I don't consider Brent Butterworth an authority on hi-fi. He's mid-fi to the bone.
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I agree with @bdp24 , Brent Butterworth outlived his usefulness in the 90s heyday of home theater when it was in its infancy. And it’s no surprise that Soundstage poo poos high sens. speakers and low watt tube amps. Look at some of the overpriced speakers needing arc welders to drive them that they constantly review.
Nothing to see here.
@ozzy62: I don’t know if everything you’ve heard about Lyric is true, but I was shocked at how I was treated by them when I lived in NYC in 1982. I had been been a customer of a number of high end shops in California before moving East, and had a complete Thorens-SME-Supex / ARC / Magneplanar Tympani system. Having seen Lyric’s name mentioned numerous times in TAS, I wanted to see what they had to offer.
Rather than being welcomed into the store, I was stopped at the doorway and informed that if I wasn’t there to buy something specific, entry would not be forthcoming. No browsing. The "salesman" who informed me of that fact was dripping with smug arrogance. If I was less civilized man I woulda punched him in his disgusting face. Utter pretentiousness!
This attitude filters down from the top. From what I experienced from various audio shows I've worked at and attended over the years, this was certainly true of Lyric Audio. Nuff said,
If audio writers who praise these products asked mainstream speaker designers why they don’t make super-efficient speakers, they’d learn that with efficiency comes compromises—in frequency-response linearity, dispersion, distortion, and power handling. Few highly efficient speakers achieve a respectably flat frequency response and broad dispersion. And many of the primitive tube amps that are typically used to drive them have very high output impedance, which will interact with a speaker’s impedance to change the sound in ways the speaker’s designer didn’t anticipate and likely wouldn’t condone.
OK I started reading the article but the BS started to stink too much. Sure, there is plenty of snake oil in this and every other hobby too. But that doesn't mean that it's ALL snake oil. And just because someone doesn't understand HOW it works does not negate the fact that it may work.
I see a lot of newbies talking up their 400 wpc PA amp as if its the absolute best for hifi because they have mammoth power. I have an older Crown MT 1200 which came from a studio that I would not consider using to replace my 60wpc or 35wpc tube amp in my system. But it will fill up a good size parking lot in its proper application... Live sound. of course with those high efficiency speakers.
The writer talks about high efficiency speaker compromises as if they were the only ones to compromise. That is BS to the max. Everything in life is a compromise for mere mortals with a budget. Products without compromise are the very things that I suspect the writer also doesn't like. You know, those $ 200K speakers. I know I've seen the very people who criticize these ultra expensive components then expect perfection for $200. Its time to get real. You can't have it both ways
Quite right. Lyric killed Lyric. However, Mr Butterworth's opinion is quite valid. The lay instinct problem is ever present particularly in the press. Another problem is press bias due to financial pressures and personal bias. Have you ever noticed that many manufacturers will only let writers who are already fond of their equipment do review's? This says nothing of the scheisters that sell BS tweaks with marketing that is patently ridiculous.
I find it refreshing that Butterworth mentions Room control and subwoofers two technologies that I am extremely fond of. They do make dramatic improvements in sound quality but it is so hard getting people to understand this, or want to understand this.
lyric was its own enemy, they deserve what they got
good shops in good areas with wealth that respect customers still do fine, as tough as conditions have been
covid has certainly given the industry a revival of sorts, which is good for all of us who are enthusiasts - businesses by and for enthusiasts always struggle more compared to other business run just to make a buck or please the shareholders
this being said, media churn, media bias, all driven by structural fragmentation and its own self serving financial incentives, is a real problem, and is a major contributor of many of the big problems in our world today, reaching far beyond hi fi
A couple of years ago, not more than four or five, I entered Lyric Audio as I have done with virtually every other similar store I have passed by in the world.
I did have to ring the bell. The man who opened asked if I needed help and I said I just wanted to see what they had and was surely not buying anything. He told me "Enjoy" or something to that effect. He left me alone to go around. I played music by myself. I went room by room, each one increasing in price of the components on display. After, I believe, four rooms, I thought I had seen it all and was leaving. That salesman told me that I had forgotten the last room with the best equipment they had and that I should check it. So I did. Some huge speakers, dCS stack and then some, etc. It sounded good, I admit.
Based on my experience that day, a place to recommend for no-pressure shopping.
You got a point there judge! I agree. There is plenty of craziness and dogma that goes around that is used to try and make the high end seem more special than perhaps it really is? Also a fair share of total nonsense. Things fit for a cult but nothing ever really big or earth shattering enough for many to ever really care.
FWIW I went to Lyric only once late in the day on a weekend (or was it Christmas Eve perhaps) several years back. My experience was similar to glupson. I was the only one there at the time but the guy let me look around in peace then offered a listen to the stuff in the big room in the back. Just one visit but nice enough. I was dressed casually but decent by upper east side standards most likely that day. Did a lot of walking around the city that day.
Knowing myself, I probably wore shoes with visible holes, t-shirt, shorts. Maybe some non-descript jacket and jeans. I know others might have had different experiences, but mine was just fine. At the same time, I do not think they had too many people walking in all the time.
Now, it is probably better that I do not mention Sound by Singer.
"...are willing to take on the challenging but rewarding task of learning how these products really work. We need writers who’ve maybe dug into such authoritative books as Vance Dickason’s Loudspeaker Design Cookbook, Floyd Toole’s Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms, Ken Pohlmann’s Principles of Digital Audio, and Bob Cordell’s Designing Audio Power Amplifiers..."
No we need entertaining writers with good ears and that can share their experience.
...from all the trash talk about Lyric, I'm surprised some driven soul didn't 'enhance' their sign into Livid Adiots...but I'm like that....*g*
No, never had that particular displeasure....but did and have had the same sort occur elsewhere. Guess they only liked clientele that can dish back the dis' and then some...*shrug*
Thanks, @edgewound for the link. Trying to keep a spirit of decorum, Butterworth’s first paragraph seems to betray his entire article? He seems to be saying that only he and perhaps we’d conclude brick-and-mortar high end audio stores know anything. Yes, a lot of YouTube / podcast opinions & reviews may not be the best. Yet I have learned a lot from John Darko, Hans Beekhuyzen, Joshua Valour, Currawong, and the infamous Zeos, et. al. I enjoyed a YouTube Hans recently put together, " Audio myths & dogmas #2: comparing audio sources"
OP -- thanks for sharing. The piece raised a lot of issues.
"media churn, media bias, all driven by structural fragmentation and its own self serving financial incentives, is a real problem, and is a major contributor of many of the big problems in our world today, reaching far beyond hi fi"
You super duper nailed it. Churn is the word. Where's Thoreau when you need him? He stuck in the 18th tab of a browser, maybe...
Never had a problem at Lyric; and this is going back to the 80s and 90s. Wouldn’t say that they were warm and fuzzy, but I was always allowed to listen to what I wanted including the mighty IRS, Quad/Jadis and what would be my next speaker purchase, MGIIIA’s. One of the few places where I came across a salesman who was a truly knowledgeable music lover. Maybe I got lucky....maybe I approached them the right way (for them).