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What is the point of a high end product?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by EvilMudge, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. EvilMudge

    EvilMudge
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    If it doesn't get you closer to the music?

    Gambit asked a very relevant question in the Active speakers thread. Why spend £10,000+ on a hi-fi, if in fact you are getting no more high fidelity reproduction than a £100 mini-system.
    Either that high end kit reproduces exactly what is in the original recording (to the limit that £10,000 worth of kit can do) or you might as well just buy some cheapie from Comet.
    When the waterfall response chart from your speaker playing pure tones starts to resemble that of a descant recorder, something is definitely wrong.
     
  2. SpiderManPants

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    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
     
  3. Gambit

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    I talk when I'm sober :smashin:
     
  4. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    I believe the point of high end kit is to keep low end kit (and it's users) firmly in their place! (class system if you like!)

    THIS IS A (supposedly) HUMOUROUS RETORT
    JOKE!!!
    ETC ETC
    No neeeed for hate posters!

    Steve
     
  5. stranger

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    higher end gear is usually better to look at, it's good to have something to aspire to or even dream about and it would be very dull without choice.
     
  6. rigman

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    The anaology is when you have to travel home from somewhere and the journey is going to take you 7 hours and the weather is horrendous.

    Low end kit is just leaving the place and you have the full journey ahead of you. :(

    High end kit is finally arriving at your street. :smashin:

    You are not fully there but you are a hell of a lot closer.

    Darren
     
  7. Lowrider

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    You are suposed to listen to it, not look at waterfall response charts... :nono:
     
  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The only word of that I understood was "Darren" :confused:
     
  9. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    But do you noy find that by default as you learn (and spend!) more on the subject (until it takes over your life?) the more you are actually listening to the kit as much if not more than the software being played on it?
    It has been a curse for me, the two (well not quite) worst things i have done is build an amplifier and understand just how a tv is built/operates, i am now constantly more aware of what an
    amp/set is doing wrong badly than what it is doing well.

    Steve
     
  10. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Ian.
    I am (loathingly?) forced to agree with you.

    Steve.
     
  11. EvilMudge

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    That's just it. Would you spend £100,000 on a car purely to listen to the engine note? It's all well and good sitting still revving the tits off it, but what happens when someone overtakes you going into a corner because it doesn't handle all that well?

    When I've finally got £10,000 to spend on AV equipment, I do not want to listen to the kit, I want to listen to movies and music as they were recorded. That's what high end hi fi should be about, rather than the warm pleasing sound of various designed in flaws in the reproduction.
     
  12. Gambit

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    OK, as promised...

    High-end, for me, is a means to an end. As I said in the thread which spawned this one, I find redeeming qualities in everything I listen to, from the budget end to the high end. But all this does is allow me to enjoy my music. Simple as. High end kit reproduces the music more accuratly, and allows me to get a feel for what the writer/singer/composer was trying to say. But when I listen to kit, I don't listen to the kit, I listen to the music and see how it's different to the last thing that was on, and draw conclusions from that. I don't like peope refering to "listening to the tonality of kit" as it really is relevant to what is being played, to the same extent as to what driving it- Sugen amps are, in my opinion, smoother than Cyrus amps, and if I was listening to fast dance, then I'd probably put Cyrus on. I'm not saying that the sugden can't do it, but some kit sounds better playing certain types of music, I think. So really, it truly is about what you're playing through the system.
     
  13. Lowrider

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    Of course I meant listen to the music, not the system...

    As for comparing with cars, I still prefer my Mercedes C200 Kompressor to any Fiat Punto turbo, even if it overtakes me anywhere... :rotfl:
     
  14. martintyler

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    I would think many people dont push their cars to the limit, so things like the sound of an engine, looks, etc are pretty important to people spending a lot on a high performance car.. gives you the feeling you are in something special that can, if needed, perform well above anything else around you. I dont push my car to its limits (well, there was that time i spun it :( ) but the ability to put your foot down now and then is satisfying.

    Not sure how this relates directly to high-end kit here.. whether you are listening to the 'kit' or the 'music' is quite hard to say. Especially when it comes to comparing different kit..

    Can you explain the difference? I can understand people saying they listen and enjoy the music... but you say even when you are comparing kit you do that.. how exactly? If you are listening to differences of the same disc being played on different kit? I'm not saying you are talking rubbish, i just want to know what you think the difference is. Is it just a case of listening to the sound as a whole, instead of trying to pick out certain sounds?
     
  15. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Interesting topic. It would be handy to have a working definition of what high-end is wouldn't it? Is it simply about price, or a badge or does performance also come into it? Is a Krell HTS II high end merely because of its badge, or should the fact it has mediocre internals, little different to many maintream receivers/processors, rule it out? Discuss... :lesson:

    Is it really about accuracy? Audionote Ongaku's will set you back a fortune, and many audiophiles would give several limbs to own a pair of these, but I bet you could produce a set of measurements that prove on paper any number of relatively cheap solid state amps produce a signal with much less distortion and a lot more power. So why do people drool over them, unless it's about the badge, the craftmanship and ultimately, the price. Or do they produce a sound that is simply wonderful to listen to and belies their lack of absolute accuracy? I don't know as I've never heard them. Would love to though... :)

    Much truth in that, especially as you're likely to have been mugged several times along the way. :clown:

    Steve has hit the nail on the head! :laugh:
     
  16. Gambit

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    it's a little difficult to describe how I listen to someone who, by the sounds of things, hasn't done it the same way as me, but I'll try. When most people come into the shop and listen to kit, they talk and fidget and do other things whilst their potential buy is on. when I listen, everything else is peripheral. I prefer to listen alone, and you just kind of loose yourself in the music (bit cheesy, but true) and just hear that and nothing else. Then, when the switch is made, you can say, well, his voice isn't as prominent, the bass is looser, etc. the music is the only point of reference you have so it is differences in the music that show the differences in the kit.

    I think we'd all like a pair of ongaku's charlie :D
    but I know what you mean, yes, on paper, I'm sure some amps will out perform them, but you know as well as I do that spec's can mean whatever the manufacturer wants them to mean- I rarely look at stats, with proof is all ways in the pudding, which means a listen. I try not to commment on things I've never heard, so just reading the spec sheet for a product means nothing to me really.
     
  17. martintyler

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    Gambit.. maybe trying to describe what you think 'listening to the kit' is would make it clearer :)

    I would say i listen to music in the way you described it most of the time. If comparing kit and i cannot hear a difference listening like that i might then try and concentrate on specific aspects, picking out a certain sound/instrument. On one hand you might think that if you cannot hear a difference when listening in the way you would normally do then why bother spending more on something new. On the other hand there are two reasons why i would try and pick out differences, firstly to satisfy my curiosity that the different kit actually makes any difference at all, and secondly out of a possible belief that it might sound better and it could almost be subconcious or just take longer to appreciate the difference when listening 'normally'.

    You have clearly listened to a lot more stuff than I have.. do you really hear small differences by just getting lost in the music.. or do you often find things of similar abilities sound the same?
     
  18. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Martin,

    Having had the pleasure of listening to some of your music over in Eric's batcave (I was the quiet one in the corner!), I would say it would give me some difficulty in judging between pieces of kit. As it was, I would not presume to judge the performance of Eric's TAG & M&K equipment based on what I heard. :rolleyes:

    I am in no way critical of your choice in music, as I think you would have every right to HATE the stuff that I like. Fortunately, we're all different. But playing devil's advocate for a minute, how do you judge the accuracy of reproduction of some synthesised sound? Surely you need a point of reference such as a human voice or a 'natural' instrument that you have heard in real life to make comparisons. This is not meant to sound 'green' or 'organic', but I think you need to use 'natural' music to do any real judgment of accuracy of reproduction. ;)
     
  19. Gambit

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    I know what you mean about picking out certain parts, like just following the drums or bass, I do this a lot to take apart records and later maybe to check separation on a system but when when I'm hearing some new kit for the first time, I like to see what catches my ear, sort of thing. If I just let the music happen and the voice is over powering the rest of the music, then I'll pick that up naturally. Then I might see how easy it is to change my focus from the voice to the lead guitar, or whatever. Also, if you loose yourself in it, you can tell how harsh a system is- I find that brash top end makes me uncomfortable, and I can relax like I usually do. It's not really a process, I think if you think about it too much then it stops being fun, but you can take a lot on board whilst still enjoying what you're doing.
     
  20. martintyler

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    Ah, so that was you!

    I know what you mean, and given more time i do listen to other stuff too, with more natural sounds.

    I guess with synthetic sounds it is hard to say whether the kit is transparent, or sounding like it was intended to. Comparing two cd players, for example, you should still be able to judge what sounds better though shouldnt you? Maybe in some cases you might hear a difference, but not know which was more accurate (having not been present at the recording).

    You may have read my comments after having a tag dvd32r at home for a week, comparing to my arcam dv88 for CD playback. I could not tell the difference between the two, nor could my friend, we even ABX blind tested each other. In that thread i asked whether different music would show up differences. Just trying to remember what we played at Erics, i think it was particularly synthetic - mainly coz those discs are ones i had recently listened to on my own system. When i had the tag i did try other more natural stuff too - even some stuff i dont like one bit! just to try and hear a difference.

