Is High-End Audio Obsolete? - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 08:44 AM
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Sounds like a AWESOME system you have there! Those speakers are superb. smile.gif
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post #632 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 08:54 AM
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^Thanks Oz and Deckard :-)

What're you guys running?
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post #633 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 09:04 AM
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Because you're in his neck of the woods, relatively, I recommend you check out Audio Connection in Jersey. John Rutan is the owner, and an outstanding dealer and human being.

Omar
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post #634 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 09:16 AM
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Slow day on other parts of AVS so I clicked on this thread and spent the greater part of an hour and a half going through only to find that I am in the 2-Channel Section! eek.gif Talk about being obsolete............. biggrin.gif j/k

EDIT: Btw and Fwiw, I found most of this thread interesting and feel along with others that regardless if for 2 Channel or Multichannel there are fewer and fewer places to audition gear and sales seem to be going to the internet...That said after following a particular speaker company I like (because of my history with their product) it also appears they are selling more speakers without people actually hearing them and relying on satisfied younger customers who aren't accustomed to hear speakers or components for themselves and rely on internet opinion to drive sales....That said, it does make me wonder at what point is the bottom line more paramount than progressing quality. My 2 cents
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post #635 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 09:19 AM
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Quote:

Originally Posted by arnyk

t starts out with the false claim that I ever said that "Wire is wire".

 

You've said that many times in your posts. Most of the time the statement is probably true unless of course it's MIT or Transparent due to the built-in filters.


Derogatory terms like "analog bigot", "digiphobe", "internet eggspurts" have nothing to do with electrical engineering.
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post #636 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 09:45 AM
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Holy smokes has this thread exploded since I last read the board. Good stuff guys.
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post #637 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 09:48 AM
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You simply can't win with some of these guys.

Speak in shorthand about a subject on occasion, without presenting a detailed set of exceptions each and every time you do discuss it, then they'll call you on it, claiming to catch an inconsistency in your position.

Carefully button up every statement by adding a complete set of qualifications, then they complain that you're being too tediously picky and specific.
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Mourning the disappearance of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #638 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 09:53 AM
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That's why if they would provide a link it would help to understand where they are coming from--Sometimes people read into things that aren't really there and after doing so it's easier to see where the discrepancy lies.
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post #639 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OmarF View Post

^Thanks Oz and Deckard :-)

What're you guys running?

Hi Omar, here's a list of my gear:


Player - OPPO BDP-93 ( music and movies )
AVR - Anthem MRX-300
Amp - Rotel RMB 1095 ( 200x5 )

Mains - PBN Montana EPS-2
Center - PBN Montana SPC-2
Surround - PBN Mini Monitors

Subwoofer - No Sub as of yet. Looking at a custom PBN or a Funk Audio 18.0SE
RCA's - Audioquest Diamondbacks and King Cobra
Display - Sony 60" LCD

I'm using the system for mostly movies now. Will be installing the PBN surrounds next weekend.....smile.gif

talk to ya later!
B
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post #640 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 11:19 AM
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Other than upgrading some components: receivers, play backs, monitors, I've kept from the 1960's many components. Result: a decent sounding low and middle-end system without my spending too much at any one time.

TV-Monitor, Plasma- LG 50PZ550, 2011
Receiver- Rotel RSX 965 SACD 25 pin input connected to Blu Ray 5.1 analog outputs, 2000
Blu-Ray Panasonic DMP-BDT500 w/7.1 analog audio outputs 2012. 5.1 outputs to Rotel, HDMI to monitor,
Laser Disc Player- Pioneer CLD 1080, 1988
Field Sound Processor- Yamaha DSP E300, 1990
Comcast Cable- Motorola DCX3400. Audio to Rotel via optical; video to monitor via HDMI, 2012
Audio tape Deck- Pioneer Dual CT980W, 1990
Graphic Equalizer- Pioneer GR-555, 1992
CD Changer- Phillips CDC751, 2005
VCR, Hi-Fi- JVC SQPB, 2002
Vinyl Turntable/Changer- Garrard Zero 100, 1968
Sub Woofers, 2-Yamaha, powered YST-SW100 & YST SW205, 1992
Speakers, 4- Paradigm Titan (2 for Rotel main fronts, 2 for Yamaha DSP front effects),2002
Speakers, 2- Dynaco A25 (Rotel rear effects), 1975
Speakers, 2- Acoustic Research 18S, (Yamaha rear effects,) 1978
Speakers, 2- Realistic Minimus 7W ( Yamaha DSP Center, Rotel Center), 1990
AC Voltage Activated Outlet Switch- Niles AC-3, 2000
Head phones- Sennheiser HD280 Pro, 2005
Router- Cisco E2500, 2010
HTPC: Gateway SX2855 UB10P. 1.8GHz; 2GB; 250GB. Win 7 premium, 2011
Mini Keyboard/mouse- Favi Mini wireless, 2013
Desktop PC- HP P7-1207C 2.2 GHz; 6GB; 1TB Win7 Home Premium,2012

To unobtrusively fit all the electronic components, including front speakers, the front subwoofer and monitor into the living room décor, I had built a custom 3 piece module cabinet that hides all wires, harness and cables. Modules roll out for easy access to component hookups. Rear subwoofer and surround speakers are hidden along fireplace wall behind furniture.



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post #641 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 12:27 PM
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Just finished reading the article and found it fascinating and a very good read. I will first say that I am very much in the camp that all modern amps run within their operating limits (i.e. not pushing them to clipping levels) will sound the same and that things like $1,000 power cables and 8 gauge wire for the 3 feet from amp to speaker are snake oil at best. I would also agree that high quality digital sources sound noticeably better than vinyl records. Even so, I find some nostalgia and enjoyment out of pulling an old pink floyd or beatles album out and firing up my (very inexpensive) turntable.

I spent about 4 years selling high-ish end audio (B&W 800 series, MartinLogan Reserve series, Sonus Faber, McIntosh, Arcam, Oppo, etc). I spent countless hours switching out components and running blind listening tests with my colleagues and the only conclusion I could ever come to is that everything is so good that I should buy my electronics based solely on the features I need and reputation for reliability. Because of that, I have my PS3 and HTPC as my primary sources, a Denon AVR-X4000, the cheapest HDMI cables I could find, and a monster power center i got for 95% off.

The speaker themselves, in my experience, make the only appreciable difference in audio quality. While I would agree that the level where diminishing returns really start to kick in is fairly low, I don't think it's quite down to a $500 level, granted I don't have much experience with pro-audio gear. It seems to me that there are noticeable difference in audio quality up until the low thousands, like 1-3k range (though I think 3k is really starting to push it). Speakers like the Andrew Jones Pioneers that are rightfully given tons of great reviews and are a great value are still, in my opinion, far from audiophile sound quality. I would be very happy with them for a secondary system or anywhere I wouldn't be doing any critical listening. The speakers I ended up going with are the MartinLogan Montis. the three main reasons I bought them are 1) I got a 70% discount biggrin.gif 2) I like the way they look and my wife doesn't hate how they look and 3) I love the way they sound. People care about how their home looks and aesthetics plays a huge role in what people will buy. I can't imagine that too many homes will have those powered monster speakers in their living rooms simply because of the way they look. But, improving the finish to make them more WAF friendly will increase costs.

I also think that there is a bit of a bell curve in performance. I honestly think that for some companies sound quality DECREASES at a certain price point.
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post #642 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OmarF View Post

^Thanks Oz and Deckard :-)

What're you guys running?
Speakers; Paradigm Studios fronts 100v3, center 570 v3 rears 20 v3
Sub HSU-- VTF-15H
AVR- Integra DTR-10.5
Player - Oppo BDP-103 , ATV3 , stream from MacBook Pro
Display- Panasonic 55ST50
Headphones - Sennhiser HD-580
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post #643 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 01:33 PM
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While Bose Soundlink Mini is a marvelous little big pocket size speaker, it is a Bluetooth that already uses 2 stereo channels.

The only chance would be to use TWO of them via their AUX IN sockets.  You would need to feed Left signal to both left and right lines on the Mini intended for Left stereo.

Then similarly use the other Mini and feed Right stereo signal to both left and right inputs of the AUX In in the right Mini.

This may not be practical, and the DSP in the speaker caould possibly still to try make a stereo image on both spekers, (?), as there are other Bluetooth speakers that allow and provide connection of 2 to create stereo.

 

You cannot have Bluetooth connection with 2 of the Minis, at the same time.  Pairing source to speaker allows only one at a time. Bose did not envision using 2 of the minis in one stereo setup. 

Much better sound comes from Soundlink III.

