Talk:High-end audio

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Distinguish High-End from Audiophile/Hi-Fi! "Definition" vs. "Studio" sections[edit]

The definition section defines "high-end" by its fidelity. The studio monitor section goes on to explain that high-end audio gear actually modifies sound on purpose to make it sound better, in contrast with hi-fidelity gear, which is specifically not "high-end"! It seems to me the Definition section is the one requiring a fix, but as I do not credit myself with sufficient knowledge to make the change, I am simply bringing the contradiction up for discussion. Ventifact 01:35, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

The definition of high-end audio is almost all bull. Competently-designed mass-market amplifiers, cd players, and wires sound as good as their competently-designed high-end counterparts. Properly-designed amplifiers, cd players, and wires sound neutral. So there is no accuracy, warmth, tonal colour, speed, timbre, size of sound stage, depth, clarity, pace, or timing involved. Either the sound is neutral or it deviates from neutral. But because many audiophiles refuse to accept evidence from double-blind tests, the usual bull is repeated. William Greene 18:05, 22 October 2007 (UTC)


I don't necessarily disbelieve you. Feel free to offer a citation or even go so far as to create a section in the article documenting criticism of "high-end" audio culture. Definitions, however, (which are what I brought up) are abstract and exist so long as someone conceives of them mentally. That is, high-end audio's definition will be its definition regardless of whether the aims of high-end manufacturers are ever met when they build their gear. The definition for "high-end" given in the "Definition" section of this article contradicts the definition used in the "Studio" section. The former section defines high-end as hi-fi, but the latter section specifically says that high-end is intentionally not hi-fi.
And anyway, you (probably intentionally) did not include speakers in your comment. You would probably agree with me that the difference between cheap and expensive speakers is not seriously contested, even if the value of specially wound cables is? As I mentioned before, I understand that audiophile equipment is centrally defined by fidelity (though somewhat moreso in the Anglosphere, as I understand it, than in other cultures), but I do not know whether it is correct to define high-end gear by fidelity or by other standards (cost, intentional and desired alteration of the sound, etc.). So I bring up the contradictory definitions used in the article hoping that someone who knows the "high-end" world can sort it out. 69.76.1.183 21:25, 29 October 2007 (UTC)Ventifact
Umm, and by "create a section" I mean add to the pre-existing one... 69.76.1.183 09:46, 30 October 2007 (UTC)Ventifact
Citations and references are in the “Audiophile” article and its discussion page and the article “Audio equipment testing.”
“High-end audio's definition will be its definition regardless of whether the aims of high-end manufacturers are ever met when they build their gear.” For sound quality, amplifiers, cd players, and wires are already state of the art. But some high-end vendors feel that this is not good enough to compete against their mass-market counterparts. This is where marketing comes into play. And the marketing boys and girls will say that high-end components will sound better even though evidence indicates that this is not so.
“The definition for ‘high-end’ given in the ‘Definition’ section of this article contradicts the definition used in the ‘Studio’ section. The former section defines high-end as hi-fi, but the latter section specifically says that high-end is intentionally not hi-fi.” Lots of high-end components are junk. The Audio Critic has reviewed a few; this website, incidentally, is an excellent reference if you want to learn about high-end bull. The Audio Critic tells the truth.
“And anyway, you (probably intentionally) did not include speakers in your comment. You would probably agree with me that the difference between cheap and expensive speakers is not seriously contested, even if the value of specially wound cables is?“ Good and bad loudspeakers are available from about $150 US. But the reason I did not include loudspeakers is that high-quality loudspeakers will sound different from each other.
“As I mentioned before, I understand that audiophile equipment is centrally defined by fidelity (though somewhat more so in the Anglo sphere, as I understand it, than in other cultures), but I do not know whether it is correct to define high-end gear by fidelity or by other standards (cost, intentional and desired alteration of the sound, etc.).“ No. Audiophile equipment is defined by the strength of the audio equivalent of the placebo effect it can produce and maintain in opposition to a mountain of evidence.
“So I bring up the contradictory definitions used in the article hoping that someone who knows the ‘high-end’ world can sort it out.” High-end audio is more marketing than high-quality components. William Greene 16:20, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Wow. A very resolute and successful effort to read and respond to things that were not written. Ventifact (talk) 22:32, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Acoustic vs Electronic Sounds, which Benefits More from High-End[edit]

