Is the HiFi world changing and are What Hifi and others hanging on to the old world?

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Mushi - I agree with most of what you say but think is a lot in Floyd Tooles video that people should consider when buying or upgrading an audio system.

His research proves that speakers that measured better were rated as sounding better, but only in blind listening tests. When the speakers could be seen, the size, look and brand of the product completely changed people’s opinions.

Assuming you have a speaker that measures well, you’ll get great sound except for the Elephant in the room, the way the room acoustics change the way they sound. This is the biggest cause of distortion in most hifis and reducing this will produce the biggest upgrade in sound quality.

Room correction is the most effective method of reducing room errors and RoomPerfect is the first correction system that won’t change the sound of your speakers, so I think people should give it a try.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Rob, I was talking to DSP engineers 20 years ago, looking at room correction, anti-noise and analogue room correction. My friend who is a free-lance speaker designer was one of the first people to look at (then British Rail's) infamous tannoy problem on their platforms, looking at analogue signal processing with various feedback mics to try and compensate. They finally found that multiple smaller speakers along the platform length were far more effective than one dirty great tannoy on each platform. I have seen DSP installed (and catastrophically failed) in concert halls. I understand the Value of DSP, but its only relevant if people care.

As for speakers, i have spent hours in speaker design workshops, listening to all sorts of esoteric designs. I have listened to £20k Electrostatic speakers which IMHO sounded like an Alba midi system. I agree that there is a lot of cognitive bias on speaker brands and their look when people buy speakers, but some of that is also down to people's preference on individual brand's tonality or crossover design.
I personally like KEF's UniQ drivers, but own 3 sets of Monitor Audio - go figure.

I have no doubt RoomPerfect is a great system and that you have a lot of faith in it as a product. For me, I can live with the flaws in my hifi and my listening rooms, its part of what makes it mine and it does not bother me. If it did, I'd either buy something different or change my layout (which I feel that I am competent enough to do ;) )

Finally a little anecdote. 20 years a go, my best friend at the time, Biker John rode a Bonneville T140. We were at Matlock Baths and he was approached by a guy driving a TVR and offered to buy it off him at a ridiculously inflated price. The guy did not look like a biker and John asked him one question, before he decided on the sale. 'What are you going to do with the bike?' to which the guy replied 'Put it in my hallway, it will make an amazing conversation piece', to which John replied 'I dont want your money, you can F*** Off'. When the guy asked why, John replied Bonneville are made for riding, not to be a coffee table ornament in somebody's house, to discus over cocktails'. And that is my sentiment with Hifi, its meant to be listened to, not pontificated over.
 

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
As we are online talking about hifi rather than listening to music, I’d like to try and answer the question asked. “Is the HiFi world changing and are What Hifi and others hanging on to the old world?”

The HiFi World has changed hugely with computers making it easier to design better speakers, for consumers to measure their systems and for consumers to have access to meaningful data rather than unsubstantiated opinions.

In the home cinema world, the benefits of measuring and correcting systems are accepted and there is no push back to the idea.

In the hifi world, the inconvenient truth that hifis are inaccurate is ignored because the brands favoured by re-sellers and that pay the bills do not have a solution for fixing the problem. This has put traditional hifi shops in a position where the products and systems they sell don’t give the best performance.

This is why Forums like this are so useful in helping spread the word and have become so popular.
 

rogerh

Active Member
Hear, hear. Each to their own but jolly well-said. 👍
Spot on. It's just so easy to get sucked into the gadgets/kits etc. The music is the important part. I remember playing Oriole International 45s of Tamla records to everyone on a portable record player and just how people loved the sounds.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Rob accurate is a relative term. I shoot large calibre rifles as a hobby over some fairly large distances. The difference in accuracy is often measured a MOA or minute of angle which is a standard measure in relative terms but in absolute terms, a MOA at 100m is a group size of around 1" at 1000m its around 10". At both distances the accuracy, relative to the distance is the same 1 MOA but the physical distance is 10x the other. So accuracy is relative to how you measure it and what your reference is.
Just because a speaker does not meet a +/- 3dB flat response profile only makes it inaccurate with reference to that nominal benchmark. For other references, it may not be. lets not be too one dimensional here about this.
 

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Its very easy to get caught up, distracted and confused by the hifi industry. It happened to me which is why I try to debunk the nonsense about audio systems that gets promoted.

The video is the most in depth, unbiased, scientific research I’ve ever seen on the subject. It makes it absolutely clear that speakers that measure better translate to people preferring the sound quality.

I have never said that frequency response is everything but it the biggest error in most good hifis and correcting it will bring the biggest upgrade possible.

I’m trying to raise awareness that if you buy the best CD/amp/speakers, in most rooms, the system will be very inaccurate with some sounds being heard 3 or 4 times louder than others, something that’s hard to class as “hi fidelity”.

Traditional hifis cannot correct these errors, so they ignore them and focus on selling “upgrades” that often make little discernible difference.

This dirty little secret has been outed in the AV industry but isn’t something you’d currently know from reading hifi magazines or most Forums.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
If relative loudness is really an issue then why has neither the HiFi industry or the AV industry actually used Phons or Sones rather than dB's ? Surely a scale where relative loudness is the same at all frequencies would be a much more accurate measure?
 

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Here is an excellent article, again supported by real scientific testing.

This is the summary

“Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me..”

This is the article The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests
 

Oi You

Standard Member
Home Hi-Fi is just like car hi-fi, all careful measurements are null and void as soon as you open a window in your car, the same as if you pull curtains in your lounge room, or another person or big dog wanders in...it's all just so much bull. Rob Sinden has it right.
I have recently picked up some music that I last heard as a mere youth of 25 in a local pub in Dorset, a recording at The Chequers Inn in Lytchett Matravers. The recording is of a local band at the time with brilliant musicians, a band called Albatross. The recording was made with a domestic home reel to reel tape recorder and a single microphone on a table in the bar. I was there that night on January 7th 1975 and to hear this recording was just magical for me. I did not even consider the awful quality, the music and the moment were all that mattered.
 

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