5 steps in developing hearing

I got this from a dealer years ago:

1. Only cares about bass.

2. Start hearing tonal balance like warmer, brighter etc. These are more the mass market type.

3. This is the hi-fi entry level listening. We talk about soundstaging imaging, detail etc. all those technical term that you read from the magazine. Everyone who comes to my place I will try to get them into this level. It is not too difficult once we show them the audiophile recording.

4. People start talking about PRAT. From level 3 to level 4 needs a little bit more experience and listening to more systems and live performance.

5. This is my ultimate level of search. It is the complete disappearance of the system. It is the directness of the system. A lot of technically superb systems fail in this area. We call them technically perfect musically dead. Getting from level 4 to level 5 is even more difficult.
This is the area that many of my customers come back to me telling me that how come they didn't get the same feeling when doing the audition in other dealer's demo regardless of price. They cannot explain it so they use 'feeling' as the term.


@cdc When I stopped building my own speakers in the ‘70’s until I began climbing back into this hobby upon my retirement (in my 70’s), I would have placed myself at the first stage, all speakers needed to be full range, the bigger the woofer, the better. 
Three years on, I would place myself at stage three. I’ve explored several different sets of speakers and amps, sources, in three different rooms. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard two systems where one had PRaT and one didn’t, but some sound better than others, and I’m beginning to make distinctions between components that sound ‘right’ to me and those which do not. I am looking for a sound stage in which the speakers disappear (some have a hard time doing that), enough imaging that I can identify different instruments within the sound stage, and notes that sound as if they came from an instrument I can identify [double-bass, guitar, piano, etc.], and, of course vocals that are clear. Some recording techniques or mastering methods obscure some of these qualities, but I just wait for the better recordings to appear on the stream, or next disk [CD or Vinyl] that I put on. (I hate it when the instruments drown out the voice, as happens with some female vocalists, especially.)

Now, as @ghdprentice describes PRaT, I can easily relate to ‘not wanting to drag myself away from my system,’ but, as others allude to, only when it’s playing music that I like. If my system can’t do that, something is wrong and I’m busy working on it, or saving up to replace what I’ve identified as the weak link in the chain. It’s been that way for three years now, and the acquiring is finally slowing down, but only after spending about 12 times what I had initially estimated the cost to be [of course, that expense was spread out over what is now four separate systems, plus a few ‘spare’ parts, but still . . ..]

I’ve been in level 4 and 5 for decades. Oh and I have heard the word prat before, but have definitely never heard Prat before.

Interesting Level descriptions, to me they make sense. 

I think I just transitioned to level 4 after upgrading my Lampizator GoldenGate to GG3 with the new Engine11P, volume control and USB.  The new USB  requires a USB cable with a 5 volt leg.  I had to send my Sinope out to add the leg.  While the cable was out I used the ethernet output from an Innuos Statement thru an UltraRendu and used a Network Acoustics USB to an Antipodes S20 and then SPDIF out to the Lampizator. 

Immediately I noticed the PRaT I was missing with USB.  There was some loss of sound quality I attribute to the NA USB relative to the Sinope.  When the Sinope came back I still preferred the Ethernet output of the statement to the USB with the Sinope.  Now I put the Sinope between the UltraRendu and S20.

As the Statement outputs both USB and Ethernet together I can set the same music to play at the same time with the InnuOS Sense and switch between them real time.  The PRaT is hard to describe but very easy to hear when its right.  There is an obvious time smear to the USB output when heard together.

I can remove the S20 and use the USB output of the UltraRendu to the Lampizator and the PRaT improvement is still obvious so it seems to me it is the difference between the Statements USB and Ethernet outputs.

I don't know if it is an issue with the Statements USB or with USB relative to Ethernet as a carrier for digital information.

I believe in PRaT, to me it changes the sound to a relaxed more analog feeling and the Rhythm and Pace immediately reminds me of what I prefer when listening to LP's.


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