High End Kit vs Mid Range - Real Differences

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by MartinImber, Jan 21, 2002.

  1. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    How much better is high end kit than mid range stuff?

    For an example with DD5.1 what differences would there be between a mid range receiver eg my Sony 930 and say £2000 - £5000 kit with same source and speakers.

    I know you would get better results, but how much better?
     
  2. Nic Rhodes

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    It is much larger than people think. I am not a fan of much cheap / midrange stuff, there are just far too many compromises in the Engineering. Paul Miller summed it nicely in one of Oasis of Sanity colums in Hifi choice where they measured all the differences.

    Generally the people who tell you it is not worth the difference are the people who haven't been smart enough to do the legwork beforehand and everyone thinks their kit is the best.:D

    A good example is the number of friends who have brought around DVD player to compare with the Tag DVD32R. They all want to take a 'poke' at it, saying it is not worth the price / can't see the difference.... etc etc.

    Without exception people have walked away gobsmacked. The difference is obvious in seconds and anyone who is honest will both see and hear it IMMEDIATELY. Now how many people tell you there is no difference between DVD players...

    Now if only the looked at the market themselves.

    There are big differences out there but this might not be down to price, it is down to engineering. Look at the Toshiba 210 DVD.
     
  3. Ian J

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    If you are thinking of investing in high end kit, take a look around the HiFi exhibition in Bristol at the end of Feb as it is well worth it.

    Many of the manufacturers take large rooms and limit the amount of people in for each demo so that it becomes more like a "home demo" except for the fact the rooms are probably larger and being rectangular without bays and fireplaces etc are easier to set up in ideal surroundings.

    Worcester is on my way so I will be more than happy to pick you up en route if you are going.
     
  4. GearHead

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    Nic,
    What kind of screen size are you using to achieve these kinds of differences ? In other words, would the pic. quality be noticeably different on the average 32" Widescreen TV ?

    Allan
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    I'm with Nic...also I 've always found that contrary to popular opnion the differences become even bigger the better (although not always more expensive) the equipment becomes.

    I think this is because if you give a designer £20 and tell them to make product X...they will all have to come up with similar designs. Give one £2000 and if they are clever you get an amazing product X that retails for a bundle...if he's not that hot you get an over expensive doorstop....So the difference in expensive things can be huge and the good ones are EXCEPTIONAL.

    Gordon
     
  6. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Allan, this was mostly done on a 36 inch Toshiba but it was the same on my 28 inch Philips. My CRT projector is sitting in my dining room waiting for me to find a new house (2 fallen through) and for Gordon to pop down and earn some more money.

    The differences are there for all to see, if they look (sound and vision). It is all about quality not features.
     
  7. MartinImber

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    Firstly my credit card is in too dodgy a state to risk visiting a show

    However what does puzzle me with the TAG DVD player is the lack of RGB, I find that S-Video is to edgy for my liking. and I would find it hard to believe that a very top end player on S-Vid would out perform an ordinary upper range model on RGB (Arcam, Top end Sony (9000 I think) etc).

    (I do understand that the TAG is not aimed at TV owners but projector owners)

    Even though my player is old (Sony DVP-S715) on RGB it looks so much better then S-Video connected players I have seen (no Arcam or TAG)

    Anyway what are the measurable differences between decent mid range and esoteric kit?
     
  8. Lowrider

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    I upgraded from a receiver to TAG processor + Rotel amps, keeping the same source and speakers, and it made a BIG difference in sound quality, particularly detail, you start hearing the different instruments "as if each had its own system", also they sound more like the real thing, I compare each upgrade as if you remove courtains between you and the music...
     
  9. Nic Rhodes

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    Every owner I know who has RGB and component capabilities on DVD playerand display device uses component (particularly on tv). In theory there should be little difference between the two but in practice....

    My best mate has the Sony you talk about, I can (and he can) assure you that there are players out there that will perform better on SVideo than the Sony RGB. Though the Sony RGB is better than it's SVideo. In fact I don't use RGB at all nowdays and I own two players (Tag and Tosh 9000) that have SVideo outputs better than any RGB Scart I have seen. That is why I bought them. True it would be nice just to have but I never use them nowdays.

    I now have a huge range of posh IXOS scarts I no longer use. I often think the Scart may be to blame here but a I haven't had an Arcam at home for a while to test my theory.

