The True Meaning of 'Summit-Fi'
Jun 11, 2015 at 12:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

Malfunkt

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The True Meaning of Summit-Fi...

...is whatever you take to the top.​

 ​

A simple little rig like the one above (iPod 6th Gen and Sony MDR-EX7550) is by no means 'perfect', but it doesn't have to be.
Hiking my way to the summit with these were some of the enjoyable listening experiences I've ever had.
Try not to get too caught up in the technology and products. Take some time to get out - or sit back - and enjoy the music.
 ​


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Jun 13, 2015 at 5:26 PM Post #4 of 29

kjk1281

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Try not to get too caught up in the technology and products. Take some time to get out - or sit back - and enjoy the music.


Great post! This really doesn't get said enough around here.




Really reminds me of this old post: Leaving portable hifi - it's too silly

Not surprisingly, it's still relevant today. Or perhaps more so.


I always thought that was Hi-Fi.


Summit-Fi is some silly word concocted by those who feel Hi-Fi isn't expensive or exclusive enough. :rolleyes:
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 8:35 PM Post #5 of 29

Shaffer

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Great post! This really doesn't get said enough around here.
Really reminds me of this old post: Leaving portable hifi - it's too silly

Not surprisingly, it's still relevant today. Or perhaps more so.
Summit-Fi is some silly word concocted by those who feel Hi-Fi isn't expensive or exclusive enough. :rolleyes:


FWIW, in the dedicated room system world, we refer to that as the Statement Class.

Edit: If one looks at headphones in a serious audio publication like Stereophile, HD600/650 and K701/2 are rated Class-A along with HD800, Audeze, etc even though they cost a third to a quarter of their rivals, if not even less. That's due to the sonic quality acting as a primary determinate of aural goodness, if you will, not the price. In the headphone world, mid-fi and high-end (Summit-Fi) are mostly delineated by the price. Forget how grossly superficial that is for a moment and just consider the end result. Who benefits from such an absurd component hierarchy? Only the manufacturer who lucks out with a popular high-priced product and the dealer who sells it.
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 9:50 PM Post #6 of 29

KG Jag

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Great post! This really doesn't get said enough around here.
Really reminds me of this old post: Leaving portable hifi - it's too silly

Not surprisingly, it's still relevant today. Or perhaps more so.
Summit-Fi is some silly word concocted by those who feel Hi-Fi isn't expensive or exclusive enough.
rolleyes.gif


FWIW, in the dedicated room system world, we refer to that as the Statement Class.

Edit: If one looks at headphones in a serious audio publication like Stereophile, HD600/650 and K701/2 are rated Class-A along with HD800, Audeze, etc even though they cost a third to a quarter of their rivals, if not even less. That's due to the sonic quality acting as a primary determinate of aural goodness, if you will, not the price. In the headphone world, mid-fi and high-end (Summit-Fi) are mostly delineated by the price. Forget how grossly superficial that is for a moment and just consider the end result. Who benefits from such an absurd component hierarchy? Only the manufacturer who lucks out with a popular high-priced product and the dealer who sells it.


I suspect that inertia also has something to do with it.  The HD 600/650 and K 701/702 are former flagships.  Although good cans and sometime excellent values, none of these four cans can touch the HD 800, HE 500, HE 6, LCD 3 or even (in the case of the two AKG cans at least) the K712.  Tyll even says that the HD 600 is (at best) a dead heat vs. the X2 (which I have not yet heard).
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 10:51 PM Post #8 of 29

Shaffer

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I suspect that inertia also has something to do with it.  The HD 600/650 and K 701/702 are former flagships.  Although good cans and sometime excellent values, none of these four cans can touch the HD 800, HE 500, HE 6, LCD 3 or even (in the case of the two AKG cans at least) the K712. 


If a given component isn't auditioned within 3 years of its initial recommendation, it is dropped from the list. Personally, I prefer my bass modded K702 to every other headphone I've heard, including some mentioned above.

Tyll even says that the HD 600 is (at best) a dead heat vs. the X2 (which I have not yet heard).


Tyll had K550 on his wall of fame. There isn't enough time in a day to fully describe every issue with those headphones. I own them. After that purchase, I stopped considering his comments.

Edit: text
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 11:47 PM Post #9 of 29

KG Jag

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I suspect that inertia also has something to do with it.  The HD 600/650 and K 701/702 are former flagships.  Although good cans and sometime excellent values, none of these four cans can touch the HD 800, HE 500, HE 6, LCD 3 or even (in the case of the two AKG cans at least) the K712. 


