Order of importance for equipment...

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T

the record spot

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aliEnRIK said:
Top of the list for me are 'EARS'. I find it intriguing that those people that swear there are no differences between cables and you can get 98% sound out of budget gear whilst needing to spend 10k to get 2% more are living on cloud cuckoo land. That, or the item at the top of my list is failing them.
I said a week or so back that you can achieve as good as 90% (and probably more) when it comes to high quality sound and the price you pay for decent budget gear today. I stand by that. Simply listening tells you all you need to know on that score.

Did the £11,500 system I heard the other week in Audio Emotion do 11 times better than a £1000 system. No. It was good, but nothing that made me think "wow". Impressive, but impressive can be levelled at all price points more easily now than ever before.

However, I digress. Having now compared many interconnects, with the most recent being my £30-odd QED Qunex 2 against an Atlas Navigator I picked up - which retailed for £225 originally - and found no major differences between the two, I remain happy in my conclusions that I don't need to test this theory anymore for my purposes. Moving the speakers around will give me more gains in sound change than a cable will ever do. Period.

£225 buys a LOT of new music. Or almost 23 months of Spotify Premium membership. What would you take given the choice...?

I use Spotify on my £200 Nokia E55 as well as at home on the computer, it streams a 320kbps file through a pair of £30 Sennheiser CX-300-IIs, and it's superb. It's a no brainer for me. Others of course may differ, but I can't use a cable to listen to music at work, on the train, on a plane, in the car or walking around Edinburgh, or anywhere else for that matter.

I'm fast coming to the belief that hifi as it stands is rooted in the past. The likes of one trick pony stereo amps that do nothing else but two-channel amplficiation are an anachronism now, as is the vast majority of high end stuff, which is more design statement than audio achievement in many cases.

XTZ and Harman Kardon are showing the way in delivering real world power, onboard DACs, fine build and sensible pricing in their amps, not some SET with half a watt costing £25000 that'll need a pair of room sized boxes with 400db sensitivity costing twice as much again. AV receivers deliver all-round capability, DACs, the means to handle hi-res, master audio, blu-ray audio and the rest. Yamaha's RX-V1067, Onkyo's 808 and the new 609 are but three examples and this is the way forward.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Monstrous said:
Just because you can't hear a difference or don't believe there is one, doesn't mean that is fact. As for those of us who can hear it and enjoy it, don't preach at us.
And for all the evidence out there that shows there isn't, please do us the courtesy of not preaching about the marvellous efficacies of nicely coloured cables in pretty boxes to those who don't really buy into the "night and day" changes so often claimed, but rarely, if ever delivered.

And the "you can't hear what I can" doesn't really wash anymore either. No offence obviously, but having walked the walk and ponied up for an expensive cable, it's not my ears that are the problem here.
 
A

Anonymous

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lindsayt said:
I think that dannycanham's post contains a lot of good wisdom and advice.

A lot of interesting points in the other posts too.

Out of interest, would anyone care to name particular £10,000+ components that they think would support their arguments for the importance of any particular link in the hi-fi chain?

And then, would they be willing to get together with myself to compare these components against something that I could come up with that cost £300 to £2000?
Providing you mean new components only, then happy to take you on.
 

lindsayt

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CnoEvil said:
Interesting challange. In this game of "fantasy football" my team would be: Linn Akurate DS (£4.5k) + MF AMS35i (£6K) + Spendor ST (£6.5k) Game on :| Cno
OK, my team would be a PC or laptop with £250 new Audiosmile modded Behringer DAC, Creek CAS4040 amp (£99 new in 1983, £20 2nd hand now), EV Sentry III speaker (£415 2nd hand).

If I were to increase the budget of the front end and amps I'd go for an NVA TFS digital source (£1800 new), a Lightspeed LDR pre-amp (£310 new), Coincident Frankenstein 300b monoblocks (£3500 new, £1600 2nd hand).

