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  1. #1
    Forum Regular BadAssJazz's Avatar
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    Would you rather top tier/entry level or bottom tier/high end?

    File under "debate topics that come up whenever I discuss electronics with my brother." Sadly, there was no beer involved when this latest topic spewed forth.

    What is your preference? Would you rather buy an entry level item from a top tier manufacturer, or a high end item from a manufacturer that typically occupies the lowest rung of the performance/prestige ladder?
    *Panasonic 60" Plasma HDTV
    *Marantz AV7005
    *Marantz MM7055
    *Oppo Digital BDP-95
    *Silverline Audio Sonatina MK II
    *Silverline Center Stage
    *Silverline Audio SR11
    *SVS SB12

    http://www.panasonic.com
    http://www.marantz.com
    http://www.oppodigital.com
    http://www.silverlineaudio.com
    http://www.svsound.com

  2. #2
    Rob_a rob_a's Avatar
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    Hum??? I guess it depends on the brand and what the word on the street is about the product??? I would be more willing to go with a low to mid tier product from a higher-end manufacture then the other option. I think the technology trickledown effect would better improve the low tier equipment. But thats not always the case. Oppo makes great stuff, their top teir stuff is worth every penny over many other high-end BD players on the market.
    HT system:
    Marantz SR7001 receiver
    Emotiva UPA-2 Amplifier
    Adcom GDV-870 DVD-A/CD player
    Yamaha S1800 DVD/SACD player
    Panasonic DMP-BD60K blu Ray player
    PSB Image series speakes s/s
    Dayton RSS210HF 8" reference sub
    Hitachi 46" HD projector screen

  3. #3
    Suspended BallinWithNash's Avatar
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    Very great question that I couldn't answer cause I haven't owned any real high end stuff but will definitely keep reading to see what other people say.

  4. #4
    Charm Thai™
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    It all depends on the manufacturer for me...and the purpose of the piece of equipment i'm buying

  5. #5
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAssJazz
    What is your preference? Would you rather buy an entry level item from a top tier manufacturer, or a high end item from a manufacturer that typically occupies the lowest rung of the performance/prestige ladder?
    Since I don't change components that often, I value quality and long term reliability and would generally go for the former choice. I have a "baby" top tier amp that has worked flawlessly for nearly thirty years having replaced only the power supplies caps (proactively at that). Speaker technology hasn't changed greatly over a long period of time either.

    On the other hand, if you are referring to HT related stuff where the formats, cabling and standards change so frequently, my approach is reversed. There is little value buying an AV processor with the expectation that you will keep it for 20 years if you want to stay even reasonably current with ongoing advancements.

    rw

  6. #6
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    Good point ! cant have the best of both worlds, I would choose the low end from the high end manufacture only because of trickle down technology.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAssJazz
    File under "debate topics that come up whenever I discuss electronics with my brother." Sadly, there was no beer involved when this latest topic spewed forth.

    What is your preference? Would you rather buy an entry level item from a top tier manufacturer, or a high end item from a manufacturer that typically occupies the lowest rung of the performance/prestige ladder?
    BARGAIN from the "high end".
    For a simple reason, mainly that quality gets to be a habit.
    I have the bottom (at the time) 305 speakers from B&W, also their 600 series.
    Both have given yeoman service for eight-nine years, and you have the extra of a decent name brand.
    Some brands you will never get the stank of cheapness off of , however.
    Like SANYO.
    Now there are bargain brands that can give a decent product for a low price (Sherwood)
    but I just pick a "name" that I know is good, and get the best I can afford.
    For instance I got my newest receiver, an iNTEGRA 6.9 on sale for 850
    (1,000 list).
    NOT BAD FOR A RECEIVER WITH A FULL THREE YEAR WARRANTY,
    gold plate on the jacks, and pretty decent amps for a receiver.
    Yes, go for the low line "name" every time.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Thats a tough decision. Look at manufacturers like B&K, Emotiva, Cambridge Audio. They are high end manufacturer's at the bottom of the list. I would have no problem buying their gear to enter the high end market. They are a lot of bang for the buck and I don't think that you will get that from a top tier manufacturer in most cases when buying their lower end gear. But what the hell do I know, I tend to be frugal and go with bang for the buck.
    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

  9. #9
    Charm Thai™
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    I think it's a progression. I went from a gigundous MCS boombox in elementary school to a McIntosh amp/preamp now.

