Starting over?

Discussion in 'New Gear - Values' started by SeattleHiFi, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. hifix

    hifix Active Member

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    Location:
    Trial Mountain
    Would really like to know what you'd consider a standout speaker(s)... i'll be keen to try and free up some time and go listen to some.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  2. RGA

    RGA Super Member

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    1,098
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Well there are several speakers in the sub $2k range that would be worth trying. I prefer my AX Two to the KEF LS-50 and the AX Two (hand made in Denmark) is under $1k(Or the AZ Two and AZ Three floorstanders). If space is amenable there is Spatial Audio M4 Turbo S which is made in the USA (not China like the KEF). Some, though not everyone, care about such things. The Spatial Audio Speakers come with a 20 year warranty and a 60 day in home trial.

    http://www.spatialaudio.us/hologram-m3-m4

    There is the ATC SCM 19 http://atcloudspeakers.co.uk/hi-fi/loudspeakers/entry-series/scm19/
    Omega speakers (I have not directly heard them but similar single driver speakers in Asia and Omega is arguably better. https://omegaloudspeakers.com/collections/tower-speakers

    This is kind of off the top of my head. And most of these are a few hundred dollars more.
     
  3. SeattleHiFi

    SeattleHiFi Active Member

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    142
    The Omega speakers look quite interesting. They seem to be more of a tube/SET pairing, how would they fair with a Yamaha AS1100 is the question? Yamaha uses MOSFET, has a warm sound.
     
  4. hifix

    hifix Active Member

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    240
    Location:
    Trial Mountain
    Thank you! Time to do some listening.
     
  5. DesertTwang

    DesertTwang Active Member

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    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Wow. This thread amazes me. The idea of owning thousands of $$$ worth of equipment and not being happy with the sound appears strange — and a bit sad — to me. To be sure, I'm not making this comment to voice criticism in any way, and I hope people won't take it that way.

    Reading this thread merely prompted me to take stock of my own situation. I don't call myself an "audiophile," but as a musician who regularly plays with other musicians, I do think I have some kind of idea of what instruments are supposed to sound like, and whether a recording sounds good or bad. My equipment (all used vintage gear that I partially bought new as a teenager or acquired more recently) cost a combined amount of ~ $1,500, and when I play my favorite music on it, it sounds so awesome it brings tears to my eyes.

    Sometimes I do wonder if I'm settling for less. Recently, when I visited my local "Stereo Hospital" to buy a $100 vintage equalizer, I noticed some kind of vintage tube amp sitting on the shelf (I forget the brand, maybe a McIntosh?), and the price tag of $999 prevented me from taking a closer look. I did catch myself, however, wondering, "Hm, maybe I should look into this whole tube thing sometime." I'm mostly just curious.

    But reading this thread makes me wonder if embarking on the "quest to audio nirvana" might be more like entering the "gate to purgatory?" As long as my music sounds awesome and fulfilling to me, maybe I should just stay where I am (?).

    Anyway, just musings, nothing more.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  6. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    1,739
    I'm in the same boat, Seattle. You focus, and so do all the replies, on the gear. Challenging the notion that spending more will solve the problem, is both rational and healthy. All my components are dirt cheap in terms of what I spent, but if their prices when new, adjusted for inflation, are considered, they're very expensive — I just got insane bargains, which was a combination of luck, a long time to accumulate the collection, and living in NYC and LA, where high-end gear is plentiful.

    Yet like you "I just don't enjoy music as much anymore." The Music is still great, the gear is great — and I've been wondering if it's some change in me — my thinking, feeling, mood, I don't know, and I don't have an answer. Just putting it out there....
     
  7. RGA

    RGA Super Member

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    1,098
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    There is a saying ignorance is bliss - and it's not an insult here it's that you don't know what you miss if you don't try it. Like Sushi - back in the 70s it was not popular because the idea of eating uncooked fish would make the average western person puke in their mouth - now Sushi restaurants are on every block practically. Well in cities because people in cities tend to be exposed to more food, culture, art, ideas etc that people who live in the middle of nowhere.

    But let's also be clear that you don't NEED sushi and you may not even like sushi. And with music - I can be perfectly happy to listen to a $1500 stereo for the rest of my years - but exposure does have an impact. I have usually always bought $10 watches. Moving to Hong Kong the watch capital of the world has me walking by watch shop after watch shop and finally after 5 years living here I broke down and bought a $400 watch. Chances are had I not lived here and seen them all the darn time I would not have bought one.

    As an audio reviewer I have spent more on audio than I would have if I were not a reviewer largely due to exposure to more and more equipment to the point where I have heard most all of the top brands and their top of the line components. I could be happy with a $1500 system - but it gets under your skin a bit and the more you hear the more it tends to pry open the wallet.

    And being a musician sort of depends on what sort of musician - most musicians play in bands with amplified instruments. So a rock musician has a different perspective on sound than a concert oboist. If you are a rock musician and you love Guns and Roses - well as a kid you hear Guns and Roses at a rock concert - amplified LOUD music - you decide to play an electric guitar because Slash is cool and you get the equipment that makes you resemble Slash - amplified music.

    And what sorts of speakers do rock really well - big big BIG horn speakers -- vintage Altec and Khorns. And if you want to recreate AC/DC in your house those speakers will bring the Shake in Shook Me all Night Long. That's why I would recommend such speakers over almost any new $1500 speaker (maybe all new $1500 speakers) because most of the new ones really can't rock worth crap all.

    Having said that - we go back to the acoustic unamplified and vocal music. And some systems really bring out a level of subtlety that Altec and Khorns lack - they go big and loud and thump but where most horns run into trouble is wind instruments unamplified music and vocals. It's also where SS, IME, fails miserably. But again you don't know it fails miserably until you hear product X and then go back to your amp. I owned arguably the best reviewed "budget" $1300 integrated amplifier SS(Solid State) in the 1990s from Arcam. Then I heard a SET amplifier which relegated that Arcam to dog poo status. I couldn't sell it fast enough.

    Now this isn't to say that high end equipment can't play AC/DC either but in order to do all genres well the prices start to rise. SET amplifiers sound beautiful but at typically under 10 watts - they need High Efficient speakers and that costs money to do well these days.

    My speakers are geared for classical music aficionados. As you can see here - when they are at audio shows they often have Vincent Belanger play in front of a version of my speakers.



    But luckily they can rock and the owner of the company at audio shows will typically use Split the Atom, Rage Against the Machine, DIO, Nightwish, and the like running from an 8 watt amplifier to illustrate what it can do - and usually it out pounds most of the stuff at these audio shows. It takes a big horn speaker to beat em.

    It's rarely about the price you pay in the end - I own an Audio Note AX Two speaker that sells for $850 that can bring a tear to my eye listening to Eva Cassidy and I can listen to my AN E/Spx Alnico at more than 25 times the price. The latter is better - but it's not needed for me to be happy - the $850 speaker makes me happy. Perhaps it's like finding a beautiful, funny, caring woman to marry - The $850 speaker. The idiot priced one is then finding out she's kinky in the best way - woo ha. Your happy life with happy wife just became ecstatic life. :whip:

    :banana:
     
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  8. hifix

    hifix Active Member

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    240
    Location:
    Trial Mountain
    This might have been the start of it all... :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
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  9. SeattleHiFi

    SeattleHiFi Active Member

    Messages:
    142
    Well, as an update to this thread, I am much happier with my system these days. And I think there are a lot of reasons why one can become disappointed in a system, whether it is expensive or not (relative factor, obviously.) As RGA pointed out, there is an element of exposure to different strata of performance that can kindle dissatisfaction. Like, if you ever get to hear proper well defined bass response, then it is hard to forget. Bass response is tricky, and so many factors complicate getting it right, and not least the room that you are in. This is just an example of an aspect that can require effort over time to find the best compromise. The habitualization of optimization in setup (I'm super into vinyl, so this bit gets me pretty hard), can set yourself up for disappointment. Playing with gear and setup has made me realize that there is a specific sound quality that I am after, which makes things even harder if you feel like you are not getting it, and when you couple this with the exposure to the many types of gear and performance that exist out there it gets kind of daunting, and I think easy to get lost in the fray.

    I have enjoyed learning about the distinctive differences in components, setup and everything else in this crazy hobby. At times I have really wanted to forget all of it too, but ultimately, my appreciation of music and those who make it is at an all time high. I don't have any real answers to avoiding these traps and pitfalls, I think it is just part and parcel of being alive in a time of cultural excessiveness and materialism (the negative) but also with many genuinely good and interesting products available at different price points (the positive.)
    At this point, I would say my main desire would be to afford a set of full-range speakers. However, I live in an Apt, and it is probably for the best that I currently do not own some! And in the mean time, I am enjoying the process of this whole thing.
     
  10. ictwoody

    ictwoody I like vintage gear — my preamp is from 2007. Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,751
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Excellent, well written post, @SeattleHiFi. Cheers!

    - Woody
     
  11. xero-D-hero

    xero-D-hero Super Member

    Messages:
    2,111
    I really like the earlier ATC SCM19 recommendation,but even those dont really go low enough to be considered full range.

    Me,I'd probably be looking into the Bryston Mini T,now those go pretty deep (in the 30's @ +/-3db ),and are'nt crazy big (3 way with a 8" woofer).
    Ask me they should be perfect for apt. dwellers who are looking for good bass response w/o subwoofers that may annoy the neighbors.
    And ask me they would pair very nicely with the current Yamaha AS-1100,so there would be no need to unload that unit.

    FWIW TAS has a glowing review of these... >>>> http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/bryston-mini-t-loudspeaker/

    And one should be able to find somewhere local to audition a pair of these as well.
    Or one could buy from somewhere that has a fairly liberal return policy (30 day trial or such).

    Not the cheapest option mind you,but they seem worth the price,as a comparable speaker would almost certainly cost much more than these do.

    Food for thought.

    HTH

    Bret P.
     

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