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DETAIL-RESOLUTION & SOUNDSTAGING: 

Details on the Details in Audio

by W.A.J.

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Let me state at the outset that I have immense respect for low-level detail-resolution, and for the role it plays in audio-reproduction. Here's what I've said before, on the subject:

Within its proper context, the other important factor is, certainly, the ability of a system to render LOW-LEVEL DETAILS. These are the tiny details that give us the clues as to what is happening in the music, and how, and completes the picture.

For instance; the resolution of the sound of individual bristles of a brush on cymbal, a singer’s intake of breath, the sound of a pick on a guitar’s string as distinct from that of a finger, the initial sound of a stick or mallet on drum-skin. Low-level details also encompass the sound of the decay of musical notes, the ability to follow the linger of a piano note as it slowly fades into oblivion even while the horn-section tries to blow the roof off and the drummer imitates the cacophony of a machine-gun on full-automatic.

For critical listening, the ability of a system to render low-level details is priceless. It engenders those moments of blissful discovery of performance-related details – like that haunting electric-guitar melody deep in the mix – which we’d never heard on lesser systems. One is left with a feeling of experiencing every detail of a performance.

However, I also believe that too much attention is being focused on this aspect (along with sound-staging) while other, even more important, aspects of performance are also being neglected.

Details; The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: If we're to examine the issue of the overwhelmingly popular focus on detail-resolution, in audio-reproduction, we must also look at the issues surrounding it:

First, there's the question of how the detail is obtained. This one is easily dealt with, and perhaps the most pertinent:

If said detail is obtained by omitting any part of the frequency-spectrum to highlight another, then detail obtained in such a manner can only be deemed to be false since the overall reproduction is distorted and falsified in the process. A classic and extremely popular means is; the subtraction of lower-mids 'warmth', effectively, enhancing the clarity of detail at middle-mids. Another is; the similar diminution of midrange-presence (next-door to treble) eliciting the similar effect of enhancing the clarity of the trebles. And still another is; the elevation of the treble-frequencies, disproportionate to the rest of the spectrum, with a view to obtaining higher levels of detail and 'air' in this region. 

These issues, and others related, have been addressed in preceding articles on 'Balance...' and 'The Trouble with Treble...', so we'll not elaborate here. And all are features of many of the speaker-systems supplied by popular manufacturers in their self-devised and orchestrated schemes promoting, encouraging, and catering to the 'tastes and preferences' which are 'coincidentally' in line with their speakers' deficiencies - also addressed in another of the articles, here (see the link regarding 'tastes & preferences' below).

The big question is; How much detail is good for audio reproduction, and how much of this detail is bad? In other words, some detail may enhance the realism of a reproduction and, arguably, some details - or more specifically; the sacrifices made to highlight those details - may actually detract from the perception of said realism.

My own stance is in line with the aims of the concept of 'High-Fidelity'. Therefore, I want to hear the music in exactly the same manner and proportions as I would at the live performance of the relevant recording, ideally. And, importantly, I want to hear the music from the perspective of a member of the audience - not from the perspective of being within arms-reach of each and every instrument simultaneously; a popular but unrealistic focus. In that context, I believe there's such a thing as too much detail, in audio-reproduction. And I also believe that this is the focus of many audiophiles, as influenced by the industry-players today.

Imagine music as a beautiful woman. Imagine that woman stripped of all clothing. All the details that conspire to enhance and enrich her beauty are laid bare for the beholder to...well... behold. This is the full extent to which I'd want to witness the details of a recording of a musical performance. This represents the pinnacle of the level of details I'd want to behold. I believe anything more than that is grotesque, in relation to both the woman and music-reproduction. There is a saying expressed in different ways in different cultures, but the meaning is the same. It simply says; 'Too much of a good thing is good for nothing.' Arguably, this applies to everything under the sun but, in relation to detail in music-reproduction, and our female paradigm, it speaks volumes of truth - and for good reason:

Returning to our female paradigm, connoisseurs of the bizarre could opine that if stripping away her clothing is a good way to reveal more of her beauty, then stripping away her skin could be even better. And the more layers of her body that are stripped away reveals greater detail of her make-up contributory to her beauty, to the level of the skeletal. Most of us would see this as bizarre and grotesque. But I submit that this is, effectively, what the current focus on detail-resolution in audio-reproduction is all about. Dedicated 'detail-fans' want to 'see' the details that were not meant to be 'seen', in my opinion, including those which have no real bearing on the enhancement of realism. They're interested in the detail, for the sake of the detail, not for the sake of its role in the enhancement of realism and, by virtue of this, they thrive on the detail in the popularly endorsed regions of the spectrum even if it requires the omission of detail in others, and the distortion of the overall picture (the reproduction) to garner those favored details.

Encouraged by the trend instigated, initiated, and perpetually fueled by the mainstream audio-press in order to validate and sell their partners' flawed/deficient speakers, many audiophiles now delight in being able to hear things like; the cough of  the drummer at  the back of the stage, the drop of a pin at center-stage, and even the fart of the bassist on the left. I fail to see the relevance of all this to the reproduction of the performance. They also enthuse about being able to hear the passing of a subway train under the studio in the course of the recording, the shutting of a distant door in the far reaches of the studio, and the faint roar of thunder, during the process of the recording, as another writer had also observed. But then, does all of this have anything to do with the reproduction of music? I'd instinctively say no. But the answer could also be yes - conditionally:

A system capable of such resolution of minute detail is, arguably, desirable because its ability to resolve such irrelevant detail is an indication of its ability to resolve the details that are, indeed, relevant. However, if this level of resolution, in certain regions of the spectrum, comes at the cost of enhancement or omission of certain regions of the spectrum, as is the popular trend in speakers and phono-cartridges, then such reproduction can only be deemed undesirable, false, and unrealistic. But this is the way most modern systems, especially speakers, are oriented. They enhance detail in some regions, at the cost of detail in others, and at the cost of overall realism.

Is it worth it?

If the detail is supplied at such a cost, as with most modern speaker-systems, then my unequivocal answer to the question would have to be no - thanks all the same.

And, contrary to what many have been influenced by the mainstream audio-press to believe, detail-resolution is NOT the most important aspect of audio-reproduction. Niether is soundstaging.

For sure, these aspects are definitely the most important with T&P fans, those many audiophiles who seem happy with this focus on satisfying the specially-selected Tastes & Preferences deemed fashionable by elements of the press, and their allies.

But for those interested in the overall authenticity of sound-reproduction, high-fidelity, the current trend featuring; overwhelming emphasis and misguided focus on detail-resolution, and imaging, is a travesty - viewed against the back-drop of the neglected areas.

Realism vs 'Detail' & Soundstaging: In the article, 'From Hi-Fi to High-End..." and several others, I've pointed out that detail-resolution is the least of three important requisites for realistic reproduction, in my opinion. The most important are; dynamism and tonality (inclusive of the currently neglected lower-mids). Both of these more important elements are routinely absent from modern speakers. And, in the absence of these pre-requisites for realism, they apparently go overboard in other areas, including detail-resolution, in order to 'compensate' for their inadequacies and their overall lack of realism.

Detail is nothing, if the overall picture is distorted (with missing elements, and over-emphasized detail in selected regions).

Another area, or aspect, modern speaker manufacturers go overboard with is soundstaging. Just as with detail-resolution, I believe soundstaging is ascribed much more importance than it warrants. Sure it can be entertaining. But does honing either aspect to the 'N'th-degree (the current focus) really enhance overall realism? I've experienced quite a few highly-detailed systems, with pin-point imaging, which were totally inept at portraying any semblance of a convincing replication of the realism of a musical performance. This is because those systems also lacked the much more important requisites for realism - as virtually all that adhere to the current trends do. Yes, I'll take whatever level of soundstaging abilities I can reasonably get (detail-resolution too) but I'll never ever make one iota of a concession, sacrificing even a scintilla of overall realism, to enhance soundstaging abilities - or detail-resolution, for that matter - never. Or, more accurately; never again!

For me, soundstaging and detail-resolution (though important) are relatively minor means to an end. And that end is sonic-realism. The current abnormal focus on these aspects, with obvious scant regard for the realism of the end-result, is misguided in that; it turns the 'means' into the 'end'. This ranks right up there with the nonsensical idea of putting the cart before the horse - for the former to pull the latter.

[I believe it's time we officially recognize that audiophiles are divided into two camps; The larger is the T&P (Tastes & Preferences) camp, instituted organized and maintained by manufacturers with the kind auspices of the mainstream audio-press. This T&P camp constitutes the majority of audiophiles who're influenced by the press' doctrine that; lack of dynamism, lean mids, disproportionately excessive trebles and, especially, soundstaging and detail-resolution are the ultimate fashion-statements in high-end audio. In audio today, the 'Tastes & Preferences' concept is King - anything goes here, virtually, as long as it suits one's tastes.

From adherents of this camp, I've heard the sound of live un-amplified instruments being criticized for the presence of too much lower-mids 'warmth', lack of 'refinement', not enough 'detail', and the lack of high-frequency 'sparkle, in contrast to the prefered presentation of the demonstrably-flawed modern speaker-systems favored by said T&P-camp adherents - now I've heard it all - Heaven help us. (Perhaps musical-instruments should now be tuned to sound like flawed/deficient speakers). Others have heard similar sentiments, re; paragraph six of the linked article.

The smaller is the 'High-Fidelity' camp, to which I belong. Contrary to the current trends sponsored by the press, this camp still believes in the original concept of high-fidelity and, therefore, seeks realism in audio-reproduction as the number-one priority, regardless of the popular trends instituted with nefarious motives. This High-Fidelity camp - a truly contemptible set - harbors a highly unpopular set of misfits who refuse to join the band-wagon of the hip and progressive as they embrace all the tenets of a doctrine which ensures the continued degradation of audio-standards, and realistic audio-reproduction.]

We've examined this before, in articles like; 'High-Fidelity vs Tastes & Preferences...', but for emphasis, perhaps we need to reiterate very quickly: Audiophiles need to understand that, generally, the modern small-cone/slender-enclosure speaker-paradigm is basically the result of a cost-cutting profit-boosting exercise - nothing more. The concept is not an advancement in speaker-performance, it's giant-steps backward. Modern manufacturers abandoned the better systems (large cones in large enclosures) and principles, to give us more conveniently-sized cheaper to produce speaker-systems, severely compromised at sonic-realism, compared to the large system they replaced. They deliberately sacrificed realism, for monetary-gain.

In doing so they, coincidentally, found that small mid/woofers in slender enclosures image 'better' than the large-coned predecessors. (The latter's imaging was less accute, and closer to what obtains in real-life, actually). They also found that the small mid/woofer's inability to reproduce low-mids resulted in 'clarifying' the middle-mids (because of the absence of the crucial low-mids) and so they claimed that these were more 'detailed' 'neutral' and 'accurate'. These are examples of their disingenuousness, really, but their allies in the mainstream audio-press were/are instrumental in convincing people of the 'merits' of these small-coned systems.

In light of these systems' ineptitude at realism, manufacturers and the press side-stepped sonic-realism to promote the concept of satisfying tastes and preferences. Pursuant to this, they literally 'indoctrinated' audiophiles with the notion that this thin midrange is de rigueur, and also that 'detail-resolution', and soundstaging, were THE most desirable attributes in sound reproduction. Other 'preferences', in line with these speakers' deficiencies and patent excesses, were also encouraged; disproportionate excesses in trebles, for 'air' and even more detail, for instance. And this is generally what we have today. Audiophiles have been tricked - led down the garden-path - with manufacturers and the mainstream audio-press smiling all the way to the bank.

In debunking the myth regarding low-level detail and soundstaging in relation to overall realism, let's look at the elements that really most define a live performance.

Since many good systems already have other elements such as reasonable frequency-response, signal to noise ratio, etc., we'll leave those aside to focus on the missing elements which would most enhance realism.

But first, let's look at the popularly-touted detail and soundstaging: These are near-field phenomena, at a live concert - most evident on-stage, or very close to it. 

Kindly note, however, that the vast majority of the audience at a live musical performance is not exposed to high levels of detail (similar to what many seek from their systems) and soundstaging is very little or, virtually, non-existent - and bear in mind that this is within the the ligitimate confines of the concert-venue.

The more detailed yet dis-arrayed perspective, on-stage, is off-limits to the audience, as far as I'm aware. And bear, also, in mind that virtually ALL instruments were designed to be optimally auditioned from a vantage-point separate and apart from said instruments, and the players there-of. Furthermore, it's unthinkable that one would place one's ear at the bell of a trumpet being played (not even the player of the instrument is privy to the details garnered from such a perspective) and it would be impossible to have one's ears at the strings of a guitar, at the same time - this does not and cannot happen in reality. Yet, this is the way many 'detail-fans' want to hear the instruments and the level of detail which could only be garnered in such an unrealistic, and un-intended manner. (And most of the 'better' modern speakers exaggerate these very same excesses in 'detail', at selected regions of the spectrum, while omitting other regions, and other elements which are more important).

