Audiophiles...

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  • 05-20-2009, 10:43 AM
    audio amateur
    Audiophiles...
    Hi guys,
    I just watched this today and thought it was quite relevant to our hobby :D
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs

    Hope you like!
  • 05-20-2009, 11:11 AM
    JoeE SP9
    I've watched it before. It's a nice video. It doesn't make fun of "us".
  • 05-20-2009, 12:41 PM
    Hyfi
    Awesome gear! I working in a machine shop years ago and made most of the parts for the first Versa Dynamics Vacuum Platter Turntable. I thought that was a bit nuts back then. The motor had to be mounted to concrete flooring in a basement to eliminate vibration.

    http://andyhifi.50webs.com/images/versa_dynamics.jpg
  • 05-20-2009, 07:26 PM
    O'Shag
    Hi Audio amatuer - respect to you and hope you are well.

    Forgive me for being contrary - I think audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often. Too much utter stupidity and insanity. We deserve absolutely no respect from sane individuals. Too much bull**** and lies these days I think. When you see a pair of speakers or amp or whatever that costs as much as a Ferrari Challenge Stradale or a Merc SL55 or an Aston Martin Vantage or DB9 on the used market, someone has got to be very high on drugs to justify this. Take for example those manufacturers who tack on 20thousand here or there every year for no other reason other than a whim, one has to start being very uncomfortable being associated with such excess and nonsense, especially given the shake-up the world is going through. Take for example Acapella. Now I know Acapella speakers well. Their 26k LaCampanella is ultimately crap, the 70k (where did that come from!!?) High Violons sound kinda ok/nice, but sincerely - my $4000 Monitor Audio Gold Reference 60s (which can be had for so cheap used) tear either of these speakers a new rectum in terms of sheer musical energy, power and enjoyment.

    I wouldn't care so much, but the mags intentionally have coined the phrase high-end and the implications are that high dollars equals high performance, ergo implying that sanely priced gear is somehow compromised - which is utter balderdash.

    I cancelled my subscription to Stereophile and TAS, because of the absolute horse dudu that permeates those pages. Some of the writers are cool-ish, but I think those that are, are pressured to fall in line.

    So, forgive my negativity, but I believe audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often :crazy: Maybe then, we can get back to the truth/honest science, and to sanity
  • 05-20-2009, 09:50 PM
    RoadRunner6
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Forgive me for being contrary - I think audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often

    Amen!

    RR6 :D
  • 05-21-2009, 12:18 AM
    pixelthis
    Worth it for the peggy lee.
    Did you see those old speakers? Wonder how they sound?:1:
  • 05-21-2009, 12:21 AM
    pixelthis
    Music is life, you either understand it, or you don't.
    SIMPLE AS THAT.
    Twenty five grand and you drive an old car, no brainer, really.
    For the guy who quoted a bunch of car prices, well, if that is what you value...:1:
  • 05-21-2009, 01:36 AM
    audio amateur
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Hi Audio amateur - respect to you and hope you are well.

    Forgive me for being contrary - I think audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often. Too much utter stupidity and insanity.
    ...
    So, forgive my negativity, but I believe audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often :crazy: Maybe then, we can get back to the truth/honest science, and to sanity

    This is why I will probably never purchase speakers that are that expensive, and there would simply be no hesitation between a 360 CS and a speaker costing that much :smilewinkgrin:
    Mind you I probably wouldn't for a car either, despite the fact that i'm a petrolhead. Now if I had millions and millions, that could be another story.
  • 05-21-2009, 05:48 AM
    Mr Peabody
    O'Shag not that you don't have some what a valid point, not all ultra expensive gear lack the value though. I have heard the $100k Dynaudio Evidence in a system that has synergy and if I had the money I wouldn't hesitate to pay that for them. I personally would pay $100k for speakers before a stupid car. You can't drive a Mercedes or Farari and then sit to make fun of an audiophile who purchases an expensive system that gives them pleasure. Rather hypocritical wouldn't you say? Not to say I'd be just as happy with a $16k pair of Sapphires which I found at that price to be quite a value. Since I don't have that kind of money I have to be happy with what I have and people can certainly spend less to get a system with good synergy that will provide enjoyment. It's not fair to make generalizations of hi fi gear or audiophiles based on a couple of examples which are purely subjective any way.
  • 05-21-2009, 07:09 AM
    Auricauricle
    I agree with you, Mr. P:

    Audiophiles like these constitute a niche market and as such are prey to the trappings of vanity and insanity as any "afficianado", be it music, (graphic) art, cigars, wines or whatever. There are folks who take their hobbies to extremes, spending thousands of dollars for a cartridge, say, or a Renoir, but this is their passion and they have the money to spend, so why not? Manufacturers often lie in wait for these people, knowing that they will be snapped up. The prices are stratospheric, yes, and maybe the performance of the gear is only marginally better (if it is at all) than stuff costing far less, but that's your smug little secret and why you'll be vacationing in Provence while the guy with the 15,000 dollar phono cartridge will stay home. This is a completely different ball-game, and it can be just as much fun to watch as it is to play....
  • 05-21-2009, 07:32 AM
    Hyfi
    I myself would also rather have a 100K system than a 500sl. The people who do buy the high priced cars just so they can play "Look at me" are just as insane. There seems to be no need to go from 0 to 120 when for the most part the speed limit is 55 and can be achieved for $100,000.00 less.

