Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #1126
    Quote Originally Posted by RapidRefresh View Post
    Wow! This stuff is pretty dope! Are there any decent sound systems available for under $5000? Just asking.
    Of course there are.

    Even for half of that amount can get you something that is pretty impressive.

    For example, the new ELAC F-5 speakers are a ridiculously low $279 each. These were designed by the respected speaker designer, Andrew Jones, who is also responsible for the amazing $80,000 TAD speakers.

    http://elac.us/speakers


    Then add a good quality integrated amp, like the Nuforce DDA120 for $500.


    http://www.optomausa.com/soundproduct/DDA120


    Then add one of many inexpensive USB DACs on the market. Like a Dragonfly for under $200.

    http://www.audioquest.com/usb_digita.../dragonfly-dac


    And you have a great system for less than $1300!

    Add an Oppo BDP-103 universal player for about $600, and you can play any disc format, music files, etc.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  2. #1127
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    Here's a thread on the Hoffman forum on beautiful listening rooms. As Simon points out above and others point out on Hoffman, some of these rooms are just for sales displays or decorating. But even so, there's a few I wouldn't mind sitting in for a day with a stack of discs and vinyl.
    A lot of showroom pics in there. If you want to see how the other half (mainly) lives, this is a decent thread for skimming: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/thread...376369/page-39

  3. #1128
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    (2) decent integrated amp - there are so many of these out there at all sorts of price points, but I like the sound of these, some solid state, others tubed:

    http://www.upscaleaudio.com/primalun...ted-amplifier/
    I'll second the PrimaLuna recommendation. I have the Prologue 3 as my pre-amp and love it.


    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    (4) cables - definitely don't use crappy HomeDepot speaker wire, or RatShack interconnects, but you don't have to spend a fortune either. Absolutely look on Audiogon for used deals. And yes, power cords do make a difference, but that is the last thing you need to worry about.
    Entry level, check out Kimber Kable. This was one area I was skeptical about when first dipping my toes into the water, but even the switch to the lowest grade PBJ made a notable difference for me.

  4. #1129
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I notice a lot of the installations have the speakers a long way from the back wall, like six feet or more. Is that common? I always heard that you need to embrace the rear wall as part of the sound field, using it to enhance bass response. After extensive experimentation, my own speakers ended up 12" from the opposing wall. Am I missing something?
    Most speakers, unless specifically designed to be close to the front wall, will always sound better away from the wall.

    Imaging, soundstage depth and width, frequency aberrations, will improve with the speaker away from the front wall.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  5. #1130
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    Imaging, soundstage depth and width, frequency aberrations, will improve with the speaker away from the front wall.
    Thanks for that, man.

    This is a parameter I haven't tinkered with in a long, long time, and it seems like maybe I should have. I moved my speakers out from 12" to 24" -- about the maximum my room will allow. The bass became a little hollow and unconvincing. The high end and imaging remained unchanged of course but there was definitely some "room effect" missing from the bass.

    So I moved them in to 22" and tested again. Then I moved to 20", and finally 18". Eighteen seems to be a good compromise between room reverberation and the "openness" experienced at 24" -- which I attribute to lack of room effect.

    I need to listen for a few days and see if I like the improvement across the board.

  6. #1131
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    The Audiophile Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    The more I look at that picture of the yellow Wilsons, the more I believe it is not an actual set up, but it is done more for a decorating photo op. I know many audiophiles, and not a single one would put speakers that close to the listening seat. Especially those speakers. Not to mention the glass door, the ridiculous amount of tow in, and many other problems.



    Yep, I agree what you describe would be optimum for a home theater set up.

