Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    Ajani
    Guest

    The Magic Spending Ratio, does it exist?

    When I first got into this Hobby I heard about ratios of how you should portion your funds, such as:

    50% on Speakers
    25% Amp
    20% Source
    5% Cables

    But having listened to and owned various setups with funds apportioned very differently... and seeing many reviews in which reviewers spend about 80% of the budget on electronics and only 20% on Speakers, I question whether a ratio even exists... Now I think it's more about brand matching/Synergy than price Ratios.

    I still think Speakers tend to make the most difference in whether you like the overall sound of a system.... It doesn't matter how great your source is, the wrong brand of speakers will kill all the enjoyment (note I said Brand and not Price, since I no longer believe there is a magic ratio of how much you should spend on Speaker vs Source vs amp vs cables)
    Last edited by Ajani; 01-09-2009 at 03:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Out there
    Posts
    6,777
    Well, I can't really answer this objectively since I acquired my speakers at no cost, but with everything after that, I'm all over the map spending-wise. I just bought whatever everyone here (especially L.J., kex, GM) told me to buy. No regrets whatsoever though.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Kevio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    452
    The suggestion to spend big money on speakers stems from the assertion that speaker selection has the most significant effect on performance of a system.

    I think that's a valid assertion. But I also know that selling speakers is quite profitable.

    Are you disputing this assertion? Are you suggesting that you can get good sounding speakers for cheap? I hope you're not saying you can make crappy speakers sound good with expensive electronics; that's not gonna fly with me.

  4. #4
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevio
    The suggestion to spend big money on speakers stems from the assertion that speaker selection has the most significant effect on performance of a system.

    I think that's a valid assertion. But I also know that selling speakers is quite profitable.

    Are you disputing this assertion? Are you suggesting that you can get good sounding speakers for cheap? I hope you're not saying you can make crappy speakers sound good with expensive electronics; that's not gonna fly with me.
    Nothing will make a crappy sounding speaker sound good...

    I do believe you can get speakers, amps, source, cables for modest prices (not sure if I would say cheap)....

    What I have noticed is that you can combine a modestly priced set of electronics with expensive speakers and get great sound & vice versa seems to also be true... Just read some of the Stereophile reviews from Rob Reina, his 'affordable reference' system consists of a $5K Creek Integrated Amp / CD Player combo & a $1K pair of Monitor Audio Towers... Interestingly, the best setup I've heard costs the same amount total but used a $3K pair of Monitor Audio Towers with a $3K Musical Fidelity Int/CD combo....
    Last edited by Ajani; 01-09-2009 at 03:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Nothing will make a crappy sounding speaker sound good...
    Wait a tic.... looks like I'll have to eat humble pie (according to Audioquest):

    http://forums.audioreview.com/showth...284#post269284

    So apparently, adding expensive Audioquest speaker cables to a Sharp Mini system will make it sound good. ummm.. yeah....OK then....

  6. #6
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    Posts
    9,025
    Doubt a perfect ratio exists because not all speakers or electronics at a given price point are created equal.
    I bet everyone thinks their speakers offered the best performance for the money they were willing to spend, but let's say you had $2000 to spend to build a modest system, and found speakers for $1000 you were ready to buy, knowing it would leave you enough cash for the electronics. You couldn't find a $1200 speaker you liked better than the $1000 speaker, and pragmatically you recognize you can't buy the components you need if you spend any more money on speakers. Then at the last minute you found another pair of speakers for $800 that were even better. Well...you'd have more left to spend for the electronics.
    This kind of scenario throws all ratio rules out the window just by manipulating the math.

