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post #1 of 40 Old 08-02-2012, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, asinine title. Just putting this up here as a general gripe about the audio world (and the greater luxury world). It can be so hard to pick out and evaluate equipment on the internet because it seems like every speaker, component, cable, turntable etc. has a group that view that product as great.

Then there's the marketing that states "best speaker under $5000" or "blows away anything under $10k"

Then there's advertising driven magazines that rank and rate components for us! Surprise! The expensive stuff is really good!

Then there's the "tweaks" like isolating spikes that completely change the sound... okay...

Then there's stuff like these speaker bullets with an MSRP of $4200. I'm sure they are great but $4200? http://www.stereotimes.com/acc092307.shtml

Anyway, just griping. Don't mean to piss anyone off. smile.gif
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post #2 of 40 Old 08-02-2012, 06:29 PM
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I guess we can't blame people for trying to make money.

At the same time, we hope most people don't believe most of that snake oil.

But for those with infinite deep pockets, spend away if you like.

To me, to be truly reference and great, the components have to not only sound great, but measure impeccably. They can't just measure superbly (but sound mediocre) or just sound great (but measure mediocre). They have to excell on both counts. biggrin.gif
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post #3 of 40 Old 08-02-2012, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Well said. And yes, I'm pro profit. However it can make this hobby treacherous!
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post #4 of 40 Old 08-02-2012, 06:59 PM
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Here's the best part, I always love reading comments like this in reviews for overpriced junk;
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Break-in is a necessary evil and the SES Bullets are no exception. I wouldn’t recommend serious listening before putting on at least 150 hours, though I admit to getting results within 72 hours. In some systems the results could be even shorter.

The most dramatic improvement I noticed after break in was the noise-floor - I did not hear - drop dramatically further into oblivion (believing it was already taken cared of with the Audience Adept Response AC conditioner and Sunny Cable Supreme “THE BOX” 6-AC receptacle). The amount of low frequency noise that managed to get through without the SES Bullets was absolutely disconcerting. Electrical grunge, whether caused by cables, front-end components, amplifiers and or loudspeakers was replaced by a far more natural and rhythmic presentation, to such an extent it called to mind Jim Langham’s emphatic “...musically, you won’t believe what you’re missing.”

My favorite part is the break-in claim, cause we all know that little pieces of metal which conduct a sound signal change characteristics so greatly after that sound signal has been passed through them for a few hours. rolleyes.gif

I just can't believe so-called professionals actually make claims and say things such as this. You'd think he was being blasted off into outer space for the first time in his life the way he talks about how in awe he is. I'll bet you could put together two identical setups in the exact same room with the exact same equipment, put the speaker bullets on one setup and let him listen and he wouldn't be able to tell which one had the bullets and which one didn't. Add to the fact that I'll bet you anything, these things cost about $1 dollar to manufacture and cost $4,200... *SMH* It's funny to see professionals that really know so little about actual sound quality, and AV equipment. The fact that they are allowed to write for popular internet and magazine companies where people turn for advice is even more horrific.

On a side note, I wonder how much money the manufacturer of these speakers bullets paid him to write this glowing, out of this world review?

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Of course, I got it modified with the TK-427, which cheeks it up another, maybe, 3 or 4 quads per channel.
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post #5 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MrEastSide View Post

I just can't believe so-called professionals actually make claims and say things such as this.

They don't have to be licensed and are not regulated by any organizations. They're like entertainers. They're job is merely to entertain. So they can say whatever they want. biggrin.gif

Like all things audio, speaker break-in is debatable. Even engineers from KEF say they believe in break-in. Many of us believe the speakers don't change (break-in); it is our perceptions (psychoacoustics) that change and adapt.

Whatever the reasons, sometimes the sound of the speakers does seem to "improve" over time. Or perhaps it's just placebo and bias. In the end, this is only a hobby - to entertain, not to save lives and fix our problems in life. biggrin.gif

I wonder why we (myself included) even debate about which speakers and amps sound better. It's about spending money for the sole purpose of entertainment, confined by our budgets and space and pure personal preferences. biggrin.gif
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post #6 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 08:24 AM
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Speaker cone surrounds become more flexible and compliant after a certain number of hours of use.

This is a well-known fact and is why most speaker manufacturers will caution that it takes 50-100 hours of use for a speaker to be fully "broken-in", and work as designed.

