Random thoughts on hifi

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

Moderator: Staff

Spannko
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1304
Joined: 2008-01-24 21:46
Location: East of The Black Country, UK

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by Spannko »

More and more, I’m thinking that what’s needed is an internet forum/magazine/blog/database type thing, which would be a like a cross between the playground and eg Darko, The Ear etc, where potential purchasers are able to compare the sound of typical entry level music systems (Sonos, Bose, JBL etc) against something better and beyond.
beck
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 2136
Joined: 2012-10-22 22:25

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by beck »

Those who seek emotional connection to the recorded music through their hifi system can never be wrong whatever comes out of the speakers.

Those who want you to believe that only their presentation of the recorded music is “truthful” are always wrong.
Need good music
OscarH
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 275
Joined: 2019-03-14 10:57
Location: Exile on Dane St.

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by OscarH »

There is a dilemma here that I'm quite certain has been touched upon before.

Almost everyone I know have much more modest systems than I do (still, my system is one of the more modest ones on this forum) yet they most certainly enjoy their music.

While it sometimes puzzles me that people don't care more about the sound they have in their home, there's no disputing the enjoyment. Trying to claim that "they don't know better" is off course supremely arrogant. I can only conclude that beck is right - as long as one gets an emotional connection (regardless of how consciously defined this intent is; my note) they aren't wrong.

That said, friends with a genuine interest in music will note that my system is "better". It's not necessarily easy to explain WHY without coming across as preaching though.
springwood64
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 267
Joined: 2008-10-13 18:19
Location: UK

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by springwood64 »

I have just put together 2 turntable systems for my eldest kids, who are at university. Mostly late 1980s early 1990s kit: Dual CS 505 turntable, Arcam Alpha 6 amplifier and Linn Index or TDL speakers

In my office I'm currently surround by this entry level vintage kit (I still find it hard to call kit I once owned from new 'vintage').

I was struck again today as I tested the latest additions, how much I enjoyed listening to these old entry level systems. These are not tuned at all - just placed wherever is convenient, but I was bopping along to INXS and enjoying the music hugely. It sounds a bit raw, but it is fun.

I also noticed that I enjoy listening to my car hifi far more than I used to. All I have changed is now I listen to Radio Paradise so the music is great.

I get the impression that one of the outcomes of my recent extensive tuning of my main system is that enjoy music more when I hear it in lots of other contexts. Has anyone else found this?
Pete

Linn Axis, Kinki, Hakai HW with Snakeoil OS, Boazu, Espeks
beck
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 2136
Joined: 2012-10-22 22:25

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by beck »

springwood64 wrote: 2021-01-13 14:14 I get the impression that one of the outcomes of my recent extensive tuning of my main system is that enjoy music more when I hear it in lots of other contexts. Has anyone else found this?
I agree. When you have found the music you hear it in many different places. :-)
Need good music
OscarH
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 275
Joined: 2019-03-14 10:57
Location: Exile on Dane St.

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by OscarH »

beck wrote: 2021-01-13 15:07
springwood64 wrote: 2021-01-13 14:14 I get the impression that one of the outcomes of my recent extensive tuning of my main system is that enjoy music more when I hear it in lots of other contexts. Has anyone else found this?
I agree. When you have found the music you hear it in many different places. :-)
Yeah, me too. I think it can go both ways, but I think I’ve become better at appreciating the qualities and accepting the deficiencies when I hear music in various situations.

If I found deficiencies unacceptable my main system might have sounded better... but I’m not sure it’s so easy to have one philosophy in life and another in music and in life focusing on the problems tends to be very stressful.

Random enough to suit the topic? ;)
ThomasOK
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 3136
Joined: 2007-02-02 18:41
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by ThomasOK »

springwood64 wrote: 2021-01-13 14:14 I have just put together 2 turntable systems for my eldest kids, who are at university. Mostly late 1980s early 1990s kit: Dual CS 505 turntable, Arcam Alpha 6 amplifier and Linn Index or TDL speakers

In my office I'm currently surround by this entry level vintage kit (I still find it hard to call kit I once owned from new 'vintage').

I was struck again today as I tested the latest additions, how much I enjoyed listening to these old entry level systems. These are not tuned at all - just placed wherever is convenient, but I was bopping along to INXS and enjoying the music hugely. It sounds a bit raw, but it is fun.

