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Thread: Hi-Fi Bling

  1. #1
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Hi-Fi Bling

    I am not generally a fan of bling in Hi-Fi or in general.
    MBL produce some very fine pieces of gear and impressive sounding speakers, but their aesthetics are a bit much for my taste.

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  2. #2
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    But this type of bling is pretty cool in an uber clean steam punk sort of way.


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  3. #3
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    ...and there is even a built in crossover to allow biamping!


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    Senior Member srm51555's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. For the steam punk unit, I do like the volume gears idea and it does have a couple nice features we could use.

    Thanks,
    Scott

  5. #5
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    HiFi Rose RA180 integrated amplifier - just Wow!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tPp_JZRt08

    and

    https://eng.hifirose.com/RA180
    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11,Jolida 502,Valencias,JBL L212,Von Schw
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

  6. #6
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    HiFi Rose RA180 integrated amplifier - just Wow!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tPp_JZRt08

    and

    https://eng.hifirose.com/RA180
    Just wow is right!

    Personally I doubt I would buy it even if I had a need for an expensive integrated amp, but I applaud the audaciousness of the retro design.
    That YouTube video is hilarious... it sounds like it was written and performed by AI.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Classic vs Timeless

    When I was in film classes in the late 1960s, the unobtainably expensive (for an art school student) Nagra III off site tape recorder dazzled me with its goof-proof, spartan controls and workmanlike aesthetic. One may not need a professional audio unit that you can work with Winter gloves on, but the idea of it still turns me on. On location it was frequently used hanging from a shoulder strap.

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    Nowadays nothing pleases me more than Nelson Pass's First Watt units' minimalist appearances. The "B" unit controllers like this B1 Buffer Preamp are as simple a box as possible; they all look more or less identical. A brief explanation, the volume control is an active buffer circuit and the tiny switch selects between sources. Impedance is matched and THD is .0007. Leaving nothing to chance, Nelson shipped it with a hospital grade power supply.

    The power amplifiers are designed inside and out to passively facilitate a constant and specific temperature for the class A circuits. They are as simple inside as they are outside, and all to an engineering end. A few markings are printed slightly differently from unit to unit but they pretty much all look alike. Well, some are black and some are silver.
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    In a nutshell, one thing has not changed. I prefer the design work be left in the hands of the engineers. JBL always bugged me by hiring designers. If I wanted furniture I would have shopped for furniture. The Paragon (Ranger) with its little Swedish Modern feet gave me a facepalm. Or am I thinking of another 50s/60s JBL furniture piece like the C38? Just give me the 4345. Rant...fume...
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


  8. #8
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    In a nutshell, one thing has not changed. I prefer the design work be left in the hands of the engineers. JBL always bugged me by hiring designers. If I wanted furniture I would have shopped for furniture. The Paragon (Ranger) with its little Swedish Modern feet gave me a facepalm. Or am I thinking of another 50s/60s JBL furniture piece like the C38? Just give me the 4345. Rant...fume...
    I would submit your preference is a minority viewpoint, not unique, but not one held by most of us.

    FWIW: Even the 4345 has a fair amount of industrial design in evidence.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    I would submit your preference is a minority viewpoint, not unique, but not one held by most of us.

    FWIW: Even the 4345 has a fair amount of industrial design in evidence.


    Widget
    Of course I am an outlier in this opinion. It increased in intensity over the decades as I was bombarded with endless admirations for what audio equipment looked like. Another tiresome influence were the frequent WAF mentions. While I understand not wanting to sleep on the couch, it also serves as an excuse of sorts. "But they HAVE to look like furniture." Myself, I do genuinely prefer the visible engineering to the furniture factor pretty much every time, so at least I'm being honest. With electronics, my biggest objection over the years was the artist in me feeling the changes beyond the plain case making things worse. POOR design in bad taste.

    As to the 4345s, When the grille is on - the way I played them BTW, multiple cats here - little design of any sort is visible. I always figured it was an afterthought for JBL in this case anyway, as they were designed to be pro, not home gear and soffit mounted to boot. It makes perfect sense to me why a lovely very expensive Revel needs to look so pretty. They are sold to reside visibly in luxury homes surrounded by very expensive furnishings.

    Sometimes I didn't mind if the design was a very practical solution to the problem. The original 250Ti comes to mind. Plus that speaker actually is an attractive, elegant design while not being a look forced onto an existing engineered solution.

    In any case as I now much prefer personal listening, one refreshing thing is that while fashion and visibles seem to rule in the headphone world few care what an in ear monitor looks like. At least I hope so.
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


  10. #10
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    Of course I am an outlier...
    As someone who has had a lifelong love of design, received a BS in industrial design, and worked in the field for many years you can understand why I would be coming from the opposite direction.

    I agree with you that the purposeful design of the 43XX series is very appealing. The front edge molding detail on the walnut versions, the inset of the grilles, the deep blue cloth contrasting with the natural oiled walnut are all design choices that give the speaker an elegant look. On the 4350, the visual balancing of the two grilles breaks the negative space of an otherwise mass of blue in a most pleasing way... these are all elements of industrial design.

    On the other hand, I am not a fan of the aesthetic of the L250 and its subsequent variants. Not a fan of the Metregon either... but most of the rest of the aesthetic designs that have come from JBL I quite like. Some are kind of goofy, but the Bel-Aire, the Harlan, the original L88, and yes the Paragon are some of my personal favorites.

    Of the designs you posted, I quite like the Nagra, and while I really appreciate what Nelson is doing with his First Watt line, I would find a nice cool dark place to hide them if they were a part of one of my systems.

    A number of years ago I bought a Nakamichi 700 just as industrial design sculpture.


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  11. #11
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    I was always liked both the Nakamichi racks and the SAE in black.

    Rob
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    As someone who has had a lifelong love of design, received a BS in industrial design, and worked in the field for many years you can understand why I would be coming from the opposite direction.

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    My favorite industrial designer with my favorite design of his, Raymond Lowey with his GG1. Worth seeing twice! This I have seen in person.
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    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


  13. #13
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Ah yes, the self proclaimed father of "streamlining". His office absolutely did some outstanding work.

    When I was in school I had teachers who had worked in the Lowe office. They didn't appreciate Raymond Lowe's insistence that no one but Lowe could sign any of their drawings or claim any of the design credit... he was considered brilliant at self promotion, but not necessarily the most gifted designer. I always felt that while he may not have originated some of the amazing work that his office produced, ultimately he was the gatekeeper. He definitely had an eye and a vision.

    I like this earlier steam engine that his office designed even more than that streamlined electric locomotive. It is crazy over the top, but screams progress!


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  14. #14
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606 View Post
    I was always liked both the Nakamichi racks and the SAE in black.

    Rob
    Yes! Back in the day those black racks of gear were stunning.

    Interestingly though over time I have gravitated towards the earlier champagne colored SAE look. Not sure why, but the allure of the techno looking all black gear while still gorgeous, is not as appealing to me these days as the earlier more analog aesthetic.


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  15. #15
    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Art Deco

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Ah yes, the self proclaimed father of "streamlining". His office absolutely did some outstanding work.

    When I was in school I had teachers who had worked in the Lowe office. They didn't appreciate Raymond Lowe's insistence that no one but Lowe could sign any of their drawings or claim any of the design credit... he was considered brilliant at self promotion, but not necessarily the most gifted designer. I always felt that while he may not have originated some of the amazing work that his office produced, ultimately he was the gatekeeper. He definitely had an eye and a vision.

    I like this earlier steam engine that his office designed even more than that streamlined electric locomotive. It is crazy over the top, but screams progress!


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    I appreciate your information putting Raymond's design acumen in perspective. Art Deco may be my favorite historic design style. The elevator lobby of the Empire State Building should be in an art museum.The Chrysler lobby maybe even more so.

    Deco influence has not been common in audio equipment, but Moth Audio gave it a good try in both electronics and speakers. Eddie Current amps had a more basic 1930s vibe, a look I suspect many would like.

    https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=Moth+audio&iax=images&ia=images

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Eddie+Curr...ages&ia=images
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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