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What is Hi-Fi ?

JamesMellor

New member
Jul 19, 2013
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Acurate repouction of recorded music I know , but do we still get up to dance and still sit back and chill out , people here say 500 quid all in ones plus speakers is it , and people talk about 1500 quid gets you budget and low fi shite , or is home hifi making it sound as best you can for the buck , I cant belive I need to spend 15k to dance , and dance badly

James
 

Snooker

Well-known member
Aug 5, 2011
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18,540
I am no expert, but when I have visited HI-FI exibitions would say that anything over say £1500 including speakers is not really going to sound any better, and would say regarding hi-fi sound that it should sound full bodied with clarity throughout the range from high to low and sound clear, thanks
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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.....something for blokes to pontificate about, and then argue over......the enjoyment of music comes a distant third. ;)
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
395
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19,270
Depends how literally you want to take the term. 'High Fidelity' suggests the greatest possible level of accuracy to the original source material, so yes, if you want to be literal about it, probably the best way to choose hi-fi equipment would be via scientific measurements and spec.

However, that accuracy also means accuracy to some pretty dreadful recordings of great music with the potential to possibly dampen enjoyment of that music. So where do you draw the line?

I think if most of us are honest we would have to admit that hi-fi is really a bit of a disease for obsessives and a lot of time is spent (wasted?) worrying and obsessing about how the sound could be made that bit better. I think where the systems like those from Marantz, Denon et al really come in is as a bit of a cure to that obsessing. The all-in-one nature of them, and the associated lack of interconnects and component matching, removes much of the temptation to fiddle and the sound is good enough in a way that you can relax and enjoy music from a wide variety of sources without having a distracting pile of black (or silver) boxes in front of you.

In the grand scheme of things, does 'hi-fi' really matter that much?
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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JamesMellor said:
I can meet you where you are , I dont need you to surrender , I can walk to the middle
"You push me

I don't have the strength to

Resist or control you

So take me down, take me down."
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
matthewpiano said:
Depends how literally you want to take the term. 'High Fidelity' suggests the greatest possible level of accuracy to the original source material, so yes, if you want to be literal about it, probably the best way to choose hi-fi equipment would be via scientific measurements and spec.

However, that accuracy also means accuracy to some pretty dreadful recordings of great music with the potential to possibly dampen enjoyment of that music. So where do you draw the line?

I think if most of us are honest we would have to admit that hi-fi is really a bit of a disease for obsessives and a lot of time is spent (wasted?) worrying and obsessing about how the sound could be made that bit better. I think where the systems like those from Marantz, Denon et al really come in is as a bit of a cure to that obsessing. The all-in-one nature of them, and the associated lack of interconnects and component matching, removes much of the temptation to fiddle and the sound is good enough in a way that you can relax and enjoy music from a wide variety of sources without having a distracting pile of black (or silver) boxes in front of you.

In the grand scheme of things, does 'hi-fi' really matter that much?
I like this...
 

JamesMellor

New member
Jul 19, 2013
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matthewpiano said:
Depends how literally you want to take the term. 'High Fidelity' suggests the greatest possible level of accuracy to the original source material, so yes, if you want to be literal about it, probably the best way to choose hi-fi equipment would be via scientific measurements and spec.

However, that accuracy also means accuracy to some pretty dreadful recordings of great music with the potential to possibly dampen enjoyment of that music. So where do you draw the line?

I think if most of us are honest we would have to admit that hi-fi is really a bit of a disease for obsessives and a lot of time is spent (wasted?) worrying and obsessing about how the sound could be made that bit better. I think where the systems like those from Marantz, Denon et al really come in is as a bit of a cure to that obsessing. The all-in-one nature of them, and the associated lack of interconnects and component matching, removes much of the temptation to fiddle and the sound is good enough in a way that you can relax and enjoy music from a wide variety of sources without having a distracting pile of black (or silver) boxes in front of you.

In the grand scheme of things, does 'hi-fi' really matter that much?
If I was sober I would have said that , not as well , but are the compent systems just the 500-700 we used to buy 20 years ago ? , what is critical listening ? we aren moving into a rock music stage

James
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
395
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19,270
Critical listening?

Well, the most critical listening I've ever done musically was when I was an Undergraduate studying Music. Most of it was done on Pioneer and Denon mini systems, and I didn't feel at all hindered by them.

The other type of critical listening, which can dominate too much if we are not careful, is the non-musical 'hi-fi' focused one where we are focused on how well the equipment is performing over and above the content and message of the music itself. Some 'hi-fi' equipment can strongly encourage this type of listening particularly when it really excels in certain areas, only to highlight the areas where it doesn't.
 

stevebrock

New member
Nov 13, 2009
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To me hifi is equipment that allows me to enjoy the music in the best possible way with the funds that I have.

To me my system does just that, I enjoy it immensely.

Ok, the bit about funds is total rubbish, I am always looking at what i could upgrade but thats why we frequent these froums cos were all hifi addicts.

I think Rega make decent gear for people on a budget and do a very good job of it - its effortless - even Rega speakers PP
 

respe

New member
Apr 16, 2009
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I really don't know what a hi fi system is, i have heard so many takes on them over the years you realise we each have a different take on hi fi. I just hsve a music system.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
3
18,545
HiFi is what you want it to be , everyone has different priorities and ultimate goals when they buy equipment to listen to music .

I love live music and I go to live music events regularly and my aim when choosing and buying HiFi equipment is to reproduce at home the closest to that live music feeling that I can afford .

I am sure some people would hate the way my system sounds , others might like it , but to me it does a very good impression of the real thing .

I love the power and dynamics and the way I can literaly feel and hear the music , I look forward to listening to music every day and I constantly search for new music to listen to , the whole thing just gives me so much pleasure .

For me HiFi is a means to a musical end and I love HiFi because I love music . :)

And then there's fishing ..... but that is a different forum :grin:
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
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It's a term describing vacuum sucking out your wallet. Although I've heard it used in spousal arguments as "Its either Hi-Fi or prostitutes, your choice!"

:help:
 

JamesMellor

New member
Jul 19, 2013
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i think Steve and electro have it right , if I was still trying to eat and drink myself into a comma I would more to say :cheers:
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Electro said:
HiFi is what you want it to be , everyone has different priorities and ultimate goals when they buy equipment to listen to music .

I love live music and I go to live music events regularly and my aim when choosing and buying HiFi equipment is to reproduce at home the closest to that live music feeling that I can afford .

I am sure some people would hate the way my system sounds , others might like it , but to me it does a very good impression of the real thing .

I love the power and dynamics and the way I can literaly feel and hear the music , I look forward to listening to music every day and I constantly search for new music to listen to , the whole thing just gives me so much pleasure .

For me HiFi is a means to a musical end and I love HiFi because I love music . :)

And then there's fishing ..... but that is a different forum :grin:
This times ten! At least.

I have been immersed in live music all of my life, both profesionally and for pleasure.

Many systems, and almost all budget ones, sound soft and woolly, lack scale and presence and sound horribly compressed, even when the recordings are not.

I am accutely aware that trying to recreate a musical event in a domestic situation is extremely difficult and different people seem to find accuracy (as far as possible) in different aspects of the playback performance more or less important than others.

Anybody, even me, can play some music on a cheap system and happily play or sing along to material you know, but play something unfamiliar, a little more complex maybe and the better system will allow you greater insight and enjoyment.

There is an other issue too, for me anyway, and that is the clearly audible limitations of most budget (sub £2k) systems. I find it all to easy to get fixated on this issue, which I think (hope) I understand and make some adjustment for when expressing my opinion.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
395
206
19,270
I can sympathise with what you are saying Dave. I have heard and disliked that overly soft and compressed sounding quality from some of the budget gear I've owned over the last few years. It is what always, in the end, leads me to part with affordable NAD amplifiers - along with the slightly hollow quality they almost always have in the bass (I haven't heard the new D3020 so can't comment on that one). However I have also had the same complaints about some very expensive set-ups I've heard.

Like you, I also have lots of experience of live music, both as a performer and an audience member and I work with some of the finest acoustic pianos in the world on a daily basis. I am yet to hear any hi-fi equipment of any price that can convincingly bring the sound of a piano into the listening room, even on the rare occasions where the recording makes that a possibility. Most hi-fi just does not have the scale or the tonal clarity and many systems don't even do enough to enable the identification of piano by maker - whereas if someone plays say a Bechstein grand followed by a Schimmel grand in real life I can easily identify which is which because of their distinctive characteristics. The closest I've come with hi-fi was hearing a very expensive Sugden set-up which incorporated huge monoblock power amplifiers and was massively expensive. The next best was a system put together by UKD using equipment by Unison Research and Opera, at the best part of £20k. Most of the 'normal' higher-end stuff I've heard (particularly Naim) just doesn't come close.

I'm sure Electro's system is something very special, but again, it runs into thousands of pounds. I don't be-grudge that because I'm quite sure it has been achieved through a lot of hard work, but that sort of equipment is way out of reach for the majority of us on this forum.

So therein lies the difficult decision, and one which I know you have had to grapple with yourself with your kit locked away overseas. Do you continue to pursue the realism target, knowing full well that you will never be able to spend the amount needed to get close to achieving your ends, or do you accept that those ends are unachievable, stop wasting time worrying about it, and settle for enjoying music through a neat and affordable music system?
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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A number of very interesting points Mathew.

Firstly I think some perspective is in order, reproducing a pian (solo) is extremely difficult, but it can be done pretty well if you have the room and the budget. One thought that consistently comes to my mind is the expectation that a quality piano costing many thousands can be accurately reproduced by a hi-fi system costing just a few hundred, not really logical but the way I see it.

Top end systems in decent rooms are expensive but then so is a Bechstein grand so I have no problem with that but it is worth remembering that a lot of top end hi-fi is designed to sound like top end hi-fi. The industry has created it's own set of standards that have little to do with the music being played, 'soundstage' for example is an entirely hi-fi construct as is the idea of 'warmth' and 'naturalness' that is held in high regard by so many, particularly vinyl enthusiasts.

So few enthusiasts appear to have any idea how far from musical reality their systems actually are but then this has been the case for as long as i can remember. Taking 'civilians' into a recording studio or even onto a concert stage is invariably a salutory and often amusing experience, the number of times I have been asked to turn down live unamplified instruments..........

You mention my primary system, valves and ribbon hybrids, but expensive as that system was it has some sever compromises that I have had to learn how to deal with. The small speakers and (very) limited power means that large scale orchestral works are out of the question other than as background and even Mrs DDC's favourite Muse albums sound pale and anaemic even played quite loud. (And no, it is not the recordings in this case)

The trick to getting a system to work well for you is to determine what aspects of the playback is most important in making the music sound real to you and for me this does not appear to include too many of the 'classic' hi-fi atributes.
 

busb

New member
Jun 14, 2011
58
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CnoEvil said:
.....something for blokes to pontificate about, and then argue over......the enjoyment of music comes a distant third. ;)
i hope you had a great Christmas CnoE! I can remember someone posting in a thread, either here or PFM: "...of course we all love music here..." - I burst out laughing. Sadly, I know a few who have a very, very narrow field of musical interest that's decidedly mainstream & never settle down with their system for long before changing something. They are usually rather vocal in stipulating their love of music. I take my hat off to those folk that really enjoy music without spending much outlay - maybe they'll discover the delights of a decent setup, maybe they won't.

I don't take issue with others' taste in music or how much of their disposable income they spend on playing it but the pretence of loving music sometimes grates. I'll start the ball rolling by admitting that the equipment is equally important to music. Having said that, I'll continue to listen to music that's poorly recorded rather than abandoning it as some suggest. Fortunately most of the music I listen to is well enough recorded.

as for defining what "Hi Fi" is, it's very simple - giving the purchaser the sound they like is far more important to most than "accuracy". Whether or not their friends agree is another matter.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
3
18,545
matthewpiano said:
I can sympathise with what you are saying Dave. I have heard and disliked that overly soft and compressed sounding quality from some of the budget gear I've owned over the last few years. It is what always, in the end, leads me to part with affordable NAD amplifiers - along with the slightly hollow quality they almost always have in the bass (I haven't heard the new D3020 so can't comment on that one). However I have also had the same complaints about some very expensive set-ups I've heard.

