Question Is hi-fi like wine?

Page 4 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

AJM1981

Well-known member
Hi-Fi is like alchemy.
taking things, putting them together, mixing them up, trying to create something magic from simple materials.
if you are lucky, sometimes you make a fantastic mix and make magic.
most times you end up less well off and a bit perturbed.

Hifi is most likely a large percentage of optical luxury and backstory above sound, which 'defines' that magic of having an emotional connection with a product. That is why studio monitors, even from the same brand, that share the same concept are much cheaper.

Producers are not going to sit on a sofa with a drink, listening to music and admiring the design, the details and the material quality of a product while thinking about the design philosophy of it. I think the furniture metaphor applies much more in hi-fi than the wine-metaphor.
 

JDL

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2023
814
515
1,270
Visit site
I would consider this forum, along with the WHF magazine, as the pursuit of HIgh FIdelity music reproduction. I know I'm closer to this aim with my streaming gadget.
How so? If one doesn't have a streamer and doesn't want a streamer and prefers CD as a format then that is how we'll pursue high fidelity and in that case we're approaching this aim just as well as you.
 

AJM1981

Well-known member
How so? If one doesn't have a streamer and doesn't want a streamer and prefers CD as a format then that is how we'll pursue high fidelity and in that case we're approaching this aim just as well as you.
Absolutely

Hi-FI is just meant as a plus above gramophone and old time recordings, the low fidelity sound. I can also enjoy low fidelity from time to time. It is nothing more than that really.

The sport of finding a good recording and play it on a good medium through good loudspeakers by people who claim that they need more in the treble spectrum of a loudspeaker than the human ear can register is just a weird obsession. It is not even related to music listening. It is simply a method of showing off non-skills as a couch potato. A quick acquired, most often rich kid expertise.

The only people who can claim they have “golden ears” are mastering engineers. But they know what to listen for, use their measurements and won’t run with non-scientific claims.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Absolutely

Hi-FI is just meant as a plus above gramophone and old time recordings (low fidelity) sound. I can also enjoy low fidelity. It is nothing more than that.
This statement is complete nonsense. The sound quality produced by an old HMV Vinyl Vintage Gramophone and the sound quality produced by a new and modern system will be like chalk and cheese. I can't believe some people think their low fi needs or expectations are all anybody should be looking for. Utter tripe. If people can't appreciate HIFI music reproduction, or don't need it, they shouldn't be posting these sorts of comments on a HIFI forum.

I have decent hearing and I'm very discerning and can fully appreciate and enjoy my music. The effort that goes into music recordings, by any self respecting artist or band, is done for a reason. You don't see musicians using the worst quality kit, with a 'that'll do' attitude, because many people don't care about music, or its faithful reproduction.

I remember many years ago seeing a bloke running a market stall and he had BBC Radio 1 NEARLY tuned in. This station has always played dreadful music anyway, but not tuned in properly made it sound like bacon being fried. He wasn't concerned and I think he turned up the volume. These are the idiots that I complain about. They can't appreciate music, culture, quality, nice food or anything more than basic human functions. We've evolved into a very perceptive species and although human hearing has its limits, people today are exposed to much higher fidelity music and as a result get more from their passion, as I do.

HIFI really is like wine. There's good and bad. Some people say they like wine, because they are pretentious, and struggle to drink even the good stuff and many people turn into wine snobs. I can tell the good from the bad, because I've exposed my palate to many bottles over the years and I prefer the better ones. It makes sense really, but liking good wine over plonk doesn't make me a snob, it just makes me discerning and appreciate good from bad. People who can't tell good from bad shouldn't tell others there's no difference.

Labouring the metaphor even further, there is a finite amount of stuff in a grape and the drink it produces and you literally cannot squeeze out anything more. HIFI does reflect this and although there's a spectrum of pleasure and quality, there is also a finite amount of information you can 'squeeze' out of electronics. There is a law of diminishing returns and spending huge amounts is just wasteful.

I will guarantee listening to The Carpenters on CD will be so close to the original recording. When Karen was singing back in the 70s, there is NO CHANCE AT ALL, your car radio, record player, or any other consumer gadget would have given anything but a poor approximation. We are so lucky these days, having NEARLY studio quality music playback. I get derided on here saying CD sounds better than the ancient LP records, but it does. If you don't like better sound quality and just want to play around with tracking weights and other nonsense, then I don't want you to stop doing that. The vinyl revival doesn't mean this format suddenly has a new and improved sound, because it can't and it doesn't.
 
Last edited:

JDL

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2023
814
515
1,270
Visit site
I'm a very discerning listener as well. I listen to what I consider a very good system.
When I buy CDs, I listen carefully to the recording quality, the sound rendered by the space in which the music was recorded, the technical expertise and technique of the orchestra and soloist if there is one, such as with Piano Concertos and their particular artistic interpretation of a piece.
I often collect several recordings of the same music, such as the Complete Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos, The Beethoven Piano Concertos, The Nine Symphonies, several Complete Mozart Piano Concertos etc.
It's become clear to me that the recording quality has an enormous effect on the outcome and I've also noticed that as recordings go back in time, they can get to a point, certainly during the "Mechanical" age of recording, before magnetic recording was widely used, that for me the music is more or less unlistenable.
I have all of Rachmaninoff's recordings. This is a case in point. Even though they've been remastered, I don't particularly enjoy the sound quality of the recordings. Anything recorded before the mid-nineteen-fifties is for me, not particularly worthwhile other than for interest's sake.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DougK1

nightanddaygamechangers

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2023
25
28
70
Visit site
Vintage items have their benefits. Longevity being one. Low maintenance is often another. Both due to lack of complexity. How you interact with something is often a key part of the overall experience. A bicycle isn’t the fastest mode of transport, but it also has many other benefits. A software update can kill modern systems in the blink of an eye, or they can be rendered useless due to external factors beyond your control. As an example a family member currently has no internet access, most likely due to the recent storm. Fortunately they have a library of physical media, including books.

Radio 1 has historically played lots of great music. For years it was the only option for most of us, with regard to identifying new artists. I tuned in and recorded the top 40 on my Gran’s old reel to reel every week in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The majority of what makes it into the charts these days isn’t for me, but that’s just my opinion. I now use the excellent discovery feature of my streaming service for identifying new artists, but fully appreciate that it isn’t for everyone.

On a side note, some people just like listening to music. How they choose to do that is completely up to them. There is no best way of doing it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DougK1

daveh75

Well-known member
This statement is complete nonsense. The sound quality produced by an old HMV Vinyl Vintage Gramophone and the sound quality produced by a new and modern system will be like chalk and cheese. I can't believe some people think their low fi needs or expectations are all anybody should be looking for. Utter tripe. If people can't appreciate HIFI music reproduction, or don't need it, they shouldn't be posting these sorts of comments on a HIFI forum.

I have decent hearing and I'm very discerning and can fully appreciate and enjoy my music. The effort that goes into music recordings, by any self respecting artist or band, is done for a reason. You don't see musicians using the worst quality kit, with a 'that'll do' attitude, because many people don't care about music, or its faithful reproduction.

I remember many years ago seeing a bloke running a market stall and he had BBC Radio 1 NEARLY tuned in. This station has always played dreadful music anyway, but not tuned in properly made it sound like bacon being fried. He wasn't concerned and I think he turned up the volume. These are the idiots that I complain about. They can't appreciate music, culture, quality, nice food or anything more than basic human functions. We've evolved into a very perceptive species and although human hearing has its limits, people today are exposed to much higher fidelity music and as a result get more from their passion, as I do.

HIFI really is like wine. There's good and bad. Some people say they like wine, because they are pretentious, and struggle to drink even the good stuff and many people turn into wine snobs

Never ceases to amaze me how completely lacking in self awareness you are

I can tell the good from the bad, because I've exposed my palate to many bottles over the years and I prefer the better ones. It makes sense really, but liking good wine over plonk doesn't make me a snob, it just makes me discerning and appreciate good from bad.

No, but the rest of the self righteous, pretentious toss you posted above does!

How many blind tastings have you attended incidentally?
 

JDL

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2023
814
515
1,270
Visit site
Vintage items have their benefits. Longevity being one. Low maintenance is often another. Both due to lack of complexity. How you interact with something is often a key part of the overall experience. A bicycle isn’t the fastest mode of transport, but it also has many other benefits. A software update can kill modern systems in the blink of an eye, or they can be rendered useless due to external factors beyond your control. As an example a family member currently has no internet access, most likely due to the recent storm. Fortunately they have a library of physical media, including books.

Radio 1 has historically played lots of great music. For years it was the only option for most of us, with regard to identifying new artists. I tuned in and recorded the top 40 on my Gran’s old reel to reel every week in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The majority of what makes it into the charts these days isn’t for me, but that’s just my opinion. I now use the excellent discovery feature of my streaming service for identifying new artists, but fully appreciate that it isn’t for everyone.

On a side note, some people just like listening to music. How they choose to do that is completely up to them. There is no best way of doing it.
Ha ha, I can't tolerate Radio 1. I can just about tolerate Radio 2 but prefer Classic FM, notwithstanding the damned adverts and so called news reports. But hey, at least the car radio has a volume knob.
 

JDL

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2023
814
515
1,270
Visit site
This statement is complete nonsense. The sound quality produced by an old HMV Vinyl Vintage Gramophone and the sound quality produced by a new and modern system will be like chalk and cheese. I can't believe some people think their low fi needs or expectations are all anybody should be looking for. Utter tripe. If people can't appreciate HIFI music reproduction, or don't need it, they shouldn't be posting these sorts of comments on a HIFI forum.

I have decent hearing and I'm very discerning and can fully appreciate and enjoy my music. The effort that goes into music recordings, by any self respecting artist or band, is done for a reason. You don't see musicians using the worst quality kit, with a 'that'll do' attitude, because many people don't care about music, or its faithful reproduction.

I remember many years ago seeing a bloke running a market stall and he had BBC Radio 1 NEARLY tuned in. This station has always played dreadful music anyway, but not tuned in properly made it sound like bacon being fried. He wasn't concerned and I think he turned up the volume. These are the idiots that I complain about. They can't appreciate music, culture, quality, nice food or anything more than basic human functions. We've evolved into a very perceptive species and although human hearing has its limits, people today are exposed to much higher fidelity music and as a result get more from their passion, as I do.

HIFI really is like wine. There's good and bad. Some people say they like wine, because they are pretentious, and struggle to drink even the good stuff and many people turn into wine snobs. I can tell the good from the bad, because I've exposed my palate to many bottles over the years and I prefer the better ones. It makes sense really, but liking good wine over plonk doesn't make me a snob, it just makes me discerning and appreciate good from bad. People who can't tell good from bad shouldn't tell others there's no difference.

Labouring the metaphor even further, there is a finite amount of stuff in a grape and the drink it produces and you literally cannot squeeze out anything more. HIFI does reflect this and although there's a spectrum of pleasure and quality, there is also a finite amount of information you can 'squeeze' out of electronics. There is a law of diminishing returns and spending huge amounts is just wasteful.

I will guarantee listening to The Carpenters on CD will be so close to the original recording. When Karen was singing back in the 70s, there is NO CHANCE AT ALL, your car radio, record player, or any other consumer gadget would have giving anything but a poor approximation. We are so lucky these days, having NEARLY studio quality music playback. I get derided on here saying CD sounds better than the ancient LP records, but it does. If you don't like better sound quality and just want to play around with tracking weights and other nonsense, then I don't want you to stop doing that. The vinyl revival doesn't mean this format suddenly has a new and improved sound, because it can't and it doesn't.
Ha ha, a great monologue that. 😂
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Apologies Pod, I got this wrong. It's expensive CD players you don't like not CDs.
At what cost does a CD player stop improving? It's 41 year old parts and tech. There is a point where you cannot extract more data, or reproduce it more accurately. I think if you spend more than £500 on a case, PSU, display, remote control, a transport (and most transports have very cheap optics/servo etc.) and a sprinkling of cheap resistors and capacitors, then you're wasting your money. If you are a company making expensive CD players, you are a dying breed, thankfully. I bet companies also get a massive discount when ordering DACs in bulk quantities. Again, CD players are 41 years old and there's nothing else to extract from, or add to the Red Book standard. To think quality is infinite by spending an infinite amount, is absurd. To almost fetishize something like a CD player, or TV technology and expect performance to improve forever is delusion. Modern TVs can produce more colours than the human eye can see. What's the point? Go and buy an 88 inch, 8k TV, with a billion colours and the only thing that will benefit is your pet mantis shrimp. It's becoming a joke now. Newsflash: human sight and hearing has limits.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: JDL and DougK1

Friesiansam

Well-known member
The sport of finding a good recording and play it on a good medium through good loudspeakers by people who claim that they need more in the treble spectrum of a loudspeaker than the human ear can register is just a weird obsession. It is not even related to music listening. It is simply a method of showing off non-skills as a couch potato. A quick acquired, most often rich kid expertise.
Why is it a weird obsession? Hi-Fi is a hobby, just like any other and, like many hobbies, you can spend as much or as little, time and money on it, as you like.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
More than £500 apparently...think I best keep quiet about mine :)
Seriously though, the data is finite, it gets read at 1411kbps and it travels along and through chips and circuitry, governed by the laws of physics. CD playback quality cannot be improved forever and I would argue CD reached a technical dead end about 25 years ago. It started and ended with Sony in my opinion.

'Our CD players are made of gold and they are shiny.'

'Ooooh, here's my credit card'.
 
Last edited:

podknocker

Well-known member
Why is it a weird obsession? Hi-Fi is a hobby, just like any other and, like many hobbies, you can spend as much or as little, time and money on it, as you like.
Agreed. Firstly, you need to love music. I have done for decades. Secondly, you need to buy better kit, because, up to a point, your music will sound better. My system cost £2k and even my low res online radio sounds good. CD playback is excellent and I can and do spend hours enjoying tunes. I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't enjoy music. I can't imagine there's anyone here banging on about kit, with no interest in the tunes. Music, culture, language, art, food, dance etc. It's what we are.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DougK1 and JDL

podknocker

Well-known member
I'm a very discerning listener as well. I listen to what I consider a very good system.
When I buy CDs, I listen carefully to the recording quality, the sound rendered by the space in which the music was recorded, the technical expertise and technique of the orchestra and soloist if there is one, such as with Piano Concertos and their particular artistic interpretation of a piece.
I often collect several recordings of the same music, such as the Complete Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos, The Beethoven Piano Concertos, The Nine Symphonies, several Complete Mozart Piano Concertos etc.
It's become clear to me that the recording quality has an enormous effect on the outcome and I've also noticed that as recordings go back in time, they can get to a point, certainly during the "Mechanical" age of recording, before magnetic recording was widely used, that for me the music is more or less unlistenable.
I have all of Rachmaninoff's recordings. This is a case in point. Even though they've been remastered, I don't particularly enjoy the sound quality of the recordings. Anything recorded before the mid-nineteen-fifties is for me, not particularly worthwhile other than for interest's sake.
I can't listen to most of the Elvis stuff, or stuff from The Beatles. CD exposes the massive shortcomings of the recording studio technology used at the time. Elvis and The Beatles possibly sound better on LP records, due to the lower resolution and also, mastering techniques are usually better than with CD. If mastering was given the same care and attention with CD, then this old format could sound better. CD has the potential, where LP records don't. Do your best at the recording and mastering stages, then get your levels right with CD and the sky's the limit. There's no more room for improvement with LPs. There's also no more room for improvement with the CD hardware, but I believe CD's capabilities have been wasted for decades. Get everything right, on a CD and it will sound amazing.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DougK1 and JDL

