The Complete Guide to High-End Audio

The Complete Guide to High-End Audio

by Robert Harley, Keith Jarrett
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Complete Guide to High-End Audio 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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...
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.