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Got an article up on my site and wanted to share with you guys. This will be particularly useful for anyone thinking about upgrading the sound system in their car. I point out a few important bits of information that should make you think about how far you might want to go upgrading your sound system. When does "better" turn into "too much?" Check it out and feel free to discuss here.

The Crux of "Audiophile" Sound Quality - The Xtreme Revolution
 

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So, so true. The same thing occurs in high end home systems.
 

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Great article. I've been an audiophile for 20+ years. Built a room in my house specifically for music. Calculated room modes, treated walls, double insulated, set everything up with a RTA and calibrated mic and tweaked the setup by ear. The soundstage is stunning. When you close your eyes and everything dissappears but the music you know it's right. For me car audio has and alway will be too much of a compromise. Mp3's? No way! Listen to some well done recordings on DVD Audio then listen to it on mp3. I wish DVD had caught on...
 

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Great article. I've been an audiophile for 20+ years. Built a room in my house specifically for music. Calculated room modes, treated walls, double insulated, set everything up with a RTA and calibrated mic and tweaked the setup by ear. The soundstage is stunning. When you close your eyes and everything dissappears but the music you know it's right. For me car audio has and alway will be too much of a compromise. Mp3's? No way! Listen to some well done recordings on DVD Audio then listen to it on mp3. I wish DVD had caught on...
Great to see someone who is also heavily into audio. Not very many people out there that take acoustics to the next level. I agree with you completely; car audio is far too much of a compromise.

For a while, I bought tracks on DVD-audio and absolutely loved them. the difference was stunning. I too wish it was more widely available. I am very disappointed in the lack of progress in mainstream audio formats over the last 10 years.
 

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I've been an audiophile pretty much all of my adult life- or at least what I'd consider to be an audiophile. I think it can be quite relative. Compared to what most folks run in their home system, definitely yes, though I really do need to tackle the room acoustics one day. I love a good vinyl rig, though it's been a long while since my vinyl has seen a turntable. There was a time when I even enjoyed the ritual of it, what with "Last" record treatments and so on. Goodness gracious good vinyl could sound wonderful. But now, with a family and all it's just not too practical.

I might be a bit too quick to dismiss the progress made in the audiophile industry as rehashing old ideas (which to me seems to be the case), but the truth is I haven't sampled anything close to state of the art out there in many a year, so I couldn't comment. I have noted, though, that the cost of the highest high-end has just grown astronomically. It seems the mid grade (affordable) high-end has been largely neglected, at least if you're to go by what the "Absolute Sound" and "Stereophile" have published of late.

Happily, I'm at the point where I'm very satisfied with, and feeling no need to upgrade my current home audio system. I have limited myself to what I'd consider high end bargains (where you can get, say, 80 or 90% of what state of the art can offer but at a very reasonable cost). Those last few percent can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, I suppose- the law of diminishing returns definitely applies here. I'm happy to say I'm not one of those with the dreaded disease whom might never find happiness, always fighting with their neuroses that have them thinking that, perhaps it could be a bit better, or perhaps there's something better out there, or "Am I hearing something????" A never-ending quest. Much more gratifying to just sit back and enjoy the music.

My next step really needs to be acoustic treatments of some sort, but I'm afraid the cost could spiral out of control.

I agree- not very many of us out there. And with modern recording formats taking away from fidelity rather than enhancing it, I don't see that changing. There seems to be a minor surge in interest in vinyl, but it'll always be nothing more than a niche at best.
 

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I've been an audiophile pretty much all of my adult life- or at least what I'd consider to be an audiophile. I think it can be quite relative. Compared to what most folks run in their home system, definitely yes, though I really do need to tackle the room acoustics one day. I love a good vinyl rig, though it's been a long while since my vinyl has seen a turntable. There was a time when I even enjoyed the ritual of it, what with "Last" record treatments and so on. Goodness gracious good vinyl could sound wonderful. But now, with a family and all it's just not too practical.

I might be a bit too quick to dismiss the progress made in the audiophile industry as rehashing old ideas (which to me seems to be the case), but the truth is I haven't sampled anything close to state of the art out there in many a year, so I couldn't comment. I have noted, though, that the cost of the highest high-end has just grown astronomically. It seems the mid grade (affordable) high-end has been largely neglected, at least if you're to go by what the "Absolute Sound" and "Stereophile" have published of late.

Happily, I'm at the point where I'm very satisfied with, and feeling no need to upgrade my current home audio system. I have limited myself to what I'd consider high end bargains (where you can get, say, 80 or 90% of what state of the art can offer but at a very reasonable cost). Those last few percent can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, I suppose- the law of diminishing returns definitely applies here. I'm happy to say I'm not one of those with the dreaded disease whom might never find happiness, always fighting with their neuroses that have them thinking that, perhaps it could be a bit better, or perhaps there's something better out there, or "Am I hearing something????" A never-ending quest. Much more gratifying to just sit back and enjoy the music.

My next step really needs to be acoustic treatments of some sort, but I'm afraid the cost could spiral out of control.

I agree- not very many of us out there. And with modern recording formats taking away from fidelity rather than enhancing it, I don't see that changing. There seems to be a minor surge in interest in vinyl, but it'll always be nothing more than a niche at best.
My solution to the problem of affordability when it comes to equipment is to make your own. There are some fascinating DIY home theater speaker designs out there for every budget, from $100 to $5000, designed by highly experienced engineers that have worked in the industry for decades. They provide the blueprints and schematics free of charge, and all you worry about is the cabinet work.

Here are some fantastic examples:

Speaker Design Works

I own a pair of the Statement Monitors, and will someday build the full-size Statements.
 

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Before Al Gore invented the Internet I built a few speakers trying to emulate the sound of my Martin Logan CLS' in a small enclosure about the size of the BBC LS3/5a. While I got close the magic of electrostats couldn't be recreated with cone driver. Those ended up as near field monitors at our church for the last ten years. After my daughter washed my CLS' with windex I replaced them with B&W signature 805's and a Velodyne 18" sub. The sub is eq'd with a Behringer feedback destroyer to eliminate room modes at seating position. The B&W's come very close to the sound of electrostats and are much easier to position in a room. I may try to build another set of speakers. Technology has come a long way in 15 years!!
 

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I built a few speakers trying to emulate the sound of my Martin Logan CLS'
It has been quite some time since I have had my CLS's up and running - man I miss that. Seeing all these comments makes me want on get my act together and put together a dedicated room (finish my basement) and listen to all the great vinyl I have collected. Now that my daughter is graduating college in May and has a great job lined up, I can breathe a little and refocus on my audio passions.
 

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Before Al Gore invented the Internet I built a few speakers trying to emulate the sound of my Martin Logan CLS' in a small enclosure about the size of the BBC LS3/5a. While I got close the magic of electrostats couldn't be recreated with cone driver. Those ended up as near field monitors at our church for the last ten years. After my daughter washed my CLS' with windex I replaced them with B&W signature 805's and a Velodyne 18" sub. The sub is eq'd with a Behringer feedback destroyer to eliminate room modes at seating position. The B&W's come very close to the sound of electrostats and are much easier to position in a room. I may try to build another set of speakers. Technology has come a long way in 15 years!!
I've never had electrostatics, but I've had (and have) something quite similar. In the 80's I had a pair of Magnepan's first generation MGIII (now they're up to the 3.7). They sounded lovely with fantastic imaging when set up properly in a room of adequate size and suitable dimensions, though the bass panels could be over-driven a little too easily if you weren't careful. Currently I'm running Eminent Technology LFT-VIIIa's, upgraded to 'b' standard with their most recent tweeter. ET has some really innovative products, as you can see here on their website: Eminent Technology, Inc. Planar Magnetic Loudspeakers and Audio Technology. The LFT's are a push-pull planar-magnetic hybrid (w/woofer module that integrates very well), and were a steal when I bought them 10 years ago at $1450, and remain a steal today at about $2500. Most common complaint is their industrial design could use some (a lot!) of work, though I like how they look well enough. They need lots of power though, so I have Oddysey Audio monoblocks which are perfect for driving them, and have tons of cajones.

I've found the ET's to be less temperamental with respect to listening position compared to Electrostats (which seem to typically have a very small sweet spot).

I run on occasion some dynamics that are made by Odyssey Audio (called the Lorelei) that are really excellent, though obviously quite different in character from a planar-magnetic/electrostatic Odyssey Audio: Lorelei floorstanding speaker. Call us (317) 299 5578. IN, USA. . Lovely speakers that compare well with, say, Proac Response 2.5's for probably less than 1/2 the price.

The idea of building my own speakers definitely has some strong appeal, and it's a project I'd like to take on some day in the future. Crossover design can really make or break the end result though, no matter how high quality the individual components are, so I'd really have to educate myself before settling on a design.
 
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