The slippery slope

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

JDL

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2023
796
498
770
Many people are a bit snooty and dismissive when it comes to all in ones, particularly the smaller 'lifestyle' models. I think this Denon CEOL N12DAB looks amazing and if it sounded terrible, they wouldn't sell any.

I'd go for something like this, if my system ever failed. I know I won't buy separates again. All those expensive interconnects I've bought will end up in the bin. Spent a fortune.

I think people expect miracles when they buy an expensive system, only to find it sounds odd, due to the room acoustics etc.

Many expensive components, especially speakers, can't reach their full potential due to limitations, which can't be improved, unless Dirac correction is used for example. Expensive. messy, fiddly and unfulfilling.

If we all had a Fibonacci shaped room, with perfect acoustics and no bass boom, then you could easily buy a system knowing it would sound great.

People are buying all this stuff and they're never happy, so perhaps it's their surroundings and furnishings causing the dissatisfaction.
I'm happy without a Fibonacci shaped room, with perfect acoustics. And, no bass boom. ✌🏻👍🏻
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2022
786
977
2,770
I've gone down a similar road to Matthew, and having a look through my pics in my "Hi-Fi" folder on the laptop this morning I realised just how much stuff and different brands I've owned over the years, without ever knowingly reaching audio nirvana. It's now over 3 years since I bought anything and it's not likely to change anytime soon. A change around in my front room meant I was struggling to fit a rack and everything so I sold the lot, apart from my speakers and went with a Cyrus all-in-one. I've never looked back and have been wonderfully happy with my Cyrus Lyric and Spendor A5r speakers, both bought 2nd hand at a fraction of the RRP. Even if I came into some serious money I'm not so sure I'd go for some of the high end stuff anymore.

I don't know if you recall Matthew, but I met you briefly at an Audio-T demo in Manchester many years ago where they were showing off some new expensive Naim system with an appropriately expensive Rega turntable and PMC speakers (about £20-25k worth of kit) , and it basically overheated and stopped playing, end of demo :) . I know it can happen but still it kind of put me off expensive kit after that.
Hello @DIB, I do indeed remember that occasion. I recall that was the same show where a budget system of Marantz CD6003/PM6003 and Mordaunt-Short Aviano 2s produced some of the best sound of the day.
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2022
786
977
2,770
I had to travel to Leeds on Friday for a work event. The journey there wasn't very smooth, and my planned journey home was impossible, so I had an impromptu hotel stay and then a convoluted journey home on Saturday. My phone and Sony BT headphones produced plenty good enough sound to enjoy some music on Friday night after enjoying a meal with a similarly stranded friend, and then when I got around to listening to some music at home yesterday, I couldn't have asked for more than my simple, affordable system gave me.
 

DCarmi

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
503
393
5,270
I travelled back from Leeds on Thursday. They put a train on from Leeds rather than Edinburgh which was an advantage because usually it is rammed by the time it gets to me. It also stopped at my home station rather than continuing, so some poor people struggled with connections.

Glad mine was a Thursday meeting!
 
  • Like
Reactions: matthewpianist

Witterings

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2020
564
306
5,270
I can certainly relate to this thread having been "Chasing The Dragon" fof the last year, I initially upgraded some speakers to go with a Denon M39 in a kitchen living area and ended up with Elac B5.2's and don't want to change anything in that room.

That though made me think I should upgrade my lounge speakers from some old AE Energis EVO 3's being used with an AVR for stereo.

I've upgraded to an integrated amp and tried several speakers either finding them too bright or lack of detail or boomy, possibly largely due to as mentioned room acoustics.

The day someone was coming to pick up my Evo 3's as I hadn't used them for months thought I'd best plug them in / demo them and used the integrated amp with them for the 1st time and thought .... wow they sound amazing but didn't feel I could blow out the buyer who was on his way here.

Still not found that Nirvana and to a degree am spending more time listening to / being critical of the sound which is detroying the enjoyment of the music.

My overall feeling is though I needn't have spent what I have and not be totally happy with the sound, maybe the Evo's just needed a better amp to drive them or maybe I could have just found better speakers to go with the AVR and either way saved me an awful lot of time, grief and more to the point money.

Wish I was where you are @matthewpianist .... at the moment.
 
Last edited:

matthewpianist

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2022
786
977
2,770
I can certainly relate to this thread having been "Chasing The Dragon" fof the last year, I initially upgraded some speakers to go with a Denon M39 in a kitchen living area and ended up with Elac B5.2's and don't want to change anything in that room.

That though made me think I should upgrade my lounge speakers from some old AE Energis EVO 3's being used with an AVR for stereo.

I've upgraded to an integrated amp and tried several speakers either finding them too bright or lack of detail or boomy, possibly largely due to as mentioned room acoustics.

The day someone was coming to pick up my Evo 3's as I hadn't used them for months thought I'd best plug them in / demo them and used the integrated amp with them for the 1st time and thought .... wow they sound amazing but didn't feel I could blow out the buyer who was on his way here.

Still not found that Nirvana and to a degree am spending more time listening to / being critical of the sound which is detroying the enjoyment of the music.

My overall feeling is though I needn't have spent what I have and not be totally happy with the sound, maybe the Evo's just needed a better amp to drive them or maybe I could have just found better speakers to go with the AVR and either way saved me an awful lot of time, grief and more to the point money.

Wish I was where you are @matthewpianist .... at the moment.

If you liked the Evo 3's with your integrated amp, why not look for a second hand pair of these or AE109s?

I see AV.com have the first generation AE109 for £279.99 brand new, or the MkII ones are £599.00. I tried the former myself and thought they were excellent, but room logistics had to change and I can't currently accommodate floorstanders or stands. They were certainly more balanced sounding than the MA Bronze 200s (in my room).

If boom is a problem, see if you can listen to a pair of Mission QX-series speakers. The QX1s work a treat even in my very compromised room and positioning, without lacking in depth. Obviously they don't plumb the very lowest depths, but I never feel I'm missing anything and there's plenty of detail.

I hope you get something sorted and are able to get back to the music.
 

Oxfordian

Well-known member
Mar 20, 2021
871
744
2,770
I think people forget, or don't realise just how good modern kit really sounds and it's a world away from hissing, noisy systems and radio, decades ago.
So true, its not only the sound that improves but also innovation, I dread to think just how I would get a 65" CRT TV in my living room, thank heavens for our lovely ultra thin TV's of the modern era.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
594
412
2,270
TBH Ive thought on serval occasions of getting rid of the entire rig, can I justify having the much money just sitting there in the corner of the room? even selling second hand its a healthy chunk of change back in the pocket

I could get just as much musical enjoyment from a pair of Sonos speakers in all honesty. Would they sound the same as what I have now, probably not but it wouldn't be a million miles away either.

BUT

I've also gotten to point where I actually hate spending money on it now, music streaming has been all cancelled, it annoys the hell out of me constantly paying for something I don't ultimately own and I don't care what all the arguments are, 80million tracks on tap blah blah blah. The argument clearly stops at you don't "own" nothing, its not cheap its far from it especially if you have all the other streaming content services such as Netflix. Renting in what ever form is just dead money.

I have to sub every month for my adobe software , near on 60 quid each month with no special offers EVER offered in 13 years! since they started the sub model. So thats 10K ive spent on software! ive got another 30 years working life left to keep paying adobe for my software. Im not doing it with music. Thats 1k or a little over on subscriptions a year if I did include music and that doesn't include Netflix and the likes (which id also cancel if I could).

Granted most dont have that sort outlay with abobe software but still.

I mostly just listen to my records now off grid but don't do it as much these days either, 15 20mins here and there really late at night when the family are a sleep.

Just my little rant and solely my thoughts
 

JDL

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2023
796
498
770
Let me say Sir, that your "rant" resonates with me entirely. I don't expect or need anyone to agree, with me or my approach to music listening and enjoyment, or my perhaps slightly unconventional system.
I, like you don't need access to tens of thousands of tracks, songs, compositions. After all you can find out if you like something for free and if you do, then look for it on LP or CD and maybe do some research on what are considered the best recordings available of a piece of music. Here here to your rant.
 

Oxfordian

Well-known member
Mar 20, 2021
871
744
2,770
I have to sub every month for my adobe software , near on 60 quid each month with no special offers EVER offered in 13 years! since they started the sub model. So thats 10K ive spent on software! ive got another 30 years working life left to keep paying adobe for my software. Im not doing it with music. Thats 1k or a little over on subscriptions a year if I did include music and that doesn't include Netflix and the likes (which id also cancel if I could).
Wow that is one Adobe subscription, mine is £10 a month for a photography package, I agree that it is frustrating not to own a hard copy but with updates coming so frequently I am happier having the subscription version rather than a hard copy as I initially did.

But one of the issues I have with streaming my music from a service like Spotify or Apple or one of the others is that I never have a hard copy, and that is not how I want my music I prefer the physical, tactile side of things, so for now its Vinyl and CD's that I spend some spare cash on and make my choices from my small collection, and i'm very happy doing so.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
594
412
2,270
Wow that is one Adobe subscription, mine is £10 a month for a photography package, I agree that it is frustrating not to own a hard copy but with updates coming so frequently I am happier having the subscription version rather than a hard copy as I initially did.

But one of the issues I have with streaming my music from a service like Spotify or Apple or one of the others is that I never have a hard copy, and that is not how I want my music I prefer the physical, tactile side of things, so for now its Vinyl and CD's that I spend some spare cash on and make my choices from my small collection, and i'm very happy doing so.
The price I pay for being a full service freelancer. The photography package is pretty good value. Adobe annoys me but all software is going that way.

Completely with you on content streaming though
 
  • Like
Reactions: Oxfordian

Freddy58

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2014
105
80
18,670
Circumstances have led to me selling pretty much all my kit over the past 6 months, and replacing it with the system in my signature. I'm sharing this in case it helps anyone who feels like they are drowning in the hi-fi sea.

Some of you know how much hi-fi I've been through over the past 15+ years, some of it entry-level and some of it stoking aspirations to go higher and higher up the food chain, buying kit that I couldn't really afford in a quest to achieve the best possible sound. If anyone had suggested in the past that I jump off the carousel it would have been over my dead body, but I've recently come to realise how ridiculous that is. The simple fact is, I've rarely achieved any sustained satisfaction, and even when it's seemed I may have done I have not stopped pursuing better. I've had Arcam, Roksan, Michell, Thorens, Quad, Leak, Audiolab, Naim, Rega, Spendor, Mission, Focal, Wharfedale, Triangle, Marantz, Q Acoustics, Dali, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Musical Fidelity, Cyrus, Denon (the big stuff), Monitor Audio.... and nothing has fixed the bug. I've been there with cables too

Being forced (not by anyone else but by circumstances) to jump off the bandwagon and 'settle' for a carefully chosen combination of budget kit has put everything into relief. I'm rather enjoying the music across vinyl, CD and streaming, and I don't feel as though I'm missing anything except the angst of trying to justify the outlay to myself. I'm not saying it would match higher end kit in some audiophile senses, but as a way of enjoying the music and podcasts it is as good as anything I've had. The little Missions are musically engaging like Missions of old and the inverted driver geometry achieves what it is intended to. They are also incredibly undemanding with regards placement. The Denon is 'the old model' (by two generations now the CEOL N12 is out), but the differences aren't all that significant, and it cost me £299 with a 6-year warranty (RS) instead of the £650 RRP of the new version. It's every bit as good as the more lauded Marantz MCR-612 and it drives the Missions with ease. Meanwhile the 45+ year old turntable, which has been serviced, runs more steady than some of the modern turntables I've had (including Rega), and is more pleasurable to use.

The point here isn't to claim that my little set-up is objectively as good as a well-sorted mid-high end system, but to demonstrate that musical enjoyment can be had for what is relatively beer-budget money, to the point that if you're strangling yourself financially in pursuit of 'audio nirvana', it's worth taking a step back. If you're enjoying what you have, whether that's a collection of old separates, a modern compact system like mine, or a high-end set-up that finally satisfies your hunger, do you really need to be eyeing up that next upgrade?
An insightful, honest and thought provoking post 👍
 
  • Like
Reactions: matthewpianist

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,124
84
19,270
...

My perspective on life has changed over the past 12 months, and that includes hi-fi and also extends to CDs and vinyl. ...

My perspective on hifi changed because of three specific events.

The first was at a hifi shop, where, for fun, because it was already set up in the listening room, we put my B&W DM302 speakers that cost around £120 on the end of £10k plus Naim and it sounded staggeringly wonderful. That made me wonder about costs.

The second was Spotify and yet another format. I had not long got rid of my CDs having switched to itunes, those CDs replacing cassettes, which had replaced vinyl. I was now buying music on the 5th different format. At least Spotify meant no storage issues (physical or computer) and for the money, I was getting way more bang for my buck.

The third was a house move and just nowhere to put speakers, so I went entirely headphone based. Headfi is generally cheaper than hifi separates, again you get more bang for your buck.

It is definitely possible to get amazing sound for not a huge amount of money and if you persuade yourself to lose the upgradeitis, then you are left in a very good space to enjoy the music.
 

JDL

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2023
796
498
770
In principle I agree with you. However, I don't enjoy wearing headphones, I get a nasty claustrophobic sensation when wearing them and my brother and I enjoy listening to music together.
I don't think it would be the same if we were both sat there with headphones on.
Furthermore, for me, nothing competes with the sound of a decent system filling the space I'm in, with the wonderful sounds of music.
 
  • Like
Reactions: WayneKerr

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,124
84
19,270
The person who I listen to music with and we go to a lot of gigs together, has a very expensive hifi system and it is amazing what sounds great on that can be flat on my headfi, and vice versa.
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts