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oldric_naubhoff's picture
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RE: Best Speakers

JMacMan wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

JMacMan wrote:

Perhaps if they listen to pink noise/electronic music maybe.... as a classical musician, all I can say is that music is the art, and the equipment's role is to reproduce that art - as accurately, faithfully and as naturally as possible.  Taste or preferences don't come in to it with HiFi - it's not a musical instrument - rather it's role is to reproduce the music as faithfully as possible, and from all aspects - nothing more and nothing less.

If I chose to make a recording on a Bosendorfer, and a particular instrument at that, because of it's particular sound (there is no such thing as a generic piano sound) and your flavoured HiFi in it's reproduction efforts makes it sound like an 18th century Forte Piano what's the point of an artist going to the trouble they do in their selection of instruments for performance and recording?  Why use Stradavarious or Guanerius Violins, if your 'flavoured' Hii makes it sound like a cheap Chinese beginners instrument.  I have a friend who is a Luthier, and customers spend weeks assesing stringed instruments, and pay many, many thousands of dollars for the way an individual instrument plays and sounds - such is the dedication to their art.

JMac

In an ideal world, I would completely agree with this sentiment, though I have some provisos:

-  Equipment that can fully and accurately reproduce an orchestra, is far from cheap.

- With the budget that the average enthusiast is prepared to spend, there is going to be a compromise, so it's better to make this in a way that makes it enjoyable to the listener. IMO. A composer uses music (via musicians) as a medium to convey passion, so the most important thing a hifi has to do, is relay this as fully as possible.....so this element must not be lost.

- Given the subjective nature of interpretation, how do you lay down "the standard". ie. If 10 people were asked to put together a system to accurately portray a classical concert that they had just been to......you would probably get 10 different interpretations, through 10 different systems.

- There is more than one way to skin a cat..........I think it's a mistake to write off the separates route, unless of course you have personally heard everything available.

- Even if you go the Active route, there are many different flavours. If AVI's promotion is to be believed, there would have been little point in looking past the ADM40s, yet you you ended up with a beautiful pair of B&Os.

I had a "classical music upbringing" (played in an orchestra / Mother a professional singer / Father an amateur conductor), so have a lot of sympathy for your position; but for me, the most important thing is to get people listening in the first place, to the wonderful music that is out there. 

 

Thanks for a thoughtful post...

- Yes, I agree totally that I'm being idealistic.. but if not, and some sort of objective standard doesn't matter, then frankly I'd almost rather give up on HiFi, and either settle with an iPod + Headphones, or maybe buy BOSE.

 - No, it's not cheap - but quality seldom is, in anything...and where possible I prefer to buy right and buy once, as against buy wrong, or cheap, and buy twice.

- I would contend that if a system is as accurate and transparent to the source as possible, even given the compromises of budgetary restraints, it will still hold the attention of someone who is listening to the music - and NOT the sound that the HiFi makes - the music is the art, the HiFi the reproducer - cheap HiFi may lose or mask some of the information, but certainly most musicians 'hear' through those omissions, and provided the system is not adding excessive amounts of noise, distortion, or coloration, most will be reasonably happy.  As I say, musicians listen to the music; HiFi buffs listen to either the sound of the HiFi per se, or what the HiFi is 'doing' to and with the music.

Certainly whilst my HiFi, or my iPhone + Headphones provides the most accurate/transparent to the source reproduction, I still enjoy the music almost as much in my car, or other portables, notwithstanding that the sense of natural spatial perspectives in conjunction with timbral colour, as heard in real life, is such that the overall listening satisfaction is greatest with either the HiFi or the iPhone + Headphones - otherwise there'd be no point in spending expensive amounts on HiFi systems in particular.   However, I'm also one of those lucky sods who can read a score and hear the music in my head - I have no idea how this works physiologically, - but I certainly don't need a HiFi to get the passion of the music, and speaking personally, playing an instrument beats any Hifi I've ever heard, at any price point, for a sense of involvement and connection with the music.

- With respect to the subjective nature of interpretation and resultant standards - I agree - and all the more reason to entrust a fully conceived, developed and voiced system by tertiary trained engineers at the highest possible level, and where the closest approach to the original sound is the goal, to meet my HiFi needs, rather than after market, third party mixing and matching at a retail level to try and achieve a satisfactory result by people who, at the end of the day are well meaning enthusiasts to be sure, but ultimately amateurs.  

