What is PRaT?


#1
vhiner1 said For example, if the toms and cymbals don't sound natural to you, then you start paying more attention to that element, and this, in turn, throws off the "timing" of the whole performance in terms of how you experience it.
A creative hypothesis, one of the better I have seen to explain PRaT.

I am not a toe-tapper by nature, partially as a result of classical training (an orchestral musician does not tap his feet). PRaT has never made sense to me as a meaningful audio concept; it has always merely appeared as a way to make a highly subjective judgment of “I like it and get into the music” appear quantifiable and objective. And claim it is a result of minute differences in timing.

If you are a toe-tapper, whether the playback makes you do so is a useful test. But I am not convinced this is grounded in timing.


#2

Elk or someone , can you explain what prat is . People post of it and I honestly do not know what it means .

Thanks in advance .


#3

PRaT = Pace, Rhythm, and Timing (The word “prat” means buttocks, especially if you are English).

The P was originally “pitch” as in a turntable maintaining its speed precisely. At the time, turntables varied a good deal in how accurate they were. Linn’s turntables were remarkable in pitch/speed stability which was easily heard as superior.


#4

Thanks.

Then pardon my ignorance.

But only timing should apply so the term as whole makes no sense to me.

Pace and rythm seems to not chafe in digital of any kind I ever heard.

Now timing it seems is complex.

Althoigh the Yale seems to be extremely clean and clear and has great staging effect. Pike did too and it must be different.

I know lowering jitter seems to change the sound scape plenty.

When I got to using the server it changed any dac i tried , but I even question this as to why.

Coukd it be just the processing going on and not just so called jitter.


#5
alrainbow said Elk or someone , can you explain what prat is . People post of it and I honestly do not know what it means .

Thanks in advance .


Al,

I found another website that had a pretty good discussion of PRAT that I think you’ll find interesting. I think that in the end you’ll unfortunately find that there is no one perfect definition: What is PRAT?

My favorite posts are #6, 18, and 38.

Dave


#6
supersax said I found another website that had a pretty good discussion of PRAT that I think you'll find interesting. I think that in the end you'll unfortunately find that there is no one perfect definition: What is PRAT?
Given the multitude and conflicting definitions, they clearly also do not know.

#7

PRAT - definitely a topic that is worthy of a Forum of its own. ( we all know what the letters stand for )

Another mysterious 4 letter audio acronym, some say they have it, some say they lost it and some just don’t care about it.

Way too deep a subject to get even 2 people to agree on anything, its best left to the individual to decide for himself in the context of his own listening environment.

I concur with Jim Smith regarding his findings on middle C.

There is some truth to be said for the octave surrounding middle C when the scale is 256Hz, 192 Hz too 384Hz.

A little extra energy in this area has an astounding affect on the entire frequency range.

It is also said that A above middle C when scaled to 432Hz ( the God note ) has a profound effect on string instruments.

I leave it up to the individual to pursue the above comments further, if they wish, on their own.

In the realm of my own system I can fine tune these areas and I feel that it does affect “PRAT” as I perceive “IT”.


#8
alrainbow said Elk or someone , can you explain what prat is . People post of it and I honestly do not know what it means .

Thanks in advance .


Rather than explain what it is, maybe we should say what it does. If your system or a particular component has PRaT, you’ll find yourself bobbing your head and tapping your toes while listening to the music. You may even find yourself spontaneously playing instruments made of air.

Given another bent, you may be taking an invisible baton and conducting the orchestra.

Depends. happy-132_gif


#9
Elk said
PRaT has never made sense to me as a meaningful audio concept; it has always merely appeared as a way to make a highly subjective judgment of "I like it and get into the music" appear quantifiable and objective.
Never liked the acronym but it does seem to generally speak to the difference in timing heard when comparing gear. Would be interesting if Naim, which seems to be known for PRaT, have a measurement that leads them in the general direction, then use hearing to fine tune. Never heard their equipment so don't have an opinion about whether their gear excels in this area.

My own preference for 1.2.1 is a mystery to me. Generally, I like very low noise and clean sound. I can hear the lower noise floor of Yale, but it just doesn’t seem as propulsive, if that is a good description. If it ain’t got that swing…

Perhaps this is simply system dependent, which is neither an endorsement nor a criticism of my gear.


#10
Joe Appierto said

Rather than explain what it is, maybe we should say what it does. If your system or a particular component has PRaT, you’ll find yourself bobbing your head and tapping your toes while listening to the music. You may even find yourself spontaneously playing instruments made of air.

Given another bent, you may be taking an invisible baton and conducting the orchestra.

There you go.happy-048_gif
PYP said My own preference for 1.2.1 is a mystery to me. Generally, I like very low noise and clean sound. I can hear the lower noise floor of Yale, but it just doesn't seem as propulsive, if that is a good description. If it ain't got that swing...
Another maniac hearing things no one can explain.smiley-music005_gif
Elk said I am not a toe-tapper by nature, partially as a result of classical training (an orchestral musician does not tap his feet). PRaT has never made sense to me as a meaningful audio concept; it has always merely appeared as a way to make a highly subjective judgment of "I like it and get into the music" appear quantifiable and objective. And claim it is a result of minute differences in timing.

If you are a toe-tapper, whether the playback makes you do so is a useful test. But I am not convinced this is grounded in timing.

Elk, with much respect as I'm sure you know I have for you, I'm not sure the two can't make sense together. While not trained in classical music, I spent a great deal of my life listening as much to classical as jazz, rock, pop, folk, punk, you name it. I think there can be found a natural emotional engagement to all forms of music. For classical it may not demonstrate itself in toe tapping, but as Joe said it might cause one to pick up a real or imaginary baton. Another very dear friend of mine (the man who made my speakers), would take his real baton (he used to sometimes conduct performances at a local college) and conduct with the music coming from his own system when all things fell into place.

