What Is "High End" Audio?

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  • mini-me
    mini-me Posts: 70
    edited February 2010
    MANSKITO wrote: »
    Think of this way, what if one day some one comes up with an amp that uses a new tech, one that combines the best attributes of both tubes, and SS and because of the nature of this new tech it is very cheap to produce so you find extremely high grade sound at low price points. Would that amp not be the amp to own? I know I certainly would want to buy it.

    The amp you said, a guy called Bob Carver created about 30 yrs ago.

    I never actually heard the term giant killer before, but i get the idea, it has happened in other industries. And most likely it will happen in this one (and i find it hard to believe it has not happened in the past) because there is a lot of money to be made by doing so. Innovation happens all the time and progress is very hard to stop.

    I see what you are saying but it's not the same as Giant Killer in the Audio Industry. Oppo comes to mind about as close to Killing High End Manufacturers. But even Oppo hasn't killed any in High End industry yet....(McIntosh, Marantz, Denon, Meridian, Krell, Levinson, MBL, Esoteric, YBL, Accuphase, dCS, Musical Fidelity, Wadia, Theta, Goldmund, Boulder, Classe, and so on....). I think OPPO is as innovative as it gets in the Audio Industry at the moment and a fresh new bread out of oven with lots of buzz words...But still not killing any Giant. If you are a small fish in the pond, it's hard to come up to the top in the food chain.

    Most Giants in the Audio industry (just call them High End Manufactures) have the money to invest in the Technology and innovation in this industry. Their long established name brand has earned some high paying customer so they can survive all this time.

    In the High End Audio Industry, New Innovations or products are not cheap or They simply DO NOT SELL THEM CHEAP!

    If you see one, tell me coz I want to buy one.


    I think it's about time for me to Shut Up in this thread coz it's a good thread. I don't want to derail from the actual useful discussion about what is HIGH END - some gets it, some don't, some still dreaming...
  • MANSKITO
    MANSKITO Posts: 295
    edited February 2010
    mini-me wrote: »
    I see what you are saying but it's not the same as Giant Killer in the Audio Industry. Oppo comes to mind about as close to Killing High End Manufacturers. But even Oppo hasn't killed any in High End industry yet....(McIntosh, Marantz, Denon, Meridian, Krell, Levinson, MBL, Esoteric, YBL, Accuphase, dCS, Musical Fidelity, Wadia, Theta, Goldmund, Boulder, Classe, and so on....). I think OPPO is as innovative as it gets in the Audio Industry at the moment and a fresh new bread out of oven with lots of buzz words...But still not killing any Giant.

    Most Giants in the Audio industry (just call them High End Manufactures) have the money to invest in the Technology and innovation in every industry. They long established name brand has earned some high paying customer so they can survive all this time. If you are a small fish in the pond, it's hard to come up to the top in the food chain.

    In the High End Audio Industry, New Innovations or products are not cheap or They simple DO NOT SELL CHEAP!

    If you see one, tell me coz I want to buy one.

    Killed? no, just because some is selling a better performing product at a lower price point dose not mean there is no market for the higher priced product.

    For example take your average Rolex watch, there are MANY watches/clocks that preform better, have more bells and whistles, and are an all around better time piece and yet people still buy Rolex watches all the time. WHY?

    Well there are many reasons to why.

    But the point of the matter is I was talking about a giant killer from the perspective that some one in the future is bound to make a better amp then the High dollar amps if they have not already.

    I m the kind of man that wants function over form, but clearly there is a HUGE market for devices that have both in droves. In a well designed product its hard to tell where function ends and forms begins such is the case with the Rolex watch.

    I can scream at people all day that Rolex watches are a waste of money but people are still going to buy them and more importantly because of this the Rolex maintains its value.

    (i rather Don't think that the High dollar brand names sell more volume then the Oppos of the world in fact its the Oppos of the world that sell products In MUCH greater volumes so who my friend is the giant?)
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  • W WALDECKER
    W WALDECKER Posts: 900
    edited February 2010
    High End is not about a dollar amount .for me at least it is about how the right combination of components with good circuit designs and quality parts can draw you into the music and make you feel that the musicians are right there in the room with you.there are quite a few guys here who have rigs that can create this illusion and have not taken out a loan on thier home to do so ;)....WCW III
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  • Toolfan66
    Toolfan66 Posts: 14,956
    edited February 2010
    This has to be the best thread to read around here in a long time.

    Great read. I don't let my self get all caught up in the mid-fi/high-fi thing. I read and study about gear get points and veiws about it, and let my budget do the rest. I am happy with what I have put together (2 channel that is) in less then a year. I consider it mid-fi because I know and have learned that is what it is. but to my ears it's high-fi because I have never owned a system close to this.I only ended up here because I purchased some RTiA9's off the polkdirect ebay store a little over a year ago. I had no clue what an SDA was let alone what Adcom/Krell/Rotel was.It turned into a hobby that I was not looking for, now I don't give a **** about my HT setup unless I want to watch a movie.

    I still keep everything within a budget but we will see what the next year brings to my system. I know where I am headed and what I want to do next but I also know it will cost more then what I have spent on my Adcom setup.

    Nothing has been better then having a couple drinks doing a little tweeking and enjoying some tunes. what is fun is hooking up the Monitor 10's for a quick listen then hooking up the 1.2's and going yep now I know why I upgraded the big boys.


    Enjoy fellas.
  • jaxwired
    jaxwired Posts: 201
    edited February 2010
    I wish I could keep arguing, but that would require that someone make a sane, or at least semi-lucid rebuttal to any of my many excellent points. That doesn't seem to happen here... Oh well... It was fun for awhile. Thanks ladies..
    2 Channel
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  • reeltrouble1
    reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,312
    edited February 2010
    So Long and thank you for coming by to help the forum.

    RT1
  • jaxwired
    jaxwired Posts: 201
    edited February 2010
    So Long and thank you for coming by to help the forum.

    RT1

    Reel, thanks. I'm not leaving. Just done beating this particular horse.
    2 Channel
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  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,166
    edited February 2010
    MANSKITO wrote: »
    Think of this way, what if one day some one comes up with an amp that uses a new tech, one that combines the best attributes of both tubes, and SS and because of the nature of this new tech it is very cheap to produce so you find extremely high grade sound at low price points. Would that amp not be the amp to own? I know I certainly would want to buy it.

    That's already happened and the jury is out if actually delivers.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • Face
    Face Posts: 14,340
    edited February 2010
    If you enjoy it, why do you give a **** what your gear is labeled?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • DarqueKnight
    DarqueKnight Posts: 6,642
    edited February 2010
    The OP makes the opposite mistake. Taking subjective experience and stating it as scientific fact (i.e. in the description of his theory of listening fatigue).

    This is what I said:
    What causes listening fatigue? Noise, distortion and missing information causes listening fatigue. When your brain receives sensory information that is an approximation of a real sensory event, it filters and interpolates in an attempt to provide a more pleasant experience.


    What is the correct answer to "what causes listening fatigue"?
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
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  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,451
    edited February 2010
    Face wrote: »
    If you enjoy it, why do you give a **** what your gear is labeled?

    ...and there it is.

    William Waldecker also hits the nail on the head.

    There is no "mid-fi" standard. Either your equipment is hi-fi or it isn't. The only place the term mid-fi could possibly be used is in reference to speakers that are not truly full range----in which case, about 85% of this community is mid-fi. No where in the hi-fi standard is dollar amount addressed.

    Some of you are missing the point of this hobby....MUSIC.
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  • concealer404
    concealer404 Posts: 7,441
    edited February 2010
    jaxwired wrote: »
    My original post stated that it is possible to assemble a system that competes with a high end system for a fraction of the price. That statement is being debated. Please read the entire thread so you won't be so easily confused.

    You're the one confused here. Nobody is debating that it's not possible. Just that it's not real likely that it'll happen. Of course, deciding if something competes or not is subjective.


    jaxwired wrote:
    LOL, I love this one. So "low-fi" is the bottom 99.4%. I guess "mid-fi" is 99.5% to 99.8%? And then "high-end" is that last 0.2% of super high performing gear? That's pretty funny. Ok. I guess I am ok with "mid-fi". Pretty fine line there. Must be tough for a manufaturer to break into that 0.2% range. Good stuff....

    Missed the boat again there, bud. I'm referring to the iPod, MP3, HTIB, white van speaker buying nation that makes up 99%+ of the population.


    jaxwired wrote:
    I agree that in general as price increase, so does performance. But it's not an absolute which is why assembly a giant killer system IS possible. And for someone that hates generalizing, what do you think labeling someone's gear "mid-fi" is doing?


    Absolutely nothing? Why is mid-fi a bad thing? It's about how much enjoyment YOU get out of your system. Who gives a **** what someone else thinks of it? You'd think that if the label "mid-fi" was REALLY an issue for anyone other than yourself, we'd be hearing a lot more people complain about it, since EASILY 80% of the people on here have "mid-fi" systems. Yet we don't hear them complain about it, so what's your beef? At some point, you have to recognize that this is an issue that only you have, and realize that you're the exception, and maybe for good reason.
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

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  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,451
    edited February 2010
    Here's a funny paradox about so-called audiophiles who cling to terms such as "high-end" "mid-fi" and the like;

    You can have a 25watt $15,000 tube flea amp running at nearly 1% THD, and a S/N ratio slightly better than a good turntable---and that's considered "High-end." But that same "audiophile" would call a 200watt, $1000 SS amp running at 100 times less distortion, far better S/N ratio, "mid-fi"---?

    Confused? Me too.

    Buy what sounds good to you, ignore the rhetoric.
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  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 23,199
    edited February 2010
    steveinaz wrote: »
    Here's a funny paradox about so-called audiophiles who cling to terms such as "high-end" "mid-fi" and the like;

    You can have a 25watt $15,000 tube flea amp running at nearly 1% THD, and a S/N ratio slightly better than a good turntable---and that's considered 'High-end." But that same 'audiophile" would call a 200watt $1000 SS amp running at 100 times less distortion, far better S/N ratio, and that's "mid-fi"---?

    This paradox has a simple and elegant solution. If you were an audiophile you would understand that TUBES RULE!:D:D;)
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  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,451
    edited February 2010
    That's because I'm a mid-fi, entry level guy, and proud of it. I'm a blue-collar rocker baby.
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  • concealer404
    concealer404 Posts: 7,441
    edited February 2010
    steveinaz wrote: »
    That's because I'm a mid-fi, entry level guy, and proud of it. I'm a blue-collar rocker baby.

    With ya there, Steve.
    :D
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

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  • reeltrouble1
    reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,312
    edited February 2010
    well I kinda think of mid-fi as being mid-thigh, its real nice and a great place to linger enjoy and anticipate, until you make a move and get to the last bit of the honey.

    Honey cost Money, sonny.

    RT1--Tubes Rule
  • madmax
    madmax Posts: 12,435
    edited February 2010
    steveinaz wrote: »
    You can have a 25watt $15,000 tube flea amp running at nearly 1% THD, and a S/N ratio slightly better than a good turntable---and that's considered "High-end." But that same "audiophile" would call a 200watt, $1000 SS amp running at 100 times less distortion, far better S/N ratio, "mid-fi"---?

    Confused?

    Nope. :)
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,451
    edited February 2010
    I buy my honey at Walmart, made by the same bees, but far cheaper, and the label ain't as pretty. ;)
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  • reeltrouble1
    reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,312
    edited February 2010
    glad to hear you made it past second...............:) be careful rounding third once you get a whiff of whats waiting for you.

    RT1
  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,451
    edited February 2010
    I would also like a santa fe ranch house on 120 acres with a guest house, pool, and a couple of RV hook-ups, but I'm quite happy with what I have.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amp: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: MartinLogan Motion 60XTi - Shop: Yamaha A-S501 Integrated Amp - Speakers: Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2
  • reeltrouble1
    reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,312
    edited February 2010
    try the hgtv house give away thing....looks pretty cool to me, somebody has to win, might as well be you. mama says if she wins I and my stuff are kicked to the guest house.....hurt me baby.

    RT1
  • vc69
    vc69 Posts: 2,500
    edited February 2010
    Honey cost Money, sonny.

    RT1--Tubes Rule

    That about sums it up. ;)
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  • dorokusai
    dorokusai Posts: 25,502
    edited February 2010
    I only buy gear with fancy names and wild specifications.
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  • reeltrouble1
    reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,312
    edited February 2010
    I do admit to noticing your rather hi-end last fest.

    RT1
  • DarqueKnight
    DarqueKnight Posts: 6,642
    edited February 2010
    steveinaz wrote: »
    Here's a funny paradox about so-called audiophiles who cling to terms such as "high-end" "mid-fi" and the like;

    You can have a 25watt $15,000 tube flea amp running at nearly 1% THD, and a S/N ratio slightly better than a good turntable---and that's considered "High-end." But that same "audiophile" would call a 200watt, $1000 SS amp running at 100 times less distortion, far better S/N ratio, "mid-fi"---?

    Confused? Me too.

    There is no need for confusion. It's really not a paradox. The proof is in the listening rather than the specifications of gear. I would expect the $15,000 amp to have more thoughtful design and to probably be hand built of premium parts.

    If the tube amp with poorer specs, yet superior design, parts and construction results in lifelike sound, it is high end. If the $1,000 amp merely sounds like reproduced music with no "life", it is mid-fi.

    You must also consider that things other than published specifications can have a tremendous effect on how realisitic a component sounds. Things such as parts quality, construction techniques, and basic circuit design are far more important to lifelike sound than THD, S/N and output power. In fact, the higher you go up in output power, parts quality, construction techniques, and basic circuit design become more important.

    Again,

    High price does not necessarily mean high end. A high price can easily be assigned to anything.

    High quality materials does not necessarily mean high end. High quality materials in an unreliable, poorly constructed item is a failure waiting to happen.

    High performance does not necessarily mean high end. Something can have textbook perfect performance and be unlifelike and unpleasant to the senses.

    High quality construction does not necessarily mean high end. Something that is well constructed of the finest materials can cause great misery if the basic design is flawed...like an attractive and expensive pair of shoes made of the finest quality leather using the best construction techniques, yet the basic design did not consider the anatomical characteristics of the human foot.

    Thoughtful design resulting in reliable and lifelike high performance is the essence of high end audio.

    Some people have spent a fortune on audio gear only to be heartbroken later when they heard a true high end system that they could have had for far less money.

    High end usually means expensive, but expensive does not always mean high end.;)
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • reeltrouble1
    reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,312
    edited February 2010
    Raife so are you finally going to get serious about this hobby.....perhaps a bit of research on power.......j/k

    how about foundation theory tangent to energy dissapation??? here is one left mostly to the ordinary dull clamor of isolation thought, the subject could warrant a bit of "raifedom" DK R&D. the other thought that keeps rolling over my gray is the concept of preservation/tranmission of signal width, almost intuitive yet hardly mentioned, we know wider is better, since, well, pontiac I do believe. a recurring idea is usually a good idea

    RT1
  • DarqueKnight
    DarqueKnight Posts: 6,642
    edited February 2010
    Raife so are you finally going to get serious about this hobby.....

    Nooooooooooooo. No. Audio is too controversial for me to ever get too deep into it. To recap:

    It may surprise some to know that audio is way down on list of my hobbies, in order of importance my leisure activities are:

    1. Investing.
    2. Saxophone.
    3. Photography.
    4. Audio
    5. Video

    I like hobbies 1-3 because they pay for themselves and they also pay for hobbies 4 & 5. In fact, I have a paying gig with the new photo gear on Thursday.:)

    I have noticed a common phenomenon in all of my hobbies:

    The people who worry the most are those with the least experience.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,483
    edited February 2010
    jaxwired wrote: »
    But a cost conscious well informed savy shopper that is patient and willing to go through multiple iterations of gear swapping can assemble the classic giant killer system for not so giant expense and that is definately NOT "mid-fi".

    Yet, you admit the following....
    jaxwired wrote:
    But, of course, there are so many other outstanding brands I've yet to try...

    ...which begs the question, how do you know that you have a classic giant killer system? What is your benchmark?
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • reeltrouble1
    reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,312
    edited February 2010
    perhaps one day you can blow a groove over my keys, that would be fun.

    RT1