Sigh… like I said before, I do not understand all the hostility towards hi-end audio, particularly in a techno-friendly environment such as this one… but I digress. Since no one is going to stick up for the A-files, and since we feel the need to devote an entire thread to this topic, I’ll do the best I can to respond (there is a lot to respond to so this is a l-o-n-g post, you have been forewarned
What the #$&! does raising a cable off the floor do?
OK. Electricity travels through the cables on the floor, some leaches out. This is stored in the carpet as static electricity (the earlier poster who thinks that carpets do not/cannot do this has apparently never shocked himself when crossing a carpeted room in sox, I guess). This electricity is then released back into the cables, interfering with the signal traveling down it. Simple.
I do not see why a cable manufacturer could not effectively shield their cables from this effect, though I expect their doing so would cost much more then the cable elevators (hi-end cable manufacturers mark up everything well over 20 times parts costs). One cable company, I unfortunately forgot which, has designed elevators into their cables, however.
NOTE: Cable lifters will do little if anything on a hard wood floor. Also, presumably, one need not buy cable elevators and could fashion something of their own to get their cables off the floor, but I have heard mixed reviews of attempts at doing this. I'd like to say that I have tried several such home-brew attempts but, truth be told, I just bought the elevators (they are pretty cheap) was thrilled with their performance, and left it at that. I have been double blinded, and I have forced friends and family to sit through double blind tests on exactly this tweak and ALL have consistently identified (and preferred) the lifters in the system. That is why everyone should buy them if they are $2.00/ea.
But can Audiophilia be innexpensive?
(I guess it can, if you're one of those people that believes an old record player is better than a high end CD player)
Records DO sound better than CDs (and even better than the awesome EMM Labs combo., playing SACDs, IMHO). If you spend the same amount of $$$ on a CD player and a 'table, the 'table will almost always sound better... beware you do not stumble upon a Rockport Sirius III turntable, however ($70k for the 'table and arm, cartridge extra; I have never been privileged to hear one, but I have been told that it is a religious experience).
More to the point, great performance can be had for very low prices as well (as in so many things, the point of diminishing returns in audio kick in quite early): Vandersteen and Gallo speakers punch so far above their weight that it is not even funny. I love what NAD can do for A-philes on a budget and I love, LOVE the Rega CD players; although Linn is not for everyone, I think their stuff kills at their respective price points, some of which are quite low (some of which are also quite high
). Audiophilia CAN indeed be inexpensive.
i see little need for gear that you couldn't get off the shelf from say walmart.
Yeha may be deaf.
Green Shoes wrote:
To buy equipment that doesn't accurately reproduce it seems counter-productive.
I could not agree MORE. Much audiophile gear is just really very, very expensive tone-controls. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard very pricy gear that sounded beautiful and also obscured EVERYTHING. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard really expensive great that sounded like dreck and still obscured EVERYTHING.
This is not the same as saying that better, more truthful, and more transparent gear does not exist. It does. Listen to the EMM Labs stuff just once in your life--you will not know what to think, I swear.
I don't think I will really understand audiophilia - I can hear a difference, but it is of little consequence to me up to a certain point, it doesn't affect my enjoyment.
Some don’t mind the fact that their computers sound like leaf blowers either… but no one flames those that do….
In any case, yes Chris, I know what you mean... sort of. The whole reason I am in this forum is because I have given up my relentless pursuit of audio perfection (to ME, as many have posted, there is no objective criterion for perfection but if it is my ears and my money, why should they care how I spend it?) and am now doing HTPC because (a) I wanted to watch movies as well, (b) I was going broke, (c) music was no longer fun, and (d) I was buying CDs and SACDs because they would sound good on my system and not because I actually liked the music on them--this was the biggest warning sign that something was very amiss.
