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Discussion Starter #1
I have been reading a lot of reviews, forum opinions and similar rhetoric on speakers and amps both DIY and off the shelf. What I seem to be reading a lot of recently are undefined adjectives like transparency, soundstage, detail, speed, etc. What I am slowely getting anoyed with is that this seems to be accepted an easy way describe how something sounds in a manner that will be understood. :rolleyesno:

So what I want to know is, what's your definition for these "adjectives"?

Tell us what others youv'e heard and let's sort out if they are just rubbish words that hide what we might otherwise see as "audio-ignorance" or if they actually merit a defintion and should be promoted as usefull.


what I think:

Transparency:

I assume it simply refers to the level of distortion asysem creates that is not part of the original recording.

or maybe it's: The more transparent a speaker is the better its application as a centre channel because you can put it directly infront of the screen.


Soundstage:

I assume they are refering to channel separation, which doesn't entirely make sense because there technically isn't anyway you can increase channel separation without moving your speakers further apart. Electronically it is possible but this will only give the illusion of separation.

otherwise it is a raisded platform where a big-band plays, usually in an amphitheatre. I can imagine with the price you pay for some speakers that you should expect them to come with a decent soundstage as standard. Alas you may have to aquire the land yourself.

Detail:

A benign way of saying that a sound system produces a highly accurate output considering its own inherent reproductional particulars. To be honest I really can't see a great deal of use for this word, without a sonic datum or reference point it is very hard to define exactely what is good detail and what is bad detail.

Speed:

343 metres per second :huh: what else could it be?

Discuss
 

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It would be great if everyones defintions were the same so there would be no confusion as to what is meant by a description. Unfortunately that is not always the case. This is what the above 4 "adjectives" mean to me.

Transparency - Does not add to the original sound - sounds natural - does not color the sound.

Soundstage - how well the stereo image is projected.

Detail - the spaciousness of a stereo image.

Speed - in stereo - adding time delay to a speaker so the sound from one speakers arrives at the same time as the other speaker when the distances from the speakers to the listener are unequal.
 

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My thoughts,

Transparency; Don't use it. I can only imagine people use it to describe a speaker that does not sound like a speaker.

Soundstage: For me, this term only applies to stereo. I close my eyes and listen, see if I can hear/imagine and point to where a specific instrument is placed on the stage. Also how wide the soundstage seems to be, as in does it sound like everything is right in front of you or is it spread out way off to the left and right like it would be on a real stage.

Detail; Crisp, clear, accurate.

Speed; Bass,... some speakers' bass just sounds slow and bloated. Fast speakers make bass sound realistic.

???? dunno, I'd bet a lot of people have differing opinions on these adjectives. These are mine.
 

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This should be interesting.

I'm a hillbilly so my definitions are probably in left field somewhere.

Transparency to me means that I don't notice where the speaker location is. It's like it's not there... it's transparent. If I shut my eyes, can I tell where the speakers are located? Stupid I know... but it's what I've always thought. My Martin Logan speakers are the first speakers I've ever owned that were transparent.

Sound Stage tells me how well the sound is presented in comparison to a concert stage. Again, if I shut my eyes... does the sound seem big... as if it stretches from one side of the room to the other? Does it seem wide and tall... or narrow and short. For instance, when I had my Boston's, I thought the sound stage was low and not that wide... as if I were looking down on a stage and some distance away that it seemed narrower. With my ML's, the sound stage seems taller, more full... broad as if it fills up the entire front area of me. Maybe I'm sitting about 10th row center of the concert and looking up at the stage.

Our Glossary:
Sound Stage
A movie set where audio is recorded along with video. But in the home entertainment context, the sound stage is area between a pair of stereo speakers from which they appear to make the various sounds appear. Some speakers manage the feat with some recordings of making the sound stage actually wider than this space, and providing sensations of both vertical sound placement and depth in the stage.
Detail to me is how well does the speaker separate instruments. Does it mush things together or can I pick out various instruments better with some speakers than others?

Speed... I've never been able to differentiate speed with speakers or subs.
 

