© Steve Neil 2017
Dural HiFi and Home Theatre
Steve’s Blog
Wednesday September 13th Just put the Lexus RC350 F in for service and they gave me an IS 200t for the day. Interesting, it’s the same motor as in Noelene’s NX200t SUV but in her car, it’s seamless and torquey, in the IS200t it feels sluggish and has more turbo lag - it’s quite unpleasant and we’re I to purchase another IS, it’d be the IS350. The spec’s read the same but you’d swear it’s a different motor. Reminds me a lot of HiFi specs, even within the same manufacturers range, the specs’ mean bugger all, the proof of the pudding is the eating (what a stupid analogy, still, I’m feeling a little peckish at the moment). Saturday September 9th I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with the public after this morning - guy calls up wanting a CD player and starts asking about frequency range and signal to noise, I ask him about his gear and he says he’s perfectly happy with his 1979 JBL’s and Sansui AU777 amp. Both excellent in their day but choosing a CD player to suit on it’s spec’s? I don’t think so. Extra Bourbon ration for Steve tonight! Wednesday September 6th So, July and August were record months (about time). Looking at the figures it was down to Yamaha running out their A/V Range and a resurgence in stereo systems as opposed to A/V systems. The main determinant of any music system is the speakers (room acoustics not withstanding) and with consumers now prepared to spend what I would call “serious” money $2000 - $10,000 pair - on speakers, I reckon we’ve killed it. Sure, you can spend $500,000 plus on speakers but generally up at that end of the market, the acoustics are so finicky that the room needs to be specially treated otherwise it’s money wasted. All do-able but can you really hear a major difference and, more to the point, is that the true sound? I digress however, what I’m trying to say (and no, I haven’t started drinking yet) is that there are some speakers available under $10,000 that are as good as any I’ve experienced given normal room acoustics, these are (in no particular order as people perceive audio individually) the Martin Logan 60XT’s which are my particular favourite, the Tannoy DC8Ti (OK, the retail is over $10K but you can twist my arm), the newly released Q Acoustics Concept 500’s which are being hailed by the British press as the speaker of the century (this one that is) and Paradigms Prestige 95F which, depending on colour and my current demeanor, can be had at close to $5000 pair (a drop of over $2000 pair to shake up the market). One can only hope then that this trend continues as my taste in Bourbon has escalated. Saturday 26th August I suppose you could say I have a mild form of Bipolar disorder, I have wild mood swings which I generally manage pretty well (without medication) but occasionally something makes me snap. Taking advantage of people due to their inability to understand a product is my pet hate and one that really gets my goat (unless, of course, you have a pet goat, but that’s another story). A guy calls me up for a price on a four channel power amp to drive some Atmos in-ceiling speakers. He didn’t need four channels, just two as the receiver is an 11 channel processing unit with nine in-built amplifiers but rather than use the internal amps to drive one pair of in-ceilings, the store he purchased the goods from was telling him he would be far better off using a (very expensive) external four channel power amp to drive his Atmos speakers (which incidentally were sub $250 pair Yamaha’s), now, the guy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to electronics or logistics (he may be a brilliant brain surgeon, don’t know, don’t care) but the other store was trying to convince him he needed something he could do without. I get pretty frustrated trying to explain the why and wherefores of electronics and acoustics to someone who has been brainwashed by a local ne’er do well working in a pretentious store more interested in $$$ than looking after the customer. There - now I’ve got that off my chest, I can relax and go drink more bourbon. Saturday 19th August Guy rings up and asks for technical support on a Yamaha RX-A3060. Brilliant A/V Receiver (one of the best on the market in fact) but one needs to be able to have an IQ of somewhat North of 100 to be able to work out how to operate it (or if under 100, must read manual). After 40 minutes of trying to get this guy to understand the basics of physics (necessary to understand why a particular button needs to be pressed to actuate a function) Mike finally asked when he bought this particular unit from us, turns out he bought it on e-Bay. Our guys were rope-able as it was the third time he’d rung and wasted a total of over two hours of our time.  