Talk:High fidelity

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A lot of the information contained in this article maybe be common knowledge to audiophiles, but as someone who is trying to learn about accurate sound reproduction, one of the first things I noticed is that a lot of conclusions in the explanation and history of hi-fi cite no references. Since this general topic tends to be very subjective, I think it's especially important to note where everyone got their sources. As of right now, there are entire sections without any references, and in parts, it borders on opinion or speculation. --Rayt5 19:20, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Rayt5, the mass marketing people would like consumers to believe they have only have to plunk down a few hundred, uncrate the boxes, and they will be in "high fidelity land", but it ain't so. Unfortunately, this is a subject which is is both very technical and tends to be controversial. (I was in a research division where the arguments about the role of copper cable purity lasted for weeks, and where some people were barely on speaking terms.) There isn't any very easy way to simplify the discussion (although I agree, somebody should try). Even the simplest statements about high fidelity can be actively challenged -- for example -- is a flat frequency response a good thing? Some people would say, yes, always. I would maintain that there are several kinds of exceptions, depending on the listeners and the purpose. Even if that's a minority view, there's no question that one should not strive for a flat frequency response at the expense of everything else (e.g., a very flat frequency response from an amplifier that has very low power output is useless in some situations -- I have such a one.) The subject gets very complicated, very quickly.
Add to that snarl of puzzles that people who one would assume have the mostly highly refined sense of good sound -- professional musicians -- often don't have particularly expensive equipment, and aren't always involved in the high fidelity discussions. Again, there are various reasons for this (many professional musicians are not wealthy). But a compelling one is this: A $500 classical guitar that can produce better sound than any "high fidelity" equipment. So, if one wants the absolute best in high fidelity: they should learn how to play. Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 17:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Some of the great flame wars on Usenet are on hi-fi related subjects such as "vinyl -vs- CD". And yes, the system itself is only part of the equation. The room it's in is also a significant factor. Professional recording studios spend fortunes acoustically treating their monitoring environments to get the most out of their systems, but being able to clearly hear what the speakers are putting out isn't synonymous with accurate reproduction of the original performance.
No matter how much you spend on a system, it's never going to sound *exactly* like the real thing. The problems are myriad. Not only are even the best systems a compromise, at the origin of the recording, the mics themselves no matter how expensive don't exactly reproduce the sound that they're picking up. Listen to mic comparisons and you'll hear differences between even very good mics. In fact, engineers will pick certain mics because of their particular coloration.
Then you've got certain vendors who make claims for their products such as, oh for example - speaker wire, that many regard as absurd. Not naming names, but some people believe very strongly that some of these companies make assertions about their products that are MONSTROUSLY exaggerated, of MONSTROUSLY dubious merit. That their practices present a MONSTER obstacle to the dissemination of objective information, and that they charge a ridiculous, MONSTER price for a product that provides no real advantage. TheDarkOneLives (talk) 21:58, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Yup, mics and loudspeakers commonly have distortion in the range of 5-15 percent! ...and much more when high SPL defines the environment. Contrast this with amplifier distortion, speaker wire non-linearity and interconnect non-linearity waaaay down in the thousandths of a percent. Because we are forced to have loudspeakers be last word in good sound means that everyone gets to voice their subjective viewpoint.
I'm a live sound engineer for exacting old-school jazz artists; I know how to eke the best, most linear results from a live sound system. Still, the most enjoyable performances I hear are intimate ones that don't require loudspeakers. Binksternet (talk) 04:59, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Double-blind live-versus-recorded tests?[edit]

First, does anyone have any information on double-blind live-versus-recorded tests to determine whether or not reproduced sound has reached a degree of perfection so as to be indistinguishable from live sound? Acoustic Research conducted and publicized a number of "live-versus-recorded" demonstrations in the 1960s, but they were, of course, marketing exercises designed to show how good their speaker systems were.

