Paul McGowan writes:
When we talk about sound, what do adjectives like, dark, wooly, bright, spacious, or edgy sound like on our stereo systems? Hard to say, because words build pictures in our heads that have no literal equivalent in sound. “Wooly” forms an image of “thick”, but how can sound be thick?
Just today I was trying to describe the sound of two products. Both sound full, rich, solid, and musical, though different when not compared to each other. Once I do that, however, a different description emerges: unit number one can now be described as dark, wooly and somewhat blurred, relative to the brighter, thinner, more focused sound of unit two. Auditioned in a vacuum, I use nearly the exact same terminology to describe both. Compared to each other, a new vocabulary arises.
The lexicon changes depending on what we are trying to show. Broad relationships to real events, or minute differences between units.
I don’t envy reviewers their task.