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CSI NZ
Member
Posts: 6

Hi Amine

 

Hope you are well your side of the globe and that your slightly different approach to a webforum meets with interest. I confess to being a Metrum dealer although my own situation is a little different too.

 

I import solely Metrum products into NZ as an online dealer, although after 18 months - still without a functioning website ! Best described as an Enthusiast/MonoMicro Dealer really. My interest generally is main system listening but started using headphones some 35 years ago, for tape recorder monitoring and then CD recording.

 

This year however, I have acquired Beyer T1’s and HD800’s (in need of a new cable), and hence there is interest in what you are doing. Can add, that still on my list of things to sort out, are Computer music software (disappointing so far) and USB cabling. So some interest outside of the obvious.

 

I will probably refrain from too much involvement but would like to have some input, if of interest. One of my hobby horses concerns a Reviewer much overlooked in my opinion. Therefore would like to share.

 

Would you like to consider adding a Recommended Reviewer to your site? Only an opinion of course, but if receptive to the idea, I would like to put forward a case for your consideration. I might humbly suggest, a top of the tree case !

 

It has saved me money over the years and may well do so for other members.

 

Regards

 

Ian

 

 

November 5, 2014 at 1:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Amine Slimani
Site Owner
Posts: 162

CSI NZ at November 5, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Hi Amine

 

Hope you are well your side of the globe and that your slightly different approach to a webforum meets with interest. I confess to being a Metrum dealer although my own situation is a little different too.

 

I import solely Metrum products into NZ as an online dealer, although after 18 months - still without a functioning website ! Best described as an Enthusiast/MonoMicro Dealer really. My interest generally is main system listening but started using headphones some 35 years ago, for tape recorder monitoring and then CD recording.

 

This year however, I have acquired Beyer T1’s and HD800’s (in need of a new cable), and hence there is interest in what you are doing. Can add, that still on my list of things to sort out, are Computer music software (disappointing so far) and USB cabling. So some interest outside of the obvious.

 

I will probably refrain from too much involvement but would like to have some input, if of interest. One of my hobby horses concerns a Reviewer much overlooked in my opinion. Therefore would like to share.

 

Would you like to consider adding a Recommended Reviewer to your site? Only an opinion of course, but if receptive to the idea, I would like to put forward a case for your consideration. I might humbly suggest, a top of the tree case !

 

It has saved me money over the years and may well do so for other members.

 

Regards

 

Ian

 

 

Hi Ian,

 

First of all, welcome to tweak-fi!

 

With regards to posting/ contributing, feel free to post as you like provided you add Member of the Trade into your signature.

 

As for the Recommended Reviewer, I admit that I don't totally understand what you are talking about. Could you explain further?

 

Regards,

 

Amine

 

 

--

Everything in Audio is sublte and not worth it - Patrick82

November 10, 2014 at 5:53 AM Flag Quote & Reply

CSI NZ
Member
Posts: 6

Hi Amine

 

Thank you and sorry for delay, have been busy and giving thought how best to approach and hopefully provide some interest along the way. As a registered MOT, there could obviously be some self-interest, in Recommending a Reviewer. I was not sure of policy regarding this and so sought advice (and indication of interest) first.

 

In a way, this reflects my HiFi history and certainly education. However, have come up with a better solution and rather than Recommend, would like to ‘Suggest’ a Reviewer, I first came across in 1978, when looking to buy my 1st ‘proper’ turntable. See photo exhibit – ‘100 Turntables and Tone Arms tested’ (published in two parts).

 

The fact there were a 100 models available on the market back then, is pretty surprising. This little book was - ‘The most comprehensive guide to buying turntables and Tone arms ever published’ and probably still is (although now old ones – known as Classics). The guide book is still relevant now, if wanting to buy a Classic today or next year.

 

Imagine now, how useful something like that would be, when buying anything. It was a collaboration between HiFi Choice, Paul Messenger and Martin Colloms (who did the work). Colloms was a co-founder of Monitor Audio in 1972 and 3 years later left to go Reviewing.

 

Regarded as a bit of a whiz on loudspeakers, design and construction, his book ‘High Performance Loudspeakers’, first published in 1977, is still available today in its 6th edition (and still relevant). He continued to act as consultant to Monitor Audio (after leaving) and a bit later for example, partnered Musical Fidelity in design and implementation of their MC speaker range.

 

This arrangement also involved Audax, who in conjunction with MC, designed a woofer for their new speaker range. The MF range also used the same driver.

 

By 1978, he was also regarded as a bit of a whiz on Turntable design and construction, acting as consultant for example, to Monitor Audio, Philips and STD. There could be others of course, these are just some that I have come across. Generally this information is not advertised.