    For me it wasn't so much about the "name" or what level the gear was at ...as time went by my ears became more educated and I kept searching and demoing gear until I found the sound my ears were looking for. Same thing with speakers.

    I'm am believer in trickle down technology somewhat, however I buy products that the company is known for and what they have proven to be good at. For example I'd never consider buying a non-ELS panel Martin Logan speaker, an integrated amp from Krell or Mark Levinson, or non-tubed gear from Cary.

  10. #10
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Interesting question...

    Quote Originally Posted by BadAssJazz
    File under "debate topics that come up whenever I discuss electronics with my brother." Sadly, there was no beer involved when this latest topic spewed forth.

    What is your preference? Would you rather buy an entry level item from a top tier manufacturer, or a high end item from a manufacturer that typically occupies the lowest rung of the performance/prestige ladder?
    I tend to go "Top of the Line' from middle tier companys. You wouldn't call Onkyo Top o' Da Line, but nor could you call them Yorx either. I tend to buy their best from a year or so ago. Thereby I get most if not all of the "latest" features at a reduced price.

    Worf

  11. #11
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    I would say entry level high end for the reasons already stated.

    There are / were also companies that fit a more middle ground where they are not true high end, but also not mass market gear.

    I have some older Hafler gear that I would not really call High End, but it is way above the Best Buy lines.

    Hafler used to be sold in kit form or hand built out of Pensauken NJ many years ago but eventually were sold out to Rockford and then Harman i think. I bought mine from a High End dealer, Soundex, but aside from Onkyo's TOL gear, it was the least expensive gear I could afford at the time.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Thats a tough decision. Look at manufacturers like B&K, Emotiva, Cambridge Audio. They are high end manufacturer's at the bottom of the list. I would have no problem buying their gear to enter the high end market. They are a lot of bang for the buck and I don't think that you will get that from a top tier manufacturer in most cases when buying their lower end gear. But what the hell do I know, I tend to be frugal and go with bang for the buck.
    I have to disagree about Cambridge and Emotiva being "high end".
    CAMBRIDGE MAKES A FEW "HIGH END" CD players but most of their line
    is strictly budget.
    EMOTIVA (I have one) has a good compromise of decent audiophile gear at
    el-cheapo prices. High end? Naw.
    Great value? you bet.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    I have to disagree about Cambridge and Emotiva being "high end".
    CAMBRIDGE MAKES A FEW "HIGH END" CD players but most of their line
    is strictly budget.
    EMOTIVA (I have one) has a good compromise of decent audiophile gear at
    el-cheapo prices. High end? Naw.
    Great value? you bet.
    CA's separate amp and preamp (840E series) as well as the 840A integrated and 840c cdp I would consider at the bottom of high end and it all depends on what your definition of high end is. To me, anything over $1K is lower high end and it all goes up from there (except for speakers, I would use $2k and above). I don't consider stuff over $10K high end. To me that is ultra high end. And having owned a 840c i can honestly say it's build quality was great and its performance was excellent and much better tha some costing a lot more. Other companies were screaming and wondering how CA could sell the 840c for so low a price!

    I just included Emotiva because many emotiva fans consider some emotiva models comparable to more expensive brands.
    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

  14. #14
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    CA's separate amp and preamp (840E series) as well as the 840A integrated and 840c cdp I would consider at the bottom of high end and it all depends on what your definition of high end is. To me, anything over $1K is lower high end and it all goes up from there (except for speakers, I would use $2k and above). I don't consider stuff over $10K high end. To me that is ultra high end. And having owned a 840c i can honestly say it's build quality was great and its performance was excellent and much better tha some costing a lot more. Other companies were screaming and wondering how CA could sell the 840c for so low a price!

