I believe I experienced great PRAT for the first time

Pace, Rhythm and Timing - I've often heard about it, mainly in the context of certain turntables, but I don't think I've really experienced it in a highly satisfactory way until today when I mounted my new Soundsmith Hyperion, an upgrade from my Sussorro. Halfway through side two of Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium, it suddenly dawned on me that there was more going on than improvements in clarity, detail, neutrality, bass punch and other rather specific traits that I've until this point used to refer to what I'm hearing. For the first time in the 30 years I've had this album, I was struck by a sense of flow, ease, relaxation, and my feet were tapping! Yes, this must be it. I connected with the music at a higher level just now, something new to me. Get all the details correct, and the PRAT appears in front of you. So, this was nothing to do with the fact that my turntable runs at the correct speed with low W/F, as it was performing well at that before. I had assumed that's what PRAT meant. Perhaps it means that too, in a speed stability sense.


Congratulations. I think it took me forty years to put my finger on what PRAT was. I knew that my foot was the key. Once I recognized it… how to listen and hear it, I really recognized what high end audio reproduction was about. My system now ARC / Sonus Faber is so musical I have a hard time tearing myself away because the music is so seductive… as opposed to the details being so amazing.

‘PRAT is what should be the primary driver of purchases, but in fact is one of the hardest characteristics to detect and use as a selection criterion in our purchases. Hence one of the reasons so many have amazingly detailed and unmusical systems.


Welcome to the world of high end music!

Excuse me, but wasn’t it Tiefenbrun’s (Linn’s) point that turntables create PRAT, not cartridges or anything else in the signal path. So, what turntable? Probably not an LP12. But maybe.

A highly modified VPI classic 4, with the SOTA Eclipse motor and controller upgrade, including an Origin Live belt and an SME 312S arm and Funk Achromat mat, and last but not least, ISO Acoustics Gaia 2 feet. The motor is sitting on two levels of rubber standoffs to eliminate transmitted noise through the highly conductive plinth. The belt I had to run the calculations on and experiment with several belts to get the perfect one down to the millimeter, as the motor is fixed. The reason I bought the table in the first place was that it was relatively cheap way to get a table that would take a 12 inch arm. So, I was able to overcome the severely under engineered design, over a period of several years of frustration as I discovered deficiencies, to provide a great platform to let this new cartridge sing. 

My feet tap to the music not the system. It is great that your transient response and dynamic contrast have improved with your new cartridge but, rhythm and timing belong to the musician.

Marketing term or not it’s a viable adjective to describe the sound of a high end system. One reason why the Rega P9/RB1000(2012) is the oldest component in my system.

It’s certainly viable, just like any other adjective we care to use to describe our subjective impression of how a system or a component may sound to us. Such adjectives are most meaningful when the other guy was in the same room with you at the same time listening to the same music.

Measured wow/flutter, according to multiple trials with Analog Magic, is around .06%. This is a decent figure for sure, but to improve it I suspect I’d need to overhaul the bearing, which I’m not willing to do at this point. The next upgrade will be a new table. 

From @lewm ’s post above

Excuse me, but wasn’t it Tiefenbrun’s (Linn’s) point that turntables create PRAT, not cartridges or anything else in the signal path.

So does this mean digital music does not have any PRAT?

Mine does!

  • bags of it, but it was all due to my cables.
  • Granted a good cartridge/TT combo will "contribute",
  • but for me, cables were the turning point

Now my digital rig is equally as good as my analogue rig - or vice versa :-)

And for me - it was the cables that did it !

But please let's not turn this thread into a Analogue vs Digital debate

I like analogue as much as the next guy

But for me - PRAT is the manner in which the system delivers the music 

  • it can be dependent on any component or cable
  • for me PRAT is the sum of the following
    • dynamic performance of the system
    • the clarity, which can contribute to the sense of space of the image
    • the artist placement within the image due to "time-aligned" left and right channels being "right"
    • and those those tiny details that make the venue come alive alive - what I call venue acoustics


Just an observation

Enjoy the music - Steve

You can use the term PRAT any way you want. Or it can be a criterion by which to judge or describe vinyl reproduction. Would be my response.

PRAT may be the most obscure audio terms I can think of. I relate it to music and performance far more than to system. Both pace and rhythm are generated by musician, not system. Timing even more obscure, this has most meaning to me in relation to clocking with digital.


I think descriptors such as micro and macro dynamics, transients, attack and decay are far more precise terms.

@mijostyn + 1 - Great point; I've never understood it when somebody says a great system will get their foot tapping. Their foot wouldn't tap to the music on a lesser system? Hell, when I was a teenager, never took more than a handheld 1960's transistor radio to get my foot tapping and head bopping as long as the music elicited that! 


As you can see, it isn’t that easy to learn to detect. I normally refer to it as rhythm and pace. That is the terminology used by Stereophile.


Here is an article from 1992 on the subject.





to me, good music makes me want to tap my feet, swing, move etc etc., whatever you want to call it 

a great hifi only helps in that regard

i have done a lot of foot tapping on many a long drive in car with very average car stereo


Every type of component influences PRAT (if that is what one wants to call it) to one degree or another. We tend to be more comfortable describing issues of tonal and spatial distortion, but less so issues of rhythmic distortion. Sure, source components (tt’s, especially) tend to be the worse culprits, but I have experienced amps and preamps that are more rhythmically “alive” than others and some that sound rhythmically stifled; regardless of tonal signatures. I’ll let the more technically astute explain why.

**** I think descriptors such as micro and macro dynamics, transients, attack and decay are far more precise terms. ****


Congratulations on your new OCL Hyperion. It is a stellar sounding cartridge and without a doubt, the Hyperion is providing you with new musical satisfaction. Regardless of what you call it, the information that is being retrieved and how it is conveyed to you is all that matters. I too had many many such moments with my OCL Hyperion and still do. I would say that finesse of the Hyperion and the fact that it just plays back music without accentuated lows, mid, or highs. It is to me, the epitome of what a cartridge should sound like…nothing, just making beautiful music. 
Before I had the Hyperion I had several Benz LPSs, Sussaro MKII, Benz Ruby Z. I researched and researched on a cartridge that would appeal to my senses. The Hyperion does that. It does compete above its price range and in that class, some things are different sounding, maybe the same, or offer up something a little better sounding in one way or another. 

I am in awe at how it is so balanced. I have my Hyperion installed on an SME V arm and I am running it wide open into an Aesthetix Io Partial Eclipse with dual power supplies. I tried the recommended loading and slowly kept inching up after a few months and settled into no loading at all, it sounds the best to me, open, airy, and organic, with a humanizing aspect to the voices. I just finished setting up my new Air Tight Opus 1 and the Hyperion can be proud to compete with such a higher priced cartridge, albeit, in different ways. Let’s leave it at that, don’t want to change the subject. 

Agree with others about the total system synergy…if your system is up to it, then you will have great listening sessions. From what you posted, you identified a system deficiency in so much that your cartridge was holding everything back. Now that you have added the Hyperion, the chain, your system, is complete with all of the attributes to make music sound really good. See, you were probably thinking new speakers, amps, preamps, cables, or whatever…and there it is, a brand new OCL Hyperion saves the day. Congratulations. 

Enjoy the music ;-) even a decent Pinot has PRAT…. you see unless we are experiencing vs. writing about it, we are reduced to imperfect…words….

How can an emotional connection be ..imperfect ?

