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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    What is your favorite Review?

    I was looking for reviews for a Parasound amp and ran across, probably my favorite review of an audio component:

    http://www.stereotimes.com/amp040803.shtml

    It's a review of the Parasound Halo P3 & A23... The reason I love the review is perfectly expressed in the first 4 paragraphs (which are fairly short)... Essentially the reviewer who owns gear more in the $15K to $30K price range, realized he was out of touch with reality and decide to review something affordable... It's a good review that just reminds me of how crazy things can get in this hobby...

    So what's yours? Post a link or a quote if you can... Any review that you will never forget?

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Yeah, well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I was looking for reviews for a Parasound amp and ran across, probably my favorite review of an audio component:

    http://www.stereotimes.com/amp040803.shtml

    It's a review of the Parasound Halo P3 & A23... The reason I love the review is perfectly expressed in the first 4 paragraphs (which are fairly short)... Essentially the reviewer who owns gear more in the $15K to $30K price range, realized he was out of touch with reality and decide to review something affordable... It's a good review that just reminds me of how crazy things can get in this hobby...

    So what's yours? Post a link or a quote if you can... Any review that you will never forget?
    Reading TAS and, even more, Stereophile, one is impressed how the revieweres are out of touch with the "little guy". Thing is, the little guy, the guy who'll spend $3000-5000 on compete system, (stereo or HT), is probably 85% of the market. In any case, most people start small and grow, yet the big, mainstream mags and reviewers tend to pay little attention to true entry level equipment. (I'm struck by how often a 'Phile or TAS reviewer will describe some $5000 component as "entry level" ... huh??)

    Nevertheless the review you sight, Ajani, in the end is still condescending; it's about the authors "slumming" in low cost equipment. And the actual specific comments on the Parasound components are superficial and there are no comparisons with other, comparably priced that one might hope for.

  3. #3
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Reading TAS and, even more, Stereophile, one is impressed how the revieweres are out of touch with the "little guy". Thing is, the little guy, the guy who'll spend $3000-5000 on compete system, (stereo or HT), is probably 85% of the market. In any case, most people start small and grow, yet the big, mainstream mags and reviewers tend to pay little attention to true entry level equipment. (I'm struck by how often a 'Phile or TAS reviewer will describe some $5000 component as "entry level" ... huh??)
    Yep... Agreed... Stereophile uses the argument that their reader base is the 15% of the market buying those expensive toys...

    This is one place where I really prefer UK review mags, they cover everything... with a lot of attention on the stuff us 85% are likely to buy (or save up and buy), rather than just dream about...

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Nevertheless the review you sight, Ajani, in the end is still condescending; it's about the authors "slumming" in low cost equipment. And the actual specific comments on the Parasound components are superficial and there are no comparisons with other, comparably priced that one might hope for.
    I see your point, but considering the reviewer's extreme lack of experience with affordable gear, I think it was a good review (if guys like you or I, who have significant experience with affordable gear, wrote a review like that, then it would be poor)... And I like to see affordable gear compared to the more expensive stuff, as it gives a more realistic impression of whether the mountain top is really that far away (apart from price, which is worlds apart).... Other mags that specialize in affordable gear would give a comparison with price comparable gear...

  4. #4
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    I thought I was rather MidFi, but I guess I'm still LoFi.

    Nevertheless, good thread. I'll look through some of my old rags to see if there're any that stick out in my mind.

    And I won't try to derail yer thread either.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Kevio's Avatar
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    That baseball analogy was a nicely written image.

  6. #6
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevio
    That baseball analogy was a nicely written image.
    Yes it was... and it describes what I'd consider to be the difference between really good affordable gear & the very best...

  7. #7
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The problem is that low and mid-fi aren't sexy and that most people buying Best Buy electronics are not the people that would buy a Hi Fi or Home Theater magazine. I think the internet has player a big role in this. You can now go to the Best Buy web site and read user reviews of low and mid fi equipment.

    And of course there are many forum's like this one where you can go and find info.

    So when are we going to start up a low and mid fi AudioReview Magazine?
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  8. #8
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    The problem is that low and mid-fi aren't sexy and that most people buying Best Buy electronics are not the people that would buy a Hi Fi or Home Theater magazine. I think the internet has player a big role in this. You can now go to the Best Buy web site and read user reviews of low and mid fi equipment.

    And of course there are many forum's like this one where you can go and find info.

    So when are we going to start up a low and mid fi AudioReview Magazine?
    That would be an interesting name for a review mag (assuming it doesn't exist): "Low-Fi"

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    So Anji, when are you going to buy the A23 Halo amp? I'm very happy with the A21. I really can't find one weakness in it other than it uses 25watts in standby mode. (This keeps the unit warmed up 24hrs per day.) It does everything well. I've heard more expensive amps with more air and deeper bass, but they cost $2K-3K more.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    So Anji, when are you going to buy the A23 Halo amp? I'm very happy with the A21. I really can't find one weakness in it other than it uses 25watts in standby mode. (This keeps the unit warmed up 24hrs per day.) It does everything well. I've heard more expensive amps with more air and deeper bass, but they cost $2K-3K more.
    Hopefully soon... I tested out whether I could hear a difference between using the volume control on my Benchmark or the, highly debated, digital volume control on my Squeezebox last night... To cut a long story short: I can't tell the difference (though in fairness I have the Benchmark volume set to 12 o'clock, so I don't need to do much adjustment with the Squeezebox) - so it means I don't need an integrated (I just wanted one for the remote)... so the Halo A23 is on the top of my list... good power, good price, good looks and great reviews....

  11. #11
    nightflier
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    So does it really cost $15K to design, manufacture, and distribute an entry-level hi-fi preamplifier? Or does it really cost $10K and the rest is pure, unadulterated profit? Maybe it only costs $5K. In my opinion, just as there are diminishing returns in sound when you go up in price like that, there are also diminishing returns in real value. Sometimes, the higher the price, the larger the profit margin. It's like that with SUVs, purebred animals, and yachts, so why should this be any different?

    On the idea of starting a magazine, I actually think it would be quite feasible to start a magazine that only reviews the lowest level of components from each manufacturer. Anyone manufacturer can build a widget for more money, and there will always be buyers for these, but real talent lies in creating a product that is both good and affordable. Let's hope that as the economy continues to struggle, that even those who own a house in the Hamptons will demand better priced gear.

    Maybe then the magazines will begin to realize that we are actually in a down economy. Sure evaluating expensive gear is sexy, but it's not like Parasound gear doesn't look sexy, either. As a matter of fact, I can think of a whole host of products that look sexy, are decent sounding, and costs low-fi prices.
    Last edited by nightflier; 01-27-2009 at 03:26 PM.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Hopefully soon... I tested out whether I could hear a difference between using the volume control on my Benchmark or the, highly debated, digital volume control on my Squeezebox last night... To cut a long story short: I can't tell the difference (though in fairness I have the Benchmark volume set to 12 o'clock, so I don't need to do much adjustment with the Squeezebox) - so it means I don't need an integrated (I just wanted one for the remote)... so the Halo A23 is on the top of my list... good power, good price, good looks and great reviews....
    I was thinking about this recently, more specificly (sp?) about input/output impedance mismatches when you don't go through a proper pre-amplifier. I hear that even some variable output cd player are best connected to a pre. I'd like to know more about it..

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    This is one place where I really prefer UK review mags, they cover everything... with a lot of attention on the stuff us 85% are likely to buy (or save up and buy), rather than just dream about...
    Could not agree more. I subscribe to What-HiFi at $90/yr because the US mags offer so little. You have stereophile and TAS which both focus mosly on what I would call super hi end equipment that I will never own and frankly don't want to own OR you have the low end home theater mags that really don't address quality affordable 2 channel equipment. I find both very unsatisfying. What-HiFi is wonderful and has what the US mags use to print 20 years ago. They cover all the great gear in the $500 to $3000 range. They have one small section each month on the super hi end, but everything else is affordable. They mostly skip the low end equipment from big box stores. They also have a lot of fun sections like advice for readers and a section on reader system makeover each month. They cover the NAD, Cambridge Audio, Roksan, Arcam level stuff. It is a drag that it's a brittish mag and some of the equipment is not available here and I have to translate from pounds to dollars, but there really is no US magazine that offers the same content...

  14. #14
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Comme to think of it, I quite enjoyed reading a review from Stereophile of the 140,000$+ 'La Sphere' speakers by Cabasse, meaning 'the sphere' in French. There is notably one paragraph I particularly enjoyed -

    So—to $165,000, add another $100,000 for the four pairs of speaker cables and balanced interconnects, for a grand total of $265,000—and that's just for the amps and speakers and the wire to hook them up with. Preamp and source components and their wires are extra.
    At a time when the US economy is sliding into the toilet and tens of thousands of Americans are losing their foreclosed-on homes, spending over a quarter of a million bucks just to hear some music is disgusting, disgraceful, decadent, grotesquely indulgent, well off the Bad Taste chart, and blah blah blah. But even with a robust economy, zero unemployment, and free healthcare for all, spending $265,000 to play some music would still be all of the above. And there is still, and will probably always be, a waiting list for Ferraris. Some people will continue to fetishize and wear obscenely priced wristwatches the size of satellite dishes. The good life goes on for the terminally well-off, of whom surely some read Stereophile. Please, the rest of you, indulge your imaginations and hold your envy in check for a few more pages, just as the readers of auto magazines do. Even if you can't afford the car, try to enjoy the ride.


