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Old 11-19-2012, 08:56 AM   #26
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You can spend $50k to sound better than a $5k system or to sound worse. Seems like your friend is going down the latter path.

And I guess it may be "better" to his subjective/placebo-effected ears, but that's still worse in terms of accuracy and fidelity. A lot of people like the distortions of vinyl. But that's distortion.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:09 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
Maybe 2k, but how about 10k?

I probably have that in my setup. I can guaran-damn-tee you that it sound better than any movie theater I've even been in, IMAX included. IMAX has a shitload of speakers, but the room is so big it doesn't seem like it. You FEEL the music or movie sound track in my living room.
And I FEEL the music and movie sound track in my small living room as well (with a sub 1000 system).....its only 13x 17 (mind you).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
Now the difference in sound quality between my setup and a 50K one? Probably the speakers. I could spend a bit more on some better ones and probably hear some difference.
IMO, I could spend a LOT more on my amp and preamp without hearing much, if any difference.

Here are my price points:

B&K Reference 20 SII Preamp: 2k (slightly over, IIRC)
Also occasionally used:
McIntosh MC2205 Amp, for the mains. Was close to 2k when my Dad bought it
in about 1978. Been having trouble finding someone good to get it working reliably, so I won't count it in the price, but it's awesome when working.

Anthem MCA 50 Amp: About 1500 MSRP. ish

Speakers: Definitive BP 2002 mains. 1k each, so 2k, new. (they have subs with 125 watt amps in each of them)

Surrounds: Also Definitives. Center was 500-ish, don't remember on the surrounds.

edit: Forgot my sub:
M&K V75. 750-ish, new.

That's roughly 8k or so in just the main audio stuff, not counting any input devices or the TV.

IMO, I wouldn't hear a bit of difference if I bought a more expensive preamp or amp. And even if I did, it certainly wouldn't be enough to justify the extra cost.

About the only place I could see that might make an improvement that was both noticeable AND cost-effective, would be my speakers. And even then, I'm not sure they would be THAT much better.

Now, going for a "more expensive when new" set of speakers in the used market, that would make more sense, but if I only wanted "new", then IMO I'm at the point of diminishing returns if I decide I want to upgrade.
You will never convince me to buy $1000 speaker.......and that it sounds 10x better than say, $100 polk.

Does it sound better? Sure but not 10x
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:12 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by purbeast0 View Post
a $50k system WILL sound better than a $5k system. that is just a fact.

some people care about the details while others are easily pleased.
I think the opposite is true. Most $5k systems will sound better than most $50k systems. There two parts to the cost of developing a sound system. The fixed R&D cost and the manufacturing cost. A $50k system sells so much fewer units than a $5k system that they can't possibly spend nearly as much money developing it in spite of the much higher profit margins. On the manufacturing side, there is nothing worth doing that is going to cost more than a couple thousand to manufacture unless you want rock concert volume levels. DAC's, amps, and speakers are just not that complicated (from a manufacturing standpoint).
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:00 AM   #29
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Speakers are very subjective, in my opinion. The area that I take issue with is when people claim some cable is better than another. I do not believe there are many, if any, people that can actually hear a difference between two properly assembled cables of the same gauge and length. That's just physics as far as I'm concerned. Same with power cables. If it's manufactured correctly, it will work fine. Plugging it in a specific way is not going to be a perceivable difference.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:15 AM   #30
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This is a picture of a high end speaker set on sale on Kijiji. Now look at the size of the speaker wires. You could probably run 200 Amps safely in them, a complete over kill. However, it does look bad ass.
My point is that when it comes to cables, if you buy it for the look, I don't care how much money you spend but if you think it's going to make a difference in the sound, I got some Extensa to sell you.

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Old 11-20-2012, 07:22 AM   #31
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That looks like a Classe SSP-800. Very nice!
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:04 AM   #32
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is that a fake fireplace under the TV?
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:07 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number1 View Post
This is a picture of a high end speaker set on sale on Kijiji. Now look at the size of the speaker wires. You could probably run 200 Amps safely in them, a complete over kill. However, it does look bad ass.
My point is that when it comes to cables, if you buy it for the look, I don't care how much money you spend but if you think it's going to make a difference in the sound, I got some Extensa to sell you.

Looks like crap with those thick wires.....hide them or something.....
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:11 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number1 View Post
This is a picture of a high end speaker set on sale on Kijiji. Now look at the size of the speaker wires. You could probably run 200 Amps safely in them, a complete over kill. However, it does look bad ass.
My point is that when it comes to cables, if you buy it for the look, I don't care how much money you spend but if you think it's going to make a difference in the sound, I got some Extensa to sell you.

That is probably a lot of filler material, probably not more than 12GA of metal
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:56 AM   #35
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I think the opposite is true. Most $5k systems will sound better than most $50k systems. There two parts to the cost of developing a sound system. The fixed R&D cost and the manufacturing cost. A $50k system sells so much fewer units than a $5k system that they can't possibly spend nearly as much money developing it in spite of the much higher profit margins. On the manufacturing side, there is nothing worth doing that is going to cost more than a couple thousand to manufacture unless you want rock concert volume levels. DAC's, amps, and speakers are just not that complicated (from a manufacturing standpoint).
A. spend $5k on system X, and $45k on the room you put it in.

B. spend $5k on system X.

i'm sorry but there is no way situation B will sound better than situation A.

in 99.9% of the cases i would put my money on the setup that costs 10x more to sound better than the other system. of course there is always exceptions.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:05 AM   #36
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A. spend $5k on system X, and $45k on the room you put it in.

B. spend $5k on system X.

i'm sorry but there is no way situation B will sound better than situation A.

in 99.9% of the cases i would put my money on the setup that costs 10x more to sound better than the other system. of course there is always exceptions.
I would agree

But the big question is, would it sound 10x better?

I doubt it....
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:06 AM   #37
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And I FEEL the music and movie sound track in my small living room as well (with a sub 1000 system).....its only 13x 17 (mind you).



You will never convince me to buy $1000 speaker.......and that it sounds 10x better than say, $100 polk.

Does it sound better? Sure but not 10x
I don't know about that. a 1k speaker vs a 100 dollar speaker? There's going to be a big difference. BIG difference. I've had these speakers since about 1997 or 98. It's not like you have to buy new ones every few years. What is that cost, averaged over time? Good equipment is an investment. Not a financial investment, but an investment nonetheless.
There have been no major advances in speakers, or in amplifiers, that make today's stuff SOUND any better than amps and speakers from 15-20 years ago, and even farther back. As long as they're still in good shape, a good speaker or amp of back then is as good or better than one of today.

Now receivers and preamps, that's where the change is, with all the connections and different sound processing capabilities. That's where I probably wouldn't spend 2K again like I did for my B&K.

Whether it's worth that difference is obviously up to the individual, but I would just about guarantee that nobody would say there wasn't a big difference in favor of the 1K speaker.

Now, from a 1k speaker to maybe a 5k speaker? Diminishing returns here. It might sound better. It might not. I believe you will find more agreement about whether it's "worth it" or not.
If you have the money, and that's "Your thing", then it may well be.

Think of it this way: I've had my Definitives 15 years. Let's say you buy your 100 dollar speakers at the same time. That means my speakers' cost has been $66 a year so far. Yours has been $6. And every single time you visit my place, you wish you had bought what I bought, because 66 dollars a year is nothing compared to how much better mine sound.

Plus, if you care about sound at all, you likely would not have stuck with those hundred dollar turds that long, anyway. For people who are money conscious but like good sound, I'd highly recommend finding a pair of used, higher-end speakers. Again, speaker technology isn't much, if any different today. Good speakers of 1995 are still good now. Get the absolute best speakers you can possibly justify, and worry about the other stuff later.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:18 AM   #38
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A. spend $5k on system X, and $45k on the room you put it in.

B. spend $5k on system X.

i'm sorry but there is no way situation B will sound better than situation A.

in 99.9% of the cases i would put my money on the setup that costs 10x more to sound better than the other system. of course there is always exceptions.
If you factor in the cost of building a room, yes. On the system itself, even $5k is stretching it to see any benefit unless you want it extremely loud and still sounding good.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:30 AM   #39
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There are effective changes you can make that you cannot with only $5k.
That doesn't change what I said, that it isn't a fact that a 50k system will sound better than a 5k system.

