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White Pheasant

Why spend a fortune?

17 posts in this topic

Had a little late nightheadphone sessionbefore bedtimelast night and got a pleasantly surprising experience!

Itried CD, FM tuner and Freeview (didn't have time for vinyl or tape)using myDVD player as source for the CDs.Despite most of the equipment usedbeing bargain basement stuff, the resulting sound was genuinely enjoyable and genuinelyengaging (and no, I wasn't intoxicated!) In fact I ended up playing far more tracks than I was intending to -always a good sign -and didn't get to bed until 2:45 this morning!

Detail, separation, texture,soundstaging, timing, musicality - everything was present and correct. Sure theremight have been the odd little 'technical'weakness that a headphone junkie [Paul B?] could have picked ahole in, but I honestly believe that no setup - at any price - could have provided much more in terms of sheermusical enjoyment, which is surely what it's all about at the end of the day.

I don't have a dedicated headphone amp (and my integrated doesn't have a socket) so I was using theone in my Denon cassette deck for the phones jack. This is actuallya veryuseful solution as itprovidescontrolof bothoutput and input levelswhich is invaluableforadjusting between different sources andvarying originalrecordinglevels.

Buthere'sthe joke of it. Theheadphones -23 year old Sennheiser HD 410s -cost just£20 RRP. The discsource used - Panasonic DVD-S27 - was a Christmas present last year (bought from Richer Sounds) and again cost just £20. The cassette deck used for the headphone jackis over 10 years old andavailable on Ebay for around £30. Ok theywere all being used through a quality amplifier - my NAIT 5i - but I dare say similar results could have been achieved through something cheaper in that department too.

Of course this was 'only' using headphones and I appreciate that regularloudspeaker listening presentsgreater potential problems. (Having said that, my Neat Mystiques also perform admirably considering what I paid for them).When you have an experience like that though, it makes you wonder about the apparent audiophile philosophy of having to spend £ many thousands on electronicsin order toobtainsatisfactory audio stimulation. But thenperhaps the sound itself is sometimesnot the primary consideration.

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Not disputing anything you have said above and good on yer too.

In my particular instance I was quite happy with my own modest little setup similar to yours until one day I walked into a dealers just at the time when the shop assistants decided to chuck all the stock into a heap and see what transpired. They put together a complete system from some unlikely sources and the sound it produced has haunted me ever since.

It would have been wonderful to whip my cheque book out there and then to buy the completesystem as I heard it, but as usual I couldn't afford a decent suit never mind the price tag I was facing on that day. The deep love for my system that I had then evaporated instantly and where I used to rush over to the system at every opportunityto play some music before, it got a scant swish from the duster weekly thereafter.

Years pass, fortunes and obligations turn around, so off you go searching for that elusive sound once more but you cannot find it again. You naively believe that in the intervening periodnewer kit has been brought out that will easily trounce the system you heard all the time ago but in reality you are kidding yourself, because those advances don't in reality exist, just like washing powder washes whiter this year than it did last year and washes 10 times whiter than it washed 10 years ago.

At that time I virtually had an open cheque book so money was no object and every weekend the lounge was scattered with boxes that had a veritable whos-who of famous name labels on them, but the cocktail wouldn't gel quite like the mish mash the dealer managed to assemble on that fateful day all that time ago. I couldn't buy any of it secondhand either; OK I could with some effort manage to pick up one or two bits maybe, but it had to be all or nothing for me.

Whatever you buy just hasn't got that realism, dynamics, the kick in the guts quality to the bass, the treble that is as pure as a mountain stream, so you end up buying and selling an endless parade of kit in the hope of finding your El Dorado system once more. Fool you if you rely on magazine reviews to guide you along the way, because I equate them to the marketing pimps that flog that mythical whitersoap powder.

To sum up then Mr White Pheasant, lock your doors to the outside world where there is never any chance in hell you are going to hear anything better than you heard during that magical listening session, otherwise you'll easily join the ranks of hi-fi zombies spending vast amounts of loot and searching the planet for a sound that has long drifted away into the mist.

ENJOY IT!!!

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Effem wrote:

Not disputing anything you have said above and good on yer too.

