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Some OVERRATED High End Gear. - Page 8

post #106 of 330

Anything you find in Best Buy or any big box retailer is overpriced and overrated, not just headphones. They're all pretty far from high end too, except for maybe some of the TVs (but still, even that's rare).
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

Being new to high end audio, I'd like to put in a word for Bose being overrated...
post #107 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

Being new to high end audio, I'd like to put in a word for Bose being overrated.


Bose overrated? That's like saying "the ocean is wet". Bose is a marketing firm that just happens to make speakers. They really could make anything - soda, shoes, women's handbags, and it would make no real difference to their operation.

 

post #108 of 330

I've found that in several of the "high end" stores here in Manhattan, I have been seriously underwhelmed when listening to some of the special setups they have.  Normally, I would attribute this to room placement and other environmental factors, but their listening rooms tend to be decently designed from my limited experience.  Generally, I have found these setups to be bright, shouty, and often played just way too loud.  I understand this is a broad generalization, but I do find it curious that it has been a pretty consistent experience for me at these stores.  Singer, Lyric, and Park Avenue Audio all come to mind.  Of course, perhaps my inexperience with top-flight speaker systems is at work here, but I don't know.

post #109 of 330

I will never forget my experience going into a fancy HI/FI shop in 1998 to maybe order a pair of Grados when the salesman took me into this room and played me the multi-channel Asia from Steely Dan. He was like jumping around the room and showing me how each part of the music had it's own 3D location. I don't want to sound too critical but the whole thing had no soul. I was used to a 2 channel vinyl sound and this experience was just too cold and clinical. Then I started to realize the things we talk about here at Head-Fi. "That was a super expensive perfect sounding state of the art 5.1 channel musical experience, why didn't I like it?". "Could I have adjusted my listening hearing in time to hear the magic?" I still think the rig just was another overrated piece of high end. I will not say that multi channel or DVD-A is overrated as I have very little exposure to it.

 

 

It may not seem like a big deal now but a few years ago they made multi channel DVD-A look like the 2nd coming of Christ.


Edited by Redcarmoose - 9/5/11 at 10:09pm
post #110 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post

I've found that in several of the "high end" stores here in Manhattan, I have been seriously underwhelmed when listening to some of the special setups they have.  Normally, I would attribute this to room placement and other environmental factors, but their listening rooms tend to be decently designed from my limited experience.  Generally, I have found these setups to be bright, shouty, and often played just way too loud.  I understand this is a broad generalization, but I do find it curious that it has been a pretty consistent experience for me at these stores.  Singer, Lyric, and Park Avenue Audio all come to mind.  Of course, perhaps my inexperience with top-flight speaker systems is at work here, but I don't know.


I'm not really surprised, I think most people that have a fairly limited experience with high-end audio might think of that kind of sound as what high-end is supposed to sound like. That's certainly what my Krell/Wilson experience was - and those are two of biggest, most well known names in high-end.. There is also a certain set of people that simply want even the tiniest flaw in a recording to be ruthlessly revealed with ten thousand floodlights - rendering perhaps 5% of their music collection listenable. I can't stand that approach, but I also don't like when a system is so warm and forgiving that detail is stamped out, and any kind of ambiance in the recording is lost.

 

If a demo is being played too loud, I just walk out. There was a really fascinating article on Tyll Hertsens blog about what happens to your hearing when you are exposed to music at a level that is too loud. Here's the gist of it:

 

"Generally speaking, the acoustic reflex kicks in at about 85dB SPL for single frequency tones, but may activate as low as 75dB SPL for broadband sounds like pink noise or music. I was surprised to hear the number was that low; 75dB SPL is about what I would consider a solid, but not loud, listening level. My normal listening level is about 70dB SPL, and I think most would consider that a fairly modest level.

 

Armed with the above information, let’s walk into a demo room at a trade show playing their system at 85dB SPL. Within about 100mSec --- way before you take your seat in the sweet spot --- your acoustic reflex kicks in. With 55dB SPL self-generated noise from the muscles now tensing in your ears, and a 20dB attenuation to the lower half of the audible spectrum, the signal to noise ratio drops to a miserable 10dB in the lows and some mids, and will appear to have a significantly tipped-up frequency response."

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/loud-music-sucks

 

A salesman that is blasting music is not someone I want to talk to, or buy anything from.

 

post #111 of 330

I remember trying a few hi-fi stores to see if any could compare to my favourite one (sadly heading towards the end of the road as the owners become too old to run it) and found a similar thing: Their TOTL systems simply sucked. Going into my preferred store, their best systems were seriously "close your eyes and you're THERE". It'll be a sad day when they close down. 

 

Dave: That article explains why I feel sometimes there is more detail listening quietly than loud.

post #112 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

"Generally speaking, the acoustic reflex kicks in at about 85dB SPL for single frequency tones, but may activate as low as 75dB SPL for broadband sounds like pink noise or music. I was surprised to hear the number was that low; 75dB SPL is about what I would consider a solid, but not loud, listening level. My normal listening level is about 70dB SPL, and I think most would consider that a fairly modest level.

 

Armed with the above information, let’s walk into a demo room at a trade show playing their system at 85dB SPL. Within about 100mSec --- way before you take your seat in the sweet spot --- your acoustic reflex kicks in. With 55dB SPL self-generated noise from the muscles now tensing in your ears, and a 20dB attenuation to the lower half of the audible spectrum, the signal to noise ratio drops to a miserable 10dB in the lows and some mids, and will appear to have a significantly tipped-up frequency response."