I'm not an electrical/audio/acoustic  engineer, nor would I try and pretend to be one, and nor am I an automotive engineer.  

If I may make a car analogy, my Merc is more comfortable, but not quite as sharp handling as my friends BMW.  Should I then go to a third party, after market dealer, and start playing around with wheel, tyre, and suspension components, to make it handle more like a BMW?  How about I just buy the Merc body-shell when I buy the car, and shop around for a Honda or BMW engine to put into it - reputedly Honda and BMW make the best internal combustion engines going, if you're a petrol head.  

Or, instead of enlisting the help of semi-professional third party specialists, perhaps it might just be really prudent and sensible to trust the tertiary trained engineers with the highest qualifications in the business, accompanied by peerless R&D, at Daimler GmbH, to design, develop, test and engineer the whole box and dice, to wit the finished vehicle for me?  All the mixing and matching is done by engineers at the highest possible levels of expertise, and I get to choose whether to buy the superbly finished and engineered Mercedes, or the better handling, sharper to drive, but less comfortable BMW.

Either way, it's win-win, because the end goal with the car, is to build the best available, and by the most professional and highly qualified engineers in the business.  To my mind, after many years of experience in this industry/hobby (40 Smile the mixing and matching system building methodology is well past it's use by date - with respect, it belongs back in the DIY era of the 1950's where it began with the baby boomer generation, and is easily outdone by more modern, integrated, efficient, and slowly becoming more mainstream methods of system building, such as fully active speakers.

- There are definitely more ways than one to skin a cat...ouch... I love cats...lol

I just don't believe that going way up the chain in great expense with separate amps/preamps/power supplies/racks/cables/passive speakers is one of them.  And as you say, it's nigh on impossible to hear all the combinations - so why bother?

Yes, if perhaps one has started out with an all in one Home Theatre in a Box for example, a separate amp/processor, plus higher quality speakers is likely to give slightly better results if carefully matched, as well as extra connectivity (probably the main reason for moving 'up' from a HT in Box system, as in my experience some of the HT in a Box systems can be extremely good on both music as well as movies)

Beyond that though, (and been caught up in it over many years), I regard it pretty much as an almost continuous merry-go-round  exercise in frustration and likely disappointment.  If I want 'flavour' in my sound, then there are numerous active systems available to choose from, including large amounts from the Pro audio scene, which is where I would personally look nowadays before any attempt at mixing and matching at a consumer/retail level.  

Beyond that, if you want more flavouring of the sound to 'taste' you can also play around with Digital EQ, so why try to alter the sound balance to 'taste' if that's what one is after, by spending silly amounts on swapping out gear to try and effect the desired result?  Just plain silly, and quite unnecessary with todays modern tone shaping methods in DSP IMV.  Back in the analogue days, this was done with tone controls and EQ - of course, there was always a penalty to pay with noise and distortion in the analogue world, but this is the 21st century, not the 1950's, and modern tone controls or EQ in the digital domain can tailor the sound any which way you like, with few, if any, deleterious effects.

- I agree that even in the active world, there are going to be different sounds, or I'd like to call it tonalities of speakers. I remember the old saying about a piece of kit back in my parents day, as having a nice 'tone'.  So yes, you can have two different active speaker designs, where accuracy, neutrality and transparency is the goal, and yet they will have different tonal signatures.  I would put this down to differences in cabinets, driver materials, and the actual sound design of the speaker (crossover points and such) which will all subtly alter the tonal balance of the overall sound of the speaker, notwithstanding that one may be equally satisfied with both as far as transparency to the source is concerned.

I chose B&O Beolab 9's quite recently, as a new speaker/system to carry me through the next decade +, and have zero regrets; indeed I regard them as being astonishing value for money in the context of what else is available in the so called high end audio scene, and easily the best HiFi purchase I have ever made.  As Mac users are wont to say, they will need to pry them from my cold, dead hands....lol

And yes, I did consider ADM40's, amongst B&W 803D's (as I already have a good system with Sony ES TA-DA9000ES amp + Sony ES 9000 series sources + Naim SBL's and could have thence used my existing sources and amplification) along with some active/hybrid Nakamichi-Whise, electrostatics.  If you'd like to know more of my selection criteria and thoughts, I'm happy to copy and paste a writeup/review I made elsewhere on the subject, bearing in mind it's a long post - I have a habit of writing at length!

