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J. Gordon Holt Comments on High End Audio

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I recommend reading the current Stereophile article on Gordon Holt's (Stereophile founder) observations of the current status of high end audio. (he had nothing kind to say -- and I am in TOTAL agreement with what he does say).

Facinating
post #2 of 30
What exactly did he say?
post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhagi Katbamna View Post

What exactly did he say?

That we're all a bunch of idiots cause nobody reads Stereophile anymore???
post #4 of 30
You a Cosmo kind of guy?
post #5 of 30
current state of high end audio? meaning he wrote about the 2007 scenario ?
post #6 of 30
Needs more cowbell!
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

You a Cosmo kind of guy?

Hustler.
post #8 of 30
Wow, the guy seems bitter. I don't see why he appears to blame high end audio for everything. Part of the problem is that you can only take realistic playback so far with our current popular recording techniques and popular playback methodology (two channel paradigms). Playback can only work with what it is given. What it is given doesn't sound very "real."

Changing the FR to fabricate the illusion of the music sounding "real" is one solution in a world where total signal integrity makes music sound like a dimensionless studio recording instead of a "real life" event (IME). I don't see how that is the high-end industries fault... It isn't like the high-end industry controls the recording paradigm; the high-end industry is subject to the techniques used by the larger audio recording industries, that is controlled by consumer purchasing power. The high-end is too small a niche market to control anything but its own diminishing circle...

This being the case, I don't see anything wrong with trying to make a limited paradigm sound more "real," given the current recording/playback limitations and given that those limitations are all there is to work with in our "popular" culture today.

(IMO at least...)
post #9 of 30
I read the Article. I believe it was the "Editors comment" section from John Atkinson. I could be wrong however.
The stand out comment for me was Holt's feeling that "re" should be put back in reproduction. I believe that the early days of (the name says it all)"High Fidelity" there were honest attempts to recreate classical music in your home with a certain tangible "reality". Of course there has always been along way to go.
That said I prefer a loudspeaker that allows me to hear how poor the recording quality is? Or how good? Like a window to the recording studio. Euphonics (is that a word?) seems like the wrong direction.
I like the way ATC speakers reflect that philosophy. It is interesting the Holt gave an ATC system one of his most enthusiastic and positive reviews.
He has made several recordings himself and uses those as references as well.
My younger technician/installers listen to "sampled" music with no origin in real space. Maybe a nightclub?
I am not sure which way the industry will go,but I wish it would try to continue the early desire for "High Fidelity"
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

That we're all a bunch of idiots cause nobody reads Stereophile anymore???

I think you could learn a thing or two yourself in reading Stereophile
At least they don't try to sell you the stuff they review in Stereophile.

The scarcity of material to review is what will put them out of business, eventually, not the quality of the magazine itself, which is high and consistent. Same thing with this forum.

Today no one is interested in building a htp. The htpc board and its moderator (MR) used to be the best and most active board in this forum. Today video projectors and DVD players are so near perfect and cheap that what do you want to tweak, what do you want to talk about?? Why do you think Runco, Faroudja, Vidikron changed ownership? There is no high end in video anymore! Anybody can afford to buy a $3000 projector and a $500 high resolution player. This 20K board is an anachronism already and probably moribund.
post #11 of 30
+1
interesting post GFII
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrosseFatigue II View Post

I think you could learn a thing or two yourself in reading Stereophile
At least they don't try to sell you the stuff they review in Stereophile.

The scarcity of material to review is what will put them out of business, eventually, not the quality of the magazine itself, which is high and consistent. Same thing with this forum.

Today no one is interested in building a htp. The htpc board and its moderator (MR) used to be the best and most active board in this forum. Today video projectors and DVD players are so near perfect and cheap that what do you want to tweak, what do you want to talk about?? Why do you think Runco, Faroudja, Vidikron changed ownership? There is no high end in video anymore! Anybody can afford to buy a $3000 projector and a $500 high resolution player. This 20K board is an anachronism already and probably moribund.

How about a DPI HD500 1080p projector with 5000+ lumens combined with a Lumagen Radiance processor and a Stewart 54 by127 Starglas rear projection system. Way expensive and way high performance!!
Long live high end video!!
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bogg View Post

+1
interesting post GFII

People are rating posts now?

-11

post #14 of 30
Hmmm...I thought +1 meant that I was referring to the post above me.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bogg View Post

Hmmm...I thought +1 meant that I was referring to the post above me.

Ah... I believe the convention is to quote the post, or at least a small portion of it. My mistake, sorry...
post #16 of 30
That`s funny. I just finished reading the Hi-fi choice special edition where they interveiewed some of the founders of the biggest UK high-end retailers. They all said that two channel hi-fi interest was on the rise.
It seems that the world of hifi and homecinema is divided into three major categories. Asia - where exotic high-end and tubes are big. Europe where two channel audio and regular homecinemas thrive and USA where things are a bit more complicated and the focus seems to be about custom installing, multiroom systems and cocooning in general.
As a European it seems that the products used and the costs assosicated with the audio/video expert stores (custom installation) in the USA may be a bit of a turn off for regular people wanting to invest in a decent audio/video system.
Looking at the systems of some of the contributors on this part of the forum or the picture sections shows that for the most part it seems to be a big diffrance in the lenghts Americans are willing to go compared to Europeans.
I`m not saying we don`t spend money on high-end i`m just suggesting that the wealth is generally more even spread in Europe than in the US and therefore the market in total is bigger.
To me it also seems that manny of the shops in the US spend so much time cathering to the super wealthy and demanding customers so that the avereage music lover don`t feel welcomme and thus shops around at circuit city or other regular outlets selling all in one packages.
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bogg View Post

Hmmm...I thought +1 meant that I was referring to the post above me.

I thought that meant "I agree", as in "add one to the list of people who believe that"
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by wotg View Post

That`s funny. I just finished reading the Hi-fi choice special edition where they interveiewed some of the founders of the biggest UK high-end retailers. They all said that two channel hi-fi interest was on the rise.
It seems that the world of hifi and homecinema is divided into three major categories. Asia - where exotic high-end and tubes are big. Europe where two channel audio and regular homecinemas thrive and USA where things are a bit more complicated and the focus seems to be about custom installing, multiroom systems and cocooning in general.
As a European it seems that the products used and the costs assosicated with the audio/video expert stores (custom installation) in the USA may be a bit of a turn off for regular people wanting to invest in a decent audio/video system.
Looking at the systems of some of the contributors on this part of the forum or the picture sections shows that for the most part it seems to be a big diffrance in the lenghts Americans are willing to go compared to Europeans.
I`m not saying we don`t spend money on high-end i`m just suggesting that the wealth is generally more even spread in Europe than in the US and therefore the market in total is bigger.
To me it also seems that manny of the shops in the US spend so much time cathering to the super wealthy and demanding customers so that the avereage music lover don`t feel welcomme and thus shops around at circuit city or other regular outlets selling all in one packages.

Europeans don't seem to take big chain stores or typical Japanese crap very seriously and so the normal, average person there would buy something like NAD or Rotel integrated and a good pair of $1000 speakers. Here, that is maybe the upper 2% at best.
post #19 of 30
A difference between the US and Europe is that people seldom build a home cinema from scratch overseas. The custom install business is non existant in Europe. They dont touch a beautiful old house. They just make room in a basement or in an attic for a home cinema. The walls of their living rooms are filled with books and paintings. Video and to a certain degree audio look cheap in a living room filled with books, paintings and old furniture. Also you have cultural differences between countries in Europe. The French love cinema. Germans are more into classical music and turntables still than video. The British do their own stuff as usual; one could say that they are more into small monitors and stereo music than video in general.

I rate myself 10/10
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

That we're all a bunch of idiots cause nobody reads Stereophile anymore???

I don't read it any more because the damn print is too small for my 50 year old eyes! I still subscribe though (it's cheap!).
post #21 of 30
His comments were on p.3 in the 'As We See It' column. Typically pithy comments from one of the 'greats'.

He makes the point, correctly, that hi-end audio has increasingly marginalized itself through the lack of any kind of objective double-blind-style listening and the promotion of absurd 'tweaks' that strain credibility.

..... special wooden blocks, rubber discs hanging from audiophile thread, ceramic cable risers .... PLEASE!
post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

His comments were on p.3 in the 'As We See It' column. Typically pithy comments from one of the 'greats'.

He makes the point, correctly, that hi-end audio has increasingly marginalized itself through the lack of any kind of objective double-blind-style listening and the promotion of absurd 'tweaks' that strain credibility.

..... special wooden blocks, rubber discs hanging from audiophile thread, ceramic cable risers .... PLEASE!


I haven't read it but it sound right. High-end audio is a joke.
post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by NIN74 View Post

I haven't read it but it sound right. High-end audio is a joke.

But it didn't, and doesn't, have to be.

For every snake-oil salesman trying to sell you a $10,000 interconnect, there are countless great speaker, amplifier, and hi-end CD player designs for sale. Components that will blow away the mass-market chaff that clogs the Best Buy's of this world!

Such a shame that things like mpingo discs were popular when SACD could not be!! Bah humbug!
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

But it didn't, and doesn't, have to be.

For every snake-oil salesman trying to sell you a $10,000 interconnect, there are countless great speaker, amplifier, and hi-end CD player designs for sale. Components that will blow away the mass-market chaff that clogs the Best Buy's of this world!

Such a shame that things like mpingo discs were popular when SACD could not be!! Bah humbug!

I wholeheartedly agree...
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

But it didn't, and doesn't, have to be.

For every snake-oil salesman trying to sell you a $10,000 interconnect, there are countless great speaker, amplifier, and hi-end CD player designs for sale. Components that will blow away the mass-market chaff that clogs the Best Buy's of this world!


Well, speakers is one thing, but CD players and amplifiers are, with in reason, almost the same in quality today. As long one don't need 500 Watt one can get a really cheap amp that does it right.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by NIN74 View Post

Well, speakers is one thing, but CD players and amplifiers are, with in reason, almost the same in quality today. As long one don't need 500 Watt one can get a really cheap amp that does it right.

It is a slippery slope - about what you can hear and what you think you can hear! I might grant you on CD transports, but once DACs come into the equation, well, I think I hear differences.

Your assessment of amplifiers probably applies in 95% of system situations, but likely not in real hi-end applications where speaker impedences (and sensitivity) and the ability to really generate low bass puts demands on the amplifier that cheap designs are unlikely to satisfy.

I recently replaced the 3-channel Adcom amp in my HT with a model from Krell, and while the differences are not enormous, I do get a quite noticable improvement in the bass.

As the famous philosopher once said (OK, maybe not so famous since I cannot remember who): 'just because you say there is a difference does not meant there is, and just becasue you say there is no difference does not mean there isn't'. Or something like that
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

It is a slippery slope - about what you can hear and what you think you can hear! I might grant you on CD transports, but once DACs come into the equation, well, I think I hear differences.


Try it in a DBT that are levelmatched within 0,1 db
post #28 of 30
NIN74- since you are trolling, why not tell us about how you have DBT'd every component you have in your system.

thanks,

KR
post #29 of 30
KeithR, Atkinson routinely makes mention of the output voltages of CD players that they test, indicating that the listener ought to take that into account when the deviations are signifcantly above or below 2 volts. Being that this is not uncommon, and that many people never factor this in or are even aware of it, that difference in and of itself can lead one to make audible distinctions. NIN's comments, in light of the topic of this thread, hardly constitute trolling. They are a statement that cautions the listener to be less cavalier in their assessment of audio gear.
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

KeithR, Atkinson routinely makes mention of the output voltages of CD players that they test, indicating that the listener ought to take that into account when the deviations are signifcantly above or below 2 volts. Being that this is not uncommon, and that many people never factor this in or are even aware of it, that difference in and of itself can lead one to make audible distinctions. NIN's comments, in light of the topic of this thread, hardly constitute trolling. They are a statement that cautions the listener to be less cavalier in their assessment of audio gear.

I thought you weren't psychic Chu?
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