    I just included Emotiva because many emotiva fans consider some emotiva models comparable to more expensive brands.
    I dont consider anything under 2k to be "high end", depends on what it is.
    A decent pair of speakers will be two grand plus, but a CD player over two grand is
    without a doubt high end.
    You are right about Emotiva, it does seem high end, without the price tag.
    CAVIAR on TACO bell prices, basically.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    CA's separate amp and preamp (840E series) as well as the 840A integrated and 840c cdp I would consider at the bottom of high end and it all depends on what your definition of high end is. To me, anything over $1K is lower high end and it all goes up from there (except for speakers, I would use $2k and above). I don't consider stuff over $10K high end. To me that is ultra high end. And having owned a 840c i can honestly say it's build quality was great and its performance was excellent and much better tha some costing a lot more. Other companies were screaming and wondering how CA could sell the 840c for so low a price!

    I just included Emotiva because many emotiva fans consider some emotiva models comparable to more expensive brands.
    I agree with you on your high end prices... but of course many audiophiles would regard that range as mid-fi....

  16. #16
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    ... but of course many audiophiles would regard that range as mid-fi....
    That would be because $1k is not even close to the high end. "Ultra high end"? Isn't that redundant?

    rw

  17. #17
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    I dont consider anything under 2k to be "high end", depends on what it is.
    A decent pair of speakers will be two grand plus, but a CD player over two grand is
    without a doubt high end.
    You are right about Emotiva, it does seem high end, without the price tag.
    CAVIAR on TACO bell prices, basically.
    Chances are that if Emotiva sold through traditional retail stores that their prices would be double or worse case triple... Suddenly their XPA-2 amp becomes priced close to a Parasound Halo A21 (which has similiar power specs)... and their XPA-1 Monoblocks are the same of more expensive than a pair of Halo JC1 Monoblocks.... So that would be legitimate high end territory... Even worse, imagine what the cost would be if they also did all construction in the US instead of China!

    Emotiva's advantage is that they "cheat" by selling direct and building offshore... If I had to pay around $2,400 for my XPA-2, suddenly it wouldn't be all that special as there would be heavy competition at that price point (especially from the Halo A21), but at $800, there is no competion...

  18. #18
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    That would be because $1k is not even close to the high end. "Ultra high end"? Isn't that redundant?

    rw
    I think it really just comes down to wording... BR talks about entry level high end instead of mid-fi... and then the levels more traditionally regarded as high end he classifies as ultra high end...

    It's pretty much the same thing when you get down to it...

  19. #19
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Chances are that if Emotiva sold through traditional retail stores that their prices would be double or worse case triple... Suddenly their XPA-2 amp becomes priced close to a Parasound Halo A21 (which has similiar power specs)... and their XPA-1 Monoblocks are the same of more expensive than a pair of Halo JC1 Monoblocks.... So that would be legitimate high end territory... Even worse, imagine what the cost would be if they also did all construction in the US instead of China!

    Emotiva's advantage is that they "cheat" by selling direct and building offshore... If I had to pay around $2,400 for my XPA-2, suddenly it wouldn't be all that special as there would be heavy competition at that price point (especially from the Halo A21), but at $800, there is no competion...

    Its called the free market, not "cheating".
    The parts of a amp have never been complicated, but the cost of labor is where the premium comes in.
    The old Heathkits used to take advantage of this, 100 bucks for an integrated amp,
    but you have to put it together.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  20. #20
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    Its called the free market, not "cheating".
    The parts of a amp have never been complicated, but the cost of labor is where the premium comes in.
    The old Heathkits used to take advantage of this, 100 bucks for an integrated amp,
    but you have to put it together.
    Cheating sounds cooler than free market

    There are a lot of DIY fans out there... since it allows you to save on labour costs (assuming that you enjoy DIY and it doesn't end up taking away from time you could have spent earning money - opportunity cost in Economics)....