    PS Tag are putting RGB on the 192 (requested) and when I bought the Tag, this was my biggest bug bear. I had to buy a new tv for NTSC. In practice it has proved to be a complete non issue.
     
  10. brattle

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    Has anyone actually answered the original question about how much better high end kit is when compared to mid/low range stuff?

    I wouldn't think for a minute that my set up is the best system out there, however I do feel that it is the best system I could have bought for the money I was prepared to spend. And at the end of the day that's what counts. I also feel I did my homework and I couldn't have obtained a much better system without throwing a lot more money at it or compromising in other ways.

    Likewise I would expect the Tag DVD to trounce the Toshiba 210 in every way, but as it's 40 times the cost of the Toshiba I would certainly hope so, but is the performance actually 40 times better? Obviously no one can answer that as opinions on the performance of systems is entirely subjective, but if there was a way you could measure these things, I'd be surprised if it was.

    If I had wanted to, I could have bought a high end Tag DVD player, Barco projector, etc, etc, but I decided that I would rather keep the money for other things in life like holidays with the family, a trust fund for my little girl and a comfy sofa to watch the TV on ;). IMO the money I saved by not buying the high end stuff was well worth it and no improvement in picture or sound quality would convince me otherwise.

    If we were all millionaires we'd obviously all but the best stuff available, but as with the rest of life it's a case of juggling what we have. As long as you buy the best with the money you have, you can't go wrong imo.
     
  11. MartinImber

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    Tag fitting RGB - sensible move.

    I find whatever the source S-Video just doesn't look right - it looks processed. This is on Tube tvs, RPTVs and Plasmas.

    The Toshiba 9000 - thats the one without a Scart isn't it?

    They lost quite a few sales due to that.

    I think the old Sony 7700 was supposed to be one of the best 2nd gen players - well they sold a lot.

    Also processor/amp improvements are like removing curtains - I understand. I upgraded my fronts at Christmas - now got Castle Pembrokes I picked up for £400 new.

    My 930 is not very good for stereo, it sounds like something is missing (I think it is a bit flat - gets better on higher volumes) but I have not yet tried via CD phonos from the DVD player (which is better than my old CD player). But I listen to very few CDs and my wife (who does) doesn't notice (better than her midi system).

    However its DD 5.1 (no DTS on my DVP-S715) is very good, but if I tried and prefered a more expensive solution I would not be happy until I got it - since I am happy I will not test a better decoder/amp.

    The main benefits I could imagine are

    EX processing, DPL2, power handling (no problem in a semi), less noise in quiet moments with high volumes, (probably the biggest offence of the 930 amp - but it only cost me £475), and better stereo performance.

    Running good quality mid market speakers made a lot of difference, extra at both top and bottom, I also noticed the change to better cabling (£5 per meter bi wiring) rather than the older thinner stuff I had previously.

    But then the speakers sounded better as they ran in.

    The next upgrade I want to do is better audio out from my TV - I would love to be able to fit digital out ALA NX100, as the phonos out are noisy and compressed. Also the audio bit rate has been dropped by the sound of it.
     
  12. buns

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    ok.....just to put it into comparative terms.....

    the difference between...say one of those richersounds, cyberhome £120 players and a denon 2800 is obviously pretty large.....so if you multiply the cost of the denon by the same sort of amount you would get to the cost of the tag......so is the difference between the tag and the denon anything like the difference between the denon and the cyberhome?????

    please say no cos otherwise im going to have to spend money agian!

    ad
     
  13. Nic Rhodes

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    Brattle

    I think several people have answered the original question, which was about difference between mid and high end kit. The money issue. although important, was not the aim of the question. Now once we have established there are differences, then our choice can be dictated by budget (and we are all different here). We all want the best for our budget but we had to first establish there were significant differences.

    I am afraid to say the difference between the Tag and the Denon is substantial, just look at ALL the Tag DVD player reviews. One sums it nicely by saying that the Tag is JUST better in EVERY area. Now that is not saying there are aren't great charper alternatives (Toshiba 210 and Arcam) but £4k is loads of money and if someone said I would spend £4k on a DVD player 18 months ago I would have laughed them out of the house.:blush: But now......:D

    Comments on the RGB Scart are well made, the Toshiba 9000 lost out in the sales to the also excellent Sony 7700 because of just this. When I originally demo'ed these two I prefered the Tosh at £800 to the similar priced Sony. I didn't buy it because it didn't have a RGB Scart and I thought this was something that was essential (I didn't buy the Sony either but wasted my money on a Pioneer, big mistake).. I have since learned otherwise and bought a 9000. It is a GREAT player.


