Questions about Resolving Systems

I know this will be subjective but what makes a resolving system?

Does it mean it has great detail?

How do you know if you have a resolving system?

Is that only for system that employ high end components?

I am just trying to get a better understanding.



Eric Clayton’s Lady in the Balcony- I hear his shirt sleeve buttons rubbing against the guitar strings down near the base of the guitar in a couple of his songs.  A Led Zepplin song- his drum pedal squeaks.  I forget which song but it is really annoying.  Hum in microphone cords, talking, coughing become very apparent and is distracting at first.  The upside is the black background, the holographic soundstage and the clarity transport me from my listening room to the stage.  Another fun recording is the Carly Simon Live at Grand Central.  The ambience and sounds from the crowd and station are wonderful to hear.

Truly resolving systems are more real than real.  For example being able to pick out individual voices in a Chorle or the individual instruments in an orchestra with breathtaking clarity.  It’s exciting to hear a system that resolving but in real life I cannot stand in front of a live orchestra and pick out each instrument so easily.  Same goes for a choir.  

Clarity and resolution are addictive to me.  I tried to dial it back some by removing isolation on components but once I experienced it I couldn’t go back.  I’m used to it now.  Like in life we learn to filter things out.


You mentioned your last two purchases... what were they if you don't mind sharing?  I'm just curious what finally fixed things for you.

These three comments really nailed it, I think.

A highly resolving system will allow you to hear everything but not at the cost of anything....It will be done in a relaxed yet rich and full manner....Think of substituting the edgy brightness with a burnished quality. 

A high resolving system starts with a fully acoustically treated room. It is so much more important than the choice of audio equipment imo.

 it's a balance of detail and warmth.  

Here’s an example. I listened to Joan Osborne’s ‘Radio Waves’ live album the other day. It’s a compilation of live recordings over her career. In each song, I was able to hear clearly the difference in mics, soundboards, mixing, instrumentation, and in many cases the placement of instruments on stage. It was an interesting experience. Because live bands are mostly recorded from the inputs, not necessarily from the stage or audience, it’s a very different sensation than hearing a studio recording. Qobuz, Roon, iFi Zen Signature, Linn Akurate, AV5125 and Keilidhs.  


One thing that made me realize that my newer system were more resolving was the fact that I had listened to Too Old to Rock & Roll by Tull many hundreds of times over the years and really never read all the liner notes. I recently got my 40 year old album back and played it to hear a second voice throughout the track. Maddy Prior is singing along with Ian.