cheap-Fi

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Hi-Fi, of course, stands for high-fidelity. And much of what we can buy amounts to cheap-fidelity (whatever you choose that to mean)?

It’s pointless, for me, to disparage cheap-Fi. Because I buy it (perhaps not as often now [because my collection is plentiful]).

Well, yes, KI Ruby series I own is certainly cheap-Fi. As is the perhaps less contentious America sourced BDP-S3700 I use to play region-A Criterion Blu-ray.

In certain contexts, I'm all for celebrating cheap-Fi.​
 
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shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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Hi,
There is nothing wrong with cheap audio equipment, as long as it is safe. As very good quality sound can be obtained for very little money.

There is too much snobbery in hifi, coupled with a lot of BS and myth, people pay far too much for equipment for very little, if any, benefit.

That is the beauty of What Hifi, there is no snobbery in what they are presenting, as the equipment is as good as the high end. I read other forums, and their disparaging remarks against What Hifi is comical given that they are so easily suckered,

Regards,
Shadders.
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
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Cheap? My Gf would baulk at the thought of spending even 200 quid on an amplifier.

Echo Dot is where it's at ...
 
Hi,
There is nothing wrong with cheap audio equipment, as long as it is safe. As very good quality sound can be obtained for very little money.

There is too much snobbery in hifi, coupled with a lot of BS and myth, people pay far too much for equipment for very little, if any, benefit.

That is the beauty of What Hifi, there is no snobbery in what they are presenting, as the equipment is as good as the high end. I read other forums, and their disparaging remarks against What Hifi is comical given that they are so easily suckered,

Regards,
Shadders.
I agree, and I’m all for keeping things real world, but there’s also quite a bit of belief from certain groups of people that a lot of this cheap hi-fi is as good as can be had. I’m not going to mention specifics, but DACs for less than £500 and streamers for peanuts. There seems to be a thought process that if the signal gets from A to B, then that’s the be all and end all, and anything at twice the price is a rip off. But because some YouTube wannabe said it’s the best things since sliced bread, and better than others at five times the price, it has to be true, doesn’t it?
 

shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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I agree, and I’m all for keeping things real world, but there’s also quite a bit of belief from certain groups of people that a lot of this cheap hi-fi is as good as can be had. I’m not going to mention specifics, but DACs for less than £500 and streamers for peanuts. There seems to be a thought process that if the signal gets from A to B, then that’s the be all and end all, and anything at twice the price is a rip off. But because some YouTube wannabe said it’s the best things since sliced bread, and better than others at five times the price, it has to be true, doesn’t it?
Hi,
From a software system design aspect, then a costly streamer may be a better product in its user operation, features and support, but from an audio perspective it is no better than a cheap streamer.

ASR test DAC's and the best measuring are some of the cheapest, and Chinese. I don't think we can confuse cost with sound quality. On hifi forums, the snobbery where cost means better sound, is very prevalent.

So, cheap equipment is no worse than expensive equipment.

I assume you mean streamers for the signal to get from A to B. Then yes, as long as the the streamer digital interface is within specification, then there is no issue.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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That is the beauty of What Hifi, there is no snobbery in what they are presenting, as the equipment is as good as the high end.
I don't know whether you read the magazine any more, but that's very much not what is said - I'm thinking about the 'temptations' section, and the fact that there are best buys in different price bands.
 

shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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I don't know whether you read the magazine any more, but that's very much not what is said - I'm thinking about the 'temptations' section, and the fact that there are best buys in different price bands.
Hi,
Cheaper hifi is no worse than high end. Having price bands is just that, a price band, not a sound quality band.

Paying more does not provide a better sounding piece of equipment. High end is just bling, or veblen goods marketing.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

12th Monkey

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That's a different matter, and of course it doesn't. But it does imply that better is available at higher prices. I'm not going to continue this as we are straying off topic.
 

shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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Hi @Wil
Are you indicating that the What Hifi Awards 2021 Amplifier section (example) are cheap-fi given your reference to the KI Ruby series ?

Regards,
Shadders.
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
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Hi @Wil
Are you indicating that the What Hifi Awards 2021 Amplifier section (example) are cheap-fi given your reference to the KI Ruby series ?

Regards,
Shadders.
If high-fidelity is the-ultimate-goal. Everything below the price (and specs) of the Relentless is but cheap-Fi.
And if high-fidelity is the-ultimate-goal, we need to replicate at home exactly the original recording/mastering studio (their products used and room acoustics)?
 
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shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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If high-fidelity is the-ultimate-goal. Everything below the price and specs of the Relentless is but cheap-Fi.
Hi,
Thanks for clarifying.

I have examined the circuit diagrams for some well known makes of amplifiers, and excluding current feedback architecture, zero feedback (claimed) amplifiers, or valve amplifiers, many follow the same circuit design topology.

Transistors cost pennies, so unless there is an oversized power supply and exotic casework, the What Hifi awards equipment is hifi.

There are amplifiers available that have large power supplies (Abrahamsen) that are quite cheap, and are no different from high end apart from the casework.

On another forum recently, there was talk of class D amplifiers, and one amplifier was deemed superior to another despite them both having the same class D modules and power supply - one had a much heavier case - and was the one preferred.

In the end, cheap fi (as per your indication) is hifi, and this can be seen through the measurements.

I suppose cheap fi is cheap when compared to £20k turntables, or £100k amplifiers that are available.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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I’m honestly pressed for time, so can only sketch the skeleton…

Let’s take my present perspective that (discussion of) “Hi-Fi” be conveyed only in terms of a setup (especially naming specific speakers/headphones that produce the-sound).

Readers who linked through previously and read around would know the winner for WHF Product of the Year, 2021, Stereo Amplifier. And what is the corresponding winner for Standmount Speakers?


https://www.whathifi.com/awards/2021


In short, if someone were buying those 2 Products of the Year, would the PM6007 really be an adequate match to drive the LS50 Meta?
Hi,
Thanks for clarifying.

I have examined the circuit diagrams for some well known makes of amplifiers, and excluding current feedback architecture, zero feedback (claimed) amplifiers, or valve amplifiers, many follow the same circuit design topology.

Transistors cost pennies, so unless there is an oversized power supply and exotic casework, the What Hifi awards equipment is hifi.

There are amplifiers available that have large power supplies (Abrahamsen) that are quite cheap, and are no different from high end apart from the casework.

On another forum recently, there was talk of class D amplifiers, and one amplifier was deemed superior to another despite them both having the same class D modules and power supply - one had a much heavier case - and was the one preferred.

In the end, cheap fi (as per your indication) is hifi, and this can be seen through the measurements.

I suppose cheap fi is cheap when compared to £20k turntables, or £100k amplifiers that are available.

Regards,
Shadders.
How high-fidelity should Hi-Fi be? Enthusiasts aka audiophiles should keep in mind, be aware of over-spec amps that can really drive loudspeakers properly.

And concerning loudspeakers, I’m likely to be looking into (at home for many months) a recent acclaimed £249 cheap-Fi model…
 
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shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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In short, if someone were buying those 2 Products of the Year, would the PM6007 really be an adequate match to drive the LS50 Meta?
Hi,
When you examine hifi components to try and match, then you always examine the capability of the amplifier if the speaker is a difficult load.

How high-fidelity should Hi-Fi be? Enthusiasts aka audiophiles should keep in mind, be aware of over-spec amps that can really drive loudspeakers properly
It depends on the speaker load. A very costly valve amplifier will not drive low impedance, low sensitivity speakers to a high volume.

Some speakers are very sensitive, so an amplifier that is in class A for the first 20watts (example) will drive the speakers loud whilst still operating in class A.

And concerning loudspeakers, I’m likely to be looking into (at home for many months) a recent acclaimed £249 cheap-Fi model…
I think taking out the "hi" and replacing it with "cheap" is probably not doing the speakers justice. Some people promote single driver loudspeakers (full range driver), claiming that they sound as good as two or three way loudspeakers. So, cost is not the issue, but performance or subjective impressions are all that matter.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Worth recalling that "Burmester 088/911Mk3 pre/power (£36,150)" is part of WHF's Our current hi-fi reference system. What does that and the other products on that Reference list mean to you?

And eariler today I skimmed:
"Tested at £16998/14998 / $17000/15000 / AU$31995/24995"


Everything below the price (and specs) of the Relentless is but cheap-Fi.
 

shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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Worth recalling that "Burmester 088/911Mk3 pre/power (£36,150)" is part of WHF's Our current hi-fi reference system. What does that and the other products on that Reference list mean to you?
Hi,
As per D'Agostino amplifiers, they are more a work of art, than hifi. When you examine the distortion profile for these large amplifiers, and the number of output devices per channel, then crossover distortion must be negligible, yet it is not.

You can achieve equivalent performance with Benchmark, Musical Fidelity or Cambridge Audio amplifiers.

Blind testing is key to determine whether the high end amplifiers really are worth the money, in terms of listening pleasure.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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Have you read, what I’ll euphemistically call, the (rival) Magi extolling the Relentless mono? It does leave (me) the impression it’s the-benchmark pinnacle bridging Hi-Fi’s musical-fidelity.
Hi,
I do read Hifi News, and it was interesting to see the amplifier review.

The idle power is 0.5kW, which is quite a lot of power with it just switched on. The cost is excessive, and only those very affluent could afford it.

Does it sound as good compared to how much it costs ? I don't think it will, since Bob Carver proved that you can match the sound of another amplifier using signal processing techniques.

So cheap hifi is not any better or worse than high end.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
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Hmmm, others are welcome to give their thoughts while I step back to take a break.
So cheap hifi is not any better or worse than high end.
Language is marvellous thing, yet, I seldom use the term “high end.”

Let’s say in this capitalist/commerce, goods-and-services world we live, prices (under scrutiny [from professionals/press and consumers]) are fair… I proved WHF has a Reference System that’s “high end.” And it better be “better” than “cheap hifi.”

Whether individually, each of us can admit (and celebrate) owning cheap-Fi? that’s a question someone privately had voiced.

My KI Ruby is certainly cheap-Fi, Ken did what-he-could for its price-point—but the set is about half the price of their 10 Series (which are better, but not quite twice-as-good as Ruby).

Anyone want to invoke the law of diminishing marginal returns?
 
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