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Subjective vs Objective opinions, post your favourite links / experiences
Axon
post Apr 7 2009, 04:15
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QUOTE (rpp3po @ Apr 6 2009, 21:09) *
Hey, that's with the inventor of MLP - the only lossless codec that sounds better than FLAC.


Technically, he's the inventor of the only codec that has ever been mistaken for lossless.

wink.gif
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krabapple
post Apr 7 2009, 17:45
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 6 2009, 20:58) *
QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 5 2009, 22:39) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 5 2009, 19:26) *
Then we tried to spread ABX to a somewhat larger hi fi club - the AES! ;-)

ABX didn't take hold quite as well in the AES. There are still quite a few crazies in the AES.
Really? I thought the crazies were thrown out in the with the early 90s cable debate, Meyer/Moran, The Great Debate papers, etc. In fact, a lot of audiophiles seem to have a lot of animosity for the AES. Are the two cozier than I thought?


It isn't that I think that there are a lot of crazies in the AES, it is just that the absence of crazies in the local club has been nearly total for about 20 years.

OTOH, in the AES there is always this:

http://www.aes.org/sections/uk/meetings/a0812.html

;-)



My problem with Mr. Stuart is that he's heavily and sincerely invested in these 'hi rez' formats (first DVD-A, now BluRay audio formats) but never seem to publish the listening test data showing they're audibly superior to plain old Redbook. I don't think he's *crazy*, just maddeningly unforthcoming on certain key data.

If he *has* published such -- or even referenced them -- I'd love to see it. Ditto the work reported in that link -- "the effects of digital anti-aliasing and reconstruction filters".

This post has been edited by krabapple: Apr 7 2009, 17:49
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krabapple
post Apr 7 2009, 17:48
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QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 6 2009, 23:15) *
QUOTE (rpp3po @ Apr 6 2009, 21:09) *
Hey, that's with the inventor of MLP - the only lossless codec that sounds better than FLAC.


Technically, he's the inventor of the only codec that has ever been mistaken for lossless.

wink.gif



Heh. I'm pretty sure *someone* must have studied audibility of watermarking....has it ever been published?
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odigg
post Apr 7 2009, 21:49
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QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 5 2009, 21:55) *
QUOTE (shenzi @ Apr 5 2009, 09:35) *
The digital camera comparison is highly valid. Audio systems have got better but the improvements have been in the mid and low end (I'm talking principally about electronics). A micro-system from the 80s will pale against some of the small, all-in-one boxes around today (NAD, Teac, Denon). That's a hugely positive result. A friend of mine bought one and kept saying, "I don't suppose you'll think it's any good as you're into hi-fi". She stopped when I bought one too and put the hi fi in the loft.


I wouldn't take that analogy too far; it's an apples to oranges comparison to a certain degree. Digital cameras are tied very closely in technology to fabrication technology, and thus Moore's Law. DSP electronic has of course improved by the same leaps and bounds, but fewer analog audio chips can take advantage of Moore's Law. There are other limiting factors to the designs.


There is one trend in audio though that is the opposite to a lot of what is seen with other technology. With cameras, cars, phones, computers, video, and whatever else, the newest and greatest features are generally in the most expensive products. It's the elites that get the latest and greatest stuff. The rest of us commoners have to wait.

Stuff looks to be in the opposite direction in audio electronics. With the occasional exception of things like SACD, the latest and greatest stuff is not in the audiophile world. It's in the majority consumer market. Class D amps are the future and even Panasonic had a nice (but ugly) amp for around $250. The high end market seems to have snubbed their noses at Class D amps although some companies seem to be warming up to it. Of course, they have to say that the Class D stuff made for us regular people is problematic and their expensive audiophile versions are much better. My guess is that many audiophiles would not buy Class D stuff unless an engineer assured them it was specially engineered to deal with the "inherent problems" of Class D amps.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 8 2009, 15:15
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 7 2009, 12:45) *
My problem with Mr. Stuart is that he's heavily and sincerely invested in these 'hi rez' formats (first DVD-A, now BluRay audio formats) but never seem to publish the listening test data showing they're audibly superior to plain old Redbook. I don't think he's *crazy*, just maddeningly unforthcoming on certain key data.


