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Is "High-End" audio a scam? - Page 9  

post #121 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post


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

+1
post #122 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by feigeibomber View Post

Everyone's perception and views on different things, are dependent on the person, that is saying, some people for example might be a watch collector, buying watches worth a house, now here's the question: Is it really worth buying a watch that is worth as much as a house?, to the person who bought it, it will most definitely be worth it, but to some others, they will assume they are 'crazy' and wasting their money

smily_headphones1.gif With that said, i reckon high-end audio is not a scam !

thing is we have to ask is,does he really think it's worth it or, is it just a form of compulsive spending disorder one possibly might be struggling with?
post #123 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Square waves don't exist in music.

This argument seems to get repeated quite frequently, and when people are pointed to Tyll's explanation of WHY SR response matters, it usually goes silent. Basically, you're right - for most music, square waves don't exist (have you ever listened to Komprex or AFX though? tongue.gif), but SR response allows us to see more than FR (which is not the be-all end-all that most people make it into); Tyll explains it a lot better than I could:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/presto-change-o-measurement-transformations
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyll 
Because a square wave contains many frequency components in precise ratios, the shape of the square wave will change with changes in frequency response. The same thing is true of the impulse response.

Why bother with multiple measurements then? Well, the problem is that the data measured lives in three domains: time, frequency, and amplitude. Any single two axis (two domain) graph will only visually reveal information in the two displayed axis, and will hide information in the remaining domain.

For example, frequency response shows information in the frequency versus amplitude domains. Impulse response shows only time versus amplitude domains. I wish I could measure the acoustic phase response because then we could observe phase (time shift) versus frequency. (I currently measure the electrical phase on the impedance plot, which has little to do with acoustic phase. Acoustic phase is very difficult to measure as there's also a time delay in the loop between the driver in the ear that would have to be compensated for each headphone individually.)

Square wave response is a mix between time, and both amplitude and phase. Both frequency response and phase delays will have an effect on the square wave shape.

So basically you're not looking at something like FR (I really hate how FR has been turned into this Consumer Reports Method of grading stuff; "oh the FR looks the same, it sounds the same - time, phase, and polar radiation absolutely do not exist or matter!") - it's a bit more involved. My understanding is that the same problems we cry about with speakers/headphones and the SR response exists for amplifiers as well. Now of course there's still going to be some wisecrack that "well good sounding speakers don't produce perfect SR so you're wrong" - okay, but there's no headphone out there that produces a perfect SR either, and "good" is so intangible that it's not worth talking about. Just as two examples - Grados and Ultrasones. Neither measures very well, neither sounds bad though. The point isn't to try and use measurements to dictate what sounds good - it's to have some sort of quantified data that we can attach to something that we either like or dislike, so we can know more about it.

Regarding the whole amplification thing in general - I "get" the argument for having hilarious amounts of reserve power, but I also think it's been taken absolutely too far in recent years. Boulder Amps are a great example of this - 1500W (or more), Class A, super low distortion, yadda yadda. I don't doubt they cost a ton to design and produce, they're super-nice kit, but are they NEEDED for any practical application? Most scenarios that need >1000W continuous are PA or LFE; neither of which is really a "oh fidelity matters LOTS here" scenario as far as I'm concerned. But that doesn't stop people from hooking up their speakers to kilowatt (or larger) amps and talking about "overamping" and "expanded headroom" - after a point it's absolutely nuts imho. Hypothetically speaking, say you need 10W for whatever output level you want - a 100W amplifier is probably a very safe bet, and will probably provide you all the headroom you need (it's another 10 dB); 1000W is just a ton of money for an additional 10 dB (or 2x). But they sell. I think it's just gotten nutty in the last few years (again, thanks to the Consumer Reports style marketing - people just want a single linear variable that they can look at that dictates EVERYTHING; megapixels, watts, diagonal screen size, etc - it lets you sell a lot of cheap s**t without doing much but pointing at the box and it makes it harder to sell higher end stuff because you always get the "well I can get XYZ more widgets for less money, this one is a rip!").

Reminds me of a thread with Steve talking about how horns should come back - and then we could stop worrying about Class D and higher efficiency, because even Class A SET is not really an efficiency problem when you only need 5-10wpc. biggrin.gif On the note of speakers, I honestly don't see why it's some sort of badge of honor to dislike equipment that blends into your decor. What's the issue with having equipment that looks good and also sounds good? Where was it written that it has to look like crap in order to be worthy? I'm not saying Bose is the be-all end-all, but most speaker manufacturers don't even try until you start spending (relatively) a lot more money (e.g. Sonus Faber, MartinLogan, NHT, etc). Am I nuts in thinking this way, or what?

And I think that's where you get into "scam" - you're selling and hawking products that are absolutely frivolous and superfluous to whatever your user needs. It's like selling grandma a Ferrari for her to drive to church every Sunday. $20 says she never takes it out of 1st. Sure, it really will deliver on it's 200mph+ claims, it's one of the fastest "family cars" in the world, and all that, but if you never use it, why pay the extra 90% overhead for it? Just get a Lincoln like everyone else.

