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"Save the Stereo!"


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Interesting idea. I'm convinced that good stereo sound is hard to beat. Although surround sound is sensational I haven't heard a system that actually sounds real. I'm pretty sure those systems exist and are suitable for games, action, movies, etc, but include buying a lot more gear than what's needed for a realistic presentation of sound for a chamber orchestra, for instance. My opinion, fire away.

 

In addition to surround sound my son is hooked on stereo by osmosis and likes the technology of computer audiophile. He told me that he believes the future will be a hard core of "stereo enthusiasts" who will carry on in niche market ala black powder kooks who still load their own rounds. He doesn't think it can maintain a mainstream presence. We will see. I will take the survey in the hopes that the fires will remain lit long enough for me to sell all my gear between the time I go deaf and when they bury me.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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I must start by saying I LOVE music, I read about it, I listen to it, I make it and I share with my kids, wife and friends.

 

The "Save the Stereo" project is an interesting concept, maybe, but maybe not.

First, what exactly is "high-performance audio" which is used throurought the "Why Save The Stero" article? Until I really understand what is implied with such a phrase, I just don't get it.

 

Then there is the list (in the same article) of 5 specific benefits of listening to recorded music. Give me a break, I grew up with a cheap ass stereo system (in-house and car), always loved and listened to the music and likely recevied the same benefits as said "high-performance audio" user. Also, what about saving "live" music.

 

This is the best quote:

"My mission is clear; to make this hobby better, pass it on to the next generation of music lovers, and promote the extraordinary benefits, incredible power, and life-affirming beauty and awe of recorded music on a high-performance audio system.

High-performance audio is important and worth fighting for."

 

I do agree that music can do great things for many people, but do not agree that one needs anything resembling "high-peformance audio" to accomplish the end results.

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...Then there is the list (in the same article) of 5 specific benefits of listening to recorded music. Give me a break, I grew up with a cheap ass stereo system (in-house and car), always loved and listened to the music and likely recevied the same benefits as said "high-performance audio" user. Also, what about saving "live" music....

 

...I do agree that music can do great things for many people, but do not agree that one needs anything resembling "high-peformance audio" to accomplish the end results.

 

+1. I definitely agree with you. It irritates me no end when some "audiophiles" carry on about how one can't really hear what music is about unless one has a certain "audiophile" level of gear. I guess folks all over our God forsaken earth who can't afford said level of gear and only get to listen on their crap-o radios and Walmart specials might as well give up on music altogether.

 

Chris

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I'm an attention whore. I invite people to sit down and have a listen to my system. I love the look on their faces when they hear their own CDs played back through my (moderately priced) gear and realize that there's a lot more out there to explore. It took me a lifetime of work and raising kids before I could afford to buy anything close to an ideal system. Now I only put it out there to whet other's appetites and make them curious about what level of sound they want to pursue.

 

How are you going to keep them down on the farm, after they've see Paree?

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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If that means saving 2 channel audio as a viable home sound system, I'm all for it. If it means save huge, inefficient, overpriced separates, I think it's a fool's errand for the general listening public. Stereo systems abound - they're simply not your father's (OK, grandfather's...) Oldsmobile. If I were starting out today, I'd be buying something like this one:

 

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or this one:

 

LL

 

But I'd be buying a stereo system for sure.

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It irritates me no end when some "audiophiles" carry on about how one can't really hear what music is about unless one has a certain "audiophile" level of gear.

 

Of course music can be enjoyed with any level of equipment. OTOH, the experience of hearing the same music on a good stereo system - it doesn't have to be a very expensive one - can be a revelation to people who have never heard it before. If young people weaned on MP3 could listen to the their music in a better format on a decent system, the future of the audio industry would be far brighter than it appears to be right now. High fidelity mobile devices that can play any format may be the way of the future.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I find these articles very odd. It isn't save the music, it's save the stereo. And it isn't just save the stereo, it's save the high-end stereo that needs income, space, and sense of general stability that are at odds with economic trends.

Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not." — Nelson Pass

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I don't know anyone with a stereo any more.

 

Everyone has discarded those cumbersome wooden boxes and replaced them with sleek plastic bluetooth speakers/iPod docks, which may as well be mono sound sources...

Music in multiple rooms in the house? Well, there's already a TV here - it has speakers and access to radio...

This laptop/tablet/phone has speakers on it so I can just take it with me to another room...

Why do I need to fill the room with sound? I have these earbuds...

 

 

At best, I think the future lies in small one-box solutions like Sony's HAP-S1 but that device has too many limitations (no network streaming, no bluetooth/airplay, no CD drive to rip discs without a PC) and it's far too expensive at $1000 before you add a pair of speakers.