I agree with those who say that PRAT belongs to the musician, However, it also belongs to the source component which is playing that PRAT which the musicians laid down on the recording. I've been an avid listener for 60 yrs and I only came to understand PRAT after I bought a TT which allowed me to hear  that PRAT. The TT I had previously did NOT have that. It sounded sluggish in comparison. Yes, it becomes automatic foot tapping as if you can't help but tap your feet. However, mood also has a great deal to do with it also

The rest of my system was waiting- Pass XP-27, ARC Ref 6SE, Vandersteen M5-HPA, Vandersteen 5A Carbon, PS Audio P20 for sources, AQ 5000 for amps, AQ water IC, AQ William Tell Silver biwire, AQ Hurricane, and some other odds and ends. There’s a digital side as well but it’s not worth mentioning here as the PRAT is largely missing from that.

@earthtones what a lovely lovely system f;-) i can assure you digital prat possible with the basic ingredients you have !

Some like minded ingredients..

Maybe also consider joining the Vandy owners forum, on Vandy website.


OP. Great system. I have the same preamp. Both my digital end and analog have equally great PRAT. You can see it under my ID. Both ends have similar detail and other attributes as well.


This is a dream finally realized, there is no disappointment changing from analog to digital or back.

it’s there inherent in music; you can lose it anywhere in the signal chain.

s’funny - the name Vandersteen keeps popping up in my mind for some strange reason..

I have  a pretty respectable audio system sometimes tweaks are what really all that's needed, I have the new synergistic purple fuses are much better then any previously But a bit $$ pricy , these Duelund Mundorf Loudspeaker purifiers I assumed  were just another Synergistic type that did little to nothing, I was more-then pleasantly surprised after roughly 4 days the focus and sound staging af image depth got much better , well worth the $350 IMO , I also have 2x4 room panels behind speakers and 1st reflection for$75 each wrapped in cloth and acoustic foam sonically help a live room.  Herbies tube dampers has their tall tender feet That does a nice  job of absorbing vibration without damping too much and under $75 .These all add up to better music 🎶 

This post made me grin. At this advanced stage of my hearing decline, my enjoyment of music is mostly found in the time domain. I can't hear squat above 8k, but when the timing is right, all is good with the world. I too have the wonderful Hyperion, my endgame cartridge, on a highly modified stepping stone TT, a Rega P8. Someday I may move on to a more adjustable arm/table, but for now, the mods are holding their own, at least 'til my money tree can be harvested for the next round of goodies up the food chain. Best wishes enjoying your new sounds. 

As a recent upgrader from Sussurro ES to Hyperion ES I can agree with the comments above.  This cartridge is a surprisingly large improvement in the areas important to my ears.  More tonal information, timbre definition and overall musical information.  Others have mentioned frequency balance and I agree. The later seems to be a great trait of many SoundSmith carts. That and the very low surface noise.


love @earthtones system too. The Pass XP-27 is fantastic!

In vinyl reproduction, timing of the music is entirely dependent upon the speed accuracy and constancy of the platter. The platter thereby recreates what the musicians laid down. To make an extreme point, if the platter doesn’t move there’s nothing. I think that’s what Ivor Tiefenbrun had in mind. But you can use the term PRAT any way you want. I certainly am not offended.

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then there’s the role of the arm (and mat) in controlling resonances in the time domain, chassis composition and construction including the possible role of the Tiefenbrun ‘closed loop’ principle (also claiming to address time domain resonance issues if you are a believer), the ability of the cartridge to respond to transients.and control resonances etc etc

Anything that affects the storage and release of energy in the turntable SYSTEM can and will affect PRAT. Why do you think Rega’s latest designs are purposefully so ultra lo-mass, and that they do PRAT so well?

Without meaning to be snide, I believe finding PRAT unexpectedly is like finding the face of Jesus on a Lay's potato chip. 

as the saying goes - 'some folks got rythm’

OTOH I guess some people just don’t get it..

I greatly enjoyed this discussion. I moved up to a Sussurro about a year ago, and it was a real revelation. Fun to think what a Hyperion could bring. But first, other aspects of my system will need some attention. 

I don't remember ever hearing good music, live or recorded, when I didn't hear PRAT. 

Pesky, in response to your rhetorical question, i dunno. DO Rega turntables produce PRAT, in fact? You suppose they do, but that’s an opinion to which you’re entitled.

Pace, rhythm and timing are desirable commodities no doubt.

However, in my experience, systems which do them well often fall down heavily in other areas.

This realisation is the reason I moved away from a Linn/Naim system in the first place.

Apparently Naim amps can do far more than PRAT these days but for me tone is king, PRAT are mere accessories.

It's a shame that these 2 qualities often seem to be at almost opposite poles to each other.

In my system that I described earlier, I think the Hyperion does everything extremely well, PRAT, tone, whatever. I think it’s a simple matter of superior tracking ability combined with ultra low moving mass and resonance- how do you beat a cactus thorn, lol, in combination with the Ortofon Replicant profile?

Another thing I’ve noticed is that this cartridge scales like nothing I’ve heard - it sounds clean, steady and articulate right up through the highest crescendos in symphonic pieces, which is another testament to it tracking ability and high resolution.

Pesky, in response to your rhetorical question, i dunno. DO Rega turntables produce PRAT, in fact?

Rega turntables are low mass to limit the storage (and subsequent delayed release) of energy. This design objective is well documented and requires very little research to confirm.

As to Rega’s ability to do PRAT, I suggest you A/B an RP10/Apheta 3 against an LP12 combination at twice the price and make up your own mind.

Don’t take your credit card.

for me tone is king, PRAT are mere accessories.

opposite, I can live with tonal aberrations, whereas the groove or the flow is the heart and soul of music, and that tiny nuances in this metric are what separate ‘great’ musicians from the also rans..

I owned a Rega a long time ago… Don’t remember the model, but it was not a low end model… it sure was not in the same league as VPI and Linn… I am sure their top models are now much better. But PRAT is about every piece of equipment… it can be lost anywhere along the way.

it’s there inherent in music; you can lose it anywhere in the signal chain.

I am sure their top models are now much better.

in a different league - look up Naiad research

**** I can live with tonal aberrations, whereas the groove or the flow is the heart and soul of music, and that tiny nuances in this metric are what separate ‘great’ musicians from the also rans..****

Agree 100%. 

Had a Linn-Naim dealer who would literally tap his feet during a demo like it was in the sales play-book.

It was, as was removing digital watches at one stage.

Kans could be pretty tappy though….

Say what you will about the basic tenets of the mental construct "PRAT", unlike the adjective "musical" at least it is an ethos. 

Remember that in British slang, a prat is a stupid person who makes a fool of themselves.

As in such phrases as: "What a prat!" "Don't be such a prat", etc.


Apparently most British PA amps weren't very good back in the 1960s and this is what led Julian to believe he could do better himself.

I'm pretty sure that most of the nonsense came from the Linn side, although Naim did have their quirks. Eg they wouldn't put RCAs on their amps so we had to get our Linn's fitted with BNCs.

Linn certainly had a sense of humour and I'm pretty sure they were in on the prat joke.



Many agree with you, no doubt. Rega for one.

As I said, it would be nice to have both.

In the UK this search for PRAT resulted in many systems sounding quick and snappy but almost totally devoid of tone, texture and colour.


In any case shouldn't PRAT be more a function of the loudspeakers than any other component?

If an amplifier sounds as if it's got great PRAT then shouldn't we ask why?

Could it be leaving something important out?

In any case shouldn’t PRAT be more a function of the loudspeakers than any other component?

I have found sprakers can be a great killer of PRAT. It is amply evident that some manufacturers simply do not understand the concept. Just as some people are tone deaf I am conviced that some are born rythmically challenged.

As for amplifier design, I think the outcome is a direct reflection of the engineer’s musical priorities. Naim moved a lot of kit. I preferred Exposure which retained the PRAT but added a degree of ’body’ to the sound.