• 02-13-2006, 06:41 AM
    emaidel
    Ever heard a system better than yours?
    That's certainly a loaded question, so let me explain a thing or two before anyone answers. If you're like me, and have spent a lot of time (and money!) putting together what's the "best" system you've ever owned, and one which you enjoy listening to, then you're in the right place to answer this question: while you may know that better stuff exists out there when compared to that which you (and I) own, other than dealer's showrooms, or trade shows, have you ever been in anyone's home who has a system that's better than yours?

    I'm immensely sastisfied with my system, though I know that there's tons of stuff out there that's a lot better, but for reasons I cannot explain, I've never heard a better sounding system in anyone's home other than my own. I own Dahlquist DQ-10's, and much prefer Martin Logan speakers, but don't have the budget for ML's stuff. Once, I was in someone's home who had a pair, but he head them stuffed into the corners of a very small room, with all sorts of furniture in front of them, and they sounded pretty crummy.

    I'm just curious as to whether others have experienced this somewhat odd anomaly. Yes there are much better systems out there than that which I have, but I've never heard one in anyone's house. Howzabout you?
  • 02-13-2006, 07:26 AM
    L.J.
    No ;)
  • 02-13-2006, 07:31 AM
    Feanor
    Short answer: no
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by emaidel
    ..., have you ever been in anyone's home who has a system that's better than yours?
    ...
    I'm just curious as to whether others have experienced this somewhat odd anomaly. Yes there are much better systems out there than that which I have, but I've never heard one in anyone's house. Howzabout you?

    In recent years I haven't had a lot of audiophile buddies whose home I could visit. Partly because I was out of hi-fi for a few years and partly because I'm pretty new in my current home town. However the consequence is, no, I haven't heard better than my own stuff in a domestic setting.

    And in fact, nor in a dealer's setting either. Again partly because I don't haunt dealer showrooms, (like some people we know around here), but also because dealers often don't take sufficient care to set up systems properly.
  • 02-13-2006, 08:41 AM
    GMichael
    Not in someone's home, no. I have heard some great systems at high end dealers.
    An interesting note: I was in Disney's Epcot Center a year ago and went into an exhibit called the Ultimate Home Theater experience. It was an all Bose set up. Except for the seating (they had shakers) my system sounds much better.

    I do have a friend (owner of our company) who has a large set of ML's driven by large tube mono blocks. But he never turns them on. Go figure.
  • 02-13-2006, 09:04 AM
    kexodusc
    A friend of mine has a system that is far superior to my HT. He's got a wicked Krell Pre/Pro and multi-channel amp...couldn't tell you the model numbers.
    His speakers are DIY, Joe D'Appolito's own Thor and Odin speakes based on some high-end Seas drivers, actually very similar and comparable to Tyler Acoustic's excellent Linbrook models (to give you an idea). Sound quality wise, you'd find these beside a lot of $4000 - $8000 speakers. You can buy the kits at Madisound, but most people who spend this money on DIY speakers just buy the drivers, then select crossover parts and cabinets to higher specs than stores like Madisound can justify selling.

    He's got a 100 something inch projector/screen setup, the works. I hate him.
    I just can't fit enough time into my schedule to justify going this far...I'd have to take away from some of my other hobbies.

    Nice though.
  • 02-13-2006, 09:40 AM
    musicman1999
    not in anybodys home,but in my local high end shop,yes.i do know someone with an all meridian system that is about 10 years old,however i have never heard it,should be very good though.
    thanks
    bill
  • 02-13-2006, 09:47 AM
    Florian
    A system that is better then mine in instrument texture would be my friends Silvawelds OTL's with the big Acoustats. A very slight difference, but he takes the cake in instrument texture. I take the rest ;-)

    Then in terms of resolution, it would be my friends Goldmund T-3 Reference setup with the Audio Research Reference Phono.

    Other then that, no. Not even at a show. Systems that i put equal or better in some areas or, just different was the showing of the Martin Organ system, Soundlab U1, Avalon Eidolon Diamond with Passlab X600 Monos.

    -Flo

    PS: For the record the most memorable systems of my life where all Apogees. Duettas, Scintillas etc..
  • 02-13-2006, 11:56 AM
    RGA
    Yes

    This past Sunday I heard a system at a fellow's place in my vicinity that betterred mine and any other system I have ever heard -- I was about to say at any price but I would guess that this fellow's speaker wires cost significantly more than my entire system -- err both my systems.

    The way that system revealed the differences in recordings, the bass depth and resolution of always knowing where all instruments were located in space and never becoming muddy or bloated (unless and except for those recordings I brought with me that had such artifacts on the discs). The Vinyl replay truly would I think end the discussion as to whether vinyl loses anything to CD. Bringing some of my LP's over just re-affirmed how mediocre my NAD(Rega Clone) really is.

    What I became more important though was not the discussion of imaging, soundstaging, bass, resolution and all those things hobbyists like to discuss but the music and the recording. The best thing though is that I have a half dozen or so new artists that I can go look up and improve my music collection.
  • 02-13-2006, 01:12 PM
    Woochifer
    Friends of mine that I got into the hobby with all owned better systems than the one that I currently have, at least for two-channel music. The best of the bunch was my friend's Klipschorns, which he paired with a Hafler kit and later experiments with various tube and hybrid gear that he borrowed. The tonal colorations with those speakers were audible, but they also had a dynamic impact and liveliness with the music that really brought things to life more so than other high end speakers of that era (particularly the British speakers) that had better linearity, but a less exciting sound. He had the added advantage of a huge room with good acoustics and a high vaulted acoustic ceiling, which played really well with the corner placement that Klipsch recommends for the K-horns.

    Other people whose systems I've heard in their homes had decent gear, but did not know how to properly set them up. Simple things like adjusting the overhang angle and counterbalancing on their turntable, or pulling planar speakers out from the wall, or carpeting the listening room, or narrowing the distance between speakers along the front wall, etc.

    I got more into the home theater/multichannel side in the last five years, and while I've had plenty of demo room listenings, sadly most of the people I know with home theater systems have the HTIB or Bose Lifestyle types of systems. Even more so than with two-channel, the setup is absolutely critical to getting good performance out of a multichannel system. Out of all the dealers I've visited, only a handful of them properly calibrated and aligned their multichannel demo rigs. Even with separates and really good speakers, the setup and alignment can truly make or break how they sound.

    Out of the people I know whose homes I've visited, only two of them have a home theater setup with comparable performance with my setup. Of those two, only one (with a Denon/NHT combo) was setup with properly aligned speakers, and calibrated processor settings. The other one was built with pro audio monoblock amps, Def Tech towers w/ dual subwoofers, and outboard processors, but uses an odd speaker alignment and nonmatching surround speakers, which really detracts from the incredible impact coming from the front soundstage. Terrence still needs to invite me over to his listening room so I can say that I've heard a clearly superior system at someone's house! :D
  • 02-13-2006, 01:47 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    The way that system revealed the differences in recordings, the bass depth and resolution of always knowing where all instruments were located in space and never becoming muddy or bloated (unless and except for those recordings I brought with me that had such artifacts on the discs). The Vinyl replay truly would I think end the discussion as to whether vinyl loses anything to CD. Bringing some of my LP's over just re-affirmed how mediocre my NAD(Rega Clone) really is.

    I'm not sure if the turntable's the culprit here, you might want to look more at the cartridge. The Shure cart that you use is an excellent value, but Shures in general are sometimes considered bland. I think if you try a moving coil cart and/or any cart that uses a fine line or Fritz Geiger elliptical stylus, you'll hear an immediate increase in the amount of detail that comes out of your vinyl. Your Shure cart uses an elliptical stylus, which is pretty much the minimum that you would want to use to properly demonstrate vinyl's virtues.

    But, as I've said many times on this board, the best turntable rig isn't going to rescue a bad pressing or poorly mastered record, and that inconsistency is the downfall of vinyl IMO.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    What I became more important though was not the discussion of imaging, soundstaging, bass, resolution and all those things hobbyists like to discuss but the music and the recording. The best thing though is that I have a half dozen or so new artists that I can go look up and improve my music collection.

    That's why it took me more than a month after buying my SACD player before I posted anything detailed about my listening impressions, because I was too busy enjoying the remastered two-channel and multichannel SACDs to bother with more systematic listenings and A/B comparisons. The multichannel Mahler SACDs from the SF Symphony in particular have taken me further into a live concert than any other two-channel source that I can recall.
  • 02-13-2006, 02:07 PM
    ebdtide
    Doing it right the second time
    I'm replying to your post since I don't know how to start a new one and becaus it seemed to be in the same ballpark.
    In late July '05, I had just finished having my 5:1 TV home system installed. A $1000 sony receiver, a 55" sony TV, 2 front speakers in the TV wall along with a center chanel and
    woofer and 2 rear chanels in the ceeling. The bad news was Miss Katrina--my home was 20' above sea level, but Katrina came in at 24'--the good news is that I really was unhappy with the system and now have the opportunity to try and do it right the second time.
    The four feet of water in my home took out the TV, reciever, DVD, cable, Direct TV and lots of remotes and left me with the 5 speakers and woofer.
    My problen with the set up was (1) all of the remotes (TV, Cable 1, Direct TV, DVD, and receiver) which didn't like each other and (2) when I just wanted to listen to the tuner, I
    couldn't play it through the 5.1 system.
    Is there a solution to my 2 problems? Are there suggestions for my new equiptment?
    Ebdtide
  • 02-13-2006, 02:19 PM
    SlumpBuster
    This is a really interesting thread and kind of confirms what I already suspected. Whether its a thoroughly run of the mill of system like mine, i.e. paradigm boxes and yamaha components, to the people with the most elite systems, i.e. Florian's growing contribution to Germany's Gross National Product ;) , audio hobbyists seem to be a pretty rare breed. Either that or we don't get out much.

    The only system that I've ever seen that was similar to mine in actual use, was a Definitive Tech based system with Adcom components. It was 4 BP 10s and two 15 inch subbs. I had no way to really evaluate it because the tool would not turn it down less the a 100db and had it crammed into 150 square feet.

    I've seen lots of nice pieces in different homes, but not a well integrated system. I've seen Klipshorns powered by an optimus receiver. Or $2500 dynaudios powered by a $300 H/K.

    This rareity is why I take exception to people suggesting that B&W or Paradigm are "mass market." No, the ipod is mass market. HTiB is mass market. Bose is mass market. Anything at Best Buy is mass market. No, if its still only available in boutique shops, it ain't mass market, even if it is only a $200 pair of bookselves.
  • 02-13-2006, 02:48 PM
    RGA
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    I'm not sure if the turntable's the culprit here, you might want to look more at the cartridge. The Shure cart that you use is an excellent value, but Shures in general are sometimes considered bland. I think if you try a moving coil cart and/or any cart that uses a fine line or Fritz Geiger elliptical stylus, you'll hear an immediate increase in the amount of detail that comes out of your vinyl. Your Shure cart uses an elliptical stylus, which is pretty much the minimum that you would want to use to properly demonstrate vinyl's virtues.

    But, as I've said many times on this board, the best turntable rig isn't going to rescue a bad pressing or poorly mastered record, and that inconsistency is the downfall of vinyl IMO.

    I agree and that goes for CD as well as plenty of them are atrocious. Yes this fellow was using an MC cartridge with a box that powers the cartridge that acts a s a generator so it remains locked in all the way and boy what a difference that made with the LP's I brought over which had "issues" Even one LP which i played recently on a relatively pricey Roksan rig was blown out the door. I have been considering upgrading the cart for a while now but I will hold off until I can get something closer to what this fellow runs. His cartridge set-up cost more than B&W N801s. So yes one should expect better than the Shure M97xE.

    Needless to say trying to express what is heard is like trying to describe sunsets to people who are and always have been blind. Words fail.
  • 02-13-2006, 02:57 PM
    Wireworm5
    Well to be honest I don't get out of the house much except to go to work. But to answer the question 'no' my system is the best I have heard. My friend, brother and renter all have said its the best they've heard.
    I started out with just a basic stereo. But through critical listening at each stage of developement I was able to determine what area of the sound needed to be improved on. I have reached the point where I can no longer determine any weakness in the soundfield. Perhaps if I got expensive speaker wire I could eek out a little more resolution. But the differnce would only be minor and not justify the cost.
    Lucking out on room that is good acoustically is the biggest reason for great sound. But good equipment and speaker arrangement all contribute to system synergy.
    I hope someday to have the opportunity to hear other audiophiles systems. I'm sure I still have a thing or two to learn about great sound.
  • 02-13-2006, 03:25 PM
    Geoffcin
    Oh yeah.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by emaidel
    That's certainly a loaded question, so let me explain a thing or two before anyone answers. If you're like me, and have spent a lot of time (and money!) putting together what's the "best" system you've ever owned, and one which you enjoy listening to, then you're in the right place to answer this question: while you may know that better stuff exists out there when compared to that which you (and I) own, other than dealer's showrooms, or trade shows, have you ever been in anyone's home who has a system that's better than yours?

