Do people hypnotize themselves over the real worth of expensive equipment?

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by AnitaPeterson, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. s44

    s44 Diamond Member

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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.
     
  2. Vdubchaos

    Vdubchaos Lifer

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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
     
  3. Sureshot324

    Sureshot324 Diamond Member

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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).
     
    #28 Sureshot324, Nov 19, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  4. DAGTA

    DAGTA Diamond Member

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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.
     
  5. Number1

    Number1 Diamond Member

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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.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. JackBurton

    JackBurton Lifer

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    That looks like a Classe SSP-800. Very nice!
     
  7. Anubis

    Anubis No Lifer

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    is that a fake fireplace under the TV?
     
  8. Vdubchaos

    Vdubchaos Lifer

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    Looks like crap with those thick wires.....hide them or something.....
     
  9. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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    That is probably a lot of filler material, probably not more than 12GA of metal :p
     
  10. purbeast0

    purbeast0 Lifer

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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.
     
  11. Vdubchaos

    Vdubchaos Lifer

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    I would agree

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

    I doubt it....
     
  12. Pacfanweb

    Pacfanweb Lifer

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    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.
     
    #37 Pacfanweb, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  13. Sureshot324

    Sureshot324 Diamond Member

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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.
     
  14. Paul98

    Paul98 Diamond Member

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    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.
     
  15. purbeast0

    purbeast0 Lifer

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    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.
     
  16. Vdubchaos

    Vdubchaos Lifer

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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.
     
    #41 Vdubchaos, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  17. Paul98

    Paul98 Diamond Member

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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.
     
  18. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    You good man, Jack. Sometimes you say things right. Give me hug.

    All cheap audio systems (in the class of WALMART-grade amps and speakers, and monoprice cables... and bluejeans :D) will give you "colored" sound and loss of detail and space in the soundstage. The problem is the majority of general public thinks colored sound means good and don't know what details of the elements in the music are missing when playback with their WALMART or TARGET-grade audio gears. In other words, they are in the lower class for music listening, not in the class of audiophiles like me, Patrick, and many other guys at high-end audio forums.

    Jack, you and I need to get together and discuss about power cords and audio cables. I know how to improve your sound with the advice I can give you. Let's have a cup of coffee.



    That is correct. The power and cable mods can usually have greater impact on higher-end systems. Good man, give me hug. :)
     
    #43 cheez, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  19. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    No you stop.:D

    Car audio is bad environment for audio. The fact you mentioned "car stereo" we have a problem houston!

    Do what you will but you are missing all the goods of the sound quality. The sound is very complex thing. It's not that simple. ;)
     
  20. Pacfanweb

    Pacfanweb Lifer

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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? :D
     
  21. KAZANI

    KAZANI Senior member

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    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.
     
  22. Tiamat

    Tiamat Lifer

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    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.
     
    #47 Tiamat, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  23. Vdubchaos

    Vdubchaos Lifer

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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).
     
  24. JackBurton

    JackBurton Lifer

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    It sounds like you are content with having low standards.
     
  25. Pacfanweb

    Pacfanweb Lifer

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    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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