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Isn't it great that people can have world class sound quality for so little money!

MaxwellsEq

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I'm listening to Daft Punk's Random Access Memories (OK, the 24 bit 88kHz version) via my PC though my Sabaj A10d and into my Truthear x Crinacle Zeros with no eq. The sound is excellent with a nice balance and great detail retrieval. It's only cost me a few hundred!

In the 1980s I had an excellent sounding system, but it cost a great deal to build an LP-based system that comes close to the above very low cost approach. It was a low noise implementation (given vinyl's limitation) with an excellent and extended frequency response (closer to master tape than most audiophiles liked). It required constant attention to keep the turntable and cartridge at optimal settings. Probably only a very tiny minority of people ever experienced playback at the quality I enjoyed, and many could probably not afford to allocate their budgets (or setup time) to high quality playback. Most people probably only heard their LPs on midi HiFi systems with plastic tonearms.

I think we should celebrate this revolution! There are many here on ASR (@amirm especially) and similar groups who, in recent years have helped bring amazing sound quality to people with limited budgets who seek reliable, objective advice.
 

Blumlein 88

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That such quality is available at such prices is worth celebrating. So is Amir starting and running this site. High quality measurements of this gear or many would not know how good some of it is for peanuts. I'd never have even tried a couple of items had testing not shown how good it could be on this very site.
 
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Chrispy

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Especially the gains over overly fussy vinyl setups. You had to constantly fuss with it like between each use? Plastic tonearms playing midi files?
 

Dawsoo

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Yes, it's great, it's a renaissance of the field when technical excellence is available to everyone, and this was one of the reasons why I returned to listening in better quality after some time when I hated hifi.

Thanks to ASR, the lies and manipulations that have turned this previously noble and beautiful hobby into a more or less irrational snobbish thing about money without the guarantee of any real declared quality are finally exposed.
 

croseiv

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It's true, to a point. Cheap quality still exists. Just do some research. Some brands have really been providing great quality improvements, yet some brands perpetuate exaggerated specs, leaving us thin.
 

Palladium

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I have heard a pair of room-corrected KH120 IIs and I found it rather unimpressive with my music genres at ~70dB SPL versus my JBL 305Ps at 1/10 the price. Which made me realize there's no more day-versus-night veils to be lifted.
 

croseiv

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I have heard a pair of room-corrected KH120 IIs and I found it rather unimpressive with my music genres at ~70dB SPL versus my JBL 305Ps at 1/10 the price. Which made me realize there's no more day-versus-night veils to be lifted.
I have the JBL 305 active monitor! Fine speaker!
 

Salida

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These are truly the ‘good old days’ of HiFi. I get (almost) all the world’s music delivered to my home in high quality formats for $15 a month. The cost of truly high fidelity reproduction equipment has decreased dramatically through innovative design and direct-to-consumer global supply chains.
It’s ineffable.
 

fpitas

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Alas, the best sounding interconnects and power cords are still expensive.

/;)
 

Salida

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If you are well heeled some audio equipment has never been more expensive! Wilson XVX, D’Augustino electronics, dCS, etc. Audio wallet-lightening has never been easier!
 

fpitas

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If you are well heeled some audio equipment has never been more expensive! Wilson XVX, D’Augustino electronics, dCS, etc. Audio wallet-lightening has never been easier!
And at that price point, quality is completely disconnected from price. Strange old world we live in.
 

holdingpants01

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don't forget dolby atmos streaming included in the apple music, they don't charge more for it
 

TonyJZX

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i often think where we have left to go on a lot of technologies

we are at the point where just about every aspect has been almost perfected as far as current technology allows

if you think about accessing music, storing music, sorting and sending this music to a dac, to amplicaiton, to speakers, maybe with room correction

do we have much improvement left?
 

DVDdoug

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Yes!

But it's made the audio/audiophile "hobby" less interesting. ;)

It's also amazing how cheaply you can set-up a nearly-professional home recording studio. The main difference is soundproofing, which is not cheap.
 

MattHooper

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Yes!

But it's made the audio/audiophile "hobby" less interesting. ;)

I sort of agree with the sentiment you are wryly suggesting.

And there is a perception "out there" of ASR being a place for "cheapskates"...which in a certain context isn't totally off the mark :)

It is absolutely fantastic that high quality hi fidelity gear can be had without spending crazy money. And ASR is an excellent guide for such products. I've benefited
from ASR analysis on products.

On the other hand...from the perspective of perhaps more old school audiophiles...it can seem less "fun." Closer to commoditizing gear. Buy a recommended topping amp/DAC, pair of recommended powered speakers...done. No more thinking about hi-fi really.

Whereas I was looking at some of Steve Guttenberg's youtube videos of viewer systems, as well as a bunch from the more "subjective oriented" forums, and damn it looked like people having so much fun with the gear! There are just such a wide variety of speakers and amps, from big bespoke horn systems, to self-made single driver open baffle designs hooked up to tube amps with big ol' tubes, to behemoth "high end" flagship speakers hooked up to jewellery-level solid state amps....an absolute wild west of gear.

There is just sooo much interesting (to me and other audiophiles) gear out there that you'd never see on ASR, or likely in an ASR member's system, due to the (often understandable) general cynicism about such gear, the generally conservative spending. It also comes from the winnowing away of gear as not worthwhile based on standards adopted on this site. There are so many exotic audio systems out there that I think you'd never see in these pages even if an ASR member had the money to own it. So, I'm sort of grateful for the still cuckoo, ultra enthusiasts out there in the audio world.

In no way is that an argument against this site! It is the very careful adoption of standards that tends to make it so useful (to a certain crowd). But...this does really narrow down the scope of the type of gear you are going to see discussed with any enthusiasm here.

I also think there are two sides of the "subjectivist" coin. On one hand the informality of the crowd and how audio equipment is vetted and discussed allows for lots of b.s.
On the other hand, it can be nice to have places where you can just "let your hair down" and discuss audio gear without the context of "Wait, you just said something about audio? Prove it! Show us the measurements or the blind tests!" In the same way others here can relax outside ASR and talk informally about anything else they are interested in.

The standards here make sense. But it's also one reason why it can't satisfy all the desires of audiophiles, even those who generally agree with the objective part of ASR, IMO.
 
OP
MaxwellsEq

MaxwellsEq

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I sort of agree with the sentiment you are wryly suggesting.

And there is a perception "out there" of ASR being a place for "cheapskates"...which in a certain context isn't totally off the mark :)

It is absolutely fantastic that high quality hi fidelity gear can be had without spending crazy money. And ASR is an excellent guide for such products. I've benefited
from ASR analysis on products.

On the other hand...from the perspective of perhaps more old school audiophiles...it can seem less "fun." Closer to commoditizing gear. Buy a recommended topping amp/DAC, pair of recommended powered speakers...done. No more thinking about hi-fi really.

Whereas I was looking at some of Steve Guttenberg's youtube videos of viewer systems, as well as a bunch from the more "subjective oriented" forums, and damn it looked like people having so much fun with the gear! There are just such a wide variety of speakers and amps, from big bespoke horn systems, to self-made single driver open baffle designs hooked up to tube amps with big ol' tubes, to behemoth "high end" flagship speakers hooked up to jewellery-level solid state amps....an absolute wild west of gear.

There is just sooo much interesting (to me and other audiophiles) gear out there that you'd never see on ASR, or likely in an ASR member's system, due to the (often understandable) general cynicism about such gear, the generally conservative spending. It also comes from the winnowing away of gear as not worthwhile based on standards adopted on this site. There are so many exotic audio systems out there that I think you'd never see in these pages even if an ASR member had the money to own it. So, I'm sort of grateful for the still cuckoo, ultra enthusiasts out there in the audio world.

In no way is that an argument against this site! It is the very careful adoption of standards that tends to make it so useful (to a certain crowd). But...this does really narrow down the scope of the type of gear you are going to see discussed with any enthusiasm here.

I also think there are two sides of the "subjectivist" coin. On one hand the informality of the crowd and how audio equipment is vetted and discussed allows for lots of b.s.
On the other hand, it can be nice to have places where you can just "let your hair down" and discuss audio gear without the context of "Wait, you just said something about audio? Prove it! Show us the measurements or the blind tests!" In the same way others here can relax outside ASR and talk informally about anything else they are interested in.

The standards here make sense. But it's also one reason why it can't satisfy all the desires of audiophiles, even those who generally agree with the objective part of ASR, IMO.
I think you are right - for many people this is a "hobby of gear" rather than exclusively a "hobby of accurate reproduction".

I've heard a lot of weird and expensive gear, and over the years would probably have dabbled if I didn't have other priorities to spend my money on. It can be a lot of fun - similar to those who enjoy keeping vintage automobiles working. All of them know a modern vehicle is "better", but they aren't in it for a bland, "good driving experience".
 

Anton D

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do we have much improvement left?
Is anyone being fooled into thinking they are in the presence of live musicians paying live music yet?

Just pointing out how far we still have to go.

Plenty of room for improvement! :D

Regarding the 'crazy' audiophiles, many people have their own fetish regarding what they most prize in our hobby that so often, in general, falls so woefully short of the goal. Some may prize imaging, others a vocal emphasis, on and on...some people take a very hyperfocused approach to searching out that one little slice of victory and many of us see it as foolhardy because it comes at the expense of balanced sonics, measurements, distortions of different types, etc.

There are segments of the hobby, say triode lovers with high efficiency single drivers, whose singlemindedness seems crazy to us, but they like the way it makes Ella seem more fleshed out to them.

Our hobby fails, even at its peak, at so many levels, that I can't begrudge those whose pursuit of one sliver of verisimilitude takes them places I may not need to go.

For those of us for whom perfect sound forever has already be achieved, I salute you!
 
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kemmler3D

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I think the present state of the art for mid-range audio equipment is amazing. For a few grand you can have better sound than anyone could buy at any price 50 years ago. And the number is closer to $1-2K if we're talking headphones. Kings and queens, heads of state, famous actors... stuff as good as today's headphones and DACs were simply not available to them.

do we have much improvement left?
Despite what I said above, when it comes to speakers, I think so.

What we have today is very advanced compared to what existed 30 years ago. I just got a set of LS60s and they're really sci-fi speakers compared to the B&W DM2000s they replaced.

But they still do not fully reproduce live / real sound, they're just really good at stereo. No perfect speaker technology exists.

The perfect speaker could reproduce sound at very high SPL (say 120dB) at 20hz-20khz (maybe lower) and in full 3D, with inaudible distortion.

Currently we basically only have drivers that move in one dimension (in and out).

A perfect recording would capture the full sound field at all frequencies and in all directions. It would basically be a 5-dimensional recording. (amplitude, up/down, left/right, front/back, time). The resolution of a recording would have something akin to a point cloud density in addition to sampling rate.

Today, most recorded music is stereo, or in several discrete channels at best.

We are still using the same basic transducer technologies that were in use 100 years ago. They're highly refined, but they operate on the same prinple.

In the future we may have different types of transducer that go beyond voice coils or electrostatic membranes or piezoelectrics. Maybe they will even project sound in 3D.

I would say there's still quite a ways to go before sound is fully solved!
 
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