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Review: Geneva Lab Model S Wireless speaker

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
One of the newest members of Geneva Lab's Audio System family, the Model S Wireless is the first of the company's in-home speakers to eschew the 30-pin dock in favor of Bluetooth connectivity, but does the added convenience justify a $300 price tag?

Model S Wireless


After introducing its first product in 2006, Geneva has become a recognizable marquee in iOS-minded speakers, extending a singular Apple-esque design theme across its entire range of audio products. With the Model S Wireless, the firm has tried to marry high quality cabinetry with equally robust sound that has traditionally required a hardwired connection in Apple's 30-pin dock connector.

Design



As with many Swiss audio firms, Geneva Lab spends a lot of time working out details in the wood shop. The Model S Wireless' walnut veneer cabinet is crafted, sanded, lacquered and polished all by hand. The end result is a product with a well executed design that feels as sturdy as it looks.

The aesthetic is stark. A simple, highly polished box with rounded edges and a metal speaker grille that bears the unit's one design flourish: a large extruded partial hemisphere. Ensconced in the straight lines, the large "bubble" becomes a strikingly bold feature, one that is carried across Geneva's entire product line.

Model S Wireless


Geneva Lab designed the S Wireless to be used with or without the included aluminum stand, which can be unscrewed from a threaded anchor located at the bottom of the speaker. Attached to the hefty pedestal is a generously thick slab of rubber that both isolates the unit from vibrations and provides a non-slip surface to rest on. Four feet made of the same soft rubber material are also provided for use when the stand is not attached.

The surface of the S is bare, with capacitive "hidden" controls aligned in the top right corner, as seen above. Symbols bearing a button's function are backlit in red when powered on, and disappear when off. A thumb-sized dimple, which is also touch sensitive, acts as the power button.

A simple LED display hidden behind the grille reads out sources and other information, while added extras include an alarm clock and FM radio compatibility. On the back is a line-in jack, FM aerial port and a socket for the built-in 20-watt power supply.

Model S Wireless


Performance



Listening to music streamed from an iPhone 5 over Bluetooth, the main attraction of the S Wireless, proved extremely clear, though it took some work to get there.

At first, we found the sound to be tinny, lacking body and texture. With the positioning of its bass ports and dual three-inch full-range drivers, the speaker needed to be placed in a "sweet spot" to reach even an acceptable level of output.

As with many small displacement cabinets, this is not a speaker that can standalone anywhere in the room and sound great.

After a few attempts at finding the right location, the S got its bass back, mixing nicely with mid-range and even the higher register tones that were previously overbearing. In testing, we found positioning the speaker about two to three feet away from a wall gave the best performance. A bit more room is needed if you're sitting in a corner or near a large window.

Once the location was dialed in, the speaker's character mellowed significantly. The S can be typified by its neutrality, though this is not to say that all genres were presented with equal aplomb.

Model S Wireless


When running over Bluetooth, the digital-to-analog converter's attenuation was a bit aggressive and the amplifier clipped bass somewhat, even when that setting was loosened to its max. Without feet to stand on, some genres with deep-thumping beats, like house, jungle and certain rock cuts, seemed anemic. Bass was present, and extremely tight, but lacked the "oomph" felt in competing products. Strings and woodwinds in chamber orchestras were faithfully reproduced, but the lack of resonating bass took away from the experience of some pieces.

There were times, however, that the perhaps overly neutral low end became a plus, especially with live "unplugged" recordings and modern pop tunes. The lack of a boomy bottom is well suited for a number of genres, especially technical listening and almost anything dominated by the vocalist. Jazz was hit or miss depending on the band, performer and arrangement.

The highs were well handled, with no sibilance present in any track we auditioned. There was a rough spot with a lack of proper decay for cymbals crashes, but the associated shimmer was impressive for a speaker without dedicated tweeters.

Model S Wireless


While the bass is shaky and the highs slightly underrepresented, the mids were exquisite. We have never tested a system so small with such smooth, extremely well balanced and silky mid-range reproduction. Sound like this is usually reserved for higher-end multi-component setups.

The midrange draws over a decently wide dynamic range with a non-fatiguing, clean sound. Vocals are delivered clearly and confidently, never slipping into pitfalls of over presenting or coloring the original recording. The S produces what is quite possibly the best midrange in its class.

As for stereo sound, the S Wireless has a narrow soundstage typical of small cabinet speakers. Because of the two drivers, however, output wasn't as laser-beam focused as some other competing products. At the appropriate distance and angle, the sound was more than acceptable. Overall, Geneva Lab did a great job in this regard.

Another plus is the Model S Wireless' lack of distortion at high volumes thanks to its two class D 15-watt amps. We cranked the unit up to its limiter after breaking in the coils for a few hours and heard zero cracks or distorted tones. Tonal balance surprisingly remained fairly consistent through to the top. The S Wireless may not be as loud as some other speakers, but it was enough to generate some concern from our neighbors.

Line-in from a CD transport offered more dynamic range than Bluetooth, but nothing to write home about. FM band reception was good and a nice added feature, though we hardly used it given the number of Internet radio options available to stream from our couch.

