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The Complete Guide to High-End Audio Paperback – Apr 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Acapella Publishing; Third edition edition (April 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964084961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964084964
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 16.9 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #756,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Koko the Talking Ape on Sept. 24 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of the very few books I have ever returned to the bookstore (and I have bought thousands of books.)
Why don't I like this book?
1) It contains many, many, factual errors. These errors would be easily spotted by any freshman physics student, and should have been spotted by the publisher. For example, the author Robert Harley apparently doesn't understand the difference between electrical current and voltage.
2) It doesn't actually explain things. To me, an explanation shows how something works in terms of basic principles. Mr. Harley simpley states "facts", e.g., an outboard D/A converter will improve your sound, without explaining how or why.
3) Many photos and diagrams have mistaken or even irrelevant captions, leading me to conclude that Mr. Harley doesn't understand his own diagrams. For example, a diagram of an amplifier that uses feedback is used to "illustrate" a point about amplifiers that don't use feedback.
This last is the most serious point to me, because it makes me suspect that much of the technical-looking stuff in the book is included to impress the reader, not to actually explain things. In other words, it creates the impression of dishonesty.
To the people who defend the book as not intended for technical readers, I say this: even a non-technical book should be written by someone who understand the technical issues, so he or she can explain things clearly and truthfully. If it turns out that the author doesn't know the technical stuff, why should we read the book?
I might add that Robert Harley has a very poor reputation among respected audio engineers and other commentators in the field. Some audio manufacturers (but not all) pander to him apparently because he edits a high-end audio magazine, and his reviews can make or break a product.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrew M. Ward on May 29 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is:
Almost what the High-End Audio industry needs
It's important for me that a book be written on the advantages of high-end audio. It's the business I'm in and it is dear to me on a personal level. There are many excellent portions and handy information pieces scattered about the book and that's the good news.
I will refrain from personalizing my complaints and stick to the issues as I see them. To write this book as the author, you should know Ohm's Law. Harley does not. This is made evident in several examples. Amperes, voltage and wattage are all part of a greater equation that appears to mystify the author. The basic laws of physics and simple electrical concepts need be firmly grasped prior to making an endeavor such as this. There are many elements of "Dark Science" in the high-end audio realm and a mystique that is largely relevant. This book does a strong job of handling that delicate balance between science and myth, that is so important to this industry. Along the way however it forgets to "check the science"
That's too bad, but not a total loss...
A serious explanation of negative feedback as used in power amplifiers would have been pretty easy to put down for the record. Most power amp manufactures have fascinating solutions to the problems associated with negative feedback. A breakdown of a few of the key developments in this area would have been excellent. An opportunity missed. Instead he uses an example of a negative feedback amplifier and calls it just the opposite! At that point in the book I admit I was a bit frustrated.
The good parts are many!
It's an enjoyable read when the author sticks to what he actually knows, acoustics and auditioning gear. I learned much and felt the key points were illustrated clearly and in the contexts of meaningful application. I am not saying "don't buy"
I guess I'm saying this book missed a huge opportunity simply by not getting some important parts right. That's all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written "manual" for those who love music and want to maximize the performance of their audio systems. No, Mr. Harley is not a physicist; you don't have to be to grasp what makes for great sound quality. So let's keep the book's stated purpose in focus here. It is not an electronics manual for audio engineering. It still does an admirable job explaining which specs to pay attention to when auditioning gear, and what the specs mean. Period. The author also does an excellent job at conveying his enthusiasm for high-fidelity music reproduction, and he gives useful tips on improving already-excellent audio systems. Highly recommended for those who are building their first hi-end system, but it's also suitable for those who want to get the most out of existing systems. I enjoyed it from the latter perspective, and also because I wanted to expand my knowledge of audio gear and how they work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
describes in total all you need to know about hight end audio, well covered explanations of principles of audio giving good explanations of the required audio devices of high end audio. This is not a shopping catalog but a reference for electronics technicians in the business.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Boris on Oct. 8 2002
Format: Paperback
First things first: This book is one of the most comprehensive books I've come across in regards to high-end audio and its in's and out's. It's helped me get the most out of my equipment, and the sound that comes out of my system is just incredible!
Now on to secondaries:
Q: Who should NOT buy this book?
A: Anyone who likes to bicker and get into some pee-ing contest over how they're so inclined on their technical knowledge of "physics" that they blatantly forget what this book is all about, namely high-end audio!
Q: Who SHOULD buy this book?
A: Anyone who appreciates music and the reproduction thereof from a stereo system.
It not only covers all aspects of components but also the intricacies of connecting them to each other. In fact, it contains quickly accessible information on how to improve your system's sound within a short period of time. It has helped me go from a great system with GOOD sound to a great system with GREAT sound just by adding an AC line conditioner, per the author's recommendation.
Overall evaluation: This guy (Harley) may NOT be a physics guru, but he surely knows his HIGH-END audio systems; hence, the book is entitled "The Complete Guide to High-End Audio" and NOT "The Complete Guide to Physics of High-End Audio."
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