The worst sentence in audio writing

. Literally, hearing new details and delicacy in music I’ve heard a thousand times before.

I read this sentence from another thread but didn’t want to pollute it with this thought or to harp on my own opinion about the gear being discussed.

What I did want to do was point out that this sentence is one of the worst, most fraudulent sentences in all of audio, and we have all read it from a dozen different reviewers.  Anytime I read this I shudder. It’s not that I don’t believe the reviewer who writes this, it’s that I do. To understand why I hate this sentence you have to know my own personal values in audio.

  • Smooth frequency response
  • A laid back presentation

In order to make gear which has details never before heard the gear must exaggerate some sounds to the detriment of others. There’s no such thing as a neutral piece of gear that also makes you hear things yo have never heard before.

It’s a type of con, in that sure, you get new details, but they never talk about what you are giving up. The beauty of this con is that there’s all sorts of frequency response tricks and distortion gimmicks which will make you feel this way, each different, each not neutral. Each time we experience this "never before heard details" is like a new hair cut. It isn’t better, it’s different and that is exciting.


@erik_squires  Literally, hearing new details and delicacy in music I’ve heard a thousand times before.

I get your point. I feel the same way about someone who continually posts after each new tweak, power cable or what ever, how much incredibly better, clearer and more detailed - on a whole new level, their system sounds, after previously posting the same thing about the last grand tweak and the one before that and the one before that. Ya gotta wonder how many levels of better and the best can one achieve in the same system without that system sounding really bad to begin with..........Jim

Jim (jhills) and erik_squires illustrate important points, giving this topic added merit.  We are indeed the sum of OUR experiences and knowledge which motivated me to post from a "hands-on," experienced position.  Setting up my familiar system in my untamed studio 20 years ago, I thought my sound was just okay from what I knew, Back Then.  Having great passion despite a small audio budget, I began to study, later joining a very active "Audio Asylum" chatroom, befriending professional audio & DIYers along the way, remaining close to several.  These connections, as budget and knowledge grew, allowed me to steadily improve my system over two decades, incrementally. 

Jim questions how one individual can continue to make claims of gross improvements, time and time again, which would imply that the original sound must have been horrid.  I guess I'm that guy.  I thought my system sounded pretty good before bringing it into a 10'x10'x7 1/2' room, changing everything!  Elements of my journey can be found in my posts, but rest assured there were many "aha" moments in this tiny, dedicated studio that warranted exclamations.  Claims that would justifiably concern Jim and Erik.  The vast range of layers of improvement possible in audio over time is enormous, really.  These improvements have kept journals and new products alive 7 decades.  They certainly are what keep my juices flowing and wanting more.

Today, laser optical cartridges show great promise, for example.  Loudspeaker design, materials and amplification; room tuning progress to include speaker/room matching, (vital); solutions to noise created by active electronics; continuing digital to analog progress and DSP.  These are all being explored and improved upon in real time.   And, yes, reviewers will get excited and hear things anew, playing their old favorites.  Let it Be.

Thanks again Guys, for the opportunity.  More Peace, Pin


I get your post and appreciate where you are coming from.

Myself and quite a few others on the forum have been, to one extent or another, involved in and have had a love for audio and good music for many years and like you, have enjoyed an evolution over the years that has enhanced our enjoyment of this fine hobby or relaxing or involving get away, as it might be.

Over the years (starting back in the late 70s early 80s) I progressed in equipment (some a step up, some not) experimented with tweaks (some made a noticeable  improvement, some not) and room treatments. Since I have hundreds of choice vinyl LPs and many hundreds of CDs, and I'm still healthy enough to get up and turn over a LP or change a disc - I'm not to excited about a costly move to streaming, but that's a personal, not particularly a sonic preference.

Erik's take, I believe, is that, even if these upgrades, tweaks, etc. do add all that extra detail and resolution, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be more musical.

My point was in line with Erik in that I don't believe that every supposed leap up in detail and resolution necessarily means better sound. More specifically my point is that when one brags about their incredible best of the best system and then later that just replaced stock fuses, power cables, what ever, with XXX and brought my incredible system to a whole new level and a few months later say - just replaced my xxx fuse with xxyx fuse and couldn't believe - just brought my best of the best of the best system to a whole new level of the best and it goes on. At some point I stop believing the hype.......Jim