How high is a high end stereo system? Pretty darn high!
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  1. #1
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    How high is a high end stereo system? Pretty darn high!

    We have one audiophile friend who has probably spent more on stereo equipment over the last couple of decades than we have spent on cars.

    But this article in the WSJ tops it:
    Mr. Schwartz said a bare-bones system from his showroom goes for around $20,000, with an average price of $100,000 and a ceiling of $500,000.
    So if you are a master of the universe you get a great stereo system along with the trophy wife and penthouse apartment. Life is not fair, it seems.
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  2. #2
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    If I could afford a $50,000 home theater system I would have it. $20,000 doesn't sound that bad.
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Some readers may breeze over the "room acoustics" part of the article. I learned about this over the course of a decade. Some listening spaces are only going to sound so good, with treatments or not. Specifically, my 2 bedroom house. My gear now is low-end by audiophile standards.
    Audio clubs are fun and you can hear some great sounding systems.

  4. #4
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    I used to have a step dad that was a "golden ear" audio snob. He used to give me crap because my tone controls were not set flat. When I got old enough I told him to eff off. I'm pretty happy with my minimalist HK integrated amp and CD player and my Pinnacle speakers.

    I brought a stereo system back from Japan in the '80s that would have cost around $7000 in the U.S. back then - Nakamichi tape deck, JBL speakers, Denon turntable, Onkyo amp, etc. - but that stuff all got hocked when I was jonzin' for the goo bud.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah, some audiophiles (like cyclist) go way overboard. They'll fall into the trap and equate the amount spent with the quality of the gear and they'll perceive/imagine differences when there are none. It's like spending $20k of wires ($33k for Siltech Emperor Crown cables) to connect the gear when $150 wire are just as good. To each his own.
    Last edited by j__h; 01-03-2013 at 08:21 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmxhacksaw View Post
    I brought a stereo system back from Japan in the '80s that would have cost around $7000 in the U.S. back then - Nakamichi tape deck, JBL speakers, Denon turntable, Onkyo amp, etc. - but that stuff all got hocked when I was jonzin' for the goo bud.
    The only problem with that is the music from the 80's still sounded like crap no matter how nice your sound system was.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by paredown View Post
    We have one audiophile friend who has probably spent more on stereo equipment over the last couple of decades than we have spent on cars.

    But this article in the WSJ tops it:


    So if you are a master of the universe you get a great stereo system along with the trophy wife and penthouse apartment. Life is not fair, it seems.
    But how much does he spend on music, and what does he listen to? 'Brothers In Arms' on repeat play? I have a great sounding system for my small apartment that more than meets my needs, and a staggeringly good selection of music to listen to across all genres. 'Audiophile' and 'music lover' are by no means interchangeable terms.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpeterb View Post
    The only problem with that is the music from the 80's still sounded like crap no matter how nice your sound system was.
    You haven't heard it on a tube McIntosh. Mapei has a great sounding system from what I've read over the years here in the Lounge. He's really into the stylus and vinyl side of vintage. T0G too.



  9. #9
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    Audiophool here. I love both aspects of the hobby, collecting music and messing with the gear, but the limitations of my checkbook dictate I pursue more of the former. A good question to ask an audiophile is if they'd rather see an act live or listen to it on their stereo; I know many that would rather listen to their stereo.

  10. #10
    Ricardo Cabeza
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    I used to be into it, back when I didn't have a lot of money My best bit of gear was probably the HK T-35 (known as the "poor man's Linn Sondek" ) with the AT 440 mla, which I still have and have been using to digitize my LP collection, running it through a Yamaha integrated amp which I picked up over 20 years ago. Either that or the set of Polk 10s I bought in 9th grade, which I sold a few years ago (those things were huge and really didn;t sound any better than Mrs69's Yamaha bookshelf speakers. It's funny that now that I have the money to buy decent stuff, I don;t really want to although I do run into decent stuff occasionally at thrift shops, like the pair of Cerwin Vegas and the pair of KLHs I picked up last year.

    I just bought a pair of ADC L-630s at Goodwill last week for $16, I seem to remember them sounding better

    None of this is really high end though, just maybe the high end of the mid grade consumer stuff.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeBiker View Post
    A good question to ask an audiophile is if they'd rather see an act live or listen to it on their stereo; I know many that would rather listen to their stereo.
    When you have a tall guy standing in front of you in a leather jacket, hands held high in the air, roaring approval of his favourite rock band and seated in a stadium meant for football ...I could understand.

    The same could be said of those wanting to stay at home watching a DVD instead of going to a movie theater [crowds, texting, phones going off, people getting up and down, coughing, choking, bottom of soda straw sukers, plastic candy wrappers crumbing, finger lickers, and farters.


