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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 ART300 40th Anniversary monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Fuuga cartridges; 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, MPod Magico feet, 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; 05-12-2016, 01:49 AM.

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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 ART300 40th Anniversary monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Fuuga cartridges; 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, MPod Magico feet, 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 monoblocks and LR phono, Emia silver remote attenuator and Strain Gauge, Mono TT - AE 208 TT, Abis 1.2BCS arm Miyajima Premium BE, Stereo TT - Fairchild 750 Schroder Custom, Miyajima Kansui, 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, Room 2, Office

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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.
              Pure Audio Project Trio 10/Voxativ, 811A Triode monoblocks, First Sound Audio Mark 3S, Rega RP6 customized, Allnic H1201, RT Audio Ultra USB Orpheus EX, Mojo Audio Server with remote Illuminati power supply, Akiko Corelli, Custom power strip direct wired to panel with OFC copper wire.

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              • #23
                One this is clear to me after hearing more and more brands and systems over the past few years (relatively newbie in this hobby compared to others on this forum): increasing the price does not always increase performance. The best to some may be an amp that costs less than half of another. Same for speakers, carts, etc. Best is a very relativistic word, dependent on system, room, sound preferences, genres of music, etc.

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                • #24
                  The best to me is knowing that all the fundamental principals of setup have been properly addressed. No more room, speakers or equipment only the MUSIC !!!

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                  • #25
                    My audio perspective of "the best" is an isolated and personal one. I have no audiophile friends, have been to no audio shows, so I've been my own guide (with the internet and a few dealers being my only teachers). I've taken many steps forwards and backwards, but it's easy to gain experience once you've personally owned a dozen or more sources, amps, speakers and cables, multiple rooms, spent weeks on placement, setups, treatments, etc... So to me "the best" is simply the best that I've owned and heard. What stops me from tinkering, what stops me from wondering what better is at all. At the moment that answer is restored Quad ESL's. The other speakers I've owned and own have done "more" (at many times their price), but what the Quads do best are my idea of best. Admittedly I'm still working on "the best" amplification for them...

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                    • #26
                      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?
                      The "best" to me means the best sounding individual component I can afford within my budget which has synergy with the rest of my system, and which is also high quality, attractive and offers good resale value. By "best sounding" I mean mimics the sound of the live event as close as possible, which I would summarize as 'natural' sounding.
                      Last edited by Bodhi; 09-27-2017, 03:55 PM.
                      Front End: Vitus SCD-025 Mk2, Oppo BPD-103 Amp: Vitus SIA-025 Speakers: Magico S5 Mk2 Isolation: Taoc ASR series racks, Taoc SCB-RS-HC50G, Stillpoints Ultra 6's + Bases/Mini's/LPI's AC Power: Furutech GTX-D(G), Gigawatt PC-3 SE Evo, Jorma Prime pc's (re-terminated with cryo'd Oyaide M1/F1’s), Jorma Unity pc (re-terminated with Oyaide P-004/C-004’s) Cables: Jorma Prime xlr's + Statement sc's, Siltech Classic Anniversary rca's + HDMI Tweaks: Acoustic Revive (various), Akiko E-tuning Gold MkII

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                      • #27
                        Talk about opening Pandora's box !
                        IMHO There is no one best piece of gear or system, just as there are no two sets of ears that hear the same, we all hear at a different level, some claim to hear above 20,000 hz (although this is impossible unless they are a dog or under 15 yrs old), most can not hear above 10,000 hz, and some can hear to 8000 hz but not 10,000 or 12,000 but can hear 14,000 hz. Some rooms have perfect acoustics and some are detrimental to sound in General, an average turntable and cartridge that is set up perfectly will best a world class TT that is set up poorly. The best equipment in a mismatched system is the worst equipment, the mathematics will never prevail in a dead room.

                        What makes it "The Best" is the synergy and acoustical energy that is created by the attention to set up and matching of components, one could spend $50,000.00 and have world class sound and one can spend $500,000.00 and miss the mark.

                        I have a Michel Orbe TT set up with two tone arms, one is a current handmade with a handmade cartridge, the other is from 1975 with a cartridge from that era rewired with carda's wire, the current one cost 10 fold the dollars of the vintage one, they both play through the same pre-amp with equal quality cables by way of an a/b sw.
                        I sometimes play them both at the same time and sw back and forth, I can not pick a favorite, and it is because they are set up perfectly and each one is matched to the cartridge.

                        So what is "The Best", it is what you have done to make it "The Best" in the way of setup and matching.

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                        • #28
                          I settle for good enough.

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                          • #29
                            Many years ago, I began a quest to determine what was the best sound that could be achieved in a home audio system. My job at the time included a fair amount of travel both in the US and abroad so I began visiting as many high end stores as was practical. These ranged from Peter McGrath's Sound Components in Coral gables to Lyric in New York as well as many in other large cities. At some point, I began attending the semi-annual CES shows in Chicago and Las Vegas and later more consumer oriented shows. I thought that knowing what could be achieved would help me in achieving the best sound given the amount of money which I had to spend at the time. After what turned out to be a pretty exhaustive (exhausting) journey what I can say is that some systems thoroughly impressed me (at least at the time) and have provided a benchmark. These included a Levinson HQD (Chicago CES), a pair of Crosby modified Quad 63's driven by Spectral electronics (Sound Components), a pair of IRS driven by a Goldmund Reference and Audio Research electronics (Lyric), a pair of Acapella Campaniles (Chicago CES), a pair of Acapella Triolons driven by Audio Note electronics (Audio Federation, Boulder), Tidal Akira speakers driven by Berning 211 amps and a Dohlman Helix 1 (Ricky Brown), Magnepans driven by Jadis electronics (Audio Concepts, Houston), and an Audio Note Level 5 system at the factory in London. Viewing this rather diverse group of components, you must be wondering what they have in common. I think that the answer is that each in its own way allowed me to connect to the music in a way that other components have not. For me, that is the thing that makes something the "best' and that is how I would define the best.
                            Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Ypsilon Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

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                            • #30
                              Len and teller said it best on bullshit lol. There is no best ever but owning what us perceived as is all about pride of ownership . A must if one is to feel they own the best . After this box is checked next is a reality check .

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