Vinyl ......... are you serious? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 65 Old 08-30-2013, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I have been looking at all of the high end turntables being touted here and all around. They are masterpieces and just beauty to the eye.

So I got curious and set up my old Technics and spun an album.

Pop pop click click shhhhh pop pop click shhh.... and some music in the background.

You can't be serious people.
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post #2 of 65 Old 08-30-2013, 05:59 AM
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It's a hobby. It is about equipment moreso than music listening. I ripped all my records to digital years ago. Now I can dial them up in a snap from media server.
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post #3 of 65 Old 08-30-2013, 06:02 AM
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Maybe your albums are in poor/dirty condition as well as possibly a worn stylus, misaligned cartridge, poor tracking force, antiskating, etc. . biggrin.gif

Most of my vinyl sounds pretty good on my 35 year old Philips turntable.
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post #4 of 65 Old 08-30-2013, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Maybe your albums are in poor/dirty condition as well as possibly a worn stylus, misaligned cartridge, poor tracking force, antiskating, etc. . biggrin.gif

Most of my vinyl sounds pretty good on my 35 year old Philips turntable.
I agree. Also I doubt you took very good care of your collection. Recently I picked up Rubber Soul by the Beatles (original Mono Version) and it sounds excellent. I also did a complete cleaning before playing. Also if you want to hear the best of what vinyl can do get a Direct to Disc copy of Tower of Power from Sheffield Labs.smile.gif
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post #5 of 65 Old 08-30-2013, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mhrischuk View Post

Pop pop click click shhhhh pop pop click shhh.... and some music in the background.

Your LP is dirty or damaged, or your needle is in need of replacement (damaged or too worn). If the latter, replace it now or you'll damage more LPs if you try to play them.
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post #6 of 65 Old 08-30-2013, 11:28 AM
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Yes, very serious. But the thing is, digital sound sources are plug 'n go, no setup needed. Analog is not so easy.

- If the cartridge you're using is too light or heavy for the tonearm it's mounted to, or you use a high compliance cartridge in a superlight tonearm, the resulting low frequency resonance may cause poor tracking or distortion.

- If your cartridge is not aligned properly in the headshell, then all records will play back with high levels of distortion and mistracking, and will sound generally bad.

- If the tracking force is too light (a common mistake) the cartridge may damage the record grooves, and the sound will be pretty thin and grating.

- If the anti-skate force is set wrong, the channel balance may be upset, and the grooves may wear prematurely.

- If the cartridge cantilever/stylus has been damaged, record playback will sound generally bad, and the records' grooves will wear prematurely.

- If the bearing in the tonearm has been damaged, the records will sound bad, and the records' grooves will wear prematurely.

- If the main platter bearing has been damaged, the records will play back with high rumble levels, and again, the records' grooves will wear prematurely. .

- If the records have been played on a poorly aligned or worn cartridge-tonearm-turntable, then they may also be worn, and will always sound bad, even when played on a well set up system.

However,

- If the records are clean and not worn, and...

- If the cartridge and its cantilever/stylus are in good shape, and...

- the cartridge has been painstakingly aligned with a proper protractor or other alignment tool, and...

- the tracking force has been set properly for your cartridge/tonearm combo, and....

- the anti-skating force has been set properly for your cartridge/tonearm combo, and....

- the cartridge's weight and compliance are well-matched to the tonearm, and...

- the tonearm and platter bearings are good, and all else is mechanically and electrically sound with the turntable, and...

- You're using a good RIAA preamp (which is VERY IMPORTANT), and you have a reasonably good playback system, then...

Records should make music sound every bit as good as CDs. Maybe better, but that's not relevant here.


I suspect your LP playing setup does not meet the requirements above. Whether you want to put the effort into meeting all those requirements is a different story. Digital audio certainly is far more convenient and user friendly. It absolutely is.

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post #7 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 09:15 AM
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Here's a case in point --

I dug out an old 10" 33.3 rpm EP of Bing Crosby singing Stephen Foster songs. Decca, mono, from 1949. I found it in a junk shop I used to go to, probably got it for 50 cents. The old EP was in its cardboard cover, but no inner sleeve, so it had gathered some dust. I gave it a cleaning with fluid and brush, dried it, and spun it. There are clicks and pops, sure, but music pours forth very nicely. Actually, once you get past the first track, it has a fairly quiet background. It's quite listenable. Side two sounds like it was played a lot more than side one.

Vinyl can be really, really good, and you can get music for nearly free. But to get it to sound good takes way more setup work, fussing and gear $$$ than with digital sources.
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post #8 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 10:52 AM
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What you can get is music that is not available in digital form. If it is available in digital form you can get it absolutely free from Spotify or other similar web sites. I can't imagine buying a record of music that is available digitally. That makes no sense at all.
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post #9 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 12:10 PM
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Depends. Sometimes the vinyl release of an album sounds better than the CD (or download) version. And sometimes it doesn't. It has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. If there is a properly mastered SACD or CD version out there I'll often take that over the vinyl version. But often there isn't.
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post #10 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 02:09 PM
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The CD's are almost always better in my opinion.
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post #11 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there a category or forum for vinyl and turntable?


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post #12 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Is there a category or forum for vinyl and turntable?
No. Most questions land here.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #13 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

The CD's are almost always better in my opinion.

That has not been what I've found. But it does depend on the type of music that you listen to. With classical or jazz the CDs will probably be at least the equal of the vinyl. With pop/rock, however -- and especially releases from the last 20 years -- the CDs are often horribly compressed to make them sound "okay" through $5 earbuds or cheap car systems. Which in turn usually makes them sound bad when heard through a good hi-fi system. When a vinyl release is available for these modern albums it's often (but certainly not always!) better than the CD because it wasn't butchered in the mastering stage. This has nothing to do with vinyl favoritism -- it's just better mastering on one format than on the other. Could go the other way -- although that's less common, and usually a result of poor quality control at some of the remaining vinyl pressing plants.
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post #14 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 04:27 PM
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It all really depends.

I have a friend who had a Mitchell Cotter turntable with a Fidelity Research FR64 tonearm and some ridiculously expensive Koetsu cartridge, running into his own design RIAA preamp, and from there into his own tube amps and lovely EJ Jordan speaker system. He also has one of those really popular Oppo DVD 'universal' players that are supposed to sound so good.

One of our favorite recordings is Bill Evans Trio "Waltz For Debby". Analogue Productions makes a really good SACD of it, and a fancy audiophile LP pressing too. My friend also has an original ca. 1965 LP pressing.

We played each, comparing them. The original pressing sounded the least good. It seems to sound a bit "cardboard-y." Midrange-y. The SACD (which I also have) sounds really tremendous. Full, rich, nice textures. The CD layer is also great, but just a hair less full and rich sounding (but really just a hair, and with that certain "CD anxiety" to the sound). The AP LP sounded best. The best ambiance, more atmospheric, better low level detail (it's a live recording, in the Village Vanguard, so there are people chatting, coughing and laughing, the occasional glass tinkling, etc.). The piano has more texture, the acoustic bass sounds more coherent. The whole recording sounds so relaxed and flowing. Just makes you stop and go "listen to that!"

I wanted the SACD to sound best, and really, it's good enough for me. But I have to admit, with a certifiable 'audio classic' $8000 turntable, $2000 cartridge, I-don't-even-want-to-know-how-much-it-costs preamp and amplifiers, and $1500 or so worth of super-delicate Jordan drivers, the fancy LP pressing still had a certain magic that doesn't come through on the original LP pressing or on the SACD/CD.

My whole point is that my friend and I are a bit insane about this. I concede that. For most people, the Oppo DVD player into a good receiver and a good $1000/pair speakers would be more than good enough, playing either the CD or the SACD, or maybe even an 320kbps MP3 rip. I will readily admit that that would be the sane thing to do. Also, the above suggests that a lot has to do with the mastering and pressing to the final medium.

So if you'd always rather get the digital version than the LP, then yes, you are indeed making the more rational choice. But to say that LPs 'sound bad' and imply that you'd be crazy to buy the LP instead of the digital form?

You're right. You have to be crazy enough.

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post #15 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 04:34 PM
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I went to a concert the other day and for the first time I saw vinyl being sold as well as CDs eek.gif I think they even cost MORE.....I was like......"ok".....

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post #16 of 65 Old 08-31-2013, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mhrischuk View Post

Is there a category or forum for vinyl and turntable?
Vinyl Engine and Audio Karma are good sites for TT's and records. smile.gif
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post #17 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rongon View Post

It all really depends.