It seems to me that this is mostly an issue with bass performance. It does seem to me to change somewhat with some speakers over time.
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post #7 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post


They don't have to be licensed and are not regulated by any organizations. They're like entertainers. They're job is merely to entertain. So they can say whatever they want. biggrin.gif
Like all things audio, speaker break-in is debatable. Even engineers from KEF say they believe in break-in. Many of us believe the speakers don't change (break-in); it is our perceptions (psychoacoustics) that change and adapt.
Whatever the reasons, sometimes the sound of the speakers does seem to "improve" over time. Or perhaps it's just placebo and bias. In the end, this is only a hobby - to entertain, not to save lives and fix our problems in life. biggrin.gif
I wonder why we (myself included) even debate about which speakers and amps sound better. It's about spending money for the sole purpose of entertainment, confined by our budgets and space and pure personal preferences. biggrin.gif

Break-in is mostly placebo and neural adaptation but manufacturers often kow-tow to common misbeliefs for marketing reasons even if they know better.  Even given that driver suspensions do loosen up with use, test results are equivocal about whether those are perceptible.  (Isn't it remarkable that break-in seems only to improve performance?)

As for regulation/licensing of reviewers, that is patently impossible since there are no professional standards organizations.  The intelligent reader can, of course, make his own choice.


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post #8 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 08:46 AM
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Isn't the AES the closest thing to a "professional standards organization?"
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post #9 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

Isn't the AES the closest thing to a "professional standards organization?"

Yes but their interests are not focused on consumer audio nor on review criteria.  If they chose to be involved, that might be OK but it seems that the major audience for reviews is interested in descriptive commentary, not objective assessment.  They would probably not pay for it, either.  


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post #10 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 09:13 AM
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I can entertain the idea of break-in for speakers. It makes sense. Surrounds and suspension in the driver loosen up a little bit, I could see it being feasible that bottom end may extend a little more with some use. But, when people make break-in claims involving electronics primarily made up of metal and or circuit boards or other parts that simply cannot change in operation, regardless of how long you use them... rolleyes.gif I wonder if you told this same guy that the next time he fills up his car with this "special gas", his car will run really well for the first two gallons, but once he starts using that third and fourth gallon, the car's performance is really going to shine, he'd believe it? biggrin.gif Yeah, the gas is $15 dollars a gallon too, so he's definitely gonna notice that performance increase.

I know, any person on any website can make any claim they want and any reviewer can have any opinion they want. I just don't understand how anyone can believe this nonsense. Even though, I don't believe in snake oil like high-priced cables or the like, I can at least see why people buy them, they may have better construction or more appealing aesthetics and it seems somewhat reasonable why someone might believe a premium cable may perform better. But, a metal speaker bullet, changing characteristics and magically working better after "break-in"? God! I just want to slap some people! I can't believe someone who could be pretty knowledgeable and reasonable about most things, could think a speaker bullet would benefit from break-in. eek.gif

I've met so many people like this in the past, completely reasonable people when it comes to everything in life, but then they'll tell you that a Monster HDMI cable makes their picture look one hundred times better than a monoprice cable. But, this speaker bullet review still takes the cake. $4,200 for $1 dollar worth of metal which is doing nothing to your audio. And if it is doing something to your audio, it certainly doesn't change and sound different after you use it for a few hours. Gawd! LOL!

End rant.

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Of course, I got it modified with the TK-427, which cheeks it up another, maybe, 3 or 4 quads per channel.
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post #11 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 09:23 AM
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I believe in speaker break in, BUT, it took about 4 demos of WOTW pod emergence scene to do it. The big JBL's were all high frequencies until the woofer kicked in. I thought I made a huge mistake, then after 4 demos the sound was full and the midbass was kicking. It was not there at first. 150 hours of break in is crap.

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post #12 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Break-in is mostly placebo
Not at all. A typical woofer will have a 10% reduction in Fs and Qms after break-in. That is a very audible difference. However, the break in period for a typical woofer with normal playing is about 24 hours. Midranges and tweeters also break in, but not to the extent that woofers do. But if a manufacturer suggests longer than 24 hours of use are required that's simply snake oil. Beyond 24 hours all that changes is your perception of how the speaker sounds as you get used to it. And if the suggested break in period is longer than the free return period a rat you should be smelling.
Of course electronics and cables have no break in, and any seller that suggests it should be dismissed offhand as a charlatan.

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post #13 of 40 Old 08-03-2012, 11:37 AM
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Isn't it remarkable that break-in seems only to improve performance?