Re: Sturart's invention of MLP - that is just a solution for a problem that Stuart himself created by unecessarily driving bit rates up to the point where DVD technology couldn't handle it.

In NASCAR a driver can't benefit from a Yellow Flag situation that he created - shouldn't that sort of thinking also apply to technology? ;-)

QUOTE
If he *has* published such -- or even referenced them -- I'd love to see it. Ditto the work reported in that link -- "the effects of digital anti-aliasing and reconstruction filters".


I think Stuart has published references to the questionable JAES articles that wer published to promote HDCD, you know the Fielder paper(s).

I tried to get Stuart to part with some stuff he cited about the audibility of nonlinear distortion and didn't get a word, not even a polite "go away".

People who miss opportunities to make theseselves look good like this probably don't have anything to actually play with - just warm air proceeding out of the backs of their necks.
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2Bdecided
post Apr 8 2009, 15:35
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 7 2009, 16:45) *
My problem with Mr. Stuart is that he's heavily and sincerely invested in these 'hi rez' formats (first DVD-A, now BluRay audio formats) but never seem to publish the listening test data showing they're audibly superior to plain old Redbook.
If you were to talk to him, you'd find that he quietly holds the rather un-audiophile view that well produced and reproduced Redbook audio can be so close to 2 channel hi-res that... he'll never finish that sentence. wink.gif

Having great respect for Gerzon and Craven, I think he knows full well that 2 channels aren't enough.

His scientific discussions and papers discussing bitdepth are nothing that any HA regular could disagree with. There is a corner case for no-compromise no-DRC reproduction of wide dynamic range music in a quiet room that 16-bits barely manages, and any arithmetic fault anywhere will break it. That's his argument. No more, no less. It's factually correct, though a genuinely rare occurrence in even the best recordings.

I'm not yet convinced by the arguments for high sample rates or specific ultrasonic filters, but I'm no longer in a position to test this stuff properly.

Cheers,
David.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 8 2009, 20:33
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 8 2009, 10:35) *
His scientific discussions and papers discussing bitdepth are nothing that any HA regular could disagree with.


The talk by him that I cited above is not like that.

QUOTE
There is a corner case for no-compromise no-DRC reproduction of wide dynamic range music in a quiet room that 16-bits barely manages, and any arithmetic fault anywhere will break it.


The commercial recording that supports that claim has never existed. The widest dynamic range 16 bit recordings that exist still have at least 10 dB headroom.

The idea of an artihmetic fault anyhwere in a modern digital record/playback chain is a myth.


QUOTE
That's his argument. No more, no less.


It's false.

QUOTE
It's factually correct, though a genuinely rare occurrence in even the best recordings.


Not rare, but rather something that has simply never happened.

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krabapple
post Apr 9 2009, 05:54
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 8 2009, 10:35) *
QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 7 2009, 16:45) *
My problem with Mr. Stuart is that he's heavily and sincerely invested in these 'hi rez' formats (first DVD-A, now BluRay audio formats) but never seem to publish the listening test data showing they're audibly superior to plain old Redbook.
If you were to talk to him, you'd find that he quietly holds the rather un-audiophile view that well produced and reproduced Redbook audio can be so close to 2 channel hi-res that... he'll never finish that sentence. wink.gif


hmmm..faaascinating.


QUOTE
Having great respect for Gerzon and Craven, I think he knows full well that 2 channels aren't enough.



Me too. My objections to 'high res" justifications have nothing to do with multichannel -- I'm all for that. (But I also happen to think DTS and Dolby are fine -- multichannel needn't be 'high res' SR/wordlength in consumer delivery formats)

QUOTE
His scientific discussions and papers discussing bitdepth are nothing that any HA regular could disagree with. There is a corner case for no-compromise no-DRC reproduction of wide dynamic range music in a quiet room that 16-bits barely manages, and any arithmetic fault anywhere will break it. That's his argument. No more, no less. It's factually correct, though a genuinely rare occurrence in even the best recordings.


