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Best and Worst things about HiFi

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Glacialpath

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Apr 7, 2010
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Ajani said:
I think DBT is more about removing expectation bias than optimising the use of your ears. So in the case of a painting, you might be asked to judge a painting without being told the name of the artist. This way you judge the artwork based solely on how it looks, rather than the whether it is from a famous artist, etc...
You're right Ajani. It is more to do with the expectation. To me though we are just as likely to be dissapointed if something doesn't make the difference as believeing it's better cause of the placebo factor.

To me a DBT is not really that different from seeing what's going on.
 

Ajani

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Apr 9, 2008
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Glacialpath said:
DBTs I get them. Take away one sense to optimise the hearing. Of course some people will listen to music with their eyes closed to get the purest experience possible but without smell our perseption of taste is dulled considerably, the same the other way around just not so much.

Take away sight you might hear a lion roar. Open your eyes and it will be a tiger. Ok if you are around these animals all the time you will get to know the differences. Theres the scenario again, being there.

I was in Isotek for a demo at this years Bristol show. I heard the demo, heard the differences then asked them to put a CD on I bought. It sounded aweful. So though I heard the improvements on the piece of music they used my CD sounded worse than when I have it at home. Of course their system wasn't meant to sound perfect it was just there to play out the differences the Isotek products make. I've been in to PMC one year, put on a CD I had and it sounded awefull.

That's all with my eyes and ears abd OK I wasn't doing side by side comparisson. My point is I hate it when people try to ram home DBT is the only way.

If you listen to one item of Hi-Fi then change it for another leaving everything else the same. It will either sound worse, better or no different to our senses. I mean would you block your ears to see if a painting looked better......Now I'm just being silly ;-)
I think DBT is more about removing expectation bias than optimising the use of your ears. So in the case of a painting, you might be asked to judge a painting without being told the name of the artist. This way you judge the artwork based solely on how it looks, rather than the whether it is from a famous artist, etc...

So to take it back to HiFi: You go to audition the KEF LS50. You know that it is currently the king of great reviews in its price range and has won loads of product of the year awards. Chances are you will judge it with all that in mind. So it is possible that you will: 1) Go easy on it and gloss over any issues you have with it, solely on the grounds that you expect it to be amazing OR 2) Be overly critical of it, because all the hype had you expecting to hear angels singing in your ears. So in either case you wouldn't judge it fairly, because of your expectations.

I agree that DBT is certainly not the only way and it's not always easy or practical to do... Plus aesthetics is a factor for some of us, so some products would need to be ruled out regardless of how good they sound.
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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Jota180 said:
Just sat through a couple of hours of different tracks from different bands and I'm finding the most annoying thing about HIFI is not so much the HIFI but poorly mastered CD's.
Agreed.

For me it is the generation's worth of wasted popular music that is unlistenable to because of the loudness wars.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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andyjm said:
Jota180 said:
Just sat through a couple of hours of different tracks from different bands and I'm finding the most annoying thing about HIFI is not so much the HIFI but poorly mastered CD's.
Agreed.

For me it is the generation's worth of wasted popular music that is unlistenable to because of the loudness wars.
Which is mostly sh!t. Nothing to do with modern music, the 80/20 % (+/- 3dB) rule has always applied to popular music.

This is more than offset, for me anyway, by the 60 to 70 years of popular music that is available on Spotify (or similar) for a very modest fee.

Last night I was feeling a bit nostalgic (unusual for me) so I played some of Michael Bloomfield's more obscure recordings from the 60s and 70s, starting off with the epic 'Blues on a Westside'.

Strangely I do not miss One Direction or Adele one bit........*stop*
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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Totally agree about the quality of recordings.

But for me, 1. The best thing about Hifi is having a system that can reproduce music at a level that transports you some place else. Close your eyes and say goodbye to the rat-race and world events...for a time at least

2. The worst thing is picking your way through the torrent of sheer dishonesty, from overpriced cables and pointless "upgrades" and less than honest salesmen and reviews (and yes there are plenty of decent honest ones too), to the record companies pushing ever more expensive, unnecessary high bit rate formats whilst they leave CD and standard downloads to their uber-compressed and clipped fate.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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fr0g said:
Totally agree about the quality of recordings.

But for me, 1. The best thing about Hifi is having a system that can reproduce music at a level that transports you some place else. Close your eyes and say goodbye to the rat-race and world events...for a time at least

2. The worst thing is picking your way through the torrent of sheer dishonesty, from overpriced cables and pointless "upgrades" and less than honest salesmen and reviews (and yes there are plenty of decent honest ones too), to the record companies pushing ever more expensive, unnecessary high bit rate formats whilst they leave CD and standard downloads to their uber-compressed and clipped fate.
A view that I find myself very much in agreement with.