    The 7700 and 9000 are still great player now, despite their 'age'.
     
  14. brattle

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    Nic,

    People have said that high end kit is better than mid range kit, but has anyone attempted to say how much better it is. Saying the Tag is substantially better than the Denon doesn’t really tell us anything as the former is also substantially more expensive. The way I saw the original question was whether high end kit offers a return for the extra investment, so the issue of money and budget are key.

    I have bought a Tosh 9000 (I agree, an excellent player) and have compared it like for like with a Tosh 210e using component on both. Clearly the 9000 was the better player, but it also cost twice as much. Was the 9000 twice the player of the 210? I’d say probably not and the difference was closer to a 25% improvement. However I was willing the pay the extra money to obtain this increase in performance as it fitted my budget and I felt the increase was worthwhile. My cousin (who owns the 210) felt the difference was not worth the extra cash and was happy with his choice of player.

    I can’t say how much better the Tag is compared to the 9000 because I haven’t compared to two close together, but I personally would be looking for at least a 200% increase in performance to even consider a player at the price range of the Tag. Maybe the Tag does offer this substantial increase, but even then I would have to consider what I would lose in other ways by spending ten times as much on the Tag.

    As I’ve said before, these opinions on performance are all subjective and one person may see enormous differences between two pieces of kit and another may not. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t buy the Tag if they have the money, but when looking at bang for buck, in the majority of circumstances the law of diminishing returns kicks in as the price goes up. The question is whether you are prepared to pay the extra cash for the increase.
     
  15. Lowrider

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    It is a bit like comparing the first row to middle, or end of the theatre in a concert, is it worth the difference you pay...:devil:
     
  16. PeteM

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    I think aiming towards the high end can make a noticable difference in performance - however you should be careful to not throw money away on something that is a dead end product. The more you pay the more you loose if due to technological progress you need to upgrade sooner than intended.

    As an example, approximately 2.5 years ago I bought an AV amplifier setup - Arcam Alpha 10 with the DAVE processor module, and the Alpha 10P3 power amp for £2400. I did this as I wanted a dolby digital processor to accompany my Sony DVPS 715 DVD player. I was not willing to compromise stereo audio playback, which effectively rulled out all those big Japanese battleship AV amps!

    When I bought this setup I knew that it did not have a 5.1 channel input for adding an external processor, which was a concern as back then there was talk of DVD-Audio and SACD finally launching, both of which require a 5.1 input for playback in anything other than stereo.

    I made the assumption 2.5 years ago that there would be a format war between these 2 audio formats, and this would take a few years to resolve itself. Now 2.5 years later you can actually buy players that support SACD or DVD-Audio, however software is extremely rare and of poor quality - and the format war is (apparently) still going on - which will win, will neither, should I care?!

    I believe I have got my moneys worth from this system and cannot complain about the quality of its performance, however if I were starting again from scratch, I would not buy this setup in its current incarnation (FMJ A25 + DAVE) as I now concider it to be too dated - i.e no support for newer standards such ad DPL II, DD/DTS 6.1/7.1 etc, also that lack of an external 5.1 connector would now be a major concern. I do believe that Arcam need to address the limitations of the DAVE module to make it competative with the competition - or simply withdraw it from sale, at the very least they should upgrade it to support DPL II, which would keep me happy for a few more years.

    Incidently I'd like DPL II as I have a lot of Start Trek videos that would benefit!
     
  17. Jeff

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    I think that the important thing is to have a nicely balanced system where all the components compliment each other. Not much point in trying to match a £5000 pre/pro setup with £1000 speakers. It also depends how the equipment is used as to how much you will benefit from it. The Tag DVD player showed its greatness at the event where we found that when combined with the Interpolator Gold it was comparable with an SDI modded Pioneer 737 connected to a Vigatec scaler via SDI.The problem is the Tag/Interpolator setup comes in at over £30'000 while the Pioneer and the Vigatec costs about £6000.
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

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    Brattle

    I afraid we disagree on this one!