  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Former passive audiophile here who used to deal with real audiophiles. They is crazy distortion hating mofo's who aren't into music as much as you would think. Lots of geeks though, lots.
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  13. #13
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    Oh jeez don't even start a tube amp/vinyl versus cd/digital discussion, it could end up in violence
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    Oh jeez don't even start a tube amp/vinyl versus cd/digital discussion, it could end up in violence
    there is no comparison, tubes and vinyl are far and away superior.
    Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence - John Locke

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    Oh jeez don't even start a tube amp/vinyl versus cd/digital discussion, it could end up in violence


    Quote Originally Posted by My Tube is Bigger than Your Resistor
    The Results

    A lot of times when I've set up blind tests of receivers or amplifiers, the results were mixed-most of the products would earn the affection of at least one panelist, so the exercise proved about as useful as asking everyone to name their favorite color. That sure wasn't the case here. Even with all the levels carefully matched, and even in conditions where none of the receivers were ever pushed past their limits, the Pioneer SX-1980 simply beat the hell out of the other receivers. Six of the eight panelists picked the SX-1980 as their favorite. All of them praised its awesome bass power, which was by far the most noticeable difference in the sound. "Not only is there more bottom end, it sounds tighter, too," one panelist said. (Note to all the audio smarty-pants out there: No, this isn't because Pioneer "goosed" the bass by artificially boosting it, as you'll see in the lab measurements.)

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sir duke View Post
    But how much does he spend on music, and what does he listen to? 'Brothers In Arms' on repeat play? I have a great sounding system for my small apartment that more than meets my needs, and a staggeringly good selection of music to listen to across all genres. 'Audiophile' and 'music lover' are by no means interchangeable terms.
    Nah, He's a good guy. His tastes in music are as eclectic as his taste in the written word--he is both a PhD candidate in Economics and a published poet... and the music spans everything fromcool jazz to '80s glam rock, serious classical and opera through the American songbook.
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  18. #18
    Ricardo Cabeza
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eretz View Post
    This speaks to a trend I've noticed for about the last ten years with respect to consumer audio. Up until the late 1990s, consumer audio was constantly improving in terms of sound quality. But now the trend has been toward convenience rather than sound quality. People download mp3 audio files recorded at 180 bps and cram them onto an mp3 player where they listen to them through tinny little speakers resting in the outer ear. Even if they do listen through speakers they're the little ones in the dock you plug your ipod into or the speakers in the computer. We've gone from decent quality affordable home audio back to the days of the tinny little AM radio box.
    Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence - John Locke

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eretz View Post
    You haven't heard it on a tube McIntosh. T0G too.
    mine isn't tube...and thanks for reminding me that mine still needs to be repaired......sigh
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  20. #20
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    If you get a chance, watch this. An entire room for one man's listening pleasure.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy69 View Post
    This speaks to a trend I've noticed for about the last ten years with respect to consumer audio. Up until the late 1990s, consumer audio was constantly improving in terms of sound quality. But now the trend has been toward convenience rather than sound quality. People download mp3 audio files recorded at 180 bps and cram them onto an mp3 player where they listen to them through tinny little speakers resting in the outer ear. Even if they do listen through speakers they're the little ones in the dock you plug your ipod into or the speakers in the computer. We've gone from decent quality affordable home audio back to the days of the tinny little AM radio box.
    How true. All this compressed low quality audio people listen to nowadays ***sigh***. My biggest investment is in my car. It's the only place I'm able to jam by myself without bothering others or having them complain about the noise. You can get decent sound in a car if you do it right.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    How true. All this compressed low quality audio people listen to nowadays ***sigh***. My biggest investment is in my car. It's the only place I'm able to jam by myself without bothering others or having them complain about the noise. You can get decent sound in a car if you do it right.
    This uploading and downloaded music is so impacting in our daily lives, ...when I sing in the shower mornings after listening to my streamed alarm clock melodies, I I sta start too to stut stutter just li li like the dow down loa loaded ver version heard this morning.

  23. #23
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    Everyday was High Score

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy69 View Post
    Up until the late 1990s, consumer audio was constantly improving in terms of sound quality. But now the trend has been toward convenience rather than sound quality. We've gone from decent quality affordable home audio back to the days of the tinny little AM radio box.
    I'll take those observations further up from audio.

    Two techno-tactics took place in the late 1990's and 2000's. We mixed what we believed as music with a visual. Console gaming took over the mood lamp entwined bongs. Gun shots, blood splattered CRTS, "I'm hit!" in the realms of cyber took over the 60's-80's strobe lit orange shag carpeted play pens filled with our music. Children and young adults flocked to stores to buy the latest versions of World of Warcraft while Madonna ...got old in lace and Michael Jackson's glove became that transformation of Arm of Wrath 3.

    Reload, as in, Bingo was his name.

  24. #24
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    'cause I need a 20,000 dollar stereo for my two bit ears! Whats that you said?.....could you speak up please.....
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

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  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I don't have a high end stereo system, but maybe high mid range? but only one component I have is high end everything else is mid. The one high end is the MacIntosh MC275 Tube Amp which powers the mids and highs but I got it used at a great price and it came with 2 sets of new tubes, everything else is just a HK PA2400 amp powering the base, A Marantz CD5300 CD player, HK DC5300 tape deck, Rotel AP1000 turntable with a inexpensive Denon DL110 phono cart, and a pair of JBL L7's speakers. And I don't subscribe to expensive speaker wire snake oil, my speaker wire cost me $1.50 a foot. The system sounds plenty good enough for me and have no desire to upgrade any further. The biggest improvement I did was to put in the tube amp, it made the sound more warmer whereas before just using the HK amp it had a more harsher sound to it that didn't do wood instruments or cymbals much justice.

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