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post #644 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simp1yamazn View Post


I spent about 4 years selling high-ish end audio (B&W 800 series, MartinLogan Reserve series, Sonus Faber, McIntosh, Arcam, Oppo, etc). I spent countless hours switching out components and running blind listening tests with my colleagues and the only conclusion I could ever come to is that everything is so good that I should buy my electronics based solely on the features I need and reputation for reliability. Because of that, I have my PS3 and HTPC as my primary sources, a Denon AVR-X4000, the cheapest HDMI cables I could find, and a monster power center i got for 95% off.

Good post. One question about the above portion I've whittled down from your original post. Did your colleagues ever come in expressing huge, obvious differences with some of these components beforehand, based upon all their previous sighted comparisons? That they didn't need a blind test to confirm those differences because something so obvious wouldn't require it?

Then after blind testing, if/when they couldn't distinguish, did any of them still retain an insistence that those components sounded differently? That there must have been something wrong with the test process itself? That something so "obvious" beforehand couldn't suddenly dissipate into nothingness upon removal of all their usual visual and subconscious mental cues?

Mourning the disappearance of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #645 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhooper1963 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

What sort of cable(s) connect it to your AVR?

One $10 HDMI cable. Marantz AV 7005 processor. Parasound Halo A52 125 watts x 5 amplifier. Velodyne SPL1200R subwoofer. Ascend Acoustics Sierra One Bookshelf speakers.

When you connect your mid fi BD player to your AVR & TV via a HDMI cable you are:

(1) Bypassing just about everything that would give an Oppo an sound or picture quality advantage, namely the audio and video decoding circuitry including the audio and video DACs. Since mid-fi BD players lack all that these days, you are not paying for something that you'll never use. The digitally encoded information on the disc with embedded sound flows down the HDMI cable to the AVR where the audio conversion takes place. The video remains in the digital domain through the AVR and also most of the way through the TV set.

(2) Getting what is probably the best quality picture and sound that you can regardless of whether your BD player is mid-fi or high end. A good rule of thumb is that all things being equal you get the best quality when you keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to the final delivery point as possible.
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post #646 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Deckard97 View Post

Hi Omar, here's a list of my gear:


Player - OPPO BDP-93 ( music and movies )
AVR - Anthem MRX-300
Amp - Rotel RMB 1095 ( 200x5 )

Mains - PBN Montana EPS-2
Center - PBN Montana SPC-2
Surround - PBN Mini Monitors

Subwoofer - No Sub as of yet. Looking at a custom PBN or a Funk Audio 18.0SE
RCA's - Audioquest Diamondbacks and King Cobra
Display - Sony 60" LCD

I'm using the system for mostly movies now. Will be installing the PBN surrounds next weekend.....smile.gif

talk to ya later!
B

Anthem and Rotel...a great mix. My buddy has ten year old Rotel gear in both of his listening rooms, and they're wonderful sounding.

I'm not familiar with PBN speakers, which company is that?

Omar
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post #647 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztech View Post

Speakers; Paradigm Studios fronts 100v3, center 570 v3 rears 20 v3
Sub HSU-- VTF-15H
AVR- Integra DTR-10.5
Player - Oppo BDP-103 , ATV3 , stream from MacBook Pro
Display- Panasonic 55ST50
Headphones - Sennhiser HD-580

I've heard Paradigm Reference and Signature series speakers a number of times. Are the studios active speakers?

What do you think of the new OPPO PM-1 headphones? smile.gif I keep itching to pull the trigger, but the price is substantial.

Omar
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post #648 of 1759 Old 04-22-2014, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OmarF View Post

I've heard Paradigm Reference and Signature series speakers a number of times. Are the studios active speakers?

What do you think of the new OPPO PM-1 headphones? smile.gif I keep itching to pull the trigger, but the price is substantial.

Omar
No they are passive. They were a step down from the Signatures for that year.I just noticed the Studios are called the Reference Line.
I have not got a chance to hear them but I imagine they are probably going to sound great, my boss is showing interest in them.
I bet Head Fi will have a review on them can't imagine Jude not testing them out.
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post #649 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OmarF View Post

Anthem and Rotel...a great mix. My buddy has ten year old Rotel gear in both of his listening rooms, and they're wonderful sounding.

I'm not familiar with PBN speakers, which company is that?

Omar

Good Mornin Omar! I had been researching and visiting hifi shops for about 6 years until I found this gem of a company. PBN Montana Loudspeakers have been around for a while, but there are only a few dealers around. PBN does not advertise much, therefore saving boatloads on Marketing expenditures. They are located on the West coast and have a booth at every CES show. At the show the PBN's were paired up with some Flagship Edge amps.