Second, I don't have references so won't add this to the article now but an interesting point is that at virtually every stage of progress, starting with Edison cylinders, you can find contemporary quotations in which people say in so many words that there are no audible differences between the original and the recording. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:52, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

No hi-fi sound hasn't progressed to the point where it's indistinguishable from the real deal. It may sound clean, crisp, low distortion but it's not going to be an exact reproduction in all facets of a live performance. If you're in a live environment, you're hearing the performance as produced by the performers with your ears within the particular room, or non-room if outdoors. Listening to a recording, you're listening to what the mics picked up which aren't going to pick up the sound exactly the same way as your ears and what the system has processed. Then you're hearing it through oscillating speakers in whatever room you're in.
So you've got the issue of whatever the recording chain did to the sound, the issue of a different method of reproducing the sound than what the original was and how your system alters the sound, and the acoustic properties of the room you're listening in.TheDarkOneLives (talk) 22:58, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
It is true, however, that there are individuals whose native hearing is so poor, "CD quality" is all they get in real life; to them, a CD might sound "real". And there are probably those whose familiarity with live, unamplified instruments is so limited that although they are "technically" able to distinguish, they don't in practice recognize the difference. I have a cousin, raised on TV and MP3, who started played viola -- they characterized the major difference as...well, I'll just say it...the physical vibration between their legs.
But there is another factor which, I think it's fair to say, stereo or quad isn't trying to directly address -- which is that a single ear does not hear uniformly in every direction. There is a two-dimensional horizontal/vertical map of sensitivity, at every point the volume and frequency sensitivity change. That is, as one swings or tilts one's head, the "reception" of any particular source changes dramatically. (An effect, therefore, rather canceled out by headphones.) Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 07:34, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Using a graphic equalizer, but mainly only medium-priced equipment, I organized an extensive live-vs-recorded test, single-blind, which I reported in the Boston Audio Soc. Speaker, March 1975. We found that the listeners could be fooled if they were about 20 feet away from the violin and trumpet, but not if they were closer. (Probably the reflected sounds are not frequency-equalizable when closer, and loss of phase coherence might also be involved.) Similar things have been done by others, but not reported in detail. (See for example, Ken Pohlmann's note in Stereo Review, August 1998, page 12.) Similar things have been proposed, but not actually done. (See for example, D. Y. Klepper, J. Audio Engineering Soc., Vol. 52, No. 10, page 1060. 14:17, 11 January 2006 (UTC)Dan Shanefield. Jan. 11, 200624.225.147.254 14:17, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't seem out of the realm of plausibility to me that in certain specific circumstances you can come much closer to an authentic sound than others, but I'd be curious as to specifics of this test and also the background of the participants. I'd be surprised if musicians a/or audio engineers weren't much harder to fool than the public at large. I'm thinking that at first, as with someone off the street whose ear isn't trained, they may not pick up certain auditory cues that distinguish live from Memorex, but as your brain becomes educated, your discernment becomes more acute. I.e. yes, there are differences, even if they're sometimes more subtle. For one thing, if this was back in the 70's, the playback would be on tape and tape hiss could conceivably be audible. Fooling John Q. Public isn't synonymous with being "an exact reproduction of the original" TheDarkOneLives (talk) 13:25, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I added the words "single-blind testing of loudspeakers" to the part about what Floyd did in Canada, and I also added "of amplifiers" to the part about what I did. (It's an important historical distinction, and there was lots of controversy about it in the "golden ears" magazines, around 1975 to 1985, which has pretty much cooled down now [except for / usenet disputes, which never seem to resolve themselves.] ) ````Dan Shanefield, Jan. 10, 2006.````

Should there be info about VHS hi-fi?[edit]

hi-fi on a VHS recorder means that the audio is not recorded on the audio track but is buried under the video.

"music below 5 Hz is probably non-existent"[edit]

Back in the early 1970s I knew a serious audiophile who had an amazing setup. It started with a specially built room, of course, a narrowish one that extended the entire length of his house along its longest axis. It had a couple of Tannoy 16" woofers. And amplifiers that could drive them with authority.

He had one recording that was a live recording of some kind of musical event in which there were dancers dancing on a stage. When the dancers hit the stage, there was a thud and you could feel something hit your chest. It was not just impressive, it was amazingly _realistic_. An utterly convincing illusion being in the presence of solid human mass. I think there was material well below 20 Hz, and in this particular recording I think it really added something nontrivial to the sonic experience.

That was my introduction to what really low bass sounds like when reproduced.

