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What is High End? - Page 4  

post #46 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by En_R View Post

So summit fi is only for very expensive or exotic components? Basically what you are implying is that this is a forum where people that have a lot of money come to discuss their expensive purchases and stroke their e-peens? If so I would strongly disagree. Why would the aesthetic design and cost of a component outweigh its real value - the sound it produces? Especially in this hobby?

I believe that a end game setup with headphones, while still sounding amazing, is not exactly real "high end" audio where the terms "prestige" and "luxury" are more common. Pieces in end game speaker systems are over 15k minimum. I believe the target market of speakers and headphones is quite different, evident by the fact that for a long time speaker enthusiasts did not even consider headphones to be worthy of investing in- and why would they? These are like toys, in terms of price, compared to the components in their setups. The interconnects are probably enough to cover the costs of a 009 setup.

Let's hope this hobby doesn't go in that direction- where a large amount of money is being spent on the brand rather than performance.

I believe that's grossly unfair to insinuate that snobbery is involved, it isn't. Those of us who post in SF generally talk about very high-end gear, and that gear is expensive. My Wilson/McIntosh setup is ~60Gs and I believe it's middling in the Summit-Fi mix for speaker rigs around here, definitely not the highest. For headphones, my favorite is my Zodiac Gold>Woo WES>SR-009 setup, ~16k. That doesn't mean a less expensive system can't sound very good, it would just possibly be better suited for the Full-Sized HP/Amps forum(s). I talk about my more modest cans/amps over there, and stats/esoteric gear here. Price, exclusivity, and materials are part of the factors. This is about spending large amounts on relatively small gains, just because it's something to pursue. Bang-for-your-buck isn't as closely considered in here, if at all, and many of us have plunked down the MSRP of a new car for a preamp. There's some perceived lunacy involved, from an outsider's perspective, but we're quite happy doing it. This journey into the pricier areas started way back with the Orpheus, and before then with early STAX, this isn't anything new. I'm not a cable believer, but a lot of guys and girls in here do spend 10s of $thousands on cabling, power conditioning, tubes, etc..
Edited by Magick Man - 1/13/13 at 12:08am
post #47 of 163

You can't separate the term "high-end" from it's cost. Products are usually labelled as high-end due to either its price, the brand and it's recognition in the related market, expensive, exquisite components used or aesthetics wise and/or it's performance compared against a baseline product that was either a previous flagship from the same manufacturer or a previous labelled high-end component from a competing company.

 

While not all Stax are high-end, they are grouped as TOTL because of the unique components used, instead of a mass-produced dynamic/orthodynamic transducer, Stax products are based on electrostatic technology and there are no other companies that manufacturers products based on this type of tech anymore. The only reasons I can think of why the HE500's and LCD2's are deranked to the mid-fi category is because there is just one model that sits above it. The LCD2's TOTL rank is deranked by it's older brother the LCD3, the HE500's by the HE5 and HE6.

 

It's true that high-fidelity and high-end are usually two terms confused together (in my way of interpretation), but at the end of the day, the cost of the product will always play as the main factor to determine what is high-end and what is not, it's entirely possible to have a $500 rig sound better than a high-end $1000 setup and honestly I don't think neutrality plays as a huge role in determining high-end stuff, maybe high-fidelity but definitely not high-end. Is the TH900 neutral? From what I've read, no they are not but what makes them special and seem high-end? Is it the unique red lacquer used on the housing or the price hanged on them? The same applies to Stax products, they are unique and yes some of the vintage Lambda's do sound better than a lot of the flagship's out there, do they have a flat response acting as wire with a gain? No, do they offer neutrality so our ear's only hear what is on the recording? Again imo no, but what is special about them? Either the price or it's the fact that they are special and no other manufacturers have similar competing products.

 

my 2c.

post #48 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefQon View Post

You can't separate the term "high-end" from it's cost. Products are usually labelled as high-end due to either its price, the brand and it's recognition in the related market, expensive, exquisite components used or aesthetics wise and/or it's performance compared against a baseline product that was either a previous flagship from the same manufacturer or a previous labelled high-end component from a competing company.

