From my experience ; my mate has a very expensive system. Sonas Faber speakers and I believe an Krell amp.
When you play a CD with good production it sounds absolutely amazing.
When you play a CD with a bad production it sounds so bad it's almost unlistenable.
The system is so neutral and revealing. Some CD's he doesn't listen anymore because of the production. I don't know if I want that.
A budget system is somewhat 'friendlier' sounding with bad sounding productions because it isn't so revealing.
Agree or not ?
If a system masks a bad recording, it does so by having a lack of clarity, or in other words some sort of distortion. What then, do you think said system does to a good recording?
It's always talked about as a good thing when the 'veil has been lifted', so why not in this case?
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Dave - interesting. Other than swapping CD for streaming I've had my system nearly 8 years. I spent way more than planned but it's been the best investment ever. I've hit a sweet spot which is good, and bad.
My original post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek but was not about envy or jealously, it was about a system I actually aspire to, with a sound I crave. It's also been enlightening as I know my hearing has deteriorated over the years, and 'upgrades' I've demoed have made me think that I just can't hear better quality, but now I know I can...
Synology DS212J-> AppleTV-> rDAC->Naim Nait5i. Dynaudio Audience 52SE
Sony BDPS370 / YouView ->Yamaha RXV1065-> Pana TH42PX80B plasma.
A very good point Cypher, and one of the things that really worries me about thoughts of a more neutral and revealing system. I've had equipment that has really laid bare the poor production of some recordings and it can ruin enjoyment of some music.
I think there is a lot to be said for a decent budget system that attains a certain level of performance but nevertheless enables enjoyment of all music and not just the well produced stuff. For me, if the hi-fi stops you listening to some music then it has really failed (based on my criteria that hi-fi should serve the music - others will disagree).
This is something I've always touched on. With good recordings it's amazing, otherwise can be a complete bEDITEDd.
Amp: Leema Pulse; Source: Naim CD5i-2, Denon 260MKII, Pro-ject XP I; Speakers: PMC TB2i
Formerly known as plastic penguin
What I do find to be a problem is what someone hinted about in an earlier post, the fact that you system can sound great one minute and awful the next, mostly this is down to the recording, but not always.
Putting together a system that is good enough for your needs, yet comfortable on less than great recordings is a real art and over the years some of my favourite systems fall into that class.
Another vote here for being on the red tonight!
Totally agree about some expensive systems being too revealing. Some speakers ive tried recently sounded amazing on some records but awful on less than perfect recordings so those speakers were straight off my shortlist. Whats the point of spending big money if you can only listen to half your music collection?
I've had to move onto beer...
Well I'd make that compromise I think. And to go back to cars - if you had a super-car would you moan that some roads are too bumpy?
Not entirely sure that I agree, components that really emphasise the differences between good and bad recording are simply wrong in my view, they are critically unbalanced in one way or another. A difficult point to make really as, quite naturally, better components will get you closer to the recording but this is not what I mean.
There appears to be a 'class' of components, often speakers, that seem to make recordings sound somewhat 'more' than the actually are, some sound fantastic, but many do not, this goes far beyond simply being revealing and I consider this a flaw in their design.
We do so many shows in a row,
And these towns all look the same,
We just pass the time in our hotel room
And wander 'round backstage,
Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
And we remember why we came.
Owning a motorbike is selfish.
Unless you can buy a tandom motorbike, only you and one other can enjoy the pleasure (and freedom) a bike can give. I personally like to share everything with Mrs. P and little'un. If they don't think it worthwhile I don't buy.
OK PP see your point. I'll just come back and say the bike is mainly for commuting. It means I can leave 15 minutes later in the morning, thus allowing me time to have breakfast with my 5 year old son and get back at least 15 minutes earlier thus spending more time with my family rather being stuck in traffic. So I'd say it's self-less not selfish. I put up with the cold and rain all year round, freeing up money for family holidays etc rather than wasting it on a car.
Going back to your original question - personally if someone recommends a Nait 5i I would simply reply: "Where's the skip?" Just couldn't get on with the Nait 5i. Having said that, I've heard it at the dealers powering PMC and MonoPulse speakers and was a vast improvement.
I would say the Dyns 52SEs, having heard them with Cyrus kit years ago, would probably sound a little too boisterous connected to the aforementioned Naim.
