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Article: Guest Editorial: Why did audio stop being about audio?

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Thanks for your post, Rick.

 

If you respect the people whose views you disagree with, then I think that's great.

 

Joel

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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Thanks again Joel for putting yourself out here with an honest editorial.  I hope the adults here can remain adults and keep the discussion civil. If this happens, an interesting conversation will no doubt ensue. 

Thanks a lot for your support, Chris.

 

I couldn't have gotten my views out there in quite the same way without your help.

 

Joel

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1 hour ago, Archimago said:

"I know of audiophiles who are objective and religious (perhaps even yours truly 😉)."

 

I agree and never suggested otherwise.

1 hour ago, Archimago said:

Impossible to not think about science/engineering whenever a product reads and converts digital to analogue for example. Likewise, all the scientific principles that have to go into properly reproducing vinyl (eg. tonearm geometries, capacitance, quality of RIAA EQ in the preamp...).

I agree here as well and, again, I never suggested otherwise. As Chris asks in a later post, the issue isn't whether science should be applied, it's how emotional people become about advocating for the scientific assessment of a product and how personal they can be about the opinions of others that are only subjective.

 

For those who become inappropriate, I believe an anti-religious bias is at play for reasons I've already mentioned in my OP.

 

My article was not written to address those who are respectful as they invoke science to make their arguments.

 

Joel

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Archimago said:

 

Hmmm, hang on @joelha, I'm just not sure who you're talking about when you said this:

 

"Allowing audiophiles to post their subjective conclusions without proof brings them one step closer to accepting those who relate their religious experiences without proof. For them, science is god and a subjective conclusion upends their god and belief system. They fight hard so that doesn’t happen."

 

Who are the "they" in this excerpt? Who are these "religious objective" people who worship this scientific "god"?

Archimago,

 

You're taking one part of my article out of context. But I'm glad you asked the question.

 

The "they" are not only objectivists but the inappropriate objectivists.

 

"Emotional force" is fine. Attacking others personally isn't.

 

That's the "they" I'm talking about.

 

Joel

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2 minutes ago, Rt66indierock said:

 

Inappropriate comments are  the cost of weaning people from authority figures in audio. It will die down as authority figures are seen for they truly are salesman. The same pattern occurred in golf and things have calmed down. 

 

The market doesn't have to shrink.

 

 

By your own statement, that's not happening in our industry, Rt66indierock.

 

If you say there was a lot of anger since the 70's, the anger proposition doesn't seem to be working or is working way too slowly.

 

I'd rather have some of the bad players out there in the industry and a friendlier overall environment.

 

If you want to disagree, you can have the last word as I've made my point.

 

Joel

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1 hour ago, plissken said:

 

I don't personally care what type kool aid people drink. I'll tend to push back when I know when other people are pushing one type when it's certainly anotherkool aid in certain aspects of this hobby. 

 

Quote

 

The point to my article wasn't to address pushing back but rather how the pushing back takes place.

Joel

 

Quote

 

 

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12 hours ago, esldude said:

How many forum threads on this site (and others) devolve into heated exchanges about whether people actually hear what they say they hear? Without “proof”, listeners are often mocked, insulted and their experiences discredited.


Challenges range from assuming the listener has been influenced by expectation bias (I believe it will sound good, so it does sound good) to faulting his unwillingness to rely on measurements or blind testing.

 

I really dislike this whole start to the opinion piece. 

 

What causes the heated discussion is different people accept different kinds of proof.  I like the truth.  I bet very nearly everyone here does.  But they arrive at it differently.  Some approaches are incompatible with others.  And with many audio matters it is true someone is right and someone is wrong.  No one likes being told they are wrong.  Hard to agree to the truth if incompatible proof is accepted by various groups. 

 

So here is a good example from the same opinion:

Some will say measurements make their case open and shut. But there are too many examples of how measurements fall well short of telling the whole story. There are tube amps with 3% - 5% distortion that sound better to many than amps with far better measurements. Are those products a scam? Vinyl doesn’t measure nearly as well as digital and yet many strongly prefer its sound. Should fans of vinyl be told that turntable, tonearm and cartridge makers are scamming them as well?

 

Are there really tube amps with 3% or more distortion that sound better than great measuring amps?  Yes I would say yes.  However, there are plenty who will dig in and say if it sounds better it is better.  Which can lead to all kinds of disagreements. I'd say it sounds better because of the distortion.  A fundamental problem with being totally subjectivist is believing your preferences in sound always guide you toward fidelity.  So some will then decide distortion isn't telling us all and something else is going on.  And then you get into some who will take advantage of that with all kinds of crazy explanations via which they prey on people's imagination and hearing.  That is where the real truth can clear that up, but some don't want it cleared up as they see it as an attack on themselves.   It isn't an attack to say someone prefers distortion over clean to me.  Yet more often than not it is taken that way.  This is just a tiny single topic with dozens more that have all the same problems.  