    I for one believe that there are very real differences but these just can’t be quantified by percentages. They can be attributed by measurements and descriptions in words of these differences. However it is down to the individual to decide what weighting he puts on the various aspects of importance. Physical noise of DVD players is very important to some but doesn’t especially bother me during films. However it is quantifiable and how important it is down to the individual. Some people are VERY sensitive to DVD noise and I respect that. This is not a percentage thing.

    Wine tasting is very similar in this respect. Robert Parker marks wines out of 100. Every one looks for wines of >90 marks. However Robert urges everyone to READ the tasting note and make his or her own mind up and NOT to just look at the number. Big wines score higher generally but bigger isn’t better. As a profession wine taster the one thing I had to learn when buying fine wine was separate out my personal preference from a technical judgement on how good the wine is. There are definite criteria for doing this. I don’t like Beaujolais much (weak grape, poor fermentation method, young vines, poor vineyards etc.) but that doesn’t stop me recognizing a top example, buying it, recommending it, and selling it. That is the difference between my ‘personal preferences / preduces’ and the raw quality of the product.

    The same can be said in the Audio / AV field. No one is saying high-end kit is better, they are saying that it CAN be better. I know some real duffers that go for silly money that are crap. See the letter in the latest issue of HCC. The Theta Dreadnaught is a poorly designed ‘bridged’ amp. It is completely coloured with distortion and measures really poorly on the test bench. I have had one on my distortion analyzer. HCC said that but there was still a reader who liked the amp (and took HCC to task!). Fine, but this was his ‘personal preference’, over what was measured / reported by the professionals (and me).

    MartinImber asked two questions originally.

    1. How much better is high-end kit than mid range stuff?

    I gave a description but if you want it quantified it is 337% better. I feel is substantially better in EVERY area as I said previously.

    He then goes on to say
    2. I know you would get better results, but how much better?

    There is NO mention on money or budget here at all. Now that may / will come in time when he assesses what he wants and how much money he has (when his card is better) but it wasn’t part of the original question.

    His 930 kit is budget kit, from this he can travel trough the two levels of mid priced kit of say Arcam / Denons and end up with the Lexicon / Meridian / Tags / big American stuff of this world.

    You will only know how much better certain kit can be experiencing it for yourself. If you want it quantifying I again point you to Paul Miller’s Oasis of Sanity in July / August 2000 Hi-Fi Choice where he measures the differences in AV kit. To quote him:

    “Measurement technology has also kept apace, so we can now ‘see’ inside these devices [AV receivers / processors] and witness just how effective the different decoders are at handling compressed, multi channel data. Quite the best example I’ve encountered is provided by McLarens AV32R…….few CD players look this good”

    Paul M has done more than anyone in this area. Remember his Jitter analyser? It revolutionized how we assess CD players. The article looks at a basic receiver, and mid range one and the Tag as examples showing you what you get for better engineering and quantifies these differences. I personally prefer to describe the effect / emotion the kit has on people but Paul Miller measures many of these difference which can be correlated to the sound / vision capabilities [noise, distortion, s/n, jitter etc]. Out of interest the main ultrasonic noise on the Tag was down to the DACs and not the decoding (unlike the chipset used in the low / mid fi products which are swamped in distortion / spuriae). In true Tag style, Tag are now about to offer an upgrade on the older poorer DACs to reduce this even further!:)

    If you look at the latest review of the latest Tag 250w amp on the Tag site you will see many references to the increased enjoyment people are getting (in description) and in particular them stating that they DON’T think the law of diminishing returns applies (£4k/3 channel amp). This is a fairly common view generally only disagreed by those NOT able /or NOT willing to buy the high-end kit. Those that can and do reap the rewards. It is a common belief by those who buy this high-end kit. Look at Gordon post on this, perhaps the most highly regarded contributor to this site (He was named Personality of the Year here).

    I think Martin is going about this well. He is obviously investigating / probing whether there are differences and if there are (when he card recovers!) he may well do hands on demos and find out what he could achieve. He will reap real benefits later if he wants to.

    The favoured quote on the Tag site at the moment is if you don’t have the money don’t book a demo (or words to that effect). They have realised that that high-end kit offers substantially more of everything. If you look at my posted reviews for equipment I asses everything form the cheapest up. I find out what the kit can do and then decide what I want once I have tasted what is on offer.

    For reference the Tag blows the 9000 out of the water. 241%. Goose bumps stuff and no one can accuse me of not promoting the 9000 here.

    It is not always about money, many of us actually decide what we want (without setting a budget) and then go about getting the money to acquire it. Often this is not possible (I hanker after a full seven speaker Nautilus Signature speakers setup but this is only dreams (£18k L and R!)). In fact of all my recent purchases it is only the Subs and a possible new headphone amp that I have set a budget for and I came in well under budget on the subs. I am not rich and I do not earn a high salary but I do like quality. Quality isn’t always about money, look at Toshiba 210, Paradign Servo 15, Rotel power amps, Wharfedale 8.1s, Denon receivers, etc etc. It is about being smart and knowledge.

    Remember GHGSB? (Good Honest Grocers Shop Burgundy). Top producer Burgundy but his most basic appellation, it is where the smart money goes in Burgundy (free tip).
     
  19. Black 5

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    I have to agree with Gordon's earlier comment - the law of diminishing returns doesn't necessarily have to interfere. I've just bought TAG's new 3 channel amp and it is amazing, even compared with the 5 channel I had before

    However, spending large sums of dosh on high end kit isn't everybody's idea of sensible, but that's their choice, right?

    Buying a Ferrari instead of a Fiesta could never be justified on the pure 'multiple/price' argument. Both get you from A to B, etc and the Fiesta is probably the more practical to use. However, pride of ownership (itself a very subjective thing) is going to be quite different and the experience of driving the 2 will certainly be different, but not necessarily better in the more expensive car. Where this kind of reasoning gets even more difficult is when you try to compare a Ferrari 360 with a 550.

    Whatever your budget, if you can afford it and give it a high enough priority, you can create an amazing home cinema experience. Isn't that enough regardless of cost?
     
  20. brattle

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    I can't be getting my point across well as people are getting my argument wrong. I never said that there isn't a substantial gain from having high end kit over mid range and I would never be naive enough to "take on" a Tag with my 9000. Believe me if I won the lottery on Saturday, I'd be the first in the queue for a Tag player on Monday morning!

    But although I know that there is a discernable difference in quality, I still believe that the law of dimishining returns applies.

    Martin did mention prices in his original post and he did ask the difference between budget/mid range equipment (say £0 to £1,500) and High end equipment (£1,500 plus). An amp like the Dreadnought is still a high end amp, regardless of its quality. The category is set by the price, not by the performance. Likewise if Toshiba were to release a DVD player at £200 that rivalled the performance of the Tag (Hey, I can dream), it would still be considered a budget player, albeit a budget player with a superb performance. Given that Martin asked what was the difference between these two categories which are only seperated by price, the argument to include the price is only fair.

    If I were to ask which is better regardless of price, a Ferrari F50 or a Civic Type R, the argument would be over in a second. Without the price factor to take into consideration the whole thing is an irrelevance.

    The law of dimishing returns states that as the price goes up, so does the performance but at a lesser rate. No-one said anything about high end kit sounding the same as mid range kit. If I could be shown that the Tag offered ten times the performance of my Tosh (as it is ten times the price) then I would concede the argument. I know my use of percentages was clumsy and I highlighted this, but it was just used just to show a point.

    I'm sorry, but no amount of convincing is going to show me that the Tag is ten times (that's 1,000%! ;) ) better than my Tosh. I have seen one running and was impressed, but by no means does it show the jump in quality between VHS and DVD which is at least what I would be looking for at that price.

    Before you say the Tag is ten times better, know that I would expect holograms of the actors in my room and the sights, sounds and smells exactly replicated in front of me. I would also expect the player to make me Martinis in the quieter moments of the film and serve oysters to my wife to get her in the mood for later ;). Last time I checked the Tag specs, I didn't see anything like this (although Tag may add it in a later upgrade ;) ).

    As I said before, there is a clear difference, even a substantial one, between good mid range and good high end kit, but the difference in quality does not equal the increase in price, ergo the law of diminsihing returms applies.

    That's not to say I'm not jealous of you peeps with high end equipment. More power to you, I say :).
     
  21. lmccauley

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    Brattle,

    I don't think it's necessarily just about price/performance multiples. I think that thresholds also apply.

