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Is "High-End" audio a scam? - Page 8  

post #106 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

I think these soundbars are more optimized for design , than for sound. Pointless, especially for TV. 

 

Yes, I think we can all agree that soundbars are speakers for people who do not like speakers!frown.gif

i.e. they want something "pretty" looking, and who cares what it sounds like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by our martin View Post

You could buy any cheap amp and speakers, it would do the job better than any soundbar..

 

Just my opinion, (assuming you are using the system for music, Movies and TV) I would argue that you are better off getting a decent surround sound receiver, a decent pair of speakers and a decent subwoofer.

Disable the centre and rear speakers (i.e re-direct sound to the two fronts) and you would get better sound than you would thru a crappy soundbar system or a crappy surround sound system..

post #107 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

 

Yes, I think we can all agree that soundbars are speakers for people who do not like speakers!frown.gif

i.e. they want something "pretty" looking, and who cares what it sounds like.

 

Just my opinion, (assuming you are using the system for music, Movies and TV) I would argue that you are better off getting a decent surround sound receiver, a decent pair of speakers and a decent subwoofer.

Disable the centre and rear speakers (i.e re-direct sound to the two fronts) and you would get better sound than you would thru a crappy soundbar system or a crappy surround sound system..

For the tv in a bedroom or something, not for music just for the tv and movies..But i agree, for the price of the bose sound bar you could get a decent onkyo av receiver with 7.1 speakers for that price! For the price of a bang and olufsen tv,you could get a big panasonic tv with a pioneer susano av receiver and 7.1 speakers and still have change! Saying that have a look at this from bang and olufsen..It's like a work of art..Beovision12.jpg


Edited by our martin - 6/26/12 at 9:49am
post #108 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by our martin View Post

You could buy any cheap amp and speakers and a centre speaker and it would do the job better than any soundbar..

It is the constant battle between fashion and comfort. Ladies get to choose between high heels and sensible does....which ones look better? Sometimes audio is the same focus.
post #109 of 995

I think it's comical how Bose gets by with basically advertising against speakers. It's a shame that the consumer market is more concerned with appearance than actual sound. Is audio equipment really so ugly that people can't stand to look at it in their living rooms?

post #110 of 995
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

I haven't seen, heard, or read anything that suggests it isn't a scam. Headphones are worth their price up to a point, but anything after $300 or so is going to overpriced for the differences provided.

 

Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

Amplification has little to do with volume, I can drive the 600 ohm T1 with a smartphone, with the right dynamic range compression etc.  So?  It's about making the driver move properly, not how loudly it screams.

 

Amplification has everything to do with volume. That's exactly an amplifier's job. Increase the signal's power, which increases the volume. A smartphone and a $1,000 amp, at the same volume, will be producing the same power. One may have more noise and distortion, or some other problems, but that's all.

 

You can have more power in X when X and Y are at the exact same volume level.  One could be +-18V and the other +-4.5V.

 

Distortion is quoted in two ways, one is THD+N, the other distortion is the accuracy and faithfulness, or various deviations, of the sine wave delivery.  For example one amplifier can be faster than the other, in operations at thousands of times per second, so the sine waves are more compressed, or more spaced out, subjectively someone might call that "brighter", even if the frequency responses look identical.

 

 

Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

speaking about smartphones, i see a lot of head-fiers using ipod nano's, touch and classics, i wonder how is the sound quality of them compared to other phones like the Samsung's Galaxy and the Sony's Walkman phones, if there is any difference

 

They all vary from model to model, so it's a case by case basis.  The Samsung Galaxy S (the first one) apparently sounds pretty weak per default until you install a firmware hack called Voodoo, to access the Wolfson DAC.

 

The Sony Xperia S and P (LT26i, LT22i) sounded identical to me, they both sound pretty good, satisfactory, I can't tell if it's an enhanced sound or not, hopefully not.  I can't imagine the Sony Walkman Z1070 sounding very much better, but people say the Z1050 / Z1060 / Z1070 sound better than Apple products from what I've read at least, and they're having more success than the previous Walkman X or A models.

 

 

Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

 

I do agree on that part, but the thing is, a Q701 is better than a standard apple earbud, and an LCD3 is better than a Sony XB500 and those are hifi and thus for the people that have the money to buy it, it is not a scam.

 

Looking back at Head Injury's post "Headphones are worth their price up to a point, but anything after $300 or so is going to overpriced for the differences provided."

 

Indeed, here are the differences between a $300 Skullcandy and the $2000 LCD-3 - http://www.head-fi.org/t/614418/skullcandy-mix-master-mike-versus-audeze-lcd-3, open for discussion.

 

 

Originally Posted by billyhightech View Post

Our Martin I have heard many many high set-ups. I used to sell very high end home equipment.Mart-Logan,Krell,Wadia,etc. Just for fun i had some generic speaker wire around the shop and with regular customers i would say " Listen to this new cable from Icarus acoustics,its supposwsed to be the best.. Just about every "audiophile" went nuts,talking about increased dynamics,soundstage opening up,etc. Some even wanted to buy it even when i said it cost $10,000. Of course i didnt acutally sell it,I just said it was a demo and not for sale,lol.


That isn't any kind of evidence that high-end audio is a scam though, you can sell fake perfume or fake watches for $200 / $2000, that doesn't make real watches and real perfume a scam.

 

I'm sure there are CD players which take a decent $300 model, put it in an aluminium chassis and price it at $2000, then there are expensive power cables and power conditioners.  So there are scams in high-end audio but that doesn't equal that high-end audio a scam.


Edited by kiteki - 6/29/12 at 3:18am
post #111 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyhightech View Post

Our Martin I have heard many many high set-ups. I used to sell very high end home equipment.Mart-Logan,Krell,Wadia,etc. Just for fun i had some generic speaker wire around the shop and with regular customers i would say " Listen to this new cable from Icarus acoustics,its supposwsed to be the best.. Just about every "audiophile" went nuts,talking about increased dynamics,soundstage opening up,etc. Some even wanted to buy it even when i said it cost $10,000. Of course i didnt acutally sell it,I just said it was a demo and not for sale,lol.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by billyhightech View Post

 

My $79 Grado sr60s sound better to me then many $10,000+ speakers I sold like Revel and Martin Logan.

 

you're talking complete nonsense.... silly boy. 

post #112 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

You can have more power in X when X and Y are at the exact same volume level.  One could be +-18V and the other +-4.5V.

 

Distortion is quoted in two ways, one is THD+N, the other distortion is the accuracy and faithfulness, or various deviations, of the sine wave delivery.  For example one amplifier can be faster than the other, in operations at thousands of times per second, so the sine waves are more compressed, or more spaced out, subjectively someone might call that "brighter", even if the frequency responses look identical.

 

Looking back at Head Injury's post "Headphones are worth their price up to a point, but anything after $300 or so is going to overpriced for the differences provided."

 

Indeed, here are the differences between a $300 Skullcandy and the $2000 LCD-3 - http://www.head-fi.org/t/614418/skullcandy-mix-master-mike-versus-audeze-lcd-3, open for discussion.

Power is what determines volume, if we're comparing two amps driving the same headphone. I don't mean volume level as the number on the knob, I mean volume as the SPL produced by the driver. An amp with a Vp-p of 18V will have a higher maximum volume than one with a Vp-p of 4.5V given similar current, that's obvious. But they're both producing the same power if they're both driving a headphone to a certain volume, so long as that volume is within the limits of the amp. This is even irrespective of the output impedance of the amp, because that reduces power.

 

Could you give me an example of an amp that compresses or stretches sine waves? Sounds like a faulty amp.

 

You're misquoting me. I'm not saying there the differences aren't worth it to some, or that they aren't improvements or should simply be emulated with an equalizer. I'm just saying the benefit you get from a $1000 or $2000 headphone over a $300 headphone isn't going to be as large as the benefit between a $100 headphone and a $300 headphone. The amount of difference depends on individual headphones. I am not insinuating the same thing as you are in that thread, and I don't like having myself quoted so close to it.

post #113 of 995

Warning:  I'm coming in late, I didn't read all the previous posts, and I'm going to post anyway...

 

Of course there is an element of "scam" in high-end audio - just as there is in high-end anything else.  "high-end" encompasses a much broader spectrum of definitions than the non-enthusiast is normally aware of.  It is often not only purely performance-based, there are often much more subjective aspects.  The obvious ones are a sense of quality of build, or a fashionista statement or the latest trend of the day.  The one trait all "high-end" products seem to share is a high price tag - but other than that, there are no rules defining "high-end".

 

So - given this broad definition, of course there will be differing opinions on the value of the variety of "high-end" products.  The buyer who puts all their emphasis on performance specs would naturally consider the idea of paying a high price for fashion or trendiness a complete scam.  On the other hand, the buyer driven by status-symbols would never consider buying a "high-end" product that did not come with all the cachet and status of such a purchase - regardless of how it performs.  Add-in all the other combinations of real & perceived & imagined aspects of "high-end" and the result is all the piles of debate, nonsense and fodder written on all the enthusiast forums on the web - including this one.  tongue.gif

post #114 of 995
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

On the other hand, the buyer driven by status-symbols would never consider buying a "high-end" product that did not come with all the cachet and status of such a purchase - regardless of how it performs.

 

Actually, now that you mention it, that's probably overlooked a fair bit.  After all, no one buys a Lacoste polo, for it's performance specs, right?  So of course there "Lacoste polos" in high-end audio too, of some sort.

 

On the other hand, a lot of people here are buying, say... a $3000 unheard of Chinese DAC, that doesn't even look good, which would never happen in clothes. ^^

post #115 of 995
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

 

Could you give me an example of an amp that compresses or stretches sine waves? Sounds like a faulty amp.

 

Sure, look at the 10kHz square-wave response of the Fiio E6.  It's not square, it's sloping (can't make a square) indicating the sine waves aren't delivered correctly.

 

In essence, most amplifers are "faulty" in one way or another, so are DAC's, it comes down to DVD versus blu-ray, if DVD quality is good enough or not, but neither of them are actually perfect or faultless.

 

I didn't intend to misquote you, I agree headphones improve a lot up to $300, and then start to diminish.  Shure SRH-940 is an example.  Some people say "all headphones sound the same", then they hear and they think "wow!", but if they compared it to a random $900 headphone there isn't a lot of performance improvement.

post #116 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Warning:  I'm coming in late, I didn't read all the previous posts, and I'm going to post anyway...

 

Of course there is an element of "scam" in high-end audio - just as there is in high-end anything else.  "high-end" encompasses a much broader spectrum of definitions than the non-enthusiast is normally aware of.  It is often not only purely performance-based, there are often much more subjective aspects.  The obvious ones are a sense of quality of build, or a fashionista statement or the latest trend of the day.  The one trait all "high-end" products seem to share is a high price tag - but other than that, there are no rules defining "high-end".

 

So - given this broad definition, of course there will be differing opinions on the value of the variety of "high-end" products.  The buyer who puts all their emphasis on performance specs would naturally consider the idea of paying a high price for fashion or trendiness a complete scam.  On the other hand, the buyer driven by status-symbols would never consider buying a "high-end" product that did not come with all the cachet and status of such a purchase - regardless of how it performs.  Add-in all the other combinations of real & perceived & imagined aspects of "high-end" and the result is all the piles of debate, nonsense and fodder written on all the enthusiast forums on the web - including this one.  tongue.gif

 

Well said.

 

I think many people out there (my generation especially) believe that once you stop paying for performance, and start paying for status-symbols, then the product essentially becomes a "scam". But it's not any more of a "scam" than any other hobby actually.

 

If you were to buy high-end sports car, what exactly are you paying for? Arguably, you're getting a more concrete, measurable increase in performance over a standard car. You're also buying a status symbol. But at the end of the day, the speed limit is 65 mph and all that performance/money goes to waste when a standard Japanese sedan can reach that same speed. If you were to buy a super high-end amp you're getting much less of a measurable increase in performance when you consider the fact that budget-mid amps measure very well too. That high-end amp certainly is a status symbol though. But again, the ears are the bottleneck and when you see high-end gear fail DBTs with low-end stuff, you start to wonder if it's really worth it.

 

Maybe that's a poor analogy, but that's the best I can relate it.

post #117 of 995

The concept of "golden ears" versus "measurements" has probably been around since Emile Berliner laid down the first track. It typically goes something like this:

 

Measurements:  The two audio devices (amps, sources, speakers, 'phones, etc) produce the same measured performance.  Therefore, the perception that one is "better" than another is fiction - or at best, a psychological effect.  DBT is often cited as the best way to show that the measurements do not lie.

 

Golden Ears:  Measurements may not lie, but they also may not tell the entire story.  Just because the items being measured do not indicate a difference does not mean there is not a difference that cannot be measured.  DBT is hard to argue against, but the "golden-eared", often explain the inconsistent results from DBT as simply indicating how small and subtle the differences can be - and over time, their golden ears will eventually become attuned to the subtleties.

 

wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum (or until the Mod closes the thread)...

post #118 of 995

The inconsistency in DBT indicates the subtlety, yes.  For example MP3 128 versus 320, is very inconsistent, many people fail (without practice), and many people say 128 is better, this is all because the difference is so very subtle in the first place.

post #119 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

 

Could you give me an example of an amp that compresses or stretches sine waves? Sounds like a faulty amp.

 

Sure, look at the 10kHz square-wave response of the Fiio E6.  It's not square, it's sloping (can't make a square) indicating the sine waves aren't delivered correctly.

 

Square waves don't exist in music. What you are talking about is only important in digital transmission.

post #120 of 995

I've never come across an amp or DAC measured via wave forms of natural music (where 1ms would look something like this) -> http://www.cicsmemoryplayer.com/index.php?n=CMP.02Upsampling

 

So, I don't have any examples of that for Head Injury.

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