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Discussion: Elgar: Violin Concerto etc. - Hilary Hahn

Posts: 38
Page: 1 2 3 4 next

Post by Julien July 26, 2007 (1 of 38)
Swestbom,

Maybe you could write down the details of your equipment in your profile, I think your very fine review would be even more helpful to us.

I hope every single user could do as well, because sometimes the equipment can explain people's feelings about some aspects of the sound.

Post by Jonty July 26, 2007 (2 of 38)
I couldn't agree more. I am currently putting together a secondary system for my new studio based around a Marantz SA-15S1. Just listening via the headphone output with my HD600s has made me revise my views on the sound quality of some discs. Equipment makes a huge difference.

Post by Barryroque July 27, 2007 (3 of 38)
Jonty said:

I couldn't agree more. I am currently putting together a secondary system for my new studio based around a Marantz SA-15S1. Just listening via the headphone output with my HD600s has made me revise my views on the sound quality of some discs. Equipment makes a huge difference.

I agree wholeheartedly with both you and Julien.
I can't help noticing that all the site reviewers list their equipment with the sole exception of PN!
Putting 'Symphony Hall, Birmingham' is unhelpful and evasive (although quite humorous). Why not tell us what you listen on John?

Post by Polly Nomial July 27, 2007 (4 of 38)
Barryroque said:

Why not tell us what you listen on John?

Because I don't particularly want to share this information... why not? Read on.

Personally I don't think it's terribly important what anyone else has because the biggest determinant of the quality of someone's ability to listen is their ears & brain not their purchased equipment.

I could honestly say that I have the same SACD player as a widely respected audiophile recording company but I can't see how this helps you (or anyone else) judge if this invalidates or supports my opinions in your eyes.

I recently visited a family member who also enjoys classical music and his system is, on paper, better than mine (it costs at least 10x more). However, he lives directly under the flight path to Heathrow Airport so anything more than a basic or mid-range system is completely wasted given that his listening room is not sound-proofed to the outside world! [As my relatives & I have to obey conventional UK waking times, then listening purely during the far quieter hours of 00:00 to 05:00 is not a practical option at his address.]

So far, I have had no requests (direct or otherwise) from any company that chooses to supply me with discs for review purposes to reveal my set-up. Until a company and/or Zeus directly requires me to divulge my equipment then I will, for the time being, reserve my right to (a little) privacy.

Best Regards

John

Post by flyingdutchman July 27, 2007 (5 of 38)
I agree with John.

Post by Julien July 27, 2007 (6 of 38)
Well, everyone has his own choice and of course his reasons. The reason why I was commenting is that Swestbom in his review wrote "I have quite good equipment". The problem is, many who use a PS3 and slightly better than average components even consider it as high-end audiophile, and I guess they don't imagine that the tens of thousands of dollars can make a difference. Also I don't believe it is only a question of price, it can be simply differences of presentation that are big, or an overall association of components that could explain the too bright sound or lack of air, etc.
Some recordings I would have considered as average revealed themselves just because I changed from a Marantz 8400 to my Cary. The presentation was different and I guessed the miking choices differently.
And I also write the dimensions of my room which are not ideal, so that some people know that my feelings on the soundstage are limited and they can ignore them sometimes.

I don't know how important the equipment is for multichannel, but for stereo, especially in orchestral music, there is no way you clearly hear the recording choices on a cheap universal player.

I'm not trying to be rude here. Such players don't prevent from enjoying the music, and on the contrary there are less recordings you can enjoy with expensive equipment because it's too revealing of problems.

But as I said, even though well associated (this is key, otherwise expensive can sound very bad too) and very high-end equipment (say above 50000$) is more likely to reveal the original studio choices than some PS3 based gear, it is not only a price problem. Many of us here know a bit about equipment and based on it could guess why the reviewer is feeling this or that way.

What I'm saying is that every time somebody comments on the recording itself the overall equipement he uses is key to the comments' credibility to my eyes. Too many of the best orchestral stereo recordings don't sound as such on cheaper equipment in stereo beaucause hall sound is not revealed for example.

A last example: recently a user commented on the SACD layer not sounding as good as the CD layer. The first thing I guess most of us will do is click on his name and look at what player he uses.

Post by flyingdutchman July 28, 2007 (7 of 38)
Julien said:

Well, everyone has his own choice and of course his reasons. The reason why I was commenting is that Swestbom in his review wrote "I have quite good equipment". The problem is, many who use a PS3 and slightly better than average components even consider it as high-end audiophile, and I guess they don't imagine that the tens of thousands of dollars can make a difference. Also I don't believe it is only a question of price, it can be simply differences of presentation that are big, or an overall association of components that could explain the too bright sound or lack of air, etc.
Some recordings I would have considered as average revealed themselves just because I changed from a Marantz 8400 to my Cary. The presentation was different and I guessed the miking choices differently.
And I also write the dimensions of my room which are not ideal, so that some people know that my feelings on the soundstage are limited and they can ignore them sometimes.

I don't know how important the equipment is for multichannel, but for stereo, especially in orchestral music, there is no way you clearly hear the recording choices on a cheap universal player.

I'm not trying to be rude here. Such players don't prevent from enjoying the music, and on the contrary there are less recordings you can enjoy with expensive equipment because it's too revealing of problems.

But as I said, even though well associated (this is key, otherwise expensive can sound very bad too) and very high-end equipment (say above 50000$) is more likely to reveal the original studio choices than some PS3 based gear, it is not only a price problem. Many of us here know a bit about equipment and based on it could guess why the reviewer is feeling this or that way.

What I'm saying is that every time somebody comments on the recording itself the overall equipement he uses is key to the comments' credibility to my eyes. Too many of the best orchestral stereo recordings don't sound as such on cheaper equipment in stereo beaucause hall sound is not revealed for example.

A last example: recently a user commented on the SACD layer not sounding as good as the CD layer. The first thing I guess most of us will do is click on his name and look at what player he uses.

I don't think too many here, if they have SACD equipment, are using PS3 as their SACD player, but if you actually have the gall to think that it takes tens of thousands of dollars to appreciate the sound and performance of a recording, then you are dead wrong. I don't have to have a Cary or the highest end system to know what is good, and what sounds good.

Post by Barryroque July 28, 2007 (8 of 38)
Polly Nomial said:

Because I don't particularly want to share this information...

Personally I don't think it's terribly important what anyone else has because the biggest determinant of the quality of someone's ability to listen is their ears & brain not their purchased equipment.

I will, for the time being, reserve my right to (a little) privacy.

I fully respect your right to refuse to divulge your equipment if that is how you feel. It just seems a little odd considering that you have revealed a lot about yourself in the past including your job, new family member etc.

It is not "someone's ability to listen" that is being discussed here but the conclusions they draw as to the sound quality of a particular disc. The equipment used to assess this must surely be of importance, as also is the listening room and its location(urban or rural).

As Jonty said "Just listening via the headphone output with my HD600s has made me revise my views on the sound quality of some discs. Equipment makes a huge difference."
I am surprised that you don't accept this view.

To play the Devil's advocate for a moment.

There is nothing to stop you saying that you own the finest equipment and most perfect listening room known to man, as no one could disprove it. However, frankness and honesty is a major feature of this site so I am sure that this would not have crossed your mind!

Regards
Barry

Post by Julien July 28, 2007 (9 of 38)
flyingdutchman said:

I don't think too many here, if they have SACD equipment, are using PS3 as their SACD player, but if you actually have the gall to think that it takes tens of thousands of dollars to appreciate the sound and performance of a recording, then you are dead wrong. I don't have to have a Cary or the highest end system to know what is good, and what sounds good.

No, as I said price is a matter since even 500$ mini-systems that allow to appreciate the music fully will not let you hear how the engineers worked. And I still do think that if you listen to ten recordings in stereo, first on a 2000$ system, and then on a 50000$ system that both are very well adjusted and associated, and I ask you to classify them one to ten according to recording quality, you will have two different lists. I don't think anyone who has done the experience will disagree with this.

Anyway what I'm trying to stress out here is more a matter of differences between components. Take my Thiel speakers, and use some Denon equipment with it all the way, it'll sound deadly bright, and when I comment in a review on the violins sounding aggressive, those who know about equipment will see what I'm using, and know that they still can buy the recording because it shouldn't be an issue on their system.

I don't think that I'm able to hear accurately nor that I think my system is that good. I am just saying that knowing the listening conditions of a reviewer helps me in my purchasing choices.

Post by Polly Nomial July 28, 2007 (10 of 38)
Barry

I enjoy being "a little odd"! Please don't take away one of my pleasures! :) Besides, allowing others to know what my career/family circumstances are then it hopefully makes me appear a little more "human" - not the easiest thing to do on the internet. Also, you'll see why I think this matters a little further on, the "revelations" I've made do not allow anyone to infer how much money I earn & hence have to devote to SACD... [If Jared Sacks or Robert von Bahr are reading this, then I am the most impoverished SACD listener known to man and would heartily appreciate some discs for review!]

I agree with many of your points regarding equipment but I cannot possibly recreate for you or anyone else two crucial aspects of my listening: the room(s) and my ears that I use. This is why I do not fully accept the point of view that "equipment makes a huge difference" - it can do in the right environment but I'd far rather have a basic or mid-range set-up in a quiet room than a high-end set-up in a very noisy room like a member of my family does.

The other reason and for me most importantly why I prefer not to declare the equipment I use is that I want this format to spread beyond an audiophile niche product into the mainstream for acoustic reproduction (this is slowly happening in classical music and hope that it continues to extend into other art forms soon). I do not want newcomers to the format and site to be put off diving into the most affordable hi-resolution medium there currently is before the consumer by purveying attitudes that if you can't have at least a BrandX player/amplifier/speakers then it's not worth the bother because I strongly believe that it is. Even the cheapest set-up repays vast dividends & as I believe in the laws of diminishing returns, this is the price point at which I think one might hear the biggest potential improvement between RBCD and SACD.

I started out on the SACD road with a MCH set-up that cost less than £400 in total and it made a phenomenal difference to my listening experience. I was lucky enough to be able to considerably upgrade my equipment. Would it have prevented me from drawing the same (relative) conclusions as I now do? Not sure - in some ways I'd like to think not but in case my wife is reading this I'd like to categorically state that without my current set-up my "job" would be impossible!

That is my potted (potty?) philosophy & others are welcome to disagree...

Regards

John

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