I have a friend who had a Mitchell Cotter turntable with a Fidelity Research FR64 tonearm and some ridiculously expensive Koetsu cartridge, running into his own design RIAA preamp, and from there into his own tube amps and lovely EJ Jordan speaker system. He also has one of those really popular Oppo DVD 'universal' players that are supposed to sound so good.

One of our favorite recordings is Bill Evans Trio "Waltz For Debby". Analogue Productions makes a really good SACD of it, and a fancy audiophile LP pressing too. My friend also has an original ca. 1965 LP pressing.

We played each, comparing them. The original pressing sounded the least good. It seems to sound a bit "cardboard-y." Midrange-y. The SACD (which I also have) sounds really tremendous. Full, rich, nice textures. The CD layer is also great, but just a hair less full and rich sounding (but really just a hair, and with that certain "CD anxiety" to the sound). The AP LP sounded best. The best ambiance, more atmospheric, better low level detail (it's a live recording, in the Village Vanguard, so there are people chatting, coughing and laughing, the occasional glass tinkling, etc.). The piano has more texture, the acoustic bass sounds more coherent. The whole recording sounds so relaxed and flowing. Just makes you stop and go "listen to that!"

I wanted the SACD to sound best, and really, it's good enough for me. But I have to admit, with a certifiable 'audio classic' $8000 turntable, $2000 cartridge, I-don't-even-want-to-know-how-much-it-costs preamp and amplifiers, and $1500 or so worth of super-delicate Jordan drivers, the fancy LP pressing still had a certain magic that doesn't come through on the original LP pressing or on the SACD/CD.

My whole point is that my friend and I are a bit insane about this. I concede that. For most people, the Oppo DVD player into a good receiver and a good $1000/pair speakers would be more than good enough, playing either the CD or the SACD, or maybe even an 320kbps MP3 rip. I will readily admit that that would be the sane thing to do. Also, the above suggests that a lot has to do with the mastering and pressing to the final medium.

So if you'd always rather get the digital version than the LP, then yes, you are indeed making the more rational choice. But to say that LPs 'sound bad' and imply that you'd be crazy to buy the LP instead of the digital form?

You're right. You have to be crazy enough.

--

No, I didn't say LP's sound bad, the OP did. I said that I prefer the digital version to the analog version most of the time. Not all of the time. I have both the CD and the Analog Productions LP of Waltz for Debby. They are both masterfully mastered in my view. I digitized the LP and no longer listen to it. I listen to a digital stream from one of my hard drives. It works equally well for me. All that's required of a turntable is that it be quiet and consistent in terms of speed. All that is required of a tone arm is that it put no sideways force on the stylus and that it be adjusted to the right pressure. Cartridges are a different matter altogether. The one I use is a MC made by Grado. Perhaps your friend's system does produce a better sound than mine. Mine is, as you say, good enough to very good indeed. Incidentally, I think price is a ridiculous characteristicfor judging audio equipment.
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post #18 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mhrischuk View Post

Is there a category or forum for vinyl and turntable?

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=28
http://www.audioaficionado.org/turntables-vinyl/
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=32.0

Are a few vinyl forums. For two channel, AVS tends to stop at mid-fi. Many posts here asserting that moving past mid-fi doesn't improve sound!

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post #19 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 10:37 AM
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http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=28
http://www.audioaficionado.org/turntables-vinyl/
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=32.0

Are a few vinyl forums. For two channel, AVS tends to stop at mid-fi. Many posts here asserting that moving past mid-fi doesn't improve sound!

I don't think that is true at all. What objectivists say is that modern electronics don't contribute meaningfully to the sound of a system. Speakers and room acoustics do. We all believe that a $20,000 pair of speakers is likely to sound fantastic. All we're saying is that modern amps, preamps and digital sources won't make them sound any different. While running a $20,000 pair of speakers with an A/V receiver would be unthinkable to an audiophile, it would make perfect sense to me and others like me. If you have a $22,000 budget for an audio system, I would recommend spending $20,000 of it on speakers because the rest of it doesn't really matter. That's test results, not opinion by the way.
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post #20 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I don't think that is true at all. What objectivists say is that modern electronics don't contribute meaningfully to the sound of a system. Speakers and room acoustics do. We all believe that a $20,000 pair of speakers is likely to sound fantastic. All we're saying is that modern amps, preamps and digital sources won't make them sound any different. While running a $20,000 pair of speakers with an A/V receiver would be unthinkable to an audiophile, it would make perfect sense to me and others like me. If you have a $22,000 budget for an audio system, I would recommend spending $20,000 of it on speakers because the rest of it doesn't really matter. That's test results, not opinion by the way.

