|What do I mean by that?|
Not that I wish to start a new controversy --- knowing some of the usual contributors, it may not be entirely avoidable, so let’s see what gives.
Following some of the threads on the –ultimate- ‘phase-coherent’, 'time-coherent' or yet better, both, 1st order up to steep slopes, an so on, cross-over opinions, I have these notions. So let me explain.
One quite well known ‘maverick’ (done some picking on some other well known reviewer, posting it on his site...), somewhere he states: a good speaker must have the ability 'to frighten you' --- his words, and I can see/hear what he means, at least I think so.
Some other dealer in Wilson’s marvellous products (he's around my place), tells me he can only listen for about ½ hour than he is 'exhausted' --- i.e. too intense to do any longer listening…
Nobody is talking about ‘listening fatigue’ actually, it is more an emotional fatigue, as far as I get it.
Now me, I go to a life orchestra listening and emerge pretty well ‘up-lifted’, never had any fatigue (maybe my bottom, when it got a bit too lengthy) never mind emotional fatigue! Gimme Mahler, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, heavy (classical) metal, whow --- upliftment. Never occur to me run away, get uneasy, GET FRIGHTENED!
I clearly get ‘emotional fatigue’ listening to some types of speakers!
What were they?
I think they had one thing in common: They all where, in some way, VERY realistic, but they also had something else in common, --- they did not, as it seems, stick too well to a reasonably flat amplitude response… ah ha.
What this design regimen seems to produce during listening to keep on making you jump? Apparently always something rather unexpected in happening! Now we do also know what makes us (as humans) ‘jump’: it is some unexpected ‘something’ coming ‘out of the bush’ a snapping branch, some sort of VERY REAL sound, that does not quite go along with the general set of the acoustic environment.
Now take some ‘benign, dumb’ kind of speaker, it has so little in REALISTIC sound to offer, it just can’t frighten you. You (your instinct, subconscious) just don’t ‘buy’ into it.
Now take a VERY realistic sound-producer (the ones that can make you jump) and mess with the amplitude response, what you are getting is this on the edge of your seat reaction. The VERY opposite of what a lot of music has as its intention. (Not like AV ‘Apocalypse now’ kind of chopper going to attack you from any old angle, top, behind, etc.)
Lastly, has this something to do with why lots of folks perhaps shy away from these sort of designs?
I have listened to my share and I shy away, because as REAL everything seems to be in the reproduction, it keeps me in a state of inner tension, apprehension --- even listening to some Mozart Chamber music, as there is ALWAYS something very REAL, but somehow unsettling going on.
It might just explain why some of these designs don’t ‘cut the mustard’ and not survive in the long run. Unless, and open to opinion, that we are (most of us anyway) so messed up and transistor-radio-sound-corrupted that we seem ‘unworthy of these ‘superior’ audio-designs.
I honestly don’t think so, but you may have it otherwise, as they say YMMV.
I thought it is of value to bring this up, since it does not ever seem to be part of any of the more ‘technical’ discussions ---- the human ‘fright/flight’ element in ignoring proper FLAT amplitude response in favour of minimal insertion losses, or proper impedance compensation, notch filtering, et al, just so to obtain this form of stressful realism.
It might be also something to do with age, a much younger listener (in my experience) likes to be stirred up, and emotionally knocked all over the place ---- listening to Baroque music like bungee jumping?!
It be interesting to hear if it is just my form of ‘over-sensitiveness’ that brings forth this subject.