    For audio, not so much...
    That's the backward mentality of some audiophiles. I have a perfectly calibrated 5.1 system which has an expanded mode that uses all the speakers on a stereo source which sounds fantastic. It is impossible with 2 speakers to control acoustics in a normal room. 5 degrees of freedom give great control. Then combine this with a mix which exploits 5 speakers creatively, and then you are adding another level to progressive. In the future, there will be progressive audio productions which will take advantage of 3D placement of sonic images. Early prog took production to another level by creating audioscapes outside the mainstream. If the attitude of the old folk prog fans are that 2 channels is all you need and that dissuades artists like Steven Wilson, then fuck it I'll find another genre of music to listen too, instead of the stagnant.
    Last edited by Firth; 12-01-2015 at 10:54 PM.
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  7. #1132
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    On a properly-done 5.1 production, does it sound like the band is playing inside your head, or like they're playing outside of your head, in the acoustic space around you? In other words, is it like normal stereo (only enhanced) or is it like binaural, or whatever the 5-channel equivalent would be ("pentaural"?)

  8. #1133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    That's the backward mentality of some audiophiles. I have a perfectly calibrated 5.1 system which has an expanded mode that uses all the speakers on a stereo source which sounds fantastic. It is impossible with 2 speakers to control acoustics in a normal room. 5 degrees of freedom give great control.
    Does the "expanded mode" make everything sound like it was recorded in a stairwell?

  9. #1134
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Does the "expanded mode" make everything sound like it was recorded in a stairwell?
    Not if the system is like mine. First every speaker is matched using 192 KHz 32 bit FIR filtering based calibration. Next the extension function doesn't introduce echo or reverberation, the use of 5 speakers actually controls echo and reverb. I mostly think of the presentation as larger but with perfect acoustics.
    On the verge of indecision
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  10. #1135
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    How can you control echo and reverb without adding them?
    It is impossible with 2 speakers to control acoustics in a normal room.
    I would argue it's impossible with 5 speakers as well. All you can do is overwrite the room acoustics with your own added echo and reverberation.
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 12-02-2015 at 08:23 AM.

  11. #1136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    That's the backward mentality of some audiophiles... Early prog took production to another level by creating audioscapes outside the mainstream. If the attitude of the old folk prog fans are that 2 channels is all you need and that dissuades artists like Steven Wilson, then fuck it I'll find another genre of music to listen too, instead of the stagnant.
    I have no data to back this up, but I would assume that the majority of self-described audiophiles are focused on vinyl listening. Because I am, 5.1 or anything else not focused on 2 channel listening is just irrelevant to me. I've always found the idea to be somewhat gimmicky. I listen to a majority of things in the early prog vein you describe, so I'm not sure I'd have any reason to hear that music any other way. Call me stagnant if you want, but this is how the music that resonates with me was created. I really don't understand the genuflecting at the altar of St. Steven of Wilson - it is no longer the music that was originally released and codified by the artist.


    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    On a properly-done 5.1 production, does it sound like the band is playing inside your head, or like they're playing outside of your head, in the acoustic space around you? In other words, is it like normal stereo (only enhanced) or is it like binaural, or whatever the 5-channel equivalent would be ("pentaural"?)
    I have a completely clueless question as to 5.1 - do you need to listen to something specifically produced for 5.1 to hear any difference? Or if you played a normal CD, would there be some equivalent of upsampling to a 5.1 effect even if it was not designed for it?

  12. #1137
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    I've been curious about Harbeth for a bit now. Bob, can you (or anyone else really) describe them a bit more for me? I live in a shoebox of a railroad apartment, so the positively described output for a small speaker is appealing. I've also heard good things about Wharfedales. I know there are myriad options, but I've quite liked the look of these two, and they're usually recommended.

  13. #1138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    I've been curious about Harbeth for a bit now. Bob, can you (or anyone else really) describe them a bit more for me? I live in a shoebox of a railroad apartment, so the positively described output for a small speaker is appealing. I've also heard good things about Wharfedales. I know there are myriad options, but I've quite liked the look of these two, and they're usually recommended.
    the LS3/5A model was originally constructed for the BBC, back in the 70's I think. It was used in recording studios as a replacement for what were then not very good speakers. These new speakers had a bit of a mid-bass hump and a slightly rising top end, so their sound profile mimicked what a loudness button does, to some extent. The resulting sound is a tad warmer than neutral but with good top end extension, and very pleasant to the ear. There are a ton a LS3/5A models around from many manufacturers, but Harbeth seems to be the one most talked about. Here's some more links for further exploration.