Model S Wireless


We did have some minor quibbles with the included remote, which felt like it was built by a different company. The creaky and hollow plastic body completely contrasts the built-like-a-tank S Wireless to which it pairs. Button clicks are nice, but we had problems transmitting signals from even short distances.

For a speaker that so heavily touts its wireless capabilities, which will presumedly be used to play music while away from the unit, the accompanying remote should be better executed.

Conclusion



In many ways, the Model S Wireless is a great speaker system. It may lack a powerful low end, but for many who intend to use it as a desk unit, this won't be a deal breaker. Room-shaking bass is not a feature befitting small cabinet speakers, and that Geneva Lab didn't overextend downward and sacrifice tonal balance is commendable. The bass that is represented is taut and accurate.

As mentioned above, the midrange is just amazing, and for us is worth the price of admission alone. Build quality for the speaker is almost as good, though the problems with the remote control still bother us.

Overall, Geneva Lab's Model S Wireless has a few minor shortcomings, but brings a lot to the table ? or desk ? for its size in connectivity and, most importantly, sound.

The Model S Wireless sells for $300 from Amazon and comes in Black, White and Red colors.

Score: 4



ratings_hl_40.png

Pros:


  • Amazing midrange
  • Excellent build quality
  • Sleek design

Cons:


  • Conservative bass
  • Cheap remote control
  • Expensive
post #2 of 47
Given the ubiquity of the Airport Express, who would buy this product, much less invest in this company?

Spend $99 on an AE and $150 on good speakers. Save $50 and headaches down the road.
post #3 of 47
Oh my .. look at that controller! Why not an iPhone, iPad or Mac app? Maybe they have one as well?

I must say though this sort of technology has been very slow to market in general. I remember years ago, in fact when i got my first ever HD TV, wanting wireless suround sound speakers only to find it was unheard of (heck even getting stereo wireless headphones was hard back then other than my Sony line of sight ones) . Airport Express became my go to solution along with several Apple TVs eventually.
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post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaporland View Post

Given the ubiquity of the Airport Express, who would buy this product, much less invest in this company?

Spend $99 on an AE and $150 on good speakers. Save $50 and headaches down the road.

And a good amp ... mini powered speakers are not as much fun as a really nice amp and conventional speakers (I like studio monitors) 1smile.gif
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post #5 of 47
Doesn't AirPlay produce better sound?
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post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Doesn't AirPlay produce better sound?

Wouldn't that depend on what equipment is being used to reproduce the audio?
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post #7 of 47
I would say that is one really *unattractive* product, but YMMV.

Also:

- doesn't do airplay
- sounds "tinny"

What's the point?
post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Doesn't AirPlay produce better sound?

 

It certainly makes the speaker easier and more convenient to use.  Everyone makes Bluetooth speakers instead because they can cover off the Android market at the same time and because AirPlay actually takes work to implement. 

post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Wouldn't that depend on what equipment is being used to reproduce the audio?

Perhaps he should have said isn't airplay capable of producing a better sound.  The answer to that would be yes.

post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrial View Post

Perhaps he should have said isn't airplay capable of producing a better sound.  The answer to that would be yes.

Gotchya, I wasn't being picky, i misunderstood. My bad.
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post #11 of 47
Maybe it's time for Apple to resurrect and update it's own early speaker. Make it a reference design to stimulate others to copy and raise the bar for wireless speakers.
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post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaporland View Post

Given the ubiquity of the Airport Express, who would buy this product, much less invest in this company?

Spend $99 on an AE and $150 on good speakers. Save $50 and headaches down the road.

 

This is not a good comparison.  The point of wireless speakers is their wireless-ness.  

 

That being said, there are many more attractive and better sounding wireless speakers, and many of those have Airplay and better sound as well. 

post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This is not a good comparison.  The point of wireless speakers is their wireless-ness.  

That being said, there are many more attractive and better sounding wireless speakers, and many of those have Airplay and better sound as well. 

Except that the "wireless" speaker will still be plugged into the wall (ignoring cheapo battery powered speakers), so Airport Express doesn't make it any less convenient.

I need a wireless speaker for the rear speaker on my home theater since there's no way to run a wire from the amp to the speaker without it being visible. For this (common) situation, a wireless speaker and an airplay connected to a wired speaker are essentially the same in terms of convenience.
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post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Maybe it's time for Apple to resurrect and update it's own early speaker. Make it a reference design to stimulate others to copy and raise the bar for wireless speakers.

 

I agree, but it is unlikely to work out as the design of Apple's original speaker, despite being extremely prescient in regards the future of sound design was universally reviled.  It's become one of those touch-stones for haters (mostly audiophile weenies and Apple snobs), wherein you can't consider yourself a true Apple supporter unless you hate it.  

 

Bringing it back, even with the much improved sound that modern technology can now afford it, will just bring all those guys (let's face it, we know they are all guys), out of the woodwork to talk about it's deficiencies rather than it's plusses.  They will compare whatever the new speaker is to the old, bring all their imaginary sound biases to bear and somehow all anyone will walk away with is the idea that Apple speakers are "bad." 

post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Except that the "wireless" speaker will still be plugged into the wall (ignoring cheapo battery powered speakers), so Airport Express doesn't make it any less convenient.

I need a wireless speaker for the rear speaker on my home theater since there's no way to run a wire from the amp to the speaker without it being visible. For this (common) situation, a wireless speaker and an airplay connected to a wired speaker are essentially the same in terms of convenience.

 

Well, of course you have to plug it in sometimes, but I would argue that most wireless speakers are not "plugged in to the wall."  Mine isn't.  It has a charging stand that it sits on which is plugged in, but the whole point of it is that you can pick it up and take it in the next room or outside etc.  

 

The most popular wireless speakers are actually the ones you are calling the "cheapo battery powered" ones, and what I would call the "small" ones.  Kids take them to the beach or each others houses.  The batteries last quite a long time, easily as long as the traditional ghetto blasters they replace.  I don't think these would work for your situation though. 

post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

That being said, there are many more attractive and better sounding wireless speakers, and many of those have Airplay and better sound as well. 

Examples? Recommendations?
post #17 of 47
"%u2026the large "bubble" becomes a strikingly bold feature%u2026"

Wow. Seriously? Overstate much? This line alone pretty much tells me AI is being paid to wax eloquent over this little box.

Oh, and about that lovingly hand-finished cabinet: "...walnut veneer cabinet is crafted, sanded, lacquered and polished all by hand%u2026" Um, you do know what veneer is, right? It's hard for me to connect the idea of "veneer" with the "high quality carpentry craft" implied in this text.

So is this another oversold, paid PR piece pretending to be a 'review"? Ah, ok. gotcha.
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Except that the "wireless" speaker will still be plugged into the wall (ignoring cheapo battery powered speakers), so Airport Express doesn't make it any less convenient.
 

According to the article this wireless speaker needs to be positioned in a "sweet spot" in the room such as 2-3 feet from a wall to be able to reproduce quality audio. So the power cable must be draped across the floor to wherever the nearest wall outlet is? No thanks. I would prefer to position speakers where I want them and then provide hard wire for at least the power, regardless of how difficult that might be going through the attic, walls, etc. Actually for optimum sound quality, you probably need an acoustical engineer to design your system with noise cancellation features in addition to the main speakers. If that is too much trouble then perhaps one should settle for a potable audio dock of some sort for your iDevice.

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post #19 of 47
Not to be a ass about it, but I would suggest that AI stick to Apple computers and mobile devices and not go into reviewing audio products. Stick to what you know.

This company is trying to go for a more accurate inexpensive AIO design. If you want more low end bass, then you'll have to go with a bigger speaker driver. Can't really do much about physics.


Here's another review of the same product.

http://www.audioholics.com/computer-speaker-reviews/geneva-lab-model-s-wireless-speaker

For these types of systems, go listen to them with the type of music you listen to most frequently and judge for yourself.

Also, check out the rCubes. I've read great reviews of the product. Geneva Labs also has other models to choose from.

For me, I just use my desktop and connect to an external DAC and then off to a pair of powered mini-monitors and then I have all of my content in one location and I can remote control from my iDevice.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

I agree, but it is unlikely to work out as the design of Apple's original speaker, despite being extremely prescient in regards the future of sound design was universally reviled.  It's become one of those touch-stones for haters (mostly audiophile weenies and Apple snobs), wherein you can't consider yourself a true Apple supporter unless you hate it.  

 

Bringing it back, even with the much improved sound that modern technology can now afford it, will just bring all those guys (let's face it, we know they are all guys), out of the woodwork to talk about it's deficiencies rather than it's plusses.  They will compare whatever the new speaker is to the old, bring all their imaginary sound biases to bear and somehow all anyone will walk away with is the idea that Apple speakers are "bad." 

Audiophile weenies?  And what do you consider an audiophile weenie?  What do you consider a good audio system?   What do you recommend Mr. Expert?

post #21 of 47

Wireless/airplay speakers are surely useful, but I'm not a fan of these one speaker designs. Do the majority of humans not have two ears? I realize that many people probably listen to crap mp3's and audio quality is not a big concern anymore for most people (especially the younger generation which gravitates towards crap and has low standards), but at least give me stereo speakers, as in two of them, a left & right speaker!

post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

According to the article this wireless speaker needs to be positioned in a "sweet spot" in the room such as 2-3 feet from a wall to be able to reproduce quality audio. So the power cable must be draped across the floor to wherever the nearest wall outlet is? No thanks. I would prefer to position speakers where I want them and then provide hard wire for at least the power, regardless of how difficult that might be going through the attic, walls, etc. Actually for optimum sound quality, you probably need an acoustical engineer to design your system with noise cancellation features in addition to the main speakers. If that is too much trouble then perhaps one should settle for a potable audio dock of some sort for your iDevice.

Well, considering that the main use for wireless speaker would be a rear speaker for surround sound, the audio quality isn't that critical.

Regardless, that simply reinforces the statement that you were objecting to. This wireless system isn't that great - because it must be several feet from the wall. Airplay plus a more conventional speaker that could be placed against the wall would be far more practical.
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post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Wireless/airplay speakers are surely useful, but I'm not a fan of these one speaker designs. Do the majority of humans not have two ears? I realize that many people probably listen to crap mp3's and audio quality is not a big concern anymore for most people (especially the younger generation which gravitates towards crap and has low standards), but at least give me stereo speakers, as in two of them, a left & right speaker!

Stereo is typically how music is recorded, even though acoustic instruments generate sound in an omnidirectional manner since when a musician plays a violin, piano, drums, acoustic guitar, etc. the sound goes in ALL directions bouncing off the floor, ceiling (if one is available), every wall and our ears hear in an omnidirectional manner.


They can only get CLOSE to exact reproduction, but NEVER the exact same thing.  In order to get CLOSE to REAL accuracy in a traditional stereo system, the recording, mixing, and mastering itself has to be done a certain way, which most aren't.   And the system that can actually reproduce all of the frequencies in a exact perfect manner (transients, distortion, volume, soundstage, detail, yada yada yada) is getting better, but again it's not exact, but it's getting closer, but one has to have a perfect listening room, which 99.99% of the world does NOT have, and the system's price tag would probably be in the hundreds of thousands, which 99% of the world isn't going to spend.

 

Our society, with advent of mobile devices is basically saying "I don't care about quality, I care about the price and how much space it takes up on my HDD, NAND, SSD". etc.

 

Buy what sounds best for you, but unfortunately, the better products ARE going to be pricey and one can't get around that.

 

Wireless is convenient and is not to be considered what an audiophile will suggest is the optimal way of transmitting audio/video for the highest quality.

 

Personally, the only AIO box that sounds anywhere near a REAL good audio system costs about $3000, the product has been discontinued as the company is supposed to be getting a replacement product out to market, but so far, they've not released it for whatever reasons the company knows that haven't been mentioned as to why.

 

Either way, these Geneva Labs are supposed to be high quality mfg $400 wireless speaker that does what it does and it's probably one of the better ones in it's price category. You want something cheaper? They have other products to consider or one has to look elsewhere.  You want something better?  Expect to spend more money with less choices.

 

For me, I would rather have all of my content in an uncompressed file format, use an USB DAC (a good one) and go through whatever powered monitors or sound system that you like that you can afford and just remote control it from your iDevice.  That works best for me.

 

There are USB DACs that cost between a couple of hundred dollars on up to a LOT of money.  I chose the Meridian Director which is about $700 for the reason that I can take 16/44 files which MOST CDs are and it up-samples it to 24/96 and runs it through an apodising filter which gets rid of what is called pre-ringing, so it approaches an SACD sound quality without having to buy the SACD version (which is most likely not available).  So, for a good pair of powered monitors or a nice audio system, they can get a regular 16/44 file to sound closer to a SACD.  It can also play up to 24/192 files as well.  These are fairly new to the market and the reviews are coming in that they do sound as good as more expensive DACs costing 2 to 3 times more money.  in order to HEAR the differences, one has to have two things.  1.  A good playback system to hear those differences and a trained ear.  The average person may not HEAR the differences but for some of us, we can...

 

Otherwise, but what you can afford and that's about all one can ask.

 

For those that want to read about Computer Audio related products, here's a site to check out..

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com

post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Doesn't AirPlay produce better sound?

 

Theoretically, the only way AirPlay vs Bluetooth would change the sound is if they used different compression. I looked into it, and found:

 

AirPlay streaming uses ALAC, Apple's lossless 44.1Khz 2-channel codec.

Bluetooth A2DP uses SBC, which is a lossy audio codec. The need to re-encode audio streams using lossy compression means that the quality of the sound can be affected by this extra step.

 

The nontechnical analogy is that it's like comparing PCM (CD-audio) vs ADPCM (MP3) streams.

 

All else being equal (same amplifier, speakers, wiring and audio source), AirPlay should have better sound, though a cross-section of the population might not perceive the difference.

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post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

Theoretically, the only way AirPlay vs Bluetooth would change the sound is if they used different compression. I looked into it, and found:

 

AirPlay streaming uses ALAC, Apple's lossless 44.1Khz 2-channel codec.

Bluetooth A2DP uses SBC, which is a lossy audio codec. The need to re-encode audio streams using lossy compression means that the quality of the sound can be affected by this extra step.

 

The nontechnical analogy is that it's like comparing PCM (CD-audio) vs ADPCM (MP3) streams.

 

All else being equal (same amplifier, speakers, wiring and audio source), AirPlay should have better sound, though a cross-section of the population might not perceive the difference.

The other thing to consider is the quality of the DAC converter in the system.  For $400 speaker/amp/preamp, that thing is going to have a cheap DAC. Even Apple's Airport Express, etc. aren't using anything special in the way of a DAC.  They are using about the cheapest one's obtainable as MOST comparable products.  Can't really get around that.  That's why there is a proliferation of USB DACs.  Audioengine has an interesting wireless DAC, but it's rather pricey, but you can go wireless from the computer to a powered speaker/traditional stereo wirelessly.  But that's not going wireless from your iDevice to the DAC.

 

But, for those comparing BlueTooth to AirPlay, I would suggest AirPlay, but again, one has to get a good system.  I think due to the change in 802.11ac it actually might be better and I'm sure there will be more 802.11ac AirPlay speaker systems coming on the market over the next year or so.  Maybe CES we'll see a surge in 802.11ac products as Apple and the rest of the computer industry starts to integrate 802.11ac into the products we use, which I'm sure is in the next batch of everything Apple is producing from iPhones, iPads, laptops, and obviously desktops.

post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Audiophile weenies?  And what do you consider an audiophile weenie?  What do you consider a good audio system?   What do you recommend Mr. Expert?

 

If the term "audiophile weenie" confuses or disturbs you, then you probably are one.  The fact that you challenge me to a sort of "duel" here, based on knowledge of what a "good audio system" is, is more indication of same.  

 

Obviously I'm referring to a type of audio snobbishness.  A deep and abiding fascination with an elusive, and mostly illusory quality of sound that is beyond the ability of most human ears to discern.  

post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

If the term "audiophile weenie" confuses or disturbs you, then you probably are one.  The fact that you challenge me to a sort of "duel" here, based on knowledge of what a "good audio system" is, is more indication of same.  

 

Obviously I'm referring to a type of audio snobbishness.  A deep and abiding fascination with an elusive, and mostly illusory quality of sound that is beyond the ability of most human ears to discern.  

Well, I can't help it if you are ignorant.  if you listen to music and have actually TRAINED your ears to hear the differences, one can achieve a higher level of understanding of what GOOD audio is.  Especially if you are a musician and are around acoustic instruments and know what one is supposed to sound like.

 

There are plenty of people that have gone through double blind tests where they can hear the difference.


But if you listen to most of the pop music that's being put out on the market, you probably don't know the difference and thats just being ignorant and maybe that's WHY you consider those that have more understanding than you and why you put labels on those people.  Consider this, for some of us that have spent a great deal of time trying to study what good audio really is, we consider folks like yourself as just part of the masses which are just ignorant.

 

Have you ever been in a decent professional recording studio where you actually hear the differences between the first generation recordings and what gets spit out on a CD?  Probably not.  I can't help it if you are ignorant.  That's not MY problem, that's YOURS.

 

Do you even own any reference quality recordings?

 

The high end mfg of audiophile grade equipment have proper listening environments, test equipment and trained ears and what they are trying to achieve is to get a reference quality recordings of a musical instrument or orchestra in a proper concert hall with incredible acoustics and be able to play back a good recording where they can't tell the difference.  

 

Trained musicians and others that spend a vast amount of time in critical listening tests and environments can tell and they are getting better at audio reproduction. FACT.


But, then again, you either don't have the money, time or interest.  Don't put down others that do.  It just shows your ignorance.   Have a nice day.

 

So, what do you THINK is a good audio system?  If you say BOSE, then I would highly suggest you would be Better Off w/ Something Else.

post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

If the term "audiophile weenie" confuses or disturbs you, then you probably are one.  The fact that you challenge me to a sort of "duel" here, based on knowledge of what a "good audio system" is, is more indication of same.  

 

Obviously I'm referring to a type of audio snobbishness.  A deep and abiding fascination with an elusive, and mostly illusory quality of sound that is beyond the ability of most human ears to discern.  

Do you know why musicians prefer one brand/model instrument over another?  it's the way they sound and/or play.  Let's take a concert grand piano.  There are about a dozen top mfg of concert grand pianos that cost around $120K+.  Do you not think that a concert pianist that's been studying and playing music for most fo their lives that plays in concert halls can tell the difference between one and another?  YES, they can.  they can tell if the thing is out of tune in 2 seconds.   Well, consider this, there are recording techniques and equipment that can record them better than ever before and sound systems that can reproduce these subtle differences amongst the best trained musicians where they can tell what instrument the person is using.  The average person can't tell.

 

This all comes from ear training, there is no other way to do other than spending time in that area of expertise to study what can reproduce acoustic instruments to the point where a well trained listener can tell the difference.  To some people, they can and are getting better at it.

 

If you want to put them down for it or them having the money to spend on a high quality system, then YOU are the one with a problem.

 

We can only do what our pocket books and other means allows us to do in order to have a better listening experience. If that's not your bag, then don't act like an immature child about it.  Grow up.

 

Maybe you've never experienced good audio.  Too bad.  I have.  It's a different experience to be in a good concert hall with highly trained musicians and to be able to achieve something even remotely close to that in the home is what SOME of us desire and we do what we can justify within our budget to achieve that.

 

So instead of calling people names, maybe you should spend an afternoon taking your favorite CD into a high end audiophile store and asking the sales person NICELY to listen to your CD on a variety of systems to maybe hear what you are missing.  If the CD was well recorded in the first place and not a bunch of rap/heavy metal BS, then maybe you'll walk out of the store thinking differently.  I don't know what you are used to listening to since you won't talk about it.  But a couple of hours in an audiophile store and really taking some time to LISTEN might change your mind.  Sure, there are a lot of things I wouldn't spend my money on, even if I did have the means, but there things that I would and I wouldn't hesitate spending the money to get better audio, but there are the laws of diminishing returns.  At the end of the day, if you don't listen to your sound system because you don't like the way it sounds, then it's obviously not doing its job.

post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

If the term "audiophile weenie" confuses or disturbs you, then you probably are one.  The fact that you challenge me to a sort of "duel" here, based on knowledge of what a "good audio system" is, is more indication of same.  

 

Obviously I'm referring to a type of audio snobbishness.  A deep and abiding fascination with an elusive, and mostly illusory quality of sound that is beyond the ability of most human ears to discern.  

There was a real world study where they took a number of concert pianos played by highly trained pianist in a pristine concert hall and they had a stereo system that played back a recording of one of the instruments being played in the same room and they had trained listeners that couldn't tell the difference BLINDFOLDED.  If someone can't tell the difference then that indicates that they achieved what has been illusive all of these years, which means that those types of systems will play exactly what's being fed into them without modifying the content.   Then it boils down to the listening room and content.  But there are several mfg working on room correction technology which eliminates most of the problems with the room.  Obviously, it's best to at least have SOME idea of room acoustics, and then it's a matter of how good the recording is to begin with.  But the ultimate goal is getting this level of perfection and then working on getting the price tag more affordable.

 

Yeah, it's expensive, but they are getting pretty damn close, which is all one can ask for.

 

For those listening to digital content, the two biggest players in this area is Meridian and Steinway/Lyngdorf.  So it depends on what the room size is, which system they are using and they are both getting pretty damn close to as REAL as one can get for playing back digital content where the sound system isn't the factor.

 

Their biggest obstacle is getting that great audio sound from a several hundred thousand dollar system down to something that is more affordable, but each year they get a little closer to doing that.

post #30 of 47
I think you just proved his point.
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Except that the "wireless" speaker will still be plugged into the wall (ignoring cheapo battery powered speakers), so Airport Express doesn't make it any less convenient.

 

One wire from a speaker into a socket, verses an AE (now with its annoying non-plug design) plus the additional 2 wires and 2 speakers is too messy for my tastes.

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post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frac View Post

I think you just proved his point.

And you proved mine.

 

in order to fill a huge concert hall takes the larger $150K to $200K stereo to be able to recreate a playback system so it can be almost impossible for a trained musician to be able to tell the difference between a recording and a live performance.

 

What they are doing is bringing that same technology down to a point where it costs $20K or less to fill one's den, bedroom, family room, etc.  Does everyone have $20K for a stereo? No.  But are there plenty of people that do? YUP.  Keeps these guys in business.


They are trying to bring that same technology down even further to less than $10K and even less than $5K to be able to create those sonic levels only in a small room.  Obviously, a room will get too small to hear much below 35hz, which is why they produce smaller systems that go down far enough where it covers most of the hearing range that's capable for a small room, but they are managing to do this and be affordable for more people.  Some people have the room, have the money and have the desire to do that. 

 

The lower the price gets, the more people can afford it.   Meridian's F80/M80 was as close to this level as anyone has achieved in something that was selling for about $3K and they sold quite a bit of them, then actually started selling them, brand new, for about $2K as they were blowing out inventory since they are supposed to be preparing a newer model, what it's going to have no one knows yet.  But they are supposed to be working on a AirPort ready version.  Hopefully they'll have it out next year and I will guarantee you that it will compete with systems costing much more than that and they will sell a LOT of them, since spending $3K on a stereo is far more affordable than $150K+.

 

But to think that you can't the difference between something like that a $300 boom box from any of the others would be absolutely ridiculous to suggest.

 

 

If you want to be ignorant to what good audio can sound like, then that's your loss.


If ignorance is bliss, you must be VERY blissful.

 

It's what is called a passion.  If you don't have any passions in life, you kind of miss out on a lot of things


Edited by drblank - 8/31/13 at 7:19pm
post #33 of 47
Some of you take things too seriously.

Anyway, this is one of those areas where Apple should have a product for reference and to show off.

Because of Android devices and huge difference on numbers, iOS accesories aren't as good as they could be, because a bigger audience is desirable, obviously.

In the end, it's Apple's fault. They need more market share to keep iOS worth of standalone accesories. I hope de 5c does it.

Because most OEMs are useless trash, Android as a whole suffers and areas like these are becoming stale, to keep Android as a valid userbase. It wouldn't be a problem for iOS users if Apple had more market share.
Edited by pedromartins - 9/1/13 at 2:55am
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Some of you take things too seriously.

Anyway, this is one of those areas where Apple should have a product for reference and to show off.

Because of Android devices and huge difference on numbers, iOS accesories aren't as good as they could be, because a bigger audience is desirable, obviously.

In the end, it's Apple's fault. They need more market share to keep iOS worth of standalone accesories. I hope de 5c does it.

Android users don't buy expensive things to go along with their Android toys.  Android lacks a LOT in the audio arena.  Go try to find a 48 track DAW recorder s/w that can record up to 24 channels and mix up to 48 channels with professional grade plug-ins.  Sorry, it doesn't exist.  If you look at the music creation and production software that the professionals are using, Android OS based products are so hard to find, it's not even worth discussing.  A lot has to do with how Apple has Audio Core as part of the OS, Android doesn't have this in their OS.


In terms of audio playback, Apple did have something a long time ago shortly after the iPods came out, but they discontinued it due to the number of 3rd party audio systems that started arriving on the market.  There is a proliferation of AirPlay enabled products from small compact speakers to even traditional home theater receivers.

 

Apple is not an audio company, they are computing device and software company.  In order to do a really good job in audio, they would have to do something to please an audience that already buys things ranging from Bose, B&W, Arcam, JBL, Geneva, and God knows who else.  Audio isn't as tied to a specific OS or device unless they want it to. Some do design their products SPECIFICALLY for the Apple market and some will work with any computing device whether it's Apple, Windows, LInux, or Android.  

 

Apple knows that the audio end of things is just too competitive and they don't have the expertise that can compare with the high end and it's a very personal thing that people would much rather prefer sticking with companies that are audio companies rather than a non-audio company.

 

Apple doesn't need more market share to justify more iOS third party products.  That's a crock of BS.  They have hundreds of millions of users of iOS devices.  That's PLENTY for many companies to come out with products.  When a company produces an audio playback product like the Geneva Labs products, they can sell 50,000 units and make decent money. These companies sometimes tend to be small companies where 50,000 to 100,000 units of one product is a lot to sell in the course of a few years while it's on the market.

 

How could Apple make a playback speaker that's any better than what's currently already on the market?  They don't have audio guys that know how to custom design DACs, speakers, etc.  They would have to spend millions of dollars and they would have to attract top people from the top companies to jump ship and a lot of these guys simply aren't available.  They like where they work and they can STILL cater to the Apple market if they chose too, but they will typically make something that either Apple specific to capitalize on the branding of iOS devices, OR they'll make it so it works with ANYTHING ranging from Macs, PCs, Linux, iOS, Android, etc. depending on the product they are creating.

 

I personally think that the industry is trying to figure out what people want, what price points they will pay, what they want it to look like, etc. and it's a moving target to figure out.  B&W has plenty of speaker systems to choose from, which normally didn't go after that market, but they did after the iPod came out and they sell well, but for B&W, they basically attract new buyers to their more expensive systems which they are ALSO interested in selling.  Before they came out with their iPod/computer speaker systems, they weren't exactly a household name, now they are for anyone that buys an Apple product.  Martin Logan might be another player to come out with THEIR small portable speaker design as well as having their sound bar system that may eventually get a Wireless addition on a new product, which seems to be a trend.

 

Again, Apple has FAR more third party products whether it be s/w or h/w for iOS devices than Android and it has to do with Apple attracts people that have more money and spend more money on things, plus they have a LOT more consistency with their design.  They kind of threw people for a loop going from the 30 Pin connector to Lightning but I think there will be more Lightning based products coming out as Apple transitions away from the 30 pin products.

post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Android users don't buy expensive things to go along with their Android toys.

I don't have the knowledge to challenge what else you wrote but let me tell you that this is a lie.

Which Android users? The 50 million that each quarter buy an equally expensive android device because Apple doesn't provide an offering with a bigger screen? (Galaxy s, note, htc one, xperia z, moto x and droid, lg g, etc)

Or the 80 million per quarter that buy mid range android devices because Apple is the only company that is so stupid that they can't make one unless it is 3 year old hardware, no more OS updates and 50% margins?

That was my point. See the forest. iOS is losing relevance to Android and accesories like these prove it.
post #36 of 47
Apple used to make a portable speaker (iFi) and the sound blew away any other portable device. It sold for around $400. It still sounds better than most, until you get up past the $600 mark.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frac View Post

I think you just proved his point.
That's how it struck me too. But I do appreciate DrB's thoughts on the matter.
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post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post


I don't have the knowledge to challenge what else you wrote but let me tell you that this is a lie.

Which Android users? The 50 million that each quarter buy an equally expensive android device because Apple doesn't provide an offering with a bigger screen? (Galaxy s, note, htc one, xperia z, moto x and droid, lg g, etc)

Or the 80 million per quarter that buy mid range android devices because Apple is the only company that is so stupid that they can't make one unless it is 3 year old hardware, no more OS updates and 50% margins?

That was my point. See the forest. iOS is losing relevance to Android and accesories like these prove it.

 

Maybe you aren't looking at what is REALLY available for iOS devices.  I see mostly audio products that are either design for anything, and then there are those are designed specifically for iOS devices.  I've never seen any Android only devices and for a platform to have as market share as it does, that's what I look at.  

 

Maybe you see it more in your country, but I don't see it in my country (USA), so it might be perception.

 

Do you constantly read up on what audio products are on the market?  Do you know how many brands of products are actually out there?

B&W, B&O, JBL, Genesis Labs, Meridian (they have an iPad app to drive their media server),  McIntosh Labs, Krell, and pretty every other audio related mfg, or home automation companies like Control 4, Savant (Apple only), Crestron, etc. are implementing more iOS controlled systems than Android.  Trust me, they are the most popular used control devices that's replacing the Windows based control units. If you look and survey that industry, you will find more products dedicated to iOS and pretty much NONE that are Android only based products.

Go out and look at the products that are on the market for audio systems.  Go to different web sites.  I do this routinely as I keep up to date on what's coming out.

 

BTW, I've known about the Geneva Labs S model a LONG time ago, it's not a new product, it's actually been on the market for a while. It's been on the market since 2009/2010 I believe is when it was actually first released.  Obviously, AI just got the memo.

 

I also that since Apple is moving towards the Lightning connector AND 802.11ac is getting implemented now, that these companies are kind of waiting to release their new products and we'll probably see a lot of stuff at CES in Jan.  Just my gut feeling.

 

The audio industry doesn't replace their existing models each year like Apple.  When a company makes a product in the audio industry, they usually have them on the market for about 5 years before they replace it with a new model.

 

If you survey the music creation/production related sites like Sweetwater Sound, Musician's Friend, Guitar Center, they have an IOS section dedicated to those devices in terms of 3rd party products h/w related.  They don't have dedicated sections for Android.  in the music creation/production industry, one would think that Android products don't exist. These sites cater to musicians and people in the music production industry that sell recording and PA products.  MOre and more IOS ONLY products (s/w and h/w) are coming out and there is pretty much NO Android only products.

 

In terms of market share?  Apple only releases new products once a year, whereas Android products are released monthly due to so many mfg spitting out products all of the time, so you're perception is different.  maybe it's your country doesn't get a lot of 3rd party products since it's a small country.

 

But Apple does gather 75% of the market in terms of PROFITS.  They are selling, on average, more expensive products where there are actual profits rather than selling products with little or no margin.  Even Samsung had mentioned recently that they plan on spitting out DIRT cheap tablets to try to gain market share away from Apple.  That just tells me that they are desperate for sales and that will erode their margins.  Cheap electronics devices end up being throw away products since they are cheap and cheaply made devices going to people with no money that don't really use them.

 

The thing about certain types of hardware makers can make docking solutions whether it's a Mackie 16 channel mixing console, to a case, to a wall mount, Apple products keep their form factor so these guys can make products easier that will adapt to Apple products much easier.  NOT all Android devices have similar case designs, so it's a LOT harder to keep up in that area.  IF one makes a docking station, it usually works with both iPod touches and iPhones, plus it's easier to make a case for iPads that fits multiple models of the iPad 1, 2, 3.  The 4 is kind of new, but 3rd party cases are out there for that model. 

 

Go research the products by the more expensive brands and that will tell you what wealthy people are buying.  That's where the MONEY is. It's not uncommon to go to a large, more expensive home and see many HD TVs, a home theater room, a home automation system and if the famliy has a number of kids, they ALL have iPhones, iPads, etc.  That's VERY common.  THey are more likely going to spend more money on things like this.  

post #39 of 47
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post
Because of Android devices and huge difference on numbers, iOS accesories aren't as good as they could be, because a bigger audience is desirable, obviously.

 

I've not really seen that at all.


In the end, it's Apple's fault. They need more market share to keep iOS worth of standalone accesories. I hope de 5c does it.

 

90%, 70%, 33%, for iPad, iPod, and iPhone, respectively. They don't need more marketshare.

 

Originally Posted by Stourque View Post
Apple used to make a portable speaker (iFi) and the sound blew away any other portable device.

 

You mean the iPod Hi-Fi? Wish they'd bring something like that back.

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post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


That's how it struck me too. But I do appreciate DrB's thoughts on the matter.

Think of Audiophile people much like Apple users,  They get hardcore about it, it's a passion and it's a small sub section of the population   Yeah, there are less audiophiles out there, but it is a group that SPENDS MONEY.  We also like to be cutting edge and are rarely satisfied with mediocre products. The thing is, unless you've heard a nice high end audio system, you don't know what they sound like.  If done properly, it's can be a very satisfying experience.  Especially if you like good music and be able to hear it like the musicians were in your home performing. These systems are getting that good.  But, if that's not your bag, that's your loss.

 

One thing to always keep in the back of your mind.  If you don't know much about a subject because you're not involved with that industry, keep your mouth shut.  It's like ANY industry.  Bicycles, Motorcycles, cars, boats, audio equipment, video equipment, musical instruments, furniture, home appliances, clothes, 

 

There is always going to be a small group of people that are INTO those industries either because it's their job/career, or a hobby.  

 

Are you going to tell someone that is INTO something that they are stupid for wasting money on it because you aren't into the same thing or you don't have the money?

 

I don't always buy expensive audio products because sometimes I simply can't afford what I want, but that doesn't mean I'm going to put someone down that can.  But when I buy something, I would like to be INFORMED about what's out on the market and I will spend a little more if I can justify the purchase.

 

I also survey the used Audio sites since sometimes there are some great deals out there, but you have to know what you are getting involved in.  90% of my home theater system I bought used.  Most of it was in MINT condition with original boxes as people that buy expensive home audio keep their equipment in perfect condition and they don't hold their resale value.  So instead of spending $13K on pair of brand new powered speakers, I'll spend $4K, and they've worked great.  I've had that same pair of speakers for over 10 years now and they STILL sound better than any BRAND new powered speaker costing the same amount of money.

 

But at least I like to be kept up date with the latest trends in that industry.  It's very interesting to me.  It's a hobby of mine. Going out and buying an audio system is very intimidating, even for experienced people since there are a ton of products to choose from and people don't want to make a bad decison when they buy something.  But if I keep myself up to date, then it makes it a LOT easier.

 

If you aren't into good audio, that's fine, but just don't be an A-hole about it.

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