    That being said, 100k for a pair of speakers that only sound twice as good as a pair costing 5k does not fly with me. I have heard all the big systems when Soundex was still in business. They had a complete setup of Dynaudio from the $150k each monoblocks to the outrageous Arbitur speakers all cabled up with what resembled vacuum cleaner hose sized cables. Yeah it sounded great but not 20x better than a reasonably priced system.

    The people who buy the mentioned gear have the cash to do so without blinking an eye. It's not for everyone and I agree Stereophile and TAS are hurting themselves more than helping to create new fans by only talking about the mega bucks gear and not mainstream reality.

    I can remember many occasions in Soundex where a doctor buys a 10k turntable and two weeks later is trading it in for 8k to put towards a 15k pc. And then come back in another two weeks and do it again. If I had cash to burn, I might play the game, but I don't.

    I make fun of myself and other Audiophiles all the time. Cables, sorbothane, granite blocks for my speakers, raising the speaker wires off the carpet (using folded cardboard instead of $20 per block of wood with a v sawed into it).

    It's just like anything else, if it's your passion and you have the money, why not?

    I know too many people that shell out major cash for pets that will only die in a few years anyway. What's the difference? It's their passion and what they choose to blow their money on.
  • 05-21-2009, 07:38 AM
    Auricauricle
    Presactly!

    Besides, if we can't laugh at ourselves sometimes, what can we laugh at?
  • 05-21-2009, 09:27 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Hope you like!

    Nothing succeeds like...excess! I'm over the top as compared with most folks, but some of those guys are off the scale. :)

    Nevertheless, it is quite fun to hear well put together mega-systems from time to time with you own music. Now, back to listening to XM on the computer...

    rw
  • 05-21-2009, 01:16 PM
    topspeed
    Let's not confuse "audiophiles" with "hi-end." Unless, that is, we believe that you cannot be one without the other? Can you be an audiophile and have a Kenwood receiver pushing Technics speakers? Or, as some would believe, must you have speaker cable that requires an equity line to purchase?

    The rap on audiophiles I think comes from the questionable return on investment for the gear. When there is very little, if any, measureable advantages from price point to price point, it's not hard to ponder the sanity of someone that becomes giddy when installing Valhalla wire into their system. By comparison, cars are a horrible analogy if only because their performance is quantifiable. It's either faster or it isn't. It either corners better, brakes shorter, gets better mileage, or circles the Norschliefe faster...or it doesn't. There are no "golden ears." No grey area about personal preference. You know what you are paying for because it's right there on the stop watch and the differences are rarely subtle. You can't do this with audio, and therein lies the rub.
  • 05-21-2009, 01:43 PM
    O'Shag
    I think some of you are missing the point. Its got nothing to do with wanting an expensive car. When we buy something, is it not reasonable that we operate with some form of true value process ie the cost to build something vs the cost to buy that something? If you do not operate this way then you are likely not making sound decisions and your behaviour might be described by some (and rightly so) as an uncontrollable obsession or addiction.

    There is not one speaker or component that is even one one-hundreth as complex and difficult to manufacture as any of the cars I mentioned. It matters not that you care not for a car (although I'm a petrol head too). and in the context of this conversation, it matters not the performance characteristics of the car. The fact is, that any car, including the AMC Gremlin, is far more expensive and difficult to manufacture, spin it how you will, and that is the point - value. This is concept that goes out the window with many audiophiles. I know, I know - well there is the value of the joy of listening, but lets get real, there has to be a realworld assessment of value also. Otherwise, one's significant other would be completely justified in sueing for divorce.

    My problem is not with people spending to their hearts content, I myself ( in my absurdity) have a large sum 'invested' in Audio/HT gear. My problem is with the mind-job that is being continually perpetuated among the audiophile cognescenti. Its fine to review and discuss the merits of absurdly priced exotica, but to imply that the main road to audio nirvana is really only achieved spending obscene amounts of money - that I cannot stand. The rich-person's price tag, beautiful casework, shiney-shinies etc, as beautiful or weirdly fascinating as they be, have little to do with the sonic outcome of a component.

    Also, any sane individual can see that the audiophile hobby is simply infested with balogney.