    But there are some rules of thumb. I'd agree that speakers should come first.
    I've actually participated in an experiment because of a disagreement I had here a few years ago...We tried substituting in a pair of $200 Paradigms into multi K Conrad Johnson setup...and then hooked some pretty wicked Thiel speakers up to the $300 receiver. No question the Paradigms sounded better, but they still sounded like a $200 speaker. The Thiel's still sounded like a $6000 speaker, even if it didn't evoke memories from your childhood that brought you to your knees to weep. Can't say this will always be the case, but I'll be shocked when it's not. As you start to reduce the extreme differences in price and quality, I'd expect results to vary, but not until the gap is closed considerably...this assumes all gear is fairly priced (which of course is subjective in itself).

    Think there's some truth to ratios though, as you spend more on speakers or electronics, at one point a component will become the limiting factor in your system...that is you won't be able to get the most out of all your other equipment because of its limited ability to resolve whatever benefits the rest of your gear has.

  7. #7
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Doubt a perfect ratio exists because not all speakers or electronics at a given price point are created equal.
    I bet everyone thinks their speakers offered the best performance for the money they were willing to spend, but let's say you had $2000 to spend to build a modest system, and found speakers for $1000 you were ready to buy, knowing it would leave you enough cash for the electronics. You couldn't find a $1200 speaker you liked better than the $1000 speaker, and pragmatically you recognize you can't buy the components you need if you spend any more money on speakers. Then at the last minute you found another pair of speakers for $800 that were even better. Well...you'd have more left to spend for the electronics.
    This kind of scenario throws all ratio rules out the window just by manipulating the math.

    But there are some rules of thumb. I'd agree that speakers should come first.
    I've actually participated in an experiment because of a disagreement I had here a few years ago...We tried substituting in a pair of $200 Paradigms into multi K Conrad Johnson setup...and then hooked some pretty wicked Thiel speakers up to the $300 receiver. No question the Paradigms sounded better, but they still sounded like a $200 speaker. The Thiel's still sounded like a $6000 speaker, even if it didn't evoke memories from your childhood that brought you to your knees to weep. Can't say this will always be the case, but I'll be shocked when it's not. As you start to reduce the extreme differences in price and quality, I'd expect results to vary, but not until the gap is closed considerably...this assumes all gear is fairly priced (which of course is subjective in itself).

    Think there's some truth to ratios though, as you spend more on speakers or electronics, at one point a component will become the limiting factor in your system...that is you won't be able to get the most out of all your other equipment because of its limited ability to resolve whatever benefits the rest of your gear has.
    Yep..... I wouldn't suggest putting a $25K pair of speakers on a $300 amp and a $30 CD player.... you don't want to get too ridiculous with the price differences, but I don't think that any exact ratio exists or that you have to spend most of your money on any specific component ....

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Kevio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    452
    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I've actually participated in an experiment because of a disagreement I had here a few years ago...We tried substituting in a pair of $200 Paradigms into multi K Conrad Johnson setup...and then hooked some pretty wicked Thiel speakers up to the $300 receiver. No question the Paradigms sounded better, but they still sounded like a $200 speaker. The Thiel's still sounded like a $6000 speaker, even if it didn't evoke memories from your childhood that brought you to your knees to weep.
    Very interesting stuff but I'm not sure I understand the experiment and conclusions here. Sounds like you were pitting [inexpensive speakers + expensive electronics] vs. [expensive speakers + inexpensive electronics]. At first It sounds like the former produced the better results but then you appear to be hedging. Have I got that straight? Which is it?

  9. #9
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127

    Short answer: No

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    When I first got into this Hobby I heard about ratios of how you should portion your funds, such as:

    50% on Speakers
    25% Amp
    20% Source
    5% Cables

    ...
    Actually your ratios look pretty good for a mid-range system assuming as single, digital source. I say maybe 30% on the Amp and 15% on the Source, but hey, Mr. P would probably have it the other way around. Obviously your total source allocation needs to go up if you want both LP and CD playback.

    In a high-end system, or with certain speakers, fixed ratios become a lot less useful. For example, to fully exploit my Magneplanar MG 1.6QR speakers (US$1800), it wouldn't be totally unreasonable to, say, spend $6500 on a Pass Labs INT-150 integrated amp.
    ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Magic Spending Ratio, does it exist?-passlabs_int-150.jpg  
    Last edited by Feanor; 01-10-2009 at 10:16 AM.

