You are here

Log in or register to post comments
johnnie225
johnnie225's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 3 2008 - 9:48pm
How high do (we) want our fi ?

I'd like to thank Steve Guttenburg for a great "As we see it" (AWSI) in the April issue. Steve's quite right that many (pop) recordings suck and are not good enough for high-end playback. What shocks me is how many are trying to do this. I've noticed over the years, in a competing (print) magazine, that the bulk of their monthly music selections are rock and pop. Nothing wrong with rock and roll...but is it a good idea to play this kind of music through a high-resolution music system ? And that's for any (historical) rock record - how about the ones made this decade ? Even *worse* for listening - unless you like zero-dynamic-range music.

Thankfully, we have many "audiophile" labels that care about quality - ranging from Chesky to Hyperion to JA's own recordings - great !!

And I agree with Steve that there are *many* reasons why high-end has fallen short of its goal. Starting with sources, remember Jon Iverson's AWSI piece about CD and LP ? "They both suck". He was right, because both are *still improving* after all these years. This bodes poorly for LP being that it started improving with the AR turntable, in the early 1960's !! CD began its journey in the mid-80's with Meridian's first player but not really until the late 80's with separate DACs and custom filters.

With (the best) CD playback sounding very close to hi-rez, then hi-rez downloads here to stay, we finally have sources that achieve a live mike-feed quality at home. No more complaining.

Then, wire. This area of audio has been improving rapidly. Michael Fremer wasn't blowing air when he stated that The Zero interconnect was a big leap in sound, a few years back. Power cords have leaped in performance as well.

Loudspeakers. If we are to believe many of the published reviews this decade, then horns are moving out in front and are doing things that direct-radiating speakers are not. Read Sam Tellig's review of the Klipsch LaScala. This design, BTW, was a "legacy" upgrade of an old product - never mind cutting-edge designs that may even go further. Open baffle (dipole) speakers are also getting positive press - something different and one more thing to consider in the future.

Finally, the acoustic format. It's pretty well accepted that "surround" is an advance over two-channel audio. But even if we don't have faith in the (surround) recording process right now or the titles available are scant, there's always the Trifield processor to help us bridge the gap.

So, progress. It's one of my two "laws" of high-end audio. First, everything matters....then, progress is slow. My second law requires patience, something I - for one - don't have !!

rmeyer52
rmeyer52's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 3 2007 - 12:49pm
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

The high end audio market is only about 3% of sales I believe in the audio market. There are many reasons that people don't get into high end audio including the success of iPods and iTunes which has ruined the "sound" quality market. But it goes deeper than that I believe...not having the time to truly listen to good music and having artists that putting out products instead of great music which can appreciated on a high end system. Then there is the confusion of how much you need to spend to get great sound and the confusion around what and how much as evidenced by the newbe posts that ask for advice.

As I have stated before musical tastes tend to evolve as we get older, at least my did. With that evolution comes an evolution of the need for better sound as well but until people take that first step they don't know what they're missing. Listening to a Coleman Hawkins CD this morning that was recorded in 1957 I was reminded of both how good he played and how great the recording was but I also know that not everyone can appreciate the love that I have for good recordings and artists.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

How high do (we) NEED our fi?

We are a small subset of the audio market because most people don't need our degree of minutiae to get off on music.

I think we are the afflicted minority!

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that I have to have two systems. Because I enjoy many crappy recordings as well as high quality recordings, I gave up on trying to find a happy medium as far as system matching goes.

smejias
smejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2005 - 10:29am
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?


Quote:
It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that I have to have two systems. Because I enjoy many crappy recordings as well as high quality recordings, I gave up on trying to find a happy medium as far as system matching goes.

With all due respect, Monty, I hope I never get to that point. Fortunately, with my current system (Exposure electronics, Rega turntable, Totem loudspeakers, Furutech cables), I have no trouble enjoying most of my recordings. (Every now and then there's a stinker, but they're few and far between.)

However, I do like the idea of having two systems just for the fun of it. I can imagine having a relatively high-power solid-state-based system and a low-power tubed-based system, for instance. But I would still expect both systems to play most recordings with little trouble.

Then again, my ideas of "crappy recordings" and "high quality recordings" might be very different from yours. I might own more crappy recordings, and actually enjoy more crappy recordings. Who knows?

I want my fi just high enough that I forget it's there, and feel compelled to buy tons of new music.

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 6 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

Two systems is nice!

We have a few recordings that were not well engineered or whatever, and we just put those on the #2 system (doesn't everyone have one??).

The #2 system evolved as a sound system for the 60" Sony HDTV in the family room. It started out as an old Cambridge 40W amp with two old small Celestion speakers, and now has evolved to a NAD 325BEE amp with KEF iQ9 tower speakers. The OPPO DVD player has a direct audio connection to the amp for playing audio discs, and the rest of the times it does the TV audio. It sounds pretty nice, but is also fairly forgiving when listening to recordings that are not A-1 quality; certainly more so than my big system in the living room.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

I'm a believer in multiple systems.

Only having one system is like having only one friend.

Call me a polygamist audiophile.

I've yet to meet the perfect system - they ALL have their idiosyncracies ( which I could tell apart in DBT, by the way...... .....) so having alternate systems can add some spice to one's relationship with music.

More than one system also means good music in more than one place!

One system may fit a certain room and its mood particulalry well, and another system may be the schiznit in another room.

Sometimes I want lean bass, sometimes mo' bass. Perhaps even with the same music.

(I probably have a bit of audio ADD, too. Most days, I wanna simply sit wherever I end up sitting and yack or sip vino or read or sit and do nothing but listen - so having some Hi Fi in different places help change the scenery, too.)

Multiple systems can make for different views into a piece of music, too.

Multiple systems also help keep a little of the OCD out of my listening. Instead of obsessing over one system and getting the shakes over its interconnects and trying to get every recording to sound the way I like it, I can have different options in different places. There's alot of recording to recording variation, and multiple systems may allow one to have different horses for different courses.

Word.

linden518
linden518's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Dec 12 2007 - 5:34am
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

Well, kind of echoing what SM said, I've one 150wpc SS amp and one ~30 wpc push pull, and each does its own thing that the other can't do. And it's nice to have both options. Not to mention that when you have toddlers/infants, you can't have your tube/turntable set-up out in the open! So for practicality, I have the tube/analog set-up in the basement study/listening space, and the SS is in the living room where the whole family can enjoy the music. Sometimes, life deals you a hand where you are forced *cough cough* to have 2 systems... woe is me

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

My second system is also in the living room and is mostly castoffs from my main system. Maggie MMG's, Onyko receiver, Thorens Vinyl, Parasound phono amp, Samsung DVD and a lot of different interconnects and speaker cables. I do not listen to music seriously there.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?


Quote:
My second system is also in the living room and is mostly castoffs from my main system. Maggie MMG's, Onyko receiver, Thorens Vinyl, Parasound phono amp, Samsung DVD and a lot of different interconnects and speaker cables. I do not listen to music seriously there.

"I do not listen to music seriously there."

Why not?

BillB
BillB's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: Aug 15 2007 - 2:04pm
Re: How high do (we) want our fi ?

I enjoy the heck out of my secondary system - it gets more hours of use in a given day than my "main" one. The 2nd system is in the family room, so tv and dvd sound goes through that. And when playing CD's there, or stream Airtunes for music (on the continuum from "background" to "serious" listening) we dig it. It's a modest system (speakers are B&W DM601's) but it can catch you and make you sit down to listen even tho you were on your way to do other things...

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading