What 2 channel should I get? And is McIntosh overated? - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 303 Old 05-17-2014, 02:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post


That's not what science says...

"Hearing, in the most basic sense, involves two main parts of our system, the ear and the brain. The ears' job is to receive; code and process sound then send it up toward the brain. The brain then receives this informational, "files" it, filters the extraneous, unnecessary portion and directs attention to the desired information. When problems occur with this system we commonly look to the peripheral part of the ear as the culprit. In some cases, however, the problems occur further up with abnormalities occurring in the processing of the information received."

http://keyhearing.com/Central_Auditory_Processing_Disorder.aspx

"Scientists believe all the sounds enter the ear as one harsh roar, but as the brain processes this information, it tunes into one sound, such as a person’s voice, and begins to filter out the rest"

www.medicaldaily.com/cocktail-party-effect-why-couples-can-easily-hear-and-ignore-each-other-crowded-room-266080

Like the video I linked to, what you thought you heard was changed by what you also saw.

The trick the marketing people apply is to create associations with their products so when the subconscious mind processes the sound underlying biases also come into play. If you can associate your product with "hi-end" "warm and organic and musical" "the elite"... then that is what you are more likely to experience. In reality it doesn't actually have to sound any different. The marketing and association and preformed ideas is what is important.

 

Hmm, I was merely summarizing something like this... www.brainhq.com

 

While our brains provide us with a tremendous amount of information about the sounds we hear and what they mean to us, at the most basic level our auditory system answers two major questions about any sound. First, what is the sound? The auditory system must identify what tones or frequencies we are hearing. And second, where is the sound? We must be able to locate the origin of the sound in space. Once we know what sounds we are hearing and where the sounds are coming from, our brains can begin the complex task of assigning meaning to the sounds we hear.

 

The process of determining what a sound is begins at a flat sheet of tissue (in the cochlea of the inner ear) called the basilar membrane. The basilar membrane detects the component frequencies, or tones, of incoming sound. The special physical properties of the basilar membrane make it particularly good at frequency detection. The membrane is flexible, and vibrates when sound hits it - but it doesn't vibrate evenly all over. One end of the basilar membrane vibrates most at low frequency tones, and the other end of the membrane vibrates most at high frequency tones. This gives the basilar membrane tonotopic organization or organization by tone, similar to a xylophone: tones are arranged from low frequency on one end to high frequency on the other (Figure 1).

 

On a xylophone, if you know which bar is vibrating and where the bar is in the instrument, you can tell what note you will hear. Similarly, if you know that a group of neurons in the basilar membrane is active, and you know where those neurons reside in the membrane, then you can tell what tone you have heard.

 

Figure 1: Tonotopic organization in the basilar membrane. Like a xylophone, the ear's basilar membrane is organized tonotopically, with high frequencies at the base and low frequencies at the apex. When you strike the middle 'A' bar on the xylophone a 440 Hertz tone sounds, causing the basilar membrane to vibrate. The region of the membrane whose resonant frequency is 440 Hertz vibrates the most, and a group of hair cells in that region send a 440 Hertz signal into the brain.

 

When you play an "A" note on a xylophone, the air pulsates 440 times per second, a frequency of 440 Hertz (Hz). Those pulses trigger 440 vibrations per second along the length of the basilar membrane, with the largest vibrations occurring somewhere just past the middle of the membrane - the region of the membrane whose resonant frequency is 440 Hz. Within the resonant region, a group of neurons will begin a chorus of activity, each signaling in turn so that the group collectively signals 440 times a second. This marvelous synchronization of vibrations in the air, in the basilar membrane, and in the activity of neurons in the resonant region is called phase-locking. Phase-locking is an important response mechanism in the auditory system; as we will see, perfect synchronization is critical to detect where a sound came from.

 

Locating sounds in space, the other fundamental task of the auditory system, is no mean feat; but our brains can determine the origin of a sound with astonishing accuracy, even when we cannot actually see the source. That ability depends on three independent methods for locating sound: a timing method, an intensity method, and a frequency filtering method. By using the results from all three methods, we are able to very accurately pinpoint the origin of sounds in space.

 

Stable and sophisticated hearing - so to trick it, we must setout to do so.

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post #182 of 303 Old 05-20-2014, 07:48 AM
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is McIntosh overated?

Just found this thread and have read none of the responses yet.

The answer to this question is, no, absolutely not.

Listening to any music with blue meters is worth the price of admission.

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post #183 of 303 Old 05-20-2014, 09:31 AM
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I can sympathize with wanting Mac. ( but good grief, they went to dull chrome sides) As far as I can tell, their quality remains high but I fear some DMH influence creeping in. IMHO, their sound was always very good, but not the best for the money. They were a "buy it forever" brand that would not disappoint.

If I were to buy a new stereo music system and had the big money, I would go Halo. Could I hear a difference dropping to Parasound? I doubt it.
Staying integrated, NAD , Cambridige, Music Fidelity etc. Sony just did a new integrated. Marantz and a few others still do them. Do the controls feel good? Do you mind looking at it? Do the controls make sense? Heck, can you even read them? Rega, Linn, Niam? Don't know. My old Creek I found to not be very special. You really won't know until you try it in your home with your speakers and your preferences to listen.

One problem with buying for life. Electrolytic caps dry out with age. All electronics degrade over about 10 years. If you don't mind doing the refurb yourself, not a big deal. ( sent the MAc back to the factory) For most folks that is not an option, so you should consider 10 years life span for electronics.
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post #184 of 303 Old 05-21-2014, 07:30 AM
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Is Mac overrated? I don't know. If you want a 70 year old brand that is among the finest in terms of reputation and you like the look and cache of the product, then it is not overrated. If you think it will sound better than some other brand, then yes it is crazily overrated.
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post #185 of 303 Old 05-21-2014, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Is Mac overrated? I don't know. If you want a 70 year old brand that is among the finest in terms of reputation and you like the look and cache of the product, then it is not overrated. If you think it will sound better than some other brand, then yes it is crazily overrated.

I'm pretty sure the mac has the potential to "sound better than some other brand".

I'll be back later...

equitech -> sources > benchmark > krell > reQuest
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post #186 of 303 Old 05-21-2014, 04:01 PM
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I'm pretty sure the mac has the potential to "sound better than some other brand".
Actually, the potential is for someone to think the Mac sounds better than other brands.
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Or not.

I'll be back later...

equitech -> sources > benchmark > krell > reQuest
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Or not.
True. So it's all in how one thinks. wink.gif
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That's a big part of what makes each of us who and what we are.
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I'll be back later...

equitech -> sources > benchmark > krell > reQuest
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post #190 of 303 Old 05-22-2014, 02:08 PM
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Can't argue with Watts, Watts are Watts. 200 watts from amp A should be the same as 200 watts form amp B They have done many many blind tests to support this fact, even offering a cash prize is someone with super human ears can tell which amp is which. The rest is aesthetics and personal preference. I have owned McIntosh and a few other brands.
The hardest part about a/b ing different 2 channel amps is matching the volume. If it's not done correctly an amp has the potential of sounding better or worse than another brand. Speakers can have the same effect. If you A/B 88db with 98db speakers the 98db speakers will sound significantly louder when switched over until the volume is adjusted. Companies do lie about there ratings which is why a 200wpc amp from brand A may sound different from brand B.
In the end the choice is yours, listen to a few different brands. If my amps are visible, I prefer the look of McIntosh, Parasound, Krell, etc. but if they are hidden then pro amps are just as good for pennies. Not the prettiest to look at (some fans are loud) but Watt for Watt they sound just as good.

The great thing about McIntosh was I purchased my MC501 used. I powered my B&W 802d for about 5 years and sold the amp for darn near the price I paid. biggrin.gif They tend to hold their value.
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post #191 of 303 Old 05-22-2014, 05:28 PM
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Actually, the potential is for someone to think the Mac sounds better than other brands.

Only if you are a dolt. However, if you don't think McIntosh looks better, you are the ultimate dolt.biggrin.gif

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post #192 of 303 Old 05-22-2014, 06:41 PM
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Volume matching is not necessary. Allow the person to use whatever volumes they want with each amp... Probabaly even harder to tell which is which. The louder one might sound better but then the person can go back to the prior amp and just turn up the volume.

As long as which amp is which is blinded, what volume you listen to them is not important if the person can modify the volume at will. Start the pre-amp at no volume and let the person play with the knob however they want to.

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post #193 of 303 Old 05-23-2014, 11:49 AM
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eijr,
I think they are ugly and pretensions. To each their own. I only hope DMH lets them keep building indestructible long-lived amps as they have for 70 years. Looking at some of the newer ones, I have my doubts. AV preamp seems to be a re-packed Marantz. No bad thing mind you, but maybe not worth the price the name holds. . Knobs felt flimsily. If you are paying 6 grand for a re-boxed 2 grand unit, it had better feel good to use. After all, that is really only about all you can do better. Their rep was for amps and tuners. Tuners are now not relevant, so let us hope they keep up the amps. Big transformers, lots of outputs. They do know how.

Blazer,
I beg to differ; every old salesman knows the louder unit will almost always sound better in an A-B test. Level matching is absolutely critical in amplifier A-B testing. I am not a fan of AB testing amps, as I find the differences between the better ones very small and it takes quite a bit of time living with one. I have a set of tracks I know to cause amps difficulty and in a few hours, sort the good from the great. For a few more years at least. I am getting old and the top end is starting to fade. I am no longer positive I can hear 18K. With any luck, I'll grow into my Anthem and NAD before I have to buy new Halo's.
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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

Only if you are a dolt. However, if you don't think McIntosh looks better, you are the ultimate dolt.biggrin.gif

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Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post

eijr,
I think they are ugly and pretensions. To each their own. I only hope DMH lets them keep building indestructible long-lived amps as they have for 70 years. Looking at some of the newer ones, I have my doubts. AV preamp seems to be a re-packed Marantz. No bad thing mind you, but maybe not worth the price the name holds. . Knobs felt flimsily. If you are paying 6 grand for a re-boxed 2 grand unit, it had better feel good to use. After all, that is really only about all you can do better. Their rep was for amps and tuners. Tuners are now not relevant, so let us hope they keep up the amps. Big transformers, lots of outputs. They do know how.

Blazer,
I beg to differ; every old salesman knows the louder unit will almost always sound better in an A-B test. Level matching is absolutely critical in amplifier A-B testing. I am not a fan of AB testing amps, as I find the differences between the better ones very small and it takes quite a bit of time living with one. I have a set of tracks I know to cause amps difficulty and in a few hours, sort the good from the great. For a few more years at least. I am getting old and the top end is starting to fade. I am no longer positive I can hear 18K. With any luck, I'll grow into my Anthem and NAD before I have to buy new Halo's.

Louder often does sound better to a point, that's not what I was debating. I was suggesting that as long as the amp is blinded and the volume numerical level is blinded, there is no reason to specifically preset volume levels. You can simply allow a user to turn the knob as they wish to compare. In fact you can eve let them know that louder often sounds better so they really play with the knob.

sufficient source material experience and multiple chances (lets say a 100) to
decide what sounds "better" is important. The preamp can be reset to no volume each time the user presses the "random amp switch button".

The null hypothesis would be that both amps offer similar pleasure. You could gather this data over a year to really get a good idea.

The lack of level matching does not pose a problem from a study design perspective when done in this way. It would only be a problem if the user had no access to the volume knob.

Blazar!
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post #195 of 303 Old 05-23-2014, 04:42 PM
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Louder often does sound better to a point, that's not what I was debating. I was suggesting that as long as the amp is blinded and the volume numerical level is blinded, there is no reason to specifically preset volume levels. You can simply allow a user to turn the knob as they wish to compare. In fact you can eve let them know that louder often sounds better so they really play with the knob.

sufficient source material experience and multiple chances (lets say a 100) to
decide what sounds "better" is important. The preamp can be reset to no volume each time the user presses the "random amp switch button".

The null hypothesis would be that both amps offer similar pleasure. You could gather this data over a year to really get a good idea.

The lack of level matching does not pose a problem from a study design perspective when done in this way. It would only be a problem if the user had no access to the volume knob.
I see problems with what you're describing. One amplifier could be louder when the volume knob reads 10:00 or whatever, or the volume is set by pushing the volume button a certain number of times. That would be a distinguishing characteristic between A and B. What needs to be done is to make sure that the gain of both amps is set to be the same. Then the volume can be adjusted at will.
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post #196 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 05:23 AM
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Louder often does sound better to a point, that's not what I was debating. I was suggesting that as long as the amp is blinded and the volume numerical level is blinded, there is no reason to specifically preset volume levels. You can simply allow a user to turn the knob as they wish to compare. In fact you can eve let them know that louder often sounds better so they really play with the knob.

.

You can't do that. Having one sample louder than another, even if the level is adjustable is no different than saying "the louder one is A"; the quieter one is "B" or the one you like better is "A.". The samples have to be level matched prior to any sound coming from them. Level matching requires either an SPL measurement or, better, a voltage measurement across the speaker terminals with a test tone. If those measurements can be calibrated to a volume control, that's fine. If not, you need another approach.
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People are buying home audio not doing work for NASA.

Why would they want to level match?

It's nuts.

If I am buying home audio I want to compare different amps on what they will do for me at home.

