Sound Layers Explained

Musical texture is created like a layered cake! There are levels of melody, rhythm and harmony stacked one upon another that create a deep flavour. And just like trying to compare your mum’s lovingly made cheesecake to the mass produced grocery store version there is no comparison.

So, is hearing the difference as easy as tasting cake?

It’s all in the quality of hi-fi system you’re playing the music through. A smart phone placed in an empty cup will echo nicely for a one person party but if you’re settling in for a serious listen to your all time favourite album then you want it to sound like the live version you experienced a decade ago.

Poor audio equipment often leaves listeners without the feeling of involvement. When your song comes on we all want to feel the tingles and pluck of an emotional connection. This feeling is created by the brain’s ability to process the combination of musical layering that make up your favourite song.


One examples of poor audio equipment activity would be sound distortion. Sound Quality can be harmed severely by distortion, often creating a sound that is not crisp, clear or clean. Crackled, echoed or muffled sound outputs are audio traits often associated with poor quality audio equipment. The stability of output can often be distorted in poor audio equipment, especially while being operated at louder levels. High performing audio equipment will offer a crisp, sharp layer of instrumental and vocal output providing listeners with an interactive experience and personal involvement.


Poor audio equipment will also have little to no bass output, which creates a flat or one dimensional audio experience. Like pinching your nose while talking, a lack of bass in audio equipment will often come across with nasal characteristics, creating a very monotone, single dimension to the sound output. Premium quality audio equipment will provide a bass level that assists music to flow freely and add a more complex body of sound that provides a more involved emotional experience while listening.


Depth of sound is regarded as the most important characteristic of sound – usually absent from low end audio equipment. Audio depth and directional perception is processed through the brain to provide alertness to the location of noise. If you were to close your eyes while listening to your favourite song from a speaker, does it sound like the audio source is in the location of the speaker? This is another characteristic of poor audio equipment. Ultimately, sound projected through a high end audio system will direct layers of sound from different directions, as if there is a live performance in your living room, sourcing from multiple directions to pleasure your ear drums.

Like comparing gold to gravel, low end audio equipment will not create the effect of audio nirvana that is experienced while listening to quality designed audio equipment that has been engineered to produce a dimensional layering of premium sound.

How do the layers of sound and the quality of the audio output effect your emotions when listening to your favourite songs? We would love to hear from you.

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