The Role of Clarity
Clarity helps you hear everything that is going on in the music. This might range from the tiniest brush stroke on a cymbal to previously unheard vocal inflections of a singers voice.
Clarity also helps you to “see” with pinpoint accuracy the placement of instruments and singers on an imaginary stage (known as the sound stage). On systems with poor clarity, an individual singer may appear to occupy a space about 2 feet wide across the sound stage. Whereas on a good system he/she would appear precisely positioned, the way a real person would be.
Clarity not only positions instruments/singers but also allows you to follow each individual instrument in a complex mix. A large scale orchestra with numerous instruments is an obvious example where clarity makes things much more interesting. As the music becomes busy, a system with poor clarity tends to obliterate some instruments and lose many fine details. For those unfamiliar with Hi Fi terminology, the ability to easily follow individual instruments in a complex mix is known as separation.
Words used in association with clarity are:
Separation of instruments, vocals and all the various strands of the music,
Well defined sound-stage from side to side with correct placement of vocals and space between instruments
Good transient definition, high resolution, open, clean.
Overall freedom from: Blurring, muddle, congestion, compression, distortion, resonance, coloration, breakup, confusion, thick or muddy sound, overhang on notes, wooliness
Timing: Notes are all in time with one another – this is one of the hardest things in sound reproduction as bass notes and lower mid-band notes usually tend to slightly lag the upper registers.
Bass: Tight, Accurate, Expansive, Well defined with proper transient decay (not cut short).
Mid-range: Transparent mid-band, Crystal Clear, Pure, Grain free
Treble: Detailed, Airy,