Not worrying about neutrality

May 30, 2010
14,805
338
83
Portugal
#41
Why not? But the real point is the converse: If there is an abiding and consistent tonal character shared by all recordings (including traffic), it is a sure sign of the lack of neutrality.
Ok, we are now dirfting to the accepted usual terms for neutrality - tonal character, not the recording venue distinction.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,047
602
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#42
Same goes for any system that is consistently cool, analytical and providing only an intellectual exercise...this too is wrong . . .
I am not meaning to fence by writing this, and I hope I am not fencing, but this strikes me as merely self-centered bias. Personally, I 100% agree with you subjectively on this. (It is no coincidence that you and I both love SETs.) But to suggest that an audiophile who likes the sound you disdain is in some way objectively “wrong” is the beginning of so many of our communication problems on these topics.

It is perfectly valid that some audiophiles hear and like the sound you disdain in their pursuit of any one or more of the four objectives of high-end audio. It may not be the sound you and I subjectively prefer, but it is a completely valid preference. I do not agree that it is “wrong.”
 
Likes: KeithR

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
1,552
63
48
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#43
Ok, we are now dirfting to the accepted usual terms for neutrality - tonal character, not the recording venue distinction.
Don't put words in my mouth. Tonal character affects the perception of the acoustics of the recording venue. I include all audible parameters in consideration of what is neutral and what is not.
 
Likes: Ron Resnick

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
1,552
63
48
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#44
I am not meaning to fence by writing this, and I hope I am not fencing, but this strikes me as merely self-centered bias. Personally, I 100% agree with you subjectively on this. (It is no coincidence that you and I both love SETs.)
I do not share the same bias as you two do but agree with morricab by logic and principle.

But to suggest that an audiophile who likes the sound you disdain is in some way objectively “wrong” is the beginning of so many of our communication problems on these topics.
Are you arguing for any expression of bias which obscures characteristics of the original performance/recording as not wrong?

Despite saying this, I support anyone's choice of bias if it leads to personal enjoyment and satisfaction. Right and wrong is another matter. How do you stand on accuracy? I posit that it is inseparable from neutrality.
 
Dec 20, 2014
224
7
18
#45
Can I first of all say say thank you for the great discussion.

I may well be mistaking dull with neutral, but by the same token many tell me that SME turntables are neutral and I am consistently underwhelmed by them - yes in all the systems I have heard they are utterly cerebral and I respect and admire their sound - but they do not do it for me. Call me a Philistine.

I recall an excellent review on the Koetsu Red K signature in hifi plus and whilst it was described as being 'warm' you still heard the difference in recordings - all the detail was there - akin to what spiritofthemusic said about Atmasphere amps. Coloured components do show up detail and differences but simply add a specific shade or hue to the music - a bit like wearing shades, especially subtle ones.

I think I appreciate all that high end image and detail, but with a real warmth.

I recall the first high-end set up I was utterly beguiled by was from GT Audio that used Graham Trickers own SE amps and horns - neutral - probably not - do you care - back then yes I didn't want to admit I liked the idea of a warmish amp (and I certainly do not suggest in any way woolly) -

Being a bit older and wiser may well have made me appreciate different things more in music - timbre, body, warmth, tone. Detail tends to be easier to notice perhaps.
 
Feb 1, 2019
33
62
18
66
#46
No they will all be colored differently.
I’ve always thought of ‘colored’ as a tonal anomaly where parts of the frequency spectrum are consistently emphasised or recessed. As long as the 3 systems don’t deviate too far from a ‘flat’ frequency response, there’s no reason they would sound coloured. They would sound different but within their frequency bandwidths they could still be neutral.... neither consistently adding nor subtracting across a variety of recording.
Obviously a speaker with extended bass is going to sound different to one with limited extension but all other things being equal I wouldn’t consider bass extension or lack thereof coloration and I would have no problem to describe either as neutral, as long as that statement was qualified with ‘within its operating bandwidth’
 
Last edited:

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,047
602
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#47
. . . Are you arguing for any expression of bias which obscures characteristics of the original performance/recording as not wrong?

. . .
Hi Kal! Thank you for participating here!

When you put it that way, no; I am not arguing generally for the validity of a subjective preference the implementation of which affirmatively obscures characteristics of the original performance/recording. However, if an individual audiophile is pursuing objective 2) or 4), and he believes that, for whatever sonic reason, such consistent obscuring gets him closer to his objective (this is the same point as my consistent “gap” comment to you in post #30, above), then (trying to maintain logical integrity here) I cannot say that he is objectively wrong.
 
Last edited:

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,047
602
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#48
. . . How do you stand on accuracy? I posit that it is inseparable from neutrality.
I agree with TimA that assigning consistently understandable and widely accepted sonic definitions to single words is tough sledding.

I don’t personally use the term “accuracy” because I think it embodies some of the difficulties of “absolute sound” and of “neutrality.”

Purely as a matter of nomenclature I would think that “accuracy” and “neutrality” are, if not literally the same thing, two sides of the same coin. It makes sense to me that if you have one then you necessarily have the other. And I think both words have the same definitional difficulties.
 

