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Not to be combative, so you agree a hair thick speaker wire and a 75.00 blue ray is equal or superior to a say vac tube powered setup into a set of say thiel or x reference speaker through a quality front end ? Not a million dollar setup but .... I sold gear for years and certainly spent a lot of time listening and swapping gear every night and certainly discearned many differences .
my response was basically its all up for debate and in many ways digital is superior on paper
Many things are superior.... on paper. "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Clearly superior.... on paper.
PS- Love the "in so many ways" qualifier. Admitting that even setting aside the one and only way that matters (how it sounds) digital isn’t clearly superior but only "in so many ways." Good one.
It would be so wonderful, and money-saving if OP's hypothesis was true; but the fact that many of us have known through personal experience for many years is that while a very good speaker will certainly show its worth with an average or even below average amp and source, it's true greatness and personality will only be exposed by a better source and amplification.
I recall many years ago, John Atkinson was reviewing a small monitor, maybe a Celestion, and at some point in his reviewing process , he used a Mark Levinson 23.5 (I think) to drive it. He made the comment that he wished everyone could hear and understand what a difference a really fine amplifier could make to the performance of even a modestly priced speaker. Through my own experience, I agree.
I'll never forget a 1987 demo of a cheap CD player with an Oxford Acoustics table with Air Tangent arm and Koetsu Rosewood, a Radford tube amp (IIRC) with $60 Wharfedale Diamonds. Night and day. The relatively expensive turntable made the speakers light up. Harpsicord music. We thought it was a trick.
You're getting some things confused he said as long as you're using a decent SS amp and cable you will notice little to no audible difference into the same speakers. The other part was you would notice no difference between a $2000 CD transport and a basic BD player, I agree if they are both used with the same DAC. I understand most don't agree with this but technology has made most components interchangeable except for the speakers. Your playback chain is only as good as the piece that produces the most distorion and nowadays that's speakers by a pretty good margin. Not to say there are amps and DACs, transports etc.. that are worse than a speaker the Border Patrol DAC comes to mind and a number of tube components.
Another point he made about speaker tech not changing for decades is true in the audiophile world of passive speakers. There are companies driving the future of high fidelity like Buchardt, Kii, Dutch and Dutch, GGNTKT, Genelec and others with active designs incorporating DSP. I would also say the CD player isn't as relevant anymore either music reproduction is moving to streaming.
Many of us unfortunately only found out after going around the long way.
You are fortunate to have received such an honest and straightforward response.
Thanks for sharing.
"interesting that the world of true audio quality has been grossly mis-represented in the market place. This has mainly been driven by Hi-Fi Press and marketing vogue that perpetuate the myths that what makes a great audio system is some exotic, very expensive speaker cables, a 'high end ' player and some exotic amp.
[There are many vested interests at work]
Its also true that vintage audio products like valve amps and vinyl are creeping back into fashion - more of a symptom of the issue that audio quality has for the most part reached an impasse."
[The full circle end point for many audio veterans]
The main culprit - loudspeakers represent the main ceiling on audio quality and this really has not changed for many decades.
Put simply if you change the speakers to something that really does the sound transduction step (the most compromised part of the audio chain) much better then you begin to see the leap in improvement that is possible.
[Loudspeakers do indeed distort the most - it's been that way for decades]
For the most part the amp (as long as it is solid state and has decent power output) and the cable (as long as it is something a bit thicker than human hair) makes little to no audible difference to audio quality.
[Every attempt to prove otherwise has amusingly, but not unsurprisingly, failed]
The type of CD player does not matter either, as the speakers introduce a degree of distortion and degradation that commonly outweighs any differences my many orders of magnitude.
We have had really good reviews by the audio press but they still don't want to admit that the latest exotic looking £2000 CD player really does nothing special but helps sell magazines so perpetuating the scam!
