Not sure how much interest there is in this topic but one way to find out! It’s been an interest of mine for a while because I value both approaches.
For me it’s like reading two art critics that appreciate different elements of the same painting. They both value the work but express it’s meaning in subtly different ways.
Most folks seem to identify more clearly with one critic and perhaps some find it hard to comprehend what the other one is talking about. For my sins, I seem to sit somewhere in the middle, appreciating both but unable to fully commit to one vision, hence I am happier with two systems, one with Naim and one with Lejonklou amplification.
But I’m still learning and perhaps my understanding will evolve further over time.
Good question, but it’s seems far to much talk about it, usually resulting in polarised opinions, which I suspect is the way this thread will develop.
I learnt music in my early years in brass, that moved on to small ensemble classical where listening to tone volume and harmony balance between each other is most important. That is exactly what Tune Dem is.
Then I moved to jazz and once again listening to each other is most important, but the extra elements of dynamic effect and precise timing on and off beat are important, that’s PRaT.
So in short, my ears and brain are naturally using both without even thinking about it.
Interesting - I’ve always been a tune type of chap; if it resonates with me then great, and it did not matter what is was played on/thru (remember the transistor radio on top of the fridge making good sounds?). But along came hifi, some of it making a poor job of reproducing music, then I was a convert to PRaT and it ruled the roost.
Now I’m back to tunes - even enjoying most of the Ezra Collective this morning.
The problem is that I suspect any given musical attribute could be applied by either side.
For example, I wouldn’t say that Linn/Lejonklou products convey rhythm and timing better than Naim and yet that’s exactly how some folks experience it - typically those with a strong leaning towards Linn/Lejonklou.
Similarly, I wouldn’t say Naim products make it easier to follow a specific melody than products from Linn or Lejonklou, but again, that’s what some folks experience.
Fair enough. Would you not agree that there have been consistent differences between Linn and Naim throughout the decades? It’s those differences that I’m interested in - PRAT and Tune Dem were just a way to label each side. Perhaps it would have been better to use the company names instead.
So ultimately, if the two approaches mean different things to different people, the distinction and therefore the question must pointless.
Having watched many acoustic musicians playing and seen the way they watch each other - I remember manoeuvring a grand piano so that the pianist could see the leader, who was playing trumpet - it’s clear that precision timing is key. If the timing goes, everything falls apart. Maybe that means that without timing there is no tune.
Well, maybe it is pointless But I can’t help finding it interesting how people interpret music differently and pick up on different things, have different needs, different sensitivities.
Based on your piano example, perhaps you are more sensitive to timing than your average Linn owner. Perhaps someone that strongly prefers Linn would hear that same concert and think it was wonderful with individual melodies so effortless to comprehend, and yet not pick up on the timing inadequacies, or perhaps notice them but not be distracted by them.
Perhaps an all round better appreciation of how people are different also helps avoid bashing other vendors - not something that this forum tolerates but there is plenty of it on other Hi-Fi forums.
I think there are two types of listening to hi-fi, one is when you are choosing what to buy or assessing it as a dealer or reviewer, so evaluative listening. The second is the most important to my mind, enjoying your music of choice. And like @HungryHalibut I want my system to be engaging and sound realistic to my ear and hopefully others. I would guess I lean towards PRaT more but that is by my definition.
I listen to hi-fi in exactly the same way that I have always listened to live music. When you attend a concert, whether it’s acoustic or amplified, do you listen for PRAT or how easy it is to follow the tunes? Maybe you do, but I just listen to the music and I’m moved by it. I have a deep down emotional response that can’t easily be put into words.
The same applies to hi-fi. If I have an emotional response, if I’m moved by what I hear then I know that this is a good system. Full stop. All else is secondary.
If you want to sit in front of a hi-fi and analyse this or that then fine if that’s your thing. But IMO it’s missing the point entirely. Forget tunes, PRAT, imaging or whatever. Does the system make you feel that you just want more and more of it? That’s all that counts in the end.
I simply ask my wife which she prefers. This frees me from hi-fi marketing/bias. She just tells me which she prefers. Only once has she (we) chosen Linn over Naim (Ekos over Aro). Once had a dealer who tried to convince me a Densen CD player was better than Naim (I think he was using what seems to be called Tune Dem to convince me). I wasn’t convinced. My wife wrote the Densen off as ‘too hissy’. I think Densen subsequently went bust & the dealer moved onto become a huge Audio Note fan. Buying an NDX2 we compared with whatever the equivalent Linn streamer was (included a pre amp I recall). Even the dealer, a committed Linn specialist had to agree with my wife (us), the Naim just made the music more exciting (presumably PRaT?). Critical for us are vocals. If they don’t take off we take off. This is more of a problem with (dull) speakers. In the end we just look at each other, smile and agree ‘we like that one best’. Might also add ‘looks’ matter to us. Dealer suggested a Ineos Zen Mini - paid the extra and bought the Core. The Zen looks nowhere near as classy to us. Linn electronics don’t look as good as Naim although they’re beautifully made. House style seems all over the place. They’ve never bettered the LP12 for sheer beauty imo. Basically we use heart I suppose.
“Tune Dem” makes no sense to me at all as a means of deciding which is best - yes, I might be able to follow a tune better, but what if half the music is missing or muffled, simply letting the tune out? (“Half” of course is an exaggeration. But the point remains.)
As for PRaT, not something that has ever identified itself to me with music listening - perhaps it depends on the musical styles to which people listen.
Some people seem to want their music all to be made sound exciting - to me, exciting music is exciting, and for much music that seems an odd description/expectation. I just judge hifi by how good it makes recorded music sound overall, for which beneficial/necessary are a whole bunch of factors.
The strange thing is that. to me at least, their is little correlation between systems having say excellent PRAT and being ultimately enjoyable. A system can seem to have all the invividual ingredients and yet still not quite pull it off.
There seems to be a ‘magical’ ingredient - call it musicality if you like, a meaningless label if ever there was one, but…
After many decades of being into hi-fi I still don’t know how to get that ‘X’ factor. It seems a chance thing. Some systems have it, some don’t. When it’s there it’s unmistakable and this is what makes a truly great system IMO as opposed to merely a good one.
I also think about musicality but it seems a very frowned-upon descriptor these days. I remember back in the dark ages when Naim and Linn were still friendly musicality was very important. Like you, I do think it is hard to quantify but my LP12/42/110/Kan system had it as does my current system.