How can the afore-mentioned level of 'detail' enhance realism if it has no true basis in reality? But let's just imagine that it does, for the sake of argument. The question still remains as to whether minute detail is the most important element of audio-reproduction.

In seeking to define THE most important elements for realism, let's step away from the concert-venue and contemplate sound from a distance - the sound of a marching-band, for instance, from a great distance several blocks away. From such a distance, low-level detail and soundstaging are absolutely nullified as contributory factors to any perception of realism. Yet, even from this great distance, the sound will unmistakably be identified as 'live' - the real thing.

[Bear with me: If you boil salty-water, the element that makes the water salty will be isolated; the salt. In life, thru the process of elimination, the plain truth is revealed, invariably - a time-tested technique in all aspects of life, including investigative police-work. Likewise, contemplation of the 'live' sound under the most non-optimal of conditions (i.e. the boiling, or elimination, process) is a sure way to isolate the constituents that most define the 'liveness' of the sound - the 'salt' - beyond all doubt.]

From such a distance, the only elements which define the fact of 'live' instruments in performance are; the dynamism of those instruments and the tone/tonal-weight (including the lower-midrange missing from modern speakers) of those live instruments. (Transients are also a very important factor I've included under the umbrella of dynamism since my first article here on the subject).

I reiterate; from such great distance, all 'accessories' are stripped (boiled) away from the sound - including; low-level detail, soundstaging, and even most of the trebles. (So, none of these can factor as THE most important elements for realism since the music is still identifiable as realistic without them - therefore they've been eliminated). The only remaining elements that register on our consciousness to define the 'live' sound are; (midrange) tone/tonal-weight and overall dynamism. [Go ahead and investigate for yourself.]

Logic would, therefore dictate that these two are THE most important elements for realistic reproduction of that live sound; dynamism and tonal weight (inclusive of the lower-mids). But these are exactly the two elements missing from modern small-coned speakers, even as they misguidedly 'excel' at detail-resolution and soundstaging.

The Realistic System vs The 'Detailed'/Soundstaging System: Perhaps I should also point-out that, in musically-relevant terms, modern small-coned speakers are NOT more detailed than the best of the large systems which preceded them (and the few that exist today) especially those equipped with super-tweeters. (They display more transient-alacrity in the leading-edges at mid-bass, though, canceled by the fact that they also lack the realistic weight of the latter, in said region). However, by virtue of their lack of realistic lower-mids, their middle-mids are 'highlighted' in stark relief, rendering the impression of greater detail (accuracy and neutrality) in this region - this impression is a false one, in the context of reality.

Nonetheless, by virtue of their small mid-woofers and slender enclosures, they can portray more accute stereophonic images. But even this could be classified as merely a 'party-trick' since this type of imaging is not apparent from the vast majority of seating-positions in the audience at a live concert. [For the record (again) I do appreciate detail AND soundstaging, and my own reference-system does reflect that to a high degree, but I also believe that their importance in audio-reproduction is highly over-rated, especially in light of other, more important, aspects which are simultaneously neglected, generally-speaking.]

I believe that if one can get one's system to sound the way musical instruments sound in the open-air, even at great distance, then one will have achieved much of the goal prescribed in the original concept of 'High-Fidelity' - as a start. If one's system is improved to the level of conveying those instruments in similar manner as to that perceived from a mid-hall or mid-field perspective, then this would be even better. (I'd prefer to stop there, and continue to maximize system-performance from this perspective, though). In life, I do not favor a front-row center perspective partly because, in live performance, the sounds of instruments are not able to cohere at such close proximity, and thus the overall sound is un-balanced, with the tuba, for instance, somewhat dominating the sound of other instruments which are further away. Since I'd not opt for this position at the performance I'm also not interested in the detail one would elicit from such a perspective. But even so, and much more importantly, I'm sure even this position offers nowhere near the level of 'detail' conveyed by some audio-systems that can't convey the realism of the overall performance. (Some techniques also have a bearing on why this is so). Nevertheless, in so far as I'm concerned, I believe the mid-hall or mid-field perspective to be ideal.

From this mid-field position, I'm able to hear the performance in all its glory, as it was meant to be heard. (The latter point is important, against the backdrop of the preceding points, and against the current trend). However, from said position, I will not be able to hear the sound of a pin-drop on stage, nor perhaps the cough of the drummer, or the flatulence of the bassist. So why then would I want to hear all this in the reproduction of said performance? I really don't! That would indeed be too much detail, in my opinion, tantamount to stripping the skin of the beautiful woman in our previous example.

Even so, such 'details' do sometimes become apparent by virtue of the following:

As things stand, recording-engineers' close-mic'ing techniques already give us more detail than is apparent at the live performance - and in a way that is alien to that perceived at said live performance. For example, by such means, we're privy to more of the string sound of a violin than that of the body of the instrument such as would be apparent at the venue - this is a fact, evident with several instruments recorded by this technique - a point stipulated by still another writer in an article I've linked to, recently. I'm certainly no great fan of this. Yet, I believe that 'properly executed' examples of this may be 'tolerable/viable' under the normal circumstances for which such techniques were intended - with speakers/components which do not amplify the undesirable effects.

Emphasising the inherent foibles of such techniques takes us further away from realism - not closer.

So then, why would I want to enhance and/or emphasize that with components which do just that - and especially those that do so while displaying shortcomings in more important aspects of performance or, indeed, by way of said shortcomings and excesses?

In system-building, for those interested in realism, we should avoid the excesses and, also, address the currently common shortcomings: In doing so, I believe it's important to ascribe one's order of priority in the following manner: Tonality (including realistic lower-midrange) dynamism (including stellar transient-response) and low-level detail-resolution - in that order. In fact, I'd concentrate on maximizing the first two, and leaving the latter to find its own level in the context of the components chosen to maximize the more important elements. In other words, no concession would be made to enhance detail-resolution (or soundstaging) at the expense of either of the more important elements.

This would cause quite a stir of controversy in certain quarters. But then, it's from those said quarters that the common-place un-dynamic treble-prominent lean-mids speaker-system, inept at sonic-realism, has emerged and flourished.

[Ed.] Since completing this piece, I found this post in a thread entitled, 'The Sound of Live Music As a Reference' :

The poster, evidently an industry-proffessional and audiophile, had this to say; Just two days ago he worked on a scene for a TV pilot (actually a presentation, which is only part of a pilot, used to show the network what the show will be like without spending the money on a full pilot) which took place in a 1947 Western Ave. jazz club. When the crew shot the scene, the musicians performed to playback, however, with the extras all in place and the crew still working on other scenes in another part of the lot, the musicians started an unamplified jam session on set.

Interestingly enough, the set had no parallel walls, so the acoustics were pretty good. He realized, listening from varous places on the set, that the distance from the musicians to the listener greatly changed the musical presentation. Audiophile terms like "soundstage" and "imaging" lost their relative meaning as he went from listening in the front row, to listening in the middle of the set, to listening in the rear.

He asserted that he'd gone to many concerts and live music events in his life, from stadium concerts to small jazz clubs to concerts in halls in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and in Europe. He'd always come away thinking "This is what my system should sound like. I've got to spend more money."....

...And yet, he states, we talk about "pin-point images" and "deep, wide soundstages" in discussing our systems and reviewing equipment. He realized that his system was hyper-real in relation to what he was hearing live. Even in the front row, he couldn't hear the fingers of the bass player pluck the strings, but I did hear the notes. He couldn't hear the breath of the tenor sax player or the hammers on the piano strike the strings, but he did hear the music that came from both instruments.

He also asserts that he's a long-time audiophile and really enjoys listening to his system, the assembling of which has been a life-long labor of love. What he realized is that our high end, or high definition audio systems are like electron microscopes that allow us to hear details of recordings that we do not hear in live acoustic settings. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it allows us greater insight into the moment of musical creation, a curse because these details are not what hearing the music, whether recorded in a studio, club, concert hall, or stadium is really about. No one goes to a concert to hear the guitar pick hitting the strings, the beater hit the bass drum head, or the resin as it flies of the bow and strikes the violin's body. We go to hear the music.

He points out that he's not advocating for lower definition in our home systems, he's just saying that what some of us listen for in evaluating components and our systems is not, and can never be, what the musical experience is at the time of it's creation. Enjoy live music. Enjoy bringing the recorded musical experience into your home. Just know that the map is not the territory.

Well said!

Apart from the points which are in accord with those I've long been making, here, about detail-resolution and soundstaging being vastly over-rated, in audio-reproduction, his last paragraph is also relevant. He claims not to be advocating lower definition in audio-systems, but I will - to a point. Though my own reference could be deemed 'high-resolution', I'm really not being hypocritical in stating categorically that, for REALISTIC audio-reproduction, resolution to the 'N'th-degree is not necessary - as all the evidence here illustrates. Other factors are much more important, as we've also consistently asserted.

No, I'm not advocating an 'anything goes policy'. For realistic performance it's absolutely imperative that one's equipment attains a minimum of 'Class-C' levels of performance. (In terms of a reference-standard; for Class-C, consider Quad 33, and for Class-B consider Audio-Research SP8 levels of performance, at least). But, unless you're specifically a 'detail-fan' from the T&P-camp, once a Class-C level is attained the gains in resolution above that level are insignificant, relative to overall realism. It's much more important to maximize performance in the much more important aspects, which are commonly neglected. Speakers with the required attributes are the key, here - my advice is to concentrate on that.

Recognize that components with un-necessarily 'higher-resolution' (which is also barely discernable, if not questionable in many cases) are extremely expensive. Recognize, too, that the press' thrust in promoting tastes & preferences, of which detail-resolution and soundstaging are major components, is orchestrated to influence those audiophiles on the T&P-camp band-wagon to 'upgrade' as frequently as possible. There-by, complying with the press' goal of selling more, and more expensive, wares for their partnering manufacturers. It's as simple as that. [Ed.]

Ivor Tiefenbrun, the man who gave us the iconic Linn Sondek turntable, and the man responsible for the resurgence of the turntable, in general, also opined that the source-component is the most important component in the audio-chain. Garbage in, garbage out is the philosophy that drives this conviction; GIGO. LOI, or loss of information, is another aspect this policy seeks to avoid, by facilitating the retrieval of low-level detail. In voicing my agreement with this philosophy advocating the importance of the source, and the detail it provides, I'd add that, in my opinion, the speaker-system is equally important - though the afore-mentioned might well disagree. Neither would I argue with those who may suggest that the speaker-system is even more so - the arguments are valid there too. (But I'd also hasten to stipulate that the other components, especially the front-end, must also be of a very high caliber. However, once a 'Class C' minimum is attained, the speakers assume more critical-importance, if overall realism is the focus, in my view).

Nevertheless, the point is that the very ultimate in sonic-realism can never be achieved by coupling the world's greatest and most detailed source-component to the world's greatest and most detailed pre-amp, amp, and the world's greatest and most 'detailed' mini-monitors. The ultimate in realism can never be achieved by such a route. Compromised by the handicap of small mid/woofers operating un-aided to below 200hz, too much of the dynamism, and too much of the tone (especially at lower-midrange - details there too) are missing. But this is mostly what exists today, with floor-standing sub-woofed mini-monitors, and doubled floor-to-ceiling 100-grand sub-woofed mini-monitors. All conveying that lean mini-monitor midrange (the most important range - there-by; compromised) augmented by bass and treble. This is where the major hinderance to realism in most systems lies - modern small-coned speakers.

Such a system may, indeed, be 'detailed' in the currently fashionable regions. - but far from truly realistic.

I believe a system which costs much less, incorporating components which are among the best, but not THE very-best ('Class B' or even 'Class C' components, for instance) could/would be much more realistic than the very best of the afore-mentioned. This is a proven fact. And the one factor that would have caused the superiority of this system, of 'B' and 'C'-class components, would be a dynamic and tonally-competent speaker-system (an indication of how important the speaker really is - it elevates a system to the heights of realism, or relegates it to the depths of mediocrity) a speaker-system which fully incorporates the two most important elements most modern speakers absolutely lack.

That's how important these elements are over detail-resolution, as we've previously demonstrated. Not that the latter is not also important - a fact which the best of such speakers also demonstrate.

But for realistic audio-reproduction, tone and dynamics are much more important than detail-resolution (or imaging).

This is the stark reality; the details on the details - in audio - and on the soundstage too.

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