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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    Review of Benchmark DAC1/AKG K701 System

    OK, time to turn off 'When Doves Cry' long enough to write a review of my new system.

    First a brief description of my setup:

    I have my entire CD collection ripped (apple lossless compression) to a Western Digital external hard drive attached via USB to my HP laptop.

    Next is a Squeezebox Classic that I use to stream the music from my laptop. The Squeezebox is connected via coaxial digital input to my Benchmark DAC1 using an Audioquest G-Snake RCA cable...

    Finally, I have my AKG K701 Headphones connected to the left Headphone Output of the Benchmark....

    Volume on the Squeezebox is set to max and I use the Benchmark to control the volume.

    So to break it down:

    Computer & Hard-Drive = Storage Medium (like a CD)
    Squeezebox = Wireless Transport
    Benchmark = DAC & Headphone Amp
    AKG = Earspeakers

    See poor quality attached picture of my setup below:



    Total System Cost (excluding Computer and Glass Audio Stand) = Approximately $1,880.00 USD MSRP.

    So for almost USD 2K, I've gone from listening to music on my laptop with a $15 pair of Panasonic headphones to still listening to music on my laptop with a pair of headphones... No wonder so many people think Audiophiles are lunatics...



    OK now comes the hard part, describing the sound of my setup. A quote from Rob Reina in Stereophile, while reviewing the Monitor Audio RS6 Towers, best describes my experience with my system so far:

    after several weeks of listening to dozens of recordings through the Silver RS6, I could find not a single shortcoming—no deviation from neutrality, or any other compromise that I would normally expect to find in a cost-constrained design.
    Yes, now that I've killed all my audiophile credibility (assuming I had any) by quoting Rob Reina, let me use my own words... The two words that constantly pop into my head when I hear my system are “Neutral” & “Detailed”.

    I find that all the music I loved before I still love and and the stuff I didn't like... well I still don't like... but everything sounds better, clearer, more defined... from the way the system conveys the 80s rhythmic funk of Prince's 'Kiss' to the silky smooth vocals of a young Michael Jackson singing 'I want You back' with his 4 brothers in the Jackson 5... Through the heartfelt passion of Mariah Carey's 'We Belong Together' and the ultra smooth Saxophone of Kenny G's 'Havana'... From the sappy depressing vocals of Kenny Rogers 'She believes in me' to the Psychotic, Vengeful, Murderous delusions of Tupac's 'Hit Em Up'... The system is as comfortable with Bob Marley as it with the London Symphony Orchestra... I have wide and varied tastes in music, so no one trick pony is going to work with all or even most of my albums... I've certainly heard more romantic, beat intense or vocal specialized systems and while each would make specific songs in my collection sound better, they would also totally ruin the remainder of my songs... This system has done a better job than any other I've heard so far of getting everything right....

    When I first ordered the Benchmark/AKG (BA) setup I was hoping for a sound like my previous all time favorite setup of Monitor Audio Gold Series 20 Towers with Musical Fidelity X-Series V8 Amp & CD, but was really expecting the bright and overly analytical sound of a B&W 805S, Rotel Combo I'd auditioned a few times... Surprisingly, I got neither... what I got was much more Revel than either Monitor Audio or B&W... just plain neutral and smooth...

    So the sound: Vocals are extend and airy without sounding bright or edgy... The mids are full and detailed... I'm hearing so many little sounds and effects that I've never heard before, in songs I've played hundreds of times... Bass is tight, deep and most importantly fast (the speed is like the difference between a pair of aluminum 6.5 inch woofers versus a large 12 or 15 inch bass driver)... Rap and Rock music have the appropriate low-end authority to get your head moving and your toes tapping... But speaking of rhythm, my standard test of any system must include how it performs with the 80s pop classic 'Billie Jean' by Michael Jackson (did I really have to say who sang Billie Jean?)... The BA setup had me breaking out into moonwalks and fondling my crotch obscenely... After the opening drum sequence there's a little 'chicu uhh' effect at the beginning of Billie Jean that I had previously enjoyed most on tubed setups... shockingly, after a week of break-in the BA setup is doing a great job of getting that effect right, while still maintaining the overall rhythm and pace of the song (generally done by solid state gear)... The soundstage is excellent for a pair of headphones, the music sounds more like it's floating around your head, with the lead vocals coming from somewhere in your forehead, rather than in your ear canal... sadly, this is the one letdown of a headphone setup for me, it generally sounds more like you are surrounded rather intimately by the band, instead of sitting a few rows back at a concert.... But once in a while, I'll hear a sound or voice pop out of nowhere, from a distance and I'll spin my head around, thinking someone has entered the room.. just to realize that it was part of the song... At those times I think I understand what E-Stat said about his system being able to fool the senses (not that I'm comparing the overall sound quality of his system with mine... I'm not that delusional)...


    Verdict:

    For a normal person $2K for a headphone setup is a total rip-off (since, to be quite honest, the $15 Panasonics connected to the laptop, do an ok job of portraying the essentials of the music)... but by Audiophile standards, the BA setup is an amazing bargain.. especially when you consider that a $500 pair of headphones will easily rival the sound quality of a $5K floorstander...

    If you are an audiophile on a tight budget and/or with a tight space, you really should consider a Headphone setup... Even if you are a planar lover, you can get a nice pair of Electrostatic Earspeakers for less the $500... Just try getting a pair of new Electrostatic Towers for anywhere near that price! In fact, even if you already have an expensive reference system, I'd suggest auditioning several Headphone/Amp combos... as you might be shocked at how good they can sound...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Review of Benchmark DAC1/AKG K701 System-001.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Your DAC is one of the best - a lot of high end recording studios use the same unit to get a monitoring solution of a digital 2 track mix.

  3. #3
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Hmm....

    Your logic is..... flawless. The highest compliment I could pay. Great solution for apartment or condo dwellers.. BUT your choice of headphones is key. Nothing worse than hot sweaty ears from hours of listening or worse... ear fatigue from the wrong set of cans.

    Da Worfster

  4. #4
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worf101
    Your logic is..... flawless. The highest compliment I could pay. Great solution for apartment or condo dwellers.. BUT your choice of headphones is key. Nothing worse than hot sweaty ears from hours of listening or worse... ear fatigue from the wrong set of cans.

    Da Worfster
    Thanks... and yes comfort is a MAJOR factor in choosing a pair of headphones.... I find the AKGs to be comfortable to the point that I could probably fall asleep with them on (which would probably be a very bad idea)...

    Also nothing kills the enjoyment of a good system more than listening fatigue.... That's what turned me off a B&W / Rotel combo that I had initially been very excited about...

    So far I'm really just loving the Headphone setup... I will probably get a speaker setup later on (probably in 2010).... but right now, the advantage of being able to hear my music in high quality, at any time of day or night (with no thought given to neighbors or my wife being disturbed by the music) is just fantastic...

  5. #5
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Damn..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani

    So far I'm really just loving the Headphone setup... I will probably get a speaker setup later on (probably in 2010)....
    Dontcha like to share your music?

  6. #6
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Dontcha like to share your music?
    Yep, but my wife is perfectly happy with the sound quality of her Panasonic Mini-System... So it'll take a long time (if ever) to convince her of the need to spend... oh.. $6K to $12K for a 'real' speaker system... or even $3K for a pair of powered Martin Logans...

  7. #7
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Yep, but my wife is perfectly happy with the sound quality of her Panasonic Mini-System... So it'll take a long time (if ever) to convince her of the need to spend... oh.. $6K to $12K for a 'real' speaker system... or even $3K for a pair of powered Martin Logans...
    Well, just consider the fact that you convince her to get yourself a $2K headphone setup.. If that's possible surely you can talk her into anything you want
    (great review by the way, may you enjoy many hours of musical bliss)

  8. #8
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Interesting...I have been contemplating doing what you did, but only streaming sound to my existing 2 channel speaker set up from a computer that could be used as a music server. I've read where others have done this. My only question is would there be a degration in sound if its streamed through a Squeezebox?

    frenchmon

  9. #9
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    Interesting...I have been contemplating doing what you did, but only streaming sound to my existing 2 channel speaker set up from a computer that could be used as a music server. I've read where others have done this. My only question is would there be a degration in sound if its streamed through a Squeezebox?

    frenchmon
    Nope... You should check out the reviews and measurements in Stereophile for streaming devices such as the Squeezebox and even the Apple Airport Express... they put out bit perfect signals to the DAC... so assuming that you ripped your CD collection bit perfect in the 1st place (there's lots of software to ensure this), then what enters your DAC from the streaming device will also be bit perfect...

