Some of us have a wife!
Never have figured out why folks don't pay maximum attention to set up and acoustics - seems that many, especially the inexperienced, feel that the solution to all of their problems is in the components. They really have no idea what they are missing.
The funny thing is proper set up is about the cheapest thing you can do in audio. It would be fun if there was a requirement that you not only post your system but include a photo before you advise others seeking comments about components. Especially from those that can't hear the benefits of break-in, fine tuning and tweeks and then proclaim that these effects do not exist and must be psycological, a tool of the manufacturers to get us fools to buy and keep their 'junky' stuff. :-)
Oh, I get it -- you assumed that in a perfect world...
Here's a scary thought for you: I've been to lots of "audiophiles" homes to listen to all different kinds of systems. The systems that were neat and organized (but didn't necessarily sound good) were in the minority. I've seen many more haphazard no-particular-plan type of systems and some of them sounded alright.
Of the systems I've viewed on audiogon, I think that these systems represent some of the better systems out there. What is scary is to think of some of the systems that aren't posted (probably the majority) are much worse.
Newbee, I think that truly proper setup is not all that cheap; and that the "benefits of break-in are dubious in many cases." Does that mean I shouldn't offer advice anymore?
Trade offs for one reason or another...wife/money/living space, ect, ect. Very few people have dedicated rooms I'd guess...at least not large ones.
I have an excuse...my pics are two years old.
The guys with mega bucks (and you know who you are)...no excuse!...more money than brains!...build a room!...we don't wanna hear it!...get those rooms in order!
Hmm, good questions, but I would say this will be difficult to tell from
pictures. Take a look at my system pictures and you will notice
1) Furniture and even worse a big TV between the speakers.
2) Speakers placed very close to the wall.
3) An equipment rack close to the right speaker.
I guess my system page qualifies as one of your negative example. In my
- I prefer to live in smaller apartment in the city than a big house in the
suburbs. Just not willing to compromise that way. Of course, the system is in
the only living room.
- Let me asure you that the speaker placement in that room has been
optimized, by listening and measurement; the current placement was the best
compromise in a limited space.
Just my example of course...and just to show that Life if full of compromises
;). Great thread!
Sure some of our systems and mine are not set-up ideal, we have small houses wives and family considerations but we also have a love for music and trying to get equipment that represents it best, if some can do better please try, but for those of us who cant....well give us the old "Ata Boy" because we keep this hobby rolling us much as the next guy.
Proper audio set-up and attractive home decor in dual use rooms is not an easy task. Compromises are required. At least they are in my home in LA where $700,000 buys a 1400/Sq.Ft house in my neighborhood.
Yep, me too! California living at its finest! Just fortunate to get me a dedicated listening room which was one of the requirement I have to my better half during our house hunting days.
But the weather is great ain't it?
I've given up on the holy grail, one of the reason's I don't post much these
days. I rather enjoy music, with friend, comfortably then have a single chair,
set up in an equipment worshiping enivroment. So its not
"optimal" but its still damn good, and honestly I'd rather spend
time listening to music then tweaking and endlessly adjusting.
The older I get the more I believe most audiophiles are gearheads who use
the music as an excuse to get cool toys, or rather cooler toys then their
friends. Its an ego driven hobby, comes as a shock its 99% full of men - wow!
Having listened with countless audiophiles on all level's most are pretty inept
when it comes to discerning the not so subtle differences we listen for, when
in fact the differences are often so subtle your mood changes the way you
hear sound more then the equipment does. Musicians who are trained to play
VERY well, those are the people who impress me as audiophiles, the ones who
can appreciate the subtle details between a good and great performance that
would not be detected with out a good system.... now I'm ranting...
So why don't more of us have an audio shrine??? Because we haven't lost our
minds yet, and that's a very good thing.
That's exactly our situation: living room/audio room. Gear is in a nice cabinet off on a side wall. Carpet, nice drapes, some decorative home made absorption panels on the rear wall. No bass traps, echo busters or the like. We like the way it looks, and we like the way it sounds. I'm certain it could sound better with some diffusion on the ceiling and some corner panels.
It sounds like your son did OK in SF. Our home is a 1941 post-war cracker box in an eclectic San Fernando Valley neighborhood. We've fixed it up nicely, and have no burning desire to move as we believe we'd have to pay double to get a worthwhile upgrade.
Plato, You can comment on 'break-in' all you want, in fact both of us have already done so recently on the thread on that subject. I respect your observations. I'm referring to folks who arbitrarily deny the existence of break-in charging it all off to psychoacoustics, as if those of us who take note of the differences are some sort of delusional dolts!. That vendors might over stress the need for break in for commercial purposes doesn't mean that it doesn't exist on many products.
I disagree with you re the cost of 'proper set up' but I think perhaps your inferring that I meant some sort of absolute, cost no object, methodology, was a reasonable inference.
What I meant was paying appropriate attention to the simple selection of speakers for the room, selecting the right electronics, locating the speakers and listening position in the room to its best advantage (as like speakers and listening position triangulated and well away from wall surfaces, and paying attention to nodes, nulls, and reflection points). One need not load down a room with expensive (and ugly) bass traps, commercial reflection or absorbtion panels, etc. Plants, book cases, rugs, and wall hangings do the trick and can actually add to the WAF. And tweeks can help a lot of systems but that's icing on the cake and can be done without if budget is an issue.
Tvad, I don't envy you folks in SoCal, but I just can't resist - my kid bought a 1200 ft bare bones, non upgraded, 'ranch' in OK condition in Lafayette Ca (just outside of SF) for $650K. What a crappy deal, especially when I had just sold his grand-ma's 3300 sq foot upscale home in a gated community for 675K. Location, location, location.
I like my living room and I like my stereo.
I can't afford a special room and $60,000 speaker cables, dedicated power, cryoed wall plates, etc.
Sounds good enough the way it is and I spend very little time with my ears precisly in the sweet spot.
I guess I could drop a half million on a proper setup but then someone would be posting here that is all wrong!
One of our execs was gifted a system of Mark Levinson and Revel top of the line components as we do a lot of business with Harman International. He had one of the speakers pointed left, one pointed right so he could hear it around the house, had the levinson amp in a cabinet with no ventilation, and the preamp, transport, and DAC on a rickety antique table. It just shows that the system you have may not indicate the level of audio knowledge, thus you get the hodge podge systems.
Moving speakers even a fraction of an inch can make a difference in the sound, so I cannot understand how people can put them behind a chair or against the wall and expect good sound. There is always the WAF to deal with, but man, if you gotta put them on wheels and pull them out just for listening, that is still better than shoving them in a terrible spot.
Well, this thread explains how I am able to afford my sound system.
It seems all of you have homes that you could sell and buy mine three or four times over. I have 3100 SF, three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, 36K gallon swimming pool and a big back yard. We live in a wooded neighborhood, 9 minutes from downtown Dallas and about three blocks from our biggest natural lake and bike trail.
Price? We paid $59K when we bought it many years ago. As one poster stated, location, location, location.
We are a very LONG way from that ocean view in CA :^).
Wow, it really amazes me how much home prices and property tax varies with location in the USA. I don't think I could afford to live in CA.
A few years ago, I had a small 3BR ranch in Jersey and at that time I saw that prices and property taxes were considerably lower in AZ. So I moved the family out to the Tucson area where we bought a larger home for less money and lower property taxes.
Since then, home prices have been jumping here due to many Californians figuring out it was a better deal. Last year was a boom year and the price of our home has now just about doubled since we bought it. Timing is everything in life, as in real estate. And sometimes, if you hang in there long enough, you get lucky.
Albert, I'll give you three times what you paid for your house (four times if you leave your system)... What do you say?!?
While perfect placement of speakers and room treatments help you get more out of your perfectly assembled system, if you don't have the basic tonal balance right, the better placement, better treatment ain't gonna do a whole lot of good. I would pick good balanced sound with TV inbetween anyday than a perfect room with bad balanced sound. Exceesive brightness is the very common problem I have found in multiple well set up (by this I mean by the book set up, not necessarily sound) systems (worst than 9 out of 10), regardless of price. If equipement synergy is not there to begin with no amount of room treatment is going to help.
This is for me a new found knowledge, what with garage band across my house playing almost everyday puts everything in pespective real fast. Qualities like: Systems Sounds really good, lot of details, front to back soundstage, involving, dynamic etc is just characteristics of satisfying sound, but reality is it is far from reality:)
Tim is correct. This is ego driven hobby. That is okay as long as you know your goal: Right balanced sound. You can have your cake and eat it too. You just have to admit your high priced equipement/system's faults. Most audiophiles are fooling themselves most of the times, myself included.
Phew! I feel much better.
I forgot to mention one downside of Tucson besides the summer heat -- wages are definitely on the low side. I guess there's no place that has it all.
Nill, I don't know what to say. I don't even know what you said... But I'm glad it made you feel better. :)
Personally, I don't try to compete with other people because there will always be plenty of people that have more expensive gear and that will spend more money than I could.
My goal is simply to obtain the best gear that I can afford. If it sounds like music to me, then it doesn't matter what other folks think. But I'm finding, as many others have, that sound quality does not always coincide with the sticker price. Fun to me is finding high bang-for-the-buck gear and then trying to put together complete systems using such components.
We are have a much longer trip to the ocean than we did last year. Now, it's a 5 minute car ride (15 minutes by bike). We use to (in our last place) walk down the block. Yep, that is the ocean. Our new place required some major compromises in the way of my rig set up. I am happier than I have ever been, rig wise, but my set up is not acoustically near ideal, but sounds wonderful, never-the-less, and looks great in its' new crib. Bottom line? My wife isn't driven me nuts anymore with speakers sitting out in the living room, and all the other stuff. She's happy and it translate to more musical enjoyment for me. Life and sound are good now. 3000 sq feet or 20,000 sq feet: couldn't live in it if I couldn't get to the beach in 30 minutes. I'm an inveterate beach bum....peace, warren
Great post up above by Tireguy. Nice to see him post again.
We paid $59K when we bought it many years ago.Let's update that and say it's now $259K. What amazes me is, how can you even build a home for that amount I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, where housing prices are in the stratosphere, but even if I scraped my lot and put up a new 2500 sf home, it would cost in the neighborhood of $600K to build. Are construction costs so much less in other parts of the country?
Short of building a room from scratch, designed for an audio system, you have to be pretty lucky to get a room of the right size and dimensions to start with; I have had dedicated listening rooms in several of my houses- the best actually involved the least tweaking-- it was in an old brownstone with high ceilings, real plaster and lathe walls and wide plank, very sturdy floors. At that time, I had Crosby Quads running, and they didn't energize the room the way the horn speakers I currently use, do.
My current room, while 'dedicated,' is itself a compromise- oddly shaped walls and eaves in the ceilings- it is a room at the top of an old house- and I have had to add bass traps, corner traps, a diffuser along one wall and all of it has made a difference, but the room is still not ideal.
As to equipment fixation, I think you are probably right- otherwise, most of the postings here would be about music, not about whether the X unit is better than the Y unit. I admit to being an equipment junkie- but, whatever the budget, there is no question that 'tweaking,' 'positioning,' cable 'dressing' and all the other major and minor things that go into setting up and 'adjusting' the system are the key to getting the most out of this stuff. I enjoy that part as well...
Let's update that and say it's now $259K. What amazes me is, how can you even build a home for that amount I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, where housing prices are in the stratosphere, but even if I scraped my lot and put up a new 2500 sf home, it would cost in the neighborhood of $600K to build. Are construction costs so much less in other parts of the country?
Yes, at least in Texas. There are areas North of Dallas where you can buy a new home approx. 2100 SF for $110,000.00. They are not made as well as custom homes but at least it's "your own" place.
My home is in close and (yes) gone up a lot. Still, there are homes in my neighborhood that are nice that can be bought for $240,000.00. They need work but solid homes in a nice middle class neighborhood. Mine has had a lot of work but since we bought so long ago, the investment has been outstripped by inflation over time.
There are some very expensive parts of Dallas, the neighborhood West of me about 10-15 minutes is called Highland Park and is where many wealthy people live, including the people that own Frito-Lay. Homes there begin about 1.7 million and go up to any number you can name.
So basically Dallas is a place where everyone can live at any price. I think SF. California and New York City rank among the most expensive places to live other than Hawaii. I have many friends in CA and my wife and I thought about moving there many, many years ago. Can't say I am sorry I stayed here, my heart is in Texas. I am third generation, my wife is from here and of course our son was born here. I have good friends and no regrets, that's all that's important about any town USA :^).
Good point. Given the long proven benefits of soffit mounting for speakers and the prevalence of this format at the professional high end, it is astonishing to see audiophiles, spend huge $$$ on all nature of tweaks, whilst ignoring a fundamental issue with speaker physics (that bass radiates in all directions causing deep null cancellations as they bounce off the nearby rear wall). I suspect manufacturers and industry reviewers have a vested interest in ignoring this fundamental issue, as they prefer users to upgrade equipment rather than invest in the listening room.
Yes, at least in Texas. There are areas North of Dallas where you can buy a new home approx. 2100 SF for $110,000.00. They are not made as well as custom homes but at least it's "your own" place.Must be nice, here in Calgary homes have jumped around 50% in the last year. Average price now is just over 400K. I feel for the younger people just starting out, it's impossible for them to get into a home.
Although I have a room that is dedicated to HT and stereo (it does have a computer in it), there is still a compromise because of the location of the door to the room and the alcove leading to a dressing area, walk-in closet, and bath -- it's designed to be a bedroom. The room is roughly 14' X 19', and I would prefer that the LR speakers be more than 4' from the rear wall, but then one would stand in the doorwayr. I think compromise is usual.
We live in a small town adjacent to Santa Barbara, CA where the median price home is over $2.4 million and the mean is reported to be around $3.3 million. There are no listings in 6 figures. But if you move inland to CA's answer to TX, you can find homes in the low 6 figures, and the ocean is less than a half hour drive. We are a block from the beach