What price detail?

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Thumpa

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Sep 15, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
Jason36 said:
Personally I like a lot of detail with my music, which is probably why I now do most of my listening via headphones :grin:
Ah, but you are also a "vinyl junky". :shifty:
Sweet! Got him in the (hidden) detail...
 

paradiziac

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Jan 8, 2011
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My 10p:

A hifi that lacks detail can still be musical, a hifi that lacks character isn't musical however much detail is on offer.
 
A

Anonymous

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Each system is unique with it's own sound, i love detail, being able to hear john lennon's not so perfect whistle through 'jealous guy' is what makes the track sound so honest, to my ear's it sound's even better with a bit of warmth, no hifi is perfect, it's a matter of taste, a balence, a sound that you like.
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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paradiziac said:
My 10p:

A hifi that lacks detail can still be musical, a hifi that lacks character isn't musical however much detail is on offer.
Detail is simply a lack of distortion and is quanitfiable, character, on the other hand and other often used adjectives, such as musical, are largely meaningless.

Could you possibly expand upon what you mean by 'lacks character' and 'isn't musical' ? Charcter has been used in the OP, but no-one has yet explained what it actually is.
 

Alantiggger

Well-known member
Oct 14, 2007
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''

Detail is simply a lack of distortion and is quanitfiable, character, on the other hand and other often used adjectives, such as musical, are largely meaningless.

Could you possibly expand upon what you mean by 'lacks character' and 'isn't musical' ? Charcter has been used in the OP, but no-one has yet explained what it actually is.''

____________________________________

I'll go along with this .... my whole set-up is just less than three grand .... but this fellow sounds on the ball.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Alantiggger said:
''

Detail is simply a lack of distortion and is quanitfiable, character, on the other hand and other often used adjectives, such as musical, are largely meaningless.

Could you possibly expand upon what you mean by 'lacks character' and 'isn't musical' ? Charcter has been used in the OP, but no-one has yet explained what it actually is.''

____________________________________

I'll go along with this .... my whole set-up is just less than three grand .... but this fellow sounds on the ball.
I'll explain character in one word: Fun!

A system that makes you listen to the music rather than trying to inspect every nook and cranny of every track. Of course the Leema, Arcam and MAs dig up impressive amounts of detail but not to the detriment of the system's other traits. It won't ram it down your throat, instead it'll caress the info at you and leave you with a huge smile on your face. I like to think of it as a giant sonic feather duster...

If you socialise with a favoured friend you say: "They are fun with..."
 

altruistic.lemon

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Jul 25, 2011
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Character is surely the intention of the composer. I doubt Elgar intended his "Requiem" to be fun, so any hifi equipment that added vitality should be avoided like the plague.
 

paradiziac

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Jan 8, 2011
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Without getting too bogged down in the definitions, I'd equate character/musical/fun.

I think some folks are taking "character" to mean "system-added colouration", but I don't believe this was PP's meaning.

For example, some systems just let you enjoy the music and make you want to keep listening, and some systems are boring.

Specifically, if a system has poor timing (e.g. musicians sound drunk when they weren't!) or poor dynamics (lack of contrast between loud and soft parts), it's going to be a boring listen, EVEN IF the level of detail offered is forensic. The only case where a person would "enjoy" such as system is if they enjoy listening to hi fi and not to music.

So my vote: character first, with as much added detail as I can afford!

Perhaps we should rephrase the question:

Visceral or cerebral?
 

cse

Well-known member
Mar 3, 2008
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altruistic.lemon said:
I doubt Elgar intended his "Requiem" to be fun, so any hifi equipment that added vitality should be avoided like the plague.
I hadn't realised that Elgar had composed a "Requiem""???
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
paradiziac said:
Without getting too bogged down in the definitions, I'd equate character/musical/fun.

I think some folks are taking "character" to mean "system-added colouration", but I don't believe this was PP's meaning.

For example, some systems just let you enjoy the music and make you want to keep listening, and some systems are boring.

Specifically, if a system has poor timing (e.g. musicians sound drunk when they weren't!) or poor dynamics (lack of contrast between loud and soft parts), it's going to be a boring listen, EVEN IF the level of detail offered is forensic. The only case where a person would "enjoy" such as system is if they enjoy listening to hi fi and not to music.

So my vote: character first, with as much added detail as I can afford!

Perhaps we should rephrase the question:

Visceral or cerebral?
Right, let's get to the bottom of this before any additional confusion.

