Top two most important sound qualities

In case you didn't know, it's 2023 and this website still hasn't implemented a polling feature, so I can't define a selection of sound qualities to choose from and see results in a grouped, organized fashion. Boo hoo!


If you had to pick two of the typically referenced sound qualities that are most important to you to optimizing the enjoyment of your system, what are they? You know what I mean, right? Could be a certain frequency range and some particular quality that you for in it, or any quality that applies across all frequencies, etc.

(Note: "Sound qualities" mentioned here do not include anything that refers to physical attributes of your system or listening room, such as acoustical treatments, types of components, types of source material, physical tweaks, etc. It's only a reference to subjectively appreciated qualities.)


Tone is the most important aspect in my system.

Having spent most of my life 20’s and 30’s in night clubs in New York and seen/heard most of the bands of that era, when I listen to music, my musical/aural emotions draws from those experiences.

I’m not trying to recreate the live performance experience of my past since my aural memory is dim but bring out the emotional experience from my memory when I first heard that song.

The right tone is the only aspect of the music that brings back those emotions, not soundstage, clarity, detail, etc.



Me too.

For me instrumental tone/ timbre/ textures is both 1 and 2.

Everything else ie dynamic range, transient speed, lack of sibilance, lack of overhang, full range bandwidth, image depth are all of far lesser importance.

That's why I can sometimes prefer a $40 portable speaker which has a vivid tonal palette to a $4000+ Hi-Fi that doesn't.

Seriously, it's inexplicable to me just how so many of these so called 'High End' systems fail miserably in this regard.

Getting the most accurate instrumental tone would always be my first priority as a manufacturer.


This is a good question and one of crucial importance in determining the relevance of the various responses we often read here.

I tend to skip any published review that does not offer a few words about tone. Strange as it seems, it would appear that, for far too many people, precise instrumental tonality seems to have little or no relevance, whilst to a few others it's almost everything.