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  • Brand vs Music

    I am going to use a hypothetical situation but it applies to anything audio equipment related. If presented with amplifier A with exotic metal chassis, uber exotic internals, tons of "street" credibility and lots of audio bling appeal that sounded good but not great. Then we have amplifier B that is very ordinary, let's say it looked like the spartan Hafler DH-200 with nothing special in regards to look or bling but sounded fantastic, best amp you ever heard. How many audiophiles would pick amplifier A just for its looks and credibility and live with the mediocre musical presentation. How much does our visual cues and pride of ownership come into play?

    Amps are same price, same wattage, same circuit design. Sorry for not adding that info. There is no wrong answer, purely hypothetical.
    Last edited by nc42acc; 02-15-2016, 12:51 PM.
    Marty

  • #2
    It probably plays a bigger part than most people would admit to.
    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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    • #3
      Are the amps the same price?
      TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

      Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

      VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
      Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

      Piega C711 Loudspeakers

      Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

      Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator

      Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Synergistic Research Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cord, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

      Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD1200s Headphones.

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      • #4
        Its clear reading various posts on numerous audio 'boards that 'looks' figures highly in decision making. As time goes on I could care less about the looks, i'm not making love to the gear, I'm only listening to it Actually I prefer it be out of sight or not prominently displayed. LEDs, backlit displays and yes even glowing tubes are a distraction to me.
        Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

        "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

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        • #5
          I would probably decline on both regarding the hypothetical situation that Marty outlined. Any piece of gear I buy must meet both quality (of sound and craftmanship) and aesthetics.
          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

          Comment


          • nc42acc
            nc42acc commented
            Editing a comment
            John thank you for your honesty

            Remember there is no wrong answer.

        • #6
          Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
          I would probably decline on both regarding the hypothetical situation that Marty outlined. Any piece of gear I buy must meet both quality (of sound and craftmanship) and aesthetics.

          High quality (high SQ) and good looks are not mutually exclusive. I know people who won't consider CJ gear because they can't stand the champagne gold anodize - which is their signature. Same goes for the big blue meters and metal trimmed facias of McIntosh gear (some don't take the brand as serious High-end gear to begin with). Beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder and emotional to most people.
          Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

          "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

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          • #7
            That tiger-stripe pattern of Jeff Rowland gear is just not appealing to me from a visual perspective at all, so I would never even consider it. If I'm investing 5K, 10K, 20K in something it better hold a significant visual appeal as well.
            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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            • #8
              To answer my own hypothetical question, my audio rack could look like Dr Frankensteins lab and I wouldn't care as long as it gives me a more involving musical experience.
              Marty

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              • Johnny Vinyl
                Johnny Vinyl commented
                Editing a comment
                That's an honest answer as well Marty! We all do what floats our boat....as it should be!

            • #9
              To be honest, the days of the old black box is over. (maybe with the exception of LAMM?) Not if high-end electronics wants a market beyond audiophiles. People may criticize the looks of Greg's UHA decks, yet they are perfect for the market he's targeting. And Greg isn't targeting the old tapeheads but a whole new generation of tape lovers. Guys who already have excellent looking tables like say a Clearaudio and are looking for something different and better.

              That said, I only care about what the product sounds like. One of the nicest sounding amps years ago was the Amber 70. It was nothing to look at and the parts were nothing to write home about. Yes within its power rating, the little amplifier killed most of the solid-state amplifier in its price range and even some more expensive products. In fact, this amplifier totally destroyed the Hafler 500, the darling of quite a few people. The Hafler 500, was maybe next to the Adcom GFA-1, one of the worst sounding amplifiers ever made. That 500 was 500 of the puniest watts I ever heard; even on a relatively easy to drive Maggie 3As.

              The Adcom was junk and couldn't drive a 4 ohm load, because of its bridged design, without overheating and shutting down.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 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, 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


              • #10
                Originally posted by Rob View Post


                High quality (high SQ) and good looks are not mutually exclusive. I know people who won't consider CJ gear because they can't stand the champagne gold anodize - which is their signature. Same goes for the big blue meters and metal trimmed facias of McIntosh gear (some don't take the brand as serious High-end gear to begin with). Beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder and emotional to most people.
                +1

                Nor should they be nowadays. Hell Aragon had Robii design some sexy looking affordable products for them years ago.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 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, 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


                • #11
                  Sexy has appeal..no doubt, but I have owned electronics, such as Joule, earlier industrial-looking Atma-Sphere, MFA; with little regard to anything but the sound.
                  Avalon Time, Walker Proscenium, Koetsu Coralstone, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme, Goldfinger Statement, Dalby record weight, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Jadis JP80-MC...heavily modified, Convergent Audio JL-2 Black Path, Sony NS999 ES Modwright modded, full loom High Fidelity Ultimate cables, Rel S-5 sub, Stillpoints ultra and 5's, Shun Mook, Dalby footers, Critical Mass bases, Acoustic System Resonators, Magnum Dynalab Etude, Telefunkens throughout, assorted fuses, Furutech outlets, PurePower conditioner.

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                  • #12
                    In some respects, it all comes down to personnal priorities. A lot of factors determine what those priorities are. In addition to muscality, what else is desired and is it obtainable.

                    For me it's sound first. If a component or system does not communicate the music to me then that component or system is irrelevant to me. Normally, I buy used or on the low end of the price scale because of modest means. Musicality formost and if I don't need to sneak it out of the store in a plain brown paper bag, great. But when checking out shops for a steal on the used rack I get to check out some pretty high zoot gear. And that's when I get a little nervous. Sometimes some very expensive systems have been, how to put it, less good than their price tags would indicate. So as not to offend anyone I usually smile and shake my head and say yeah that's great.

                    Conversly, I occasionally hear a setup that is superb, exquisite, amazing. Invariably not what is the flavor of the day on some glossy magazine cover. Invariably not eye candy either. Well, usually. I thought the Walker turntable looked pretty good and it sure sounded good.

                    Personal priorities and tastes. If everyone had the same priorities and tastes we might all be listening to Bose tabletop radios.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Anyone who has seen my system knows that the "visual appeal" or bling factor plays no part in it. One of the first things you give up and probably even avoid when living at the lower cost end of this business is money wasted on unnecessary aspects that don't actively make for better sound. Too often the visual appeal is there just to justify a higher cost, making it more about the gear than the music. That being said, I do like cool looking turntables.
                      Steve Lefkowicz
                      Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
                      -
                      Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
                      Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
                      Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
                      Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
                      Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
                      Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
                      Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
                      Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
                      Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

                      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

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                      • #14
                        If the sound is superb I could not care less about the design and bling factor.
                        But that is just me

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
                          Anyone who has seen my system knows that the "visual appeal" or bling factor plays no part in it. One of the first things you give up and probably even avoid when living at the lower cost end of this business is money wasted on unnecessary aspects that don't actively make for better sound. Too often the visual appeal is there just to justify a higher cost, making it more about the gear than the music. That being said, I do like cool looking turntables.

                          OTOH just to play devil's advocate, for the high-end industry to move past being just attractive to audiophiles, the equipment must come in more than black boxes. Aragon was able to come up with some unique looks even with modestly priced equipment.
                          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                          ________________________________________

                          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                          -Doshi V3.0 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, 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.

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