Has anyone read the recently released book entitled The Perfect Sound, by Garrett Hongo?
I will not call it a great book - I actually found it quite pedantic and narcissistic in many places, but it might hold interest for some of the folks on this board because it chronicles a man’s quest for the “perfect” audiophile stereo system.
He really only pursues tube amplification, and perhaps there is a larger debate to be had about that (although Naim owners clearly don’t feel that tube amplification is the only way to go), but it also occurred to me in reading the book that he spent years and years on obsessive trial-and-error when it is probably the case that one could also just pick a brand (say, Naim, or, if you want to go for tube amplification, perhaps McIntosh or another well-known brand) and do pretty well right out of the gate.
So many of the problems he discusses in putting together a nice system, including clipping, blowing up tubes, mismatched impedance, etc., seem to be nonexistent on these threads, and of course there are some completely audio-obsessed folks chiming in. Frankly, as a relatively experienced musician and a lifelong music lover, I think I have a fairly discriminating ear, and my entry-level Nova+Kanta No. 2 rig sounds fantastic.
If anyone has read the book and understands the types of systems he is putting together:
Does Naim just make it easy to achieve fantastic sound by doing most of the work for us in putting together well-matched components?
Are Naim buyers just operating at a higher price point than he was/is, similar to Porsche owners wondering why someone would spend all kinds of time and effort trying to get extra horsepower out of a Honda Civic? In other words, does the Naim price point simply allow one to avoid all of the trial-and-error?
Is there really something more to be gained (aside from the hobbyist’s joy in cobbling things together, which I totally get) in terms of sound quality from obsessively swapping out components from different brands? I mean, I would think if I dropped $500,000 on a full-blown Naim Statement setup with top-notch Focal speakers there wouldn’t be much more I could do. Even for those of us (me included) who can’t afford that, it seems that people around here are pretty happy with their 250DR-level setups paired with quality speakers from Harbeth, ATC, Focal, Dynaudio, Sonus Faber or the like.
Is there really that much trial-and-error these days? He started his hobby many years ago. Have things become much more standardized and predictable in the audiophile space? I know folks on these boards do a lot of talking about cables, DACs and speakers, but it is a pretty narrow range of brands and even products that seem to get the best reviews.
As someone who is just starting out on this journey, I was simply exhausted thinking about how hard the author worked to put together something that, I suspect, couldn’t sound that much better than some Naim separates (if it sounded better at all). I think my next step is simple: Supernait 3 and NDX 2 with the separate power supply, into my Kanta No. 2s. Maybe upgrade my Rega turntable. Will I ever need to go higher than that? Who knows, but I certainly won’t have to worry about blowing up an amplifier by mixing and matching components from all over the planet.
Anyway, perspectives would be appreciated.