'Break it' *audibly* at the consumer end? Then the question returns to: how often is this happening, and who has published the listening test data?

This post has been edited by krabapple: Apr 9 2009, 05:55
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rpp3po
post Apr 9 2009, 12:35
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 8 2009, 21:33) *
The talk by him that I cited above is not like that.


I don't think Stuart doesn't know. His company is supplying technically very advanced* products to really very well paying customers. It would not be very rational to agree publicly, that those customers very probably won't be able to hear a difference against, for example, a well done $30 (part costs) CD player. He won't bite off the hands that feed him.

It's not comparable to buying a Porsche within a nation wide 60 mph speed limit. 0-60 in 3 seconds with perfect traction is still fun. Even inside the bounds of 60 mph a Porsche is still ABXable against a Geo blindfolded on the passenger seat. Meridian's products are not and it's very reasonable to recite technical advantages over and over again.

* In theory his AES talk, for example, about active speaker design is correct. You have many more possibilities of optimization. What he's not saying: it's not black magic anymore to build a perfect amp (well beyond the bounds of human perception), which will easily drive a well build passive speaker, for a fraction of the costs of Meridian's lineup. Same with HD audio. SNR and FR is much better, so he sells it. Who cares if anybody needs it or could ABX it.

This post has been edited by rpp3po: Apr 9 2009, 12:39
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2Bdecided
post Apr 9 2009, 15:23
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But speaker equalisation (with or without active crossovers) really works: measurably, and audibly = ABX-ably! With better speakers, the effect is smaller, but it's still there. It's always measurable - though I have used speakers that were so good to start with that I couldn't ABX the effect of digital speaker correction. Phase (in addition to amplitude) correction is potentially interesting too - I've ABXed that, but only with synthetic signals - and even then, it wasn't obvious that the correct phase was "better", merely different. One of my colleagues could ABX it with real music.


FWIW, I think you've hit the nail on the head rpp3po - except my best judgement is that Bob genuinely believes he hears a difference with higher sample rates / different ultrasonic filters. My best judgement is also that, contrary to many in that field, he hears basically no problem with good 16-bit audio sources.

However, when you look at the full Meridian ideal experience, with (frankly) lots of DSP at all stages, it would be genuinely audibly damaging to do all that DSP at 16-bits (or even to dither back down to 16-bits at the end of each stage), so they use more. Given that, it's not a great leap to remove the one 16-bit bottleneck left in the system (the audio carrier itself), even if the audible change by using more bits here is rare / negligible.

Cheers,
David.
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2Bdecided
post Apr 9 2009, 15:31
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 8 2009, 19:33) *
The commercial recording that supports that claim has never existed. The widest dynamic range 16 bit recordings that exist still have at least 10 dB headroom.
That would imply that 15-bits (if not 14-bits) was always sufficient. Yet there have been successful ABX tests of 15-bit audio (sadly the link is now broken, but it was in the FAQ here).

QUOTE
The idea of an artihmetic fault anyhwere in a modern digital record/playback chain is a myth.
I'm sure all those Chinese engineers get everything completely right first time. There are no bugs in any modern hardware. Also, everyone is getting bit perfect replay from their PCs. (do I really need to put a smiley here?)

QUOTE
Not rare, but rather something that has simply never happened.
That may be true. Even more likely is the fact that if it did happen, it probably wouldn't matter - certainly not in the way that proponents claim that 16 vs 24-bits "matters".

Bob Stuart is interesting - he's one of the few people who argue for more than 16-bits using arguments that make sense from the theory (despite hinging on a rare case). Everyone else in that camp claims 16-bits sound bad even when you're 40dB above the 16-bit noise floor, which is a completely different argument.

Cheers,
David.

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rpp3po
post Apr 9 2009, 16:09
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 9 2009, 16:23) *
However, when you look at the full Meridian ideal experience, with (frankly) lots of DSP at all stages, it would be genuinely audibly damaging to do all that DSP at 16-bits (or even to dither back down to 16-bits at the end of each stage), so they use more.