    http://www.g4dcv.co.uk/ls35a/shootout.html
    http://www.ls35a.com/
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  14. #1139
    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    I have no data to back this up, but I would assume that the majority of self-described audiophiles are focused on vinyl listening.
    Well, since I guess I entered audiophile territory this year with my new system (though I still don't think of myself as one), I would have to counter that. I don't have vinyl, other than those for which I wrote liners....and I never listen to them. I listen to CDs but have been increasingly moving towards higher res, whether it be SACD, Blu Ray or in downloadable form when available. Of course, you need to check the source first, but vinyl has no appeal to me. And when learned that many of today's vinyl reissues are being cut from MP3s? Well, that just cemented my position.

    I don't have a 5.1 setup (yet, anyway) because I blew all I had (and went over budget to boot) on the player (OPPO), the amplifier (Leama) and the speakers (Tetra...incredible speakers) and I couldn't afford to go further. But I am enjoying the new stereo mixes in high res that invariably accompany the surround mixes.

    And I've nothing against surround; I just can't afford it at this time....

    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    Because I am, 5.1 or anything else not focused on 2 channel listening is just irrelevant to me. I've always found the idea to be somewhat gimmicky. I listen to a majority of things in the early prog vein you describe, so I'm not sure I'd have any reason to hear that music any other way. Call me stagnant if you want, but this is how the music that resonates with me was created. I really don't understand the genuflecting at the altar of St. Steven of Wilson - it is no longer the music that was originally released and codified by the artist.
    But it is always approved by the artist who made the original release. And if you think that all those albums back in the day that you hold dear were released in mixes and masters that always made the artists happy, think again. More often than you might expect, because they were dealing with major labels and release schedules, artists were forced to rush these things and so the original album may be sacred to you...but it ain't to them. Fripp hated Lizard. Now, with Wilson's new mix, he likes it. That's the best endorsement Steven needs or can get.

    And it's unfair to paint those of us who like his new mixes (or Jakko Jakszyk's, for that matter) as "genuflecting at the altar"). I happen to like their work, but with almost every instance of a remix that they have done, the original mix is also available in the package, so you get the best of both. If the remix is not to your liking, you can get a non-brickwalled, oftentimes flat transfer of the original mix, and oftentimes in higher resolution. How can that be a problem?

    But there are some albums where these guys really have cleared things up: with Jakszyk's (as he calls it) alternate mix of THRAK,you can delineate the musicians far more clearly and so, the guy I always felt was overlooked in that group - Trey Gunn - can now be heard properly, so his contributions to the band are now more clear. Again, how can that be a problem?

    Having heard some surround mixes outside my home, though, I'd say that when done right it is absolutely NOT a gimmick. When done wrong it sure can be, but the immersive experience of some of the new surround mixes is pretty darn compelling. Heck, we listen to films in surround when we go to a theatre; why is it such a gimmick to mix albums for the same immersive experience...as long as it's done with discretion and taste?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    I have a completely clueless question as to 5.1 - do you need to listen to something specifically produced for 5.1 to hear any difference? Or if you played a normal CD, would there be some equivalent of upsampling to a 5.1 effect even if it was not designed for it?
    There is a way to upsample...has been done when the original multitrack tapes were not available (Devil's Triangle, for example, on Wilson's new mix of Crimson's In the Wake of Poseidon)...but I don't believe that, the way a hi def tv up-samples lower res material, the same is true for putting s CD on a surround sound system. I could be wrong...but I wouldn't want a faux surround sound mix anyway, unless, as was the case with ITWOP, it had to be done in order to present the entire album in surround.

  15. #1140
    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    Most speakers, unless specifically designed to be close to the front wall, will always sound better away from the wall.

    Imaging, soundstage depth and width, frequency aberrations, will improve with the speaker away from the front wall.
    One of the reasons I love my Tetras. There are no ports, and so the 222 bookshelf speakers, that form the top of the 333 stack, can literally be entirely enclosed with the exception, obviously, of the front. And the 111 bottoms don't have to be placed under them. It allows for great freedom when balancing sound and aesthetics of the room.

