is hi-fi emporers new clothes..?

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  • is hi-fi emporers new clothes..?
  • yunki
    Member

    I’ve been sat here this arvo listening to some old faves that I haven’t heard in a while..

    I’ve had my hi-fi boxed in the attic for a few years now after we baby-proofed the house, we mainly use a pair of active PC speakers these days but rarely listen to music for long and I got to wondering why..

    the sound reproduction I can achieve, even with my fairly low end hi-fi is just extraordinary in comparison isn’t it..? Or am I remembering the sound quality through rose-tinted sunglasses (jumbled metaphor intended)

    it just seems that to even simply hear all the layers of sound I have to turn the volume up louder than I might want to, and everything just sounds harsh and out of balance.. not a particularly indulgent experience..
    tesco value gravy granules versus a good home made gravy

    I miss the sensual and luxurious experience of hearing good sound reproduction..

    Jamie
    Member

    I miss the sensual and luxurious experience of hearing good sound reproduction..

    Ooof! Keep talking you filthy devil!

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Remember you need a decent pseudo power cable too.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Must say my technics amp in the garage makes the hitachi micro system in the house seem like a mono stereo in comparison , you just pick out so much more of the sound.

    Im not an audiophile but there is a significant noticable difference – im aware that technics isnt even regarded as good either but im sure like everything the law of deminishing returns comes into force

    The stack was deemed too ugly for the house by the interior designer though.

    yunki
    Member

    there’s nowt like a superbly resonating timbre tickling yer gooch and ear drum in perfect synchronicity to remind your heart to keep beating even if your brain threw the towel in years ago Jamie..

    Drac – I do actually own a hoofing great chunk of probably quite pricey audio specific 6 gang power supply.. πŸ˜€

    Jamie
    Member

    there’s nowt like a superbly resonating timbre tickling yer gooch and ear drum in perfect synchronicity to remind your heart to keep beating even if your brain threw the towel in years ago Jamie..

    Someone pass me a towel 😳

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    πŸ˜€

    You need wider bars.

    And a smoke.

    sambob
    Member

    Was amazed at the improvement in sound quality when we started using our Hi-fi for the TV, means we can have the volume much lower but still hear everything.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Sold all my Hifi kit just recently as its just not compatible with such a young family. What I have got though is a very good pair of headphones and a decent headphone amp with a half decent dac pulling tunes off my laptop. It’s a useful compromise.

    boxfish
    Member

    My daughter was trained from day one to go nowhere near the hifi. She’s now three-and-a-half and tells her friends not to touch Daddy’s record player. 8)

    She’ll doubtless trash it next week now!

    curvature
    Member

    Arcam Solo Mini………best piece of kit I have ever bought.

    Roksan system sounded better but took up much more room and had lest functionality.

    Run my old stack system amp and EQ into a TV surround system. The source is turntable, CD or a jack for MD, ipod, mp3 etc.

    Its great!

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    anyone who reckons their ipod dock is even close to the sound of a proper hifi, imo has never heard a proper hifi.

    systemdek 1 from about 1990, playing through mk1 denon pma250 into a pair of mordaunt short0.5 speakers.
    still sounds great.

    epicsteve
    Member

    The difference between cheap PC speakers and decent Hi-Fi is massive although the difference won’t be as much if you’re playing a lot of compressed or otherwise low quality music files. I have my PC connected to the hi-fi in my study and it sounds great. It’s an ancient Naim set-up CD3.5, 32.5/SNAPS2/140, Credo’s plus a Linn LP12 as the other source. Some of the kit is probably nearly as old as me – the turntable is from 1979 I think.

    geetee1972
    Member

    anyone who reckons their ipod dock is even close to the sound of a proper hifi, imo has never heard a proper hifi.

    This one gets pretty close:

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Your hifi should sound good and engaging enough that sitting down to listen to an album is a viable alternative to watching a film, for example.

    Premier Icon pedropete
    Subscriber

    +1TurnerGuy….. in my opinion if the music’s good, listening to an album is always preferable to watching a filum

    i’ve been a home owner for 15 years, i still have yet to get a house where i can set up my old hifi properly… and even that is a fairly basic one. its kind of in the living room, speakers obscured and no real focal point to sit in, but oh my when i occasionally do listen to the odd track!

    of course as a student, big room. mattress. hifi. that was pretty much it.

    rs
    Member

    I agree. Decent speakers def make a difference, I had a speaker dock thing, you turned that up and it sounded terrible and had way too much bass. I bought an AudioEngine DAC and their little AudioEngine 2 active speakers and the difference is incredible, as you say the tv goes on far less now as its actually enjoyable to listen to music.

    actually, should say, my (badly played) guitars are not so much a substitute but possibly better.