Should it sound better, ofcourse it should and it should sound a lot better. That isn't always the case.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:32 AM   #40
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If you factor in the cost of building a room, yes. On the system itself, even $5k is stretching it to see any benefit unless you want it extremely loud and still sounding good.
this all just goes to how much one really cares about sound. to people who are into it i'm positive (and know from personal experience demo'ing the highest end stuff i've ever demo'd a few weeks ago) that for the most part you can tell idfferences between more expensive/better equipment.

but then you have vdubchaos in this thread who just doesn't really care about those differences so he's fine with his lower end stuff.

it's kind of like having every day joe's comparing a high end pc to a lower end one, when all they do is just browse the net on it. the lower end will get the job done just as well as the higher end one will.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:57 AM   #41
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Think of it this way: I've had my Definitives 15 years. Let's say you buy your 100 dollar speakers at the same time. That means my speakers' cost has been $66 a year so far. Yours has been $6. And every single time you visit my place, you wish you had bought what I bought, because 66 dollars a year is nothing compared to how much better mine sound.
Not at all. I have never heard a set of speakers that would make me want to get rid of the system I currently have (low end Polks). And I've heard some pretty serious systems.

I simply would not spend that much money for speakers. 300-500 a pop, MAYBE if money was no object. But I would not go beyond that point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
Plus, if you care about sound at all, you likely would not have stuck with those hundred dollar turds that long, anyway. For people who are money conscious but like good sound, I'd highly recommend finding a pair of used, higher-end speakers. Again, speaker technology isn't much, if any different today. Good speakers of 1995 are still good now. Get the absolute best speakers you can possibly justify, and worry about the other stuff later.
You do realize that most people listen to flat MP3 files from their Ipod right? Heck MOST of this world doesn't even know what surround sound is. Willing to bet that even most people in US have "home theater in the box" set ups. So even low end speaker system like Polk is better than 99.9999% people out there.

Even $80 a pop Polk speakers make great sound and it's perfectly fine for me (and I do like quality, all my files are high quality rips from CD).

I just struggle to justify the difference between $100 speakers and 500-1000 speakers DUE TO COST. I know they sound better etc, I just don't think it justifies paying 5x or 10x more.

Simple as that.

Then there is the whole thing of "how often do I use my speakers" and the answer is, not often AT ALL. I might sit down once a week to watch a movie or listen to some music. So even a nice Polk set up is an overkill for me.



It all comes down to perspective.

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Old 11-20-2012, 10:20 AM   #42
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The room, placement and setup of the system has a huge effect on the sound quality. Now days with high quality room correction you will get the most sound improvement upgrading to a receiver or processor with quality room correction.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:33 PM   #43
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Not at all. I have never heard a set of speakers that would make me want to get rid of the system I currently have (low end Polks). And I've heard some pretty serious systems.

I simply would not spend that much money for speakers. 300-500 a pop, MAYBE if money was no object. But I would not go beyond that point.



You do realize that most people listen to flat MP3 files from their Ipod right? Heck MOST of this world doesn't even know what surround sound is. Willing to bet that even most people in US have "home theater in the box" set ups. So even low end speaker system like Polk is better than 99.9999% people out there.

Even $80 a pop Polk speakers make great sound and it's perfectly fine for me (and I do like quality, all my files are high quality rips from CD).

I just struggle to justify the difference between $100 speakers and 500-1000 speakers DUE TO COST. I know they sound better etc, I just don't think it justifies paying 5x or 10x more.

Simple as that.

Then there is the whole thing of "how often do I use my speakers" and the answer is, not often AT ALL. I might sit down once a week to watch a movie or listen to some music. So even a nice Polk set up is an overkill for me.



It all comes down to perspective.
Then it sounds like you're a cheap bastard that doesn't listen to music much.
Nothing wrong with that.

So why are you here?
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:08 PM   #44
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In my experience, 'placebo effect' is most commonly espoused by people who have divergent beliefs about this world. For example, I own a very expensive Bottega Veneta bag. Some people have commented that this bag was a huge waste of money and is "not worth" what I paid for it. But what these people fail to realize, is that they cannot understand the pleasure that I derive from the leather, from the craftsmanship, and from the subtle style that is coupled with the overall utility of the item. Common sense dictates to those people that "fashion items" are absurd and "not worth it", but those people commit themselves to a view about the world that mistakes itself for objective but is necessarily subjective because what they really mean to state (but merely imply) is that "Your Bottega Veneta bag is not worth it to me".

There is a similar phenomenon that occurs in many sectors of purchasing - and audio equipment is one such sector because people attempt to espouse that "better" is subjective. In the loosest sense of the term, "better" is necessarily subjective because the "best headphones" for my friend Tim are the ones that give him "the most bang for the buck" and the "best headphones" for me are the ones that I can wear comfortably for hours, provide a good amount of noise isolation, and are measured to provide a very accurate representation of the recorded music (i.e., without internally biasing the sound towards bass for "bass-heads" or so on).



And this kind of reasoning is where the 'mistake' I describe above is applied. That the Earpods, or whatever Apple's new heaphone is called, cost 30 dollars or so, does not mean that my 1000 dollar custom inner earphones need to be quantifiably 33.333 times better-sounding than Apple's offering. They just needed (and they did) to blow me away in a way that I'll describe with a food analogy, as follows:

When I was a student, I often ate at a sushi place called New Generation Sushi. The sushi was cheap, plentiful, and tasty. I could walk out of the place having spent 20 dollars while being totally full and satisfied. After I got a very lucrative job, I asked a friend out of criosity where he went for sushi. He mentioned a place to me, owned and run by Japanese people (this meant nothing to me). I went there and because it was so expensive I ordered 4 pieces of salmon sashimi, and the waitress walked away in disappointment. When she delivered the sashimi, I tried a piece and before she could get far away from the table I moaned and gesticulated in such a way which meant one and only one thing: I felt as if I had been lied to about sushi for my entire life prior to that moment and from then onwards, I was willing to pay a significantly higher price in order to capture that emotion over and over again.

Others in this thread have made points that there are mine fields, there are relabelled audio products that are not good at that price range and so on, but to reduce "expensive audio" to mere "placebo effect" is to deny yourself a sector of hedonism that certainly ought to be pursued.
Music is not a handbag to gloat at in latent fetishism, nor is it a food item that pampers your palate. If you absolutely must have super expensive/high fidelity audio equipment to appreciate a soundscape then there is such a great void in your psyche that no amount of technical refinement will replenish. That sector of hedonism you describe here has less to do with utilising sensory experience in order to connect with the universe around you and more with flattering your own intellect with a false sense of existential achievement. There is a word for it: vanity. Now, the fact that vanity has been a creative impetus for many musicians throughout history is undeniable, for this I cannot easily dismiss its being part of the culture of the Art and its numerous devotees. However it is also undeniable that it has equally been the cause of many of them burning their talent and their love for music, for this reason I think one had better take its perilous path with due consideration. People like the OP's friend need to lay back a little and totally rethink their audiophile attitude, maybe try listening to stuff while having a mellow doobie on the side, instead of going into a debt death-spiral for gear that will probably induce a fraction of the psychoacoustic effects. Obsession for music is not a bad thing in itself, it's the form of it that we allow it to take in our life that can make or break it.

@OP I suggest you tell your pal to ponder on the marvel of deaf musicians before he decides to dedicate himself to being an audio purist miser for life.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:09 PM   #45
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Will it also sound 10 times better?

And at what point do you start taking into account that even the construction/size/composition of room you're in makes a difference?
good question. Just like anything luxury oriented, the price/performance curve is exponential in nature in my experience. The price seems to increase exponentially for a linear amount of performance. Performance is not necessarily audible, but could be simply the satisfaction of utilization of higher quality drivers, circuitry, cabinet material/construction, etc. "performance on paper" (and the satisfaction of owning such performance on paper or 2nd kind of cool stuff)

The room always makes an immense difference if you are doing anything more than casual listening. Any sort of listening "session" where you are critically analyzing or "diving" into the music will require careful placement and room selection/construction.

For all levels of cost of speakers, I carefully place the speakers and listening position within the rooms to minimize room born issues as much as possible. This requires careful measuring and repeated trial and error. This step is virtually "Free" and nets a huge benefit. Improper placement will sound like crap regardless of how much money you throw at the problem.

As the speaker cost increases beyond about 1000$ per pair, you are paying for better bass reproduction and better cabinetry. As the speaker cost increases beyond 4000$ per pair, the same metrics are improved, and usually total output increases. As the speaker cost increases beyond 10k$ per pair, luxury cabinets, esoteric drivers, deep bass response, circuitry, etc. are what you get.

Since effective room acoustical treatments are not cheap, I wouldn't consider them until about the 2k$ per pair level of speakers.

Some audiophiles (audiophools?) worry about the wrong things such as you alluded to in the OP. In reality, the speakers are the most crucial (no speakers, no sound). A close second is the room acoustics (room is like a trashy filter in front of your speakers). A distant third is electronics (beyond the bare minimum to run your speakers). Without optimizing these three ideals to the maximum extent, it is pointless (from a performance point of view) to even think about the other "stuff" much of which could be placebo-bias.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the quality of the source material is also very critical. Some publishers just don't have a good recording setup and the playback of that material will also be hampered by the lack of recording engineering quality and will sound like crap regardless of the price of the speaker system. However, when you find a quality recording engineer's work, the sound quality is amazing even on entry level systems.

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Old 11-27-2012, 03:26 PM   #46
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Then it sounds like you're a cheap bastard that doesn't listen to music much.
Nothing wrong with that.

So why are you here?
I'm not a cheap bastard.

Even my "cheap polk" system is better than what MOST people have out there.

I do listen to music, but not all the time ( I have kids/family and responsibilities).

For those times that I do listen to music and watch a movie, my current system does a perfect job. Give me millions and I don't see myself upgrading my current system (I have priorities elsewhere).
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:17 PM   #47
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I'm not a cheap bastard.

Even my "cheap polk" system is better than what MOST people have out there.

I do listen to music, but not all the time ( I have kids/family and responsibilities).

For those times that I do listen to music and watch a movie, my current system does a perfect job. Give me millions and I don't see myself upgrading my current system (I have priorities elsewhere).
It sounds like you are content with having low standards.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #48
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I'm not a cheap bastard.

Even my "cheap polk" system is better than what MOST people have out there.

I do listen to music, but not all the time ( I have kids/family and responsibilities).

For those times that I do listen to music and watch a movie, my current system does a perfect job. Give me millions and I don't see myself upgrading my current system (I have priorities elsewhere).
So again, why are you here posting about this stuff? You don't care about sound. This is a audio thread.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:41 AM   #49
Phanuel
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Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
So again, why are you here posting about this stuff? You don't care about sound. This is a audio thread.
I don't hate the guy, but yes, this is kind of what he is. "Good enough". He comes into the garage subforum and talks down anyone who likes European cars or sports cars or muscle cars... basically anything that isn't an A to B box.

*shrug* Just filter him out.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:46 AM   #50
Vdubchaos
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Originally Posted by JackBurton View Post
It sounds like you are content with having low standards.
It's all about perspective you see.

TO YOU, that might be low standard.

To rest of the world, and ME, even a $600 Polk speaker system is a blessing.

You have to understand I come from land where Grundig 1 cassette radio was a gods sent and most people would never own a receiver in a lifetime (forget about speakers).

So TO ME, that Polk system I have......I feel like a GOD/I'm blessed.

Heck even most of the people in America don't even bother with sound systems in general. I don't see many people in my middle class neighborhood have anything but Soundbars and TV speakers. When they hear my system their jaws drop.

SO , perhaps YOUR standards are WAY too high?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
So again, why are you here posting about this stuff? You don't care about sound. This is a audio thread.
Yea cause you know, your speakers and audio system has to be worth at least $5000 in order to be able to post here, or care about sound.

So you got your panties wet because this thread is exactly about people like you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phanuel View Post
I don't hate the guy, but yes, this is kind of what he is. "Good enough". He comes into the garage subforum and talks down anyone who likes European cars or sports cars or muscle cars... basically anything that isn't an A to B box.

*shrug* Just filter him out.
Talk down myself? I own a European car for over 15 + years and have put over 250k miles on it. Just about every family member of mine has a European car.

I think you are taking what I say to the extreme. I have extensive experience in working on, maintaining and fixing European cars and yes I used to be a Euro snob like most of the car guys. Guess what I have learned over the years, European cars are WAY too over rated and PITA (in general). They are overly complex and overly expensive for no apparent reason.

Even people that don't know shit about cars will tell you that European cars are not very reliable and costly to fix. Yet many "hard core car guys" believe they are "quality" vehicles.

It's a common knowledge. So you tell me how wrong I am and how you feel about European cars.

Last edited by Vdubchaos; 11-28-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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