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Freako
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high-end vs hifi

I have been thinking (uh-oh) about the ever so vague terms "hifi" and "high-end". Very well aware that the border between those is floating and to a degree an individual opinion, I wonder where the border between those two goes. Has it got to do with the price tag only? Is it just a term that describes the top of the heap hifi? Does high-end comprise of the top built, top priced, top sounding gear for other reasons than the mentioned.

I am aware there may be many opinions, but I'd like to know what people think about it.

P.S. In the 60'es the Deutsche Industrie Norm (DIN) was what determined that certain gear was hifi.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: high-end vs hifi

Would it be fair to say that in the Stereophile listing of components that gear class C and below would be considered HiFi. That is not to denegrate them, just that most of that gear is made to a price point and compromises are made.

A $1,000 stereo system can sound very "good", which is a term that an audiophile would define differently than a person who spends most of their time with their IPod.

I would think that a new Sony receiver, the STR-DA 1500ES mated with a pair of Rega RS1s and a $100 DVD player would sound good (hifi) or better, but it is not what you or I would consider highend or even come close to your system.

Often it is hard to keep snobery out of the equation by quickly dismissing components because of their price. That can quickly be dispelled by pieces like the Cambridge DacMagic as reviewed by Stereophile. Certainly the performance of the BenchMark DAC is high end, but the price is affordable by most people. I would consider the $699/$799 PS Audio digital link III DAC to be highend, but not in the class of DCS for sure.

I think that most of you would think my gear is hifi and I would have to agree. Some of you have very, very nice playback systems. It is going from HiFi to High End where money does matter. The last month's of speaker reviews tell the tale.

I am amazed that with Michael Fremer's system the differences he can hear with the great gear that he reviews. That level of resolving power shows up everything to a trained ear. That does not come cheap.

First you start with a $150,000 turntable...

bertdw
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Re: high-end vs hifi

In my opinion, it's all hi-fi. As in "high fidelity reproduction" gear. The "high-end" is a subset of that, meaning the highest performing and/or most expensive gear. So, all high-end is hi-fi, but not all hi-fi is high-end. It's definitely less of a line than a shade of grey.

Editor
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Re: high-end vs hifi


Quote:
In my opinion, it's all hi-fi.

Indeed it is.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Freako
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Re: high-end vs hifi

Can't say I disagree. I was only curious as to where some of you guys think the borderline between hifi and hi-end goes, if that could even be described in general terms. I for one cannot, as it - to some degree - seems to be a question of taste, exactly like "what sounds good".

Jim Tavegia
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Re: high-end vs hifi

If I ever had the chance to walk into MF's place I could never say, "What a great HiFi"! He might have his dog come after me.

Freako
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Re: high-end vs hifi

Now don't tell me you are scared!

geoffkait
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Re: high-end vs hifi


Quote:
It is going from HiFi to High End where money does matter.

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for a rich person to enter audio Nirvana. - old audiophile saying

smejias
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Re: high-end vs hifi

Whenever my mind starts wandering in this direction, I go back to JA's article, "The High End, Mid-Fi, and the Pretend High End."

Freako
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Re: high-end vs hifi

Damn good statements! Thanks for the link. JA has a way with words, no doubt

jazzfan
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Re: high-end vs hifi

I find that the main difference between hi-fi and high end audio equipment, if there is any difference at all, is in the design goals that the manufacturer sets for a given piece of equipment and not in the price. So a small well built bookshelf costing a few hundred dollars can be more "high end" than a monstrous pair of floor standing speakers costing several times as much.

I also think that this is what sets "high end" equipment apart from most (but not all) professional audio equipment. High end gear is designed to reproduce music as faithfully as possible in one's home whereas professional audio gear is designed to other tasks, as such recording, public address systems, mastering, etc.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: high-end vs hifi

How about a shoot out between the Rega RS-1s and the Harbeth P3ESRs? Dynaudio Excite X-12? Sounds like something right up RRs alley. He loves those monitors.

Poor Audiophile
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Re: high-end vs hifi


Quote:
Whenever my mind starts wandering in this direction, I go back to JA's article, "The High End, Mid-Fi, and the Pretend High End."

Yes!!! I printed that out awhile back & still refer to it!
Excellent piece!

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