What kind of stereo you have is really not important here! (REVISITED)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by AVTechMan, Mar 28, 2012.

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  1. hi_watt

    hi_watt The Road Warrior

    San Diego, CA
    I love my set-up, and look forward to listening to it as I also did my research, and stayed within my means in regards to what I paid; even if it is used equipment. Sounds good to me! Plus, I actually listen to my Itunes a lot on my PC since it's VERY convenient as well!
  2. farmingdad

    farmingdad Forum Resident

    albany, oregon
    Those numbers were not meant for investment purposes
  3. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Southeast US
    Something I've seen on this forum is a member who had equipment similar to yours wishing aloud to hear his records on better-still equipment and other members eyerolled / ridiculed him . . . So even when a member is not trying to one-up anyone but himself, the worms still come out of the woodwork.

    Me, I describe my hear as mid-fi at best. I heard the good stuff, and could never afford it.
  4. kfringe

    kfringe Well-Known Member

    Oregon Coast
    That wouldn't color my thoughts. That would make me uncharitably murderous.

    Right with you. I'd either be dead, or I'd still have the hangover.
  5. Balthazar

    Balthazar Forum Resident

    it's been something else. a lot of it is common sense stuff, too. chances are the guy who says he prefers a local sale probably isn't going to be inclined to pay for the shipping of over 120 lbs of speakers/stands in three separate boxes when you make an offer well under his asking price. i know that saying, "you don't know until you ask" but sometimes people should think before they ask.

    i even had one person call me to tell me that he thinks i should not sell the speakers. he then told me to make some adjustments that i had already made. i kept waiting for him to ask about purchasing them, but he was just calling to tell me why he thought i should keep them. it was nice, but odd.

    fortunately, the guys who bought the dac and sacd player turned out to be real gentlemen and were a pleasure to deal with.

    i need an aspirin just thinking about that hangover. and what it must be like to sell audio equipment full time. to anyone out there who does that for a living, i salute you.
  6. reapers

    reapers Forum Resident

    I see the point you are making (and agree such an upgrade may result in a gain), but I have to pick on your use of the word “staggering”. So much of the back and forth debate in the hardware forum I think revolves around how people are describing the level of differences they hear. Without hearing the REF 5, I am surprised that an upgrade to the SE would be “staggering”. If it is truly staggering, is it a vast improvement or is it changing the color of the sound in some wild way?

    To me, this is like comparing two supercars which have acceleration times of 2.8 and 2.9 seconds and saying the difference in acceleration was staggering.

    I have heard staggering improvements in my system, but that was when I compared an old Philips DVD player to my old Arcam FMJ33 just for fun. Another example was when I put a BBE sound processor in my system just for fun. Maybe it’s just me, but any serious upgrades I have made to quality products in my system have been minor and nuanced. Otherwise, it would seem that something must be malfunctioning to have such a profound difference in sound. If every upgrade makes a staggering difference to the sound of your system, it would seem difficult to know what the end goal is.

    So words like staggering, “night and day”, “profound” or “trounces” are puzzling to me. I always assumed the upgrade path results in smaller and smaller incremental improvements as you go. So, in the beginning you might be at “85%” and over time you would make incremental enhancements to 90%, 98%, 99%, 99.1%, etc.

    Sorry if I’m being pedantic and you’re using “staggering” to mean “subtle”.


    TONEPUB Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon

    When Joe Harley at AudioQuest suggested I upgrade my REF 5 and REF Phono 2 to the SE models, because the difference was "huge" I was intrigued, because he's not a gear guy at all. As we were getting them both in for review and it would be easy to compare them side by side, what would be the harm?

    As ARC has made some major cap changes based on what they've learned with the REF 40 preamplifier and DOUBLED the size of the power supply in each model while only raising the price $1000 on each (though the upgrade for an older model is $2000), yes the difference is staggering, not subtle.

    Having owned over 20 pieces of ARC gear over the last 25 years, they have done a few Mk.2, Mk.3 upgrades that were subtle, or a little better. But not this time. I would call the $2000 upgrade from the REF 5 or REF Phono 2 to the SE model one of the best buys in audio today. And considering that they didn't come out with a "REF6" that now makes the REF 5 obsolete (i.e. can't be upgraded) forcing the customer to take a substantial loss if they want to trade up icing on the cake.

    You are being pedantic and being that you've heard neither of these preamplifiers, how can you possibly comment?
  8. JBStephens

    JBStephens I don't "like", "share", "tweet", or CARE. In Memoriam

    South Mountain, NC

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  9. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    Hey. I'm in Portland. Invite me over. I'll even bring LPs/CDs i'm very familiar with of various styles of music. If i'm thus staggered, i'll say so. I'll even buy you a pint at your local after.
  10. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    I've enjoyed several STAGGERING upgrades to my system- totally night and day. One example that didn't cost a dime was proper speaker and listening position alignment. I was absolutely shocked and even a bit irritated as I wasn't expecting to hear much of a change (since I didn't believe that such things were important at the time...so I was wrong <gasp>). Another example was an upgrade from Cary's solid state pre-amp (now discontinued) to the tube SLP-98. Simply amazing. It must have taken two weeks to adapt.

    I'd go as far as to say that if a large upgrade has been implemented and the result fails to impress in a serious way that the upgrade was likely a mistake. There are any number of subtle upgrades that don't cost too much and a few which are expensive, but a true major upgrade and even sometimes one that isn't much of a leap (in price) should result in a mad scramble through the music collection and an ear to ear grin that just won't quit.
  11. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    You got that right.

