Question Is expensive hifi worth it today?

rob_wales

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Feb 1, 2020
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I have a Marantz PM6007 with a pair of Dali Spektor 2 speakers. I play all my music (mostly classical) via my Samsung S20 phone, and I stream using Amazon HD. The image below shows the location, a room about 9ft by 15ft, with soft furnishings/carpet. I find the sound quality really good and although I have heard other systems in other locations I think I could only really tell any difference if I could listen to them side-by-side. The important point is I really enjoy listening to the music because of the music itself, and as long as the music is played on fairly good quality equipment, as I have, then is there any point in paying thousands for something that is supposed to be superior?

The best piece of music I ever heard was All Along the Watchtower (Hendrix) in 1970 at a friends house where about 10 people were relaxing and perhaps smoking something they shouldn't have (but not me). It was played on vinyl on a slightly dodgy old record player. It sounded so good because of the vibe that was going on. The equipment didn't seem to matter too much.

So, is it worth upsetting my wife (a lot) and spending some money?


05012320230105_155745-2-2.jpg
 
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Some will say it is worthwhile spending the money, others will say no and, you will never get broad agreement. You will just have to decide for yourself.
Agreed, and get some proper stands for those speakers.... :)
The thing with hifi is you can always find something that sounds slightly better but the law of diminishing returns always kicks in at some point but unfortunately this point is different for different people who have different disposable income, and not necessarily a wife :)
 

rob_wales

Well-known member
Feb 1, 2020
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Some will say it is worthwhile spending the money, others will say no and, you will never get broad agreement. You will just have to decide for yourself.
I agree. If I enjoy what I listen to on the gear I have then fine. I think what I was really asking is what is the qualitative difference between mid-priced and higher-end kit.
 

npxavar

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Nov 30, 2022
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I agree. If I enjoy what I listen to on the gear I have then fine. I think what I was really asking is what is the qualitative difference between mid-priced and higher-end kit.
In your case: (a lot) more bass extension. But it can be tricky to get it right in a room of your dimensions, that is you would definately need room treatment.
 

MeanandGreen

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Dec 26, 2012
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I agree. If I enjoy what I listen to on the gear I have then fine. I think what I was really asking is what is the qualitative difference between mid-priced and higher-end kit.
There isn‘t a black and white answer to this. It depends…

Firstly you seem happy with what you have and throwing money at it without taking certain aspects into consideration might actually make it worse.

I would begin with small steps and firstly position your speakers on dedicated speaker stands and experiment with placement against the rear wall and then further out away from the wall, experimenting in this way you will gain insight into how much the room and speaker placement affect what you hear.

I‘m not familiar with your equipment or how you connect your phone to the system, could you clarify what type of connection you use please?

In simplistic terms high fidelity is a flat frequency response, with inaudible and almost unmeasurable distortion. Nether adding nor subtracting anything from the music signal, your current electronics will fit that category.

Speakers on the other hand and how they play in your room are where things go downhill and speakers are where I’d put most of the budget as long as you are prepared to try and position them to get the best you can from them.

I would recommend getting speakers sized for the room so smaller speakers for smaller rooms and vice versa.

I would look at speaker placement first. Then speakers, then room correction software/DSP long before looking at anything else unless you need some functionality you don’t currently have.
 
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rob_wales

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Feb 1, 2020
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I‘m not familiar with your equipment or how you connect your phone to the system, could you clarify what type of connection you use please?
My Marantz PM6007 doesn't have bluetooth, so I use a BT adaptor wired to the CD inputs on the amp. My phone connects to the BT adaptor. I can also connect the phone directly using RCA connector to the amp, but the signal seems weaker in volume.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
In isolation every system sounds good. Once you test side by side with a more expensive piece of kit, there will be a difference. How much of a difference will depend on the two kits and the relative price points -- and how one interprets the improvement. But a well matched budget system can sound as good an expensive bundles that doesnt gel quite as well.

I also found in a cheaper system I'm less judgemental.

Ultimately a good system is good regardless of price point.
 

Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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Everything sounds great until you hear something better :D

If you don’t want to spend more, don’t audition new components. There’s a lot to say for just kicking back with a decent enough system and enjoying the music like you say. Unfortunately curiosity comes beckoning…
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Everything sounds great until you hear something better :D

If you don’t want to spend more, don’t audition new components. There’s a lot to say for just kicking back with a decent enough system and enjoying the music like you say. Unfortunately curiosity comes beckoning…
Yep, just listen to music and enjoy bundles. Sometimes over analysing can be a negative
 
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Dom

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I would say generally the higher the budget the better the hifi but if you can be happy with what you got, then that's all you need.

The new Naim NSC 222 streaming pre amplifier is out now and it costs a whopping £5700. Why anyone would buy it is beyond me. I'm content with what I have.(y)
 
I would say generally the higher the budget the better the hifi but if you can be happy with what you got, then that's all you need.

The new Naim NSC 222 streaming pre amplifier is out now and it costs a whopping £5700. Why anyone would buy it is beyond me. I'm content with what I have.(y)
People will buy them as the simply must have the best and the latest...it's a bit like changing your car every three years....
 
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MrReaper182

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Apr 6, 2014
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I bet music played on high end hi-fi that costs thousands sounds great as music played on midrange hi-fi systems sound so much better than music played on all in one systems that most non audiophiles own . Unlike most people who have commented on this post I will say if you can afford to buy an high end hi-fi system then go for it as you will get lots and lots of enjoyment from it as music played from it will probably sound better than most of the hi-fi systems (like mine) that people own who comment on this forum.
 

Friesiansam

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Feb 3, 2015
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I bet music played on high end hi-fi that costs thousands sounds great as music played on midrange hi-fi systems sound so much better than music played on all in one systems that most non audiophiles own . Unlike most people who have commented on this post I will say if you can afford to buy an high end hi-fi system then go for it as you will get lots and lots of enjoyment from it as music played from it will probably sound better than most of the hi-fi systems (like mine) that people own who comment on this forum.
If I could afford to buy really high-end kit, I wouldn't care what people on a forum say.
 

Gray

Well-known member
is there any point in paying thousands for something that is supposed to be superior?
Not always.
Wharfedale 12.3 might be a good specific example.
Hi-fi Choice did a group test of £1000 floorstanders. They chose the £500 12.3 as the winner.
The reviewer swapped out his normal £3000 (unspecified) pair to do the test. He said that, with the Wharfedales, he 'missed very little' and that the differences were 'vanishingly small'.

WHF made them product of the year, making the point that it was previously impossible for such a low cost pair of floorstanders to be any good.

As I've said on another thread, a mate has just bought the 12.3 (and only paid £450) and keeps telling me how amazed he is by their quality.
"F*****g amazing" was his last comment....."would have happily paid a grand".

We know that often you really do get what you pay for, spending more can mean better.
But, a common mistake is thinking that spending more will guarantee buying better.
 

Dom

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Not always.
Wharfedale 12.3 might be a good specific example.
Hi-fi Choice did a group test of £1000 floorstanders. They chose the £500 12.3 as the winner.
The reviewer swapped out his normal £3000 (unspecified) pair to do the test. He said that, with the Wharfedales, he 'missed very little' and that the differences were 'vanishingly small'.

WHF made them product of the year, making the point that it was previously impossible for such a low cost pair of floorstanders to be any good.

As I've said on another thread, a mate has just bought the 12.3 (and only paid £450) and keeps telling me how amazed he is by their quality.
"F*****g amazing" was his last comment....."would have happily paid a grand".

We know that often you really do get what you pay for, spending more can mean better.
But, a common mistake is thinking that spending more will guarantee buying better.
Fair enough, but...
You would have to know what your looking for from your speakers. You might not know one speaker was better from psychoacoustic observations.