[Magazines need a reason to justify their cover price in addition to posing as boutique catalogues]
Ridiculous really when you can get a BD player for £40 that trumps the CD spec in every aspect!
Don't get me started on vinyl! S"
[Almost everyone now knows about the billion dollar cable scam first initiated by Noel Lee back in the 1970s, and who would want to seriously argue that any BD player has an inferior technology to any CD player?]
Thanks again for posting, it might save someone a lot of money and time in their endeavours to get a satisfactory sound.
So we have some folks saying a $300 Topping dac will sound as good, the same, as the new Mojo Audio Evo dac ($5500-$12,000) when inserted into the exact same high end system. “High End” meaning a system all reviewers and Aphiles would agree is capable of clearing that sonic hurdle. If you folks believe that, then you have not actually done the listening tests. In addition, why would you even be interested in this site or even this hobby/passion?
"The type of CD player does not matter either, as the speakers introduce a degree of distortion and degradation that commonly outweighs any differences my many orders of magnitude."
Could there be some cumulative effect of those degradations? No matter how small of an impact CD may have, it may still be an impact.
I do not know why amplifiers sound different, but in my limited experience they actually do. Much less than speakers, but still.
"...why was Oppo 105,205 the worlds most in demand dvd,Blu-ray player ,until they decided to stop building them. For the dac inside absolutely counts for sonics."
Because people like feeling they are getting a lot for relatively little. As far as I can tell, after years of frequently trying to use Oppo 105, it is jack of all trades and master of none.
If only my refrigerator would freeze ice as successfully as Oppo freezes itself.
I find it amazing that all it takes is for some people to find something someone else wrote that validates their point of view and all of a sudden, it's gospel!
Happens all the time in other areas of life so why not audio. Whatever happened to listening for ones self? I prefer not to be led but to hear things for myself.
Those who need the validation of others to shore up support of their doubts, which they confuse with convictions, always project those insecurities on others, be it confirmation bias, delusion, or whatever popular meme is being used at the moment.
All the best,
Let me offer a thought: Human information processing is highly limited at about 60 bit/sec.
Hence, we experience our environment vectorially, i.e., we focus on variation.
Variation is not defined as every absolute change, but every change of pattern. Certain patterns are intuitive (eg, variation of leaf shape within a species) and within a continuum, others are not (e.g, when a caterpillar eats into a leaf) - a ‘combinatorial’ boundary is broken.
In analogy, not all distortion is equal. Highly reproducible distortion (narrow spec component) consistent with the fractale boundaries of sound generation seems very tolerable (and - we get used to it; we learn the pattern) yet when the boundary is broken (variation “outside” of the equation which defines boundaries of variation), we immediately notice and are - possibly - attracted, because our attention has been caught, or - often - disturbed, because the variation is random and ‘out of line’.
Short: variation does not equal variation. Distortion does not equal distortion. An argument based on specs alone is not helpful.
But then we all know that. We all hear differences in sound signature and presentation of different components.
Anybody more interested, I encourage to read up on ‘chaos’ and ‘fractale’ - the principles of phenotypic variation in nature. Applies very much to wave mechanics.
Vinyl sounds superior in many ways. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can hear the difference. I will give up my turntables when I’m dead. Like Tom from better records says, a cd will never ever have that "tubey magic" of a good vinyl pressing, not verbatim, but you get the point. If you have no idea what you are doing then yes, your vinyl will sound like crap. Concerning speakers, there are many many great sounding speakers available today, both inexpensive and expensive. No one speaker is going to appeal to everyone. That’s what makes the hobby fun. Concerning cd players, I’ll leave the blu ray player, an oppo 203 by the way, to its purpose built duties, playing my dvd and 4k DVDs within my dedicated theater set up. Personally I like using a cd transport with my choice of dac.
’ +1 djones51 and cd318! Watch out for the mob carrying flaming torches!’
Yes, no doubt! I’d better rush to the tower and lock myself away fully armed alongside those other persistent troublemakers such as that notorious @kenjit.
