Treble words

nickcornwall

Active member
Nov 24, 2022
15
8
25
Making any sense of hifi reviews is a challenge at the best of times, but I wonder if there is a bigger range of words used to describe the high frequency output from speakers than anything else? From a few speaker reviews (OK I probably read too many!) I've seen the following:

Forward
Shiny
Smooth
Clear
Transparent
Harsh
Sweet
Crisp
Refined
Sophisticated
Ringing
Brittle
Airy

I know that many reviewers are just trying to find new ways of saying "this is the best speaker ever" without offering much criticism - but can anyone make more sense of these than me?!
 
Making any sense of hifi reviews is a challenge at the best of times, but I wonder if there is a bigger range of words used to describe the high frequency output from speakers than anything else? From a few speaker reviews (OK I probably read too many!) I've seen the following:

Forward
Shiny
Smooth
Clear
Transparent
Harsh
Sweet
Crisp
Refined
Sophisticated
Ringing
Brittle
Airy

I know that many reviewers are just trying to find new ways of saying "this is the best speaker ever" without offering much criticism - but can anyone make more sense of these than me?!
Ignore all words, just go audition
 
Last edited:

Gray

Well-known member
...can anyone make more sense of these than me?!
Not only can reviewers be inconsistent with descriptions, but readers will inevitably vary in their interpretation of the descriptions- i.e. whether they regard the descriptions as positive or negative traits!

I think the ones intended to be negatives should be obvious to all:
Shiny
Harsh
Ringing
Brittle


Smooth
Sweet
Refined
must surely all come under the 'sophisticated' heading.

As for the rest:
Forward
Clear
Transparent
Crisp
Airy
...sound like my type of speaker.
Though 'forward' can be given and taken as a criticism and even 'transparent' I've seen regarded as a some sort of sin (by crazy people 😉)

Just more reasons never to rely solely on reviews and always judge sound qualities for yourself.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Somebody made sense of these in 1993. Lots to read through here, link to page 1...

 

nickcornwall

Active member
Nov 24, 2022
15
8
25
Thanks nopiano - interesting article - would be good if all reviewers had read it! Not sure I’ll be asking for the poster - I’m quite nerdy enough already! Looks as though Gray was pretty spot on, though I’ve seen ringing as a positive (really?) and the article gives sweet as a negative.

I take your point Al ears about auditioning stuff, but it’s pretty deficient as a way of judging equipment in my view. The only way to decide if you like something is to live with it for some weeks. It’s why I’ve always bought used - I can sell it on if I don’t like it. Hifi shops might do well do do leasing - where you pay a weekly fee to have the thing at home for a longer period than the normal home demo.
 

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