Words from the Wise -Part 2

Hello everybody. This is a sequel to my other thread Words From the Wise.

In this thread I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the top 5 guidelines you would tell a fellow Audiophile to improve their reviewing/assessing of the impact/effect of new components in their systems. Please use point form or short paragraphs
My list begins with things that cause listener fatigue and are cause for dismissing the audition as a failure...
1 - unpleasant high frequency hash, ring, or sizzle.
2 - annoying mid-range glare.
3 - muddy lower midrange and upper bass.

If these are not heard during the audition...
4 - I listen for musicality, soundstage and overall presentation. I also grade highly on accurate dynamics: many systems over-emphasize and come off aggressive while others are restrictive and uninvolving.
5 - Next, I ask myself Does this component have a sound? If it imparts a particular sound, this is generally my first, and lasting, impression.
6 - Finally - I take note of 2 additional things: is any type of power filter used? and is any resonance control in place? For example, many systems I have seen are spiked rather poorly on carpeted floors. This can smooth out many HF problems and exaggerate the bass.

Also, I try not to be too overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) emotionally because there are many things which go into the overall sound of a system. Two listening sessions several days apart a far better than one extended session.
1. Do not listen to components as isolated units. Learn what combinations work well together and why. Great plant combinations, not great plants make the truly unforgettable garden.

2. Remember that there is no right answer, just what you are prepared to work at. Have a goal for your system. No one system will work equally well on all types of music.

3. Always do your listening with recordings you know extremely well. The novelty of new music will cloud your judgement.

4. Establish listening criteria and take notes. Otherwise you will remember only how you felt after listening.

5. Well built equipment is beautiful. Build something beautiful.
1)Play music that you like.

2)Play music that you like.

3)Play music that you like.

4)Play music that you like.

5)Play music that you like.

Marty- Why the hell would I do something like that?!?!?!
I like Blueswan's suggestions.

The only thing I would add is whether or not the system makes your feet tap. This is the coup de grace for me.

Sometimes you can get caught up being too structured in listening. You may satisfy your conscious mind, but music must also speak to your subconscious.

The first thing I do when auditioning equipment is read a magazine while listening to one of my favorite CDs. Significant differences will still catch your attention, but reading a magazine will distract you from hyper analyzing things. If you focus too much, sometimes you end up hearing things you want or expect to hear. It's human nature.

Of course, this is also a great way to test the "toe tap" philosophy. If you're tapping your toes while reading the magazine, odds are the system is doing something right.

I've screened out alot of expensive equipment with that simple first test. If I didn't notice a significant difference or it didn't make my feet tap, it went back to the store.
In your 3rd guideline what would you suggest to my situation when the music that I didn't listen for a month or two I consider new due to the huge collection that very often changes for something new?:-)
I would take a good listen to the recordings I intend to use for review purposes on my existing system before I swap in anything new, or go out to listen to other systems. However, Viridian's 5 points are well taken.
Be careful of that foot tapping thing. This sometimes is caused by strange frequency and dynamics anomalies which lend a sort of rythmic monotony to the music. I think some Linn equipment has this designed in.

Anyway, I use one major criterium for new components - does it make me want to be in my listening chair (sofa in my case) when I'm actually doing something else? Does it make me think with pleasure about that time of the evening I can again listen to music? Does it cause me to, when walking by the room, stop, gaze in, admire the system, and say, "Damn, I love you guys!"? And does it cause me to jump up while listening and find out who's playing that clarinet, trumpet, guitar, etc.? (I do that a lot lately because of all the wonderfully fine transfers of great jazz recordings of the last 60 years.) And finally, does it cause me to take CD booklets to bed as reading material instead of Sterophile, TAS, etc.? (Again, those damn jazz, rock, and classical reissues. Just picked up Cal Tjader's "Soul Bird" on 24/96 Japanese import today.)

Oops! Guess that is the required five criteria!
1) What is your first reaction? You hear natural non-distorted sound all day long. Does the stereo sound equally natural? This must be done quickly because your ears will adjust for distortion in a matter of minutes.

Working on 2-5)