Hi - Fidelity

Hi - Fidelity

As most of us on here listen to lots of music and, judging by one recent thread, a wide variety of music, it might be interesting to get some insight as to how we listen to it. Is a high-end audio system worth the huge cost? Does a simple system do the job effectively at little cost? Are we obsessive about what we perceive to be pure sound, striving to improve the quality instead of concentrating on the music? Basically, is Hi-Fi a form of snobbery? My own favourite listening pleasure was trying to catch snippets of John Peel, under the blankets on a cheap transistor radio, nearly 40 years ago, nothing since has come close. For the record (no pun intended), my current set-up cost considerably more than that radio.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

I know it’s not the answer you’re looking for, but I prefer to listen to music live, acoustic, no PA.

But to answer the question. I listen to most recorded music in my office. I have a mid-fi amp and a pair of small-mid-fi speakers and i run my i-tunes off my mac through it.

But I have a pretty decent system in my front room I hardly ever use. Twas purchased pre kids and is just too much when the kids are in bed (I live in a flat). But on the odd occasion I can get to listen to music on it, it’s such an immense luxury. Beethoven symphonies 7 and 8 so it rattles the chandelier and I melt into the sofa.

Me thinks I should take it to my office, but what a pain when the phone goes

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Re: Hi - Fidelity

If by hi-fidelity you mean a wide frequency range, that is of no consequence to someone who, at his age, cannot hear anything above 10KHz.

Signal-to-noise ratio: yes, that is always worth looking into, but remember that old hissy and scratchy recordings can still be listened to with great pleasure because the brain (the best head-filler ever invented) is quite capable of hearing through the noise and ignoring it.

Wow-and-flutter: rare nowadays, but if it occurs it is something up with which I do not put.

The bottom line is, given the choice between a recording and anything else, I usually prefer "anything else" i.e. to play music live or listen to a live performance.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

With hindsight, Michael, it probably is the definitive answer, nothing comes close to live music. Get that system into the office and switch the phones off, stick on some James Carr and you’re in heaven.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

It is a given that anyone who still talks about hi-fi has a very limited auditory range! Eh? What’s that you say?
I’m still happy with my 1970’s era KEF monitors, although I upgrade the other stuff slightly more frequently.
As my office is in a car, I am happy to take advantage of the pretty good quality CD player systems which are standard in many new cars.
Otherwise, equally happy with a Sony Walkman which I use to slurp up (is that a techie description?) the contents of my Windows Media Player, which itself is fed mostly with borrowed CDs.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

You know, I don’t think I’ve seen any mention about what (‘hi-fi’)equipment we listen through. So what *do* you listen through? I’m not really talking about ‘MP3 player on the bus’ or car or whatever, but maybe at home there’s something more ‘serious’ lurking. Given the responses to a recent thread about what we’ve been listening to, I suspect there are some interesting systems out there.

My own? My (ageing) Rotel RCD ‘Ltd edition’ CD player into a Naim amp and into Linn Nexus speakers are doing the job splendidly for me. (A Rega Planar3 + Linn K5 still deliver the goods when I drag out the odd slab of vinyl)

Re: Hi - Fidelity

Linn, Naim, Rega, top class kit, expensive and good but is the difference worth the extra cash? Not too sure myself, I will say with conviction that a system at £10k is not 10 times better than one at £1k, in fact, it’s probably not that much better at all. I hasten to add that my system is not £10k but I have listened to some that are.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

"Straytaway" (sic) - I would add that my system did not come close to £10k
D.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

Llig’s got a chandelier? :-O

Re: Hi - Fidelity

I have one of those mini speaker ipod docks that has a massive sound (if you have a party or something) I love it. It is my favourite.

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Re: Hi - Fidelity

Not saying it did, domnull, but you could easily spend that on the brands you mention.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

"Llig’s got a chandelier?"
That’s nothing, ceolachan. You should come up and see my candelabra.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

"My woofer can bark louder than your woofer .and my tweeter has more feathers than your tweeter. "… ,.sounds like pre-pubescent schoolboys boasting in the schoolyard ..sad cases

Re: Hi - Fidelity

yes - I often think I seem like a pre-pubescent schoolboy… WTF?

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Re: Hi - Fidelity

I remember some rich, snobby student getting a stereo record player. Wow.

Nowadays I have a gadget that looks like a lighter and plays music, made by sony. You have ear plugs with it and can listen to music while getting run over by a car.

Wide variety of stuff. I recently rediscovered a Van Morrison LP, Veedon Fleece, full of angst and misery, great.

Mind you, the LP will not play on the lighter thing. You download tunes to it. Fascinating.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

I agree with the people who think that listening to live music is better than listening to recorded music. However, when I can’t listen to live music and/or don’t have the opportunity to play music, we usually listen to either the radio or CD’s.
No, we don’t have a chandelier or a candelabra but we do have a ceiling fan with lights attached to it in the middle of the ceiling.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

Yes Sir Bliss, it’s inescapable isn’t it, everywhare, music made by sony.

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Re: Hi - Fidelity

Listening to acoustic music on a decent sound system does make a difference. You can hear a lot more detail, particularly from stringed instruments. It’s also worth having good headphones. I use Audio-Technica monitor headphones. I think I paid about £60 for them. Worth every penny.

Re: Hi - Fidelity

You might be amused to hear a story G.A. Briggs, who started Wharfedale Loudspeakers, tells. From memory (so don’t complain if I don’t get the figures exactly right) he said that when they first brought out a loudspeaker, they compared it to others in the field. The best sold for 15 shillings, so he pitched his, which were not quite as good, at 17s 6d, quickly outselling the better product.

Seems to me that this set the theme for the hi-fi industry, which has relied on popular ignorance and vicarious interest in the emporer’s new clothes ever since. So, if you feel that what you hear is good, you are probably right, so stick to it, no matter how cheap it is. If you rely on others to tell you what is good, you are probably being taken for a ride, no matter how expensive it is.

Terry

Re: Hi - Fidelity

Wise words, Terry. I also suspected that people particularly loved vinyl because they could tinker forever with arms / cartridges - probably why there was such an outcry when CDs came along. But when I was reading hi-fi mags (and I gave up long ago) there was always such a lot of cobblers written about hi-fi, mostly driven by the people who sold it - and very little written from peopl who actually made recordings or (heaven forbid!) performed the music themselves.