What do audiophiles mean when they talk about Pace, Rhythm & Timing?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Gretsch6136, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Burnout from the smoke pit

    Call me simple but the only thing that equipment influences is tone and detail. There is a WIDE range of nuance in those two areas but that is essentially what it all comes down to. If you feel there is more PRaT, it is because there is more detail that reveals it and a tone that helps you enjoy it. You can't think of it in the technical sense of musicianship.
    nosliw, Funky54, H8SLKC and 1 other person like this.
  2. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    PRaT is the temporal characteristics of musical reproduction. It has nothing to do with tonal qualities. While I've seen this term applied to just about every piece of audio gear out there, including cables, it made the most sense to me in terms of dampening and isolation of a turntable where you can directly influence the movement of the stylus. I'd never buy any audio equipment if the salesman told me it had "more" PRaT" than something else. It either has it or it doesn't, there isn't a measurable unit that you can put on a spec sheet. I tend to think of the term in terms of live music, when a band is "on" with rhythm section staying in the pocket and the melodic notes start and end within framework of the beats. In terms of gear it's more of a goal for your entire sound system and not entirely specific to a component's contribution. And of coarse, the recording will hugely influence whether PRaT is even achievable. I'm inclined to think that a particular recording would also have PRaT on one system and not other. And another recording could have the opposite effect.
  3. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    When you own a Klipsch RSW-15 powered subwoofer, subharmonics play a definite role in pace, dynamics & your heart rate jumping. Yes, i used to have to take breaks when i first incorporated it. Now it's like a drug!
  4. Tim Müller

    Tim Müller Forum Resident

    So many different explanations of "PRaT".
    Obviously, it's anything you like!

    By the way, "slew rate", the max. rate at which the signal can rise, makes it to the ear as "distortion". Because, the amp cannot reproduce the original shape or form of the signal, say, a sine wave from a flute or bass drum. Because, it cannot rise at the required speed. So, the amp does not output a sine form, but a distorted sine signal.

    The other explanation, "slew rate" depending on frequency, is in reality more related to phase response.
    In fact, that can influence the envelope of a sound. Phase response should be linear rising with frequency (zero rise is also a linear rise...). The slope of the rise is completely irrelevant, it only needs to be linear with frequency.
    If this is fullfilled, envelopes of transients retain their shapes, and all frequencies are subject to the same time delay when passing through the amp.
    Exactly that's what we want to have for an ideal amp.

    But, then again, we don't need to be over-accurate at one piece of the chain (the amp), when the phase response of the speaker or the listening room is far from "perfect". It wouldn't make sense to fight for the 3rd digit passt/right from the decimal point at the amp, when the speaker or the room have imperfections at the 1st digit before/left of the decimal point.

    You surely get the idea.

    Best regards
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  5. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Burnout from the smoke pit

    I was right with you through "it's whatever you like"
    William Bryant and jh901 like this.
  6. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    I notice obvious differences between gear in terms of rythm, but always attributed that to the transient response characterisitics of different drivers and amplifier damping.
  7. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    It's a pisstake. Ask anyone in the UK what a prat is or means and you'll get a flavour of the alternative intention behind the term.
    Robert C and Tim Müller like this.
  8. joeym3

    joeym3 Forum Resident

    I just had a nightmare. I owned a better stereo with killer PRaT, and The Shaggs sounded perfectly in time.
  9. ukrules

    ukrules Forum Resident

    Union, Kentucky
    PRAT = (P)retty (R)idiculous (A)udio (T)alk

    Regardless, I love my Naim CDP sound (even if it is a bit fussy with discs at times).
    Tim Müller and H8SLKC like this.
  10. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    It has never applied to audio gear, like OP says how can a pc of audio have Pace, Rhythm and Timing.......It makes no sense. It's a term that simply sounds good to use and makes you smarter than the avg bear.

    Tim Müller and H8SLKC like this.
  11. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Even it´s silly word, I think TT/arm/cartridge and speaker/room can vary quite a bit in this regard. To some extent I believe the frequency response is one parameter, and an important one. Uneven freq response also creates uneven phase response, there is a correlation here.
  12. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Fast and Realistic Timing is a newly introduced concept in Hi-Fi, possibly more relevant than PRaT.
  13. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    It's a term that allows normal people to mock audiofools, and which also allows unscrupulous salesscammers to sell more expensive equipment to their gullible customers.
  14. Shawn

    Shawn Forum Resident

    I immediately think ofthis scene from Boogie Nights when I hear this term:

    Gotta have that TK421 modification.
  15. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    So do the naysayers here believe that bass of an average dynamic box speaker is just as fast as planar magnetic and ESL speakers?
  16. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Of course, but we aren't all their target. I can still have an opinion that the sound we hear can vary a lot. We mustn't call it PRaT, but every component doesn't sound the same.
  17. tiller

    tiller Forum Resident

    Or that a tube rectifier responds at the same rate as a solid state rectifier?
  18. Higlander

    Higlander Well-Known Member

    Florida, Central

    So Lawrence Welk Became the Ramones?
  19. Gretsch6136

    Gretsch6136 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well from the big discussion this has generated it seems to me that when people are talking about PRaT they are really talking about what I call the focus of the equipment.

    Slew rates, transient response, rectifier stiffness, dynamic response etc are all about attack and decay. If attack and decay are lazy for whatever reason, the sound loses its focus, much like a camera that is slightly out of focus. You can still see (hear), recognise and appreciate the picture, but its resolution of fine detail and contrast is smeared.

    That's my take on it anyway! Thanks everybody!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  20. Tim Müller

    Tim Müller Forum Resident

    Strawman argument, yes-man!
    H8SLKC likes this.
  21. Tim Müller

    Tim Müller Forum Resident

    Does anybody have an idea about the speed at which sound waves develop their amplitude, within a livving room or a concert hall?
    Do you know how fast instruments develop their peak amplitude after a note is beeing played?

    Remember, "slew rates" are beeing measured with artificial test signals, square waves or the like. Test signals do not appear in the wild, and we listen to music and sound, not to test signals.
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  22. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Not quite
    missan likes this.
  23. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident


    No, dynamic box speakers have better bass than planars.
    Dentdog and H8SLKC like this.
  24. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    Talking about prats, I attended a Linn dem of the Lingo. At one point they invited comments about the sound and got really snotty because we didn't use the word they wanted, can't remember could have been pace. Someone said it was tight, he had to hide under his chair, of course he could have been trying to describe what they heard.

    However I do have vague memory that the pace of some music was different with my Naim amp, or my LP12 was running fast:yikes:
  25. Pete Norman

    Pete Norman Forum Resident

    howzabout 'speed, finish and bang'.........!

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