Sign in to follow this  
l33tplaya

Insane sale (60% off) -Best Bang for the Buck Headphones - Electrostatic Affordable Phones for Audiophile Sale

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, Fossil Ledges said:

 He very quickly learned that the industry here in the U.S. and sub-contracted product from China, has absolutely zero connection to quality.

He also learned that on a per unit basis, thirty percent was manufacturing and distribution. Almost seventy percent of the retail or discount cost was advertising and marketing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Fossil Ledges said:

 He very quickly learned that the industry here in the U.S. and sub-contracted product from China, has absolutely zero connection to quality. 

I hope you aren't implying that Chinese manufacturing is inferior. There are plenty of examples to contradict this. What is true is that Chinese industry manufactures to specifications: if you specify garbage, they deliver garbage; if you specify gold, it may be the exact same factory that delivers gold. The camera industry is a good example of this, as is their musical instrument production, brass instruments in particular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

i think that's all true, but the overriding thing is if the audiophile doesn't have musical training, he has no idea what to listen to!  but he has to listen to something, right? 

There in lies the problem with much of the high end opinions one finds in forums and even professional reviews - most listen to what can be referred to as 'synthetic music' - think all pop / rock / electronic music. These folks want to tune hi-fi to their own 'personalized representation' of how they want their music to sound.  Nothing wrong with that, but it makes it difficult for folks like us who prefer a violin to sound like a violin through audio equipment. Not something laden with harmonic distortion, frequency and timing errors. 

I think one of the reasons there aren't more musician audiophiles is that so much of what's called 'hi end' equipment is truly awful and it take a lot of time to cut through internet-noise to find something that is actually good (for our purposes) and reasonably priced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see the problem quite differently. A notorious problem with high end audio is that it mercilessly reveals bad recordings. Things you though were fine turn out to be not that great when all is revealed. And most contemporary recording is not that great. But don't blame the playback equipment for that. The list of sins of the recording industry is long, starting with microphones that automatically add "presence" (exaggerates high frequencies so that violins no longer sound like violins), and that's just the start of it.

One of the old jokes is that you always knew that you were in the car or house of a deaf person by the smile pattern on their equalizer, but now without equalizers everywhere, the record company delivers that directly. The most common newbie complaint on audio forums is that a system "lacks bass" or transparency. So the industry delivers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most well recording material will sound wonderful on a good hi fi system! For all the rest, the Apple HomePod works just fine!

as for your comment about microphones etc - yes the whole audio recording process is flawed from the beginning. A microphone response isn't perfectly flat to begin with. Plus when you factor in The high and low frequencies from a violin played on a stage will reach a microphone at different times than our ears sitting in the audience --  Flawed from the beginning!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Urban Luthier said:

Most well recording material will sound wonderful on a good hi fi system! For all the rest, the Apple HomePod works just fine!

as for your comment about microphones etc - yes the whole audio recording process is flawed from the beginning. A microphone response isn't perfectly flat to begin with. Plus when you factor in The high and low frequencies from a violin played on a stage will reach a microphone at different times than our ears sitting in the audience --  Flawed from the beginning!

Uuuuum ....

Bruel & Kjaer. Flat as a pancake. Calrec soundfield also very uncoloured. I think most classical recording is done with mikes that are as uncoloured as possible.

If the mikes are placed where the listener would be sitting, the information will arrive at the mikes at the same time as it would arrive at the ears. And speed of sound is not frequency dependent - low frequency waveforms are less attenuated by distance, but they don't travel at a different speed.

Most people don't sit off to one side of the middle of the concert hall by choice. If they had the chance to listen from the conductor's POV I think they would say yes.

And of course we should factor in that everyone's hearing has a slightly different response curve - we are never hearing quite the same thing as our neighbour because of the shape of our ears, and then we all process and comprehend the information differently too.

So there is no real or objective sound to be reproduced in the first place, just a range of different preferences.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, martin swan said:

Uuuuum ....

Bruel & Kjaer. Flat as a pancake. Calrec soundfield also very uncoloured. I think most classical recording is done with mikes that are as uncoloured as possible.

If the mikes are placed where the listener would be sitting, the information will arrive at the mikes at the same time as it would arrive at the ears. And speed of sound is not frequency dependent - low frequency waveforms are less attenuated by distance, but they don't travel at a different speed.

Most people don't sit off to one side of the middle of the concert hall by choice. If they had the chance to listen from the conductor's POV I think they would say yes.

And of course we should factor in that everyone's hearing has a slightly different response curve - we are never hearing quite the same thing as our neighbour because of the shape of our ears, and then we all process and comprehend the information differently too.

