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Are bel canto and Emotiva considered 'high-end' ? Peachtree Audio ? - Page 2

post #16 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneth View Post

I respectfully disagree with that statement. A Toyota Yaris is about $13,000. Sure, people in first world countries can easily afford that, but most people in a country like China can't (or your homeless example). It became a luxury item for them. The term highend is a relative term, just like value. It changes with time and the perceptive values that governs our society at that time. A 458 Italia isn't highend, at least not when it compares to what the absolute best is out there.

I'm pretty sure we're talking about high-end from the standpoint of Western markets. I somehow doubt that someone that can't afford a Yaris will be into high-end audio in the first place. And China is the #1 auto market in the world at the moment, incidentally, with a lot of China-exclusive extended-wheelbase models from the top luxury manufacturers being developed specifically for it. The wants of the Chinese market are already influencing luxury car design worldwide.
post #17 of 98

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by catscratch View Post

I'm pretty sure we're talking about high-end from the standpoint of Western markets. I somehow doubt that someone that can't afford a Yaris will be into high-end audio in the first place. And China is the #1 auto market in the world at the moment, incidentally, with a lot of China-exclusive extended-wheelbase models from the top luxury manufacturers being developed specifically for it. The wants of the Chinese market are already influencing luxury car design worldwide.

 

It's just an analogy (probably not a very good one). Let get back on track and talk about Bel Canto again. To me, it's not highend, at least not in the strictest sense (performance wise), but does that mean that it really isn't highend? Who dictates that only the most exclusive brands are in that group (and are usually the most expensive)? I'll give you another example, I used to collect fountain pens, pens that are over $10,000 - $15000 (now looking back, it was a rather meaningless pursue of vanity). To most people, that's more than highend, but to me, that's only entry level highend (in relative to the absolute best that were available).

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that people decide what make a piece of audio equipment entry-level, mainstream, and highend.


Edited by jenneth - 4/25/12 at 12:54pm
post #18 of 98

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

If you decide that every term is relative and up to the individual than those terms lose all meaning. The 458 is an entry level Ferrari but it's still very much a high-end car sold by a high-end brand.

 

Heh, a lot of terms lose their meaning over time. You mentioned that you consider EMM, Zanden, dCS, & Esoteric to be highend and Bel Canto isn't. Well, that's what a 458 is like when it compares to a Bugatti Veyron.


Edited by jenneth - 4/25/12 at 8:51pm
post #19 of 98
Thread Starter 

Wherever I go over the next few years, I never want to find myself with this much gear ....

 

GaryP&GaryD.jpg

post #20 of 98

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DefQon View Post

Isn't high end these day's determined by its price? Rather then performance to price ratio.

 


OK, here's where I believe that people lose the forest for the trees.  Sure, some of the luxe brands mentioned are what I would first think of if I was asked to name some "high-end" brands. Going by price is objective.  You can point to a number and say it's either above a threshold or it isn't.  There's very little to argue about.  Performance gets into a potentially much more subjective playing field, and I think this scares some people.  But there are several examples I can think of to counter this thinking of a price only definition. 

 

Is a HeadAmp BHSE high end? I think most here would agree that yes it is.  Next, say you could get Justin's exact pcb layouts for the BHSE and use all the same parts that he would, but made it yourself (assuming you have the skill and experience to be able to recreate it exactly) as a purely DIY, is that BHSE high-end?  I know the parts would still be a significant investment, but there would be a noticeable and likely non-trivial difference between the 2 in price, possibly enough to put the DIY in one bracket and the HeadAmp version in another. Does the fact that you paid less for parts than for a finished unit suddenly mean in comparing 2 theoretically identical BHSEs  that one is high-end and one isn't?  Your price definition says yes, one would be high-end, the other not. That is just silly.

 

(And this is in no way intended to be a even close to a poke at Justin, who makes a damn fine product at a damn fine price as well.  I am a hugely satisfied HeadAmp customer.  I'm just picking a well-known example of a commercialized "high-end" DIY project.).

 

Next and possibly even more flagrant counter-example: Llst time I checked you can't carry a Gryphon amp across the room, let alone make it portable (damn things are monsters!).  What is high-end in the portable market?  It is a huge sector in the personal entertainment industry, so by definition, there has to be something considered high-end there.  Or, if we use the price definitions above, is there simply no high-end in the portable market?

 

If there is a high-end portable market (and I believe there is, especially with respect to performance): are JH16s IEM customs high-end?  How about a JH16s in universal fit?  Is the Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo?  Does the "snob factor" preclude including IPods and IPhones now in terms of a system of

* custom IEMs,

* a small portable amp with

* a CLAS and

* an Ipod 160GB as a digital source? 

