What is this term 'analytical' ?

I see this routinely in reviews & comments and so do you:

It’s too analytical. It’s so analytical that it’s not musical. Etc.

What does this mean? You can actually hear stuff? You picture math problems on a chalkboard? A shrink’s couch?

Isn’t the entire point of this hobby to hear music clearly? But apparently: not too clearly?


What does sterile sound like? What does character sound like? What does connecting emotionally sound like?

About all I can add is that it is the opposite of musical. Have you ever heard a system that you would describe as more musical than most? You just get caught up in the music and it makes you want to keep listening? Then go across the spectrum, past the ordinary amount of musicality, way over to where the music is just sound, not music. It just doesn’t engage you. That’s analytical.

Surely you understand connecting emotionally.  Compare your response to your favorite music with your response to music that you just don't care for.  The former is connecting emotionally with you.

Some have pointed out that going for detail can lead you to an analytical system. There’s a similar pitfall on the musical side. When going for as musical a system as possible, you can end up with an overly lush, overly romantic, slow and thick sounding system.



Let me add, all the notes and details are there, they just don’t connect with you emotionally.


Yes, I’ve experienced this a few times at shows.

A quite strange experience.

Something is wrong, or something is missing.

In either case you’re not immediately sure what that might be.


The point of this hobby is to enjoy yourself. The idea that there’s a pure land that has perfect reproduction that everyone would enjoy is folly.  Same for the idea that there is such a thing as an objectively neutral speaker that is capable of reproducing some ideal as the mastering engineers heard it in all cases.



You are going to have to listen to different systems while learning the terminology. Here is a glossary of terminology.





Several weeks ago I wrote a review of a DAC that was mostly about sound reproduction generally. It seems to touch very closely to the issues raised in this thread. As only one line of it refers to the DAC in question I think it’s OK to let it appear here. I’m certain there are other DACs that can meet the standard that I find praiseworthy and the review says so.