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Do we want music or sound?

A live concert in a smallish room

What do we want from music, anyway? We want an emotional connection, something that moves us.  And music and equipment seem mutually exclusive.

Most pro reviewers focus on reviewing sound. “Accurate” is a good judgment regarding sound, but the problem is how to judge accurate sound.

We can all agree that we are hoping for wonderful music, and none of us is seeking the “sound” of the microphone. But we can’t avoid it unless we go to a live concert every time we want to listen to music which is unrealistic.

Because there is a wide variety of microphones (and positions), preamps, formats, etc., to choose from, and because we can assume that the recording engineer and producer chose what they thought best for that performance in that venue, we have no option but honor what recording engineers have made, and have a system that is accurate to those choices.

Otherwise, we go down the rabbit hole of corrective coloration, which might work for one recording but be way off for the other. We need a variable-coloration device to continually retune the engineer’s decisions back to what we imagine the “live string quartet” for instance should actually sound like.

This led us to the conclusion that no coloration is better than a coloration that benefits some recordings but penalizes others.

Hence, recording or studio engineers try to target the least coloration as possible and listeners put the coloration they like the most to those recording during reproduction via various audio equipment (Source Equipment, DAC, Preamp, Power Amp, speakers, etc.) to maximize the emotional connection each listener craves.

This is why listening is very subjective in my humble opinion and there is no right or wrong on what coloration a listener adds to original recording during reproduction as long as it helps connect to the music.

Do you agree or disagree? Love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

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