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The av bug has made me tone deaf?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by alliwant, May 4, 2005.

  1. alliwant

    alliwant
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    Is it me or do others feel the same. For some strange reason unbeknown to me I seem to have caught the AV bug with some very strange side effects!! I now have an utter compulsion to buy the best kit around even if I have no idea what it can do. My obsession with buying the best is coupled with the fear that I am going to be or have been ripped off. It no longer matters that I don’t have enough cash now…I will save and eat beans until I can afford it. Take for example my recent trip to a local AV dealer to demo some new speakers. Now after reading all about speakers in the AV mags and reading at least 1000 posts on here, I made a short list of speakers to demo. Hahha I think to myself, I am educated, I am an adult!!! For gods sake how hard can it be! Having read and agree with posts that say let your ears judge the speakers I set off will my list in hand.

    So off I go confident, no certain, that I can make a selection. Demo 1, Gallo Micros… oh, they sounded great…demo 2, Gallo D’Diva’s, oh they too sounded great…but wait, did they sound any different to the micros? Logic tells me they should!! After all they would cost £100 more than the micro’s…but did they sound different? God only know, the dealers using a high end amp (that I camt afford), speaker cable that I hand never heard of and used a music burnt onto a CR-r…oh did I mention the cd was scrathched!!

    Demo 2, Castles…Great reviews…. Ah, different amp, cd player and cable. Different room and I couldn’t tell any difference. And not WAF acceptable…Not allowed boxes in the lounge!!!

    Demo 3, Mirage Omnisat Speakers using Omnipolar technology…now is it me, but what the hell is that. Speakers that envelope you in sound so that you can’t tell where the sounds coming from? Now I think I have all this HC wrong? I thought you were supposed to know where the sound was coming from!! I door opens to the left of you and that sounds supposed to come from that direction. I plane flies overhead, you hear the sound move!!!

    I had a further three demos…alas I left knowing less than when I arrived.

    Further more everyone talks about speakers being “bright”, “struggles with midarange” and “sweet spots”…….what are they talking about? I cant describe the differences. How can I tell that the boom with Laser Canon from the film Minority Report doesn’t sound natural!! I’ve never heard one in real life, nor have I have a two jets fly past within 20 ft!!!

    How do I know that Tom Hanks voice sounds the same to me as you? How do I know that its not the CD, AMP, Speakers or cable that make the speaker sound good or bad!

    So here I am, a fully grown man, with kids and responsibilities unable to choose to speakers? Why? Why do I feel like the AV dealer is only selling the amps or speakers that they have in stock and not what they think sounds good?

    I am however caught in a vicious circle that I distrust AV shops (sorry its for no logical reason other than ignorance and fear)

    I can not tell what sounds good and what doesnt ….I MUST BE TONE DEAF!

    I can’t trust the AV Mags, as they seem to favour certain manufacturers and every one believes that its down to how much advertising they get.

    So…what do I do? And here is the ironic thing, I will probably end up buying the Gallo’s D’advia, not because they sound good? Not because they keep my wife happy…but because (piers, uncle eric (another forum) and Joe) rate them…and they are dealers!

    You read posts from Hornydragon, Joe, Piers, Gordon, Ian J, Hayes..and after a while realize that they really do know there stuff so they must be able to tell that one product is better than another! I only wish is did!

    Anyone want to teach me to tell the differences? :lesson:
     
  2. thelordmagus

    thelordmagus
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    One thing you should do is take music with you. You will not be able to tell the difference if you are unfamiliar with the test music used, and it gets worse if you have different music each time...

    I would burn a CD with test tracks. Tracks that you most love and are sure to listen to often on your new setup. different cables and cd players, etc. make a difference, which you won't be able to avoid, except you carry your kit with you, so make things easier on yourself and test the speakers with YOUR music :) I'm sure you must have a few all-time-faves in your collection you think you know by heart :smashin:
     
  3. Ray

    Ray
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    Alliwant,

    Know exactly where you're coming from! Sound quality is so subjective. As you say how do you know what you hear is the same as what I hear ? You don't. ANd even if we both heard exactly the same our preferences might be different anyway. And how on earth can you describe what you are hearing ? Too boomy or too tinny may be understandable at the extreme end of the speaker range but what about all those esoteric phrases used to describe sound quality in between the extremes? It's all relative and reviewers can only say one set sounds different to another and maybe, according to them, better as well. And then there are all the sound quality impacts of the rest of the kit - player, amp, cables etc. You can't possibly account for it all in a dealers showroom.
    SOmetimes you just get too much choice. Like menus in restaurants these days - too much choice ! Spend ages picking something and then the rest of the evening wondering what the other dishes were like !
    If I were you I would go in with a different mindset. Take your music or DVD that you know inside out and demo 2 or 3 packages. It doesn't matter that they sound different just what sounds good to you and is an improvement on what you have already. Whichever set you choose when you get it home you will be pleased. It's only in situations where you can directly compare lots of options that things get confusing. At home with your new speakers you'll forget about the other options. And don't be afraid to buy the cheaper ones. Don't fall into the trap that more £££s means better sound. It's an indicator to build quality but that's all. Plenty of similar sounding mid range packages out there but they vary by quite a few £100s. Don't just go for the most expensive.

    Ray
     
  4. alliwant

    alliwant
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    haha i am not going mad then. TBH i think i am going to but the gallos as piers & joe rate them and i rate them (based on posts here, they both seem to know what is what)
     
  5. ancientgeek

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    alliwant

    I sympathise with the impossibility of selecting equipment. (That's why I gave up and built my own speakers!). After the room, the speakers probably have the most effect on the sound nowadays, when good amps and sources can be had fairly cheaply.

    There is absolutely no scientifically valid experimental evidence that the choice of speaker cable makes any difference to the sound, provided it's thick enough for the current (which can be quite high for bass frequencies). Only buy expensive speaker cable if you want to for appearance or image.

    The modern fashion to have hard floors can make your listening room a real problem for sound quality. You need plenty of soft sofas, chairs, curtains etc to offset this, and you need to experiment a bit with layout.

    As has been said above, take stuff you are familiar with for listening tests. And be aware that even slight increases in volume level allow you hear more detail. Unless you are primed to factor out the volume level, you will almost always say the louder of two alternatives sounds better.

    Those phrases the reviewers use usually are objectively meaningless. So ignore them. But reviews can save you the trouble of auditioning bad or inappropriate products.

    With luck, after you've had the equipment for a couple of months, you'll stop worrying about it, and get on with enjoying the sound regardless of what you finally bought.
     

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