    The only other thing to ensure is that you have a DAC with good jitter reduction/correction such as the Benchmark...

  10. #10
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Well, just consider the fact that you convince her to get yourself a $2K headphone setup.. If that's possible surely you can talk her into anything you want
    Ha! You have no idea the suffering she put me through for spending this much on the Headphone kit... + she treated herself to a 42 inch Plasma and a new bedroom set to compensate...

    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    (great review by the way, may you enjoy many hours of musical bliss)
    Thanks... I really hope so too... I need the upgrade bug to stay away at least long enough for my wallet to recover...

  11. #11
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Mouse
    Your DAC is one of the best - a lot of high end recording studios use the same unit to get a monitoring solution of a digital 2 track mix.
    I read so many rave reviews from major mags + kept hearing about top recording studios using the DAC1... so I was really hoping it would live up to the hype... Thankfully it has...

  12. #12
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Nice write-up

    Thanks, Ajani,

    And there's really nothing I can take issue with in the least ... except I basically hate headphones. They are all (1) more or less uncomfortable and (2) incapable of delivering the realistic soundstage you get with decent speakers.

    However I did recently buy a pair of headphones for home use that I like relatively well. These are the Sennheiser HD 555 for which I paid just over 100 bucks: a huge bargain at that price, though doubtless well short of the refinement of the AKG K701. They are by far the most comfortable cans I've owned but I only listen to them when I don't want to inflict my music on the rest of the family: I much prefer my MG 1.6QR speakers.

    Of course, I do listen on the move to my iPod. I'm quite well satisfied with the Shure SE210 which were also just over $100. They are a bit bass-shy so might not appeal to everyone.

  13. #13
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Thanks, Ajani,

    And there's really nothing I can take issue with in the least ... except I basically hate headphones. They are all (1) more or less uncomfortable and (2) incapable of delivering the realistic soundstage you get with decent speakers.
    1) requires a lot of searching... and not all headphones feel comfortable or uncomfortable to the same people... for example, I find the K701s to be comfortable to the point that I could sleep with them on... but I've heard a few persons complain that they press down heavily on the top of their head.. Some people say that Sennheisers have a vice like grip on your head, while others think they are very comfortable... So I think you really just have to try out a lot of different options to find one that works for you...

    2) I can't argue with that... My Previous setup consisting of a Rotel RC1070 Pre, RB1080 Power, Marantz CD5001 and Mission V63 Towers was capable of throwing a pretty decent soundtage... I could pinpoint Bob Marley's location (just a touch left of center) and where his background singers and drummers were... it gave a decent feeling of being in the middle row of a live concert... Whereas my headphones give the impression that I'm on stage with Bob's lips pressed up against my forehead as he sings "Could you be love"... which can feel a tad uncomfortable if you close your eyes and visualize it... I'll hear detail like never before though.... so it's really a trade-off of better detail versus more realistic soundstage...

  14. #14
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Nope... You should check out the reviews and measurements in Stereophile for streaming devices such as the Squeezebox and even the Apple Airport Express... they put out bit perfect signals to the DAC... so assuming that you ripped your CD collection bit perfect in the 1st place (there's lots of software to ensure this), then what enters your DAC from the streaming device will also be bit perfect...

    The only other thing to ensure is that you have a DAC with good jitter reduction/correction such as the Benchmark...
    Thanks Ajani...I'll look for the reviews and look more closely at DAC's.
    Oh, and by the way...your system looks nice.

    frenchmon

  15. #15
    RGA
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    Ajani

    Nice set-up and review. I am looking into reviewing a series of headphone systems for dagogo.com and I have been impressed with my AKG 26p which I thought would be a throw away $40 headphone but so impressed was I, that I bought a second pair. Killer good headphone for $40. I am working with my editor to bring in some top headphones and have requested the AKG 702 as well as the benchmark - though some companies prefer to review the entire unit's capabilities and I am only able to review it as a headphone amp and DAC - we'll see.