For as much as I’ve listened to Scheherazade or Mahler’s 5th or 9th, what is it that makes me sway my head and choke up like an idiot when I hear them on some systems and not others? I don’t really know for sure, but when it’s there the emotional and physical engagement follows. Maybe on those same systems when I hear Take Five I’d feel like tapping my toes and bobbing my head.


#11

Whether a playback system is emotionally engaging is critically important, whether this is expressed in toe-tapping, swaying, or simply quiet reflection. Toe-tapping or movement of any kind is not required. And I am not convinced “engaging” is measured in PRaT units.

Thus, as I wrote, the term PRaT attempts “to make a highly subjective judgment of “I like it and get into the music” appear quantifiable and objective.” Yet, we have absolutely no agreement as to what PRaT means.

It turns into a tautology if we declare “if a system is engaging it has PRaT,” together with “PRaT means a system is engaging.”

This begs the question, what is PRaT? It appears to be used to merely mean “I like it.” Which is as vague as it gets.

(It meant something when the P meant pitch/speed stability of a turntable.)


#12
Elk said

And I am not convinced “engaging” is measured in PRaT units.

Nor am I. Note that in none of my own attempts at describing my own impressions did I use the term PRaT. I've been around the block enough to know all the baggage tied to it. My own attempts to wonder specifically about timing (or whatever it is) should not be assumed to be the same as talking about PRaT.

#13

Then how are you disagreeing with me in your earlier post 10 above? Or am I mistaken in my impression you disagree?

Keep in mind I am making my own points in my posts, not attempting to summarize any position you may have.


#14

Not disagreeing, Elk. Words are difficult sometimes. I suspect on this we agree more than we might be able to express in text. This area of musical enjoyment has always been one that’s been a real minefield to try and explain. I did use the word ‘timing’, but it’s the only one I could think of to try and explain my own thoughts, not in any way trying to tie it to a term that has been beaten about the audiophile world for so long.


#15

Roger. I thought we were stating similar things.

Yes, PRaT is a term which may have a well understood meaning at some point in the past. But now it is perhaps hazardous.

We can perceive timing inaccuracies, such as latency of a couple of milliseconds.


#16
Elk said
vhiner1 said For example, if the toms and cymbals don't sound natural to you, then you start paying more attention to that element, and this, in turn, throws off the "timing" of the whole performance in terms of how you experience it.
A creative hypothesis, one of the better I have seen to explain PRaT.

I am not a toe-tapper by nature, partially as a result of classical training (an orchestral musician does not tap his feet). PRaT has never made sense to me as a meaningful audio concept; it has always merely appeared as a way to make a highly subjective judgment of “I like it and get into the music” appear quantifiable and objective. And claim it is a result of minute differences in timing.

If you are a toe-tapper, whether the playback makes you do so is a useful test. But I am not convinced this is grounded in timing.

Whenever I write a review, I try to refrain from using jargon like PRaT. A linguist or rhetorician would have loads of fun with a phrase that tries to cram three distinctly different phenomena to into a single phrase. Yet, I understand why someone would attempt such a feat in the world of audio.

I think most of us “seasoned” folk can agree that it’s a feeble acronym and that we should strive to find a better way of talking about what we hear.

I fully concede that my ultimate response to equipment (and now “operating systems”) is wildly subjective. For example, I’ve heard some pretty crummy tube preamplifiers in my life. So, I can’t say that tube preamps are better than solid state preamplifiers. On the other hand, when I hear two equally matched preamplifiers, there is always something about the one that employs tubes that elicits a more intense emotioinal response in me. My brain tells me that this should not be. The solid state preamplifier produces better measurement results. It produces less noise. Some sounds that come out of it are more defined and easier to hear. Nonetheless, I enjoy listening to the tube preamplifier more. The difference is that I “like” the solid state preamp and am even impressed by its performance (what it can do), but I utterly LOVE how the tube preamplifier makes me feel. Rather than merely performing for me, the tube preamplifier involves me in the music. Somehow, it manages to help me suspend my disbelief and feel as though I am hearing a live performance as opposed to a mere recording of one.

Helping the audience to “suspend disbelief” is one of the most important goals of all great performing artists. Exactly how this is done cannot be easily measured or easily accomplished. A common misconception is that “accuracy” is the only way to “trick” the audience into believing that something is real. In fact, some of the most effective performances involve all kinds of “distortion” and “misdirection.”

Instead of using jargon like PRaT, I prefer to say that a piece of equipment or recorded music did a good job of making me forget that it’s part of a forgery and that it helped me to feel connected to or involved with the performance.

Best I can do at midnight. 4_gif


#17

I wish I could put words together so well at midnight!


#18
vhiner1 said

Instead of using jargon like PRaT, I prefer to say that a piece of equipment or recorded music did a good job of making me forget that it’s part of a forgery and that it helped me to feel connected to or involved with the performance.

Beautifully put!

And, in complete fairness, for some this means the system makes them tap their foot - as valid as a test as any.

Ted’s recent comments in the Yale thread about timing/phase are very germane to our discussion as well. Neat stuff.


#19

Does Ted’s recent comments mean that there is no technical reason why timing should be any different between 1.2.1 & Yale?


#20
  1. Ted can speak for himself, but I took them to mean that timing is very, very tricky. Seemed to be kind of a "maybe so, maybe not, I'll keep my eyes peeled" response. Every time Ted says something, I become a bigger fan. Wish all engineers were like him. 65_gif