To what extent has the sound quality of hifi improved in the last 30 years?

CnoEvil

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This may well be as subjective as everything else to do with this hobby, and raises some interesting questions (to me anyway).

- Is the sound better or just different?
- Has technology advanced in some areas more than others, and if so in where (TTs, Cds, Amps or Speakers)?
- To find the "soul" in the music, are we still looking to the vintage technology of Valves, TTs and soft dome tweeters?
- Are modern materials/production methods more about cost effectiveness than sound quality?
- Do different generations prefer a different quality of sound, as that is what they grew up with; a bit like musical taste?
- Is the proliferation of easy access music (eg. streaming) ultimately going to bring down quality, or is it just the equivilent of the tape, and live happily side by side?
- Has the move away from larger woofers in sealed boxes been a good/necessary idea?
- What has been the effect of the introduction of things like CAD and improved power supplies?
- Does modern gear last as long, or does it have more built in obsolesence?
- Does a modern system give more sound per pound?

The best system I've heard to date was an Audio Note one, which was based on very old principals and technology......does this say more about me than the effectiveness of the electronics?

Is enjoyment the most important thing that a system has to deliver, and can a highend system from the 80s (say Linn LP12/Ekos/Troika + Naim 32.5/HiCap/2x135s + Linn Isobariks) stand comparison to a current highend one (DCS Puccini + Bryston BP26/7B SST2x2 + Kef Ref 207/2)?

That's probably far too much to be thinking about on a sedentary Sunday, but if you have a view on any aspect, I would like to hear it.

Cno
 

tino

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I don't think any of us here can discriminate what was good 30 years ago and compare it to what we can have today simply because 30 years ago we were too young or couldn't afford such hi-end audio. And our ears 30 years on are not what they used to be ;)

Technologically speaking the hifi should be better purely in terms of the accumulated knowledge, materials, electronics and computer aided design methods that are available today.

What is probably changing are our values both in terms of what the consumer considers "hifi", the production values that go into creating the music in the first place, and the engineering design principles that are going into creating the products ... how many really good analogue / PSU electronics designers are there out there?

What is clear to me is that the diversity of products and variation in quality out there is incredible ... making it much more difficult to make informed choices ... which is why we are all on here trying to listen to each others opinions ... and probably all drawing the same concensus opinions about what is good/not good and buying the same type of gear!

... ps can't wait for someone to invent transparent graphene speakers and cables ... oops ... somebody has ... :)
 

CnoEvil

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Tino, thank you for your thoughts.

I have very mixed opinions on this. For me personally, the best sound comes from the improvement of old technologies, rather than the implementation of new ones eg:

- The speed stability of TTs brought about by improved power supplies
- The use of tubes in DACs - especially NOS ones
- The improvement in the sound of Valve amps which no longer sound overly "honeyed".
- The ability to make speakers more inert and in acoustically favorable designs; though I still think wood is the most musical material to make speakers from (just think Sonus Faber).

I wonder if every demo of new amps included a Valve/Class A one, how many people would go for this option...they are definately a very niche/specialist product that has to be sought out.

As we become increasingly green, we will all end up with Class D. :(
 

tino

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CnoEvil said:
Tino, thank you for your thoughts. I have very mixed opinions on this. For me personally, the best sound comes from the improvement of old technologies, rather than the implementation of new ones eg: - The speed stability of TTs brought about by improved power supplies - The use of tubes in DACs - especially NOS ones - The improvement in the sound of Valve amps which no longer sound overly "honeyed". - The ability to make speakers more inert and in acoustically favorable designs; though I still think wood is the most musical material to make speakers from (just think Sonus Faber). I wonder if every demo of new amps included a Valve/Class A one, how many people would go for this option...they are definately a very niche/specialist product that has to be sought out. As we become increasingly green, we will all end up with Class D. :(
Perhaps you mean old (and intrisically never changing) design principles improved by better implementation with newer technology? However even if the components and techniques are better today it still takes someone (or some organisation) with the right level of skill and accumulated knowledge to create something good out of them. We should also allow for some innovation to take place rather than continuous refinement of an older technology ... otherwise we would all be listening to the pinnacle of audio cassette reproduction, and missing out on pocket digital players ;)

As for valves .. I have no opinion simply because I have never heard them (maybe something for me to do) .. but I'm sure it would be possible to recreate that 'valve sound' (with or without lashings of honey) with some clever digital signal processing. Which would be better .. the digital simulation or the real thing? I'm sure in terms of pride of ownership, just like a nice pair of walnut Sonus Fabers, the real thing - the original item - would win hands down every time.

PS I don't think Class D amps are necessarily at odds with hi-fi reproduction (e.g. Bel Canto) ... and I don't think a handful of audiophiles running Class A valve amps will create an energy crisis, but all those lesser electronics left in standby 24/7 might ;)
 
A

Anonymous

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I was very fortunate to have a HiFi nut as a dad and my first LPs, Led Zep1&2 plus Pink Floyds Ummagumma(?) were played on his Thorens/Quad valve/Wharfdale system. Compared to the 60's Radiogram norm, the differnces were a major revelation to my mates. My biggest mistake was to ditch my vinyl for CD in 1984 in the belief that digital sources were all the same and better quality. Wising up, I bought my second digital system in 1987 - a Cyrus/Monitor Audio combo - and used Brothers in Arms' to audition. Although Dire Straights produced good recordings, the remastered SADC 20 year anniversary disc is a "Night and Day' improvement over that original, even in CD mode. As we know, the problem with quality HiFi is that it is very revealing of poor and compressed recordings. Too much modern stuff is produced for the iPod generation's LoFi kit. It would be interesting to compare my dad's kit vs a modern digital equivalent. How good was the bass from those 15 inch drivers housed in a very big enclosure? How detailed were those Quad valves and what was their dynamic range? All I know is that as I write this, I'm listening to streamed 70's Classic Rock from California's the Eagle at fairly low bit rate, but it sounds damn good.
 

dannycanham

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- Is the sound better or just different?

Less hit and miss. Fewer quirky characters. More clinical. More refined. More standardised.

- Has technology advanced in some areas more than others, and if so in where (TTs, Cds, Amps or Speakers)?

CDs. Chip development from computers has filtered down. pre x86 10Mhz vs Core i7 30,000Mhz. The electrical power requirements aren't useful in hi-fi, it creates noise, but the modern design techniques create more intelligent low power designs as well.

- To find the "soul" in the music, are we still looking to the vintage technology of Valves, TTs and soft dome tweeters? Sometimes.

It is easy to forget hi-fi isn't just about the companies with big marketing budgets producing kit that fits into our expectations of all electronics. Valves don't behave like kettles, pc's, tvs and fridges, but integrateds do.

- Are modern materials/production methods more about cost effectiveness than sound quality?

Material cost and sound quality don't go together hand in hand. If a system costs twice as much due to better materials, but only sounds a little better, it won't sell. This limits certain materials appearing in anything but extravagant systems. We now have a more careful restrictive balance between the two and expectations of hitting certain quality levels for each price bracket.

- Do different generations prefer a different quality of sound, as that is what they grew up with; a bit like musical taste?

Generation wise it is difficult to tell as 15 year olds don't hear like 25 years olds don't hear like 35 year olds etc. But I think we expect modern hi-fi to present itself more like a private surgery waiting room than a hippy commune. Aligned leather sofas, both 50cm away from the coffee table that contains a set selection of 5 magazines, everything lit up bright and evenly but not too bright, everything clean and unworn. Everything engineered to create a very specific feeling of calm, pleasant, proffesionality. Everything meets expectations.

- Is the proliferation of easy access music (eg. streaming) ultimately going to bring down quality, or is it just the equivilent of the tape, and live happily side by side? People were very happy with tape and walkmans, people were very happy with giant plastic boxes with noisy equalisers, people were very happy with wobbly little TTs. Lossy compression players are actually much better quality than previous kit designed for those not interested in quality.

- Has the move away from larger woofers in sealed boxes been a good/necessary idea?

Less messy.

- What has been the effect of the introduction of things like CAD and improved power supplies?

Power supplies make things more airy. CAD leads to better refinement, less quirks.

- Does modern gear last as long, or does it have more built in obsolesence?

Hi-fi kit is often out of fashion within 6 months of its release. The only kit that has had reliability aging problems for me are 80s and 90s CD players, Video recorders and DVD players. They use small plastic cogs with lubricant that mixes with dust. Small plastic moving things are never a good idea for long lasting designs.

- Does a modern system give more sound per pound? The best system I've heard to date was an Audio Note one, which was based on very old principals and technology......does this say more about me than the effectiveness of the electronics?

I find it difficult to compare money. Everything seems so expensive nowadays, whilst we are being constantly told how much we are saving. Old principles and technology should create the best kit when combined with modern CAD and production techniques. Keeping hi fi simple and components high quality with a well understood design should create cracking kit. "Features" don't improve sound, they improve salability. Modern methods for DACs though.

Is enjoyment the most important thing that a system has to deliver, and can a highend system from the 80s (say Linn LP12/Ekos/Troika + Naim 32.5/HiCap/2x135s + Linn Isobariks) stand comparison to a current highend one (DCS Puccini + Bryston BP26/7B SST2x2 + Kef Ref 207/2)

I like that hi-fi can lead to insight into a performance and recording technique, but to me it should always come second to emotional enjoyment. I don't agree with people who want bad recordings to sound bad or harsh. Revealing is usually the excuse. Hi-Fi doesn't fit under the "no pain no gain" banner. You don't win a prize for exposing yourself to more than that which creates enjoyment.

No idea about high end 80s.

A chunk of my hi-fi has been at a retailers for the past week. I am getting angry and short tempered like someone who has quit smoking. AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
 

CnoEvil

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tino said:
CnoEvil said:
Tino, thank you for your thoughts. I have very mixed opinions on this. For me personally, the best sound comes from the improvement of old technologies, rather than the implementation of new ones eg: - The speed stability of TTs brought about by improved power supplies - The use of tubes in DACs - especially NOS ones - The improvement in the sound of Valve amps which no longer sound overly "honeyed". - The ability to make speakers more inert and in acoustically favorable designs; though I still think wood is the most musical material to make speakers from (just think Sonus Faber). I wonder if every demo of new amps included a Valve/Class A one, how many people would go for this option...they are definately a very niche/specialist product that has to be sought out. As we become increasingly green, we will all end up with Class D. :(
Perhaps you mean old (and intrisically never changing) design principles improved by better implementation with newer technology? However even if the components and techniques are better today it still takes someone (or some organisation) with the right level of skill and accumulated knowledge to create something good out of them. We should also allow for some innovation to take place rather than continuous refinement of an older technology ... otherwise we would all be listening to the pinnacle of audio cassette reproduction, and missing out on pocket digital players ;)

As for valves .. I have no opinion simply because I have never heard them (maybe something for me to do) .. but I'm sure it would be possible to recreate that 'valve sound' (with or without lashings of honey) with some clever digital signal processing. Which would be better .. the digital simulation or the real thing? I'm sure in terms of pride of ownership, just like a nice pair of walnut Sonus Fabers, the real thing - the original item - would win hands down every time.

PS I don't think Class D amps are necessarily at odds with hi-fi reproduction (e.g. Bel Canto) ... and I don't think a handful of audiophiles running Class A valve amps will create an energy crisis, but all those lesser electronics left in standby 24/7 might ;)
For me, equipment is only a means to an end, which means that the bar has been set in the past, and new technology has to beat it.....and overall, I'm not entirely certain that it has.

There are areas where improvement can be seen through evolution rather than innovation.

IMO The introduction of CD took us backwards for 25 years, until the introduction of hi-res redressed the balance.....and I know this view isn't held by all (their well made arguement has been duly noted).
I still prefer my old Linn Karrik/Numerik CDP to a lot of modern ones, which either means it was well ahead of its time, things haven't moved on a great deal, or I havn't a clue what I'm talking about (always a possibility)

Your point regarding Bel Canto is well made, and it is the only Class D amp (outside of a sub) that I've liked enough to recommended it.

Cno
 

CnoEvil

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DC, thank you for taking the time to give such a comprehensive reply.....I wasn't expecting anyone to tackle every question, although it probably helped to take your mind off the part of your hifi that is still AWOL.

If nothing else, I've discovered something that you don't know about...80s HiFi! :O

Cno
 

lindsayt

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An LP12/Ittok/Troika / Naim / Isobarik system is not what I'd call high-end sound wise.

I'd call it good, but not high-end. It never was high-end. Even when when it was new in the 1970's and 1980's it wasn't high-end compared to other systems you could put together either new or 2nd hand.

Digital sources. Good quality digital sources have come down in price in the last 30 years. High res files are also a good thing too.

Turntables have gone backwards since the large corporations pulled out of the statement turntable market.

Amps. Mostly minor refinements of existing technology. Many types of valves have gone backwards since the big corporations stopped making them.

Speakers. Gone backwards in a big way in terms of sound quality. Too much WAF and not enough purist designs.

However, the great news is the introduction of the Internet. Hi-fi forums plus eBay have been big steps forward for hi-fi enthusiasts.
 

dannycanham

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CnoEvil said:
DC, thank you for taking the time to give such a comprehensive reply.....I wasn't expecting anyone to tackle every question, although it probably helped to take your mind off the part of your hifi that is still AWOL. If nothing else, I've discovered something that you don't know about...80s HiFi! :O Cno
80s was strictly budget and hi-fi wise an experience I would rather forget. Heard stories from others of great kit. I never got to hear it. Then there were the several hundred lps that went to second hand shops in the late 80s. What a disaster. I never liked tape either. Not to mention the dodgy period of liking poodle rock and power ballads. Solid metal amps and solid turn tables were replaced by (5 star reviewed) wobbly plastic towers rather than upgraded. Speakers with a hardboard sheet slotted in the back and a piece of what looked like a plastic pipe from under the sink for a port. Midi systems. Yuk.

I'm sure some people listened to great music on great kit in the 80s. I wasn't one of them.
 

matthewpiano

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The best system I've ever heard was valve based. Unison Research valve amplification with a Unison Research turntable and Opera speakers. The second best system I've ever heard was class A Sugden, and the third was an Audio Note set-up. All based on pretty old technology.

In general I think budget kit has improved remarkably in terms of what it can achieve, but overall I'm not so sure that 'progress' has necessarily meant more enjoyable results. A lot of hi-fi kit these days is all about the detail and resolution and somehow misses out on the heart of the music, but I suspect this is largely down to changing tastes and attitudes and the dominance of particular genres of music over others.

All I can say is that I've been through a lot of kit and the Marantz/MA combination manages to provide me with more fluid musicality than any other reasonably priced systems I've heard or tried. A lot of what I've heard from the next couple of rungs up, like Naim, Roksan, Cyrus etc. doesn't really interest me enough to justify the expense, so for me to feel that an upgrade is going to be worthwhile I would need to be able to buy into the brands that I see as the stalwarts of good old fashioned musicality and involvement - Audio Analogue, Unison Research, Sugden, Audio Note, Icon Audio, Opera, Sonus Faber, Consonance etc.
 

CnoEvil

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Lindsay, as a proponent of all that is good from the past, I hoped you'd bring along your expertise.

I realize that my choice of a "hi-end" system from the past is based on knowledge gleaned from the mainstream hifi mags of the day....that was as good as it got. That was why I tried to balance it with a modern equivalent.

It's only relatively recently that I've become aware of a whole "other world" of exotica....which I'm sure existed in some form or other back then as well.

I was wondering whether TT technology had stalled along with its relegation to the specialist market....not enough sales to justify the investment.

Cno
 

proffski

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Well, somebody wrote a really clever algorithm, IT decided as to what you did not need, too quiet or too loud.

Subtle nuances and signals which provided our brains with information regarding reproduced music as the composer intended. Then all this was thrown away never to be recovered.

It was called MP3 - progress!
 

CnoEvil

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tinitus said:
I was very fortunate to have a HiFi nut as a dad and my first LPs, Led Zep1&2 plus Pink Floyds Ummagumma(?) were played on his Thorens/Quad valve/Wharfdale system. Compared to the 60's Radiogram norm, the differnces were a major revelation to my mates. My biggest mistake was to ditch my vinyl for CD in 1984 in the belief that digital sources were all the same and better quality. Wising up, I bought my second digital system in 1987 - a Cyrus/Monitor Audio combo - and used Brothers in Arms' to audition. Although Dire Straights produced good recordings, the remastered SADC 20 year anniversary disc is a "Night and Day' improvement over that original, even in CD mode. As we know, the problem with quality HiFi is that it is very revealing of poor and compressed recordings. Too much modern stuff is produced for the iPod generation's LoFi kit. It would be interesting to compare my dad's kit vs a modern digital equivalent. How good was the bass from those 15 inch drivers housed in a very big enclosure? How detailed were those Quad valves and what was their dynamic range? All I know is that as I write this, I'm listening to streamed 70's Classic Rock from California's the Eagle at fairly low bit rate, but it sounds damn good.
My Dad also had some classic 60s hifi - Garrard TT, Armstrong Valve amp, Leak Troughline Tuner. This is probably a factor in setting the tone for the type of sound that I prefer.

Thx for the insight

Cno
 

CnoEvil

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matthewpiano said:
The best system I've ever heard was valve based. Unison Research valve amplification with a Unison Research turntable and Opera speakers. The second best system I've ever heard was class A Sugden, and the third was an Audio Note set-up. All based on pretty old technology.

In general I think budget kit has improved remarkably in terms of what it can achieve, but overall I'm not so sure that 'progress' has necessarily meant more enjoyable results. A lot of hi-fi kit these days is all about the detail and resolution and somehow misses out on the heart of the music, but I suspect this is largely down to changing tastes and attitudes and the dominance of particular genres of music over others.

All I can say is that I've been through a lot of kit and the Marantz/MA combination manages to provide me with more fluid musicality than any other reasonably priced systems I've heard or tried. A lot of what I've heard from the next couple of rungs up, like Naim, Roksan, Cyrus etc. doesn't really interest me enough to justify the expense, so for me to feel that an upgrade is going to be worthwhile I would need to be able to buy into the brands that I see as the stalwarts of good old fashioned musicality and involvement - Audio Analogue, Unison Research, Sugden, Audio Note, Icon Audio, Opera, Sonus Faber, Consonance etc.
I could have written that.....so is it our age, our appreciation of what live classical music sounds like, or are we just "out of touch"? :roll: :)
 

CnoEvil

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proffski said:
Well, somebody wrote a really clever algorithm, IT decided as to what you did not need, too quiet or too loud.

Subtle nuances and signals which provided our brains with information regarding reproduced music as the composer intended. Then all this was thrown away never to be recovered.

It was called MP3 - progress!
Clever indeed! :wall: :doh: |( :( :O
 

matthewpiano

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CnoEvil said:
matthewpiano said:
The best system I've ever heard was valve based. Unison Research valve amplification with a Unison Research turntable and Opera speakers. The second best system I've ever heard was class A Sugden, and the third was an Audio Note set-up. All based on pretty old technology.