Please check them out....I know you will like! Their speakers go from $2500 a pair, all the way to $80,000. My model, the EPS-2 is their most popular speaker ( $10k a pair depending on the wood ). The owner, Peter, is a great guy and an audio engineering maven. I can't praise him enough......here's the link

http://www.pbnaudio.com/

Let me know what u think, thanks Omar! biggrin.gif
Bri
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post #650 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 05:34 AM
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Nice article Mark. I am also digging the concrete block speaker stands- real retro man.

I stopped chasing the rabbit down the hi-end audio hole a long time ago.

My trusty 20yr old towers and sub in 2.1 configuration with an equally old and still great sounding NAD amp (that was built without a remote control feature! I have to get up and manually turn up/down the volume every time,) still brings a smile to my face. The funny thing is- my garage is the one that has the newer Pioneer 5.1 amp running 2.1 bookshelf speakers and a sub.

I now do most of my listening on THX certified powered 2.1 speakers. I send my ripped loss less CD music from my computer through a usb Audinst HUD MX2 DAC / Amp. For critical listening I use an old pair of Sennheiser 515 series headphones, that I find very lacking, and will be upgrading to Senn. 600s very soon.

Yep- I went minimal, but still very much enjoy the music. One of these days I'll get back into a modest upgrade on my old 2.1 living room system... adding an amp that has a remote control !

Rob
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post #651 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztech View Post

Speakers; Paradigm Studios fronts 100v3, center 570 v3 rears 20 v3
Sub HSU-- VTF-15H
AVR- Integra DTR-10.5
Player - Oppo BDP-103 , ATV3 , stream from MacBook Pro
Display- Panasonic 55ST50
Headphones - Sennhiser HD-580

Good Stuff Oz! I used to own a pair of studio 100's V3. Loved them to death but I ended up selling them to my best friend, who also loves Paradigm. It took me YEARS to find( and own ) a better sounding speaker set then the Paradigms Reference line. wink.gif

Talk to ya later!
B
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post #652 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post

Good post. One question about the above portion I've whittled down from your original post. Did your colleagues ever come in expressing huge, obvious differences with some of these components beforehand, based upon all their previous sighted comparisons? That they didn't need a blind test to confirm those differences because something so obvious wouldn't require it?

Then after blind testing, if/when they couldn't distinguish, did any of them still retain an insistence that those components sounded differently? That there must have been something wrong with the test process itself? That something so "obvious" beforehand couldn't suddenly dissipate into nothingness upon removal of all their usual visual and subconscious mental cues?

They hang on to their brainwashing with an iron fist. I call it brainwashing because our training was exactly that. We spent 4 weeks in a nice hotel and reps and products from all of our vendors came to train us on their offerings. Mostly it was a lot of marketing and PR hype but for people who are not personally invested in researching and piecing together their own system, there isn't the inherent skepticism that helps to find the truth while wading through all the garbage.

The worst was the AudioQuest session. They had a $50 walmart boom box and played a cd, once with the included speaker wire and once with their Type 4 speaker wire. They asked what differences we think we might hear before the test even began, and obviously it wasn't blind. Having predicted the differences we might hear, people were even more biased during the test than they normally woudl be. Because of demos like that, my colleagues truly believed that they could tell a difference and that a blind test was not necessary. I did get two of them to do a blind test with me and when they couldn't identify any difference they just brushed it off with BS excuses like the recording wasn't good enough or I don't have enough time to distinguish the differences.

That being said, I do have a ton of AQ cables in my home because the build quality is pretty good and it was cheaper for me to buy AQ stuff than monoprice stuff biggrin.gif
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post #653 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 06:28 AM
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Thanks and yes speakers will always be a battle because they really do determine the end results more so than any other piece of gear and there are some great sounding companies out there .
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post #654 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks and yes speakers will always be a battle because they really do determine the end results more so than any other piece of gear and there are some great sounding companies out there .

 

I agree wholeheartedly, but the one thing I have not observed with speakers is a direct correlation between price and performance. Yes, there is a trend towards quality and performance as prices go up, but not a direct correlation.

There are a lot of affordable underrated speakers out there, and an equal amount of overpriced garbage. As a result, it is justified to put extra research into selecting speakers.

