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ARQuint

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About ARQuint

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  1. Ah...pre-COVID, didn't you ever go out to hear live music??? Definitely cannot do that now—not at a concert hall, not at a club, not at an outdoor festival. Unfortunately, the idea that the experience of live music should serve as a reference is just a piety for a subset of audio enthusiasts. That includes some reviewers, I'm sad to say.
  2. Enjoyed your portrait, Chris. We lived for 4 years in Minneapolis, where I did my medical residency. My older daughter came into this world at what was then called Fairview-Southdale Hospital, just across the city limits in Edina. Growing up in Philadelphia, where we moved when she was a year old, if she told people she was born in "Edina", they wanted to know if she was delivered behind the deep fat fryer. Andy Quint
  3. In that long-ago editorial (and in our current situation, it really feels like eons ago) I said this << the theoretical objections to MQA do deserve a thorough consideration. >> Just a few months later came Archimago's magisterial evaluation of the technology at CA/AS, which informed the thinking of many, me included. The problem was, for every Archimago, there were 3 or 4 Brinkmanships, whose unsubstantial two-sentence zingers were posted with far greater frequency. I can't, of course, say this with any certainty, but MQA, Inc. might have engaged with our anonymous friend had the air not been poisoned with so much vitriol and snarkiness—remember, Bob Stuart himself answered a slew of questions on this site before that. But it was too late. And then came the disgraceful treatment of Chris at RMAF 2018 and the door was forever slammed shut. My personal emphasis on "civility" irked some folks on this thread and was even viewed by a few as a kind of diversionary tactic. It's not. I never had any interest in either defending or attacking MQA—I lack the technical background to do that with authority and commentary on SQ seemed quite beside the point. But I recognized that the animus surrounding the issue was damaging to our hobby. Chris himself suggested that all the toxic invective around MQA may have actually interfered with the messaging of those building a rational case criticizing it, and I agree. I don't see how you can expect those with a different viewpoint to engage when they are being accused of dishonesty and worse, when they simply may have been wrong. I really don't like being a lightening rod on a topic (MQA) that doesn't matter all that much to me as a listener—it distracts from the far more productive activities of this site—and will recede, as promised. Stay safe, everyone. AQ
  4. I feel that MikeyFresh understood my point exactly. The health of 2L has nothing to do with that of MQA, Inc. (about which I have no special insights.) So, to wonder aloud about the stability of the record company because they have connections to the technology concern is irresponsible and potentially damaging to the former. As is the editorial policy of the Times, I think we should correct "alternate facts" when they are disseminated. The discussion of MQA has been profoundly political from the very beginning (my TAS editorial "The Politics of MQA" was printed two-and-a-half years ago) as reflected by the prominence of political tactics—ad hominem, conspiracy theories, insults, bullying, etc. There's a lot less of that at AS since Chris made it less welcoming for those who were here mostly to engage in this kind of sport. And we can go back to that happy state when, right now, I return to lurking and listening! Andy
  5. I am almost sure that 2L is doing just fine. The above comment reminds me of Donald Trump perpetually referring to "The failing New York Times" because the paper says things he doesn't like. The New York Times is doing just fine, too, in case anybody had doubts. At least I'm almost sure.
  6. There's a new limited edition version of the Volti Rival (the Rival SE) that I heard a few weeks ago at the Florida Audio Expo. $19,900 in a gorgeous bubinga wood finish. Sounded great with jazz and classical (20 minute audition). See my show report on the TAS website for a brief impression and photo. Good luck! Andy Quint
  7. Hats off to Chris Connaker for finessing—so far!—the tension between the need for civility in a hobbyist community and everyone's desire for substantive discussions that allow for the full expression of different ideas. He's figured out what many fifth grade teachers figure out early in their careers. That separating individuals that push each other's buttons will reduce bad behavior and allow education to happen. The dialog on this particular discussion in the General Forum has been enlightening and edifying. And I find the growing number of threads on the "Objective-FI" sub-forum to be helpful as well, even if I don't always agree with the analytical approach there. The point is that people on both sides of the subjective/objective divide can best develop their ideas publicly if they don't feel that they have to pull over to the side of the road every so often to shout insults at the oncoming traffic. Andy Quint
  8. You're all confused. Not Mutiny on the Bounty, not Jaws Peter Quint, from Turn of the Screw.
  9. Archimago - That's a challenging and potentially illuminating proposal. I will take some time to read those two articles carefully and to reflect on my own experiences as both a "private" and "public" audiophile. I'll be stepping away from the fray for a few weeks. One very concrete reason for that is to wait for that editorial in the March issue of TAS to appear, which is in about three weeks. Not because it offers epochal new insights or comes close to addressing all the areas you've referenced above but because, obviously, that's where it should first see the light of day. But it might be a useful starting point for a discussion between the two of us, with input—not invective—from the larger community. If/when we proceed, the discourse should definitely be moved away from the "Vaporware" thread, to an environment where the goal is enlightenment and not the determination of who is virtuous and who is evil, of winners and losers. For those few weeks, I'll be considering seriously this elemental question you've raised: "Can we build an internal understanding of audio that provides clarity for ourselves and when others come asking?" I've never seen the central concern regarding this hobby's philosophical direction put more concisely and compellingly. So long for now, then. AQ
  10. Probably, though Julian Hirsch was close to 80 when the TAS article cited above was written. Hirsch's contemporary Hans Fantel, who wrote about consumer electronics for the NY Times, also got a lot of flak from nascent subjectivist audio circles in those days.
  11. With all due respect, I think you're quite wrong about that. I knew Harry very well—I consider him my mentor—and listened to music with him at Sea Cliff on dozens of occasions. He was open-minded and his acceptance of different technologies (e.g. digital) evolved over time but his belief in the primacy of listening, when it came to the evaluation of audio equipment, never wavered. When the magazine was new, Harry wrote an article entitled "How To Read The Absolute Sound" and an update was published in Issue 129. Unfortunately, there's no link to that piece but if you save old issues (Ha!) you should take a look. Harry's lasting contribution to this hobby was that he understood that the sound of music provided an "absolute" and that "descriptions of variations from that absolute are not based in subjectivity, but rather upon observation. That is to say, the basic description of any component's 'sound', if scrupulously attended, will be objective, based on perceivable data, rather than that originating from 'taste' or 'subjectivity'." More than anyone else, Harry developed the language with which an experienced observer could communicate what he or she was hearing in a review. Five years after Harry passed, eight years since he last appeared in these pages, that approach to reporting on gear remains central at TAS—most of the equipment reviewers currently on the masthead knew and admired the man. To be sure, there are other ways of assessing audio components and consumers are welcome to utilize reviews with different emphases. But ours continues to be very useful to many audiophiles. In that article, Harry wrote this, as well: "The editor knew, when this magazine began, that a set of measurements had not been devised to correlate with everything people were hearing in audio gear. And even today, with a vastly improved measuring technology, there remains an all-too-wide gulf between what is measured and what is perceived - it is a 'gulf' because of a lack of communication between those we call measurers and those we call listeners. [my emphasis]. Those who are measurement-oriented tend toward certain dogmatic subjective assumptions about the listening process (e.g. components that measure the same - using the numeric assumptions - sound the same) without being the least skeptical about their own assumptions." Over decades, Harry brought in people with a wide variety of backgrounds to write for the magazine. There were recording professionals but also doctors, lawyers, a mystery writer, a military expert, psychologists, a math professor, film and political journalists, and quite a few other "day jobs" have been represented over the years. He felt he could tell easily who'd be "qualified" to review audio gear for TAS—an engineering background wasn't devalued but it didn't obviate the need for the listening and writing skills he prized. I guess it's out of admiration for Harry's singular devotion to searching out ways to describe the ineffable that I keep returning here for more punishment. I'd like for the "gulf" he described to be bridged as much as possible. Andy Quint
  12. Oh, I meant such mundane parameters as an amplifier's power rating or a loudspeaker's input impedance. Those sorts of specifications can, of course, help a potential buyer decide if a product is worth investigating further for use in an existing system. I think that what some subjectively oriented audiophiles have trouble with is the idea that there's a "scientific" litmus test that a product (or technology) must pass before subjective listening tests should be undertaken. That if a product's posited mechanism of action is "questionable," listening is quite beside to point. I do feel this dynamic was in play during the earlier stages of the MQA discussion: those who objected most strenuously to the technology weren't even willing to listen. Yes, I know how the Canadian comparative listening tests came out, and I respect those results. But if those results had come out the other way, I wonder if skeptics would have accepted them. BTW, I have an editorial on this subject in the March issue of TAS, which mails to subscribers in about a month. I'm sure the "Vaporware" fraternity will be hanging on my every word…😉
  13. Archimago, I feel that your representation of TAS would be unrecognizable to most of our subscribers. We go months at a time without mentioning MQA and, while we cover the occasional tweakier accessory, at least 90% of our reviews concern bread-and-butter audio components—loudspeakers, amplifiers and other electronics, turntables, DACs, headphones, etc. We write those reviews with the complementary goals of laying out for the reader the basics of a product's design and the experience of living with it. Complemented by a substantial music section, interviews, show reports, and other long-form articles, TAS tries to entertain, inform, and provide both subjective and objective information to assist in making purchasing decisions. Audiophile Style, which has provided you with a significant platform to expound at length on your signature issue, produces the same kind of content, albeit on a smaller scale. The readers of TAS and that of AS own the same brands of audio gear and listen to the same range of music.The two publications get advertising dollars from many of the same manufacturers. It seems senseless to perpetuate conflict when we share so many of the same kind of peak experiences that make this a great hobby. All publications—all intellectual enterprises—can improve and evolve, and I've been around TAS long enough to know that's our culture at the most basic level. Likewise, AS seems to be moving towards a more civil and inclusive sort of virtual community. We can bury the hatchet. Andy Quint
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