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linden518
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Audio Cliches

It makes me want to vomit whenever I read that term "toe-tapping," either in forums or reviews. It literally makes me cringe in intense aversion & hatred. Please share your least favorite audio cliches. PRAT? WAF?

Buddha
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Re: Audio Cliches

"Order of magnitude improvement."

"Before product X, I didn't know what the flaws in my reference gear were." (This type of statement strikes me as the equivalent of a reviewer saying, "I have no experience with live music.")

"There are night and day differences between product X and Product Y, but not so night and day that I could tell the difference in blind listening."

"I cannot imagine any room for improvement in this category of gear."

RGibran
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Re: Audio Cliches
linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches

LOL! All great ones!

Buddha
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I'm also fond of...

"One record led to another, and then another, and it was only several hours later that I realized I had been listening to music without being a critic."

"Old familiar recordings were rendered in new ways. It was like listening for the first time."

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Re: Audio Cliches

Blacker blacks, the amp had an "iron grip on the speakers". Those are my favorite tooth grinders.

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Re: Audio Cliches

PRAT makes me yuck. Pace, Rhythm and Timing, isn't that what it's supposed to mean? No system change, except for replacing a really faulty TT, is going to change Pace. No system change, is going to actually impact Rhytthm and no system change , except for the most gross of malfunctions, is going to change timing. All these idiots are really talking about dynamics and system clarity and transparency. Musicians know how to vary their dynamic levels and give the illusion of more forward motion or the opposite. Yet some audiophiles will argue to the death that PRAT is an actual, descriptive acronym that actually means what it says. The British literally beat it to death, yet it

Jan Vigne
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
The British literally beat it to death, yet it
Elk
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Re: Audio Cliches

I've had the same issue with PRaT.

Mr. Atkinson responded by explaining that some equipment does get the timing relationships wrong and mentioned that compression can change such relationships. I played around with compressors after that listening for this affect and he is indeed correct.

I have never heard equipment do anything like this, but am willing to accept the possibility. I have great trouble accepting their are minute differences in timing alone that affects play back, but perhaps equipment induces perceptible frequency dependent phase shifts. Dunno.

Yet I still think of PRaT simply as the degree to which the equipment makes me want to dance. I can live with this concept; all good equipment should make you tap your feet (if you are the foot-tapper type), sing, conduct, dance or otherwise inspire you as live music does.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Audio Cliches


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I have great trouble accepting their are minute differences in timing alone that affects play back, but perhaps equipment induces perceptible frequency dependent phase shifts. Dunno.

How does NFB operate? How does global NFB operate? How would that affect absolute phase integrity?

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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:

Yet I still think of PRaT simply as the degree to which the equipment makes me want to dance. I can live with this concept; all good equipment should make you tap your feet (if you are the foot-tapper type), sing, conduct, dance or otherwise inspire you as live music does.

My friend, by that definition my family's first Motorola TV in 1953 had PRaT, since as a six year old I used to get up and conduct along Stokowsky (was it him or was it Toscanini?) when he led the CBS or NBC orchestra on Saturday evenings. Then when any trumpeter would come on Ed Sullivan I'd pretend to play along.

Despite Jan's support for the term, I think it's total BS and misleading. We're talking about accurate dynamic range, transparency and freedom from stress, no Pace, Rhythm or Timing. It's a misnomer in every way.

Dave

Elk
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
My friend, by that definition my family's first Motorola TV in 1953 had PRaT, since as a six year old I used to get up and conduct along Stokowsky (was it him or was it Toscanini?) when he led the CBS or NBC orchestra on Saturday evenings.


Exactly!

(Fun image, by the way)

Jan Vigne
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Re: Audio Cliches


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We're talking about accurate dynamic range, transparency and freedom from stress, no Pace, Rhythm or Timing.

Not at all! In reality we are talking about components that do specific damage to the music and those that do not. An AM car radio can display PRaT and not have "accurate dynamic range, transparency and freedom from stress." Accurate dynamic range and frequency response from an AM source is impossible for most music. That doesn't stop it from making you tap your fingers in time to the music, does it? Not if it's in the source it won't.

I can listen to my 78's on what would be considered a low fidelity playback system and they are swingin' with PRaT! Do you have any idea why that is?

If you find yourself tapping your fingers while at a stoplight, then, if only your argument for accuracy stands, you must have one hell of a car system - better than anything anyone else owns. Does your home system have accurate dynamic range? The same dynamic range as a full orchestra? If not, then you don't have accurate dynamic range. Does your system display good timing? Good pacing? Does it get the rhythms right? Then, even though "accuracy" is still quite a ways away from what we can now own, your system can display "PRaT".

In all likelyhood, your 1953 Motorola - with vacuum tubes (possibly even single ended) and a single high impedance, full range driver - more than likely did serve the music well even if not with complete accuracy.

Do the research is all I suggest. If you wish to know what you are talking about rather than just say what you prefer to think, then you'll do the research. Find out about the operation of a small wattage EL84 based amplifier in those units, particularly one of single ended operation with zero dB of feedback. Those were the days when lots of products were built to last and built by people who cared about what they built. More so than when the mass market receivers were in cheap as possible overdrive to reach 150-180 watts in a receiver with 0.001 T.H.D. That stuff was junk. That's when the term "PRaT" entered the consumer audio world.

All you need do is a bit of reading. Or not and remain of one opinion. I most often find people who are the most upset about the use of "PRaT" do not remember when pacing, rhythm and timing were being destroyed in the playback systems of the day. Research global negative feedback an find out why it's such a dirty word to many audiophiles who do not realize it is what keeps many of their solid state amplifiers from going up in smoke. Find out how NFB operates and how it was used in the 1960-70's and then tell me about how all components must have PRaT.

Until then just remember PRaT is not something any component adds to the music, the component simply doesn't screw with the PRaT that's already in the music.

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Re: Audio Cliches

"Digital Sucks!!"

I think that just about covers it.

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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:

My friend, by that definition my family's first Motorola TV in 1953 had PRaT, since as a six year old I used to get up and conduct along Stokowsky (was it him or was it Toscanini?) when he led the CBS or NBC orchestra on Saturday evenings. Then when any trumpeter would come on Ed Sullivan I'd pretend to play along.

Dave

Single ended tube amp in that puppy, with a full ranger, no crossover!!!......and.. signal delivered DIRECT, no processing, via FM modulation.

A difficult level of quality, in this day and age, to beat, or come close to. So the TV DID have PRaT. Big time.

linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches


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Those who complain the most about "PRaT" always seem to infer from what they have read that the equipment "creates" PRaT. That's not how it worked when the term first entered the lexicon and is not what is meant today.


Actually, I think most people that I've seen use the term PRaT do so in a way to imply that the equipment does create PRaT. That's why I think it's become a cliche, too, b/c the term's clearly lost its original intention.

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Re: Audio Cliches

78's...now that's a reference system. No wonder you think 5" speakers are full range....you gots to be missing an ear? Or eardrums? If you listen to 78's are you using the correct pre amp, they where not all cut the same method. www.kabusa.com

linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches


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78's...now that's a reference system. No wonder you think 5" speakers are full range....you gots to be missing an ear? Or eardrums? If you listen to 78's are you using the correct pre amp, they where not all cut the same method. www.kabusa.com


Oh, boy. Here we go again...

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Re: Audio Cliches

"Vinyl is making a comeback". Md, you are getting a Plum card......

RGibran
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Re: Audio Cliches

One day SD, you are going to learn to NOT post in the Rants N' Raves Forum!

RG

linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches

I know, RG. I keep doing this to myself, it's pure masochism, I tell you. DUP, go put on your collar & have someone walk you before you start barking too much again.

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Re: Audio Cliches

I get annoyed when they pretend there is an immediate audible improvement when I cannot hear a thing. This is particuarly true of tweaks...stuff like putting cables on expensive risers and odd turntable mats come to mind. The wall warts one plugs in around the house to eliminate electical grunge also is of note.