- Finally, wonderful to hear that there's another classical music fan here - and I agree - getting newcomers, or if you will Gen Y to listen to music (preferably classical amongst other genres) is a great goal; however, most of them with high quality phones + iPod etc, are already hearing far better reproduction than anything I had when I was starting out with domestic HiFi, and arguably better than anything except possible the most expensive, mix and match separates system.  

I believe that active speaker systems, no matter who makes them, are the way forward, and likely to be the only system building methodology likely to seriously interest Gen Y - most have no interest in copying the systems of their Grandfathers, or swallowing all the technobabble put out by baby boomer so called high end specialist assemblers - they're far to smart and tech savvy for that.

Thanks for listening, and for your post - apologies about the length of this one...

 

JMac

 

 

did anyone actually read that?

ROFL

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RE: Best Speakers

oldric_naubhoff wrote:

did anyone actually read that?

ROFL

Yes. I found some of it quite interesting.

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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RE: Best Speakers

chebby wrote:

oldric_naubhoff wrote:

did anyone actually read that?

ROFL

Yes. I found some of it quite interesting.

+1

Hi-Fi - Yamaha RX-V667 > AVI DM5 > AVI subwoofer

Head-Fi - Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2Di > Sennheisser HD700

Portable - Sony NWZ-A847 > Westone UM3x

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RE: Best Speakers

Can be distilled down to:

Transparency is the aim. Mix and match can't do it and is a con. With transparency comes enjoyment of the music not the HiFi and that's the most important. Classical musicians know best because they can judge transparency. The future is active. You can't trust salesmen and mac will never do it again. Not sure how he chose his HiFi, though, you can't buy B&O over the internet so presumably he went into a dealer and spoke to a salesman at some point.

Might have missed some nuances, but that's the gist. 

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RE: Best Speakers RE: Best Speakers

CnoEvil wrote:

Electro wrote:

I heard a similar set up many years ago at the Heathrow show using the original Ankoru Mono blocks which at that time were £14,000 , that sound left a lasting impression on me that is still vivid even after all these years .

It was a truly wonderful experience that had nothing to do with musical accuracy but it was absolutely stunning none the less Smile , how do they do that :?   :grin:

This is a good point.

It's almost like it's the hifi equivalent of a Stradivarious, where the sound that comes out the other end is pure emotion......imo. it sounds more like real musicians playing real music in a real room. Most SS systems sound a little synthetic in comparison (again imo). Music should stir the emotions, and AN stuff does exactly that.

 

Totally agree CnoEvil. I'd just like to add a little something about this - for me, pursuing absolute accuracy or transparency is not the holy grail. iMO the most transparent systems are made by the Swiss firms Soulutions and FM Acoustics, both horrendously expensive and super-accurate - no coloration, nothing added to the sound but when I listened to them (the Soulutions were driving Magico speakers) I found something missing. They were very impressive in their neutrality but were ultimately tiring to listen to for an extended period. An AN system (and a good class A system) may be colored but it's colored in a musical way that grips me, gets my foot tapping and above all, sounds simply right.

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RE: Best Speakers RE: Best Speakers

Singslinger wrote:

Totally agree CnoEvil. I'd just like to add a little something about this - for me, pursuing absolute accuracy or transparency is not the holy grail. iMO the most transparent systems are made by the Swiss firms Soulutions and FM Acoustics, both horrendously expensive and super-accurate - no coloration, nothing added to the sound but when I listened to them (the Soulutions were driving Magico speakers) I found something missing. They were very impressive in their neutrality but were ultimately tiring to listen to for an extended period. An AN system (and a good class A system) may be colored but it's colored in a musical way that grips me, gets my foot tapping and above all, sounds simply right.

We do seem to have a lot in common.......same as a few others I could mention (you know who you are  ;))

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Best Speakers

Singslinger wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

Electro wrote:

I heard a similar set up many years ago at the Heathrow show using the original Ankoru Mono blocks which at that time were £14,000 , that sound left a lasting impression on me that is still vivid even after all these years .

It was a truly wonderful experience that had nothing to do with musical accuracy but it was absolutely stunning none the less Smile , how do they do that :?   :grin:

This is a good point.

It's almost like it's the hifi equivalent of a Stradivarious, where the sound that comes out the other end is pure emotion......imo. it sounds more like real musicians playing real music in a real room. Most SS systems sound a little synthetic in comparison (again imo). Music should stir the emotions, and AN stuff does exactly that.

 

Totally agree CnoEvil. I'd just like to add a little something about this - for me, pursuing absolute accuracy or transparency is not the holy grail. iMO the most transparent systems are made by the Swiss firms Soulutions and FM Acoustics, both horrendously expensive and super-accurate - no coloration, nothing added to the sound but when I listened to them (the Soulutions were driving Magico speakers) I found something missing. They were very impressive in their neutrality but were ultimately tiring to listen to for an extended period. An AN system (and a good class A system) may be colored but it's colored in a musical way that grips me, gets my foot tapping and above all, sounds simply right.

So what you are saying is that you don't want to hear music as it was recorded but some "Coloured" version of it.  Why?  And if so why spend a lot of money to do that?  Buy a Brixton briefcase.

Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: Best Speakers

Covenanter wrote:

So what you are saying is that you don't want to hear music as it was recorded but some "Coloured" version of it.  Why?  And if so why spend a lot of money to do that?  Buy a Brixton briefcase.

Chris

I like my music to sound like the real thing......as in a classical concert......with the passion in the music coming across through the interpretation of the musicians. In other words, I look for cues like authenticity, believability, intensity and refinement.

You are into classical music, so I would hope that you would at least understand what I'm trying to get at, even if you don't necessarily agree with it.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Best Speakers

Covenanter wrote:

Singslinger wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

Electro wrote:

I heard a similar set up many years ago at the Heathrow show using the original Ankoru Mono blocks which at that time were £14,000 , that sound left a lasting impression on me that is still vivid even after all these years .

It was a truly wonderful experience that had nothing to do with musical accuracy but it was absolutely stunning none the less Smile , how do they do that :?   :grin:

This is a good point.

It's almost like it's the hifi equivalent of a Stradivarious, where the sound that comes out the other end is pure emotion......imo. it sounds more like real musicians playing real music in a real room. Most SS systems sound a little synthetic in comparison (again imo). Music should stir the emotions, and AN stuff does exactly that.

 

Totally agree CnoEvil. I'd just like to add a little something about this - for me, pursuing absolute accuracy or transparency is not the holy grail. iMO the most transparent systems are made by the Swiss firms Soulutions and FM Acoustics, both horrendously expensive and super-accurate - no coloration, nothing added to the sound but when I listened to them (the Soulutions were driving Magico speakers) I found something missing. They were very impressive in their neutrality but were ultimately tiring to listen to for an extended period. An AN system (and a good class A system) may be colored but it's colored in a musical way that grips me, gets my foot tapping and above all, sounds simply right.

So what you are saying is that you don't want to hear music as it was recorded but some "Coloured" version of it.  Why?  And if so why spend a lot of money to do that?  Buy a Brixton briefcase.

Chris

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RE: Best Speakers

Covenanter wrote:

Singslinger wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

Electro wrote:

I heard a similar set up many years ago at the Heathrow show using the original Ankoru Mono blocks which at that time were £14,000 , that sound left a lasting impression on me that is still vivid even after all these years .

It was a truly wonderful experience that had nothing to do with musical accuracy but it was absolutely stunning none the less Smile , how do they do that :?   :grin:

This is a good point.

It's almost like it's the hifi equivalent of a Stradivarious, where the sound that comes out the other end is pure emotion......imo. it sounds more like real musicians playing real music in a real room. Most SS systems sound a little synthetic in comparison (again imo). Music should stir the emotions, and AN stuff does exactly that.

 

Totally agree CnoEvil. I'd just like to add a little something about this - for me, pursuing absolute accuracy or transparency is not the holy grail. iMO the most transparent systems are made by the Swiss firms Soulutions and FM Acoustics, both horrendously expensive and super-accurate - no coloration, nothing added to the sound but when I listened to them (the Soulutions were driving Magico speakers) I found something missing. They were very impressive in their neutrality but were ultimately tiring to listen to for an extended period. An AN system (and a good class A system) may be colored but it's colored in a musical way that grips me, gets my foot tapping and above all, sounds simply right.

So what you are saying is that you don't want to hear music as it was recorded but some "Coloured" version of it.  Why?  And if so why spend a lot of money to do that?  Buy a Brixton briefcase.

Chris

Thanks for the suggestion. Last time I was in the UK, I did. Didn't like it though - wasn't neutral enough.

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RE: Best Speakers RE: Best Speakers

CnoEvil wrote:

Singslinger wrote:

Totally agree CnoEvil. I'd just like to add a little something about this - for me, pursuing absolute accuracy or transparency is not the holy grail. iMO the most transparent systems are made by the Swiss firms Soulutions and FM Acoustics, both horrendously expensive and super-accurate - no coloration, nothing added to the sound but when I listened to them (the Soulutions were driving Magico speakers) I found something missing. They were very impressive in their neutrality but were ultimately tiring to listen to for an extended period. An AN system (and a good class A system) may be colored but it's colored in a musical way that grips me, gets my foot tapping and above all, sounds simply right.

We do seem to have a lot in common.......same as a few others I could mention (you know who you are  ;))

Yes I think I do! :cheers:

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RE: Best Speakers

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Can be distilled down to:

Transparency is the aim. Mix and match can't do it and is a con. With transparency comes enjoyment of the music not the HiFi and that's the most important. Classical musicians know best because they can judge transparency. The future is active. You can't trust salesmen and mac will never do it again. Not sure how he chose his HiFi, though, you can't buy B&O over the internet so presumably he went into a dealer and spoke to a salesman at some point.

Might have missed some nuances, but that's the gist. 

 

Heheh... almost..lol

"Transparency is the aim"

- well, to the source, yes - nothing added, nothing taken away - that closest approach to the original sound thing again.  

If a system is NOT transparent to the source, then, where I want to hear the subtle nuance of tonal/timbral signature between a Bosendorfer, Steinway, Kawai and Yamaha pianos, or an Olds or King Trumpet, or a Silbermann or Caville Coll organ, a 'warm' 'intense' 'impressive' 'exciting' 'foot tapping' rendition of the music means nothing if it makes the aforesaid instruments sound like some sort of generic hash.  Ever heard a 'foot tapping' 'tune playing' 'Flat Earth' or 'PRat" Silbermann organ?  I think not.  Such terms don't exisit in music.  Again, the HiFi system is a tool to reproduce the art; nothing more and nothing less.

 

"Mix and match can't do it and is a con"

- Mix and match most certainly can do it, but how?  Where do you find a retailer who will setup blind, carefully matched levels for an AB comparison if endeavouring to match components, let alone an ABX test, and what is the reference under such situations?  Other favoured kit perhaps?  And who is doing the guiding? - otherwise well meaning enthusiasts who are nonetheless amateurs.  So no, it's not a con, but it is the blind leading the blind IMHO, and a very non-professional way of trying to achieve both an objective result.

 

" With transparency comes enjoyment of the music not the HiFi and that's the most important."  

- Transparency to the source is one of the most important things IMV - that reproduction as against interpreter role of the HiFi again - and after all, isn't the raison de etre of the HiFi to listen to the music?

 

"Classical musicians know best because they can judge transparency"  

- I'd say the people who know best are the highly trained and qualified professional engineers working in the field - people like Floyd Toole (retired), Sean Olive, Dr. David Moulton, Dr. Geoff Martin etc. - at least one of these engineers is also a qualified classical musician with a bachelor of music degree in organ performance.  Classical musicians are not engineers, and niether are the retail staff trying to assemble a satisfactory result from a plethora of individual parts, like cooking up a cake recipe.  Classical musicians are probably in a better position to judge the accuray of acoustic instruments as regards tonal timbre, and spatial perspectives as heard in real life, but otherwise, professional engineers such as I've mentiioned undoubtedly know best IMV, and it's where I'd go for professional and peer reviewed advice.

 

"The future is active"

- For those who put music above fiddling and faffing about with gear, and want a plug and play result that will on technical grounds, get them very close to the original sound with no mixing and matching by amateurs needed - absolutely.  Also, separates, mixing and matching with passive speakers seems to be the province of baby boomers, and electronics hobbyists building PC's etc; I dont' see much evidence of Gen Y wanting to emulate the example of their Grandfathers and/or fathers in terms of system building - and they are the future after all.  As such, the market will decide.

 

"You can't trust salesmen and mac will never do it again."

- I've worked in the industry as a salesman, and not all salespeople are charlatans, or conmen etc - some have exceptionally high standards of ethics - I'd like to think I did when I worked in the industry.  However, the fact remains, I am not an qualified electrical or audio engineer, therefore I'm a well meaning amateur at best; accordingly, when it comes to spending a great deal of money on kit, I'd rather go with a fully conceived, designed, engineered and executed system built from go to whoa by the most highly qualified, tertiary trained experts available.  Same with buying a car, or needing to visit a doctor - when I'm sick, I don't visit those practicising homeopathy....

 

"Not sure how he chose his HiFi, though, you can't buy B&O over the internet so presumably he went into a dealer and spoke to a salesman at some point."

- I've been an admirer of B&O pretty much since I first came across them in the early 80's.  I always admired their designs, particularly the aesthetics, but had no need to buy, as I already had a good system at the time.  In my later Naim 'era' I dismissed them as sound systems for the rich and ignorant, that no serious audiphile would touch.  I remember having a very casual listen to the Beolab 5's when they first came out, and thought they had no-where near the foot tapping 'PRaT' of my then Naim system, and ignored them accordingly.

But then I had some alarming experiences.  The Harmon Kardon 'Baubbles' that came supplied with my first iMac, could match my Naim/SBL system for PRaT, foot tappy tunes and involvement.  Nothing like the scale and such of course, but still.....it was not just a shock, but a huge suprise.

Finding that a cheap Denon AV receiver could better a Naim AV2 + amps when it came to precision of steering, resolution of fine detail as regards foley effects on movies, and did it for a tenth of the cost.

I ended up purchasing some Sony ES components to add on to my Naim system for AV purposes in preference to the Naim AV solution, on performance and cost grounds.  Believing the Naim to be inherently superior (it was NAIM after all, as against a 'mere' Sony) I owned it for six months, using it as an add on to the Naim kit for AV purposes, until I fatefully decided one day to separate it out from the Naim system and listen to it on it's own, using the Naim SBL speakers.

And that as they say, was the beginning of the end.  

I did matched volume level AB's to within 1.0db (arguably not good enough, but as close as I could manage with an SPL level meter) and also some blind ABs with the assistance of a friend.  I listened - aghast - over many months, both in short A/B's and in longer periods lasting weeks, and then swapping around, and always, overall it was the Sony that won the day.  So after about a year of just sitting there, more or less unused, I sold all the Naim off - and lost a lot of money, - because to buy Naim new in Australia equals approx. 3.5 times the UK price by the time you factor in all the duties, charges, distributor and retail markup, and yet to sell, the UK ebay market sets the global price.  Ultimately, though, I was very happy to be rid of it - it was very good quality, and good sound, but IME there is so much nastiness and argy bargy, plus audio foo attached to the brand, I want no truck with it, so was happy to see the back of it.

Some years have passed, my Sony kit doesn't have HDMI, and I've been wanted to change out the SLB's for some time, plus get rid of some remaining Mana Acoustic tables (more or less the 'remains' of my Naim system).  Whilst visiting a friend who is a professor of music interstate, I visited a B&O emporium, and found an exceptionally helpful salesperson, who was a fellow musician (brass player) who had also had a lot of experience in owning and selling HiFi.  This time, I had a very comprehensive demo of the Lab 5's, and was completely blown away - easily the best, as in closest aproach to the original sound, HiFi that I had heard to date, and ultimately the Lab 5's supplanted my previous 'dream' or 'hero' speaker, the B&W 801.

Since then, I've visited a number of different B&O stores.  Here in Australia, they are not franchised, and they dont' sell alongside other kit in general HiFi stores (albeit that is changing with the BeoPlay sub brand) but are all owned and managed by B&O - so you are dealing with the factory direct, effectively.  The staff can be variable in experience - some have degrees in interior design, others in electronics etc - I found a dealership where the manager has had 30+ years in selling high end HiFi, as well as owning many very expensive high end audio systems, and is very much a music and hiFi buff.  He has 3 pairs of Lab 5's in his home with a projector - a VERY tidy sum of money + committment to do that.

The selling environment in a B&O store is nothing like mainstream HiFi.  There are no 'deals', there is no pressure to sell, there is no pseudo science technobabble, there is no audiophile snobbery - just impeccable service and extensive knowledge - they are all very well trained.

I've heard the Lab 5's many times now, and they are still one of the best (as in the closest approach to the original sound) speaker systems that I've ever heard, and the Lab 9's are an arguably scaled down version of them.  By heard, I'm referrring to available high end speakers, such as B&W 800D's, Quad 57's, 63's & 989's, Tannoy Westminster Royals, Magneplanars, Apogee Scintilas, Klipschorns etc - but I haven't heard true exotica such as Steinway-Lyngdorf or MBL Radialstrahlers for example.

My short list came down to ADM 40's plus two subs; B&W803D's and some hybrid Nakamichi-Whise Electrostatics, and the B&O Beloab 9's when seeking a new system.  When I bought my SBL's, the shortlist was Linn Isobariks, the SBL's and some Dynaudio Contour 1.8's Mk 111's.  To get to that point, I literally tried just about every speaker/amp combination in the shop - the SBL's were especially brought in from the distributor as an demo pair for me to hear - excellent service, albeit the dealership has since gone out of business.

In the case of the Beolab 9's I made one visit to the store, and chatted for a couple of hours about my possible options, with the very experienced and also 'ex' audiophile store manager I've mentioned.  I arranged an late afternoon/out of hours demo with my own music and some bluray video excerpts.

The demo took around 3 hours - I was more or less left to my own devices, my queries being answered when I asked them.  There was no salesman hovering, tapping his foot out of time to the music (I love it when Linn/Naim salesman did that - it just showed they were musically clueless) or whispering sweet nothings in my ear - just solid, ethical and totally honest service at the highest levels - exactly what I would expect and hope for.

I had heard and seen enough, so I more or less committed myself then and there, and went back a couple of days later with a bank cheque and ordered them.  A very different purchasing experience to my previous major HiFi purchase, and at a level no Hifi emporium I've even visited has been able to match.

So that's how I bought them, and yes, I did visit a dealer, but as I've tried to outline, the buying experience, and advice was and is light years away from anything I've experienced in the audiophile world, in a vastly better and more professional way.

I apologise about my lengthy posts; ideally I should edit them, but that takes even more time of which I don't have a great deal to spend, so they pretty much come written as I think them and unedited.

I also write at length to try and avoid ambiguity or mis-understanding with what I'm trying to convey.

Ultimately though, I somewhat doubt as if these forums are quite the right place for me, at least in terms of spending a lot of time hanging out, as mixing and matching and the whole electronics hobby side of the kit seems to be the rasion de etre for most being here, which is not really me I'm afraid, and when someone finds my posts to be either so banal or disinteresting as to laugh at them and me, it's probably best that I stop writing - I don't want to bore people, or waste their or my time to be honest - and theres' other places I hang out on in greater depth on the interwebz.

So, sorry that my writing is so lengthy - I've tried to respond in-depth, but will try and master the art of the drive by one liner for my future posts as I may make them from time to time.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments - I hope my reply explains mine a little more clearly.

Kind regards

JMac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RE: Best Speakers

JMacMan wrote:

Ultimately though, I somewhat doubt as if these forums are quite the right place for me, at least in terms of spending a lot of time hanging out, as mixing and matching and the whole electronics hobby side of the kit seems to be the rasion de etre for most being here, which is not really me I'm afraid, and when someone finds my posts to be either so banal or disinteresting as to laugh at them and me, it's probably best that I stop writing - I don't want to bore people, or waste their or my time to be honest - and theres' other places I hang out on in greater depth on the interwebz.

So, sorry that my writing is so lengthy - I've tried to respond in-depth, but will try and master the art of the drive by one liner for my future posts as I may make them from time to time.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments - I hope my reply explains mine a little more clearly.

Kind regards

JMac

I for one enjoyed your posts, as most people don't take that much time and trouble to make their case.......and since I'm still off work atm, I also have time to read them!   >)

:beer: :beer:

Cno

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Best Speakers RE: Best Speakers

JMacMan wrote:

So, sorry that my writing is so lengthy - I've tried to respond in-depth, but will try and master the art of the drive by one liner for my future posts as I may make them from time to time.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments - I hope my reply explains mine a little more clearly.

Kind regards

JMac

Really appreciate your posts, JMac. It's clear you're not an impulse buyer! 

In my head, B&O were mere lifestyle products for people with more money than interest in music. But now I'm intrigued. I feel I must hear a pair of Beolab9s before deciding on an amp-speakers combo. There should be a B&O dealer nearby. I'll keep you posted!

Clare Newsome's picture
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RE: Best Speakers RE: Best Speakers

I'm with JMac on B&O Beolab 5s being my dream speakers...

Wish more people would overcome silly prejudices re B&O* - a truly innovative company, with real R&D chops – and just have a listen Smile

 

*About any brand they only have 'received wisdom' on, come to think of it....

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

TWITTER: @ClareNewsome

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