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jkalman
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Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

After seeing some rather dismal remasters done on CD that are compressed to the point of crap and finding that quite a few of those same albums lack that amount of compression and clipping on LP, I realize it is time to invest in an LP player again. I realize that the recording industry likely won't change its wicked ways in the near future, and while I would rather have the choice of getting quality recordings on CD, I fear that it just won't happen any time in the near future, so it is time to move on and do what I have to, to get better sound quality on particularly offensive albums.

I can afford to get a class "A" turntable setup but am trying to figure out if it is really worth the difference from a class "B" setup as the price for all the parts can more than triple! Am I really going to get that big a sound quality difference between those two categories?

The class "B" setup I am considering would be:

Pro-Ject RPM-10 (or the Funk Vector TT)
Sumiko Blackbird Cartridge
Bellari VP129 (or the Grado for around $500)

I was also considering starting with a VPI TNT jr., so I could work my way up to a class "A" setup. Or, I could just start out with a VPI HRX and be done with it all until I die or it breaks. I am not a fan of tweaking. I want to put something together and be finished, so if there is an outstanding difference and I will want to upgrade if I buy a class "B" system I would rather buy the class "A" system now because I don't want to waste my money by having bought both at some future date in time. OTOH, I also don't want to waste money on a class "A" system if there isn't a real, noticeable difference in the sound quality for me beyond potential price bias influences.

I'd appreciate any help. I would also appreciate if people would answer the following questions so I can gauge their experience and basis for an opinion, as without these answered I can't be certain if the person answering is shooting from the dark or has actually used both "A" and "B" stock equipment. I also am trying to determine if people who have heard both and prefer one over the other also hear differences in cables, as this might mean that I won't notice a difference in the sound even if someone else does. Please number the answers. Without these answers, your posts won't help me at all, I'm sorry to say, because I need these answers to apply your posts to my particular situation.

  1. Have you ever owned a full class "A" system or listened to one extensively, and if so, was it in an acoustically treated and well setup environment (good speaker placement, etc)?
  2. Have you ever owned a full class "B" system or listened to one extensively, and if so, was it in an acoustically treated and well setup environment (good speaker placement, etc)?
  3. Do you hear differences between audiophile speaker cables and/or interconnect cables?

Thank you for your time,

- Jeff

P.S. Other suggestions are also welcome, such as alternative TTs and their merits (I have also been considering the Linn Sondek LP12 and Rega P9 TTs and their respective phono-stages, etc, as total, almost all-in-one solutions). So please, feel free to offer up options I haven't considered, praise options I am considering, or berate my ignorance for choosing a product that you feel is overhyped and underqualified.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Have I owned a full Class A system? No, I could never afford such components. When I sold audio I regularly had class A systems available to listen through and I set up and heard more than a few. I also saw people buy on price and thought they often could have done better.

Class B? Same as above, many of my components over the years have been ranked class B.

Cables make a system work but the cables must work within the system. Poor cable choice can handicap a system, but the differences between the best cables (not necessarily the most expensive cables) are not as great as some people think.

JK, you're asking a subjective judgement that most of us never have the option to make. Obviously there are differences and improvements between the various levels of equipment, however, buying more doesn't have to mean spending more. When I sold audio I often sold on the rule of diminishing returns since very few of my clients enjoyed the luxury of not having to consider price. It's not difficult to hear 80-90% of what the class A products offer while using class B or C components, if you've chosen wisely and with care. It's also quite easy to miss the benefits of any component if they are haphazardly chosen or put together on the basis of another set of ears you aren't familiar with. As always system synergy is going to get you more than any class system can manage.

Look at how you use your other equipment and your other possessions. If you find yourself questioning whether you should have spent more, buy the best the first time. If you seriously feel you would want to upgrade a class B component, you should not spend your money on a component that is not also a good investment. Realize that whatever you buy today will drop from class A or B sometime in the future. Audio, like cars and boats, will almost always depreciate in value. Rare is the item that sells for more today than it did twenty years ago. If you can spot the potential value winner, then you're ahead of the game. If you have to ask which it is, then you should be a bit more careful with your checking account. Like good wine, good music is meant to be enjoyed on a regular basis. Do you buy $25 wine or $500 wine? Do you enjoy each equally? How do you decide which meal will get which wine? Where do you sit at the symphony?

bobedaone
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

I think I would have greatly enjoyed doing business with you, Jan. I've found the experience and value-minded nature of my dealer to be invaluable. He has helped me put together a system for relatively little money that is a real joy.

I hope that with DUP gone for a month, you will feel less hindered and be able to offer more of your level-headed advice.

Yiangos
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Jeff,the answer to your 3 questions is yes.I am not going to go into details but from all equipment and accessoris/add-ons,the turntable/arm/cartridge combination is the easiest to hear the difference whenever you go up a "class".

