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Old 15th March 2005, 03:15 PM   #1
keyser is offline keyser  Netherlands
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Default Where should we focus on if we want to build a good hifi-system

The way towards a good hifi is clouded by myths and lies. The true high ender is always looking for another voodoo accesoire to solve "problems" in his system.
De-magnetising cd's, special feet for your components to absorbe unwanted energy, coins you have to stick on the wall to improve acoustics, cable lifters, netconditioners, audio-racks etc.
Ask a recording engineer, ask most women or anybody else and they'll say you would be crazy to buy any of those things. Ask the regular audiophile, and he will say those things can turn your hifi-setup from a reasonably good one into something special!
Our audiophile minds are poluted with false "knowledge" of high end hifi. We know that the expensive Gryphon pre and power amp, combined with that great Mark Levinson cd-player, and wired with siltech and NordOst sounds wy better than the el cheapo Sony cd-player with Yamaha integrated and wired with the cables that came with the equipement.
WRONG. The sony and Yamaha may sound exactly the same as the Levinson Gryphon combo. I've never come across an amp that didn't sound good (better not go for tubes: it is more expensive to build a good transistor than to build a good tube amp. Most designs sound practically the same as a transistor amp, but don't deliver as much power). Neither have I ever heard a cd-player that didn't sound almost perfect. Cables are probably even less important. Feet to absorb negative energy? What should the negative energy in your equipement consist of?

If sound-quality is the only reason for you buying expensive equipement, buy cheaper. Select you amp on the power it has, and on the features you need. A goodsounding cd-player can be bought for as little as $70.

There are 3 things that can make a difference to the sound that you hear from your hifi: the quality of the recording, the speakers and the acoustics of the room they are playing in. We can not invluence the first thing. Most of our energy (and money) should go to the speakers. The best speakers in the world will distort the sound more, than will the sony yamaha combo with its supplied cables.



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Old 15th March 2005, 03:21 PM   #2
markp is offline markp  United States
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You will hear the weakest link whatever it is.
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Old 15th March 2005, 04:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Our audiophile minds are poluted with false "knowledge" of high end hifi.
Your sermon makes me doubt you sincerely believe your mind is either polluted or audiophilic. It's all for the rest of us, misguided cretins, right?
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Old 15th March 2005, 06:15 PM   #4
keyser is offline keyser  Netherlands
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don't mean to offend anyone. I once believed a lot off bull**** too. I now have spare cables that once costed me 800 euros! And a Purist Audio cd with a lot of noise on it, intended to "clean up" the system. I have also had a few magic feet. Managed to sell them again.
I once did a first double blind test between amps. I concluded that I could'nt hear the difference. Same for cd-players. The cables I use are very short. My speakercable is 5 feet long. On such short piece of wire I don't believe it makes any difference what type of cable u use. Record players d sound different!
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Old 15th March 2005, 06:32 PM   #5
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It's hard to argue against bi-amplification.
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Old 15th March 2005, 06:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
I once did a first double blind test between amps. I concluded that I could'nt hear the difference. Same for cd-players
So, your dilemmas are all sorted. But why preach to others like they are half brained and incapable of making a decision for themselves?


Quote:
I once believed a lot off bull**** too
Building a good hifi has nothing to do with beliefs - if it is belief-based it's certainly doomed to fail.
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Old 15th March 2005, 07:07 PM   #7
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I got turned off of "Ultra-Fi" after doing listening to a pair of Avantegarde Duos beside some B&W 804S. The BW's were like 1/5 the cost, abeit not as sensitive, they were far more precise in their tonal balance and placement of the soundstage. It was a McIntosh Amplifier, and Mark Levinson CD source, so it's all audiofile quality setup. While the Duo's sound respectable in their own right, when you the B&W's side by side, you realize you're paying Lamborghini price for a Corvette.

Another thing that turned me off of Ultra-Fi was a review of some amplifier in Stereophile. I forget the details of the system, but the reviewer was going on and on about their great recording he had, and all the detail he heard. By coincidence I had the same recording and plugged it into my ancient Technics turntable, Luxman amp, and KEF speakers. We're talking ancient here, this amp had fairly audible hiss with no signal, and you could hear the hum from the transformer in it. I turned it up, and I heard everything he paid like 100,000 to hear.

By another coincidence I came accross the schematic for the Luxman amp I had. It bears a strikinng resemblance to a schematic that was floating around on DIY Audio claiming to be the best amp design ever. Luxman got a lot of mileage out of that design, as far as I know they didn't change it for thirty years.
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Old 16th March 2005, 09:20 AM   #8
keyser is offline keyser  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Fitzpatrick
It's hard to argue against bi-amplification.
true. you already know I have recently bi-amped myself, and the effect is very audible. As I can not hear the difference between amps in direct comparison, my guess is that the removal of the passive components caused the effect.

Quote:
Originally posted by hummhoom
McIntosh Amplifier
Reminded me of a site by the former director of the Aoustic Research departement of McIntosh.

http://www.roger-russell.com/

the most interesting info on the following:

http://www.roger-russell.com/truth/truth.htm


"I have personally completed several blind A-B listening tests over the years between good amplifiers, tube or transistor. Although I thought I could hear a difference each time, my choice was only correct about 50% of the time. I have also conducted blind listening tests for other people. I have learned how important it is to set the amplifier gains to be exactly equal and that the amplifiers should not be seen or identified for the listener. The slightly louder amplifier often is preferred. Comparison must be instantaneous or the listener forgets. If the identity of the amplifiers is known, the listener often gets preoccupied with identifying which amplifier is playing instead of the sound quality. The questions asked of the listener about the sound quality are also very important. I even hide the speakers as well as the amplifiers behind an acoustically transparent curtain."

