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The Potential Ceiling of High-End Audio Equipment

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  • The Potential Ceiling of High-End Audio Equipment

    Potential ceiling is a term often used to evaluate and compare athletes. For instance, Draft pick A is more game ready at this moment in time than B but Draft pick B has a greater potential ceiling than A. The million dollar question is, however, can Draft pick B realize his potential ceiling? Of that there's no predicting for there's some intangibles that defy testing. So which athlete does the team draft?

    Or as Paul Stubblebine opined about Keith O. Johnson's Arnold Overtures: "Audiophiles with reel-to-reel tape decks are in for a real special treat with the release of the 15-ips tape version of Reference Recordings' 1993 Grammy nominated recording (for best classical recording), Arnold Overtures. For the first time ever, audiophiles have a real opportunity to experience and appreciate Keith O. Johnson's genius. Or as Paul unhesitatingly shares, "Keith's recordings never stop giving one rewards as the playback system improves. That's unlike other recordings that have a ceiling and then begin to show issues in the recording."

    The exact same thing holds true for audio equipment. With speakers we call it realizing the transducer's potential by maximizing the equipment in front of it. Garbage in, garbage out. (Or getting you money's worth.)

    But how do we accurately assess or determine the potential ceiling of a component submitted for review? For example, the longer one is a reviewer, the more you realize that potential ceiling is an extremely dynamic rather than static target. For the sake of argument, make up a list of 10 or 12 essential qualities that a cartridge possess do to sound like live music:

    Tonality
    Soundstaging
    Imaging
    Dynamics
    Microdynamics
    Dynamic contrast
    Frequency extension
    Linearity/Colorations
    Transient speed
    Transparency/noise floor
    Resolution

    When listened to in one system, cartridge A may excel in certain areas, be above average in other respects and just average in yet other qualities. In system B, however, the cartridge might actually overall be better than first thought. Here a couple of the top areas now are better than first thought; some that were above average have jumped a couple of levels to being outstanding;
    yet qualities don't change one bit. So not only is the overall sound of the cartridge vary between systems (ever notice how the sound of a record may also vary between yours and your audiobuddies systems?) but so do the individual components. Some things may be better, some may be worse, some may not change, etc. Some call this synergy, etc. All of which totally adds to the confusion of reviewing and evaluating a component.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including 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.

  • #2
    This really is an interesting topic and one I have given some thought to. This can be somewhat analogous to an audiophile chasing his tail. How do you know if your amp is really better than your preamp or if your amp has been holding back the SQ of your preamp? What happens if you buy a new set of speakers and your electronics suddenly sound much better and your back to looking for another weak link in your chain? We could keep dragging this deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.

    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Agree with Mark but to a lot of people, it could be a never ending hole in the pocket book searching for that happy place within audiophile Narvana (Wonderland),. A person can go as far as their pocket book wants to take them.
      Last edited by cpp; 05-11-2016, 07:03 PM.
      Chris
      ----------------------------------------------------------------
      Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the keyword is 'synergy'. A 'bottomless pocket' system should sound good, but the surprise comes when a budget system performs to within 99.99%, at a tiny fraction of the price.

        Careful component selection will help in this area (and theoretically an expensive, carefully selected system should perform better) but it is sometimes the case that the surprising and apparently mismatched system truly shines.

        I'm never going to experience some of these things because I refuse to be sidetracked (even!) more than I am already. Reel-to-reel is extremely unlikely to feature in my system because of initial cost, the complexity, and the ready availability of of source music. The music is already a problem with many absolutely stunning artists work only being released on digital media, for example. (Nothing wrong with digital unless you are a vinyl extremist, of course. )

        This is partly why I am keen to DIY. It gives me low cost alternatives, at typically 10% of what I would have to pay to buy a commercial equivalent. The exception is my pre-amp which is truly superb and a star in it's own right, outperforming many significantly more expensive items.

