great clarity with rich/full/natural tone, yet plenty of speed/impact when the music calls for it
to me, that is live music (largely unamplified) sounds like
imo @ghdprentice’s one very good word is a shorter (if less descriptive) way of saying the above i think
I'm with @jjss49
To those who call for "accurate" or "straight" etc. all I can ask is, what is your access to the original/pure/true version? If it wasn't live music (and even that is plagued by particularities and imperfections), then the standard for "accurate" seems like a prayer to see things from an impossible perspective. Of course prayer is free...
As I’ve upgraded, I think one of the ‘measurements’ that has been most meaningful to me is that the listening sessions get longer, and it’s harder to hit the ‘power off’ button. Music is about emotion to me whether it be ethereal or jamming out, so the better my equipment can draw me in emotionally the happier I am.
The things that jjss49 and knighttodd mentioned describe what I'm looking for the most.
If I were to add anything to their statements, it would probably end up looking like this:
"Music reproduction that has great clarity and precision, a rich/full/natural tone, realistic articulation, plus the ability to immerse me into a believable 3-D listening experience - and on top of all that, to do it all at lower volume levels."
Love the responses. It shows the incredible variety when it comes to listening preferences. I can imagine how difficult it must be for audio equipment designers to settle on a specific set of attributes. It is quite obvious you cannot design something that would satisfy everyone equally. If I have to guess, and at the risk of gross oversimplification, designers roughly fall in two overarching categories:
Category 1: Straight wire with a gain. Neutral. Accurate. Excellent 'slam'. Great dynamics. More focus on accuracy while only slightly sacrificing musicality and tonality(?)
Category 2: More focus on tone, timbre, maybe at the expense of dynamics with some coloration(?) Musicality as opposed to ultimate accuracy.
P.S. What do I mean by musicality? See @jjss49 definition please :)
full-frequency neutral clarity combined with mellowness, airy spaciousness with instrumental placement independent of listener position relative to speakers, an utterly undistorted and unfatiguing ease to the presentation that allows for unself-conscious listening for hours and hours to where one loses track of time.
Enough transparency, detail, resolution, layering, natural timbre, soundstage size and accuracy, depth, bass/mid range richness, separation among other qualities that result in an emotionally engaging listen.
If the end result is that the music doesn't move you emotionally, it doesn't matter how well your system does one thing or another.