    CountZero
    Member

    systemdek 1 from about 1990, playing through mk1 denon pma250 into a pair of mordaunt short0.5 speakers.

    So, just how good were the vinyl pressings you were playing back then? And how good was the mastering? There’s an awful lot of ‘rose-tinted glasses’ involved, indeed. Nowadays, vinyl is all fancy 180gm virgin plastic, properly mastered, at Β£30 a pop for a disk. Then, it was cheap, thin, recycled plastic, pressed from metalwork created from second or third generation copies of the original studio stereo masters, usually EQ’d to get the maximum amount of music per side of disk. And you could always tell; the album sleeve might say ‘Mastered by Bob Clearmountain, at Masterdisk’, but the run-out groove would probably have the mark of a studio in London or elsewhere.
    Vinyl was crap. Huge amounts of background noise, tracks jumping because grooves ran into each other…
    I gave up on vinyl in 1982 after returning four copies of Peter Gabriel’s fourth album, because the constant background noise made it unlistenable. The utter background silence in the quiet passages was a revelation when I bought it on CD, the very first one I bought. Still got it, too.
    I like to listen to music, not something like a frying pan full of bacon constantly on the go.
    Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock, which has long periods of near silence, would be a disaster on vinyl, unless you’re spending insane amounts of money on the front-end, and the disks, and even then, the near-obsessive lengths you have go to to keep disks clean is just too irritating.
    In my opinion, of course. πŸ˜‰

    epicsteve
    Member

    unless you’re spending insane amounts of money on the front-end, and the disks, and even then, the near-obsessive lengths you have go to to keep disks clean is just too irritating.

    I know folks who’ve spent a fair bit of cash on machines to wash their records. Never found a need myself.

    The comment about crap vinyl can be applied to CD’s as well though – plenty of CD’s are so poorly put together than there is lots of background hiss on those as well. It’s worse of a more revealing system though – so some disks are actually easier to listen to in a cheaper system.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Not parting with any of my hifi seperates. One of my indulgences is to recline on the sofa and be blown away by whatever I’m playing. Love it. πŸ˜€

    epicsteve
    Member

    Agreed cinnamon_girl. They’ll have to prise my LP12 away from my cold, dead hand.

    Everyone other than my son is out of the house now (and he’s listening to music on headphones) so my beloved system is cranked right up now. Fantastic.

    I’ve got loads of seperates around from various phases of my own system – dug some of the old kit out recently and put together a little system for my sons room – Arcam Alpha One amp and Mission 733 speakers, with his Xbox 360 and iPod as sources. Sounds a lot better than the speakers on his TV did.

    Also going through the parts bin for a system for one of the other rooms – Audio Note Oto valve amp (had pretty much forgotten I owned that!) and Triangle speakers. Got my eye on some Sonus Faber standmounters on Ebay though!

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    is hi-fi emporers new clothes..?

    not IMO. bought my first ‘proper’ hifi and went through my entire cd collection, hearing stuff on those discs i’d never heard before.
    there is a point of diminishing returns though, like many things. i now run a linn classik with some nice B&W speakers. nowt really flash, but i can’t be ar5ed with the whole separates thing, and it does the trick for me nicely, ta.
    music is ace. πŸ˜€

    One of my indulgences is to recline on the sofa and be blown away by whatever I’m playing. Love it.

    πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    😯

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    One of my indulgences is to recline on the sofa and be blown away by whatever I’m playing. Love it.

    It’s funny but it just isn’t the same sitting back on the sofa and listening to a CD compared to vinyl. Don’t know why, possibly just emotional

    Solo
    Member

    Apologies to all. I haven’t read the other posts.

    However, for me its this simple.

    HiFi ?, has almost as much BS in it as the space race.

    You pays your money……

    πŸ˜‰

    I have Arcam and Quad.

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    @ countzero,
    the quality was certainly variable, some pressings were good, some were almost as thin as the sleeve they came in.
    its not rose tinted glasses for me, i still use my setup, even playing the ipod via a lead it still sounds great, as does the tuner. (i live in a block of flats at the top of a hill, great radio/tv reception)
    im not under any illusions about my budget system, i know a top end cd would (indeed, should) blow it away, but compared to a similarly priced dock id rather listen to what i have.

    Raindog
    Member

    Hi-fi is one of the best investments I’ve ever made, I’ve had more soul enriching value for money out of hi-fi and bikes than any other things I’ve ever bought. Hopefully this will continue, as my new Streamer arrives on Tuesday…

    mashiehood
    Member

    i run a Squeezebox to a pair of meridian dsp 5200 – simply has to be heard to be believed

    bokonon
    Member

    I’ll bite:

    Yes, HiFi is mainly BS, emperors new clothes nonsense.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love music, I’ve got a collection of 500+ vinyl and 2000+ CD’s, I’ve dedicated more hours to making, mixing, recording, mastering and listening to music than anything else in my life and I teach it for a living – but I can enjoy a good piece of music on any old crap – dansette, crappy ipod dock, cheap head phones whatever, I’ve never felt my enjoyment of a piece of music was enhanced by a more expensive speaker set up, and I’ve listened to lots of very expensive ones.

    The things which improve music for me are completely context based – if I’m at a gig, it sounds better, if I’m in the pub, it sounds better, if I’m with my mates, it sounds better, if I’m singing my heart out, it sounds better.

    My feeling would be that big expensive HiFi’s do serve a purpose, but the basis isn’t in an inherent improvement of the experience through superior technical quality (because the absolute, perceivable improvements in quality are dubious, and barely warrant investigation past a pretty low level) it’s because it forces the listener into a mindset of thinking this experience is special – for me, this has very little to sitting back and listening to music on a hifi in the lounge – to me that’s a sterile and dead environment for music – where music goes to die, but I can see that it could provide a context for other people where they will enjoy it more, after all, there are people who like to dress up like the undead for enjoyment.

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    theres a difference between a hifi sounding better on a technical level and ones enjoyment of it, id agree.
    and there is some serious BS (aka marketing) in the hifi industry.
    my mate has a much more expensive setup than i do, but i doubt he enjoys it more than i enjoy mine as he rarely listens to it.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    bokonon’s relationship with music is best, but if you’re listening to music at home then decent reproduction is always preferable.

    My sits unused, mainly as a result of our previous life in a terraced house with nuisance neighbours. Even with a toddler we’re now going to revive decent music. It will be based on streaming from a Mac, super simple and sound great.And we’ll dance round the house with smiles on our faces as we drink in the soul of everything we listen to.

    yunki
    Member

    bokonon is describing our relationship with food.. he eats it cos it keeps him alive, but he can’t understand michelin dining..

    my stepdad teaches music, and has been a professional musician his whole life..

    like bokonon he’s mutt and jeff too.. πŸ˜‰

    fizzicist
    Member

    Don’t really know what to make of this – I ditched my old Technics system five years ago when kidlets were on the way. I was running 4 Wharfedale speakers, optical cables etc. It was a reasonable set up for the money and certainly had enough kick to make listening to a lot of albums quite life affirming.

    I heard a lot of little bits on Metallica’s Black Album which I had never picked out before.

    Then we bought a Harman-Kardon iPod 2.1 speaker system. It was nearly as good.

    Then I ran it from the line out on the CD player. It was better.

    CDs are in my office room now. Only CD player is the PS3 or in my car. Everything is digital. Anathema I know….

    ask1974
    Member

    i run a Squeezebox to a pair of meridian dsp 5200 – simply has to be heard to be believed

    Mashie, I have several clients that do this although source is typically Sonos, Linn DS, Soolos etc… Perfectly viable solution but always worth making sure the bit rate is as high as possible, especially with such lovely speakers. Nice buy, one of my all time favourites πŸ˜‰

    Needles to say there are some things you can’t avoid. My favourite radio station is DI Breaks and this is streamed at about 128Kbps, so not exactly Hi-Fi and I have this on about 80% of my listening time 😳 Oh but what I’d do to have this at WAV or FLAC. Hi-Fi does have huge BS factor but no more than Bikes or Wine, any industry where opinion is subjective and ‘absolute quality’ cannot be measured will allow the marketers to run riot but, and it’s a big BUT, a quality Hi-Fi is a real and lovely experience. Granted you can do a lot with Β£750 but, like Mashie’s speakers, quality is obvious when experienced.

    Premier Icon juanking
    Subscriber

    If anyone would like to test their equipment take a listen to DJ Revolution The ABC’s of hi fidelity. I appreciate this is a stream (digital) link but gives you an idea. http://www.mixcloud.com/sopedradamusical/dj-revolution-the-abcs-of-high-fidelity/

    mashiehood
    Member

    ask1974 – i was very very lucky with my DSP 5200. walked into a auction whilst walking around stratford upon avon a couple of years ago. saw the speakers, waited more out of curiosity. the speakers were from a house clearence so had no reserve. The bidding started at 1k, stayed at 1k and at the last minute i put my hand up, got them for 1k which is an absolute steal. delighted.

    i also have a meridian g95 which is also superb but sadly dosent get used at all so its up for sale. if anyone is interested in a very high end all in one box system, drop me an email

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