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  1. #1
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    Default matching quality

    I have been having thoughts about people's attitudes to system matching, not audio matching but quality (price) matching. It started with people putting a 150 - 200 pickup cartridge on a 150 -200 turntable in the vain hope of a 'high end' sound quality. It led me to thinking about quality compatibility (rather than synergy, which I don't believe in, for hifi at least).

    For the record (sorry!) I use a 100 turntable, 150 tone arm and 35 cartridge feeding a 100 phono amplifier, into two 300 integrated amplifiers, which drive 1350 loudspeakers. None of the above kit is in stock form, which skews the pricing somewhat. (Vinyl collection, about 6000, conservative evaluation, so a music lover!).

    What do people think would be a sensible price point for each component in ANY system, starter to 'high end', of whichever system you have experience. Just a vinyl based system, to start with, please.
    Last edited by cat's squirrel; 27th February 2017 at 17:12.
    cheers.....Bryan

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    as much as you can afford.

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    I think you can build a very decent system with a modest budget of 250 per component.

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    Some of my best system i had with nice modest components ever for the money :

    Thorens 160 with Goldring 1020
    Sugden A28 modded
    B & W DM 4

    Linn Lp 12 -82, Ittok LV II B Mark 2, Linn Karma
    Krell Ksb 7 B
    Dynaco Mark 3 Org -59
    Rogers Ls 3/5 A

    Linn Lp 12 -78 Hadcock 228 At 95 E
    Sonab ( Yamaha ) R 7000
    Nakamichi 600 B
    Sonab V1

    Audio Alchemy 4 box CD
    Diy Pre amp ( Krell Ksp 7 B klon )
    Diy Amp ( Krell KSA 100 klon )
    Bertagni D 120

    /L
    Tangerine Audio Stiletto, Plateau, Skorpion, SME V ( D ), Dynavector DRT XV 1S, Chord Signature Tuned Aray, Linn Cirkus, Linn Radikal Klimax.
    https://www.linnarts.se

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    Yeah, helps also to pick up second hand stuff. Hi-Fi hasn't really evolved much in 30 years if you're happy with a 2.1 system so can get something really quite killer if you're you're not worried about it being brand new. When I originally got into hi-fi I was always looking at the 2nd hand shops to see what I could find. Ended up with a quite nice NAD/Denon/Mission set up despite being on less than minimum wage!

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    At first glance a 100 tt and 150 arm might seem a little unconventional but if it works it works. I also see nothing wrong a the largest part of your budget going on speakers.

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    I remember hitting the jackpot finding this in a Richer Sounds' second hand bin, best use of my paper-round money ever!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jy3 View Post
    At first glance a 100 tt and 150 arm might seem a little unconventional but if it works it works. I also see nothing wrong a the largest part of your budget going on speakers.


    My first proper separates system was put together with a budget of 500. That was back in the early eighties but with the plethora of very decent budget gear around today, the same budget could or should be sufficient.
    Last edited by TIU; 28th February 2017 at 21:32.

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    well, I'll own up, the turntable originally cost 100 (ebay purchase) but I have since spent another 200 on it getting to where I want to be. So, 300 tt, 150 arm and 35 cart. The amplifiers cost me 300 and 100 S/H, and the loudspeakers were about 400 (list price 1200) with about 150 on super tweeters. The 400 'speakers were a demo pair and had about 80 hours on the clock, even so they needed another 2 months of running in (casual use).

    Actually, the tt is the one in my present avatar, a Lenco 59. I kept the man springs, and encased the main bearing in a linear bearing, to give it just one degree of freedom. Will add ferrofluid lubrication at some point, with a silicon nitride bearing ball and neo magnet.
    Last edited by cat's squirrel; 28th February 2017 at 23:39.
    cheers.....Bryan

    http://qualia.webs.com/

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    Your first mistake Bryan is assuming price dictates quality and price is an indicator of performance, far from it.

    The actual cost of a 3m pair of Nordost Valhalla speaker cable ex factory (i.e. Raw material and seemly costs) was around 80, but some believe it to be the best because it retailed for 10k.

    A25 Rega cart will sound far better in my deck that a totr Rega cart will in a Rega at 1k (in any Rega really ) work on engineering principals, does your deck spin ta the right speed and enough isolation from airborne vibration, does your arm move freely enough not to exert too much of its own sound into the mix, get them correct and all carts will sound pretty good.

    However if your speakers aren't up to it then you'll be unlikely to hear any of the realitively subtle differences between a 25 cart and a 150 one.

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    Prof. I expected more.
    Last edited by cat's squirrel; 2nd March 2017 at 02:44.
    cheers.....Bryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by cat's squirrel View Post
    Prof. I expected more.
    That was not my intention Bryan, more making a point, I didn't think that what I had was any secret. And my point still stands 'price is not an indicator of performance.

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    I would disagree about price as an indicator, in general terms, anyway. I am involved with a ceramics company, and I am often asked about pricing. I know roughly what the raw material cost is (I buy it!) and what other costs are involved, and I try to reflect that in my assessment of retail price. But the final figure is often down to market forces. What prices can the market stand. So for comparative purposes, price is a fair indicator, but in absolute terms it is pants. Mention 'audiophile' and the price of an item can sometimes multiply in price, for no other reason. And comparing two similar items, one being 10x the price of the other shows little correlation in quality of the final result (the music), that is, the more expensive item is not '10x better' at reproducing the musical waveform, so-called diminishing returns.

    As regards pitch, this is a big subject. My turntables are all checked against a rotary encoder, and are accurate to the second decimal point. However, I have a recording (Bach, I think) which is quite well known (to me at least) which I have heard many times, played at a certain tempo, but on this recording the tempo is slow, and I have to increase the speed on the Lenco's to compensate for my preference. Thankfully a very easy task! But on several occasions I have forgotten to reset the speed, being oblivious to the incorrect speed, which may be out by 10% or so. You may say that I haven't got perfect pitch (thank goodness) but I have been playing musical (pitched) instrument for over 60 years, and can easily tell when my instrument (or others) are out of tune!. And then some early music ensembles play at a different standard pitch to later offerings, but I have never heard anyone saying their turntable is slow when playing these recordings. And to rub salt into wounds, most musical instruments are not perfect when selecting pitch, even between adjacent notes.

    As for your system, I guess it sounds wonderful (to you) and that you derive great enjoyment from it. I derive great enjoyment from mine, too, but I doubt your enjoyment is 50 times more than mine. But all the bits of your system would more that knock any of mine into oblivion, such is the quality of yours (and mine). So quality does have a price, and is an indicator of fit for purpose. Whether one wants to pay for marketing hype (or BS) is a prerogative, but I believe a good 150 cart will sound better than a good 35 cart, in a decent arm, on a decent turntable, with good amplification and decent 'speakers. If it didn't, something is very wrong.
    Last edited by cat's squirrel; 2nd March 2017 at 14:19.
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    Sound about right , had a nice set of act scm 150 , so that's studio control monitors??? What the hell does that actually men , anyway they sounded like there was a set of 30 top tweeters in then to my ears , but at least it seems to me at care at least a reasonable cost , for the nice big cabs and speakers etc in them , but cost and value against sound is a very complicated thing I am running two sets of 30 year old Sony three ways with lovely results ,I have tried a good number of 500 to 1300 sets of other speakers and never been tempted to change in fact been sent out shops holding me ears and at times just disappointed terribly . In poor sounds and head room in a lot of the little modern boxes , I have 12 bass in my latest sonys. Loveless s51 things sound real enough with basic 16 bit crappy cd , in my jazz shed,

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    Those SCM150's are serious coin, if I was going to invest that much I'd have someone come in to install acoustic treatment to ensure the room was sonically correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cat's squirrel View Post
    I would disagree about price as an indicator, in general terms, anyway. I am involved with a ceramics company, and I am often asked about pricing. I know roughly what the raw material cost is (I buy it!) and what other costs are involved, and I try to reflect that in my assessment of retail price. But the final figure is often down to market forces. What prices can the market stand. So for comparative purposes, price is a fair indicator, but in absolute terms it is pants. Mention 'audiophile' and the price of an item can sometimes multiply in price, for no other reason. And comparing two similar items, one being 10x the price of the other shows little correlation in quality of the final result (the music), that is, the more expensive item is not '10x better' at reproducing the musical waveform, so-called diminishing returns.

    As regards pitch, this is a big subject. My turntables are all checked against a rotary encoder, and are accurate to the second decimal point. However, I have a recording (Bach, I think) which is quite well known (to me at least) which I have heard many times, played at a certain tempo, but on this recording the tempo is slow, and I have to increase the speed on the Lenco's to compensate for my preference. Thankfully a very easy task! But on several occasions I have forgotten to reset the speed, being oblivious to the incorrect speed, which may be out by 10% or so. You may say that I haven't got perfect pitch (thank goodness) but I have been playing musical (pitched) instrument for over 60 years, and can easily tell when my instrument (or others) are out of tune!. And then some early music ensembles play at a different standard pitch to later offerings, but I have never heard anyone saying their turntable is slow when playing these recordings. And to rub salt into wounds, most musical instruments are not perfect when selecting pitch, even between adjacent notes.

    As for your system, I guess it sounds wonderful (to you) and that you derive great enjoyment from it. I derive great enjoyment from mine, too, but I doubt your enjoyment is 50 times more than mine. But all the bits of your system would more that knock any of mine into oblivion, such is the quality of yours (and mine). So quality does have a price, and is an indicator of fit for purpose. Whether one wants to pay for marketing hype (or BS) is a prerogative, but I believe a good 150 cart will sound better than a good 35 cart, in a decent arm, on a decent turntable, with good amplification and decent 'speakers. If it didn't, something is very wrong.
    You missed my point Bryan, the reason for putting up prices was to highlight that my speakers cost 10x my pre, etc, i.e. the system wasn't built according to price, but according to sound, it's not about enjoyment I've no doubt my system isn't 50 times better, or I enjoy it 50 times more, it's about buying the right components, there may be a 150 cartridge better than your 35 one, but don't assume just because it's more expensive it will be better, you seem to suggest that because it's 3times more than yours that it will automatically be better, that's where you are going wrong, a 35 cart will cost about the same price to manufacture as a 150 one, and the differences between them will be RELATIVELY minor in the grand scheme of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by qube View Post
    Those SCM150's are serious coin, if I was going to invest that much I'd have someone come in to install acoustic treatment to ensure the room was sonically correct.
    Ritchie might be getting his model numbers mixed up, he'd did own SCM 35's in the past, shocking things, you can keep your 150's too, wouldn't give them houseroom.

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    And my 'speakers cost 10 times the cost of my phono amplifier. I get what you say, But I didn't choose either on cost. I bought my hifi bits on what I thought was comparable quality. That is why a 100 Lenco can mix it with 1200 speakers, and maintain the quality. And that really is my point, one wouldn't put a 150 cart on a Crosley (or similar load of sh1te), but people are! They think that it will improve their quality of reproduction because they have spent out on a good cart. Same reasoning with loudspeakers, Better speakers in a so-so system isn't going to give you much more.

    I end with a thing I read from the BBC, when they were designing and building their LS5/8 loudspeaker. 'we didn't realise how awful some amplifiers were 'til we listened to them on these 'speakers' or words to that effect. Saw some of these 'speakers in a hifi emporium locally, they were going for around 8k, wonder what the crappy amplifiers would sell for?
    cheers.....Bryan

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    We are it seems sitting on the same side of the fence.

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    My TT/arm/cart cost 300 pounds (in 1986) consisted of Rock II/ Moth RB250/ Denon 110. Plinth/cover came later at 120 pounds. Now has a AT OC9 III fitted and a j7 cardas rewire and OL stub and weight.
    Amp was also 300 pounds (bought at the same time) was a Cyrus 2 (PSX came later at 200 pounds)
    Speakers were about the same (also bought at the same time) Heybrook HB2r.


    I also have a Luxman pd264 saved from the skip for $0 with no arm. Heybrook GH228 cost me $220 used (new around $1600) plus a j7 vdH rewire, Shure V15 III paid for a wiring job I had done to a tone arm (TY j7) and Jico stylus at $330.


    Amp has been upgraded twice, now running a 2013 Copland CSA29 I paid $1200 for.
    Speakers went to DM2s which cost me 80 quid and now 1995 Castle Howard s1.


    Still happy with my gear after all this time.
    I have a Rock and I'm not afraid to use it.

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