If one plays louder because it has more power and that sounds better to me why should I care that when level matched they are indistinguishably?

It's ridiculous to bring level matching and blind testing into the purchase of home audio.

Totally ridiculous.

Is it indispensable for evolving technology? Absolutely.

Everything has a place.

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Why so much debate over which amp to purchase?  Won't any modern, well designed amp or avr sound the same if you remove any artificial coloring or altering of the sound through room correction or other means?  I mean, if it is just clean, distortion free power, why would amp A "sound" any different than amp B, other than people doing inaccurate tests which allowed biases and differing spl to alter the perceived sound.  I am thinking it makes more sense to focus on getting the correct amount of clean distortion free power, be happy with how it looks if that matters, and get the features that matter.

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post #199 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 06:36 AM
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Why would they want to level match?

If one plays louder because it has more power and that sounds better to me why should I care that when level matched they are indistinguishably?
 

Because people mistakenly assume that their preferred, or "Hi-Fi" or "audiophile" amp sounds better than another simply because it is playing slightly louder.  If both amps will play loud enough without distortion for ones needs, the only way to accurately compare how they sound, is by level matching.  Why would you fool yourself into thinking one sounds better than the other simply due to faulty testing and comparison?  Its nuts.  ;) 

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Because people mistakenly assume that their preferred, or "Hi-Fi" or "audiophile" amp sounds better than another simply because it is playing slightly louder.  If both amps will play loud enough without distortion for ones needs, the only way to accurately compare how they sound, is by level matching.  Why would you fool yourself into thinking one sounds better than the other simply due to faulty testing and comparison?  Its nuts.  wink.gif  

With all respect and I mean this sincerely, it is nuts to level match home audio. Just nuts.

What difference does it make to you who believes what?

Maybe two amps play the same volume, one with the level set at 50 and the other with it set at 75 and the buyer likes it set at 50 rather than 75? He may not even consciously know that is why he is choosing one over the other. SO WHAT? That is as good a reason as any to choose one over another.

Guys, and I really do mean this with all respect, why the crusade? and that is what it is.

Live and let live. Nothing is going on in home audio that does not go on in everything marketed. It's rather innocuous as compared to big pharma who is injuring your health with the deceptions and cover ups. No one is dying from it like in the automotive industry when they are not honest.

Do you know how much those Nike's cost to make you buy for your kid? About 10 bucks and you are paying north of 100 to shut him up.

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It's because this forum is called audio video science.  Many people come here for factual, science based information regarding home audio and video.  If someone perceives richer colors, deeper blacks, a crisper image, punchier bass, more airy highs, an improved soundstage and delicate refined mids because of the $1000 snake oil HDMI cable they purchased, it is important for people to know that an HDMI cable is not capable of producing those differences, and people should not waste their money on such a product.  Does that person perceive that difference?  Maybe so, but that does not justify allowing fellow forum members to make such poor decisions without relaying the facts of the matter.

 

By the same token, if someone wants to listen louder, that is great.  But we should not give the false impression that dropping big bucks on expensive audiophool amps has a drastic difference in sound quality.

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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

If one plays louder because it has more power and that sounds better to me why should I care that when level matched they are indistinguishably?
It has nothing to do with having “more power”. We’re assuming that both amps have sufficient power to play the speakers as loud as the person wishes. What’s being matched is the gain, not the ultimate power output.
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Maybe two amps play the same volume, one with the level set at 50 and the other with it set at 75 and the buyer likes it set at 50 rather than 75? He may not even consciously know that is why he is choosing one over the other. SO WHAT? That is as good a reason as any to choose one over another.
If he prefers one amp over another because of the volume setting, he’s free to do so. But that’s NOT a preference based on how they SOUND.
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Do you know how much those Nike's cost to make you buy for your kid? About 10 bucks and you are paying north of 100 to shut him up.

Good point, which is why I have educated my children regarding these marketing scams.  Ugg boots don't mean you are cool or fashionable.  It means you are stupid enough to spend $200 on $7 boots because you are so weak minded that you want others to think you are fashionable.  Sometimes its ok to buy shiny things we want, just because we want them.  But we should not do so without knowing that the $200 Ugg boots are really $7 boots with a $193 label, or that the $1000 HDMI cable does not make any difference at all to the audio or video.

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post #204 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 07:06 AM
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It's because this forum is called audio video science.  

That's not the reason, that is the excuse.

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post #205 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 07:08 AM
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No, it isn't.  It is one of the underlying reasons for browsing such forums.  If I wanted to feel good about dropping big money on expensive products that do not actually provide results, I would read through Bose's marketing section and their owner forums to feel good about a $1500 Bose system.

 

I come here to get the facts on audio and video.

 

Think about it eljr, you researched subwoofers for your two channel system quite extensively here on the forums.  You were steered towards several options based on factual performance capabilities and ended up choosing two extremely high quality subwoofers from an ID company. This resulted in an extremely good value for the dollars you spent and performance you have.

 

The alternative would have been to browse the Bose forums and spent a lot of money on a severely under performing and over priced product.  Or gone to Best Buy or any other retailer and purchased subs costing as much, or MUCH MORE, with much lower performance.  Can you justify that by saying as long as you "think" you got a good deal it would have been ok?  Not in my book.


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post #206 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 07:13 AM
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Good point, which is why I have educated my children regarding these marketing scams.  Ugg boots don't mean you are cool or fashionable.  It means you are stupid enough to spend $200 on $7 boots because you are so weak minded that you want others to think you are fashionable.  Sometimes its ok to buy shiny things we want, just because we want them.  But we should not do so without knowing that the $200 Ugg boots are really $7 boots with a $193 label, or that the $1000 HDMI cable does not make any difference at all to the audio or video.

First off, there is nothing weak about tribal identification. Also, realize, that is exactly what you are doing when you insist unbranded items are preferable. You are announcing that your tribe is "stronger" and "smarter" than others. Hence the crusade for recognition as your "tribe" is generally not revered.

BTW, generally speaking the markup at Nike is no longer than it is at their non branded competitors.

They incur much greater costs in providing a consistent product that is innovative and desirable.

Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
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post #207 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 08:04 AM
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Do you know how much those Nike's cost to make you buy for your kid? About 10 bucks and you are paying north of 100 to shut him up.
Good point, which is why I have educated my children regarding these marketing scams.  Ugg boots don't mean you are cool or fashionable.  It means you are stupid enough to spend $200 on $7 boots because you are so weak minded that you want others to think you are fashionable.  Sometimes its ok to buy shiny things we want, just because we want them.  But we should not do so without knowing that the $200 Ugg boots are really $7 boots with a $193 label, or that the $1000 HDMI cable does not make any difference at all to the audio or video.

I agree with you to a point: I don't think you need to call someone stupid because they buy Ugg's or high end audio gear: for example my wife buys her Ugg's at the Ugg's Factory Outlet Store: at a greatly reduced price: and she is not stupid smile.gif

now: can we move on?

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post #208 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 08:19 AM
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I agree with you to a point: I don't think you need to call someone stupid because they buy Ugg's or high end audio gear: for example my wife buys her Ugg's at the Ugg's Factory Outlet Store: at a greatly reduced price: and she is not stupid smile.gif

now: can we move on?

Yes.  Although I stand by my point that if someone spends extraordinarily more money than something is worth, or what other comparable products cost, just because of the label on that product, that it is not smart.  Does not matter if it is $150 or $200 Ugg boots, $1000 HDMI cables, or extremely overpriced amps that do not perform better than one for a small fraction of the price.  Of course, the analogy of over priced clothing was a bit off topic, but relevant to make the point.   And discussing factual versus falsely perceived differences in audio equipment is a worthwhile and relevant topic on Audio Video Science forums.  :)

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post #209 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 08:20 AM
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No, it isn't.  It is one of the underlying reasons for browsing such forums.  If I wanted to feel good about dropping big money on expensive products that do not actually provide results, I would read through Bose's marketing section and their owner forums to feel good about a $1500 Bose system.

I come here to get the facts on audio and video.

Think about it eljr, you researched subwoofers for your two channel system quite extensively here on the forums.  You were steered towards several options based on factual performance capabilities and ended up choosing two extremely high quality subwoofers from an ID company. This resulted in an extremely good value for the dollars you spent and performance you have.

The alternative would have been to browse the Bose forums and spent a lot of money on a severely under performing and over priced product.  Or gone to Best Buy or any other retailer and purchased subs costing as much, or MUCH MORE, with much lower performance.  Can you justify that by saying as long as you "think" you got a good deal it would have been ok?  Not in my book.


Sure the subs sound good but I may have sacrificed too much in convenience and style. There is more than performance to consider.

Bose or Best Buy was never a consideration, I have been around too long for that. wink.gif

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post #210 of 303 Old 05-24-2014, 08:22 AM
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  And discussing factual versus falsely perceived differences in audio equipment is a worthwhile and relevant topic on Audio Video Science forums.  smile.gif


Yes it is. That is not what goes on however.

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