• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Saving you a lot of money

Barrelhouse Solly

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
352
Likes
342
I agree with all 10 points. I don't think they're radical takes on audio.

I've played music and sung all my life at the amateur and semi-pro level. I've heard a lot of live music. I've heard live music without amplification from a lot of different listening positions. I have no doubt that it's almost impossible to reproduce live music perfectly faithfully. I know that unamplified live music sounds different depending on where you sit, the space you're in, the instruments used, and the players involved. Amplification adds another dimension. Microphones don't respond in the same way that the human ear/brain does. Part of it is the physical limitations of even the best microphones, part of it is physics, and part of it is what the human nervous system does.

If you listen to different recordings of the same classical piece you'll undoubtedly hear differences in the sound that are the result of recording aside from differences in interpretation. Bass is probably the easiest thing to notice. Sure, part of it is interpretation, but part of it is how the producer wanted the recording to sound.

As far as I'm concerned, if you have a sound quality in mind, EQ to your heart's content. Measurements are a great decision support tool for audio. I want equipment that produces the smallest measurable deviation from the source that I can afford. I also want equipment that I can use to fool with the output.
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,142
Likes
11,882
Location
NorCal
Sorry, but you are referring to Production part of Audio. When you talk about Hifi loudspeakers, equipment and room acoustics, it is the Reproduction part, where you can’t change the source. It is finished.
Garbage in = garbage out is a term used which encompasses performance, recording, mixing, mastering and all of that.
Not the HiFi part we are talking about.
That's okay but without a good recording your system will NEVER sound great. There are transducers at each end not just the back end. Its kind of like playing AM radio through your speakers that will never make it sound good. Beyond a bad performance which could technically be near perfect in its playback all of the steps are required. Some want great gear, some want great recorded music and some want both. Not hoping your favorite music is recorded like crap to prove my point but to hear great sound one must have a great recording and that too is part of HiFi, IMO.
Is making and testing speakers part of production and not HiFi?
 
Last edited:

polmuaddib

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
476
Likes
847
Let's say you have a perfectly performed, recorded, mixed and mastered musical piece. The production part is finished.
Now you have to reproduce it in a way the brings enjoyment to you. We use HiFi for that. You can mess it up, not really enjoy the full extent of it, but the least way to destroy it is from the source, you understand?
The way the music reproduction matters most, aside from the source, is from the back to front: Loudspeakers/Room - Power amp - Preamp - Dac - Source player.
It is different in the audio production realm and there originates the saying: Garbage in = Garbage out where they refer to bad recording or bad performancer...
So, when you say the source is bad, thinking of the recording, sure it will sound bad on the perfect system, if there is such, that's a given.
But most audiophiles are using the phrase garbage in = garbage out, refering the player/dac as the source, and that's just not true.

The part of audio business, where equipment is created is a technical part of both Pro audio and Hifi, with the major difference that the Pro Audio has an artistic elements of performance, recording, mixing and mastering. There is no art in Hifi and there shouldn't be. Hifi is just a way the music travels to consumers with the greatest fidelity possible.
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,142
Likes
11,882
Location
NorCal
Let's say you have a perfectly performed, recorded, mixed and mastered musical piece.
And making that is HiFi, and otherwise there would be no reason for what you call HiFi. Musical performance is performance. Turning those sound pressure waves into an electrical signal, converting and storing it, and and returning it to sound pressure waves that are faithful as possible to the musical performance is HiFi. I guess you did not read #1 and #2 in the OP or maybe you don't think they are relevant. One is only making small incremental enhancements to the accuracy of the playback side of the performance as the technology is mature. Actually, the the recording side of HiFi is also mature.
 

polmuaddib

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
476
Likes
847
And making that is HiFi, and otherwise there would be no reason for what you call HiFi. Musical performance is performance. Turning those sound pressure waves into an electrical signal, converting and storing it, and and returning it to sound pressure waves that are faithful as possible to the musical performance is HiFi. I guess you did not read #1 and #2 in the OP or maybe you don't think they are relevant. One is only making small incremental enhancements to the accuracy of the playback side of the performance as the technology is mature. Actually, the the recording side of HiFi is also mature.
Sorry, but music production is not HiFi for the simple reason that not all music produced had the goal of recreating the live musical event.
Maybe only in the beginning, but look at the music of Pink Floyd, various other prog rock, electronic music and countless others. The music produced in the studio could have never been performed live and then recorded, with all the panning of the instruments and distorted and modulated sounds. Not to waste time mentioning all the examples, but I think you get the picture.
Music creation is not bound by the fidelity of a live event. Nor it should be. There is one aspect of music where, yes, it is preferable to do that and it is enjoyable to hear a recording of a live band or orchestra, but that’s not the most important part.
The most important part is the enjoyment of the consumer, the immersive quality, the illusion those sound waves create when they reach us.
And the turning point of how that happens is the finished medium. Before and during the creation there is an artistic freedom and after the medium creation there is no room for creativity, only fidelity.
I hope you understand my point, because many audiophiles believe that engineers who make HiFi should be artists that make sound better, but we say, No! They should be scientists making it sound true to the produced musical piece that all those artists before created.
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,142
Likes
11,882
Location
NorCal
They should be scientists making it sound true to the produced musical piece that all those artists before created.
And that sir is HiFi, just like making the perfect speakers sound perfect. It is chronicling and storing the musical performance as perfect as possible. It has very little to do with the music as you suggest, it could be sounds of birds in the jungle. There is a front and back end in reproducing sound in a realistic fashion and that is all HiFi. HiFi has many facets just like assembling any complicated thing, a car or a skyscraper. Maybe you want it to be just consumer HiFi or playback HiFi but in reality to get great sound the front end has way more to do with it than back as point #2 states in the OP.
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,142
Likes
11,882
Location
NorCal
It starts with the listener's psychology, and ends there, too
But you don't have to be HiFi enthusiast for that, a transistor radio or cell phone will suffice.
 