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Transparency:

I assume it simply refers to the level of distortion asysem creates that is not part of the original recording.

or maybe it's: The more transparent a speaker is the better its application as a centre channel because you can put it directly in front of the screen.
Yup, that’s a really bad term, IMO. I prefer “accurate” or “neutral,” meaning the speakers sound natural, not “colored.” (Is that another one of those bad terms? :) )

Soundstage:

I assume they are refering to channel separation, which doesn't entirely make sense because there technically isn't anyway you can increase channel separation without moving your speakers further apart. Electronically it is possible but this will only give the illusion of separation.

otherwise it is a raisded platform where a big-band plays, usually in an amphitheatre. I can imagine with the price you pay for some speakers that you should expect them to come with a decent soundstage as standard. Alas you may have to aquire the land yourself.
Channel separation is one thing, the way the speaker presents it is another. To me you get a good soundstage from a speaker with fairly broad dispersion, especially of the tweeter. If not, the sound virtually “collapses” to one channel if you move slightly off-center. I’ve had speakers like that!

Detail:

A benign way of saying that a sound system produces a highly accurate output considering its own inherent reproductional particulars. To be honest I really can't see a great deal of use for this word, without a sonic datum or reference point it is very hard to define exactely what is good detail and what is bad detail.
Well, compare to some excellent speakers to some cheap ones with paper-cone tweeters and I think you’ll understand the term then. :D


Speed:

343 metres per second :huh: what else could it be?
LOL – this one I think is more-or-less relegated to the low frequencies. Some people think (wrongly, IMO) that subs with large drivers “lag” somewhat behind the rest of the signal. It’s probably because larger woofs get lower, and they mistake the lack of extension, and possibly the ringing that comes with it, with tighter bass. IMO, if you see this you’re probably reading a review from an uniformed novice.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd like to add the word: Chocolatey
Some people would define carob as chocolately, even though it has a completely different flavour. So could we assume that any substitute for smooth and creamy mids could also be defined as chocolatey?
 

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My definition of transparent is how well you are able to locate your speakers with your ears. In my system sound can be coming from the position of one of my speakers, but still not seem to come from the speaker box itself. To me, that's transparency.

Soundstage to me is the system's ability to convey the size and properties of the recording venue. A recording from a concert hall will sound big and spacious, a recording from a small club will sound smaller and with all the ambiance intact. Studio recordings often lack an overall soundstage, but if the engineer have some skill it can be faked pretty good.

Speed to me is more about agility, really. A system that can keep up with fast changes in musical pace, and that have good timing and are able to go silent quickly sound fast to me. Also, many seem to think that mid-bass punch signifies a fast system, and a system with good extention is slower. Basically what Wayne said.
 

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My definition of transparent is how well you are able to locate your speakers with your ears. In my system sound can be coming from the position of one of my speakers, but still not seem to come from the speaker box itself.

Soundstage to me is the system's ability to convey the size and properties of the recording venue. A recording from a concert hall will sound big and spacious, a recording from a small club will sound smaller and with all the ambiance intact.
I think we agree on these two... well said. :T
 

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Transparency: To me this is a measure of distortion and how separated each instrument or sound is kept. The ability to hear deep into the recording (not in the same way as imaging)

Soundstage: I think everyone basically summed this one up for me. Channel seperation, imaging, placement of instruments, a sense of space and room size in the recording.

Detail: This should be a descriptor of a clean speaker with a flat frequency response, but sometimes I think that a elevated FR in certain ranges can cause a perception of increased "detail". Hearing a bass player touch his fingers to the strings, or a vocalists in-between breaths. Things that lesser systems will lose in the mix.

Speed: Even though I think that this is a silly descriptive term, I would equate it with how well a system tracks dynamic changes, and with a lack of resonances/reflections. Maybe the phase relationships between drivers or of the system as a whole would contribute something?


What about airy?


Some words I do like are: neutral, effortless, veiled and punch, or slam. Also girthatude.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Some words I do like are: neutral, effortless, veiled and punch, or slam. Also girthatude.
Veiled? as in behind a curtain? mayber slightly muffled? and girthatude must be surroundability?



I tried to summerise a little bit but as I read over everyones posts it seems we can take the definitions for some words and apply them to others. For example: detail and transparency have overlaping definitions as do soundstage and transparency. By extrapolation then detail and soundstage also have overlaping definitions. :dizzy:

This is great experiment in defining objectivety for a subjective observation.