Thanks Effem,

And just to confound people even more:

Had a listening session this afternoon - TT and Tape deck today - this time through the speakers. And guess what? The Denon cassette deck (which, as I said earlier, is worth about £30), playing correctly maderadio recordings, soundedequally as enjoyable, musicaland engaging - albeit with a slightly differentcharacter - as the TT setup (over £1k RRP with cart and phono stage)!

I kept listening outfor it's weak points...because I've been toldby 'audiophiles'that cassette simplycan't sound good... but however hard I tried, the music just kept winning me overwith it'senjoyable sound. Strange! :shock:

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Well I for one enjoy a lot of acoustic and vocal music.. And so I crave detail .... and whereas 'musicality' is bestowed upon a lot of budget gear, real detail is only unearthed when one pays more.

However, a student at 20, I don't have the means to 'spend a fortune' but it is something to aim for :)

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nixon_fiend wrote:

Well I for one enjoy a lot of acoustic and vocal music.. And so I crave detail .... and whereas 'musicality' is bestowed upon a lot of budget gear, real detail is only unearthed when one pays more.

Unfortunately [or isthat fortunately?] I don't believe that's the case any more - particularly within the digital domain. With the manufacturing cost of 'new technology' coming down all the time,audio 'detail' is becoming increasinglycheap and easyto implement.In fact Ireckon many of today's 'budget boxes'nowchurn out as much detail as some of the expensive'high end' players, so I'm afraid that argument is fast becoming redundant.

Next!

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RE: detail.....I must disagree I'm afraid.....   do yourself a favour and listen to a sugden a21a ....I compared it to a nait 5i and my current x-80 and it blew them both away.Forget about cdps..  i've come to believe just as much detail 'comes' from the amp as much as the cdp.Through the sugden.. detail is MORE than detail.. a clap isn't just revealed as such.. you can HEAR how hard the clap is .. the decay .. it seems like you KNOW why the artist has clapped (weird - you have to hear it) it makes every other amp i've heard sound artificial.I don't think you need to spend a fortune but i do think you need to spend at least 1k on a sugden :)  And then if you want big volume and punchy bass coupled with clarity.. then you gotta spend a fortune :)   

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White Pheasant wrote:

nixon_fiend wrote:

Well I for one enjoy a lot of acoustic and vocal music.. And so I crave detail .... and whereas 'musicality' is bestowed upon a lot of budget gear, real detail is only unearthed when one pays more.

In fact Ireckon many of today's 'budget boxes'nowchurn out as much detail as some of the expensive'high end' players, so I'm afraid that argument is fast becoming redundant.

Next!

oh so wrong, on the whole, your right you don't get any more detail, per se, except every detail is tangible, very hard to describe, you need to hear it for yourself, go on go and listen to a £20k system, shouldn't be hard to set up. you'll eat your words, belive me, you either get it or you don't.
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Admin

Actually why not spend a fortune . Unless you know something abut the afterlife i'm not aware of. You can't take it with you:PBlow it. Blow the feckin lot.

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nixon_fiend wrote:

RE: detail.....I must disagree I'm afraid..... do yourself a favour and listen to a sugden a21a ....I compared it to a nait 5i and my current x-80 and it blew them both away.Forget about cdps.. i've come to believe just as much detail 'comes' from the amp as much as the cdp.Through the sugden.. detail is MORE than detail.. a clap isn't just revealed as such.. you can HEAR how hard the clap is .. the decay .. it seems like you KNOW why the artist has clapped (weird - you have to hear it) it makes every other amp i've heard sound artificial.I don't think you need to spend a fortune but i do think you need to spend at least 1k on a sugden :)And then if you want big volume and punchy bass coupled with clarity.. then you gotta spend a fortune :)

Ah yes, you're now talking about clarityas opposed todetail. And yes, I agreethatclarity ismore a product of the amplifier(I see detailas being morea property of the source).

But of course with products like the Sonic Impact T-amp nowcoming along for around £20, even clarity in ampscouldsoonbe getting cheaper as well! I'm not sure that the Sugden would be my cup of tea for the kind of music and presentation Ilike - I personally find the NAIT 5i offersenough clarity for my needs whilst also providingall thevolume and punchy bass I need too. But horses for courses etc.

So I'm afraid, at least from my own point of view,I still don't see any need to spend a fortune thanks. :)

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