This is an excellent example of what I mean. I won't argue it though. We've been through the argument ad infinitum and most opinions won't change.

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post #21 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 10:54 AM
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Apparently he doesn't think $20,000 speakers driven by mid fi equipment sound great. I would bet he hasn't tested it. Takers?
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post #22 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 11:02 AM
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> While running a $20,000 pair of speakers with an A/V receiver would be unthinkable to an audiophile

Check out the work of Earl Geddes, who makes Gedlee speakers. (http://www.gedlee.com/) By all accounts, he gets spectacular sound with his speakers from mid-line Pioneer AV receivers. I believe it too.

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post #23 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 11:36 AM
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As one other poster mentioned, the CD master is often compressed to play LOUD for earbuds, cars, radio, etc. The music is too loud and there is a loss of dynamic range. Listener fatigue sets in quickly. I listen to a lot of alternative rock and most of it sounds like crap on the CD.

I got back into vinyl a year ago. I NEVER thought I would. But I learned that the master used for many (but not all) vinyl releases often have more dynamic range in the music. This plays less loud and I'm able to crank the volume on my preamp and enjoy music without fatigue because loud is loud and quiet is quiet - it's not loud from end to end. You need to give it a listen to hear.

This is an unfortunate situation because the vinyl format is not superior in any way to CDs and high resolution downloads like 24/48. I won't argue that. Vinyl is far too tweaky and there's room for error all over the place if not set up correctly. I'll take a superbly clean digital playback over some pop/hiss etc anyday ONLY IF the source material on both formats have the same amount of dynamic range. (Eg. I'll never by Pink Floyd on vinyl because the original album CDs have the original dynamics intact, and the CD will sound cleaner through my system).

BUT... most of new rock is compressed to play loud. Ouch on my home audio system. Bleeding ears set in. If I play the same album on vinyl - does the mix ever sound different! Vocals aren't in my face and there's far more space between instruments in the mix. Given this huge advantage, I'll take the compromises of vinyl any day over a LOUD CD mix. It's the mix that's far more musical, not the vinyl format.

Here's something you can look at, it's a user Dynamic Range Database. Daft Punk's new album Random Access Memories. Take a look at the dynamic range values on the vinyl versus the CD and even HDTracks. I've got the vinyl and the CD. There's no comparison - the vinyl is the hands down winner when comparing the two. It doesn't take a superb hifi system to detect the differences. I have other albums on vinyl that sound no different in content than the CD, thus the CD is the preferred choice. Now I sort of use the DR Database site to check out releases before I buy one format over another. It doesn't tell everything about a recording, so use it with caution and let your ears be the judge.

The glimmer of hope? The new Nine Inch Nails album, Hesitation Marks. You can read the thread here if you haven't done so already. It seems this is the first album released by a mainstream band with two versions for two different audiences in mind:

1) The mainstream LOUD version for iPods, cars, etc. that was created after the studio mix was made and sent off for mastering.
2) The Audiophile Mix which is not just a high resolution version of the loud mix, but the original studio mix that's less compressed. It's aimed for people with HiFi systems who will appreciate it.

For $12 from the Nine Inch Nails website only, you get the download of both versions. I can support that!

If all albums were released this way - with both versions in mind - I'd ditch my vinyl in a second and favour the high resolution audiophile mix in digital.


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post #24 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 11:57 AM
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> While running a $20,000 pair of speakers with an A/V receiver would be unthinkable to an audiophile

I thought of something else about this... You touched on exactly what I was trying to say, but couldn't get out properly.

The electronics and digital audio are not the big problems. The transducers are. That includes both the transducers on the output side (the loudspeaker systems) and the transducers on the input side, which will be analog. Analog transducers on the input side would include microphones and their associated electronics (mic preamps), turntables (and all that goes with them), and analog tape machines.

