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#1324 - 02/13/02 01:08 PM Re: 2 questions please
BBIBH Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 1043
Loc: Canada
I think we will "agree to disagree". I also think we can see the others point of view, and I respect the fact we both have open minds about it.

I think you misunderstood me. I in know way proposed that the amp was the main piece. I have always and will always recommend favouring the source. Good speakers and bad source will let you hear with uncanny accuracy how flawed the source is. If I may, putting a Chevette engine into a Porsche does not give you Porsche quality and performance. The limitations will be all too clear....(gee, that was fun!!!I thinks' I be dramtizin' more in da future!!!)
The nature of this beast is that it is personal, and subjective.

The one thing I would like to comment on is that it is more than theorectical that source makes the biggest impact. Simply line up pieces from different price points (assuming the higher priced are in fact better...as I discussed in the last post, this is not always the case), set them up and listen. This can be in your house, my house or the local dealer. It will be proven.

Magazines,...well another source of information that provides opinions. But really, can you trust magazines that praise everything, or slam everything? Not everything in the world is that defined.

Anyway, nice chatting with you.


Regards,

BBIBH
_________________________
Regards,

Mike

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#1325 - 02/14/02 10:06 AM Re: 2 questions please
Ian Offline
President
aficionado

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 808
I must say your post concurs completely with the double blind listening tests we conducted at the NRC on CD players, cable, amplifiers, and speakers. The big gains come from the speakers. Well designed speakers, not necessarily related in anyway to price, will give you large performance gains in relation to any of the other components. The linearity of the reproduction and amplification is very consistent from the CD player and the amplifier. Quality amplifiers will almost all concentrate their improved performance around improved dynamic head room in order to play those required high power peaks of music and movies without distortion.

Ian Colquhoun
President & Chief Engineer
_________________________
Ian Colquhoun
President & Chief Engineer

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#1326 - 02/14/02 10:59 AM Re: 2 questions please
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3188
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Hello,
I would like to point out as well that there is no necessary correlation between speaker cost and perceived sound quality, especially when comparisons are carried out under controlled scientific conditions.

There's lots of inept speaker design in high-end circles (and at the low end as well). But, for illustration, there is a highly esteemed American speaker that sells for about $10,000 per pair that I've auditioned and it simply has no bass output below 35 Hz. Now for that kind of money, I expect transcendently clear midrange and highs, and bass down to subterranean levels! Apart from this speaker's severe bass liabilities, it also had aggressive highs.

During some of my double-blind listening sessions at the National Research Council (and I have the supporting data and listener comments in my files), a highly reputable and expensive British speaker was seriously downgraded for fat, tubby bass and a nasal sort of horn-loaded coloration on midrange material. The speaer was $6,500 per pair and was greatly exceeded in scores and sound quality by two Canadian designs selling for $1,000 (and less) per pair!

Certainly there are trade-offs in performance vs price at very competitive price levels, and above about the $2,000 mark improvements in performance, when they're audible, are usually marginal.

Incidentally, the British speaker's fat, "tubby" bass was a simple design problem. The large woofer was much too close to the floor (it was a floorstanding design and the proximity effects of the woofer/floor interaction produced and unnatural hump in the upper bass). Simply raising the speaker a foot or so above the floor cured the problem. The floorstanding speaker looked ridiculous at that point, with its castors dangling in free air, but its sound vastly improved, and so did its scores in the blind listening tests.

Alan Lofft
Axiom Resident Expert
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#1327 - 02/14/02 04:52 PM Re: 2 questions please
BBIBH Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 1043
Loc: Canada
I would like to find out what equipment was reviewed and used? I find it completely unbelievable that a $200 cd player could not be discerned from a $2k CD player (of quality).

How can speakers replace, or reduce mistracking turntables, or eliminate strident surface noise?

I think it was misread about my thoughts on amps, as I was implying that the amps in question may have been solidly built, but that does not imply good sound....as you mentioned.

Regards,

BBIBH
_________________________
Regards,

Mike

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#1328 - 02/14/02 08:03 PM Re: 2 questions please
tran Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/14/02
Posts: 4
Loc: Penfield NY USA
Have you looked at the Outlaw Reciever. I have helped 2 friends with their home theater both using that reciever and its a significant bang for the buck. Dont go by the power ratings, its sounds much more powerful. The money you save may be better spent on a better pair of speakers. Good Luck



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#1329 - 02/15/02 01:35 AM Re: 2 questions please
Anonymous
Unregistered


indeed. i find it kind of weird, bbibh, when you say you think a $1000 cd player will perform better than a $200 cd player. is there really that large a difference? i mean, $200 i think is sufficient for a decent cd player and i don't think most people would be able to tell the difference.

you know, i just read an article about how much brand bias and the pay-more-get-more mentality sometimes colors our objective judgement. reviewers for a professional magazine conducted a double-blind listening test with 5 speakers of different brands and different price points. surprisingly, without looking at the brands or cabinet finishes, the professional reviewers ranked some less-expensive models higher than some of the more expensive models. and the difference in sound quality between the very expensive and budget priced models was much smaller than expected...A LOT SMALLER...especially considering the price difference. any thoughts?



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#1330 - 02/16/02 11:47 AM Re: 2 questions please
BBIBH Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 1043
Loc: Canada
Sure plenty of thoughts. The main one that comes to mind is to correct Ian, Alan and others as to their apparent paraphrasing of my comments.

In my many posts, I have espoused the fact that manufacturers designing to price points (say $500) must make a product to sell for $500 that includes product and profit. Limitations of this price point are implied to be lesser profits or lesser quality materials. If the designer has a $5000 price point, the restrictions are much less, and he can either increase profit margin, or increase quality of materials and design. I have stated on many posts, that this does not ensure a better product, and the examples of this are ample. BUT, the restrictions that are not as strict can allow a good product designer to make a better product, as he/she is not limited. Does this always happen?....not on your life! Does it happen?....absolutely!

So, on to the source discussion. A Walmart $200 Memorex CD player is governed by these same rules. As is a $2000 Rega (to choose names at random). As with any product, there are inherent design issues within the realm. CD players in particular suffer from an number of design issues. These include:
- vibration and rigidity
- Transient Intermodulation Distortion
- ground currents
- lense clarity and quality
- clock jitter
- error correction slew rate
- analogue circuits and output preamps
- digital to analogue converters

I could go on and on....I am an engineer! ;)

All of these affect the sound. All of these are both audible and measureable. Have they been addressed? For the most part they can be addressed.....but certainly not in a $200 player. Perhaps not completely in a $2000 player, but more attention has been paid to at least reduce them.

For many years the CD community has built products around an Op Amp (and it's lineage) called the LM741. This chip is slow reaction wise, meaning that output voltage cannot keep up with the slew rate of the requests of the input signal. The TL084 was better, but still not great.

My attempt is not turn this into a technical lecture. I can if required, but on occasion and personal request only. A good speaker can not correct any or all of these problems. The source must do this. In the vinyl world, good speakers will not remove surface noise, or correct incorrect arm height causing strident upper frequencies, or correct mistracking by the cartridge......again, I could go on.

Your comments that "most people" or as others have said " people who hang out on this board" may be correct, but I have never placed myself above the crowd. To reveiw my comments, yes, I too have heard very good products in lesser price categories, and I have heard very expensive equipement I would not wish on enemies.

I would ask you this: have you experienced the better products? What was your thoughts? If you don't like them, fine with me. But to be closed minded and not venture into a true midfi, or hifi store, and proclaim there to be no difference...or to take the word of the press exclusively is being close minded.

Go and listen, you might be suprised! ;)

Regards,

BBIBH
_________________________
Regards,

Mike

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#1331 - 02/18/02 03:31 AM Re: 2 questions please
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have listened. I think the Wilson Audios are too analytical, too unforgivable with poorly recorded cd's, and not musical enough. As for the price difference, many times the extra cost doesn't go into sound reproduction but rather for aesthetics (i.e. speakers for example, will have hand-crafted, hand painted veneers that really don't affect the sound that much) Just because a cd player is $2000, doesn't mean there's any AUDIBLE difference in sound, although the manufacturer may try to justify the price with theoretical physics. I guess what it all boils down to is that the laws of physics aren't the only things determining how good a product sounds. In fact, it's a complicated relationship between physics, psychoacoustics, and preference (which happens to be unique to every individual) that determines how good a product will sound to the listener. A $2000 Rega CD player may sound better to you, if that's your budget, why not just go with SACD/DVD-audio?



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#1332 - 02/18/02 03:32 AM Re: 2 questions please
Anonymous
Unregistered


I HAVE listened. I think the Wilson Audios are too analytical, too unforgivable with poorly recorded cd's, and not musical enough for my tastes. As for the price difference, oftentimes the extra cost doesn't go into sound reproduction but rather for aesthetics (i.e. speakers for example, will have hand-crafted, hand painted veneers that really don't affect the sound that much but look classier). Just because a cd player is $2000, doesn't mean there's any AUDIBLE difference in sound, although the manufacturer may try to justify the price with theoretical physics. (i.e. I saw speaker cables for $6000/ft. I doubt most listeners would be able to perceive the difference between those cables and generic 10 gauge cables, although I'm sure the cable manufacturer has some rationalization for charging so much.) I guess what it all boils down to is that the laws of physics aren't the only things determining how good a product sounds. In fact, it's a complicated relationship between physics, psychoacoustics, and personal preference (which happens to be unique to every individual) that determines how good a product will sound to the listener. A $2000 Rega CD player may sound better to you, but if that's your budget, why not just go with SACD/DVD-audio player?



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#1333 - 02/18/02 01:24 PM Re: 2 questions please
BBIBH Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 1043
Loc: Canada
That is great that you have listened...because now we are starting to agree. I said quite clearly that while more expensive pieces CAN sound better....they do not always - you have said that as well.

Cables are more of an enigma. I agree with your comments on those. Above medium quality, I can guess there would be, and measure differences, but I have great difficulty discerning them. So I choose to stay away from purchasing them.

(See, our thoughts are very similar)

The point about aesthetics is another area we seem to agree on. I feel that finish is an important factor in speakers. The fact of the matter is that I have invested considerable time and money in decor, and will not sacrifice this with cheap looking speakers. But as you say, often times this is the area the designer will move to. Some are not simply great looking speakers with little or no extra attention placed on the internals, but more completely designed, with known areas targeted for improvement. This goes back to the expensive and good or bad sounding point.

Another area you mention is about individual preference.....something I state in most of my posts - that audio is subjective. Again, we agree.

Also, I have stated from day one that measurements are not the definitive item to choosing pieces. Many people look solely at specs, and decide from these. As I have said time and time again...what did it sound like? You seem to agree here too.

As for your closing comment, about a combination machine, if the designers can't get a 1 function machine correct, what chance have they of getting a multi function machine correct? I keep my systems separate, and view combo players as convenience appliances - again stated many times in posts.

But I still have not heard anyone explain how the speakers can repair the problems caused by sources.

I think we are going in circles on this. We seem to agree on most of the points in the thread! If I may paraphrase you :
"it's a complicated relationship between physics, psychoacoustics, and personal preference (which happens to be unique to every individual)" is EXACTLY my thinking, and have posted this many times.

Nice chatting with you. ;)

Regards,

BBIBH
_________________________
Regards,

Mike

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