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Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
#3040574 10/29/20 08:31 AM
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If you read my posts, I am all about good sound. I believe that unless you have a good amplifier/speaker/monitor setup, you are not hearing what goodness is in your keyboards.

Well below is a vid produced by Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio (maker of expensive stereo electronics), talking about pricing and value. In short, he notes you need to spend over $1,000 to get a good sounding piece of electronics gear.

The reason I post this stuff, is to edumacate folks who may not be aware of the importance of quality electronics to get quality sound (aka high fidelity). I read posts where folks make recommendations for products that have this or that desired feature, but rarely do I read anyone posting a comment about a component's sound quality. To the unaware, a box is a box. Unfortunately, this is just not so. Take mixers.... did you ever wonder why some units cost twice or more than another company's product with the exact same features?

To wit, headphones get way more press here regarding sound quality. Why? IMO, because the difference in sound quality is obvious and immediate and for generally low money. Take this lesson and apply it to other ways of generating sound... quality begets quality.

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Bruce in Philly

[video:yahoo]https://youtu.be/wplxWq-5pzc[/video]
https://youtu.be/wplxWq-5pzc
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Last edited by Bruce In Philly; 10/29/20 08:37 AM.

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Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040577 10/29/20 08:42 AM
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Wait for the backlash Bruce - there are some members of the forum who routinely deride anyone they can label an 'audiophile'. It's one of the dirtiest words in the English language in the minds of some people.

For what it's worth I agree with you entirely. Some equipment is better than other equipment because the component quality and engineering expertise employed during its manufacture is superior. However, the moment those perfectly obvious and rational concepts are applied to sound reproducing equipment then you shall be burned at the stake for being an 'audiophile'.


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Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040608 10/29/20 09:56 AM
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I don't think there's a fixed price for gear that sounds good. All equipment has compromises, and the economic ones are naturally going to show themselves at a lower price point. That doesn't mean less expensive equipment can't sound good, just that more expensive equipment has the opportunity to sound better, although I don't believe it always does.

Manufacturing technology has improved massively over the last few twenty or so years. This has allowed extraordinary improvements in the lower end of the market, so the gulf between less expensive gear and the "high-end" isn't as great as it once was. Until recently, to my ears at least, less expensive consumer audio equipment tended to sound fairly poor.

I don't think cost is always an indicator of better sound quality. The more expensive Stax headphones are a good example of this IMO. Many people don't like them, and prefer their mid-price (but still expensive) offerings.

OTOH, the SSL SiX small mixer is many times the cost of the equivalent Mackie, and it sounds amazing. The Mackie still sounds good for most things.

The audiophile world has a bit of an image problem, and this comes from certain manufacturers resorting to "alternative physics" to back up all sorts of claims about their gear. Sadly, everyone gets tarred with the same brush.


I've heard some really expensive gear that I didn't like, and more that sounded perfectly fine but still ordinary. It's also true that the best sound I've ever heard came from very expensive equipment. Wilson speakers come to mind.

The fact that the best sounding gear is expensive doesn't mean that there's a simple correlation between price and sound. There's some expensive junk too.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040613 10/29/20 10:03 AM
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For me it's all about the speakers. If the amplifier has adequate headroom then I'm unable to hear the difference between a high-end amp and a low-end.

At my age any residual noise/hiss would have to be crazy loud (to you) before I'd hear it.
And I can't hear the difference between .001% THD and 1%.

There's plenty of cheap @ss goods that I won't like. But there's a threshold above which I cannot distinguish "better" quality gear.

But there's a world of difference between cheap speakers ... and good speakers ... and crazy high-priced speakers.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040667 10/29/20 12:27 PM
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If we speak about audiophile audio gear (except headphones), then we have to speak about the room treatment as well.
Broadband bass traps and sometimes diffusion can improve the sound a lot.

Last edited by VladK; 10/29/20 12:27 PM.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. (falsely attributed to Plato)
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Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040671 10/29/20 12:35 PM
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As a former headphone audiophile and current digital piano enthusiast I can say the following. First of all, there is no such thing as reasonable "good-bad" scale in regards to sound. Not only in a sense that different people have different ears and tastes, but even in regards to a single person more often than not there is neither consistency, nor transitivity. What I mean is that in the morning you hear that gear A sounds better by leaps and bounds than gear B, while in the evening you may hear that gear A sounds only slightly better than B. Or even worse. All kind of circumstances can make a difference. Another very common scenario in the audiophile circles: you compare gear A with gear B and bear B sounds noticeably better. Then you compare gear C to gear B and find out that gear C is noticeably better. After a few iterations you get to gear F, which again sounds quite better than gear E. Now everyone expects that if you compare gear F directly to the gear A, they should be worlds apart in terms of sound quality, with so many noticeable frontiers in between. However more often than not the perceptive difference wouldn't be so great. This phenomenon stands for the general trends as well. Digital audio for example exists for decades and a steady measurable progress has been going all the time. Modern clocks are three to five orders of magnitude as precise as the first ones. SACD superseded the Redbook, DXD and Hi-Res PCM superseded the SACD, THD and SNR becomes better and better every year. Yet if you compare the best records on the best gear that modern day has to offer to the best records on the best gear from 30 years ago, the subjective difference would be on the level of preferences. Some people would also argue that the best analog gear from 50 years ago is still better. All of this holds for digital pianos to some extend, but not really. Yes the general consensus is that even the best modern DPs are not as good as acoustics, but they are reasonably close. However that "reasonably close" statement goes on for more than a decade and for many generations of DPs. Yet every generation is considered a noticeable step up from the previous. However there are much more low-hanging fruits in DPs than in audio. When comparing different DPs and comparing DPs to APs there are many aspects you don't need educate yourself to notice and that's a big difference to audio. That's why I tend to think that despite all the marketing BS DPs were never actually close to acoustics and they still aren't, but they do getting closer and therefore it makes sense to pay more money for newer instruments or flagship instruments. The more general idea is that playing the piano is quite different to listening to piano and especially to music recordings. Every pianist have a reasonable mental reference how the piano should sound, feel and respond. Listener to the live music can only have mental reference how the live music should sound. Listening to music recordings should in theory feel like listening to live music, however that's not what mastering and audio gear really try to achieve. Usually what they try to do is to impress. Good audio recordings on good audio gear often impress more in some sense than live performances. But the experience of being impressed in this way doesn't give any valuable mental reference on how the music should sound in general. What it does produce is harmful desire to be impressed again and again.

Last edited by Nifrigel; 10/29/20 12:39 PM.
Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
EssBrace #3040676 10/29/20 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Wait for the backlash Bruce - there are some members of the forum who routinely deride anyone they can label an 'audiophile'. It's one of the dirtiest words in the English language in the minds of some people.

For what it's worth I agree with you entirely. Some equipment is better than other equipment because the component quality and engineering expertise employed during its manufacture is superior. However, the moment those perfectly obvious and rational concepts are applied to sound reproducing equipment then you shall be burned at the stake for being an 'audiophile'.

Another maybe contentious aspect of the audiophile debate is: how does age affect your perception of the difference between audiophile gear and cheaper alternatives? We know that as we age, we lose the ability to hear higher-frequencies, does that fact make us less discerning?


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Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040679 10/29/20 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
Well below is a vid produced by Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio (maker of expensive stereo electronics), talking about pricing and value. In short, he notes you need to spend over $1,000 to get a good sounding piece of electronics gear.
Certainly not with used gear!

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Nifrigel #3040681 10/29/20 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Nifrigel
Yet if you compare the best records on the best gear that modern day has to offer to the best records on the best gear from 30 years ago, the subjective difference would be on the level of preferences. Some people would also argue that the best analog gear from 50 years ago is still better.

In many ways modern developments in audio were driven by price and workflow. The world's best studios are largely the same as they were forty years ago. The mics can be sixty years old. The big difference is that the tape machine has mostly been replaced by a computer, although tape is still an option in some studios. Tape is very expensive to use owing to the cost and maintenance of machines and is a nightmare to edit. Analogue/digital/ and sigital/analogue converters can be really expensive too, but digital is so much easier to use. Big mixing consoles still cost hundreds of thousands, but the automation of faders etc. is much better. The audio technology is basically the same. I think it's sad that most of the big studios are now gone, but spending the cost of a house on an album simply isn't an option anymore.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040682 10/29/20 01:02 PM
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The question is if you personally will be able to hear a difference. That depends on a lot of factors. The best equipment will get you nothing in an untreated room for example.

Someone selling expensive audio equipment probably isn’t the best to ask though. I’d rather trust my own ears in that case.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Bruce In Philly #3040685 10/29/20 01:09 PM
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The point for me, already made by Mac and Doug, it's not the speakers, but the receivers, ears! I say that as someone who finds Yamaha binaural on the N1X and NU1X as rather meh; but that may be my headphones too.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
spanishbuddha #3040688 10/29/20 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
I say that as someone who finds Yamaha binaural on the N1X and NU1X as rather meh; but that may be my headphones too.

Binaural doesn't work for me. Those famed recordings of a barber's scissors and a box of matches don't have the intended effect.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
EssBrace #3040692 10/29/20 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Wait for the backlash Bruce - there are some members of the forum who routinely deride anyone they can label an 'audiophile'. It's one of the dirtiest words in the English language in the minds of some people.

For what it's worth I agree with you entirely. Some equipment is better than other equipment because the component quality and engineering expertise employed during its manufacture is superior. However, the moment those perfectly obvious and rational concepts are applied to sound reproducing equipment then you shall be burned at the stake for being an 'audiophile'.

I am guilty in that regard, so that's the one (extreme) side. And I even apologize for that.