Why not sacrifice a chicken over the turntable power supply to free the clean electricity gods?

RGibran
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Why not sacrifice a chicken over the turntable power supply to free the clean electricity gods?

Got a link?

RG

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The black thing under the chicken is the newly sanctified vibration reducer, the "Gods love this" mark I

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Re: Audio Cliches

My all time favorite:

Statement:

"The equipment was so good that I just had to buy the review sample."

Meanings:

A) Who wouldn't buy this equipment at such a discount.

B) Only with a heavy discount is the equipment worthwhile.

C) The lower the review's "price" the more glowing the review.

dcstep
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Re: Audio Cliches *DELETED*

[Deleted for being unusually gross.]

linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches

Whoa, Davester. Slow down, turbo...

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Re: Audio Cliches

Another classic:

"It was now time for the listening litmus test so I put on my copy of ________ (insert obscure music piece, such as The Xylophone Concerto in B Minor, Opus 329b, 899BMV, 246BMW, 537UPS by Vladimir Regorovic) as performed by _________ (insert completely unknown ensemble, such as The Moldovian State Radio Orchestra conducted by Carl Maria Von Neverheardofhim) on the classic recording on ______" (insert over priced record label or long out of print recording).

Or if it's a JA review:

"It was now time for the listening litmus test so I put on the pre-production master tape of ________" (insert the latest Stereophile recording of some unknown piece of music performed by an even more obscure ensemble and recorded in some church/concert hall located in a some fifth tier US city).

Jan Vigne
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
*** You are ignoring this user ***

Jan Vigne
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Re: Audio Cliches

I'll choose to ignore you. You aren't worth my time.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
I get annoyed when they pretend there is an immediate audible improvement when I cannot hear a thing.

When they pretend?

You cannot hear anything so you are convinced they are pretending?

Why is it their fault they can hear what you cannot?

Do you assume you hear in the same manner as everyone else?

Jan Vigne
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Actually, I think most people that I've seen use the term PRaT do so in a way to imply that the equipment does create PRaT. That's why I think it's become a cliche, too, b/c the term's clearly lost its original intention.

If that's what you think, but I disagree. If that is actually how someone uses the term I would say they are misusing the term, probably out of misunderstanding how the term should be applied. Do you have an example of what you believe? A quote that shows this sort of usage? Offhand I cannot think of an instance where I've seen the type of usage you describe.

I have no idea how pace, rhythm and timing can become cliches. That was the very point of those who installed the term into the audio glossary. They are timeless elements of music. They cannot become cliched any more than a key signature can become cliched. Possibly, if someone has no idea how and why the term came into use, they might not understand how it is being applied. Seeing something you don't understand used repeatedly can be frustrating but the term refers to qualities which can hardly become cliched.

Do some reading in the areas I've suggested and I doubt you'll find the term cliched in the future. I think you'll find it is a simple term that says quite a bit, most especially when it refers to a piece of equipment that fails at conveying the PRaT of the source disc.

One other thing I have found to be true is many people simply do not recognize the qualities of PRaT until they are pointed out to them. If that's the case, ask someone to explain just how to listen for the qualities embodied in PRaT. That should make a substantial difference in how you read the term.

CECE
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Re: Audio Cliches

PRaT means it's just 5" ?

CECE
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Re: Audio Cliches

If everyone hears everything so differently, how on earth can anything function? How did Fletcher/Munson come up with their concepts, how did Bell Labs get all they did in audio, completed, everyone doesn't hear the same, how do we communicate?

dcstep
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Re: Audio Cliches

Well, I do totally agree with Jan that PRaT is a cliche'. However, unfortunately, the fact that the acronym totally doesn't work makes it misleading and a weak term to use, that only adds to confusion.

Dave

linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches

I'm with Dave on this one. As you say, Jan, pace, rhythm & timing are of course essential elements to music. That's a given. But we're talking about cliches in usage here. People say PRaT this, PRaT that, and as I've said, it's become an empty term for a lot of us, which often happens when people try to shoehorn meanings into acronyms.

linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
PRaT means it's just 5" ?