In my current (relatively cash poor) situation I know that I can not affort the kind of system that would satisfy me in a hi-fi sense, so I simple do not bother.

I have a simple, very cheap setup that manages to avoid most of the budget hi-fi problems that annoy me so much and a Spotify premium account. So much music to choose from means that the loudness wars simply do not bother me one bit.

Well, apart from Mrs DDC's favourie band, Muse, can be difficult at times but not the worst example.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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davedotco said:
In my current (relatively cash poor) situation I know that I can not affort the kind of system that would satisfy me in a hi-fi sense, so I simple do not bother.
You've always got that amazing system in storage in Cyprus to look forward to one day.
 

relocated

New member
Jan 20, 2012
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Jota180 said:
Just sat through a couple of hours of different tracks from different bands and I'm finding the most annoying thing about HIFI is not so much the HIFI but poorly mastered CD's.

If the world's recording and mastering big-wigs could be brought together at one side of a big room and all the HIFI heads at the other side, with big sticks, I'm sure we could come to an acceptable agreement. :D
Without wishing to be argumentative, they only care about how they are going to get people to 1. Buy their music all over again & 2. Buy another generation of gear.

CD quality electronics and CDs are all our brains/ears need, so without tampering there is no 'churn'. Brilliant idea, let punters down by compressing and down-grading the quality of CDs and then you can sell them 24bit music and the equipment manufacturers get to sell brand new shiny boxes.

To a certain extent I can see why people insist that the 80s and 90s were a golden era for hifi. Huge effort was put into putting out the best quality CDs and some manufacturers understood about CD players and their effect on poorly designed amps, to deliver decent electronics.

Without 'churn' there is no growth, no profits, in an important part of the world economy; so there will always be a new nirvana waiting in the wings. I am enormously fortunate because I am at an age where I couldn't give a monkeys if I never buy any new music.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy discovering new music but I could easily end my days with what I already have and with a music delivery system that I seriously love and couldn't improve on; I'm in Nirvana already. Baby Boomers, what lucky b'stards we are.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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chebby said:
davedotco said:
In my current (relatively cash poor) situation I know that I can not affort the kind of system that would satisfy me in a hi-fi sense, so I simple do not bother.
You've always got that amazing system in storage in Cyprus to look forward to one day.
I'm actually rather worried about it. It is all very well packed and safely stored but what was supposed to be a short stay of a year or two is now into it's seventh year. As I am sure you can imagine the cost of living in west London is pretty extortionate so money is, fairly tight.

Getting the system back to the UK is difficult, I would have to fly out for the weekend, do some repacking and find a removals company prepared to do a 'part' shipment, not cheap. That said I am worried somewhat, it is very nice kit and I would really like to have it here as there seems little likelyhood of me getting out of London in the near future.

BTW. Actually it is in Antequera, in Andalucia about 50 miles north of Marbella.
 

Ajani

New member
Apr 9, 2008
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Another one of the worst things about HiFi (for me) is that the majority of HiFi requires you to tailor your lifestyle to suit your HiFi, rather than tailoring the HiFi to suit your lifestyle.

For example; how many "bookshelf" speakers are actually designed to be used in a bookshelf? So you buy a small pair of speakers, and rather than being able to tuck them away neatly in the room, you need to put them on heavy stands, raise the tweeter to ear level and pull them out about 3 feet from the front and side walls to get them to sound decent.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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Davedotco, have you ever thought about driving out to Cyprus in an estate car to pick up your system?

Treat it as a great touring holiday, with a bonus at the end when you get home.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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lindsayt said:
Davedotco, have you ever thought about driving out to Cyprus in an estate car to pick up your system?

Treat it as a great touring holiday, with a bonus at the end when you get home.
Doh.

My house is, as I said, in Andalucia. It is not in Cyprus.....*dash1*

It's a fair old drive, even if you get the ferry to Bilbao it is easily a 12 hour drive, north south through central Spain, not desperately interesting and I have done it many times. The ferry arrives around 6-7 am so the temptation is to do the drive in the day.

Might think again when the ferry prices drop in the autumn. Still pricy though, really need another driver and will need a hotel for a couple of nights too.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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There are a few ways you could do it.

You could do it the Bilbao way.

Or you could get a courier to bring it all back.

Or you could go on a mediteranean cruise from Southampton, Hire a car for the day from Gibraltar or Cadiz and bring your system back on the cruise ship.

Or you could do a few trips on budget airlines over a few week-ends, bringing it back bit by bit.

