The Engineer's Shoes..

We Audiogoneers share a love of audio and music. Discussions can be impassioned; feelings frequently run high, and sometimes debate will descend into pitched battle.
But why? Consider the Chain.

1. The choice of music.
2. Is the music electronic, amplified, or acoustic?
3. The choice of musicians.
4. The choice of recording venue.
5. The choice, and positioning of microphone(s)
6. The choice of equipment to record.
7. The choice of transducer to listen to the recording
8. The choice and tastes of the engineer.
9. The choice and tastes of the final mixer.
10 The transducers used by the mixer.
11.The final transfer medium.
12.The listener's playback device.
13.The listener's speakers.
14.The listener's mood.
14.The listener's room.
15.Everyone's ears and hearing.
16.Etc, etc, etc

And we debate the merits of cables?
In this veritable sea of arbitrariness where every variable there could be is loud and clear I wonder how it's possible to debate anything but the music itself - and that of course is nothing but taste defined! A properly conducted debate would have clearly defined goals, and in an ideal situation where there are multiple variables then these would be eliminated in advance. But we allow (and maybe enjoy) the reviewers to use words like "liquid" to describe a midrange - and how can we not! To reduce everything to a set of graphs and numbers is an approach doomed to failure -because the recordings themselves have absolutely no Absolutes.
And what if the engineer's shoes were pinching on the day of the recording? Wouldn't that make a difference too?. I'd like to think of him or her as a person, not a machine.
As most of us do, I love this hobby: I love most things about it. I especially love the fact that ultimately it's just about the music. I even enjoy some of the fringier debates. But I do wonder how any debate could be successfully prosecuted. My speakers, your speakers, my amp, your amp? Ultimately they're all pretty marvelous: perhaps even cables are cool.
But I can't help thinking about that chain, and maybe those shoes....
Number 6, the equipment used to record, also has multiple variables if expanded, the preamps, the AD/DA converters, the software/tape format, latency if digital, resolution settings, mastering algorithms, the board used to mix, the cables used thoughout that whole chain. A very large portion of the total outcome depends on the environment of this area.

Also as a vocal proponent of time and phase correct speaker designs, I feel that the monitors used for mixing and mastering should also adhere to these principles.
An absolute...hence the amp used for playback must be as close to perfectly transparent and neutral as possible if the desired effect is to accurately replicate or execute the construction of the actual recording. Whether the outcome is what was intended is anybody's guess. However if the amp adds or subtracts anything, then something will be missing. This is probably where the issue of subjectivity stems from.

How close am I?
I like going barefoot myself.
The purer the recording (the less it's messed with) the better.
It makes determining amps, speakers and cables that much easier.

All the best,
You could limit yourself to Grateful Dead bootlegs.
The audiophile universe has developed a pseudo-technical language. It's part copyright hype and part nonsense. All the talk of continuousness, harmonic envelopment, PRAT, etc. are used purely for entertainment purposes. If you think you know what they mean, then fine, but don't worry about it if you have no idea what the words mean. If you've ever watch any of the "Star Trek" shows or movies, did you give serious thought to "subspace" or "warp core breaches"? I hope not. I do know that having a continuous soundstage with engaging harmonic envelopment plus good PRAT are a good things and something I want to have, but I don't know what any of that stuff really is. Could be I just need to relax or maybe even cross circuit to B.
I don't know how one can attempt to effectively communicate and convey their thoughts to strangers without descriptive vocabularies. Adjectives are both useful as well as necessary to express what one hears which is of course a subjective endeavor. Terms such as fluid, ,liquid, organic, thin, harsh, saturated, airy , etc.These are useful and gives me a strong sense of what someone is trying to explain. I guess we're ll different in this regard.
I always worried about the "Prime Directive". They always talked about it but never seemed to actually implement it. What a joke! :^)
57s4me - Point taken. In this context, our (audiophile) end can seem to get a little silly.
But why? Because many folks believe they have the correct answers. I, on the other hand, smile as I put another record on the turntable and relax...
Words are not without meaning for they do convey some information, but based upon numerous other threads it's unlikely that we could ever reach a consensus of what liquid or organic sound means. It may be useful to describe what we hear, but is it really necessary?
I see the point you're making but as human beings how else to communicate without a common language? For example I've been asked more than a few times by interested people to describe the differences in sound between my SET 300b and my 100 watt class AB push pull amplifiers. It's only possible to do if I use very descriptive words and phrases to construct a mental image that would be understood. If I said one has more bass weight and authority yet the other has superior texture, ,articulation and is more tactile, I believe most would correctly get my meaning. I can't think of a better way to communicate my impression to another person.
Towards better language - puffy, propulsive, growling, slippery, squeaky, watery, superficial, threadbare, papier mâché, discombobulated, wiry, electromechanical, tedious, presumptuous, congealed, raucous.
There seems to be a contradiction in terms in your post, Charles. Not much authority in bass without definition imo. Instead of reinventing the English language, it's probably more useful to use one key word in a phrase. Hence a 'common' language. Wordiness is what leads to confusion and therefore lack of communication. I think it's for the sake of brevity that too much information gets presented all at once in an internet forum conversation.
Wouldn't be boring if audiophile Nirvana actually happened and everything sounded uniformly perfect?

Music is an art!!!!! You need the gear to experience the art, but its the art in the end that matters. Variety is the lifeblood of art and makes the world go round.

The gear: that is a function of engineering and applied science, much more cut and dry though variety still abounds.

Put it all together and you got a big jumble of applied science, technology and art. Something for everyone there! I guess that whats makes it all so fascinating and worthy of the time and money we invest.
Charles1dad, I think we agree more than we disagree, since I do understand your description of the 300b based amp, however, I've come to the conclusion that the audiophile language ultimately obscures more than it enlightens. I think a truer statement on your part would be that "for some types of music and in certain situation I much prefer the the sound of the 300b amp". That's a fairly opaque and limited statement, but it is precise, a quality that is lacking in the more descriptive language. If somebody insists upon knowing why you have a preference, tell them "it's an tube thing, you wouldn't understand".'s like dancing about architecture.
With me it's a continual quest so always 'Nirvanic". Is that a word? Oh well, you get my drift.
Frank Lloyd Wright is turning in his grave right about now:)
I'd agree there's more than one method or style of written communication .I
find the more expressive form more beneficial in my case but realize this
isn't true for everyone.
Csontos, I don't think you understood my example at all.What you inferred
is not related to what I wrote.
just for the record, there are no debates, in the literal sense, on this forum--only discussions, and , obviously, exchanges of opinion.
Charles, are you sure? On both counts? I thought I made a good point. I suppose I should have been more wordy.

MrTennis, is that a 33, 45, or 78 you're referring to? I'm guessing it was a 78...right over my head!
The desire for a universal language to explain what we hear has been around for quite a long while. I see it as only a starting point since no one, despite the ground rules, has stuck to it since what we say we hear is denied by others who claim it not to be, due to different understandings of the terms agreed upon.

Discussing this takes me back to the movie "Contact" with Jodie Foster. When she is teleported through the galaxies, witnessing the beauty and wonder in front of her, she tries to explain what she's seeing. Being a scientist, she labors on a bit and then says "They should have sent a poet".

All the best,
Well said Nonoise, love your analogy.
oh no no no. That will never do, Geoff. You've missed the most important ones. Mapman is definitely on the right track. Get out the thesaurus!

...and the dictionary
Csontos wrote,

"You've missed the most important ones."

Very observant of you. Gee, don't you find the important ones, as you say, sort of trite and meaningless? You know, words like holographic?
I was thinking more along the line of 'boring'. How many synonyms do you think you can come up with for that one, all by yourself without any help?
Here are some synonyms for boring: Reality TV shows, someone elses vacation photos, driving through Ohio on I-75, eating alone, flying back from Asia in Coach (actually, that is excruciating).