Nomenclature (411) Q&A

What are dynamics? edit

It is a sound that many people like and have near or on the top of their list of preferred attributes they want from their stereo system.

But what does a 'dynamic sound' sound like?
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1 Answer
Michael Davis, I work here
When a sound is more dynamic the notes of the music are more explosive, they are punchier. When the bass, the low frequencies, is more dynamic, you can feel the notes in your chest. When the midrange, most piano notes, say, are more dynamic they sound more authoritative, more real, more startling.

One of the primary issues with music reproduction is generating enough dynamics because real life dynamics are quite impressive. Just pound on a grand piano key sometime.o

Sounds with more dynamics are (referring to the bass) sometimes called 'slam'. Also sometimes called 'in your face' or 'more forward' (in reference to the perceived 'soundstage' being more forward, closer to the listener).

The famous Maxcell advertisement is a poster child for people who love more dynamics (which would be everybody except, unfortunately, real-life stereo systems that have great dynamics often significantly mess up other parts of the sound of the music)

Sometimes people mistakenly think a sound has more dynamics when either 1) it really just has a quieter background between the notes, or 2) it is of a low resolution, and a lot of the quieter, smaller notes are just not being generated and are a lot softer than they should be. This makes the average note seem louder and more prominent in comparison to all the music around the notes - i.e. to have more dynamics than a sound where all the notes, both the prominent and smaller notes, are in correct proportion to each other.

The opposite of more dynamics is sometimes called 'laid back', or a 'soft' sound, or even a 'compressed' sound.
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