This is a real can of worms! While I agree with the basic premise of the article (don't listen to music too loud), much of it's actual detail is either wrong or very misleading! For starters the acoustic reflex isn't just an on off process, it is a gradual effect. For example the acoustic reflex would attenuate an 85dB sound source far less than a 120dB sound source. Even more importantly the acoustic reflex is only one aspect of the perception of frequency relative to volume. For example, as the volume increases, the far higher energy in the lower frequencies becomes more perceivable via bone conductance. So although the acoustic reflex lessens the ear's sensitivity to low frequency at higher volumes, we actually perceive more bass (relative to mid frequencies), not less! This is completely the opposite of what the miss-informed Tyll Hertsens states in his article. Just have a quick look at Fletcher-Munson curves and the ISO 226 for verification of this.

Unfortunately, some of the figures the author has quoted regarding the acoustic reflex are inaccurate, for example 20dB attenuation. I don't know whether the author was deliberately trying to be misleading or is just an idiot, because the figures he has quoted were taken from a online paper investigating the hearing of the Chinese concave-eared torrent frog. Which the author quotes as a reference in a graph he reproduced. Chinese concave-eared torrent frog? Sounds like some sort of far eastern copyright infringement. Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up!

If you are hearing a lack of low frequency at higher levels in a trade show or show room there are a number of possible explanations but acoustic reflex is not one of them.

G
post #113 of 330

gregorio,

your social skills are seriously lacking. 

post #114 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post

If you are hearing a lack of low frequency at higher levels in a trade show or show room there are a number of possible explanations but acoustic reflex is not one of them.

G


Interesting. I listen a little louder than Tyll does, usually around 75dB as measured by sticking the microphone of my SPL meter right next to the driver of my headphones. It's all about a balance of emotional enjoyment, soundstage, and fatigue. At very low levels on most headphones the soundstage usually flattens to a small bubble inside the head, which is fine for background listening but isn't particularly satisfying. Some headphones are better at this than others, and I've heard some that required a louder volume than I was comfortable with in order to achieve any real depth. 75dB is usually enough to achieve a good soundstage and satisfying dynamics. Anything much above 80dB gives me listening fatigue in a hurry.

 

The worst is the super low-fi garbage typically found in bar settings, with terrible piercing ultra distorted treble cranked to 90dB+. I literally cannot be around that for more than 30 seconds.

 

post #115 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishski13 View Post

gregorio,

your social skills are seriously lacking. 


True but if someone is going to publish an article on a commercial website with the intention of influencing others and that article is presenting inaccurate information as fact (and out of context), in my book you deserve a little abuse!

G
post #116 of 330


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post




Bose overrated? That's like saying "the ocean is wet". Bose is a marketing firm that just happens to make speakers. They really could make anything - soda, shoes, women's handbags, and it would make no real difference to their operation.

 


I hope I won't get destroyed here but I do find the bose jewel cubes to be decent. Sure, they have nowhere as much detail/prescence/power/finnese/extension as my B and W 802Ds, but they are neat and make a great second(bedroom) system. They are also pretty acceptable for movies/gaming. Furthermore, sorry to any focal fans here but I found that the new focal bird speakers are poorer than the Bose jewel cubes. IMO Bose is more overpriced for their performance than overrated, I don't think anyone really thinks that Bose is anywhere as good as say Magnepan.

 

post #117 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyl1dyl View Post

I hope I won't get destroyed here but I do find the bose jewel cubes to be decent. Sure, they have nowhere as much detail/prescence/power/finnese/extension as my B and W 802Ds, but they are neat and make a great second(bedroom) system. They are also pretty acceptable for movies/gaming. Furthermore, sorry to any focal fans here but I found that the new focal bird speakers are poorer than the Bose jewel cubes. IMO Bose is more overpriced for their performance than overrated, I don't think anyone really thinks that Bose is anywhere as good as say Magnepan.

 


It's tough to get much in the way of decent sound out of a tiny box, but sorry, other companies do it way better. The Bose is still plastic crap in a box, and they charge you a fortune for what costs them all of $10 to make, tops.

post #118 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post




It's tough to get much in the way of decent sound out of a tiny box, but sorry, other companies do it way better. The Bose is still plastic crap in a box, and they charge you a fortune for what costs them all of $10 to make, tops.


Haha, thats true. I'm pretty sure that they don't cost much to make. They do produce respectable sound though imo as they capture a good swathe of the core of music, movie soundtracks, etc. No way they get the low lows or the high highs though.

 

post #119 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyl1dyl View Post

Haha, thats true. I'm pretty sure that they don't cost much to make. They do produce respectable sound though imo as they capture a good swathe of the core of music, movie soundtracks, etc. No way they get the low lows or the high highs though.

 


I guess that depends on your definition of respectable. To me they sound like the speakers that Logitech sells for $100. I still love the Wave Radio commercial where they show how it gets "BIG SOUND" and there's this animation of them stretching it into 5 foot tall speakers, and then squashing it back down into its little plastic box. Yeah, because you can just do that.


Edited by DaveBSC - 9/7/11 at 6:03am
post #120 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyl1dyl View Post


 


I hope I won't get destroyed here but I do find the bose jewel cubes to be decent. Sure, they have nowhere as much detail/prescence/power/finnese/extension as my B and W 802Ds, but they are neat and make a great second(bedroom) system. They are also pretty acceptable for movies/gaming. Furthermore, sorry to any focal fans here but I found that the new focal bird speakers are poorer than the Bose jewel cubes. IMO Bose is more overpriced for their performance than overrated, I don't think anyone really thinks that Bose is anywhere as good as say Magnepan.

 


Around here, no. But ask your average consumer what are the best sounding speakers and Bose is the usual answer.
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