That's a very interesting point. I'm lacking the mathematical background, but I think digital filtering artifacts (either ringing or time smearing) correlate, besides other parameters, to quantization resolution. So any manufacturer employing extreme filtering could have high interest in HD audio to keep any artifacts outside the audible range, even when there is only one filtering stage for each driver's equalization. On the other hand, a speaker with non linear frequency response is a filter itself. Applying an inverse correction filter could reduce artifacts instead of adding them even for high Q values and 16-bit material. Maybe some of HA's filtering professionals are reading this and share some insight?

This post has been edited by rpp3po: Apr 9 2009, 16:24
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2Bdecided
post Apr 9 2009, 17:00
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It doesn't really matter if the source is 16-bits or 24-bits if the filtering is carried out at 24-bits (or higher). The filter doesn't care.

(In theory. In practice having 8 trailing zeros could have an effect on some non-ideal systems and processes, but this isn't a reason to make CDs 24-bits - just a reason to avoid such non-ideal systems / processes!).

The other obvious argument is that if you're designing a new audio format based on DVD technology (= huge capacity), why on earth would you stick to the parameters that are just sufficient? Over-engineering it costs virtually nothing, and still leaves room for multiple "albums" per disc. Even if the only audible difference ever is due to inferior equipment, it's still cheaper to fill the disc (you can't press "half a disc"!) than the make the equipment better.

Cheers,
David.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 9 2009, 19:19
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 9 2009, 10:31) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 8 2009, 19:33) *
The commercial recording that supports that claim has never existed. The widest dynamic range 16 bit recordings that exist still have at least 10 dB headroom.
That would imply that 15-bits (if not 14-bits) was always sufficient. Yet there have been successful ABX tests of 15-bit audio (sadly the link is now broken, but it was in the FAQ here).



I can't comment on a test that I have not seen any documentation for. Anybody who wants to can claim they "broke 16 bits" by throwing away however many bits and breaking that is obvioiusly deceiving themselves.

QUOTE
QUOTE
The idea of an artihmetic fault anyhwere in a modern digital record/playback chain is a myth.
I'm sure all those Chinese engineers get everything completely right first time. There are no bugs in any modern hardware. Also, everyone is getting bit perfect replay from their PCs. (do I really need to put a smiley here?)


Its the same idea - if someone makes a mistake and uses that to argue that mistakes are widespread is again deceiving themselves. Of course mistakes are made, but they in fact quite rare in general, and rarer still if we consider just dedicated hardware.


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rpp3po
post Apr 9 2009, 19:55
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 9 2009, 20:19) *
Its the same idea - if someone makes a mistake and uses that to argue that mistakes are widespread is again deceiving themselves. Of course mistakes are made, but they in fact quite rare in general, and rarer still if we consider just dedicated hardware.


The kind of hypothesized defect, that is usually anticipated by the audiophool community, is even rarer. Bad circuit design or defects in analog systems can indeed lead to very sneaky artifacts like an almost inaudible hiss or distortion.

But this experience is then falsely transformed to the discrete domain and its eery algorithmic implementations, that these people are uncomfortable about (see "lossless == redbook ?" debate). A wrongly implemented flac decoder won't just sound slightly 'thinner'. It's much more likely to output total garbage and eventually crash, if some offset is off by just one byte. Capital failure under a certain, limited set of conditions is a much more likely defect of a digital system than slight degradation. That's more likely to happen in the analog domain.

The bit perfect output hysteria is a different topic. Here a general purpose consumer system (XP, consumer sound card) applies a default 3db attenuation to the system mixer. It's a very simple form of clipping prevention that most people won't notice for everyday tasks. They would notice, though, if a concurrent system sound would make their Winamp music clip.

The whole issue can easily be avoided with professional sound cards, that bypass the system mixer or either Asio, Kernel Streaming, or Exclusive Mode (Vista) plugins for popular playback apps.* No vodoo required.


* Macs have bit perfect playback out of the box.

