How can you evaluate a system with highly processed music?

Each to their own.

But can you really evaluate a system by listening to highly processed, electric/electronic music? How do you know what that sounds like?

I like to listen to voices and acoustic music that is little processed. 

Instruments like piano, violin, etc. 

And the human voice. And the joy of hearing back up singers clearly, etc.

Even if full instrumentation backing a natural sounding voice.

(eg.: singer/songwriters like Lyle Lovett or Leonard Cohen)

There is a standard and a point of reference that can be gauged.



Perfect excuse to just get a big box, on sale  setup if said genre is exclusive.

Fake instruments/auto tune vocals, always a fail  with audiophool level equipment-my subjective opinion naturally.

Always a head scratcher when I read a thread about "popular" music fans that listen with SOTA level stuff.

I'll stick with 50's-70's LP's thru tube equipment for emotional connection.


You can’t.

Not for 99% of recorded music which is an artificial construction of a sound a particular record company/artist/producer/engineer wanted.

There was no actual real time performance.

Even worse, since most music is made for commercial purposes it’s also highly unlikely that it’s being recorded to be played back on high performance playback systems.

Harry T Moss who cut most of the Beatles albums once told an interviewer that he was cutting the records to sound as good as they could on a Dansette all in one record player.


Not unless the speakers you are using to playback your music are exactly the same as the ones that were used as monitors in its creation.

Not unless your listening room has similar characteristics as the venue/studio where the music was recorded.

This is what’s known as audio’s circle of confusion.

If the studio used ATCs, Genelecs, Mackie’s, Neumann’s, Yamaha’s etc and you’re playing it back on some Focal’s, Harbeth’s, Wilson’s then you can’t expect it to sound exactly the same can you?

That only leaves pure live recordings but even then unless you were there at the time you can never be sure of how the recording should sound.

[Interestingly enough, this year’s UK Audio Show is going to have one of those live vs recording demonstrations that pop up from time to time. As far as comparisons go, it probably doesn’t get any better than that].

One way out of this circle of confusion would be to have loudspeakers that performed and behaved in standardised ways that we can all agree upon as being desirable.

As of 2023, since we are still an awful long way from that, the best we can do is to arrive at only an approximation of what we consider ’good enough’ for as much of our music as we can.



The Audio Consultants at the UK Audio Show 2023

Another unique and exclusive attraction at this year’s UK Audio Show, a joint venture with The Audio Consultants and Damon Sawyer, a top recording engineer at Crescent Records.

After the success of their previous recording sessions in collaboration with Crescent Records, they will be repeating the format at this year’s UK Audio Show at Staverton.

Visitors will be able to see and hear a live recording take place in the Cedar Suite and then witness how recording engineer Damon Sawyer mixes and masters that recording. A rapid balance and mix will be burned to a CD-R, which will then be played back in the same Cedar Suite using a high-end audio system set up by The Audio Consultants.

Visitors will be able to judge how close the recording can get to the experience of the live musicians.

To be sure, if you're going to be scientific about it, it'd certainly be best to use recordings of acoustic instruments to judge a component or a system's fidelity. It'd be best for the buyer to have a familiarity with the sound of acoustic instruments, as well. The thing is, hi-fi components are a consumer item, and it's the individual consumer who ought to have the last word with their purchase. If somebody just loves bloated mid-bass, I'm not going to be the traffic cop (except if the bloated mid-bass lover shares a wall with me).

That is called the absolute sound.... yes that is very helpful, but you NEED to play the music you listen to. No good reason to buy a system that makes the music you listen to sound bad.