    My respect might be re-gained somewhat, if the press and or those who we rely on to guide us would clearly state that the NORMAL, and ADVISABLE path to sonic nirvana is the middle road (mind you not most reviewer's so-called middle road) , and that even if you have lots of lolly to spend on gear, you are unlikely to see any improvement in sound. What I know from experience, is that a brilliant sounding system that will beat the pants of most of these ultra expensive systems can be put together with prudence for one tenth the price.
  • 05-21-2009, 01:59 PM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    The fact is, that any car, including the AMC Gremlin, is far more expensive and difficult to manufacture, spin it how you will, and that is the point - value. This is concept that goes out the window with many audiophiles. I know, I know - well there is the value of the joy of listening, but lets get real, there has to be a realworld assessment of value also. Otherwise, ones significant other would be completely justified in sueing for divorce.

    Well said...soup for you tonight.

    Good to see you posting Shaggy...
  • 05-21-2009, 02:11 PM
    O'Shag
    Howdy Bobsticks.
    Soup is good..
  • 05-21-2009, 04:38 PM
    02audionoob
    The price of this stuff and the attitudes thereto are all subjective. I suppose I think it's crazy to spend $100k on a pair of speakers...dunno...but then there are people who would think $4k is a crazy amount to spend on speakers. I get a chuckle when I see an ad on craigslist that refers to an audio system as high-end or some other lofty adjective/superlative and it's a receiver and 8 speakers that listed for a few hundred dollars. Those people probably don't even know it's possible to spend $4k on two speakers....much less $100k.
  • 05-21-2009, 05:56 PM
    audio amateur
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    By comparison, cars are a horrible analogy if only because their performance is quantifiable. It's either faster or it isn't. It either corners better, brakes shorter, gets better mileage, or circles the Norschliefe faster...or it doesn't. There are no "golden ears." No grey area about personal preference. You know what you are paying for because it's right there on the stop watch and the differences are rarely subtle. You can't do this with audio, and therein lies the rub.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you...

    Comparing audiophiles to petrolheads simply does not mean anything. If I had the cash, I'd be running a car (I have never owned one) on the track day in day out. Well i'd like to think so anyway. In that world, you actually get good marginal returns as you go up the price scale, and these are clearly quantitative. I feel that in the audio world, you can get good performance for a fraction of the price you would pay for ultra $$ speakers. Just what Shag was saying.
  • 05-21-2009, 09:34 PM
    Mr Peabody
    You all are setting a double standard for audio gear. What if I pay $100k for speakers, some pay it for a flipping rock to put on their finger or a gown. Value is not a must for anything. A Coke a be a buck out of a machine and you pay it, you are at the ball park and it's $10.00 you pay it. I don't think you have a point.

    I think auto to audio is a valid analogy. You can't measure a 50 wpc amp and compare to a 200 wpc amp? You can't remove the top off a Kenwood and see the difference from a Krell? You guys just have different priorities and will never see my view nor will I yours. You try to puff yourselves up and claim superiority to justify your high end auto purchase. There's no difference between that and a high end audio system, you just like to think there is. It all depends on what gives you wood, a fast car, an incredible audio system or $5k Italian suits or a $10k watch. But the bottom line is not one purchase can be justified over another to the guy who buys the item.

    You can claim you've heard this or that and if you've had a bad presentation of the gear or just didn't get it then fine but you can't make wild generalizations like no expensive audio gear is worth it's price tag. I don't think there's a product on the market that will give you dollar for dollar performance upgrade as you spend more. So why try to hold audio to that? If some one can hear a difference then it's up to them whether the expense is worth it. It's like the $10 Coke, yes, you might think you got screwed but if you were thirsty enough that 10 spot was a deal, wasn't it. Audio is like any other product as well that some manufacturers are better at the craft than others. So you may find a $5k amp that sounds as good as a $10k. As in buying any product you have to be a good consumer and do some home work. Just as Kia claims to be as good or better than Toyota, some autos compare themselves to BMW for half the price, are they? Maybe to some. those who fall for it. Or, maybe it's true. There's always going to be products who try to climb the ladder by claiming to be as good as the big dog for less. Just as Oppo or Emotiva. Are they Krell, or McIntosh? Those who buy it think so. And, if you all know as much as you seem to about autos then you realize that there is much more profit on a higher end car than an entry level. A salesman may not see much commission on a Corola but it is sizeable on the Lexus. Same for any auto line Focus to Lincoln or whatever. So keep your car on it's pedestal but don't expect me to swallow that Mercedes is worth every dollar you paid for it. I can pick up milk or take the kids to soccer just as well in a Volkwagen Beetle.
  • 05-21-2009, 10:24 PM
    JoeE SP9
    Well said Mr. Peabody.:3:
    I happen to be one of those who is into automobiles, audio, watches, cameras and other enthusiast things. My audio gear is listed here. My 26 year old Turbo Porsche, Tag Heuer watch, Nikon F-2 and other things were purchased because they were what I wanted. Like my audio gear, the idea that I wouldn't need to replace or constantly upgrade them was/is very important to me. What I buy is bought to please me. I don't give a rat's ass what other people think. If I've learned only one thing in 61 years it's that making myself happy is what matters.:prrr:
    As you can tell I keep things a long time. I take care of them and expect them to last. As Oscar Wilde said "I have the simplest of tastes, I'm always satisfied by the very best".:lol:
    BTW:
    A Honda Interceptor 500 and a custom made bicycle frame with full Campy Gruppo are other things I have bought and kept. The Honda is 25 and the bike is 26. Old stuff for an old guy!:ihih:

    O'Shag:
    If I'm obsessed or addicted, so what! It's my money and I can spend it as I please.:ciappa: Frankly, it's none of your business what I or anyone else spends on anything. The fact that you can't or won't understand someone who spends more than you think prudent in no way invalidates their purchase. I could turn the tables and say you're cheap because you're not willing to spend what I spent. I wear Armani suits, Bally shoes and have my shirts custom made at Brooks Brothers. Is that a waste of money also?:rolleyes:
    If you say my taste for Dom Perignon is senseless I just may start throwing the empty bottles at you.I wouldn't want to waste good bubbly! If PA had a bottle return law I'd return the bottles for the deposit. I'm not crazy or a spend thrift, just indulgent. :rolleyes5:
  • 05-22-2009, 11:34 AM
    topspeed
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    You all are setting a double standard for audio gear. What if I pay $100k for speakers, some pay it for a flipping rock to put on their finger or a gown. Value is not a must for anything. A Coke a be a buck out of a machine and you pay it, you are at the ball park and it's $10.00 you pay it. I don't think you have a point.

    :confused: Huh? What does being a captive audience at a ballpark have to do with the price you pay? You buy a $10 Coke because you don't have a freakin' choice! Unless, that is, you'd rather pay the $15 for the beer. :ihih:

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr. P
    I think auto to audio is a valid analogy. You can't measure a 50 wpc amp and compare to a 200 wpc amp?

    Considering you rarely need more than a few watts to drive most speakers to sufficient spl's, the question is whether you can readily hear the benefit of the extra 150wpc. All things equal, at sane listening levels (no Spinal Tap Crank It To 11), that's the question. Put a Pass X150 vs a X350 level matched on a normal, efficient speaker (no ESL's that require current worthy of an arc welder), and I'd wager anyone would have a hard time hearing the benefit of the extra wattage. OTH, anyone will immediately feel the difference of a 638hp ZR1 vs a 403hp C6. Same car, huge difference in measured performance from the second you dip your big toe.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr P
    You try to puff yourselves up and claim superiority to justify your high end auto purchase. There's no difference between that and a high end audio system, you just like to think there is. It all depends on what gives you wood, a fast car, an incredible audio system or $5k Italian suits or a $10k watch. But the bottom line is not one purchase can be justified over another to the guy who buys the item.

    I wasn't aware this was a pissing contest. Why can't we be passionate about many things, as Joe is? My point has nothing to do with idealogy or rationalizations. I simply think that on the face of it, using cars as an analogy is a bad idea because unlike cars, gains in performance are extremely difficult to measure and verify.

    Now, if we consider "hi-end" audio to be a "luxury" item, then we should be comparing them to collector cars. In this context, I think they are comparable as you're using a completely different set of criteria, not the least bit being ego. Performance now takes a back seat to provenance, scarcity, and emotion. When someone spends $186,000 on a Plymouth 'Cuda at Barrett/Jackson because it reminds him of his first car in high school, as a friend did this year, there ain't a lot of logic involved in the decision making process! Emotion? Yes. Ego? You betcha? Measured logic? Oh, hell no. In this realm, spending $38,000 on a Boulder amp makes sense because, as you so aptly put, it gives you wood. Park a Ferrari 275 GTB in my garage (which is slower than my daily driver) and I guarantee you I will have wood. Hell, I might even make a grainy movie of me caressing the rear quarter panel with Zaino and post it on the internet. Wait a sec, I need a minute...

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr P
    keep your car on it's pedestal but don't expect me to swallow that Mercedes is worth every dollar you paid for it. I can pick up milk or take the kids to soccer just as well in a Volkwagen Beetle.

    You're right, at their core, cars are designed to move you from Point A to Point B, just like all audio gear is designed to create a sound. The difference lies in the abilty to discern how they go about their business. Will a MB SL500 allow you to pick up the milk faster, with more comfort, listening to a better stereo, and with more peace of mind knowing it's far safer than a Beetle? Yep. It costs more because you get more. It's right in front of you. You can feel it, touch it, see it, and smell it. There is no point of argument, reality refutes opinion. Put 5 audiophiles in a listening room and start cycling between a pair of $25k WP8's, $45k Grand Utopia Be's, and $150k VR11's and let the arguments begin! There will be no right answer because it comes down to personal preference, not measured performance. BTW, of the three, I prefer the least expensive Wilsons. Go figure.
  • 05-22-2009, 12:13 PM
    Auricauricle
    In medical research a distinction is made between statistical significance and clinical statistics. Statistical significance refers to numbers: after reaching a certain threshold of results, that which is being measured demonstrates positive or negative effect. Yet this is a numbers exercise only, and may not reflect upon perceptible impact. To address this, clinical significance is considered, describing the ability for these impacts to have any perceptual effect.

