Top two most important sound qualities

In case you didn't know, it's 2023 and this website still hasn't implemented a polling feature, so I can't define a selection of sound qualities to choose from and see results in a grouped, organized fashion. Boo hoo!


If you had to pick two of the typically referenced sound qualities that are most important to you to optimizing the enjoyment of your system, what are they? You know what I mean, right? Could be a certain frequency range and some particular quality that you for in it, or any quality that applies across all frequencies, etc.

(Note: "Sound qualities" mentioned here do not include anything that refers to physical attributes of your system or listening room, such as acoustical treatments, types of components, types of source material, physical tweaks, etc. It's only a reference to subjectively appreciated qualities.)


I understand what is meant when people talk about an emotional vs cerebral type of listening, and I have two points to make about that, which you may find interesting.


1) It’s never either/or. No person is 100% one or the other. That’s not how human brains work. We all have our unique configurations, leaning more one way than the other, but both emotions and abstract thinking are regularly involved in the human experience.


2) Why do people like to physically attend a live show? Sure, they like the natural sound, the social engagement, the sensory stimulation, the thrill, and the feeling of doing something special.

But they also go to *watch* the musicians perform in a 3D space, and not *just* to listen to the sound. Even a blind person at a live music event can perceive, probably with extraordinary accuracy, the sense of space within which the performance is happening, as well as the locations of the sounds inside that space. This is one of the reasons why I prefer smaller, intimate venues over gigantic productions.

When we listen to recorded music on 2 channel systems at home, all this talk about "imaging" and "soundstaging" is important to people precisely for the same reason. The experience desired is that of being "as if" we are actually watching it, in addition to listening to it. People live in three dimensions, we experience life in three dimensions, and so we naturally want to have an inner sense of space and dimensionality when we listen to and feel the music that we love.

Having said that, I have an affinity for being in recording studios, so there isn’t a desire within me for my music to represent a live, staged affair which could block my listening enjoyment of most stuff I listen to. 🙂

As gladmo sez.... We live in three dimensions. In the natural world we hear sounds in three dimensions. Ergo -- 3D soundstaging means more realism. Higher fidelity.

@vinocour 100% on your 3 part answer. Better than my comment which begins with rhythm as well.

My wife will not watch opera except live performances (we have season tickets-she loves live opera) and certainly will not share my huge recorded collection (70,000-100,000 opera/classical vocal recordings). She has an affinity for 60-80s pop and rock in recorded form as after having attended 50+ concerts, she prefers a studio version absent distractions listening to her music. We share recorded classical instrumental music together. She’s not into jazz so much unless it’s live as well.