The article said (in the definition section, which as I've mentioned about probably needs a rewrite anyway) of hi-fidelity reproduction that '[t]his is obviously more important with performances involving acoustic instruments and without studio manipulations of vocals.' This is simply not true; in my experience, it is often the opposite that is true. For example, artificial sounds have a knack for finding their way into gaps in poor speakers' response ranges. I suspect the claim about acoustic instruments and unmodified vocals was based on a listener's appreciation of the aspects of those sounds, but that the listener had little appreciation for artificial or modified sound's own qualities. I have removed the claim. Ventifact 01:35, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Internal Nonexisting Links Are Being Added[edit]

People are adding internal links that do not exist in the Wikipedia. I'm not sure of the rules on this, but I will wait a week or so before considering these links to be inappropriate and deleting them. If you are going to add internal links-- make sure that an internal link exists- even if you have to create it and even though it may be just a stub.

I appreciate that you would like to create an entry which this page links to, if so please create it and make it a stub by inserting the code {{corp-stub}} into the article that you are linking to.

links deleted so far for failing to be acutal valid wikipedia links-

Wilson Audio

JMLab

Bowers & Wilkens

This is always a judgement call. If there's a liklihood that someone will create the article, then it's probably a good idea to Wikilink it now. One of the many meta-pages that can be accessed lists the various "red" links and people occasionally browse that list and create a missing-but-linked article or two. But if the Wikilink is to something that's very obscure (say, "Atlant's Audio Association" and no one is ever likely to create the article, then it's better to leave it unlinked.
By the way, you should always sign your "talk" postings. This can be most-easily done by including four tildes (~~~~) in your edit. When you save the edit, the tildes will be turned into a handy link to your username and timestamp showing when you posted.
Atlant 11:12, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
I think the goal is to avoid having links to a bunch of articles that do not exist. So we should use judgment in deciding which ones to keep. And people can always add "external" links in the external link section (which is not being done currently). If there are no links on some of these obscure entries, then perhaps its better to change them to plain text rather than a link? Or perhaps put them in the external link category with weblink? Another option is to keep the internal link and have a description - "article needs to be created."
(thanks for the advice on the 4 tildes-- always wondered how you guys did that).
Lgreen 16:18, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
Please do not do this! List entries should not be deleted just because there isn't a Wikipedia article about them yet. There is a category (Category:High end audio) which includes all the Wikipedia articles, so there is no need to duplicate it with a "list of internal links". Mirror Vax 02:34, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
OK. Sorry. Lgreen 02:46, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
No need to be sorry. Incidentally, there might be some articles missing from the category - I'm not sure, since I created it a while ago and haven't checked it. Might be good to create subcategories, too, for speakers, electronics, etc. Mirror Vax 02:59, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Recording[edit]

if someone with recording knowledge can polish up the 'recording companies' list it would be of great appreciation. I think this day in age there is certainly a demand for 'high end' recording. Add to the list and please add to their stubs, or simply create a stub.

Pro audio is not 'high end', by definition. 'High end' is a consumer market. (Of course some companies sell to both 'pro' and 'high end' markets - dCS is a good example). Mirror Vax 23:58, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. Pro-audio (i.e. recording and broadcast) is a completely different field from high-end consumer audio. It uses an almost entirely different set of products from different companies, with relatively little overlap. --Spliced 11:10, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

Well, when you get to the mastering end of things this is no longer true. Go to any high end mastering studio, and you will see speakers, amplifiers, cabling, and acoustic treatments pulled from the exact same pool as the high end of consumer audio.

The reason you don't see much overlap at the recording end of things is that the goals are so different. Even the gear that seems like it might be similar, like speakers, is designed for a different purpose. Studio monitors are not designed for enjoyment. They're designed for analysis. That being said, there is some crossover. Some audiophiles like the sound of near field studio monitors, and buy them for home listening. Other gear, like microphone preamplifiers, mixing consoles, compressors, parametric equalizers, limiters, microphones, etc. etc. have no home audio equivalent. There are a few companies that make gear for both recording studio and home use. They tend to be high end. Bryston and Manley come to mind; I'm sure you can find others.

Manufacturer's list[edit]

Hi:

If I'm wrong about this, please ridicule me mercilessly, but Sony's no longer making power amplifiers and has killed their Esprit line, which means they're no longer making audiophile equipment. I'm not saying like snobs we should pull them from the list of manufacturers of hi-fi audio, but ....

High End cables useless?[edit]

Are high end cables really useless as stated in this article? Im not an audiophile so I can't comment technically, but im sure they must have benefits?

Well, they have the benefit of returning a huge profit to their manufacturers and resellers. But's that's probably not exactly what you meant.
Yes, they're useless. With cables, the laws of physics and diminishing returns cut in pretty quickly, and there's really not much difference if your speaker is wired with 2 meters of 12 gauge lamp cord or that cable you paid $899 for. Same thing for signal cables; audio just isn't that hard to send through a cable at high fidelity. But P. T. Barnum called it right; there'll always be a market for those $899 cables.
Atlant 13:29, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Laws of Physics? The trouble is, no one knows what laws we're dealing with. I've had conversations with a couple of research psychologists who specialize in human psychoacoustics. They admit that they don't even know what they don't know when it comes to the intricacies of human hearing. One of them has worked with a physicist who studies signal dynamics. He confirms that beyond the very basics, there is essentially no hard research on the effects of signal wire on harmonically complex signals, especially with regard to human hearing. So when anyone with an electrical engineering 101 textbook tells you "that's impossible ... you can't be hearing that!" it might be prudent to be skeptical. It's true that most of the scientific claims made by cable companies are pseudo science. Less known is that the scientific claims made against these companies are pseudo science as well. The presumption that there are no significant factors besides resistance, capacitance, and inductance are just that--presumptions. They're based on nothing other than the fact that we don't know much else.

Personal experience: virtually all wires I've listened to sound different from each other. Some significantly, some not. There is very generally a correlation between price and performance, but there are dramatic (and embarrassing) exceptions. The wires I use now in my stereo replaced ones that cost twice as much. I have no experience with stratospherically expensive cabling; I have tested various wires from the radio shack level to ones that cost in the $20/foot range. This could be considered low to middle end, but the middle end would seem outrageously expensive to someone accustomed to mass market equipment. I do not pretend to understand the physics behind the different sounds, even if the manufacturers often pretend.

At the very least, it should be noted that this is a subject of some contention. Personally, I would dismiss the views of anyone who has not listened seriously to cables. Good scientists do not dismiss ideas based on prejudice; they test them.

Yes, laws of physics. Lots of people know exactly which laws we are dealing with. And these laws predict that expensive cables, as long as they are competently designed, will probably sound no different from their competently-designed inexpensive counterparts. The way to verify this claim is through double-blind tests. And, yes, double-blind tests have shown that there is no audible difference if measurements predict that there should be no audible differences when listening to music. Please see the Wikipedia article "Audiophile" for the links.
Your point about how humans hear is a red herring. While it is true that psychologists do not know all there is to know about how humans hear, they know enough to apply double-blind tests to validate or invalidate claims made by cable vendors. If you are truly sceptical, you would put your trust in evidence instead of aural illusions. If objectivists say that expensive cables should be able to consistently pass double-blind tests for difference before they pass tests for preference, where does pseudoscience come into play?
Does your personal experience include the ability to consistently pass double-blind tests? If it does, then you would be the first person in the world to be able to consistently pass these tests. This is a contentious subject like a flat earth is a contentious subject. Personally, I would dismiss the views of anyone who claims to be able to hear differences in cables without providing any evidence. Good scientists do not dismiss ideas based on prejudice; they test them. Double blind. Again, disinterested readers should examine some of the links in the "Audiophile" article. William Greene 18:21, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Doesn't matter. Soon, it'll all be digital audio over optical fibers and "bits is bits", no matter what Monster or any other overpriced cable vendor claims. ;-)
Atlant 18:27, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
expensive cables, as long as they are competently designed, will probably sound no different from their competently-designed inexpensive counterparts.
The problem is that most of them are not competently designed. (An, yes, I am an electronics engineer). Google "skin effect simulation audio OR 20Khz" for example. Or Google Thorsten Loesch.
The second problem is while most of us cannot smell or taste what a Master of Wine can, neither can most people hear what a "golden ears" can. And so the snake-oil salesmen and sideshow-skeptics have an equally damaging free reign. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thoglette (talkcontribs) 13:36, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Are you kidding? The skin depth at 20 KHz is about 18 mils, making it pretty unimportant for relatively high-impedance audio circuits; there's plenty of copper to carry the signals to a typical 10-100Kohm audio load. Even at 50 ohms, 100 feet of RG58 has a loss of about 0.05 dB at 20 KHz. You might make a slightly more-effective argument for speaker cables, but they tend to be a lot shorter than my hypothetical 100 foot piece of coax.
It takes no real effort to design a highly-competent audio cable and any other claims are just attempts to baffle the credulous.
Atlant 23:17, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

