I initial thought to place this article into my Audio For Dummies™ section but then I decided to keep it in this pure audio section. What I would like to do is to point is to address one of the major foolishness that widely spread in High-End audio: the disassociation between the audio methods and complexity of musical content.
Yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine, let keep him anonymously. He is perfectly reasonable and sensible person and I do like to talk and to think with him about various audio subjects. However, he is a big fan of Rock-&-Roll and pop music from 70s and 80s and I keep mocking him for that. He, as many other people, feel disappointed about my attitude but there is much more behind it then juts my snobby views and my explicit interest in classical music for sake of audio.
First of all (and it is very-very important to understand) - it has NOTHING to do with personal preferences of mine, your or anybody else. I do appreciate, like and know some “natural” blues but I under no circumstance would think about High End Audio in context of blues music.
The people who read my site more or less regularly have come across the view that I always push: the notion of “content-loaded playable material”. What does it mean and what it has to do with the subject of this thread?
Assessing the quality of playback system we should not assess “how music sound”. We do not also assess how the reproduced music “sound” compare to live music. The only valuable and objective things to assess in reproduced music is to asses in the wealth of the musical content that might be delivered to us via our playback installation. So, if the playback system is a mechanism of constructing the communication bridge between a listener and the original musical content then it is obvious that the amplitude of the original content and the complexity of that content is something that unavoidably bound to the definition of playback's success. Furthermore, there is a cache in there. The different complexity (load) of musical content does require different methods of handling the played material, and I am talking about the different purely technical method of playback organization. The majority of audio people out there do not know about it but there are many rules and patterns that connect the relation between the "load of musical content", results and the implementation methods. So, the playback to play classic music would require quite different implementation methods compare that playback that meant to play pop music for instance. There is an urban myth about the universal components this myth supported only by the ignorant people who have little understanding regarding what they deal with…
Mostly High End audio available today dose not comply with the rules suitable for classical music. That audio would do nicely rock of jazz music but it is very easy to make audio that do rock music good. I like some rock musk but I would never to consider that Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple might be used in context of fidelity of playback reproduction. This music initially has no initial sonic references, as it's definition of sound are electronically algorithms. Unquestionably they have very interesting melodies and harmonies, some of them phenomenally good but these musical ideas rendered at very primitive musical level, usually horribly and rudely recorded and very frequently very purely performed. Playback system that demonstrate fidelity of the composed/performed intention and built according to the rule of maximum musical (not necessary sonic) transparency would demonstrate the inferiority of light-content music very obviously and I have seen how horribly good rock music sounds with a good installation, an installation that was targeted to play complex classical repertoire.
The said above is one of the reasons why I reading the audio reviews automatically discard any writing as foolishness and declare the author as Moron ™ if the author used for his audio assessments a none classical repertoire or a content-light matireal. Furthermore, even if an author does use the classical repertoire I look at the quality of the given performance or the given interpretation. If the performance/interpretation is weak then I also do not take the author’s writing seriously. What the purpose to use audio that does not filter out bad performances or to read a reviewer who does not know how to use this ability of playback systems?
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche