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The Complete Guide to High-End Audio / Edition 4

The Complete Guide to High-End Audio / Edition 4

3.0 2
by Robert Harley

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ISBN-10: 0978649311

ISBN-13: 9780978649319

Pub. Date: 10/01/2010

Publisher: Acapella Publishing

Robert Harley, Editor-in-Chief of The Absolute Sound and The Perfect Vision magazines, tells you everything you need to know to become a better listener and better buyer of quality high-fidelity components. With this book you will discover how to get the best sound for your money; how to identify the weak links in your system and upgrade where it will do the most good


Robert Harley, Editor-in-Chief of The Absolute Sound and The Perfect Vision magazines, tells you everything you need to know to become a better listener and better buyer of quality high-fidelity components. With this book you will discover how to get the best sound for your money; how to identify the weak links in your system and upgrade where it will do the most good; how to setup and tweak your system to get maximum performance from equipment you already own; and, most of all, how to become a more perceptive and appreciative listener. This book makes hi-fi more fun! Widely acknowledged as the reference on high-quality music reproduction with more than 100,000 copies sold in four languages, The Complete Guide to High-End Audio has been newly expanded, revised, and updated to cover the latest developments in high-end audio. New sections include: high-resolution digital audio; SACD and DVD-Audio; multichannel audio; how to integrate home theater into a high-performance music system; more system setup secrets; the latest developments in audio technology -- and more!

Product Details

Acapella Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
Fourth Edition, Fourth edition
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 11.70(h) x 1.28(d)

Table of Contents

About the Authorxx
1What is High-End Audio?1
2Choosing a High-End Audio System7
Setting Your Budget9
The Complete vs. the Incremental Purchase10
Choosing the System Best Suited to Your Needs12
Allocating Your Budget to Specific Components14
Upgrading a Single Component18
How to Read Magazine Reviews19
System Matching23
Do's and Don'ts of Selecting Components24
Your Relationship with the Retailer26
Used Equipment29
Product Upgrades30
Setting Up Your System for the Best Sound30
Component Selection Summary32
3Becoming a Better Listener33
Audiophile Values36
Pitfalls of Becoming a Critical Listener39
Sonic Descriptions and their Meanings40
Critical Listening Setup Procedures63
Recommended Recordings66
Single-Presentation Listening--What It's All About69
Critical Listening Summary70
Level Matching71
4How to Get the Best Sound from Your Room73
Loudspeaker Placement74
Common Room Problems and How to Treat Them92
Acoustical Do's and Don'ts104
A Short Course in Acoustical Theory105
Building a Listening Room from Scratch118
DSP Room Correction123
A Survey of Acoustical Treatments127
How to Choose a Preamplifier133
What to Listen For136
Tubes vs. Transistors139
The Line-Stage Preamplifier142
The Phono-Stage Preamplifier143
The Digital Preamplifier147
Audio/Video Controllers and Multichannel Preamplifier148
Passive Level Controls: Are They Right for Your System?149
How a Preamplifier Works150
6Power and Integrated Amplifiers155
How to Choose a Power Amplifier156
Other Power-Amplifier Considerations167
What to Listen For171
A Survey of Amplifier Types174
How a Power Amplifier Works181
How to Choose a Loudspeaker194
What to Listen For199
Loudspeaker Types and How They Work201
The Dipolar Radiation Patterns of Ribbons and Electrostatics215
Loudspeaker Enclosures216
Powered and Servo-Driven Woofers226
Enclosure Resonances228
Digital Loudspeakers236
Loudspeaker Stands243
8Digital Source Components245
How to Choose a Digital Source247
What to Listen For248
State-of-the-Art CD Playback: Dedicated CD Players and Separate Transports and Processors252
Why 44.1kHz Sampling and 16-bit Quantization Aren't Enough255
High-Resolution Digital Audio: SACD and DVD-Audio258
Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD)261
Universal Players271
Digital-Audio Servers274
The Digital Transport277
The Digital Processor280
Balanced Outputs: Why They're Not All Created Equal282
The S/PDIF Digital Interface285
High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD)293
Digital Recording Formats: CD Recordable, MiniDisc, and MP3296
How a Digital Processor Works299
How a CD Transport Works307
How the S/PDIF Interface Works311
9Turntables, Tonearms, and Cartridges: The LP Playback System313
System Hierarchy: Why the LP Front End Is So Important314
How to Choose an LP Playback System315
What to Listen For317
Technical Aspects of Choosing an LP Front End320
The Turntable322
The Tonearm331
The Phono Cartridge334
LP Playback System Setup339
10FM Tuners and Digital Audio Radio343
How to Choose a Tuner344
What to Listen For347
Tuner Specifications and Measurements348
Digital Audio Radio Service: XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio350
Radio Data System (RDS)352
11Cables and Interconnects353
How to Choose Cables and Interconnects355
How Much Should You Spend on Cables and Interconnects?357
What to Listen For358
Binding Posts and Cable Terminations360
Bi-Wired Loudspeaker Cables361
Balanced and Unbalanced Lines363
Digital Interconnects367
Cable and Interconnect Construction367
Terminated Cables and Interconnects371
Battery Bias in Cables and Interconnects372
Cable and Interconnect Specifications373
Cables in the Power Amplifier/Loudspeaker Interface374
Getting the Best Sound from Cables and Interconnects375
12High-End Audio Accessories377
How to Choose Accessories377
Stands and Racks378
Accessories to Isolate and Control Vibration: Spikes, Feet, and Cones380
AC Power Conditioners382
CD Treatments386
Portable Audio387
Binaural Recordings389
Cassette Decks390
Other Accessories393
Voodoo Accessories and the Lunatic Fringe398
13Audio for Home Theater399
Overview of Home-Theater Systems401
Home-Theater Controllers404
Multichannel Power Amplifiers413
Loudspeakers for Home Theater415
Setting up a Home Theater421
Adding Home Theater without Compromising Music Performance428
14Multichannel Audio431
A Short History of Multichannel Audio431
Do We Want Multichannel Music Playback?434
How to Get Multichannel Audio in Your Home440
Multichannel Playback from 2-Channel Sources445
15Specifications and Measurements451
Preamplifier Specifications and Measurements451
Power Amplifier Specifications and Measurements456
Loudspeaker Specifications and Measurements460
Digital Specifications and Measurements468
Appendix ASound and Hearing479
Introduction: What is Sound?479
The Decibel (dB)489
Frequency, Loudness, and Equal Loudness Contours492
The Dynamic Nature of Music494
Other Psychoacoustic Phenomena496
Appendix BAudio and Electronics Basics499
Voltage, Current, Resistance, and Power499
Alternating Current (AC)505
Electromagnetic Induction, Inductance, and Capacitance506
Anatomy of an Audio Product515
Digital Electronics527
Appendix CDigital Audio Basics529
Binary Number System530
Sampling and Quantization532
Digital Audio Storage540
Digital-to-Analog Conversion543
Jitter Explained543
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)547
Perceptual Coding548
Appendix DThe Role of Critical Listening in Evaluating Audio Equipment Quality551

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The Complete Guide to High-End Audio 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd be hard pressed to recommend this book to a beginning audiophile.  There's too much misinformation, e.g., that cables need to be "broken in", or that they make any difference at all in an audio system.  The coverage of the topic is broad, and there's lots of good technical information, but there's a lot of mythology and subjective twaddle mixed in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago