I'm sorry. I mistyped. I mean a big fat "IMHO".
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If any one of us can answer the question of what the "live performance" sounded like when it was recorded then we are on the way to the "perfect" audio system. Let me attempt to provide and example. I was not in the hall when Fritz Reiner conducted the Chicago Symphony Orch. in the recording of "Pictures at an Exhibition" (LSC-2201). I suspect that none of any of the others of us were either. For that reason each of has an impression in our mind of what that recording "should" sound like. We base this "percieved sound" on our experiences. Over time, we tweek and adjust our system in the attempt to get it to produce the the sonic qualities that each of us thinks is "true and realistic"(see the Kublakhan Poop theory thread). But...we can never get there. Let's face it, the LA Phil. sounds different than the Boston Pops and the Atlanta Symphony. Then we throw in Rock, Jazz, Big Band, different producers, engineers and agents, the eighteen year old pimply faced high school dropout (not meaning to offend anyone) making AES/EBU cables in the corner. Is it any wonder that we are chasing the "perfect system". Ultimately, our individual systems end up being a balance, a delicate balance, of what we percieve as "accurate reproduction" covering all of the different possibilities. That, I believe, is why none of has a right or wrong system. The system that Albertporter has is right for him. It may not be right for Dekay or Cornfedboy, but their system is not right for Sean or Sedond.
So,....after all of that is a straight wire with gain right? Yes, I think it is, because we cannot have a "universal system" that reproduces that actual performance in that particular venue with that particular performer and that particular enigneer and producer on that particular day.
Unless, of course, you buy a Bose WaveRadio with CD. Sorry, just had to throw that in. Cheers, Doug
My experience is that mating a "musical" component with an "analytical" component in the backbone of a system seems to work best. Otherwise, you end up with TOO much of a "good" thing or a system that is not well balanced. While certain characteristics might work fabulously for specific types of music, it might be completely lacking in other areas. Then again, if someone has very limited musical tastes, a system slanted towards one specific sound might make them very happy.
If i'm using a "straight wire with gain" type of preamp, i'll find that a "musical" power amp seems to work best in that system. Then again, a "musical" preamp almost always dictates the use of an "analytical" power amp. While there are exceptions to this depending on how "off center" the source / speakers / room acoustics are, i've usually found that it works out pretty well. This is called the Yin / Yang approach to building an audio system : ) Sean
Sean, I like your Yin / Yang approach. Doug, you're absolutely correct in suggesting that no one system can do the trick. I think that's at the heart of the question. The "straight wire with gain" approach forces us to reach the single most pleasing compromise (a bit different for everyone). Would the industry gain anything by allowing the listener more real-time flexibility in "engineering" the sound? Are things heading in that direction now? Obviously, tone controls are a bad thing. But, is there something else ... or could there be?