Can different systems sound faster/slower?

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I was listening to FLAC music via my Sonos ZP120 last night and I got the feeling that tracks were sounding a little slower than they do when I listen on other systems (car, ipod other rooms etc).

Is this possible? Can different amps and sources appear to sound faster or slower or am I just imagining things :)
 

larkone

Member
Without empirical evidence then you will never really know. The only way to tell for sure is to time the same track on all systems - though I would do a complete reset/re-boot of everything, including your router, so that you know there are not any issues because of corrupted applications etc. before you start.
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I was definitely hearing a lot more from the music than I have before so I'm wondering if it's something to do with this. It just felt that the rhythm or speed or whatever you should call it sounded different. It's hard to explain what I was feeling listening to it!
 

Rich9600

Active Member
Interesting one there... Possibly, I suppose with digital music it all depends on the 'clock' of the source. Hence all the asynchronous DAC's. Also, my CD player has a so far unused ability to slightly change the speed of playback... So, yes it could vary I suppose.

Some turn table motors take there speed control from the frequency of the mains feed... Supposedly a constant 50Hz... I doubt this is relevant to your point but a varying mains feed can vary the speed of playback in this case.

Are you listening to the same FLAC files in all cases? Even if you are, different audio processors could be decoding the codec at different speeds giving apparent different timing.

If your sonos appears slow, try the old commuter help line trick of turning it off for a while. Maybe it's resources are getting used up and needs a clear. A stab in the dark I'm afraid. However, my PC running iTunes sounded better and more vibrant after a RAM hike. The vibrancy of music also seems improved after an iTunes restart after its crashed...

Have you tried playing two sources at once to see if they go out of sync? It could just be an apparent difference from some tonal difference.
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I do have 2 ZP90s in 2 other rooms and they obviously run through external amps so I think I need to listen to a few tracks in those rooms and see if it feels and sounds different. Obviously the sound will be different as it's different amps and speakers but it's the overall tempo or speed I'll try and detect :)
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
Is this possible? Can different amps and sources appear to sound faster or slower or am I just imagining things :)
Definitely

Poor quality HiFi can have a plodding quality that seems to play everything at the same pace, and the impression of speeding-up / slowing-down depends on the music being played.

Good HiFi responds to the pace of the music, and can appear to speed up when its supposed to be exciting, yet turn relaxed and melancholic when that's the intent.

HiFi shouldn't impose its own temporal character onto the music - its one of the elements of music that should pass through without loss or addition, and not all hifi does this right - even some of the expensive stuff beloved by so many on AVF.

I first read about this in a review of Meridian equipment on a US AV website, and I've latched on to it ever since.

Nick
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the replies so far, very interesting :)

My experience last night wasn't so much the speed changing just that everything did seem to be at a bit slower pace than I remembered listening on other systems.
I do need to do a few tests in different rooms I think.
 

amcluesent

Well-known Member
The ZP120 uses a 'class D' amp, which aren't usually regarded as slow.

IMHO the crazy weather and changes to atmospheric pressure are to blame. My car isn't too sprightly at moment as the turbo/intercooler doesn't like warm, humid air and I'm down on boost.
 
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Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
What does it even mean for a hifi (component) to sound 'fast' or 'slow'? Is your record player spinning at the wrong speed? Is the DAC in your CD player clocked wrong? A system can only reproduce sound at the rate it's produced, otherwise you either have a bottleneck of audio information (impossible) or you have an gap in the flow of audio information (also impossible). So, the practical answer is an emphatic 'no'.

My best guess at rationalising the apparent 'speed' of music as it is perceived lies partly in the dynamic fidelity of the recording and its particular fidelity to reproducing rythmic elements of the music (drumskin impacts, string plucks, etc...) but mostly in the way that we perceive something - music included - which is very much dependent on what aspect of the music that appeals to us, and what we're focusing our attention on each time we listen. Not to mention the usual issues with expectation bias, etc...

Essentially, it's a matter mostly of perception, not performance.

"PRAT", basically, is a load of ******** :)
 

steveledzep

Active Member
I can relate to this. At the beginning of this year I changed my Roksan Xerxes Mk I for a new Gyrodec SE.

I transferred my Roksan Tabriz with Ortofon MC25FL across. So, the only variable is the deck.

The Gyrodec certainly seems to have a bit more pace about it with the Xerxes sounding a bit dirge-like in comparison. However the Xerxes had a firmer grip on the bass. The Gyrodec certainly encourages more foot tapping and involvement in the music. The Xerxes was maybe a little more clinical in its delivery.

With reference to speed, the Xerxes sounded at 33 1/3 and the Gyrodec at 33 2/3. They both revolve at the same rate, I've checked with a strobe.

I have no input to give to digital sources, but I have certainly witnessed differences in presentation from the two analogue sources I've described.

I'm enjoying tapping my feet to the Gyrodec. It's far more lively and engrossing than the Xerxes. Both are excellent performers though.
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
So, the practical answer is an emphatic 'no'.
As usual, I couldn't disagree more.
My best guess at rationalising the apparent 'speed' of music as it is perceived lies partly in the dynamic fidelity of the recording and its particular fidelity to reproducing rythmic elements of the music (drumskin impacts, string plucks, etc...)
Ironically, I think you're onto something there.
 

wilbanat

Distinguished Member
I can sometimes think the same but that depends on my state of tiredness and Alcohol levels.lol
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I can sometimes think the same but that depends on my state of tiredness and Alcohol levels.lol
I'm coming to the same conclusion because I've not noticed it again since that first time :D
 

wilbanat

Distinguished Member
I'm coming to the same conclusion because I've not noticed it again since that first time :D
I think in the name of science I need to do some research, I am now nice and sober so will listen to some placebo (the Bitter End) then I will get completely wrecked and listen to said song again.
I must state though this is purely for scientific reasons and not due to the fact I am sitting here in my Garden longing for the time to come round where drinking is not thrown'd upon by swmbo....:devil:
 
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HMHB

Distinguished Member
Tell her that she can continue buying 600 pairs of shoes a year so long as you can indulge your hobbies :laugh:
 

wilbanat

Distinguished Member
Tell her that she can continue buying 600 pairs of shoes a year so long as you can indulge your hobbies :laugh:
She can buy all the shoes she wants as long as I can continue my research.:smashin:
 
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wilbanat

Distinguished Member
Phase one all done ..HIC...
Seems that there is a difference, HIC
Will need to conduct more Research to give a fair comparison..HIC
 

Mr_Sukebe

Active Member
Another example is Naim amplification. In my opinion, it does "something" to signal, resulting in a sound that is not quite as natural, but IS more fun and foot tapping to listen to. Whether it's appropriate is another matter. After living with their kit for a number of years, I moved away from it as IMO it made some music more interesting, but some unlistenable. Much happier with what I have now.
 

cosmicma

Member
this is something i noticed years ago and i think it's to do with how well a system reproduce different instruments in there own space and how we take notice of this
the more refined the sound the more we take notice rather than just going along with the tune so to speak

i think it's has everything to do with how your brain works how it interpenetrates information
 

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