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Grado RA-1 amp is a piece of crap! - Page 3  

post #31 of 106
Thread Starter 
the Grado is a worse deal (in terms of the quality of its parts) than many competing headphone amplifiers
I agree. The Grado parts are so bad I can't hear what they are doing. It's too neutral and transparent. I'd have been much better off buying one of those expensive larger heavier amps with miles of quality circuitry and quality resistors. At least they would have put their own stamp on and colored the sound.

Just like paying the taxi driver $50 dollars to drive you all over the city to get you across the street. Money well spent.
post #32 of 106
the problem I'm having here is with a major lack of dis-honesty
post #33 of 106
It's a severe generalization that happens to be true. How many headphone amps are actually affordable? Enough so that you could buy many of them for different rooms, moods, or music? Maybe the creek OBH-11. But then again the Creek is actually a $200 dollar volume control with somewhat flabby bass and muted treble. If you wan't something that really sounds stunning you have to pay hundreds more or even thousands. And it's not only that those amps are worth more in terms of components it's that they sound just a *little* better. Which because of the functioning of capitalism becomes a reason to increase the price. When in fact it really is NOT. The actual value should be determined by what went in to it, not by a perception of it's performance.

How about $75 for a rock concert? Ok 50,000 people pay $75 a ticket for a big show. Now the band members, the managers, and dozens of other people associated with the band are millionaires... And because of what? Because the vast majority of them had some mediocre musical talent that basically amounts to them having screwed around with an instrument long enough to get the jist of it and charging people out the ass to listen to their tripe? And on top of that add the $15 you pay for the cd, the $20 shirt and your looking at lots of money for what? A plastic disk, some cheap cotton and memories(if you weren't high as a kite at the concert). A little percieved worth that at the time you for some reason thought was worth it but later realized was just overpriced ****.

Percieved worth is worthless. You pay for nothing and end up with some delusion that is somehow supposed to compensate you for the time and energy that went into making that money.
post #34 of 106
ai0tron said.....

You pay for nothing and end up with some delusion that is somehow supposed to compensate you for the time and energy that went into making that money
If that's how u look at it - why bother with music? why bother with the arts?

I mean - why not just get into a natural life....or better yet - live like an animal. Then everything you get will have a PERCEIVED worth - you'd have to hunt/fish/farm...and that takes effort - your work = your bounty......

I guess your gonna be the next Thoreau....right?

post #35 of 106
Damn it, coolvij.......CHECK YOUR SPELLING!!!!!
Remember....i before e except after c.
post #36 of 106
Quite a variety of posts on this subject. First of all the all amps add something...so saying the Grado doesn't add anything can only mean one of 2 things...1) you simply don't hear them(which is unlikely) or 2) the amp is no better than the jack in the cd player ot your stereo amplifier.

I have not heard the particular amplifier at length, but "Audiophiles" are not trying to achieve the "MOST" accurate sound. Indeed, Accuracy is a fallacy...it is impossible for a stereo system at any price with any current design to reproduce the symphonic orchestra to the exact parameters of the live performance...and you sure as hell are not going to do it with headphones.

The "High End" supposedly gets you closer to the live performance...that is BS...especially if they put on 90% of the pop recordings...which are so far removed from the live performance it's virtually unrecognisable.

No my fellow Audiophiles and Audio Enthusiasts...the Live performance is not what should be sought, indeed the live performance is FAR worse than your well recorded(or even so-so) albums. What should be sought is the best musical values -

One of the best definitions for high end audio from UHF MAGAZINE: Especially note the last paragraph:

"A high fidelity system will, to as great an extent as is technically possible, preserve the values that make great music what it is: moving, exciting, everything we seek it out for. Those values include melody, harmony and rhythm, but that's not an exhaustive list.

Some of the factors are a mystery. Why is it that a live concert can grab and hold all of our attention, whereas a recording seldom can? What is it that can pull you into a recording so that you put down whatever else you are doing? What causes the chills, the goosebumps that music can generate? I can only guess at them. What I do know is that the difference in musical involvement between one system and another can be huge. Surprisingly, perhaps, it is only indirectly related to cost. The best systems do cost a lot, to be sure, but some surprisingly affordable systems can deliver much of what we need music for.

