not revealing. You may or may not like this. No mention of the word extreme. No more no less. This seems perfectly logical.
This is why I have two systems. One more revealing, one less so. I play well-recorded music on the revealing system and poorly recorded music on the other system. Middle of the road sounds good on both.
 

DomT

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I was at a record fair yesterday and the organiser had a DJ in to provide, er, 'atmosphere..'

Let's not concern ourselves with my opinion that he was inappropriately loud, but there was something else that occurred to me during the day (!) that led me to reshuffle my personal 'criteria of evaluation' of HIFI systems.

(Paul Messenger's list of criteria is the most reliable, systematic and comprehensive list that I have come across (in his reviews).)

Ok, its this - his system ( a pair of cheap direct drives 'after' 1210s, but not 1210s, Orto Concorde carts, mixer, active speakers 'on sticks') made everything sound the same.

I had a retake on the excellent systems that I regularly listen to, including my own, and realised that they were all portraying each artist, band, ensemble and orchestra, in such a way as to differentiate each from the other.

So, having now adopted this 'take' on evaluation, I shall be looking out for signs of differentiation when I listen - there may be more 'intonation' and 'characterisation' in the rendition of an LP on one system compared to another, or on the introduction of a new component, say...

One salient failure with the DJ system was that the bass definitely sounded the same whatever he played. Maybe that's a starting point to see if my idea has wheels..is the bass being played by the same guy with the same guitar..?

Jack NSM
Jack a thoughtful post. All recordings are different and so these differences should shine through on a decent system. But this typically implies quite a transparent system and that can bring warts and all. Maybe less of a problem with genres like jazz and classical.

Many recordings that I adore are badly recorded and so I have Ben treading a fine line between transparency and other attributes. Musical expression is more important to me than absolute transparency. And I prefer more of a studio sound to a live sound because listening for long periods of time I don’t want to be quickly fatigued.
 
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DomT

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Yet some systems over emphasise certain frequencies, does not mean they are more accurate.
Nobody has said that apart from you.

But on that point we are dealing with two things. Hifi systems that may or may not promote certain frequencies and also recordings thatalso promote certain frequencies. An accurate system will show up the recordings that are promoting certain frequencies.
 
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StingRay

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Nobody has said that apart from you.

But on that point we are dealing with two things. Hifi systems that may or may not promote certain frequencies and also recordings thatalso promote certain frequencies. An accurate system will show up the recordings that are promoting certain frequencies.
Yes but some systems emphasise them more, does not mean they are more accurate. Even on well recorded Jazz Ive had to turn some off after about 20 minutes, the cymbals were just too much, my ears were almost bleeding.
 
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BarefootGuy

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Yes but some systems emphasise them more, does not mean they are more accurate. Even on well recorded Jazz Ive had to turn some off after about 20 minutes, the cymbals were just too much, my ears were almost bleeding.
I have had this exact same experience. Some systems, particularly speakers, seem to emphasise certain frequencies, often higher frequencies. Some, like me, with good hearing might find "hot" recordings on a system like this unbearable. To someone with some hearing loss, this may sound great. A lot depends on the listener. I'd take dull and doofing over bright and earbleeding anyday, but prefer honest reproduction of the source material with options to EQ to taste.
 

rabski

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There are different points here, as always. I agree that a good system should make differences between recordings clearer. It should also make things clearer within each recording (position of instruments, clarity, etc.). However, what is equally true is that some equipment and some systems do not have an even frequency response, and accentuate some aspects (often upper mids and treble). That may well make differences between recordings clearer, but it doesn't mean the system is better. In fact, it's worse. You need both a reasonably even frequency response, and enough definition to make things clear.

Despite the possible issues with mids and treble, I have to say that to me, it's usually all about the bass. The difference between good systems and not so good systems is the difference between clear, distinct bass notes with an 'edge' and a decay, and 'one note boom'.
 

tuga

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This is difficult for me. I usually have Radio Paradise bluetoothed to my soundbar on during the day a rarely notice poor recordings.

However, if I hear something new to me that I like I make a note of it and find it on Roon/Tidal and play it through my HiFi setup. Then I often start to hear the flaws in the recording and don't enjoy it so much. This was even worse when I had D&D 8C's which at times were too revealing.
It’s happened to me that a tune which sounded interesting in the car or desktop when played back on my system sounded sonically and musically disappointing or plain bad.
 
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