resolution and imaging

As my system has evolved over the years, I've noticed a change in how I perceive resolution. Resolution and imaging now seem inextricably linked to me, in other words, maximized imaging is absolutely necessary to maximizing resolution.

Prior to the last couple of years, I heard increases in resolution the way most reviewers describe it. A lowered noise floor allowed more detail through, I was hearing more background (low level) information than I heard previously.

With more recent upgrades, I now hear greater detail/resolution due to enhanced image density and dimensionality. Each upgrade brings more spaciousness, and with more space between all the micro elements that make up sound I hear more detail/resolution. I would not be able to hear as much detail/resolution without this enhanced imaging.

And so now I hear of audiophiles who claim imaging is not important and/or not on high on their list of priorities. I theorize that without high imaging capabilities one cannot achieve maximum resolution from their system.

I recently saw a thread on holographic imaging, some argue this is not present in live music. I totally disagree, live sound lives in physical space, physical space is defined by three dimensions (at least three we've been able to detect), sound is by definition, holographic.

IMO, audio systems must maximize image dimensionality in order to be both high resolution and more lifelike. While I agree that other aspects of audio reproduction are critically important, ie. tonality, dynamics, continuousness, etc., so is imaging.
OK, found it. Here is a very pointed and brief post on the futility of using live music as your goal that really nails it, IMO. Some of you are probably familiar with the author, Romy the Cat. In this case, I could not agree more with him. English is obviously not his first language, though he seems to do pretty well with it in spite of that. Check out the rest of his site for some entertaining, and often illuminating reading.
Great thread . Is it about the music or its reproduction . Its both of course but oh how we obsess over the details. Its what motivates us and keeps us hooked on this fascinating hobby. Resolution is often what drives us as each incremental upgrade uncovers more of the recordings we love . We gravitate to better recordings as time passes and often this dictates our listening habits. It often begins with solid state and gravitates to tube gear and sometimes right back. Imaging and sound staging properties can often be a product of speaker placement and acoustical room control. Indeed , a Pandora's Box that should be opened and worked on diligently. My personal journey has evolved around the balance between achieving the most resolution I can obtain while maintaining intense musicality which hooks me into the listening chair for hours. Musicality is one of those intangible words that we all seem to recognize yet cant express . I think its a personal effect . I have been through electrostats , line source , direct radiating ect ect ect and they all bring their particular magic to the table. Recently I picked up a pair of MBL 101 E speakers . The effect is like being washed with a tightly woven fabric of sound in vibrant colors yet the imaging is not nearly as specific as any speaker I have worked with . I am not able to get the same pinpoint imaging yet what I am hearing is more like live music in real space . I find myself unchaining my brain and allowing my mind to effortlessly wander through the soundscape without the desire to evaluate the specifics . I imagine we all experience our systems a little differently , this is just my observations .
Nice thread - proper imaging and soundstaging is an extremely high priority for me, as I am a professional orchestral musician. I believe a recording engineer should try to recreate the sound of the orchestra in the hall as well as possible, but most of them do not actually even attempt to do this anymore in this digital age. And I should also point out that the "imaging" of live music may sound very different depending on where you are sitting in the hall. Sitting as close as row D would not be the best perspective in most halls. To grossly generalize, sound travels up and back through the hall, so in a great hall, very often the best seats are towards the back and higher up in the hall, though maybe not the nosebleeds. In many of the great sounding orchestral recordings made before the digital era, this is where the mikes were placed. Even Mercury, which usually placed them above the orchestra instead of out in the hall, placed them at least a good 15 feet higher than the orchestra, and often higher yet. You almost never see recording engineers placing mikes anywhere near the back of the hall anymore, or that high either. And when they place different mikes on every section, or even on every individual instrument, on separate tracks, and then mix all of it together later, almost always this results in a complete loss of the sense of the original space, and there is nothing any playback system can do to remedy this - Humpty-Dumpty is broken, and you can't put him back together.

All of that said, though, I also whole-heartedly agree with those who said that the performance is the main thing - a recording can have incredible sonics, but if I strongly dislike the performance, I'm not going to pull it out very often. One should be able to enjoy a great performance, even if it wasn't recorded very well, or is played back on a mediocre system. OK, I'm done rambling for tonight. Goodnight, and enjoy the music!
as a musician, i am surprised that soundstage and imaging, which is not music is important to you.

when attending a concert, from my favorite seat, the last row of an orchestra, i am not aware of imaging or soundstage. thus many stereo systems sound artificial when compared to live music.

accuracy of timbre is much more significant as a cue to recognizing realism in musical reproduction than any other factor.

most stereo systems sound more focused than live music. the "resolution" one may desire becomes fatiguing and is like listening to music under a microscope. it is no surprise that many of today's stereo systems do not compare favorably to that which could have been configured during the 60's and 70's, especially with respect to extended duration listening sessions.