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Chh Chh Chh Changes


thewilliam2 3 1.5k United Kingdom
10 Nov 2019 10:29PM
The first CD that I ever heard was Brubeck's Take Five played on a friend's high-end machine. I was in awe that I could hear every strand of the wire brushes that the drummer was wielding!
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
11 Nov 2019 1:04AM
The thing that amazed me was the silence.

I had been used to setting the volume control after putting the needle on the record, or pressing play on the tape and judging the appropriate level by the rumble or hiss.

The CD had a SPARS code of DDD which meant it had been digitally recorded, mixed and mastered. BANG! First drum beat, no warning. WOW! Used to be my party trick when friends came to hear this new medium.

I was one of the first people in my village to have a CD player, there was one other bloke who had one, in his car, we used to loan each others' discs. We weren't even friends! We had heard about each other!

It was my first quality source. I could never afford even a Dual turntable. I still have not owned a good turntable, I've never even heard a Sondek.

I had an Aiwa turntable and later an Akai, out of Grattans catalogue. They had decent cartridges and were proper separates but not high end.

Speaker wise I don't think I got much further than some Wharfedale diamonds, then some floorstanding Missions I was into DJing and having two turntables that could take some punishment was more important than one that could extract the best quality from the vinyl.

I packed all that in and got rid of a lot of vinyl and CD when I was seduced by mp3 and Napster.

I now have two amps, one in each room. One is the NAD 3020D (it's a horrible design, classic name, acceptable sound, USB, Bluetooth etc) some Q Acoustic bookshelf speakers on it.

My main system is fed from Chromecast audio or PC for convenience and the amp is a Yamaha A9500, speakers are Klipsch, bought for their great efficiency and tough tweeters (I always used to turn gear up too loud at parties and blow tweeters or amps)

I really like the sound from the Klipsch and Yamaha combo. I sometimes audition stuff at Richer Sounds and have yet to hear anything to better than what I have, though it will exist.

I'm unlikely to upgrade the source.

Learning about hi-fi did teach me the garbage-in garbage out rule about spending more on the source than on the speakers and I think people who constantly upgrade to super camera bodies but put the same old tired superzoom onto them are missing that point.

I would LOVE a classic Reel to Reel recorder just because I could never afford a good one. I had a small Akai once. A Revox with big NAB reels or maybe a TEAC. As an ornament and talking point! Just because I love the look of them. Computers don't look good.

Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
11 Nov 2019 1:15AM
Did you guys know that the Chinese are "paying tribute" to some of the all time classic hi-fi designs. You can get a pre and power amp combo that's an accurate clone of a Quad 405 system. For the price I'm tempted to try one out.

You have to read between the lines buying from big retailers, these sort of things for example. The products often get removed from there. If you are willing to take your chances on ebay, then start here
MentorRon 2 102 Canada
11 Nov 2019 3:48PM

Quote:The thing that amazed me was the silence.

I had been used to setting the volume control after putting the needle on the record, or pressing play on the tape and judging the appropriate level by the rumble or hiss.

The CD had a SPARS code of DDD which meant it had been digitally recorded, mixed and mastered. BANG! First drum beat, no warning. WOW! Used to be my party trick when friends came to hear this new medium.

I was one of the first people in my village to have a CD player, there was one other bloke who had one, in his car, we used to loan each others' discs. We weren't even friends! We had heard about each other!

It was my first quality source. I could never afford even a Dual turntable. I still have not owned a good turntable, I've never even heard a Sondek.

I had an Aiwa turntable and later an Akai, out of Grattans catalogue. They had decent cartridges and were proper separates but not high end.

Speaker wise I don't think I got much further than some Wharfedale diamonds, then some floorstanding Missions I was into DJing and having two turntables that could take some punishment was more important than one that could extract the best quality from the vinyl.

I packed all that in and got rid of a lot of vinyl and CD when I was seduced by mp3 and Napster.

I now have two amps, one in each room. One is the NAD 3020D (it's a horrible design, classic name, acceptable sound, USB, Bluetooth etc) some Q Acoustic bookshelf speakers on it.

My main system is fed from Chromecast audio or PC for convenience and the amp is a Yamaha A9500, speakers are Klipsch, bought for their great efficiency and tough tweeters (I always used to turn gear up too loud at parties and blow tweeters or amps)

I really like the sound from the Klipsch and Yamaha combo. I sometimes audition stuff at Richer Sounds and have yet to hear anything to better than what I have, though it will exist.

I'm unlikely to upgrade the source.

