For the Love of Audio & Hi-Fi. Is it Dead?

Is the Romance of High Fidelity Dead?

  • Yes

    Votes: 6 15.8%
  • No

    Votes: 24 63.2%
  • What romance?

    Votes: 8 21.1%

  • Total voters
    38
Ren Kitchener

Ren Kitchener

Junior Audioholic
One thing I miss so much is my Tascam 58 Reel to Reel. It's the soft hiss of the tape (I rarely used Dolby NR), the motion of the reels rotating slowly and the meters twitching to the tracks. I so wish they would bring these back as they have done with the record players. Just a Revox clone would do.
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W

Wizweird

Audiophyte
Back in the 60's I took a 1964 wurlitzer jukebox apart, and used the amp to run some bookshelf speakers,with a Garrard turntable. I had the loudest, ugliest stereo on the block! Also got into car audio, because dad didn't appreciate deep purple like I did! Ended up with a sanyo quad deck.added amps, 6×9's and wow dark side of the moon was awesome!
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
The solid state McIntosh amplifier with the output transformer (autoformer) didn't sound great with high Qts speakers and still doesn't because of its high output impedance. I remember that it didn't properly drive the Tannoy Dual Concentric speakers, but when you switched amplifiers to a solid state Sony, it was a great improvement in performance with good transient response.
 
Meta_Modern

Meta_Modern

Audiophyte
Well here I am as one of those mythical “millenniums”...we’re mostly all in our late 20’s to early 40’s now by the way. At 33 I can identify so hard with how I’ve built my system, and how similarly it came about as it did in the golden era of hifi. I’ve genuinely enjoyed engaging with others in my hobby, despite many being 20 years my senior. I am fortunate to have 4 hifi stores in my city that I frequent regularly, in fact I just dropped in on one today that just became a Legacy Audio dealer (my preferred brand of speaker).

HiFi as it’s portrayed in this article isn’t dead!
 
J

JackPontiac

Audiophyte
I used to mow grass deliver newspapers etc to save money for new equipment. Painstakingly aligning a new phone cartridge or the ritual of cleaning the LP before playing it. The first time I played an album I'd record it to cassette tape to preserve the vinyl.
Built many of my own speakers because that was so much fun. Choosing a woofer, tweeter crossover etc was pure enjoyment that I still enjoy doing today
 
W

WonderProfessor

Audiophyte
I will be buried with my Marantz 2245 and Dynaco A25's.
 
R

Reegie

Audiophyte
Great article, thanks for reminding me how many hours I spent researching and listening to audio gear. I have a superb system now but the process of buying the equipment wasn’t nearly as much fun as the good old days:).
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
No more horrendous voicing such as "east" or "west" coast sound in speakers. Today's equipment whose manufacturing tolerances are far tighter then could ever hope to be achievable in the 60s and 70s give us more uniform sound across a manufacturers's line. Romance can kiss my ass. I stopped wearing rose color glasses a long time ago. Now if we could only squash those fraudulent cable and interconnect companies and those whores (or like Elwood Blues stated so eloquently,.." how is that you sh?t spewing media sluts..." ) that review on both the internet and print that dare tell us that cables and interconnects impart a sound.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
that review on both the internet and print that dare tell us that cables and interconnects impart a sound.
But cables and interconnects DO impart a sound. Without them, you don't have a sound. I'm no golden ears, but that seems like a pretty big difference.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
But cables and interconnects DO impart a sound. Without them, you don't have a sound. I'm no golden ears, but that seems like a pretty big difference.
Incorrect. They CONDUCT electrical signals to the speaker which converts the electrical signals themselves too sound. Without speakers there would be no sound.
 
Ren Kitchener

Ren Kitchener

Junior Audioholic
Incorrect. They CONDUCT electrical signals to the speaker which converts the electrical signals themselves too sound. Without speakers there would be no sound.
Selecting the right low resistance and capacitance speaker cable was also part of the nostalgia and part of the excitement - the new active speakers have taken this away. I don't like active speakers for one single reason - they need to be turned on and off - twice. Oh, and the other single reason is that you can find the perfect looking speaker, but it will probably have a less perfect amplifier in it. Ah, and the other single reason is that tone control becomes difficult unless you have this in a preamp in between the speakers (I don't like remote controls either).
 
Ren Kitchener

Ren Kitchener

Junior Audioholic
I dread people playing their music to me these days. They connect BT to a small single wireless JBL speaker and play some horrible youtube clips and expect you to fall in a trance together with them on how amazing the sound is.