What about Harman Kardon?[edit]

Why isn't this venerable high-end manufacturer represented in the article? Also - how about some more down-to-earth explanations about what makes a good audio system? RCSB 12:50, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

This is Wikipedia, so you know what to do: be bold and update the article!
Atlant 13:00, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

"Audiophile Propaganda"[edit]

"Audiophile Propaganda" - that's a nice, flame-baity way for me to put it! :-)

I've noticed, on Wikipedia, that a number of articles have come under the influence of - how shall I put it? - "audiophile propaganda". I've noticed it particularly with claims made in relation to valves, where there'll often be a brief claim of 'sonic superiority', or the like. But it's not just valve stuff. Here, in this article, there's the "Debate" section, which doesn't really seem to really belong, or need to be, in this article. (Such things would be better placed in, say, the audiophile article.)

The thing that really struck me about the "Debate" section is the last line of the following (emphasis mine):-

At the core of much of this debate is the limit of human hearing. While it can be clearly shown with basic electrical engineering that accessories such as analog audio cables (which we will focus on for this discussion) do modify the signal going through them, some argue that the modifications to the signal cannot be heard. At the center of this issue are a limited number of experiments that have been performed in attempts to determine limits to human hearing. The results from experiments that have been performed generally come up with different limits to human hearing that vary based on the test variables. These experiments generally do not deal with complex signals (such as music) and thus are not valid for extrapolation to this debate.

I've also noticed the comments on this talk page, by someone anonymous, on the issue of cables. That commenter says, "At the very least, it should be noted that this is a subject of some contention." Yes, and so is the issue of the shape of the earth (flat-earthers).

There really is no reason why what I've rudely called "audiophile propaganda" should be treated any differently to, say, pseudoscience. Golden-ear myths have already been debunked, and the rejections of such debunkings are recognisably typical of psychoceramics.

So, I'm deleting that section of the article.

Simon G Best 06:25, 30 September 2006 (UTC)


Right on, Simon! Anoneditor 04:17, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
High-end audio and subjectivists have given me much more laughs than Monty Python. It is incredible to observe how blinding the ego can be. Rather than accept evidence and admit that one has been take in by some very slick snake-oil sellers and hype magazines, subjectivists would rather go on blithely reinforcing myths. A snake-oil seller's most dangerous enemy is a person who has the ability to do critical thinking and not let his ego get in the way. William Greene 18:57, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

And on the other hand[edit]

"Professional recording studios" don't use high-end audio for three reasons:

  • roving producers demand a standard "reference" sound. Hence the proliferation of that hideous white coned "reference" speaker.
  • they are much more concerned with how the 'music' will sound in a Chevy pick up than via a Krell powered set of Martin Logans
  • they buy different magazines

The rest of the section is also basically wrong.

Thoglette 13:17, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Koss? Bose?[edit]

Of course it differs in opinion as to whether Bose is "high-end audio" or not (see links on the Bose article), but the company Koss is listed in this article. Maybe I haven't heard the right product, but everything I know that Koss makes is low-end junk of the Behringer type. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 64.191.179.114 (talkcontribs) .

I can't speak for Koss nowadays, but they certainly used to be viewed as a "high end" provider of headphones. I still have my second pair of Koss Pro-4AA (IIRC) headphones and, while the second pair wasn't as good as the first pair (owing to obvious cost reductions in their manufacture such as no liquid-filled earcups), they were nice enough.
Atlant 12:04, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Adding in Bose. See links and citations in the Bose article, as well as the discussion page. ASH1977LAW 18:24, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Citations for Bose being a high-end system[edit]

For Bose being a high-end system please see the following citations & the bose talk page

C|Net "Classy compacts: high-end CD radios" [1]

The Register "Bose SoundDock iPod speakers" [2]

Forbes Magazine (which is famed for it's coverage of high-end lifestyle products) - describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products [3]

Wetfeet - describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products "Bose is arguably the number-one manufacturer of high-end audio equipment" [4]

Popular Science (a magasine with over 100 years publishing history) - describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products[5]

PC Magasine describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products[6]

Flyingmag review - describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products[7]