  16. #1141
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    My room is a mess for sound but there's little I can do about it. I got a hardwood floor in front of the speakers, glass coffee table, big TV hanging in the center of the wall, and CD/DVD racks behind the speakers. Not to mention furniture and now, the Christmas tree. So it sounds good but I know damn well it could be a lot better.

    There's a significant chance that in two years or so we should be a bit more flush than we are now. I'll probably get an entirely different system then and renovate what used to be the 70s rec room downstairs into my listening chamber. This of course provided I buy my wife new kitchen counters first. Always have to deal with the WAF.
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  17. #1142
    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    I have no data to back this up, but I would assume that the majority of self-described audiophiles are focused on vinyl listening.
    You would be incorrect.

    I go to high end audio shows at least once a year (T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, and RMAF, for example) and the majority of manufacturer's rooms have no turntable (although, the presence of turntables may be increasing). Even CD players are becoming rare.

    Most attendees I speak to do not own a TT, and when they enter a room that only has a TT, or are unable to play their hi-res files on their USB drive, they usually walk out disappointed.

    I am a self described audiophile, and even though I own a TT, at least 80% of my listening is hi-res files and CD.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  18. #1143
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    You would be incorrect.

    I go to high end audio shows at least once a year (T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, and RMAF, for example) and the majority of manufacturer's rooms have no turntable (although, the presence of turntables may be increasing). Even CD players are becoming rare.

    Most attendees I speak to do not own a TT, and when they enter a room that only has a TT, or are unable to play their hi-res files on their USB drive, they usually walk out disappointed.

    I am a self described audiophile, and even though I own a TT, at least 80% of my listening is hi-res files and CD.
    Fair enough. I guess my assumption is self-selective as to the forums and articles I read myself, and my own interests.
    Last edited by Pr33t; 12-02-2015 at 05:43 PM.

  19. #1144
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Of course, you need to check the source first, but vinyl has no appeal to me. And when learned that many of today's vinyl reissues are being cut from MP3s? Well, that just cemented my position.
    You're right, but like most things, some judicious research and trial and error with labels lets you figure out what to avoid. I've been burned a good deal on poorly sourced vinyl and try to buy better now. I'd also say that 65% or more of my vinyl is second hand vintage vinyl where I don't have to worry about a digital source.



    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    But it is always approved by the artist who made the original release. And if you think that all those albums back in the day that you hold dear were released in mixes and masters that always made the artists happy, think again. More often than you might expect, because they were dealing with major labels and release schedules, artists were forced to rush these things and so the original album may be sacred to you...but it ain't to them. Fripp hated Lizard. Now, with Wilson's new mix, he likes it. That's the best endorsement Steven needs or can get.
    Oh, I'm well aware that what actually was released didn't necessarily reflect what the artist wanted. But it is the standard for that album that has been out in the world for X number of years, and the one that people are familiar with. I'd also point out that hearing naturally decreases with age. So many remastered CDs have come out with artist approval of the most heinously brickwalled compression. Sometimes you have to wonder what they were hearing when they ok'd it.

    I have no issue with the remixes being offered, but the fervor with which I see them described is rather off putting to me personally. YMMV.


    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Having heard some surround mixes outside my home, though, I'd say that when done right it is absolutely NOT a gimmick.
    This is probably a question of taste, and as such, I'm not criticizing anyone for enjoying a 5.1 mix. I just don't personally get it.

  20. #1145
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    How can you control echo and reverb without adding them?I would argue it's impossible with 5 speakers as well. All you can do is overwrite the room acoustics with your own added echo and reverberation.
    I don't know how to explain degrees of freedom to you. The more degrees of freedom you have to control acoustics, the better it will be. Think of it this way, sound bounces off of each wall. If I put a speaker on each wall and speaker outputted the mirror image of the reflection in such a way the reflection was cancelled out, then reverb would be eliminated.
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  21. #1146
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Are you actually doing that though?

    Because what you're talking about is basically how concert halls are tuned and it's not a trivial process.
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 12-03-2015 at 01:24 AM.

