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  • What is "High End?"

    I've seen questions, comments, suggestions, and other verbiage about "High End" equipment. Out of curiosity, I did a Google search for high end audio equipment. There were sites with million dollar systems, amps that cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, turntables for more than I'll ever see in my life, etc.

    My question about "High End" is what makes something "High End?" The system I have is quite pleasing and I can listen to it for hours on end. I hear things in songs I hadn't heard before. I didn't spend thousands on it either. It's comprised of a Marantz integrated amp, a Squeezebox Touch, and a pair of DIY three-way speakers; less than $1500.

    So if someone spends $100,000 dollars or more on a system, is it possible to get a system that actually sounds good enough to warrant that much money. Obviously, very subjective; both sound quality and what "a lot of money is."

    I've never listened to Harbeth speakers or an Audio Note amp or the like, so I am honestly curious if they sound as good as one would expect. Is it actually audible quality? And just to be clear, I am absolutely NOT knocking anyone who can afford it and spends as much as they want on equipment. Any other thoughts?

    Mike
    "We're speaker geeks, not speaker nerds. Nerds make money!" Marty H
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    My Current System: Jolida SJ502A, Squeezebox Touch, and Carmody Sunflowers
    My Garage System:Marantz 2238B and Nano-Neos

  • #2
    Re: What is "High End?"

    A high end system is anything you do not own, but suspect will increase your enjoyment. Most music lacks inner detail, and given your playlist at Iowa (and mine) I would say we are both very close to getting what we need to get out of our music.
    Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What is "High End?"

      A lot of seriously expensive gear sounds seriously good. But not high kilobuck good.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What is "High End?"

        Just for reference, I am listening to "Dexter Freebish - Best Of" on a pair of $83 4" 2-way powered by a seven year old Onkyo 603, with the PC acting as my entire front end.
        Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What is "High End?"

          When I think of High End, I think of a single set of transparent speakers that can deliver great dynamics across the entire frequency band we are able to hear, with very low distortion, and plenty of clean power to pump it out. I don't think 100K needs to be spent to achieve that, but it sure would help to achieve it easily.
          RYAN N.

          "Why do you have the stereo on while you're watching TV?" - "....Cause I like to party."

          RSS390HF Build - http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=224998
          AviaTrix Build - http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=230372
          Wolf's PC Speakers Build - http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...84#post1838384
          Overnight Sensations MT Build - http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...ation-MT-build

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          • #6
            Re: What is "High End?"

            Originally posted by mikejennens View Post
            I've seen questions, comments, suggestions, and other verbiage about "High End" equipment. Out of curiosity, I did a Google search for high end audio equipment. There were sites with million dollar systems, amps that cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, turntables for more than I'll ever see in my life, etc.

            My question about "High End" is what makes something "High End?" The system I have is quite pleasing and I can listen to it for hours on end. I hear things in songs I hadn't heard before. I didn't spend thousands on it either. It's comprised of a Marantz integrated amp, a Squeezebox Touch, and a pair of DIY three-way speakers; less than $1500.

            So if someone spends $100,000 dollars or more on a system, is it possible to get a system that actually sounds good enough to warrant that much money. Obviously, very subjective; both sound quality and what "a lot of money is."

            I've never listened to Harbeth speakers or an Audio Note amp or the like, so I am honestly curious if they sound as good as one would expect. Is it actually audible quality? And just to be clear, I am absolutely NOT knocking anyone who can afford it and spends as much as they want on equipment. Any other thoughts?

            Mike
            High end can be as much a piece of sculpture as it is an audio function. It can also allow the use of the upper tier components that DO have superior ability to render a more realistic sonic experience. It does also include the use of sculpture to hide inferior components and absolute bleh.

            With speakers, spending more to acquire a beautifully crafted work of art that features top tier drivers might also provide superior sound, depending of course on the talent of the person integrating those drivers into a seamless package. When listening to the Archos from Salk, with a crossover voiced by Jeff Bagby, it would be dishonest to say that it sounds like any other 3-way someone can build for themselves using Peerless woofers and Hi Vi tweeters. The use of the expensive, top shelf components comes through in the quality of sound produced.

            One guy's "high end" is another's "insane" while a third was just getting ready to get rid of that high end because it's too plebeian.

            Your $1500 setup would be looked at by the typical WalMart shopper as a ridiculous extravagance.

            You owe it to yourself to explore the "high end" to see if there really is something to it. In Chicago in March, Axpona will be in Chicago, and you'll be able to visit many "high end" manufacturers demoing their stuff (we'll be there too!!!). Being a DIY guy, you might just find out that you'll want to investigate duplicating some of what you hear by actually going for the top shelf drivers and cabinet construction because it really does produce audible improvement. Is it worth it? Only you and your wallet (priorities) can answer that.
            R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
            Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

            95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
            "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What is "High End?"

              Pete, I've always like the sound of bleh.

              You are correct. Once can really appreciate the aesthetics that artistic industrial design will give you, usually for a price, and often a matter of taste.



