The Law of Accelerating Returns

I totally agree this letter from the editor of A-S.

It makes sense if you have a $10,000 high quality integrated and stick a   $500.00 TT with a $300 phono section, a $400,00 Topping DAC and stream through your phone you will never know the real potential of the $10K integrated. And don't get me going on speakers. 

This article makes total sense but one must live within their means. 

No you do not have to spend a left lung for great sound but it all needs to be balanced. 



I agree with jerryg123. If you get 1 very good component and the rest are low fi, the system will only sound as good as the weakest component. I'm not saying that you have to spend $10k on every component, but if you get 1 very nice component, you should try to match that level of performance with every other component. 

As for price, you are not going to get top quality sound from a $500 tt or a $700 dac. $7k for a dac, $10k for a tt/cart/tonearm, now you are getting into good sounding gear.

The Op is right all piece of gear must be balanced with one another, sound quality design wise and price wise...

But my conviction and experience is that it is acoustic/psycho-acoustic science which can make the greatest differences...

You cannot undertstand and control timbre at will, nor imaging, nor soundstage, nor LAV/ASW factor ratio by BUYING and only upgrading piece of gear sorry...

You must learn how to listen first, and this is possible only by acoustic listening experiments...Hearing is not MOSTLY a question of taste and pure frequency detection, it is an acquired HABIT related to a complex object : the soundscape...And the soundscape is not reducible to only the audible linear range frequency concept, but is constituted by phase information , time factor and timing, timbre spectral envelope, timbre time envelope, head and torso factors, many reflected waves management and TWO direct fronwaves management etc We must learn HOW to feel these various objects/concepts in our body/room ...

After that, through listening experiments not only we had learn how to treat our room according classical balance between the various surface of reflection/absorption/diffusion in relation to the room particular geometry and acoustic content, but we begin to learn also how to adapt our room response to the speakers needs and response and not only the frequence response of the speaker to the room...Speakers/ room are in a mutual adaptative process guided by our ears needs...

It is a MUTUAL OPTIMIZATION process with not only passive material treatment but also mechanical tuning with Helmholtz devices and method, essentially resonators and pure diffusers too...

Personaly i even use psycho-acoustic law of the first frontwaves and acoustic crosstalk and acoustic crossfeed with mechanical devices of my own creation located at some spot around the " head" speaker and the "tail" speaker, in function of EACH OF MY EARS listening location which is the "belly" of the "serpent", which serpent is my grid of Helmholtz devices circling the room...( 100 homemade devices)

Then there is a law which is not " the diminishing return law" or his twin conplementary law " the accelerating returns law ", two laws which are something like different perspectives on the same pudding and are so called "laws" about the gear...

But there is an objective/subjective acoustical/psycho-acoustical OPTIMIZATION LAW process which ask for an increasing learning ability to hear using passive acoustical classical room treatment but more importantly the mechanical acoustical tuning with Helmholtz method all around the listening position and around the room ...

The more important fact in audio is not the gear but acoustic and our own ability to learn HOW to hear and WHAT to hear...

It is not the gear because it is now easy in a mature audio electronic market to buy "relatively" good gear at reasonable price all along the price scale...

It is less easy to Optimize the system/room... it is here that improvement may be astounding, and more than most upgrades... In my case AT NO COST or very low cost...For sure my devices are not esthetical... I am not crafty nor rich enough to create them esthical...

For sure i dont claim also that room tuning will transform a very low cost design in an ultra high end one soundwise...This is not the point of this optimization law...

My best to all....




Helmholtz treatment "only" work on ONE frequency and to bring down a peak in that very specific frequency and nothing more or less.


So you had 100 bulky Helmholtz devices around your room probably not that bulky when you have 100 of them so they are smaller and then less powerful.

So you can treat 100 different PEAKS in 100 different frequencies.. and or probably several of them treating the same frequency peak when they're not that big and powerful.

It would be fun to listen to that system when all correction is done in the physical domain.

But if I had that much problems with my room and the placement of speakers and sweet spot then i would never put a stereo in that room that seams be a room from hell in my opinion.

Lets compare a miniDSP has 10 PEQ filters and each one of them IS like a Helmholtz actually! In the sense that a PEQ use a specific frequency just like the Helmholtz, then we can adjust it to take a higher amplitude of a peek in dB but narrower OR lower but in a wider frequency band around that specific frequency.

So IF anybody has the time (week/weeks) and patience (in theory) to build AND tune 10 Helmholtz that needs to be of different volume so it would be possible that achieve almost the same what a DSP would do better in 5 minute. (And if you move anything or get new speakers or something then it needs to a retuning..)

But to take those 10 and tenfold them to 100 yeh maybe that is needed when they probably is smaller and less powerful that they need to be If there were only 10 of them.. Just imagine to take 100 books and place them on the floor, and scattered around on the floor around the sweet spot, and a book is far smaller than a Helmholtz resonator.. i can not imagine that mess.. (and then also add all the other treatment types that you also mentioned.)

I will crawl back under my stone when I really don't have bandwidth to maintain a discussion. 🥰


Is it a I purchase with a 'Money is no Object' attitude to my System building ?

Or, I am content in buying from Vendors with a

'No shame here about the added Mark Up' attitude ?

If a person is taking the idea of producing a HiFi System seriously and they want to incur a vast outlay whilst doing so, they are more than welcome to the experience.

The assembly of devices and ancillaries at the end, does not in any way suggest it betters lesser costing set ups.

The only asurity is that the initial cost is what it cost.

Hypothetical - A system purchased in 2018 cost £ 400 000 ( $ 520 000 ).

A system containing all the same components and ancillaries in 2022 is purchased as New,  Ex Demo, and low usage used items for £180 000ish           ( ($195 000ish ).

Leaving the set up environments out of the equation, and Purchased Brands.

When only focusing on the Purchase Value, in most minds, when prompted to suggest which one is the better system, the more expensive will be the most likely one selected.

A TT Producing Company whose Patrons were visitors to my Demonstration Room at a Public Attended Exhibition, had revisited my room on a few occasions.

On one visit when the room was with less visitors, they gave my system a very healthy appraisal and suggested it was sounding on par with systems they have heard from their customers, of which some are in access of £300 000.

Appreciative as I was, I inquired if their customers Journey's had been filled with as much fun as mine, in efforts undertaken to build a system, that for me is quite satisfying and has a trail of friendships made in its wake. 




"As for price, you are not going to get top quality sound from a $500 tt or a $700 dac. $7k for a dac, $10k for a tt/cart/tonearm, now you are getting into good sounding gear."

Pay more attention to the quality of engineering and design implementation. Most importantly listen with an open mind and let your ears be the judge instead of the price tag, unless bragging rights and status is all that really matters to you.