Very convenient indeed. biggrin.gif
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post #14 of 40 Old 08-04-2012, 07:09 AM
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Sometimes I feel like a guy who's seen a UFO. I believe in science, I mean I'm typing this message on a PC for chrissakes. I believe in measurements and reproducible results, and I've read time and again that speaker break-in claims are justified by measurements inconclusively at best. Yet I definitely heard one of my speakers change its sound, noticeably, in the first fifty hours of using it. I didn't expect it and I'm not making it up frown.gif

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post #15 of 40 Old 08-04-2012, 07:29 AM
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No.

The AES is an organization for the exchange of technical knowledge and information on research.

To the best of my knowledge, it is not directly involved in setting any "professional standards" of the type you are discussing.
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Isn't the AES the closest thing to a "professional standards organization?"
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post #16 of 40 Old 08-04-2012, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelkingdom View Post

Then there's stuff like these speaker bullets with an MSRP of $4200. I'm sure they are great but $4200? http://www.stereotimes.com/acc092307.shtml

That article... and the whole stereotimes.com website... Please tell me it's some sort of complex satire. It reads like it's written with the intent of being as unbelievable as possible while attempting to not sound patently absurd. It's as if the author was pushing the envelope of believability.
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post #17 of 40 Old 08-04-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DanLW View Post

That article... and the whole stereotimes.com website... Please tell me it's some sort of complex satire. It reads like it's written with the intent of being as unbelievable as possible while attempting to not sound patently absurd. It's as if the author was pushing the envelope of believability.

Oh wow. I read a couple of articles on stereotimes.com and yes, it must be some kind of elaborate joke. The majority of it is complete nonsense (at prices starting at $5K, mind you).

Adjusting settings according to personal preference is not calibration.

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post #18 of 40 Old 08-04-2012, 03:36 PM
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Four grand for that, I guess the filthy "and blinded by too much $" rich have nothing better to spend their $ on, WOW just WOW, and for the company that makes them should be ashamed in trying to sell this crap to the public, but I guess there is always some clown out there that believes this crap. Just went to the Bybee tech website, my GOD, are these guys for real:eek:.
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post #19 of 40 Old 08-04-2012, 03:44 PM
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It's gotta be the shoes. Lo and behold, I never made it to the NBA, but one can still dream, eh?

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post #20 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanLW View Post


That article... and the whole stereotimes.com website... Please tell me it's some sort of complex satire. It reads like it's written with the intent of being as unbelievable as possible while attempting to not sound patently absurd. It's as if the author was pushing the envelope of believability.

"You might think so but I could not possibly comment." wink.gif


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post #21 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 12:27 PM
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Just went to the Bybee tech website, my GOD, are these guys for real:eek:.
Their product is just as scientifically valid as those found here:
http://www.machinadynamica.com/index.html

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post #22 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 12:33 PM
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I will stick with the philosophy that studio monitors, made well and supplied with believable measurements, provide the best opprotunitiy for my money spent to allow me to think I have obtained decent, if not better than decent, value. {E. G. JBL 4412A, purchased used.} The info supplied by JBL pro shows what the speaker can do. How it behaves in my rooms where I have tried them has shown me where it works well and where not so well.
There appears to be an obtainable level of very good performance for dollars spent, above which the improvements are, slight.
After a certain point, the speaker system is capable of revealing more about the quality of the recorded source than the sound of the speakers.
I think we are fortunate in that we can assemble very good 'systems' for a reasonable price. For me, the search is now for well recorded music, of all genres. Its all fun for me.
Just some thoughts.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

They don't have to be licensed and are not regulated by any organizations. They're like entertainers. They're job is merely to entertain. So they can say whatever they want. biggrin.gif
Like all things audio, speaker break-in is debatable. Even engineers from KEF say they believe in break-in. Many of us believe the speakers don't change (break-in); it is our perceptions (psychoacoustics) that change and adapt.
Whatever the reasons, sometimes the sound of the speakers does seem to "improve" over time. Or perhaps it's just placebo and bias. In the end, this is only a hobby - to entertain, not to save lives and fix our problems in life. biggrin.gif
I wonder why we (myself included) even debate about which speakers and amps sound better. It's about spending money for the sole purpose of entertainment, confined by our budgets and space and pure personal preferences. biggrin.gif

