Sound Advice: 'Cost no object' on audio gear?


RE: Sound Advice: 'Cost no object' on audio gear? Be careful!!!

I was reading my local paper today (Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, CA) and was very surprised to see the article headline saying "Sound Advice: 'Cost no object' on audio gear? Be careful”.

It was very interesting for me to read about a pre-amp and dual mono amplifiers selling for $123,000 in my local paper. The writer (Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com) talks about other equipment combinations that represent excellent value and performance he suggests to bring out the absolute best for someones Polk Speakers. He also states "While I caution against overspending on amplifiers, quality amplification is an investment that should last for decades and this combo is well worth the money".

I have no comment on how much someone was spends on an audio system. I just wanted to share the article with everyone and to report that high end audio is alive and well in my local newspaper. SEE:

http://www.contracostatimes.com/News/ci_27708927/Sound-Advice:-Cost-no-object-on-audio-gear?-Be-careful
hgeifman
more bs more money the rest is same.
Much easier to find if you post a link.

Lucky Don Lindich! I'm guessing he gets paid to write stuff like this? So the best that he knows of is Pass Labs. The best, or the most expensive? He does not sound like he has much experience.

I'll bet he's never even heard the Pass Labs gear that he speaks of, let alone upper end gear from Vitus, Solution, Audio Note, Goldmund and others that are even more expensive than his Pass Labs "stunner". To each their own.

Cheers,
John
professional writers just write and get $ for their work.
they do that for living. to do that for living you have to be able to write just about anything, but to know everything... cliche indeed.
And using cost no object equipment to drive Polk speakers? Gimme a break!!

-RW-
@RW- My sentiments, exactly!
"03-17-15: Czarivey
professional writers just write and get $ for their work.
they do that for living."

That's outrageous. You mean to tell me they get paid for working? Someone needs to put a stop to this type of thing. The whole situation is just out of control.
So did anyone actually read the piece? He was very reasonably pointing out to someone that cost no object means different things to different people. Additionally he told the questioner what a more appropriate price range might be for his speakers. The gear itself is pretty much besides the point, I thought it was a reasonable and helpful response.
"03-18-15: Jond
So did anyone actually read the piece? He was very reasonably pointing out to someone that cost no object means different things to different people. Additionally he told the questioner what a more appropriate price range might be for his speakers. The gear itself is pretty much besides the point, I thought it was a reasonable and helpful response."

I read it, and if you want the truth, he's doing what most people do when talking about audio equipment that's beyond their experience; they guess. They also believe their guesses, and then they start assuming. They're assumptions, of course, are based on their guesses. You'll never let me leave it at that, so here's my proof.

"The best amplifier and preamplifier setup, cost no object, is probably the Xs preamp and dual mono Xs 300 amplifier (one amplifier for each speaker) from Pass Labs."

Probably. Based on what?

"It sells for $123,000."

Price, of course. Maybe if we show him what some pieces from Audio Note goes for, he'll think the Pass a bargain.

Now that he's established himself as reasonable and knowledgeable in the world of high end audio, it now qualifies him to make this next statement.

"That's a lot of money for stereo amplification and personally I think it is extreme overkill and of questionable cost-to-benefit ratio. You start hitting greatly diminishing returns before you even leave the five-figure range and audible differences compared to other high-end gear are likely to be negligible, if audible at all."

I don't know about you, but this self appointed high end audio reviewer is starting to loose a little credibility here, given that he's never had any experience with any of this gear whatsoever. And this is by his own admission. The only single, credible fact that he has presented us with concerning the Pass amp and preamp, is the price.

"Even if I had billions of dollars in the bank I could not rationalize it. I could see myself buying a Gulfstream jet or a fleet of Ferraris with my billions, but not $123,000 for amplification."

I agree. Never spend that much money on something you know nothing about.

I'll stop here because its just more of the same for the whole article.

"Additionally he told the questioner what a more appropriate price range might be for his speakers. The gear itself is pretty much besides the point, I thought it was a reasonable and helpful response."

I just read your post again and that quote stuck out, so I'll just address it now, because you'll just bring it up anyway.

He told the questioner no such thing. How on earth can that guy recommend anything, knowing nothing about audio, and having no listening experience? The simple answer is that he can't. The only reason he came up with Parasound is because he had to ask someone what he should recommend. Remember, the person asking the question has a pair of vintage speakers that are only worth a few hundred dollars. This genius reviewer then sets the bar at a ridiculous $123,000 to make some kind of silly point. Once there, anything he recommends at a price at or close to the Parasound would sound like a reasonable recommendation. You don't think he really ever listened to a Parasound amp and can make a recommendation from knowledge and experience, do you?