I also noticed that I enjoy listening to my car hifi far more than I used to. All I have changed is now I listen to Radio Paradise so the music is great.

I get the impression that one of the outcomes of my recent extensive tuning of my main system is that enjoy music more when I hear it in lots of other contexts. Has anyone else found this?
Interesting post. Yeah, the vintage tag can seem a bit harsh, but it beats antique! Besides vintage is very relative as Apple devices that are 5 years old appear to be "vintage".

I don't know whether or not it has to do with the tuning of my main system but I have a similar experience on a regular basis. I set up all types of turntables here and last Saturday I found myself putting AT VM95Cs into a Technics SL-D5 and an SL-D3 (the D5 is a changer version). What I find quite pleasing is that after I get the cartridge properly aligned, torque the few things I can torque on the table, put a felt mat on and tune speed, tracking and anti-skating these old, basic, turntables actually are pretty musical - even the direct drive ones like these two. I am surprised many times how a turntable I would have considered junk back in the day actually makes pretty good music when dialed in properly.

I do imagine some of it is the fact that I am constantly assaulted by digital reproduction in numerous forms of various musicality so even basic analog reproduction will please the ear.
The LP12 Whisperer
Manufacturer, Distributor, Retailer and above all lover of music.
ThomasOK
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 3136
Joined: 2007-02-02 18:41
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by ThomasOK »

Since we are in the random thoughts area I have a real random line of thought. I have recently found that being a music lover, as opposed to an audiophile, has actually had negative impact on potential income. Why you might ask? Well, back in the 80s I bought a Sony Walkman WM-D6C as it was more tuneful than most Nakamichi and other high-end decks. I actually still have it. Being into the tune method, and having long since become aware that the accepted knowledge on things Hi-Fi was more often than not wrong (for instance Dolby noise reduction actually makes things less musical), I decided I should do a comparison of blank tapes using the tune method. I tested a wide range of tapes of various brands ant types. Lo and behold the Metal tapes were not very musical, nor were the Chrome types. The most musical were the Normal or Type 1 tapes and the TDK AR series and Maxell UD XL1 came out on top if I recall correctly. So I bought a bunch of TDK ARs and then some other TDKs and Maxells when they discontinued the AR. I left the Metals and expensive Chromes to the audiofools to buy.

So what does this have to do with my potential income? Well, a friend just sold 10 sealed Maxell Vertex pure metal tapes on eBay for $2080! Yeah, that is $208 each. There was even a Nakamichi EX-C60 sealed cassette that went for $760!!! Whereas I have a bunch of Type 1 tapes that appear to be worth no more that around $10 each even sealed. I never thought being an audiophile could possibly have an economic benefit but obviously buying a bunch of the top metal tapes back then and selling them now in the day of overpriced vintage gear has its benefits.
The LP12 Whisperer
Manufacturer, Distributor, Retailer and above all lover of music.
beck
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 2136
Joined: 2012-10-22 22:25

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by beck »

I really enjoyed your story about tapes ThomasOK.

I have never thought about the differences in tunefulness in relation to them. I mostly used chrome type tapes in my youth. I still have them stored away but none of them are unused.

Once I bought a metal tape and sure enough it did not impress me much.
Need good music
markiteight
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 282
Joined: 2012-01-13 01:50
Location: Seattle, Wa. USA

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by markiteight »

springwood64 wrote: 2021-01-13 14:14 I get the impression that one of the outcomes of my recent extensive tuning of my main system is that enjoy music more when I hear it in lots of other contexts. Has anyone else found this?
Yes! I suffered as a conventional audiophile for many years before discovering and adopting the tune method and abandoning my audio snob ideals. I began to noice I could enjoy music in all contexts much more than I could before. It was after I had this epiphany that Audiophilia was actually hindering my musical enjoyment that I really, truly began to value the tune method.
Charlie1
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 3584
Joined: 2007-12-11 00:30
Location: UK

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by Charlie1 »

beck wrote: 2021-01-13 22:23 I really enjoyed your story about tapes ThomasOK.

I have never thought about the differences in tunefulness in relation to them. I mostly used chrome type tapes in my youth. I still have them stored away but none of them are unused.

Once I bought a metal tape and sure enough it did not impress me much.
I enjoyed it, too. Brought back some memories for sure. Similarly, I tried one metal tape but didn't get on with it and mostly used TDK chrome SA and SA-X. I do remember the ARs though. I bought a load for using in the car and they were very enjoyable but I never compared properly - just went with the received wisdom of the time.