Two lessons here - one for the staff (always ask where the goods were purchased) and one for the purchaser (avoid e-Bay if not smart enough to read the manual). Wanker! Friday 18th August So, I just took three days off so I could go up to our holiday house at Soldiers Point to organise the NBN as our ADSL2+ is currently running at less than 2 Mbs. Optus promised everything would be OK and sent a Modem which should have just plugged in and worked. No it didn’t. A more useless bunch of non communicative people I have yet to encounter. All it needed was to enable Fibre to Node then port from Telstra to Optus but apparently it’s impossible to get three companies to talk to each other. I’m just about to give up and send the Modem and Fetch TV back to Optus and stick with Telstra as I’m sick of the “someone will get back to you within 48 hours” crap. Thursday 10th August We just put some Yammie A/V Receivers on sale - the RX-V483 which is the first of the MusicCast Receivers, normally $799, we have a few on sale at $599 and the baby RX-V383 - no MusicCast but Bluetooth Streaming, retail is $499 and we have some for only $349. Happy Days! Wednesday 3rd August - OK, we’ve managed to get the price of the new RX-V683 down to $899 so not as bad as we thought. We also received the first of the Q Acoustics Concept 500 Speakers. I thought it was going to be impossible to get a pair of speakers under $10,000 to beat the Martin Logan Motion 60XT’s or the Paradigm Prestige 95’s but these things are all over them (not just my opinion, but all the staff here). The main problem for me is the lack of a matching centre speaker as a lot of my music is in the form of DVD/Blu-Ray Concerts which need a matching centre to get a natural soundstage. Until then, I’ll stick to my trusty ML 60XT’s but for those of you looking for a dedicated pair of stereo speakers and your budget is up to $15,000, I strongly recommend an audition. RRP is $6299 with very little wriggle room! Wednesday 26th July Sad days ahead, we’ve now sold all but three of the 280 RX-V681 Yamaha A/V Receivers we bought last month (all gone now!) The RX-V683 is now available but way more expensive. Must negotiate with Uncle Simon for a better price than the $1199 we’re doing them for currently although I wouldn’t hold my breath with a new release. Tuesday 18th July I really don’t know why people ring up and ask for advice on set ups then, when given that advice, tell us we’re wrong and it should really be the way they think as they’ve researched it on line. A little knowledge is dangerous and the wanker who tried to abuse me this morning (I have a particularly thick skin so it didn’t affect me personally - just my hopes for the future of the human race) thought he had it all sorted out. I ended up telling him we weren’t the store for him and to ring someone else as whoever gets the sale will end up with a right mess. Tuesday 11th July Price, price, price - it seems that money is the most important aspect of any purchase these days. Personally, I prefer to pay a little more for service (I rarely shop around when buying a car for instance as I trust Mark - MD of Lexus Parramatta - to look after me). Some people just shoot themselves in the foot however. We had a guy asking about Emotiva pricing, I gave him a hot price and he came back quite aggressively saying he could get it for 40% less on line from the Emotive store direct. The genius never worked out however that by the time you converted the US dollars to Australian dollars, added shipping and GST, our price was exactly the same and offered local warranty (if you purchase from overseas, that’s where you have to send the goods for any warranty issues). When he finally works all that out and comes back to us, I’ll send him elsewhere as I don’t suffer fools gladly! Tuesday 4th July Usually, I grab a copy of an Audio/Video Magazine (I subscribe to quite a few), read the editorials (Greg Borrowman is always good for a laugh) then I read the reviews on the equipment and generally ignore them as the reviewers all tend to use the same terminology but shuffle the phrasing around. I’ve said before that there must be a bag full of phrases written on slips of paper (a bit like in fortune cookies) that get put in a bag and randomly pulled out then printed in that order which describe the speaker/amplifier/source. Much the same way reviews in car magazines are spewed out. Today however, I read a review that made me reach for the bucket I keep under my desk for moments of unexpected gag reflex. No names, no pack drill but the last thing you need to know about an Amplifier is that it produces the sound of a piano like a delicate gossamer thread winding through the lyric and delivered with studio like accuracy. F#%K me!, unless I knew the speakers he was using, that statement means less than nothing! Yes, amplifiers do sound different (although, in a perfect world, they shouldn’t add any signature of their own), the differences however are minimal when compared to the differences between speakers given a variation of price. And you wonder why I’m perpetually pissed (or drunk if you’re an American reading this). Incidentally, if you want an unbiased review on a speaker, always ask someone with better ears than you - hence my comparison using C1 and C2 (I think C1 may be missing a woofer) Wednesday 28th June
