How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?

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Mag

How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« on: 28 Dec 2020, 08:16 pm »
With reviewers posting low cost budget speakers, dac's, amps, pre-amps, etc.. How much money IYO would it take to achieve the Highest level in home audio fidelity?

Assume you have the perfect audio room.

IMO, with a budget system a person could achieve a very good Mid-Fi system. Based on my years of upgrades, the bare minimum I would need to have a comparable sound quality to what I have now I estimate would be in the neighborhood of $21,000 CDN retail price, not including tax.

What do you think?

toocool4

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #1 on: 28 Dec 2020, 08:48 pm »
Depends how you classify highest fidelity? I would define highest fidelity as the artist singing and playing live unamplified in other words acoustically. So by my classification, it would cost as much as it would be to have my / your favourite artist come and play live in my / your house. Since no system at any money can do that, so only the band or artist playing live can give you the highest fidelity.

twitch54

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #2 on: 28 Dec 2020, 09:20 pm »
Your second sentence/paragraph speaks volumes. For if one truly has a 'perfect' room, not as much as you think. Given the subjective nature of speaker selection it comes down to 'your' definition as it relates to 'your' budget. Yes, I think 20k 'could' get you there.
« Last Edit: 28 Dec 2020, 10:23 pm by twitch54 »

Early B.

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #3 on: 28 Dec 2020, 09:36 pm »
Yep. If I were going to build a 2-channel system from the ground up, $20K USD is a good starting point for entry level high end. For achieving the "highest fidelity," I'm thinking somewhere in the $50K range.

Speakers - $10,000
Amps - 12,000
Preamp - 6,000
DAC - 6,000
Source - $4,000
Power Conditioner - 4,000
Cables - 8,000

TOTAL -- $50,000

toocool4

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #4 on: 28 Dec 2020, 10:02 pm »
I guess everyone is different. I would call $50000 system more Mid-Fi, no where near high-end.

Doublej

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Early B.

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #6 on: 28 Dec 2020, 11:34 pm »
I guess everyone is different. I would call $50000 system more Mid-Fi, no where near high-end.

If any of us could afford to build a true high end system, we wouldn't be wasting our precious time conversing with the working class on audiocircle. (...he retorts, while moving and grooving to his super low-fi system.)

S Clark

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Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #7 on: 28 Dec 2020, 11:41 pm »
I guess everyone is different. I would call $50000 system more Mid-Fi, no where near high-end.
Music reproduction has always been a pursuit of diminishing returns, but good grief.  59 grand buys you mid fi???  I'd bet that a 12 grand system and a 50 grand system could be very close in sound... the differences exceeded by the effects of the room. 

toocool4

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #8 on: 29 Dec 2020, 12:22 am »
59 grand buys you mid fi???  I'd bet that a 12 grand system and a 50 grand system could be very close in sound... the differences exceeded by the effects of the room.

Yes the room makes a big difference to how a good a system can sound.

Yes I would consider a 50K system Mid-Fi, I have spent over 50K UK pounds on my system and I would only put it in a Mid-Fi category. I have Friends with single components costing more than my whole system, so I have heard high end and know what the difference is.

So I would disagree with you that a 12K system would come close to a 50K system, no it would not be close if the money have been spent correctly.

dB Cooper

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #9 on: 29 Dec 2020, 03:23 am »
A couple years ago at Capital Audiofest, I heard the von Schweikert/VAC (or was it Vandersteen, I always confuse those two) 'million dollar system' all the audio mags were starching their undies over ($225K just for the speakers). To my ears, it was one of the- if not the- worst systems at the show. The sound was like it was emanating from a clothesline stretched between the tops of the towers. There was no height, no depth, and the soundstage stopped dead at the outer edge of the speakers. For musicality, naturalness, and involvement, it was bettered by any number of systems at the same show for five cents on the dollar IMJ. Contrary to what some mfrs would have you believe, half-inch-thick filigreed faceplates do not make a difference in the sound. IMO many such systems put the money into making the system look expensive rather than into actual performance. That's what the 'deep end' is about. It was no harder to tell the million dollar system from 'live' than the $20K systems.

I have young acquaintances who are into audio and music reproduction. I have gotten them to go to shows. Almost without exception, they don't come back. Why? Because they don't like being told that they need to spend $1K just to plug their system into the wall. Using pejorative terms like 'mid-fi' also helps further the trend of marketing audio to fewer and fewer people at higher and higher prices, and putting off entry level listeners. I daresay some people playing at the lower end may even enjoy their systems more than some with megabuck rigs- because they don't have the nagging doubt that somewhere, somehow, they're not getting their money's worth.

Big Red Machine

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #10 on: 29 Dec 2020, 03:41 am »
Agree. That system was the worst room I ever heard at a show. What a waste of bling.

You gotta be happy and content in this hobby or it will eat you up. So don't listen to anything I have to say. I am sure I can get a few more ounces of sound out tomorrow! :duh:

FullRangeMan

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Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #11 on: 29 Dec 2020, 03:54 am »
Meanwhile the headphone market grows.

Early B.

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #12 on: 29 Dec 2020, 04:33 am »
Keep in mind that there are two types of high end audio shoppers -- those who know and those who don't.  Many guys on this forum, for example, can take $20K and make a system sound like it costs a million bucks. Guys with deep pockets and who don't know audio can spend $100,000 and it will sound like crap, but it will look impressive. There's a zillion images all over the Internet of guys with $50,000 speakers positioned 3 inches from the wall.   

dB Cooper

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #13 on: 29 Dec 2020, 04:50 am »
Meanwhile the headphone market grows.

If you can deal with headphone 'soundstage' (some can't, I can; to each his/her own) a headphone dollar buys you much more 'fi' than a room system dollar, and many speakers- by design- provide such minuscule 'sweet spots' (in an attempt to curcumvent room interaction issues) that you might as well use headphones anyway.

S Clark

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Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #14 on: 29 Dec 2020, 04:51 am »
Yes the room makes a big difference to how a good a system can sound.

Yes I would consider a 50K system Mid-Fi, I have spent over 50K UK pounds on my system and I would only put it in a Mid-Fi category. I have Friends with single components costing more than my whole system, so I have heard high end and know what the difference is.

So I would disagree with you that a 12K system would come close to a 50K system, no it would not be close if the money have been spent correctly.
You have more experience with ultra high price stuff that I have.  I'll defer to your greater knowledge, but probably will disagree about the phrase "comes close".

Tyson

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #15 on: 29 Dec 2020, 04:53 am »
If I can DIY most of it then 20K gets me very far into the ultra high end, indeed.

S Clark

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Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #16 on: 29 Dec 2020, 05:01 am »
And your (Tyson) speakers (and mine) are two of the kits that I think would challenge very well-  but I don't know for sure.  I'll never put a pair of $100K speakers in my room for comparison.

dB Cooper

Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #17 on: 29 Dec 2020, 05:08 am »
Keep in mind that there are two types of high end audio shoppers -- those who know and those who don't.  Many guys on this forum, for example, can take $20K and make a system sound like it costs a million bucks. Guys with deep pockets and who don't know audio can spend $100,000 and it will sound like crap, but it will look impressive. There's a zillion images all over the Internet of guys with $50,000 speakers positioned 3 inches from the wall.

I agree and that's where I respectfully differ with toocool. High price doesn't always mean good sound. A carefully assembled and matched system (of mid-fi means (<$50K by his definition) will often beat a more expensive system where somebody put a lot of money, but little thought, into it. A quick trip through the photos section will reveal many systems where big bucks were put into systems that were placed in rooms with obvious, serious acoustic problems, or placed in ways that would cause obvious serious acoustic problems. I'm thinking of one system where corner-placed subs were firing directly into the back of Martin-Logans from almost point-blank range, essentially forcing the M-L panels to behave as passive radiators, a task they would perform poorly. Are M-L's good speakers? Of course. Especially of they are not asked to do things they're not good at. An owner with less cash but the savvy to avoid blunders of that sort would IMO have a better shot at getting good sound even at a lower system budget.

FullRangeMan

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Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #18 on: 29 Dec 2020, 05:25 am »
If you can deal with headphone 'soundstage' (some can't, I can; to each his/her own) a headphone dollar buys you much more 'fi' than a room system dollar, and many speakers- by design- provide such minuscule 'sweet spots' (in an attempt to curcumvent room interaction issues) that you might as well use headphones anyway.
A young friend assured me that his HE1000V2 soundstage is huge, much larger than his previous Ananda, both powered with a Hifiman amp, also both listened with his inexpensive ears.

mresseguie

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Re: How much money to achieve the Highest Fidelity?
« Reply #19 on: 29 Dec 2020, 05:29 am »
Oh, boy! This is going to be a FUN thread.  :green:

After the past 8 years of experience, I can say the following will get me <close enough> to 'highest fidelity' (assuming new prices):

~$3000 preamp
~$4000 amp
~$6000 to $8000 DAC
~$2000 CPT
~$18000 speakers
~$4000 cabling

However, I could settle for excellent kit speakers for under $6000; an excellent Hegel H390 for $6000 (amp/pre/DAC), and <$1000 for cabling.

Yet another flavor:

One pair Fritz Carrera Be @ ~$3400, two Rythmik Audio FM8 dual 8" subwoofers @ ~$2000 Hegel H390 @ $6000, <$1000 cabling. Perhaps, this is 'just' high fidelity and not 'highest'??

This is fun!