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Hifi is all the same?

Simon 13th note

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This arises from the other thread and is an interesting construct I’ve always thought.

If you buy a robin reliant it’s a good car as you prefer and like it, but if you own a ford focus, it’s also a good car as you like and prefer it. But which is best? Most people know the answer!

In hifi this concept of mixing preference with actual performance is wrong because there isn’t much difference to the sound of different hifi within sound quality brackets - it’s not like fine wine. The range of preference as to what sounds good, is quite narrow which goes against the connoisseur notion of hifi.

Ok but hifi is subjective? But is it? How much subjectivity is there between a more detailed, responsive and dynamic amp then a lesser one in these areas. I’ve often had this with friends round when I’ve reviewed gear for pretty much all to say a particular pair of headphones are rubbish.

I think this is problematic for hifi as not only can some hifi reviewers make them the same, qualitatively, but consumers owning them will say the same because of buying egos, and then dealers because of the sales motivation. At the end of the day, it’s hard to get what is best taking out sonic preference (warm,neutral etc) and be directed to the best products. Btw I think what hifi are one of the best with credibility as they have a strong base.

so is hifi all the same?
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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All Hi-Fi sounds different due to the interaction between the components, with the room being the biggest variable.

When you choose your equipment you also have to choose whether you want it to sound nice, or to sound like the producer intended. (This is difficult to do unless you were at the recording session)

WHF is a subjective review magazine (Which if your tastes and ears are similar to the reviewers is great) however it cannot convey whether the product they are listening to is accurate as there is no standardised base line. (Everyone’s impression is different)

The best reviews are those that combine in depth measurement with listening so as to make sure that what you like about the equipment is not caused by bad design that just happens to work well with the other components you are using.

Bill
 
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Simon 13th note

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All Hi-Fi sounds different due to the interaction between the components, with the room being the biggest variable.

When you choose your equipment you also have to choose whether you want it to sound nice, or to sound like the producer intended. (This is difficult to do unless you were at the recording session)

WHF is a subjective review magazine (Which if your tastes and ears are similar to the reviewers is great) however it cannot convey whether the product they are listening to is accurate as there is no standardised base line. (Everyone’s impression is different)

The best reviews are those that combine in depth measurement with listening so as to make sure that what you like about the equipment is not caused by bad design that just happens to work well with the other components you are using.

Bill
so You don’t think anything is objective. That hifi will sound the same depending on what’s paired?
 

12th Monkey

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The car analogy might not always be the best one - a modern saloon is objectively better than an old Land Rover in almost every measurable way - unless you want to drive off road. Some systems work better with different genres, and therefore people may have different preferences because they listen to folk or jazz rather than rock.

But clearly with sufficient contrast, there is 'objectively better'
 

Adam W.

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Aug 19, 2020
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I've been thinking about this recently. Before I bought my HiFi (Cambridge CXA81, Cambridge CXC and Wharfedale 11.4s), I had listened to a few different systems and read countless reviews.

I'm not entirely sure how useful reviews of audio equipment really are. Of course, they sometimes provide useful technical specifications and overall quality information, but because sound quality is subjective it's difficult to make a decision based solely on a reviewer's opinion.

I found many reviews of the CXA81 contradicting. Some said it sounds warm and some cold. Some said the DAC is really good and other's didn't.

A retailer I went to demonstrated two systems back to back for me. One was as in the $3,000 range (Yamaha/B&W) and the other around $20,000 (McIntosh and Paradigm).

I listened to the same music on both systems. The difference was, in my opinion, very small... tiny. Certainly not what I expected.

I would take my Cambridge and Wharfedale gear over those. People might call me crazy but I honestly think my $3,500 system sounds better than the $20,000 system I listened to.
 
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slunky

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Jul 19, 2020
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If people spend £20,000 on a system they automatically think that it will blow a £3,500 system out of the water.
Sometimes it will sometimes it won't.
And it's also called hi fi snobbery.
 

12th Monkey

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Flip side of that is if you choose with equal care about what matters to you from the whole of the market, the £20k setup will be very significantly better. Returns do diminish, but you'd need to be spending very serious sums before they practically disappear.
 
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Simon 13th note

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I've been thinking about this recently. Before I bought my HiFi (Cambridge CXA81, Cambridge CXC and Wharfedale 11.4s), I had listened to a few different systems and read countless reviews.

I'm not entirely sure how useful reviews of audio equipment really are. Of course, they sometimes provide useful technical specifications and overall quality information, but because sound quality is subjective it's difficult to make a decision based solely on a reviewer's opinion.

I found many reviews of the CXA81 contradicting. Some said it sounds warm and some cold. Some said the DAC is really good and other's didn't.

A retailer I went to demonstrated two systems back to back for me. One was as in the $3,000 range (Yamaha/B&W) and the other around $20,000 (McIntosh and Paradigm).

I listened to the same music on both systems. The difference was, in my opinion, very small... tiny. Certainly not what I expected.

I would take my Cambridge and Wharfedale gear over those. People might call me crazy but I honestly think my $3,500 system sounds better than the $20,000 system I listened to.
hifi is the sort of thing you have to listen at home before you can make your mind up, and sq can be subtle but nontheless very decent. If I’d heard a Bartok in a shop I’d be underwhelmed but at home a different story. i agree it doesn’t blow lesser gear out the water, but generally it is better.
 
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plus 1

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hifi is the sort of thing you have to listen at home before you can make your mind up, and sq can be subtle but nontheless very decent. If I’d heard a Bartok in a shop I’d be underwhelmed but at home a different story. i agree it doesn’t blow lesser gear out the water, but generally it is better.
listening at home, for at least a week, is essential as far as i'm concerned.

an hour or so demo in an unfamiliar dealers demo room, under pressure to buy / not to buy, is not the best situation for making a purchase decision that may cost a years worth of saving.
 
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Friesiansam

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Feb 3, 2015
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All Hi-Fi sounds different due to the interaction between the components, with the room being the biggest variable.
Even if you take the room out of the equation, no two people's ears are the same, no two people's sonic preference is the same and we all like listening to different music. Added to which, figures and graphs don't tell you what something sounds like. For example, my old headphone amp had a lower claimed distortion figure than my current one but, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that the new sounds unambiguously better.
 

Blacksabbath25

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Sep 20, 2015
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off topic but i noted your yamaha kit.
i wonder what has happened to the new cd-s3200 to match the new a-s3200 ?
I kept my Yamaha CD 2100 as i thought there wouldn't be much of a difference between the CD 3000 and the CD 2100 .
I do a lot more streaming now so the CD 2100 hardly goes on like it used to but not going to sell it as i have kept my Cd collection .
Yamaha have brought out a new Yamaha A-S 3200 amplifier but again there is not much difference between my model and the new one and do not think Yamaha made a new CD player this time round to go with the new Yamaha A-S 3200
 

plus 1

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I kept my Yamaha CD 2100 as i thought there wouldn't be much of a difference between the CD 3000 and the CD 2100 .
I do a lot more streaming now so the CD 2100 hardly goes on like it used to but not going to sell it as i have kept my Cd collection .
Yamaha have brought out a new Yamaha A-S 3200 amplifier but again there is not much difference between my model and the new one and do not think Yamaha made a new CD player this time round to go with the new Yamaha A-S 3200
i believe a 3200 cd player was in development but as stated not released as of yet (?).
 

Blacksabbath25

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i believe a 3200 cd player was in development but as stated not released as of yet (?).
Not showing on there website as of yet i do not think but when the Yamaha A-S3000 came out the CD player came out the same time so not sure but wish Yamaha made a streamer of the same quality as there amplifiers which i do not understand why they have not as of yet
 

plus 1

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Not showing on there website as of yet i do not think but when the Yamaha A-S3000 came out the CD player came out the same time so not sure but wish Yamaha made a streamer of the same quality as there amplifiers which i do not understand why they have not as of yet
i was informed a cd3200 was in development for release this year - might be wrong info but it is what i was told !

the cd3000 is old now as regard to dac used but i'm sure it sounds as good as ever if a little slow reading a disk !

as for the streamer well that might be in production as we speak - the other kit is certainly well made / solid.
 

Al ears

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Not showing on there website as of yet i do not think but when the Yamaha A-S3000 came out the CD player came out the same time so not sure but wish Yamaha made a streamer of the same quality as there amplifiers which i do not understand why they have not as of yet
I can see where you're coming from but applaud Yamaha by sticking to their guns and going for quality and reliability over everything else. Build an amplifier that's quality rather than following the masses and a streamer that may not be of brilliant quality and requires expensive work on developing software programming to get it to function.
There's enough streaming devices on the market already I feel.
 
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plus 1

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I can see where you're coming from but applaud Yamaha by sticking to their guns and going for quality and reliability over everything else. Build an amplifier that's quality rather than following the masses and a streamer that may not be of brilliant quality and requires expensive work on developing software programming to get it to function.
There's enough streaming devices on the market already I feel.
any reply to post #18 ?
 

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