Of course, 98% of his recordings didn't have any true low-bass program material. He had a few special ones that he trotted out to demonstrate with. A low organ note, of course--I don't remember what piece of music it was in, which tells you something--that you couldn't really hear. I mean I'm not quite sure what it was good for, or why the composer put it there, there wasn't any real sensation of pitch, just a sort of wobbly feeling on your chest and eardrums that made you want to clear your Eustachian tubes.

(I'm almost convinced that the only time you hear those really low organ notes in a recording is when your speakers are distorting...)

Maybe only 2% of his recording had real low bass in them—but maybe a third of them had very low-bass _rumble_. There was a sort of once-per-revolution "great sucking sound." On a slightly warped record you could watch the tonearm tracking the warp (perfectly, of course--it was that kind of system) while you could feel your eardrums sorta get pulled every time it hit the warp.

Me, I'm happy enough with bookshelf speakers that roll off at maybe 50 Hz.... Dpbsmith (talk) 23:46, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

yeah but bro, human thumping noises aren't music in the sense of notes. I think that that's what "there is probably no music lower than 5hz" is getting at. It could be edited for clarity, but factually it's fine. Philmcl 14:40, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

This has nothing whatever to do with Hi-Fi. In a live performance, you would never feel a thump in your chest when dancers hit the stage, no matter how many there are. Hi-Fi is about reproducing recorded sound to as close to a live performance as you can get. It isn't about enhancing the live to produce sounds or effects you would never hear or feel in real life. If this were to be mentioned, it should be mentioned in reference to the fact that equipment designed to enhance is NOT really Hi-Fi. Fidelity means true. It doesn't mean embellish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:36, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Iso definition[edit]

Hi-Fi is defined in a iso standard (or something like iso) with very clear distinctions "what is hi-fi, what is not". Maybe this should be researched by someone and added to the page? Peter S. 11:07, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes why dont you research it?--Light current 00:19, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
DIN 45500, there you go, somebody added it. No need for me to research :-) Peter S. 14:54, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Hi:The definition is .5 distortion over the *entire* harmonic range. A


I corrected the grammar in the first sentence, but it was reverted. I do not believe it is acceptable to day 'High fidelity means' any more than it is acceptable to day 'red means', because it is an adjectival phrase and cannot be a subject. You can say. Also it is dubious to say 'dog means' because though a noun, dog is not really the subject, it is the word dog. You can say, 'a dog is...'. So you can say, 'the phrase hi-fi refers to a level of quality', or 'high fidelity reproduction is a standard of reproduction that...' but not 'high fidelity means'. Lindosland 13:50, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, I seem to have been mistaken in thinking it was reverted - for some reason the history didn't seem to update properly, (site down warning came up a bit later) but is ok now. Anyway, the reasoning above explains what I did. Lindosland 15:26, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

A simple solution to this sort of thing is to say: The term 'floobydust' means.....--Light current 01:04, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Comments on LF response discussion[edit]

Incidentally, I built a listening room recently, specifically to find out what exactly matters. It's 25ft by 18ft with two 18inch woofers mounted in one wall in optimal positions, crossed over to a pair of Mackie HR824 monitors at 110Hz. The woofers are effectively in an infinite baffle (with a garage behind as enclosure) and have been equalised down to 12Hz using close up measurements. Room modes spoil what would be an ideal 12Hz to 20kHz response, and I am working on ways of eliminating these as part of a Lindos Electronics project, but the sound is very good. my conclusions are that an extended low end provides a feeling of presence, largely from the true thump of bass drums etc, and that this is partly the result of maintaining phase response, so that a unidirectional pressure wave is notconverted into an oscillation, as is the case with most speakers. However, I would say (from trials with filters) that while a response flat to 30Hz makes a big difference, and a response flat to 20Hz, is slightly better, extension below 20Hz makes no difference.

I would emphasise though, that room modes are the main problem, and it is only because most speakers roll off at LF that we tolerate them. A flat speaker immediately brings problems of a bass-heavy sound, because of the peaks in room response, which are less tolerable than the dips.

The question is not whether 'music exists' below 30Hz, say, or even whether we can hear tones at these frequencies. It's whether we perceive a difference on sounds, and the sounds that have very low content are drums, rumbles of thunder, even air conditioning, and occasional thumps of people moving, which give a feeling of reality. Some experiments have revealed that lateral low freqencies at presence, ie stereo bass. I would never use a single woofer because it couples into room modes too much wherever you put it. The lowest note on a bass guitar is about 30Hz I'm told, and bass guitar notes tends to be the problem when bass is extended because they sustain long enough to build up high levels of resonance in the room modes. Muddy bass has little to do with speakers in my experience, and everything to do with rooms once the bass is not rolled off.

The reason for using 18 inch units was of course so that they do not distort - cone movement is small even at a loud 20Hz. This is essential because our ears are far more sensitive to the harmonics of 20Hz than the tone itself (see equal-loudness contours.

I make recordings of my sons band using very flat omni mics, and would point out that the chief obstacle to Hi-Fi on todays recordings is lack of headroom. You can't use compression and then talk of Hi-Fi, yet extreme compression is used almost universally on commercial recordings! This removes both bass and the sparkle of cymbals (which have true peaks to 130 to 140dB SPL at 2m)

See our 'Test Sheet Database' for tests on our speakers and room and many other things, at

Hi Fi was defined in a DIN (German) standard in the sixties which was often referred to then in Hi Fi magazines, but it fell out of use. Lindosland 13:50, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm guessing there's no drum & bass or SPL competition fans read/edit these pages then... their subs go pretty low and there's whole subgenres devoted to speaker test music where almost all the material (except maybe a drum line) is inaudbile on a normal "hi fi" setup, but either when sped up or fed through a good extra-low-freq subwoofer, there's a definite melody there. This also sometimes gets combined with regular, higher freq DnB as an extra bonus when you hear it in a club with good speakers, or through one of those rigs.
But, what I'm more bothered about is the discussion of treble frequencies. The article writer must know some cloth eared people. There's enough "young people" who can hear upto and even beyond 20kHz (cf. the issues around "mosquito noise" generators designed to disperse gatherings of dissaffected youth), and I'm in my mid-going-on-late 20s now and can still just about detect 19kHz sounds at moderate volume. I can definitely hear enough volume and definition in the 17-18kHz bands to easily spot the difference between a 128 and 192kbit mp3, or material that's been recorded with or without low pass filters on (and whether the recording technician bothered to filter out 15.x khz CRT noise). The stated figures are just rubbish, unless they're a representative sample of people with a high pain threshold who regularly abuse their ears with pounding techno music in a superclub without earplugs every weekend. (talk) 13:19, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


I've put back those two words, because I believe they are necessary for good grammar. To say 'high fidelity can be applied to systems' has the meaning that fidelity can be applied like a coat of paint to a system! It is the term 'high fidelity' that is applied. Lindosland 15:41, 28 October 2005 (UTC)


The 2nd paragraph, the one just before the contents (High-fidelity enthusiasts are often known as audiophiles. The strive for high fidelity audio reproduction, when taken to its extreme, is often termed "high end".) confuses me. Following the first sentence, "They strive for high fidelity..." would seem to work, but then the last half of the sentence makes that nonsense. "The pursuit of high fidelity..." is little better, and still doesn't make a lot of sense. So, I've changed it to read: "High-fidelity enthusiasts are often known as audiophiles. The equipment they prefer is often termed "high end." Scmdn 20:24, 28 February 2006 (UTC)


This article makes no mention of vinyl's presence (and resurgence) as a popular medium among contemporary audiophiles. I feel like this is an inaccurate representation. I lack the historical knowledge to do it justice, though. Could someone help on this? Philmcl 14:42, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Vinyl Hooey. William Greene 19:30, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I have ejected the links below from the main article as being in violation of WP:EL. If these are refences to contents in the main article, they should be included as such, in a format acceptable to WP:FOOT. Otherwise, they should remain deleted.

Reality of Hi-fi systems[edit]

The words high fidelity are a bit of a misnomer - an expensive hi-fi system nowadays doesn't have a flat frequency response, it's geared more towards music enjoyment. Are there any sources that confirm or deny this? It's common knowledge among the sound production community that studio monitors are meant to give a flat response, not color the sound at all, and that good monitors sound terrible. - 16:06, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

If it does not have a flat frequency response, then it is not high fidelity. You may want to take a look at The Audio Critic. Good loudspeakers—consumer or professional—should have a flat response and not colour the sound. William Greene 18:28, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, flat is good. There's more to it than flat, though. "Flat" doesn't doesn't speak to time-varying qualities nor to amplitude-varying qualities. "Flat" on a normal RTA is often revealed to be very much otherwise with FFT analysis. Binksternet 21:32, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
"It's common knowledge among the sound production community that studio monitors are meant to give a flat response, not color the sound at all" Are you asserting that there's such a thing as a speaker that doesn't color the sound at all?TheDarkOneLives (talk) 22:02, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Studio monitors such as the classic LS3/5a do not have deep bass response. Some studios use full range speakers, such as Bob Ludwig and his Eggelston speakers--Nyctc7 (talk) 05:38, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Double-blind tests[edit]

“Nevertheless, the double-blind methodology does not rule out a long-term test conducted at leisure in comfortable situations.” “Last sentence makes no sense, and no one suggested that it did. Contains weasel-words. Removed.” Why did that sentence make no sense? It makes sense to me. What are the weasel-words? Why are they weasel-words? William Greene 14:01, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Agree. I have edited it accordingly. The section was full of vague, unsubstantiated weasel-worded opinion. Consider:-
  • The double-blind listening comparison is now a standard procedure with almost all audio professionals respected in their field. Well if its standard how come not all "audio professionals" use it. Anyway where are citations to support this?
  • marketing purposes, a few manufacturers of very expensive audio equipment dispute the need for this test. Really? Which manufacturers? Again where are citations?
  • proponents of double-blind testing have an agenda to discredit that such subtle differences exist Such allegations should not be included in an encylopedia article.
  • However, there is still another level of argument ... This is opinion and original research.
Also the subject of double-blind tesing is very small beans in the article's main subject, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:50, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Not all audio professionals use it, because some audio professionals are unethical--the black hats. In other words, for marketing purposes, some vendors will dispute the need for this test. Which vendors? How about taking a look at Stereophile? Do not be surprised if some of the vendors that place ads in that magazine dispute the need for double-blind tests. Here is an example of marketing purposes versus double-blind tests: The Ongoing Debate about Amplifier "Sound." The details are in The Audio Critic. What do you mean "very small beans"? William Greene (talk) 17:37, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

"Despite some objections from some audiophiles, double-blind testing is valid." Hmm. While I'm generally on that side of the double-blind argument, this sentence pretty much says, "There are unspecified Other Guys saying unspecified Other Things, but These Guys are right." Even if Those Guys are provably right, I think it's a little more Wikipedia-esque to mention/link to the Other Guys and Other Things instead of just saying, in effect, "Hey, The Audio Critic is right and that magazine that we're not mentioning but rhymes with Thereophile is full of snake oil." ChipotleCoyote (talk) 17:40, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, it is not just The Audio Critic:,
I agree that dissenters should provide citations from reliable sources. It is difficult, however, to think of a more unreliable source than Stereophile. What is the difference between Stereophile and SnakeOilphile? There is no difference. William Greene (talk) 16:46, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Dimension of listening space[edit]

I deleted the old saw about short room length preventing low frequencies from "developing". Low frequencies aren't defined as waves of comparatively long length, they are defined as rarefaction and compression cycles of comparatively slow duration. Such rarefaction/compression cycles can happen equally well in any size of listening space. How would it otherwise be possible to test hearing down to 20 Hz with headphones, the listening space of which is at most a couple of inches? Binksternet (talk) 15:54, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Donvr, the reason people have a tough time getting low frequencies to behave nicely indoors isn't because the listening space doesn't have large enough dimensions, it's because the walls, ceilings and floor bounce LF wave energy around the room, creating cancellations. It's possible for a small listening room to be designed with a high degree of LF absorptive materials at the boundaries so that the room yields a rewarding high fidelity soundscape all the way down to the limits of hearing.
I will continue to correct any mention of a small room not being large enough for subwoofer freqs unless the absorptive aspect is written in and the cancelling out via reflection is offered as a possible explanation. Once again: explain how headphones might be able to work clearly down to 20Hz with only a few cubic centimeters of volume between the driver and the ear. Binksternet (talk) 05:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

It might be useful, for the purposes of the Discussion, to explain a theoretical misconception, too. There are many situations in sound and vibration where there's a tie between a physical object and the lowest frequency it produces or responds to. For example, an open instrument string does not produce any lower note when plucked. That same restriction does not apply, hopefully obviously, if the string is mechanically forced to resonate at a lower frequency. I.e., one could set a very strong electromagnet next to a metal string, and force it to move at any lower frequency. Once a second. Or even once a day. In this situation, the natural resonance of the string is irrelevant. In this same way, a speaker's low frequency sound does not depend on the size of the room -- it's being driven by a powerful, independent, energy source.

There's a little more to the "room size" argument, however. For a static area to reinforce a sound (to create a standing wave or a reinforcing wave), it must be of sufficient size. This is a factor that causes people to notice differences in large rooms. But. If a room reinforces a deficiency in the recording or the audio equipment, all well and good. If one is a listener who enjoys artificially boosting low frequencies for their "impact", that's fine, too. That person may well want a large room which intensifies low sounds. Unfortunately, this intensification isn't readily changable. So a room that emphasizes, say, 20 cycles per second, will always emphasize 20 cycles per second. Whether the recording caught the source's 20 cycle sound well or not. I.e., everything at 20 cycles per second will be emphasized. For a discerning audiophile, that's a negative factor. For listeners who are less critical, but loving the "shock" of low frequency sounds, it might be positive.

In practice, of course, no listener is purely one way or the other. And this creates a good deal of confusion, because very acute listeners (and articulate listeners!) won't appreciate exactly the same thing. I'll give myself as an example. I can hear low frequency noises that are inaudible to almost everyone else. Enhanced rock-and-roll low frequencies can cause extreme (bad) reactions for me. When everyone else at a concert is having a great time, I'm looking for the exits. For me, a large listening room which emphasizes low frequencies is a nightmare. For other people who, effectively, can't hear the low frequencies very well, the perceived boost is less consequential. So people of good faith can have quite different experiences. Hence the persistence of the large room mythologies.

Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 11:23, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


The lead 'graph says that in the 50s and 60s HF was defined by a standard not defined until the 70s. Absurdities, and even apparent absurdities, require attention.
--Jerzyt 02:52, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

The para is trying to say that "High Fidelity" once had a fixed, objective meaning, and gradually came to mean any mid-level stereo system. And that audiophiles invented another term "high end audio" once the original term became diluted. The para is still overly restrictive, tho?
1) My grandfather had high end audio equipment in the 50s and 60s. I doubt he knew or cared about the DIN standard. Probably the salesperson didn't either. So maintaining that the phrase "high fidelity" ever meant (in common usage) DIN is probably incorrect.
2) This phrase appears as part of the explanation of the evolution of the word "high fidelity": "in subsequent decades, the term was applied more loosely to any mid-level stereo system". That's a little too limited, in that high fidelity was applied to other consumer equipment besides stereos, and finally came to mean practically nothing at all in terms of sound quality.
Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 16:56, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Merge or delete High End Audio, redirect here[edit]

High-end audio should be redirected to High fidelity. The first sentence says it all:

"High fidelity or hi-fi reproduction is a term used by home stereo listeners and home audio enthusiasts (audiophiles) to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound or images that are very faithful to the original performance."

Maybe some might be afraid that expensive-speaker-cable-loving-folks will end up here (oops, I am one), but considering how meagre the high-end article is, it doesn't look that way. As an audiophile, if I put "high end audio" in the search box, and was directed to an article titled "High fidelity," I'd say, yep, I'm in the right place.--Nyctc7 (talk) 06:14, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

CD as a lossy format[edit]

User Binksternet posted the following rant on my talk page ...

It does not appear to be a rant. William Greene (talk) 13:14, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Please stop trying to call CD quality audio "lossy"—such a position is original research and is not acceptable. Stop trying to push SACD on the Hi-fi page. There are a other, better hi-fi formats that don't have steeply increasing noise above 20kHz. Binksternet (talk) 05:43, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

I am a little at a loss to explain this.

First, I have not seen any evidence of anyone pushing SACD or any other formats on this page.

Second, does user Binksternet wish to assert that SACD is not a hi-fidelity format?

Third, if a recording is made in a higher resolution than CD, it is absolutely obvious ... essentially tautological ... that downsampling the recording to place it onto CD is a lossy process. There is nothing original about this ... I am somewhat concerned about people making edits to these pages who lack understanding of technical matters.

Fourth, I don't think this page is an appropriate forum for views about SACD ... please take such arguments to the SACD page. I also don't understand why you might be concerned about 'noise' above 20 kHz if you can't hear above 20 kHz. In any event, it would be best to take that discussion to the SACD page.

Fifth, the text on this page on transparency in sound is taken from the wiki entry on transparency. If you would like to make a contribution to that argument, please do so on the transparency page ... this is probably not the appropriate forum for that. Thanks. (KrodMandooon (talk) 08:37, 5 October 2009 (UTC))

Don't take out my perfectly good reference to the way that transparency is achieved through double blind testing. You doubt Ken C. Pohlmann?
Your version of this page pushes SACD as the only example of what a high resolution format is. SACD is not the only high resolution format, and doesn't deserve sole mention.
Lossy? There has always been a loss of quality from the performer to the consumer recording medium. Always. Having a higher resolution on the master recording is good practice. However, the word "lossy" was coined in 1946 in relation to telephone signal transmission, having to do with the attenuation of that signal. Since then, lossy compression has come to mean digital compression schemes which psychoacoustically select characteristics of the sound that can be thrown out to cut down on file size. Truncating 24 bits to 16 isn't lossy compression as far as I've ever heard. I will require a citation from expert sources for you to re-introduce that bit. Binksternet (talk) 11:36, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
KrodMandooon, it is not that SACD is not high fidelity. The problem is that you try to make it sound like CDs are less than high fidelity, which is nonsense. You also appear to not understand what lossy means. And was it you who did the vandalizing? Please do not remove good citations. William Greene (talk) 13:31, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, it does not address the issues at hand.

Binksternet --> "Don't take out my perfectly good reference to the way that transparency is achieved through double blind testing"

First, this is not the appropriate venue for a discussion on transparency. If you wish to re-write the wiki definition, please do so on the transparency page - not here. The definition used here *is* the wiki definition.

Second, your reference violates WP:EL because it is false: as the wiki transparent page states, double-blind testing does not 'prove' and cannot prove that two sounds are the same ... what it can do is prove that they are not the same. The difference is perhaps subtle, but it is important.

Accordingly, your added reference has been removed. If you want, you might want to take this discussion to the transparency page.


Binksternet --> "Your version of this page pushes SACD as the only example of what a high resolution format is."

I don't think there is any dispute, anywhere, that SACD is a hi-fidelity format, or indeed the main high-fidelity format today. I also referenced high-resolution downloads. I think your suggestion to add other examples is actually quite helpful: I will add links to DVD-Audio (even though I understand it is basically defunct), and refer to Bluray Audio (unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a wiki listing for this - perhaps you would like to start one). If you would like to add further examples, that would be most helpful, welcome and appropriate. Please do not continue removing SACD, or any other high-fidelity format, from this page.

I always thought that SACD was always, at best, a niche format. Do you have a citation from a reliable source that says that SACD is the main high-fidelity format today? William Greene (talk) 11:56, 12 October 2009 (UTC)


Binksternet --> "lossy compression has come to mean digital compression"

This page has never stated that CD is a 'compressed' format ... you have added the compression term to the talk page. The term which was used is "lossy" - which refers to information being discarded from the original master recording, for example a master recording made at 96kHz 24 bit, and then downsampled to CD quality at 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. Discarding this information has nothing to do with compression: it has to do with deleting part of the signal, essentially to fit onto a CD disc, and in part because the CD format cannot support higher D/A conversion, essentially because it was designed 30 years ago. The statement regarding loss of information is completely correct and there is nothing contentious about it. Please do not continue to remove it. Many thanks. (KrodMandooon (talk)) —Preceding undated comment added 12:31, 5 October 2009 (UTC).

You can't use the term "lossy" to describe truncation of bits unless you supply a reference that uses the term that way. Right now, the term means "characterized by or causing dissipation of energy" according several online dictionaries. Yes, bits are lost during truncation, but the word 'lossy' has a specific meaning which doesn't include the casual concept of "a process which has loss." I have one reference already used here, and at the Transparency_(data_compression) page I have four more which say that transparency can be determined in two audio samples of different codecs. So, here we are with me bring five references and you bringing none. I will be very interested in working with you when you find a reference, but until then, the references write the article, not shoot-from-the-hip editors who don't quote experts. Binksternet (talk) 06:07, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Binksternet --> "You can't use the term "lossy"
I think it would be more conducive to congeniality if you refrained from prescribing your own self-designed constructs on etymological entities such as 'lossy' ... constructs which also happen to be entirely baseless. With regards to Transparency_(data_compression) , I have popped over to the talk page there, and note that you have now attempted to change the pre-existing encyclopedia definition of transparency on that page to a logically inconsistent, orthogonal and false statement of same. I am sure your intention is not vandalism, but the net effect is the same, especially when 'backed up' by your erroneous and misleading references. The subject matter of hypothesis testing requires statistical knowledge, and I would suggest it is inappropriate for someone without such technical knowledge, and apparently without appropriate qualifications or expertise in the matter, to be re-writing the encyclopedia defn of same, changing the definition wiki correctly provided to the antithesis of same. (KrodMandooon (talk) 17:16, 7 October 2009 (UTC))


I must confess to being a bit concerned about Binksternet's conduct on this page. He started out by trying to impose a formally false definition of transparent on this page, which was the opposite of the wiki definition. Then he tried to change the wiki definition over at transparent by adding some sloppy and false references, and then when that failed and was rejected, he returned to this page, and now appears to insist on trying to impose falsehood on wiki. This pattern is clearly not productive nor helpful, and I think the issue may need to be escalated if it continues. (KrodMandooon (talk) 08:51, 10 October 2009 (UTC))
Be more than a bit concerned, please. My conduct here should be a wake-up call for this article. There were far too few referenced statements, and it has been displaying maintenance tags for far too long. Me, I added a fine textbook reference that apparently went against your formal training, but you did not respond by bringing the formal training reference into the article. Instead, you took out my reliable and verifiable reference, and took out maintenance tags without fixing the problems they indicated. I am looking forward to the time when this article can demonstrate the scholarship seen in the best of today's Wikipedia, not the shoot-from-the-hip writing style that characterized early Wikipedia. Binksternet (talk) 14:43, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
As others have noted, binksternet, you are of course welcome to add as many fact tags as you like ... but please don't mark your changes as "added fact tag", when you are in fact deleting encyclopedia text. That is simply misrepresentation at best and vandalism at worst. (KrodMandooon (talk) 05:57, 11 October 2009 (UTC))
Thanks for adding the Olson 1967 reference. I agree - the article is in a sorry state. It's stuck in the 1960s. But that reference is very helpful in illustrating, as the article points out, how the concept of hi-fi has changed, and continues to change, with time. Will fix this up. Thanks. (KrodMandooon (talk) 07:02, 12 October 2009 (UTC))

Audiophile Overlap[edit]

There is huge overlap between this article and Audiophile. We should consider removing one of them and making the other a redirect. — Preceding unsigned comment added by TimBray (talkcontribs)

Not a strong enough overlap, in my opinion. One is about technology, the other is about a certain kind of person and their beliefs. Both articles could be clearer about the distinction. The articles are also supposedly managed by different projects. Radiodef (talk) 22:44, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
It's a fair amount of overlap, but not "huge". The hifi buyer wants good music on good gear with perhaps a bit of bragging involved. The audiophile buyer wants a surpassingly fine experience with top-of-the-line gear—trump-level bragging rights are an important element. Same kind of impulse but playing for more money. Binksternet (talk) 23:35, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Unless I am mistaken, I do not think high fidelity even appears in the Audiophile article.William Greene (talk) 13:41, 28 October 2012 (UTC)


How is the abbreviation hi-fi / hifi pronounced correctly?-- (talk) 11:16, 19 April 2013 (UTC)