Nah, the 5" is just the small circumference of the cesspool area which resides inside your cranium in lieu of a human brain.

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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:

Quote:
PRaT means it's just 5" ?


Nah, the 5" is just the small circumference of the cesspool area which resides inside your cranium in lieu of a human brain.

Yikes. Play clean, guys, please. No more cesspool talk.

Jan Vigne
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Quote:
Well, I do totally agree with Jan that PRaT is a cliche'.

I didn't say that. In fact, I said the opposite.

RGibran
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Re: Audio Cliches

So misunderstood.

RG

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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
PRaT means it's just 5" ?


Nah, the 5" is just the small circumference of the cesspool area which resides inside your cranium in lieu of a human brain.

Yikes. Play clean, guys, please. No more cesspool talk.


Sorry, Stephen. I knew it was a Dead Zone material, but I had to take that shot, dude. Too sweet & easy...

Jan Vigne
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Quote:
I think you'll find it is a simple term that says quite a bit, most especially when it refers to a piece of equipment that fails at conveying the PRaT of the source disc.


Quote:
... it's become an empty term for a lot of us, which often happens when people try to shoehorn meanings into acronyms.

Here's where I agree with you. If a reviewer (who shold understand how the term came into being and how it should be applied to the reproduction of music by electronic means) uses the term as a catch all for what the system does well and never makes further comment about how exactly the qualities within PRaT are handled, then, yes, the term is annoying because the reviewer is being lazy. That's not the fault of the term, however, but the fault of the reviewer.

Here's where I disagree with your statement. To use an example, I recently had an amplifier in my system for audition which I thought displayed (some might say "had") the destructive qualities which PRaT was meant to quickly, in a single phrase, put in perspective. The amp didn't play the music in any combination of equipment I tried in both my home and that of a friend. However, if I played a recording with a solo instrument such as a violin, the amp played sweetly and provided the necessary clues to the artist's intent. That is if the music was quite conventional.

Where the amp failed was at conveying the larger connection between multiple players because it simply failed to capture the timing between players and the pacing of the entire work. This left the rhythms within the piece uninventive and uninteresting. The music just laid there as if it had no place to go. Back to a solo violin or clarinet and the amp could capture the essential elements of the performance with a nice tone and delicacy of phrasing. As long as the piece was conventional Western music.

When I tried some more progressive jazz and pieces with unconventional timing it didn't matter which instrument or how many were playing. The amp simply couldn't keep the PRaT of the performance within its sights. In a case like this the amplifier did not serve the music because of an obvious lack of PRaT when it was faced with complex timing cues. This would be reason enough for many listeners to reconsider this amplifier if the music they listen to needs a system capable of unravelling and reconstructing the complexities of pace, rhythm and timing essential to various styles of music. A listener who was trying to make sense of freestyle jazz would never understand how anyone could appreciate the musical style if their only way to hear free style jazz was through this amplifier.

If a reviewer were to say the amplifier lacked PRaT and left it at that, that reviewer could be accused of being unfair to the product and the reader. But as it stands, I would find PRaT to be excellent and effective shorthand for the problems this amplifier displayed, if the reviewer then went on to explain just what was being heard.

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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
However, if I played a recording with a solo instrument such as a violin, the amp played sweetly and provided the necessary clues to the artist's intent. That is if the music was quite conventional.

Where the amp failed was at conveying the larger connection between multiple players because it simply failed to capture the timing between players and the pacing of the entire work.

If the amplifier is so poor as to inaccurately portray the timings between players this is a terrible amp. This is more than simple phase shift, these are timing errors exceeding a hundredth of a second - an eternity in electronics.

As a separate issue, how can an amp choose which players to place before or behind another?