        All of that aside, I'll always take the red pill.
        DIY TT w/ Transrotor mech, Roksan Tabriz Zi, SAE 1000LT
        Vacuum State JLTi phono stage, SAS B11a pre-amp, DIY 2A3 monoblocks
        DIY HD XMOS-based USB->S/PDIF converter, Danish Audio Designs 3-box DAC10
        DIY 3-way folded line speakers, DIY Open Baffles

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't know how you critically analyze a system with so many variables when the criteria is ultimately not a data point, a measurable performance goal or some other so called "objective" benchmark. I don't want to stir up an objective v. subjective debate, but once you accept that the measurements don't tell all, you are left with a pile of equipment in a room, and a set of impressions from evaluating them in combination(s). Sure, you can A/B compare one component against another by switching it in and out of the system-- listening to a variety of material over a period of time. Leaving aside break-in issues, like those for a cartridge, you usually get an immediate impression of the character of the single component under evaluation, don't you? The best components to me have done two things: been more revealing almost immediately and continue to do so without negatives over the long haul. (Thus, that first impression that "Wow- everything is clearer may lead to 0oh Shit, it's now more strident." I think we've all been there). Now, multiply that exponentially by the number and variety of combinations of equipment you could change out. What's your sonic memory like by the time you've been doing this for hours? I burn out- I have to make the evaluations limited in number and give myself time to take it in, rather than just "thinking" about what I'm hearing. That is not just time consuming, it is exhausting. Add to that-- you don't have this stuff as a reviewer forever- so you can't say, damn, that amp I listened to last year, wonder how it would sound now, with this new cartridge and phono stage, or whatever. Then there's the Rumsfeld factor- the unknown unknowns. You won't appreciate how good the cartridge is to hand if the phono preamp that really makes it sing hasn't come to market or you haven't heard it yet. Which is why, despite all this apparent confusion- which some would say is all silly stuff anyway, we tend to qualify conclusions based on associated gear, source material and listening bias, among other factors (including the room). And, why I can't judge a component in an absolute sense for all purposes and systems. We are really evaluating systems, not components, aren't we?

          Comment


          • #6
            Last night's listening session prompted to come back and revisit this topic. What if the limitation isn't the equipment but the medium that we are listening to? Audiphiles keep searching for nirvana and in the end, they are always frustrated because it's the software that's the limiting factor, not the equipment after it. The amount of information that each medium actually has its disposal? Last nights all tape listening session, with the changes to the GAT preamp and the insertion of the new Transparent Audio XL Gen. 5 between the King-Cello and GAT, was a near religious experience especially on the Opus 3 Live Vattnajoku, Kenny Burrell Midnight Blue and IPI's Ravi Shankar. There's just something about the tape medium--as opposed to vinyl or digital--that continues to improve in leaps and bounds with each improvement. More than any other source.

            Much more of an improvement that with changes to the other two mediums. In general the issue with RBCD is that is has a limited amount of information and you can keep improving everything else in the system and get little return. Hi-rez digital and LPs are a step above but it seems that the changes are far less than tape and often on the more subtle side. With tape, the differences are often day and night, with in the end, the system just sounding far more life like.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including 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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Here's a few thoughts...

              Every piece of gear operates in a context. I'm a firm believer that that context goes toward unleashing potential or holding it back. The easiest case to make, imo, regards isolation and vibration control. Without attendance to those factors I won't hear the gear the designer/manufacturer created. Example: for a while I had the belief that the Lamm gear I evaluated had less than defined image outlines when compared to certain other equipment. After adding a set of Stillpoints UltraSS, and later switching to SRA Ohio Class platforms, image delineation and to some extent separation, improved dramatically.

              The same can, imo, be said for a gear's electrical context. Dirty or constricted current can mask a component's potential

              An entire system can reveal more of its potential in a while laid out acoustic environment.

              The 'potential ceiling' is partly a function of an audio room's infrastructure. I believe a lot of gear is better than we hear it to be in the absence of proper infrastructure.

              There can be factors that impact the potential of a class of componentry. For example, turntables that cannot maintain accurate speed stability will hold back the potential of vinyl as a source.