I think this guy should know!
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Old 16th March 2005, 10:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Where should we focus on if we want to build a good hifi-system

Konnichiwa,

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
The way towards a good hifi is clouded by myths and lies.
Especially by the ABX Mafia and those "all equipment sound the same" perachers, who have for deades very effectively and actively prevented any serious investigation in the ACTUALLY EXISTING differences in sound caused by comparably small differences in equipement not covered by traditional measurement.

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
The true high ender is always looking for another voodoo accesoire to solve "problems" in his system.
Much polemic cut.

As a direct result of the efforts of people like you. There are many who do hear real differences. As the mainstream engineering community refuses to aknowledge them and as they and people like you simply deny the existence of what they cannot morally afford to admit exists no systematic investigation takes place.

Thus the door remains wide open for any number of claims, which may result to a given individual in subjectively percieved changes (real or not is irelevant) and given that the mainstream has already pelicanised the whole subject yet Joe Public hears the difference anyway he will reject "your Philosophy" and adopt that pandered by the salesmen.

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
We know that the expensive Gryphon pre and power amp, combined with that great Mark Levinson cd-player, and wired with siltech and NordOst sounds wy better than the el cheapo Sony cd-player with Yamaha integrated and wired with the cables that came with the equipement.
WRONG. The sony and Yamaha may sound exactly the same as the Levinson Gryphon combo.
Actually, WRONG in both cases. The items you note will all sound different to different degrees. What will sound "better" to a given person is a question of preference.

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
I've never come across an amp that didn't sound good
That is your experience, it makes it far from universally applicable and does not invalidate any experiences to the contrary others may have had.

Also, have you considered that you where decieved by your own expectations, meaning you expected that all gear sounds the same and thus it did (BTW, this will also hold up under blind conditions)?

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
If sound-quality is the only reason for you buying expensive equipement, buy cheaper.
Why, should I not buy within my budget whatever sounds best to me? Have you found that there is a reliable law that the cheaper the gear the better it sounds, if so would you mind publishing the evidence for that?

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
don't mean to offend anyone.
But you are, just like any other selfrighteous preachers.

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
I once believed a lot off bull**** too.
And now you choose to believe the opposite. Still just following others instead of making your own mind up.

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
I once did a first double blind test between amps. I concluded that I could'nt hear the difference. Same for cd-players.
DB Test and/or ABX testing is subject to many vagaries. I once amused myself by prooving this to an Objectivist and ABX Test advocate. I told him we would blind test Cables. He of course KNEW that cables cannot make a difference.

What I ACTUALLY tested was the polarity reversal in one channel. He was the only one in the test group of 4 people who scored "random", everyone else scored 100%. He simply (subconciously) refused to hear the obvious difference as according to his beliefsystem it should not exist. Therefore he "scored" no significance difference disregardless of the actual situation.

The same effect also works the other way. If you have a strong conviction that a difference exist you will tend to hear even if it does not exist and thus will again score "no significant difference" disregardless of the actual facts.

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
The cables I use are very short. My speakercable is 5 feet long. On such short piece of wire I don't believe it makes any difference what type of cable u use. Record players d sound different!
You may believe whatever you like. I have no room for irrational believes, I prefer to know.

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
true. you already know I have recently bi-amped myself, and the effect is very audible. As I can not hear the difference between amps in direct comparison, my guess is that the removal of the passive components caused the effect.
And again, what where your expectations? Did you expect a difference? Did you expect non?

Quote:
Originally posted by keyser
I think this guy should know!
Why? I repeat, blind testing is really problematic usually do statistical problems (small datasets) and the fact that people,tend to know what they "blind test", as a result the actual is NOT blind. Therefore it is poor judgement to place faith in such flawed data.

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Old 16th March 2005, 06:42 PM   #10
keyser is offline keyser  Netherlands
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konnichiwa to you too!

We obviously look at things differently. It really is not my intention to offend you. If I did, I am sorry. Offending anyone is not my reason to write here. My intention is to start a dialogue about what is audible, and what is not. Rather dialogue than discussion.
In my experience well designed equipment sounds the same. No, I have not tested all these things I do indeed "believe" by myself. I believe in science. I believe what the experts test, if they seem reliable and they know what they are talking about. I believe those things, as I believe that if I drop something it will fall to the ground. I have tested that by myself. But I also believe that satelites circle around the planet, even though I've never been there to look at them myself.
Quote:
DB Test and/or ABX testing is subject to many vagaries. I once amused myself by prooving this to an Objectivist and ABX Test advocate. I told him we would blind test Cables. He of course KNEW that cables cannot make a difference.
That is a good point. Then perhaps the only accurate DBT would be to let "believing" audiophiles test cables or equipment. Their prejudices would have little to no effect on the test.
What do you think makes you hear differences between amps? Is it the slightly different THD, IMD or signal to noise ratio? Is it anything else that can be measured? Or do you think our ears are so sensitive that we hear things that are immeasurable?

How do you think Roger Russel could have ever designed amplifiers, the one sounding even greater than the other, if he himself was incapable of hearing the difference? Many people think McIntosh amplifiers are among the best sounding amps ever made. The designer can not hear it...
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