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2Bdecided
post Apr 9 2009, 23:35
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 9 2009, 18:19) *
QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 9 2009, 10:31) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 8 2009, 19:33) *
The commercial recording that supports that claim has never existed. The widest dynamic range 16 bit recordings that exist still have at least 10 dB headroom.
That would imply that 15-bits (if not 14-bits) was always sufficient. Yet there have been successful ABX tests of 15-bit audio (sadly the link is now broken, but it was in the FAQ here).

I can't comment on a test that I have not seen any documentation for. Anybody who wants to can claim they "broke 16 bits" by throwing away however many bits and breaking that is obvioiusly deceiving themselves.

Nobody claimed that at all. You claimed 16-bits had at least 10dB of headroom. I said 15-bits (with only 6dB less headroom than 16-bits) had been ABXed.

I can't be held responsible for link rot, but maybe archive.org has it... nope, it was a dynamic (forum) page.

QUOTE
Its the same idea - if someone makes a mistake and uses that to argue that mistakes are widespread is again deceiving themselves. Of course mistakes are made, but they in fact quite rare in general, and rarer still if we consider just dedicated hardware.
What is your profession? I won't tell you what mine is, but I've had the fun of working with engineers on a daily basis, and enforcing compliance regimes - with the best will in the world, mistakes are exceedingly common, and quite a few slip out into the marketplace.

I suppose your PC never crashes either?

Cheers,
David.
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Tahnru
post Apr 24 2009, 22:40
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QUOTE
Nobody claimed that at all. You claimed 16-bits had at least 10dB of headroom. I said 15-bits (with only 6dB less headroom than 16-bits) had been ABXed.

I can't be held responsible for link rot, but maybe archive.org has it... nope, it was a dynamic (forum) page.


I'd be willing to participate in a re-trial.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 26 2009, 01:51
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QUOTE (Tahnru @ Apr 24 2009, 17:40) *
QUOTE
Nobody claimed that at all. You claimed 16-bits had at least 10dB of headroom. I said 15-bits (with only 6dB less headroom than 16-bits) had been ABXed.

I can't be held responsible for link rot, but maybe archive.org has it... nope, it was a dynamic (forum) page.


I'd be willing to participate in a re-trial.


Like I said, I can't comment on something that I know nothing about.

It seems like a re-trial should be pretty easy to do.
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ShowsOn
post May 22 2009, 13:04
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 4 2009, 04:27) *
QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 1 2009, 13:10) *
Quite simply, requiring audio discussions have a rational basis of discussion makes discussion more meaningful, and that necessarily means DBTs.

Think about that the next time you see some argument blow up on AA or SH.tv or AVSForum because two guys think they are absolutely infallible in their perceptions. Then compare with how many times that happens here...


The history of audio component ABX tests is that they originated in a regional hi fi club. They were devised to avoid exactly the kinds of blow-ups you describe. They achived that outcome, almost to perfection. The other thing they did is pretty much convert all of our amplifier builders into speaker builders. ;-)

Does this mean that even today when one buys a hifi system they should spend a greater proportion of money on speakers, because the development of speakers historically has been neglected? i.e. a lot of time and engineering effort was wasted 'improving' amplifiers, when the greater problems were in speaker design that went undetected due to the lack of objective testing?


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pdq
post May 22 2009, 15:37
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Many years ago hifi systems were at the mercy of the weakest links, tape, vinyl, tube amplifiers, etc. In those days extra money spent on those components made an audible difference. Even then I would have recommended spending more on speakers than everything else combined because that is where extra dollars spent had the biggest payback in improved sound.

Today we no longer have the limitations of tape and vinyl, and even very modest CD players and amplifiers have performance that is virtually indistinguishable with much more expensive components. The recommendation to spend as much as possible on speakers is more true now than ever.

I don't see this as lack of effort in developing speakers. It's just that speakers are a much more difficult technology and progress has been slow.
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ShowsOn
post May 22 2009, 16:16
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QUOTE (pdq @ May 23 2009, 00:37) *
I don't see this as lack of effort in developing speakers. It's just that speakers are a much more difficult technology and progress has been slow.