  10. #10
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    Posts
    9,025
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevio
    Very interesting stuff but I'm not sure I understand the experiment and conclusions here. Sounds like you were pitting [inexpensive speakers + expensive electronics] vs. [expensive speakers + inexpensive electronics]. At first It sounds like the former produced the better results but then you appear to be hedging. Have I got that straight? Which is it?
    Yes, you've got the basic idea of this admittedly very unscientific, amateur experiment down. No I'm not hedging. The Atoms did sound better with better electronics than they sounded with just a receiver but they still sounded like Paradigm Atoms, $200 speakers. Limited resolution no matter how good the source was. Couldn't turn them into something they're not. No comparison with the Thiels. But I wonder if I had more combinations of gear to try if that rule would hold up 100% of the time? Odds are eventually you'd find an example where the trend reversed. But even then, I'd always expect higher quality speakers to sound best when mated to quality electronics for those that are privileged enough to have their cake and eat it too.

  11. #11
    Ajani
    Guest
    I've attached a pic of the ultimate Source 1st setup:


    I'd highly recommend that you all give it a try... I have my Squeezebox Classic & Benchmark DAC1 as Transport & DAC and have them connected to a Panasonic Mini System as Integrated Amp & Speakers... The sound is easily on par with any $20K setup...

    OK, seriously... does a $1,300 source significantly improve the sound of a $150 mini-system? Ummm.... urrrrr.... not really... it does seem to improve things (though I'm not willing to rule out that the slight improvement is just my imagination)....

    Maybe if I add some Audioquest speaker cables, then I'll get that $20K sound....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Magic Spending Ratio, does it exist?-004.jpg  

  12. #12
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    _
    Posts
    1,951
    Aj, I see the problem. If you just place your speakers 12' apart (+/- 6.27"), the SQ will have you weeping in no time. Oh, and most certainly add the Audioquest cables to.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  13. #13
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Out there
    Posts
    6,777
    Dammit LDB! Will you PLEASE stop changing the tolerance number!!!

  14. #14
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    down there
    Posts
    6,852
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Dammit LDB! Will you PLEASE stop changing the tolerance number!!!

    He keeps getting me on that too, Rich. Wait 'til he starts giving you his muckedy-muck on toe-in. I had to go get a protractor fer cripessake...I still got blue chalk lines, on vanilla shag no less.
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  15. #15
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    down there
    Posts
    6,852

    On topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    ...We tried substituting in a pair of $200 Paradigms into multi K Conrad Johnson setup...and then hooked some pretty wicked Thiel speakers up to the $300 receiver. No question the Paradigms sounded better, but they still sounded like a $200 speaker. The Thiel's still sounded like a $6000 speaker, even if it didn't evoke memories from your childhood that brought you to your knees to weep. Can't say this will always be the case, but I'll be shocked when it's not. As you start to reduce the extreme differences in price and quality, I'd expect results to vary, but not until the gap is closed considerably...this assumes all gear is fairly priced (which of course is subjective in itself).
    Yeah. This is along the lines of my experience as well. When I first bought the Logans I was running a Rotel setup which was servicable but lacked the magic. The Mac gear added that last little "uumph" to the equation. My trusty, old KEFs will always be ballsy, midrangey, good rock speaks but they hit the ceiling of their capability pretty early. All the high dollar boom won't change that.
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  16. #16
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    Posts
    9,025
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I've attached a pic of the ultimate Source 1st setup:


    I'd highly recommend that you all give it a try... I have my Squeezebox Classic & Benchmark DAC1 as Transport & DAC and have them connected to a Panasonic Mini System as Integrated Amp & Speakers... The sound is easily on par with any $20K setup...
    Oh man that made me laugh...garbage in = garbage out though...the source is the most important aspect of the system...

