Friday, September 5, 2014
Why I May Stop Answering Emails Altogether
"Thanks to articles like this I wasted a bunch of time and money testing out phono preamps from 50.00 to 1600. And you know what? A 100.00 one sounds as good as the 1600 tube. This was with a MMC2 cartridge. Money is best put into speakers as I think this is like wine testing, some people will swear this is a great whine (really boonsfarm) some of this has to be in peoples head. The Cartridge is 80% or more of the equation, a phono pre amp will not magically make up the difference.
The phono preamps in the 70s amplifiers is not a 15.00 part. They are better than those cheap ones you were talking about. Why? think about it, back then everyone had a turntable so they had better put a good phono stage in the amp. Today its an afterthought and now turntables are much rarer than back then. So the market is smaller which means high prices on today phono preamps that are not much better. They might be ok for a really low output mc cart but for MM carts my findings are you don't need to spend 1,000 on one. Take that money and buy better speakers, will give you a much better WOW effect."
"Bullshit. Just because you can't hear the differences doesn't mean everyone else can't either. Maybe Q-tips will help. Don't email me again."
"Not saying there is not a difference just not a WOW. Why get angry over differing opinions? Many others think the same as me via their own testing. Raging at opinions makes me think yours is a bit biased for one reason or another."
"I'm biased because I'm the US importer and distributor of three phono amplifiers from two different companies. But you email me to tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about and you only offer your personal opinions as a retort, and then you wonder why I would take offense? You're kidding, right? All future emails from you will be deleted unread."
"Well you have a poor attitude. Now that article makes sense, financial interests."
"What article are you talking about? I stopped doing equipment reviews in 2011, when I became a distributor. I wanted to avoid any conflict of interest. Now, if the article to which you are referring was published after July 1, 2011, then you can say I was motivated by financial interests. But if it was published before that, and I'll bet you any amount of money that it was, then I'll expect an apology."
"I will have to look at my history. But I will apologize now for upsetting you, I did not mean that. It was a black background and started with you trying different phono preamplifier s. At some point you started hicking the amount to spend up and up. From 300.00 to 800 then to over 1k. And seemed to be pushing people to spend more. Well like you I have done the same but I did not find a WOW at the higher price points. I will say I do think the Tube ones are cool looking and have better on paper specs but they did not sound 1,000 better.
I put a lower price MM phone preamp with 2,000 speakers and $1500 one on 500.00 speakers. Then swapped it. I found having better speakers with lower priced phone was much more of a WOW. The phones were almost the same sounding, different but not really better, very subtle. This was with a micro moving cross $700.00 cartridge. Its a low output 2mv that still uses MM part of say a IA or external phono. Not the MC inputs. I think if I had a MC cartridge it might make much more of a difference as they can be very low output and need much more signal boost from the preamp.
So at least for mmc cartridge owners (soundsmith makes them) it appears the phono preamp does not make as much difference.
I would like to be proven wrong, maybe there is a phono preamp that would do better. I did not try to adjust the 47k to a higher or lower level. Maybe that would have made the difference. If I tried another one it would have to have adjustable impedance control so I could tune it better. What phono preamps do you deal with?"
"Here's the article you're referring to: http://www.furious.com/perfect/vinyl43.html. It's from March 2003, as you can see from archived date at the top of the article. In March of 2003, I was not in the audio industry. I was in telecommunications. You're all hyped up about an article I wrote more than 11 years ago. Don't you have better things to do?
I'm not pushing people to spend more. But there is a price/performance ratio in audio that is undeniable and linear. As with most market segments, more money buys more product, whether it's more quality or more quantity. The Law of Diminishing Returns is highly overrated in high-end audio. The really nice stuff, which happens to be very expensive more often than not, sounds a LOT better than the affordable stuff. "Giant Killers" really don't exist. Everyone who complains about the prices of high-end audio gear are nothing but sore losers--if you can't afford it, don't worry about it. Would you write a letter to Enzo Ferrari saying his automobiles are rip-offs because you can't afford them? Same concept here.
I sell three phono preamps. One is $2450, one is $3250 and one is $4500. All sound very different, all are worth it. All sound far better than any $1000 phono preamp. I know, because I own a $1000 phono preamp as a back-up, and it sounds very different than the other ones. I wouldn't suggest any one of them for people with modest systems because you can't hear the differences unless the rest of your system is highly resolving. I'm gonna say the rest of your system probably isn't highly resolving if you can't hear the differences between phono preamps.
Also, providing me with ONE example of a time when you switched components does not constitute a fact. It's anecdotal evidence, which means its useless information to everyone but you. After four years of distributing high-end audio, after 16 years of being an equipment reviewer and audio writer and after 40 years of being an audiophile, how many comparisons do you think I've made? Would it be more than one?
Worst of all, you haven't even heard a great low-output MC in your system. If you had, you'd know that the phono pre makes a huge difference."