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Is this what is wrong with this hobby?

Shadrach

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#1
There is something terribly wrong here. Many here will have read amirm review of the jds labs headphone amp.
Have you read John Atkinson's review and measurement of Pass labs hpa-1?
Depending on the headphones used to a certain extent, both these perform positively on the outside of what many would say is audible. That is, the defects in both units will not be heard.
Anyone want to have a stab at justifying the price difference; one being roughly thirty five times the price of the other?
Why don't we read the same adoration of whoever is responsible for the design of the jds amp? I can't even find out who it is!
This isn't a one off. There are glowing reviews on the Internet from Hi Fi gurus on all sorts of equipment that once compared to a product of less perceived value by audiophiles and properly measured show that the differences in measured performance are so small that they are insignificant.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/pass-labs-hpa-1-headphone-amplifier-measurements
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ents-of-new-jds-labs-atom-headphone-amp.5262/
 

RayDunzl

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#2

solderdude

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#3
The audio hobby consists of people that like to listen to music.

Some feel a cheap earbud and phone is enough, others feel they need to spend thousands or even factors more to enjoy it.
There is a small but lucrative market in audiophelia.
There is a huge and thus lucrative market for cheap things.
There is a decent market for decent manufactured gear.
There are money grabbers, there are manufacturers that actually believe what they sell is true, there are manufacturers that really want to make the best devices ever.
Some make crap, some make decent stuff for low prices, some make good and affordable equipment, others make gear that is constructed with a higher quality parts, some make decent stuff for way too much money, etc.
There are folks with lots of money to throw around and there are those on a budget.
There is something there for everyone and everyone's taste and budget.
Those that have the money and like to spend it on their hobby should do so.
Those that don't want or can't spend tons of money on it shouldn't and don't have to.
Those that want to read the magazines and certain websites as that 'confirms' their findings should do so.
Some like the technical stuff, others like the 'magic' stuff.
There are those that publish one side of the medal, those that publish the other side.
It's up to everyone for themselves to make up their mind.
Forums are there to inform and one can only hope there is people on there that know about stuff.
Those that dare to look at other sides of the medals may lead more interesting lives.

Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with.
Those that want to be conned should be conned (but not know about it).
When you just buy what you want and don't worry about what others do live happier.

What's wrong is that some folks can't stand opinions of others that differ from theirs.
 

RayDunzl

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#4
By weight, the Pass is only 1.47 times more expensive.

14lbs vs 9.3oz
 

Shadrach

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#5
Erm, (looks under computer desk) Nope, no Portuguese here.:)
I have absolutely no idea what that bearded chap in the link is saying. Does he justify the price difference?
Let's try and make life easier. I'm British. I live in Catalonia which is a region of Spain. Here we/they speak Catalan, not Spanish, or Portuguese.
If you reply in Catalan I'll understand you. If you reply in German, I'll understand you. If you reply in English I'll understand you. If you reply in American I may understand you.
If you reply in Spanish I won't.:)
 

Shadrach

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#7
The audio hobby consists of people that like to listen to music.

Some feel a cheap earbud and phone is enough, others feel they need to spend thousands or even factors more to enjoy it.
There is a small but lucrative market in audiophelia.
There is a huge and thus lucrative market for cheap things.
There is a decent market for decent manufactured gear.
There are money grabbers, there are manufacturers that actually believe what they sell is true, there are manufacturers that really want to make the best devices ever.
Some make crap, some make decent stuff for low prices, some make good and affordable equipment, others make gear that is constructed with a higher quality parts, some make decent stuff for way too much money, etc.
There are folks with lots of money to throw around and there are those on a budget.
There is something there for everyone and everyone's taste and budget.
Those that have the money and like to spend it on their hobby should do so.
Those that don't want or can't spend tons of money on it shouldn't and don't have to.
Those that want to read the magazines and certain websites as that 'confirms' their findings should do so.
Some like the technical stuff, others like the 'magic' stuff.
There are those that publish one side of the medal, those that publish the other side.
It's up to everyone for themselves to make up their mind.
Forums are there to inform and one can only hope there is people on there that know about stuff.
Those that dare to look at other sides of the medals may lead more interesting lives.
Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with.
Those that want to be conned should be conned (but not know about it).
When you just buy what you want and don't worry about what others do live happier.
What's wrong is that some folks can't stand opinions of others that differ from theirs.
That's a NO to the question then.:p
"Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with".
Please, leave the Christmas cracker philosophy in the cracker where it belongs.:facepalm:
If everyone did what they felt comfortable with and that worked, we wouldn't need laws and their enforcement.
 

RayDunzl

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#8
I have a mix of cheap and (somewhat) expensive stuff.

I'll bet my speaker amps (58lbs each) are cheaper than the Pass or the JDS

I'm sure the speakers are (90lbs each)

(by weight, of course)

---

"Your socks don't match!"
"I go by thickness" -
Steven Wright
 

Shadrach

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#9
A Rolex costs 100 times more than a G-Shock. The former isn't really jewelry because it is made from stainless steel and has no precious stones. The latter keeps better time.
There is the pride of ownership element in most purchases. I can see that the Pass labs offering is well made. If we were talking about an ornament be that personal, or otherwise then paying a premium for something one preferred had relevance.
However, we are considering a machine of sorts here. The Pass labs offering isn't really something that one would consider as portable, so robust construction, while appealing, isn't essential to make the unit perform as specified. Component longevity may be relevant, but 35 times the price?
 

solderdude

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#10
"Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with".
Please, leave the Christmas cracker philosophy in the cracker where it belongs.:facepalm:
If everyone did what they felt comfortable with and that worked, we wouldn't need laws and their enforcement.
You need laws and enforcement in audio ?
Well ... aside from those that trouble others with loud music ... and some laws of physics that relate to audio perhaps.

What we need is well made music, excellent recordings and good reproduction of it.
The one buying the reproduction gear does this on his own account with their own money.
Who are we to tell others where they spend their money on and why that would be wrong ?
 
Last edited:

Shadrach

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#11
You need laws and enforcement in audio ?
Well ... aside from those that trouble others with loud music ... and some laws of physics that relate to audio perhaps.

What we need is good music, well made recordings and good reproduction of it.
The one buying the reproduction gear does this on his own account with their own money.
Who are we to tell others where they spend their money on and why that would be wrong ?
Agreed, mostly.
I'm not trying to tell people not to buy the Pass labs product. I trying to find out why anyone would pay 35 times the price of a unit that performs equally well.
 

RayDunzl

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#12
I trying to find out why anyone would pay 35 times the price of a unit that performs equally well.
To match up with their Pass Amps and Preamp?

I'm not sure why I have a Krell Preamp, other than that very reason (matches my amps). It happens to have a nice feature set, I suppose, and performs well enough, claiming "reference quality". All that bought off eBay 7 years ago, with no looking back or lust for something else. The setup is not "green" (270W idle), so I looked at Solar power, didn't like what I saw then, invested an equivalent amount in the local Electric Utility stock, dividends paid the entire electric bill, then they sold themselves to Emera (Canada) and an unexpected $20,000 gain on that transaction paid for everything audio here now and past and then some. Go figure.

It does go offline at the slightest AC power interruption, though. Maybe it needs to be recapped.
 

solderdude

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#13
I'm not trying to tell people not to buy the Pass labs product. I trying to find out why anyone would pay 35 times the price of a unit that performs equally well.
Maybe they have the cash to spend on it, maybe they like the 'philosophy' behind the brand or the guy behind the brand.
Maybe they like the looks better or the feel of it.

I agree with you though that you can find similar technical performance (but not looks etc.) for a lot less money.
Some folks are just not interested in the cheap stuff.
I don't think it is wrong though and all 'we' can do is inform people of its actual performance and discuss the amps in question.
Some can give technical advice/explanations others can speak of their personal experiences or make recommendations.
 

Shadrach

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#14
Speaking of power cuts:oops:
So, I mostly agreed with this.
"what we need is good music, well made recordings and good reproduction of it.".
Good music; subjective.
Well made recordings. I think this could objective. This can probably be measured and the subjective assessment of the engineer taken into account.
If you're prepared to accept accurate, rather than 'good' with regards to the reproduction I'll happily go along with that.
In this instance we are talking about the reproduction, a headphone amplifier in fact. One costs 35 times more than another that performs equally well.
If I buy a chainsaw, which I have, I want one that performs well. Reliability, ease of start, less vibration, easy adjustment to mention a few of the criteria that has influenced my choice in the past. It's a tool, much like a headphone amplifier. I want it to do a job and that job is to amplify the signals I feed it as accurately as possible. There is of course a subjective element and that is it has to make the signals sound pleasing when it comes to amplifying 'music'. If an amplifier manages to alter the signal enough to make that signal sound noticeably different from another amplifier then the unit is either broken, or badly designed, or badly matched to whatever turns the signal into pressure waves.
There is a valid but imo often overused argument of diminishing returns, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
Both perform equally well but one is 35 times, THIRTY FIVE TIMES! more expensive than the other.
 

