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Thread: Is 'What It Sounds Like' All That Matters'?

  1. #51
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    Highlighting passages doesn't seem to work for me here, Marco, but your mention of some people 'buying by measurement' reminds me that this was indeed the basis for purchase of (or drooling over) kit in the 60s and 70s; certainly the early s/s amplification but much else beside. The T.H.D., wow & flutter and whatever, ad nauseam, was the thing stuff was sold on.

    NaÔve, maybe, but fun regardless in those halcyon analogue days of R2R, cassette, quadraphonics...(mood has just changed; delete last one). Nostalgia's not what it used to be.

  2. #52
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

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    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Reed View Post
    Highlighting passages doesn't seem to work for me here, Marco...
    Do you mean when trying to quote someone, Mike?

    ...but your mention of some people 'buying by measurement' reminds me that this was indeed the basis for purchase of (or drooling over) kit in the 60s and 70s; certainly the early s/s amplification but much else beside. The T.H.D., wow & flutter and whatever, ad nauseam, was the thing stuff was sold on.
    Ah, the infamous 'spec wars' of the 70s... Ample proof, if any were needed, that 'buying by measurement' alone doesn't work, as some of the most musically anodyne sounding gear was coincidentally also that which had 'impeccable measurements'!

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  3. #53
    Join Date: Mar 2011

    Location: Readimg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Reed View Post
    Highlighting passages doesn't seem to work for me here, Marco, but your mention of some people 'buying by measurement' reminds me that this was indeed the basis for purchase of (or drooling over) kit in the 60s and 70s; certainly the early s/s amplification but much else beside. The T.H.D., wow & flutter and whatever, ad nauseam, was the thing stuff was sold on.

    NaÔve, maybe, but fun regardless in those halcyon analogue days of R2R, cassette, quadraphonics...(mood has just changed; delete last one). Nostalgia's not what it used to be.
    Yes those measurements came from Wireless World where the idea came to look at THD, frequency response and noise (Williamson?). In those days the equipment did not do so well in those measurements so they were quoted over and over again. With advances in design and components these measurements have now become 'perfect' and inaudible. And what seems to have happened is the brilliant measuring components now sound awful, flat and boring.

    Companies became fixated with them and did crazy things like increase the feedback to reduce the THD. Sure enough it worked but the components started to lose the good sound quality it had in the first place. If these measurements were critical for sound quality then all SS amps are now perfect and they should sound the same. But that is not the case. Despite that the marketing departments love them. Look the THD is getting lower and lower and the noise is beyond what can be reproduced.

    I like the approach of Nelson Pass who is an expert designer of amps, he has some of the most advanced measuring equipment around but always listens to his amps before releasing them. Double blind tests, panel listening tests and listening himself. Oddly enough Audionote have some really fancy measuring equipment but use listening tests as well. So it is not a polarised argument as both should be important for manufacturers; measurements and listening.

    For customers the emphasis is the other way round. No problem in people understanding what is going on and being able to make the right decisions or to help limit what is available to those components of interest to them. With a follow up listening test.

    But most people do not have any idea of how audio cables work. It has little to do with electrons moving in cables.

  4. #54
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

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    I'm Dennis.

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    I agree with you Marco about the public in general losing discernment in audio, and is indeed the case with so much else consumed. They are being led by corporate power using psychologists, accountants, and advertising people, because their lives are so fast paced that they have no spare capacity to do their own evaluations.

    This is very sad, and is further compounded by music being also corporately produced rather than by individuals expressing their own emotions in art.

    Look at the ubiquitous purchase of two veneered 'bricks' of speakers surrounding and next to a plastic cube of tuner CD player and amp, for £250.

    These factors represent a cultural decline IMO, music now a commodity which accompanies everything, and the once heretical songs of youthful incisiveness are now 'papped' along with adverts for insurance, all original ethos now long lost.

    The high end has resorted to 'jewellery' to be profitable, rather than really involved research into audio science and engineering.

  5. #55
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

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    I'm Russell.

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    It a very true that mass market music players have really gone down hill. The majority of people these days do not seem to have the same wants that we had 35 to 50 years ago. I recall several local stereo shops, where nice two channel systems could be had from Marantz, Technics, Sansui, etc, etc. it seemed everyone had at least a fairly competent system around. But today, the last few times Iíve visited someone elseís house, they had a Bluetooth box that they drove with their phones. Better than a clock radio, but not by much. To me all of these new Surround Sound receivers today sound awful, they all have op amp outputs with fudged wattage figures. Iím sure some of the better ones are fine, but the budget multichannel receiver is most uninspiring.