              High end can be as much a piece of sculpture as it is an audio function. It can also allow the use of the upper tier components that DO have superior ability to render a more realistic sonic experience. It does also include the use of sculpture to hide inferior components and absolute bleh.

              With speakers, spending more to acquire a beautifully crafted work of art that features top tier drivers might also provide superior sound, depending of course on the talent of the person integrating those drivers into a seamless package. When listening to the Archos from Salk, with a crossover voiced by Jeff Bagby, it would be dishonest to say that it sounds like any other 3-way someone can build for themselves using Peerless woofers and Hi Vi tweeters. The use of the expensive, top shelf components comes through in the quality of sound produced.

              One guy's "high end" is another's "insane" while a third was just getting ready to get rid of that high end because it's too plebeian.

              Your $1500 setup would be looked at by the typical WalMart shopper as a ridiculous extravagance.

              You owe it to yourself to explore the "high end" to see if there really is something to it. In Chicago in March, Axpona will be in Chicago, and you'll be able to visit many "high end" manufacturers demoing their stuff (we'll be there too!!!). Being a DIY guy, you might just find out that you'll want to investigate duplicating some of what you hear by actually going for the top shelf drivers and cabinet construction because it really does produce audible improvement. Is it worth it? Only you and your wallet (priorities) can answer that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What is "High End?"


                One guy's "high end" is another's "insane" while a third was just getting ready to get rid of that high end because it's too plebeian.

                Your $1500 setup would be looked at by the typical WalMart shopper as a ridiculous extravagance.
                That's a great point Pete and I completely agree. That's why I feel strongly about not knocking anyone for spending whatever they want to spend and can afford to spend on ANY hobby he or she might have. I tend to believe "High End" or "Audiophile Quality" is in the eyes/ears of the beholder/listener. Listening to music being as enjoyable as it is to me spurs me on to hear the Harbeths and Salks, just so I can know what that level is really like. I don't know if I'll be able to get to Chicago in March, but I would certainly love to be able to, just to hear the equipment to which you referred.
                Mike
                "We're speaker geeks, not speaker nerds. Nerds make money!" Marty H
                Bismarck, North Dakota
                My Current System: Jolida SJ502A, Squeezebox Touch, and Carmody Sunflowers
                My Garage System:Marantz 2238B and Nano-Neos

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What is "High End?"

                  Mike: your system is "High End"! The Marantz is good, the Squeezebox is good, and I'm sure your DIY speakers are good. Do you enjoy your system? When you listen, do you keep wanting to turn it up? If you do,,,, than your system is high end!

                  In my experience the speakers and the source make the most difference! There is a real difference in cd players, and DAC's. I chose an Ayre cd player because to me it does sound better than anything else in the same price range. Yet, believe it or not, my IPad gives it a run for it money.

                  Don't worry if your system is High End or not, only worry if when you listen, you want to turn it down or off. Enjoy, Mark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What is "High End?"

                    Originally posted by mikejennens View Post
                    That's a great point Pete and I completely agree. That's why I feel strongly about not knocking anyone for spending whatever they want to spend and can afford to spend on ANY hobby he or she might have. I tend to believe "High End" or "Audiophile Quality" is in the eyes/ears of the beholder/listener. Listening to music being as enjoyable as it is to me spurs me on to hear the Harbeths and Salks, just so I can know what that level is really like. I don't know if I'll be able to get to Chicago in March, but I would certainly love to be able to, just to hear the equipment to which you referred.
                    Mike
                    When I attended my first RMAF in Denver in 2011, I was floored by what I saw in the fit, finish, and sound of what I encountered. Most was forgettable even if ridiculously expensive. Some was amazing.

                    Another thing I've found in my personal exploration of "high end" is that my taste in music has broadened significantly. I'll sit and listen to recordings that I'd never considered before, simply for the pure enjoyment of hearing something new and impeccably recorded. And on good systems, those recordings can be absolutely haunting in their realism and emotional delivery.
                    R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
                    Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

                    95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
                    "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What is "High End?"

                      One guy's "high end" is another's "insane" while a third was just getting ready to get rid of that high end because it's too plebeian.

                      Your $1500 setup would be looked at by the typical WalMart shopper as a ridiculous extravagance.
                      Mike, I was going to say something very close to what you said. Pete, that is the most concise and accurate statement I've ever heard to describe the "high-end" phenomenon. Well said!

                      Mark
                      You go your way, I'll go mine. I don't care if we get there on time.

                      ~Pink Floyd

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What is "High End?"

                        To me, high end is anything better than an Iphone or Ipod playing through a HTIB system. I guess high end also implies excellent fit and a really shiny finish.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What is "High End?"

                          Originally posted by mikejennens View Post

                          My question about "High End" is what makes something "High End?"
                          The price.
                          So if someone spends $100,000 dollars or more on a system, is it possible to get a system that actually sounds good enough to warrant that much money.
                          Only to their ego.
                          www.billfitzmaurice.com
                          www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What is "High End?"

                            The cool part is we can build high end speakers for a fraction on the price, the beauty of sweat equity!
                            Shawn

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                            • #15
                              Re: What is "High End?"

                              High end is what you get when you pet a cat's back.
                              .

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