So there is no real or objective sound to be reproduced in the first place, just a range of different preferences.

 

Ummmm... yes to all of the above.... most classical recordings are recorded very well with the best mics (B&K and Neumann are flat but not perfectly flat). BUT In recording, microphones are not generally placed where the listener sits. They are placed above the players (Blumlein Stereo and Decca tree are popular setups for classical) Most old Decca (think Kennith Wilkinson) were done this way while many of the fantastic modern recordings (e.g. Linn Records are done with the Decca tree and + ton of spot mics (this allows for a lot of flexibility with level matching in post). Most of these setups can capture more info than we can actually hear from our listening position - and yes the mic will pick up a different frequency response than we hear in the audience.  (Kind of like looking at an ultra high resolution photograph of a violin - more detail than can be seen with the naked eye)

In the end, it is all an illusion and the quality of the illusion  comes down to how well the engineers setup the mics and care taken in post production.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading people in this thread say that high end audio is useless is like hearing my students' parents saying a violin is a violin. 

And some of these explanations are off the wall. Just because you can hear that someone in the first violins coughing, doesn't mean that's the only thing you're listening for. It is just simply more of the recording that you're hearing.

I have gone down the expensive path myself, and you can tell me all day long I'm listening to distortion, but all it takes is one blind test to hear that things measuring well can sound pretty awful, and tubes still give a pretty incredible sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, David Burgess said:

While I was once a recording playback equipment freak, I no longer am. Cheap stuff today can do what megabuck stuff did in the past.

Isn't that the truth, think about what we spent on the stuff back in the seventies!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my favorite cheap stuff is a grado ra1 headphone amplifier clone kit i got on ebay.  the exact one i got isn't on there anymore, but there are still a few left.  they are the exact same circuit.  mine had surface mount resistors -- lots of fun!  i think it was < $10

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/1/2020 at 10:02 PM, Fossil Ledges said:

Isn't that the truth, think about what we spent on the stuff back in the seventies!

Yup. There was a time when my playback setup was the most expensive thing I owned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...so, just to make sure I have this straight...

We now have recordings of artificially "perfect" music available. We listen to this perfect music with high tech audio equipment - that we can also tweak, to make the perfect music even more (individually) perfect?

Isn't the end result of all that perfection, artificial distortion?:wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

what happened was the development of great audio integrated circuits, plus of course chinese manufacturing

My first foray into a chip amp was a Hilly (I don't think they even make chip amps any more). Not so great, including but not limited to it only having something like 10 watts per channel (or was that the total? :lol: ).

The one I've been using for a few years for background music in the shop is a SMSL SA50 plus, 100 bucks. Not bad, aside from the horribly overly-complicated user interface, but there where/are probably much better things out there both then and now.

https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-SA-50-PLUS-Amplifier-TAS5766M/dp/B06XYKNRXJ?th=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rue said:

...so, just to make sure I have this straight...

We now have recordings of artificially "perfect" music available. We listen to this perfect music with high tech audio equipment - that we can also tweak, to make the perfect music even more (individually) perfect?

Isn't the end result of all that perfection, artificial distortion?:wacko:

Distortion is a technical term in recording - so to avoid confusing the boffins, we could maybe use the word "enhancement".

Some of this "enhancement" is more to do with creating a listening position - positioning the listener within the music, or in the performer's face, or giving them an idealized mix of a close-up dry signal and a glorious big ambience in a way that can't be experienced in a real space.

It's worth remembering that everyone's hearing is different - partly age-related, partly to do with ear shape. So a certain amount of personalisation is surely acceptable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, martin swan said:

Distortion is a technical term in recording - so to avoid confusing the boffins, we could maybe use the word "enhancement".

Some of this "enhancement" ...................can't be experienced in a real space.

It's worth remembering that everyone's hearing is different - partly age-related, partly to do with ear shape. So a certain amount of personalisation is surely acceptable.

Oh :huh: [feigns not knowing any of this to start with], so that's where the sound that people want when they are shopping for violins comes from.  :lol:

Thanks for your concern for boffins. :)   In one of my native jargons, modifying a signal to give the listener false perceptions is called "manipulative electronic deception". :ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Oh :huh: [feigns not knowing any of this to start with], so that's where the sound that people want when they are shopping for violins comes from.  :lol:

Prior to learning to sleep on my side, my ears stuck out much more than they do now (or so I like to imagine). ;)

The value of ear-training should not be cast aside lightly. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't suppose that I'm the only person to have sat at a concert and been able to listen both live and through phones what was being recorded---I would definitely call it "distorted".

I was surprised at how differet the raw feed was from the sound in the room. . . and how I'd been trained by recordings to prefer it--clearer, more transparent. Exactly the things people can never enough of when they are buying violins, and I think it's obvious that recordings have shaped tastes and lead them in a direction away from a good traditional sound.

I'm fearful of what will be called a "good" violin sound in the future if this process of the snake eating its own tail continues, because the effect has the inevitability of being constantly cumulative as the actual violin in the field fails to achieve the recording's close-mic'd, volume boosted relative to the orchestra, "enhanced" clarity and brightness.

I believe we have ready seen this detrimental process at work in many players' preference for thin sounding, boring, bright, loud POS violins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/30/2020 at 8:32 PM, Michael Darnton said:

I got into the high-end headphone thing for a while. I found it interesting that when those people named their favorite recordings, it was never about the music. One of my faves from that period is a recording in a church where only with the good phones can I hear the street traffic. Another fave from that time is because you can hear the cellos turn pages, and the conductor panting.

Anyway, I enjoyed the experience, but went through it, and now I listen to low quality music from the web, through my phone's earphones quite happily. The elite headphone experience was a bit too much like my day job. :-)

Yeah, I have a lot of poor quality recordings of excellent performances that I'm happy to play over and over on cheap headphones. I don't get any thrill from expensive 'hi fi'. Also, you can just smell the marketing snake oil around that audiophile stuff from a mile away... 'hot press' LPs and gold tipped components... I mean, just look at this thing...$45k and you can have an amplifier (that doesn't even have a radio tuner LOL).  https://almaaudio.com/products/dagostino-momentum-integrated-amplifier-1?variant=21370042305&currency=USD&utm_campaign=gs-2019-06-15&utm_source=google&utm_medium=smart_campaign&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1MuN0c3P6AIVD18NCh36sQE7EAQYASABEgKnz_D_BwE 

Now...that's not to say there is no marketing snake oil in the high end violin world, also.... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

I don't suppose that I'm the only person to have sat at a concert and been able to listen both live and through phones what was being recorded---I would definitely call it "distorted".

I was surprised at how differet the raw feed was from the sound in the room. . . and how I'd been trained by recordings to prefer it--clearer, more transparent. Exactly the things people can never enough of when they are buying violins, and I think it's obvious that recordings have shaped tastes and lead them in a direction away from a good traditional sound.

I'm fearful of what will be called a "good" violin sound in the future if this process of the snake eating its own tail continues, because the effect has the inevitability of being constantly cumulative as the actual violin fails to achieve the recording.

Not to divert the current diversion of the thread, but IMHO, the popular belief that what comes out of their stereo is what every violin should sound like is one of the reasons why we can never get a consensus among ourselves on what a "good" violin sound is.  Perhaps the future of violin peddling may use a box, that you place a measured distance from the customer while they try out a fiddle, containing a standard set of components (including a "flat mic") that commits a certain subset of computer assisted sound engineer voodoo on the incoming signal, and then digitally records and plays the performance back for the customer.  Might sell a lot of violins that way.  :ph34r:  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

I believe we have ready seen this detrimental process at work in many players' preference for thin sounding, boring, bright, loud POS violins.

Players like what they like, and that has always been the case, to the best of my knowledge, including when the preference changed from baroque bows to Tourte-style bows. Perhaps players knew what they were doing with that switch, or maybe not?

I'd rather listen to them, than try to impose my opinions on them (except when I don't  :D).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, David Burgess said:

My first foray into a chip amp was a Hilly (I don't think they even make chip amps any more). Not so great, including but not limited to it only having something like 10 watts per channel (or was that the total? :lol: ).

The one I've been using for a few years for background music in the shop is a SMSL SA50 plus, 100 bucks. Not bad, aside from the horribly overly-complicated user interface, but there where/are probably much better things out there both then and now.

https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-SA-50-PLUS-Amplifier-TAS5766M/dp/B06XYKNRXJ?th=1

low-power power amps were fashionable for awhile.  integrated circuit was the hallmark of cheap for awhile, since it was the way to make things cheaply.  then in the '80s chips surpassed what you could do with traditional design, and from that time on you had in your home dohickey the same circuit as the best pro stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

I'm fearful of what will be called a "good" violin sound in the future if this process of the snake eating its own tail continues, because the effect has the inevitability of being constantly cumulative as the actual violin in the field fails

in the past there was no shortage of bad violin sound too, no doubt most of it worse than a decent stereo.  what would worry me is growth of styles that don't emphasize  charm in the sound.  without that charm, violin is a lousy instrument

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.