SIY

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#15
I understand that one can buy pants that are 35 times more expensive than the jeans I have on now, and they will cover exactly the same amount of my lower body.

I think your error is in the term "this hobby," and trying to universalize that to include many different hobbies that fall under the "audio" rubric. I'm not interested in expensive pants, expensive cars, or expensive audio equipment. Many other people are, and I don't worry too much about that. Pass is far more expensive than the value it would deliver to me, but others feel differently. And Nelson is honest in that, unlike many others in that market segment, he makes no fraudulent technical claims.

His equipment is entertaining to his market niche. I'm more entertained by interesting recordings and designing/building/measuring equipment, which in turn doesn't interest his market.
 

solderdude

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#16
The woo audio WA33 Elite Edition is $ 15,000.- and one-hundred-and-fifty times more expensive.
It does have a bit more output power though.

Will it sound or perform 150x better (22dB in power) ?
 

JJB70

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#17
Is anything wrong with the hobby? The high end of the hobby has existed in its own echo chamber for decades and is largely an irrelevance. The incestuous relationship between magazines and manufacturers is not new (nor is it unique to audio). Most people buy equipment that appeals to them, some buy gear for a long haul, others are constantly buying stuff (much to the benefit of those who buy nice stuff second hand). I believe in the principle of buy once, buy right. That tends to mean buying something better than entry level but not going OTT. My Sony ES gear is over 25 years old and still excellent, although not cheap it was a bargain in terms of the service and pleasure it has given me. Then again if people are happy with a BT speaker or sound bar then good luck to them. There is a pride in ownership, I would love some Benchmark and Accuphase stuff but I would not be buying it for sonic performance. Despite enjoying this forum and liking audio equipment I am also quite sceptical about the hobby and think that diminishing returns kick in much lower down the cost scale than most audio enthusiasts will admit. Audio gear is a tool to facilitate enjoyment of music, I think most audio debates completely miss the point as the critical determinant of audio quality is the quality of recording and mastering.
 

HammerSandwich

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#18
Lots of products receive flattering reviews for a variety of absurd reasons. Friendship and/or worship of the guru behind the product is certainly one explanation.

But I'm not convinced that products such as the Pass HPA highlight the problem. Sure, it's pricey, but it actually performs. We've seen SO many genuinely defective products - across a broad range of prices! - which illuminate the industry's cancer much more vividly.

Finally, Nelson generously gives back to the community and freely states that many of his products intentionally produce a non-transparent signature. That may not match ASR's mantra, but it's not a scam. Let's beat up on the folks who sell expensive hardware with poor or nonexistent audible "benefits" while loudly claiming it's more accurate. Fair?
 

HammerSandwich

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#19
I think most audio debates completely miss the point as the critical determinant of audio quality is the quality of recording and mastering.
Preach it, brother! This is the primary truth about modern audio reproduction that everybody should keep in mind.

Doubters, try this thought experiment. What would you expect from an ABX test between Mozart & Public Enemy, even on a $10 clock radio in a tile bathroom?
 

Shadrach

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#20
I understand that one can buy pants that are 35 times more expensive than the jeans I have on now, and they will cover exactly the same amount of my lower body.

I think your error is in the term "this hobby," and trying to universalize that to include many different hobbies that fall under the "audio" rubric. I'm not interested in expensive pants, expensive cars, or expensive audio equipment. Many other people are, and I don't worry too much about that. Pass is far more expensive than the value it would deliver to me, but others feel differently. And Nelson is honest in that, unlike many others in that market segment, he makes no fraudulent technical claims.

His equipment is entertaining to his market niche. I'm more entertained by interesting recordings and designing/building/measuring equipment, which in turn doesn't interest his market.
I don't believe I have made an error. I've put forward a view and asked a question.
Can you explain to me how spending 35 times as much money or more, increases any enjoyment of music, or in this case gives higher quality reproduction which is after all the stated aim of the audiophile and underpins the term High Fidelity?
I understand that Nelson Pass is in audiophile circles considered to be one of the good guys. A point I loosely made earlier is whoever designed the jds atom is a better guy and better engineer because he has managed to do it at 35 times less cost than Nelson Pass.
If you are a supporter of quality sound reproduction and against overpriced equipment that prohibits those with limited funds from enjoying High Fidelity reproduction then imo the engineer/s who designed and produced the jds Atom are super heroes compared to Nelson Pass.
If on the other hand you believe that High Fidelity audio should only be available to a selected few then I guess 'Pass is yer man' as they say.
A point worth noting here is I'm not knocking Nelson Pass. You can't blame a man for emptying the pockets of fools with money.
 

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