If anything, the issue of timing (phase) is frequency dependent, not musical line dependent - and this would occur as often in a solo line as in a multi-player piece, as well as occurring semi-randomly depending on the pitches and harmonics reproduced. Thus the solo piece would be impacted to the same degree; they relationships between notes would waver.

linden518
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
If a reviewer (who shold understand how the term came into being and how it should be applied to the reproduction of music by electronic means) uses the term as a catch all for what the system does well and never makes further comment about how exactly the qualities within PRaT are handled, then, yes, the term is annoying because the reviewer is being lazy. That's not the fault of the term, however, but the fault of the reviewer.


I'm in agreement here with you, as well. And I perfectly get how PRaT can be an apt shorthand, exactly as you describe it. But cliches become cliches not because they are untrue, but because they become overused and hackneyed. As you say, the term has become annoying because a lot of writers & readers have become lazy and over-used it & misused it, which is precisely how cliches become cliches. PRaT as the term, for me, has become an empty vessel which holds no significant meaning because it gets cited ad nauseam by writers & the public alike. And many of them use it as an inadequate & gross shorthand for something when a clearer and more incisive phrase would serve their purpose better.

dcstep
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Re: Audio Cliches

I think the root of my problem is that, as a musician, Pace and Rhythm have very specific meanings to me. Someone came along and created an acronym that uses those terms but describes things that don't have anything to do with Pace and Rhythm. The conflict is very clear for me to see, but I guess I understand how non-musicians can accept the term, even though it's weak and misleading, particularly to musicians.

People like Jan say they understand the intent and that's good enough for them. I, in contrast, see it as an absolutely wrong use of the words implied by the acronym. I think these opposing views pretty much explain the paradoxical effect of this term pretty well. I'll even admit that I know what you guys are talking about when you use the term, I just think that the term itself is weak and misleading and should be abolished.

Dave

dcstep
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
So misunderstood.

RG

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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:

Quote:
I get annoyed when they pretend there is an immediate audible improvement when I cannot hear a thing.

When they pretend?

You cannot hear anything so you are convinced they are pretending?

Why is it their fault they can hear what you cannot?

Do you assume you hear in the same manner as everyone else?

'Pretend' is perhaps too strong a word but the term 'golden ears' was not created as a phrase of praise. If Joe Blow and his $10K system cannot hear a consistent change, then one has to ask, is this improvement one that most listeners will hear on the average audiophile system or is this another device making an improvement only in systems that cost more than ones house or can be heard only by reviewers and other specialists.

There is nothing wrong with that sort of an improvment, but the review might note the change probably will not be heard by most folk on most systems. Some reviewers are pretty good at this while others seem to assume everyone owns audio gear costing more than Juniors Harvard education, hence my complaint.

dcstep
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:

There is nothing wrong with that sort of an improvment, but the review might note the change probably will not be heard by most folk on most systems. Some reviewers are pretty good at this while others seem to assume everyone owns audio gear costing more than Juniors Harvard education, hence my complaint.

I think this is where the reader needs to take responsibility. I've never read any review of music, audio, cars, musical instruments, that didn't require reading between the lines and trying to understand the reviewer's perspective.

For instance, looking at the "Associated Equipment" in rags like Stereophile is critical to understanding the review. I think it's reasonable to assume that readers will exercise judgement when interpreting reviews.

Dave

Elk
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Re: Audio Cliches


Quote:
I think the root of my problem is that, as a musician, Pace and Rhythm have very specific meanings to me.


I share this reaction.

As a separate issue, have you ever heard a system reproduce music so that the musicians did not appear to play together?

dcstep
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Quote:

As a separate issue, have you ever heard a system reproduce music so that the musicians did not appear to play together?

Not me, except where they're actually not playing together. (Sh*t happens, right?)

One place I see systems routinely fail at is handling big orchestra content, like the peaks in Mahler or lots of pieces where the scoring is very dense and loud at the same time. You get a smearing-together or congested sound where instruments lose their separate definition, which most often is explained by speaker compression. Still, the Pace or Rhythm never falls apart and the musicians don't suddenly stop playing together.

Dave

Elk
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Re: Audio Cliches

Precisely my experience.

I have plenty of recordings where the musicians fall apart briefly. While this is reassuring (as I have been there - nice to know I am not alone), it was human error not playback system failure that caused the problem.

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