But you should at least admit to yourself there's also a lot of BS in the audiophile world, and just because something is expensive and marketed as "audiophile" doesn't make it good, because that would then be the other extremity.


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Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
johnstaf #3040693 10/29/20 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Binaural doesn't work for me. Those famed recordings of a barber's scissors and a box of matches don't have the intended effect.
Different earphones or earbuds may work better for you.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
johnstaf #3040695 10/29/20 01:30 PM
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I felt the same way. The barber demo is sham. But the CFX binaural is a wonder.
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Binaural doesn't work for me. Those famed recordings of a barber's scissors and a box of matches don't have the intended effect.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
Nifrigel #3040697 10/29/20 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Nifrigel
As a former headphone audiophile and current digital piano enthusiast I can say the following. First of all, there is no such thing as reasonable "good-bad" scale in regards to sound. Not only in a sense that different people have different ears and tastes, but even in regards to a single person more often than not there is neither consistency, nor transitivity. What I mean is that in the morning you hear that gear A sounds better by leaps and bounds than gear B, while in the evening you may hear that gear A sounds only slightly better than B. Or even worse. All kind of circumstances can make a difference. Another very common scenario in the audiophile circles: you compare gear A with gear B and bear B sounds noticeably better. Then you compare gear C to gear B and find out that gear C is noticeably better. After a few iterations you get to gear F, which again sounds quite better than gear E. Now everyone expects that if you compare gear F directly to the gear A, they should be worlds apart in terms of sound quality, with so many noticeable frontiers in between. However more often than not the perceptive difference wouldn't be so great. This phenomenon stands for the general trends as well. Digital audio for example exists for decades and a steady measurable progress has been going all the time. Modern clocks are three to five orders of magnitude as precise as the first ones. SACD superseded the Redbook, DXD and Hi-Res PCM superseded the SACD, THD and SNR becomes better and better every year. Yet if you compare the best records on the best gear that modern day has to offer to the best records on the best gear from 30 years ago, the subjective difference would be on the level of preferences. Some people would also argue that the best analog gear from 50 years ago is still better. All of this holds for digital pianos to some extend, but not really. Yes the general consensus is that even the best modern DPs are not as good as acoustics, but they are reasonably close. However that "reasonably close" statement goes on for more than a decade and for many generations of DPs. Yet every generation is considered a noticeable step up from the previous. However there are much more low-hanging fruits in DPs than in audio. When comparing different DPs and comparing DPs to APs there are many aspects you don't need educate yourself to notice and that's a big difference to audio. That's why I tend to think that despite all the marketing BS DPs were never actually close to acoustics and they still aren't, but they do getting closer and therefore it makes sense to pay more money for newer instruments or flagship instruments. The more general idea is that playing the piano is quite different to listening to piano and especially to music recordings. Every pianist have a reasonable mental reference how the piano should sound, feel and respond. Listener to the live music can only have mental reference how the live music should sound. Listening to music recordings should in theory feel like listening to live music, however that's not what mastering and audio gear really try to achieve. Usually what they try to do is to impress. Good audio recordings on good audio gear often impress more in some sense than live performances. But the experience of being impressed in this way doesn't give any valuable mental reference on how the music should sound in general. What it does produce is harmful desire to be impressed again and again.

Paragraphs are your friend...

In response to the OP, yes, you are correct to a certain point, but the law of diminishing returns still applies. A $3000 speaker may indeed be better than a $300 speaker, but to many ears the difference is minuscule, for sure not in the realm of 10X better. It just depends on your budget, your lifestyle, and your priorities. Does the guy driving a $140,000 Mercedes S Class to work each day enjoy the ride more than the guy driving a $45,000 Mustang? Or the other guy in a $25,000 Honda? Maybe, but they all get to work at the same time, and overall costs are exorbitantly different. I've seen folks spend $3300 on an exhaust system that gains them 6 HP. I can't tell the difference, and to me it's a waste of money, but to them it was important.

Different strokes for different budgets....

Last edited by trooplewis; 10/29/20 01:42 PM.

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Nope, no issues with it at all.
Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
newer player #3040699 10/29/20 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Binaural doesn't work for me. Those famed recordings of a barber's scissors and a box of matches don't have the intended effect.
Different earphones or earbuds may work better for you.

It doesn't make any difference.

Re: Audiophile Update.... Interesting Vid
MacMacMac #3040704 10/29/20 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I felt the same way. The barber demo is sham. But the CFX binaural is a wonder.
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Binaural doesn't work for me. Those famed recordings of a barber's scissors and a box of matches don't have the intended effect.

Binaural for a diffuse sound source like a piano can be great. The irony is that this is the type of source we can't localise well in space by hearing it. A kind of "semi-binaural" can be great for string quartets and the like, and sounds great over speakers too.

Last edited by johnstaf; 10/29/20 01:48 PM.

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