Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yet Another List of Good Stuff

I stumbled upon this list of recommended components by Chuck Hawks.  Very interesting because he doesn't get into audiophile catfights (in contrast to Type A Audiophiles).  I think (and hope to discuss further soon) that is the correct approach.  When you reach a certain level of quality, our audio knowledge isn't certain enough to be negative on anything, especially since such negativity feeds the Audiophilia Nervosa syndrome monster that afflicts many serious audiophiles.  Someone might well choose not to have a Mark Levinson preamp, for example (there's a long standing audiophile legend which is probably myth that the ML 38 and it's successors are dark sounding) but it's really not fair to  say a guy who likes it has a tin ear, because by objectivist audio engineering standards there's nothing wrong with it.

It looks like a pretty good list for what it includes, through lots of good brands are not even mentioned.  He confesses he is only discussing equipment he is personally familiar with, so it obviously can't be complete.  At the same time, certain brands get blanket recommendations in multiple categories, like Accuphase.  I would agree that you can't go wrong with Accuphase amplifiers, preamps, and tuners, the company created has always refused to make anything but top quality pieces, none of which would be totally out of place in a reference system even today, but has he really tried them all?

In full range speakers, I don't see Revel, Acoustat, Sound Labs, Magnepan, Dynaudio, or many others I'd mention.  Note he does mention the nearly unobtanium KLH 9.

The tuner listing is the best, because the number of super tuners is actually a bit limited, though even there he omits tube-era-Fisher, Scott and Sansui and only one Pioneer is listed.  I don't think I'd include the second tier Marantz like 2120 and ST-5.  Most interesting he does not include Marantz 10B (one suspects he has heard some samples, given the rest of his encyclopedic experience, especially with Marantz tuners, so this omission is an implicit damning) or the 120 (considered a known dog now, though possibly they were better when new and could be rehabilitated by someone who really understands ceramic filters).

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