              As Bill hinted at, to realize a system's potential you need to spend some time with it. While initial impressions can be telling, for me it takes time for assessment to level out across the weeks and months - sort of factoring out the day-to-day variabilities I experience as a listener. Sure there are obvious scenarios of clear cut musical disintermediation, but I've learned to take my time before making larger changes toward potential fulfillment.

              Comment


              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                Well said!

            • #8
              "" can Draft pick B realize his potential ceiling?" Myles something to think about. Having played College ball a pick B can be a lot better than pick A at times when placed within a unit that supports the COMPLETE unit. No one player or in our case of Audio can carry the complete UNIT /system by itself. Its needs comparable or better members to compete at a high level as one overall unit. If use misuse or have a mismatch in the complete system you will never achieve that Potential ceiling of each team member or device.
              Chris
              ----------------------------------------------------------------
              Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by tima View Post
                Here's a few thoughts...

                Every piece of gear operates in a context. I'm a firm believer that that context goes toward unleashing potential or holding it back. The easiest case to make, imo, regards isolation and vibration control. Without attendance to those factors I won't hear the gear the designer/manufacturer created. Example: for a while I had the belief that the Lamm gear I evaluated had less than defined image outlines when compared to certain other equipment. After adding a set of Stillpoints UltraSS, and later switching to SRA Ohio Class platforms, image delineation and to some extent separation, improved dramatically.

                The same can, imo, be said for a gear's electrical context. Dirty or constricted current can mask a component's potential

                An entire system can reveal more of its potential in a while laid out acoustic environment.

                The 'potential ceiling' is partly a function of an audio room's infrastructure. I believe a lot of gear is better than we hear it to be in the absence of proper infrastructure.

                There can be factors that impact the potential of a class of componentry. For example, turntables that cannot maintain accurate speed stability will hold back the potential of vinyl as a source.

                As Bill hinted at, to realize a system's potential you need to spend some time with it. While initial impressions can be telling, for me it takes time for assessment to level out across the weeks and months - sort of factoring out the day-to-day variabilities I experience as a listener. Sure there are obvious scenarios of clear cut musical disintermediation, but I've learned to take my time before making larger changes toward potential fulfillment.
                I feel exactly the same way which is why I shake my head at people who visit people's homes for the first time, spend a few hours there, and then write up their thoughts and call it a review. Ditto for visiting a factory and spending a few hours listening to the system the OEM has put together to showcase their wares. There is no way you know what any individual piece of gear in that system is doing, you are just forming impressions of the system and room. Nothing more and nothing less. People need to stop referring to drive-by listening sessions as reviews.
                Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                Comment


                • Garth
                  Garth commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I agree same goes for shows the best you can do at a show is find potential in a system. You do not know the room and it is unlikely you know the rest of the gear in that system. They are likely running wire you can not afford so it is hard to tell whats what.
                  In a song or two even an hour or two their is a lot more to know than you can find out in the time you have,
                  Then you have reviewers who spend months on a review write pages and never write the word Bass which seems to be code for there is no Bass. If years ago you saw the Beatles and Ringo had no Bass drum and Paul did not show up at all I say you did not see a Beatles show IMO

                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment

              • #10
                There is a huge difference between going to a show and writing up your impressions of the sound you heard in an individual room vice inserting a piece of gear into your reference system, spending months with it, and then writing a review of how it sounded in your system and room.
                Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by mep View Post
                  There is a huge difference between going to a show and writing up your impressions of the sound you heard in an individual room vice inserting a piece of gear into your reference system, spending months with it, and then writing a review of how it sounded in your system and room.
                  but how many current reviewers exhaustively dissect a component's sound where there are follow ups to follow ups in later issues with a 2nd or 3rd perspective from other staff writers using their own systems - kinda like an audio gang bang if you will. NO ONE does that anymore, not since TAS' heyday and I wouldn't expect today's e-zines or print magazines to provide the space to do so. Nor do I think any manufacture wants their gear examined under that kind of scrutiny, considering the astronomical cost of today's gear we need it more than ever.

                  So (for me) we're back to taking reviews with just a little more than a grain of salt. You can't read a review today and not find two or more carefully worded sound bites that will end up in the manufacture's ad copy - often in the same magazine issue! Color me cynical but I'm finding it hard nowadays to take most print and e-zine reviews seriously.
                  Simon Yorke + Zyx + B.M.C .> Soulution > Boulder > Magico

                  "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by Rob View Post

                    but how many current reviewers exhaustively dissect a component's sound where there are follow ups to follow ups in later issues with a 2nd or 3rd perspective from other staff writers using their own systems - kinda like an audio gang bang if you will. NO ONE does that anymore, not since TAS' heyday and I wouldn't expect today's e-zines or print magazines to provide the space to do so. Nor do I think any manufacture wants their gear examined under that kind of scrutiny, considering the astronomical cost of today's gear we need it more than ever.

                    So (for me) we're back to taking reviews with just a little more than a grain of salt. You can't read a review today and not find two or more carefully worded sound bites that will end up in the manufacture's ad copy - often in the same magazine issue! Color me cynical but I'm finding it hard nowadays to take most print and e-zine reviews seriously.
                    Rob-I understand your points, trust me. Even back in the heyday of TAS, there were certain reviewers I trusted and some I didn't. I too liked the way that 2-3 reviewers would review the same piece of gear in TAS and you would get 3 separate interpretations of how the gear sounded. Sometimes it devolved into pissing contests among the reviewers when they didn't agree with each other and they would ask for HP to weigh in and settle the argument.

                    After I initially reviewed the Viero speaker cables for PFO, Myles asked to do a follow-up review. Don't think for a second that I wasn't a little apprehensive that maybe Myles wouldn't hear what I heard in my system and might come to a completely different conclusion than I did.

                    I also did a follow-up review on the Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage as it had already been reviewed in PFO before I reviewed it.
                    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Rob View Post

                      but how many current reviewers exhaustively dissect a component's sound where there are follow ups to follow ups in later issues with a 2nd or 3rd perspective from other staff writers using their own systems - kinda like an audio gang bang if you will. NO ONE does that anymore, not since TAS' heyday and I wouldn't expect today's e-zines or print magazines to provide the space to do so.
                      The days of when multiple reviewers -- like in the Golden Era of TAS --listened to and commented upon the sound of a component is history. Plain and simple. It ain't coming back. But that practice is more than anything a victim of the times and specifically, having so many magazines around vying for the same pieces of audio gear (not unlike audio shows today). Back in maybe our heyday, there were two essentially two major magazines vying for equipment. Now you have a slew of other magazines in addition to Stereophile and TAS vying for equipment. Companies, unlike in the past, don't usually put aside more than piece of new gear for review purposes. Otherwise, they can find themselves in the situation--as one major high-end company did years ago--with $500K of gear out for review. (that essentially triggered a recall of all their products out in the field for review.) These small high-end companies just can't underwrite that sort of overhead.

                      ​​​​In addition, there are a limited amount of reviewers. And outside of a few (Fremer, Atkinson, Harley, Valin, Gregory (?)), most are part time. In other words, they hold down full time jobs in addition to reviewing. So their review time is a little limited and the number of requests great. So when are they going to have time to do new reviews if they are caught up in the multiple review circle? Plus the one component that might be the most useful and of the most interest to magazine readers--speakers--are near impossible to conduct follow ups. It takes a lot of time to set up and get a speaker sounding just right (yeah I know of instances of reviews being written three weeks after a speaker arrived). Plus the shipping charges, especially with big speakers gets prohibitive.

                      Like you, I miss the HP multiple cartridge/amplifier type survey/review but once again that's a victim of the times. I miss HP, PHD and JC commenting on a component. Or HP telling them they don't know what they are hearing. But there is one other factor to take into consideration and that the number of pages (okay not true for emags any more) print publications have available for reviews. That page count, usually around 50% of the total pages, is determined by the amount of advertising. Hence, thicker near audio show, end of the year time and thinner during the slower, summer season when everyone goes away and business drops.