© Steve Neil 2017
Dural HiFi and Home Theatre
Steve’s Blog
Wednesday September 13th Just put the Lexus RC350 F in for service and they gave me an IS 200t for the day. Interesting, it’s the same motor as in Noelene’s NX200t SUV but in her car, it’s seamless and torquey, in the IS200t it feels sluggish and has more turbo lag - it’s quite unpleasant and we’re I to purchase another IS, it’d be the IS350. The spec’s read the same but you’d swear it’s a different motor. Reminds me a lot of HiFi specs, even within the same manufacturers range, the specs’ mean bugger all, the proof of the pudding is the eating (what a stupid analogy, still, I’m feeling a little peckish at the moment). Saturday September 9th I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with the public after this morning - guy calls up wanting a CD player and starts asking about frequency range and signal to noise, I ask him about his gear and he says he’s perfectly happy with his 1979 JBL’s and Sansui AU777 amp. Both excellent in their day but choosing a CD player to suit on it’s spec’s? I don’t think so. Extra Bourbon ration for Steve tonight! Wednesday September 6th So, July and August were record months (about time). Looking at the figures it was down to Yamaha running out their A/V Range and a resurgence in stereo systems as opposed to A/V systems. The main determinant of any music system is the speakers (room acoustics not withstanding) and with consumers now prepared to spend what I would call “serious” money $2000 - $10,000 pair - on speakers, I reckon we’ve killed it. Sure, you can spend $500,000 plus on speakers but generally up at that end of the market, the acoustics are so finicky that the room needs to be specially treated otherwise it’s money wasted. All do-able but can you really hear a major difference and, more to the point, is that the true sound? I digress however, what I’m trying to say (and no, I haven’t started drinking yet) is that there are some speakers available under $10,000 that are as good as any I’ve experienced given normal room acoustics, these are (in no particular order as people perceive audio individually) the Martin Logan 60XT’s which are my particular favourite, the Tannoy DC8Ti (OK, the retail is over $10K but you can twist my arm), the newly released Q Acoustics Concept 500’s which are being hailed by the British press as the speaker of the century (this one that is) and Paradigms Prestige 95F which, depending on colour and my current demeanor, can be had at close to $5000 pair (a drop of over $2000 pair to shake up the market). One can only hope then that this trend continues as my taste in Bourbon has escalated. Saturday 26th August I suppose you could say I have a mild form of Bipolar disorder, I have wild mood swings which I generally manage pretty well (without medication) but occasionally something makes me snap. Taking advantage of people due to their inability to understand a product is my pet hate and one that really gets my goat (unless, of course, you have a pet goat, but that’s another story). A guy calls me up for a price on a four channel power amp to drive some Atmos in- ceiling speakers. He didn’t need four channels, just two as the receiver is an 11 channel processing unit with nine in-built amplifiers but rather than use the internal amps to drive one pair of in-ceilings, the store he purchased the goods from was telling him he would be far better off using a (very expensive) external four channel power amp to drive his Atmos speakers (which incidentally were sub $250 pair Yamaha’s), now, the guy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to electronics or logistics (he may be a brilliant brain surgeon, don’t know, don’t care) but the other store was trying to convince him he needed something he could do without. I get pretty frustrated trying to explain the why and wherefores of electronics and acoustics to someone who has been brainwashed by a local ne’er do well working in a pretentious store more interested in $$$ than looking after the customer. There - now I’ve got that off my chest, I can relax and go drink more bourbon. Saturday 19th August Guy rings up and asks for technical support on a Yamaha RX- A3060. Brilliant A/V Receiver (one of the best on the market in fact) but one needs to be able to have an IQ of somewhat North of 100 to be able to work out how to operate it (or if under 100, must read manual). After 40 minutes of trying to get this guy to understand the basics of physics (necessary to understand why a particular button needs to be pressed to actuate a function) Mike finally asked when he bought this particular unit from us, turns out he bought it on e- Bay. Our guys were rope-able as it was the third time he’d rung and wasted a total of over two hours of our time.  