 

Now I'll skip over a whole bunch of thinking that I believe most here can fill in on their own if they care to do so. 

 

The last part I dislike in this opinion piece:

 

 

I’m old enough to remember this hobby when people would meet at audio stores to just listen and schmooze. We’ve lost too much of that sense of camaraderie. We may differ on what we like, but we all care about how we experience music.


Whether I’m right or wrong about any of the above, would it hurt to return to the times when people’s disagreements about audio were friendly? Can we stop assailing the reputations of the people who rely on this industry to care for their families and employees? Can we respect the opinions of those who differ with us by not trying to shut them down with ridicule?

 

Though no one is imagine if someone could say, "I remember when we'd sit around the campfire in the evening after a good days hunt.  Have fine meal from the women's gathered food.  We've lost that sense of camaraderie.  I miss those days.   Couldn't we return to those days?  Why do we have to have cars, and houses and grocery stores?  Why can't those city dwellers leave us fine folk alone to live as we please? If our medicine man is okay by us, why do those people have to insist a doctor is better and a medicine man is mostly telling us a story.  We've all experienced what the medicine man does for us. Just respect our opinions. 

 

 

esldude,

 

I just don't think people asking others to accept different kinds of proof is enough for people to get personal with each other. Different kinds of proof just isn't provocative enough.

 

And, as for your last objection, I just don't get it. Any reference to an earlier time is going to bring with it those negative connotations for you? Maybe i misunderstood.

 

Regardless, the last point was my not my primary point so I won't belabor it.

 

Thanks.

 

Joel

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10 minutes ago, wgscott said:

This "editorial" is essentially just another (albeit officially-sanctioned) troll-thread designed to bait "objectivists" and possibly to increase site traffic (and therefore advertising revenue).

 

How else are we supposed to interpret stuff like this:

 

 

The sound of an ethernet cable is like the sound of one hand clapping.

 

What about the sound of a grounding box full of sand?  

 

Where do we draw the line between what should be respectfully accepted on "faith" in the interest of "civility," and what is palpably absurd, or evidence of consumer fraud?

Amazing how you know my intentions better than I do, Bill.

 

My intention has been to try to explain some of the over-the-top behavior on this site and just maybe mitigate that behavior.

 

I'm guessing you know pretty well when to be civil and when not to be. I don't think you need to pose that as a question (rhetorical or not) on this forum.

 

Joel

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2 minutes ago, wgscott said:

 

Aren't you being at least as presumptive about the motivations and beliefs (or lack, thereof) of those who have the audacity to hold an opinion at variance with your own?  

I absolutely am, Bill.

 

And it's not because their beliefs are "aidacious" pr at variance with mine. I wrote in hopes of trying to explain the behaviors I find offensive.

 

That's it. Honest.

 

Joel

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1 minute ago, mansr said:

Well, I find your "hit piece" rather offensive.

Please name s single line or paragraph you find as offensive or even close to being as offensive as if I made a personal negative reference about you.

 

Joel

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5 minutes ago, wgscott said:

 

The ones I highlighted in bold-face.

 

(Yes, I get that you don't -- or at least pretend not to -- see it that way.  But that, too, is the point.)

Sorry, I'm missing the point.

 

If you want to take me up on my challenge, please do and show me the specific text you're referring to.

 

Joel

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3 minutes ago, wgscott said:

 

The bit quoted here, especially that which I set in bold-faced:

 

All I get is a link back to the article.

 

Sorry, but I still don't see it.

 

Joel

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1 minute ago, wgscott said:

 

The BB auto-formats the link I fed it.  If you click the "wgscott replied to a topic" link just above where it says "52 minutes ago", you will get the post.  In it, I highlighted the specific text.  It might be easier for me just to do it again.

I found it, Bill. Thanks.

 

And I think you're conflating "disagree" with "offense".

 

And if you're really offended by that comment, I'm not sure how ideas (not personal insults) can be offered on this site without risking your being offended by them.

 

Joel

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3 minutes ago, mansr said:

Take a look in the mirror:

 

Those are some pretty strong accusations.

You're right. But the term was "offense".

 

Please tell me, of the paragraph you quoted, what you consider offensive.

 

Joel

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1 minute ago, crenca said:

 

@joelhasuggestion that we accept radical subjectivism as the neutral and civil ground of not only audio, but science, metaphysics and religion too, is just more of the same and not a way forward...

That's an impressive misread of my article, crenca.

 

I'm asking for "radical" civility and I offer a theory as to why we don't get it.

 

Joel

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