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Are high-end systems worth it ?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by HMHB, May 17, 2003.

  1. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I've had another brochure through the door from Musical Fidelity today and it got me wondering whether the "normal listener" would notice the difference between their kit and one of the new breed of DVD/SACD/DVDA players. I must admit that the MF stuff looks really good but the price tag always puts me off.
     
  2. Hawklord

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    The only way to find out is to go and have a listen. If you notice a major difference to "normal" kit and you think it's worth the extra cost then buy one. If you can't justify the extra readies go for the "normal" option.
    I'm personally holding of buying one of the newer machines until we get more SACD and DVD-A titles I think the availability of these new sound formats is appauling. Until the formats are established more I'm holding onto my sony and I've just maxed out on buying my Linn speakers this week.
     
  3. ncpl

    ncpl
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    John,

    Agree that the number of new format titles is not there yet. However, assuming you have an extensive CD collection already, don't under-estimate the improvement you can gain on normal CD playback. As the tech gets better to deal with 192/24, 96/24 etc, the chips etc inside good CD players actually get better.

    Totally in line with Hawklord, though, these things are only worth what they are to you as an individual....your eyes, yours ears etc.
    Therefore, ensure you deal with a good store who will help with home demo's. Sit and play discs for a couple of weeks and see if the smile on your face gets bigger. If it does then think about buying. If it doesn't then wait and see if something else comes along that does.

    I've done it a few times and used my wife as the 'sensible' barometer. Sometimes, she surprised me and we came away a whole lot of money lighter but with some great kit.

    The old cliché stands...."you pays your money and makes your choice"
     
  4. HMHB

    HMHB
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    Thanks for the reply guys. I've been put off high end stuff ever since I listened to an Arcam alpha 9 CD with the 10 Amp. Everything I listened to (all my own CDs) sounded awful to my ears (very harsh) yet they had been getting rave reviews in What HiFi etc
     
  5. ncpl

    ncpl
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    Interesting.....harsh isn't one of Arcam's normal attributes. However, it may have been one of many factors e.g. kit not warmed up, not run-in, duff cables, effect of speaker choice etc.

    I also find that if I demo a piece of kit that is quite different to my existing , then, it takes a while to "re-learn" how to listen without prior expectations/prejudice. Also, if you expect it to knock your socks off (based on what the mags say), then it probably will disappoint.

    Just to put a little high-er end perspective in for good measure - I have regularly sat in the Meridian demo room at the Bristol show and have been quite simply stunned by what I have heard. This is an example of when hi-fi doesn't sound like hi-fi...it sounds like the Steinway Grand that it is supposed to. Takes your breath away and gives you goosebumps...it's that impressive. Also impressive is the £100,000 price tag.

    QED

    Now, where's that lotto ticket..........
     
  6. nathan_silly

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    I also find it strange you found Arcam amps to be harsh. I mean my Audiolab's are alot more brighter/forward and some say harsh. The Arcam's however on way behind that, sounding on the warm side, and a bit boring & lifeless.

    What speakers were they?
     
  7. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I initially couldn't remember the speakers (it was a few years back) but have since realised the were those little Bose things. I've never thought about that since you mentioned it - it must have been the fault of the speakers
     
  8. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    On the other hand though, wasnt the Alpha 10 amp and Alpha 9 CD player both some of Arcam's brightest components. I've heard people who've called the Alpha 9 aggressive, and I've heard the Alpha 10 is on the brighter side of neutral. Perhaps these two were paired up with equally bright speakers?
     
  9. ncpl

    ncpl
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    Mixing the Arcams with Bose speakers....you have gotta be joking !
     
  10. HMHB

    HMHB
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    It was just an initial listening session which put me off going back for more ! My speakers are Castle Avons and so I wanted to try stuff before having to cart them around for the final audition. I never did go back again.
     
  11. NicolasB

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    The difference in quality between low-end and high-end kit is very perceptible. The difference between a Lexicon MC12B (at £9000) and a processor costing £4000 is depressingly easy to hear. I really wish it weren't.

    It has to be said, though, that the difference in cost between perceptible levels of quality does increase with price. Indeed in some cases the price/quality curve is close to exponential: the difference between a £9K processor and a £4.5K processor is probably about the same as it is between a £4K processor and a £2K one, or between a £2K processor and a £1K one.
     
  12. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I suppose I'm guilty of confusing the Arcam Alpha 9 CD & 10 Amp with high end equipment. But for me I think that's as far as I would consider going on price per item (unless I had a lottery win)
     
  13. sounddog

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    Post deleted as Branxx deleted his post so now my post is redundant (it was about Musical Images not Musical Fidelity!!!) and now this post made me look silly when infact Branxx was the silly one!! :lesson:

    Vikki :suicide:
     
  14. Branxx

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    sounddog,

    You are right. Thank you for pointing this out.
     
  15. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Oi ... don't delete your post ... not my comments look irrelevant and silly :)

    Vikki
     
  16. mjn

    mjn
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    yep...they sure do :)
     
  17. sounddog

    sounddog
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    :p
     
  18. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Musical fidelity 3.2 cd/int'/pre/power at 400.00????

    You wish

    The 3.2 range is 1000.00 (the boys range)

    The mans stuff starts at 2000.00+


    Steve.
     
  19. sounddog

    sounddog
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    OH :( :( :(

    Then us girlies are really screwed. Figuratively not literally of course!!

    What do we get ikkle ole round ones!

    [Edit: Just to clarify I meant the X series of course :D]

    Steff
     
  20. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Okay ... got prices wrong - it was a Thursday (or some such excuse) ... but the point was that Musical Fidelity is in no way related to Musical Images ... now I'm going off in a huff to delete that post!!

    Vikki
     
  21. Steve.EX

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    If you would be so good as too supply me with as much 3.2 series components at 400.00 per unit as you can possibly find i will offer you a 10% resell commision.
    I will then "retire" from my godforsaken job and take a postion at my local Tesco's ("that will be 3.52 madam, do you have a clubcard?")


    IMHO Musical Fidelty products are generally sublime, quality engineering.

    Steve.
     
  22. 337GUS

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    Totally agree - kit that sounds as good as it looks, gotta love those blue leds on the 3.2 amp!
     
  23. buns

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    To answer the topic......

    i think medium to high could be justified by most people who enjoy music. Once you listen to it for a while though its very easy to forget how good it is and has you striving for more. Which is how people get to high end. Personally the jury is still out for me, i have tried a few 'high-end' bits in my system and havent really felt them worthwhile. Which i beleive is the major problem when you get there...... you will be so picky and hard to please making it impossibly difficult (and possibly addictively fun) that you spend your life looking for the next performance jump. :D

    ad
     
  24. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Never a true'r word said, i will sit there and pick mine (set-up - not nose!) to pieces and yet when attending my parents for a lunch the other day we sat and listened/watched some T.V on their Yamaha/Rotel/Mission set up and too my embarressment i was checking their kit because i, hand on heart thought that there was something wrong with it.
    I went home later and gave my long suffering other half a big hug and am thankful for the level of performance i am able to enjoy at home.


    Steve.
     
  25. mjn

    mjn
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    lol, there's nothing like listening to somebody else's setup....and releasing it sounds awful!
     
  26. Nutty

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    hehe listening to my car stereo everyday and regularly hearing the err low-fi Sony all in one thing in the kitchen I get constant reminders of just how good my system is. Try to make a point of hearing what the rest of the human race listens to from time to time, brings you back down to earth I find, then you can just sit there and listen to your music on your hi-fi in the knowledge that it does sound really good.
     
  27. alexs2

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    Absolutely worth it...if you can hear the difference!
    Still wish I had the money for a set of Levinson 20.5s(old,but still amongst the best for control and power) and a Wilson Audio surround setup....that'd do nicely...sadly I'd need to die and cash in the life insurance,before enjoying them in the afterlife!
     
  28. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Alex

    I too have a passion for the Wilson's.


    Steve.
     
  29. alexs2

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    Good man,Steve....those are still amongst the best I've ever heard,although the newer Cast Krells come very close in bass power....the 20.5s still have the edge in looking mean though....anyway,not likely in the current economic climate(domestically that is!)
     
  30. Vection

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    I recomend having a small mini/micro setup as a bedroom or kitchen system. I find this regularly helps me to remember how good my main system is. Seems to keep my feet on the ground so to speak and my system is modest by the standards of many here!

    I once got involved in a thread on the Hifi choice forum about what is considered to be high end gear, personaly i'd say it was anything over £1000 per separate but as has already been stated its all about what you would consider value for money.
     

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