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
1,552
63
48
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#49
Hi Kal! Thank you for participating here!

When you put it that way, no; I am not arguing generally for the validity of a subjective preference the implementation of which affirmatively obscures characteristics of the original performance/recording. However, if an individual audiophile is pursuing objective 2) or 4), and he believes that, for whatever sonic reason, such consistent obscuring gets him closer to his objective (this is the same point as my consistent “gap” comment to you in post #30, above), then (trying to maintain logical integrity here) I cannot say that he is objectively wrong.
I think that I have allowed for such expressions of preference. The use of the word 'wrong' which was intended as a red flag for distortion while the latter appears more objective to be a deviation from accuracy. In order to maintain a friendly dialog, I will stop using the word "wrong" although I do not believe it was misused.
 

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
1,552
63
48
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#50
I don’t personally use the term “accuracy” because I think it embodies some of the difficulties of “absolute sound” and of “neutrality.”
No doubt. Accuracy and neutrality are paramount goals. Absolute sound? Pass.;)
 
Likes: Ron Resnick

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,047
602
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#51
I think that I have allowed for such expressions of preference. The use of the word 'wrong' which was intended as a red flag for distortion while the latter appears more objective to be a deviation from accuracy. In order to maintain a friendly dialog, I will stop using the word "wrong" although I do not believe it was misused.
Please don’t do anything or change anything on my account! I’m just one sole opinion.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,609
30
48
Metro DC
#52
Accuracy and neutrality are laudable goals Accurate to what? Neutral to what? The recreation of real music in real space nust always be the goal. How you get there is complicated in deed.
 
Likes: Ron Resnick

DaveC

Industry Expert
Nov 16, 2014
2,414
215
63
#53
When a systems distortion pattern mimics our own ear/brains pattern then warmth or lack thereof will be almost entirely recording dependent. What I hate to hear is when decay is unnaturally truncated , which I often hear even very high end systems and when most recordings come off as analytical or cold tonally...just as wrong as always warm but less pleasant...
I agree, but I do think the systems we perceive as the most natural, clear and real sounding enhance decay and add some distortion.
 

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
1,552
63
48
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#54
Accuracy and neutrality are laudable goals Accurate to what? Neutral to what? The recreation of real music in real space nust always be the goal. How you get there is complicated in deed.
Sure, that is the ultimate goal but we are at the mercy of the recordings that we have. So, given current technology, I would see the task as having two parts. The first part would be to reproduce the recording as accurately/neutrally as possible and I regard that as essential. The second part would be to modify the results to make them hew more closely to an idealized model of how the sound should sound.

I am OK stopping with the first part because I believe that is the closest one can get but others will differ.
 
Likes: bonzo75
May 30, 2010
14,805
338
83
Portugal
#55
Sure, that is the ultimate goal but we are at the mercy of the recordings that we have. So, given current technology, I would see the task as having two parts. The first part would be to reproduce the recording as accurately/neutrally as possible and I regard that as essential. The second part would be to modify the results to make them hew more closely to an idealized model of how the sound should sound.

I am OK stopping with the first part because I believe that is the closest one can get but others will differ.
What are your advised tools to check the accuracy/neutrality? IMHO the often used measurements and listening methods can compromise the second part.
 
Feb 8, 2011
20,213
211
63
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#56
Sure, that is the ultimate goal but we are at the mercy of the recordings that we have. So, given current technology, I would see the task as having two parts. The first part would be to reproduce the recording as accurately/neutrally as possible and I regard that as essential. The second part would be to modify the results to make them hew more closely to an idealized model of how the sound should sound.

I am OK stopping with the first part because I believe that is the closest one can get but others will differ.
Kal (and everyone else), how do you assess accuracy/neutrality in music reproduction systems; do you use useful tools for that, like measuring audio gear, microphones, a set of young woman's ears, etc.?
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,609
30
48
Metro DC
#58
Sure, that is the ultimate goal but we are at the mercy of the recordings that we have. So, given current technology, I would see the task as having two parts. The first part would be to reproduce the recording as accurately/neutrally as possible and I regard that as essential. The second part would be to modify the results to make them hew more closely to an idealized model of how the sound should sound.

I am OK stopping with the first part because I believe that is the closest one can get but others will differ.
Whatof tis neutral and acrrate recording device/methodology of which you speak? How do we verify it as such? Fidelity to the recorded source? gidelity to the real music before it was initially transformed to something that could be stored?
 

Kal Rubinson

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2010
1,552
63
48
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#59
Fidelity to the recorded source?
This is all one can do, afaik.
Kal (and everyone else), how do you assess accuracy/neutrality in music reproduction systems; do you use useful tools for that, like measuring audio gear, microphones, a set of young woman's ears, etc.?
Yes, I have some measurement equipment and I rely on John Atkinson's measurements (in addition the works of some others). I have a number of recordings where I was present at the recording sessions or at other performances at the site proximate to the recording. The sound of these have become very familiar to me but, of course, audible assessments are fraught with potential for human error. I do many assessments and try to correlate what I hear with the measurements and the comments of a few trusted friends.
 
Likes: NorthStar

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing