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#74477 - 01/03/05 04:22 PM The HiFi Industry
TKHanson Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/31/04
Posts: 76
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I have a difficult time understanding how some people find it absolutely necessary, and almost essential, to drop more than 10K—let alone 40K—on a set of speakers. I fully realize this would be a naive comment, if I were a person who was simply stating this based on monetary comparison alone; however, that is not the case with my latest experience.

I recently had the opportunity to audition Sonus Faber’s Stradivarius Speakers and B&W’s Nautilus 800s. Both were in the same custom audio room, connected to the latest Rotel—and other hardware I’ve never heard of before. I listened to the same CD and the same track for many minutes, to compare as many aspects of the speakers as I could. Granted, this audition was flawed in that I was not able to sample multiple genres of music, nor was I able to do it over a length of time; however, my five minute impression was fascinating. I was very unimpressed with the quality-to-price ratio of the Sonus Fabers Stradivarious, when compared to the B&W’s. The Stradivarious retailed at $40,000; the B&W’s price was $16,000. I left the store thinking the B&W has more depth, more clarity, more soundstage, more tight bass and definitely better more clear treble all for $24,000 LESS. Is that just me? I have a hard time believing it was, since I’ve often been told I have a very acute ear and insight into what is right and wrong with audio--besides the obvious fact that $24,000 has to sound SIGNIFICANTLY better to ever be worth it. But it wasn't significantly better.

My point with this post is the more I experience (audition), read, and learn, the more I realize the high fidelity industry is driven by prime movers who have mal intent that often translates into wasted effort and money to many consumers. Said differently (and more plainly) the perception of quality, equated with expensive speakers because of their cost, drives many to spend more than simply the quality of sound the speakers produce.

Sadly, like many other successfully industries, profit corrupts. Since I was young, I’ve been very well acquainted with the automobile sales industry. I’ve heard—and even seen—many of the scams that are evident in that line of business. Why would the audio industry be any different? You have rip-offs in the matrices, diamonds, furniture, you name it industry. Why would Hifi audio be any different? So in the end, all I can say is…Buyer Beware; don’t simply skip past folks such as Axiom, because .."how could a speaker the costs only $900 ever sound very good…."


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#74478 - 01/03/05 04:39 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
LT61 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 845
Loc: Illinois.
I don't think ANYONE on this board would pay anywhere near those $$$$$$$$ for speakers..........is a reply by "BBIBH" coming?


Edited by LT61 (01/03/05 04:44 PM)
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LIFE: "Choices, balance, and timing"

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#74479 - 01/03/05 04:42 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
Ray3 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/02/04
Posts: 2854
Loc: Rochester, NY
Interesting viewpoint, which I agree with. I trust my ears much more than a list price ranking or marketing hype. Monster Cable is a prime example of sizzle vs. substance. Thank goodness for folks like Axiom, Onyx, Ascend, etc. to provide an excellent value alternative.

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#74480 - 01/03/05 05:16 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
joema Offline
local

Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Nashville, TN
In this thread Here I did an extensive week long comparision between M60s and Meadowlark Blue Heron 2s ($12000). A friend temporarily loaned them to me while he was having renovation done. I did over 100 A/B tests using a variety of material.

I had the same initial questions: would there be any difference? How much?

To most listeners they were considerably better. IMO they're not $11,100 better, but that's just MSRP. High end speakers are often considerably discounted (varies by brand). Probably $7k is a better "street" number.

I am very happy with my M60s. Also comparisions should include 2.1 and 5.1 config to the fancy stereo speakers. Wny? those additional surround/sub speakers are still cheaper than the high end stereo speakers.

Speaker sound and voicing is very individualistic, like food or wine. There's no single "sonic truth".

After my extensive comparision I was convinced for well-endowed individuals the Meadowlarks are worth it. It's not snake oil, it's not psychological -- they are really better (to most listeners), at least stereo vs stereo.

Also if external appearance is important, some high end speakers are aesthetically beautiful. That alone is sufficient for some people. However Rockets are pretty nice looking. My dedicating HT room is lighting controlled -- you can barely see the speakers, so Axiom is perfect for me. For other people with an extensive investment in furniture, wood flooring, etc speaker finish and aesthetic design is a bigger factor.

If multichannel surround music is a factor, that changes the playing field a bit. Yes you can get high end surrounds and sub, but that further inflates the already high price. Like the "little people" teaming up on Gulliver, a cheaper multichannel configuration can sound better than a 6->2 downmix on high end speakers.

As the NRC tests showed, you CAN pay lots of money and not get superior sound. However sometimes the additional money translates to audible improvement. Just like some people pay much money for fine wine, there are fine speakers that sound really good.

Axiom is unbeatable from a cost/performance ratio. I love mine and have no regrets. But even Axiom has distinct voicing. Some people may prefer Rocket or Ascend, or a different Axiom model such as the M50.

As your experience indicated, just buying expensive speakers is no guarantee of superior sound. However that doesn't mean the additional money NEVER yields audible benefits.

The motto is always do extensive auditions, in home if possible. Or order Axiom speakers and haul them to a high end shop and do A/B tests. It's fun, it's educational, it may give peace of mind. Any decent mid-to-high end shop should welcome the opportunity.




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#74481 - 01/03/05 05:40 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5233
Loc: Los Angeles
In reply to:

The motto is always do extensive auditions, in home if possible. Or order Axiom speakers and haul them to a high end shop and do A/B tests. It's fun, it's educational, it may give peace of mind. Any decent mid-to-high end shop should welcome the opportunity.




yep. [picture Hank Hill and the boys in the alley.]


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#74482 - 01/03/05 05:43 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
Ray3 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/02/04
Posts: 2854
Loc: Rochester, NY
Double Yep.

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#74483 - 01/03/05 05:44 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5233
Loc: Los Angeles
Ok...what's with all the cute dogs lately?


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#74484 - 01/03/05 05:51 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
Ray3 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/02/04
Posts: 2854
Loc: Rochester, NY
My first foray into avatars. I dumped the first one (above) to resize for 65W and 75H here. This is Molly, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. With the two daughters moved out, Molly is our short, hairy kid. She's cute & she knows it.

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#74485 - 01/03/05 05:52 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
Smaller dogs are so full of themselves.
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I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

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#74486 - 01/03/05 05:54 PM Re: The HiFi Industry
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6331
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Ray, ya need to get a picture closer to the doggy so we can see what she really looks like.
_________________________
Jack

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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