In general I think budget kit has improved remarkably in terms of what it can achieve, but overall I'm not so sure that 'progress' has necessarily meant more enjoyable results. A lot of hi-fi kit these days is all about the detail and resolution and somehow misses out on the heart of the music, but I suspect this is largely down to changing tastes and attitudes and the dominance of particular genres of music over others.

All I can say is that I've been through a lot of kit and the Marantz/MA combination manages to provide me with more fluid musicality than any other reasonably priced systems I've heard or tried. A lot of what I've heard from the next couple of rungs up, like Naim, Roksan, Cyrus etc. doesn't really interest me enough to justify the expense, so for me to feel that an upgrade is going to be worthwhile I would need to be able to buy into the brands that I see as the stalwarts of good old fashioned musicality and involvement - Audio Analogue, Unison Research, Sugden, Audio Note, Icon Audio, Opera, Sonus Faber, Consonance etc.
I could have written that.....so is it our age, our appreciation of what live classical music sounds like, or are we just "out of touch"? :roll: :)
Hope it's not age - I'm only 33 and still feel quite young!
 

dannycanham

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proffski said:
Well, somebody wrote a really clever algorithm, IT decided as to what you did not need, too quiet or too loud.

Subtle nuances and signals which provided our brains with information regarding reproduced music as the composer intended. Then all this was thrown away never to be recovered.

It was called MP3 - progress!
That could easily describe the lowest of bit rate mp3 in contrast to other means. However the higher the bit rate, the grayer the area between it and other formats. The people involved had a massive interest in audio.

Manfred Schroeder was already a well-known and revered figure in the worldwide community of acoustical and electrical engineers for example.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manfred_R._Schroeder

Some of the most intelligent minds in audio are behind the development of mp3. The majority of information lost is well well below the noise floor of the room you are sitting in, other information well bellow the limits of even high priced equipment. The algorithm doesn't just pick ideas out of a hat.

"Subtle nuances and signals which provided our brains with information regarding reproduced music as the composer intended. Then all this was thrown away never to be recovered."

Could describe the act of every TT, CD player, amplifier, microphone, cable, mixing desk, equaliser, room, studio and speaker on the planet before the music hits your ears, but we are much more forgiving of that. With MP3 the perspective is often lost due to ignorance. It isn't perfect. It has been misused. So has CD and vinyl.

The ability to expose people to millions of tracks in seconds is very powerful. We are going to hit a point where competing digital stores will push harder to offer more and the foundations will be firmly in place. We can use our ears instantly each time they do. It is genuine progress. This time round we have a format that started off as having accessibility as one strength. The ability to hear the music on your own kit before buying as another. It didn't start off as an elitist, overpriced medium in which exposure to songs beforehand was to select songs on a minimal choice radio format or from a description in a magazine. I personally think that is a great starting point for a way of listening to music. The direction is increasing quality after an initial drop as long as it isn't at the expense of accessibility. Those who don't want to follow that route are still free to follow paths that take more effort.

I bought alot of rubbish music before mp3, purely down to guessing what I would like and artists being able to get away with 2 good tracks per album. Even without purchasing music as mp3s I do that much less thanks to its (and its like) existance.

Waves an mp3 means progress banner frantically.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Hi Cno

This is a stimulating topic for a Sunday!

I think that the achievable quality has improved, quite significantly, but there has also been a stratospheric increase in price in some cases. The state of the art is definitely better, but strangely, more diverse than I can ever recall.

My first encounter with hi-fi was my uncle's Lenco turntable, Quad 22, home-made poweramp and speakers. This was soon followed by the new neighbour with a Thorens TD125, SME3009, V15, Armstrong 521, Ferrograph reel-to-reel (wow!), etc. I bought my first system in 1974, and started helping out in the shop where I bought it a few months later. Our top systems tended to be based around Harman/Kardon receivers (the 930 was the boss's favourite) and Acoustic Research speakers (AR3a). We sold Quad 33/405 too and a few ELS57s as they are now known. The core items were Dual/NAD, Lenco/Leak, and Sonab, Sansui, Pioneer, Marantz and Trio separates, with lots of tape and cassette machines by Akai et al. We flirted with big Tannoys, Heil ESS, Sonab, Spendor, KEF reference and similar, with budget speakers by Celestion, Wharfedale, Leak, plus a locally-made range from Omar Skinner that we sold under an own-label.

A few years on, I encountered early Naims with Linn/Grace/Supex and Dalhquist speakers. That was my SoA for a few years. Then came the LP12/Ittok/Asak, Naim, Isobariks that you know well. Fast forwarding a little further, the annual Heathrow show saw the advent of Absolute Sounds, the importer. I was soon beguiled by Audio Research, Krell, Sonus faber, and Oracle turntables. To me, that was light years ahead of Quad, for example.

I was never big fan of the 'cottage' British lines like A&R, Creek, Fons, Systemdek, and so on, but had great fun getting great sound from modest items like Dual and NAD, which kept evolving. As you can see, I've never had much experience with valve gear, other than loving Audio Research which I couldn't afford!

After being unimpressed with early CD (and I'd got my first Linn TT by then) I was persuaded by Meridian's work, and eventually got a 506 (or 508?) - the CD drawer model combined with a pre-amp. This seemed like the future to me, as did my Celestion SL600s, which I won!

I still think you can get a great musical experience without spending too much money, and that definitely isn't only the province of ancient designs or technologies, though they can certainly still deliver the goods. I was never a fan of big boxes for speakers, because I often seemed distracted by cabinet effects, so the narrow and deep styles currently in vogue make sense to me. Surely they are far less coloured too, and CAD must be a boon. Far better than guessing at crossover specs, port sizes, or using a slide rule. But I quite miss the 'infinite baffle' which can work well close to walls or on shelves.

Today, the budget end still seems the most vibrant. Sound per £ is surely at record highs. Modern tooling and mass-production is presumably the reason. The higher-end has been overwhelmed by jewellery-like design, with high perceived value. It all looks amazing, but the correlation with the sound and engineering quality seems very variable, though the best is better than ever, to my ears. And if you use house prices or salaries as a benchmark, top systems seem to cost way too much, though I'm still glad they exist. [Though whether a Marantz 10b tuner was better value when new, than say a LP12 SE at £18k is today...]

From the legacy of mp3 we seem to be approaching a new 24/192 era, but I am far from confident that anything downloaded today will still be playable in 30 years (unlike my LPs, and even cassettes) or even 10. Alongside it all we still have great symphony orchestras, soloists, bands, opera houses, and so on, though they have evolved too, but are still the reference.
 

CnoEvil

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NP, your perspective is very worthwhile as you "lived it" and had access to a lot of gear.

There was definately (rightly or wrongly) a very introverted/biased view by the hifi press of the time: ie. British makes were quality no-nonsense, no frills sound quality..."proper hifi"; Japanese was just "show off" ....all flashing lights and unecessary facilities that reduced SQ.

Nb. My SL6 were a joy (and still are)....for certain genres of music. Cno
 

nopiano

Well-known member
CnoEvil said:
There was definately (rightly or wrongly) a very introverted/biased view by the hifi press of the time: ie. British makes were quality no-nonsense, no frills sound quality..."proper hifi"; Japanese was just "show off" ....all flashing lights and unecessary facilities that reduced SQ.
I can still recall the burning smell of new Quad and A&R Cambridge amps that I had to connect to make sure they wouldn't go 'pop' during demonstration. For a while it seemed like every other model lasted only a few hours hours, and sometimes just minutes! But with a Marantz, or Pioneer - never.
 

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