Two lessons here - one for the staff (always ask where the goods were purchased) and one for the purchaser (avoid e-Bay if not smart enough to read the manual). Wanker! Friday 18th August So, I just took three days off so I could go up to our holiday house at Soldiers Point to organise the NBN as our ADSL2+ is currently running at less than 2 Mbs. Optus promised everything would be OK and sent a Modem which should have just plugged in and worked. No it didn’t. A more useless bunch of non communicative people I have yet to encounter. All it needed was to enable Fibre to Node then port from Telstra to Optus but apparently it’s impossible to get three companies to talk to each other. I’m just about to give up and send the Modem and Fetch TV back to Optus and stick with Telstra as I’m sick of the “someone will get back to you within 48 hours” crap. Thursday 10th August We just put some Yammie A/V Receivers on sale - the RX-V483 which is the first of the MusicCast Receivers, normally $799, we have a few on sale at $599 and the baby RX-V383 - no MusicCast but Bluetooth Streaming, retail is $499 and we have some for only $349. Happy Days! Wednesday 3rd August - OK, we’ve managed to get the price of the new RX-V683 down to $899 so not as bad as we thought. We also received the first of the Q Acoustics Concept 500 Speakers. I thought it was going to be impossible to get a pair of speakers under $10,000 to beat the Martin Logan Motion 60XT’s or the Paradigm Prestige 95’s but these things are all over them (not just my opinion, but all the staff here). The main problem for me is the lack of a matching centre speaker as a lot of my music is in the form of DVD/Blu-Ray Concerts which need a matching centre to get a natural soundstage. Until then, I’ll stick to my trusty ML 60XT’s but for those of you looking for a dedicated pair of stereo speakers and your budget is up to $15,000, I strongly recommend an audition. RRP is $6299 with very little wriggle room! Wednesday 26th July Sad days ahead, we’ve now sold all but three of the 280 RX-V681 Yamaha A/V Receivers we bought last month (all gone now!) The RX-V683 is now available but way more expensive. Must negotiate with Uncle Simon for a better price than the $1199 we’re doing them for currently although I wouldn’t hold my breath with a new release. Tuesday 18th July I really don’t know why people ring up and ask for advice on set ups then, when given that advice, tell us we’re wrong and it should really be the way they think as they’ve researched it on line. A little knowledge is dangerous and the wanker who tried to abuse me this morning (I have a particularly thick skin so it didn’t affect me personally - just my hopes for the future of the human race) thought he had it all sorted out. I ended up telling him we weren’t the store for him and to ring someone else as whoever gets the sale will end up with a right mess. Tuesday 11th July Price, price, price - it seems that money is the most important aspect of any purchase these days. Personally, I prefer to pay a little more for service (I rarely shop around when buying a car for instance as I trust Mark - MD of Lexus Parramatta - to look after me). Some people just shoot themselves in the foot however. We had a guy asking about Emotiva pricing, I gave him a hot price and he came back quite aggressively saying he could get it for 40% less on line from the Emotive store direct. The genius never worked out however that by the time you converted the US dollars to Australian dollars, added shipping and GST, our price was exactly the same and offered local warranty (if you purchase from overseas, that’s where you have to send the goods for any warranty issues). When he finally works all that out and comes back to us, I’ll send him elsewhere as I don’t suffer fools gladly! Tuesday 4th July Usually, I grab a copy of an Audio/Video Magazine (I subscribe to quite a few), read the editorials (Greg Borrowman is always good for a laugh) then I read the reviews on the equipment and generally ignore them as the reviewers all tend to use the same terminology but shuffle the phrasing around. I’ve said before that there must be a bag full of phrases written on slips of paper (a bit like in fortune cookies) that get put in a bag and randomly pulled out then printed in that order which describe the speaker/amplifier/source. Much the same way reviews in car magazines are spewed out. Today however, I read a review that made me reach for the bucket I keep under my desk for moments of unexpected gag reflex. No names, no pack drill but the last thing you need to know about an Amplifier is that it produces the sound of a piano like a delicate gossamer thread winding through the lyric and delivered with studio like accuracy. F#%K me!, unless I knew the speakers he was using, that statement means less than nothing! Yes, amplifiers do sound different (although, in a perfect world, they shouldn’t add any signature of their own), the differences however are minimal when compared to the differences between speakers given a variation of price. And you wonder why I’m perpetually pissed (or drunk if you’re an American reading this). Incidentally, if you want an unbiased review on a speaker, always ask someone with better ears than you - hence my comparison using C1 and C2 (I think C1 may be missing a woofer)