Budget V High End

Snooker

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Aug 5, 2011
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I recently had a Naim Unity Atom to try out, at low to moderate volumn there is not much difference between my Budget Denon Ceol N9 and the Atom, in fact at these moderate to low volumes I actually think the Denon has more Bass

However at really high to very high volumn the Naim Unity Atom sounds stunning its significantly better, but this is no good if you live in an average house or flat with neighbours either side

So unless you have a detached house etc, you might as well just use a decent cheaper budget system which sounds more or less as good as the high end unit at low to moderate volumn

Both units tested with Kef Q150's
 
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Gray

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I recently had a Naim Unity Atom to try out, at low to moderate volumn there is not much difference between my Budget Denon Ceol N9 and the Atom, in fact at these moderate to low volumes I actually think the Denon has more Bass

However at really high to very high volumn the Naim Unity Atom sounds stunning significantly better, but this is no good if you live in an average house or flat with neighbours either side

So unless you have a detached house etc, you might as well just use a decent cheaper system which sounds more or less as good as the high end unit at low to moderate volumn

Both units tested with Kef Q150's
I've got no doubt that, for the reasons you've given, the full potential of most (non-headohone) systems is never heard.

Is there anything (good) that doesn't better when louder?
 
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Gray

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Not sure that's my experience - even at conversational background listening levels a good system should deliver audible benefits.
Absolutely, as it should.
But anyone that only ever listens at background levels is seriously missing out.
Whether they've got attached neighbours or kids asleep, the OP's point is that, for much of the time, they could have got similar enjoyment by paying less. I agree with that.

Some people read or talk while 'listening'.....WTF is that all about? :unsure:
Still, it probably looks good - nice bit of furniture - often chosen / vetted by 'the better half'.
Either I listen to the hi-fi or it's off.
That way I get almost the full potential from my relatively modest outlay.
I say almost because, in a semi-detached house, I could never achieve full potential - no matter how much I spent.

Again, I just ask, is there anything decent that doesn't sound better when played louder?
 
Absolutely, as it should.
But anyone that only ever listens at background levels is seriously missing out.
Whether they've got attached neighbours or kids asleep, the OP's point is that, for much of the time, they could have got similar enjoyment by paying less. I agree with that.

Some people read or talk while 'listening'.....WTF is that all about? :unsure:
Still, it probably looks good - nice bit of furniture - often chosen / vetted by 'the better half'.
Either I listen to the hi-fi or it's off.
That way I get almost the full potential from my relatively modest outlay.
I say almost because, in a semi-detached house, I could never achieve full potential - no matter how much I spent.

Again, I just ask, is there anything decent that doesn't sound better when played louder?
Much the same with me. However, having a detached property, I am able to play at considerable levels (when the wife is out).
This ability is why I have the system I own, that and the fact that some of it comes from the days when I was young, free and single. :)
I would agree that for those that are compromised volume -wise the need for high end kit might only make sense if you use headphones.
 

AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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I recently had a Naim Unity Atom to try out, at low to moderate volumn there is not much difference between my Budget Denon Ceol N9 and the Atom, in fact at these moderate to low volumes I actually think the Denon has more Bass

However at really high to very high volumn the Naim Unity Atom sounds stunning its significantly better, but this is no good if you live in an average house or flat with neighbours either side

So unless you have a detached house etc, you might as well just use a decent cheaper budget system which sounds more or less as good as the high end unit at low to moderate volumn

Both units tested with Kef Q150's
Denon amps used to have loudness buttons to achieve this at low volumes, based on algorhythms and how our ears perceive sound. Probably done with DSP now. I would not be surprised if higher priced amps leave all the aides out because a group of audiophiles prefers a big room and volumes above the average.
 
Denon amps used to have loudness buttons to achieve this at low volumes, based on algorhythms and how our ears perceive sound. Probably done with DSP now. I would not be surprised if higher priced amps leave all the aides out because a group of audiophiles prefers a big room and volumes above the average.
plenty of high end amps still have all the usual aides
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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I recently had a Naim Unity Atom to try out, at low to moderate volumn there is not much difference between my Budget Denon Ceol N9 and the Atom, in fact at these moderate to low volumes I actually think the Denon has more Bass

However at really high to very high volumn the Naim Unity Atom sounds stunning its significantly better, but this is no good if you live in an average house or flat with neighbours either side

So unless you have a detached house etc, you might as well just use a decent cheaper budget system which sounds more or less as good as the high end unit at low to moderate volumn

Both units tested with Kef Q150's
From personal experience I know some amps are better at low volumes than others, regardless of retail price. One of my main traits I look for in a system is how they cope with overall balance at all volumes, particularly low to idling levels.