Is it fair to apportion some blame for this on audiophiles who wasted so much energy criticising, for example, CD players and speaker cables, instead of objectively testing speakers? Or is it just the nature of speakers as complicated devices that has caused progress to be slow, especially at reasonable prices (say between $300 to $600)?

Let's say someone was putting together a hifi system featuring a CD player, amplifier, speakers. cables. What proportion should be spent on the speakers? 50%?

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odigg
post May 22 2009, 16:27
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QUOTE (ShowsOn @ May 22 2009, 11:16) *
QUOTE (pdq @ May 23 2009, 00:37) *
I don't see this as lack of effort in developing speakers. It's just that speakers are a much more difficult technology and progress has been slow.

Is it fair to apportion some blame for this on audiophiles who wasted so much energy criticising, for example, CD players and speaker cables, instead of objectively testing speakers? Or is it just the nature of speakers as complicated devices that has caused progress to be slow, especially at reasonable prices (say between $300 to $600)?

Let's say someone was putting together a hifi system featuring a CD player, amplifier, speakers. cables. What proportion should be spent on the speakers? 50%?


I think the answer to your question depends a lot on your budget. As people have stated here, if your budget is small, buy the best pair of speakers you can buy (used or new) then buy used electronics. I think 80%-90% is a goal to reach in such a scenario.

There are a number of very talented engineers who have spent all their time messing with amps, dacs, and all sorts of stuff. There are also a ton of people who have discovered that you can make a great deal of money from audiophiles by selling them cables, machined stands, magnets, and heaven knows what else. Arguably, if all the time and money that is spent on this stuff was spent on engineering speakers there would be far more development in speakers. Also, if audiophiles were more rigorous in their evaluation of eqiupment, speaker makers would have to try harder. Why try new ideas with speakers when you can tweak and existing idea and charge massive premiums for it.

Also, you don't have to spend huge amounts of money to get decent speakers. But audiophiles have glossed over a lot of reasonably priced brands (e.g. Paradigm) just because they aren't full of audiophile hyperbole at a audiophile price.

There are people who are doing interesting things with speakers. Linkwitz Lab has speakers they call the Orion. The design is very different from typical speakers. They are expensive, but far cheaper than many other expensive speakers that are little more than the same stuff you see in much cheaper speakers (drivers in a rectangular box).

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ShowsOn
post May 22 2009, 16:52
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QUOTE (odigg @ May 23 2009, 01:27) *
There are also a ton of people who have discovered that you can make a great deal of money from audiophiles by selling them cables, machined stands, magnets, and heaven knows what else.

Don't forget the audiophile clock!
QUOTE (odigg @ May 23 2009, 01:27) *
Also, you don't have to spend huge amounts of money to get decent speakers. But audiophiles have glossed over a lot of reasonably priced brands (e.g. Paradigm) just because they aren't full of audiophile hyperbole at a audiophile price.

I've been using the same speakers for nearly 13 years. Whenever I say I'm going to replace them, I instead end up buying CDs instead! I buy on average one new CD a week. I just prefer listening to new music instead of having really, really good hardware to play it on. I owned a stereo amplifier for 12 years until it completely died (it wouldn't turn on) before I replaced it with a $500 AV receiver (I also watch a lot of DVDs, so I wanted something that could do both things well).

The saddest thing is the audiophile industry has completely muddied the waters about what is worth what. I know that if I need a new DVD player, I'll get a Pioneer, because I already have two (in different rooms) that play all sorts of discs, and are excellent value for money given the features.

But for speakers, which as others have explained are such an important component, I'd wouldn't know the first place to start! I wouldn't even know what features to look for, to know I am getting something worth the money! The industry it seems has completely succeeded in making it as hard as possible to determine what is worth what, and what your money actually buys. I would even like to base my purchase on doing proper double blind tests using CDs I am familiar with, but I doubt many retailers would even provide that service, because the industry looks down on such testing!