Given I have the DacMagic, listen to freeview commercial radio stations, heard one or two amps that don't quite measure up, reviews that ram the "detail" down ones collar when components are rated etc etc... I've absolutely nothing against detail, transparency but found IMHO that the freeview stuff increases detail and openness but loses out in terms of emotion, soul. Likewise, the DacMagic exhibits the same traits: This detail, clarity, openness translates, on my system, into a cold, mechanical sound.

Whether one relates to warmth as the aforementioned flipside, that's down to the individual but the more I hear the newer modtech - albeit I'm still cutting my teeth with the streaming option - the more I'm disappointed.

For some reason, this is a personal psychological block, the more the detail the higher the risk of losing that precious commodity - Fun!
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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paradiziac said:
Specifically, if a system has poor timing (e.g. musicians sound drunk when they weren't!) or poor dynamics (lack of contrast between loud and soft parts), it's going to be a boring listen, EVEN IF the level of detail offered is forensic. The only case where a person would "enjoy" such as system is if they enjoy listening to hi fi and not to music.
Dynamic range is something that any system has, in varying degrees and I can fully understand this affecting the sound to ones liking or otherwise, but timing?

Are you suggesting that some equipment, somehow changes the musical composition? This I really don't understand. I also put timing in the same box as rhythm and pace, along with fun and toe tapping. I get my enjoyment from my music and do not try to listen for any particular nuances, indeed I don't have to, as I find my system is quite resolving, not perfect, but good enough for now.
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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plastic penguin said:
Likewise, the DacMagic exhibits the same traits: This detail, clarity, openness translates, on my system, into a cold, mechanical sound.
pp, i don't think the 'detail, clarity and openness' is translating in your system to cold and mechanical, i think the dm is cold and mechanical, full stop.
 

Farmitou

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Nov 3, 2011
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Detail and character come hand in hand, the detail quite often creates the ambience and emotion. However when you get to a level of detail that can make the hairs on your neck stand, it's down to the original recording as much as anything else.
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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plastic penguin said:
paradiziac said:
Without getting too bogged down in the definitions, I'd equate character/musical/fun.

I think some folks are taking "character" to mean "system-added colouration", but I don't believe this was PP's meaning.

For example, some systems just let you enjoy the music and make you want to keep listening, and some systems are boring.

Specifically, if a system has poor timing (e.g. musicians sound drunk when they weren't!) or poor dynamics (lack of contrast between loud and soft parts), it's going to be a boring listen, EVEN IF the level of detail offered is forensic. The only case where a person would "enjoy" such as system is if they enjoy listening to hi fi and not to music.

So my vote: character first, with as much added detail as I can afford!

Perhaps we should rephrase the question:

Visceral or cerebral?
Right, let's get to the bottom of this before any additional confusion.

Given I have the DacMagic, listen to freeview commercial radio stations, heard one or two amps that don't quite measure up, reviews that ram the "detail" down ones collar when components are rated etc etc... I've absolutely nothing against detail, transparency but found IMHO that the freeview stuff increases detail and openness but loses out in terms of emotion, soul. Likewise, the DacMagic exhibits the same traits: This detail, clarity, openness translates, on my system, into a cold, mechanical sound.

Whether one relates to warmth as the aforementioned flipside, that's down to the individual but the more I hear the newer modtech - albeit I'm still cutting my teeth with the streaming option - the more I'm disappointed.

For some reason, this is a personal psychological block, the more the detail the higher the risk of losing that precious commodity - Fun!
Well the 'modtech' you describe is budget and, if Craig is right, deficient, so I don't see how you can draw any general conclusions. Plus, as I commented before, the fact that the title to your thread only addresses detail makes me think that in your head it is 'detail vs character'. Well it's not. You can get kit that covers both, albeit one is deeply subjective.
 

paradiziac

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Jan 8, 2011
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Overdose said:
Are you suggesting that some equipment, somehow changes the musical composition?
Yes, all equipment changes the musical composition to a greater or lesser extent because no system is 100% accurate.

Overdose said:
This I really don't understand. I also put timing in the same box as rhythm and pace, along with fun and toe tapping. I get my enjoyment from my music and do not try to listen for any particular nuances, indeed I don't have to, as I find my system is quite resolving, not perfect, but good enough for now.
I don't listen for nuances either, like you, I aim for toe-tapping fun with a nice amount of resolution (IMHO, that last bit of resolution is disproportionately expensive--I don't spend all day listening to music or have no other interests or am stinking rich).

I've tried different amps and speakers in my system and despite an increase in detail (in many cases), the music became a lot less fun--the best way I could describe it is that after 5 or 10 minutes of listening I could easily go away and do something else. Compared to my present set up where once I start listening it's very hard to drag myself away.

Assuming no "annoyances" like bass boom or HF harshness, the 2 things I'd put the lack of fun down to are 1) lack of dynamics -- which most people seem to have a grasp of and 2) poor timing (somehow the musicians don't quite seem to be in sync, or the rhythm doesn't "snap" as much as it should).

All the stuff you hear the press/dealers talk about e.g. soundstage and hearing people coughing at the back of the hall (why on earth would you want a system to emphasize that, I wonder?) are, in my opinion, secondary. But people's ears are different, and no doubt there are some who like hi-fi more than music.
 

paradiziac

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Jan 8, 2011
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BenLaw said:
Well the 'modtech' you describe is budget and, if Craig is right, deficient, so I don't see how you can draw any general conclusions. Plus, as I commented before, the fact that the title to your thread only addresses detail makes me think that in your head it is 'detail vs character'. Well it's not. You can get kit that covers both, albeit one is deeply subjective.
I agree, to get the result you're looking for I think you need to get a better DAC with a high quality power supply and output stage. Budget DACs often skimp on these. I think even more so than CD players.

I don't think detail and fun/warmth are mutually exclusive at all. You can have both, it just costs more.

If you want to spend less, downgrading to some older speakers will probably help remove the "coin in the mouth" taste left by cheaper digital sources. My JPW Sonatas are just great with my onboard computer soundcard listening to compressed music (mp3/Spotify/iPlayer). Very musical.

I think it's a question of system balance. Speakers and amps are often too good for their sources.
 

amcluesent

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Mar 8, 2009
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I guess I went for mid-range accuracy and musicality. I like to be able to follow each musical "line" that's playing.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
In my opinion, character isn't really an on/off switch; every system has a character, the question is whether that character agrees with you and your music.

Overdose said:
Detail is simply a lack of distortion and is quanitfiable, character, on the other hand and other often used adjectives, such as musical, are largely meaningless.
I disagree. Lack of distortion is called accuracy in my book, detail involves much more than that: it requires a volume balance over the frequency range that matches the speakers and the listener's ears, so as not to drown out certain sounds. It also requires a lot of headroom in the amp to compensate for sometimes erratic impedance curves of speakers. Regardless of whether you think subjective qualifications are meaningless, I find such characterizations helpful, much like "house sound" helps me to build a shortlist before auditioning.

Going further, there really isn't that much (measurable) difference between character and detail. I'd say that character can be measured as a dB-f plot (frequency response) while detail would be a dB/s-f plot (slew rate) into a realistic speaker load.

Could you possibly expand upon what you mean by 'lacks character' and 'isn't musical' ? Charcter has been used in the OP, but no-one has yet explained what it actually is.
For me, an amp that 'lacks character' is an amp that fails to deliver detail in the midrange (the vocal range). Whether that is because of distortion, a speaker mismatch or frequency imbalance doesn't really matter, the result is a lack of emotion (and immersion) in the music. But I guess that definition kinda defeats PP's original dichotomy ;)

Comparing my two systems (Arcam+Kef vs Densen+Spendor), they have wildly different characters which both suit me depending on what I want to hear:
- The Kefs have a more open presentation and wider frequency range giving more detail, but before the Rega DAC I was using the Arcam's internal DAC which had a slightly recessed midrange, giving voices a lean and cold character. This system is my favourite for dedicated listening sessions
- The Spendor SA1s do not have the frequency extension of the Kefs, but the amount of detail in the midrange is astonishing and the balance is just right. This system is playing whenever I'm home, and I still find myself occasionally stopping what I'm doing to revel in the sound :)
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Craig M. said:
plastic penguin said:
Likewise, the DacMagic exhibits the same traits: This detail, clarity, openness translates, on my system, into a cold, mechanical sound.
pp, i don't think the 'detail, clarity and openness' is translating in your system to cold and mechanical, i think the dm is cold and mechanical, full stop.
It isn't just the DM, as I touched on earlier. There's been amplifiers I've had on home dem that errs towards the analytical, the Cyrus 8VS2 springs to mind. But this conclusion was (is) based on my current set-up. Can only convey what I hear.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I had the cyrus 8vs, loved it, as i said it's down to taste, it was hooked up to a musical fidelity x-ray with b&w cm2's, sounded awesome, i never really build a system for detail or character, it only need's to sound 'right'.
 

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