Can an audio system ever be perfect?

Stereophile's picture
Some of us strive to reproduce a recording faithfully, while others look simply to create a pleasing sound, no matter what the source. Regardless of how you define perfection, can an audio system ever be perfect?
Can an audio system ever be perfect?
Yes
24% (61 votes)
No
76% (190 votes)
Total votes: 251
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Comments
DJ Brands's picture

Perfect in the personal application you strive for! My large room uses La Scalas, while my smaller room uses tubed JBLs.Yes a good recording goes a long way!

Captain F.  Obvious's picture

Of course not. Live music will always be better than a recording for sheer impact and entertainment. It's just not very portable.

Thomas's picture

I've heard perfect systems at the Stereophile expos.

Ben Funk's picture

It's not supposed to be perfect. The passionate pursuit of perfection (i think i may have stole that from someone else) is an endless quest. I don't want the perfect system to exist because I'll lose the desire to do what got me into hi-fi in the first place; going out, seeing live music, and wanting to have that experience at home every day at my beck and call. I'm not exactly an outdoorsy guy, but I don't want to be a hermit, either.

Peter Petrovich's picture

For few days maybe.

yv's picture

Holodeck in 500 years? Maybe.

michaelavorgna's picture

Yes. Every audio system that is used regularly for the enjoyment and appreciation of music is perfect. What more could you ask for?

Triggermn's picture

Perfection is in the ear of the beholder! Today I'm listening to a 20-year-old NAD 3140: in the day it was "perfect," today it's noisy and a little soft at the extremes. My "perfection" may be your "sin."

J.R.'s picture

With over a million variables to take into account (humidity, mood, acoustics, build quality, quantum mechanics, etc), there will never be the perfect sound. But then again, perception is reality.

Danielk's picture

Is there a perfect world? Is there a perfect partner? Never!

swedesound's picture

No doubt. Of course, that's with the understanding that perfection is in the ear of the beholder. It's certainly possible to have a perfect system. If you reach a point where you believe your system is "perfect," then it is. Maybe it's not perfect to somebody else, but that matters about as much as whether they like the color of your walls, the kind of dog you have or how good your wife can cook. It simply doesn't matter. If you believe your system is perfect, then it is so. But give it another five minutes, and I guarantee you'll hear something to change your mind. For the record, my system sounds perfect to me. For now.

Steven Bell's picture

I try to find the best sound I can afford, But components get better all the time. And then new formats come out further improving on what is available. I just keep chasing the dream. I might add that the journey is half the fun.

Ron Ramsey's picture

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Antoine de Saint-Exupery "Zen mind is not Zen mind. That is, if you are attached to Zen mind, then you have a problem, and your way is very narrow. Throwing away Zen mind is correct Zen mind." Seung Sahn

Billy S's picture

It starts with getting one really nice piece of equipment, then you upgrade everything else to its standard. By the time that's done, the first piece you bought is out of date, so you upgrade it, and it becomes better than everything else. The process has started all over again!

Geoffrey S's picture

If you're after perfect sound reproduction the answer is, I believe, no. The fact that it is recorded music played through an electronic medium negates that possibility. But a system that pleases on every level, yes, that's possible—but a lot depends on where the listener "is at".

Paul Basinski's picture

First rule of this hobby: You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

df's picture

Alas, probably not. Unless you're so wealthy you can afford to have a team of engineers build you a system from the chips up just for your listening space and your ears, with the features and UI that you want. Of course that's not to say that you can't put together a system that will make you very happy.

Michael G.'s picture

Listening to the music is a very subjective experience.Some times you like how your system sounds some times don't.Do you need a better component?Who knows.If it sounds perfect for you it might not be so for your friend, and if that friend will point out those "flaws" than the worm of doubt will it you from inside and drive you crazy to the point of changing components.Only right for people with stable psych you might say,but who in this hobby is?

Leo Cunning's picture

An audio system can not completely reproduce either the sound, or experience, of a live performance. We can only hope to get as close as possible to that.

Tom's picture

Its not live! Even live music isn't perfect sometimes.

Marino's picture

For a certain given person it can. But not for each and everyone.

Rudemiester's picture

Only if it is based on Quantum and not Newtonian physics.

Lawrence de Martin's picture

Hearing is poorly understood, in part because post-industrial environment stunts the development. Current audio is miles from reality, we may get within a hundred yards; but I will never confuse music with reproduction.

Roger S.'s picture

It will be someday—maybe a lot sooner than we think. With hi-rez recordings and a transparent playback system, we'll be there. The only limitation will be the microphone itself. How much does it distort ? We won't know until we have a hyper-transparent system. With big gains being made in playback—almost by the year—there's no reason to think that it won't happen.

James W's picture

No audio system is perfect. I just appreciate good sound without going nuts. Minor tweaks here and there.

Chris Kenney's picture

Fundamentally, no. With all of the variables in the chain from the recording microphone to the home speaker and everything in between, the signal might be accurately reproduced, but not perfectly.

xanthia01@gmail.com's picture

Never—not in a million years. It is so far removed from the live experience there is no way we could call it perfect!

alan sichernan's picture

Nothing's perfect

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gary's picture

Perfection is the right muic for the right mood .. If the system is good and the acoustics are good, then the moment and therefore the system are perfect ...

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