The Complete Guide to High-End Audio

Overview

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 ...
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The Complete Guide to High-End Audio

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Overview

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!
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is one valuable book, rich in information and insight."  —High-End Magazine

"Before you make a mistake, buy Robert Harley's book."  —Stereophile magazine

"Its impressive breadth and depth make it a valuable guide to audio's gold mine. You'll learn valuable things from Harley's book, not just at first reading but as you come back to it over and over."  —International Audio Review

“The best book ever written about hi-fi. All your answers are here, written in the graceful, meticulous, easy-to-understand prose of a genuine master.” —Jonathan Valin, executive editor, the Absolute Sound

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780964084964
  • Publisher: Acapella Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 7.02 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Harley is the editor in chief of The Absolute Sound, the world's most respected magazine on high-performance audio. He is the author of Introductory Guide to High-Performance Audio Systems and Home Theater for Everyone and has written more than 1,000 product reviews and articles on high-quality music reproduction. He lives in Carlsbad, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
About the Author
Acknowledgments
1 What is High-end Audio? 1
2 Choosing a High-end Audio System 9
3 Becoming a Better Listener 33
4 How to Get the Best Sound from Your Room 69
5 Preamplifiers 109
6 Power Amplifiers 135
7 Loudspeakers 169
8 The Digital Front End: CD Players, Digital Processors, and CD Transports 217
9 Turntables, Tonearms, and Cartridges: The LP Playback System 265
10 Tuners 297
11 Cables and Interconnects 307
12 High-end Audio Accessories 329
13 Audio for Home Theater 345
Appendix A: Sound and Hearing 363
Appendix B: Audio and Electronics Basics 383
Appendix C: Digital Audio Basics 415
Bibliography 439
Index 441
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2000

    The Complete Guide To High End Audio...

    Most Audio Folk Travel To The Local Store And 'Shop' For Audio Gear...Some Attempt To Pick The Brain Of The First Available Salesman...Some Venture Further And Purchase Catalogues Promising The Most Accurate And Desired Articles...If You Are Anything Like Me, The Three Acts Seem To All Contradict One Another...The Salesman Never Really Tells You Which One Is Right For You, The Store Wants You To Buy The Most Expensive Stuff, And The Catalogues Just Say 'Please Call For Price'...Look No Further Audio Nuts...The Complete Guide To High End Audio Is The Answer You Seek...This Book Reveals The Secrets To Understanding Audio, And Thus What It Takes To Make Music Sound Better...In This, What Some Call 'The Bible Of Home Audio', You Will Discover What The Salesman At Fry's Or Circuit City Doesn't Know - How It Works...You Will Find Detailed Descriptions For How To Install Equipment Properly, And Why Do It That Way...You'll Find Out Answers To Questions Like, 'Just How Does A DVD Work', Or 'Why Does A CD Sound Better Than A Cassette?', And Even 'What's The Difference Between Power Amps?'...You Will Know Now Which One Is Right For You, And You Will Know That Sometimes Price Doesn't Justify The Performance...This Book Is A Great Source Of Technical Information, But Also Fun To Read...Arm Yourself With The Best Of All Weapons - Knowledge...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2000

    Essential reading for budding audiophiles

    Robert Harley has put together the most comprehensive explanation of high-end stereo equipment that I have seen. Be warned, this is neither light reading nor something that you can absorb in one sitting. However, it is packed with information, well written and ultimately very rewarding. I have read an article by another reviewer taking issue with some of Harley's assertions, and launching a very personal attack upon his credibility. But he is the only person in the American high end community that I know of, who has made the effort to distill his years of experience into a book like this. Too many others are content to remain in their elitist stratosphere, reviewing mega-dollar systems and picking away at each other for the title of top dog.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2007

    Unintentionally Hilarious

    Harley implies that, generally, the more you spend, the better the sound for amplifiers, CD players, and wires. Bull. Rigorous double-blind tests have consistently shown that much of what Harley advocates is nonsense. This book is filled with bad advice. Here is some of the idiocy. Flipping a two-pronged AC plug on a CD player or turntable may improve its sound. AC-power conditioners may improve the sound. Banana-plug terminations are sonically inferior to spade lugs. Liquids and coloured paints may improve the sound of CDs. A 'high-quality, properly set-up LP playback system, playing a record in good condition, will sound better than any CD.' Do not use fluorescent lighting in the listening room. 'Loudspeakers costing a little more than $2500 are often disproportionately better than those costing a little less than $2500.' 'The component may have a flat (accurate) measured treble response, but the distortions it introduces give the impression of too much treble.' And according to Harley, double-blind tests are fundamentally flawed. Yet if it suits his agenda, he is shameless in citing a positive result published in _Stereophile_--a joke magazine among audiophiles who refuse to listen to hype. I am not going to try to list all the stupid 'advice' Harley gives, but if one could somehow compile all the bogus audio information, myths, half-truths, hype, and lunacy, this book would be the result. Harley is part of the subjectivist school of high-end audio that is more interested in myth reinforcement than helping audiophiles obtain the best value for their money. Exacting double-blind tests have repeatedly shown that the audio variant of the placebo effect can trick audiophiles into believing that expensive components can sound better than inexpensive components and that worthless treatments and accessories can be effective. Harley is aware of this, but because it is convenient for him, he claims that the placebo effect does not apply to audio. He--again, no big surprise--provides not even the tiniest shred of evidence to support his preposterous claim. It is astounding how anyone can sleep well at night after writing this amazing garbage. On the back cover, there is a picture of Harley smiling. He must have been laughing at how he is going to bamboozle more unsuspecting audiophiles into spending more money than necessary. It is funny that Harley admonishes readers to be wary of disreputable audiophile magazines. 'The high-end product review is thus not only more honest, but much more discriminating in determining what is a worthy product.' Hilarious. If all you want is the best sound, then keep an open mind, be prepared for the possibility that your ego may receive some bruising, and do your homework. Avoid this book and, instead, go to truthful sources of information like the periodical _Sound and Vision_, The Audio Critic, the Boston Audio Society, Ian G. Masters, Tom Nousaine, and Ken Pohlmann. This is the worst book I read. Buy this book if you want a fairy tale and a good laugh. Otherwise, avoid it like VD.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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