    As an example, consider a program that wants to ascertain the effectiveness of a medication for a given symptom. A look at lab tests demonstrate that the med reaches a certain level after a certain period. Because the differences in the new level and old level are mathematically demonstrated, statistical significance has been achieved. Yet, in spite of this data, not everyone feels different, alas. Because there is no perceptual difference, there is no clinical significance.

    Of course things are more complicated than this, but it’s a good start.

    In the pursuit of things audiophile, there is a clear and discernible difference between data driven satisfaction (statistical-related) or emotion-driven satisfaction (clinical-related). I suppose many of us are quite aware of the data-related factors of our equipment: slew rate, SPL, WPM, frequency response, etc. are examples. More important, I reckon, are the emotion-related factors of the passion: does this amp perform in a way that is pleasing; does this speaker rock or is it a wimp, etc. While the numbers are important in narrowing the field to make better informed decisions about quality and the ability of a certain component to please us, the decision to buy or not to buy, to keep or to upgrade, etc., is subjective.

    Because the decisions regarding the appreciation of equipment and of music in general are driven mostly by subjective, will-o-the-wisp emotional appraisals, I would say that the audiophile hobby is absolutely prone to obsession, fanaticism and occasional momentary lapses of reason

    You can gripe all you want about somebody’s purchase of a multi-thousand dollar preamplifier or an outrageously priced RF choke; you say turn three shades of red when a guy who has money to burn opts for a cheesy Emerson CD player over a Wadia; but these arguments presuppose that these purchases and this satisfaction is all about reason, and disinterest. It ain’t, and it never will be.

    Whether someone spends a pile of money on a chunk of equipment or not; whether he can tell you this or that about his purchase’s performance characteristics is not important at all, if you ask me. What is important is that the stuff that he buys and what he listens to brings him joy. Period. If he rants and raves aout it, so much the better.

    Who is the audiophile, I ask: The guy who tells you he owns a couple of Krell monoblock amps, a Counterpoint pre, a couple of Tannoy Westministers and a Goldmund CD transport and separate DAC and couldn’t and doesn’t say anything more than it sounds good? Or is it the guy (or gal) who tells you that his Sanyo boombox sounds fan-freaking-tastic and that the woofers on that hummer sound as crisp (to his ears) as they were played live and that when he plays a CD on that portable player through that boombox just rocks his soul?

    Benjamoin Disraeli is credited, but Samuel Clemens is known for saying, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. In this little world of our hobby, the justifications and rationales that are used to substantiate our experinces are just as prone to foible and solipsism as anything else that is personal. Statistics and numbers and sense are useful, but when the end of the day comes, and you're listening to one of your favorite recordings, all those numbers just fade into sweet, sweet, blue.
  • 05-26-2009, 05:55 PM
    O'Shag
    High Joe SP9. Sorry no offence meant.
  • 05-26-2009, 10:53 PM
    O'Shag
    never mind
  • 05-27-2009, 08:59 AM
    JoeE SP9
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    High Joe SP9. Sorry no offence meant.

    None taken. I fully realize that a lot of the cost of high end gear is in the cosmetics. However, I don't change gear like underwear. Looking at something that is as aesthetically pleasing as a farm tractor for 10 to 15 years won't work for me. My apologies to any that consider farm tractors the height of design.
  • 05-27-2009, 09:02 AM
    Auricauricle
    Oh, Deere!
  • 05-28-2009, 01:33 PM
    Ajani
    High End audio components are luxury items... that's something we too often forget when debating audio.... Too often I've seen persons with $15K to $20K setups complaining that $150K setups are destroying the credibility of this hobby and making us a joke... without even realizing the irony that to the average man, $15K for a 2 channel setup is a freaking joke and severe extravagance... heck, even $2K is too much for many non-audiophiles...

    It's really just a matter of how much luxury you are willing to treat yourself to...

    And as for the Car versus Audio debate: It's not always as simple as reading specs to determine why one car costs more than another... There are cars that offer you the exact same or better features and specs for less money than the big boys.. and when it comes to sports cars, you'd be dead wrong if you just assumed that the fastest (or even best handling) ones are the most expensive... Much like in Audio, not everything is great value for money...
  • 05-28-2009, 08:32 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I don't believe $150k systems are ruining anything. All companies have their flagship, which most are built in limited number per year, the technology eventually trickles down to the lower priced units. It's a matter of opinion but I feel some of the ultra high end equipment is worth their price tag. I believe a debate of the worth of high end gear went on with Emaidel some time back. There's no rule that says equipment has to be cheap enough for every one to own one. As in autos, audio or any product there's more profit built into the higher end than the entry level. So "Average Joe" gets his and those who can afford it buy better and the company makes enough profit to stay in business, after all isn't that their purpose. Sure, some one can be happy with a more modest system but don't be a hater because there's better.

