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Let's give your opinion of the below never ending discussion:

 

1) Cables matter

2) Amplifier headroom matters

3) CD is more musical than streaming

4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits

5) Performance above 20kHz matters

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers

8 ) Room treatment matters

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil
10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D

Edited by lchua6
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I will start first.

 

1) Cables matter

Balance cable is always good. Good to shield power cable. May add noise suppressor ferrite to digital cables.

2) Amplifier headroom matters

Yes. Not enough headroom produce noise
3) CD is more musical than streaming

Streaming has over taken CD but I still prefer CD
4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits

Clean power super important. Once you hear clean music, cannot unhear.
5) Performance above 20kHz matters

I don't really care. Many other factors more important

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury
Only subwoofer can produce low tight bass. I think it is necessity but need to integrate and control the bass.

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers

I think good bookshelf speakers + subwoofer is better than floorstanding speakers

8 ) Room treatment matters
Room shape extremely important but difficult to do a wife approved room treatment. Narrowed sound speakers can solve room problem.

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil
Yes but they look nice
10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D
I think all have their pro and cons.

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My two cents worth of comments...

 

1) Cables matter. Definitely, but the border separating excellent value performance cable & snake oil cable vary widely.

2) Amplifier headroom matters. For sure, unless we want the speaker to suffer the clipped signal torture test, or blow a tweeter.

3) CD is more musical than streaming. Like-for-like (Lossless stream & CD) it's actually the quality of the DAC that makes the most difference. Stream through a quality DAC, it'll give CD player a good fight.

4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits. Agree, quality of fuel will determine how well the engine performs.

5) Performance above 20kHz matters. I ain't no bat, and with age I can only hear to 14K, so I don't care about >20kHz.

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury. True if and only if a full range 20-20k speaker is in play. On the other hand, subwoofer digging deep is quite shiok.

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers. If the speaker occupies the same foot print on the floor, might as well go floor standing.

8 ) Room treatment matters. Definitely, but the true problem areas (low frequencies) are very hard to treat. I strongly believe in marrying EQ with room treatment.

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil. Mechanical grounding is good to have for moving parts (eg. speakers, turntables, CDP/BDP).

10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D. I believe it is the first watt that counts the most, so Class-A and high-bias Class-AB are both good. Class-A can be really hot, good for cold nights.

Edited by Boxerfan88
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7 hours ago, lchua6 said:

I will start first.

 

1) Cables matter

Balance cable is always good. Good to shield power cable. May add noise suppressor ferrite to digital cables.

2) Amplifier headroom matters

Yes. Not enough headroom produce noise
3) CD is more musical than streaming

Streaming has over taken CD but I still prefer CD
4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits

Clean power super important. Once you hear clean music, cannot unhear.
5) Performance above 20kHz matters

I don't really care. Many other factors more important

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury
Only subwoofer can produce low tight bass. I think it is necessity but need to integrate and control the bass.

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers

I think good bookshelf speakers + subwoofer is better than floorstanding speakers

8 ) Room treatment matters
Room shape extremely important but difficult to do a wife approved room treatment. Narrowed sound speakers can solve room problem.

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil
Yes but they look nice
10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D
I think all have their pro and cons.

 

Would like to comment point 7 and 10.

A bookshelf with added subwoofer WILL NOT sound as good as a proper floorstander.  Just adding subwoofer, will not convert the book shelf into a floorstander.

I will anytime choose a floorstander than a pair of bookshelf with added subwoofer at the same price point. It is not so easy to integrate the bookshelf with a subwoofer and the cons goes on.

 

Class D had never sound good to my ears for some unknown reason and so far i had been a fan of AB and for Class A it depends on speaker matching.

 

 

 

 

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1) Cables matter-> Sure, but it can be better or worse

2) Amplifier headroom matters-> Yes. With a under powered amp, speakers will sound stretched and peaky.

3) CD is more musical than streaming-> Depends on equipment but i think its more exp to get a nice sounding streaming setup compared to a CDP.  I also like the idea of playing the CD and listen from start to end unlike streaming which is too convenient to change tracks.

4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits-> Among all the tweaks i think power supplies is the most important.

5) Performance above 20kHz matters-> I don't know what sound above 20khz is like

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury-> Depends. I once heard an a/b audition with a REL sub and was very impressed with the improvement.

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers-> Not all speakers are made equal. But i think floorstanders in a small room is more likely to sound bad compare to bookshelves.

8 ) Room treatment matters-> Maybe but an empty listening room will almost definitely sound bad

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil-> Vibration isolation products does provide improvements, but not at the price some of these products are charging.
10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D-> its more likely to get good sound out of amps that output in class A but it's not definite.

 

YMMV

 

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1) Cables matter

For final fine tuning of sound signature. Easiest and cheapest way to create some 'variance' in HiFi system compared to owning multiple amps/speakers. 

 

2) Amplifier headroom matters

Sufficient headroom matters. For that peak dynamics esp. Orchestra music!

 

4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits

Power drives everything, low level signal, speaker cable signal, and amplifier circuits. It's the heart.

One hear clean power cannot unhear, agree. Low noise floor is so satisfying. 

 

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury

Personal preference.

 

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers

At the same (affordable) price, bookshelf is better. At crazy rich Asian price, floorstanding is better.,

 

8 ) Room treatment matters

Yes. Especially some Singapore friends (Hi5 Low5) have TINY listening rooms (wife don't allow install the system in living room, limited to a common room). 

 

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil

Personal experience it makes sufficient differences for speakers. Much less significant for electronics. 

Cheap vibration isolation is good enough. Expensive vibration isolation products looks better. 

 

10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D

For scores/music with very big dynamics jump, dramatic dynamic passages, Class A is better as the headroom is always 'activated'.

Otherwise AB is preferable, and Class D is catching up. 

 

 

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1) Cables matter

Absolutely Yes.

2) Amplifier headroom matters

Absolutely Yes for equal-performance amplifiers with different power ratings.......we also got high power amplifiers with plenty of headroom but with lousy sound.  

3) CD is more musical than streaming

At one time, yes but now, streaming have taken over.

4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits

Everything in the amplifier is important....the circuit board, the cables, the terminals,  circuit board placement, the casing......

5) Performance above 20kHz matters

Absolutely yes, you don't hear it but the harmonics above 20KHz makes the fundamental frequencies whole.  This is why people have super tweeters and diamond tweeters installed.  Modern Amp designs are capable of  bandwidth performance way up to 100KHz.

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury

Subwoofers helps but the biggest problem is in the integration of your stereo speakers to your subwoofers.

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers.

All things being equal, the floorstanding one should sound better than the bookshelf version.

8 ) Room treatment matters

Absolutely Yes.

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil

Frankly, the only vibration related tweaks that sounds very significant to me are the speakers spiking.  The others are pretty difficult to make out but I won't say that these are snake oils.
10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D

Generally true.  But that doesn't means that certain Class AB amplifiers cannot sounds better than a Class A Amplifier.  

 

(Audio)

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On 11/24/2020 at 12:44 PM, lchua6 said:

My $0.02 worth

 

Let's give your opinion of the below never ending discussion:

 

1) Cables matter

Definitely. Whether it's interconnects, speaker cables, power cords. Heck, even LAN and USB cables.

2) Amplifier headroom matters

Yes, it matters. Especially for solid state amps. Tube power amps seems to behave better (more graceful clipping ?) even when approaching the limits of their power.

3) CD is more musical than streaming

You have good and bad examples of both. I find that most streamers can outperform budget to mid-range CD players easily.

4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits

Do you mean incoming AC or the amplifier power supply itself ? A badly designed circuit with a great power supply just allows you to hear better how badly implemented the circuit is. But yes, power supplies are important, and so are a host of other things.  

5) Performance above 20kHz matters

Yes. If you have ever experimented with super tweeters, they do have a profound effect even though there is almost no energy in the frequency range they cover.

 

On 11/24/2020 at 12:44 PM, lchua6 said:

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury

Depends on who you ask. A guy with a bookshelf speaker that rolls off at 50 Hz may benefit greatly from a subwoofer. A guy with large speakers than go down to 30 Hz or below may find them unnecessary.

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers

You win some, you lose some. The smaller baffle area of a bookshelf and close proximity of drive units may allow them to image and stage very well. A floorstander usually benefits from the larger internal volume and deeper base, but may suffer from more flex in the cabinet. You can find good and bad breeds of both.

8 ) Room treatment matters

Definitely. The room is a component too.

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil

Never leave home without it. Cones and footers can have a very marked effect on your system. But  I agree, some stuff out there is overpriced junk.
10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D

I don't think this is a fair comparison. Class D enjoys large amounts of power and very high damping factor and hence, bass control. Class A designs are mostly very expensive due to the massive amounts of heatsinking required. You can get excellent designs in any of these camps. 

 

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On 11/24/2020 at 12:44 PM, lchua6 said:

 

 

1) Cables matter

Directionality matters.

Even for short lengths, like those being used for speaker jumper cables.

Directionality is important, even for AC, for DC, and for grounding.

Directionality is fixed, at the point of creation. Even after decades of being used in the wrong direction, the intrinsic directionality will not change.

 

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3) CD is more musical than streaming

How a track is cued up and play affects the resultant sound.

The problem is playback memory retention.

Knowing how to circumvent this memory retention issue is paramount to enjoyable digital sound, regardless of what digital playback devices.

One can spend 200k on the most expensive digital playback device but if memory retention issue is not solved, the sound can never be enjoyable. OTOH, if memory problem is solved, even a $200 audio system will still sound enjoyable 

 

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4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits

While switch mode power supplies are said to introduce noise onto the power grid that feeds your audio system, in the process degrading their sound, linear power supplies using chunky transformers can affect surrounding electronics in very adverse way as well. Linear power supplies exert very damaging magnetic field interference over into all surrounding electronics and cabling, and they in return will also project their own induced magnetic field over to other electronics and cabling in close proximity. Good thing is the amount of magnetic interference diminishes with physical distances.

 

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5) Performance above 20kHz matters

Better to have main tweeters that extend upper frequencies than to use separate super tweeters, because timing dis-alignment will screw up the resultant sound even more. 

 

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6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury

Active subwoofers mostly use smps that have degradatory effect on a system's sound. The large magnet on the sub will also have very degradatory effect on surrounding electronics

 

 

 

 

Edited by jerome_the_lang
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My views after 5 years since I caught the bug. It is safe to assume that some might change in the next 5 years. 

 

1) Cables matter - I have noticed that different cables sound differently. I found the speaker cables to have the biggest impact followed by interconnects and then power cables. I have not tried to experiment with LAN cables yet (Computer Engineering degree is refusing to let me try) My experience has also been that more money did not always improve the sound. Standardising on a single brand and range for speaker cables and interconnects seemed to work well for me.

 

2) Amplifier headroom matters – It does but I feel that watts is the not the right unit to measure headroom.  

 

3) CD is more musical than streaming – I have never owned a CD player that was part of my HiFi rig. I started my HiFi journey with streaming before I also got into Vinyl so for me it will always be Streaming for Digital and Vinyl for Analog. I did not want to invest in a CD setup because my belief is that CDs will become obsolete. 

 

4) Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits – I think this is very important and I also attribute this more to headroom than the rated watts on an amp. 

 

5) Performance above 20kHz matters – I do not know. I honestly can’t tell when listening to music what hertz is being played at what instance of the track. I have read that super tweeters can extend to 100k hertz. While you can’t hear anything above 20k hz, you can feel it. Just more air? 

 

6) Subwoofers are an unnecessary luxury – I don’t know why they should be a luxury. It is either a necessity or it is not. I could not dial in the sub to my liking so I gave up. I have heard some well-integrated subs and I think it could be a good solution if done right for smaller rooms. 

 

7) Floorstanding speakers better than bookshelf speakers – If an engineer was given 1k to build a floor stander and a book shelf, the book shelf would sound better. If I was given 1k to buy either a floor stander or a bookshelf + sub, I would choose the FS. Ive had both and I prefer the former given that my room is not very small. 

 

8 ) Room treatment matters – Room is the most important piece of the puzzle but the least control that most of us have over. But with common sense, science and some effort and depending on how anal you are, you can make up your room with house hold stuff rather than sticking ugly panels on your wall. If you have a dedicated room, then hell yeah, let the science project begin.  

 

9) Vibration isolation products are snake oil – I believe that vibration isolation is very important. Like my earlier point, we need to just use common sense and use things around the house to fix a lot of these things. I know there are many people here selling a lot of these products so I do not want to describe anything as snake oil. You either hear it or you don’t. Heck even a watermelon kept on top of a speaker has been said to have an impact on the sound.

 

10) Class A is better than Class AB and Class D – I think this boils down to implementation. Hard to generalise today unlike a decade ago when class D was a pariah. Class D has advanced a lot. European laws forcing efficiency is forcing a lot of innovation in this space and with technology advancing rapidly, I think Class D will replace AB. We are already seeing that happen with many mainstream brands. Class A might reign for longer as the hifi elite class. 

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