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Listening note
Last revision on July 2007

Listening note
  It is not easy to describe sound quality and listening conditions are very important. Simple 'sound better' or 'sound worse' is not enough to understand. Test listener must cut music sensations in categories, eight for theses test.
Listening test is always subjective and result can vary. A solution can sounds well at some conditions and sounds bad one in other. There is no absolute and definitive point of view.

Listening diagrams
All diagrams have no scale, no minimum value (zero point), no maximum value (100 %...). There must be two points at list in a diagram. Because points are relatives, don't compare diagrams between us.

Sample: Because there is no scale theses diagrams are equivalents.
sample 1 sample 2
sample 3

Theses graphs only shows that third point sounds less confuse (or more precise) than first and second one.

Probably on first graph, listener wants to say there is a big difference between three listening test. But listening is subjective and relative, not absolute!

For a comprehensive comparison, I use 8 categories.
  • Softness,
  • Tone realism,
  • Dynamic,
  • Definition,
  • Bass level,
  • Bass depth,
  • Space clarity,
  • Voice position.

Ability to a system to not be aggressive. Excessive sweetness could be poor definition.
Tone realism

Ability to a system to sound with realistic tonal balance. Voice seems to be a voice; violin seems to be violin...

There are two dynamic evaluations: global dynamic and local dynamic. Like black and white photography you can evaluate global contrast and local contrast. Contrast is difference between black zone and white zone. You can have good global contrast and poor local contrast. Your picture is dull, flat.
This diagram evaluate local dynamic. For this test I use piano recording. The pianist plays three same chords. With lifeless system, three chords are the same. With good dynamic system, each of them is different.

With good definition you can ear a lot of details, subtleties. Details must be realistic, careful to analytic and unrealistic listening.
With poor system resolution, all instruments plays in a nice and pleasant fog.
Bass level

General bass level. You could have a good bass level and poor bas depth. An excessive bass level could mask bass depth.
Bass depth

Ability to a system to transcript very low frequencies.
Space clarity

Space, depth, stability... With good system you feel silence around each singer and instruments. Each of ones is independent. Violin don't modify voice's soprano.
With poor system resolution, all instruments plays in a nice and pleasant fog.
Voice position

Voice position is not a sound quality, just information.
Relative position of singers. Soloist sings rear musicians, at the same place or in front of them.
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