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Point 3 I am curently messing around with various permutations of Systemdek 11x900 and 11xe's with a potential mixture of Rega RB250 and RB300's and have a Sondek LP12 (with Basik) in reserve once I have decided fully on the sounds...of very old vinyl...and must confess a present biase towards Audio Technica sharp ends in my trials. I have also spent reasonable bucks (pounds) on cables such as Cable Talk / Black Rhodium / Ixos / Monster /Cambdrige Audio and several others...and the differing quality of sound is almost unreal...quality is maybe the wrong word because they all just simply differ...it really is that simple and even I can hear it...there is no such word as 'best' as that is entirely down to the listener...

I like old old and upgrading and am also faffing around with Origin Live / Ingognito / Aural Thrills upgrades for my arms...I read loads of stuff about how the RB250 will perform so much better than the (more expensive) 300 with upgrades that I just have to try and find out for myself...and at the moment I cannot believe how good that old stuff sounds with some TLC, the benefit of hindsight and some reasonable cables from deck to preamp and onwards...

Old vinyl is all about cleaning and checking and testing and making sure you get the basics correct...I had forgotten what 'skating' was until I took the silly things of their box about a year ago...do not make the mistake of assuming all the old stuff will perform magic on the correct deck...I took an old favourite into a demo with the mighty Orbe hooked into a pair of Dimension 12's and it sounded dire...pops clicks and all sorts...the sales chap said..."Does Sir ever consider cleaning his records"

A versus B grades and all that seems to be very accurate as the folks who judge these things are quite good most of the time...it seems easy to say for sure that top dollar gets top quality...but I heard all that years ago when a Sondek was the THE one to go for and I found my old 900 was every bit as good for less cash...nowadays it is not about how much cash I can spend but more about serious enjoyment...I am also in discussions to maybe buy one of those new Audio Note three motor three speed beasts and that will cost more than the average house...but I will not buy until I know for sure what I am talking about...and even after spending huge amounts playing catch up...I am not sure of which way to go...

Cables? Simple, I restrict myself around

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Once more I perhaps fail to make ny point despite many words...I have spent maybe

Buddha
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables


Quote:

...do I need it if I am only going to listen to maybe a few dozen stereophile pressings of mainly 33's?

For so few recordings that you'd be listening to, I suggest skipping it.

In the "old days", there used to be a "formula" that suggested spending as much on your entire system as you had invested in your software. In this case, the ratio does not portend contentment.

If all you'll be playing are those Stereophile LP's, then, in all honesty, beware. You'll just end up with a dust gathering device!

As to the hobby's obsession with "Class A" vs "Class B" crap...well, that's not for polite discourse. Let's just say that that kind of thing ranks up there with Donald Trump strolling into the Met and asking, "Which way to the GOOD art?"

Now, pardon me while I go make sure I buy a wine that the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker rated above "95."

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables


Quote:
As to the hobby's obsession with "Class A" vs "Class B" crap...well, that's not for polite discourse. Let's just say that that kind of thing ranks up there with Donald Trump strolling into the Met and asking, "Which way to the GOOD art?"

So are you saying that there is no difference in sound quality between an all class A turntable and an all class B turntable, generally speaking?

Can you please enhance your opinion by answering questions 1, 2 and 3 from the first post as well?

Thanks.

Buddha
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Hey, Jeff!

The answer to all three is yes, but with an addition...

I've heard "A's" that are inferior to "B's", and more "unrated" equipment that sounded better than "A's". (My favorite part of this hobby is the paripatetic journey of hearing as many systems and pieces of gear as possible. I almost think I'd rather hear three random systems over one "class A" system three times. For me, the differences betyween pieces of gear are similar to the differences between people...there are many ways to find oneself in pleasant company.

Anyway...

The whole problem with this "A" and "B" bullshit is that people who use Stereophile's list as a shopping catalog are doing....what?

They sure as shit aren't listening for themselves.

They sure as heck aren't doing themselves the courtesy of learning anything about the gear they're about to buy.

All they are doing is making sure they jump off a more exclusive cliff than the the other lemmings down in class "C".

(I know, lemmings don't do that unless a Disney crew is herding them, but it was an apt metaphor.)

I'm not saying that there are no differences between turntables. What I'm saying is that just because Mike Fremmer decides to write something, or a magazine calls a turntable "class A," don't be so quick to buy into their "guru-ship." Believing in the "class system" is unthinking. It's beneath the quality of your own ears. It's not giving yourself enough credit. It's high school level high fidelity.

If someone decides to toss 20K into an analog system, and doesn't even bother to learn the market and listen, I ask myself, "How the heck did that guy get to a point where he is credible questioning ANYBODY'S listening apparati?" So, to your questions, I did have a bit of a WTF response. I question your premise, I guess.

"Dudes, which one of you losers is worthy of telling me what to buy without me needing to listen to this stuff?" is not exactly Hi Fi cred.

Seriously, you think people need to answer your dating service screen before you'll let them tell you what you should be doing for yourself?

If you have the jack to buy that stuff, then you I would expect you'd have the minimum curiosity to actually want to hear it before you throw down your money and start telling the world which model you bought.

"Can you please enhance your answer..?" Holy shit, is that what it comes down to?

