In audio terms what is a "British sound?"

plastic penguin

Well-known member
I've read on this forum and elsewhere this amp or speakers has a British or Japanese or American sound?

I've owned Japanese components (and still do with the Denon and Marantz tuner.) I've demoed Canadian and American stuff yet I struggle to identify the difference when it comes to presentation.

Can anyone enlighten me?
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
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There are 3 types of Hi Fi sound, Bad, Sounds Great and Realistic.
Bad is self-explanatory, Sounds Great depends on your upbringing and culture, (this is the so called country specific sound) Realistic is faithful to the original, which most find too brutal unless you regularly go to live concerts.

Bill
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
There are 3 types of Hi Fi sound, Bad, Sounds Great and Realistic.
Bad is self-explanatory, Sounds Great depends on your upbringing and culture, (this is the so called country specific sound) Realistic is faithful to the original, which most find too brutal unless you regularly go to live concerts.

Bill
Again, this could refer to any brand, if poorly matched, regardless of country of origin.
 
I've read on this forum and elsewhere this amp or speakers has a British or Japanese or American sound?

I've owned Japanese components (and still do with the Denon and Marantz tuner.) I've demoed Canadian and American stuff yet I struggle to identify the difference when it comes to presentation.

Can anyone enlighten me?
Perhaps most of those Japanese components you had were actually tuned for European markets, I know Marantz did just that.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
One of those terms like 'musical' you make of them what you will.
BBC monitor type sound must be as British as it gets (not that foreigners couldn't match that if they wanted to 🤔).
Often probably quoted by snobbish British reviewers?
I think we understand it to mean subtle, well balanced (non-v shaped) sound don't we?
Or, if we're being snobbish, a 'grown-up' sound 😏
 

treesey

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May 18, 2015
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According to Cambridge Audio:-

They waffled on a great deal, but here is the Management Summary:

British Sound is...hi-fi that didn’t add or takeaway anything from the original recording. The Americans loved adding big, chunky bass to their recordings and the lovely folk in the far-east liked to boost their mid-range to enhance vocal tracks. We Brits just wanted something honest and pure.
 
They waffled on a great deal, but here is the Management Summary:

British Sound is...hi-fi that didn’t add or takeaway anything from the original recording. The Americans loved adding big, chunky bass to their recordings and the lovely folk in the far-east liked to boost their mid-range to enhance vocal tracks. We Brits just wanted something honest and pure.
sort of about right. Because of vocal intonation in Far East treble and midrange are generally accentuated.
 

nads

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2007
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Never heard this when I lived in the UK. But did when living in Sweden and Germany. Still have no idea about it. But I can tell a Yamaha set up playing as it is one “sound“ I don’t get.
 

Vincent Kars

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Mar 6, 2021
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Can't be doing with that.
Maybe I don't understand what you are saying but what I understand this is a desired response.
See pic 2 and 3

If I remember correctly, this is also the kind of response Peter Walker advocated.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Maybe I don't understand what you are saying but what I understand this is a desired response.
See pic 2 and 3

If I remember correctly, this is also the kind of response Peter Walker advocated.
I know it's very much a desired response for many Vincent.
But, if / when treble actually sounds rolled off (when compared to the original sound) then no ifs, no buts, regardless of who desires it, it's just wrong.
There are no rights and wrongs with tastes, but there are very definitely wrongs with sound.
 
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plastic penguin

Well-known member
Cyrus works for me as a British sound, beat Arcam and Roksan when I was choosing.
No doubt that both brands works well with the right components. But Cyrus and Naim when I've home demoed them, albeit years ago, it was fingers down a blackboard.

I don't like a rolled off treble (a pet hate of mine in hi-fi terms) but it needs to be compliant enough to match a wide range of speakers
 
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