    What kind of audio system you own does depend on ones means but more importantly it depends on that person's passion, how bad they want it. Are you willing to eat out less or cut corners in other places to get that better piece. Are you willing to use credit. Hmmm... a bit of expendable income, should I buy a piece of audio gear or this or that.... not all put the audio first. I don't accept that anyone hear if they really wanted couldn't afford to upgrade something in their system. You could be buying used or a demo. I've been dirt poor and still managed to have a receiver, speakers and sources. You guys know if you want something you find a way to make it happen. It's a matter of what you are willing to settle for. And, let's keep this within reason, I'm not saying we all can have a $100k system, we have to keep a house to put our systems in. I'm just saying if you really wanted a level or so better you could make it happen if you wanted to, if the desire and passion was there.
  • 05-28-2009, 08:56 PM
    02audionoob
    The fox and the audio system
    Perhaps those audiophiles who say $150k systems are ruining something are the perfect example of sour grapes.
  • 05-28-2009, 10:10 PM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I don't believe $150k systems are ruining anything. All companies have their flagship, which most are built in limited number per year, the technology eventually trickles down to the lower priced units. It's a matter of opinion but I feel some of the ultra high end equipment is worth their price tag. I believe a debate of the worth of high end gear went on with Emaidel some time back. There's no rule that says equipment has to be cheap enough for every one to own one. As in autos, audio or any product there's more profit built into the higher end than the entry level. So "Average Joe" gets his and those who can afford it buy better and the company makes enough profit to stay in business, after all isn't that their purpose. Sure, some one can be happy with a more modest system but don't be a hater because there's better.

    What kind of audio system you own does depend on ones means but more importantly it depends on that person's passion, how bad they want it. Are you willing to eat out less or cut corners in other places to get that better piece. Are you willing to use credit. Hmmm... a bit of expendable income, should I buy a piece of audio gear or this or that.... not all put the audio first. I don't accept that anyone hear if they really wanted couldn't afford to upgrade something in their system. You could be buying used or a demo. I've been dirt poor and still managed to have a receiver, speakers and sources. You guys know if you want something you find a way to make it happen. It's a matter of what you are willing to settle for. And, let's keep this within reason, I'm not saying we all can have a $100k system, we have to keep a house to put our systems in. I'm just saying if you really wanted a level or so better you could make it happen if you wanted to, if the desire and passion was there.

    Yep... we're in agreement on this... :thumbsup:
  • 05-29-2009, 06:25 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    ...
    What kind of audio system you own does depend on ones means but more importantly it depends on that person's passion, how bad they want it. Are you willing to eat out less or cut corners in other places to get that better piece. Are you willing to use credit.[?] Hmmm... a bit of expendable income, should I buy a piece of audio gear or this or that.... not all put the audio first. I don't accept that anyone hear [here] if they really wanted couldn't afford to upgrade something in their system. You could be buying used or a demo. I've been dirt poor and still managed to have a receiver, speakers and sources. You guys know if you want something you find a way to make it happen. It's a matter of what you are willing to settle for. And, let's keep this within reason, I'm not saying we all can have a $100k system, we have to keep a house to put our systems in. I'm just saying if you really wanted a level or so better you could make it happen if you wanted to, if the desire and passion was there.

    Well, what if your wife has a passion for something different? :smilewinkgrin:

    I agree that a lot can be done by prioritization but it has its limits. Certainly my wife & I have done without a lot of stuff in order to eat and help the kid with their educations: our top priorities. We haven't have a real vactions in years; we don't have an HDTV; we have one, 7 year-old car -- and I don't have the Maggie 3.6's or the Pass Labs amplification I'd really like. Could I raid my modest retirement fund? Cound I borrow more on credit? I suppose so, but it would be reckless and selfish to do for hifi equipment.

    I don' have much problem with $150k systems. My minor issue doesn't have to do with the makers or buyers of this stuff; its with the TAS and 'Phile reviewers who review it to the virtual exclusion of equipment people like me might actually afford.
  • 05-29-2009, 09:06 AM
    Auricauricle
    And that is why I think places like this fill in the gap, Feanor. While many of the members of this site are owners of very nice equipment, they generally are articulate enough to state their positions clearly and without all the lingo. I suspect most folks here are informed and intelligent, but this passion does not need to exclude others because they don't know a transformer from a rectifier. I think that, in a sense, the audio industry shot itself in the foot in the promotion of such (heavy handed) magazines that, while appealing to a certain clientele, failed to address the needs of those looking for great sound and less
    arcana.

    I would like to propose that much that is outlandish and extreme are useful not only for promoting a manufacturer's ability but as benchmarks to aspire to in the development of less proposterous, and more affordable, equipment.
  • 05-29-2009, 01:12 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I have to admit I really don't read that much audio media. Don't some of them review lesser expensive gear? I thought Stereophile did. Although I've heard gear that received a Class A rating that I didn't understand. But maybe it's one of those synergy things. CNET seems to review entry to mid level gear but I've heard complaints of bias about them as well. And, again, they've given good reviews to things I know isn't that great, like the Samsung BD-P1500 but maybe they are considering the price. What about Sound & Vision?