Most people don't really listen to music. Perhaps that is because music has become so omnipresent, pouring from speakers in the kitchen, the car, the supermarket and the elevator. Listening to it would be like a fish paying attention to water. For background listening, of course, most moderately-priced systems are perfectly adequate, and unless they suffer from fearsome noises or really gross distortion, they can fill the void more than adequately. Though some such systems are falsely labelled "hi-fi," they are in fact what most audiophiles call "mid-fi"...a polite label that reserves the name "low-fi" for the telephone.

They do not invite close listening. Indeed, it is difficult to listen to one without getting the urge to read or indulge in some other activity. Because the musical values, which are the carrier of music's emotional message, are not transmitted, the music cannot accomplish whatever the composer and musicians had in mind. This is true not only of complex music, such as classical, but of all music. A rock band that would get you dancing in the aisles at a concert may not even make your foot tap when played through a mid-fi system. It is as though there were a filter to take out anything interesting. And in a sense there is.

High fidelity leaves out the filter.

Even a minimally competent high fidelity system can transmit the basic musical values of a recording. You will be able to follow the melody. You will feel the beat. You will perceive the harmonic structure of even dense orchestral pieces. And if the recording contains music that appeals to your soul, you will feel some of what you would have felt if the musicians had been there in front of you.

As you might expect, this is not entirely unrelated to the questions of frequency response, distortion and all the rest of the technical stuff, but any technical analysis is necessarily incomplete. Some systems, despite easily measurable flaws in technical performance, do nevertheless manage to make sounds that strongly resemble real music. At the same time, some components with awesome performance on technical tests are nearly unlistenable.

post #37 of 106
My spellchecker threw out the following when I enquired about "Dammit"

I know what some of these mean....
post #38 of 106
post #39 of 106
crk, what are you talking about?
Hey, teachers can cheat too.
post #40 of 106
ai0tron: It's really not true. If you want to go by your definition of actual value being determined by the cost of parts, labour, R&D etc., take a look at the specials bin at your local Best Buy, I'm sure you'll find something selling below cost. Again, by your definition, that makes it good value, and your sweeping generalization is incorrect.
Semantics aside, you'd like to know how many amps are affordable? You DO know that "affordability" is a relative concept. Like it or not, perceived value governs everything (especially the stock market, as some of us have found out)...it's all well and good that you're opposed to the very notion, but it's somewhat hopeless to argue in favour of the point in this forum...perhaps a philosophy forum somewhere might be more sympathetic to your cause?
post #41 of 106
Wow RGA. That's awesome... we basically share the same views on things. I do invite close-listening however... I feel it very important to give every album at least a couple listenings this way before I'll listen to it while doing something else also.

I've never quite understood why audiophiles are after the sound of a live performance - I'm talking about rock concerts or any other kind of concert where everything is sent through electronic equipment, amplified, etc. Come on, the sound is usually really crappy. I don't think I've been to a concert where the sound was actually decent you know. You're never truly going to get the feeling that you're actually listening to a live concert because, well, you're not.

Unless of course some crazy scientific breakthrough erupts and we're able to record parts of our lives with some device that is connected to our brain in which we're able to relive them through all senses any time we wish. That'd be crazy, and definately unnecessary. We have our memories right? Or you could always right down things as they happen/right after they happen to improve that memory. Well, whatever.

Now for any unamplified music performed in a symphony hall or whatever kind of hall, things are different. The sound is probably going to be good if it's a decent hall, but really only as good as the hall can make it. I mean, there's huge differences in sound right there... between the places music is recorded. But how are you suppose to recreate a live performance anyway when it is recorded with something other than our own ears?

Have you ever thought about how that concert that you're listening to was recorded? There are of course differences in microphones, their pickup patterns, differences in microphone techniques (where they are placed), etc. Microphones just don't hear things exactly like we do. What about the recording engineer? Was he playing with tone controls on the mixer? Or did he keep everything neutral. Did the mixer add anything to the sound? What about those cables that were connecting all the equipment there? Doesn't anybody ever think about this if they are so concerned with neutrality? There's so many factors in the recording process itself that can effect the sound.

Sooo... why bother with trying to recreate a live show with electronic equipment?

Just enjoy the music with whatever you think sounds good

ummm... I guess this was kinda off-topic huh?
post #42 of 106
Percieved [sic] worth is worthless.
Actually, in the entire history of mankind "perceived worth" is the *only* worth. I'm not just talking about capitalism. I'm talking about any type of commodity exchange -- bartering, communal systems, looting and pillaging, you name it.

How much someone will pay for an item, trade for an item, work for an item, risk to steal an item -- this is the "worth" of the item, and for each individual that worth is different. His or her own perceived worth is what it is worth to him or her. Each person's "perceived worth" is the only "true" worth there is.
post #43 of 106
To clear up some of the confusion, I want to present my opinion of what the true argument is.

Beagle is not arguing that the RA-1 doesn't sound good. He is claiming that the RA-1 DOES sound better and DOES present an improved sound (tone, soundstage, you name it) over other amps, but that it does so NOT by distorting the sound in any way, but by amplifying it cleanly and perfectly. Beagle believes that an amplifier generally cannot make music sound better by coloring it.

Beagle also implies that with other amplifiers, you may obtain premium parts, but that those parts are often employed in a bad design, where they simply cloud the signal and destroy the sound. Thus although the price/parts ratio of the RA-1 is high, the RA-1 has a much higher PERFORMANCE/price ratio than many other commercial amplifiers with more expensive parts.

Beagle's opponents argue that the same RA-1 neutrality and clarity can be obtained at a much cheaper price by doing it yourself.

I hope that helps someone.

As for ai0tron's argument that in capitalism "there is no such thing as a good deal" and that all you are paying for is vague perceived value, I would say that all value is perceived value. There is no such thing as "intrinsic value." Who is to say that a particular part costs such-and-such? That is perceived value. Who is to say that labor costs this much? Perceived value.

If perceived value is worthless, then you might as well say that valuing anything is ridiculous, since the value you place on something is ultimately based on a feeling you get, something you psychologically pump yourself up to have. That's a valid philosophy, though it has nothing specifically to do with capitalism.

If people don't perceive the RA-1 to be worth it, they can simply decline to buy it. There are certainly many competitors.

To those people that say that the RA-1 is overpriced, I ask this: what is the cost in time and effort and mistakes for someone who wants to DIY an amp? What if that someone wants a warranty? What if that someone is busy and just doesn't have time to futz around with hobbyist electronics -- he just wants something NOW that sounds good? Don't these things mean something? Doesn't the RA-1 offer solutions to these problems where DIY amps cannot?

Really a better argument that the RA-1 is overpriced would be to find other commercial amps that cost around the same price yet that sound better.
post #44 of 106
I think some of you may have misunderstood me. However it doesn't really matter. The point is that value based on perception is inherently unstable and yet in a capitalist environment the value is fixed and so those of us who percieve differently the value of an item are unable to redefine the value of the object in question. This argument is a setup for a complex and problematic social structure. But I think it is one that will arise at some point in the future.

We are all entitled to everything.

There are somethings we want.

There are somethings we need.

There is one kind of necessity and there are infinite kinds of desire. I think prices should be variable according to desire and necessity not according to supply and demand.
post #45 of 106
The point is that value based on perception is inherently unstable and yet in a capitalist environment the value is fixed and so those of us who percieve differently the value of an item are unable to redefine the value of the object in question.
Actually, in a capitalist/market economy, the value is anything but fixed, nor is the "price" (which is the monetary estimation of the highest price at which a product is still a good enough "value" to enough people to make it worth selling). Value and price are both variable, at both the micro and the macro level.

There is one kind of necessity and there are infinite kinds of desire. I think prices should be variable according to desire and necessity not according to supply and demand.
That's a contradition, aitron: if prices vary according to supply and demand, then they are by definition varying according to desire and necessity.
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