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Upgrade?

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Overdose's picture
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When it's time to 'upgrade', what constitues one?

Outside of the context of hi-fi, an upgrade is a general change for improvement purposes. Therefore, if you wanted to upgrade your car, you would get something better than your existing model.

Given that just about every bit of hi-fi kit colours the sound in some way, what else could constitue a quantifiable upgrade other than perhaps improved build quality or less distortion, for example?

Perhaps 'upgrade' would be better phrased as 'change'?

 

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noogle's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

I'd say anything perceived by the owner to be an improvement.

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

An upgrade is always a change, but a change is not always an upgrade.....Cno's first law! Wink

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chebby's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

For me it would be ever less visible equipment (unless it looked beautiful) with ever better sound and completely intuitive in operation. But there is only so much I can afford to that end, so a compromise is necessary.

Next time (hopefully) less compromise, and less system.

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Overdose's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

chebby wrote:

For me it would be ever less visible equipment (unless it looked beautiful) with ever better sound

Less visible, I can get, so too with better asthetics, but even that is subjective.

But what is 'better' sound quality though?

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Audio Maniac's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

In my opinion, it's only worth to get a newer HI-FI component when we are really moving to higher grade equipment. In other words, moving from entry level to mid-priced components or from mid to high-end ones so that there's no trade off in audio quality.

Replacing existing a hi-fi component by another in the same league is waste of money in my opinion. The newer one may be better, but it won't be good enough for a change. I mean, "a bit better" is not enough for that.

 

chebby's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

Overdose wrote:
chebby wrote:
For me it would be ever less visible equipment (unless it looked beautiful) with ever better sound

Less visible, I can get, so too with better asthetics, but even that is subjective.

But what is 'better' sound quality though?

You put the 'quality' on the end of 'better sound' whereas I didn't. 

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RE: Upgrade?

Overdose wrote:

chebby wrote:

For me it would be ever less visible equipment (unless it looked beautiful) with ever better sound

Less visible, I can get, so too with better asthetics, but even that is subjective.

But what is 'better' sound quality though?

 

Whatever the owner thinks it is

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lindsayt's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

Better sound quality is something that sounds better to you the listener. Something that sounds more enjoyable.

 

Play the same recording on 2 different systems or on the same system with 1 component changed and it's often very easy to tell which one you prefer. There's often large easily noticeable differences between them. No golden ears required. No special listening technique.

 

It's also possible that you might not hear any significant differences, or that the 2 might sound different but with no overall preference to which you prefer. In that case I'd go for the cheapest and consider it a value for money upgrade.

Overdose's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

So 'better' then, by the current rational explained so far is more of what you have already.

Therefore if you had and liked a neutral sounding system would you want a more neutral one? What about if you liked a 'bright' system? Move to brighter?

You see, with regards to how something sounds, how can you have more of it?

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

Overdose wrote:

So 'better' then, by the current rational explained so far is more of what you have already.

Therefore if you had and liked a neutral sounding system would you want a more neutral one? What about if you liked a 'bright' system? Move to brighter?

You see, with regards to how something sounds, how can you have more of it?

Cno's 2nd law: Better is more real, but more real isn't always better. Smile

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Overdose's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

A bit like choosing a detailed/accurate system then? I can get with that, as poor recordings show up as such, more readily.

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

It's a subject that can tie you up in knots. If I had a 3rd law (which I don't), it would be that real is always accurate, but accurate isn't always real. So what do I mean by that bit of b*l!*cks?

Well, if a sound is life-like then it has to be accurate (ie to the real thing); on the other hand, it can be "accurate" to the recording, which may be badly mastered and not sound in the least real. Neutral vs Natural. Puzzled

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Overdose's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

I've gone for the acuraccy to the original reocrding route, plenty of detail etc and if I need to warm things up a bit, or otherwise add any flavour of distortion, I can always EQ the sound digitally, but the system retains the ability to be 'true'.

My take on 'upgrade' is an improvement, clarity and detail could be improved on I guess, but the sound that I have will most likely not change dramatically if I stay with studio monitors for any future purchases. I would, however, be looking for a better frequency range (more bass extension) and the ability to better fill a larger room.

My netbook could be upgraded to a larger HDD and better speed. My NAS could integrate better with my network and be faster etc, but never again will I be swapping amplifiers or sources for a perceived upgrade in sound, I think that I have found a price performance level where 'diminishing returns' really kicks in and speakers now are my only focus for potential realistic improvements.

 

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True Blue's picture
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RE: Upgrade?

Audio Maniac wrote:

In my opinion, it's only worth to get a newer HI-FI component when we are really moving to higher grade equipment. In other words, moving from entry level to mid-priced components or from mid to high-end ones so that there's no trade off in audio quality.

Replacing existing a hi-fi component by another in the same league is waste of money in my opinion. The newer one may be better, but it won't be good enough for a change. I mean, "a bit better" is not enough for that.

 

Exactly

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RE: Upgrade?

Overdose wrote:

So 'better' then, by the current rational explained so far is more of what you have already.

Therefore if you had and liked a neutral sounding system would you want a more neutral one? What about if you liked a 'bright' system? Move to brighter?

You see, with regards to how something sounds, how can you have more of it?

 

Neutral and bright covers the tonal balance. There are lots of other areas that are important to how enjoyable your hi-fi sounds:

 

You can get more:

dynamic

detailed

extended bass - so that bass guitars and kick drums don't get buried in the mix

pitch accuracy and stability - especially with vinyl sources - so that a piano sounds more like a real piano

more natural and less synthetic sounding

more focused / better clarity - so that instruments have less of that wrapped in cotton wool coming from a cloud effect and sound more like an actual musician playhing in front of you

better timing - especially in the bass - so that notes start and stop quicker instead of droning on and on and merging into the next note. Resulting in a more toe tapping sound