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A tiny history of Hi Fidelity (The soul of sound)

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Quadophile's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 5,782
      4th Jul 2011
I was reading this article the link to which was sent out to us, members of the Houston Audio Society.

I found the article extremely interesting as I could relate to being part of the history of Hi Fi as I have been indulging in it since few decades. Therefore, I decided to post it here for the fellow enthusiasts on the forum.

I am pretty sure that FBS will surely read it and will cook up a storm discussing various aspects of the article.


The tiny history of Hi Fi


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sugar 'n spikes
floppybootstomp's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Greenwich
Posts: 18,327
      4th Jul 2011
Thassa long read Quad, I read the first coupla paragraphs but I've bookmarked it and will get back to it for sure.

Hi-fi. The more I experiment, the more confused I get.

Was a time when amplifiers with huge reserves of power driving inefficient speakers such as the massive Bowers and Wilkinson units were thought to be audio nirvana.

One current mode of thinking is that efficient full range drivers driven by low powered amplifiers is the bees knees.

Some still favour vinyl, others swear SqueezeBox sounds best of all.

Myself, I realise there are no rules and sometimes the most unlikely of combinations manage to produce something that sounds fantastic.

For myself, my main system is lacking, I know it is. But not having oodles of wonga atm, I will have to just apreciate it for what it is. Some of my vinyl sounds superb, some of it sounds like absolute rubbish. The reproduced sound depends on three things: Original recording (this would also reflect whether originally analogue or digital recording); condition of vinyl platter if a used record and the quality of the vinyl pressing.

I have six sound sources on my main setup: Vinyl; TV; Computer; CD Player; DAB/FM Tuner and I-Pod.

Now this doesn't make sense to me but here, in order of 'sounding-goodness' is how they fare:

1) I-Pod
2) Vinyl
3) DAB Tuner
4) CD Player
5) Computer
6) TV (Digital signal)

Sometimes, it has to be said, the vinyl sounds better than the I-Pod but frankly I'm shocked Apple's m4a file format can sound better than a vinyl platter. But it is so, the ears don't lie.

My CD player is a Cambridge Audio Azur 640C, considered a budget model, albeit a top of the range budget model. I have never been impressed with it.

In my bedroom I have a Pioneer A-400 amplifier driving a pair of Fostex FE126eN full range units in custom made cabinets and it sounds fantastic, I'm very impressed.

The drivers are designed to handle 45 watts and the Pioneer Amp is 80 watts per channel yet it works well. That's what I meant when I said the most unlikely of combinations sometimes throw up a surprise.

The opening of the linked story mentions seeing some expensive loudspeakers disintegrate as an expensive amplifier died cos of the DC offset prresented to the cabinets. I experienced something similar once. I was reparing a PA amp and had it connected to a dummy load (a huge wirewound resistor in a metal box) and whilst I was making measurements inside the amp the dummy load literally exploded, filling the workshop with acrid blue smoke.

The metal box was buckled, the resistor was in fragments. What I should have done, of course, was measure the DC level on the dummy load. When I did, it was 90 volts small wonder there was a big bang.

I shall read that article later this evening, thanks for the link.

Don Van Vliet 1941 - 2010. And the acid gold bar swirled up and down, up and down.
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