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Speakers or First Source?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by paulBAW, Apr 27, 2003.

  1. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    Many people have debated which should be the primary focus when building an audio system. Ideally balance is everything, but few systems have complete balance. Resources are often limited and one part of the chain is usally neglected. Most agree that if money were to be invested more in one area, Speakers would be the best money spent.

    However, I have talked to many friends and even family who feel that the real investment should be the first link or source in contact with the audition material (CD/DVD) Because many people see speakers they often feel the need to consider it the most important factor in determining sound. Often neglecting the actual source hardware picking up the software. I'm very guilty of this as well. I'm considering a Bryston 3B SST to be paired with either Energy Verita 2.1's or Studio 40's yet I have a $600 sony SACD player.

    Some would argue that if I spent far less on the speakers and amp I'd actually have a much better sounding system if I invested the bulk on a CD or SACD player. One example given to me was when a roomfull of Journalists were allowed to listen to a disguised system. They listend and were then asked what they thought of the sound. After listening they concluded that the sound was in fact very good, some insisted that it might have been some of the best musical setup they had ever listend too. Many were shocked to find out that this "reference system" they had thought they heard was in fact a Linn12CD (20k) matched with a very modest intergrated amp and a set of budgest $150 PSB Alpha Speakers.

    This example has made me reconsider my inital approach to home audio. While I still enjoy speakers and amplification, I'm starting to wonder if the biggest difference is actually in the first link rather then the last being the speakers. I'd like to hear some thoughts or comments on the subject.

    Thanks
     
  2. jason willder

    jason willder Stunt Coordinator

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    No way. I think the idea of balance is essential. You might find better balance by getting a less expensive amp that is comperable to the Bryston. I would love to own that amp. It seems to me you are paying alot of money for the warranty, which is awesome by the way. By saving money on the amp and not really comprimising you could upgrade your source later if you felt the need. Also you could buy a larger speaker as well. Hell save your clams and get the 100s and you won't regret it. I'm not knocking the Bryston, but if funds are an issues it is probably not the way to go. I think. By the way what are you using for a pre/pro.
     
  3. Greg*go

    Greg*go Supporting Actor

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    I know that one main argument is that speakers will most likely last a lot longer then pre/pro's / dvd players will... Since a new sound format seems to be coming out every other year. The pre/pros / sources get outdated too fast. When's the last time you heard of speakers being obsolete? This is one reason why I would consider spending more in my speakers then in my sources.
     
  4. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    CD players have been around for more then 20yrs. LP's much much longer. Once SACD wins the eventual war against DVD-A that too should be around for a very long time.

    My question was asking if anybody has experienced this first hand? We seem all to easy to spend $1000's on speakers yet few of us spend the same kinda money on the actual source. And from what I'm hearing the first source could be in fact more important then both the amp and the speakers.

    How often do you hear a system spec from a forum user along the lines of this:

    Paradigm Studio 40's
    Rotel RX-1050
    Yamaha CD player

    Thousands spent on speakers and amplification yet only a few hundred dollars on potentially the most important up source, the cd player.


    And how often do you NOT see this from a forum user?

    Paradigm Monitor 3's
    NAD Intergrated C320
    Linn Genki cd player

    I just thought it was a great topic for discussion.
     
  5. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  6. Greg*go

    Greg*go Supporting Actor

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    Well Paul, with that kind of thinking, it might NOT be a good topic since it points out everyones weakest component. [​IMG]
     
  7. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Interesting topic...

    I believe speakers play a larger role than CD players.

    Have you ever tried 3 different brand CD players in the same price range and could effortless distinguish between them?

    Take portable CD players as an example. It is hard to hear the difference between those yet very easy to hear the difference in headphones.

    Now take 3 loudspeakers in the same price range and try to distinguish between them, like say.. Klipsch, Bose, and some prefab online DIY speakers. I think it's safe to say speakers show a much greater difference between eachother than CD players. How often do you see people going into specialty audio stores and asking to A/B compare CD players and then buy a loudspeaker before every trying it out. Now think of how many people buy CD players without auditioning them, yet who audition speakers before they buy them.

    Also look at magazines, and how many reviews and advertisements there are for loudspeakers as opposed to CD players. That is because the loudspeaker industry makes up a big portion of peoples system budgets, just like it does for most people on this forum. So by saying speakers are a weaker link than player is going against a vast majority of audiophiles and enthusiasts.

    A reason you don't see system specs from a forum user that has cheap speakers and a high end CD player is because they choose speakers that suit their taste for music since all loudspeakers do the same thing. People choose a CD player more for the features, functions, or specifications.

     
  8. keir

    keir Stunt Coordinator

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    i think you already know that the source isnt as important as the speakers. people dont go out and buy and expensive cd player and then throw in whatever speakers looked prettiest at best buy. you'll have a crappy system if the speakers arent good. if you get state of the art speakers and a discman, the sound is going to be much better even though the cd player was only $40.
     
  9. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris that's my point exactly. Ideally you want balance but so many times the First source is neglected.

    How good would a system sound with a cd walkmen hooked up to B&W 801's driven by a Nad

    in comparison to

    LiNN cd player hookedup to a set of PSB alphas and a modest intergrated amp.

    I think people tend to downplay the actual importance of the CD player.
     
  10. jason willder

    jason willder Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't mean to downplay the importance of the source. But onec again balance comes into play. I have a HK CDR20($400) and a Yamaha DVD-S2300($1000). The Yamaha sounds much better than the HK. I would like to own an Arcam or other higher end cd player. I am sure it would sound even better. This is where the law of diminishing returns comes in. Where do you want to be on the curve, or more importantly where can you afford to be on the curve. Pick your budget and go from there. It will become obvious that a Mark Levinson cd/dac setup with JBL speakers is a waste of the cd players potential. How that for a bad/extreme example? Find balance grasshopper. Don't forget about the importance of amplification and processing.
     

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