I'm hoping you listened to the Watts before buying them, at least, or was that shopping from "column A" also? (Apologies, that sounds bitchy. Please take it as a neutral question. I am not able to word it the way I want it to sound.)

Bottom line:

There are differences between almost all things Hi Fi.

An all "class A" analog rig can sound awful (well, not awful, but less than "class C" for purposes of discussing this in terms you and I have in common.) If you put the wrong "class A" cartridge with the wrong phono-pre or arm, compliance and output and loading issues and all sorts of bad things can happen that degrade your experience. Just because three pieces are individually "class A" isn't a guarantee of anything.

At this point, I'm thinking maybe we should make you fill out questionaires before answering your questions about which gear will give you the greatest social standing.

1) Are you actually going to audition this stuff, or just buy based on a letter grade?

2) How many LP's do you own?

3) Can you hear characteristics of gear without first reading about what to hear?

4) Have you ever disagreed with a reviewer's opinion?

5) Have you ever heard a "full class A" system that you didn't like? If so, how did your opinion change after being informed that it was "full class A?"

6) How many "full class A" systems have you heard? How many full "class A" analog front ends have YOU actually auditioned? How many "class B?"

7) Have you ever heard a really well put together "class C" system outperform one that you knew to be more highly rated?

8) Do you own any unreviewed gear? (This may be the most important question.)

So, once again, my answers were three affirmatives, but it doen't mean that "A" is always better than "B," "C," or unreviewed.

I hope we aren't having any personal fristion, I'm just taking this in the context of worrying about "faux Connoisseur-ship."

I'd be thrilled to get to drink some beverages and hang and play with gear if we are ever in the same area.

No personal flamesmanship intended.

I look forward to your answers to my questions!

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Ah ha! Logical thinking and great for decision making!

My reasoning in narrowing things down in the way I did was being purely dispassionate and honest. I have several thousand to choose from but in real terms, depending on my mood and available time these days I will only play maybe a few dozen during serious listening sessions over a period of several months. 45's and 78's??? Not many for sure and the 78 facility I use is only to 'be there' if I have a rush of blood and buy a job lot of some kind just to do something for a change. I freely confess to having around zero special pressings of either speed...standard pressings...hundreds...all gathering dust for the most part...and even if I was super careful in cleaning them before playing, I doubt I would ever want to reach the dizzy heights of A / B or anything close when listening for those three minutes per side.

But then again, maybe I would.

I assumed from one Jeff's previous posts that debating SME versus VPI was already another level of experience...

That old 45 single will often hit you in the face...just gotta play it, and again and again and again (just like when it was first released!) and then...gathering dust for a few more years...and in the meantime have a quick fix from that compilation cd...that was one the original selling points of the Linn LP12 as I recall (?) one speed for the world...

Surely spending a few dollars on experimenting is a reasonable idea...if you can afford it...rather than jumping into some assumed class thing which is only good because a bunch of journalists / manufacturers say so? I doubt that anyone who has ever spent a few grand on 'top range' anything would ever come onto a forum such as this and suggest "good" is okay really...it might be in this crazy hobby though...depending on the listener?

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables


Quote:
Hey, Jeff!

The answer to all three is yes, but with an addition...

I've heard "A's" that are inferior to "B's", and more "unrated" equipment that sounded better than "A's". (My favorite part of this hobby is the paripatetic journey of hearing as many systems and pieces of gear as possible. I almost think I'd rather hear three random systems over one "class A" system three times. For me, the differences betyween pieces of gear are similar to the differences between people...there are many ways to find oneself in pleasant company.

Anyway...

The whole problem with this "A" and "B" bullshit is that people who use Stereophile's list as a shopping catalog are doing....what?

They sure as shit aren't listening for themselves.

They sure as heck aren't doing themselves the courtesy of learning anything about the gear they're about to buy.

All they are doing is making sure they jump off a more exclusive cliff than the the other lemmings down in class "C".

(I know, lemmings don't do that unless a Disney crew is herding them, but it was an apt metaphor.)

I'm not saying that there are no differences between turntables. What I'm saying is that just because Mike Fremmer decides to write something, or a magazine calls a turntable "class A," don't be so quick to buy into their "guru-ship." Believing in the "class system" is unthinking. It's beneath the quality of your own ears. It's not giving yourself enough credit. It's high school level high fidelity.

If someone decides to toss 20K into an analog system, and doesn't even bother to learn the market and listen, I ask myself, "How the heck did that guy get to a point where he is credible questioning ANYBODY'S listening apparati?" So, to your questions, I did have a bit of a WTF response. I question your premise, I guess.

"Dudes, which one of you losers is worthy of telling me what to buy without me needing to listen to this stuff?" is not exactly Hi Fi cred.

Seriously, you think people need to answer your dating service screen before you'll let them tell you what you should be doing for yourself?

If you have the jack to buy that stuff, then you I would expect you'd have the minimum curiosity to actually want to hear it before you throw down your money and start telling the world which model you bought.

"Can you please enhance your answer..?" Holy shit, is that what it comes down to?

