Search for sound that is neither good nor bad, but accurate

Audiophiles struggle every day to improve sound quality. They exchange parts and devices, alter sound, and sometimes the change alone brings them satisfaction. But with time, perhaps they start to doubt that the change is really an improvement. And then they make another change. The truth is that if the exchanged equipment does not create a characteristic sound (distortion), the flaws of all other connected devices and accessories will become even more apparent. It is an error of judgment to blame the exchanged element. 

In order to avoid making this error, one must remember that improving sound quality begins at the source. Changing an output/downstream element causes the imperfections of preceding equipment to become more obvious, giving the impression that the sound has deteriorated. 

Good and bad sound only exist in comparison to something. So to what should one compare the sound of one’s audio equipment? The original sound; the unamplified concert (opera, chamber music, and any other music that bypasses amplification). Absent the opportunity to listen to such concerts, these are some guidelines on how original sound feels:

  • It does not have extreme pitch.
  • It does not sound noisy at a higher volume; other sounds are still audible.
  • It does not lunge forward. It surrounds the listener. Reverberation is beautiful.
  • Each individual instrument in the orchestra isn’t readily distinguishable.
  • Its sound pressure level (SPL) remains more or less constant regardless of the listener’s proximity to the source. 
  • Listening to it for a long time does not create fatigue.
  • Even the softest sound can be well heard.

When the opportunity to attend an unamplified concert presents itself, it mustn’t be missed. Recognizing distortion only comes with listening to original sound. 

Audio Tekne