Let's play the "it sounds like it looks game"! Correlate the commonly accepted sound signatures and the visual aspects of gear.
Jan 5, 2011 at 11:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

khaos974

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As we all know the visual aspect of an item impacts on our mind and plays a role in he placebo effect. While some of us may be able to be more objective than others, it nevertheless make little doubt for me that the great majority of us are not immune to a well designed appearance.
 
Of course, we all have different preferences and what reflects quality for one person may not do the same to another, some correlate quality to a high ended and polished appearance, others to vintage looks, and others to industrial sturdiness or DIY looks.

However some cues may be universal. Like how angled designs may "sound" sharp and sibilant, rounded designed  sound relaxed, sturdiness could sound like a solid basis ie. solid bass, how well polished to design is could sound like attention to details and transparency, some color are darker/warmer, some are more aggressive...
 
Let's try with materials first:
 
Silver color: Very bright, light, sparkling, this sounds like the description of a cable made of silver.
Copper:, reddish warm color, not a primary color translates well into a warm and relaxed sound
 
Let's continue with headphones:
 
HD 650: round appearance, bold lines with no angles, dark, sturdy. Correlates with dark, veiled, smooth sound
HD 800: High tech, sharp angles , big and spacy, silvery. Correlates with transparency, peaky treble, plenty of details and headspace.
LCD-2: Woody (wamth), rounded, no nonsense looks. Correlates with No nonsense, solid bass, goo details, recessed trebles, and beautiful mids

Who wants to go on?
 
 
Jan 5, 2011 at 11:17 PM Post #2 of 7

Eric_C

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Quote:
However some cues may be universal. Like how angled designs may "sound" sharp and sibilant, rounded designed  sound relaxed, sturdiness could sound like a solid basis ie. solid bass
 



Sorry sir, I'm going to have to disagree with you there on angled vs rounded designs. Either I'm an exception, or these cues aren't as universal as you suggest. As counter-example: Grados have rounded designs but their sound is often described as aggressive, sometimes sharp, never smooth.
 
I do agree with you on the general principle of visuals cluing us in on sound, however.
 
I think for IEMs, transparent/clear housings indicate professional use and neutrality to us, whereas opaque housings signal a consumer line with a less neutral signature. A perfect example would be Westone's UM-series vs its W-series.
 
Jan 6, 2011 at 12:00 AM Post #3 of 7

khaos974

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Why "sorry"?
 
My point is that visual cues influences how we perceive the sound of the gear, o=however, if the gear has a distinct sound that doesn't match the cues, so be it. I never said that headphones didn't have a real sound sig and that it was "just" placebo, I'm just concerned about the importance of placebo in judging gear.
 
As for the Grados, notice that even if the structure of the cups are essentially piled up cylinders, the edges remain sharp angles.

IMHO, the role of visual appearance is much more prominent for sources and cables.
 
Jan 6, 2011 at 1:06 AM Post #4 of 7

Eric_C

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Sorry because I disagree on the examples of angle = sharp, round = relaxed as universal cues.
 
Quote:
However some cues may be universal. Like how angled designs may "sound" sharp and sibilant, rounded designed  sound relaxed, sturdiness could sound like a solid basis
 


I do not see how this is predominantly an angled design.

 
 
Nonetheless, I do agree that the look of headphones can influence our perception of how they sound (as stated previously, "I do agree with you on the general principle of visuals cluing us in on sound"). I never said or meant to say that you were suggesting it was all placebo.
 
Jan 6, 2011 at 1:26 AM Post #5 of 7

khaos974

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I'm talking about the fact that they have very defined bevels and not rounded edges.

It was merely a proposal for universal cues, not a statement, I did expect people to disagree with me, it's a disagreement, no need to be sorry, perfectly normal thing. And you could still be an exception, I'm waiting for other posters' opinions.
 
Jan 6, 2011 at 2:55 AM Post #6 of 7

myinitialsaredac

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Denons just look warm...
 
I don't know how much of a correlation there is but its neat that you pointed it out 
tongue.gif

 
Nice observation.
 
Dave
 
Jan 6, 2011 at 4:27 AM Post #7 of 7

MrGreen

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Quote:
Silver color: Very bright, light, sparkling, this sounds like the description of a cable made of silver.
Copper:, reddish warm color, not a primary color translates well into a warm and relaxed sound



It's funny because I think this is probably how this audiophile "wisdom" started.
 
 
I think some stax looks mechanical and precise, particularly the lambda series with their sharp edges.
 
I think most things with wood look like they sound warm (which I expect is the cause of "wood sounds good", rather than resonance properties).
 
Skullcandy looks bad, sounds bad.

As for something that doesn't sound like it looks: ATH-W5000.
 

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