                      Now to their credit, you will see Stereophile occasionally publishing follow up reviews/comments in the back of the magazine. Dave Clark had a magazine a while back (that folded into PF) where several reviewers listened to and reported on a component.

                      Nor do I think any manufacture wants their gear examined under that kind of scrutiny, considering the astronomical cost of today's gear we need it more than ever.
                      I can see where you are coming from but that's not what that I've encountered in my dealings over they many within the industry. Either they have confidence in the review process and reviewer or they don't. 99% of manufacturers are professionals and as long as the reviewer follows proper procedure, they let the chips fall where they may.

                      But of course, there is the occasional manufacturer who will go around bad mouthing you if they get a negative review. Speaking of reviews, there's also a big difference between what readers see as a good or all out rave review and what manufacturers see a good or all out rave review. I've had instances where I wrote what I thought was a great review, pointing out one or two areas where I thought the piece fell a little short. Guess what the manufacturer concentrated upon? At the end, you would have thought I trashed the gear.

                      What does happen--and for good reason--is that companies may only want the magazine's top reviewers reviewing their gear. That's in large part because they feel that a newer reviewer's review just doesn't have the impact a more established reviewer does. Especially say in the case of a more expensive component. On the other hand newer companies, want or need to get some press and often the younger reviewers don't have the backlog of gear the senior contributors do. Many stores will demand a review of a given product before even considering taking on a product or product line. And even a good review far from guarantees a store taking on a product. For many reasons. Ergo, the review can get published more quickly.

                      So (for me) we're back to taking reviews with just a little more than a grain of salt. You can't read a review today and not find two or more carefully worded sound bites that will end up in the manufacture's ad copy - often in the same magazine issue! Color me cynical but I'm finding it hard nowadays to take most print and e-zine reviews seriously.
                      Okay I am guilty of doing that. But here's my rationale. If the product is really good, why not give the manufacturer something that is useful for them to use?

                      Now as far as ending up in the same issue as the review appears. I know everyone is a skeptic here (just read Audio Asylum) and I can only speak from personal experience.

                      1) Manufacturers are sent a prepress copy of the review for comment before publishing. This is ONLY for technical correction (and comment), not on the actual body of the review.

                      2) Manufacturers are informed which issue the review of their product will appear and usually that's long enough for most to put an ad together before the issue goes to bed.

                      3) Ergo, it makes sense to advertise in the issue where the review appears to make maximal use. Yes?No? Maybe?
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including 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.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        One audio adage is that the system is only as good as the weakest link in the change. But isn't is just as valid on a more micro scale that the component is only as good what it is surrounded with e.g. Cables, AC power cords, isolation, positioning in the room, etc.

                        To wit, it makes no sense to put a top flight cartridge in an average arm. Or an average IC say with a top audio component. Of course, to play devil's advocate, that is also called system building.
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                        -Accessories including 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.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                          One audio adage is that the system is only as good as the weakest link in the change. But isn't is just as valid on a more micro scale that the component is only as good what it is surrounded with e.g. Cables, AC power cords, isolation, positioning in the room, etc.

                          To wit, it makes no sense to put a top flight cartridge in an average arm. Or an average IC say with a top audio component. Of course, to play devil's advocate, that is also called system building.
                          YES.

                          Every piece of gear operates in a context. I'm a firm believer that that context goes toward unleashing potential or holding it back.
                          See post #7, above.

                          Wrt system building: if a new component, for example your top flight cartridge in an average arm, is too far outside the context of the system into which it is inserted then it either will point out up- and/or downstream weaknesses in that system -or- you won't get all of what you paid for as it is constrained by operating in an inadequate context. You can get caught trying to catch-up the context before the thing that broke it wears out. Knowing the line where the new component becomes an upgrade or a downgrade seems to be part of the audiophile learning experience - pushing boundaries without breaking them. This is where Bill offers a few quotes from Aristotle about The Golden Mean. :-)

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