podknocker

Well-known member
The optical disk drive I use for ripping CDs to my PC, cost less than £30, several years ago. As all such devices must do to perform their usual jobs in a PC, it reads the data accurately, that's all I need it to do.
Yes, CD players were sorted years ago and they haven't really changed. Laser, optics, servo, error correction, DAC, filtering, passing data at 1411kbps to a device to understand this data and then, hopefully, you don't drop the data/quality with your amps and speakers. People spend a fortune on CD players and then the amp and/or speakers let them down. I would consider the last hurdle to be the most important one. The loudspeaker. It's the interface between the electrical signal and the mass of air you're trying to move. So many variables and listening environments.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Vintage items have their benefits. Longevity being one. Low maintenance is often another. Both due to lack of complexity. How you interact with something is often a key part of the overall experience. A bicycle isn’t the fastest mode of transport, but it also has many other benefits. A software update can kill modern systems in the blink of an eye, or they can be rendered useless due to external factors beyond your control. As an example a family member currently has no internet access, most likely due to the recent storm. Fortunately they have a library of physical media, including books.

Radio 1 has historically played lots of great music. For years it was the only option for most of us, with regard to identifying new artists. I tuned in and recorded the top 40 on my Gran’s old reel to reel every week in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The majority of what makes it into the charts these days isn’t for me, but that’s just my opinion. I now use the excellent discovery feature of my streaming service for identifying new artists, but fully appreciate that it isn’t for everyone.

On a side note, some people just like listening to music. How they choose to do that is completely up to them. There is no best way of doing it.
Valve amps longevity and low maintenance? No, not for me, or LPs with the bulk and faffing around. A Class D streaming amp with no tubes, or moving parts, including POTentially dirty volume control. If my Audiolab Omnia had no (very flimsy) CD tray, there would be no moving parts and very little to go wrong, or maintain.

I don't agree there is no best way of doing it, when it comes to listening. There are better sounding things and people's appreciation is improved, with better kit. That's why we're here discussing this, surely? The improvement of perception and appreciation of the authentic reproduction of music recordings. That's why I'm here.

At the moment, my best way of doing it is my £2k system with Spotify and occasional CD playback. I'm sure a NAD M33 and a pair of Spendor D7.2 speakers would be a better way of doing this.
 
Last edited:

Jasonovich

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2022
1,042
615
2,070
Visit site
At what cost does a CD player stop improving? It's 41 year old parts and tech. There is a point where you cannot extract more data, or reproduce it more accurately. I think if you spend more than £500 on a case, PSU, display, remote control, a transport (and most transports have very cheap optics/servo etc.) and a sprinkling of cheap resistors and capacitors, then you're wasting your money. If you are a company making expensive CD players, you are a dying breed, thankfully. I bet companies also get a massive discount when ordering DACs in bulk quantities. Again, CD players are 41 years old and there's nothing else to extract from, or add to the Red Book standard. To think quality is infinite by spending an infinite amount, is absurd. To almost fetishize something like a CD player, or TV technology and expect performance to improve forever is delusion. Modern TVs can produce more colours than the human eye can see. What's the point? Go and buy an 88 inch, 8k TV, with a billion colours and the only thing that will benefit is your pet mantis shrimp. It's becoming a joke now. Newsflash: human sight and hearing has limits.
I think even CD players are evolving, to reflect current market trends. I think modern CDs will start to resemble the Shangling Digital Player and the like, with top loading CD, integrated DAC and Streamer. The EverSolo A6 and A8 is exactly that but without the CD.
We all know market considerations always eclipse technology, and the merits and rationality of that technology.
If it is s**t but we can make huge profit, lets continue with it or hype it up until the milk runs dry.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
I think even CD players are evolving, to reflect current market trends. I think modern CDs will start to resemble the Shangling Digital Player and the like, with top loading CD, integrated DAC and Streamer. The EverSolo A6 and A8 is exactly that but without the CD.
We all know market considerations always eclipse technology, and the merits and rationality of that technology.
If it is **** but we can make urge profit, lets continue with it or hype it up until the milk runs dry.
I totally agree they are evolving and the Shangling is a perfect example. What I'm arguing is that when you put a CD in this Shangling thing, it does nothing more with that CD than my Philips CD473 from 1988 or my current Audiolab player. The Red Book standard was defined and it still exists, but it's the same spec. Buy a Blu Ray Audio disc and pop that into a Sony 4k Blu Ray player and yes, it's better sound quality.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Al ears

TRENDING THREADS