That goes against pretty much every price-definition made for high-end made so far, but is probably as high-end as you can currently get in the portable market.  Or do we replace the Ipod+ CLAS in that equation with the Altmann Micro Machines Tera-Player (handmade, priced at US$ 1100) as the only high-end portable source?

 

At that point, you've painted yourself into a corner using price because there are still good arguments to why an IPod can be considered high-end performance (as a transport), yet mass market price.  Or, you can click your heels together 3 times and say "there is no high-end in the portable market".

 

OK, yes.  I'm getting too wrapped up here and for the sake of this particular forum, there has to be some kind of cut-off point about what is and isn't included or else this forum would be mobbed with Beats, IPod and Cowon threads. 

 

The point I am trying to make is that performance, not price, along with a minimum number of significant compromises made in the design and manufacture of the device indicates high-end.

post #21 of 98
In my opinion, something is high-end once people think it is. Honestly, it's that simple.

You take something that performs well by any standard, get it some support as such a performer where people agree it is high-end, and there you have a piece of high-end equipment.

The fact that nobody says a Yaris, a Dynalo, an Oppo, etc. is high-end is what keeps it from being high-end. If people decided that the Oppo outperforms many others and is one of the best you can buy, then started calling it a high-end piece universally, it would be, despite nothing but the public opinion on the quality of it changing.

I can see where the price/performance, the pure price, the mass produced/"crafted" arguments are coming from, but in every argument, all I see is brands and products that everyone has agreed to be consumer grade or high-end themselves due to price, performance, build quality, etc. all combined into their own personal feel for the product, therefore showing that people determine what is high-end, nothing else in particular.
post #22 of 98
Thread Starter 

I guess it is more about semantics than anything - I can throw paint at a wall and call it 'art', but I might be the only one on the planet to feel that way about my 'masterpiece', 

post #23 of 98

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeckles View Post

Does the "snob factor" preclude including IPods and IPhones now in terms of a system of

* custom IEMs,

* a small portable amp with

* a CLAS and

* an Ipod 160GB as a digital source? 

That goes against pretty much every price-definition made for high-end made so far, but is probably as high-end as you can currently get in the portable market.  Or do we replace the Ipod+ CLAS in that equation with the Altmann Micro Machines Tera-Player (handmade, priced at US$ 1100) as the only high-end portable source?

 

You may be able to coax good performance out of the iPod or iPhone, but I'm sorry, that doesn't make them "high-end" components any more than a Sansa Clip is a high-end component. The only difference is you can't bypass the DAC in the Clip. The DAC in the Apple components is every bit as low quality. They can be part of a high-end portable rig in the same way that an iPod and a Wadia iTransport can be part of a high-end home audio rig. That still doesn't make the iPod anything more than it is.

 

So what are actual high-end portable source components then? Hifiman HM-801, iBasso DX100, Tera Player.

post #24 of 98

high end should be directly related to high quality, not high price.

post #25 of 98

I agree with this. 

 

There's a disjoint between "high end" (which lacks agreed upon criteria) and "high performance" (which is based on measurements) - here's an example that'll ruffle some feathers:

 

Take the QSC RMX5050. Find me another amplifier that can universally out-perform it. Let's say you can even spend five times as much (so around $10,000 is your cap). And it must drive either two channels at around 2500W each (2 ohms too, and stable), or BTL/monoblock into 5kW (4 ohms). I'm not aware of any non-pro amps that can do that (EV and Crown probably have solutions though). 

 

Accuphase makes a monoblock that can do 1200W into 4 (if you buy two, and bridge them) - they're $12,000 a piece though (according to AC2). 

 

McIntosh makes a bigger monoblock that can do 2000W into an undetermined load (it may be invariant, I get that sense from it's product page - it has some spelling errors too, ugh), and it takes up half a room and costs something like $60,000 a pair.

 

So which is "high end" and which is "high performance" in this comparison? The QSC absolutely has more output power, is smaller, costs less, and doesn't require dealing with a boutique dealer (which, by itself, is a huge selling point in my opinion). But it also has cooling fans (and I'm sure you get something like ~45-50 dBA when its going full tilt), rack ears, and absolutely is not designed to "fit in" with a home environment. A lot of audiophile types will absolutely cringe at the mere mention of QSC or anything of the sort, but in terms of absolute performance, it's the clear winner (or at least a legitimate contender). A pair of 5050's will put you "on the deck" with either of these amplifiers (ahead of the Accuphase components actually), as long as the fan noise, aesthetics, and non-buzzword compliant specs don't bother you. 

 

This isn't a condemnation of either perspective, just an illustration. The point is, performance and conspicuous consumption don't correlate. Something can be "high end" and perform like hell, or something can be "high performance" and generally panned/ignored by audiophile types. Recently I've noticed a very strong trend towards price as an indicator of quality and features, something that even a few years ago I would've expected a backlash towards (in other words "why pay $500 when I can pay $200 and get nearly the same thing" vs "of course it costs more"). I don't think this is really an accurate meter-stick; the super-duper fancy brands (like McIntosh) have just kept on doing what they've been doing since the dawn of time, and that means producing cost-no-object equipment that really satisfies everyone (both the audiophiles and the techies). Sure, they can now fund more expensive and ambitious projects because more people are jumping on the wagon, but where it's really scary is the so-called "midrange" that seems content to push out re-badged or re-hashed products at higher price points just to satisfy some people's (sick and demented?) need to spend more for the same bologna. 

 

To your original question about Emotiva, Bel Canto, and Peachtree. I'd say that Bel Canto probably is "high end" depending on who you ask, Peachtree gets a lot of attention in "reviews" but doesn't strike me as anything exceptional - I see a lot of the "midrange" problem with Peachtree. Emotiva is the odd duck - they've had some really stellar products (like the XPA amplifiers), and others that just stink it up (like the UMC). Even in value-oriented circles, Emotiva has a weird position against brands like Onkyo and Outlaw, simply because of that duality. If we ignore their blunders, I think Emotiva fits into the "high performance" range quite easily - however their prices, badge engineering, and aesthetics are not up to the task of putting them into a real competition with a Parasound or a NAD - let alone an Accuphase or a McIntosh. The performance doesn't quite let them compete with a QSC or an EV either. Like I said, odd duck. 

 

My take is towards "high performance" but I'm not so self-aggrandizing as to believe I'm impervious to aesthetic desires - fan noise is obnoxious! So there's always a compromise, and I don't think I'm alone there (in other words: sure, the McIntosh is great, but it's also HUGE and would be a pain to install - so do you settle for the fan noise then? or what about just moving the noisy amps into another room? or getting more efficient speakers and needing less power? or how about a class D design (like Bel Canto)? etc). 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

I guess it is more about semantics than anything - I can throw paint at a wall and call it 'art', but I might be the only one on the planet to feel that way about my 'masterpiece', 

 

 

post #26 of 98
Thread Starter 

@obobskivich, that may well be the finest post I've ever read on Head-Fi. Personally, I think you've nailed it. Its interesting that others dismissed bel canto and Emotiva without a second thought, but you put a lot of effort into explaining your rationale - kudos. I think Peachtree are trying to dig their way out of mid-fi - the Grand Pre and Grand Integrated are clearly aimed at putting them into a slightly higher tier, even if its still distinctly mid-fi territory. They do have an annoying knack of repackaging various kit to appeal to the iGeneration, but I guess that's all part of running a successful business. I've never heard of QSC, but until recently I'd never heard of Genelec or Mackie - parallel universes and different audiences. 

 

Interesting times ahead. 

post #27 of 98

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjay View Post

high end should be directly related to high quality, not high price.

 

true but that's not the way it work in today's world.  when you say high end product, now it is becoming luxurious product.  and luxurious product means high price product.  a = b, b = c, a = c?

 

 

post #28 of 98

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fhuang View Post

 

 

true but that's not the way it work in today's world.  when you say high end product, now it is becoming luxurious product.  and luxurious product means high price product.  a = b, b = c, a = c?

 

 

 

 

using that rational, does that mean that my main 2 channel setup is not high end because i got a unbelievable deal on all the bits  and did not pay the high prices attached to each component ?

 

look at those eichmman bullet plugs quite a few in high end audio peeps like, they used to be a lot cheaper until the audiophools worked out they were actually a very good choice for terminating cables, as a result of this sudden increase in popularity the prices went up, way up.....does this mean then that before they were a well kept secret and quite cheap they were a low end option until they got priced as a high end one?

 


 

post #29 of 98

The amp that the two Gary's are contemplating is more "high-end" than most the stuff mentioned in this thread.

The Karna is a beast.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

 

GaryP&GaryD.jpg

 

 

post #30 of 98
Thread Starter 

No argument on the gear, and I expect that the sonics are incredible - I just don't want it to get to that stage for me personally. To me, its like seeing a photo of a couple of greybeards peering into the engine bay of a '32 Ford rod with all manner of highly desirable parts in the background - great if you have a barn and 4 or 5 very hungry guard dogs. wink.gif

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