When I use it it means: a. Not acoustically natural as the way live music sounds b. Too "electronic" sounding (tizzy or boomy sounding) c. Fatiguing to listen to for long periods of time.
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To me too HiFi usually means that too much emphasis has been placed in creating a highly detailed (read bright & thin) upper midrange and highs to exaggerate the soundstaging effect at the expense of musicality. It could also be over/under emphasis in any part of the musical spectrum to appeal to certain listeners, which departs from a neutral presentation of the contents of the recordings.
HiFi has been a good thing. It is what all audio components aspire to. Quality of components has been rated as budget, mid-fi and hi-fi (high fidelity). Hi-Fi is what audiophiles would purchase because this is the equipment striving to be the best.
Now in the persuit of this holy grail, the highest resolution equipment can be a mix of hi-fi sound or like real music. Both are positve qualities in terms of sound reproduction, but obviously it's real music that's more desireable. Especially today, more and more components can sound like music.
Hi-Fi is a good thing, consider mid-fi and low-fi as inferior reproduction.
Now obviously there can be some musical qualities to even low-fi sound.
hi fidelity or hi fi is a good thing....a lot of hi end audio is overly analytical...at a music venue bass is fast and loose(when did you ever hear an acoustic or electric bass that was tight?) and a horn players' runs will make your hair curl....too much of hi end isn't like listening to live music at all....hell,even anne murray is loud in concert.
I like the "I can't afford it" comment. I would also like to add stereos that are "too hifi" are only sold in snooty stereo boutiques.
Actually, I think "too hifi" is a misnomer. What I mean is, there is no such thing as too much hifi. Either you like a stereo system or you don't.
If there is a stereo that does everything perfectly, yet you just have don't have subjective preference towards this system, then the label "too hifi" is used.
That subjective preference can come in many different vehicles. That system doesn't evoke quality within the perception of the individual buyer, or that buyer simply has cold feet (or cold ears?).
In summary, there can be infinite # of subjective reasons why an otherwise adequate stereo is "too hifi."