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From reading the reviews here it seems like a lot of audio companies are pretty shady? Which ones are generally trustworthy?

JJB70

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#21
On Harman/Samsung, this may be very much a minority opinion among audiophiles but I am very impressed by some of the soundbars being released by Samsung. I'm guessing they're leveraging Harman expertise and technology, but the performance of some of their soundbars for music reproduction is very good. I'm not saying they're better than a good pair of traditional speakers or true surround set ups but I am saying that I can listen to music using models like the HW-MS650 and HW-MS750 and thoroughly enjoy the experience.
 

anmpr1

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#22
The 103 series is something of an icon. I don't know about current pricing/value. I bought several a few years ago for about 150 dollars after I got wind the price was going up.

Denon Japan comes out with a 'special' model every so often. Or at least they used to. Sells for a premium. The D model was what I used as my standard, but those have been long gone for a long time. It featured an elliptical stylus, whereas the plain jane 103 uses a ball point pen diamond.

Back in the day, as legend has it, some Denon people started their own line of cartridges under the brand, Highphonic. Not the Highphonic modified 103, that you can still get, but an entirely new thing. I bought one from the then distributor; it was a very high compliance cartridge, unusual for a MC. However the suspension soon failed (in a low mass Grace 707 tonearm). They sent me a new one, no questions asked, so I'm guessing it was a known problem. The sound was very nice, but my second failed, also. Sure wish Stanton/Pickering were back in the audiophile cart business.
 

Frank Dernie

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#23
That's pretty cool. Its is signed too. It interesting that they use a velocity of 3.54 cm/s whereas Denon (and most other tests) use a 5 cm/s velocity for their impulse. I don't know how much of difference that makes.
It may be equivalent since 3.54 cm/s rms = 5cm/sec peak
 

StevenEleven

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#24
I don’t really find any corporation “trustworthy” for long-winded legal and philosophical reasons, and a litany of examples of corporations breaching trust, including as to matters of life and death, which I just deleted. ; )

So I thought to myself, just answer the question.

It’s probably an aberration or a coincidence, but I’ve had my best experiences over the decades with Pioneer. Our family’s first receiver when I was a kid, my first pair of nice headphones before headphones were a thing, my first CD player that didn’t skip (and still doesn’t) after early CD players from Yamaha and Sanyo didn’t work out, my first modern A/V receiver (it’s waiting up there on the shelf should my current more modern and feature-packed other-brand receiver ever fail), and now a very nice pair of inexpensive tower speakers.

Pioneer has probably changed hands a million times through corporate acquisitions over that time and probably has sold all kinds of junk but I have developed a good feeling toward them just based on how things worked out for me. Still if I am going to buy something audio it’s pretty much going to be a brand-agnostic decision searching for a specific product that meets my preferences and packs a big punch in terms of price to performance ratio.
 

ahofer

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#25
I respect Bryston for building their amps like tanks and backing them with a 20 yr guarantee. I sent my Thiels back to Thiel twice in 20 years, and they fixed them up both times for nothing. Unfortunately, Thiel was bought out and driven into the ground. Magnepan also backed up their product when I was a Maggie user in the late 80s-early 90s. Vandersteen has a reputation for standing behind their product.

Another departed company, Adcom, offered good value for money. I still have a 1990s-era Adcom amp. Cambridge Audio offers reliable and relatively good value. Elac seems to be trying to occupy that space as well.

My most recent purchase was a pair of Harbeths, and I viewed the near-cult following and reasonable (non-BS) engagement of their CEO, Alan Shaw, as positive indications. It's nice to buy things that both sound good and are sold without nonsense (albeit at a premium price).

I don't claim any of these are definitive, just my impressions. I've owned one or more components from each of these companies except Elac and Vandersteen.

Other names I've owned - Conrad-Johnson, VTL, Spectral, Cary. All a long time ago, but I still have the VTL Deluxe 225 monoblocks with a full complement of KT90s if anyone is interested. Tubes seemed pretty cool, but in the end I didn't get the bug.
 

Hugo9000

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#26
OP
Z

Zerimas

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Thread Starter #27
Pioneer has probably changed hands a million times through corporate acquisitions over that time and probably has sold all kinds of junk but I have developed a good feeling toward them just based on how things worked out for me. Still if I am going to buy something audio it’s pretty much going to be a brand-agnostic decision searching for a specific product that meets my preferences and packs a big punch in terms of price to performance ratio.
I like all my vintage Pioneer stuff. I use an SX-3800 as power amp for my system. I found it the electronics recycling. With a bit of cleaning it works perfectly fine. However, it does do some unusual stuff when the preamp section is used. The left channel will infrequently cut out. However, flipping the tape monitor switch off and on a few times fixes it. No idea how that works, but it does.

I'd like to restore it somewhat because it is pretty decent and very nice-looking unit. It's missing a knob or two along with a switch tip. I haven't seen any other originals around (though I haven't looked recently). I don't know how to fix the electronics, but there isn't really too much wrong with them. It's not as good as the TOTL SX-3900 (which 150W and has selectable frequencies for the tone controls), but I still think it is pretty good. It isn't very popular though. For some reason everyone raves about the SX-1080 (which sells for silly money). Everyone has heaps of subjective praise for it for some reason. The SX-3900 and its ilk are generally considered vastly inferior.
 

Spocko

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#28
My vote is for Genelec's all-in-one DAC/DSP/Active speakers, because they are very clear in their design objectives towards a very specific "flat" anechoic curve that you can then adjust to taste with their GLM software. It really doesn't get better than that. And considering what people pay for a full system, I find their prices incredibly reasonable for a "high end" system. I'm looking forward to reviews/measurements of the recently launched 8361a and 8351b models - these sound very promising.
 

scott wurcer

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#29

JJB70

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#30
JDS Labs, delivering first class performance based on excellent design and value engineering at bargain prices, with performance being verified by measurement.
 

Berwhale

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#31
On Harman/Samsung, this may be very much a minority opinion among audiophiles but I am very impressed by some of the soundbars being released by Samsung. I'm guessing they're leveraging Harman expertise and technology, but the performance of some of their soundbars for music reproduction is very good. I'm not saying they're better than a good pair of traditional speakers or true surround set ups but I am saying that I can listen to music using models like the HW-MS650 and HW-MS750 and thoroughly enjoy the experience.
An opinion now confirmed by measurement...

https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/reviews/samsung/hw-q90r
 

raindance

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#33
Thoughts on modern day Quad?
I've owned the 99 preamp and the Elite Pre. The Elite was pretty darn good. The tilt tone control worked well and the bass boost musically enhanced the leanness of certain recordings through my Magnepan speakers. Both were a little buggy in that they'd boot up with strange gain settings, but a quick press on the volume control corrected that. I regret selling the Elite Pre; they are really scarce on the used market. I'd say these are the first useful Quad preamps, as older ones had too low a voltage swing to be used with amps other than Quad offerings.
 

leonroy

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#34
Said it before and will say it again Bryston. Their amps include an initialed test report with measurements on max power output and THD IIRC. They don't believe in audio voodoo and have a Monoprice type lineup of reasonably priced Van Damme/Belden type cables.

Everything they make seems to be thoughtfully constructed and with excellent engineering throughout and their customer service is second to none (that said dealing with their UK distributor leaves something to be desired).
 
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anmpr1

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#35
Thoughts on modern day Quad?
I have no idea about the modern-era Quad. Peter Walker was one of the greats, though. A voice of sanity. I owned 33/405 electronics. Very compact and business-like. Nicely designed and put together. DIN connectors were not made for the US, and were frustrating to deal with--trying to find adapters and such.

Back then, at least in my neck of the woods, at the end of the tube era the big thing was acoustic suspension speakers and a Japanese solid state receiver. From a design, sonic, and religious perspective, those could be considered the 'anti-Quad'. LOL

I wish I had kept mine. I'd make space for it, somewhere.
 

eliash

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#36
It may be equivalent since 3.54 cm/s rms = 5cm/sec peak
Owning a Benz cart (ACE-S H) as well, I thought about this peak/rms riddle as well.
Finally I came to the conclusion that velocity (cm/s) must be a peak value, since it only makes sense to be measured during sine wave zero excursion, when the highest stylus speed occurs. Then, integrating that velocity, yields the peak excursion to either side (which is dividing velocity by 2pi x freq for sine waves). So 3.54cm/s @300Hz will result in +/-19um peak stylus excursion (um = micro meters)...That single-sided peak definition seems to be used on my old dhfi test record #2 for converting stylus excursion to velocity...and yes, as Benz being mentioned, I would regard them as trustworthy...
 
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sergeauckland

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#37
It may be equivalent since 3.54 cm/s rms = 5cm/sec peak
Owning a Benz as well, I thought about this peak/rms riddle as well.
Finally I came to the conclusion that velocity (cm/s) must be a peak value, since it only makes sense to be measured during sine wave zero excursion, when the highest stylus speed occurs. Then, integrating that velocity, yields the peak excursion to either side (which is dividing velocity by 2pi x freq for sine waves). So 3.54cm/s @300Hz will result in +/-19um peak stylus excursion (um = micro meters)...That single-sided peak definition seems to be used on my old dhfi test record #2 for converting stylus excursion to velocity...
It could also be the difference between stereo and mono. a true lateral (mono) signal of 5cm/sec gives 3.54 cm/sec on left and right individually.

S.
 

eliash

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#38
Agreed, on the dhfi test record they use lateral modulation (e.g. for tracking; they speak about having verified the intended excursion by microscope), which is converted into 1/sqrt2 level for both channels...
 

watchnerd

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#39
Audio Technica moving coil carts tend to be very neutral sounding, and I think they make some of the best carts out there, but they are not the bargain on the lower price end that they used to be, at least for moving coil.
My AT33EV (nude elliptical, alu cant) goes for $469.

In the world of LOMC, that seems pretty reasonably priced.
 
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