Price-range: It’s the little things that make a (big) difference

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Since the NAD T747 receiver landed (not literally), there are a few things that I must note have changed about my system in general. And I’m talking about things sound-wise compared to when I was using the Sony STR-DH800 receiver. Price-wise they are different too when they were new. The Sony’s were about $500 new and these NAD were about $1299. It’s not too big a jump like when I tried the Bel Canto S300 amplifier about a year ago, which was about $3000 for the MSRP. I’ve realized a few things since then and I can tell you right now, what you pay is mostly what you get. In terms of MSRP and price-range. But even then not everything is created equal. There are better ones in the price range and whatnot, like every other product in the market. But in the different price ranges, you can assume more expensive means better sound quality, no doubt. In the case of the audio world, there are a few things that you can safely say about MSRP like that.

It is, in general worth it to pay for the higher price tag in terms of sound because of the factors that come into generating sound from electricity that makes it better when these “higher quality” parts come into play. This makes it such that for something like a $1299 receiver compared to a $500 receiver, you assume that the $1299 receiver will sound better as it is in a higher price-range than the $500 receiver.

To elaborate, as the title says, it’s the little things that make the “big” difference between the two. When I switched from the Sony STR-DH800 to the NAD T747, you can tell almost right away. You’ve probably heard me say it a lot here on the blog, but everything comes alive. Now, here is where I can explain what I mean by coming alive. For a $500 receiver the Sony is a bargain because it has a really good amp. It’s transparent and you can hear everything in the music. Everything is there. But that’s kind of it. You might feel that after awhile it’s lacking and you might need more. Because I did want more. Now comparing it to the T747, the sound is not dull. Yes, you realize the sound is dull in comparison. That’s how you can tell the amp is better in general, and what that the price-point of that product is way higher. Those little differences when comparing the two makes me realize that there are little qualities in both receivers’ amps that make the difference between making the music slightly dull or expressive.

To further elaborate, imagine you singing monotone vs you singing with the dynamics (aka singing with feel). Obviously you’ll like yourself singing with dynamics because it brings the music and the lyrics alive. That’s the same idea. You can still hear what the singer is singing and you can tell all the instruments are there, but it seems like they are a picture that is more vivid and real. For example, there is something that I refer to as the attack of a music. It’s like the beating of the drum set for example. In a “dull” condition the drum set in the music would sound like drum set just present and making sounds. In an “expressive” condition, what I mean is that in certain music where they sound engineer mixes it to, the sound of the drums is more vibrant. You can hear the and sometimes even feel the drums, if the song permits.

In a general sense everything is effortlessly better, there is more attack in the music, the stage to the music is clearer, easier to imagine and you can tell the difference better between the vocals and instruments better, as you go up in price. There are obviously variation within a price-range and that’s how you must mix and match with components in audio as certain characteristics don’t match each other. Everything I say is also assuming you have audio equipment such as speakers good enough to convey the prowess of the receiver, etc. But in this never-ending possibilities in the audio world, it’s a hobby that does have it’s satisfying moments.



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