Leiker535

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
253
Likes
311
This essay is very valuable in terms of searching for hi-fi, but it's also misleading and a projection of the journalists tastes. From the objectivist perspective, the guy nailed, but when you consider music an art form, you get to the conclusion that there's been significant improvements in audio and mixing in the last decades that dwarfs the "audiophile" ethos of old hi-fi.

New mixing techniques, vsts and technologies like Surround sound offer the musicians and producer so much more possibilities than just being true to an original signal/instruemnts that that approach seems like very restricting. Sure, orchestral and acoustic will sound better live than when amplified, but is classical/acoustic/old-school jazz all there is to music? Of course not. I'll leave a quote in a famous album here that most probably everyone has already listened to.

"Once you free your mind about a concept of
Harmony and of music being correct
You can do whatever you want
So, nobody told me what to do
And there was no preconception of what to do"

I'll even leave a daring question: if the great composers of old were to live in today's world, would they not escape from just acoustic music? I for myself think that the likes of Beethoven and Mozart would go nuts with the possibilities of EDM.
 

mixsit

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Messages
74
Likes
23
Never knew this person...but what incredible words of wisdom. :)
He was the one we had way back before the days we had Audio Science Review. Almost The Lone Wolf in a world of trash Hifi mags. :>)
 

starfly

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
353
Likes
287
This always seemed obvious to me. Buy the best speakers or headphones you can afford, don't worry too much about the amplifier (as long as it's sufficient) or the DAC. The device which actually generates the soundwaves that you hear will have the most variability in quality and thus sound reproduction.

Did that prevent me from building my own Purifi amplifier, or high SINAD streaming box? Well, of course not. But most of my money went to speakers and headphones.
 

Mac Arthur

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 31, 2023
Messages
20
Likes
10

Mac Arthur

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 31, 2023
Messages
20
Likes
10
Old for you, still pretty new for me...
A good "keep in mind" when you are in an "investing," not to say "spending" phase!
 

rxp

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
90
Likes
88
Agree with most of that.


The exception being that with virtual audio we're on the edge of full soundfield recreation. A pair of earphones will be better than any loudspeaker every could in principle (excluding perfect cross talk cancellation, so the speakers essentially become headphones). I except things like Sony's PS5 binural engine and the upcoming Apple visor will progress things even more. So yes those airpods with an iPhone might be better than the most expensive speakers could even dream of.
 

asoka

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
44
Likes
16
From my experience, on the first place will stand always the recording.
No doubt in that, a good recording will sound sufficiently good even on lesser systems. And a bad recording will sound mostly bad even on great systems.
Also from my experience also the cables matter :)) but here we talk about trash 5$ cables vs good 50$ ones :)
The DAC is very important also, being the first one put in chain and the one that will transform the signal from digital to analog domain, a lot of DAC's will sound the same but truly good ones will sound much better in resolution and in stereophony. This are from practical experience without any bias.
Also the amp matter, clearly not all amps sound the same, even if it was correct designed and not even the ones that measure very well are not a guaranty of better sound 100%, I returned such amps because I do not liked their sound, lacking in some frequencies reproduction.
By changing Dac and amp but using the same speakers I managed to have a better sound without using any EQ as in the past...the sound started to be from start balanced in the bass, mids and highs and the need to use EQ disappeared. Any EQ will impact somehow the signal diminishing stereophony and overall resolution.
Yes the speakers are very important, the cabinets, the drivers and equally the crossovers quality. But how we presume the best speakers for the room in witch you are listening is hard to choose. The room parameters are so diverse, and also the tastes.
 

ahofer

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
4,865
Likes
8,559
Location
New York City
Huh.
 

asoka

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
44
Likes
16
I forgot about preamp, another major form of impact over sound :)
Purchasing an Acoustic Invader balanced class a, j fet preamp was a huge leap from my previous very cheap preamp.
Recently I sold my RMe adi 2 dac because I constructed another simpler one with output thru a tube and with combination of Cirrus Logic 4397 d/a converter and CS8416 digital audio receiver inspired from the Lukasz Fikus design, that in my opinion and of others that constructed this DAC is sounding much better, over existing most prised r2r solutions.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom