If you ain’t got that rhythm

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We judge our stereo system’s performance by a long list of criteria. There’s tonal balance, imaging, dynamics (both micro and macro), soundstaging, top end, bottom end, midrange bloom, noise levels, and of course pacing and rhythm.

When I first got involved in high-end audio no one spoke of pacing and rhythm as a measure of quality, let alone refer to an acronym like PRaT which stands for Pacing Rhythm and Timing.

I can’t remember the first time I heard about the toe-tapping qualities ascribed to equipment with PRaT but it’s often attributed to the Brits and I don’t know why. Prat without the capitalization is British slang for an incompetent, stupid, or foolish person—with a secondary meaning of the buttocks.

Here’s the funny thing. I don’t need PRaT qualities to tap my toe. Music does that for me in nearly every reproduction form it takes from my car radio to a shoulder mounted boombox.

That said, I can attest to the fact that some systems get my rhythm section moving more than others and I guess this is what is meant by this odd term.

I’ve put a few more thoughts together in a podcast on Ohms Law. You can hear it here.