Learning about hi-fi did teach me the garbage-in garbage out rule about spending more on the source than on the speakers and I think people who constantly upgrade to super camera bodies but put the same old tired superzoom onto them are missing that point.

I would LOVE a classic Reel to Reel recorder just because I could never afford a good one. I had a small Akai once. A Revox with big NAB reels or maybe a TEAC. As an ornament and talking point! Just because I love the look of them. Computers don't look good.




Re Klipsch. A friend of mine had one of the original Corner Horns, which had a very mellow sound. Unfortunately the current Klipsch's sold in Canada are NOT from the original company (I believe it was bought out some time ago). The models I've heard so far, including a floor-stander I was encouraged by a salesman to bring home for a week, are not accurate (IMHO) unless you like heavy, sloppy bass. I'll keep my Martin-Logans. Brands I've liked in the past were Energy, Paradigm (powered models), Mission, and the higher-end of the B&W line. I use small Missions in all but my main system.

Re Reel-to-reel. My 1st was an Ampex when they first came out with stereo playback (mono record), 1950s. Later I found a deck that did stereo record as well, but it was a rack mount unit with no case. Used them to play back stereo tapes before there were stereo phonographs available. Still have the few reel-to-reel tapes I bought then, one of which was Scheherazade with Ernest Ansermet and the Suisse Romande: a great stereo demo piece. It's probably unplayable now due to age & poor storage conditions over 6 decades :-(

Re: CD players... I still prefer players from when both Sony and Philips components were used in a single player (but now hard to find). My Sony CDP-950 (aka CDP-307ESD) is still my favourite with it's Philips TDA-1541 DAC and great Sony circuitry (ICs) for the price. I picked up the player for $12 at a thrift store years ago (2010) because the disc drawer was stuck shut. With 10 minutes spent on drawer glide adjustments it was perfect. The only other player I have had the opportunity to A-B it against is the current Cambridge Audio Topaz CD10. I couldn't distinguish any difference that would warrant upgrading (using familiar CDs of jazz and classical music on hand). ANd yes, it's good enough to distinguish the improvements that have been made to CD recordings over the years. That fact alone impressed me and wish I could thank the person who donated the player to that thrift store Wink
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altitude50 16 20.5k United Kingdom
11 Nov 2019 5:18PM
I used to have a quite big collection of 12" LPs The last Turntable I had was a basic Rega with a selection of different cartridges. I went from a LEAK amplifier to Harmon Kardon receiver to various Marantz Amps.Speakers, Wharfedale,Poor. AR 4ax (I think) very good.
Then I bought one of the first Philips CD players, (CD101?) I thought it was great with loud percussive music and I heard a good impression of stereo for the first time, but it was very rough. I then had Sansui equipment with a powerful amp. I used to be amused by the CD sound of the Human League Orchestra at high volume, good for rattling windows.
I used to frighten my cats by playing the introduction to Auberge very loud!
Then I bought a basic Marantz CD & Amp, much smoother and more detailed. I then went into a HiFi dealers and listened to three or four different pairs of speakers, what sold me was listening to a CD of Tracy Chapman on a pair of Allison AL 105 ! bookshelf speakers (about 1987) incredible realistic 3D sound, unfortunately, eventually the cone surrounds perished and they were too expensive to replace........
Then I bought a pair of small Mission followed by Rega R3, floorstanders bright, but beautiful sound.
A friend had a Linn Sondek plus Naim amplification, worth the money? - Probably.
I used to go to a lot of HiFi shows, listening to a lot of high-end equipment. Noticeably a lot of big British famous name electronics were probably badly set up, in poor surroundings because two or three of the well known ones didn't sound very good to me. (Or had I read too many HiFi magazines?)
My favourite speakers on demo were a pair of big very expensive Dali with some equally expensive valve electronics. (And Wilson Electrostatics at about 30,000.)
I ended up with some good Marantz equipment, and about 1000 CD - all my LP's were sold, do I miss them? Not really.
altitude50 16 20.5k United Kingdom
12 Nov 2019 9:11AM
To add to my last post. I am a dinosaur in respect of technology, one of the advantages of CD is that I can and do still play discs in my car. Difficult to play vinyl,Grin although Philips used to market a player for 45rpm discs that fitted under the dash. (I wonder if there are any still in use!?)
I used to copy my own CD for the car, but now the market price for used ones in charity shops is so low, almost anything is available in these shops for 50p or 1 and you get the original case and (miniature) artwork. For example Pink Floyd 'Echoes' for 1 and The Who, 'Quadrophenia' for the same price. Bought for the car.
I do prefer to be at home and listen to music rather than use it as background wallpaper.
gcarth Plus
16 3.8k 1 United Kingdom
12 Nov 2019 12:56PM

Quote:I do prefer to be at home and listen to music rather than use it as background wallpaper.
I agree. Background music seems to discourage conversation and probably encourages even more use of smart phones.Sad
In our stressed society, we seem to feel this compulsion to have lots of noise around us so much of time: It's as if noise has become a dependency drug...Sad

As you say, CD's are available really cheaply now and let's hope they are still available well into the future!
My understanding is that only the best mp3's compare well with CD quality sound.
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
12 Nov 2019 5:09PM
Done the lot but never going back to vinyl.