 

This pocket (TV remote in pic for comparison) size book is packed with 30 odd pages of information, plus the reviews, covering everything you need to know about TT/Tonearm design, construction and issues associated with Vinyl replay.

 

Detailed explanations of terms and design problems, features and facilities, set up and use. Right down to room reference (quoting dimensions and IEC recommendations), not forgetting reference equipment and ancillaries used etc.

 

Sadly none of the Turntables tested were considered Excellent.

 

“One overwhelming fact to emerge from this report is that although many fairly competent turntables are on sale, there are very few good ones. While most work well, play records and no doubt provide listener satisfaction, the difference between such ‘average’ players and the really good but not necessarily expensive ones is quite considerable in terms of their sound quality.”

 

One further quote worth mentioning from 1978 – “It confirms my belief that a lot of hi-fi design merely follows market trends and fashion, thereby perpetuating the mistakes already made by others.”

 

The product reviews themselves were quite simple and at the same time technical. Areas of sound quality were broken down and evaluated in simple terms i.e. Poor, Fair, Average, Good and V. Good. As mentioned above, Excellence was not present. Where this appears across the board (back then and today), it means State of the Art.

 

This was the ‘Colloms Sound Quality Rating’ early on, later developed by breaking Sound Information down into areas such as, sound staging, dynamics, imaging and focus, rhythm and timing, transparency and detail etc.etc.

 

Each of these sound components’ performance is assessed in the same way, against a known reference and receives comment such as Good, Very Good and so on. In total they lead to the final score. To do well, all areas need to be covered with consistency of grade (or better).

 

Available on Critic’s website – Articles ‘Sound Classics’ are several publications from the past :

 

From ‘Working in the Front Line’ 1991 – “Any reviewer worth his salt is a crusader working in the best interests of the consumer. Conventional (re CD players) wisdom tells us that these are essentially perfect sound sources; remember the original ‘CD’ slogan, “Perfect Sound Forever”.

 

Yet my experience of a very large sample of 300 models, with approximately 30% of repeat auditions, has been that CD players do not sound the same”.

 

Not surprisingly, by this time he had also become a bit of a whiz on CD players/Dacs and acted as consultant to Radford and Ariston for example, possibly more. As with Turntables to begin with, CD replay was considered poor overall during the mid 80’s :

 

“It took a full three years of commercial development before CD sound broke through the score ‘10’ level, which in 1990 actually represented the average for the whole industry. Over the years, assessments have seen the current ‘State of the Art’ score move from the original ‘10’ to ‘13’,then to ‘18’ and in 1990, to ‘24’”.

 

Perfection 1989/90 and referencing at a score of ‘25’, was equated to a ‘well-installed’ Goldmund Reference turntable system, which at the time cost £20,000. The debate about digital sound versus analogue was in full swing at this point (and continues today). I am not aware of anyone else claiming at that time, that digital ‘sound quality’ was extremely close to, the absolute best that Vinyl replay could offer. The complete opposite, is in fact true.

 

Dacs of course, had made the difference during this period and were pushing scores up fast. “A unit scoring at the ‘20’ level is immediately identifiable, so startling is the improvement over present norms” (Stereophile review of $4,950 Wadia Digital Decoding Computer 1989 – ‘20’).

 

A more widely known publication, ‘Pace, Rhythm, & Dynamics’ 1992, is often referred to by other Reviewers, where areas of Pace, Rhythm and Timing are concerned and discussed. Detailed but sometimes technical explanations can be found here, for example the difference between Pace and Timing and the associated areas that go with them.

 

Outside of equipment itself, ‘Sound Quality’ was the goal being chased. As a qualified electrical and electronics engineer as well, he was/is available as an ‘Expert Witness’ in legal/investigative situations, relating to sound.

 

In 1993 during the ‘Diana Squidgygate’ scandal for example, he acted as Sony International’s Audio Analyst, with regard to analysis of the tape. By this time his ‘SQR’ system was well underway and being incorporated in his reviews for Stereophile and Hi Fi News.

 

To bring things up to date (but still relate back), I attended a Headfi arranged Meet in Auckland this year, which featured a range of gear from a few hundred dollars, to a system over $10K. One thing was noticed by everyone, HD800’s were present on just about everybody’s table.

 

However, the most popular table at the venue by far, and the one that drew my attention as well, was a young guy using a Rega Planar 3 turntable as source. I had never thought of using a turntable with headphones. I guessed and he confirmed, that it was an excellent way to test/listen to a cartridge.

 

Far too much to cover in one go here, but as an intro I hope this is of interest. Attach further ‘exhibits’ re the above. The Turntable Reviews probably would have had the banner ‘102 Models Tested’, but unfortunately two were missing. The manufacturer was unable to supply at that point, due to demand. They did get looked at later and no they did not achieve Excellence either – but were Good !

 

Missing in action were the Rega Planar 3 and Rega Planar 2 – the Turntable I eventually bought, even though I wanted the 3, but considered the extra £37 too much of a stretch. Laughable now.

 

For Digital reference today, Excellence currently exists with Audio Note’s CDT6 and Fifth Element NOS Dac, a four box system that unfortunately cost £192,000. Only 25 were made, so it is worth Noting, who Peter Qvortrup of AN chose to review one. It is top of the tree in the current SQR’s – in component variation 400 -425 for CD and 450 HD.

 

Except for the price, quite good improvement over 1990’s State of the Art score of ‘24’.

 

Ian

 

MM-MOT

 

Reliable Sources : Hi Fi Critic, Stereophile, Hi Fi Choice, Highfidelity.pl, NZ AudioVideo and Wikipedia.

 

Photo courtesy of Headfier(s) - NZTechfreak , featuring HelmetGuy’s system.

 

Others : ‘Borrowed’ (in the Line of Duty) - An incomplete Goldmund Reference System – believe the Tone arm is a parallel tracking Air Tangent, and the unaffordable £96,000 NOS Fifth Element Dac.

 

 

--

  MM M.O.T.

November 29, 2014 at 10:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

CSI NZ
Member
Posts: 6






--

  MM M.O.T.

November 29, 2014 at 10:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Amine Slimani
Site Owner
Posts: 162

Hi Ian,

Very informative post!

I will add Hifi Critic to the list of recommended audio websites (link page).

BTW, I have just (re)read Hifi Critic's Metrum Octave review and found that it scored 185 for 16/44.1 and 205 for 24/96.

  1. Is it the same scale that they have been using since the Goldmund ?
  2. Also, out of curiosity, what did you think of the HD800s you listened to in the meeting you mentioned and/or elsewhere?

Personally, I was totally disappointed the first time I listen to the HD800s (with the wrong equipment). Now, with Glenn's OTL amplifier, I find that they are the most musically satisfying headphones I have listened to (including Beyer T1s, HD650s, Grados...).

--

Everything in Audio is sublte and not worth it - Patrick82

December 2, 2014 at 3:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

CSI NZ
Member
Posts: 6

Hi Amine

 

Late again !

 

1.

Yes basically the same scale but adjusted every now and then. New products can upset the rankings. To maintain relativity older products are brought out from time to time, to ensure scale maintained. Also todays review system is far better than older systems, so sometimes this can affect rating when an older product is looked at again (could be better, could be worse).

 

No turntable used as far as I know now. Each product is compared to a standard reference - MSB for example, but not immediately ditched and replaced because something comes along that is better. Only when it gets left behind by many does it stop being a ‘good’ standard.

 

My view/take on things.

 

2. Well less than a year under my belt at this level. Got T1’s first and took me 2 or 3 weeks to fully adjust. Compared to my ancient HD420’s, I was slightly disappointed ‘progress’ did not blow me away. The 420’s may actually compete in the $300-400 range now.

 

But the T1’s were definitely better at everything. To me very neutral and transparent. Sounded great in my system. A ‘dedicated’ phone listener told me he preferred 800’s due to much better/bigger sound stage. I envisioned a soundfield 1 metre around my head – so imagination got ahead of me.

 

A week or so later I understood what he meant. Plugging straight into my system the 800’s sounded great too, but presentation different. I found them not as neutral as the T1’s, which suggest things. But whatever, I instantly liked them (and prefer) – in fact they carry the flavour of the 420’s, which maybe is not surprising.

 

I spent some time running my main system and phone system in different rooms, playing the same music for comparison. Phones could not match bass quantity but not surprising, my speakers are bigger and have the room behind them.

 

Also got better shimmering cymbal sound – perhaps room again. But detail levels were much better through phones, showing me what is missing in my main chain. Probably a 3.5m I/C joining pre to power. The cable is not up to the standard of the rest of my cabling.

 

3. The classic HD414 will be 50 years old in 2018 – 10 million or so were sold. The 420’s came out c.1978. We don’t see reviews today usually as comprehensive, but in 1970 Sennheisers and Audio Technica’s entire ranges were reviewed and compared.

 

The 420’s rated “quite possibly the best dynamic phones on the UK market”.

 

 

 

 

 

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  MM M.O.T.

December 25, 2014 at 9:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

CSI NZ
Member
Posts: 6

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  MM M.O.T.

December 25, 2014 at 9:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

CSI NZ
Member
Posts: 6

Typo above - where I have 1970 - should read 1980. $ quoted are NZ and pure guesswork.

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  MM M.O.T.

December 26, 2014 at 7:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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