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Sydney HiFi show - a mostly eye opening, not ear opening, exercise ...

Posted 22nd October 2012 at 09:58 PM by fas42
Updated 23rd October 2012 at 11:33 PM by fas42

Well, as mentioned elsewhere checked out the first proper show we've had in decades, and in hindsight it has been a very worthwhile, educational experience. Not because I heard magic audio I've never heard before, but, because I then browsed a collection of other people's thoughts and takes on the various sounds heard at the event, on another, Australian, audio forum.

Which showed me that people are in very different spaces, as regards to what is considered, "proper sound". Obvious of course, but it still throws one, makes one question one's ideas and thinking on matters ... for a split second, at least ... :)

My personal take on the show is that there has been a very discernable improvement in the standard, or average, quality of sound of a normally assembled system which has had only a minimal amount of tweaking applied to optimise it. Problems that were obvious in previous such efforts were far less apparent, you didn't want to run screaming from many rooms ...

I could hear that the music server movement has done the industry a great favour, a lot of the greyness of sound that used to be so prevalent on CD playback was markedly reduced. Particularly noteworthy was that the analogue playback, all vinyl, was almost all quite pedestrian, somewhat lifeless and uninteresting, held no special advantage over digital.

Which brings me to my main point: some of the systems were producing very, very nice sound, very close to natural, realistic playback, which considering the electrical environment was very impressive. Yet, on the other website, systems which exhibited all the symptoms of conventional hifi sound were the ones that were lauded, there was very little overlap of their favourites, and mine.

So what's going on? On reflection, it seems that a high percentage of audiophiles are still pursuing the archetypical sorts of hifi sound, rather than playback that is natural or realistic, and that would be for all sorts of reasons, habit being among them ...

And what didn't I like that they did? In fact there were two distinct types of sound, the washed out, dreary variety, like a TV with the colour and contrast turned down to produce a uniform dullness so even your maiden aunt wouldn't be offended; and the complete opposite, the hyped up, on the edge of being irritating, like a TV with the colour and contrast pushed up far enough to always be striking, demanding attention.

Neither of those sound types were, or are, realistic, and would only tolerate "perfect" recordings. I took test CDs but never bothered asking them to be played on these systems, because it was obvious they would come across poorly ...

So, to me it's a shame that there is such a gulf between what many people say they want, and what they actually look upon with approval when they hear it. I can understand why most young people don't "get it" when they listen to some audiophile systems: it may be pushing the buttons of the owner, but it certainly is not close enough to being captivating, from my perspective, to entice other people into the game ...
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  1. Old Comment
    freax's Avatar
    This is exactly what I expected, in a country where a Sony 7.1 surround sound system with plastic speakers that are silver... is considered to be the best in home theater you've gotta expect this kind of lowest common denominator ******** pushing onto the public.

    Large Corporations OWN this country when you speak in terms of audio, you ask anyone here whats the best audio system and they will instantly spit out a brand name and model number, and god forbid if you start talking about this or that brand name of speaker that they haven't even heard of, they will quickly take offence and consider you "dumb".

    I would've expected more from a country which is so critical of everything else than simply cookie cutter consumer audio, but nope, and I doubt this is going to change anytime soon.

    Maybe when the sticker price of most items drops to realistic levels instead of the 3x inflation levels that we currently have can we finally see proper good sounding equipment come to our shores.

    Its just silly to think that an amplifier which might cost $300 in the US will sell for $1200 here, especially when the dollar is at a 1:1 ratio, that we will see anything but a massive scale bait and switch operation going on.
    Posted 10th November 2012 at 05:27 AM by freax freax is offline
    Updated 10th November 2012 at 05:34 AM by freax
  2. Old Comment
    I went to this with a mate as well. For me, I managed to get a listen in on a few systems that I had wanted to get around to listening to but hadn't had the time.

    For me, a local vendor for a certain pair of famous electrostats were a prime example of exactly what you are saying. We had some tangerine Dream on us and we asked them to play it. They asked us about 20 times if it was a good recording. It became pretty obvious that the guy operating the macbook pro in the corner wasn't interested in anything but Elvis, so he feigned an excuse about it failing ripping (I don't know what he was using but it ripped perfectly to dbPowerAmp after the show and another stand had no problems with their automated ripping solution). I don't need a set of speakers that can only play perfect recordings! I am sad to say that there is a lot of badly recorded music out there that I love!

    On the whole though, I found the vendors to be really quite helpful and willing to bend over backwards to let us sample our own music, and the stand out brands for me on the day for me were the VAF and Zu Audio, the vendor for which let us hang around until well after it closed listening to the new Unions which were so incredibly musical.

    Freax is also right, I went to buy a Roksan Nima for my LP12 last year and the primary vendor in Sydney wanted $1500 for it (not installed), and wouldn't negotiate, and were general tools about selling just the arm. I managed to get it for $750 inc shipping from America. This is at a time when the Australian dollar was worth 1.30 US. There really is no excuse for a 50% markup on a retail price from the importer.

    This is the whole reason I got into DIY... and have a full credit card from getting audio gear online.
    Posted 7th January 2013 at 07:51 AM by blizzardbuffalo blizzardbuffalo is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Next round of this has finally turned up - along with a whole trailer load of other gadgets and gee whiz stuff! ... [url=http://www.chestergroup.org/newtechsydney/2015]New-Tech Sydney 2015 | Home Audio Show | Chester Group[/url]

    Some brands not heard for years will be in attendance ... will be checking it out ...
    Posted 9th June 2015 at 10:27 AM by fas42 fas42 is offline

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