    But that doesnít mean that the high end has left us! It just cost a lot more, and is pursued by fewer people. It has become a more exclusive club. I am constantly shocked at the prices of new speakers, amongst other gear, like $30 grand is nothing! Surely right at the leading edge of high end, progress is being made, that hopefully will trickle down to affordable gear in a few years?

    It is also true that major discoveries or product advancements in the name of higher fidelity are not seen much anymore. Ever since high end downloads supposed to upend CD quality, and SACD, etc, there hasnít been anything new that is supposed to be better. I think that may be because we are skirting around the theoretical limits of human hearing? Can they make it better? Sure! But at what cost? And who will be able to hear it? To squeak out a bit more resolution for a few golden eared eccentrics?

    But perhaps there are minor improvements being made all the time, that do add up. The better materials, the closer tolerances in components, new techniques in manufacturing, better sounding caps, etc. Big companies who specialize in real high end, are constantly trying to top their previous flagship models, and of course these new products are outrageously expensive! So, we wait a few years and buy them used, or wait for the new improvements to trickle down to more affordable units. And then wait a few years and by those used!

    Russell

  6. #56
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Norwich

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pharos View Post

    The high end has resorted to 'jewellery' to be profitable, rather than really involving research into audio science and engineering.
    True; things have changed in that respect, but so has much else. It got me wondering what was considered high end in, say, 1970 when I went to college. I bought a 401, SME 12" and V15 to go with my Leak (later Revox) pairing of amp. and tuner plus Tandberg and Revox R2Rs. I don't think I ever considered those as high end at the time, and can't really remember anything that much more esoteric, despite Japanese super-integrateds and stuff coming in.

    HiFi was hifi, was affordable, was considered normal by any audiophile wanting a half decent system, and, stretching my rose-tinted memory, there really wasn't much on the market and most was British anyway. Yes, the Swiss TD124 was more expensive than the 401, but certainly not thought of as the high-end stuff is nowadays. The quadraphonic era of 1973 to 1976 approx. did usher in stuff costing well over a grand (Marantz oscilloscope receiver, e.g.) plus the expensive add-ons. At about that time, Japanese stuff was pretty well established in model ranges (Pioneer, e.g.) which could stretch the wallet a bit, but high end? Nope.

  7. #57
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

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    I'm Dennis.

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    In the first period you mention Mike, I had similar equipment to you, perhaps not quite as good, but it was aspired to by most who wanted good sound, this promoted by that very creative artistic period, and it was then the high end, and affordable to those who worked to achieve ownership of it. I could not hear the difference then between I/P and O/P from my A77, and I regarded that sound as reference. My Tannoy Gold Lancaster 15s were the same as used in Abbey Road.

    The eighties saw the concern with the City and money, and this I guess prompted the development of much more expensive Hi-Fi, and that period has opened the floodgates for consumer acquisition in all areas.

    The really expensive stuff is not open to mass A/B comparison, but it would be interesting to see which if any of the £30k+ speakers really stood out as representing real progress.

    I regard my acquisition of a second hand pair of speakers that cost £25k new, as obscene given my financial/social status.

  8. #58
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

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    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pharos View Post

    I regard my acquisition of a second hand pair of speakers that cost £25k new, as obscene given my financial/social status.
    Obscene? Really? You dropped on, good luck to you. Nothing obscene about that.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Sony X505ES CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / NVA A30 Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  9. #59
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    Location: Norwich

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    Obscene? Really? You dropped on, good luck to you. Nothing obscene about that.
    Nope. Avalons by any chance?. The rule for young children used to be 'obscene but not heard'. No parallel here. No idea about your social status, Martin, but I bet your financial status plummeted afterwards.

  10. #60
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

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    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Reed View Post
    Nope. Avalons by any chance?. The rule for young children used to be 'obscene but not heard'. No parallel here. No idea about your social status, Martin, but I bet your financial status plummeted afterwards.
    All of my statuses are too low to be measurable.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Sony X505ES CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / NVA A30 Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

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