Jump to content
  • The Computer Audiophile

    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. 

     

     

     

     

     



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    48 minutes ago, Axial said:

    You tube is getting pretty good; 4K picture and decent sound rendition. Yeah I know, it's not analog from a record (vinyl) playing. Still, you can make music sound very good.

    what's wrong, and right with us?)

     

     

     

    Bob, one can download the Opus version, which gives you full 20k bandwidth. Convert to WAV, and I doubt I would any problem 'fooling' people with the result, over a good rig.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    If it makes you happy, that’s cool with me. If you think you can judge a system via YouTube, that may be handy and save you traveling to a dealer or audio show. You can demo online. If it works for you, I guess we shouldn’t care. 

     

    The YouTube shows me the potential, of what some gear configuration can deliver. My attitude is that newly acquired gear, however fancy, or well worn, is barely in the starting blocks for getting the best out of it - I will connect it together, immediately hear shortcomings, and work out a plan of attack for overcoming them.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    53 minutes ago, fas42 said:

     

    Bob, one can download the Opus version, which gives you full 20k bandwidth. Convert to WAV, and I doubt I would any problem 'fooling' people with the result, over a good rig.

     

    Alright Frank, educate me please. ...Links & all.

     

    I've got this for now:

    • https://elfsight.com/blog/2017/06/requirements-uploading-video-youtube/

     

    • https://superuser.com/questions/1049075/youtube-dl-download-opus-audio-or-aac-audio

     

    From what I see and hear on YouTube (Music videos), they can be very high definition picture (HDR 4K, 6K, 8K) and very decent audio quality (lossy). 

    The better the miking for home made music videos the better the playback quality and an idea of the room acoustics, short of being in that room, same for live music versus reproduced @ home from an ultra high end stereo sound system (regardless of price; what counts is the synergy between all components and the absence of noise from a pitch black background). 

     

    ...A quality pair of headphones monitoring. Some are excellent sounding, others are not. 

    There is no absolute but I do understand the pros and cons; it can give us a decent idea, not the full idea, if you know what I'm saying. 

     

    Anyway, that's the best we have short of time travel. Can we rely? It is highly depending. 

    And not only from the sound quality but also from our interprétation (NeuroAnalyxis, PsychoAnalysis, Computational Brain Science, pshycoacoustic, influence of the transport system in a dedicated space quantum, ...all that jazz).

     

    And of course in time when the ears have various differential dispositions.

    Plus my ears and your ears and their ears are not equal. 

     

    All is valid that is preferred and loved. There is no magic in sound reproduction, it's in the recording moment. 

     

    I think, your mileage might vary, in my opinion, with a touch of humor and serious balance, nothing is written in stone tablets, I like Opera and all that classic jazz in small church avenues where joy is number one entrée du jour, I don't mind @ all a strip club for both women and men, with pool tables and a swimming pool underneath the main soundstage, or driving the Autobhan aboard a Bugatti (burgundy color with sprinkles of lights on the lower edges). 

     

    Alert: There's a decent dose of humor in my post; all in order to pacify any deviating minds from the road ahead (Autobahn, without speed restriction). 

     

    But YouTube is not bad @ all, better and better with people getting the pro hang of it. 

    It's very hard to make an accurate assessment when evaluating a music recording from a YouTube video...it is only as good as the microphone positioning quality. But it can be done, and the better the setup the better the end results.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    23 minutes ago, Paul R said:

     

    Nice summary. Can you post a link to a few of your own videos please? 

     

    -Paul 

     

     

    They are in my other threads and some in my signature. Pls see PM for the direct link of my old comparisons. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, audiobomber said:

     

    You can feel bass drum whacks and thumping electric bass in a rock or jazz band. My headphones (Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro), can play infrasonic bass frequencies. My speakers only go do down to 30 Hz, but the tactile bass impact from my speaker system (dual 6.5" midwoofers in sealed cabinets, dual sealed 10" subs), puts any headphone to shame.

     

    You may find this remarkable, but my current NAD rig, well short of optimum, has no trouble pumping out a powerful sense of bass action - easily able to shock one with the impact of bass drum whacks - via 'miserable' Sharp boombox speakers.  It happens, because the balance between top and bottom response is balanced, and the shape of the waveform is well projected; there is a sense of grunt to the sound, when that's what's in the music ... zero wimpiness.

     

    "Audiophile bass" is soggy, overbearing rumbling which has nothing to do with the music; that, which never exists with live sound making ... the worst offender I have heard was a Steinway Lyngdorf,

     

    image.png.97355fcf3374088eb5539d11c7c56623.png

     

    ... staggeringly bad ...

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    12 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

    If I were to buy a newer sports car, I'd get a Boxster/Cay-thing or a Miata with a jaguar V-6 sound system (lighter & more hp than stock).

     

    I don't have any strong urge to get a new car any time soon. But the RX-9 is on my watch list of upcoming cars. Heck, it's the only thing on my watch list now. Speaking of sound system, Bimmers are highly frowned upon in my circle but I can make an exception for The Pig:

     

    949adcd2eab2ffa582fd6726612020e8.jpg

     

    Since exhaust comes mostly through the audio system, there is finally reason for having car stereo...

     

    Quote

    But, I would not try to evaluate them thru youtube...

     

    Actually Visual and G-Forces are the only primary car control cues in the Perfect Control book. Everything else like tire noise and steering forces are way down on the cues hierarchy. Steering wheel force feedback on or off makes very little difference to the best sim racers, for example. And of Visual and G-Force, they contain the same information but only the former can standalone: excellent sim racers can turn almost perfect laps with visuals alone. So in theory YouTube would be able to provide you with all the info you need, if you know where to look.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    6 hours ago, Tin said:

    Please beware when discussing bass. It is a very difficult subject to discuss, as people often use it to describe different things.

     

    First, there are different definitions, which can, but do not have to exist next to eachother:

    - loud bass

    - punchy bass

    - deep bass

    There are probably more definitions I don't know about.

     

    This thread is the first time I came across 'audiophile bass' (*), so I'm not able to figure out where it fits in. There is also soggy bass, which quite often is caused by room modes.

     

    Another difficulty, in my opinion, with bass is that room dimensions make it very difficult to find a common ground when discussing it.

     

    My room, which is quite large, makes it very easy to accomodate long wavelengths, helping my setup in delivering very deep bass. At the same time, the dimensions make it difficult to pressurize the room enough to deliver punchy bass. I would need speakers with arrays of woofers to achieve that. Obviously those speakers would be much larger to accomodate those arrays, and that wouldn't work for me.

     

    Room modes can make speakers that work great in one room, make them sound overpowered and soggy in another. My room has a very strong mode (over 20dB!) at around 50Hz, and it made some songs absolutely unlistenable. Another room mode gently lifts the lower end of my setup, which is very helpful for some specific recordings, like the organ in symphony no.3 by St Saens.

    Luckily my setup has some nice DSP algorithms, so the 50Hz mode can be surpressed.

     

    Anyway, please be careful when discussing bass; you could agree and never find out.

     

    *) I'm not a native speaker, so it could be just me, but it does sounds polarising, and that never helps.

     

    Bass amplified by a room node is almost unbearable to us, and absolutely an annoyance. Where we have that, which it seems, is almost everywhere, we tend to use small speakers and close in  (near field) listening. 

     

    Then again, I am one whose “joy” is triggered by precise imaging, depth, and clear horns, strings, and vocals. No ear ripping please. :)

     

    I have found that as I age, with slight tinnitus and hearing loss, that is far more important to me than “punchy” bass, though I do enjoy the occasional great bass demo at shows or at friends homes. Just not in my home! 

     

    By by the way, has anyone noticed that digital has improved so much in the past decade, that even low end hardware stuff sounds very good? Not sure exactly where the point of diminishing returns is theses days, but that point is surely lower than it was before! 

     

    Edited by Paul R
    Typos, clarification

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    44 minutes ago, Paul R said:

    Then again, I am one whose “joy” is triggered by precise imaging, depth, and clear horns, strings, and vocals. No ear ripping please. :)

     

    I have found that as I age, with slight tinnitus and hearing loss, that is far more important to me than “punchy” bass, though I do enjoy the occasional great bass demo at shows or at friends homes. Just not in my home! 

     

    By by the way, has anyone noticed that digital has improved so much in the past decade, that even low end hardware stuff sounds very good? Not sure exactly where the point of diminishing returns is theses days, but that point is surely lower than it was before! 

     

    Instead of going for ear ripping bass, you could try to add a small sub to your setup, supporting the lower end of your speakers at a very moderate level. This will (can?) greatly enhance the soundstage.

    Last year I was invited to listen a setup with some very expensive components and tiny Klångedang speakers. I had brought an old Rel Stampede with me, and I didn't have to take it back home. 😁

     

    I agree that modern DACs these days are very, very good, even at moderate pricelevels.

    I'm not so sure about the point of diminishing returns though, I think that is very personal. Or maybe I just want my DAC to be better than a € 75 one.. I dunno... 😇

     

    Edited by Tin
    fixing typo

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think we all do. I do have a small sub attached to the Maggie MMGs, but it is tuned so low you don’t know it is there, just like a sub should be tuned. Does it’s job just perfectly, but does not really enhance the soundstage that much. ;)

     

    Point of diminishing returns is hard to tell, and it is all individual of course. Recently upgraded turntable for instance. Wanted Rega Planar 8, could easily live with Planar 3, stretched for Planar 6.  Probably not that much better than a Planar 3, but I liked the tougher components, and you would not believe how light the plinth is. Still replaced the LP120 with another LP120UX though. There are just some albums I am not gonna play on a $800 cart attached to a $1900 table! I will play em on the cheap table and work on them in the digital realm. 

     

    But that there is a point of diminishing returns, for pretty much everyone, is pretty non controversial. It is also pretty certain that point has moved downward price wise over the past decade or so. 

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    4 minutes ago, firedog said:


    I'm not putting down expensive systems and if I could afford a state of the art 6 figure system I'd probably buy one. But many  audiophiles are the kind of people who have the means to spend thousands on very small improvements in their systems. They then describe these incremental improvements as having "lifted the veil", or a giving them a  "totally different sound'" - that's usually BS to describe a small improvement. If it's not, their previous setup must not have been very good. 

    I have to disagree with you, although I agree with you as well.

     

    Consider a F1 car, driving on less than ideal tires. Changing the tires will make a huge difference to the driver.

    People in lesser cars, even if those are very fast cars in their own right, will not be able to appreciate the difference the upgrade made to the F1 driver.

    It's a probably bit like that.

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    20 minutes ago, Tin said:

    I have to disagree with you, although I agree with you as well.

     

    Consider a F1 car, driving on less than ideal tires. Changing the tires will make a huge difference to the driver.

    People in lesser cars, even if those are very fast cars in their own right, will not be able to appreciate the difference the upgrade made to the F1 driver.

    It's a probably bit like that.

     

    Yes, but in both cases the driver thinks his car drives like a F1 - he wasn't driving around with truck tires in the first place was he? He doesn't say, boy this car is totally different now. He says - the new tires made it a little bit better. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    47 minutes ago, firedog said:

    Yes, but in both cases the driver thinks his car drives like a F1 - he wasn't driving around with truck tires in the first place was he? He doesn't say, boy this car is totally different now. He says - the new tires made it a little bit better. 

    I'm pretty sure I have heard Vettel saying things quite differently.

     

    But, quoting Chris quoting Sheryl Crow: "If it makes you happy."

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, Tin said:

    I have to disagree with you, although I agree with you as well.

     

    Consider a F1 car, driving on less than ideal tires. Changing the tires will make a huge difference to the driver.

    People in lesser cars, even if those are very fast cars in their own right, will not be able to appreciate the difference the upgrade made to the F1 driver.

    It's a probably bit like that.

     

     

    I'm not at all sure I agree with the F1 analogy. F1 cars require huge investments, usually supplied by sponsors, and are very much a commercial enterprise.  A home audio system is usually not a commercial enterprise, nor does it usually have sponsors. (Unless of course, you are part of the press, and sometimes, not even then.) 

     

    It's more like buying a particular color rug for your home - you like it, it fits well with the way you live, this or that one may be tougher or last longer, it may be from a particular designer, and it may require professional installation to "get it right." 

     

    -Paul 

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    5 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

    Let's go with vintage racing -  a hobby.  Tires are still important.

    I say we get back to audio.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...