When are speakers considered Hi-Fi and not Mid-Fi???


What determines the status of "Hi-Fi?" I was recently considering a pair of Klipsch Heritage Cornwall speakers. They get rave reviews, have almost a cult-like following, no longer have harshness from the horns, and are very resolving. Other than not reaching down too low into the bass as some speakers do, why are they not considered Hi-Fi? They can clearly reproduce the full range of sound with an incredible image and are not missing any capability in person or on paper. Seems when we follow a thread on here about most any speaker at any price there is always a contingent that feels to need to post that the certain speakers under discussion are Mid-Fi not Hi-Fi. I only use the Klipsch Cornwalls as an example to start. Budget is not an issue, and cost should not dictate. I was also looking at the Magnepan 20.7 for another example, and they are $13k more than the Klipsch, but low and behold someone within seconds pops up and says these are Mid-Fi speakers. I kind of bet I could ask about a Sonus Faber Aida at $130k and within a few seconds someone will pop in and call them Mid-Fi as well. When do we reach "Hi-Fi" these days? Is it simply an endless and baseless dick-measuring contest? Seems like it. If we were talking cars we always have the guy who brags about the 0-60 times of certain cars, but it's clear that the 0-60 time alone does not qualify a car to be a "supercar" as there are so many other things the car must have and do to make it into that class, and like speakers there is not always 100% agreement on what the factors are. When do we reach Hi-Fi status for speakers??? 

128x128dean_palmer

@thyname 

"But I have to say: whoever says a cheap box store $50 pair of speakers sounds just like a $50,000 pair of speakers, or some cheap headphones for 50 years ago… I want to have what you are smoking."

Since this thread is about midfi or hifi, it would be safe to say that the $50 boombox or bluetooth wonderball falls in the low-fi, shite-fi, etc category.

However and IME, there are many doofus (midfi at best) $50,000+ speakers that are simply "carried" by high-end/pristine sounding electronics. In fact, this has been going on for ages. When some 5k to 10k-ish speakers  get the same privilege of pairing with such high-end/over engineered electronics, the results can be shocking to many.

 

 

I really like @erik_squires definition- "If you can afford them, they are mid-fi.  If you can only see them in the rags they are hi-fi."  It acknowledges the relative nature of classifying gear-  each person needs to define for themselves what they perceive as low or high end.  It also cleverly calls out the frustration of the hobby itself.  The high end will always be just out of reach since its a euphemism for perfection which does not exist.

I always thought when you say something is HIFI you are concentrating on its sound characteristics than the music. Not good. 

The classification of speakers as "Hi-Fi"  or "Mid-Fi" can vary depending on different factors and individual perspectives. However, there are a few general characteristics that are often associated with each category.

Hi-Fi speakers typically offer a higher level of sound quality and accuracy compared to Mid-Fi speakers. They are designed to reproduce audio signals as faithfully and accurately as possible, with minimal distortion and coloration. Hi-Fi speakers often utilize advanced technologies and high-quality components to achieve superior performance. They are usually capable of producing a wide frequency range, including both low and high frequencies, with good clarity and detail.

On the other hand, Mid-Fi speakers, as the name suggests, fall in the middle range of fidelity. They generally offer respectable sound quality but may not reach the level of accuracy and refinement found in Hi-Fi speakers. Mid-Fi speakers may have some limitations in reproducing the full frequency range or may exhibit slight coloration of sound.

It's important to note that the line between Hi-Fi and Mid-Fi can be subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences, budget considerations, and the intended use of the speakers. What one person considers Hi-Fi might be seen as Mid-Fi by another. Ultimately, the distinction between Hi-Fi and Mid-Fi is not strictly defined and can differ among individuals and audio enthusiasts.

@deep_333 This where I throw a wrench in your statement. People are going bananas over JBL, Klipsch, Yamaha, Pioneer and Marantz on the new and used market. I see pairs of JBL L26 sell for 300€ and I roll my eyes. I think that there's a huge degree of snobbery in the budget category. On one hand, we have brand recognition with speakers (OMG! Klipsch! JBL!), and SiNAD with amps (class D is the holy grail, apparently...). 

My point is: I saw a local ad for Ruark Swordsman Plus II speakers (90€). It may as well be free. And nobody gives a flying care. If these things had a JBL logo they would sell for 800€ easily. Just toss in an old Arcam amp for 80€ and you're done. Nobody gives a flying care about Arcam, buy them cheap. 

I have to resist the urge to accumulate cheap vintage gear, it takes a lot of discipline. "Low-fi" is trap. You're overspending for junk. Good gear doesn't sell because people don't know about it.