    My request to you is what else did you consider. I was bigger into headphones about 7 years ago and a lot of the names then have gone now. My only need is that it must be USB accessible as I will be reviewing it from the "audiophile on the go" or the travelling audiophile who wants the best sound available.

    Do you have any suggestions of headphone amps and headphones all the way to cost no object in current production. I'd like to have two or three headphones to review as well as a few headphone amps at a few prices. Not really to compare to eachother but to serve as a way to determine good headphone combinations.

    I like both my own Senn HD 600 and the AKG 701 and very much liked the AKG 1000 which I kind of wish they had kept. I also like the upper Stax models.

    Headphone amps seem to be disappearing - the tube designs often don't have a USB connection.

  16. #16
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Ajani

    Nice set-up and review. I am looking into reviewing a series of headphone systems for dagogo.com and I have been impressed with my AKG 26p which I thought would be a throw away $40 headphone but so impressed was I, that I bought a second pair. Killer good headphone for $40. I am working with my editor to bring in some top headphones and have requested the AKG 702 as well as the benchmark - though some companies prefer to review the entire unit's capabilities and I am only able to review it as a headphone amp and DAC - we'll see.

    My request to you is what else did you consider. I was bigger into headphones about 7 years ago and a lot of the names then have gone now. My only need is that it must be USB accessible as I will be reviewing it from the "audiophile on the go" or the travelling audiophile who wants the best sound available.

    Do you have any suggestions of headphone amps and headphones all the way to cost no object in current production. I'd like to have two or three headphones to review as well as a few headphone amps at a few prices. Not really to compare to eachother but to serve as a way to determine good headphone combinations.

    I like both my own Senn HD 600 and the AKG 701 and very much liked the AKG 1000 which I kind of wish they had kept. I also like the upper Stax models.

    Headphone amps seem to be disappearing - the tube designs often don't have a USB connection.
    In headphones the usual suspects are the AKG K701/2, Sennheiser 650/600, Stax models and Grado... The Grado GS 1000 is the most intersting and expensive model in the Grado line... If you want to throw a wild card into the mix, then you could also review Monster Beats by Dr. Dre... I've heard some good things about those headphones...

    In headphone amps: after the Benchmark, my next choice would be the Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8 (has USB input) and should be a great match to the AKG K701/2... Also try out the Grace Design M902 (has internal DAC) and some of these DAC enabled Headphone Amps from Headroom:

    http://www.headphone.com/products/headphone-amps/

    Anyway, http://www.head-fi.org/ is the best site to go for headphone info...

  17. #17
    Ajani
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    FOLLOW UP REVIEW

    So it's been almost a year since I wrote my initial review of the Benchmark DAC1 / AKG K701 Setup. A lot has changed in that time: I've switched from being a Financial Controller to Lecturing Accounting at my old University, I've changed Country (again), moved on to a new relationship, and gone from Financially stable to broke to financially stable again... But the one thing that hasn't changed is the DAC1 / K701 Combo (well not significantly anyway - I bought another external hard drive and now use the original as a backup for my music collection, and I bought a proper digital cable - Audioquest VDM-X).

    By now the Headphones and the electronics are properly burned in (assuming you believe in burn-in) and I've had more than enough time to become familiar with the sound of the setup.

    So to get to the real question: after almost a year am I still enjoying the DAC1 / K701 Combo? As I listen to "These Streets" and "It's a Pity" By Tanya Stephens (Reggae) I remember why I got into this hobby in the first place.... it's all about the music... and I've long passed the stage with this combo of listening for subtle details, soundstage, PRAT, dynamics or any other audiophile terms... I just listen to whatever song I feel in the mood for and really enjoy it...

    When I initially bought this setup I intended for it to be a stop gap until I could afford a high quality 2 channel rig (with floorstanders)... Now that I'm finally in the position to buy such a setup, I can't seem to pull the trigger... I'm just not willing to put the DAC1 / K701 into a secondary system... I'm sure one day the upgrade bug will grab me by the ankles, hold me upside down and shake the money out of my pockets... but right now I'm enjoying listening to music more than ever, and I honestly can't think of a better recommendation than that...

  18. #18
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    FOLLOW UP REVIEW

    So it's been almost a year since I wrote my initial review of the Benchmark DAC1 / AKG K701 Setup. A lot has changed in that time: I've switched from being a Financial Controller to Lecturing Accounting at my old University, I've changed Country (again), moved on to a new relationship, and gone from Financially stable to broke to financially stable again... But the one thing that hasn't changed is the DAC1 / K701 Combo (well not significantly anyway - I bought another external hard drive and now use the original as a backup for my music collection, and I bought a proper digital cable - Audioquest VDM-X).

    By now the Headphones and the electronics are properly burned in (assuming you believe in burn-in) and I've had more than enough time to become familiar with the sound of the setup.

    So to get to the real question: after almost a year am I still enjoying the DAC1 / K701 Combo? As I listen to "These Streets" and "It's a Pity" By Tanya Stephens (Reggae) I remember why I got into this hobby in the first place.... it's all about the music... and I've long passed the stage with this combo of listening for subtle details, soundstage, PRAT, dynamics or any other audiophile terms... I just listen to whatever song I feel in the mood for and really enjoy it...

    When I initially bought this setup I intended for it to be a stop gap until I could afford a high quality 2 channel rig (with floorstanders)... Now that I'm finally in the position to buy such a setup, I can't seem to pull the trigger... I'm just not willing to put the DAC1 / K701 into a secondary system... I'm sure one day the upgrade bug will grab me by the ankles, hold me upside down and shake the money out of my pockets... but right now I'm enjoying listening to music more than ever, and I honestly can't think of a better recommendation than that...
    Ajani, I only recently joined AR, so your thread has been buried until now. I just want to say how inspired your review was, I actually read the entire post. You hit on alot of points that resonated with me. Particularily, emphasis on a high end DAC. I came to AR as a headphone lover, and still am. For me, the K240S is the ultimate sonic delivery. I am currently on the hunt for a good pair of Sextett, late production, which will hopefully end any need to have to read another headphone review again.

    I have been reading, auditioning and searching for a phono stage, and a better DAC. After reading your review, I think I'll seek out the DAC first. I originally got my DAC because I had the ouputs on my computer for it, and it seemed like a logical step. The more I have listened to it however, the more I have enjoyed it. I am between my vinyl and the DAC now. I think I may try a config that includes my TT and pre amp direct to the comp, with a solid DAC to output.

    Anyhow, I am kind of blabbing on here, Just wondering what your thoguhts on Firestone products are. I have a Spitfire. I love it although my experience with DACs is quite limited. I am starting to become aware of jitter as I listen more and learn more. Thanks for the great review!! You have earned a headbang mon ami...
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    One other suggestion about a backup. I keep two backups with one of them off-premises. If there were a fire, windstorm or burglary at my home it is easily conceivable that both the server and the backup could be damaged or lost. While I'd have bigger problems to deal with just following that loss, eventually I'd be back to the point where the thought and expense of trying to re-create a 43,000+ song collection would leave me very depressed.

    Another $100 for a second backup kept off-premises is pretty cheap insurance. (And it is an option that doesn't even exist for vinyl collectors and is still much more a pain for those who make backup CDs.)

  20. #20
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlsstl
    One other suggestion about a backup. I keep two backups with one of them off-premises. If there were a fire, windstorm or burglary at my home it is easily conceivable that both the server and the backup could be damaged or lost. While I'd have bigger problems to deal with just following that loss, eventually I'd be back to the point where the thought and expense of trying to re-create a 43,000+ song collection would leave me very depressed.

    Another $100 for a second backup kept off-premises is pretty cheap insurance. (And it is an option that doesn't even exist for vinyl collectors and is still much more a pain for those who make backup CDs.)
    That is a good point... and I forgot to add that I do have a third backup, with my brother on the other end of the island... so it would take quite a lot for me to have start loading from original CDs again...

  21. #21
    music whore Happy Camper's Avatar
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    Have you tried that rig with a high end headphone tube amp? The 701s need a lot of power to make them scream. You want to spend for another wow, have them balanced with a $$$$ balanced tube amp.