However since most of this mob have a vested business interest in promoting high - end (ie high-priced boutique gear as opposed to high performance audio equipment) their opinions can hardly be unbiased.
Nothing said in the reply that the OP received has yet been refuted, just spurious counter claims.
The myriad defences to any perceived threat to their business interests may include any of these following deflection tactics:
Everyone’s ears are different. All rooms are different. Buy what you like.
You haven’t heard that particular piece of equipment, I have and I know it’s better so everyone else should buy it too.
It costs a lot more so it must be a lot better. You’d better buy it to be sure.
It’s a subjective and fun hobby - so keep spending.
Blind listening tests are flawed. All of them. They cannot be trusted.
Listen to me instead and buy product X (of which I just happen to luckily have in stock).
We don’t understand the mechanics or psychology of listening so we should not make defining judgements. So once again keep buying, you may get lucky.
Who knows? Who cares? (I don’t).
Look here, Stereopile / Hi-Fi What?? have posted a great review of this product I just happen to sell.
So what are you waiting for, go buy it?
Without wishing to cast grave doubts upon the integrity of those who post here, it’s the experienced enthusiast/ consumer / user reviews and opinions that I’m mostly interested in.
Some professional reviewers do seem to operate as part of the advertising wing of the industry and unfortunately some posters here feel that forums are are a viable (and economic) means of free advertising.
Instead the rest of us can learn, share and learn some more whilst hopefully benefitting ourselves in the savings of time and money. Not to mention avoiding the all too many scams that plague this industry.
For sure these scams/business interests should never be dismissed too lightly. Let’s not forget that Noel Lee (Monster Inc) has managed to establish a near billion dollar company from selling cables.
Thankfully he doesn’t feel the need to post on here just how superior his cables really are.
If he did, we might just ask him to demonstrate it.
Why is spending/buying frowned upon around here? Spending feeds others' families. Without buying, frequently useless, items like hi-fi stores close, factory workers get laid off, etc. Buy it, if you can. It is a hobby after all. An excuse for wasting money. So what if you get reamed from time to time? Why be proud of the hobby and then be against spending money on it?
Back to cables.
I'm not against spending money lord knows I've spent plenty on gear. I like the hobby, I would like to see more people interested and in my opinion the way forward is with companies and designs that are looking to the future not the past. In my opinion, and before some get their panties in a wad it's only my opinion, the future isn't mega $$ cables and $5000 CD transports but self contained active speakers that need no more than an ethernet connection or a control box. There are old established and new cutting edge companies in Europe barging down this path. I have to agree with cd318 it's as if when I post my opinions people think I'm attacking them, sorry to deflate their ego but I don't care what they say I'm more interested in hopefully getting some to start looking and better yet listening to some of these new companies and technologies.
I Believe this misrepresents the situation. The 60bit capacity was determined by assessing the concious ability to determine if a string of letters was a word or not. And the author of this experiment and study, Moscoso del Prado, has clarified that this is NOT an upper limit.
The brain recieves and processes >10 Billion bits worth of information every second, the vast majority of which is processed subconciously, or autonomically.
Our brains are not smearing out detail in an effort to find variation.
If you read into the literature far enough you can frequently identify the truly great equipment. Examples are the Airtight PC 1 Supreme and the Parasound JC 1.
Trusting someone else's hearing is a sure recipe for disaster. Human sound processing was not designed for qualifying music but for locating danger. Music is like color. When shown a shade of blue, those of us that are not blue green color blind will identify the color as blue. When shown a variety of shades of blue one may prefer one shade over another. Others will prefer a different shade. Why do we have these preferences?
Music and sound are no different. We all prefer and listen to music differently from genres to parts of the audible spectrum. Even the descriptions we use to quantify music are vague at best, sometimes even meaningless. It usually comes down to, "mine is best." Of course it is. You designed your system based on what you want to hear which might not be what everyone else wants to hear.
Assuming something performs it's job better because it looks better or costs a lot more is another common trap. Saying something sounds better because I say so is just a way to avoid asking or answering the question as to why this should be or admitting the existence of a glaring defect. It was designed by Alfred E. Newman but it's the best sounding because I say so. The Linn LP 12 is such an example.
Yet there are systems that go beyond the usual and there are solid reasons for this. It is here that we can look for these reasons and try to implement them. The key is to look for the ones that have an explanation unlike cable elevators which do not. You want to puke? Take those $10K speaker cables apart and look what is inside. Just wire. Just wire in a pretty casing which does nothing other than look sharp. On the other hand, there are circumstances like high powered passive subwoofers, where 24 gauge wire is not going to cut it. Can't handle the current.
The reasoned response has a better chance of being right than the emotional one.
'If you read into the literature far enough you can frequently identify the truly great equipment. Examples are the Airtight PC 1 Supreme and the Parasound JC 1.
Trusting someone else's hearing is a sure recipe for disaster. "
There seems to be a contradiction there. If you are believing that those two amplifiers are great based on written words, aren't you trusting someone else's hearing?
The best way, for me, to hear music is on a Blu-ray disc thru my Blu-ray Player. I think all music should be produced on a Blu-ray Disc, as a Blu-ray disc can properly hold all the information. Play the Eagles Farewell Tour 1 on a Blu-ray disc, in your Blu-ray Player through your audio system and this will certainly answer all your questions about Audio. The audio from a Blu-ray Disc is waaaaay beyond anything you will ever hear from a CD or Vinyl, providing the audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or 7.1, or Dolby Atmos
Roxy, in short yes but I am looking for a joint opinion that is very consistent. For instance the JC 1 is alway described as "effortless" which it certainly is. I am also talking about professional reviewers not an individual lay person. I would never trust an individual review unless I had consistently verified the reviewer's opinion on my own which admittedly is difficult to do. I approach every review with several grains of salt. Frankly, I never really pay attention until I am ready to buy something. As for the opinion of people here? I do not expect them to believe me in discussing the sound of something. What something sounds like is a personal issue. How something works on the other hand is not. Why an item should function and sound better is always open for discussion as these whys are very important when it comes to choosing equipment. Everyone has to add it up on their own. But if you choose equipment based on what a single or even group of lay persons says it sounds like you are asking for it. At that point it is always best to listen for yourself. This is particularly true of speakers.
@bgoeller In a way you make my point. From tens of billions of sensoric bits/signals only a tiny (very, very tiny) portion is actually consciously processed, and an even a smaller portion makes it into memory.
Variation and certain patterns of variation create priority. They are "attention grabbers". Variation within fractale boundaries is generally experienced as pleasing. Imagine an oak tree with all leaves identical. Boaring. Then imagine one with natural variation of leave shapes (the underlying boundaries of variation of shape are exactly defined). Nicer. Then imagine a breeze come trough and introduce some movement. Interesting! That is what I tried to say. It is not my scientific field, but it would be interesting to formulate a hypothesis and experiment around this. Clearly we have all experienced that, for example, a perfectly measuring amp sounds not engaging, while a tube amp which measures worse wrt distortion delivers a most pleasing and engaging presentation. Of course, there are also amps which measure poorly and sound bad. I guess all I want to say that distortion by itself is not a good predictor of perceived sound quality. I would even speculate (!) that, when we introduce changes into our system and hear different details, this may not be the result of improved performance specs. Rather, it may be the result of differing emphasis (i.e., shifting fractal boundaries). But then again - how to test this? Anyway, it is my impression that many great sounding systems are much more musical instruments by themselves, rather than objective measuring/reproduction tools in a scientific sense. Musical instruments produce considerable distortion; within instrument-specific boundaries we call that sonic signature. And how else would you explain the preference of tubes and analog by so many music lovers?