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Terminology and understanding subjective reviews - Page 2

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

I'm not sure if readers understand these terms the same way as the writer. Even if they use the same definition there will still be huge interpretative differences.
Exactly. We already have perfectly good terms to describe every aspect of audio fidelity, so there's no need for inventing new terns, especially when they conflict with terms that already have a different meaning, such as "pace" and "timing." What's really needed is more education for audiophiles. If they actually understood what 5 percent third harmonic distortion sounds like, they wouldn't need to say "grainy" or "harsh" etc which can mean different things to different people.

--Ethan
post #17 of 20
That's a bingo!

The nice thing is that as opposed to the analogue era, with digital audio a lot of the audible anomalies of sound are rare as hen's teeth.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by EthanWiner View Post


Exactly. We already have perfectly good terms to describe every aspect of audio fidelity, so there's no need for inventing new terns, especially when they conflict with terms that already have a different meaning, such as "pace" and "timing." What's really needed is more education for audiophiles. If they actually understood what 5 percent third harmonic distortion sounds like, they wouldn't need to say "grainy" or "harsh" etc which can mean different things to different people.

--Ethan

Well I am all for more educated audiophiles, and Ethan you are to be commended for you do plenty toward that end.  You do it very well.  I send lots of folks to some of your web content for what they can learn. 

 

On the other hand I do think asking most to know 5% 3rd harmonic a bit much to expect in general.  Subjective descriptions usually aren't and need not be lab measurement precise in general discussion.  Yes, the general audio press has gotten too cute by half with their flowery language.  Take something like metallic sounding.  Pretty easy to know generally what is meant, just think crashing pots and pans in the kitchen.  Glassy as well, when I heard glassy sound it reminded me of ringing clanking glass some way without much effort.  I also find using that description will get people who read it in ballpark as to what one could be hearing.  Warm and bright are two other terms that seem to naturally come to people without much education. Certainly one can go astray trying to be too precise with such descriptions such that they don't really communicate much.  

post #19 of 20
It's not just knowing what an anomaly sounds like. It's being able to put it into context and quantify it. I read a thread the other day where people were talking about .01% harmonic distortion as something terrible. If you understand the technical terms and have a sense of how they relate to human hearing, you can look at specs like that and know exactly what they sound like. (Or don't sound like as the case may be.)

There aren't that many terms, and understanding them helps lead you to the root cause so you can correct problems directly, without having to keep randomly upgrading to expensive equipment and never solving the problem itself.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post

Subjective descriptions usually aren't and need not be lab measurement precise in general discussion.

Yes, of course, I was slightly exaggerating to make a point. Though when I use words to describe a sound quality, I'm usually more specific than most people. For example, to describe tubby bass I might say, "It sounds like a receiver's Loudness control is switched on, boosting the mid-bass around 200 Hz." Or instead of "forward" I'll say "I hear a nasal quality that seems like a high-Q peak in the upper midrange around 2 KHz," and so forth.
Quote:
Yes, the general audio press has gotten too cute by half with their flowery language.

Yeah, that's my main objection. Especially the whole PRaT thing which misuses terms that already have other established definitions.

--Ethan
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