Hi-Fi is NOT a subjective hobby.

Rexp

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Many here think the hobby is purely subjective but there are some objective attributes that one can assign to a music reproduction system. For example, one system can objectively image better than another. Agree/disagree?
 
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Many here think the hobby is purely subjective but there are some objective attributes that one can assign to a music reproduction system. For example, one system can objectively image better than another. Agree/disagree?

Agree.

Similar can be said about scale, resolution, articulation, dynamics etc.

However, if a system fits one's preferences, tastes and listening priorities is entirely subjective.

I can recognize and report that objectively another system performs better than mine in some areas, but I can still subjectively prefer mine for a number of reasons.

Just like other cars are objectively better than mine, but I can still have more fun driving mine.

So yes, Hi-Fi IS a subjective hobby.
 
Many here think the hobby is purely subjective but there are some objective attributes that one can assign to a music reproduction system. For example, one system can objectively image better than another.

Objective reality is logically independent of human experience. Some say we can never know the ding an sich - the thing in itself, and that what we 'know' is a product, a combination, of percepts from the world outside of us and the concepts (such as space, time and measurement) that we bring to 'experience'.

What objective attributes can be attributed to a fundamentally subjective psycho-acoustic image in your head?
 
Objective reality is logically independent of human experience. Some say we can never know the ding an sich - the thing in itself, and that what we 'know' is a product, a combination, of percepts from the world outside of us and the concepts (such as space, time and measurement) that we bring to 'experience'.

What objective attributes can be attributed to a fundamentally subjective psycho-acoustic image in your head?
If everyone who hears system A can accurately locate the singers within the sounstage of a specific recording, yet cannot locate them accurately in system B, then I would say system A has objectively better imaging.
 
If everyone who hears system A can accurately locate the singers within the sounstage of a specific recording, yet cannot locate them accurately in system B, then I would say system A has objectively better imaging.

But is system A accurately reproducing the location of the singer on the soundstage, although it is portraying it more precisely?

In audio reproduction as we know it there are no absolutes as they cannot be validated against a known reference and everything is subject to frequency, amplitude, and phase deviations because of the nature of analog signal propagation.

In an ideal world you would keep everything in the digital domain all the way until you get to the acoustic transducer/speakers to avoid the deviations along the signal path, for a more accurate reproduction of the source material.
 
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But is system A accurately reproducing the location of the singer on the soundstage, although it is portraying it more precisely?

In audio reproduction as we know it there are no absolutes as they cannot be validated against a known reference and everything is subject to frequency, amplitude, and phase deviations because of the nature of analog signal propagation.

In an ideal world you would keep everything in the digital domain all the way until you get to the acoustic transducer/speakers to avoid the deviations along the signal path, for a more accurate reproduction of the source material.
For this scenario, lets say the recording engineer listens to system A and confirms the location of the singers is correct.
 
For this scenario, lets say the recording engineer listens to system A and confirms the location of the singers is correct.

Okay, let’s say that the recording engineer does listen to system A and confirms that the location of the singer is correct, but does it match what the mixing engineer’s coherent mix that was sent to the mastering engineer, the mastering engineer’s final version of the recording sent to the reproduction house? Does the mastering engineer’s version match that on the stamper, in the case of vinyl, at the reproduction house? Does the end-user’s copy of the media match the original stamper at the reproduction house? There is worn incurred as vinyl copies are produced, for instance.

You get the picture? Even if the recording engineer agrees that the sound of system A is accurate to what he recalls, the recording has gone through many steps after him that alter the sound, and at which step does it become the reference? Is at the recording engineer’s ear or is at the end-user’s media stage, for instance?
 
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Okay, let’s say that the recording engineer does listen to system A and confirms that the location of the singer is correct, but does it match what the mixing engineer’s coherent mix that was sent to the mastering engineer, the mastering engineer’s final version of the recording sent to the reproduction house? Does the mastering engineer’s version match that on the stamper, in the case of vinyl, at the reproduction house? Does the end-user’s copy of the media match the original stamper at the reproduction house? There is worn incurred as vinyl copies are produced, for instance.

You get the picture? Even if the recording engineer agrees that the sound of system A is accurate to what he recalls, the recording has gone through many steps after him that alter the sound, and at which step does it become the reference? Is at the recording engineer’s ear or is at the end-user’s media stage, for instance?
I'm sure you have recordings where you know where the singers should be placed within the soundstage.
 
I'm sure you have recordings where you know where the singers should be placed within the soundstage.