It's no wonder there are debates over the best design principles and topologies.

please keep them coming:
 

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Hello,

The best answer is : Listen to "The ultimate demonstration disk" from chesky records:

TRACK LISTING
1.Welcome To The Ultimate Demonstration Disc
2.High Resolution-Introduction
3.Spanish Harlem
4.Depth-Introduction
5.If I Could Sing Your Blues
6.Atmosphere-Introduction
7.Maiden Voyage
8.Midrange Purity-Introduction
9.Grandma's Hands
10.Naturalness-Introduction
11.Correnteza
12.Transparency-Introduction
13.Played Twice
14.Presence-Introduction
15.Ask Me Now
16.Visceral Impact-Introduction
17.Sweet Georgia Brown
18.Rhythm & Pace-Introduction
19.I Love Paris
20.Focus-Introduction
21.Flute Concerto in D
22.Holographic Imaging-Introduction
23.Festival Te Deum
24.Transients-Introduction
25.The Royal March
26.Bass Resonance-Introduction
27.Best Of Chesky Jazz and More Audiophile Tests, Volume 2
28.Dynamic Test-Introduction
29.Best Of Chesky Jazz and More Audiophile Tests, Volume 2
30.Final Announcement
 

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Isn't this interesting..And here I thought everyone interpreted these terms the same as I did!!
Transparency: To me this is a measure of distortion and how separated each instrument or sound is kept. The ability to hear deep into the recording (not in the same way as imaging)
Since my early days of listening to stereo music..I've interpreted transparency in the same way that you have..

Soundstage to me means that a sound image of individual instruments can be heard right across the screen and beyond..

"detail". Hearing a bass player touch his fingers to the strings, or a vocalists in-between breaths. Things that lesser systems will lose in the mix.
Totally agree..

Speed: Even though I think that this is a silly descriptive term, I would equate it with how well a system tracks dynamic changes, and with a lack of resonances/reflections. Maybe the phase relationships between drivers or of the system as a whole would contribute something?
My understanding of this term also..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks imbeaujp,

I am assuming the following tracks are basically this discs defintion for the correspnding title.

TRACK LISTING

2.High Resolution-Introduction

4.Depth-Introduction

6.Atmosphere-Introduction

8.Midrange Purity-Introduction

10.Naturalness-Introduction

12.Transparency-Introduction

14.Presence-Introduction

16.Visceral Impact-Introduction

18.Rhythm & Pace-Introduction

20.Focus-Introduction

22.Holographic Imaging-Introduction

24.Transients-Introduction

26.Bass Resonance-Introduction

28.Dynamic Test-Introduction



As I don't have this disc could anyone who does please post what its definitions are for these titles?

It will be interesting to know if they are similar to the general concensus here on the shack.
 

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Transparency is the state of being transparent. When I think of transparent, I think of something I can see through... as if it were not there, hence the speakers disappear... they are not locatable. Air is transparent, right?

Synonyms for transparency are clearness, lucidity and precision... therefore, I see how some could see transparency as referring to clarity and accuracy.

IMO, it makes sense to describe a speaker that is neutral and uncolored as "accurate" and a speaker that disappears into a room and is non-locatable as being "transparent"... similar to a subwoofer being non-localized and omni-directional. HOWEVER... in order for a speaker to be truly transparent and disappear, I think a large broad sound stage is necessary. A small narrow sound stage would cause you to be able to tell where the speakers are located.
 

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Sonnie said:
A small narrow sound stage would cause you to be able to tell where the speakers are located.
Not nescessarily, Sonnie. Like I said in a previous post, I can have sound that comes from the exact spot my speakers are located, but can't hear the sound coming from the box itself, not even when looking at it and trying. That's transparency to me.
I guess if the SYSTEM itself is incapable of a broad and transparent soundstage then it doesn't matter how good the recording is, you will be able to locate the speakers. Then it would be the system that has a narrow and small soundstage, not the recording.

Or did I misunderstand your post?
 

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Veiled? as in behind a curtain? mayber slightly muffled? and girthatude must be surroundability?
:
girthatude is a term one of my bands always throws around. We use it to describe different sounds or bands. It is when something is really big, heavy or massive in some aspect. Klipschorns have it because they are physically large and heavy. You could also say that a little set of bookshelves that throw up a huge soundstage have it though.
 

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Isn't this interesting..And here I thought everyone interpreted these terms the same as I did!!
Since my early days of listening to stereo music..I've interpreted transparency in the same way that you have..

Soundstage to me means that a sound image of individual instruments can be heard right across the screen and beyond..


Totally agree..


My understanding of this term also..
I see that I'm not alone then! :bigsmile:
 
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