 

While not all Stax are high-end, they are grouped as TOTL because of the unique components used, instead of a mass-produced dynamic/orthodynamic transducer, Stax products are based on electrostatic technology and there are no other companies that manufacturers products based on this type of tech anymore. The only reasons I can think of why the HE500's and LCD2's are deranked to the mid-fi category is because there is just one model that sits above it. The LCD2's TOTL rank is deranked by it's older brother the LCD3, the HE500's by the HE5 and HE6.

 

It's true that high-fidelity and high-end are usually two terms confused together (in my way of interpretation), but at the end of the day, the cost of the product will always play as the main factor to determine what is high-end and what is not, it's entirely possible to have a $500 rig sound better than a high-end $1000 setup and honestly I don't think neutrality plays as a huge role in determining high-end stuff, maybe high-fidelity but definitely not high-end. Is the TH900 neutral? From what I've read, no they are not but what makes them special and seem high-end? Is it the unique red lacquer used on the housing or the price hanged on them? The same applies to Stax products, they are unique and yes some of the vintage Lambda's do sound better than a lot of the flagship's out there, do they have a flat response acting as wire with a gain? No, do they offer neutrality so our ear's only hear what is on the recording? Again imo no, but what is special about them? Either the price or it's the fact that they are special and no other manufacturers have similar competing products.

 

my 2c.

 

You'll love this.

 

 

Summit-fi

 

 

 

Not summit-fi

1000


Edited by jerg - 1/13/13 at 2:22am
post #49 of 163

Does that mean that the SR007 is going to be shipped out of Summit fi? It's not the "Summit" of Stax.

 

The LCD2 and HE500 have had far too many comments from peeps that believe they are as good as any other headphones available today for them not to be still Summit fi. They are apparently better or equal to any of the Stax models below the SR009 for e.g.

I personally think it will have nothing but a negative affect on head-fi as a whole, simply because there are more HE500, LCD2 owners than any other high end hp.... hang about** Doh! I get it... Its as soon as a headphone becomes too popular it can't be summit fi.. ha!  

 

 

Just a note on neutrality in relation to high end. I always find it funny that some buy the HD800 because it is the ultimate in neutrality and then colour the sound with tubes... Why not just buy a coloured headphone to begin with? Just saying.

 

**Rant over** ksc75smile.gif

post #50 of 163

None of the above. When people head to the place where, essentially, top components are discussed, why do they do so? Who are the people who have been at this for years and ended up with many thousands of dollars worth of gear?

 

Not dissimilarly, for fun I went to the top floor of the Dyna5555 hi-fi store in Akihabara when I was last in Tokyo. That room is, more or less, a row of the top Sonus Faber, TAD and I forgot what other speakers with a room length low rack of Esoteric, TAD, Goldmund etc. gear and every cable was a TOTL model from Transparent as far as I could see, with just about every square inch of wall or ceiling consisting of some kind of baffle or treatment. This was the no-more-mucking-about floor.  I think Summit-Fi is the no-more-mucking-about forum. I reckon it's the place the usual arguments and disagreements should be left at the door and everyone should be naturally demonstrating a high example of grown-up, mature discourse because there is, more often than not, serious money involved in purchasing decisions here.  

 

Stax fits in here because it's a niche and doesn't start cheap purchased new. Regardless, it isn't just about purchasing a pair of headphones that one can use regularly but requires a specialist amp purchase as well, which can't be used with regular headphones, as well as requiring a seriously good source to get the best out of them, so requires a far more serious commitment to the hobby.

 

This is the way I see it anyway. Who's with me? smile.gif

post #51 of 163

Jerg wins it, if we were to get down to the supposedly real reason why people should spend more money in this hobby (ultimate performance, right?) then there's no reason to dismiss the LCD-2.  Oh, but of course that isn't the real reason behind this hobby-- not for half the folks in Summit-Fi, anyways.  Just look at David Mahler's review, the LCD-2 lands at #12 within the stiffest competition possible (4-5 of which ahead of it are almost unobtanium status), while the TH900 barely beats out the 400 dollar HE-400 which can sound excellent out of an iPod.  I still say you should just take the LCD-3 argument and go with it.  LCD-3 is Audez'e's TOTL.  LCD-2 isn't.  Summit-Fi is for TOTL, right?  I think it's more safe of an argument than your current. Paying 1000 dollars for LCD-2 is not a serious money decision?  