This post has been edited by ShowsOn: May 22 2009, 16:53


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odigg
post May 22 2009, 18:35
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QUOTE (ShowsOn @ May 22 2009, 11:52) *
But for speakers, which as others have explained are such an important component, I'd wouldn't know the first place to start! I wouldn't even know what features to look for, to know I am getting something worth the money! The industry it seems has completely succeeded in making it as hard as possible to determine what is worth what, and what your money actually buys. I would even like to base my purchase on doing proper double blind tests using CDs I am familiar with, but I doubt many retailers would even provide that service, because the industry looks down on such testing!


Yes. You've summed up the problem very well. But there are some beacons of light in people who are performing blind tests on speakers and trying to come up with metrics the average consumer can use.

Blind tests on speakers
Sean Olive's Blog
Objectively Speaking, what is the best speakers

As far as buying speakers, I have somewhat of a split opinion on it. One part of me says to spend all much money as possible on the best speakers to get the most authentic (whatever that means) sound. Then I look at my spouse. She can easily tell the difference between our $50 portable deck and an audio rig costing much more than that. But she she doesn't really care. Her goal is to enjoy music and she can do that just as easily on a $50 deck as she can on an expensive rig.

So who is the bigger fool? Her or me?

I think most decent speakers sound 90% the same anyway. A little bass extra bass one one, a slightly humped up midrange on another, some bumped on trebles on a third, etc. So what? All of them are taking an input (music) and putting it out, albeit a little differently. I've rarely heard a speaker that takes in an input and puts out something that doesn't sound like the original at all. If you really want to rigorously approach speaker selection you have to take into account room acoustics, damping, hardware placements, etc. All of which, arguably, isn't automatically going to give me any more enjoyment when I listen to music.

As far as buying speakers, I'm in the same boat as you. Years ago I purchased a pair of good headphones and got rid of my speaker rig because of life circumstances. I've found headphone listening to be very enjoyable and got a 2.1 computer speaker setup for those days I want my head to be free. From time to time I think about putting some money down on a nice speaker rig, but I have little incentive since I already have something I find quite satisfactory.

Maybe in a couple of years smile.gif

Another factor I missed out in my last post is the WAF (wife approval factor). Speakers take up room. A lot of people (men and women) dislike the space required to use full sized speakers in a 5.1, 2.1, or 2 setup. I have a strong bias against Bose, but their tiny speakers are quite appealing to people who don't have a dedicated media room. I think a lot of development in speaker design has going into these smaller systems, IPOD docks, car audio, etc.

If you enjoy your current speakers than go ahead and enjoy them. Spend the money on CDs. I'm confident there is a far greater difference two singers/groups than between any two decently made speakers.

This post has been edited by odigg: May 22 2009, 18:51
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Kitsuned
post May 24 2009, 17:06
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QUOTE
I think most decent speakers sound 90% the same anyway. A little bass extra bass one one, a slightly humped up midrange on another, some bumped on trebles on a third, etc. So what? All of them are taking an input (music) and putting it out, albeit a little differently. I've rarely heard a speaker that takes in an input and puts out something that doesn't sound like the original at all. If you really want to rigorously approach speaker selection you have to take into account room acoustics, damping, hardware placements, etc. All of which, arguably, isn't automatically going to give me any more enjoyment when I listen to music.

As far as buying speakers, I'm in the same boat as you. Years ago I purchased a pair of good headphones and got rid of my speaker rig because of life circumstances. I've found headphone listening to be very enjoyable and got a 2.1 computer speaker setup for those days I want my head to be free. From time to time I think about putting some money down on a nice speaker rig, but I have little incentive since I already have something I find quite satisfactory.


This is exactly how I feel about things. Generally speaking, size will matter with the sound a speaker outputs, but systems of similar size and structure basically do sound the same, given the same environment and music. I had to go the headphone route when I was in college dorms and later when I moved into my own apartment just because I didn't want to have the world to have to tolerate my musical choices. I eventually did buy a small 2.1 system from Altec Lansing because I didn't want to always wear headphones yet not blow the house down. It does its job with some equalizer tweaking to minimize bass boominess. Do I enjoy music any less? Nope. There are many more serious things to worry about than to know that my speakers reproduced a cymbal crash perfectly.


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