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The Emperor's New Clothes - Page 2

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Mods,

 

     Why arent threads like this being moved straight into 'Sound Science' ??

 


Because there's no science?  I'm not belittling the Winer research cut and pasted at the outset, but I cannot figure out what the OP's point is here.  There's definitely a difference in headphones. Not only can you hear it, it's measurable in the frequency charts. Amps too, so why is he on about this?

 

We need a mad rants forum.

post #17 of 29

lejaz:

 

The trend in "pro" greade gear has always been "measurements first" (I would say not straight wire with gain, which is simply the limit of hearing) for quite some time because distortions in series-connected components are cumulative at best, and multiplied at worst. This has always been the justification for 2496, amongst other things: pro sound guys know you cant hear it, but by doing the best from day 1, after 12 steps its (hopefully) better off than slacking off a little more at each step.

 

Now the question comes:

Why should anyone as an end user pay any attention to what measures well (which IS the criteria given by straight wire with gain types) when all they are doing is listening? I would say that they should not. They should pick a piece of gear that sounds good to them. The end user dosnt have to please anyone but themself after all. 

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post



We need a mad rants forum.



Agreed, and that brings us back to 'Sound Science' ......

 

I believe that this, and the 'Elephant in the Room' thread, are being posted outside 'Sound Science' because people realise that there are a select number of Head Fiers who even bother to set foot in that particular asylum. Letting the lunatics out of the asylum just isnt the answer :)

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

This thread makes me wonder.

I may be totally off base with this so please don't shoot me if I am! I'm no expert in high end audio, and this is only what I've gathered from a lot of reading over the last few years. Over at gearslutz.com they talk about something I think they call the 'straight wire' microphone preamp. That's a preamp that basically just takes the signal from the mic and amplifies it with as little distortion or color as possible. In other words, it's very transparent...what comes out is the same as what went in....only what comes out is much louder. FWIR, you can get a very good amp of this sort for under $400. It's made by Grace, and it's highly regarded as giving a clear detailed signal free of color. I would imagine you can get a very good headphone amp like that for around the same price. So what makes people lust after the vintage neve preamps and the like and spend several thousand bucks to get one? It's the color they're adding....though you may wish to call it 'magic' or 'vibe'....it's still basically color as far as I can see. Nothing essentially wrong with that. If I had the bucks for a nice tube amp I'd like try one myself. I'm also curious if I could differentiate between an expensive ss amp and the LD mkV that I have now that cost $200 second hand. I try to keep an open mind, but I have a feeling that the difference wouldn't be all that noticeable unless one just happens to have better synergy with one of my phones. I'm more than willing to be proven wrong if someone wants to ship me one for a test using the k702. 

Grace is one of the good names out there. But I read a funny (well,...) article recently, either in Stereophile or Absolute Sound, where several high-end products were opened up and examined by the magazine editors, and they could clearly see that some of the premium products that were getting a high price were just repackaged cheap stuff with a deluxe outer case to fool the customer. This would make more sense if I could find the article.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

They should pick a piece of gear that sounds good to them. The end user dosnt have to please anyone but themself after all. 



I highly agree with this.  If it sounds good to you, regardless of whether it's as close as possible to the original recording, why not stop worrying about how accurate it is and just enjoy the pleasing sound signature? Especially if the original recording sounded like crap.  

 

My .02

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post




Because there's no science?  I'm not belittling the Winer research cut and pasted at the outset, but I cannot figure out what the OP's point is here.  There's definitely a difference in headphones. Not only can you hear it, it's measurable in the frequency charts. Amps too, so why is he on about this?

 

We need a mad rants forum.

Definitely a difference? There's an enormous difference. But when comparing things like amps where the differences are more subtle, good luck separating the inherent differences(!) from those caused by variables like cables, volume and gain controls, stuff like that.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by modskwod View Post





I highly agree with this.  If it sounds good to you, regardless of whether it's as close as possible to the original recording, why not stop worrying about how accurate it is and just enjoy the pleasing sound signature? Especially if the original recording sounded like crap.  

 

My .02

It might sound good today, but tomorrow it might not....
post #23 of 29


That's pretty hilarious if true. And I bet there would be plenty of people if they A/B'd the expensive repackaged product with the original cheap one would hear obvious improvements with the expensive one.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dalethorn View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

This thread makes me wonder.

I may be totally off base with this so please don't shoot me if I am! I'm no expert in high end audio, and this is only what I've gathered from a lot of reading over the last few years. Over at gearslutz.com they talk about something I think they call the 'straight wire' microphone preamp. That's a preamp that basically just takes the signal from the mic and amplifies it with as little distortion or color as possible. In other words, it's very transparent...what comes out is the same as what went in....only what comes out is much louder. FWIR, you can get a very good amp of this sort for under $400. It's made by Grace, and it's highly regarded as giving a clear detailed signal free of color. I would imagine you can get a very good headphone amp like that for around the same price. So what makes people lust after the vintage neve preamps and the like and spend several thousand bucks to get one? It's the color they're adding....though you may wish to call it 'magic' or 'vibe'....it's still basically color as far as I can see. Nothing essentially wrong with that. If I had the bucks for a nice tube amp I'd like try one myself. I'm also curious if I could differentiate between an expensive ss amp and the LD mkV that I have now that cost $200 second hand. I try to keep an open mind, but I have a feeling that the difference wouldn't be all that noticeable unless one just happens to have better synergy with one of my phones. I'm more than willing to be proven wrong if someone wants to ship me one for a test using the k702. 



Grace is one of the good names out there. But I read a funny (well,...) article recently, either in Stereophile or Absolute Sound, where several high-end products were opened up and examined by the magazine editors, and they could clearly see that some of the premium products that were getting a high price were just repackaged cheap stuff with a deluxe outer case to fool the customer. This would make more sense if I could find the article.
post #24 of 29


Well if the original recording sounds like crap we obviously don't want an expensive 'straight wire' amp or highly transparent and detailed phones either. Maybe that's why I'm enjoying my recently purchased Fostex T20 v.2's so much. They make me forget the details and focus on the music as a whole....the opposite of 'can't see the forest for the trees'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by modskwod View Post





I highly agree with this.  If it sounds good to you, regardless of whether it's as close as possible to the original recording, why not stop worrying about how accurate it is and just enjoy the pleasing sound signature? Especially if the original recording sounded like crap.  

 

My .02

post #25 of 29

Is this the part where someone digs up the 'coat-hanger equals $1000 speaker wire' thread ? The thread that had thousands falling all over themselves to respond that 'I knew it all along ! Idiots have been paying for coathangers !'. I dont think I saw a single 'Doh !' response when the original 'test' was exposed as a hoax.

 

I dont own any thousand dollar cables, and I dont spend my nights agonising over nth degree stuff, but I accept that its not all the 'same stuff with a different coat of paint'. Anyone making an audio component that sells for more than a couple of hundred dollars has to know that people are going to post pics of the internals - you dont have to look too far on Head-Fi to see instances where that has caused problems for the people making big claims about their new toy. That said, Head-Fiers continue to completely discount the value of implementation in the design and manufacture of components, and I keep coming back to the iPhone. You can buy the raw materials for an iPhone for less than a tenth of the retail price, but I dont see any credible clones selling for half the asking price of the Apple phone. Fostex could probably do a pretty good job of imitating any of the current crop of orthos, but would you buy their version over an original ? Maybe you would - the customer is always right - but it still comes down to someone doing the groundwork to assemble all those 'cheap' bits into something which is greater than the sum of its parts.

post #26 of 29

no, if they AB'd them they would see that they are the same.

 

Tangentally, I wonder if a large emphasis on anti-ABX comes from the trend of everything measuring so well that many things sound the same regardless of how they are made. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post


That's pretty hilarious if true. And I bet there would be plenty of people if they A/B'd the expensive repackaged product with the original cheap one would hear obvious improvements with the expensive one.

 

Quote:


 
post #27 of 29


Maybe A/B'ing is the wrong term, but my own experience with cables tells me expectation bias can be quite real.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

no, if they AB'd them they would see that they are the same.

 

Tangentally, I wonder if a large emphasis on anti-ABX comes from the trend of everything measuring so well that many things sound the same regardless of how they are made. 
 


 
post #28 of 29

I have seen at least one picture of that. The entire lower-priced unit (including the chassis) was put inside a new chassis with a high end brand.

But they heard no differences.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post


That's pretty hilarious if true. And I bet there would be plenty of people if they A/B'd the expensive repackaged product with the original cheap one would hear obvious improvements with the expensive one.

 

Quote:


 
post #29 of 29

My feeling about amps is that there are differences, but that they're nowhere as great as is often described, and that they are only relevant to most people up to a certain price and quality level, IOW, it's possible to build a $500 amp that's as good as even the most rabid audiophile will ever need, but not unfortunately as good as he'll ever want due to the ingrained idea that more expensive means better. After all, a $500 amp can encompass all the necessary design and quality components for essentially transparent, noise-free sound. The law of diminishing returns is acknowledged but not recognised as being as savage as it really is. Get a well-reviewed $500 amp and live happily ever after.

 

And never read another hi-fi mag.   

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