  22. #1147
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    The Audiophile Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Well, since I guess I entered audiophile territory this year with my new system (though I still don't think of myself as one), I would have to counter that. I don't have vinyl, other than those for which I wrote liners....and I never listen to them. I listen to CDs but have been increasingly moving towards higher res, whether it be SACD, Blu Ray or in downloadable form when available. Of course, you need to check the source first, but vinyl has no appeal to me. And when learned that many of today's vinyl reissues are being cut from MP3s? Well, that just cemented my position.

    I don't have a 5.1 setup (yet, anyway) because I blew all I had (and went over budget to boot) on the player (OPPO), the amplifier (Leama) and the speakers (Tetra...incredible speakers) and I couldn't afford to go further. But I am enjoying the new stereo mixes in high res that invariably accompany the surround mixes.

    And I've nothing against surround; I just can't afford it at this time....


    But it is always approved by the artist who made the original release. And if you think that all those albums back in the day that you hold dear were released in mixes and masters that always made the artists happy, think again. More often than you might expect, because they were dealing with major labels and release schedules, artists were forced to rush these things and so the original album may be sacred to you...but it ain't to them. Fripp hated Lizard. Now, with Wilson's new mix, he likes it. That's the best endorsement Steven needs or can get.

    And it's unfair to paint those of us who like his new mixes (or Jakko Jakszyk's, for that matter) as "genuflecting at the altar"). I happen to like their work, but with almost every instance of a remix that they have done, the original mix is also available in the package, so you get the best of both. If the remix is not to your liking, you can get a non-brickwalled, oftentimes flat transfer of the original mix, and oftentimes in higher resolution. How can that be a problem?

    But there are some albums where these guys really have cleared things up: with Jakszyk's (as he calls it) alternate mix of THRAK,you can delineate the musicians far more clearly and so, the guy I always felt was overlooked in that group - Trey Gunn - can now be heard properly, so his contributions to the band are now more clear. Again, how can that be a problem?

    Having heard some surround mixes outside my home, though, I'd say that when done right it is absolutely NOT a gimmick. When done wrong it sure can be, but the immersive experience of some of the new surround mixes is pretty darn compelling. Heck, we listen to films in surround when we go to a theatre; why is it such a gimmick to mix albums for the same immersive experience...as long as it's done with discretion and taste?


    There is a way to upsample...has been done when the original multitrack tapes were not available (Devil's Triangle, for example, on Wilson's new mix of Crimson's In the Wake of Poseidon)...but I don't believe that, the way a hi def tv up-samples lower res material, the same is true for putting s CD on a surround sound system. I could be wrong...but I wouldn't want a faux surround sound mix anyway, unless, as was the case with ITWOP, it had to be done in order to present the entire album in surround.
    Sorry you really don't have any idea of how 5 speakers can be used. I have other people who heard the extend stereo mode and were astounded.
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  23. #1148
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Are you actually doing that though?

    Because what you're talking about is basically how concert halls are tuned and it's not a trivial process.
    The only concert hall that was tuned electronically I know of, is the Beatles Love venue in Vegas. Incredible sound every where.

    My receiver uses specific waveforms for estimating reverb delays.
    On the verge of indecision
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  24. #1149
    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    Sorry you really don't have any idea of how 5 speakers can be used. I have other people who heard the extend stereo mode and were astounded.
    No, you're absolutely right, I don't...but just the principle of "up sampling" when it comes to surround seems a bit odd when engineers spend so much energy creating "real" ones. If it's good then that's great. It just seems, even with guys who do surround mixes for (part of) a living fall back on it as a positions of last resort, so I assumed it would not be optimal.

    That said, I know what they say about folks who use the word assume


    But no, I don't know because I do t have a setup...yet. I need to convince my wife that z set of Tetra rear speakers and a Center would be a good investment to add to what we have just purchased. Glen what that cost, I think I'm gonna wait awhile...

  25. #1150
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    The only concert hall that was tuned electronically I know of, is the Beatles Love venue in Vegas. Incredible sound everywhere.
    Just about every major concert hall in the past twenty years has been electronically tuned. And the process is tedious and exacting -- not something you'd expect to get from a background speaker system.

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