    Having said that, that evening at Erics sold me on the speakers, and I have been enjoying them ever since, and they make a huge difference whatever music i play :)

    Edit: Charlie, would you agree though that an aspect of it is that you werent familiar with the music i played so that would make it harder for you to have judged the quality of the kit? As I said, i left there thinking it sounded amazing on Erics kit.
     
  21. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Charlie
    Indeed, a frame of reference can only be obtained from a model.
    Similarly for visual assessments skin tones are a popular (and realistically few sensible) frame of reference.
    Basing any audio replay capability on say a korg/moog type tracks would be somewhat pointless.

    But you know all this

    Steve
     
  22. martintyler

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    Not sure exactly what you mean by this, but if you mean you cannot judge the difference between kit just using electronic music then I would disagree.

    It may be wise to try different kinds of music, and if your goal is to assess accuracy/transparency then electronic music isnt going to help. That does not mean it is pointless. Are you saying just because you dont know how it was intended to sound that you cannot judge whether something is better or not?

    A couple of the tracks I played at Erics I find are very good at showing the abilities of a system, they are very complex and multi layered, and i could instantly tell that i could hear more when played at Erics.

    Just because a track was created with natural instruments doesnt always help either, instruments can be played to sound different, the way they were recorded makes a difference too.. unless you were at the recording knowing what a violin sounds like doesnt mean you can accurately judge two pieces of equipment
     
  23. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Yes, to an extent. To make a judgment about Eric's system, I would have had to have heard those tracks through something I was familiar with as a point of reference. If you were basing your judgment on a comparison with your own system, then that's entirely valid. But...

    You can say which sound you PREFER but you can't say which is more ACCURATE unless you have a point of reference. Some people PREFER the sound of those so-called high-end, in-car sound systems to play music which simply (to me) goes boom, boom, boom. (Why is it that the loudest of these always come from the smallest cars? ( :rotfl: ). But in no way could these things be called ACCURATE in what they do. But people like them. Fine. I don't! :thumbsdow

    The reason I went for Theta DACs in the first place was that I listened to a number of tracks with Krell, PS Audio and Wadia DACs and players against the Theta, and what decided it for me in the end was a solo violin track which on the rest sounded like the violin was made of carbon fibre and steel strings, and with the Theta sounded like wood and cat-gut. That is what I mean by accuracy, if it sounds like the real thing.

    Performance is part of the reason for going high-end, but I think there is also an element of exclusivity about it. Much the same sentiments make people buy (and aspire to) Rolex and Porsche etc... ;)
     
  24. Gambit

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    I with Martin on this one- you can judge a system well using electronic music, as the tracks are often very densly layered and well sound staged and often well produced too. I wouldn't count any type of music out of someone's listening list, if you like it and know it then you can probably spot some differences.
     
  25. Steve.EX

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    Well i would still say that i would tend to judge a system on real world musicians, real world instruments etc to ascertain timbre dynamics and space and presence between rather than say Jean Micheal Jarre type stuff (for initial assessing) with fully synthesised/sampled sounds thrown artificially across across the soundstage via phase trickery and the like.

    Steve
     
  26. Spligsey

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    Steve EX & Charlie W.

    You are performing superbly to the label of what Hi-end elitist activity is all about:D

    I've been in many a demo room and have watched people snarl @ the idea of the 'demo-er' putting on artists such as Leftfield, Chemical Brothers, Roni Size etc.
    (If you need help in what music they do, just ask;) )

    This is in no way meant to be a negative comment:lesson:

    Both of you post some bleedin' good stuff!

    You two should have stuck to Vinyl, isn't that supposed to be the most 'organic' sound there is for music reproduction?

    Your Theta's & TAG's should be emptied into the dustbin immediately.

    Adam.
     
  27. Marshan Man

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    *packs his 'War of the worlds' disk for his future 1st forey into world of speaker testings*
     
  28. uncle eric

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    Adz,
    I'm afraid I'm another sad old bugger. My lack of experience with these new fangled "artists"and their weird and wonderful "non organic" (I hate that word) music means that I wouldn't have a clue as to what sounds right or wrong until I threw on some vocals (above all), pianno, violin etc.
    As was mentioned beforehand, it's also about knowing a given particular piece well.
    Why do I feel so old :( :D
     
  29. Gambit

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    Adz,
    Surely Vinyl is the biggest format for real dance music like the above artists and many, many more. A lot of good choons (sic) can only be got on 12".
     
  30. rigman

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    Ian

    the moral was. Listening to low fi piles of crap that you buy from comet is like having teeth pulled.

    Listening to hi end hifi is like arriving home after a long stressful drive ...Heaven
     

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