I've owned £390 entry-level Arcam and now a £1200 Leema. Both are very good and demonstrate ability at low volumes. In addition a amp will only perorm to its maximum ability if the synergy is correct. Perhaps the synergy between the Naim and Kefs isn't quite right therefore sound better when the volume is cranked up, maybe masking some small sonic deficiencies... this last part of the paragraph is purely guess work based on the info you've given.

But a well balanced budget system will out perform a imperfect midrange set-up.
 

RoA

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Feb 11, 2021
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I recently had a Naim Unity Atom to try out, at low to moderate volumn there is not much difference between my Budget Denon Ceol N9 and the Atom, in fact at these moderate to low volumes I actually think the Denon has more Bass

However at really high to very high volumn the Naim Unity Atom sounds stunning its significantly better, but this is no good if you live in an average house or flat with neighbours either side

So unless you have a detached house etc, you might as well just use a decent cheaper budget system which sounds more or less as good as the high end unit at low to moderate volumn

Both units tested with Kef Q150's
If you have more difficult to drive and/or larger speakers, the Atom would be a more capable partner and so it should be for the money. - The 'more bass' of the Denon is likely due to having less control of the drivers.

It's all about matching and you obviously done a good job for your usage.
 
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Snooker

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Not that I’m sticking up for the Naim, as I feel it’s overpriced, but did you try out any other loudspeakers than the Q150s? What you can squeeze out of a system depends on the loudspeakers you use - as well as choosing a loudspeaker that doesn’t tax mini lifestyle systems as well.
The Kef Q150's need just a minimum of 10 watts/channel and are easy for both units to drive
 

Snooker

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Aug 5, 2011
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But while the Q150s are fine for the CEOL (low impedance not withstanding), the Naim should be able to outperform the CEOL with a better pair of speakers that the CEOL isn’t up to driving.
Sorry I did not read your post correctly

I see what you mean, but they even say that the Kef Q150's are close to sounding like the Kef LS50's, and I feel they are more than could enough for the test I did as at really high volume they sounded stunning on the naim atom that's not in question, its just I think at moderate to low volume there is not really much difference in sound quality between the two systems
 

Edbostan

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Aug 5, 2021
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I read in a magazine years ago that an American pianist bought a midi system. This was due that audio equipment could not replicate the ambience and scale of a live performance.
 

AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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I read in a magazine years ago that an American pianist bought a midi system. This was due that audio equipment could not replicate the ambience and scale of a live performance.
I get it somehow

A concert is "what is there" as in players and instruments + ampflification

If one would record it and even play it on the same speakers in the hall without the live performance, a listener would not have the same experience.

For a real experience with speakers every player should somehow get its own speaker on a stage besides the main ampflication.

A musician who is absorbed in music from performance to performance probably cares a bit about the contents of the performance and not so much about a duplication of the same experience. A Midi system then does well for the bigger lines and the little clarity, the scratches, coughs and clicks that audiophiles care about doesnt have priority. For them the real thing overshadows everything else.

There is a different mindset or maybe a different priority about what musicians and audiophiles "nerd" about. :)
 
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shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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Hi,
Can a budget system sound as good as a high end system ?

Yes. Since it is purely the subjective experience that matters.

The dismissive nature of people in regards to budget systems or midi systems is pure snobbery, or anxiety that there must be something better.

When you understand that some manufacturers purposefully implement distortion to provide a house sound, and people "interpret" this as more detail, then high end is no more better than budget.

Whenever i read posts/threads on forums, then the majority is that the more you pay, then the better it has to be. This leads very conveniently into the foo area of cables, power supplies, and all manner exotic products that feature quantum, nano, or cryogenic attributes.

If you enjoy the sound, midi, budget, or otherwise, then stick with it. Any changes are just that, different, and money does not mean better.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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I detest the attitude of those who say that lower cost necessarily means poorer performance.
The best thing about this particular forum is that there are (currently) far fewer misguided snobs.
Agreed. In the past I have owned excellent products by Meridian, Audio Research and Musical Fidelity..but the most satisfying part of my ‘audio journey’ has been getting much more enjoyment from much less expensive equipment. 🙂
 
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RCduck7

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Aug 18, 2007
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I agree and disagree. There is snakeoil in this business but on the other hand it takes a very expensive speaker to find decent build and crossover parts in it. And i wonder why. Better crossover parts are slightly more costly but most of the time you can only find them in very expensive speakers. Vintage amplifiers have a big power supply, big heatsinks and premium finish. To get a modern version of this is is out of reach for most people.
 
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