    My brother and I have each other's drives in our fire resistant house safes. Thank the designers for making drives smaller. I also have two backup drives on site.
    d HC b

  22. #22
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    FOLLOW UP REVIEW

    So to get to the real question: after almost a year am I still enjoying the DAC1 / K701 Combo? As I listen to "These Streets" and "It's a Pity" By Tanya Stephens (Reggae) I remember why I got into this hobby in the first place.... it's all about the music... and I've long passed the stage with this combo of listening for subtle details, soundstage, PRAT, dynamics or any other audiophile terms... I just listen to whatever song I feel in the mood for and really enjoy it...

    I'm sure one day the upgrade bug will grab me by the ankles, hold me upside down and shake the money out of my pockets... but right now I'm enjoying listening to music more than ever, and I honestly can't think of a better recommendation than that...
    Man, the brilliance and insight of these statements makes me want to stand up and cheer. How many people do you think are out there with HIDEOUSLY EXPENSIVE systems that never LISTEN to music? Every single minute of every day devouted to chasing the sonic 'Holy Grail" that will never be found and probably doesn't exist. I'm glad that somebody else at least "gets it".

    Da Worfster

  23. #23
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worf101
    Man, the brilliance and insight of these statements makes me want to stand up and cheer. How many people do you think are out there with HIDEOUSLY EXPENSIVE systems that never LISTEN to music? Every single minute of every day devouted to chasing the sonic 'Holy Grail" that will never be found and probably doesn't exist. I'm glad that somebody else at least "gets it".

    Da Worfster
    I think the problem is that Audiophilia is as much (if not more) about the love of electronics as it is about loving music...

    Before I became an "Audiophile", I would spend my free time listening to top 10 and top 40 countdowns on the radio, watching them on TV and checking Billboard Charts online... I could tell you what song was no 1 and how many weeks it was on the chart, faster than you could blink. After getting bitten hard by the upgrade bug, back when I was loving music on a Panasonic MiniSystem (almost 2 decades ago), I found myself spending more time searching the net for product reviews and user ratings... I could tell you what the latest 5 Star rated Integrated Amp in the $1.5K Price Range was, but I lost track of what was happening on the music charts... I found that when I was bored with hearing my existing music collection, my first thought was to upgrade my system, rather than buy some new CDs...

    I'm not opposed to Audiophilia, but I've learned that it is a ridiculously expensive hobby. There is no point chasing the non-existent Holy Grail of sonic nirvana, since there is always better gear available if you have the time and money to find it... My attitude now is to invest in a 'decent' (not necessarily expensive) setup and then focus on the music..... It's far more enjoyable and frankly, it's much cheaper to buy 10 new CDs whenever you get bored, than to upgrade your HiFi setup...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I think the problem is that Audiophilia is as much (if not more) about the love of electronics as it is about loving music...
    True, but so what. Who's denying it and why is it a problem? The audio hobby is all about the equipment and it's lots of fun. Researching, demo'ing, buying, swapping, critquing...all great fun. Music is another great hobby. I have both. I think most audiophiles have both hobbies. They are different hobbies. I see no reason why they should be mutually exclusive.
    Now if you spending money you can't afford or are just finding the audio hobby frustruating, then by all means, don't engage. But, people seem to think that abandoning the hobby in the pure pursuit of music is somehow morally superior. It's not. It's just a different way to spend your time and money.

  25. #25
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxwired
    True, but so what. Who's denying it and why is it a problem? The audio hobby is all about the equipment and it's lots of fun. Researching, demo'ing, buying, swapping, critquing...all great fun. Music is another great hobby. I have both. I think most audiophiles have both hobbies. They are different hobbies. I see no reason why they should be mutually exclusive.
    Now if you spending money you can't afford or are just finding the audio hobby frustruating, then by all means, don't engage. But, people seem to think that abandoning the hobby in the pure pursuit of music is somehow morally superior. It's not. It's just a different way to spend your time and money.
    I'm not picking on AA here, but the question he poses in this thread:

    Music lovers

    is what guys like myself and Worf (presumably) are talking about. The belief held by many audiophiles, that you can't be a music lover unless you have a "high quality" system.

    As dramatic as my post sounded, the aim was not to say that we should all abandon the audiophile (electronics) hobby, but to remind us that a love of and enjoyment of music does not require never ending upgrades, and bankruptcy.

    Audiophiles traditionally claim the love of music as the reason for this hobby. I dispute that claim. Love of Electronics, tweaking and gadgets is IMO the real driving force behind Audiophilia.

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