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    Editorial: What's Wrong With You?

    I'm not a fan of writing editorials because this site isn't about me or any ministers of information. It's about the community and everyone who has helped, over the last 11 years, create what this site is today. Perhaps a couple forum posts have irked me enough to need this cathartic outlet. 

     

    Anyway, what's wrong with you? If you listen to people online or at audio shows you'll think you need medication quickly. Since I started this site I've often wondered what's up with all the audiophile hatred, judgement, and categorization. It usually takes this form:

     

     

    1. Audiophiles like gear more than music.
    2. Audiophiles don't listen to music, they listen to gear.
    3. Audiophiles are always looking for the next piece of gear.
    4. Audiophiles are foolish because ...
    5. There's music audiophiles and gear audiophiles.

     


    Wait what? Why do people care? I submit that if you're judging people by their motives for increasing their own enjoyment in life, if you're categorizing groups of people based on what they enjoy, or if you just dislike audiophiles, then you're the one with issues. There's nothing wrong with issues, I have plenty, but stop projecting yours on to audiophiles. 

     

    The ole gear loving audiophile "just doesn't like music" thing. Again, who cares? I don't care at all if someone is happy collecting HiFi gear. Jay Leno owns 150 cars including a 1994 McLaren F1 valued at $12,000,000. Oh the horror. What a loser, he must just love cars and not the experience of driving them like all the people with pure motives for purchasing cars. Only kidding. Who cares if he has 150 cars and some that are priced outrageously? I bet it isn't the same person who cares about audiophile motives because cars are cool man (said tongue in cheek).

     

    When I first started writing about HiFi I was told by a publisher that he knew a guy with six CDs and a million dollar system. This million-dollar-system-guy was the butt of many jokes and was even blamed for many problems in HiFi. Heck, this specific publisher had an infatuation about guys like this and always talked about himself as being "in it for the music man." As if there should be a podium for music loving audiophiles that anyone else who enjoys this hobby equally or more shouldn't even look at. 

     

    In fact, the snobbish level of people who view themselves as superior audiophiles because they like music more than gear is no different than the people who just rail against audiophiles for the heck of it. 

     

    Then there's the infamous Alan Parsons quote.

     

    "Audiophiles don't use their equipment to listen to your music. Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment."

     


    Talk about pompous. Sure, we can purchase his works of art, but god forbid if we listen to them in a way he doesn't approve or for reasons with which he doesn't agree. Who cares if what he says is true for some people? Who is anyone to judge how others have fun in life. I feel very excited for people who increase their enjoyment in life through HiFi. Whether that's because of a gear fascination or music fascination of a combination of the two. If you're happy, I'm happy for you. 

     

    This also brings up the black or white issue. As if audiophiles can only be gear enthusiasts or the so-called better audiophiles, the music enthusiasts. Like politics and the endless objective / subjective debates, there's a continuum on which audiophiles land. On one end is the gear junky and on the other end is the music junky. Based on no objective data, I'm willing to bet most audiophiles fall more toward the center than the extreme poles. I don't care where one is on this continuum, but let's not succumb to those who like to categorize us as music or gear or music first, gear second. The world is gray, many of us like both well designed audio components and well played music. 

     

    Speaking go well played music, do you only listen to Scottish nose whistle recorded at 32/384 or DSD1028? If you're happy doing that, I'm happy for you. Wasting precious brain cycles to think about or judge someone in the Scottish nose whistle camp is the epitome of foolishness. Life is too short. Crank some Rage Against the Machine and move on.

     

    Oh shoot, I forgot Rage isn't a certified group for the other end of this preposterous judgmental spectrum. Like the dealer who laughed at me because I purchased MartinLogan ReQuest speakers to play Pink Floyd when I was fresh out of college in 1999. That's a great way to win over new customers and encourage a younger audience to value and understand dealer markup. Yeah right. That's perhaps a story for another editorial that I'll never write. 

     

    OK, lastly before I get off my editorial soapbox, why do people also care about audiophiles who value fine craftsmanship, made in country ABC production, and limited editions of products? When it comes to cars, watches, houses, or even alcohol that goes down the hatch only to be pissed out an hour later, all the elements of craftsmanship are highly desirable. It's even OK to love the bottle in which one's Booz is transported. However, when it comes to audio, if you like the big McIntosh meters or the copper D'Agostino amplifiers or the bling of Mbl, you're somehow a lesser audiophile not worthy of those who value music first. 

     

    I say bring on the bling, bring on the breadboards, bring on the Patricia Barber, and bring on the Beatles. It doesn't matter to me what you like or why you like it. I don't believe it should matter to anyone else either. Gear collector? Fine with me. Music collector? Fine with me. Both? I hope you live in a big house. 

     

    I'll close with a quote from Sheryl Crow, "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad."


    P.S. Along similar lines is the judgement of those who spend "outrageous" amounts of money on HiFi components, by people in the same music first group (not all but some). Speakers that cost $250,000 or even $700,000. Amps that cost $100,000 or $250,000. I can hear it now, you can get better performance for a fraction of the price! Let me repeat, who cares? It's the buyer's money to spend however she wants. I certainly don't want someone going through all my receipts and telling me I could've purchased far better peanut butter for less money. I can't afford a million dollar system, but I don't care if you can. I enjoy finding bang for the buck products, but I don't care if you don't enjoy the same.

     

    P.P.S Where am I on this continuum? Smack in the middle. I love great gear designs, both inside and out, both cosmetic and electrically engineered, and I love music. I'll take Pearl Jam on an AM radio if that's all I can get, but on a beautiful HiFi system that sounds spectacular, all is right with the world. 

     

     

     

     

     



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    13 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

    what we really need is a magazine that tells us whether super expansive gear is really better in SQ or is just a Robb Report exercise in Thorstein Veblin's Theory of the Leisure Class...

     

    Wouldn't matter to me, one way or another as I could never afford expensive audio much less super expensive audio.

     

    Even if I were a millionaire I would still be thrifty and want a good value for my dollar.

     

    I no longer subscribe to The Absolute Sound or Stereophile magazines but when I did I never read reviews of equipment that cost over $1k. I mostly read the letters to the editor, the interviews, the ads and the music reviews. I canceled both because they are more about equipment rather than music. In the early days (1970's - 1980's) The Absolute Sound had a lot of music coverage, including not just reviews but interviews of recording engineers and producers. They even had an entire issue on RCA Living Stereo shaded dogs. The Absolute Sound does still have the Super Disc Lists and more music reviews than Stereophile, but still not enough for me to continue subscribing. There is minimal coverage of the audiophile labels I prefer.

     

    I would subscribe to a magazine that covers the audiophile labels I love (there are over 100 of them, with perhaps 10,000 or more audiophile recordings available as SACDs, CDs and high resolution downloads) You can double that if one includes audiophile LPs. I rely on label samplers and the 30 second to 1 minute streaming samples from the sites that sell them. There are way more than I can purchase so it would be nice to read reviews of ones that I have overlooked in the narrowing down process that perhaps I should not have overlooked.

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    ok, I'll describe a friend who has it all together

     

    He's an ER doc, his wife is a dentist - so very high income; DI-NK

    - they drink wine, but neither one cares about expensive wine - they can taste the difference from a $100 bottle to a $500 bottle but they do not care -- it is unimportant to them

    - they listen to music & can hear an expensive HFi setup produce different sound from their modest one; again they just don't care

     

    so the value assigned to each "factor loading score" is low

     

    and they are happy people

     

     

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    On 4/22/2019 at 3:53 PM, Jud said:

     

    I'd like to see more of that too, but so far in the US no one seems to have made more than a token effort to run an audio magazine along these lines. That says to me there is at least a possibility they found it didn't sell very well when they tried.

     

    I stop buying audio magazines a long time ago. Too much of everything sounds great nonsense. Instead I mostly read online impressions and forums like this.

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    Hardcore metal (steelband) Soca  is the new Scottish nose whit'sls. 

     

    Not that I believe anyone here is capable of understanding either.  x-D

     

    DearCriminalArchaeopteryx-size_restricte

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    On 4/23/2019 at 8:19 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    That’s what counts most to me. Happy to read that. 

     

    you may be even happier if I tell you he's of Norvegikan extraction and maybe if I tell you he wears a utilikilt - dunno if he has one for the ER tho

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    1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

     

    you may be even happier if I tell you he's of Norvegikan extraction and maybe if I tell you he wears a utilikilt - dunno if he has one for the ER tho

     

    My ER Utilikit was full of one thing...  Experience.

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    6 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

     

    He's probably smarter than me too.

     

    Someone doesn't like this conversation.

     

    I dunno - we could put you both thru an IQ test - it could be biased to audio and give you an edge...

     

    I forgot to ask him today what kind of audio system he has on his scooter.

     

    Funny how people can't find the big ignore button, or post something to get things on track.  At least we are keeping this thread alive.

     

     

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    2 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

     

    I dunno - we could put you both thru an IQ test - it could be biased to audio and give you an edge...

     

    I forgot to ask him today what kind of audio system he has on his scooter.

     

    Funny how people can't find the big ignore button, or post something to get things on track.  At least we are keeping this thread alive.

     

     

     

     

    I'd ask what's wrong with you but I am afraid the list would be too long...

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