I'm hoping you listened to the Watts before buying them, at least, or was that shopping from "column A" also? (Apologies, that sounds bitchy. Please take it as a neutral question. I am not able to word it the way I want it to sound.)

Bottom line:

There are differences between almost all things Hi Fi.

An all "class A" analog rig can sound awful (well, not awful, but less than "class C" for purposes of discussing this in terms you and I have in common.) If you put the wrong "class A" cartridge with the wrong phono-pre or arm, compliance and output and loading issues and all sorts of bad things can happen that degrade your experience. Just because three pieces are individually "class A" isn't a guarantee of anything.

At this point, I'm thinking maybe we should make you fill out questionaires before answering your questions about which gear will give you the greatest social standing.

1) Are you actually going to audition this stuff, or just buy based on a letter grade?

2) How many LP's do you own?

3) Can you hear characteristics of gear without first reading about what to hear?

4) Have you ever disagreed with a reviewer's opinion?

5) Have you ever heard a "full class A" system that you didn't like? If so, how did your opinion change after being informed that it was "full class A?"

6) How many "full class A" systems have you heard? How many full "class A" analog front ends have YOU actually auditioned? How many "class B?"

7) Have you ever heard a really well put together "class C" system outperform one that you knew to be more highly rated?

8) Do you own any unreviewed gear? (This may be the most important question.)

So, once again, my answers were three affirmatives, but it doen't mean that "A" is always better than "B," "C," or unreviewed.

I hope we aren't having any personal fristion, I'm just taking this in the context of worrying about "faux Connoisseur-ship."

I'd be thrilled to get to drink some beverages and hang and play with gear if we are ever in the same area.

No personal flamesmanship intended.

I look forward to your answers to my questions!

Wow, quite a venomous response from someone who uses such a peaceful name.

In any case, how pretentious do I need to be before I can tell you how you should approach high-end audio? Let me know when you stop owning the exclusive rights...

Since you were wondering, I went with a turntable that wasn't even reviewed by Stereophile yet, much like I bought a lot of my equipment before it was reviewed, including the W/P 8s (it isn't on the ratings list yet, BTW, heh), the MX-Rs, K-1xe, B&W 802Ds, Bryston SP1.7 (I think they reviewed a 2.0, but that was long after I bought one - you can see that on one of my Audiogon threads). I got turned onto the Wilsons when I was demoing Ayre equipment, specifically the C-5xe, at the time I owned B&W 802Ds. The Revel Ultima Sub 30s were recommended by Rives for my particular room/volume needs. My Denon 5910 I bought before it was reviewed. I'm not sure if the Meridian 861 was reviewed when I bought it, but I needed a better surround system that was all digital, had bass management, and had room correction and my dealer just happened to be selling one at the time (I'm sure a lot of people know how that goes). I knew I liked how Meridian handled the digital signal by buffering it because I demoed one extensively (heck I posted about it when the forum first went live... about the G08 and Arcam FMJ). More than that I appreciated the upgradability and flexibility, it appeals to the computer geek in me. I've been using audio equipment since I was 14 (I'm 33 now) and started with a Carver Receiver and Carver CD player and JBL speakers.

Why am I trying to justify how I do things to you? That you consider this a popularity contest with things like "hifi cred(sic)" is symptomatic of everything that is wrong with this hobby. That you judge me for approaching this hobby in my own way instead of your way is a major issue, not only for me, but anyone who is interested in enjoying music on nice equipment. I guarantee your highly biased, and unjustified responses in that last post, will not help this hobby survive. It was rather egotistical, and not quite buddhist.

If I want to buy a turntable without listening to it and feel like taking someone else's trusted opinion(s) on what is worthwhile or not, who the hell made you the king of whether or not my approach is wrong or right? Oh gee, I'm not in your hifi club now??? I'm not going to get any hifi credits??? Oh no!!!

If you don't like my thread topics or how I research where people are coming from, feel free to refuse to answer next time. I did ask nicely after all, and you chose to answer of your own accord. No one put a gun to your head.

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

As far as records go, I have all my records from the 70s and 80s as well as my parents... I grew up in a house with a fisher (I thought it was Marantz previously, but was incorrect) receiver and a turntable, though I don't remember the turntable or speakers they had anymore (I think the turntable might have been a technics).

FYI, I chose the word "enhance" because it wasn't antagonistic. If I wanted to be antagonstic I would have chosen the word "validate." It seems that doesn't matter with some people. I guess you can't prevent the inevitable.

BTW, I never questioned anyone's listening ability or hearing... That was all in your head. As well as many of the other assumptions you make about my character (the ones in quotations). Thanks anyway though.

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

If you like, I will be happy to answer all your questions later. Then do me a favor afterwards, never talk/respond to me again....

I have to be somewhere or I would do it right now.

Buddha
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Quote Jeff: "In any case, how pretentious do I need to be before I can tell you how you should approach high-end audio? Let me know when you stop owning the exclusive rights..."

No problem, that domain is all yours. You got there well ahead of me with the "Hey, guys, I'm gonna toss 20 large plus into a turntable I've never heard and want y'all to apply for the privilege of telling me what to buy" bullshit.

Are you serious?

Quote Jeff: "If I want to buy a turntable without listening to it..."

Yup, that pretty much sums it up. That's great for the hobby. And then, on top of that, you require a list of answers to your questions why? Just buy what Fremer says and be done with it!

Or, maybe you could ask over at Penthouse Forum and see which turntable is the "hottest." Same result.

Chill, I was taking issue with the insecure notion of buying by "class," not aiming at you, although this outcome is kind of funny. If the arrow hit home, apologies.

You puzzle me. How can buying without listening be good for the hobby, and criticizing it be bad for the hobby?

On the one hand you state freely that you have listened to gear before purchasing in the past, but then bristle when asked why the heck you quit doing it for this purchase? You may be the first guy I've ever met who shops for "class A" turntables without the need to listen to any turntables at all. Ya gotta admit, you are a rare bird.

The only criteria for entering my "Hi Fi club" is that someone actually listen to the gear and develop an opinion based on personal experience instead of the "fantastic" ability to read a list and buy in alphabetical order. You think that's what this hobby needs, more people buying sound unheard? Great.

First we had DUP telling us that we can only hear what he hears, now we have you telling us that what really matters is what "class" Stereophile places a turntable in in order to make buying decisions.

I guess if buying without listening is "your way" of approaching the hobby, then yes, I admit to criticizing it.

Please feel free to put me in "Jan Vigne" mode. He and I agree on alot of things.

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

A little testing background:

I was tested by an ear, nose and throat specialist last year, my hearing is fine.

I took the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation aptitude tests and had high percentiles for both Pitch Discrimination and Rhythm Memory (among other things not musical in nature...). My Tonal Memory was above average (the ease with which one remembers sequences of notes).

I've taken parts of David Moulton's Golden Ears courses. So I am capable of hearing different frequency ranges and when some are EQed up or down compared to others, as well as all kinds of other processing effects and artifacts.

I've been playing music since I was around 5 or 6 (piano) and more seriously since I was 14 when I took up guitar.

I have been into music since I can remember, thanks to growing up in a house with a nice system. As soon as I was able I was listening to their music, Disco Duck, Old Lady Who Swollowed a Fly, Grease, whatever else, on their turntable (probably around age 5 - let's just say I didn't ask their permission to use it).


Quote:
At this point, I'm thinking maybe we should make you fill out questionaires before answering your questions about which gear will give you the greatest social standing.

1) Are you actually going to audition this stuff, or just buy based on a letter grade?

Neither. I bought the SME 20/2. I don't have easy access to a place close by that has one in stock, and I'm not too concerned about the quality of the table, as I looked into the engineering background of the company... It is also extremely easy to set up. I'm not looking for a lot of work, or to tweak this thing, I'm looking to start it up right away and use it and for it to sound great. To split hairs on whether or not this table will sound great is moronic IMO. Does anyone doubt this table will sound great? Does anyone doubt that the combination with the SME IV.Vi tonarm, Lyric Titan Cartridge and Sutherland PhD will sound great?

I don't have the time or the resources (dealers) to get every unit worth trying into my home to make an informed decision, and listening to equipment anywhere but in my home with my equipment is futile. Also, I don't really care to do all that work, I want something to listen to the music now, not later on down the road. I"m more than satisfied to depend on a wide variety of opinions of people who aren't blowhards and genuinely want to help others. If that doesn't make me fit your definition of "audiophile," or "connoisseur," well then to hell with you. I'm into this hobby to listen to music, not to impress you. Further, if I ever do care about nuances between tables (I currently don't care, as from my understanding, the cartridge will be giving the largest coloration differences more so than anything else, unless the table or tonearm were engineered really badly - SME is a company with an excellent engineering background), I'll worry about that then, and in the mean time, I can play with the different sounds of cartridges when the Titan gets close to wearing out.

It isn't rated by Stereophile. So I guess that answers the other part of your question as well...


Quote:
2) How many LP's do you own?

A couple of hundred I would guess. I've never counted them. More important than the old collection, which I will listen to a lot as well, I'm interested in new stock, since many modern "pop" recordings of the last decade are compressed and clipped to hell on CD (e.g. Stadium Arcadium and Icky Thump). I want the kind of dynamic contrast that you can only get nowadays on LP (unfortunately), the newer CDs are hard to listen to and everything sounds like it occupies the same band in the sound field (everything is the same size proportionally to everything else in the sound field) if I'm lucky and it isn't clipping a lot also. I'm not looking to pretend to be a part of your "cadre of the coolish." I'm looking to get a turntable and start using it immediately to improve my music playback experience. I'm certainly smart enough to play the game right if I cared enough to try and fit into your footprint; fitting in doesn't concern me. Why does how I choose to do things concern you so much?


Quote:
3) Can you hear characteristics of gear without first reading about what to hear?

Yes, and I rarely agree with other people's subjective opinions most of the time, the exceptions usually being in the speaker department. I also think a lot of things people hear are in their own heads (excluding speaker differences, malfunctioning equipment, tube/ss 2nd harmonic distortion differences, etc). Many of the self-proclaimed "connoisseurs" claim to hear differences that they can't prove they hear, the biggest IMO being differences in cables. That begs me to ask the question... Who is the poseur? Perhaps that is why you feel the need to attack other people for no reason, a lack of security in your own "connoisseur" status?

I didn't want to reduce it to this, and I tried to make my questions as un-antagonistic as possible. I didn't want the questions to devolve into this kind of childish garbage, but since I already made my decision on the turntable there is no reason to maintain appearances for the sake of unbiased responses.

If you want to question my hearing abilities, refer to the intro on my tested abilities as well as my training...


Quote:
4) Have you ever disagreed with a reviewer's opinion?

See the previous question... I honestly don't read most of the subjective reviews anymore unless I already own that piece of equipment and want to see what the reviewer thought of it, I pretty much only read JAs measurements for things and speaker reviews. I do like the articles as well, especially when they are more analytical in nature. I'll be reading more in the analog section now than I did before (I used to just skip over that material in the past), especially the sound quality of the albums (engineering quality) and cartridge reviews.


Quote:
5) Have you ever heard a "full class A" system that you didn't like? If so, how did your opinion change after being informed that it was "full class A?"

I don't go around to stores or other places (shows) wandering if what I am hearing is class A. No one has ever informed me if a system is class A or not. Though I have heard a few before that were A to A+ and realized it after the fact when looking up the equipment I heard (an exception was the dCS stack, that I knew was A+ rated - I never read the subjective review, so I only had my own personal experiences with it to go on, suffice it to say, I wouldn't mind owning one if I didn't already own the C-5xe and if it weren't so much more expensive than the C-5xe). None of them sounded bad so far. Though there are A class speakers that I have heard that I didn't like as much as other speakers.


Quote:
6) How many "full class A" systems have you heard? How many full "class A" analog front ends have YOU actually auditioned? How many "class B?"

Hmm, not sure. Including Audio shows, probably a lot.


Quote:
7) Have you ever heard a really well put together "class C" system outperform one that you knew to be more highly rated?

I never looked into whether or not what I was listening to was class C. In fact, I'm not even sure what stuff is under the A, B or C categories except for turntables because I was looking at them recently and speakers since I was actively seeking them out at HE2007. I was however very satisfied when things I picked out for my own system ended up with a class A rating. It certainly makes it a lot easier to sell the stuff when I want to upgrade.


Quote:
8) Do you own any unreviewed gear? (This may be the most important question.)

A lot of the stuff I own, I bought before it was reviewed, as per my previous post. That some of it turned up as class A gives me some confidence that the folks at Stereophile share some of my feelings concerning that equipment if not in exactly the same way,

Now, if you still think I'm looking for social standing, perhaps you should seek out some sort of alternative healthcare. My only concern is getting the best sound with the least amount of work. If I have to spend a certain amount to be assured that the system is going to be top of the line, so be it. I don't plan on messing with my system again for at least 5-10 years (except to replace cartridges) after this and even then, only to upgrade my front speakers most likely. Though, that isn't the full truth, I do plan on buying the Ayre KX-R (or whatever they will call it when they allow orders finally...), I'm so very tired of having to manually set the unity gain on my two channel setup to bypass the K-1xe for surround music, something I didn't anticipate when I initially bought the K-1xe and didn't plan on bypassing it.

Pretentious... I'm not the one "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed." I just own a lot of nice equipment. You on the other hand refer to words/phrases such as "connoisseur," and "hifi cred" and insinuate that only your approach is the correct approach to this hobby. Yet you don't think that is you acting overly self important? I'm more than happy to let you believe your way of doing things is right for you! Don't tell me what way is right for me! I'm also more than happy to prove anything I stated on this thread. I am the person I am claiming to be. Who are you?

The greatest irony is your choice of name "Buddha." I've actually been fortunate enough to meet the Dali Lama (funny enough I gave him a can of lime spritzer and he is holding it on the cover of the Middlebury College Magazine following their Earth Day 1990 "Spirit and Nature" event). I was also fortunate enough to sit a few feet from him while he spoke about the need to care for the planet and to have compassion for all sentient beings, at one of the sub-events during the larger events (I had to show up pretty early to get the best seat at that event!). As well, I took workshops with one of the Dali Lama's brothers and Allen Ginsberg in upstate New York (Omega Institute) called the White Tara workshops (poetry and White tara meditations). I also took buddhism classes with a Rinpoche Konchog Gyaltsen (at Prescott College in AZ), and briefly studied Tibetan dream yoga with another Rinpoche (also at Omega Institute). I admit, I find it hard to have compassion for you, but I will continue to try. If anything, these experiences have taught me that I am just another human being, no less than or greater than anyone else. There is nothing pretentious about conveying my experiences. They are what they are. It is an interesting synchronicity/coincidence though IMO, that your name and my background experiences are fairly intertwined.

Oh, and don't worry, I do plan on listening to my turntable when I get it. In fact, it will be the reference to which I compare everything else I hear at conventions, dealerships, or other people's homes. It isn't unusual in this hobby to own a piece of equipment and pine for something else, yet still be satsified with what you own. No matter what you buy, there will always be something that sounds different that you wouldn't mind having in your system for variety sake. My approach really doesn't change a whole lot of the usual par for the course in this hobby. I just choose to start at a higher price bracket. Why would that bother you so much? Why does how much I am comfortable spending and how I feel comfortable spending it matter so much to you? Perhaps a little introspection would benefit your soul. By the end of next month, I'll have listened to that turntable inside and out, and all this "hot air" will have moved on to something else.

With all of that being said, I'll put you on ignore now, as per your request.

- Jeffrey (Jeff) Kalman

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Wowee...those exchanges last night 'twixt you and Jeff were interesting...the Golf was good also...that Tiger guy sure is something else...wonder where he got the name from...

Anyway, my wine yesterday was a rather smooth Lussac St Emilion 2005 which cost about the same as a low end cable from eBay, (say an easy CA Pacific on a quiet day or maybe an Atlantic on a good day for a sniper bid) but guess what...I only had one glass because it was so good and wanted to look forward to it again...obviously a mood thing...like music maybe...

I have a bottle of Chord Company on the rack for that really special event and several bottles of Kimber in reserve for when I just feel like dropping out, getting legless and rereading Laura Dearborn's Good Sound softback which I still have somewhere...seems like a safer option than participating in this post any longer...the ultimate test of any wine for me is measured by the hangover...more cash, more class and less headache the next day...

I am gone.

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Thought I would post this, as it has touched me deeply, and it helps me to be compassionate of others.

Compassion
by Miller Williams

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don't want it.
What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
is always a sign of things no ears have heard,
no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets
the bone.

Monty
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

I'm not all that compassionate. I'm more of a "when someone shows you who they are, believe them" kind of person. Everybody has their demons and troubles and that's not an excuse for acting an ass...unless the person is an ass.

No, this isn't directed toward anyone in particular or you.

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

It doesn't matter, it is obvious this place isn't the place for me. I've asked Stephen_Mejias to cancel my forum account. I'll be on Audiogon, AVSForum and AudioAsylum.

I'm sure people will enjoy making their "don't let the door hit you on the way out comments."

Adios

Monty
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Really, that wasn't directed toward you. I was simply responding to your post. I like having you around and always read your stuff. Stick around, duck's back and all that stuff.

jkalman
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables


Quote:
Really, that wasn't directed toward you. I was simply responding to your post. I like having you around and always read your stuff. Stick around, duck's back and all that stuff.

It wasn't your post Monty, it is a combination of things. The final straw being that I was asked not to respond to people who I have on ignore by letting other people know I have them on ignore. That really doesn't give me much of a chance. People like DUP get banned for their behavior, yet my only choice to prevent being harrassed is to put people on ignore. So I am in a catch 22 now. I am not reading their responses, so consequently I can't contest things they say about my posts, but I can't let people know that I'm not reading their posts, so my silence looks like agreement to anyone who is unaware of the situation.

I just don't care to deal with that... Just as I don't care to argue with these people any more either. They win, I lose. The end.

I think the "star" rating system keeps a lot of people from speaking up in situations like this... Perhaps I am wrong.

Anyway, Cheers!

Monty
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Yeah, I don't think anybody is a fan of the star thang. It must be one of those features that comes as part of the package and can't be ditched easily.

I suspect most people don't jump in the middle of what clearly becomes a personal pissing match because you can't avoid getting it all over yourself as well. Besides, it's just a downer and nothing good ever comes of it.

I've never participated on a forum that didn't require a certain amount of "whatever" and simply moving on to the worthwhile stuff. If you're lucky, you make a few new friends and twice as many enemies and learn something useful or interesting.

I hope you change your mind, but it's gotta be fun and interesting. Otherwise, what's the point? I understand that.

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

I am back. Briefly.

I apologise unreservedly and sincerely if my repilies / butting in in any way contributed to your decision.

My intentions, whilst perhaps wordy, were genuine. I have spent loads recently on cables, and therefore a reply to your point 3 I thought would be okay (and yes, I have got a couple of Nordost in the pile also, and yes, they cost me more than $100) I have years of experience with what I guess would be called the low end pretentious field of TT's these days (Linn, Systemdek, Rega etc.) and was hoping to find meaningful debate in such a clearly intentioned thread.

I was wrong and (with hindsight) it was perhaps innapropriate for me to try and de-fuse the situation by being so blunt and cheeky once it had developed into open conflict.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Please accept my apology and very best wishes whatever you may choose to do.

tomjtx
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

WTF??????????

That's 2 leaving the forums and DUP isn't here to blame :-)

I hope both you guys (Jeff and Clay) decide to stay.

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

Blame me if you wish, Tom (is it okay to keep calling you that?) many of the folks who I followed before joining these forums seem to have gone - I have no idea where or why in many cases, so 'everything' cannot be my fault...I was so looking forward to serious discussions about stuff like what this thread offered and honestly had no idea that there was so much other 'background' things bubbling away...

I am maybe overly serious about my revived hobby and was perhaps expecting too much to be permitted into someone else's yard...sad...very sad...but I am just as bad as anyone on here, I guess, by diving in where I am not wanted...

OOOPS sorry I am not really here - do you think my quest for the yellow brick road was a resignation from just 'that' other thread...maybe it was a mistake to miss the road to hell and the road to nowhere (who did that one...goodness I can hum it...we're on the road to nowhere...baby it's alright, baby it's alright...I cannot do the music in print but the tune is in my head and will not go away now...)

My real name is James so maybe it is okay for him to be here instead of that 'dormston' bloke...

Talking Heads!!! Got it now!!! At least I can depart with a nice tune buzzing around where I have gone from...

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Responsibility and my respone to JK


Quote:
It wasn't your post Monty, it is a combination of things. The final straw being that I was asked not to respond to people who I have on ignore by letting other people know I have them on ignore. That really doesn't give me much of a chance. People like DUP get banned for their behavior, yet my only choice to prevent being harrassed is to put people on ignore. So I am in a catch 22 now. I am not reading their responses, so consequently I can't contest things they say about my posts, but I can't let people know that I'm not reading their posts, so my silence looks like agreement to anyone who is unaware of the situation.

I just don't care to deal with that... Just as I don't care to argue with these people any more either. They win, I lose. The end.

The final straw?! Incredibile!

JK, placing anyone on "ignore" doesn't stop them from replying to your posts whenever they feel it is appropriate. We've been down this road with other members. You're not special in this regard. Incorrect information is still incorrect whether you wish to acknowledge that fact or not. Debate is a part of this forum. Have you forgotten that? If you choose not to respond or do not debate, that is not anyone's problem but your own. You made the choice. Not me. Not Stephen. You.

Making this a situation where you are the aggrieved party is absurd! The idea that you have been harrassed is even more absurd!!!

Look, Jeff, it's very simple. If do not wish to have anyone responding to your posts, don't post. Problem solved. If potential disagreement bothers you, choose not to post. But this is a public forum and anyone on the forum has a right to respond to anyone posting on the forum. I believe the only thing most of us expect in a response is a bit of common courtesy and a dose of common sense. You do not control who posts and who can't. You do not own threads just by starting them. So if you choose to post, somone else has the right to respond. You then get the choice of reading the response or not. You know it's there. You can see it is a response to your post. It may be in agreement or not. To choose to assume it is negative is, once again, your choice. But your decision not to read does not affect my right to respond.

This idea that you are being treated unfairly because you choose not to read the responses to your posts is beyond the pale. You, no one else, chose to not read the response. How in the world is is it anyone else's fault that you chose to do or not do something? There seems to be a great confusion on this forum about who has what responsibility. Your choice, your responsibility. Stephen and John have override capability. Simple; no? You can't go around blaming other people for what you choose to do.

I believe we've seen fine examples of your idea of harrassment, JK. Anyone who responds to you with anything less that flattery is "harrassing" you and you will flash your resume at them. I'm not one to beg anyone to stay where they do not wish to be. I only wish people would get it straight that they cannot control certain issues on a public forum. That is why moderators have been appointed. They control what happens here. Otherwise, you control very little other than your choice to post and to read the responses to your posts.

If you have problems with that plain idea, the forum has provided rules and there are routes you can choose in order to solve the problem. But, for goodness sake, do not complain when you make the decision to do something and then it still doesn't suit you. It's a public forum and you choose to be here just as did those of us who respond to your posts. This is a place for open debate. Why is that so difficult to understand? There are rules of civility you don't cross or Stephen will send you a PM asking that you refrain from repeating such. It is then your choice to repeat, refrain or retreat. The responsibility for any or all of those actions rests with you and no one else. Accept the responsibility for your own decsions and actions.

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

baby it's alright...baby it's alright...

we're on the road to nowhere...come on along...

baby it's alright...baby it's alright...

(It might have been David Byrne on his own, not sure...I maybe still have the album on vinyl...I just cannot get the hook out of my head...repetitive and maybe a bit heavy on the bass...probably sounds better coming from decent speakers rather than inside my head...)

Hey, before I go down that yellow brick thing again - you never had the chance to comment on my poem which Stephen put into the Dead Zone...I never thought it was that bad...punctuation had a couple of typo's as I was doing it live, stanzas were a tad chunky in places, but I feel sure with correct beat...baby it's alright...baby it's alright...

dormston
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Re: Stereophile "A" vs "B" ratings and Turntables

New tune today...who's zooming who, oooooh! (Aretha somebody maybe?)

Just as well I am still not here, Tom, otherwise I would have to point you towards Stephen's blog...poetry gets a special mention! Fame beckons, my friend, go for it!!

Not sure for Stephen, though..."sonic cash"...my goodness, that is either pure genuis...or not...

Everyone seems to have gone very quiet and nobody, but nobody seems willing to dive back into any of the messy ones and say sorry...mind you, I suppose it did no good on this thread, so why am I bothering to hang around...yes, you guessed...I care...sob sob...

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