You see the location of the singer can be moved not just left and right on the soundstage but also forward and backwards. The recording engineer is responsible for capturing the performance during the recording session. The mixing engineer is responsible for taking the various live-feed tracks from the recording session and adjusting them, in terms of gain/level and panning among other things, into a two (stereo) or six (multi-channel) mix that is coherent and his version of the recording. It is with the mix engineer that the location and clarity of the image of the singer and their location first gets set. The mixing engineer’s mix is then sent to the mastering engineer who can, and often does, do additional spatial editing and sharpens or softens the main voice/singer image as well as the spatial orientation in the soundstage.

I can just about put the singer’s voice anywhere in the soundstage with my mastering tools, as any competent mastering engineer can also. I believe it was Hopkins who noticed that with my system-remastering process on my WAAR system that I recess the center image/singer/singer’s voice in the soundstage. I do that intentionally to create a greater sense of depth and to emphasize intonations without sounding aggressive and too forward.

Just think about this, no two systems sound identical so which systems are more accurate in their sound reproduction and how do you validate that? Verification and validation is what is required for objective proof.
 
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I believe it was Hopkins who noticed that with my system-remastering process on my WAAR system that I recess the center image/singer/singer’s voice in the soundstage. I do that intentionally to create a greater sense of depth and to emphasize intonations without sounding aggressive and too forward.

Just think about this, no two systems sound identical so which systems are more accurate in their sound reproduction and how do you validate that? Verification and validation is what is required for objective proof.

The recording is what it is. You can easily figure out where the voice is in a recording by listening with headphones, or to a variety of speakers. There's no "relativism" here.

You may want to tweak the recording and turn it into something else, but that is an entirely different discussion.
 
The recording is what it is. You can easily figure out where the voice is in a recording by listening with headphones, or to a variety of speakers. There's no "relativism" here.

You may want to tweak the recording and turn it into something else, but that is an entirely different discussion.


When you untether yourself from the purist and idealistic principles and pursuits, you open up a world of creative and artistic freedom.

Ironically and unconsciously, the purists and those that do not seek to “reimage” the recordings are doing just that in a more unpredictable manner, through their choices of source components, amplification, cables, speakers, room acoustics treatments, stands/footers, power conditioning, isolation/coupling devices, ionic baths, and so on.
 
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When you untether yourself from the purist and idealistic principles and pursuits, you open up a world of creative and artistic freedom.

Ironically and unconsciously, the purists and those that do not seek to “reimage” the recordings are doing just that in a more unpredictable manner, through their choices of source components, cables, speakers, room acoustics treatments, stands/footers, power conditioning, isolation/coupling devices, ionic baths, and so on.

You can wax poetic about this as long as you want, but ask 10 recording engineers to describe a given recording and I don't think you will get 10 different answers. Whether they like it or not is a different question, and each may have recorded it themselves differently.

It does not take a high end system to understand a recording.

In theory a high end system should offer more resolution, better frequency response (though that is not always achieved), more dynamics, etc. So it should allow you to differentiate and appreciate recordings more easily.
 
You can wax poetic about this as long as you want, but ask 10 recording engineers to describe a given recording and I don't think you will get 10 different answers.

What exactly is the question being posed to the 10 recording engineers?

Whether they like it or not is a different question, and each may have recorded it themselves differently.

It does not take a high end system to understand a recording.

What is your point of the post above? What are you trying to tell us?


In theory a high end system should offer more resolution, better frequency response (though that is not always achieved), more dynamics, etc. So it should allow you to differentiate and appreciate recordings more easily.

Compared to what?
 
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I don't feel like I need to clarify anything, and I am not sure I understand what you are asking. So I'll leave it at that!

You have to come to terms with the fact that every audio reproduction system has a different transfer function and everything will start making sense to you after that.
 
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You have to come to terms with the fact that every audio reproduction system has a transfer function and everything will start making sense to you after that.

What makes sense is that 99% of audiophiles would not have skills to do what recording engineers do and would not even think of replacing them. Maybe you should come to terms with that.
 
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What makes sense is that 99% of audiophiles would not have skills to do what recording engineers do and would not even think of replacing them. Maybe you should come to terms with that.

I agree with you, but unfortunately these audiophiles still try, in haphazard ways through unpredictable trial and error means.
 
I agree with you, but unfortunately these audiophiles still try, in haphazard ways through unpredictable trial and error means.
No, they are not doing the same thing. No one is trying to switch vocals from left to right by changing their equipment. It's not the same objectives.
 
Objective reality is logically independent of human experience. Some say we can never know the ding an sich - the thing in itself, and that what we 'know' is a product, a combination, of percepts from the world outside of us and the concepts (such as space, time and measurement) that we bring to 'experience'.

What objective attributes can be attributed to a fundamentally subjective psycho-acoustic image in your head?

Well looking at speaker measurements the off axis response, smooth polar response, directivity index, SPL pair matching are all going to contribute.

Rob :)
 

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