Most Useful Audio Adjective

I'm going with Liquid, which is an adjective I almost never use, yet when someone describes a system as sounding liquid, I know exactly what he/she means...I think.

To me, it describes a system free of edge, glare, hash and any other quality that pulls one's focus away from the music and onto the system.

Liquid approaches system nirvana.
I think that one of the most precise, subjective terms is "tubelike", contrary to the general opinion in the recent thread on useless audio terms.

Tubelike conjures up an exact image of a fuzzy, warm sound with mild distortion, with even order harmonics masking detail and transients, and insufficient power to handle peak dynamics. Like an old tube radio I had back in the 60's. (Yikes, am I that old!) But a glorious sound pleasing to the ear nonetheless. In other words...liquid.

Oh boy,....I'm in trouble now!! :)

Yeah "Liquid" is good! But "Tubelike" is to die for! ...especially when its got some tubes in it!
Tvad, I think of "musical" in the same way which you describe "liquid". I think this term got trashed in the other post, though, because of criminal overuse.

We're waiting for your take, Mrtennis :-)
And a liquid system can be a solid performer. Sorry--I had a gas with that analogy.
Markphd - I prefer tubular over tubelike.
I like suckout, because if you've ever heard a system with a suckout, that's exactly how it sounds.
"Overpriced", ya that's the ticket.
"Emotionally satisfying" says it all for me. I'd vote for "overpriced" except that adjective applies to so much equipment that it has almost become a synonym for 'high end'.
Suckout tubular! guys aint right!

... to die for.

I've always wanted a system that sounded so glorious that it was worth dying for.

Not an adjective but phrase:

Oh.. my...GOD!
I know to avoid a component when desribed as "flat and lifeless"

I forgot to mention that the , OH MY GOD! phrase is used only when the sound is so wonderful that words can't describe it.

Grant, I was just thinking that in most instances, "liquid" can be a positive attribute, but sometimes it can mean colored in a good sort of way.
any expression which conjures up a feeling you might experience when listening to a stereo system, although subjective, may be be of value.

a good example is "edgy"--a feeling indicating you want to get away from a stereo system because of a sensation of uneasiness created while trying to enjoy recorded music.
How about "Total Crap"????

Whenever I see an audio reveiwer use this term to discribe things I know just what they mean.......... Trouble is, they never just say this G*d D**n thing sounded like crap. It's always something about "action" or "PRAT" or..........
Yeah "Liquid" works... as will Natural!
I think "lifelike" pretty much sums it up.
As far as conveying what the reviewer feels.


I once told a fellow audiophile friend that my system sounded very life-like. He responded with, "Well, my system sounds better than life-like!" Huh?!

Ooops, wrong thread.
Good to see Audiofeil gets it. I wouldn't expect anything less.
Once I started listening to this amplifier, I became absolutely "mesmerized" in the experience.
Oh, sorry, I didn't know we were supposed to include an example of how the word of choice is used in context.

Here, check this out man, no, check this out, I'm serious man, I'm serious...that rig is Phat dude! Man, I get a chub on every time I see that rig, man, it's Phat, dass all I'm sayin'! Sheeeeit man, and when I turn that rig on and it's makin' music, and all 'dem tubes is glowin' like that an'shit,... stand back, dats all I'm gonna' tell you man, you just best stand behind me cause I'm gonn'a skeet man; happin's every time, truth man. It's embarrisin', I know.......but man, it's like one of them old movies with the red'n'blue glasses, man, but without the glasses! 50-cent soundin' like he's rappin' right there in my crib man....iz'phat, das all I'm sayin', man. Word.

Gonna have to go with holographic here - mostly because most of us have never seen one...
The best system I've ever heard was at CES 2005.
Halcro played Peter McGrath digital master tapes through Wilson X-II speakers via EMM DAC (if memory serves).
Surround setup used Sophia's in the back.
The whole thing was in a large hall (60 X 60 est.) in the conference center across from the (then) San Remo.
As we all know, The San Remo is now the Hooters Casino (Squeezers Palace).
Although it took three days to settle in, on the third day that system sounded, in every respect, "Real".
Remember this one?

Jaw dropping. I have heard this one so often, I think audiophiles all have dislocated jaws.
a bang for a buck.
While is more than just an adjective, I always appreciate the phrase "Recommended by Stereophile"

I always know what that means! Oh yeh! :-)
If a system makes me (even more) liquid (on the outside, as humans are 90% water?), I think it's a system worth buying. :)
the bank is now closed....

Not to be confused with the often misused "Smurfalicious".
You may snicker, and it's no adjective, but having a system that lacked this and now has it, I find the term "Immediacy" to go a long way in describing a system in a single word.
Great thread, Grant!

And, one that I have been struggling with since you initiated it. That being the reason it's taken me this long to come up with one. The term that resonates most with me is "holographic". Whenever it's used, I know EXACTLY what the person means.
The term that resonates most with me is "holographic". Whenever it's used, I know EXACTLY what the person means.
Trelja (Threads | Answers)
That one hits the sweet spot with me too, and I use "holographic" way too often in my own descriptions.

However, I'm changing my vote to "pipe-and-slippers". Even though I've never heard a system that I'd describe as being pipe-and-slippers, thanks to you I have a very good idea of what it'd sound like.
I think that Hef has one of those "pipe and slippers" systems at the Playboy mansion, and I am pretty sure that it features a reel-to-reel source. Only plays rat pack recordings though.
I remember reading an article in Stereophile,way back refering to a kid pounding on a piano on the 3rd floor above the street.Bad as it was,you knew it was not somebody's stereo. No equipment in the world can duplicate live,none! So it's no wonder we have so many adjectives trying to describe the unobtainable. Few have a room large enough to a accommodate the LSO,or such,so we compromise. Therefore I'm going with
"lifelike"____ "Liquid"?? Is that reference to a surf movie or just the Beach Boys?
"spiderweb LSD filagree"

Props to Herb Reichert in describing good SET sound.

Ok, it's not an adjective, but I can drop this in conversation daily.
To sum up my review of this system, the overall sound had an immediacy to it, a reach-out-and-touch-it,holographic lifelikeness that was tubelike, yet with a liquid texture that was emotionally satisfying. The sound was just plain and simple musical with a palpable you-are-there feeling, a completeness that words can't describe. It was,!! I took out my pipe and slippers and listened to this heavenly sound for hours on end.
mentally irregular (Rocky Balboa)
the words bright and edgy are relatively unambiguous. in that sense they are easily understood and useful.

any adjective should facilitate communication. unfortunately, too many obfuscate and are used for purposes other than communication.

here are some examples of words/phrases which are confusing:

liquid, lush, smooth, dark and pipe and slippers.