So I'll posit that:

$3,000 in speakers -- if really engineered correctly to take full advantage of expensive drivers and materials -- will perform better than $1000 spent on speakers (all things being equal, of course).

a $10,000 LP front end -- if really engineered correctly (and sold honestly) -- will perform better than a $1000 turntable/cartridge combo (again, all things being equal).

Will $3000 a pair in power amps better the performance of a $500 home theater receiver of similar power rating? Now that's not as clear cut, is it?

Will a $1500 DVD/SACD/BD universal player perform better than a $150 player? Also not so clear cut.

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post #25 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Apparently he doesn't think $20,000 speakers driven by mid fi equipment sound great. I would bet he hasn't tested it. Takers?

I've done that, at least with $2000 speakers from 1985 (Snell Type C).

They sound 95% as good when driven from an SACD playing in a Sony BD player to Panasonic SA-XR57 receiver at PCM at 24bit/176.4k resolution as they do playing the same SACD from a Pioneer Elite PD-D6-J (DSD to analog outs) into a push-pull 2A3 amp built around (now unobtainium) Tango output transformers. What's the 5% difference? Well, that's me being arbitrary, but there is a difference. The Panasonic seems to bog down driving the Snell C's, making a sort of murky, electronic fuzz on the sound. The 2A3 amp sounds so surprisingly good through the Snell C's, even though it's only capable of 6 watts per channel.

Maybe it's the Pioneer SACD player sounding better than the DSD-to-PCM conversion in the Sony BD player to Panasonic receiver? Wait, that can't be, can it?

On the other hand, the Panasonic receiver drives my pair of small speakers with Alpair 10 drivers much better than the 2A3 amp does. That's where the extra power of the receiver really makes a difference.

Look, we know these things happen, but it is often extremely difficult to quantify exactly why. It's not a frequency response thing, or anything that simple or cut and dried. But these questions persist. What I really need to do is organize a precisely level matched, double-blind ABX test of these two things. That would be interesting.

--

Hopelessly addicted to this stuff, but on a strict budget.
Snell Type C speakers
Homebrew DC-coupled, push-pull, 2A3 amp, Intact Audio volume control
RIAA preamp (similar to Arthur Loesch design) - Thorens TD124 w/ Audiocraft AC-3000 - Denon DL160
Pioneer Elite PD-D6-J (CD, SACD)
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post #26 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rongon View Post

> While running a $20,000 pair of speakers with an A/V receiver would be unthinkable to an audiophile

I thought of something else about this... You touched on exactly what I was trying to say, but couldn't get out properly.

The electronics and digital audio are not the big problems. The transducers are. That includes both the transducers on the output side (the loudspeaker systems) and the transducers on the input side, which will be analog. Analog transducers on the input side would include microphones and their associated electronics (mic preamps), turntables (and all that goes with them), and analog tape machines.

So I'll posit that:

$3,000 in speakers -- if really engineered correctly to take full advantage of expensive drivers and materials -- will perform better than $1000 spent on speakers (all things being equal, of course).

a $10,000 LP front end -- if really engineered correctly (and sold honestly) -- will perform better than a $1000 turntable/cartridge combo (again, all things being equal).

Will $3000 a pair in power amps better the performance of a $500 home theater receiver of similar power rating? Now that's not as clear cut, is it?

Will a $1500 DVD/SACD/BD universal player perform better than a $150 player? Also not so clear cut.

--

I think you make a good post.

I will concede that there is much more bang for the buck with room treatment and speakers than there is with electronics.

But...

You can take one of the top onkyo or pioneer AVRs and add a $600 DAC Magic + and obtain a dramatic increase in imaging.

If you think adding an external amp such as a conrad-johnson premier 350 or a pair of pass labs monos won't improve the sound quality over an AVRs internal amps, I've got some risperdal for you!

As I've said, you'll get more improvement for your money elsewhere, but improving the electronics is far from a waste of money.

I have to wonder if the advocates of that position have ever had a serious listening opportunity with a well designed and executed system in a well tuned room. It's like getting high for the first time when you break through that barrier when the sound is truly lifted from the speakers and presented in that holographic and spooky way.

I said I wouldn't argue this issue. Shame on me.

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. . . . . . . . . . . Peter

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post #27 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Apparently he doesn't think $20,000 speakers driven by mid fi equipment sound great. I would bet he hasn't tested it. Takers?