    I'd rather pay a little more to have Emotiva DIY for me.... Since my DIY skills are questionable at best....

  21. #21
    TrueNorth Strong and Free
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAssJazz
    What is your preference? Would you rather buy an entry level item from a top tier manufacturer, or a high end item from a manufacturer that typically occupies the lowest rung of the performance/prestige ladder?
    Neither....
    1. First, it depends on how well you have done your homework...
    2. And then, how deep or shallow your pockets are...
    THIS IS WHAT I USE TO OWN
    I GAVE IT ALL AWAY TO MY SON :-(

    Onkyo TX-NR-1000 [All 7 channels driven]
    MAINS = 2 Athena Technologies S3
    CENTER = 1 Athena Technologies C1
    2 SUBS = Athena Technologies P3
    4 SURROUNDS =4 Athena Technologies S2
    SONY TV = Bravia KDL-52XBR3
    DVD PLAYER = Oppo DV-981HD
    PHONES = SENNHEISER HD-650

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by VE4CAN
    Neither....
    1. First, it depends on how well you have done your homework...
    2. And then, how deep or shallow your pockets are...
    How do you like the Athenas?

    I have a pair of AS06s for my patio and love em for what they are. Driven with my Counterpoint they are awesome for $150 set of outdoor speakers.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Always been a 'bottom' kind of guy, but I do pay attention to the top tier also, even if it is at the lower end of the spectrum.

    I would be inclined to look first at the best of the 'lower' end, because you can get real performance value for the money. For instance some flagship receivers will give you so much for the money and in some cases will embarass some so-called high end components. It really all depends. But as I was saying about bottoms.....
    'Lets See what the day brings forth'.... Reginald Iolanthe Perrin

  24. #24
    TrueNorth Strong and Free
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    How do you like the Athenas?

    I have a pair of AS06s for my patio and love em for what they are. Driven with my Counterpoint they are awesome for $150 set of outdoor speakers.
    I guess you could say that they were fairly decent for the money, and when driven hard by that 1000w Onkyo NR1000 you could have your ears bleeding in no time....
    http://www.athenaspeakers.com/products/sct-series/

    I did blow the tweeter in C1 center channel while playing AC/DC, but I was lucky in getting 2 new surplace OEM replacements for next to nothing....[1 spare]

    I gave all my equippment to my son except for my Sennheiser HD-650's... Hell, I have to start over again....
    We shouldn't highjack this thread from BadAssJazz

    .
    Last edited by VE4CAN; 04-02-2010 at 08:36 PM.
    THIS IS WHAT I USE TO OWN
    I GAVE IT ALL AWAY TO MY SON :-(

    Onkyo TX-NR-1000 [All 7 channels driven]
    MAINS = 2 Athena Technologies S3
    CENTER = 1 Athena Technologies C1
    2 SUBS = Athena Technologies P3
    4 SURROUNDS =4 Athena Technologies S2
    SONY TV = Bravia KDL-52XBR3
    DVD PLAYER = Oppo DV-981HD
    PHONES = SENNHEISER HD-650

  25. #25
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VE4CAN
    I guess you could say that they were fairly decent for the money, and when driven hard by that 1000w Onkyo NR1000 you could have your ears bleeding in no time....
    http://www.athenaspeakers.com/products/sct-series/

    I did blow the tweeter in C1 center channel while playing AC/DC, but I was lucky in getting 2 new surplace OEM replacements for next to nothing....[1 spare]

    I gave all my equippment to my son except for my Sennheiser HD-650's... Hell, I have to start over again....
    We shouldn't highjack this thread from BadAssJazz

    .
    Bright side is you can start all over with new toys.
    Great chance to buy new stuff.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

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