What about when a transparent amp is used with transparent speakers using Transparent cables?
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these are just words used to describe what one person thinks they hear in their system. don't get caught up in the lingo, it means absolutely nothing. your best bet, if you're trying to decide on amps and speakers, is to go with a combination that you hear/read is well liked and popular for the type of music that you listen to. from there you can try different amps/speakers/etc. to fine tune to your taste if you are not completely happy.
"what about a transparent amp with a transparent speaker?" As
long as you can see your CD player and your remote, you should be okay.
Sorry, Mbbolda. Ketchup is right. These generalizations are too broad and
subjective to be helpful. Especially with a term like transparency, you have to
develop your own frame of reference. Different people are more or less
sensitive to different kinds of distortion and will hear transparency differently.
In general, detail and transparency are good, and more of both is better--if
you can get it without more distortion.
"most people seem to think that a detailed amp with a detailed speaker will not work"
I'm not sure that's true. I'd say that most people look for as much of this attribute as they can get, as long as there are no tradeoffs involved. Of course, there are almost always tradeoffs involved... Many people like as detailed a sound as they can get as long as the sound remains 'musical' to them and doesn't get overly analytical. This doesn't always mean combining components that are on opposite ends of the tonal spectrum.
It is Saturday evening here in Montclair, NJ and its nasty outside (wet, damp and cold) I have a lot of spare time so I thought I would take a stab at defining some terms used all the time by audiophiles. Below is my usage of the terms. What is your personal understanding of the terms used for system characterization.
Transparency: Ability to hear deeply into the music. Hear instrument at the rear of the sound stage, etc. Ease of following musical threads and lines of each instrument
Detail: Ability to easily detect subtle nuances, inner information (vibratto, sound of lips, finger on strings, etc)
Neutrality: Perceived flat frequency response, no part of the spectrum is exaggerated relative to the other
Dynamic: Transient response
Dynamic Range: Perceived swing in loudness level from the quietest passages to loudest
Articulate: Well defined leading edge of transient
Robustness: Tonal balance in the midrange and upper bass which contributes to a full tonal balance in the midrange.
Musicality: When all the parameters above are combined to produce a subjectivly pleasing listening experience
Bossjay gave you the short answer and GMorris gave you the longer answer - I think both did a nice job of defining these terms. It's interesting that for the zillions of threads on Agon and AA and other sites that we don't see more "glossaries" with hifi terms defined. Something like that would no doubt spawn some debate, but given how well Bossjay and GMorris did it might be possible after a few rounds of discussion to get some reasonably accepted definitions. I think most hard core audiophiles have a pretty good understanding of these terms, but even then there can be breakdowns in communication unless there is some explicit discussion of the terms. One of the benefits of having commonly excepted terms would be that users could make more useful recommendations to other users; additionally as users showed enthusiasm for hifi performance along less amibigous and more clearly defined lines, manufacturers could then begin to more confidently and better discern market requirements and preferences. One would think that it's hard to buy equipment based on Internet forums by reading rather than live listening, but it appears pretty clear that lots of buying is influenced on these forums. Maybe it's time to standardize on terminology. While it's not easy translate audible perpceptions into words, audio to word translation can't be any harder than what manufacturers must do: translate circuit engineering into audible signal reproduction. I don't see how the engineers can do it without being able to communicate among themelves as to what they are striving for - which takes words. In short, a readily accesible and reasonably and commonly accepted set of terminology could only improve everyone's ability to communicate. Maybe Agon should have their top advisors (whoever they may be) publish a Term Glossary. In turn, Agon could have a thread where people could discuss and debate the current definitions and then from time to time the Agon advisors could update the definitions with enhanced definitions.
(If you think about how Agon has defined the 10-1 equipment conditions it would seem that Agon has proven an ability to put forward useful terms. Sonic definitions might be somewhat more ambitious, but also a logical next step. Users wouldn't need to pledge allegiance to these definitiions; they could simply refer to them as correct or take exception to them using alternative definitions as they feel so compelled; most of the time we would save a lot of time and get on to whatever is next by not having to redefine terms or miscommunicate because we never established a common understanding in the first place.)
- Before anyone sends flaming responses, I know part of hifi is the fun of just rambling on regardless of whether anyone understands or appreciates anything we have to say :), so maybe we don't need definitions; just kidding - definitions might be helpful
...I know the real love of hifi for me is to ramble on and on, without regard to anything meaningful.Nice to have that understanding. I actually appreciate the definitions provided here because-sadly enough, I did confuse transparency with detail. Giving thought to this I realize that I would far more value transparency over the perception of detail.
Check out this Stereophile glossary of terms.
transparency, transparent 1) A quality of sound reproduction that gives the impression of listening through the system to the original sounds, rather than to a pair of loudspeakers. 2) Freedom from veiling, texturing, or any other quality which tends to obscure the signal. A quality of crystalline clarity.
detail The subtlest, most delicate parts of the original sound, which are usually the first things lost by imperfect components. See "low-level detail." Compare "haze," "smearing," "veiling."
From reading some of these definitions, if transparency exists then all other factors exist. If a transparent system allows you to feel like you are listening to the original sounds, then detail, musicality, soundstage and all we hold dear would also be there, no? Transparency is then less than a useful term since it describes everything.
I wonder whether transparency is more like the second part of the stereophile definition -- i.e., it is more of an overlay than the only objective. For example, detail can exist without the sound being tonally correct or neutral across the spectrum. Perhaps transparency can exist even if the soundstage is lousy, detail is not all there or dynamics are bad.
I don't think audiophiles have yet developed terms that are truly "orthogonal" or independent of one another. I'm still struggling with the language but I think that no term stands alone but must stand with a variety of concepts to really be understood. And, almost every term overlaps with others. Right now, I wish audio terms were more transparent ;-)
If detail, tonality, neutrality, great dynamics and soundstage are present, does transparency have to exist? Or could some other factor still make all that sound veiled somehow?
Transparency = low background noise. Electrical hash, crosstalk, speaker x-over haze, bad AC power, stranded speaker wire all reduce transparency.
Detail = hear intricate parts of music like from e-stats or multi-driver dynamic speakers.
I think of transparency more in electrical terms and detail more from the speaker (except maybe SS is more detailed than tubes) and hi-rez CDP like SACD.
Passive pre's and choke regulated power amps may be more detailed but that's due to more transparency than detail per se.
Just my thoughts and if anyone can clean up something I'm overlooking, I'd be interested.