    I'm immensely sastisfied with my system, though I know that there's tons of stuff out there that's a lot better, but for reasons I cannot explain, I've never heard a better sounding system in anyone's home other than my own. I own Dahlquist DQ-10's, and much prefer Martin Logan speakers, but don't have the budget for ML's stuff. Once, I was in someone's home who had a pair, but he head them stuffed into the corners of a very small room, with all sorts of furniture in front of them, and they sounded pretty crummy.

    I'm just curious as to whether others have experienced this somewhat odd anomaly. Yes there are much better systems out there than that which I have, but I've never heard one in anyone's house. Howzabout you?

    Even the same speakers with better electronics. I've been lucky in that I live where there's a lot of interest in quality audio, and I've been lucky to meet some fellow enthusiasts. One of them has DQ-10's (actually 2 pairs) like yourself. He also has a set of Magnepan 3.6r's like mine driven by a Classe 401. That system really rocks.
  • 02-13-2006, 03:51 PM
    emaidel
    Well, this thread has provided me with plenty of differing answers. That which strikes me the most is that I just don't happen to have many audiophile friends and/or any with the financial wherewithall to support high-end systems the likes of which have been described on these pages.So, while I'm still happy with my system, and haven't ever heard one better in another person's home, I'll remain content, knowing that I just can't afford that which would give me a serious improvement.
  • 02-13-2006, 05:22 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    This is a really interesting thread and kind of confirms what I already suspected. Whether its a thoroughly run of the mill of system like mine, i.e. paradigm boxes and yamaha components, to the people with the most elite systems, i.e. Florian's growing contribution to Germany's Gross National Product ;) , audio hobbyists seem to be a pretty rare breed. Either that or we don't get out much.

    The only system that I've ever seen that was similar to mine in actual use, was a Definitive Tech based system with Adcom components. It was 4 BP 10s and two 15 inch subbs. I had no way to really evaluate it because the tool would not turn it down less the a 100db and had it crammed into 150 square feet.

    I've seen lots of nice pieces in different homes, but not a well integrated system. I've seen Klipshorns powered by an optimus receiver. Or $2500 dynaudios powered by a $300 H/K.

    This rareity is why I take exception to people suggesting that B&W or Paradigm are "mass market." No, the ipod is mass market. HTiB is mass market. Bose is mass market. Anything at Best Buy is mass market. No, if its still only available in boutique shops, it ain't mass market, even if it is only a $200 pair of bookselves.

    Lotsa truth in your post! In this (or any other) hobby, it's very easy to completely get tunnel visioned and lose perspective. Aside from wine tasting, I don't know of too many other hobbies where people will spend thousands upon thousands of dollars and many times what an entire system typically costs to achieve subtle performance upgrades. But, the thing that a lot of audiophiles tend to forget is that the vast majority of consumers don't even get up to the midlevel price range with their audio system purchases.

    Paradigm estimates that about 80% of the speaker market is below the $500 price point. And the overall speaker market totals only about $500 million annually. To put that into perspective, $500 million is equal to the sales volume of about EIGHT Wal-Mart stores, or about THREE average shopping malls.

    And to REALLY put things into perspective, a while ago I posted some data from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Surveys (which is very credible data drawn from a 50,000+ household sample that's used to calculate the Consumer Price Index) which found that the average U.S. household spends a total of $41 annually on audio products. There's no missing zero, that's FORTY-ONE DOLLARS a year that the average household spends on audio gear!

    http://forums.audioreview.com/general-audio/you-average-consumer-if-so-you-spend-%2441-year-audio-eq-3587.html

    I posted some other expenditures as well. The overall theme is that people tend to value keeping a roof over their heads, feeding and clothing their families, and having a car more than the bragging rights on their audio system.
  • 02-13-2006, 05:51 PM
    E-Stat
    Oh, yeah
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by emaidel
    have you ever been in anyone's home who has a system that's better than yours?

    Listen to your favorite music on HP's system one day. It really is that good.

    The Nordost cabling alone runs about $60k.

    rw
  • 02-13-2006, 08:29 PM
    SlumpBuster
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    the average U.S. household spends a total of $41 annually on audio products.

    I get lots of WTF reaction from people about my system, even though it is terribly average. When I ordered a Music Hall TT a little why back I had it delivered to my office just for ease. I was out of the office when it came, and apparently there was quite a buzz about what I could be getting from a place called "The Needle Doctor." The drug connotations had never even occured to me. Everyone was initially disappointed to find out it was just a TT, then subsequently confused that it was a TT.

    But the absolute best WTF I get is from my speaker cable... biwired 14 guage RCA brand from Home Depot. :D It always seems to impress the most.
  • 02-14-2006, 06:19 AM
    BinFrog
    I've spent more than most casual HT owners, but not nearly as much as some of you guys. I have the best system of anyone I know and hang out with, but I know of people (and pretty soon my dad once their house is finished) whose systems dwarf mine. Still, I can blow away 99% of the people who come to visit me. And that's just with bookshelf speakers!
  • 02-14-2006, 06:25 AM
    emaidel
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by E-Stat

    The Nordost cabling alone runs about $60k.

    rw

    $60K for cables????? I'd have to wonder just how much of that HP actually paid, as TAS is well known for claiming to use products that were provided via "manufacturer's loan," when in fact, not all of those products are always returned. I know that nothing from Stanton (while I was there as VP of Sales and Marketing) while claimed to be a "manufacturer's loan" was ever returned.
  • 02-14-2006, 06:28 AM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Friends of mine that I got into the hobby with all owned better systems than the one that I currently have, at least for two-channel music. The best of the bunch was my friend's Klipschorns, which he paired with a Hafler kit and later experiments with various tube and hybrid gear that he borrowed. The tonal colorations with those speakers were audible, but they also had a dynamic impact and liveliness with the music that really brought things to life more so than other high end speakers of that era (particularly the British speakers) that had better linearity, but a less exciting sound. He had the added advantage of a huge room with good acoustics and a high vaulted acoustic ceiling, which played really well with the corner placement that Klipsch recommends for the K-horns.

    Other people whose systems I've heard in their homes had decent gear, but did not know how to properly set them up. Simple things like adjusting the overhang angle and counterbalancing on their turntable, or pulling planar speakers out from the wall, or carpeting the listening room, or narrowing the distance between speakers along the front wall, etc.

    I got more into the home theater/multichannel side in the last five years, and while I've had plenty of demo room listenings, sadly most of the people I know with home theater systems have the HTIB or Bose Lifestyle types of systems. Even more so than with two-channel, the setup is absolutely critical to getting good performance out of a multichannel system. Out of all the dealers I've visited, only a handful of them properly calibrated and aligned their multichannel demo rigs. Even with separates and really good speakers, the setup and alignment can truly make or break how they sound.

    Out of the people I know whose homes I've visited, only two of them have a home theater setup with comparable performance with my setup. Of those two, only one (with a Denon/NHT combo) was setup with properly aligned speakers, and calibrated processor settings. The other one was built with pro audio monoblock amps, Def Tech towers w/ dual subwoofers, and outboard processors, but uses an odd speaker alignment and nonmatching surround speakers, which really detracts from the incredible impact coming from the front soundstage. Terrence still needs to invite me over to his listening room so I can say that I've heard a clearly superior system at someone's house! :D

    I haven't invited you to my listening room? We'll have to do something about that dang it!!!
  • 02-14-2006, 07:02 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by emaidel
    $60K for cables????? I'd have to wonder just how much of that HP actually paid, as TAS is well known for claiming to use products that were provided via "manufacturer's loan," when in fact, not all of those products are always returned.

    TAS has purchased some of HP's Nordost cabling used over the years and some is indeed on loan. It is no secret that reviewers can buy pretty much anything they want at accomodation pricing.

    rw
  • 02-14-2006, 07:21 AM
    emaidel
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by E-Stat
    TAS has purchased some of HP's Nordost cabling used over the years and some is indeed on loan. It is no secret that reviewers can buy pretty much anything they want at accomodation pricing.

    rw

    Well, whatever I think about TAS and HP (most of it unprintable), I'm certain that HP's system would indeed blow me away. And forgive me, but I truly do think $60K for cables is a bit much. that's more than most people spend not on one car, but two!
  • 02-14-2006, 07:27 AM
    L.J.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by L.J.
    No ;)

    To elaborate on my previous answer. I have two friends with Walmart $199 systems. The systems sound awful, but I never say anything. Nothing like listening to a 8" passive sub huffin' and puffin' the entire time you try to watch a movie.

    I sold my old system to my brother and he's happy with it, but it cannot stand up to mine.

    I had a buddy with a mixture of Energy surrounds and fronts but a Sony center. Needless to say, it didn't sound right.

    My father-in-law's system is what got me started on my quest for improved sound. His Pioneer Elite/Primus combo, ripped my cheap Panasonic HTIB into pieces. He has been to my house recently and admits that my current system sounds excellent.

    I don't know anyone else who has taken HT as far as myself.