There are only two legitimate
references in audio: live music and well-recorded
What live music AND good
master tapes have in common is very different from
most “hi-fi” systems: excellent
resolution without tipped-up
highs; tight and deep low frequencies without artificial
slam or boom; transparency without thinness;
rhythm and pace without artificial
crispness; and most importantly, emotional involvement without an urge to analyze the sound.
attributes of musicality—are
exceedingly difficult to achieve, which is why truly
great loudspeakers are so rare, and also why knowledgeable
music lovers are so often looking for ways to “upgrade” their
Technology should serve
the music, rather than being and end in itself or
a means to generate marketing hype. Yet despite today’s incessant parade
of technological “advances,” how many systems
do not sound somehow artificial—electronic, timbrally
unnatural, mechanical, tonally disjointed, thin, tipped-up,
overly crisp, boomy, etc.?
The next time you hear
an audio system or component, ask yourself: Does it sound like music or like “hi-fi”?