To Head Injury's point:

True. But you have to consider dynamics. It's more of a concern with old music and movies these days, but it's still worth considering. Basically the problem you can run into is "well I need 1 W because the speakers are 90 dB/W and I only want 90 dB" - okay sure, but ANY demand that goes over 1W is going to result in clipping (and you were asking about distortion...). Some headroom is not a bad thing. That doesn't mean you need 10kW, but 10W or 20W wouldn't kill you. Most people are absolutely oblivious to what their real power demands are, or how to even ballpark it though - and just go for the biggest amplifier they can possibly fit into the room, or follow whatever trumped-up marketing claim the salesman makes. As far as the performance returns - I'd say yes and no. It depends on what we're comparing. There's a lot of products that are expensive just for the sake of being expensive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_goods), an example would be the Ultrasone Edition series (I don't mean to denigrate them, but they do represent LOTS of mark-up) - so the actual returns are probably fairly minimal over the same manufacturer's less expensive offerings. Then there's products that are expensive as a result of some other factor, like the manufacturer has to cover a huge R&D outlay, or they use some unobtanium materials that provide better performance but rack the price up. I think in both cases the overall gains are probably marginal, in terms of "can I enjoy this" but that doesn't mean it's a total ripoff. It's highly relative. If that makes sense.
post #124 of 995

Yes, I believe it's likely 12 megapixel smartphone cameras are for marketing since we're inclined to "more = better" as the most basic formula that usually works.

 

For the same reason some people have 1200W of speaker power in their living-room I assume.

 

There is also something cool about having these reserves, like you should be able to zoom in on pictures, or simulate a cinema, if you so felt like it.

 

 

Sometimes vanishingly low / high numbers are a little deceiving too, like 99.99999% 7N purity or 0.00001% THD.  In the case of the extra few 9's in an IEM or headphone cable you can find ~1 ohm less resistance.

post #125 of 995

Can you imagine a world without marketing twits?  I can't decide if it would be heaven or he11.  Would it be a wonderful world ruled by truth, logic and engineering, or would it be a drab & boring world full of gray boxes and straight lines?

 

I say put them all on the B-Ark and let some other planet sort them out!

post #126 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Can you imagine a world without marketing twits?

Dude, the world would collapse. Like the entire economy and everything with it. You know that most of the Internet is just spam and marketing robots (over 50% of all traffic is robot generated, and over 95% of all e-mail is advertising), and that the bulk majority of all USPS (and I assume other national postal services') deliveries by volume is also advertising. I mean think about it - I get mail every day, and every week I put out a recycle bin with maybe 10-20lbs of advertising materials that I don't even bother to look over. I get perhaps one or two legitimate pieces of mail a week (as in someone wrote me a letter, or I receive a package, or I get a bill for something).

So after you deflate that, and cut business for everyone probably in half - you'd also have to consider that basically all print media lives and dies by marketing numbers. So now you've eliminated the Internet, the USPS (which would make waves for other people; that's some 400,000 jobs), newspapers, non-technical/professional magazines (so no more Stereophile or Car & Driver or Guns & Ammo, but you'd still probably have NATURE and that sort of thing). Oh yeah, and network television, which would completely evaporate (and since those networks are tied into the pay/cable channels and distributors now, they'd all go down in flames together). And professional sports. And this isn't even in terms of "nobody knows that we, Honda, make this car called the Accord that we want to sell them" this is in terms of "nobody is paying for NFL stadiums or banner ads for websites or commerical spots" - so I'm not even thinking about the ripple effect of all of those industries being killed or what I consider legitimate advertising (like the Honda Accord thing) that would result in lost sales.

I mean seriously, all I think of when you say no advertising/marketing is this:
214

That said, I would absolutely love to see a full 24 hour day with no advertising or commercials or other nonsense. I imagine that's what heaven must be like.
post #127 of 995

I have no doubt that shortly after the "oldest profession" was invented, some marketing twit put lipstick on a pig.

post #128 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I have no doubt that shortly after the "oldest profession" was invented, some marketing twit put lipstick on a pig.

And I thought my example was horrifying and scary. Seriously. Good job. biggrin.gif
post #129 of 995

Well said obobskivich.  Both posts.

 

I think it's well known that power ratings are say....overratedcool.gif

 

As for marketing, I'm not sure why it still exists. I think we've reached the point of advertising overload where people simply don't believe what they see advertised. When I see an ad I immediately think, "Ok, they're trying to sell the product coupled to this sort of image" or "This product appeals to demographic group X, Y, and Z".  As a consumer, I always educate myself before I buy anything, but it seems I'm still in the minority these days. Are we going to reach a point where marketing becomes a useless tool for companies because consumers have  become so overloaded and skeptical?