If a given component isn't auditioned within 3 years of its initial recommendation, it is dropped from the list. Personally, I prefer my bass modded K702 to every other headphone I've heard, including some mentioned above.
Tyll even says that the HD 600 is (at best) a dead heat vs. the X2 (which I have not yet heard).


Tyll had K550 on his wall of fame. There isn't enough time in a day to fully describe every issue with those headphones. I own them. After that purchase, I stopped considering his comments.

Edit: text


Of course modded cans are not on the list--like them or not.
 
Having read the magazine for some time, I have observed that they are not very knowledgeable about headphones, especially relative to other components, including but not limited to speakers.  My ears tell me that the cans I mentioned above are far better than former flagships Stereophile still rates as an "A".  Not to mentioned the discontinued in 2014 SR 60i still shown as a "C".
 
The K 550 is not currently on Tyll's Wall of Fame.  It has been three or four times (depending on how you count) supplanted as is stated on the InnerFidelity site:
 
"This headphone [K 550] was retired due to the introduction of the UE6000, which I feel is a significantly more balanced sounding headphone. The slightly artificial sounding treble in the K550 became quite obvious in comparison."
 
Followed by: "This headphone [UE 6000] was retired from the Wall of Fame due to the Sennheiser Momentum coming out with a better sounding sealed headphone (the 6000 is a bit lacking in mid-to-upper treble), and the Sony MDR-1R arriving with roughly comparable sound quality, but better looks and ergonomics at the same price."
 
Followed by: "This headphone [Momentum] was retired from the "Wall of Fame" due to the release of the NAD VISO HP50, which is less expensive, more comfortable, with somewhat better sound."
 
and
 
"This headphone [MDR-1R] was displaced by the NAD VISO HP50 and Focal headphones."
 
Jun 14, 2015 at 12:15 AM Post #10 of 29

Shaffer

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Of course modded cans are not on the list--like them or not.


I don't understand the relevance of the comment, aside for my personal preference for modified K702 that was mentioned as a side note.

Having read the magazine for some time, I have observed that they are not very knowledgeable about headphones, especially relative to other components, including but not limited to speakers.  My ears tell me that the cans I mentioned above are far better than former flagships Stereophile still rates as an "A".  Not to mentioned the discontinued in 2014 SR 60i still shown as a "C".


3 year cycle. Obviously, no one cares to audition the SR60e. I can easily live without reading about them.

The K 550 is not currently on Tyll's Wall of Fame.  It has been three or four times (depending on how you count) supplanted as is stated on the InnerFidelity site:

"This headphone [K 550] was retired due to the introduction of the UE6000, which I feel is a significantly more balanced sounding headphone. The slightly artificial sounding treble in the K550 became quite obvious in comparison."

Followed by: "This headphone [UE 6000] was retired from the Wall of Fame due to the Sennheiser Momentum coming out with a better sounding sealed headphone (the 6000 is a bit lacking in mid-to-upper treble), and the Sony MDR-1R arriving with roughly comparable sound quality, but better looks and ergonomics at the same price."

Followed by: "This headphone [Momentum] was retired from the "Wall of Fame" due to the release of the NAD VISO HP50, which is less expensive, more comfortable, with somewhat better sound."

and

"This headphone [MDR-1R] was displaced by the NAD VISO HP50 and Focal headphones."


He can retire and change whatever he likes, but the fact remains that K550 were on his Wall of Fame and were recommended. Why? No idea. They sound like cardboard. Can't think of a single reason to consider any of his recommendations, especially seeing how often he changes his mind. Even though Innerfidelity is Stereophile's sister publication, unfortunately, the reviews are not written with the same sense of responsibility to the reader. The K550 is a perfect example, as are the constant revisions.
 
Jun 14, 2015 at 12:26 AM Post #11 of 29

KG Jag

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Of course modded cans are not on the list--like them or not.


I don't understand the relevance of the comment, aside for my personal preference for modified K702 that was mentioned as a side note.
Having read the magazine for some time, I have observed that they are not very knowledgeable about headphones, especially relative to other components, including but not limited to speakers.  My ears tell me that the cans I mentioned above are far better than former flagships Stereophile still rates as an "A".  Not to mentioned the discontinued in 2014 SR 60i still shown as a "C".


3 year cycle. Obviously, no one cares to audition the SR60e. I can easily live without reading about them.
The K 550 is not currently on Tyll's Wall of Fame.  It has been three or four times (depending on how you count) supplanted as is stated on the InnerFidelity site:

"This headphone [K 550] was retired due to the introduction of the UE6000, which I feel is a significantly more balanced sounding headphone. The slightly artificial sounding treble in the K550 became quite obvious in comparison."

Followed by: "This headphone [UE 6000] was retired from the Wall of Fame due to the Sennheiser Momentum coming out with a better sounding sealed headphone (the 6000 is a bit lacking in mid-to-upper treble), and the Sony MDR-1R arriving with roughly comparable sound quality, but better looks and ergonomics at the same price."

Followed by: "This headphone [Momentum] was retired from the "Wall of Fame" due to the release of the NAD VISO HP50, which is less expensive, more comfortable, with somewhat better sound."

and

"This headphone [MDR-1R] was displaced by the NAD VISO HP50 and Focal headphones."


He can retire and change whatever he likes, but the fact remains that K550 were on his Wall of Fame and were recommended. Why? No idea. They sound like cardboard. Can't think of a single reason to consider any of his recommendations, especially seeing how often he changes his mind. Even though Innerfidelity is Stereophile's sister publication, unfortunately, the reviews are not written with the same sense of responsibility to the reader. The K550 is a perfect example, as are the constant revisions.


In fact the SR 60e is a significant improvement over the i with more/better/extended bass and a more balanced sound.
 
Full sized closed cans in the price range of the K 550 left slim pickings.  I heard the K 550 as a decent can in its price range and in its time, provided you could achieve a proper seal with it.  That doesn't mean I great affinity for it, as almost all full sized closed cans below the SRH 940 (properly amped) at that time did little for me.
 
Jun 14, 2015 at 12:49 AM Post #12 of 29

Shaffer

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In fact the SR 60e is a significant improvement over the i with more/better/extended bass and a more balanced sound.


This very well could be. I'm not sure I get your point.

Full sized closed cans in the price range of the K 550 left slim pickings.  I heard the K 550 as a decent can in its price range and in its time, provided you could achieve a proper seal with it.  That doesn't mean I great affinity for it, as almost all full sized closed cans below the SRH 940 (properly amped) at that time did little for me.


Slim pickings doesn't mean that sub-par products should be listed on something (err...) modestly called a Wall of Fame. Then, when the mood strikes, as it seems as arbitrary as that, the Wall of Fame is suddenly revised, because Tyll heard something he liked more. The other product is then removed from the Wall of Fame, as it clearly doesn't sound as good today as it did the night before, and the ball keeps on rolling. It's an endless cycle of immature, incomplete reviewing. Embarrassing, really.
 
Jun 14, 2015 at 1:00 AM Post #13 of 29

inthere

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So should headphones stay on the wall of fame forever, even when something better comes along? Things could get pretty crowded then wouldn't they?
 
Jun 14, 2015 at 1:03 AM Post #14 of 29

Shaffer

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So should headphones stay on the wall of fame forever, even when something better comes along? Things could get pretty crowded then wouldn't they?


Lots of good headphones out there. I think there should be a time-driven, audition-based inclusion profile, as per Stereophile's model.
 
Jun 14, 2015 at 1:06 AM Post #15 of 29

KG Jag

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In fact the SR 60e is a significant improvement over the i with more/better/extended bass and a more balanced sound.


This very well could be. I'm not sure I get your point.
Full sized closed cans in the price range of the K 550 left slim pickings.  I heard the K 550 as a decent can in its price range and in its time, provided you could achieve a proper seal with it.  That doesn't mean I great affinity for it, as almost all full sized closed cans below the SRH 940 (properly amped) at that time did little for me.


Slim pickings doesn't mean that sub-par products should be listed on something (err...) modestly called a Wall of Fame. Then, when the mood strikes, as it seems as arbitrary as that, the Wall of Fame is suddenly revised, because Tyll heard something he liked more. The other product is then removed from the Wall of Fame, as it clearly doesn't sound as good today as it did the night before, and the ball keeps on rolling. It's an endless cycle of immature, incomplete reviewing. Embarrassing, really.


Point is that Stereophile is not well versed, current or deep in their knowledge of headphones that are available.
 
The Focal and NAD are excellent cans in their price range.  Can't say I am a fan of some that went before these two on the wall.  However, I take every review with a grain or three of salt.  In Tyll's case I factor in his biases of which I am aware (for example he does not like even slightly bright headphones while I often do).  Consumed in that way, I find them to be useful.  I also find his reviews to be more honest than those of the average bear reviewer.  That remains true regardless of whether or not I agree with the review/opinion expressed in whole or in part.
 
I also understand that InnerFidelity is a business and requires copy and eye balls.  That issue, not driven by Tyll--but who must more or less comply with current business model, is to me the more problematic one, especially in the last year or two at the IF site.
 

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