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a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

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  • #46
    Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

    Originally posted by andy19191 View Post
    I am not aware of making any assumptions but simply pointing out that the term audiophile means different things to different people. You call yourself an audiophile and, not surprisingly, consider it a positive term and would like everyone to consider it a positive term. I have pointed why others, including myself and my peers, use the term differently to refer to the 'audiophile' home audio segment that grew after the end of the stereo boom. When referring to those that hold audiophile beliefs it can be a negative term but for the audiophile sector as a business I am not sure it is negative. What was achieved by a non/anti-technical marketing approach to home audio has been successful in making a profit from products that are uncompetitive in terms of price versus technical performance.
    I simply posted what some of the dictionary meanings of the word audiophile are. The description of the word seems to fit my goals with music production, so I consider myself an audiophile. I'm not trying make it a positive thing, but an accurate description based on what can be found in a published dictionary.

    I couldn't find your description of what an audiophile is in credible source. To suggest that they hold some kind of belief. Even the link you posted from the audio critic didn't have the word audiophile in it (at least I couldn't find it in a word search). If this forum seeks the truth, shouldn't factual meanings of words be included?

    I wasn't really trying to pick a fight and this is going to be my last post on the audiophile term, but miss using other words doesn't make since and usually isn't accepted and it gets confusing with the meaning is made up.

    In the end, audiophile rated gear from a credible source should be a fine piece of equipment. I wouldn't recommend it unless the buyer truly has the extra disposable income, and wants attractive gear. I fully agree that pro-amps and factory direct options save a lot of money and still deliver on great sound. The worth it factor is all up to the buyer. The stuff that cost more is prettier and more refined looking.

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    • #47
      Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

      I fully agree that pro-amps and factory direct options save a lot of money and still deliver on great sound.
      I couldn't find the post that said that Pro-Amps have restricted bandwidth:
      I would like to know which one's specifically...
      I have a friend who retired from ProSound who had 22 Crown amps.
      There was no problem with restricted bandwidth and they would take abuse that would killed amps not designed for the conditions of touring.
      "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
      “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
      "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

      Comment


      • #48
        Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

        Originally posted by Face View Post
        It's cute how a small community can make up a new definition for a word based on stereotypes.

        How many here actually know someone who's spent $10k, $20k, $250k, or even over a million dollars on a home stereo system or even spent time with such systems? Not all of them believe in magic pebbles or that room treatments aren't needed. Some of the few that I know have had Rives Audio design rooms for them, hired professionals to voice their systems, and don't buy awfully designed gear such as Wilson, etc...

        Such attitudes and stereotypes are not productive and reflect poorly. It's just as bad as someone who believe all pro gear is junk or cheap drivers=cheap sound.
        BRAVO

        Best post I've read in a while.

        Comment


        • #49
          Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

          Originally posted by Sydney View Post
          I couldn't find the post that said that Pro-Amps have restricted bandwidth:
          I would like to know which one's specifically...
          I have a friend who retired from ProSound who had 22 Crown amps.
          There was no problem with restricted bandwidth and they would take abuse that would killed amps not designed for the conditions of touring.
          I'm not sure of the exact context, but in fairness, a bunch of 'em do have "restricted BW" in that they have non-defeatable high-pass filters down low. For example, there's a Yorkville amp that has a highpass filter with settings at 40Hz and 20Hz, with no "none" option. I've seen others, but that's one that sticks in my head.

          One can certainly argue that a highpass at 20Hz only makes an amp "restricted BW" in the technical sense, and that for basically everyone except for a few people who view an audio system more as a massage device than a conduit for music it is as a practical matter a non-issue. But these days audio fora at least seem to be overrun with people who don't think it's any good unless it goes down to 3 Hz, so...
          --
          "Based on my library and laboratory research, I have concluded, as have others, that the best measures of speaker quality are frequency response and dispersion pattern. I have not found any credible research showing that most of the differences we hear among loudspeakers cannot be explained by examining these two variables." -Alvin Foster, 22 BAS Speaker 2 (May, 1999)

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          • #50
            Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

            I figured the issue of how a Pro amp is used is clouding the matter.
            The de-featable filters installed on better* Pro amps are there to tailor the signal in scenarios in which extended LF or HF is not needed, and often for implementation flexibility ( like the software in newer Crown amps ).
            Bill Fitzmaurice had an article ( a few years ago ) that published a RTA snapshot of a typical rock concert ( ZZ-Top ). It showed the common practice of "dumping" the bottom octave for a variety of reasons: Including greater SPL and driver protection. In most cases the audience does NOT know the difference because of the SPL.
            I've seen measurements of Crown Macro's. The design wisely cuts below 20Hz and above 20KHz, but at these frequency points it is only 1/10 of a db; audibly insignificant.

