Can an audio system ever be perfect?

Can an audio system ever be perfect?
24% (61 votes)
76% (190 votes)
Total votes: 251

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?

jim M's picture

The system can reproduce what is on the CD perfectly. But no recording can sound like the real event.

Bruno's picture

Just go to a live concert and listen to the difference.

FearlessLeader's picture

No, never. No mechanical or electronic device, or combination thereof, can adequately or perfectly reproduce sound as originally performed.

JR's picture

Perfect? What's that?

Klaus (Netherlands)'s picture

Given the fact that acoustical instruments have a directivity behaviour which in many cases is extremely different from the directivity behaviour of loudspeakers it is simply not possible that an audio system delivers reproduction faithful to the original. One can try and add as little distortion, coloration, etc, to what has been recorded, but it will never be the real thing.

rpeluso's picture

No, but can be great.

Brendan's picture

Nothing will sound perfect for all music types and personal tastes.

E.  Ar's picture

Once I get my ear transplants, I will be very happy.

NeoN's picture

Yes & no. Technically, up to a point—that point is how good and trained your ears are. After that point, it's all psychological & placebo effect.

Bart's picture

No. An audio system—just like a car, house, wife, etc—is subjective. What's treasure to me, might be trash to you. Perfect the human emotion and then you'll be getting somewhere.

KBK's picture

The quest will be never ending. For two simple reasons. One: Many people are hard to satisfy and have differing perceptions. Therefore, some will think it can be done, but fail to understand that the next person's perceptive skill package will be different and/or more sensitive, varied or complex (Ie, golden ear over the neophyte). This plays out in similar fashion in other areas—from tasting hamburgers to hair styles, questions in physics and automobile driving. The person with the less developed listening skills (which can be changed through hard work, thought and human effort if a willing and forward thinking variety) will always think the 'task is done',and try and move on to other things in life. That is their choice. This does not mean the task is completed, it merely means that something inside of them has attempted to decide such, and foists such thoughts upon others. Two: (part and parcel of the problem person mentioned above) As long as there is one piece of detritus or electronics, if you prefer, between the listener and the original signal, there will be an issue of error in re-production. There is no escaping that. Therefore, it will never be done. Just a simple decreasing return for efforts as perfection is approached—a well-known phenomenon throughout all sciences and human endeavor.

mjazz's picture

Unfortunately not. My membership for the local jazz club is close to perfect.

Buster's picture

My best advice, set a budget, do some research, buy used, then step off the merry go round and just enjoy the music. The industry will continue to release "new and improved" products each year to try to lure existing owners into buying new gear. Why? Because if they were honest about the fact that there's no real improvement to be had they'd be out of business. By constantly releasing new versions with little to no real sonic improvement, they date current owners' equipment and make them feel like they're missing out. I have owned the same speakers for almost 20 years and having listened to dozens of newer speakers recently at price points up to 2-3 times what I paid at that time, can say there is little to no difference, IMHO.

Isiah's picture

Nothing in life is perfect. Why should an audio system be any different?

Curly's picture

Will there ever be a perfect audio magazine?

Jason's picture

A "perfect" system would simply reproduce the imperfect sound of the source. Given the flawed nature of most sources, the more accurate the system, the worse the reproduced sound. Hence, the large number of "unlistenable" discs in most audiophile collections.

MB's picture

Everyone hears different.

Lucky's picture

But will the entire audio chain ever be perfect?

Nate J's picture

Yes, but only in one's own ears, and even that would be something hard to come by and truly amazing. However, technically there is no perfection. So ultimately, and universally, no, there can be no perfect system.

craig's picture

Now really. You can't be serious. And leave the whiz bang reviewers at this rag at a loss for what they do best, mincing words. No way. The show must go on.

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.  View, CA's picture

If the reproduced sound sounds convingly real, then, for that listener, the reproducing system and the material it is playing is perfect. For a different listener, it may not be so.

James Kontol's picture

The best one can hope for with two-channel sound reproduction is the illusion of listening into the recording venue. Physics does not allow the accurate reproduction of the original sound field with only two speakers. - SL

Alberto V.'s picture

Eso es imposible,nos podemos acercar ligeramente.

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

Perfect for some but not for all. Just like wives, cars, food, holidays, or whatever. And sometimes one might like a change even though there's actually nothing wrong.

Tim Bishop's picture

More so, it depends on the person. For me, it is a journey not a destination. There is always something that can be added updated, back-dated or simply rearranged. No end point, just the joy of experimenting. On the other hand, the music is the end point and what really matters the most!

Olivier Lagarde's picture

The only kind of perfection : a live concert, especially for classical music. When you then get back to your system, it's always frightening—and then you know for sure there is still a very long way to perfection!

MJS's picture

No, not for every piece of music you play through it. Too many inconsistancies in the source material. However, we all have CDs/LPs that work perfectly with our system and take us to audio nirvana.

BeeJayDeeJAy's picture

No because there is the ever-present human factor and P.T. Barnum's maxim applies.

rvance's picture

Of course not! Obtaining perfection is not the point anyway. It's the journey—the striving, the seeking and the enjoyment of new discoveries in music and sound that should be the hobby's hallmark.

F.  Chasinovsky, Van Nuys, CA's picture

Nothing I can think of is perfect. Why should audio be any different? However, that doesn't mean that we should cease to strive for that elusive concept of aural perfection.