 

On the contrary of Summit-Fi being about grown up discussion and no mucking around, it has ironically had one of the most heated arguments this forum has had in a while recently.


Edited by TMRaven - 1/13/13 at 8:27am
post #52 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

None of the above. When people head to the place where, essentially, top components are discussed, why do they do so? Who are the people who have been at this for years and ended up with many thousands of dollars worth of gear?

 

Not dissimilarly, for fun I went to the top floor of the Dyna5555 hi-fi store in Akihabara when I was last in Tokyo. That room is, more or less, a row of the top Sonus Faber, TAD and I forgot what other speakers with a room length low rack of Esoteric, TAD, Goldmund etc. gear and every cable was a TOTL model from Transparent as far as I could see, with just about every square inch of wall or ceiling consisting of some kind of baffle or treatment. This was the no-more-mucking-about floor.  I think Summit-Fi is the no-more-mucking-about forum. I reckon it's the place the usual arguments and disagreements should be left at the door and everyone should be naturally demonstrating a high example of grown-up, mature discourse because there is, more often than not, serious money involved in purchasing decisions here.  

 

Stax fits in here because it's a niche and doesn't start cheap purchased new. Regardless, it isn't just about purchasing a pair of headphones that one can use regularly but requires a specialist amp purchase as well, which can't be used with regular headphones, as well as requiring a seriously good source to get the best out of them, so requires a far more serious commitment to the hobby.

 

This is the way I see it anyway. Who's with me? smile.gif

 

Why do you think what you define as Summit-fi is more important than what the community defines as Summit-fi?

 

On that note, why do you think what you define as Summit-fi is more important than what Jude defines as Summit-fi? Take this quote from Jude in the 2012 Xmas/Holiday Gift Guide under Summit-fi;

"The Audeze LCD-2 has become my quickest go-to recommendation when asked about high-end headphones"

Maybe you should let him know to stop recommending them as High End, I can see how some people might be a little taken aback to find their $1000 investment doesn't meet Currawong's elitist requirements for discussion in the Summit-fi forums.

 

Has Head-fi evolved so greatly now that, never mind performance, price is no longer a contributing factor to whether something is considered ToTL? It's all in the somewhat nebulous name and image that is conjured in the mind of a single Administrator. Stax is in because it's Stax. TH900s and 3000ANVs are in because they require expensive equipment to run (they don't). Your headphone may sound better and may cost more, but sorry folks, it's not ToTL enough for me.

 

The whole thing just smacks of abuse of power to me. If you want to play the "flagships and electrostats only" card, I could maybe accept that, even though that's not what this forum is for. Still it seems to me like you decided to arbitrarily hit the hornets nest with absolutely no interest in what the community thinks.

post #53 of 163

To me the summit should be the absolute pinnacle of sound reproduction and that should never be judged by cost of equipment, though I accept that this will often play a part. Some of my all time favorite albums were recorded, mixed and mastered on equipment costing a lot less (in total) than some people spend on cables! 

post #54 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

None of the above. When people head to the place where, essentially, top components are discussed, why do they do so? Who are the people who have been at this for years and ended up with many thousands of dollars worth of gear?

Not dissimilarly, for fun I went to the top floor of the Dyna5555 hi-fi store in Akihabara when I was last in Tokyo. That room is, more or less, a row of the top Sonus Faber, TAD and I forgot what other speakers with a room length low rack of Esoteric, TAD, Goldmund etc. gear and every cable was a TOTL model from Transparent as far as I could see, with just about every square inch of wall or ceiling consisting of some kind of baffle or treatment. This was the no-more-mucking-about floor.  I think Summit-Fi is the no-more-mucking-about forum. I reckon it's the place the usual arguments and disagreements should be left at the door and everyone should be naturally demonstrating a high example of grown-up, mature discourse because there is, more often than not, serious money involved in purchasing decisions here.  