Let us take the citations one at a time. C|Net reviews high-tech products. The Register is a technology news site aiming to provide objective content. Forbes bills itself as "Home Page For The World's Business Leaders" and is the most widely visited business web site. It features in-depth coverage of current business and financial events and of high-end lifestyle. WetFeet is a job site, and describes Bose as “arguably the number-one manufacturer of high-end audio equipment, with sales accounting for 25 percent of the world market.”, so whilst it is unqualified to comment on and review individual products it is qualified to talk about the company itself. Popular Science is a reputable magazine (with a 135 year history!) with a focus on science and technology. PCMag.com is the name for the online part of PC Magazine provides reviews and previews of the latest hardware and software for the information technology professional. Note that PCMag has only reviewed systems that are applicable to it’s target audience (the iPod docking station and the multimedia computer speakers). Also it is important to note that one reviewer (also from PCMag.com) states that Bose is a company that produces high-end products and the other reviewer says that while most people view Bose as a producer of high-end products, that “audio-snobs” are unlikely to hold that view. Flyingmag is aimed at pilots and has reviewed the aviation headsets. So, to recap:

Three publications reviewing high-technology products and the latest technology hardware and software

A high-end lifestyle publication

A site reviewing buisinesses

A highly respected science and technology magasine with over 100 years of publication history

A publication aimed at pilots which reviewed the aviation headsets

all have said that Bose is a producer of high-end audio products. All are qualified to speak on the subject and are respected and well known in their respective fields. All are excellent citations for Bose being a producer of High-End audio systems. We have seven separate and dissimilar, highly respected and trustworthy sources saying the same thing. I think it is fair to say that Bose is indeed a producer of high-end audio. ASH1977LAW 10:42, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

But I wonder if audiophiles and audiophile magazines regard Bose as a high-end vendor. High-end vendors are often small companies that sell their products only in audio salons. Bose appears to sell their products in mass-market stores like Best Buy and in salons. I think there is less debate about whether vendors like Krell or Halcro are high end. Perhaps the article should note that Bose tries to cater to both segments of the market. William Greene 16:11, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Not even one of those magazines is a credible source for this, because none of them are Audio, Stereo, or Psychoaucoustic magazines. They deal in things OTHER than audio. They are not experts in audio. And Popular Science is not a credible source. They frequently make far-fetched suppositions that are almost always incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 137.28.228.243 (talk) 06:47, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Apart from my own feelings of horror caused by once hearing out the loud-touted Bose system (which made me conclude that it's crap), the fact is that mainstream publications are not authoritative in the matter. They regard even $1,000 speakers as expensive. To consider putting it into the article, one would need at least an article from Stereophile. CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project| 12:15, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Lightweight puff pieces by non-specialist writers, such as those cited above, are ten a penny.--Harumphy (talk) 16:09, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Snake oil business[edit]

Adamantios, you say the snake oil section is verifiable but you don't verify it. I've added "citation needed" tags, even though I agree with the assertions under that heading. Binksternet 22:07, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Hi Binksternet, the deletion of the section was by an anonymous user who didn't provide any explanation. I'll try supply citations. Regards, Adamantios 15:44, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
Decent effort, Adamantios. None of the references are to specific articles but the section is better than before. Say, should the cable stands be said to be marketed as a remedy against airborne vibration? Lifting cables into the air wouldn't relieve this notional problem. How about vibration that might come from lying on a floor? Binksternet 18:12, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, this article still needs a lot of work ofcourse. That's what I thought about the stands, but I can't really say. I wouldn't buy them in the first place :) Adamantios 18:41, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Section on studio monitors is blatantly false[edit]

The notion that studio monitors are not high end audio equipment is so blatantly false, it seems redundant to point out how incorrect that is. Studio monitors are as high as high end can get.

One popular studio monitor that is an audiophile grade home speaker was the ADS L1290 and ADS L1590, very clean, very accurate, very impressive. It was used both in the home and in the studio, directly contradicting the incorrect section.

I will delete the section in its current state, but leave the part explaining that studios seek accurate reproduction as that is true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 137.28.228.243 (talk) 06:34, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Added citation #4 to last section[edit]

Added a source and citation to the controversy section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 137.28.228.243 (talk) 06:45, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

A Picture of My Stereo is Needed[edit]

I'm going to take a picture of my stereo and include it in the article, ok? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.143.107.85 (talk) 13:27, 2 September 2010 (UTC)