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A golden period for budget hi-fi?

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Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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steve_1979 said:
I'm only speaking from my own experiance but with digital products a good £200-£300 DAC sounds virtually the same as much more expensive DAC's.
I always found DACs funny in the past. I more often than not out one into a system, regardless of price, and wouldn't hear much of a difference, not enough to justify the cost of the DAC anyway. But sometimes, just sometimes, you'd add one to a system, and I assume its synergy, it works wonders. While there are those that feel digital is digital, and everything digital sounds the same, I am of the belief that DACs DO make a difference, but they need to be tried in the user's system to make sure the synergy is there.

As for the amp and speakers spending around £2000 on a pair of Genelec or Opal Event speakers will give at least 90% of the performance of the best £10,000 systems. This is just my opinion based on my own experiances of course. :)
We're back to this aren't we. I do find it amusing that this comparison is always against £6-10k systems (never a £3k system, or a £20k system oddly), especially when the claim is being made for a £1k pair of speakers. That's not be being 'numberist', that's just getting what you pay for. I'm sure that some £1k active speakers may well be better than amps and speakers of the same cost, and probably can be very competitive against amp/speakers combos of maybe twice the price, but there's a limit to everything. If you could really make £1k active speakers sound like £10k's worth of passive system, I'm sure there would be a hell of a lot more people doing it, and there would be the likes of ATC claiming their £10k actives sound like £100k's worth of passive, and PMC claiming similar. There's plenty of speaker manufacturers out there with enough experience in active speakers to swamp the hi-fi market, or collaborations of manufacturers to provide complete solutions, but it doesn't happen. Why? Because its not what people want. Dynaudio's Xeo speakers will be a test for that market, so we'll see how they go. They have the added advantage of being wireless, which is what people want.

Anyway, back to what I was talking about. This £1k vs £10k thing would be easier to swallow if it was actually against a well chosen, high quality system with a decent amount of synergy, rather than hotch potch systems I see being compared. If some people had chosen their £10k systems properly in the first place, they wouldn't be of the opinion that a budget pair of active speakers can sound as good.

Just my opinion :)
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
If some people had chosen their £10k systems properly in the first place, they wouldn't be of the opinion that a budget pair of active speakers can sound as good.

Just my opinion :)
And mine. Some of the systems I've heard of being dumped I wouldn't give the time of day to.
 

AlmaataKZ

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Jan 7, 2009
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
There's plenty of speaker manufacturers out there with enough experience in active speakers to swamp the hi-fi market, or collaborations of manufacturers to provide complete solutions, but it doesn't happen. Why? Because its not what people want. Dynaudio's Xeo speakers will be a test for that market, so we'll see how they go. They have the added advantage of being wireless, which is what people want.

Anyway, back to what I was talking about. This £1k vs £10k thing would be easier to swallow if it was actually against a well chosen, high quality system with a decent amount of synergy, rather than hotch potch systems I see being compared. If some people had chosen their £10k systems properly in the first place, they wouldn't be of the opinion that a budget pair of active speakers can sound as good.

Just my opinion :)
exactly! for some reason the consumers do not want it. the market laid itself out this way.

as for comparisons, there are plenty of chances to find these or even to put a comparison together - on hifi shows, for example. There is an amateur show by hifiwigwam annually - very interesting as it has diverse real-world systems (if somewhat dated, understandably as this is not a dealer show where, naturally, the latest producs are shown). so you can reserve a room, bring your own system - or get a mate and bring two systems and have a shoot-out.
 

WinterRacer

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Jan 14, 2009
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John Duncan said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
If some people had chosen their £10k systems properly in the first place, they wouldn't be of the opinion that a budget pair of active speakers can sound as good.

Just my opinion :)
And mine. Some of the systems I've heard of being dumped I wouldn't give the time of day to.
Punter - "Here John, I've got a £10k hifi system I don't want any more."

JD - "No way, sorry but that system just doesn't have the right synergy."

Haha, any particular examples come to mind? I can't think of many people who have named their £10k system. Perhaps me and Atticus? At the very least, an active system removes the worry/fun of getting "synergy" right.
 

Lee H

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Oct 7, 2010
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
If some people had chosen their £10k systems properly in the first place
Isn't that because most people end up with a £10k system rather than putting one together from scratch.
 

John Duncan

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WinterRacer said:
Punter - "Here John, I've got a £10k hifi system I don't want any more."

JD - "No way, sorry but that system just doesn't have the right synergy."
Let me rephrase - some £10k systems that I wouldn't personally buy, and would much prefer £1k active speakers to. That does not mean there aren't £10k systems which I *would* prefer to £1k active speakers (or indeed £500 systems, or £2k, or £5k, or £250k).

As well you know.
 

ErwinC

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Nov 24, 2009
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WinterRacer said:
So, although YMMV, two messages. Firstly, inexpensive kit can sound very very good and secondly, expensive kit may not sound any better to you.
Could not agree more.

My current 'cheap' stereo setup sounds great to me and it let's me enjoy the music like never before. ;)
 

WinterRacer

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John Duncan said:
WinterRacer said:
So, although YMMV, two messages. Firstly, inexpensive kit can sound very very good and secondly, expensive kit may not sound any better to you.
Indeed, which I agree with 100%. See above.
That's good, agreement is a positive thing. :)

However, I'm not sure I really belive in then 'synergy' thing, beyond getting an amp that properly drives the speakers you've chosen. Which is not necessarily an easy thing by the way.

Do you believe achieving synergy is something beyond this and/or difficult to achieve? What is synergy to you?

If system synergy really is that hard to achieve, perhaps it's not wonder so many people are dissatisfied with their systems given the evolutionary way we change our systems.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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WinterRacer said:
John Duncan said:
WinterRacer said:
So, although YMMV, two messages. Firstly, inexpensive kit can sound very very good and secondly, expensive kit may not sound any better to you.
Indeed, which I agree with 100%. See above.
That's good, agreement is a positive thing. :)

However, I'm not sure I really belive in then 'synergy' thing, beyond getting an amp that properly drives the speakers you've chosen. Which is not necessarily an easy thing by the way.

Do you believe achieving synergy is something beyond this and/or difficult to achieve? What is synergy to you?

If system synergy really is that hard to achieve, perhaps it's not wonder so many people are dissatisfied with their systems given the evolutionary way we change our systems.
I'm less a believer in "synergy" than some on here, I think. Certainly at the source/amp interface - I think that it's important to get amp and speakers to work well together because they both have characteristics which affect each other (sensitivity, impedance etc), but if I had an amp/speaker combo that worked well together, I'd just buy the matching CD player to make the whole lot look cool :)

My aversion to some systems tends to be because of particular traits though - I'd rather poke my eyes out with a stick than buy *any* system by some particular manufacturers, for example, since I just don't 'get' them, and I tend to like the characteristics of small standmounts or very compact floorstanders over big old coffins which might have been "reference" in the old days.
 

WinterRacer

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John Duncan said:
I'm less a believer in "synergy" than some on here, I think. Certainly at the source/amp interface - I think that it's important to get amp and speakers to work well together because they both have characteristics which affect each other (sensitivity, impedance etc), but if I had an amp/speaker combo that worked well together, I'd just buy the matching CD player to make the whole lot look cool :)

My aversion to some systems tends to be because of particular traits though - I'd rather poke my eyes out with a stick than buy *any* system by some particular manufacturers, for example, since I just don't 'get' them, and I tend to like the characteristics of small standmounts or very compact floorstanders over big old coffins which might have been "reference" in the old days.
You're not alone in preferring small speakers; according to some, there are sound technical reasons for this preference, but I'm sure you already know the ideas put forward.

Re: your dislike of some manufacturer's system, I guess manufactuers have to find a niche. I'd suit me if all manufactuers were striving to produce the most accurate systems possible, with size and bass extension giving options for choice. However, others would find this very limiting.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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WinterRacer said:
However, I'm not sure I really belive in then 'synergy' thing, beyond getting an amp that properly drives the speakers you've chosen. Which is not necessarily an easy thing by the way.

Do you believe achieving synergy is something beyond this and/or difficult to achieve? What is synergy to you?

If system synergy really is that hard to achieve, perhaps it's not wonder so many people are dissatisfied with their systems given the evolutionary way we change our systems.
It isn't hard to achieve, and it's not related to system cost or quality either. Some components work really well together, some don't. I do think it is more the amp/speaker combination and less so the source, but as I've already said, I find some DACs work in some systems but sound like they've done nothing in others.
 

WinterRacer

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
It isn't hard to achieve, and it's not related to system cost or quality either. Some components work really well together, some don't. I do think it is more the amp/speaker combination and less so the source, but as I've already said, I find some DACs work in some systems but sound like they've done nothing in others.
Do you have a theory to explain your DAC scenario?

I've only ever really heard a difference between DACs once. The analogue output of a Pioneer DVD/SACD player and the digital of that DVD player into a Cyrus DAC-X. The difference was easy to hear. Comparing SB Touch DAC, MF V-DAC, Cyrus DAC-X and AVI DAC produced no differences I could idenitify - blind of course :)
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
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Lee H said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
If some people had chosen their £10k systems properly in the first place
Isn't that because most people end up with a £10k system rather than putting one together from scratch.
Bit of both.

I think the problem lies in people shopping around for prices. Its human nature to want a bargain, but people buy stuff purely because its a good price, with no thought whatsoever about whether the product is actually going to work well in their system. I think some people assume that because its an expensive product, it IS going to sound great, regardless. Technically, it probably is a great product, but if it has no synergy at all with your system, its a waste of money. If people spent time with their local dealers, comparing stuff, and trying it in their own system, no one would be making these costly mistakes and there'd be less people feeling so so about their system. I get it when some people want to simplify their system, I've been there before with hi-fi vs AV - all in one system or keep them seperate? After simplifying and incorporating both systems together, its not long until I find my mind mulling over how much better the system could be if it was dedicated to one aspect, rather than being a 'jack of all'.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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fr0g said:
Woahh. Sound of someone with little or no observational skills.

Such systems can and do outperform £10,000 systems.

If you read what Steve says..."90% of the performance of the best £10,000 systems"
This question is one probably best answered in a new thread, but: what are the best £10,000 systems?

It's quite possible that the systems you and Steve are thinking of are what I would call quite mediocre £10,000 systems. It's also possible that the sort of system that I think would be a good £10,000 system isn't as good as the systems you're thinking of.
 

AlmaataKZ

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Jan 7, 2009
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Oh, I have a nomination: very easy to build a system with 10k

A streamer e.g. Sb touch (from hd or a nas) or mac mini

A good pre amp e.g. Benchmark hdr or many many others

Atc scm 50a

:)
 

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