    Feanor, you talk as if audio is not a necessity, what's wrong with you :) I am lucky though my wife understands. A friend of mine, who is now divorced I might add, had to wage battle just to buy hi fi gear and he wasn't one to be on the upgrade path, he kept his gear for years. You've got valid reasons and only you can weigh them as with all of us with our own situation. I saw a CT-6 preamp for 3/5 of retail new and have been really tempted but I like what I hear now and if I sold my preamp to afford that one I am commited without much recourse if not happy. I wouldn't have any way to audition before buying. This is one instance if money was no object I would just snap it up. Even if I did buy it and was happy I'd still need to sell mine and gear don't seem to be moving that fast off Audiogon. So even I have a limit. Now if anyone wants to buy the CT-6 for me I won't be too proud to take it or if you just want to buy my current preamp to further my temptation.
  • 05-29-2009, 03:10 PM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    ...
    I saw a CT-6 preamp for 3/5 of retail new and have been really tempted but I like what I hear now and if I sold my preamp to afford that one I am commited without much recourse if not happy. I wouldn't have any way to audition before buying. This is one instance if money was no object I would just snap it up. Even if I did buy it and was happy I'd still need to sell mine and gear don't seem to be moving that fast off Audiogon. So even I have a limit. Now if anyone wants to buy the CT-6 for me I won't be too proud to take it or if you just want to buy my current preamp to further my temptation.

    Well, Mr. P, I really would like to hear the C-J sound and the PV-14 would be just the ticket no doubt, but I don't think I can swing it.

    Let me assure you that my Sonic Frontiers Line 1 was bought second hand (or third, whatever). Because this $3500 unit is from a company no longer in business I was able to snag it for a reasonably reasonable $900.
  • 05-29-2009, 07:52 PM
    IBSTORMIN
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ajani
    High End audio components are luxury items... that's something we too often forget when debating audio.... Too often I've seen persons with $15K to $20K setups complaining that $150K setups are destroying the credibility of this hobby and making us a joke... without even realizing the irony that to the average man, $15K for a 2 channel setup is a freaking joke and severe extravagance... heck, even $2K is too much for many non-audiophiles...

    It's really just a matter of how much luxury you are willing to treat yourself to...

    Or can afford.....
    I just did a little adding. The gear I have was built in the late 80's (AMP), 90's (Speakers) up through 2001 (DVD/CD & PRE/PRO). Adding up list price each piece sold for new is $13,900 not considering the 80's and 90's gear would cost more today. With this equipment I finally know what you guys are referring to when you say the speakers disappear! I bought it all used and have less that $2,000 in the whole thing. What does that make me? Only an audiophile if I spent the $13,900? I wouldn't spend that much because of my priorities, which is why I buy used. BUT, I love the sound and it took alot of upgrades and switching out, testing different things to get where I am. I still want MORE!

    I remember when I first started to post here there was a discussion that the definition of an audiophile was someone who is always striving to get better sound, regardless of the price paid. I still believe that is true. An audiophile is always looking to improve their system, even in some small way, which is why we talk so much about cables! Sound quality is an obsession!!!! As Ajani said, some people think I am crazy for spending $2000 on JUST stereo. They didn't spend that much on their H/T. It's all about Priorities. Some people have to have only the newest. I just want good sound.
  • 05-30-2009, 02:28 AM
    RGA
    A couple of points - we really needs to stop this notion of "percentage points better" in audio because it's largely non-sensical. I paid 10 times the price but it's not 10 times better. Well yeah so is Honda Accord twice as good as a Honda Civic - does it get twice the duel mileage? Is it going to last twice as long? Have half the failure rates? Does it go twice as fast and twice the handling? Is it twice as safe? Okay staying away from cars and going to the more artistic side is a painting that sells for 1 million twice as good as one for $500k? Subjective preference but when I left the Louvre my favorite painting was not the Mona Lisa but the Young Marter - there is nothing to me twice as good about the Mona Lisa.

    When judging Audio Equipment price performance it helps to look at from a company line-up perspective first before comparing it to "other companies" and here's why:

    As many of you know I like Audio Note (I like many other companies as well and I'm interested in buying a second completely non Audio Note system) but I'm using them as an example because they make entry level all the way to an above $500,000US system. And they have "levels"

    Now assuming you like the sound of the company's gear (I do) then you start at the bottom and say okay here is an entire Audio System for $5k - transport/Dac a preamp and 2 monoblock amps and a pair of speakers - level Zero and you say after hearing a lot of $5k systems that it's worth the money. You like what some other $5k systems are doing better in some areas but all in all this is good $5k sound.

    Then you go up to level 1 which is $12k and you say wow that is one hell of an inprovement - 7k more money may not be more than twice as good but it's certainly a lot better than the lower system - then you go to level 2 and drop $20k and again big improvement - go up and up and up and each time you say at each level that the improvement was a "hell of a lot better" - pretty soon you're at jaw dropping prices but each time it progressively and consistently got better than the previous system.

    I have not compared out of brand because the comparisons are harder. I prefer the AN E/LX or Tannoy Westminster or Kensington to the B&W Model Nautilus or Dynaudio Evidence Master despite both of them costing far far far more money. This does not mean those are poor values at all it simply means that one must try to compare apples to apples and realise a preference for a sonic aesthetic or type - similar to what Panel guys have - they often prefer inexpensive panels to very expensive boxes because they like the signature that panels embue.

    But even here if you stay within the line you will understand why you are paying more for a Quad or Sound labs than you pay for a Magnepan or a better example why you pay more for a 1.6 over an MMG.

    Car analogy across types - maybe with half a million I opt for luxury with a Bentley while someone else may choose to sacrific comfort for more speed handling and aesthetics and go for a Lamborghini.

    Feaner et al - I agree I would like the magazines to review lower priced stuff - but put yourself in the reviewer's shoes - you get to have gear for a few months and the company is willing to send you a 20.1 or you can have the MMG - assuming you have the front end and the space most reviewers are going to want to play with the 20.1. Most reviewers don't get paid or get paid very little (it's not a full time job) so the "perk" is to get to listen to the best stuff.

    Personally I prefer reviewing more entry level equipment because I get more readers - as soon as you read the speaker costs $192,000 like one of my fellow reviewers recently reviewed then a lot of people tune out. At $192k the market is very small and no one spending that needs a review because the build and quality is likely there at an elite level - it comes down to sound preference entirely
  • 05-30-2009, 03:24 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    ...

    Feaner et al - I agree I would like the magazines to review lower priced stuff - but put yourself in the reviewer's shoes - you get to have gear for a few months and the company is willing to send you a 20.1 or you can have the MMG - assuming you have the front end and the space most reviewers are going to want to play with the 20.1. Most reviewers don't get paid or get paid very little (it's not a full time job) so the "perk" is to get to listen to the best stuff.

    ...

    Rich,

    Well and find. But tell me why the friggin hell I ought to put myself in the reviewers' shoes? Much less why I should pay C$6 or $9 an issue so they can have fun?

    Reviewers ... Humm ... I notice you're one them these days. Have fun!! :skep:
  • 05-30-2009, 04:18 AM
    Jack in Wilmington
    RGA I understand where you're coming from. I'm not sure what Feanor's problem is with audio reviewers. They have a job to do and on the whole they do a good job as far as I'm concerned. I subscribe to three audio mags, and though I don't read all the articles, I use the articles as a tool when buying equipment. I listen to my salesguy make his pitch, read what the reviews say and try and make an informed purchase.

    When I'm done with the magazine, I take it into the lunchroom at work and put it on the reading material table. I really get a kick, when I see someone eating their breakfast or lunch and reading one of the mags that I've left. They sometimes stop me and ask a question about a upcoming purchase. In a company of 300 employees, you are not always aware of people hobbies. I've met people from other departments, who are into audio like I am and it's neat to exchange ideas. That's one of the hidden benefits of audio magazines.
  • 05-30-2009, 06:27 PM
    RGA
    As a reviewer now I can only say that it is in one's best interest to treat reviews as an entertainment and in some respects to make people feel good about what they already purchased. In the movie DAVE the president wants to cut a program by car manufacturers who spend piles of money making owners feel secure or good about the car they already have or will soon buy.

    Reviews don't really serve a lot of other purposes in my view. People tend to have their "favorites" and a review merely reafirrms their opinion.

    Granted reviews can also help put out names of gear new to the public. I was happy to be the first or (second) reviewer to review Grant Fidelity gear. Even as a reviewer it is nice to see my liking for a relative unknown company get a few awards from competing magazines because it "reaffirms" what I felt about the product when I auditioned them. It also pleases me that for years I have been on about Audio Note and for Wes Philips of Stereophile to say that the system was the best he had ever hear and for two other writers there to buy AN E loudspeakers also makes me feel good that I am not completely a lone wolf auditioner.

    If you must go by reviewers and reviews I would try to either choose a reviewer who has a similar ear - has liked a lot of the same things you like and is luke warm or dislikes a lot of the same things you do - while no gaurantee that the next item is something you will agree with the reviewer on - certainly a correlation helps increase the odds that if he raves you will like it too.

    The other less good approach is the consensus view where is lots of reviewers like it chances are you will too. The problem there though is consensus is usually weighted to bigger companies who can send more review items out. I'd want to know which of the reviewers spent their own money on the item or would have if they could have kind of thing. There are different levels of praise in reviews and reading between the lines to separate the good equipment from the great equipment is not always clear.

    Feaner - Don't pay for the reviews - that is why there is dagogo, enjoythemusic, positive feback, soundstage, 6 moons, TNT and others.