"Pace", it's importance for enjoyment?

The English press have used the term of "pace" to identify
what, I think, is a very important quality in the enjoyment
of an audio device. I have never had speakers, wires or
amplification have as much impact on this feeling of "pace"
(or I should say, lack of it)
as digital source components seem to have. Is this part
of where high-rez..SACD and DVD-A..provide an imporvement
over redbook? Too often I have had high-end cd players and
DACs provide detail..but lack the ability to let me enjoy
the listening. If there is any one thing I can point to
in vinyl vs. redbook, it is that quality of "pace". What
are your thoughts?
Whatjd: The biggest improvement in this area in my Redbook based system was gained by using the Neuance shelving (supported by upturned spikes) under the amp and player. If I had only one shelf it would then go under the player/transport. The difference is that it is now difficult to walk through the listening room without bobbing and dancing a bit when music with a good tempo is playing. The same goes when sitting as it is hard to keep one's feet and hands still. I think that this information is generally there in the source material, but it is often more than naught stifled by vibration in the components. Perhaps these vibrations create some sort of a canceling effect?
David, I think unwanted vibration *drains* energy from the machine, energy lost to music reproduction. Aren't our efforts focused on extracting that last ounce of energy from our system as a whole (cords, ICs, isolation tweaks...)? Perhaps the Neuance does just that -- protect agaist energy loss?

Whatjd: IMO, pace is largely (not exclusively) a function of correct/constant speed and tracking/"clocking" ability. In a TT you can influence this ability; in a cdp you're limited to mechanical devices again, unless you happen to be qualified for electronic experiments. TTs are mechanical devices so, if the speed remains constant despite the groove-stylus friction fluctuations, you get the rythm/pace -- when it's there... BTW, Mr T, of Lynn fame, prides himself for having introduced the term "pace" -- hence the british mags -- to world vocabulary! (I'm not doubting it & I like Lynn gear.)

In my *limited* experience with SACD (only the Sony-1) the pace was no better than my redbook S-Line. But the resolution, space and 3dimensionality was! I attribute the differences to the software: cd was introduced ages ago! Can you remember the (abysmal) performance level of your '80s personal computer? Bet you don't even want to think about it!

whatjd; I think that many factors in a stereo system can affect "pace" (also called PRT, or Pace, Rhythm and Timing). For example, when I used a Levinson AES/EBU digital cable between ML 37 transport and ML 360S DAC, music was tremendously detailed-- to the point of analytical, but it was not "musical". So I tried A Cardas AES/EBU cable and lost some detail but music was much improved as PRT was much better. I greatly preferred the Cardas. Cheers. Craig

OTOH, putting a Townshed Sink under my tubed pre-amp increased detail in a positive way while maintaing (or improving) PRT.
I also find "Pace" is most noticeable with a digital source. This is why we debate cables a lot on Agon, especially digital cables from transport to DAC. The digital signal is just 1's and 0's so you would think any cable would do. However, if the cable does a bad job of transfering the 1's and 0's to the DAC (too slow, etc) it will affect the Pace of the music.
I cannot explain digital from a technical stand point, however there are things in the circuit like the "clock" that will certainly affect the Pace if not doing their job well (jitter?).
Phew!...interesting posts. I too have to report much pleasure from the use of a Neuance platform under my old CDP. Is the fine "pace" a function of the improved coherence from perceiving harmonics as better "attached" to their fundamentals? Is it the ABSENCE of distorting spurious vibrations that I then take as cleaner...and therefore quicker (more musical) information?
I used to think of PraT as being more a function of impulse
response and group delay in the gross aspects of the reproduction chain, meaning of course the speaker drivers.
Bass "lag" is a horrendous problem in pro audio. I have a friend who manufactures powered monitors for musicians. He purposely rolls the response off below 70Hz (!) specifically to eliminate that lagging sensation of "the bass following you around the room!". Initially I thought this design was a consequence of sloppy implementation, but then I found that opinion to be seconded by acoustic bass players, too.
If their fiddles require reinforcement they prefer a very quick, rolled-off monitor over a more extended one that is slovenly or overhangingly "ripe". "Don't worry...all you have to hear are the harmonics; your mind will fill in the fundamental." is their rejoinder.
Along this point I have to say that my system PRaT improved
MUCH more when listening to a 3-way speaker with a very fast, tight woofer (Verity Audio) than with others less
"coherent" temporally (Nautilus 803, for example); the effect of the Neuance seems to be to improve the snap of the midrange/treble instead.
I remember how surprised I was when demoing an ARCAM 9 last year: MUCH less rythmic than my old Rotel 855! Why was this?
The Rotel has a much older, simpler DAC, but indeed a beefier transport. Sure the ARCAM sounded cleaner, smoother, more detailed, and bloomier, but certainly possessing less PRaT! Now I wonder if the Neuance could do wonders for an FMJ23?....
So it's becoming clear to me that jitter-reduction, for example, is a component in preserving music's temporal integrity, but only in the context of excellent loudspeaker transducer impulse and phase response as a prerequisite!
"If ya can't dish it out right you might as well not heat up the stove" or some other lame analogy.... Good night, guys.
"Pace" or "prat" is what seperates a good system from a GREAT system. There are many systems that i've heard that can present all of the details of the recording but do it in a manner that seems more like "information" than "music". Sure, you can easily pick out every instrument, tell where it is placed at, tell how many breaths of air the singer gasps in while rambling long sentences, etc.... BUT, does it make you want to DANCE ???? Does it draw you into the performance ? Are you jiggling in your seat ? Can you grasp the emotion involved that went into making that specific cut ??? Do you just listen to "music" or do you look forward to hearing some really good "tunes" ????

In this aspect, most digital reproduction devices seemed to rob the life out of many recordings that i used to love when i was still "vinyling". The introduction of a tube DAC into one of my systems took digital worlds closer to analogue. This added far more space, air, ambience, body, soul and "PRAT" to the system. Instead of sounding like a stripped and sterilized "clone" of a musical recording, i HAD music again. Much like vinyl before it, there was emotion coming from the speakers instead of just a bunch of "digital data" being reproduced. I found it startling to say the least.

Once you've experienced a system with good detail AND "prat", it is hard to go back to listening to a "hi end" stereo system. The difference is akin to the experience that you had when you first heard the difference between your mom and dad's console "stereo" and a "real" component system. UNFORGETTABLE. Sean
hey, i would like to add my two cents worth. what is high end audio all about? coming from an epistimological stand point, we are only happy when we live with harmony in our universe, both tangible and intangible. we strive to live in harmony, so we make sense of the world, making tangibles understandable emperically and intangibles understandable abstractly. What does this all mean? We, audiophiles, strive to reproduce sounds as faithful to the original as possible, for, we believe, purest reproduction of sound is the only way to enjoy music, one thing that brings harmony to our lives. In our quest, we try to understand the factors that allow us to faithfully reproduce sound, such as physics and electrical engineering, all of which I am ignorant of. But, if your like me, we strive to come to a faithful reproduction of sound through experimentation between different hardware and cables, hoping to find that magical synergy. And what is that magical synergy? Is it bloated bass? sibilant highs? these are all different, to each our own, according to our personal bias. But, if your transcendental, like me, I do believe there is a rhythm, a beat, that strings all organisms in our harmonic universe, and perhaps, this "pace", is this rhythm that the lucky few audiophiles are able to reproduce.
A friend of mine just asked me waht "pace" is. I tried to explain that its subjective, but its universally agreeable. When audiophiles listen to a correctly set up system, we first notice a "pace" presence, and then we get analytical about other factors such as soundstage and detail. But before we get analytical, subjective about the sound, we will concur with the pace. My friend then asked me how pace comes about. I believe it was easier to explain to her house pace is interupted: frequencies of current are not transmitted "harmoniously". Somehow, different frequencies might be disrupted by emi, rfi, vibration, static, different material of inductions, etc so on, tainting the faithful reproduction of sound. She didn't really understand me, so I made up an analogy. If there were ten flutist, and one flutist was out of tune with the others, then the music being produced would be ruined by that one bad flutist. She answered that this is a perception of harmony, rather than pace, which is really true, but, I explained, not in term of stereos. When we talk about pace, we're talking about this snap of things being in place, more than just accurate an tempo or melody. Ok, I am going to invest in some asc tubetraps, sonex room treatments, and those ceramic cable elevators. No emi, echo or rfi is going to get in the way between me and my pace.
Lack of PRAT is what leads to dissatisfied audiophiles. Seeking more detail, more bass, more soundstage, smoother highs, all that stuff, would not drive us to distraction so much if our systems could just "boogie down" regardless of that other stuff - the music would take over.

I believe all components can affect PRAT, as can the quality of the power coming through the wall. There are lots of components that exhibit good PRAT, but much more that don't and so it is just a matter of learning to listen for it.

Dekay raises a very important point as regards vibration. Poor vibration isolation will mean the structure stores energy and releases it slowly, cuasing a smearing of impulses in the time domain. This can destroy PRAT, because our sense of PRAT is incredibly sensitive to very small errors in timing cues.

I have no idea really, but suspect that the PRAT issues with digital are more likely due to phase errors caused in DACs and digital filters than by jitter errors, but that jitter errors can also have an effect, particularly in the rhythmic cues in the upper bass.

If you have ever fiddled with your system and finally hit that point where you feel you have lots of detail, neutrality, dynamics and a decent soundstage - only to find the result boring. Then you have probably not attended to the PRAT issue.
look, whatjd (stupid name, imo), if pace weren't important, why would there be so many manufacturers of pacemakers? duh!
Redkiwi, thanks for briefly summing up what all of my rambling couldn't make clear. Sean
Maybe to some extent, Redkiwi is correct, that all components effects pace or prat.. blah. However, I do believe pace is more of an issue when it comes to digital front ends. When a turn table is out of tune, or our LPs are warped, or our tape head isn't clean, it doesn't alter the sound as much as when digital front ends are interfered. Sure the sound is warbled, but the bass doesn't become punchy or muddy and the treble doesn't become sibilant.. etc. According to my experience, my nak and luxman tape players on dolby C with a tdk metal tape sounds more dynamic and smoother than any CD player I've heard up until a few years ago. My stereo system doesn't nearly need as much tweaking when usng analog front ends, like my LP player. I still enjoy playing LPs, although I stopped buying LPs back in '89. But, there is something about it that just sounds right. I never had to worry about pace when using analog front ends: I just have to make sure my tape head and needle are clean. Like Sean, I prefer analog sounding systems, so I purchased a tube dac. Sure, the sound is closer to what I get from my LP, but I still prefer the sound coming out of my analog sources, even my tuner, compared to my transport/dac.

On a side note, my first introduction to digital sound were sony discmans. I purchased the second generation discman and a few there after. The first one I got sounded the best, the sweetest, and newer ones sucked cuz of lower build quality. I even had a Luxman first generation CD player. Despite those CD players using old technology, I never had to worry about pace or anything other than keeping my discs clean. Why are newer digital systems harder to use properly?
Hi Yoh. We may of course be talking at cross-purposes, and you mean something different when you say pace. Your last post suggests to me that you mean a wider issue of "musicality", which I suggest includes PRAT, but also includes smoothness and naturalness.

But I would like to point out that there are PRAT differences between analogue front ends too.

One famous example was a dozen or so years ago when TAS Editor Harry Pearson raved about the sound of the new SOTA turntable and its virtues over the Linn LP12. It took him some years to realise his mistake and re-rate the Linn highly. He did so when he "discovered" the concept of transparency, but some of us felt he finally discovered pace. The LP12 had vastly better pace than the SOTA and was much more fun to listen to - albeit with a mid-bass hump and weak bottom octave. Harry's mantra had led him down a blind alley.

Arguably the superior pace, but poorer bass performance could be attributed to the much flimsier engineering in the LP12. While the engineering of the SOTA was more impressive, its structure stored too much energy. This is not to say the LP12 was perfect - it could have done with more rigid chassis and sub-chassis - but it was at least light. Some turntables today still suffer from the "more mass is better" approach.

There are also PRAT differences between CD technologies. Some still swear that the best PRAT from CDs comes from the simplest technology in some of the earliest players - the 16 bit, non-over-sampled players. Have a look at the Sakura Systems DAC as an example (kind of) of this.
Red Kiwi, Yupz, you are right that I do associate prat with musicality. I do believe reproduction of "music" manifests only when sound waves arriving at your ears are as close to exactness as compared to live sound, highs and lows arriving at the same time,etc. This might be semantics, but I believe pace is a resulting effect of properly reproduced sound in manners I've just described. I wouldn't go as far to say that analogue sources don't have problem with prat, and I haven't. But, according to my experience, more tweaking of the listening room, speaker positioning, component vibration and isolation/placement is necessary when using digital sources to combat foes of pace. I am listening to my Luxman tuner at the moment, and I have never had cognition of the component, for it's a "turn on and forget" device. But, my CAL dac/trans and my previous digital sources were never "turn on and forget" (except for my first generation Luxman which was a 16bit 4xOS i believe). With newer digital sources, I always try to find errors in the cd, always fidgeting with speaker placement etc. and so forth because, somehow, I am never satisfied with the sound. As I described, I experienced more "musicality" with my analogue sources, what I meant to say is they are probably less susceptible to "pace busters" (for lack of a better word = X).
Also, two component that always increased pace in any system I've used or worked with are the Meridian 518 and the Velodyne ULD series subwoofers. In short, the 518 reshapes the sound coming out of a dac, and I've had great results with it. I am going to buy one after I can afford one. The ULD is a downward firing sub, and an extremely musical sub. As Subaruguru explained in his post, allowing frequency to roll off instead of cut off by a cross over will sound more natural. And ULD uses a crossover with 12db separation while most modern subs uses 36dbs, perhaps for home theater purposes. Anyways, I won't get into jitter or such, for I am not sure how these components affect psychodynamics that allowed me to arrive at more "pace", but they sure did!!
PRAT is imperative for anything resembling an illusion of being transported to the recording venue....Venue information seems to come primarily from below 100hz and if you ain't got no bass, you ain't got no space seems to apply to PRAT......Most systems don't image below 100hz, but those that do have PRAT sure do.....As far as PRAT is concerned as respects analog versus digital the digital has better focus in the bass I imagine due to better separation than any phono cartridge.....The analog and digital sound very similar here, but both are hot rodded about as far as anyone could imagine over the past six years or so....
I can't help but be struck by the variance in definition of PRAT. For me it is about how notes start and stop. If I could simplify for a moment and refer to a note in three parts - its attack, its body and its decay. A system with poor pacing has one or other of two problems. The first is the sense that the start of a note is slow - ie. there is a lack of attack. The second is that the body of the note seems to start before the attack - of course this is nonsense, but it is a feeling that is real and I have experienced it - a feeling that the note is there before the initial attack, but clearly just the ear/brain getting confused for some reason. Rhythm is what you feel, the sense of the music bouncing along, or a sense of swing - you either feel it or you don't. Timing is about events like cymbal taps and bass strings being plucked occurring in a way that indicates the players do actually know how to play together in the same groove. A system's timing is good when the instrumentalists seem to be playing well together.

I suspect the three different concepts are all just about the same issue - reproducing the sounds with no time-based smearing of the sounds - thereby leaving all the timing clues, that are critical to feeling immersed in the music (as opposed to just the sound), intact.

One of the telling things to try is to listen to some music on your system, and then on a really cheap system - like your son's boom-box - and just try sinking into the music rather than the sound. What can be startling is that some transistor radios have better PRAT than some very high-end systems. One might postulate that the great PRAT of the transistor radio is due to its simplicity.
Hi Red!
Yes, simplicity in that it uses a single midrange driver without networks! If the impulse response is at least decent you have a chance of getting reasonable sound.
When asked what loudspeakers impressed him the most, the ex head designer at the old AR (now at EAR pro sound) related how shocked he was to hear a reasonably-optimized enclosure housing a simple full-range Radio Shack 5" driver back in the 80s! He had heard a male voice call out, and thinking there was someone behind him, turned around to "see" this
simple box sounding so utterly natural. He then went on to explain his design preference for midrange drivers with big voice coils that could be run wide. His work with tweaked Morel midranges resulted in AR's last 3-ways before their bustup and emigration from the Right Coast to the Left! (Think it was called the AR-1 or something).
OTOH I wonder if presence-region and treble detail of flat freq response systems simply "grabs" the attention of the ear-brain's high sensitivity, somehow masking the ease of
PRaT-ful boogying. Nah...that can't be right: the ARCAM 9 can sound clean and clear as a whistle, but dances with two left feat! My old Rotel's dirty as hell, but keeps time like
a Third Reich brownshirt brigade...or Charlie Watts!
Thanks to all for the input. I attended a 3 day Jazz fest in Iowa City over the weekend,..hot as hell, but great music, food, friends, fun..and plenty of pace and PRAT.
Let me toss out a couple of observations:

1) PRAT is almost alway good on boom boxes and car radios and the like, typically better than on high end systems

2) Good PRAT, such as on a car radio, often strikes me as BETTER than the real thing itself.

These observations lead me to suspect that PRAT may be BS in some way (some have claimed it is a distortion). I'm not making that claim (please don't jump down my throat), I just want to consider these things in conversation. --Dan
"Pace" to me seems to be slowing the music down, making it more distinct and listenable...but actually the "speed" is the same! My SFCD1 excellas in this quality.
I think the bass information being emphasized on boomboxes and the guy next to you's car system is more tempo and beat and not the complete sence of pace (a term I prefer a bit over PRAT). A brush on a top-hat, or the finger sliding off the string on an upright bass(which is a percussive type of sound) can create pace as well..without being bass notes. That said..the bass that is heard from boomboxes and car stereo's is a part of the story.
I agree with the comments about bass reproduction being part of what we think of as having good or bad prat / pace. Since bass lines ARE a major portion of the rhythm section, it's no wonder that it would affect our sense of "backbeat" or "tempo". As such, i think that many of these "pacey" systems are also noted as being "musical". Since "musical" is often used as a description of tonal balance vs "detailed" ( slightly bright ), it typically translates as the system being "warm" and smooth ( slightly elevated bass and soft highs ). As such, the logical deduction would be that it would easier to achieve "prat" or "pace" with a slightly warm system than it would be to achieve the same results with a "bright" or "forward" system. Since analog / LP typically sounds noticeably "warmer" and "fuller" than most digital sources, it is no wonder that many complain that digital seems "lifeless" / "has no soul or rhythm" / "lacks pace". Obviously, tonal balance affects our sense of "tempo". Make sense ??? Sean
Hey Dan,

Tell us if you think PRat is BS in a week or so.

If true reproduction of bass results in pace/prat, then what about those excellent sounding minimonitors, or any speaker for that matter that has limited LF? I don't believe prat merely coexsits with aligned bass reproduction. Just right off the top of my head, Linn Kans, NHT Superones, and many other various near field monitors offer excellent pace regardless of system configuration.

I am not, however, disclaiming bass to be irrelevant in this pace issue, but it's only one facet among many.
Ken is referring to the Neuance shelf I just got. Thing is, Ken, the Apollo rack hasn't arrived yet, so it will be bit longer.
Viggen makes a very good point about the low frequencies. I have a hunch that all frequencies effect PRAT. I have noticed in the past that some of the signal tubes that I use which have anomalies (dips and peaks in roughly the 60hz-300hz range) also do not sound that great throughout the spectrum (general sound, not PRAT). Because of this it would seem that the low frequencies are effecting those frequencies higher up and I would assume that this would also work the other way around (the tubes by the way test fine above the 300hz range). I would guess that this problem in the low registers causes some type of distortion or cancellation effect to harmonics (perhaps even attack and decay) in the higher registers. Most musicians (especially guitarists) have first hand experience at creating such effects in that if one hits a harmonic on one string and then bends/pulls a note (on another string) to and away from the original tone, they can achieve all sorts of things from oscillation, to boosting the harmonic or even canceling or deadening it. My guess is that if one area of the music is not being reproduced properly, then that area can drag or distort other areas.
Some very good points are emerging now, or at least headed in the right direction in my opinion. Such as the observation that mini-monitors tend to have good PRAT (small rigid cabinets not storing much energy). I will just add one observation.

To get between the transistor radio and the sound of the real thing, there seem to be two divergent paths (probably many more, but I am simplifying in order to make a point).

One path is the PRAT path. The gear that follows that path is exemplified by Naim and Linn. Their low-end gear appears brash and fatiguing, but manages to maintain a decent sense of the PRAT in the original performance (systems with good PRAT only have it with suitable recordings of good musicians).

The other path goes the "sound" route trying to make the sounds close to the sound of the real thing, but sometimes embellishing a wee bit to cover over the deficiencies - with the emphasis being on tonality and dynamics. The problem with this second path is that with modest systems PRAT is usually very poor and music becomes boring quickly.

At the top end of the Naim-type gear and the top end of the "sound" route the paths converge again. The reason for this, I theorise, is that the objectives are now being met by both "schools" through sheer accuracy of resolution of detail and elimination of smearing, while maintaining dynamics.

The paths in between merely make different compromises. I agree with Dan that the transistor radio is distorted, and that low-end systems with good PRAT tend to emphasise transients in a certain way - thereby looking after rhythmic cues better than they look after tonality. But the rhythm in the music is not created by distortion. You can still hear the difference between a group that is "cooking" and one that is not. The issue is that a certain kind of compromise is being made.

Ken, I probably made a pig's ear in attempting to describe the separate issues of pace, rhythm and timing and so please correct me where I was wrong. Personally I do not listen for those three things independently. But, as stated before, when I evaluate a component I do not tend to objectify the sound in the way that Harry Pearson does, except initially in order to identify "sound" issues that may become annoying over the long term. My final decisions are made by forgetting the objective stuff and just seeing if I am swept away by the music.
Redkiwi, I like your final test of being "swept away by the music." My wife consistently talks about "the gestalt" of the musical experience whenever we listen critically together. And I agree. The overall experience is what I ultimately listen for - if the experience as a whole doesn't result in being "swept away by the music," it is readily apparent that something is missing from the system. In our case, though, we tend to start with the overall experience, and then objectify to make sure we understand what is causing the good results. If a "new to us" system is not giving us good results at that gestalt level, we tend to simply move on and not expend any more energy on it.
I think we're kicking a dead horse now
I whine with pace = P
Nice pace to your last post, Red!
To recap (esp for Sean), I don't believe having AMPLE bass has anything to do with enabling PRaT--usually quite the opposite! It's the high frequency cues from the transients
that signal the ear-brain timing sensoria, no? To the extent that bass fundamentals that develop somewhat later in the harmonic envelope are kept in proper time with their leading transients affects our perception of good PRaT. As it turns out it's easier to design for tight bass response of less amplitude and extension (2-way monitors, especially unported or port-tuned fairly high) than with 3-ways or sub/sat systems, where separate drivers and their associated crossovers, big cabinets, slow-moving larger masses, etc., conspire to lower octaves' "lag" and what we call poor PRaT.
I've heard doubters state that "fast" bass response is nothing but lean bass response. Not necessarily...and that's what I like so much about my current speakers: an exceptionally fast woofer that simply doesn't lag its exceptionally fast mid (VA Parsifal Encores).
How PRaT varies in a digital product I don't even pretend to understand! Anybody shed some light here? Happy 4th! Ern
Definitely the worst thread ever
What's the matter Snook, can't keep up with the "pace"? Now it's worse than before.
Coming from you, that's a compliment Snook.
How is this the worst thread ever?
Remember the TV commercial where the basketball coach's son reveals "I want to dance"? Now, that commercial had pace! A good dose of ginkgo biloba before listening also helps the ones and zeroes move down the neurons a little faster.
Prat? When I first started reading this thread, I thought "prat" was one of those sound effect balloon captions they used in MAD Magazine.
Thanks for some of the very valid comments about my previous statements. I wasn't talking about bass extension per se, but specific levels of output and their ability to deal with notes in a "timely" manner. The comments about mini monitors verify that point. While not real extended in output, most of these have a slight bass hump due to a higher resonance frequency. As such, this adds to their "apparent bass". They also use smaller drivers that are "quick" and "clean" in comparison to heavier and slower woofers. This adds to their "speed". Take away either factor and they are not nearly as "musical".

As to high frequency transients giving us cues in terms of attack or timing, i will agree with that and take it a step further. Since lower frequencies have FAR more harmonics within the audio range, it is their harmonic overtones that help to fill in the gaps where there were no primary notes. As such, this gives one the impression of a fuller, more tempo driven piece of music. If you think that bass doesn't affect your perception of tempo, think about how folks "bob" their head to bass notes or "tap" to the rhythm of bass notes. Their is a reason why bass and drums are called "the rhythm section". The "rhythm section" sets the "pace" for the rest of the band.

Here's a simple test. This test will work REGARDLESS of the bass characteristics of your speakers or room, i.e. the results will be the same even if your system normally sounds "fast", "full", "bloated", "thin", etc.. Put on a recording that is very uptempo and gets you "groovin". If you have tone controls, minimize the bass output levels ( if you have them ) and see how much "pace" or "rhythm" that piece of music has now. If you can't do this at home, try it in your car. Most car stereos still have some form of tone control to them as i suspect they always will. I think that you'll find that the "life", "groove", "body" or "energy" of the tune will have been DRASTICALLY reduced. This is true regardless of the fact that treble transients have been relatively unaltered in comparison.

The reason for this is that a fundamental bass note centered at 150 Hz, which is NOT extended by any means, will have harmonics at 300 Hz, 450 Hz, 600 Hz, 750 Hz, 900 Hz, 1150 Hz, 1300 Hz, 1450 Hz, 1600 Hz, 1750 Hz, 1900 Hz, 2050 Hz, etc... whereas a note centered at 4 Khz ( not even really a HIGH frequency ) will have harmonic output at 8 KHZ, 12 KHz, 16 KHz and then 20 KHz.

In a direct comparison, it is pretty obvious that bass fundamentals and harmonics cover a FAR wider frequency range than notes anywhere else in the audio spectrum. Also take note that many of the harmonic overtones associated with "bass" take place directly in what is referred to as the midrange area, where our ears are the most sensitive. As such, when you lose primary bass notes, you loose a LOT of harmonic structure and what gives music its' tempo. This is NOT to say that high or mid frequencies are NOT important to contributing to "pace", "prat", "air", "ambience", "imaging", etc.. as that would be totally ludicrous.

I hope that you can understand where i'm coming from. Sean
PS... i'm not trying to say that bass output is EVERYTHING when it comes to "prat". It is obviously just one aspect of a very complex issue. Sean
Pace is *very* important with burritos:)
Sean I agree completely with you. Program that's thin-sounding, lacking in bass, it just doesn't swing. Add in some bass (with those 'dreaded' tone controls if available) and your toes are tapping again. Your harmonic structure theory certainly seems relevant. Whatever the mechanism(s) are, if the bass line is thin, the sound is lacking in PRAT.

There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding of the terms & definitions of PRaT and the the source and causes of poor PRaT. Good PRaT is not something added to music reproduction but rather something that is easily lost by choices in component design and application.Very few manufactures truley have addressed the temporal qualities of musical reproduction until recent times.The field is still relatively new and incompletely understood as much is co-dependant on human responses to timing anomolies.
PRaT is NOT frequency/tonal dependant but a function of accurate and unambigious timing and temporal cues.
Music is based on frequency and amplitude over time.Variations and deviation from absolute timing precision affects note shape(attack/sustain/decay+amplitude) and rhythmic landmarks thus the forward motion & progression of music as well as subtlties of expression and emotion(microdynamics).
The anomolies in devices/systems with poor temporal reproduction are(amoungst other *problems*) often circuit design related as well as having inadequate power reserves & poor regulation, confused earthing,overspecing of components(saturation/capacitance/eddy of circuit paths/also see OTA cable thread) and resonant time smear.
The address above leads you to an early article by Martin Colloms from Stereophile ,Nov.92.That's less than a decade ago and was breaking new ground when the article was written.
The articles intent seems to be an attempt at identifying and defining the characteristics that are now accepted as the PRAT(pace, rhythm and timing)audio philosophy.Some portions of the article are a bit disjointed, and inarticulate in retrospect as Colloms was covering fresh and largely unexplored ground.It's still one of the best I've come across tho, and far better than I can articulate.
Give it a read.
While i WILL read that article, i will stand by statements about frequency response / tonality / harmonics GREATLY affecting the "PRAT" of a system. Do the simple test that i mentioned and judge for yourself how much "pace" the music has left. Other than that, Ken's post was quite eloquent and i do appreciate him posting the link. Sean
Hey Sndsel are you making fun of this? I know these posts are way out there but we audiophile mythologists have feelings. By the way how much ginkgo biloba does it take?