TBH, though, if you heard this other system in your room your feelings would be different.
Or go and buy the new Onkyo NR-818 receiver.
...worked for me...!
Indeed... why would I recommend a amp I haven't heard without your recommendation and Andrew's Gramophone glowing endorsement?
I really can't understand people not liking Naim, but with the Dyns I'll concede they're an acquired taste. I love 'em to bits and think I'm addicted. When I've demoed other kit I've hated everything but Dynaudio. Yes, they are a bit clinical, and I think Cyrus is as well so the two together probably aren't a good match.
One of the best set-ups I've ever heard without spending ridiculous money was a Naim XS, Dyn Contour S1.4 and my old Arcam CD73. It was staggering, but, again, this was at a dealers and not my living room.
I can't understand anyone dismissing Leema or Arcam, but that's just a natural loyalty. Nowt wrong with that IMO.
Just enjoy your current set-up. The grass is always greener.... but you need a sound you can live with, as opposed to a sound that'll wear thin after a few months.
As hi fi nerds we all like to hear other people's systems. Being a solid Naim fan I've heard other systems that are better than mine, but I've not particularly lusted after them.
Having recently heard a colleague's SuperUniti streamed off a UnitiServe into Rega speakers (not sure which) I was blown away. I didn't even dare put my kit on for a couple of days and when I did, then sure enough, by comparison is doesn't sound that great.
So what does one do?...
There are a few equally good but different answers to this question.
1 Go and buy the same recoridngs you listened to at your friends, if you haven't already. It's possible that he just picked the most flattering recordings that he has in order to show-off his system to you. You might find that the same recordings sound equally good on your system.
2 Get more music than your friend. He might have the better system, but you can have the better music collection. I'd rather listen to a new recording on a mediocre system than a recording I've heard 50 times before on an excellent system.
3 Get the same system as him.
4 Console yourself with the fact that your system is cheaper than his, or better looking.
5 Play hi-fi oneupmanship. Build yourself a system that sounds better than his and costs less than his and invite him round to your place.
Unimpeachable logic. If transparency is the point of hi-fi (as it ought to be), why would you want a semi-transparent system? If duff recordings cause you discomfort, then buy a second (cheap, second-hand) system that masks the imperfections of the duff recordings.
What classical music are you listening to?
This is a perfectly valid point of view. That a good system will make good recordings sound really good, whilst bad recordings will sound really bad.
It's difficult to talk in generalities here, as I don't know which CD's you've heard sounding really bad on these good systems?
But I have a different point of view on this. The quality of recordings is all relative. For me a good system will make at least 99% of recordings ever made into an enjoyable event to listen to. If you came home and put on a recording that is worse than 98% of the recordings in your collection, in isolation, it would sound enjoyable if you had a good system. A truly good system. One with no major sonic flaws. If you then put on a better recording straight after the poor one you'd be able to tell the difference in recording quality straight away. The better recording would be an even more enjoyable event. A more immersive experience.
In my experience, every litmus test system - every system that has "made good recordings sound really good and bad recordings sound bad" - has had major sonic flaws. It has turned out that the recordings called "bad" by the system's owners were not so bad after all. That they were good enough recordings and that there was some flaw in their system that made the recordings sound unenjoyable.
Don't take any guff from those swine. There's only one thing you can do if you are losing the arms race.
My system makes most recordings sound good. When I have the space I will probably set up a 2nd system that is as revealing as possible. Nice to have a range of sounds.
Observe the signature in its natural habitat.
Pretty much on the money.
All things being equal, a more transparent system is better than a less transparent one but on some occasions we can be fooled.
this can happen in many ways but a very simple example that makes my point is this;
A pair of speakers are balanced to be rather bright, but are fitted with an extremely smooth tweeter. On good recordings this brightness manifests as a very 'open' sound with plenty of space and air around the music, a slightly larger than life effect but as we rarely have an accurate knowledge of what I shall call the real musical event, it just sounds good.
On the other hand, play a poor recording, and the distortions that are present, and by their nature often at higher frequencies, become dominant and the recording becomes unlistenable.
A simple example, but it gets the point across I think.
Well it's never stopped me. .
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 (bi-amped)
AVI Laboratory Series CD Player
© 2013 Haymarket Publishing