I like the appearance of my ARC SP6! Even though the volume pot is on the left!
Nothing Schiit makes can be considered pretty. They’re inoffensive at best. Not really a great example to drop as your standard of aesthetic, unless you’re saying you like a minimal & simple visual footprint. Any others you like?
And when you mention the "solid state" sound of ARC preamps are you speaking from experience or regurgitating other opinions? From the Ref 6 I would say they truly sound like a hybrid, well done - not the classic tube sound, but not full-bore solid state either.
Yeah, Schiit to me is very utilitarian… not attractive. But aesthetics change, they are a social / personal construct. I am an old fart, so I like traditional. The stream punk look of Dan d’ Agosino really offends me. As a group the people that can afford high end audio components we dictate through purchases what manufacturers can sell profitably. My violin red Sonus Faber Amati Traditional speakers sound like I want speakers to sound like and look like… to me, speakers should look like a Stradivarius violin. I value a traditional sophisticated look. I / we will die… the next generation decides what to buy.
In my mind, albeit right or wrong line stage with lowest possible noise pre is the only way to go. The harmonic distortion of tubes, although, I understand sounds good to some, for me dulls the accuracy.. maybe that's needed for some speakers. Dunno. I listen to Dunlavy's. Just my personal experience. I'm sure others may beg to differ.
Pretty is in the eye of the beholder. There’s ’art’ that sells for multiple millions that I don’t think pretty.
’Outdated’ ... well ... maybe after some 100 years of evolution in analog signal amplification circuitry it has come to a somewhat optimal design, from where it’s very hard to improve on it any further, or to find a whole new, better, design principle.
Technological progress has brought us transistors, IC’s, and nowadays even powerful digital processing on a chip. Much more sound shaping is possible in the digital realm and this is widely used in the sound studios where the digital master recordings are created. Yet, for play back many listeners still prefer the 'ancient' analog (discrete component) (tube) technology.
All a matter of personal taste.
CJ was dated when I first said no to my sound advice salesman in the early 90s. He didn’t understand. Fortunately the Krell KSA -100S came out soon thereafter (I did with Adcom until then). Using McIntosh Hybrid these days and it looks the part. The brand was too staid for me back then. Wadia, Rowland, Acurus, Gryphon, Levinson have done it for me as well as Krell and Mc. Schiit is just too lacking in style and size to do anything towards a purchase. I’ve looked, but won’t listen.
now I am making (outsourcing to several companies) an exclusive enclosure for the power system.
As I like to say, we vote with our wallets.
Visual appearance is probably more of a factor with speakers than with electronics, which are often tucked away in a rack or cabinet.
Aside from Preamps and Amps:
Did Apple designers ever get into Audio Equipment?
Sony made some very nice PCs and Laptops, their Audio not as elegant it seems.
Recently I did searches on hifishark for 'Tandberg', and 'Bang & Olufson' and 'Bang and Olufson', some very cool designs I was and was not aware of.
Luxman has had a simple, practical, still elegant design look over the years
"Italian Speakers' yields some beauties
I really like the industrial design of my ARC LS15 tube pre amplifier
I bought it in 1995 and still listen to it to this day But moreover l appreciate its build quality and tactile feel Oh it's also made in the good old USA
The same applies to my VAC PA 100 100 tube amp that l also bought when l bought the ARC LS15
It is VASTLY more important to me that my preamplifier - amplifier - DAC - streamer - CD transport/player - speaker array - every single one of them - must LOOK good (how they SOUND pales in importance by comparison)!
My family and friends simply MUST gasp in astonished awe and delight whenever they feast their eyes on the STUNNINGLY GLORIOUS SIGHT of my gleaming high-end audiophile gear each and every time they enter my listening - er, viewing - room.
@reubent “Many Audiophiles are dated and ugly. Why is this?”
That is because the sound of equipment gets better with cost and the only ones that can afford really good stuff are old farts. So over time you collect old guys.
High quality audio electronics are costly and will occupy prominent places in the household landscape, so it's important to buy products that not only sound as you wish, but also convey the visual impression of having been acutely designed for their specific functions. Knobs, switches, and lights must positioned and sized in proportion to the nature of their individual functions and their importance in relation to one another and to the the unit as a whole. Fortunately there are few I consider to be as "dated and ugly" as their owners (nerdy old white men). One candidate would be the current Conrad Johnson line -- black chassis, gold-wash faceplate, all buttons identical irrespective of function. Yet I'm sure this very thing is someone's ultimate cup of Ceylonese.
I’m an industrial designer and I think Schiit stuff looks very derivative.
It’s minimalist but kind of blah...easy on most eyes. I really like Audio Research aesthetics...especially the older stuff. I think McIntosh and Luxman look wonderful...I like older Conrad Johnson stuff.
But then again, I like the look of my Technics 1200G...so what do I know...
I do think the heyday was the 70s. There were a lot of industrial designers on the books back then...now it’s driven more by marketing...so that’s why everything looks agreeable but not damn fine.
I am not a fan of the current state of marketing as you can see.
Couldn't agree more wrt VTL and ARC.
What were they thinking?
The VTL 7.5 should be on my radar, but there is no way I'm buying something that looks like a bad 80's vcr, sharp edges and all. The Siegfried power amps look like 90's pc's. What a wasted opportunity. Much like Wilson speakers...urgh.
The US companies are the worst offenders aesthetically. But a peek in many US living rooms shows a similar indifference to design and ergonomics.
Brutalism rules, apparently