Most pleasing sound vs most hifi sound

Hi folks, I came to the conclusion that in fact I love the sound that is emanating from car audio. While driving I'm enjoying a live broadcast of an opera through the car audio and sometimes I think it is even better than the home audio system. I'm an audiophile who ownes a serious rig but everytime I'm listening to a system or attending some hi end demo the most pleasing sound to my ears is the one that is reminiscent of the car audio sound, of course with the usual high end characteristics as palpability, resolution, midrange liquidity, impact/slam, soundstage and treble smoothness. Does this sound ridiculous? Am I starting to have some hearing impairment?

Less resolution is often more pleasing then high resolution, because the nasties are lost in the lower resolution system.

It's considerably harder to achieve a pleasing sound as resolution increases and all flaws are exposed.

At least this has been my experience in my system.
If high resolution is done right, then it can sound beautiful ! beauty is in details.
I can sometimes hear detail, e.g., lyrices, on the stereo in my Lexus that is hard to discern at home. I think the restricted bass in the car is the cause. Doesn't mean it's better. I have tubes at home, so the car is harsh by comparison.
Hi folks, I came to the conclusion that in fact I love the sound that is emanating from car audio

What is your car audio system - some are extremely good. I had a high end Clarion system installed in one vehicle and it was excellent.

Cars tend to have lower distortion and greater loudness than many Hi-Fi systems. Since you are in a very small space it requires much less power - so you get more "slam" as you easily get that realistic compression/dynamics feeling which takes a hell of a lot more woofer power to achieve in a large room.

As far as I am concerned I never heard a great image or soundstage from inside a car - kind of a halfway house between headphones and a home system - although in opera with sustained notes and a large chorus on a big stage - imaging is rather a non issue as there so much reverberation.

Louder often sounds better - could it be as simple as this?
If you believe, as I do, that much of good sound is a result of the acoustic environment, you will realize why, is some aspects, audio in the car can sound extremely pleasing. You are in an enclosed, acoustically damped chamber. Of course, your sound system will play a big part, too. Think about it, does your room have as much acoustic treatment as your car, with the padded seats, side panels, dash, etc.?
BTW - if you listen to panels at home then I would wager that it is indeed the dynamics/greater SPL that has got you attention in the car. Opera is LOUD LOUD LOUD...especially Wagner (my favorite)
I get the same pleasure out of the exhaust note of my Harley as I get from car audio(well- maybe more, since it IS the sound of freedom). My concentration is definately elsewhere. When in front of my home systems: It's all about the music, and listening into it. In those hours- I'm relaxed and that's my only focus.
what car? system?
I had reached what I would consider to be about as good as it gets in car audio. I was running a Macintosh 6 ch amp & CDP, Dynaudio clone mids and tweeters custom x-overs, and door enclosures, MB Quart Subs. It took a lot BS dealing with car audio morons. My biggest problem's were sound stage, image, depth, instrument separation, bass integrating. The speakers were located by my feet under the dash so the sound stage was low custom enclosures angling the speakers and adding a second set of tweeters on the pillars helped a lot with this. Imaging is a problem in a car considering your not sitting in the center. I was able to get some depth and separation but nothing like at home. I do think the sound wrapped around me better and the bass was more solid. I think I prefer sitting close in my home system because of this. I feel my car system held it's own with some home systems but not with properly set up ones, too many things were lacking. I sold my car system to get into home audio, I wish I would have known then what I know now. It would have saved a lot of money and headaches!
Ahum, I don't have a "hi end" car system, like the Mark Levinson, Bang & Olufsen or Harman/Kardon. It's only a Grundig... So it is definitely clear now: I have a hearing disorder! :)

I wouldn't say that you have a hearing disorder. You may be listening too critically to your main rig, and just relaxing and enjoying the music in your car (not trying to analyze the sound). Critcal listening can be hard work, you may enjoy your system at home more if you don't change anything for a couple of years and just relax and listen to the music like you do in your car. I'm sure you're not upgrading power cords and amps in your car stereo and listening for improvements. Your car stereo is simply about the music, which is why you can relax and enjoy it.

Listening is always more fun when you're just listening for the music, and not trying to isolate deficiences.

Not ridiculous at all. Some car system just right balance. Just over the weekend I was driving in my Boxster with stock DSP system with Bose subwoofer behind seat. The dash speaker are damn cheap Nokia 4 inch paper cone mids and highs, the door has 5.5 inch woofers- far from very expensive after market really good system I used to have in my 88 Prelude Si, But the sound is dynamic, clear, and very involving that makes me want to accelerate even faster ;-) and almost always scratch my head why this 4 " mids/high sounds so good. Sure there is plenty of grain but still takes me by surprise every single time.

Not so in all Bose and Harman Karden systems in my other two cars, which are just too electronic sounding and irritating, even though they might be a lot smoother than my Boxster. May be it is the EQed sound of DSP!
I tend to agree with TVAD. I have what I consider to be a very dynamic and detailed system which I love. Sometimes though, I find myself drawn to tubey, warm sounding systems. I know the highs are being rolled off and that the midrange is being exaggerated but there is something very seductive and inviting to me. I am even thinking about putting together a second system that has these attributes.
I don't think this is so uncommon--I got chills listening to the opening to "So What" on an NPR feature on Kind of Blue on my kitchen radio a while ago. And how many times have I listened to that album? And how many times has that happened to me while I was sitting down and "critically" listening to it? Not as often as I'd like. Got the same this afternoon listening to The Who on the classic rock station on the drive home. Here's to the lo-fi!
Do you have a bose system in your car? =8^)
Rodman, if you had to live about a hundred yards down the street from a biker bar, you would not think the exhaust note from a Harley was the sound of freedom. It was the sound of torture for my wife and me. We had to sell our home and move to escape the "freedom", and to keep our sanity. Try listening to your home system with those bikes constantly tearing up the neighborhood, with ninety percent of them taking out the baffles to make them even louder. They say they do it to make drivers of cars know when they are coming. But you don't hear the noise until they are going away, since it's coming out the back of the exhaust. The sound of "freedom"? The sound of "Hey,look at me."
A car system is in a closed acoustical space, so detail and low level information are more readily discerned. In addition, the car runs off of a 12Volt battery...DC, as opposed to AC wt grunge:(
I think it has a lot to do with being preoccupied while listening. There's a lot to say about driving to the beach and playing tunes you love or twisting through the mountain pass while listenning to your prefered musical passage.

Sitting at home is just very different..perhaps clinical at times. I actually like reading, watching a ballgame (without sound on) or surfing the net (like right now) while I play music. It's the rarest of rare that I just sit and stare into space while listening.
Abucktwoeighty- You should feel sorry for those bikers. Generally speaking: The louder the pipes and the longer the front-end, the shorter the penis(it's a way of compensating). My neighborhood has it's share of noise too. I've installed 1/4" Lexan over my listening room's windows, which blocked about 80% of it. I listen at fairly stout SPLs too, which takes me to more pleasant places. What gets on my nerves are those little scooters without baffles that take 15 minutes to drag their sorry butts out of hearing range at full throttle. OH- I've always had dragpipes on my bikes too, but with partial baffles(nothing to compensate for).

Did suggestions in this thread help - did you figure out why you like your some aspects of the sound from your car Grundig system (probably pretty darn good as far as car systems go) versus your home system?

Just curious - your threads often start and then digress and peter out with no resolution or you feel any different about your car sound now then you did a few days ago when you started this thread outof curiosity?
my tivoli bedroom radio/sub system attenuates treble freqencies in a smooth roll-off which seems to benefit the music coming over most stations.
i can even listen to classical music as long as it's not a large scale piece of music with everyone joining in at once.
jazz piano trios, acoustic bass, and especially vibraphones are very well reproduced. how a three inch speaker (with an admittedly huge magnet) and a 5 inch subwoofer can sound so realistic and textured is a total mystery. i still wonder what would happen if i knew how to modify this system with better interconnects and upgrade some of the internal parts. the power supply comes as a plug-in module, so it is isolated from the main chassis. i really think it has some potential, but for now it already sounds so smooth and unfatiguing i can listen to it for hours.
Hi Shadorne, I know why I like the car stereo. Not because it is extremely good (though it is not bad either), but because it gives more emotional bond between the music and you. It has to do with concentration: the more you concentrate on the music the more you hear things (that are synthesized by the brains) I guess. At home it is more of an experience because you simply hear more information, like the ambience information, soundstage and reproduction of the leading and trailing edge of notes. Because of this "overload" of information, the brains have to work harder to get this picture right and to let you believe that it is in fact a facsimile of the live experience. Whatever...


Ok. So you are basically saying you percieve things differently due to a difference in concentration when in the car. You are more relaxed in the car and able to enjoy it whilst the home system is more stressful as it is more resolving and requires more concentration to get the right picture.

FWIW: I would examine this angle a bit further - have you got the ideal match at home for your own tastes? People in the professional audio industry working 8 hours a day with studio systems discuss this issue all the time (just wander over to Gearlutz forums and you will see discussion on this). These pros recognize that they find some equipment fatiguing and stressful for mixing/monitoring whilst other types of equipment can be simply effortless and non-fatiguing. Not everyone agrees on what they like best in terms of equipment....perhaps each brain is wired differently - but all more or less agree that they want gear that makes their job easier, more enjoyable and such that it requires less concentration to quickly achieve a result.

Note that it is not about resolution => they all want powerful resolving gear to pick up issues with microphone placement etc - i.e. they certainly don't want a "dumbed-down" system excpet to check how something might sound to an ordinary consumer, however, among highly resolving systems there are some that are regarded as non-fatiguing whilst others make life stressful. For example "ambience"...are you getting too much reflections at home is it causing overload and stress?
I think you may be on the edge of realizing that the mental attitude you bring to a listening session can easily outweigh the quality of the system. You are the most important, and most variable, component in any system.
Could not having high expectations or any desire to improve your car system be why it is more enjoyable. Perhaps home listening is always critical, always looking to improve or change something. I found music is much more enjoyable when I decided just to listen to the music and not question what could be better.
You are the most important, and most variable, component in any system

...huh ...what about speaker cables and interconnects - aren't these the biggest variables in ultra high-end? What cables/interconnects is Chris using in the car? ;-) just kidding.
Shadorne: I use the Transparent Opus for car audio.

Rodman, I hear ya! There's another group that fit right in with your louder/longer/shorter group, and that's the ones in the trucks that think they have a tough vehicle because it makes alot of noise. They floor it and think it's really movin', but it's just another few tons of slow moving loud, obnoxious, noise. As far as feeling sorry for them, I just feel they're a sorry lot.
My wife and I moved from Wisconsin to Michigan to get away from that noisy area. We built a nice place out in the country, and wouldn't you know it, some of the same crap moved in a couple miles down the road. At least it's not constant. And the most ironic part, is that the fella who had the loudest bike back there in Wisconsin was the guy who bought our house!
And he probably still rides his bike the 100yds to the bar, so everyone will know he has a Harley and not just a T-shirt. YEP- There are a lot of noisy-but-can't-get-out-of-their-own-way vehicles out there. Then there are the ones with a couple 18" woofers and 2000WPC in their trunks, rattling everyone's windows(welcome to the ghetto). Sure do miss the country home/huge soundroom I couldn't hold onto because of a divorce. More unfortunate feedback from a biker lifestyle.