  17. #17
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Out there
    Posts
    6,777
    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    He keeps getting me on that too, Rich. Wait 'til he starts giving you his muckedy-muck on toe-in. I had to go get a protractor fer cripessake...I still got blue chalk lines, on vanilla shag no less.
    I got more holes in my carpet from the speaker spikes than you can shake a stick at!!!

  18. #18
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    _
    Posts
    1,951
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Dammit LDB! Will you PLEASE stop changing the tolerance number!!!

    Uhhhh, No!!!

    http://forums.audioreview.com/showth...621#post268621


    LOL

    LDB
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  19. #19
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Oh man that made me laugh...garbage in = garbage out though...the source is the most important aspect of the system...
    Oh yeah the Source is key in many ways.... but I just made that post to highlight how ridiculous it can be if you take Source 1st to extremes...

    I've always felt that just because a component (whether Source, Speakers or Amp) is the most important, doesn't mean that you should spend the most money on it.... People seem to keep thinking that most important = most expensive (which is just not true).... All components do not have the same price to performance ratio... For simplicity sake let's use Stereophile's Class A rating as a guide for high end gear:

    The cheapest Class A Digital Source (Marantz SA8001) retails for just $900 & there have been several Class A digital sources around that price tag... (Note: A Turntable would change the cost equation quite a bit, since the cheapest Class A turntable - Linn Sondek LP12 retails for $4.6K!!!)

    The cheapest Class A Integrated Amp (Exposure 2010S) retails for $1.4K & there have not been many other Class A Integrated Amps near that price...

    The cheapest Class A Tower Speakers (PSB Synchrony 1) retails for $4.5K & I don't think there have been any other Class A Towers at that price...

    And I've seen other review mags that seem to have similar disparities in the price of components they regard as true high end...

    Assuming you plan to use a Digital Source, then despite the Source being the most important component, you might get much better results spending $4.5K on the Speakers and only $1K on the CD player/DAC than vice versa (using the Sterophile ratings again for simplicity, you could easily get a Class A CD/DAC for $4.5K but there would be No Class A Towers and only one Class B pair available at $1K (Monitor Audio RS6), so your other options would be Class C or even D)...

  20. #20
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    2,523
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I'd highly recommend that you all give it a try... I have my Squeezebox Classic & Benchmark DAC1 as Transport & DAC and have them connected to a Panasonic Mini System as Integrated Amp & Speakers... The sound is easily on par with any $20K setup...

    OK, seriously... does a $1,300 source significantly improve the sound of a $150 mini-system? Ummm.... urrrrr.... not really...
    Maybe if I add some Audioquest speaker cables, then I'll get that $20K sound....
    You forgot the speaker stands.. no wonder it's not sounding right

  21. #21
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    down there
    Posts
    6,852
    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    You forgot the speaker stands.. no wonder it's not sounding right
    Actually, that's the Panny model with the notches and grooves on the back for easy wall hanging. They've also thoughtfully made them front-ported to retain imaging quality.
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  22. #22
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    You forgot the speaker stands.. no wonder it's not sounding right
    OK... I'm thinking of ordering a pair of these stands (I just hope they're good enough to get the best out of the speakers):

    http://www.musicdirect.com/product/81153

    +

    Some 12 ft Audioquest cables (so I can space the speakers the proper distance apart)

    http://www.musicdirect.com/product/72887

  23. #23
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    2,523
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    OK... I'm thinking of ordering a pair of these stands (I just hope they're good enough to get the best out of the speakers):

    http://www.musicdirect.com/product/81153

    http://www.musicdirect.com/product/72887
    Please tell me those aren't 2K$ stands

  24. #24
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Please tell me those aren't 2K$ stands
    Nope... they're not $2K... they're $2.4K...

    I just love the prices of audio accessories... the Speaker cables are $1K, the Stands are $2.4K.... I suppose if I had a $40K pair of bookshelves those prices might seem reasonable....

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •