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Sound of Hi end Audio system vs ordinary system

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SachinChavan

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I think it’s less a function of higher resolving system vs lower resolving system as much as it is of whether a system is analytical or musical. And one can find both analytical and musical systems at all price points. An overly analytical system will make an ordinary recording sound pathetic, while a musical system will still keep it listenable/enjoyable.

Also, one needs to differentiate between poor music and poor recording. As my system has gradually improved with continual upgrades/optimisations, I have been able to enjoy the old Hindi songs (I am talking 50s and 60s; great music, but poor recordings) increasingly more (yes, not less). Why, even 128 Kbps Internet radio streams sound better. I consider my system more musical (warm, forgiving) than analytical. However, poor music (even if it has better recording... like many current Hindi singers, who have no sur gyan) have become increasingly unbearable, perhaps because their flaws (sur/taal) are immediately caught... a sur off by even a shruti juts out like sore thumb.

i conjecture that there might be a relative effect playing here. As one’s system gets more resolving, one starts listening to rich recordings with lots of bells and whistles which the improved system does justice to, and is also able how to listen/enjoy those bells and whistles much more. In contrast, a poor recording doesn’t have all those, and when one plays it on the improved system, one misses those hair raising effects that one has got used to. One feels bad that one isn’t using the full capability of the improved system.

With those who give the TV analogy, I’d contest saying what if you reduced your picture size on the 70 inches TV to the size of a 36 inch TV? Will the SD video still look as awful? I don’t think so. Of course you won’t be using the full capability of the 70 inch higher resolution system. But if you really love that older content (video or audio), you’d be mentally ready to let go of that capacity once in a while.
 
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puthuraja

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Quite the opposite.
A high end system would show up all the deficiencies in the recording which a lower one would not.
Absolutely, this is my personal experience.... for some days I even wondered that I bought something which is not working the way I wanted ... Later I felt the correct way...
 

sandeepss

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An overly analytical system will make an ordinary recording sound pathetic, while a musical system will still keep it listenable/enjoyable.
Yes, I too feel this is the right approach. With the majority of the recordings that we enjoy listening to (barring a few exceptions) the fidelity with which they were initially recorded, mastered and released; the color that was subsequently introduced by our system and room and the ability (or inability) of our hearing to discern, makes most of what we hear not quite accurate to the real source. Only the choice of the system and room with treatments (in a given budget) is under our control, the rest is not. So the best middle ground IMO, will be to choose what flavor of fake suits us and move on.
But if you really love that older content (video or audio), you’d be mentally ready to let go of that capacity once in a while.
I have been able to enjoy the old Hindi songs (I am talking 50s and 60s; great music, but poor recordings) increasingly more (yes, not less). Why, even 128 Kbps Internet radio streams sound better.
Yes, absolutely. The subjective quality of the movie/music is more important. That said, if some organization like the Criterion collection, Kino Lorber et al. does a restoration of our Indian classics (audio), the enjoyment will definitely improve many times over :)
 

preth30

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This is what I call 'chaat' bhi meri aur 'pat' bhi meri.

If it sounds good then my setup is excellent. If it sounds bad then your recording is at fault
But what if you need to listen to those old gems, where the songs are just great but the recording is pathetic and there is nothing you can do about it. I have seen lot of people who own high end systems worth lakhs. They play only those songs which sound good in it. Old recordings sound bad in those.
 

preth30

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You are right Nikhil. But there are guys who thinks the other way. For them high end means all high priced equipment. If wrongly paired, a 2 lakh speaker together with a 2 lakh amplifier need not sound as good as a nicely matched pair of a total price of 50k.
 

preth30

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I don't wish to question anyone belief or opinion here, but during the 80's I had an Akai amplifier and a Pioneer speaker pair. I forgot the Pioneer's model number, but the Akai was AM 2400. I enjoyed all the music played in it. Everything was good. Later I was introduced to the British equipment by a friend and then to high end. Music listening was never the same, to be precise I was not listening to music anymore. I became more concerned with the sound quality rather than music. I became an equipment freak rather than a music lover. I started to search for those tiny sounds in each song which was not audible in that 'ordinary' system. The song was secondary. I started to worry about imaging, sound stage, depth detailing...what not. Rafi saab, kishore da, Latha ji...all these legends took a back seat. New singers shining with those advance recording technologies were ones I listened to. I still have that Akai amp, connected to another vintage speaker. Kishore da still sounds great on it. I sleep over that melodious sound of Lataji with that old charm still in it. I love that ordinary system.
 

liverpool_for_life

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I think it’s less a function of higher resolving system vs lower resolving system as much as it is of whether a system is analytical or musical.
Please define "analytical". If it means accuracy with respect to the input signal, and such a system isn't "musical", the problem is with the recording. Not the playback system.
 

skdas

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I don't wish to question anyone belief or opinion here, but during the 80's I had an Akai amplifier and a Pioneer speaker pair. I forgot the Pioneer's model number, but the Akai was AM 2400. I enjoyed all the music played in it. Everything was good. Later I was introduced to the British equipment by a friend and then to high end. Music listening was never the same, to be precise I was not listening to music anymore. I became more concerned with the sound quality rather than music. I became an equipment freak rather than a music lover. I started to search for those tiny sounds in each song which was not audible in that 'ordinary' system. The song was secondary. I started to worry about imaging, sound stage, depth detailing...what not. Rafi saab, kishore da, Latha ji...all these legends took a back seat. New singers shining with those advance recording technologies were ones I listened to. I still have that Akai amp, connected to another vintage speaker. Kishore da still sounds great on it. I sleep over that melodious sound of Lataji with that old charm still in it. I love that ordinary system.
Rightly said,I also feel the same.
 

Nitin K

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I don't wish to question anyone belief or opinion here, but during the 80's I had an Akai amplifier and a Pioneer speaker pair. I forgot the Pioneer's model number, but the Akai was AM 2400. I enjoyed all the music played in it. Everything was good. Later I was introduced to the British equipment by a friend and then to high end. Music listening was never the same, to be precise I was not listening to music anymore. I became more concerned with the sound quality rather than music. I became an equipment freak rather than a music lover. I started to search for those tiny sounds in each song which was not audible in that 'ordinary' system. The song was secondary. I started to worry about imaging, sound stage, depth detailing...what not. Rafi saab, kishore da, Latha ji...all these legends took a back seat. New singers shining with those advance recording technologies were ones I listened to. I still have that Akai amp, connected to another vintage speaker. Kishore da still sounds great on it. I sleep over that melodious sound of Lataji with that old charm still in it. I love that ordinary system.
Very aptly said. After a point the music should take precedence over analysis . Accuracy should be the basis while searching for good components. But musicality should take over analysis after a certain point since the equipment is meant for the sole purpose of enjoyment rather than analysing every track. Offcourse opinions may differ.
 
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Bhaskar Jyoti Talapatra

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I don't wish to question anyone belief or opinion here, but during the 80's I had an Akai amplifier and a Pioneer speaker pair. I forgot the Pioneer's model number, but the Akai was AM 2400. I enjoyed all the music played in it. Everything was good. Later I was introduced to the British equipment by a friend and then to high end. Music listening was never the same, to be precise I was not listening to music anymore. I became more concerned with the sound quality rather than music. I became an equipment freak rather than a music lover. I started to search for those tiny sounds in each song which was not audible in that 'ordinary' system. The song was secondary. I started to worry about imaging, sound stage, depth detailing...what not. Rafi saab, kishore da, Latha ji...all these legends took a back seat. New singers shining with those advance recording technologies were ones I listened to. I still have that Akai amp, connected to another vintage speaker. Kishore da still sounds great on it. I sleep over that melodious sound of Lataji with that old charm still in it. I love that ordinary system.
@preth30
Thanks for candidly speaking your mind. This is exactly what I also think. High end doesn't necessarily mean pricey rather it should mean superior quality for which a true audiophile pines IMHO.
 
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square_wave

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There are pros and cons to all approaches.

If a system is very resolving, you can hear much more of the magic that is in the recording. The more you go into this rabbit hole, good recordings or even reasonably good recordings sound absolutely magical. The downside is that bad recordings will sound threadbare and thin. But many people love this threadbare sound as long as it captures the core essence ( soul ) of the sound.

If a system casts its own magic on all recordings, the system is not transparent. All recordings will have this “fake sheen “ to it. This may be something you have chosen so you may like it. But this will also ensure you get to hear less and less of the magic that is possible with reasonably good or good recordings.

Most of time, the audiophile goal is to strike a balance between the two ( with most of the music they prefer ). And this where it becomes a bit of black magic. And subjective. This is also where the fights between the objective and subjective camps begin. Because this can only happen via trial and error. No spec sheet will give you this info.
 
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