Originally Posted by R Harkness
I have never found this audiophile claim "You really need a highly resolving system to hear differences between source/component quality" to be true, in practice.
I've always noticed that, even playing music on my car stereo, I hear essentially everything in the source. When I play the same music on my high end gear, it's not so much I'm hearing "things I couldn't hear" on the car stereo; rather I'm hearing them differently.
The same goes for when I play my music on "super resolving" systems. I hear essentially the same details, just presented slightly differently.
This carries over to all the speakers I've owned (and own), which range from those known for super high resolution, to much less so. If, for instance, a new re-master of an album is sonically different, I hear the difference no matter what speakers I use. If a source or amp actually has a sonic signature (e.g. my tube amps), then this is heard easily whatever speakers I've used. In other words, once we are talking about the audible threshold - that is when a change is in principle audible to our hearing system - I suggest it is at a level that would be heard through most decent speakers. (And, for instance, the type of large sonic differences many audiophiles describe for things like cables would be audible through any decent speaker, no "super resolution" models required).
"I have never found this audiophile claim "You really need a highly resolving system to hear differences between source/component quality" to be true, in practice."
I couldn't disagree more, which is sort of the reason these forums exist I guess. I don't see how the above couldn't be true. One caveat, is that I think you will hear differences in color, but low level detail, not so much. Let's say to use your example of the car stereo. The car at 70 mph, if its a very quiet car has a noise floor of 68-70 db, maybe some as quiet as 65db, but nothing lower than that I'm aware of. My listening room downstairs has a noise floor of 18db (which is very quiet, the average at home noise floor being 30db +/-), and you're listening in the both environments at level that won't cause you to go deaf, lets say average of 80-85 db. How could low level detail not be masked in the car environment when there's a 50db +/- difference in your noise floor? I've debated (and argued) about this since there's been an internet, before if you count AOL and Prodigy chat rooms. I completely do not understand this claim.
Or you have a system that doesn't resolve so well so lets say a early/mid 60s Sears Silvertone Compact Consolette all in one stereo versus a full blown audiophile system such as the VAC, Von Schweikert system at Axpona, to stake out extremes? An example that I use and show is the St. Martin/Marriner/Blueback/Four Seasons from 1960. Fantastic recording with a very low noise floor. I have 3 (2 still sealed) copies of the original, remasters, and the test pressing of Chad's remaster. On the latter, upon listing to the entire side, something is quite noticeable that I've had other folks here listening ask me "what was that that just happened or similar". It's the HVAC cycling on and off in the hall. Btw, I turn mine completely off for serious listening so it can't be mine that they're hearing. I play that exact same recording on my budget system with the Yamaha and Elacs and it's simply not audible. It's still there because its the exact same recording, but not audible. Some of that is due to the slightly higher noise floor up here 25 - 30db and the rest due to the budget system doesn't resolved nearly as well (doesn't drive me nuts either). Even when I take the other speakers in the house down to system in the listening room. Not there or excuse me, there, but not audible. That's one of many examples of low level detail that's obscured or masked by a system that doesn't resolve as well. It could be key clicks of the woodwinds or any number of other things, but there can be quite difference in 'information' retrieval. Next time you're in town, give me a shout and drop on by. I show you by playing a side of that album using the B&Ws or Elacs in my listening room with everything the same except the speakers, and see if you can tell me when you hear that, if you do. Then I'll play the same on the ESLs or the highly resolving speakers of your choosing.
I think you'll find it to be surprisingly obvious. I'm an old fart geezer curmudgeon so I'm quite certain your hearing will be better than mine. Also, as I've said many times in the past, this is both a blessing and a curse