 

Maybe this is a semantical argument because value is very much a perceived concept. There are things I spend money on (audio, music, computers, tech, tools) and then there's everything else that I pretty much cheap out on because I don't care. I don't buy into images, I don't buy into promises, I always buy things based on specs and value. I don't see value in expensive clothes, cars, cables, etc. but evidently others do. Is this value perceived because of marketing? Or is the value simply lost upon someone who is not interested? I can't be for sure.

post #130 of 995

I think the VAST majority of people that would hang-out in a forum like head-fi are "function over form" types - but I also think we are a tiny minority compared to all of the "form over function" types that are the real target of most marketing campaigns.

 

What's sad is that most consumer companies seem to have decided that it is more effective to spend money on marketing than to spend money on engineering and quality assurance.

post #131 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Square waves don't exist in music.

This argument seems to get repeated quite frequently, and when people are pointed to Tyll's explanation of WHY SR response matters, it usually goes silent. Basically, you're right - for most music, square waves don't exist (have you ever listened to Komprex or AFX though? tongue.gif), but SR response allows us to see more than FR (which is not the be-all end-all that most people make it into); Tyll explains it a lot better than I could:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/presto-change-o-measurement-transformations
 

 

Thanks for pointing that out. However, I want to point that my post was in reply to discussion of measurements of amps, not headphones, so I don't think what Tyll wrote applies, as it refers to headphones.  I agree about amp overkill though. I bought a pair of Class D monoblocks some time ago because, simply, I don't listen loud enough and seriously enough through speakers for the class to matter a lot to me.

 

The funny thing about square waves for me is though, I am listening using a Metrum Octave NOS DAC, which is marketed with the claim of perfectly reproducing a square wave at 1kHz. Of course, it cannot do same trick of perfection with sine waves at 10kHz and above. So while I think the marketing of it is a bit BS, I do like how it reproduces music, especially high-res recordings which effect the same as over- or up-sampling, in a more natural way.

post #132 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Thanks for pointing that out. However, I want to point that my post was in reply to discussion of measurements of amps, not headphones, so I don't think what Tyll wrote applies, as it refers to headphones.  I agree about amp overkill though. I bought a pair of Class D monoblocks some time ago because, simply, I don't listen loud enough and seriously enough through speakers for the class to matter a lot to me.

I'm not 100% on how the two relate, but my understanding is that a majorly screwed up SR response for an amp can mean problems up high.
Quote:
The funny thing about square waves for me is though, I am listening using a Metrum Octave NOS DAC, which is marketed with the claim of perfectly reproducing a square wave at 1kHz. Of course, it cannot do same trick of perfection with sine waves at 10kHz and above. So while I think the marketing of it is a bit BS, I do like how it reproduces music, especially high-res recordings which effect the same as over- or up-sampling, in a more natural way.

What happened to the Dragon? eek.gif
post #133 of 995

I think transducer manufacturers (i.e. speakers, headphones) have every right to charge however much they want. Every transducer sounds different, and in the case of speakers even more so. It is impossible to arrive upon a transducer that will sound "correct."

 

However, we have reached an affordable "pinnacle" of quality with regards to upstream components (i.e. [pre]amplifiers, digital-to-analog converters) for quite some time now, over two decades in fact. I think people who are spending more than $150-200 or so on their amplifier/DAC are putting their money in the wrong place. In fact, the infinitesimal differences in measurements (like SNR and noise levels) between nigh every modern DAC chip are imperceptible to the human ear.

 

There is a wealth of literature available confirming the theory that modern-day (e.g. post-1988 or so) DACs and amplifiers sound the same, provided no impedance problems.


Edited by 3X0 - 7/4/12 at 2:04pm
post #134 of 995
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post

[/]

 

I think people who are spending more than $150-200 or so on their amplifier/DAC are putting their money in the wrong place.

 

There is a wealth of literature available confirming the theory that modern-day (e.g. post-1988 or so) DACs and amplifiers sound the same, provided no impedance problems.

 

Everything should sound identical to the SanDisk Clip+ according to the literature and parameters you are referencing, so I think you set the price bracket a little high.

post #135 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post

I think transducer manufacturers (i.e. speakers, headphones) have every right to charge however much they want. Every transducer sounds different, and in the case of speakers even more so. It is impossible to arrive upon a transducer that will sound "correct."

 

However, we have reached an affordable "pinnacle" of quality with regards to upstream components (i.e. [pre]amplifiers, digital-to-analog converters) for quite some time now, over two decades in fact. I think people who are spending more than $150-200 or so on their amplifier/DAC are putting their money in the wrong place. In fact, the infinitesimal differences in measurements (like SNR and noise levels) between nigh every modern DAC chip are imperceptible to the human ear.

 

There is a wealth of literature available confirming the theory that modern-day (e.g. post-1988 or so) DACs and amplifiers sound the same, provided no impedance problems.

 

Key phrase there, and it should be expanded to include other measurements. Solid state gear with similar measurements will all sound the same under similar circumstances.

 

I agree with the DAC statement especially. $1000 DACs are incredibly futile IMO. I think there's a little more to amps than the <$200 range can offer, but I'm sure there are those that will argue otherwise.

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