The Spendor ST would have to go some to beat the dynamics, clarity, openness of the horned EV Sentrys. The bass cones of the Spendors also look far too small to beat the bass from the 15" Sentry cones.

However, the proof is in the pudding and we'd need to get the 2 systems together to find out what's what.
 

lindsayt

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Monstrous said:
Chord SPM14000 monoblocks. Musical Fidelity AMS100/Titan/Primo CD. Machintosh etc... There's a massive list. Of course its speaker dependant too...

If we're testing a £300 component against a £10k+ one, make sure the speakers are there to match, so what shall we use, let's say... B&W 800D's? Maybe even something from Dynaudio's Evidence range? So we also need a decent room too.

Meet these conditions, then test. There's no point though. NOTHING will touch those Chord monoblocks, which has ever been made.

Just because you can't hear a difference or don't believe there is one, doesn't mean that is fact. As for those of us who can hear it and enjoy it, don't preach at us.
I'd go for SET valves, such as Coincident Frankenstein 300b's (Arthur Salvatore wrote an extensive review of these on his hi-end audio website), or a decent 2a3 or 45 SET over Chord SPM1400. The SET's will have a more natural midrange than the Chords. The Chords will have better bass grip. So it's swings and roundabouts as to which is the better amp.

I'd put something like a £415 pair of EV Sentry III's, as mentioned in my post above, against the B&W 800D's.

And yes please, let's test.
 

lindsayt

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Grottyash said:
Providing you mean new components only, then happy to take you on.
No, I'm talking about the real world. The real world where the Internet exists where you can buy a wide variety of hi-fi eqipment at the press of a few buttons. In the real world you have a choice of buying new or 2nd hand.
 

gbhsi1

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1: Clean Mains
2: Amp- you need an amp to power everything
3: Speakers
4: cd player/turntable
5: cables
6: room
7: Good recordings/music
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
lindsayt said:
Grottyash said:
Providing you mean new components only, then happy to take you on.
No, I'm talking about the real world. The real world where the Internet exists where you can buy a wide variety of hi-fi eqipment at the press of a few buttons. In the real world you have a choice of buying new or 2nd hand.
In the real world you compare like with like.
As has already been pointed out to you in another thread, to make a comparison you have to take the new value of the secondhand item and then adjust it to present day new value, accounting for inflation, currency variations etc. To do otherwise makes no sense.
 

BenLaw

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the record spot said:
Monstrous said:
Just because you can't hear a difference or don't believe there is one, doesn't mean that is fact. As for those of us who can hear it and enjoy it, don't preach at us.
And for all the evidence out there that shows there isn't, please do us the courtesy of not preaching about the marvellous efficacies of nicely coloured cables in pretty boxes to those who don't really buy into the "night and day" changes so often claimed, but rarely, if ever delivered.

And the "you can't hear what I can" doesn't really wash anymore either. No offence obviously, but having walked the walk and ponied up for an expensive cable, it's not my ears that are the problem here.
RS, I don't think monstrous was talking about cables, I think this was a reference to lindsayt's (hypothetical, in reality) 'challenge'. I don't think you're saying there isn't a difference between a £300 component and a £10k one (say), just that you feel that addresses the final 10%.

TBH this is where I find the whole percentages thing very difficult. It's possible to buy an ultra-cheap micro hifi system for maybe £30? It can therefore probably be made for maybe £3 of raw materials? It will play the same music as a £100k system. In real percentage terms it's probably playing in the high 90%s of the high end system.

As I see it, this hobby of hifi is all about extracting the final few %s out of this hobby of music. The more you listen, the more your ear becomes attuned. This is especially so in one's own system, such that even small changes can be noticed. Whilst it is almost always hyperbole, I imagine this is why people use phrases such as 'night and day', even when there are fairly minor changes.

So the question for any individual is whether the perceived (actual or imagined, I suppose) increase in quality is worth the money for any particular change to a system.
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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Grottyash said:
lindsayt said:
Grottyash said:
Providing you mean new components only, then happy to take you on.
No, I'm talking about the real world. The real world where the Internet exists where you can buy a wide variety of hi-fi eqipment at the press of a few buttons. In the real world you have a choice of buying new or 2nd hand.
In the real world you compare like with like. As has already been pointed out to you in another thread, to make a comparison you have to take the new value of the secondhand item and then adjust it to present day new value, accounting for inflation, currency variations etc. To do otherwise makes no sense.
Agree entirely with you grottyash, and I think lindsayt may be trolling. Of course, using his rules, you can hypothetically come up with a £100k component that you're able to buy for £10k. So I think you'll still win the challenge
 

CnoEvil

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lindsayt said:
Monstrous said:
Chord SPM14000 monoblocks. Musical Fidelity AMS100/Titan/Primo CD. Machintosh etc... There's a massive list. Of course its speaker dependant too...

If we're testing a £300 component against a £10k+ one, make sure the speakers are there to match, so what shall we use, let's say... B&W 800D's? Maybe even something from Dynaudio's Evidence range? So we also need a decent room too.

Meet these conditions, then test. There's no point though. NOTHING will touch those Chord monoblocks, which has ever been made.

Just because you can't hear a difference or don't believe there is one, doesn't mean that is fact. As for those of us who can hear it and enjoy it, don't preach at us.
I'd go for SET valves, such as Coincident Frankenstein 300b's (Arthur Salvatore wrote an extensive review of these on his hi-end audio website), or a decent 2a3 or 45 SET over Chord SPM1400. The SET's will have a more natural midrange than the Chords. The Chords will have better bass grip. So it's swings and roundabouts as to which is the better amp.

I'd put something like a £415 pair of EV Sentry III's, as mentioned in my post above, against the B&W 800D's.

And yes please, let's test.
Even if this is not exactly what was meant, it would be interesting to see if the best modern system one can think of, can be matched by the best available from the last 50 years.

With very little encouragement needed, I would submit the following two systems into the ring for the "modern" side of the debate:

Audio Note Level 5 system (wired with Sogon silver cable) -
CD transport/dac + pre + monoblocks + speakers.................£450,000

DCS Scarlatti (£33k) + Pathos Synapse (£18k) + Pathos Adrenalin monoblocks (£32k) + Sonus Faber Phoenix (£120k) ....all wired with Cardas Clear Beyond.

There is also some fantastic stuff from Conrad Johnson which could have been chosen.

Just a bit of fun and it's nice to dream. :love:

Cno
 

lindsayt

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Grottyash said:
In the real world you compare like with like. As has already been pointed out to you in another thread, to make a comparison you have to take the new value of the secondhand item and then adjust it to present day new value, accounting for inflation, currency variations etc. To do otherwise makes no sense.
Why do you have to take the new price of any 2nd hand items and adjust it for inflation?

For sure it's an interesting mental exercise to do that. But why place such artificial constraints on oneself?

Why not just compare one component against another, one system against another, whilst keeping in mind how much they would cost to buy? In that way we are finding out what sort of sound quality we can get for what sort of price. Which in my book is comparing like for like in the real world.
 
T

the record spot

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Because if you took the £200 that got me my Sansui AU-717 built in 1977 which I bought off Ebay early last year and compared it to a corresponding £200 or even £500 amp of today's vintage, it's no match. The 717 was around £400 when it came out by all accounts, which using the Bank of England's inflation calculator (to give you the equivalent amount in today's money), you get around not far off £2000 from memory.

As there aren't too many dual mono amps kicking around at £200, so comparing a Richer Sounds £600 system package against mine isn't probably too fair - my kit came to around the same amount: £200 for the amp, £300 for the CDP in a sale, £80 for the Mission 752s (which were £500 in their day). In real terms though, that system would be significantly more and it's not a wholly fair comparison consequently.
 
A

Anonymous

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You're clutching at straws now, lindsayt. You must know what you argue is, in the words of the immortal Spock, illogical.
 

Craig M.

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the record spot said:
Because if you took the £200 that got me my Sansui AU-717 built in 1977 which I bought off Ebay early last year and compared it to a corresponding £200 or even £500 amp of today's vintage, it's no match.
i think that's his point. not sure it's relevant to this thread though.
 

lindsayt

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BenLaw said:
Agree entirely with you grottyash, and I think lindsayt may be trolling. Of course, using his rules, you can hypothetically come up with a £100k component that you're able to buy for £10k. So I think you'll still win the challenge
No intention of trolling here. Yes, of course you can nominate items that cost £100,000 new and cost £10,000 2nd hand now.

Or even systems that cost £450,000 such as the AN one that are not commonly available 2nd hand.

The AN system should be a fine sounding one. It'd be interesting to see if it sounded better than something I could come up with for 1% of that price. I can see a few potentially weak areas of the AN system: The AN Io Ltd cartridge which has fantastic detail retrieval but rather less than fantastic dynamics. The speakers which are only traditional cones and domes with a rather small cone for the bass. My guess is that the AN system would sound better in some areas and worse in others. But of course that's only a guess till we get the 2 systems together...
 

CnoEvil

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lindsayt said:
BenLaw said:
Agree entirely with you grottyash, and I think lindsayt may be trolling. Of course, using his rules, you can hypothetically come up with a £100k component that you're able to buy for £10k. So I think you'll still win the challenge
No intention of trolling here. Yes, of course you can nominate items that cost £100,000 new and cost £10,000 2nd hand now.

Or even systems that cost £450,000 such as the AN one that are not commonly available 2nd hand.

The AN system should be a fine sounding one. It'd be interesting to see if it sounded better than something I could come up with for 1% of that price. I can see a few potentially weak areas of the AN system: The AN Io Ltd cartridge which has fantastic detail retrieval but rather less than fantastic dynamics. The speakers which are only traditional cones and domes with a rather small cone for the bass. My guess is that the AN system would sound better in some areas and worse in others. But of course that's only a guess till we get the 2 systems together...
Have to say I agree, and would also be interested to see if you can beat it at 1% of the price (no matter how impossible to prove).

There are potential weaknesses in the speakers, as they need to be in, or near the corners, which then gives them incredible bass depth (about 20hz from memory)

The system I put forward was their CD based one. (Their level 5 transport/dac can go head to head with most TT's at any price)

If Cyrus/Focal and the like, are to ones' taste, then the AN won't be on the shopping list....
Maybe my system 2 would then fair better.

Cno
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Craig M. said:
the record spot said:
Because if you took the £200 that got me my Sansui AU-717 built in 1977 which I bought off Ebay early last year and compared it to a corresponding £200 or even £500 amp of today's vintage, it's no match.
i think that's his point. not sure it's relevant to this thread though.
Which is fine if you're buying from a value for money perspective, but not everyone will be buying with that criteria in mind. Some will want new, so a 34 year old amp won't kick it for them, others won't want nearly 40lbs of amp sitting on their sideboard/rack, others will want more up to date technology onboard, so then the point about comparing like with like is a fair one to make in the end.
 

chebby

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the record spot said:
Which is fine if you're buying from a value for money perspective, but not everyone will be buying with that criteria in mind. Some will want new, so a 34 year old amp won't kick it for them, others won't want nearly 40lbs of amp sitting on their sideboard/rack, others will want more up to date technology onboard...
...or if they might want the peace of mind of 3 year/5 year guarantees on their expensive gear. I have had free repairs (major ones in some cases) on an LCD TV, an item of hi-fi, an Apple iMac and a Dell laptop in the last two years.

If they had not been covered by their respective 3, 4 and 5 year guarantees - because of being bought second-hand - then I would have spent a small fortune getting those repairs done by manufacturers (or their approved agents) with all brand-new parts (and shipped to and from my home free of charge). In the case of the TV we were even given a loan set for 2 weeks whilst ours was awaiting parts from Samsung and being repaired.
 

CnoEvil

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chebby said:
the record spot said:
Which is fine if you're buying from a value for money perspective, but not everyone will be buying with that criteria in mind. Some will want new, so a 34 year old amp won't kick it for them, others won't want nearly 40lbs of amp sitting on their sideboard/rack, others will want more up to date technology onboard...
...or if they might want the peace of mind of 3 year/5 year guarantees on their expensive gear. I have had free repairs (major ones in some cases) on an LCD TV, an item of hi-fi, an Apple iMac and a Dell laptop in the last two years.

If they had not been covered by their respective 3, 4 and 5 year guarantees - because of being bought second-hand - then I would have spent a small fortune getting those repairs done by manufacturers (or their approved agents) with all brand-new parts (and shipped to and from my home free of charge). In the case of the TV we were even given a loan set for 2 weeks whilst ours was awaiting parts from Samsung and being repaired.
It's certainly a fair point, and puts another skew into the mix; but I suppose the OP would argue, that so much has been saved that you would still be "quids in". eg To take a rather extreme example - if he could match my £450k AN system at 1% of the cost (£4500), he would have a fair bit left for repair (£445,500)....but that's a big if.
 

chebby

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CnoEvil said:
To take a rather extreme example - if he could match my £450k AN system at 1% of the cost (£4500), he would have a fair bit left for repair (£445,500)....but that's a big if.
Yes, I scour the local second-hand and charity shops regularly for cheap Audio Note Gaku-On amps.

I succeeded in finding a pair of AN Quest 300B Signature amps on ebay for $1300 more than they cost brand new in 2001.
 

CnoEvil

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chebby said:
CnoEvil said:
To take a rather extreme example - if he could match my £450k AN system at 1% of the cost (£4500), he would have a fair bit left for repair (£445,500)....but that's a big if.
Yes, I scour the local second-hand and charity shops regularly for cheap Audio Note Gaku-On amps.

I succeeded in finding a pair of AN Quest 300B Signature amps on ebay for $1300 more than they cost brand new in 2001.
:)

On a slightly different note, have you ever heard an all AN system?
 

oldric_naubhoff

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chebby said:
the record spot said:
Which is fine if you're buying from a value for money perspective, but not everyone will be buying with that criteria in mind. Some will want new, so a 34 year old amp won't kick it for them, others won't want nearly 40lbs of amp sitting on their sideboard/rack, others will want more up to date technology onboard...
...or if they might want the peace of mind of 3 year/5 year guarantees on their expensive gear. I have had free repairs (major ones in some cases) on an LCD TV, an item of hi-fi, an Apple iMac and a Dell laptop in the last two years.
which says a lot about build quality and quality of componets used in production of those products. I think poor production standards plague manufacturing of high volume consumer electronic goods sector these days too much. these days you need warranty because you'll most likely be needing it in the future. but higher production efficiency and shortenig of WIP periods has to have its bearing on reliability of products manufactured.

on the other hand. if piece of equipment lasts for 34 years and is still in good working condition why should we expect it'll collapse soon after we buy it?
 

oldric_naubhoff

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chebby said:
CnoEvil said:
To take a rather extreme example - if he could match my £450k AN system at 1% of the cost (£4500), he would have a fair bit left for repair (£445,500)....but that's a big if.
Yes, I scour the local second-hand and charity shops regularly for cheap Audio Note Gaku-On amps.

I succeeded in finding a pair of AN Quest 300B Signature amps on ebay for $1300 more than they cost brand new in 2001.
and that would say a lot about reputation and desire factor AN gear acquired over time. if it's so hard to find AN gear SH it means people simply stick to it because obviously they don't need to look for anything else. when you only deliver good quality product it'll be noticed in time.
 

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