If you will change that to $8500 speakers, I'll let you lay your bets before I give my answer. wink.gif

.
. . . . . . . . . . . Peter

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post #28 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by pstrisik View Post



You can take one of the top onkyo or pioneer AVRs and add a $600 DAC Magic + and obtain a dramatic increase in imaging.

Not in a bias controlled test.
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If you think adding an external amp such as a conrad-johnson premier 350 or a pair of pass labs monos won't improve the sound quality over an AVRs internal amps, I've got some risperdal for you!

Bring them. I'd be happy to teach you about bias controlled listening.
Quote:
As I've said, you'll get more improvement for your money elsewhere, but improving the electronics is far from a waste of money.

I didn't say they were a waste of money although I think the people who buy them don't buy them for the right reason.
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I have to wonder if the advocates of that position have ever had a serious listening opportunity with a well designed and executed system in a well tuned room. It's like getting high for the first time when you break through that barrier when the sound is truly lifted from the speakers and presented in that holographic and spooky way.

Nothing spooky about it. It is all about hearing bias. Yes we used audiophile accepted products and "golden ears" to do our tests.

Quote:
I said I wouldn't argue this issue. Shame on me.

We forgive you. Best of luck.
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post #29 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 01:02 PM
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I still prefer the analog recording versus digital but not much engineers are doing it so and most of them converted to pro tools and such . When the CD came in the market the Loudness war started but if a record is badly recorded it doesn't which format it is it will sound bad . A original recording done in analog to me they sound better in vinyl than any other format but recordings done for example in digital like most Dream Theater albums they sound good , on the opposite side older albums for example like some of Megadeth they sound much better than the first batch of CD's or the re-mastered ones ( So Far So Good .... So What is a example of that ) .

One thing and i love vinyl and i have a problem with the so called the "audiophile" world is that they aren't listening the music but ratter the gear they have . To achieve a great sound you don't need to spend a enormous and stupid amount of money and this also applies to the digital world . A couple of weeks ago i read a article where someone spent 1 Million in his system and even said that one of his friends went over and cry listening to a SACD , well i watched is room pictures ( big room maybe 25X20 with a huge window behind his listening position ) and there's was no acoustic room treatment what so ever . The reflections on that window must be insane but IMO his ego of 1M is the one doing the talk not the sound that he is listening
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post #30 of 65 Old 09-01-2013, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rongon View Post

> While running a $20,000 pair of speakers with an A/V receiver would be unthinkable to an audiophile

I thought of something else about this... You touched on exactly what I was trying to say, but couldn't get out properly.

The electronics and digital audio are not the big problems. The transducers are. That includes both the transducers on the output side (the loudspeaker systems) and the transducers on the input side, which will be analog. Analog transducers on the input side would include microphones and their associated electronics (mic preamps), turntables (and all that goes with them), and analog tape machines.

So I'll posit that:

$3,000 in speakers -- if really engineered correctly to take full advantage of expensive drivers and materials -- will perform better than $1000 spent on speakers (all things being equal, of course).

a $10,000 LP front end -- if really engineered correctly (and sold honestly) -- will perform better than a $1000 turntable/cartridge combo (again, all things being equal).

Will $3000 a pair in power amps better the performance of a $500 home theater receiver of similar power rating? Now that's not as clear cut, is it?

Will a $1500 DVD/SACD/BD universal player perform better than a $150 player? Also not so clear cut.

As far as $100 versus $1,500 BD players go, if you do the sane thing and use the player's digital output, most of the parts in the $1,500 player never see any signal that you listen to.

I think that the fly in your argument's ointment is its apparent presumption that high end speakers do what high end everything else doesn't do, which is provide reasonable value for the money spent.

It's no secret that many high end speakers are horrible price/performance values, especially if the gorgeous woodwork some of them like Sonus Faber flaunt, has limited value to you.

The same thing is true of speaker drivers. Your mind might boggle if you knew what you can buy in the way of 6 1/2" and smaller drivers for under $15 per driver in production quantities.

One example of this is the Infinity Primus 363. All available independent test reports suggest that it is a performance rival of say Paradigm Studio 60s. One is street priced for as little as $200, the other more like $1,000. I'm sure that the construction quality and QC of the Studio 60 is better, and the cabinetry is finer, but that doesn't cost $800 more per unit to provide.
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