            * There are a lot of amps labeled Pro that would not qualify for touring or on a contract rider.
            "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
            “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
            "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

            Comment


            • #51
              Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

              Bryston Amps are High end they are considered audiophile.


              http://bryston.com/2bsst_m.html


              they are worth big bucks for a lot of reasons.

              a 20 year warranty for one

              tremendous resale value for two.

              now if you ask me do they sound better. Well better then some amps.

              http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo...umber=BY2BSST2


              http://www.audioadvisor.com/products.asp?dept=157

              I owned some along with the crossover they make. cost over 9k

              I sold them replaced them with Audio refinement amps. cost over 5k

              I then sold them and replaced them with these cost under 700

              http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-775


              now I can tell you the bryston had the best sound with my focal mtms the dayton biamps sound better then the audio refinement amps! ,

              but my buying and selling of the bryston was about a 500 dollar gain. my buying and sell of the audio refinement gear was break even.

              and the dayton gear will have less then 50% resale value.

              when you buy hi end amps resale value can be very good. you need to figure this in.

              Comment


              • #52
                Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                Originally posted by scottq View Post
                "Studies" are always based on the knowledge and understanding that exists surrounding the phenomenon at the time of the study. The fact that a study has been done doesn't necessarily make the results of the study true, unless the study is done on a tangible phenomenon (tangible being relative to the study).

                There will always be people that hear a difference and those that don't. As someone said, "I can't tell the difference between black and navy socks, but my wife can." The difference between navy and black is tangible. The opinion that navy is better than black is not tangible. A study can be done on whether navy or black is better, but that study would clearly be a waste of time - black is obviously better ;). Seriously though, this is a matter of subjectivity...

                I think we'd all get along a lot better in the audiophile community if we just acknowledged the subjectivity - and more importantly, respected the subjectivity of others.

                The "worth" of an upgrade is always going to spawn these crazy, long threads - because everyone has an opinion. In effect, a thread is a study in itself - you essentially create an open-ended poll within a given sample group.

                There are certainly amps that place more investment into aesthetics than others. Likewise, there are amps that place more investment in perceived sound quality. Some put a lot of effort into measured performance. It is in the eye of the beholder.

                I don't know a single tube lover that would make the case that his/her SET amp has less harmonic distortion than your average NFB Class A/B SS. Some SS lovers will condemn the tube lover for ludicrously high distortion in the SET. But the SET lover feels that the SET provides additional benefits that far outweigh the high THD that is plainly audible. The SET lover can hear (or perhaps its a matter of willpower and focus rather than ability??) past the THD.

                The original question was in reference to the "class" of "audiophile" that is in all the big magazines. And really, in that case, I think it depends on the amp. I have heard some "audiophile" amps that are a total waste of money, and I have heard some that sound fabulous.

                I think most of the people on this forum are more interested in how things sound than what the MSRP is or in how the "audiophiles" would rate it. BUT - worth is still very subjective here. To some here, it's not worth it to get a used Parasound HCA1000 and nice preamp on eBay for $800... the $199 receiver they have is good enough. There are other's that probably think that person is smoking crack. And another that built a DIY chip-amp for $200 that blows away their $500 receiver. And there's probably someone else that thought it was worth every penny to spend $2000 on the pair of Emotiva XPA-1's they just bought to replace their pair of Parasound HCA1500's run in bridged mode.

                Worth is often tied to the person's funds very closely. Occasionally, there are some that can put themselves outside the box and ask "If I had the money to invest, would this be worth it?" Few people put themselves here when answering a question of "worth."

