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What Does The Best Mean?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
    The best to you? The most musical? Or should it be say the component that when you evaluate all the various performance criterias scores the best?
    Regardless of how a piece of gear rates, it must meet my full satisfaction when it's sound reaches my ears. If it does, then such a component would rate as a best performer. I would assume such a piece would also have very good performance criteria, but may not meet them all. Since we all have different expectations and our definition of musical may not be complimentary to each other, it remains a personal choice.

    It's the only response I could come up with.
    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
      The "best" in audio can mean a variety of things. One is something that is an enduring benchmark, e.g. the Quad 57, one of the first, if not the first commercial electrostats, that is still regarded as a high point for midrange clarity and coherence. Another is some cutting edge amp or speaker or whatever which is, for a brief moment in time, declared "the best," only to be thrown to the trash heap of obscurity a month or year later, because it is no longer in vogue among those who must have the best. One is enduring, though it is compromised; the other isn't even though it may be still be a great performing piece of gear that can bring its owner musical satisfaction and may be rediscovered years later as jewel. And sometimes, what is best for a time sounds dated twenty or thirty years later. So, I guess the trick is to find the enduring stuff, not simply the best at the moment.
      Something that seems to have been lost over the years. Too much equipment? Too many magazines? Too much turnover of equipment? Too much loss of objectivity or criticality?
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Ortofon A95, Charisma Reference 2 cartridges, van den Hul Colibri Stradivarius; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

        Something that seems to have been lost over the years. Too much equipment? Too many magazines? Too much turnover of equipment? Too much loss of objectivity or criticality?
        It is generational too (I seem to be very focused on that recently in a lot of things). There are people that weren't really plugged into hi-fi, maybe not even alive, when the original Quad was extant; they may have heard of it, or possibly heard it at a show, but it's significance, if any, is purely historical, whereas I lived with the speaker for years and developed a sense of what good midrange could be (despite all the limitations the speaker imposed). Somebody today could hear that, but say, wait, you can't play it loud, no bass, beamy, forget it. But, there's something to having "lived it" in the context of its period that makes a difference. Perhaps part of that is nostalgia too.
        There is so much equipment, and in the space we think of as "serious" hi-fi, more than there ever was during the earlier "golden ages." Things move faster too. Look how long Linn held a virtual lock on the "standard" turntable (not saying it was the only game in town or the best, but how much gear has that much longevity?). Manufacturers update, replace and update again- competition for big dollar equipment is fierce, and the dollars are big enough that they can make or break these smaller companies. (The good stuff often seems to come from smaller shops, not exclusively, but frequently). At the same time, I think the more things change- you know the saying: it's a niche market, competing for a relatively small handful of buyers, there's always been a flavor of the month aspect to this, etc. I think the magazines are now competing with the chat groups- granted, you can read some pretty nutty shit on the forums, but they still reflect actual user experience in many cases, and are more immediate and targeted to user questions than a formal publication with a letters to the editor.
        I think, overall, the gear has gotten better, I think, overall, we are more informed, I think, overall the state of the art is higher, but you wonder: which of today's uber pieces will be considered "classic" in 30 years? I don't know. I kept my old ARC SP-10mkii long after its sell by date; it did sound dated, but it was a really wonderful preamp (with a boatload of tubes, two chassis, and sort of a high point in mid-era ARC). Maybe somebody feels the same way about another piece of gear, for reasons that aren't objectively rational.
        As I gradually suffer from hearing loss due to age, my judgment and experience are not only more fully developed; I have less of a "this is best" mindset. Not that I'm ambivalent, I guess i've just heard it done well so many different ways that I'm more accepting of different approaches. Maybe it's a form of maturity, too. I mean, I've got to reach a point of wisdom at some stage before I go, right? So, I'm more Zen about all of it. There's an 8 track tape museum in Texas that is on my list of places to visit. I will probably be able to enjoy that too, even though it's completely the opposite of "best."
        Last edited by Bill Hart; 05-11-2016, 11:49 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
          The "best" in audio can mean a variety of things. One is something that is an enduring benchmark, e.g. the Quad 57, one of the first, if not the first commercial electrostats, that is still regarded as a high point for midrange clarity and coherence. Another is some cutting edge amp or speaker or whatever which is, for a brief moment in time, declared "the best," only to be thrown to the trash heap of obscurity a month or year later, because it is no longer in vogue among those who must have the best. One is enduring, though it is compromised; the other isn't even though it may be still be a great performing piece of gear that can bring its owner musical satisfaction and may be rediscovered years later as jewel. And sometimes, what is best for a time sounds dated twenty or thirty years later. So, I guess the trick is to find the enduring stuff, not simply the best at the moment.
          I think one of the key concepts is "benchmark. "

          Bill gives one example say of a historical benchmark and/or a benchmark for specific area of reproduction given the '57s other weaknesses.

          But reviewers need relate the product being reviewed to a benchmark in their system. Problem is that many reviewers don't have stable enough system to have a benchmark.

          One criteria for considering something to be the best might the unit's "overall" or total performance. Let's say make a list of 10 things critical to reproducing the sound of real music and rate them from 1-10. Which component would get closest to perfect 10s across the board? And the scoring system has to be tough. As HP once said, one of the key elements to reviewing audio equipment is leaving yourself wriggle room.

          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Ortofon A95, Charisma Reference 2 cartridges, van den Hul Colibri Stradivarius; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

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          • tima
            tima commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree about contrast and compare with known components. but cannot always build a system on the ratings of individual components. Complementariness is not as easy as finding top rated components.

        • #20
          You might as well have a discussion about which child is your favorite or which wine is best, which Beethoven symphony is the greatest. There is no way in my mind to make something like audio equipment a competition. Usain Bolt is considered the best because a series of competitions were arranged and he showed up and beat all comers. Can't do that with an amp, a piece of music etc. All this discussion about best is fun to engage if the participants don't take it too personally. Even when taken personally it can be fun if you enjoy watching buttons get pushed. I love SET systems but If I go over to a friends house I happily sit down in form of their ML based system and enjoy it almost as much as sitting at home.
          Tannoy Glenair, April Sound SET 50 monoblocs and LR phono, OMA Parallax integrated, Emia remote attenuator and Strain Gauge, AE 208 TT, Abis 1.2BCS arm, Miyajima Kansui, Premium BE, Denon 103, Mac Mini w/ Roon, Bel Canto RefLink, Dac 3.5VB.

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          • #21
            I recommend the Goldilocks approach. You have to try a number of different beds in order to find one that is most comfortable for you (and not for others).
            Room 1 Music Reference featuring Genesis G2.2 JR loudspeakers. Also see my Philosophy.

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            • #22
              You know what The Best is to me. When I come home from listening to some other system, some less expensive than mine, some a lot more than mine, power my gear up and think/realize/appreciate, I like the sound of this. It fits my room and it fits my taste. Its the best for what I was willing to spend.

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