I have recently read a lot of reviews and posts. This is something I refused to do until I myself heard enough of the items discussed to form my own opinion. So far I've seen so many terms tossed out-
"Expansive soundstage. Depth. Clarity. Warm and lush. Cold and analytical. Exciting. Boring. Neutral. Flat."
What are you guys looking for when you buy one of these high end (which in this hobby means expensive, it's listed in the forum description) units?
Let's say I have an excellent source. It will provide near perfect reproduction of the music, negating the need for compensation in any area from an amplifier. In this case, what makes the amplifier good? Is not the ultimate goal "wire with gain"?
Is the point of a high end amplifier, like a good source, to be neutral and stay true to the recording?
No? Then why is coloration still mostly viewed as a negative connotation when it is pursued by so many?
From what I gather, the things that constitute "good" in this hobby is split into what is technically correct and what "sounds good'. Something that sounds technically correct, let's be more specific here and say the exact reproduction of the sound of an instrument, can sound good. But even if the said instrument is not perfectly reproduced it can still sound good, if not better to some. Think the cymbals sound too bright? Here try these tubes to soften the sound. Or equalizer. Or whatever. Tweaking the sound is inherently adding characteristics to it that suit your ears and your taste.
If that is the case how do we make recommendations on what is good and what is not? Everything now is just "different".
Perhaps that is why this market exists. Everything is subjective. Add in the different variety of music people listen to and the marketing strategies, and ********, are endless. Synergy between a pair of cans and an amp can be defined as ying and yang, each filling in for the deficits of the other; balance and neutrality. Or it can be a combination that accentuates the highs and lows, something that elicits more emotional response for some. Or it can be a garden hose filled with metallic rocks.
Perhaps this is why arguments can get so heated too.
At this point, the way I view high end audio is that these objects are just accessories for your music. I'd make an analogy involving how different woman and clothes turn you on but I'm not sure that's allowed.
Edited by En_R - 1/8/13 at 10:27pm