                OK, I digress...
                Spot on Scott.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                  Face excellent point....I have been wondering too. We're all audiophiles here, the people pervert the stereotype seem to be in a class warfare state ....My audiophile clients were very successful engineers who were certainly were capable of designing their own speaker systems, not be a cheesy 1/2way DIYer and build someone elses design, but they were busy and the money mattered little since they had alot. So they bought their system from a store, a valid option when you billout at $350/hr.

                  This biggest audiophile in the room IMO is the guy who risks his digits with hand power tools and uses caustic spray finishes in closed off spaces so no dust gets on his $100 diy speakers! To me nothing is more audiophile than that.



                  Point 2

                  I wish people who make long post about amplifiers and how they work and who buys them and etc....would actually know audiophiles, know about amplifier technology beyond faceplates and cliche's...... also!

                  Id also like to see the "science" dweebs purchase some measurement gear and start practicing some science...Do you think Nelson Pass thinks all his amplifier sound alike.
                  What a purposeless life...to design an amplifier to sound the same....with no hope of improvement.

                  ....owning six amplifiers is hardly putting a dent in the 10,000 plus models available over the past few decades to form ANY kind of opinion except an extremely limited one. Now if you designed 6 amplifiers from the ground up, this would radically change your perspective and I would consider you informed on the topic of amplifiers.

                  If you can listen to Crown XLS amplifier in a home system you really don't need to spend much on audio gear. And thank God for that!!! more money for music!

                  Genetics is Science, and since Pallas seems to want to blow it off, I would assume his genetics would not limit him from playing middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears,,,,,if his Mom would just sign the permission slip he'd be out there this Sunday.....Oh yeah Pallas can't run a 4.5 forty and throw a 235lb running back to the ground with one arm....maybe genetics is the reason. So would the argument be that hearing is exempt from this sort of disparity? I think not....

                  Anyone who uses middle aged men for ABX listening tests is an idiot. Women hear much better and with little education can pretty much tear your weak a$$ DIY system to the ground and tell you..."I don't know how you listen to this noise" Referenced from personal experience my friends....

                  I have owned an ABX machine for almost a decade...it is not a fair test and does not represent the real world uses. The fact that researchers have not been able to find the threshold in an ABX test were people can hear a difference with statistical regularity means that it is an invalid test. But it maybe the best we have for the moment.

                  Ill tell you a unique test, when you change the amplifier and the client wants to listen more or less...over a 6 month period. Just time them in their listening habits. Very revealing about a components quality...how badly do you want to listen to the system.....this the fundamental audiophiles operate on...it is their effort to articulate these subtle changes that people want to make fun of and misunderstand the most. How are you going to EQ for listening duration? Trust me you don't have the answer so don't bother even speculating, especially if you'll go so far to believe all equalizers sound alike

                  Posting on the internet is an act of futility, my knowledge of this is why I know I am insane....for audio.
                  “Never ask people about your work.”
                  ― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                    When a blind test does not give the results you expect, in point of fact it is opposite of invalid.

                    Buy what you want, hear what you want but vehemently insisting that you can taste a difference between two table salts implies you can do that with, or without blinders on.

                    Mr. Focht, despite his rancor, makes a good point: "I hear that and it means you are an idiot".
                    Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                      This is the problem with this forum:

                      People have just enough information to believe the lies they make up. Weather technical, or emotional.

                      Then they feel the need to cite some of the billion "credible sources" around the internet that argue (very well mind you) in both directions!

                      It is sickening, and drags good people into mudslinging.

                      Example: I recently read a post over in the gallery about a "reference speaker" someone uses.

                      1)It is NOWHERE near reference quality.

                      2) If that is their definition of reference, then they have never truly heard a reference quality speaker, or system for that matter (which the sum of the parts outweighs the original anyway..I have heard good speakers sound like junk because of the associated equipment) yet will be very vocal about what sounds good, what sounds bad, and what is a waste of money.

                      ...The worst part is: The information, which has a strong chance of not being all correct, is believed by newcomers and novices alike because this person is "credible".

                      There are only 3, maybe 4 credible people on this forum IMHO. The rest are just at different points along the line of exploring the hobby as a whole. If you look closely, those 3 or 4 have a depth of expirence that spans well into the tens of years and tens of thousands of hours.

                      Does that mean others cannot design a good speaker? No... There are many good designs on this forum.