Or you could go Dover Calais and either drive down as fast as you can, or drive for an average of 3 hours per day for 7 days each way, staying in budget hotels or campsites. Sightseeing through France and beach hopping along Spains mediteranean coast for a really nice old fashioned type grand touring holiday.
 

MrReaper182

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Apr 6, 2014
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The best thing about hi-fi is as the OP said, it's the variety. The worst thing about hi-fi is people claiming that everyone in the 70's cared about sound quality and that people today don't care about sound quality as much, the majority of people have never cared about sound quality no matter what the decade.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,233
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19,195
MrReaper182 said:
...the majority of people have never cared about sound quality no matter what the decade.
... although, on the whole, they are getting much better sound quality now whether they care about it or not.
 

Ajani

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Apr 9, 2008
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chebby said:
MrReaper182 said:
...the majority of people have never cared about sound quality no matter what the decade.
... although, on the whole, they are getting much better sound quality now whether they care about it or not.
I agree with both points. It's a myth that the majority of people really cared about HiFi back in the day. Plus the sound quality available today from a smartphone and a pair of headphones is truly remarkable.
 

MrReaper182

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Apr 6, 2014
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chebby said:
MrReaper182 said:
...the majority of people have never cared about sound quality no matter what the decade.
... although, on the whole, they are getting much better sound quality now whether they care about it or not.
Not if they buy a pair of Beats heaphones like a lot of people seem to do.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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18,795
MrReaper182 said:
chebby said:
MrReaper182 said:
...the majority of people have never cared about sound quality no matter what the decade.
... although, on the whole, they are getting much better sound quality now whether they care about it or not.
Not if they buy a pair of Beats heaphones like a lot of people seem to do.
How do those awful sounding Beats keep getting five star reviews on Amazon?
 

Ajani

New member
Apr 9, 2008
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steve_1979 said:
MrReaper182 said:
chebby said:
MrReaper182 said:
...the majority of people have never cared about sound quality no matter what the decade.
... although, on the whole, they are getting much better sound quality now whether they care about it or not.
Not if they buy a pair of Beats heaphones like a lot of people seem to do.
How do those awful sounding Beats keep getting five star reviews on Amazon?
Interestingly enough, I just read that the Beats Solo 2 are supposed to be excellent headphones. I won't post the link to the review, but just google the name of the reviewer (Tyll Hertsens) and you should find the review. He is one of the leading headphone reviewers and he thouroughly trashed the original Solo and the other Beats headphones he reviewed.

I am interested to see if the success with the Solo 2 is just luck or a sign that Beats have taken audiphile criticisms to heart.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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18,795
Ajani said:
steve_1979 said:
MrReaper182 said:
chebby said:
MrReaper182 said:
...the majority of people have never cared about sound quality no matter what the decade.
... although, on the whole, they are getting much better sound quality now whether they care about it or not.
Not if they buy a pair of Beats heaphones like a lot of people seem to do.
How do those awful sounding Beats keep getting five star reviews on Amazon?
Interestingly enough, I just read that the Beats Solo 2 are supposed to be excellent headphones. I won't post the link to the review, but just google the name of the reviewer (Tyll Hertsens) and you should find the review. He is one of the leading headphone reviewers and he thouroughly trashed the original Solo and the other Beats headphones he reviewed.

I am interested to see if the success with the Solo 2 is just luck or a sign that Beats have taken audiphile criticisms to heart.
I had a listen to the most expensive pair of Beats they have in an Apple store last week (not sure if it was the Solo 2) and they were rubbish. Bloated bass and an unclear midrange which literally sounds worse than the £5 headphones that my girlfriend owns. They may sound passable when listening to hip hop music while walking around the streets but I wouldn't be able to enjoy any other music on them.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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Ajani said:
I am interested to see if the success with the Solo 2 is just luck or a sign that Beats have taken audiphile criticisms to heart.
I doubt it. If something sells like Beats do, why mess with a "winning" formula, even if it is far from perfect?
 

Ajani

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Apr 9, 2008
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David@FrankHarvey said:
Ajani said:
I am interested to see if the success with the Solo 2 is just luck or a sign that Beats have taken audiphile criticisms to heart.
I doubt it. If something sells like Beats do, why mess with a "winning" formula, even if it is far from perfect?
In the case of Beats there are reasons to potentially make changes:

1) The winning formula was really about the looks and promotion of the product. Those key factors have remained unchanged.

2) Most pro reviews that I've read (even from non-audiophile reviewers) have described the sound as just average or below par for the price. So they could improve the sound while keeping the key factrors in the winning formula unchanged.

Of course, whether most audiophiles would even give Beats a real chance if they fixed the sound quality, or dismiss them off hand is another issue entirely.
 

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