    For example, I could spend £3000 (figures guessed at) on a Sony LCD projector or £6000 on a Sim2 HT200DM DLP. Would the Sim2 give 100% better performance than the Sony? Well, I find the poor contrast and black levels unnacceptable to the point that I wouldn't actually buy the Sony. I've seen the Sim2 and liked it. So, spending £3000 extra gets me something that I would be satisfied with.

    Now, whether I have £6000 to spend on a projector is a different matter :rolleyes: but I'm sure you get the point.

    On the other hand, I do not hear significant differences between competently engineered CD players. I am perfectly happy with an Arcam Alpha 7 - I tried a 9 (£500 more expensive) but could not hear any difference. So I stuck with the 7.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  22. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Can I add a little here.

    Budget > High End...

    It's true that folk percieve High End as meaning expensive. I don't . I would think a better classification would be.

    Budget> Expensive
    Low Quality> High End

    Doubt it'll catch on.

    Now it's impossible to attach figures or multiples to how much better prtoduct A is over B. Here's why. Everyone minimum standards are different.

    Time for a car analogy....as it's safer than hi-fi.

    If you own a Ford Mondeo and find it acceptable to drive, comfortable, does the job, then if you drive a BMW318 you will undoubtedly feel it is better but will you feel it justifies it's price over the Mondeo? If you own a BMW528 and get in a Mondeo you'd likley think it tat. If you then drove the 318 you'd probably think it worth the price difference but it still wouldn't be good enough. Now drive their top BMW and you will think it better but is it worth the extra money..... Both folk have the same perception of the more expensive kit but not of the same vehicle. This is where the problem lies. Once you've found your minimum standard at which you enjoy yourself it becomes harder to justify spending more money.

    I guess I don't believe in diminshing returns as I have high standards;)

    Gordon
     
  23. brattle

    brattle
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    Imccauley

    I concur that at the bottom end (and £3,000 for a projector is towards the bottom end) there are significant gains to be had by spending more and the law of diminishing returns may not apply. I shudder to think what a £50 DVD player would perform like and I would not be surprised if a quality £100 DVD player performed twice as well. But a quality £200 player would not perform twice as well again imo.

    Would you expect to see the same gains on the Sim2 if you had spent £12,000 for instance?
     
  24. brattle

    brattle
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    Gordon,

    I have fairly high standards too, maybe not as high as yours, but I do know that by spending more money you the benefits go up incrementally which can add up to a substantial difference if you are prepared to pay the money. I spent £4,000 on my home theatre set up and I recognise that if I had spent more I could have got a better system. However I also recognise that if I had spent half as much I wouldn’t have a system that was half as good. I’m not saying everyone should by Cyberhome DVD players and Videologic soundtheatres. If you enjoy high end stuff then that is fine and I can accept that if you are used to high standards you will want to keep them. But if you say the law of diminishing returns does not apply, you are implying to others that by spending more money you are achieving a disproportionate increase in quality and that is simply not true.

    Using the examples of cars again, if I had £10,000 to spend on a new car, I might go for a 106 Gti, a nippy little bugger and a great car for the money. If I had £20,000 I might go for a Golf V6 4-Motion. Clearly the Golf is a better car, but is it twice as the 106? Does it have twice the performance, twice the comfort and twice the ride? To achieve just twice the performance of the 106 I would need to get a supercar like the Lister Storm and the price would go up extortionately. Clearly the Lister is a far better car than the 106, just as the Tag is far better than the 9000, but the price has jumped up disproportionately to obtain a doubling in performance.

    Even with cars there are still many factors to take into account, so I’ll use an simpler example. I can buy a 1000mhz PC processor brand new for £50 today, if I wanted to double the power to £2000mhx I would have to spend much more than £100 to achieve it.

    This is the case for all consumer items and AV equipment is no exception. Using your example of a designer, granted if you give a designer £2,000 you will get a better product, but give him £20,000 or even £200,000 and the benefits become less obvious.

    High end equipment that commands a high price of any type (whether it be cars, PCs, AV equipment or whatever) will always require a substantial increase in price for a modest increase in performance. Because of the high cost, the end user base is that much smaller and the number of units produced is less. Expensive equipment doesn’t enjoy the same economies of scale that the cheaper equipment like the Tosh 210e does which are produced in their thousands all over the world. This lack of mass production doesn’t allow the more expensive equipment the benefits in price that cheaper equipment can achieve, underlining the law of diminishing returns even further.

    I totally agree with you that if you already have high standards you will not want to reduce them. However if you imply to people like Martin who are used to mid range equipment that they will see benefits in high end gear over and above the increase in price, then that is slightly misleading imo.
     
  25. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Actually, for that specific example, yes! The picture quality of a Cine7 with the built in LIDO line trippler (which is around £12000) is significantly better than a Sim2 HT200. I can say this with confidence as I saw them both performing on the same day at The Event. Once I saw the Cine7 I did start to wonder if I could live with the Sim2 picture (curse you Gordon ;) ).

    I also saw a £30000 projector at the same time and I did not think the improvements in PQ over the Cine 7 were as great as the Cine 7 over the HT200.

    Like I said, I think that there is a threshold below which you are not really happy with the performance. Above that, gains start to become smaller.

    Also, you need to experience this first hand, rather than relying on others' opinions.

    If you want to find out if a better quality amp (in Martin's original example) provides a significant improvement, then speak to your local dealer and borrow one for a few days to try out in your own system. I've done that with speakers, DVD players, CD players and subwoofers. This guarantees that I am never disappointed with the purchases that I do eventually make.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  26. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I thinks there have been some great points made here for Martin to chew over, plenty to think about. I call it a good thread with several well made arguments coming forward.:)
     
  27. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Nic,

    I agree. I think that the original question was very valid, and it is good that we step back and question why we are upgrading kit.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  28. RC

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    I bought my AV32R in a sale and got £300 knocked off. Does it sound worse than one that costs £2375?!! :clown:

    Flippant remarks aside, I 'think' the issue here has to do with that elusive curve - the one where you plot cost on one axis, and performance on the other. This curve can allow you to identify either the performance level you want to achieve (and see what the respective cost is), or to see what kind of performance you can buy, (for a given price).

    The point of this curve is that it allows us to see how steep the curve is getting towards diminishing returns, and each one of us, with our subjective criteria, can decide how steep we are willing to go. Most of us will have a mental idea of what the optimum point on that curve will be, where the money we are spending, is just not getting us the returns we feel we should have.

    It is relatively easy to see a performance leap from the 'everything included' package that costs £250 to a system which costs £1500 to put together. What is more difficult to establish is the cost/ justification for something that costs say, £6000. I'm really not sure that an objective/ quantifiable figure can be given to say whether this high-end kit is worth the money (we really mean, justifies the steepness of our cost/ performance curve). A factor that can't be ignored is affordability, which is going to make a wealthy person say, yes £6000 is fine, and someone with a more restricted budget weep. I'll leave that issue right to one side.

    Clearly, some people here feel that the improvements that a high end system offers, really is worth the increase in cost (myself included). Whether it is 3.37 times better or 10 times better is irrelevant, because value for money is not the criteria, but a certain level of performance is. I couldn't really say that the TAG AV32R is 3 times better than the Denon AVR3802, but I do know that I would not be happy to listen to my CD's using the Denon as an amp. It is an esoteric issue. The best sound improvement that many of us could achieve is to go to a doctor and pay for a nurse to syringe the wax out of our ears. :eek: Whenever you talk about 'worth', then you are in a quagmire of subjectivity.

    Remember, the issue we are discussing here is the exact same one when a person chokes when you tell them your hi-fi cost £1000, and they laugh at you because they've got a radio/ CD unit which can play CD's just the same, and it only cost them £59.95. My (subjective) attitude is, why save a grand on a system when the slightly muffled sound is going to bug me until I have to loose £3000 fixing the problem. Obviously, the problem is 'worth it' to me. But it might not be to you.

    I'd love some more wine tips Nic. Burgundy is only a few hours drive away from here ;)
     
  29. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    No problem at all. Your lucky I now live in the furthest part of England from the channel ports so my trips to the wine growing areas are more difficult nowdays:( but I still drink damn well, if you think I have decent AV kit you've seen nothing yet....
     
  30. Lowrider

    Lowrider
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    The day we will be able to quantify how much better Pavarotti is then Jose Carreras (forget the size), then you will be able to get your percentage difference between hifi gear... ;)
     

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