                      Does that mean everyone is an expert with a little knowledge, HE L L NO! Same applies for amplifier design. It is far more complex than any of the arguments in this post touch upon, on either side.

                      Its about time everyone STFU and start to just share what we learn, know, and what's good about what we do. If I wanted to read this crap, I would be checking my e-mail at work.
                      .

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                        Originally posted by mzisserson View Post
                        This is the problem with this forum:

                        People have just enough information to believe the lies they make up. Weather technical, or emotional.

                        Then they feel the need to cite some of the billion "credible sources" around the internet that argue (very well mind you) in both directions!

                        It is sickening, and drags good people into mudslinging.

                        Example: I recently read a post over in the gallery about a "reference speaker" someone uses.

                        1)It is NOWHERE near reference quality.

                        2) If that is their definition of reference, then they have never truly heard a reference quality speaker, or system for that matter (which the sum of the parts outweighs the original anyway..I have heard good speakers sound like junk because of the associated equipment) yet will be very vocal about what sounds good, what sounds bad, and what is a waste of money.

                        ...The worst part is: The information, which has a strong chance of not being all correct, is believed by newcomers and novices alike because this person is "credible".

                        There are only 3, maybe 4 credible people on this forum IMHO. The rest are just at different points along the line of exploring the hobby as a whole. If you look closely, those 3 or 4 have a depth of expirence that spans well into the tens of years and tens of thousands of hours.

                        Does that mean others cannot design a good speaker? No... There are many good designs on this forum.

                        Does that mean everyone is an expert with a little knowledge, HE L L NO! Same applies for amplifier design. It is far more complex than any of the arguments in this post touch upon, on either side.

                        Its about time everyone STFU and start to just share what we learn, know, and what's good about what we do. If I wanted to read this crap, I would be checking my e-mail at work.
                        Sheez Mike, take a nap. I am almost 100% certain you are talking about me using a pair of NHT speakers as a reference. Well, all I can say is this: when you are building speakers using $100 or less worth of parts, what do you propose to use as a reference when building speakers like that? One of those gazillion dollar scams you wax so poetic about? When I drop a K on drivers alone, I will hold myself to a higher standard. Until then, try your best to understand WTF "reference" really means.

                        The rest of your post is insulting to the community at large, and you took a swipe at me personally. I thought we were past that kind of crap, but I guess not. I respectfully request that in the future, you just leave me out of your little insulting rants and, well, to use a bit from your own post - STFU.
                        Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                          ...and another thing: until someone who claims that people who cannot hear a difference blah blah blah can ace a blind test (I'll even give them the six months as long as they are not aware if their amp has been swapped out - this will help prevent the "I changed the amp, and I know that amps are all different therefore I will find what is different because to not do so will not reinforce my preconceived notions" factor - which I suspect is really what is at play when people claim it takes six months to discern a difference), I will continue to believe it is all in their heads and very often they are justifying a price tag, nothing more.

                          I will say it: this has nothing to do with "reverse snobbery", or "lack of experience or knowledge" and everything to do with trying to understand how the real world works and not letting superstition obstruct progress. There is a LOT of money, and a lot of reputations at stake in high end audio. These people have a lot to lose if it were to become widely known that there is literally zero correlation between cost and quality - and that goes for $75,000 speakers, $200 capacitors, cables - you name it. At the moment, all evidence points towards people making claims about "this" or "that" being audible to be wrong. There are some exceptions of course, but if you look close enough - those tests are deeply flawed in that they are rarely blind and worse: the participants know something is being changed. Speak of invalid testing.

                          High end audio is nothing more than the ultimate expression of the Bose attack.
                          Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                            Mike, I am actually hurt you attacked me like that. Take a Xanax.
                            Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                              Originally posted by DE Focht View Post

                              ....owning six amplifiers is hardly putting a dent in the 10,000 plus models available over the past few decades to form ANY kind of opinion except an extremely limited one. Now if you designed 6 amplifiers from the ground up, this would radically change your perspective and I would consider you informed on the topic of amplifiers.
                              How many amplifiers should one listen to? Please keep in mind there is a contingent that simply believes amplifiers CAN sound different but that difference isn't something to get wrapped around.

                              Now there is a reason I got rid of my Carver, and there is a reason a Crown sits in my 2.0 stack and NOT my Parasound. The Carver was just a bad design, the Parasound is solid but runs out of steam compared to the Crown.

                              An amp can be designed to sound different and then that difference marketed. I want an amp that is going to be true to source material as possible.

                              Here is what I want to know: Does a $9000 amp sound 45 times better than a $200 amp?

                              Is a $200 amp (like the XLS 402d) incompetently designed. I know from a developer standpoint (since I am one) that I only have to design correctly ONCE and then start mass producing. I'm definitely not producing (hopefully) something that is going to come back around and bite me.

                              How much smarter is an audiophile amp engineer than the engineering staffs at a company like Crown or QSC?

                              Seems like we all like to make assumptions now don't we?

                              The other question to answer: In today's age of silicon, DSP, well evolved circuits, WHAT problems are they trying to solve?

                              Originally posted by DE Focht View Post
                              Genetics is Science, and since Pallas seems to want to blow it off, I would assume his genetics would not limit him from playing middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears,,,,,if his Mom would just sign the permission slip he'd be out there this Sunday.....Oh yeah Pallas can't run a 4.5 forty and throw a 235lb running back to the ground with one arm....maybe genetics is the reason. So would the argument be that hearing is exempt from this sort of disparity? I think not....
                              You can't have it both ways here. First off you don't know what Pallas can and can not do, wait for it, until you subject him to *gasp* a test of some form. One that is accredited and established with a commonly accepted methodology.

                              Originally posted by DE Focht View Post
                              Anyone who uses middle aged men for ABX listening tests is an idiot. Women hear much better and with little education can pretty much tear your weak a$$ DIY system to the ground and tell you..."I don't know how you listen to this noise" Referenced from personal experience my friends....
                              Oh brother. My experience is that our better halves don't get into it for the same reason they don't get into wrenching on cars, listening to really loud sub-woofer, or going to the range and running through a hundred rounds or so out of various guns. It simply isn't their thing.

                              Just like I'm not going to the Ritz for tea on Sunday anytime soon or DVR'ing the all day Julie Andrews movie fest:rolleyes:


                              Originally posted by DE Focht View Post
                              I have owned an ABX machine for almost a decade...it is not a fair test and does not represent the real world uses. The fact that researchers have not been able to find the threshold in an ABX test were people can hear a difference with statistical regularity means that it is an invalid test. But it maybe the best we have for the moment.
                              Says You. The fact that researchers haven't found a threshold is the ENTIRE point of the test. Dear lord.

                              Because a test produces a result you don't care for means the test in invalid?

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                                Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
                                what do you propose to use as a reference
                                Exactly the right question to ask. To talk about "reference" as if it is a measure of quality is to misuse the word . . . "reference" is a standard to which other things are compared, not a measure in and of itself. I use the B2030A as my "reference" . . . it's a "known quantity" to me, and is easily portable, which aids in making comparisons. My "regular" speakers sound and measure (in most particulars) better . . . but they are not portable, not common, and how they "sound" is particular to my (treated) listening room . . . making them not very useful as a "reference" to anyone else (they are also not "box" speakers, making comparisons even more difficult).

                                The ultimate "reference" is, of course, the "live" original . . . but few of us get to bring the symphony to our listening room (I have had a string quartet in mine), or to take our speakers to the symphony (I have heard the B2030A in the recording cubby at a concert hall), for comparison. No speakers I have ever heard sound like "live" . . . but it is handy to have a convenient "reference", even with its known failings, when comparing speakers "in the wild".

                                As to the question in the thread title . . . it depends on whether you are buying sound, or status, or resale value or whatever. A LM3886 board at $20 (not counting power supply) will equal or outperform anything out there when directly coupled to a dome tweeter. An IRS2092 (classD) board at $50 will equal or outperform anything out there when directly coupled to a cone midrange. Neither will produce any audible distortion (beyond that produced by the driver itself). And the same can be said about a number of other low-cost new-or-used amps. Whether spending more money than that is a "waste", then, obviously depends on other considerations. If someone prefers the euphonic coloration and "golden glow" of "audiophile" tube amps it's not a "waste" for them to buy them. Do what makes you happy . . .
                                "It suggests that there is something that is happening in the real system that is not quite captured in the models."

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