Like you, I also have lots of experience of live music, both as a performer and an audience member and I work with some of the finest acoustic pianos in the world on a daily basis. I am yet to hear any hi-fi equipment of any price that can convincingly bring the sound of a piano into the listening room, even on the rare occasions where the recording makes that a possibility. Most hi-fi just does not have the scale or the tonal clarity and many systems don't even do enough to enable the identification of piano by maker - whereas if someone plays say a Bechstein grand followed by a Schimmel grand in real life I can easily identify which is which because of their distinctive characteristics. The closest I've come with hi-fi was hearing a very expensive Sugden set-up which incorporated huge monoblock power amplifiers and was massively expensive. The next best was a system put together by UKD using equipment by Unison Research and Opera, at the best part of £20k. Most of the 'normal' higher-end stuff I've heard (particularly Naim) just doesn't come close.

I'm sure Electro's system is something very special, but again, it runs into thousands of pounds. I don't be-grudge that because I'm quite sure it has been achieved through a lot of hard work, but that sort of equipment is way out of reach for the majority of us on this forum.

So therein lies the difficult decision, and one which I know you have had to grapple with yourself with your kit locked away overseas. Do you continue to pursue the realism target, knowing full well that you will never be able to spend the amount needed to get close to achieving your ends, or do you accept that those ends are unachievable, stop wasting time worrying about it, and settle for enjoying music through a neat and affordable music system?
I hope my post did not appear to be me showing off :oops: because believe me I am not a wealthy person . ( all relative I suppose ) .

I believe if you are passionate enough about something you just find a way to do it and make sacrifices elsewhere as I have done .

The most important thing when putting a HiFi system together is to know what you want to achieve before you start , otherwise it can lead to a road of constant swapping ,dissapointment and wasted money IMHO ,
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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0
busb said:
CnoEvil said:
.....something for blokes to pontificate about, and then argue over......the enjoyment of music comes a distant third. ;)
i hope you had a great Christmas CnoE! I can remember someone posting in a thread, either here or PFM: "...of course we all love music here..." - I burst out laughing. Sadly, I know a few who have a very, very narrow field of musical interest that's decidedly mainstream & never settle down with their system for long before changing something. They are usually rather vocal in stipulating their love of music. I take my hat off to those folk that really enjoy music without spending much outlay - maybe they'll discover the delights of a decent setup, maybe they won't.

I don't take issue with others' taste in music or how much of their disposable income they spend on playing it but the pretence of loving music sometimes grates. I'll start the ball rolling by admitting that the equipment is equally important to music. Having said that, I'll continue to listen to music that's poorly recorded rather than abandoning it as some suggest. Fortunately most of the music I listen to is well enough recorded.

as for defining what "Hi Fi" is, it's very simple - giving the purchaser the sound they like is far more important to most than "accuracy". Whether or not their friends agree is another matter.
That is of course completely correct in defining modern "Hi Fi".

The playback does not have to bear any relationship to the music as played and recorded as long as it is pleasing to the listener.

Glad we got that straight, it is something I have suspected for many years....... :wall:
 

audioaffair

New member
Feb 21, 2009
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Gents interesting topic going, it's really all about what makes us tick, one man's naim is another man's cyrus so to speak :grin:

I've set some great systems (to my ears) up in the past, and have always been amazed at how customers interpret things differently. Likewise the 'there's no way they will buy that' system has on occasions been the one the customer is most impressed with. So the bottom line is basically if it sounds good, and you have the funds, just go with it. Upgrades can come later lol :rofl:

I think the art to a good system is one that you really want to show off to freinds and family again and again, if you can't do that because something sounds 'wrong' somewhere that's when you know you have a problem! Again, 'problems' within systems are also subjective.

Hope everyone had time for a good festive listen in any case!
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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busb said:
CnoEvil said:
.....something for blokes to pontificate about, and then argue over......the enjoyment of music comes a distant third. ;)
i hope you had a great Christmas CnoE!
Thank you my friend, and the same back to you.

IME. A system stands or falls by the way it conveys the intention of the musicians, and stirs emotion in the listener. This is unlikely to be achieved by simply looking at measurements, or throwing money at it without practical experience.
 

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