 

You would be lucky to convince someone to spend $1000 on that with the speakers.

 

 

With the reduction in quality that MP3s and streaming services have brought, and the reduction in dynamic range from the loudness war, music is no longer engaging entertainment - it's background noise.

 

Why spend a lot of money on it?

 

 

High-end audiophile products are the pursuit of old men with money to burn.

The younger generation just doesn't care, and doesn't have the money for it anyway.

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I think Audiophile does not mean "spends inordinate and extremely large amounts of money" - I think it means "gets the best that one can afford and tries to get the best possible sound and enjoyment out of what one can afford and buys."

 

I do think that railing at people who spend more on their audio systems than you or I do is a waste of time though. What does it matter anyway? I am not sure I would spend $120K on speakers, even if I could reasonably afford to. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

+1. I definitely agree with you. It irritates me no end when some "audiophiles" carry on about how one can't really hear what music is about unless one has a certain "audiophile" level of gear. I guess folks all over our God forsaken earth who can't afford said level of gear and only get to listen on their crap-o radios and Walmart specials might as well give up on music altogether.

 

Chris

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I do think that railing at people who spend more on their audio systems than you or I do is a waste of time though. What does it matter anyway?

 

I think crisnee was probably referring to a certain "snobbery" on the part of some audiophiles in his comment about a "certain 'audiophile' level of gear". While those people do exist, I believe they represent a relatively small minority.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I think crisnee was probably referring to a certain "snobbery" on the part of some audiophiles in his comment regarding a "certain 'audiophile' level of gear". While they do exist, I believe they represent a relatively small minority.

 

Oh yes, I see. Thankfully, a very small minority of the real number of audiophiles around. With the level of gear we have at even the entry level these days, it is unlikely that any gross changes or differences in a playback medium will go unnoticed.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I don't know anyone with a stereo any more.

 

Everyone has discarded those cumbersome wooden boxes and replaced them with sleek plastic bluetooth speakers/iPod docks, which may as well be mono sound sources...

Music in multiple rooms in the house? Well, there's already a TV here - it has speakers and access to radio...

This laptop/tablet/phone has speakers on it so I can just take it with me to another room...

Why do I need to fill the room with sound? I have these earbuds...

 

 

At best, I think the future lies in small one-box solutions like Sony's HAP-S1 but that device has too many limitations (no network streaming, no bluetooth/airplay, no CD drive to rip discs without a PC) and it's far too expensive at $1000 before you add a pair of speakers.

 

You would be lucky to convince someone to spend $1000 on that with the speakers.

 

 

With the reduction in quality that MP3s and streaming services have brought, and the reduction in dynamic range from the loudness war, music is no longer engaging entertainment - it's background noise.

 

Why spend a lot of money on it?

 

 

High-end audiophile products are the pursuit of old men with money to burn.

The younger generation just doesn't care, and doesn't have the money for it anyway.

 

You won't stay young for ever! By the way, there are a growing number of sources for high quality digital files for about any type of music you want to listen to. Don't be too hard on us old farts, we will keep the audiophile fires burning for the time when you're ready to come to the bright side.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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People with 6-figure speakers are definitely in the minority....

 

I would be inclined to believe that is a pretty safe assumption. :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Yeah, I guess I see this project as relatively benign. That's why I posted it. Some of the people involved strike me as down to earth stereo lovers and music lovers. I'm not affiliated, but I'll probably do the survey just to see where it goes.

 

Lots of great ways to enjoy music, including some that are relatively affordable. So my apologies if this thing has offended anybody.

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I find these articles very odd. It isn't save the music, it's save the stereo. And it isn't just save the stereo, it's save the high-end stereo that needs income, space, and sense of general stability that are at odds with economic trends.

 

I agree 100% with you and crisnee.

 

I would be much more inclined to support a "Save the Arts" or "Save the Music" campaign in our schools, communities, etc.

Were it not for the music education I received in the public schools, I doubt I would be half the music fanatic that I am today. As we sit here today, the funding of arts in our public schools continues to get slashed (e.g., see, NEA - Arts Education).

 

I grew up in a low-income suburb of Dallas (Garland, TX), mom worked full time and dad worked two jobs to keep food on the table for 4-kids. We had no stereo in the house until I was 15 and got my first job to pay for it (a lovely K-Mart AM/FM tuner w/ hard-wired speakers).

 

No, I do not hate or bash audiophiles, and I consider myself a "lover of music". Nor do I find issue with anyone spending their hard earned money on the best equipment they can afford.

 

I do not however, think the way to get new blood into the audiophile mix has anything to do with so called "high-performance audio" (this phrase used multiple times) as deemed by the "Save the Stereo Campaign".

 

Enjoy the music,

bbrazil

 

P.S., I am presently sitting at my desk at work listening to John Coltrane on my Dell laptop, a $15 pair of Logitech speakers and a $2 cable. Certainly not high-performance audio, but a great way to spend the day at work.

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I do not however, think the way to get new blood into the audiophile mix has anything to do with so called "high-performance audio"

You can say that again - and again, and again, and again and.....

 

Believing that high performance audio is the key to attracting a bigger market is like believing that people who take public transportation would buy a Ferrari if only they could drive one first, or that kids would be more interested in music if their parents bought them a Les Paul for a starter guitar.

 

I'm going to poke a stick at the sleeping snake here and suggest that a smaller percentage of those who have $100k+ systems are truly music lovers than of those who have very modest systems. In my experience and opinion (to which I'm entitled without flames), the really high end of audio is as often a status symbol and/or an ego gratifier as it is a pathway to the enjoyment of music. This is obviously not universally true, as some truly love having what they have regardless of how often or rarely they actually listen to an entire album, and many of them spent far beyond reason (as defined by their spouses) on their systems but do so on nothing else in their lives. I have a friend who bought a Bosendorfer grand when he retired from his position as a research physiologist, because he'd always wanted one (yes, he's a great musician). It was a real reach for him, but he and his wife compromise on other things so they can have their pride and joy and play it every day.

 

Perhaps the main reason so many people are so happy with basic systems is that they bought them so they could listen to music.

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bbrazil I will echo your comments also. I agree that saving the stereo is not as important as saving the music or arts on a larger scale. What is worth preserving and articulating to the public is the value of lossless audio compared to lossy products that might not be as economic for the consumer. The consumer should be educated on their choices and provided with options. Once upon a time I only knew that FLAC could not be played in iTunes so I did not want that. That was all I knew about CA even though I was an audiophile.

 

Let’s face it, this is a niche hobby when it comes to reproduction of music at the highest of accuracy. Not everybody wants or needs a traditional two channel stereo. Most people just want “music in the room” and really don’t need a system that will produce accurate tone and imaging. I will always contend that if you are not foremost a lover of music, you are missing the point. Saving stereos has little value with no appreciation for music and you might as well have a campaign to save the kitchen mixers or upright vacuum cleaners.

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Stereo is history surround sound is the future but still some years off.

 

Until engineers and others get behind it and push it, stereo will remain in focus.

 

But true surround music is truly superior to stereo and by a long shot. Trying to hold onto stereo is dreaming.

 

My system is largely stereo, my surround equipment is rarely used. Disappointing as only few are trying to push the sound envelope of surround. Mark Waldrep is one at Aix records read this: Surround Music Never Caught On? | Real HD-Audio

 

I have two superb audio surround recordings Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon(5channels) and Kraftwerk Minimum Maximum(4 channels). After hearing these you wonder why you ever bothered with STEREO!!!!!

 

The late and great J Gordon Holt(started Stereophile) was pursuing this upon his death. He was recording the Boulder Symphonic Orchestra in surround and playing back on his system using Boulder power amps and 5 x Tannoy 10 inch monitors.

 

We can say he was years ahead but no we have not got any closer to this sound for music, only in 3D special effect movies with matching sound tracks can we get a glimpse of the potential for MUSIC in surround.

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When you consider how difficult it is to get stereo right, from recording to equipment to setup, now multiply the difficulties by a lot and the expense by just as much and you've got that infamous surround headache.

 

And yes, theoretically I love surround. I've fooled around with it in various pseudo configurations, remember Dynaco (was it Dynaco or some other company who discovered the subtractive difference thing?) and AR. And even now I have an ok surround setup which like you I rarely listen to. Because, see above.

 

I used to go to the AR demo room in Grand Central Station (NYC) and listen to their Quad setup back in the 70's. Loved it, I was so envious.

 

But I beg to differ about Dark Side. Just sounded gimmicky to me, and that album is way overrated to begin with. Ok, don't shoot me. I do like other Pink Floyd quite a bit.

 

Chris

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And yes, theoretically I love surround. I've fooled around with it in various pseudo configurations, remember Dynaco (was it Dynaco or some other company who discovered the subtractive difference thing?) and AR.

 

Chris

 

Ah, yes, the Hafler matrix. Remember it well.

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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Stereo is history surround sound is the future but still some years off.

 

The late and great J Gordon Holt(started Stereophile) was pursuing this upon his death. He was recording the Boulder Symphonic Orchestra in surround and playing back on his system using Boulder power amps and 5 x Tannoy 10 inch monitors.

 

We can say he was years ahead but no we have not got any closer to this sound for music,

(my edit)

 

 

Holy crap! There is no wife on the face of the earth, who is going to let five each 10 in monitors through the front door.

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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