To sum up, I don't see anything special about this article. The world of audio can get by without its "sound advice."
sound advice need not consider all the options. It just needs to be useful to many.

So what's the problem. What better sound advice might be offered? Ransom the house for a uber expensive stereo or suffer? Most can't afford that so not no sound.

It's not rocket science. Can we just move on?
"So what's the problem. What better sound advice might be offered? Ransom the house for a uber expensive stereo or suffer? Most can't afford that so not no sound."

My point was that no advice was offered. The guy writing the article has no experience with any of the equipment he was reviewing, or recommending. He somehow managed to establish some credit in his words because he went off on a wild tangent with the expensive Pass gear, and then sounded reasonable when he recommended electronics that were more in line with what the average person could afford. Anyone can do that. And that's fine. The author has every right to publish what he did. What I find odd, is that some people on this web site buy into it. Most of us know that there's a lot more that goes into component selection than what was presented in the article. Or maybe I'm making a bigger deal of it than needs be. I've been known to do that on a few occasions.
I read he auditioned the Parasound amp he recommended. Seemed like a "sound" recommendation to me for use with Polk speakers.

He kept things simple and made a reasonable recommendation it seems to me after making a case that cost is no object is not good criteria for selecting an amp for the Polks.

Sheesh give the guy a break. We all try to make "sound" recommendations but fact is we all have our biases based on unique experiences that will influence things.

Lindish has a practical approach that emphasizes quality and value from what I have seen. He is a well documented OHM speaker fan so he can't be all bad. :^)
And many wonder why more don't get into high end audio. All they have to do is read that article, and then move on to this thread.
Who are we to determine who is an audiophile and who isn't qualified to be?
Just saying.
We need more authors that appreciate quality gear and sound but also keep things real. Not less.
To me, when I hear a high end supporter criticize someone for offering practical or sound advise that most would find useful, I have to question what is it that they are afraid of? Quality products should speak for themselves at any price point. OK, right, I know its a competition to get people to buy in. I get it. It is what it is.
"03-19-15: Mapman
To me, when I hear a high end supporter criticize someone for offering practical or sound advise that most would find useful, I have to question what is it that they are afraid of? Quality products should speak for themselves at any price point. OK, right, I know its a competition to get people to buy in. I get it. It is what it is."

I think I see where we differ. For me, its not a competition, not about sounding reasonable, fitting an image or spending a certain amount of money. Its about getting the best sound. Price has very little to do with that. Sometimes you have to buy something expensive to get what you are looking for, and at other times, you can get away cheap. I'm OK with either as long as I'm getting the best sound I can. For me personally, when I read a review on a piece of high end gear, I expect a certain level of professionalism. And that means they have to do something besides talk and guess, no matter how reasonable it sounds. If you guys want to support a recommendation by a magazine that didn't try the speaker with any of the electronics that were recommended, that’s fine. You're allowed to have your opinion. My opinion is that its a load of crap, no matter how well intentioned. I know better than to throw a bunch of gear together without listening to it first. In audio, the only way to get quality products to speak for themselves, it to get them set up properly, or they won't have a voice at all. And for that, you need to know what you're doing.
in a sense it comes down to what information is needed to make a sound recommendation.

I think specs are enough to do that. That and measurements if available are all you have to go by to decide what is a good technical match or not. Specs are the only metrics one has to decide what to try when it comes to picking an amp for speakers or siource or preamp to use with an amp. You make a sound recommendation by matching specs. Does not mean the results will be exactly what the doctor ordered. That takes listening. But that is a completely subjective determination at that point not on based on anything other than how each thinks something sounds which is not a reliable indicator alone of what another will think.

Any recommendation is a potshot. With no assurance another will like or not until heard.

Plus again Landis did test a lesser para sound amp so recommending the higher up model for modest Polks was very sound under the assumption that the op wanted to treat his Polks to something special but reasonable.

Landish' s recomendation has as good a chance of working out as most any in my estimation. Doesn't mean it will though. The sound people like is a very personal thing.
"03-19-15: Mapman
in a sense it comes down to what information is needed to make a sound recommendation.

I think specs are enough to do that. That and measurements if available are all you have to go by to decide what is a good technical match or not. Specs are the only metrics one has to decide what to try when it comes to picking an amp for speakers or siource or preamp to use with an amp. You make a sound recommendation by matching specs."

There's no other way to say this, but you couldn't be more wrong. There's no way in hell you're going to look at a spec sheet and tell what the amp sounds like. Specs are supposed to aid you in your selection, not make it for you.

I don't understand this next quote.

"Does not mean the results will be exactly what the doctor ordered. That takes listening. But that is a completely subjective determination at that point not on based on anything other than how each thinks something sounds which is not a reliable indicator alone of what another will think."

You're kind of saying the opposite thing here. The fact that you need to listen to an amp to evaluate its subjective qualities, suggests that the specs are not nearly enough to be accurate. I agree.
Zd,

We are in agreement. Maybe I didn't state it clearly.

I'm just saying that it IS possible to make a recommendation without hearing a particular product based on specs.

ALso that if I hear and like a combo does not mean someone else will and vice versa.

So its an exercise in problem solving that can be tackled in different ways to make progress effectively towards ones end goal.
Alright, I'll give it to you. A recommendation can be made by looking at a spec sheet. Its not something that I would feel comfortable doing myself, but I won't try to force my way on someone else.

By the way, I've been reading up on brain surgery. I know that I can do it just as well as any doctor, so if anyone needs some work done, I'm the guy to see. I'll do it for half of whatever a doctor quotes you.
The point is spec sheets can be and often are useful tools for identifying viable candidates that will most likely PERFORM WELL TOGETHER case by case.

What sounds best, especially after a certain point, is purely a matter of opinion.

Of course some specs and opinions are better than others. The game is to try to find the good ones.

So one can choose their poisons I suppose, but it is what it is. Hopefully the specs reflect that to some reliable degree.

FWIW I also hesitate to recommend something I have not heard but I will do it if someone needs an opinion bad enough in lieu of anything better.

For example if a product or company fits teh bill on paper AND has many positive reviews out there or has been around for awhile and is a proven commodity, there is lower risk. I might cite that with the qualification that I have not heard if someone finds that useful.

Again its all in the information available and how well one is able to synthesis it.

Whether anyone listens or not is a matter mostly of trust, which ideally must be earned.

But yeah, in the end nobody ever knows exactly until they hear it. i will never recommend that anything necessarily sounds the best other than IMHO.

ZD, I might trust your recommendations for hifi gear but I"m afraid I will pass for now on the brain surgery although I'm sure anyone would find some room for improvement there if they looked. :^)
I agree with your last post, but you did say this.

"Specs are the only metrics one has to decide what to try when it comes to picking an amp for speakers or siource or preamp to use with an amp. You make a sound recommendation by matching specs."

To me, its sounds like a pretty rigid statement. If you didn't mean it as such, that's fine. Sometimes our posts don't always come out the way we intend them. But one thing I'll add to the specs issue is that I don't always trust them. When you are talking amp specs, there's no set standard the industry uses to measure in the first place. If, for example, you took 5 different amps from 5 different manufacturers all rated for the same power and measured them all the same way, you'll get different amounts for each amp.

So I think we both agree that specs can be used as a guide, but for best results listening tests should also be done.
Look, you want to buy a TV, right? You walk into the store And look at the TVs in your price range, maybe even some TVs that are way out of your price range, you know, just to see what the big deal is, right? Then you buy the best one you can afford, the one with the best picture quality of the ones you can afford. Not once do you look at specs. Audio is no different. You guys are just psyching yourselves out. Specifications are blinding you to the reality of the situation. Specifications are intended for those folks who cannot hear or who don't trust their hearing.
Well, not only that, but stores that sell TV's don't always tune them all the same. The TV's that the store would prefer to sell are usually set up the best, while the other ones may not get the same attention. You would be surprised at how many stores do this type of thing. Its a very common practice.
A tv is all self contained. Most stereo systems involve matching of components. Then there is the room and it's acoustics. Not as simple. That's the difference.
Z Man, that's an old wives tale. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bubba. Lol. I know what you're thinking, they go to a two week training course on how to set up the expensive TVs.
Oh, yeah, I forgot. Audiophiles match components. Cough, cough.
"03-21-15: Geoffkait
Z Man, that's an old wives tale. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bubba. Lol. I know what you're thinking, they go to a two week training course on how to set up the expensive TVs. "

I'm not guessing on that one. Not saying that every person that sells TV's does this, but I know the people that used to do it. And these were store managers that knew full well how to set up a tv properly. It was done for 3 reasons. The first is overstock. They were loaded up on certain models and needed to get rid of them, so they made them look the best. Second was for mark-up and promotion purposes. They make more money on some TV's, than others. And third was minimum dealer requirements. Quite often, a stores dealer agreement will require a minimum amount of product be purchased as part of a contract. If not they, they could loose their pricing, and in some cases, their dealership.

And it was usually the bigger, more well known stores that did this type of thing. Also, just think of how easy it would be to do this type of thing. You don't really need to be skilled to de tune a TV. And if the customers suspect something, they just claim that other customers must have fooled with the settings. They are, after all, display models.