Don`t even buy CD`s anymore, trying to get rid of those I have remaining.

These days its Amazon`s music unlimited for me and I`m doing a bit for the planet at the same time, I listen to a lot of music and I can listen yo it anywhere, I don`t even need an internet connection.

Got a mate that told my he wanted a large sensor, waterproof camera with a silent shutter, told him I got mine for 15 quid.

He laughed and thought I was joking until I showed him it.

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I also walk the streets at night with a camera listening to some really weird ****, would have a job doing this with vinyl Smile






MentorRon 2 102 Canada
12 Nov 2019 6:51PM

Quote:To add to my last post. I am a dinosaur in respect of technology, one of the advantages of CD is that I can and do still play discs in my car. Difficult to play vinyl,Grin although Philips used to market a player for 45rpm discs that fitted under the dash. (I wonder if there are any still in use!?)
I used to copy my own CD for the car, but now the market price for used ones in charity shops is so low, almost anything is available in these shops for 50p or 1 and you get the original case and (miniature) artwork. For example Pink Floyd 'Echoes' for 1 and The Who, 'Quadrophenia' for the same price. Bought for the car.
I do prefer to be at home and listen to music rather than use it as background wallpaper.


Although I could play CDs in our car (2014 Kia Forte), I'm not sure how well the built-in player handles jarring on the road (and I'm betting it's a cheap 1-bit DAC, all of which I've disliked so far). As it also has a built-in "jukebox", I can load many MP3s into the solid state memory (using 192k/sec ), and get acceptable quality through the basic auto speakers. Right now it's all Joseph Haydn chamber music, to take the stress out of driving in city traffic. I assume the car's amp is spec'd at 10% distortion, with only a few watts of power and 6 - 6 inch in-wall speakers, so there's not much point in comparing it's ability to distinguish between CD and MP3 quality. I haven't bought a CD for quite some time since there are many web sites where lossless downloads are available and there's not much music that appeals beyond what I have already (no new Mozarts are appearing in the catalogue). Occasionally I do find a piece of classical music where the artists have chosen different instruments than what was originally prescribed and I like most of those choices for the variety they add to a fixed repertoire.
MentorRon 2 102 Canada
12 Nov 2019 7:12PM

Quote:I only listen to MP3s from my car's in-dash storage system and on walks, using my MP3 player and Sony earbuds. These tracks I just copied from my CDs at 192k.
I listen to vinyl a couple times a year: my wife's old LPs and my own used LPs that I have bought at Thrift stores for 50 cents each. I have only bought items that I could not find easily or at all on CD since I sold my entire audio/video system and vinyl collection on a household move in 1992: they now are only 1950s-60s artists whose LPs never made it onto CD (or were not available here). Although I had a half-decent turntable/arm/cartridge combo in the 20th century, I opted to buy an inexpensive turntable with static arm and moving coil cartridge with optional elliptical stylus this time. It has the feature of a USB connection for conversion to digital. It suffices for the rare times I listen to them (much less than I thought I would). These are all "popular" music LPs of the time: no classical.
My old turntable/ arm: Thorens TD124 TT, SME 3009 Mark II arm with anti-skating:
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new turntable/arm combo: ION iTTUSB10:
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Further to my comments above, I found this VERY inexpensive turntable ($79 Cdn) to be quite respectable in it's operation and performance. As you can see from my previous post, I got spoiled with the Thorens/SME combo in the 1980s. I like that this new TT is fully manual: especially no auto arm lift at end of disk. I have found over the decades that those lifters often damage the inner grooves of the records due to the mechanical forces involved in the operation. Maybe VERY expensive turntables have overcome that, but I find most used LPs have that problem: damaged grooves at end of play, usually at the point of orchestral climaxes where this damage is most obvious. By swapping the included conical stylus for a spherical one (bought online), it sits lower in the grooves, avoiding a lot of the upper groove damage caused by cheap conicals used by the original disk owners. I did need to use an alignment protractor to align the cartridge in the arm correctly, as it was not correctly set up out of the box. I run it at about 1.75 gram weight.
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MentorRon 2 102 Canada
12 Nov 2019 7:31PM
QUOTE: from my above post:
Further to my comments above, I found this VERY inexpensive turntable ($79 Cdn) to be quite respectable in it's operation and performance. As you can see from my previous post, I got spoiled with the Thorens/SME combo in the 1980s. I like that this new TT is fully manual: especially no auto arm lift at end of disk. I have found over the decades that those lifters often damage the inner grooves of the records due to the mechanical forces involved in the operation. Maybe VERY expensive turntables have overcome that, but I find most used LPs have that problem: damaged grooves at end of play, usually at the point of orchestral climaxes where this damage is most obvious. By swapping the included conical stylus for a spherical one (bought online), it sits lower in the grooves, avoiding a lot of the upper groove damage caused by cheap conicals used by the original disk owners. I did need to use an alignment protractor to align the cartridge in the arm correctly, as it was not correctly set up out of the box. I run it at about 1.75 gram weight. Unquote.


