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“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…”


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…literary pensmanship by William Shakespeare in Julius Ceasar.

however,

nobody can literally lend you their ears or brain (or whatever other parts of anatomy that enables one to appreciate "good" music reproduction) - yet.

so, that’s why CA-ers sometimes take things personally: it really is personal.

when it comes to your kind of music. playing on your system. in your room. preferably, with a glass of something.

this does not mean that one cannot/should not learn, adapt and evolve one’s personal perception of high-fidelity and audiophilia.

but only if one chooses to discover/understand and/or test hypotheses/science as related to sound, music (theory), sound recording + reproduction, computer science, audio electronics, acoustics, psychoacoustics, neuroscience, etc... and, use the most personalised listening tools we own - our ears and brains.

it is human to quest for better answers. it is also human to be resistant to change. somewhere in-between is a line to walk.

perhaps, pilgrims on this audio journey will have to accept that this is (still) an open-ended quest. in this, some may find joy... while others only discover frustration.

perhaps, some have even reached a singular conclusion: that there are no "real" answers... except personal preference. nothing wrong, it is their right to think so. or, maybe, just one little question: how does "personal preference" tell you if that last/next upgrade was/will be an upgrade or downgrade?

and so, maybe that is why for many audiophiles, "The Road Goes Ever On" as put (well) by J.R.R. Tolkien.

over and above faith, science, politics and economics:

one humbly submits that this hobby called audiophilia (computerised for better or worse) is ever a human journey… that can be undertaken alone. or, in good company.

your thoughts?

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My thoughts ? well, that it is all not really so difficult, once one can adopt the idea that what comes from your speakers is to resemble the real thing. Now it is not much related to how an individual perceives sound and music through his or her possibly strangely shaped ears. Both the real thing and what comes from the speakers should be fairly much perceived the same.

 

Utopia to approach it this way ?

I don't think so.

 

Peter

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2.5      Ethernet^3     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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…literary pensmanship by William Shakespeare in Julius Ceasar.

however,

nobody can literally lend you their ears or brain (or whatever other parts of anatomy that enables one to appreciate "good" music reproduction) - yet.

so, that’s why CA-ers sometimes take things personally: it really is personal.

when it comes to your kind of music. playing on your system. in your room. preferably, with a glass of something.

this does not mean that one cannot/should not learn, adapt and evolve one’s personal perception of high-fidelity and audiophilia.

but only if one chooses to discover/understand and/or test hypotheses/science as related to sound, music (theory), sound recording + reproduction, computer science, audio electronics, acoustics, psychoacoustics, neuroscience, etc... and, use the most personalised listening tools we own - our ears and brains.

it is human to quest for better answers. it is also human to be resistant to change. somewhere in-between is a line to walk.

perhaps, pilgrims on this audio journey will have to accept that this is (still) an open-ended quest. in this, some may find joy... while others only discover frustration.

perhaps, some have even reached a singular conclusion: that there are no "real" answers... except personal preference. nothing wrong, it is their right to think so. or, maybe, just one little question: how does "personal preference" tell you if that last/next upgrade was/will be an upgrade or downgrade?

and so, maybe that is why for many audiophiles, "The Road Goes Ever On" as put (well) by J.R.R. Tolkien.

over and above faith, science, politics and economics:

one humbly submits that this hobby called audiophilia (computerised for better or worse) is ever a human journey… that can be undertaken alone. or, in good company.

your thoughts?

 

 

The search for sonic bliss is, in this pilgrim's mind, a worthy cause, but often leads, instead, to madness. Perhaps, in the continuation of our audioquest, and a massive drainage of our resources (think retirement account), the end of the rainbow might be revealed, and our madness lost.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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...once one can adopt the idea that what comes from your speakers is to resemble the real thing.

 

thanks. and yes. that is/should be the target, media + software + hardware-wise.

 

for discussions sake:

say the media + software + hardware is good/accurate. and, we even take the room factor out of the equation because it has been acoustically treated.

 

we turn on a hi-fi system “delivering” 20Hz – 20kHz with acceptable levels of distortion in that room. good music is playing.

 

now, for the audiophile listening equation/scenario to be complete, said music/sound waves still need to be “received” by a human listener (audiophile).

 

say we have two audiophiles = A + B.

 

1) A is 35 years old. B is 55. will they enjoy the same “audiophile listening experience”?

 

2) A is a woman and B is a man. will they enjoy the same listening experience?

 

3) A can only perceive sounds up to 18kHz. B can hear only to 15KHz. can they enjoy the same experience?