    It is a good read.
    http://www.stereophile.com/standloud...cab/index.html
    On a similar note, I'm having trouble swallowing the fact that one can spend 25K$ on a pair of cables..

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I was thinking about this recently, more specificly (sp?) about input/output impedance mismatches when you don't go through a proper pre-amplifier. I hear that even some variable output cd player are best connected to a pre. I'd like to know more about it..
    Hmmm.... I was actually more concerned about whether digital volume control would have an adverse effect on sound quality, as that is a raging debate among some audiophiles...

    For example, in the Stereophile review of the Slim Devices Transporter, the reviewer didn't even test the digital volume as he 'assumed' it would be crap (based on it reducing sampling rate or some such techno babble)... however several major brands including PS Audio are now using it with their DACS instead of the typical preamp...

  16. #16
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I was thinking about this recently, more specificly (sp?) about input/output impedance mismatches when you don't go through a proper pre-amplifier. I hear that even some variable output cd player are best connected to a pre. I'd like to know more about it..
    I won't bother you with the boring details, but I became the Accidental Passivist after building a cheap attenuator box for the office system years ago. I was utterly amazed that $16 worth of Radio Shack parts could sound a good bit better than a $2500 Audio Research preamp for a high level source. Today, I use that preamp solely for phono duty where its gain is required. When I got started back in the 70s, preamps were always necessary because of that. The situation today, however, has changed. Many digital players / DACs have high gain and low output impedance which is ideal for bypassing what is most always superfluous in terms of gain. The advantage to line stages today (other than switching lots of inputs) is the ability to drive multiple amplifiers and/or tape recorders and very long cable runs, neither of which applies to my systems.

    I later built another attenuator box with better parts that is used in the "big" system. The garage system uses a Manley DAC that is intended to drive an amp directly and has analog left and right gain controls.

    rw

  17. #17
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    My favorite review........

    Of the beaten track a bit.....

    Years ago I was listening to the old Tony Kornheiser Radio show. Its Oscar time and he's taking calls about what were people's favorite movies for that year. A guys calls in and says
    "Without a doubt Tony "Titanic"! I have never seen and never will but it is the best movie ever made!"
    Tony asks why is it the best movie if he never has seen it.
    The caller replies "My wife went to see it with a girlfriend and when my wife gets home she grabs me and we make hot monkey love for 4 hours! So in my opinion it is the best movie ever made".

    I am guessing that guy was waiting at the store at midnight when the DVD was released....

  18. #18
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekid
    My favorite review........

    Of the beaten track a bit.....

    Years ago I was listening to the old Tony Kornheiser Radio show. Its Oscar time and he's taking calls about what were people's favorite movies for that year. A guys calls in and says
    "Without a doubt Tony "Titanic"! I have never seen and never will but it is the best movie ever made!"
    Tony asks why is it the best movie if he never has seen it.
    The caller replies "My wife went to see it with a girlfriend and when my wife gets home she grabs me and we make hot monkey love for 4 hours! So in my opinion it is the best movie ever made".

    I am guessing that guy was waiting at the store at midnight when the DVD was released....
    Any movie that helps me get laid is a great film!!!

  19. #19
    Ajani
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    I just read a review from hometheatrereview...they seem to have recently started putting reviews online - and I'm rather impressed that the price ranges covered and length of the reviews are more like the UK What Hi-Fi? Mag than Stereophile or TAS...

    Anyway this quote from a review of the Musical Fidelity 550K Supercharger was funny as hell to me:

    Back and forth, it was proven again and again that Antony's concern for the preservation of dynamic contrasts has been neglected, and that power starvation is infinitely more important than imaginary bullsh!t like pace/rhythm/timing (which anyone with a shred of logic will know is only affected by speed inconsistencies in the source).
    http://www.hometheaterreview.com/equ...550k001119.php

  20. #20
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    For whatever reason, and perhaps because it's in the same vein as the discussion above, I've always liked the Stereophile review of the Outlaw gear...

    "Omigosh, you mean this stuff doesn't doesn't suck?"

    http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/306outlaw/
    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"

  21. #21
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    these days, its the review of the MBL extreme.

    i KNOW i cant afford them nor their little bros-the 101s. but damn, a speaker that can accomplish what they do is incredible at ANY price. maybe there will be some trickle down one day. or another maker will make a similar device for way cheeeeeper.

    in the meantime, try some MMGs and a sub. they are amazing for the money.
    ...regards...tr

  22. #22
    Magic Man Registered Member Phillip McCrevis's Avatar
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    Hi guys! I'm new. The message at the top of the screen told me to say hello here.

    How are you guys doing? Looks like someone needs a new job if they can't afford a $5000 component. Actually, if a component is $5000 AND entry level, it probably isn't very good and you are probably a sucker.

    Anyway, hello out there. I came by to give advice and just generally help out. I've been in "the game" for a long time and also play the clarinet in a community band, so I know what I'm talking about.

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