The Style of the Sound at CES 2008

For many rooms, I have been using a ‘tag cloud’ like this to represent the type of sound the room is going for:

This has proven to be a very interesting exercise.

Some rooms, it is obvious what they are going for.

Some, many, it can be really hard to tell. Get some kind of sound out for the show, anything!, probably. So, in all likelihood , Workhorse.

Some are very flexible, and it is hard to pin down exactly what these rooms, this year, are going for.

One of the main goals of this categorization system has been to help people clarify what they are talking about. You see people say ‘The MBL room was best!” [Not the first day it wern’t] and another say “The EPOS room was best” [whatever ‘best’ means – which really means they liked it for some reasons often unbeknowst to us and themselves… but we digress].

But these two systems have completely different goals [ignoring the cost differential] – one is purely Impressive – Bass and Room Pressurization and that is it. The other serves to be Enjoyable for playing back your average piece of music.

So *our* readers can read these posts, and, assuming that the posters were trustworthy AND have ears, know that among Impressive systems [and among people who like Impressive systems – but this is a a little shakier interpretation], the MBL system was approved of. And among those who are looking for an [Economical] Enjoyable system, the EPOS system was approved of.

I think, that until we can get people to understand and reveal their sound style preferences, this is the best we are going to be able to do [and we can’t even get the ‘professional’ reviewers to do this yet].

Another goal of including these tag cloud is to help people understand the systems from afar. Another is to help people who heard the rooms think about what they heard with respect to what the goals of the system were. Another is to categorize the show in some way… did you notice that many Impressive systems were in the larger rooms [smart] but not all [cheapskates :-)].

[More later…]