Mopst so called AV writer/reviewer experts are no different than the so called pro stock analysts you see on TV each day. These are paid talking heads paid to pump a product or a market. Anyone that takes them seriously deserves what they get. I do love the higher end review babble about electronics, amps, etc breaking in. Pretty comical stuff. Almost as good as the unobtainium $1000 cable claims. my 6N copper cable with the fancy logo and $200 price per foot is better than your 6N copper cable without the fancy logo or price. Hahahahaha

Theres a real easy way to avoid most of this AV white noise. Put your serious cash into your speakers.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Their product is just as scientifically valid as those found here:
http://www.machinadynamica.com/index.html

ROTFLMFAO, that site is great. Gotta get me some $10000 cables and some cow bell.
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post #25 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breako View Post

Mopst so called AV writer/reviewer experts are no different than the so called pro stock analysts you see on TV each day. These are paid talking heads paid to pump a product or a market. Anyone that takes them seriously deserves what they get. I do love the higher end review babble about electronics, amps, etc breaking in. Pretty comical stuff. Almost as good as the unobtainium $1000 cable claims. my 6N copper cable with the fancy logo and $200 price per foot is better than your 6N copper cable without the fancy logo or price. Hahahahaha
Theres a real easy way to avoid most of this AV white noise. Put your serious cash into your speakers.

Well, they are talented writers/ editors. I've always liked great writings. biggrin.gif

They are entertaining. Some way over the top. But still great for party trevia. biggrin.gif

And we get to see product pictures and sometimes measurements. Good stuff.

It's a fun hobby for all of us who enjoy it.
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post #26 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Not at all. A typical woofer will have a 10% reduction in Fs and Qms after break-in. That is a very audible difference. However, the break in period for a typical woofer with normal playing is about 24 hours. Midranges and tweeters also break in, but not to the extent that woofers do. But if a manufacturer suggests longer than 24 hours of use are required that's simply snake oil. Beyond 24 hours all that changes is your perception of how the speaker sounds as you get used to it. And if the suggested break in period is longer than the free return period a rat you should be smelling.
Of course electronics and cables have no break in, and any seller that suggests it should be dismissed offhand as a charlatan.

I recently auditioned Revel Ultima Studio2s new out of the box and bass performance changed notably over a few hours. Now if they opened up further over a couple days that could be debated (I thought so) but first few hours seemed pretty obvious.

My first few minutes with my Integra DHC80.3 prepro had me very worried about my choice but things quickly improved (I immediately played an audition CD I made). I spoke with a Electronics Expert friend of mine and he said todays resisters, capacitors, transistors have no break in but power supplys can settle in. He estimated the time at minutes, at most hours but a rough guess was 20 minutes for the majority to be fully set.

Kal- I see you have a Parasound Halo A31 amp. Did you get this new out of the box or did it have some run in? I have seen a lot of comments about the A21 or A51 mellowing. We're you able to assess it new out of the box?

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post #27 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 01:53 PM
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I spoke with a Electronics Expert friend of mine and he said todays resisters, capacitors, transistors have no break in but power supplys can settle in.
Power supplies do settle in, but the time required is that for the capacitors to fully charge, at best a second or two, and that's with high capacity power amp supplies.

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post #28 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Power supplies do settle in, but the time required is that for the capacitors to fully charge, at best a second or two, and that's with high capacity power amp supplies.

I got the impression he was talking about the coil on its first use vs the initial S/U that happens every time but perhaps a follow up is waranted.

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post #29 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

Kal- I see you have a Parasound Halo A31 amp. Did you get this new out of the box or did it have some run in? I have seen a lot of comments about the A21 or A51 mellowing. We're you able to assess it new out of the box?

Out of the box, it seemed a bit bright but I feel that was due to contrast with the amp to which I had listening.  Currently, I still hear the contrast but, among the amps I have on hand, it is the most balanced.


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post #30 of 40 Old 08-05-2012, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

I got the impression he was talking about the coil on its first use vs the initial S/U that happens every time but perhaps a follow up is waranted.
What coil? If you mean the transformer it has no more moving parts than caps, inductors, resistors and wire do, ie., none, so there's nothing to break in. Drivers OTOH have moving parts. It's the suspension parts (the spider and surround) that specifically break in, which alters the driver specs. Since a cabinet when properly designed operates with the specs of a broken in driver it won't work as designed until the driver is broken in. In a perfect world drivers/speakers would be broken in at the factory, but break in takes time, time costs money, and so...

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