Despite the fact that I had a $35000.00 stereo downstairs, I was spending most of my time listening to music on my Gateway office PC (with an Audigy sound card, for God's sake!). Part of this had to do with the amount of time I spent working in my office, but a lot of it was because I didn't feel like listening to music any more when doing so was akin to a Sacred Rite: carrying the single CD to its awaiting transport atop a red velvet pillow with the lights dimmed and all that. Windows Media Player was quick, easy, and I could listen to any CD I wanted in any order at any time--wow, what a concept! Also, I could just enjoy the music, I could again listen to the less-than-perfect rock albums that sounded like crap on my big-rig, I did not feel the need to naval-gaze and contemplate the music as I heard it, I did not feel the need to agonize over the 80Hz room node in my main listening room (endless sleepless nights, I can tell you).
I thought, “who needs this”? I sold most off my mega gear, settled for some relatively inexpensive Krell electronics and massively scaled down AC line treatments (I am still debating what to do with my mbl speakers--I love them soooooooooo much, but I cannot afford 3 more at this time to do HT), and I have attempted to build what I hope will be a great HTPC, and I pocketed several thousand dollars in the deal (which then gave to the IRS
All this is NOT to say that better audio gear is not better, measurably, audibly, and emotionally. I have done double blind tests up the ass, worked for audio companies, gone to trade shows and conventions, I believe that I really know what I am taking about on this score (unlike, say, Yeha). If audio is your sand-box, then you should play in it and be happy, there are tons of great things to find in there! I, personally, just had to get off the the-next-up-grade-is-just-around-the-corner merry-go-round!
$5000 of PC-silencing parts? What are you getting, a case made out of sorbothane?
Custom chassis/heatpipes! Imagine something on the scale of this case (Zalman TNN -500AN), and add components powerful (and expensive) enough to warrant passive cooling of that magnitude.
No, not $5000.00 in silencing parts, that's for the whole computer. I was waiting to get the case and build the computer before posting on it, but for the interested, my system is/will be (everything is purchased and waiting in my garage for the arrival of the case--should be less than a month more... I hope):
Case: A-tech Fabrication HeatSync Case 6000. This case has custom heatpipes for both the GPU and CPU. http://www.atechfabrication.com/product ... c_6000.htm
MOBO: Asus A8N-E, chipset fan replaced with Zalman passive cooler.
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Newcastle (bought it before the Venice cores came out, but I dont think it'll make too much differenc to me; I don't need much, it's just an HTPC/music server, not a gamer).
Memory: 1GB Geil DDR 400, run in dual ch.
PSU: Silverstone ST30NF (fanless).
Optical Drive: Pioneer DVR-K04L. Suggested by A-tech, now wish I had saved myself some trouble and not gotten a notebook drive, all things considered. Too bad, it's already sitting in my garage and I'm not going to sweat it too much. It is likely noisy, but I don't care: once all my media is ripped, I will never run it anyway.
Monitor/remote control: Gateway/Motion Computing M1300 tablet PC (fanless) and USB-IRT (connected to tablet docking station).
Storage: (a) 2 SimpleTech 2GB solid-state HDDs, 2.5" form factor; one for the HTPC, one for the tablet. These will hold the OS and networking drivers only. (b) A 1 TB NAS box from Buffalo Technology for movies and music (to be stored in the garage). Wired or wireless networking (Belkin pre-N) to be determined after the computer gets here and is up and running.
Video: X600 pci all-in-wonder; again, I am not a gamer.
Audio: Lynx L-22. I am planning on using the digital out only, but I'll give the on-board DACs a try to see what I can see. The Lynx has extensive jitter suppression on-board (why I bought it), and an input for an external word-clock generator (a future upgrade, maybe, we'll see).
Front End: X-Lobby (if I can get it running
). If looks cool, supports foobar (for kernel-streaming), and it's free!
I do not like the idea of modding too much. I like to get the right parts and have them work the first time--and keep on working, under warrantee. This is NOT, in any way a negative remark on those who do like to mod--I have been very, very impressed with many the systems I have seen here (and a little jealous at what those more capable than I have been able to do). My desire for built-up systems comes from my wish for simplicity and my total, utter, and complete lack of any of the skills required for successful modding. For those who can mod however, I think they must