 

4) A is a mountain biker that does 80km a week, every week, has a BMI of 15 and weighs 55kg. otoh, because B likes his beer, posts on CA everyday and pops aspirins to deal with the “stress”, he has a BMI of 26 and weighs 90kg. will they enjoy the same experience?

 

let’s take it up a level… and give A and B equal hearing abilities up to 17kHz:

 

5) A is a violinist while B plays the clarinet. they both listen to one orchestral piece that features both violin and clarinet solos. violin solo was divine but clarinet solo was mediocre. will they necessarily agree that the listening session was superb?

 

6) A listens after 3 shots of 15-year-old single malt while B listens after a hand-pressed double expresso. will they enjoy the same listening experience?

 

7) A just split with partner (over one DAC purchase too many). meanwhile, B just enjoyed <beeping> his partner’s brains out. will they derive the same level of enjoyment from listening?

 

anyway,

not saying that better media/software/hardware components are irrelevant.

 

not saying all media/software/hardware are created equal.

 

not saying “bit perfect” is more important than “acoustic treatment.”

 

not even saying an audiophile is more important than his gear.

 

just saying that an audiophile is, after all, …a human being.

we enjoy the same hobby but we are different in many different ways.

even the best of us will get older and grumpier. some of us will get emotional, fat, drunk, religious, whatever. hopefully, we are all still getting “some”.

 

point is:

there is this personal human factor in computer audiophilia. sometimes forgotten in CA discussions. and, to some audiophiles, the human factor has already become the primary factor. hence, personal preference.

 

wonder of it is:

personal preference can change. if a person personally decides to explore and discover… and “advance” or “evolve” as an audiophile…in the hope of enjoying more moments of epiphany*.

 

cheers.

 

*kudos to petaluma for reminding me of this word.

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The search for sonic bliss is, in this pilgrim's mind, a worthy cause, but often leads, instead, to madness. Perhaps, in the continuation of our audioquest, and a massive drainage of our resources (think retirement account), the end of the rainbow might be revealed, and our madness lost.

 

tips for worshippers on the altar of audiophilia:

 

1. take a break and work up a sweat. run, ride, swim. whack the living daylights out of drum set. and, remember to do as rabbits do too.

 

2. spend some of your "resources" on your better half and/or kids. this way, they are less prone to leaving you. home alone. with a $100k system. playing chicago's “hard to say i’m sorry” on repeat.

 

3. laugh at yourself often. it is healthy but try to do it privately (for obvious reasons). bottle up all that laughter and you grow old and grumpy faster.

 

4. travel on occasion. get away from the hi-fi system and CA for as long as you can. knowing you will be back.

 

cheers.

 

p.s. more tips always welcome.

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tips for worshippers on the altar of audiophilia:

 

1. take a break and work up a sweat. run, ride, swim. whack the living daylights out of drum set. and, remember to do as rabbits do too.

 

2. spend some of your "resources" on your better half and/or kids. this way, they are less prone to leaving you. home alone. with a $100k system. playing chicago's “hard to say i’m sorry” on repeat.

 

3. laugh at yourself often. it is healthy but try to do it privately (for obvious reasons). bottle up all that laughter and you grow old and grumpy faster.

 

4. travel on occasion. get away from the hi-fi system and CA for as long as you can. knowing you will be back.

 

cheers.

 

p.s. more tips always welcome.

 

With the appropriate substitutions, these "tips" could apply to any obsessive pursuit :)

"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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My music sounds way better than it ever has, notwithstanding my age-limited ability to hear above 15khz. It could be better media, better equipment, better state of mind, or one or more of many other imponderables. My concern is just preserving my enjoyment level, rather than trying to improve it.

Vinyl is a hugely overpriced way to get flawed sound. Digital is an inexpensive way to get less flawed (though flawed nonetheless) sound.

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My music sounds way better than it ever has, notwithstanding my age-limited ability to hear above 15khz. It could be better media, better equipment, better state of mind, or one or more of many other imponderables. My concern is just preserving my enjoyment level, rather than trying to improve it.

 

well put. point taken.

maybe, you also have more time now to spend on/with a better system + good music?

further improvement (or not) = individual choice. and, you always reserve the right to change your mind :)

cheers.

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With a audio replay system, we are listening to an illusion - audiophiles are judging this illusion & how closely it matches our stored model of real world audio. This illusion is incomplete from the start i.e the microphone . It then passes through a number of non linear systems before reaching our own non linear wetware, our ears.

 

So what we are judging is how well the studio output from this complex mix allows us to buy into the illusion.

 

This allows us to understand some of the variety in responses that people have to the same system -it depends on what they consider important for this illusion to seem realistic to them. Past experience, current mood, learning, exposure to better sounding systems, etc. will all play a part in this evaluation.