I should add that, yes, I could swap out the included cartridge for a better one which might flatten the frequency response curve somewhat, but since the turntable is very infrequently used, I feel it's a bit of a waste of money. These are USED LPs which make up my current collection, which already have scratches, damaged grooves from years of play, warps, and some even have broken edges whereby the outer tracks on each side cannot be played.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
13 Nov 2019 3:09PM
Ron I always felt USB turntables were sold primarily to allow people to archive their vinyl to CD, Flac or mp3, rather than an everyday player?


Quote:My understanding is that only the best mp3's compare well with CD quality sound.
mp3 always throws away something. At hq settings it's supposed to be frequencies that humans can't hear anyway. I can tell the difference between CDs and badly encoded mp3s but not good quality mp3s a decent bitrate.

Mp3 caught on because it was the first popular compressed format. It's far from the best, it's been superceded by several other compression schemes and lossless compression such as FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec).

Disk space being so cheap now it's possible to store all of your music collection in a lossless format.

I have listened to a lot of high resolution 24-bit 96kHz stuff. Which in theory should be better than CD. I simply can not hear any difference at all.

I suppose that there might be people who can discern the high res from regular CD, possibly younger people. I'd have to witness someone doing it consistently in blind tests for me to be convinced.

I reckon it's been marketing-led.


MentorRon 2 102 Canada
13 Nov 2019 3:17PM
I agree. I find "well made" CDs as absolutely acceptable for "the concert hall" experience. As I think I mentioned before, although I use late 1980s CD players, I can easily distinguish the quality differences made in recent CDs when newer high def recording equipment is used (and set up with precision in the concert hall). I realize that my hearing may be slowly deteriorating due to my age (78), but I feel I can still hear accurately up to about 10-12k. (I have test tones on a CD so I can check.)
When downloading CDs from the web I always choose FLAC. I only use MP3s that I have converted on my computer to 192kbps.


Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
13 Nov 2019 7:40PM
Got an old 1920/30`s mono sound system that has been in the family many years, its now doing 100 watts per channel in digital Smile

The amp is 1980`s, the speakers KEF from the 90`s, not pictured (and not even sure if the company is still around) I don`t use vinyl or CD`s any more.

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The glass shelf was not originally a part of it, that came from an old TV corner unit.

I`ve really got into the up cycling of old tat, who`d think of turning old bookends into new age usb charge stations fore music, digital books etc, made a few of these now Smile

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Edit, looks like KEF are still going.









MentorRon 2 102 Canada
14 Nov 2019 5:32PM
I remember modifying an RCA (Radio Corp of America) table top photograph I had been given for my 11th birthday. I did this as soon as I began getting a salary. First changed the ceramic cartridge single player to a Garrard changer with a magnetic cartridge as it fit perfectly into the mounting holes in the RCA cabinet. Then added a tube preamp (on a shelf) and stereo power amp (mounted on metal straps below the player after adding legs to the cabinet. Later upgraded to an excellent turntable/arm combo. At that time the arm was a Grado wooden arm (non-resonant) with a Pickering cartridge. Later upgraded to the SME arm (shown in my previous post above).

Here is the original RCA player with me as a teen ager:
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Here is the "half-way" upgrade in that whole process (Dynaco PAS3 pre- and Stereo 70 power (not seen):
(I didn't like the sound of the small electrostatic tweeter I bought, seen below the preamp. Waste of money :-(
However my main speakers today are electrostatics Wink
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