Stax fits in here because it's a niche and doesn't start cheap purchased new. Regardless, it isn't just about purchasing a pair of headphones that one can use regularly but requires a specialist amp purchase as well, which can't be used with regular headphones, as well as requiring a seriously good source to get the best out of them, so requires a far more serious commitment to the hobby.

This is the way I see it anyway. Who's with me? smile.gif

Agreed. All of the above.
post #55 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

 

You'll love this.

 

 

Summit-fi

 

 

*snip*

Not summit-fi

 

 

 

Were the waterfall plot measurements taken by purrin? (Either changster or his thread here).


Edited by DefQon - 1/13/13 at 2:38pm
post #56 of 163
Quote:

Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 I think Summit-Fi is the no-more-mucking-about forum. I reckon it's the place the usual arguments and disagreements should be left at the door and everyone should be naturally demonstrating a high example of grown-up, mature discourse because there is, more often than not, serious money involved in purchasing decisions here.  

 

Stax fits in here because it's a niche and doesn't start cheap purchased new. Regardless, it isn't just about purchasing a pair of headphones that one can use regularly but requires a specialist amp purchase as well, which can't be used with regular headphones, as well as requiring a seriously good source to get the best out of them, so requires a far more serious commitment to the hobby.

 

 

As close as anything else said in this thread, the two points mentioned (besides enclosing the factor of cost), I agree with these two paragraphs.

 

Due to the popularity of headphones and portable audio gear (not speakers or the like), I think it will be a matter of time that $2000-3000 headphones/amplifier will be deemed as mid-fi borderlining summit-fi now that more and more manufacturers and companies have piked interest in the portable audio scene.

 

my 2c.

 

(BTW: the HD800 appreciation threads are still in the summit-fi section, thought they were moved?).


Edited by DefQon - 1/13/13 at 2:40pm
post #57 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkbeat View Post

 

Why do you think what you define as Summit-fi is more important than what the community defines as Summit-fi?

 

On that note, why do you think what you define as Summit-fi is more important than what Jude defines as Summit-fi? Take this quote from Jude in the 2012 Xmas/Holiday Gift Guide under Summit-fi;

"The Audeze LCD-2 has become my quickest go-to recommendation when asked about high-end headphones"

Maybe you should let him know to stop recommending them as High End, I can see how some people might be a little taken aback to find their $1000 investment doesn't meet Currawong's elitist requirements for discussion in the Summit-fi forums.

 

Has Head-fi evolved so greatly now that, never mind performance, price is no longer a contributing factor to whether something is considered ToTL? It's all in the somewhat nebulous name and image that is conjured in the mind of a single Administrator. Stax is in because it's Stax. TH900s and 3000ANVs are in because they require expensive equipment to run (they don't). Your headphone may sound better and may cost more, but sorry folks, it's not ToTL enough for me.

 

The whole thing just smacks of abuse of power to me. If you want to play the "flagships and electrostats only" card, I could maybe accept that, even though that's not what this forum is for. Still it seems to me like you decided to arbitrarily hit the hornets nest with absolutely no interest in what the community thinks.

CC: Auto response.

 

 

I hope you understand, even if you don't agree.
 
post #58 of 163

What is high end?  Well, I see a few criteria it can be based on, all of which are meanings of "high-end" if you look up the term.

 

"Luxury"

1) Expense-  Figuring out where the cutoff point is for expensive/luxury items are is pretty arbitrary and shifts and each new generation of flagships costs more and more.  Additionally, cost of overall systems seem to be factored in here - but there is so much debate about just how much of a rig is necessary to optimize said products that I don't know how anyone could make heads or tails of it to come up with any set rules.

 

2) Exclusivity - Part of the appeal of luxury items (which, ironically, is what wikipedia reroutes you to when you look up "high end") is the exclusivity - so the argument could be made that if say the LCD-2's become ubiquitous on HF, then (while still expensive) they are no longer exclusive enough to be a luxury item in those circles, while when they were the hottest club in town with a three month waiting list they were most definitely luxurious and exclusive.