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mmerrill99,

 

personal audio goal was: reconnect with an audio memory* as posted on your thread.

 

your posts, and those by others on CA, have led me “here”.

 

since re-ignition of audio passion-obsession, been thinking + focusing on gear = reading + catching up + trying + buying stuff + measuring + tinkering.

 

needed some kind of reference. found “tas.” yes, not perfect, but at least something “tangible” to hold on to. “measurements”, and how to evaluate them, also helped much.

 

now, also thinking the “other component” of the computer audiophile scenario – the human element, the listener = you, me, each one of us.

 

all that great software + hardware we buy to project a “realistic” illusion …are still going to be, ultimately, judged by us.

 

one’s own system, one’s own personal listening experience. employing, as you put it, personal “wetware.”

 

thanks for the reminder that an audiophile’s appreciation of great music playing from an audio system may also affected by individual biology, character, knowledge, experience, emotions, biases... and history.

 

wondering:

how much have recent investments (time/attention/$$$) been leading towards that elusive goal of time travelling.*

 

thinking:

may no longer be possible to re-capture/re-live exact magic again. because: that was then. things have changed. am not who i was. iow, goalposts have shifted.

 

hoping:

will encounter other form(s) of “magic” instead, equally bewitching.

 

 

cheers.

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I think this is why sq is still, in the end, subjective, even given the number of measurements available and the accuracy with which they can be made with today's technology. There are far, far too many variables that can and/or do effect an individual's perception of "good," many of them unique to the listener, and I imagine many of them unknown, to "measure" sound "quality."

 

Unfortunately, IMO, this is also the reason that a subjective review is of limited (notice the lack of absolutes) use to anyone other than the reviewer. Objective measurements are at least done using metrics that are pretty well defined and agreed-upon, whereas there is absolutely no subjective metric that is defined OR agreed-upon. Unfortunately, the measurements we can accurately take have limited utility in determining whether a particular listener will think something will sound "good." This whole area has been discussed (at length) in at least two books that I'm familiar with, although neither are about audio per se:

Human Action, by Ludwig von Mises (economics) and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig (about a failed attempt to define "quality".) Any calculation for which we have too little information, too many variables to control for, and too few agreed-upon definitions will forever remain ultimately subjective. Can you define obscenity for anyone but yourself? I think sq falls into the same category.

Vinyl is a hugely overpriced way to get flawed sound. Digital is an inexpensive way to get less flawed (though flawed nonetheless) sound.

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senorx,

 

understand and respect your viewpoints.

 

hope this thread highlights the personal or human element in computer audiophilia.

 

^ does not mean that am subscribing to a subjective approach to the hobby.

 

does not mean one distrusts the science/tech of audio reproduction, as well as sound advice, measurements, or worthy references for attaining high fidelity.

 

does not mean one cannot/should not trust one’s own ears. or, for that matter, anyone else’s in CA.

 

means i just “remembered” that there is 6th, sometimes forgotten, element in this hobby (other than music, software, hardware, environment and knowledge):

 

us. the listeners, the audiophiles…

 

…who are constantly making individual choices on whom and in what we trust, when, how and why.

 

if we listen to a well-measured audio set-up serving up sublime music, we are likely to agree that it sounds great.

 

however, i may not fully appreciate what you personally experience (and vice versa) during this hypothetical listening session.

 

in no way does this compromise the greatness of a system. objectively, subjectively, or in any other way.

 

cheers.

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tranz,

 

cheers. thanks for reading. please feel free to add thoughts/viewpoints.

 

Nothing close to as eloquent as your posts, but below is something I posted on another thread when heated arguments ensued...

 

...The end game is being happy with your own setup according to your own criteria and satisfaction.

 

This whole "I can't hear it so it can't be" versus "You can't hear it so you must be X" is tiresome, unnecessary, and is not something that needs to be, nor ever can be, resolved.

 

Everyone's tastes, hearing capacity, training, experience, hearing damage, sensitivities to certain frequencies, sensitivities to EMI/RFI, hiss, crackles, hums, preferences of tone, preferences of speaker type (HP, near field, mid field, full range, boxy, ribbon, metal, paper, etc.), etc. are all different.

 

A reference point will always be a purely personal one.

 

Cheers

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thanks, tranz. well put yourself.

lol. beginning to wonder if this is a “piece of mind” more than a few audiophiles reach, sometime or other. perhaps, CA helps one to reach it faster.

no matter how many people are in the room, in the end, you sleep (and listen) alone.

think maybe will stay “here" awhile.

cheers.

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