Describe your preference in a single sentence

Although I don't have enough exposure or experience like some of the more seasoned audiophiles on this site, nonetheless I have gone through 10-12 integrated amps (tubes and SS) in the last 5 years. There are a few sound quality attributes that I have come to realize that I prioritize over everything else. But if I have to describe it in a single sentence, it will be "thou shall never ever sound lean!"

And it's precisely for this reason I keep going back to tubes. 

Let's share your top priorities in a single sentence :)


It will never sound bloated, slow, and warm.

But if I have to describe it in a single sentence, it will be "thou shall never ever sound lean!"


Post removed 

great clarity with rich/full/natural tone, yet plenty of speed/impact when the music calls for it

to me, that is live music (largely unamplified) sounds like

imo @ghdprentice’s one very good word is a shorter (if less descriptive) way of saying the above i think

Being that I am a true audiophile...


"If I liked it I would be disappointed."



Once you hear it you'll realize what was missing, until then you just don't know what you just don't know.

Sound of Thorens is extremely addictive to the point of wanting only better Thorens than current!

To feel and be moved by the music, hearing it all without being overwhelmed with the volume. 

Fast, warm, sumptuous, impactful, detailed, easy highs that are still detailed as all get out. Really hard to get everything I want and maybe not even possible. Also want my old rock cds to sound like a million bucks! That’s not gonna happen without some Vegas! Lol

I’m not in the stratospheric budget on price by any means but to get texture and warmth on some tracks seems really hard to do while still having the blazing speed and impact other tracks would require to be “perfect”. I think dsp will get more and more transparent accepted and easy to use. 


transparent, clarity and ultra resolution, and at the same carries weight and body and richness 

I can do it in one word:  Smooth


I can take bright, dull, bass limited, poor imaging but it has to be smooth.

Medium to short height, redhead, fluent in Fletch-isms, quoter of John Hughes films and lover of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Sisters of Mercy and The Smiths. 

Oh you meant audio-wise….

I'm with @jjss49 

great clarity with rich/full/natural tone, yet plenty of speed/impact when the music calls for it

To those who call for "accurate" or "straight" etc. all I can ask is, what is your access to the original/pure/true version? If it wasn't live music (and even that is plagued by particularities and imperfections), then the standard for "accurate" seems like a prayer to see things from an impossible perspective. Of course prayer is free...


As I’ve upgraded, I think one of the ‘measurements’ that has been most meaningful to me is that the listening sessions get longer, and it’s harder to hit the ‘power off’ button. Music is about emotion to me whether it be ethereal or jamming out, so the better my equipment can draw me in emotionally the happier I am. 

The things that jjss49 and knighttodd mentioned describe what I'm looking for the most.

If I were to add anything to their statements, it would probably end up looking like this:

"Music reproduction that has great clarity and precision, a rich/full/natural tone, realistic articulation, plus the ability to immerse me into a believable 3-D listening experience - and on top of all that, to do it all at lower volume levels."

Love the responses. It shows the incredible variety when it comes to listening preferences. I can imagine how difficult it must be for audio equipment designers to settle on a specific set of attributes. It is quite obvious you cannot design something that would satisfy everyone equally. If I have to guess, and at the risk of gross oversimplification, designers roughly fall in two overarching categories:

Category 1: Straight wire with a gain. Neutral. Accurate. Excellent 'slam'. Great dynamics. More focus on accuracy while only slightly sacrificing musicality and tonality(?)

Category 2: More focus on tone, timbre, maybe at the expense of dynamics with some coloration(?) Musicality as opposed to ultimate accuracy.

P.S. What do I mean by musicality? See @jjss49 definition please :)

full-frequency neutral clarity combined with mellowness, airy spaciousness with instrumental placement independent of listener position relative to speakers, an utterly undistorted and unfatiguing ease to the presentation that allows for unself-conscious listening for hours and hours to where one loses track of time. 

Enough transparency, detail, resolution, layering, natural timbre, soundstage size and accuracy, depth, bass/mid range richness, separation among other qualities that result in an emotionally engaging listen. 

If the end result is that the music doesn't move you emotionally, it doesn't matter how well your system does one thing or another.