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A hifi rant by Mike Ashdown

Discussing mods and tweaks for hifi raises issues which have been bugging me for years.  I have been chopping and changing, building, tweaking, and buying hifi for thirty years.  I am also a bit of a musician - so I ought to have an idea of what I am aiming at – being used to the orchestra sitting around me (although no doubt adding to my own slight high frequency loss).

 

I feel that all the hifi companies fail us.  Why should I spend thousands of pounds on a fairly good system which is so dependent upon other variables?  Ignoring room effects (for which I cannot blame the manufacturers), how dare they produce products which are so temperamental and unable to easily work at their full potential?  If I change a mains lead the system becomes too bright;  if I have the wrong type  of floor or speaker stand the quality is affected in other ways.  I had to buy Isoblue stands to get my equipment to work to its potential.  If I have noisy mains there are other problems. And there’s speaker cable, interconnects,  &c &c.

 

What I would like is equipment that is so well designed and resistant to the outside world that it works really well sat on the floor, connected with any old cable delivering 240 volts.  Just like my vacuum cleaner, washing machine, computer does.

 

And while I am having this little rant, if you are still with me, having listened to lots of systems over the years, it has been my firm opinion that most systems are too bright.  There is a fallacy that hearing treble detail is the same as realism.  I do not want to hear plectrum clicks or string squeaks disproportionately loudly to con me into thinking “I am there.”  (nor for that matter is pin-point stereo imagery at all realistic, but that is another rant!).  What do you think??  Do please blog.

 

There is a clear parallel with digital photography here – over-sharpened images may allow you to notice more detail, but the images are not realistic.

Thanks guys.  Bit better now.

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