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2012-07-18, 06:49 #11
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2012-07-18, 06:53 #12
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2012-07-23, 17:54 #13
2012-07-24, 11:43 #14
You serious Clark?
The conclusion you guys are making seems to be that all gear sounds the same. You really believe that?
Let's take DACs, for example. I'm assuming that by "DAC" that we are referring to the conversion to analog (chips and related design), power supply, analog stage design, master clock design, etc. If they all sound the same, then I guess jitter is a myth. I'd also have to conclude that you believe that power supply designs have little or no bearing on sound quality. Additionally, the design of the analog output stage must be meaningless too. Oh, and all chips and the related implementation...pffft....doesn't matter. It's all the same.
Why is it that people without an investment in hi-end gear seem to always know so much!? I mean, if you've never upgraded over the course of years and actually heard MAJOR improvements in the areas of dynamic range, soundstage size (width/depth/height), resolution (particularly intimate detail), transient speed, etc, then how do you know so much and why are you so desperate to "prove" that anyone willing and able to spend more than yourselves is simply a vain fool.
I wonder, isn't there a better way to show off than having an expensive pre-amp or a wristwatch? Geez, it couldn't simply be that hi-end gear actually is pretty amazing when all the pieces are in place (speaker position, acoustic treatment, great gear well matched, etc)? Nah, couldn't possibly be.
As for watches, if you only care to tell the time, then use your cell phone. If you feel passionate about works of high art and engineering and wish to spend money in support of such achievements, then wear a Patek.
Last edited by jh901; 2012-07-24 at 11:46.WAV --> ReadyNAS/SqueezeCenter
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2012-07-24, 12:32 #15
My take on this is:
1. Hi-fi from different brands usually sounds different in all sorts of ways from other brands - but as the gear gets more expensive / more accurate the differences become smaller.
2. True "high fidelity", as the name suggests, reproduces music warts and all and should sound fantastic with a great recording and appalling with a bad one. Good hi-fi can only be tested for its fidelity if it is played at realistic levels (i.e. loud), in a reasonably large room that is acoustically well damped. It should be full spectrum - reproducing both the highest and lowest notes we can perceive without undue emphasis in one area of the frequency spectrum.
3. Hi-fi can only really be tested objectively when reproducing acoustic music and compared with real instruments. An acoustic folk band or string quartet is bloody loud if you are standing within 10 feet of it - which is where the microphones used for the recording will have been placed. If the hi-fi passes that test with a high score then it will also reproduce electric / synthetic music in the way that the composer intended too. You cannot tell what the composer intended with "synthetic" music knocked up on an Apple Mac, so it is impossible to objectively test using it.
So in order to get objectively "high fidelity" reproduction you will need a very good source, very powerful and accurate amplification and large (for the bass) and un-coloured loudspeakers. Get those factors right and you are halfway there, but to get even that far you will need a LOT of money. Oh, and you will also need a house with a listening room large enough! The room is usually the most expensive part of any hi-fi.
Now, can you get an acceptably pleasant and enjoyable sound from a cheaper / smaller system? Of course! And it may also make a reasonable stab at tonal, timbral and rhythmic accuracy. But it is unlikely to reproduce music with enough "scale" to be truly high fidelity.
I suspect that there is now a lot less difference between expensive and cheaper musical sources than when LP was the main medium. A recent blind test of several DACs using an independent listening panel was reported in a UK magazine (Hi-fi Choice). This highlighted how the sound of each DAC was not well correlated to its price, and how one stood out head and shoulders above the others, despite being one of the least expensive (it was the Rega DAC if you must know).
The same magazine also blind tested the Touch against a number of expensive streamers costing around ú1,000 and (even with its internal DAC) the Touch easily matched them sonically - so it came out on top in value for money terms by a mile.
They don't reproduce the whole test on their web site, you have to look at the review of each DAC separately, but this is the bit of the review that related to the ú500 Rega:
Others tested in the group include Electrocompaniet PD-1, Lavry DA11, Cyrus DAC X+, M2Tech Young DAC, Moon 300D and NuForce DAC9 - all of which cost between ú1,000 and ú2,000.
Now of course just because it comes out high in a test, even a blind one, does not mean the Rega is more "hi-fi" than the others. The test was not set up properly for that.
Is "high fidelity" important to you when listening to music?
Or do you simply want equipment that makes the music more enjoyable to listen to?
Is ownership of a "high fidelity" system necessary if you are to call yourself an audiophile?
I would be interested in views from this group.
Last edited by TheLastMan; 2012-07-24 at 13:14.Matt
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2012-07-24, 13:05 #16
2012-07-27, 17:14 #17
2. You describe flat and accurate response. Again price is not a factor. More important are speaker response and room dynamics.
3. This is an argument for accurate dynamic response. "Acoustic music" just does not fit here. It's the mix. Also "large (for the bass)" is inaccurate if you refer to driver size. Speakers with small drivers can produce superior bass. This is a balancing act with driver properties, cabinet design, and porting.
For the rest, a digital source is inherently accurate, powerful amplification is better whether or not it is accurate (given that "accurate" is not more than a percent or so different,) and even "un-coloured" loudspeakers are entirely dependent on their environment.
added: "Better" equipment features full range specification rather than 1K. In a more technical time headroom and rise time were common measures of quality.
Last edited by banned for life; 2012-07-27 at 17:23.
2012-07-27, 17:16 #18
2012-07-27, 19:58 #19
Long time reader, first time poster.
I'm a sound engineer from Australia, living and working in Hong Kong.
Recently I've been working with a lot of hifi companies regarding a loudspeaker tuning system and have learnt a lot about audiophiles and the crazy gear available for their systems.
Fair enough, some of these components and cables do make a difference to the reproduced sound. But, sound is subjective! Who can determine if the sound is better? There are too many factors that can affect sound reproduction.
Another point, pro studios don't use 100% silver cables, DACs vary in quality, sound is recorded at 44.1 or maybe 48 (most of the time). So audiophiles hear more than the engineers who recorded and mixed the tracks? I know about upsampling but really the quality of audio we listen to can only be as food as it was recorded.
I'm not having a go at audiophiles either. It is a hobby, and a great one! If I had more money I too would like to buy and try different pieces of gear as I simply love music and listening to great systems. There's no point arguing about DACs, speakers,cables or whatever - you don't hear what I hear - sound is subjective.
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2012-07-30, 01:50 #20
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