Lets take the M S Mezzo 6 (£650) vs the Dynaudio Emit M30 (£1250). The Mezzo 6 attack while the the Emit M30 control IMO.

Its an apples to oranges comparison, Gray.
 
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Emark600

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2022
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I have a Marantz PM6007 with a pair of Dali Spektor 2 speakers. I play all my music (mostly classical) via my Samsung S20 phone, and I stream using Amazon HD. The image below shows the location, a room about 9ft by 15ft, with soft furnishings/carpet. I find the sound quality really good and although I have heard other systems in other locations I think I could only really tell any difference if I could listen to them side-by-side. The important point is I really enjoy listening to the music because of the music itself, and as long as the music is played on fairly good quality equipment, as I have, then is there any point in paying thousands for something that is supposed to be superior?

The best piece of music I ever heard was All Along the Watchtower (Hendrix) in 1970 at a friends house where about 10 people were relaxing and perhaps smoking something they shouldn't have (but not me). It was played on vinyl on a slightly dodgy old record player. It sounded so good because of the vibe that was going on. The equipment didn't seem to matter too much.

So, is it worth upsetting my wife (a lot) and spending some money?


View attachment 4217
I agree with you regarding the sound quality, sure my set up is way better than the environment it sits in……but a set of super sexy speakers and associated separates etc sitting in your lounge, IMO don’t even have to be switched on to make me happy.

it’s horses for courses though, I do know of a feller with a Ducati 916 sat in his lounge…..and totally understand why…
 
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MeanandGreen

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Dec 26, 2012
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I bet music played on high end hi-fi that costs thousands sounds great as music played on midrange hi-fi systems sound so much better than music played on all in one systems that most non audiophiles own . Unlike most people who have commented on this post I will say if you can afford to buy an high end hi-fi system then go for it as you will get lots and lots of enjoyment from it as music played from it will probably sound better than most of the hi-fi systems (like mine) that people own who comment on this forum.
I take it you’ve never heard a system that costs thousands?

The differences between generic audio bought by the the masses and reasonable hifi can be significant, but the differences between midrange to high end hifi are mostly non existent.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Fair enough, but...
You would have to know what your looking for from your speakers. You might not know one speaker was better from psychoacoustic observations.

Lets take the M S Mezzo 6 (£650) vs the Dynaudio Emit M30 (£1250). The Mezzo 6 attack while the the Emit M30 control IMO.

Its an apples to oranges comparison, Gray.
True Dom - there's no bigger differences than those you get between speakers.
If you believe the reviews though, the Wharfedales are an unusually well balanced sound - none of the usual bright / dull comments.
In other words, a product unlikely to offend too many people.....maybe.

The point is the real value you can get with some products 👍
 

Timbola

Active member
Nov 2, 2022
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I bet music played on high end hi-fi that costs thousands sounds great as music played on midrange hi-fi systems sound so much better than music played on all in one systems that most non audiophiles own . Unlike most people who have commented on this post I will say if you can afford to buy an high end hi-fi system then go for it as you will get lots and lots of enjoyment from it as music played from it will probably sound better than most of the hi-fi systems (like mine) that people own who comment on this forum.
How many thousands are we talking to qualify as ‘high end’?

I think there is generally improvement to be found the more you spend, although the law of diminishing returns kicks in at a certain level/cost appetite.
 
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robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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Hi-fi Choice did a group test of £1000 floorstanders. They chose the £500 12.3 as the winner.
Wow, this really surprises me. I've said a few times on here that I really don't like Wharfedale speakers and obviously this is a subjective thing but I report what I hear. I've had 3 pairs: Diamond 9.1, Diamond 220 and Denton 80th anniversary. Then I was vaguely interested in the new Diamond floor standers and went to hear some in RS. (You might ask why I bothered if I'd had such negative experience with Wharfedale and you'd be right to ask). They sounded very average and nothing like as good as Focal Chora 806 which I nearly bought that day. In the end I bought nothing that day.
 
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