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post #655 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

I agree wholeheartedly, but the one thing I have not observed with speakers is a direct correlation between price and performance. There are a lot of affordable underrated speakers out there, and an equal amount of overpriced garbage. As a result, it is justified to put extra research into selecting speakers.

I always try to get people to make a demo USB or Disc to take with them and mix it up with every type of music they listen to especially if they heard the performance live and listen to as many brands they can their ears will tell them if they found the right ones.
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post #656 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 06:52 AM
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I agree wholeheartedly, but the one thing I have not observed with speakers is a direct correlation between price and performance. Yes, there is a trend towards quality and performance as prices go up, but not a direct correlation.


There are a lot of affordable underrated speakers out there, and an equal amount of overpriced garbage. As a result, it is justified to put extra research into selecting speakers.

All the local audio stores in my town are gone now, so it's hard to audition speakers with the care and attention they deserve. Back in the day, if you were selecting even mid-fi speakers, the manager of the store where I bought my speakers, would ask about your music preferences and tastes, then set up demos in a separate room with a range of speakers that he thought might fit your need (plus any he might have that you wanted to hear). He advised strongly that you come in for an hour a day for a week (!) in order to make the best selection for your tastes. In my own case, I found this process very valuable. It was frequently the initially least "impressive" speaker that sounded better and better as the week progressed. I never regretted a purchase from that store and the small price premium he charged was worth every penny.

Best,

Brian
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post #657 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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All the local audio stores in my town are gone now, so it's hard to audition speakers with the care and attention they deserve. Back in the day, if you were selecting even mid-fi speakers, the manager of the store where I bought my speakers, would ask about your music preferences and tastes, then set up demos in a separate room with a range of speakers that he thought might fit your need (plus any he might have that you wanted to hear). He advised strongly that you come in for an hour a day for a week (!) in order to make the best selection for your tastes. In my own case, I found this process very valuable. It was frequently the initially least "impressive" speaker that sounded better and better as the week progressed. I never regretted a purchase from that store and the small price premium he charged was worth every penny.

Best,

Brian

 

That process is similar to the one I described in my original post. I chose the Image Concept 200s over models from B&W and Paradigm through that exact process.

What I forgot to mention is that the current owner of Stereo Discount Center - Stu Powers - recently bought a vintage system that consists of the same components (amp and speakers) I bought from him over twenty years ago, back when he was a salesman. To me, that's a gratifying vindication of that early choice—especially the speakers. Both Stu and Bruce deserve credit for showing me how to listen critically and be critical early-on.


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post #658 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

That process is similar to the one I described in my original post. I chose the Image Concept 200s over models from B&W and Paradigm through that exact process.


What I forgot to mention is that the current owner of Stereo Discount Center - Stu Powers - recently bought a vintage system that consists of the same components (amp and speakers) I bought from him over twenty years ago, back when he was a salesman. To me, that's a gratifying vindication of that early choice—especially the speakers. Both Stu and Bruce deserve credit for showing me how to listen critically and be critical early-on.

Good point. The manager at my store really educated me on how to be a discriminating listener. He never pressured me with his preferences, but he taught me how to listen critically and that's a gift I use every day.
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post #659 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 07:18 AM
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All this talk about bluray players makes me want to remind others that it's all 0s and 1s on the disc going through the HDMI cable. If you want the advantage of that really nice DAC you need to go RCA out of the Oppo into the AVR.

Now if an AVR had the same DAC and Darbee built in, for instance, you would see no difference in performance from the Oppo to the Sony that I got on sale...
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post #660 of 1759 Old 04-23-2014, 07:41 AM
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I agree wholeheartedly, but the one thing I have not observed with speakers is a direct correlation between price and performance. Yes, there is a trend towards quality and performance as prices go up, but not a direct correlation.

There are a lot of affordable underrated speakers out there, and an equal amount of overpriced garbage. As a result, it is justified to put extra research into selecting speakers.

I agree but here is a correlation I think is interesting and am curious about: :
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... that regardless if for 2 Channel or Multichannel there are fewer and fewer places to audition gear and sales seem to be going to the internet...That said after following a particular speaker company I like (because of my history with their product) it also appears they are selling more speakers without people actually hearing them and relying on satisfied younger customers who aren't accustomed to hear speakers or components for themselves and rely on internet opinion to drive sales....That said, it does make me wonder at what point is the bottom line more paramount than progressing quality. My 2 cents
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