 

"Quality"

3) Performance - Also somewhat arbitrary - if a new 5K Ortho is released that sounds worse than an HE-400 (and has awful engineering to match), then the HE-400 would have more of a right to be on the summit than said theoretical flagship with abyssmal performance.  And who is to judge quality?  Is it some consensus on the forum?  What about when a new product is released with no opinions to tell us just how good it is?  Is it measurements?  Does everyone look for the same tonal signature with their headphones? (ie what about TH900 and W3000ANV?)  

 

4) Sophistication - this may be different than quality because a product may be cutting edge technologically or in an engineering sense, but it may still sound terrible subjectively to many users.  The case could be made that the highest end products are what push the limits of how we go about the task of reproducing sound.  

 

 

Unless some sort of hard and fast "rules" are made up (price-wise, objective performance-wise, whatever) these are all pretty much up for argument - as seen by how much argument the change has provoked.  Ultimately, someone has to be in charge of these types of decisions, making legions of fans of X product happy that what they own is "on the summit" while others (who happen to not own products on the summit) dismiss the whole thing as elitist and without rhyme or reason.  The whole thing is just an exercise in perception and semantics anyways.  

 

It's important to ask ourselves why we want to be on the summit.  Some feel that if their gear is on the summit, then by extension they are themselves on the summit, which makes them feel valuable.  Some just want to know they're on the summit so they know their journey is over so they can finally enjoy the view.  And some want to reach the summit just to piss on everything beneath them.

 

 

Sent from my swarovski crystal studded iphone using a super premium version of tapatalk that only 3 people in the world can access


Edited by Radio_head - 1/13/13 at 2:56pm
post #59 of 163

Quote:

Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

Jerg wins it, if we were to get down to the supposedly real reason why people should spend more money in this hobby (ultimate performance, right?) then there's no reason to dismiss the LCD-2.  Oh, but of course that isn't the real reason behind this hobby-- not for half the folks in Summit-Fi, anyways.  Just look at David Mahler's review, the LCD-2 lands at #12 within the stiffest competition possible (4-5 of which ahead of it are almost unobtanium status), while the TH900 barely beats out the 400 dollar HE-400 which can sound excellent out of an iPod.  I still say you should just take the LCD-3 argument and go with it.  LCD-3 is Audez'e's TOTL.  LCD-2 isn't.  Summit-Fi is for TOTL, right?  I think it's more safe of an argument than your current. Paying 1000 dollars for LCD-2 is not a serious money decision?  

 

On the contrary of Summit-Fi being about grown up discussion and no mucking around, it has ironically had one of the most heated arguments this forum has had in a while recently.


David Mahler's list is his personal opinion on things (a grand undertaking), but should be in no way be used as a reference precisely because of that. I rate TH900 really high, have heard a lot of the cans discussed on the list and would change that rating in an instant.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

None of the above. When people head to the place where, essentially, top components are discussed, why do they do so? Who are the people who have been at this for years and ended up with many thousands of dollars worth of gear?

 

Not dissimilarly, for fun I went to the top floor of the Dyna5555 hi-fi store in Akihabara when I was last in Tokyo. That room is, more or less, a row of the top Sonus Faber, TAD and I forgot what other speakers with a room length low rack of Esoteric, TAD, Goldmund etc. gear and every cable was a TOTL model from Transparent as far as I could see, with just about every square inch of wall or ceiling consisting of some kind of baffle or treatment. This was the no-more-mucking-about floor.  I think Summit-Fi is the no-more-mucking-about forum. I reckon it's the place the usual arguments and disagreements should be left at the door and everyone should be naturally demonstrating a high example of grown-up, mature discourse because there is, more often than not, serious money involved in purchasing decisions here.  

 

Stax fits in here because it's a niche and doesn't start cheap purchased new. Regardless, it isn't just about purchasing a pair of headphones that one can use regularly but requires a specialist amp purchase as well, which can't be used with regular headphones, as well as requiring a seriously good source to get the best out of them, so requires a far more serious commitment to the hobby.

 

This is the way I see it anyway. Who's with me? smile.gif

I see it this way too beerchug.gif

post #60 of 163

I don't see what the big deal is. Nobody was causing a fuss when the HD800 was in the regular headphone section and I can't remember if the HE6 was here or in that section as well.

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