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I think there are some people who have trained themselves to be more sensitive to sibilance, to always notice it. Definitely doesn't make them happy.
I didn't have to train myself to be irritated by sibilance!
Me neither. ....but i try not to dwell on it(anymore) if the music is worth it
Well, when you always intentionally listen for it while thinking it is negative, you'll notice it more. Just like how people who claim that they need to smoothen their DACs and cables with burn in will slowly amplify the difference between them and point them out with confidence. Until they stop listening for it. Like when they realise you didn't actually hook the switch to anything. It was the same cables connected to the same dac positioned in the same direction relative to the Earth's magnetic field.
It always bothers me. Big imbalances bother me too. Maybe this is what ear training is- intolerance of out of calibration sound.
I've learned to just not concentrate on minutiae. It's rarely enjoyable, and more often than not it just unearths an irritating flaw or odd element of the mix that I'd never noticed before but now have difficulty ignoring.
I recall being mildly distressed once when I unwittingly discovered an until-then unnoticed harmony passage in my favorite piece of music, the In Paradisum from Faure's Requiem. It's a simple line right at the beginning played by the organ. It obviously adds something to the overall composition, but it was never intended to be zeroed in on. I even went so far as to consult the score and some additional recordings to make sure it was really supposed to be there, and sure enough, it is.
I've come to terms with that line and it doesn't bother me anymore, but the experience taught me that some things are meant to stay in the background. I've also learned to tune out the various traffic noise, humming amplifiers and creaking chairs I foolishly delighted over finding when I first got into headphones, and when I'm forced to listen to a low-bitrate MP3, I don't look for artifacts. I know I could find them without much effort, and that's exactly the problem. When it comes to the low level stuff, as purely a music listener and not a mastering engineer, I've learned that ignorance is bliss.
background hiss is my nemesis. anytime I move from something with audible hiss to something without, I feel like I've made a bigger jump into HIFI than anybody can do with 32bit music and anti time smearing whatever.
I care for frequency response a lot too, but I'm way more tolerant. it's one of those things being very significant, but not necessarily worst for me when different. sometime different is just different. oh and give me something with sound from 60hz to 9khz and I'll have about as much fun as with a really wide frequency response. I'd rather have a better extended FR, but it doesn't mess me up like background hiss will.
THD doesn't seem to matter to me unless crazy high(well above 1%). again, different, but not always worst IMO. some driver ringing in the upper midrange drove me crazy a few times, even more so that I usually didn't know why I was going crazy. I would just feel wrong, fatigue faster, ultimately my answer has always been to get rid of such a headphone/IEM, pinpointing the cause of my dislike isn't necessary when I can just get rid of the annoying gear.
and that's about it for my hifi world. the rest is about not getting headphone stereo on on binaural albums. but I'm not knowledgeable enough to get all I need like I want, so I keep waiting for the Realiser A16 to take me into the 21th century(or 22th if it keeps being delayed so much).
Since old recordings tend to have background hiss while modern recordings do not, I prefer modern recordings (that's 1980's or after). I'd say about 95 % of my CD collection is hiss free.
However, as you all know, my nemesis is excessive stereo separation with headphones and only about 2 % of my CD collection is free of that. Fortunately crossfeed saves the day.
Talking about the importance of 24 bit consumer audio and avoidance of reconstruction filter time smearing is silly.
I use an older HeadRoom Micro Amp with 3 gain settings and a crossfeed toggle for the majority of my headphone use. All of my headphones are closed, because I only use headphones for isolation and to listen privately to minimize any disturbance of people around me.
I'm nearly always listening to music with stereo speakers. I'm at the point where I don't do any serious listening without speakers. Actually, none of my listening is serious, just fun. Though, I have never given too much thought as to why I greatly enjoy speakers to headphones, it just might be the stereo separation that bothers me, too.
Can't stand the hiss on my dac. Very high noise floor and it gets very annoying at night. Thankfully headphone jacks on my desktop and laptop are all dead silent.
Current laptop has coil whine though, which also annoys the hell out of me.
In the end, I just never use my dac/amp due to the inconvenience and noise floor.
I can't really speak for audiophiles but I can speak about training from two perspectives:
Firstly, as a formally trained classical musician. When I started, the mistakes I was making were obvious and I worked hard for a long time to eliminate them. Was I happy when I had? No, not at all because the act of eliminating those mistakes reviled another whole batch of mistakes of which I was previously unaware. And after curing those, there was another whole new batch, ad infinitum. Bizarrely, by that stage I was being complimented, respected, winning prizes and positions but why, I still had whole batches of serious mistakes to eliminate? Years later I worked extensively with a world class soloist, 10 min standing ovations were the norm, as were rave reviews and accolades up the wazzoo. Behind closed doors, between the curtain calls and bows and smiles for the audience, she'd often be furious, swearing hear head off at the same time the audience were still shouting theirs off, clapping their hands raw and stamping their feet for more. I was a highly trained classical musician and for several years I knew her playing better than anyone else in the world but usually even I didn't know what she was so furious about. I came to realise that she was so many rounds of mistake elimination down the road, that even a particularly serious mistake to her was completely inaudible to anyone else!
Secondly, I almost had to start again and train myself from scratch when I became a sound engineer. Eventually appreciating the minutiae of sound engineering and music production tools. On the one hand, listening to an old loved track was often disappointing to the point of embarrassment. How could I have loved something which was so badly engineered, mixed and produced that it now made me cringe? In this sense, my training had certainly not made me happier about my prior music consumption. On the other hand though, I gained an appreciation for some tracks and even whole genres I'd previously dismissed on purely musical grounds, because of high quality engineering and production. This made me a happier consumer, so my training had made me both sadder and happier. But then there were the small number of recordings which ticked all of the boxes on all sides of the equation; music composition, structure, arrangement and performance, plus engineering, production and mastering. Masterpieces in every sense, and to have the training to fully understand and appreciate this makes any sadness caused by training to be completely worth it to me. Although to be honest I don't really remember and can't imagine what it would be like to be an untrained listener, so it's maybe not a conclusion applicable to others.
Hiss doesn't bother me at all if it's consistent. But most sound engineers who master older material for CD fade hiss out to digital silence and then ramp it up at the beginning of the next song. That always irritates me. When I had my own CD label releasing 78 era classical, I would make a point of running the hiss through the track breaks between movements. It was a lot easier on the ears that way.
The only really small thing that drives me up the wall is distortion around 2kHz. Sometimes low data rate MP3s can have a bit of distortion in the most sensitive part of the hearing range. It follows the music and drives me crazy. I have a notch filter I switch in when I run across that.
Yes! This drives me nuts on this copy of Mozart's Requiem I bought as a FLAC online...the analog tape hiss stops and abruptly starts at each track. Intensely annoying.
I had to learn to deal with hiss when I was transferring 78s. Each side was 3 to 4 minutes long and each one had a different amount of hiss and a different volume level. Sometimes I would match the volume level and then the hiss wouldn't join cleanly to the next side. I had to develop a bunch of tricks to transition hiss and to tame it all back to a best case scenario. I was able to totally remove hiss without affecting the music, but that made the music sound muffled. The hiss was serving a purpose. It tricked your ears into thinking they heard high frequency sound in the music that didn't exist in the recording. Hiss is necessary in 78 transfers. At least until the first FFRR recordings started in the late 40s.