Do you all remember those days of buying big packs of tapes? So many to choose from too. Seems alien now. It was nice starting a brand new one and deciding what to put on it. Happy days.

I don't understand why anyone would pay so much for old tapes. What are they doing with them anyway? Playing them in a vintage car? Surely no one is using a walkman to play music on the go.
Charlie1
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 3584
Joined: 2007-12-11 00:30
Location: UK

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by Charlie1 »

springwood64 wrote: 2021-01-13 14:14 I was struck again today as I tested the latest additions, how much I enjoyed listening to these old entry level systems. These are not tuned at all - just placed wherever is convenient, but I was bopping along to INXS and enjoying the music hugely. It sounds a bit raw, but it is fun.
Vintage kit can be a lot of fun especially when it doesn't cost much and over delivers on your expectations.

Which INXS album? Gonna dig out 'Listen Like Thieves' tomorrow. Haven't played it in years.
markiteight
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 282
Joined: 2012-01-13 01:50
Location: Seattle, Wa. USA

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by markiteight »

ThomasOK wrote: 2021-01-13 18:35 So what does this have to do with my potential income? Well, a friend just sold 10 sealed Maxell Vertex pure metal tapes on eBay for $2080! Yeah, that is $208 each. There was even a Nakamichi EX-C60 sealed cassette that went for $760!!! Whereas I have a bunch of Type 1 tapes that appear to be worth no more that around $10 each even sealed. I never thought being an audiophile could possibly have an economic benefit but obviously buying a bunch of the top metal tapes back then and selling them now in the day of overpriced vintage gear has its benefits.
I have discovered that there may actually be a benefit to my former audiophile addiction. I have one piece of gear left over from those days that I just haven't been able to part ways with: a Nakamichi ZX-9. I picked it up about 25-ish years ago for a couple hundred bucks and used it sparingly before packing it away when I started building my Linn system. Out of curiosity I looked up the going rate for the ZX-9 and was astonished at what I saw. They're selling for about 8-10 times what I paid for mine! I brought it out of storage, checked its operation and sure enough it's broken. The tape transport is fine but it is in serious need of a recap (apparently that is common on older Naks...they call it Orange Cap Disease). I've added that to my Covid Sanity Projects list.

Thomas, if you're interested in selling your TDK AR (and AR-X, if you have any) tapes, let me know!
beck wrote: 2021-01-13 22:23 I really enjoyed your story about tapes ThomasOK.

I have never thought about the differences in tunefulness in relation to them. I mostly used chrome type tapes in my youth. I still have them stored away but none of them are unused.

Once I bought a metal tape and sure enough it did not impress me much.
Apologies if the following is common knowledge in Europe but it's something I recently learned and I found it interesting. Apparently there are two very different flavors of type II tape. The story goes that BASF developed and patented the Chromium Dioxide (CrO2) type II tape formulation and while the European cassette deck manufacturers were happy to pay royalties to BASF for use of their type II technology, the Japanese companies were not. Instead they made their own approximation which was, if I understand it correctly, just a heavier application of Ferric (type 1) material which resulted in a tape with type II-ish characteristics. However their bias and sensitivity requirements are wildly different from true chrome tapes, so much so that they almost always fall outside the calibration range of decks designed around European tapes, and vice versa. So a Phillips, ReVox, Uher, etc. can't calibrate to a TDK or Maxell "type II" and a Sony, Pioneer, Technics, etc. can't calibrate to a BASF true chrome.

Beck, I'm guessing that given your location your collection of type IIs are true chrome? From what I've heard they are superior to the "type II" Japanese tapes but that is, of course, not a conclusion arrived at using the tune method. It turns out that when healthy my ZX-9 is one of the few Japanese decks that can bias up a true chrome tape, so it would be fun to experiment with...if I can find the tapes.
markiteight
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 282
Joined: 2012-01-13 01:50
Location: Seattle, Wa. USA

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by markiteight »

Charlie1 wrote: 2021-01-13 23:39 I don't understand why anyone would pay so much for old tapes. What are they doing with them anyway? Playing them in a vintage car? Surely no one is using a walkman to play music on the go.
Back around the time I bought my Nak I also bought an '80s era car and I wanted a period correct head unit (I can't stand modern flashy light, shiny plastic, obviously aftermarket junk) for it, like a Nakamichi TD-700. I thought it would be fun to resurrect the lost art of making road trip tapes on my home Nak to play back in my car Nak. Fortunately I lost motivation on that project before I fell down that rabbit hole!
ThomasOK
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 3136
Joined: 2007-02-02 18:41
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by ThomasOK »

Charlie1 wrote: 2021-01-13 23:39
beck wrote: 2021-01-13 22:23 I really enjoyed your story about tapes ThomasOK.

I have never thought about the differences in tunefulness in relation to them. I mostly used chrome type tapes in my youth. I still have them stored away but none of them are unused.

Once I bought a metal tape and sure enough it did not impress me much.
I enjoyed it, too. Brought back some memories for sure. Similarly, I tried one metal tape but didn't get on with it and mostly used TDK chrome SA and SA-X. I do remember the ARs though. I bought a load for using in the car and they were very enjoyable but I never compared properly - just went with the received wisdom of the time.

Do you all remember those days of buying big packs of tapes? So many to choose from too. Seems alien now. It was nice starting a brand new one and deciding what to put on it. Happy days.

I don't understand why anyone would pay so much for old tapes. What are they doing with them anyway? Playing them in a vintage car? Surely no one is using a walkman to play music on the go.
Strangely enough cassette tapes are making a comeback too, although not as big as vinyl. There is new music coming out on cassette and old pieces being rereleased. We now have a Hi-Fi repair facility right next to ours and they work on lots of vintage gear. They have a steady stream of cassette machines coming in for rebuilding from the likes of Nakamichi and upper level machines from Teac, Pioneer, etc. even though they have a 6 month backlog.

If you look on Amazon you will see that there is more stuff than you would think. This is just the new releases in the last 90 days:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=cassette+tap ... p_n_date_1

If you don't put in the 90 day limiter but specify new cassettes you get 1000 results. Although it looks like a number are old listings that are no longer available, quite a few titles are available. I also have to wonder how much the mix tapes on Guardians of the Galaxy (which are available to purchase on cassette!) have to do with making it popular again, but that could be a chicken and egg thing. And, yes, there are also hundreds of cassette walkman style players listed there as well (although it should be noted that the same exact Chinese cassette player will be available under a bunch of different brand names, as is common with consumer electronics these days).
The LP12 Whisperer
Manufacturer, Distributor, Retailer and above all lover of music.
springwood64
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 267
Joined: 2008-10-13 18:19
Location: UK

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by springwood64 »

Charlie1 wrote: 2021-01-13 23:43
Which INXS album? Gonna dig out 'Listen Like Thieves' tomorrow. Haven't played it in years.
Kick: it's been getting a lot of play in the last few days. It's flawless pop. Every song could be a single.

My kids are preparing for their new systems by browsing charity shops for vinyl. My son told me he found Zenyatta Mondatta last night so of course I played the LP, followed by Synchronicity.

I haven't played these LPs for decades, having previously decided they were too patchy. However this time they drew me in, and I'd happily play them again, though I found 'Mother' a bit painful. On digital I'd remove that one from the playlist! Trickier on vinyl...
Pete

Linn Axis, Kinki, Hakai HW with Snakeoil OS, Boazu, Espeks
springwood64
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 267
Joined: 2008-10-13 18:19
Location: UK

Re: Random thoughts on hifi

Post by springwood64 »

In a box somewhere I have a load of TDK tapes. I quickly settled on the blue ones - I think they were the 'SA'? The red 'D' tapes didn't sound as good to me. I vaguely recall trying some of the pricier tapes but clearly wasn't convinced as my collection doesn't have any. I didn't like Maxell - I think they kept on committing suicide in my tape deck.

I bought one pre-recorded tape in the late 70s (Beatles 62-66 red album) and never bought another: for me it wasn't a patch on vinyl and I felt ripped off. I only used tapes to create mix tapes to play in the car or send to friends. I didn't enjoy the music on the move experience and have never got on with ear buds, so I've never owned a walkman or its descendents.

Funny though: I was never bothered by tape hiss, so I always turned off Dolby noise suppression. It seemed to do more harm than good.

Now maybe I should go and hunt those tapes down. Of course, I'd need a tape deck ...
Pete

Linn Axis, Kinki, Hakai HW with Snakeoil OS, Boazu, Espeks
Post Reply