But their amazement with what just went on with their little squawker tells me they don’t care about it anymore.
Totally agree :D - but It's not that they don't care anymore, it's that they don't know how much better it would sound on an 'Audiophile' system (or they can't afford a better system) - regardless of the claims, a well designed large floor standing loudspeaker, is always going to sound fuller than a well designed bookshelf loudspeaker. Adding a small cheap subwoofer just makes the 'kick drum' sound stratified I think - as if it doesn't really belong to the track.
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Samurai
Totally agree :D - but It's not that they don't care anymore, it's that they don't know how much better it would sound on an 'Audiophile' system (or they can't afford a better system) - regardless of the claims, a well designed large floor standing loudspeaker, is always going to sound fuller than a well designed bookshelf loudspeaker. Adding a small cheap subwoofer just makes the 'kick drum' sound stratified I think - as if it doesn't really belong to the track.
Well, I must be a worse person than you are. I don't see agreement in what we write. :) But here, let me try to honor it, I accept your opinion and found it an interesting read, I just don't agree. Sounding fuller is one part I don't agree with. Not belonging to the track and yet being heard from the speaker just bc it's a sub... I don't know... Those things don't sound right to me. I think speaker needs to "couple" with the room and this is how you get the impression of "full". Saying that bookshelves are inferior by design, to me, sounds just like those audiophiles saying that bookshelves are the only way to listen to music. Both are extremes. I also think that if you give enough thought and time to finding a matching sub and dialing it in properly, you can in fact get better sound than many, many well designed towers (not all, mind you).

Also, I don't agree (and don't particularly like) with this "they don't know any better" explanation. I think that, even if they abandon audio all together it would be much more fair to see that as their choice and a decision and not mere lack of info, knowledge or experience.

My experience goes in this direction too. Many young kids heard my audio and were swept of their feet at that moment and then they forget it the next minute. So... amazed>forget. I think it's not such a big deal for them.

My nephew, one that really likes me, asked me to get him a stereo set up similar to mine. I got him some lovely playing gear. It was under a month (a month!!) it was sittin' on top of a wardrobe collecting dust.

I think young people react intensively to what their group, the one they like and want to be acknowledged by, appreciates and doesn't appreciate. Now it's games. What you play and how far you got. It's even starting to be fancy branded alcohol. I work in the industry so I see it only too often. The glare I had in my eyes looking at an amp attached to this post, they have while looking at a 6 liter Belvedere Vodka or magnum Dom Perignon.

As far as music goes, they keep coming back to their battery operated squawker.

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S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
The 2007/08 financial crisis was "the event" which changed our material relationship with recorded music. No money and no job meant postponement of "stereo" until manufactures began to deliver better for less, meaning things like sculptured brushed aluminum component face plates, buttons, and knobs were replaced by molded plastic. That did nothing to inspire enthusiasm to bring home a component. Then there was the iPod to iPhone transition, whereby the need for any stand alone, stay at home components to enjoy recorded music were entirely eliminated. And so it goes today, the iPhone is just about poised to bring us multi-channel music via powered satellite speakers and when that happens the concept of AVR's, and Pre-Pro's will simply be rejected by those who favor convenience over implied complexity.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I don't like active speakers for one single reason - they need to be turned on and off - twice. Oh, and the other single reason is that you can find the perfect looking speaker, but it will probably have a less perfect amplifier in it. Ah, and the other single reason is that tone control becomes difficult unless you have this in a preamp in between the speakers (I don't like remote controls either).
A lot of active speakers will power down if they sense no signal after awhile. You don't need to turn them off, they turn themselves off.

As for amplifier matching, you are not going to do a better job of finding an amp that matches the speaker than the engineers who designed the powered speaker, assuming they were competent. The amps are a very finely tuned match for the drivers. This is a reason TO buy powered speakers, not a reason not to buy them. With a passive speaker, you can kind of find an amp that is a good fit, but you will not ever give it a perfect fit. In a good powered speaker, the amp is just right for the drivers, so you don't spend any extraneous resources getting more power than you need or having less power than you need for the speaker.

As for tone controls, that is something you set once and forget, so how is it a big hassle? Are you adjusting it all the time? If so, what you need is an outboard equalizer, not built-in tone controls. And what are you comparing it to, the nonexistent tone controls on a passive speaker?
 
Ren Kitchener

Ren Kitchener

Junior Audioholic
Saying that bookshelves are inferior by design, to me, sounds just like those audiophiles saying that bookshelves are the only way to listen to music. Both are extremes.
As far as music goes, they keep coming back to their battery operated squawker.
Not liking to go off topic, but:

Oh, no Killdozzer, both large and small speakers have their place - one is neither better than the other for a certain task, and I'll try to explain this the best I can - to enjoy listening to music as it was recorded, you sort of need to have the exact same small near-field monitors and large far-field speakers in a room that is the same as the control room or the post production suite where it was mixed/EQ'd. This is going to be difficult to achieve in any normal room in any house regardless of 'tuning it' or matching it with the speakers - there is always going to be a degree of 'colouration' we have to live with (which is still pretty good in most cases). Also, recordings never publish what speakers the track was mixed with - so there is no chance.

I can certainly say that the smaller speakers do not sound as full (i.e. extended bass response) as the larger far-field speakers in a studio. If you have ever been in a top studio or post production suite, which I'm sure you may well have, and listened to the sound - you'd agree that it's staggeringly impressive - and I mean, 'staggeringly'. They will mix with both near and far field speakers - therefore, saying one is better than the other, for listening to music, is not right.

They rarely have Subs (some studios do, and some don't), because the far-field speakers are often MASSIVE and could probably extend into the infrasonic range. When you switch over to nearfield with a sub, the sound is a little stratified by comparison, but they test the mix with them because that's the setup one has for watching films etc. Some still test the mix with the old Yamaha NS10S monitors (which is still on-topic I guess) - which are an acoustic suspension design, tighter than a.....tight thing. Some hate them, but I love them because the mix sounds so 'together'.

ADDENDUM: Just to throw U-turn into the works - I known some engineers who also test the mix with the said battery operated squawker.....:eek:

Nevertheless - this is my opinion and my opinion alone.
 
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J

jose luis saiz

Audiophyte
Hace mucho que no leía algo tan coherente y actualizado para un apasionado del buen hifi. Totalmente de acuerdo. Ya no se sueña con el equipo de música que se quiere. Cuando vas a cómpralo lo primero que ocurre es que no te entienden, quieren venderte lo que les interesa y no llegas a ninguna parte. Una frustración total. Un ejemplo. Un día hace años entre en una tienda puntera y especializada en equipos de calidad. Lleve un Laser Disc, que a pesar de tener todas las etiquetas acreditativas de Dolby resulta que estaba en mono. Un solo canal. Imposible explicárselo al vendedor (y creo que no le interesaba). Además hoy se fabrica todo con fecha de caducidad. Y no preguntes por una avería u otra cosa relacionada con la actualización de dicho equipo. Solo venden, no saben nada. Desde Hace años disfruto de la serie ES de Sony. Increíble calidad. Estoy empezando a sufrir averías que ya no arregla nadie. Tiene 30 años, de acuerdo. Pero el servicio de la compañía o talleres técnicos podrían solucionar algunos asuntos. Miedo da llevarlos a reparar. Ya tengo una pletina DAT en el trastero porque se degrado la esponja que atrapa la cinta; una cassette de tres cabezas igual; un video Sony, el mejor que fabrico, lo mismo; un Laser Disc, etc. Cuando se tiene este "gusanillo" por nuestra aficion es muy dificil mantenerte en ella, todo ahora esta dirigido al consumo y si se rompe a comprar otro. Pero aun siento la ilusión por ella y supongo que es de otro tiempo que ahora no interesa , pero es algo que te mantiene vivo por dentro y empezó hace muchísimos años y aun sigue dentro. Gracias por rememorar ese sentimiento. (tengo 65 años)
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Not liking to go off topic, but:

Oh, no Killdozzer, both large and small speakers have their place - one is neither better than the other for a certain task, and I'll try to explain this the best I can - to enjoy listening to music as it was recorded, you sort of need to have the exact same small near-field monitors and large far-field speakers in a room that is the same as the control room or the post production suite where it was mixed/EQ'd. This is going to be difficult to achieve in any normal room in any house regardless of 'tuning it' or matching it with the speakers - there is always going to be a degree of 'colouration' we have to live with (which is still pretty good in most cases). Also, recordings never publish what speakers the track was mixed with - so there is no chance.

I can certainly say that the smaller speakers do not sound as full (i.e. extended bass response) as the larger far-field speakers in a studio. If you have ever been in a top studio or post production suite, which I'm sure you may well have, and listened to the sound - you'd agree that it's staggeringly impressive - and I mean, 'staggeringly'. They will mix with both near and far field speakers - therefore, saying one is better than the other, for listening to music, is not right.

They rarely have Subs (some studios do, and some don't), because the far-field speakers are often MASSIVE and could probably extend into the infrasonic range. When you switch over to nearfield with a sub, the sound is a little stratified by comparison, but they test the mix with them because that's the setup one has for watching films etc. Some still test the mix with the old Yamaha NS10S monitors (which is still on-topic I guess) - which are an acoustic suspension design, tighter than a.....tight thing. Some hate them, but I love them because the mix sounds so 'together'.

Nevertheless - this is my opinion and my opinion alone.
Just a sidebar, I used to produce radio commercials and thus I have overseen production at several studios in my region, mostly supervision of voice over talent, SFX, and stock music selection; but, on some occasions full jingle production. From this experience I can tell you two things: first, a finished commercial mastered to DAT could indeed be indistinguishable from talent, off mic and sans sound reinforcement, reading commercial's script; and, second, the finished commercial on DAT could be played in my home via a system consisting of very divergent speakers (JBL L100t3's) than those in production studio (Tannoy) and still deliver an impression that the talent was in right there in my home. The bottom-line is I know from my experience in radio commercial production that recorded music can indeed sound exactly like the original performance regardless to it being an acoustic or sound reinforced electronic presentation. The thing is any recording we might be entertained by is not going to relate to personal experience with the orginal performance so we just don't know if what we are listening to sounds real.
 
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