    Fact is, most of us have not had a chance to live with a wide variety of gear, in order to form comparative opinions.
  12. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Las Vegas, NV, USA

    Ok, only $2000. I'm not saying it's not worth it, however, $2000 is still a lot of money.
  13. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    I think the "Staggering" and "Huge" descriptions fall into the trap of what many call ..uhmmmm....."Male internet inches"....

    I find this to be mostly an internet thing though. In real life experiences, ive rarely ran across the so called "Night and day" descriptions, as its a lot more likely if you are talking to someone face to face, to be able to actually "hear" what they are talking about and they hence use a lot more self control in describing something and usually the description is a lot closer to reality.

    Excitement over an incremental or minor improvement, at times, will cause one to emote wildly and even at times, exaggerate the importance of a change in relation to the excitement of the person describing it.

    The only times ive heard "Night and Day" or "Trounces" or "Staggering", have been with big speaker changes. Mostly talking from going from entry level or mid priced stuff, to fairly expensive truly high quality stuff.

    Its easy to get carried away with the jargon and adjetives, but in the end, if half the stuff everyone describes as a night and day difference really were that profound, than sound quality even amongst top notch stuff would by definition of the describer, have to be all over the place...with no end goal in sight.
  14. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Some people get all bent out of shape, even over 3 cents..:D
  15. kfringe

    kfringe Well-Known Member

    Oregon Coast
    That's *really* not an impulse purchase in my world, but my world doesn't have a six figure system in it. On the other hand, if I already had twelve grand sunk into my phono pre, knowing that there was a massively effective upgrade that probably cost less than my cartridge would be pretty handy.

    You know, that's actually a pretty good example of not always needing to spend vast amounts more money than you already have. That's not to say that the example wasn't just a little stratospheric, but Tonepub's system might be just a little stratospheric.

    It's good to know that the guys with that über-gear can still have some fun.
  16. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    I can truly believe you feel that was the end result, but I also think for clarifications sake, many feel that "night and day" means perhaps something else entirely.

    To me, night and day, would mean one thing is absolute rubbish, and the other is fantastic. Total opposites, as day is light, night is dark.

    That to me would mean you found your previous solid state amp, to be utter rubbish and the tube version utterly fantastic.

    Im not disagreeing with you at all, but think maybe the words one uses, denotes entirely different changes to different people:confused:
  17. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Again, I'm not saying it's not worth it. It probably is. I was just sayin' that $2k isn't chump change in the real world.
  18. TommyTunes

    TommyTunes Senior Member

    Kevin are you now really going to lecture us on the use of common expressions? :help:
  19. kfringe

    kfringe Well-Known Member

    Oregon Coast
    My experience is a bit different. I've heard that effect with pretty much every piece of gear in the chain at one point or another.

    I suspect that you have, in fact, just described quite a bit of the audiophile marketplace.
  20. kfringe

    kfringe Well-Known Member

    Oregon Coast
  21. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    True they are very common ( mostly online ), but its not a lecture, its simply stating that I think we all have wildly varying ideas of what they mean, hence they are quite useless at times.

    If things were as "Night and day" different as many describe, that would by definition mean, that even amongst High end stuff, some is utter rubbish, some is utterly fantastic. At least to me thats how it comes off.

    Descriptions lose any insight or true validity if every change is described as "Huge" "earth shattering" "Utterly trounced" or "Night and day"

    A nuanced and more restrained description actually makes a posters description seem more, not only credible, but more useful.

    I think a lot of the descriptors, are actually describing ones happiness over a change, but not actually describing the actual sound improvement they hear.

    The way I read a lot of the descriptions, it seems as if the new item is fantastic, the old one horrible, but I cant imagine someone living with a $2500 pre-amp that was rubbish, only to change it out to a $3500 one and find audio nirvana.....

    I read it as having a 0-100 scale to represent sound quality, but if one only uses a 100 to represent something they like and 0 to represent something that is lesser sound wise, you lose a wide range of ability to convey what one is truly hearing.
  22. tootull

    tootull the summer lightning cuts the sky like a hot wire

    There's a Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson lyric for almost everything.
    Well, you got a nice apartment here with appliances and CD.
    We're gonna leave your stereo, but we'll have your soul for tea.
    I'm not speaking of material things.
    Gonna chew you up, gonna suck you in,
    'cos we're all kinds of animals coming here:
    occasional demons too.

  23. kfringe

    kfringe Well-Known Member

    Oregon Coast
    I think first statement might be stretching it a bit. Unless someone explicitly describes something as absolute crap, your interpretation is really off base.

    For example, I think there's a night and day difference between Guinness and Beamish, but I wouldn't call either swill. I see people using these terms to describe how obvious the character of a change is, not necessarily to denote a binary quality assessment. You're choosing to read this sort of description to mean that one is a beer and the other is a chunk of rebar in a plastic cup.

    I understand how the prose habits that lead to this sort of description could annoy you, but that would seem to be a different problem.
  24. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Thanks. :cool::thumbsup:
  25. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Yes I get where you are coming from, but im not "choosing" to read descriptions that way, I think its an automatic thing. :righton:

    Of course I almost never use wild big sweeping adjetives to describe things. Id rather go overboard with a lot of nuanced in depth very detailed descriptions to show "what" parts of the sound were different. I dont know..mabye its me.

    One person tries a new brand or grade of gas, and feels a night and day difference in how their car runs.

    I tend to feel, a slight reduction in pinging and a noticable but mild improvement going up hills, and perhaps a more steady and smooth idle.
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