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Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #25
I recently made a trip to a town about 2 hours' drive from here in a neighboring state; I was actually going there for lunch at a small pizza restaurant which is the only one of its kind remaining.  But this town used to have a number of nice high-end stereo shops back in the 70s and I was curious about what the latest incarnations were like.  It's a university town so there's still some interest in tech stuff and a couple of stores remain.

In the end I only found two stores which really sold stereo gear; one was a direct descendant of a store I visited in 1973 and had some sensible people running it.  Like most modern stores, they had a large stock of A/V equipment, but also some more high-end stuff.  In addition, they had rounded up some used electronics and speakers which were worth a look.  I'd go back there more often if I lived closer - they seem to have their heads on straight.

The other place - wow.  Full of weird audiophile claptrap, including their pride and joy - a pair of Avantgarde horns driven by a 5-watt 10% distortion tube amp.  The salesperson raved about them, and was pushing a new $2000 "budget" turntable as the perfect match (they were actually in different rooms).  I noted with some amusement that among the wacky audiofool stuff there was actually a pricey digital music server.  I told the guy I already had one - an Airport Express ($100) streaming from my desktop Mac.  The worst thing, though (to me) was that since they were a Magnepan dealer I hoped to be able to hear one of their latest offerings... but the only pair they had was disconnected and sort of pushed to the side.  Not enough profit margin, I guess.  They only really had one room with semi-decent acoustics, and not the best speakers in it.  The others were just places to display the gear and watch the blinky lights.

A month ago I was in Philadelphia which (in the 70s as well) used to be a huge mecca for audio stores and music shops.   It was home to Dynaco and IMF, a number of other well-respected companies and even some audio publications. The importer Music & Sound Ltd. had a very nice showroom with all kinds of exotic but mostly affordable gear - they carried everything from Crown to Audio Research.  All of them gone today, and I didn't see a single ad for a high-end store that looked like it sold primarily audio gear.  I wasn't in the mood for "audiophile" shops anyway.

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #26
Some people say studio monitors sound flat, but the last time I checked, THAT'S THE POINT. They reproduce sound as accurately as possible, with no "color" or "depth" or "emotion" added to it, so I hear what the recording engineer heard, and what the musician wanted me to hear.

I wonder why a recording engineer wouldn't rather use a tool that magnifies errors so they can be detected (and diagnosed) immediately.
Why do you think a normal speaker set (whether audiophile-grade or not) would amplify errors? They (try to) obscure errors instead, making music sound superficially better than the mastering could allow; that's why people buy them. Normal speaker sets are designed to resonate at frequency ranges that people find enjoyable and damp frequency ranges that people find unpleasant, essentially having permanent EQ settings built into the hardware. (Bose speakers achieve the same goal through digital signal processing rather than fancy materials and careful construction.) Audiophiles who prefer high-end speakers made of fancy cone materials, neodymium magnets, hardwood enclosures, and high-tech insulation prefer those speakers because they cater to the audiophiles' subconscious listening bias, same as anyone else -- while the marketing material simultaneously caters to their desire to believe they don't have a listening bias, thus reinforcing their belief that they're better than normal people. It's not because those fancy speakers sound clearer than cheap speakers. (they do sound clearer than cheap speakers, but that's not specifically why audiophiles like them. Everyone likes clear speakers.)

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #27
Quote from: ajinfla
Well, the proof is in the pudding, there are both impedance and FR measurements to suggest that they are fairly linear and well engineered, despite the "audiophile grade" pricing. I design speakers and see nothing of concern.
Total nitpick, but the saying is "The proof of the pudding is in the tasting." ;) In other words, you don't know if something you made came out right until you actually try to use it.

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #28
A month ago I was in Philadelphia which (in the 70s as well) used to be a huge mecca for audio stores and music shops.   It was home to Dynaco and IMF, a number of other well-respected companies and even some audio publications. The importer Music & Sound Ltd. had a very nice showroom with all kinds of exotic but mostly affordable gear - they carried everything from Crown to Audio Research.  All of them gone today, and I didn't see a single ad for a high-end store that looked like it sold primarily audio gear.  I wasn't in the mood for "audiophile" shops anyway.
Wow, Dynaco is a name I haven't heard in a while. I have a friend who built a replica Dynaco tube amp for his stereo, just because he thinks tubes are cool and he likes fiddling with stuff. I rescued and refurbished a Quadaptor box from eBay to give him as a wedding present. I ended up having to take apart the potentiometer stack and clean all the contacts, then re-solder all the wires that had broken loose from the contact tabs on the pots. It was a solid day of restoration, but he sure was happy when I gave it to him.

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #29
Quote
Normal speaker sets are designed to resonate at frequency ranges that people find enjoyable and damp frequency ranges that people find unpleasant, essentially having permanent EQ settings built into the hardware.

I don't think that is true as a rule, although there probably are examples of a deliberate mid-bass bump.  "Normal" speakers have to live in real rooms and EQ is not the only issue that the designers have to worry about by far--dispersion, distortion, etc all count too.  You could probably make perfectly flat EQ (in an anechoic chamber) speakers that sound like dog-doo in my living room. 

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #30
....
So that's my suggestion -- skip all the audiophile BS and buy the same equipment that actual music professionals use. They listen to the same tracks over and over more times in a year than most of us will in our entire lives.

I am on the periphery of the pro community (I am an EE/DSP/Operating Systems/DEEP audio software writer/etc), and some in the actual pro community will SOMETIMES tongue in cheek call those who are taken in by the BS:  audiofools.  Actually, the real problem are the predatory and dishonest perveyors of the nonsense.
I am a 'fixit' type of person, but just like US politics nowadays, the audio stuff has become a religion and not an avocation or a quest to improve the world (or listening.)
I believe that if one wants to enjoy their audio/music hobby and share their experiences/helping others -- just stay away from those who have been bitten by the very damaging meme associated with the mythology.  Live in the real world -- it really IS nicer -- no surprises when reality does become obvious.  (No stark realizations after spending $20k on speakers that are truly no more accurate than very good studio monitors -- in fact, it is more likely that the $20k speakers will have FAKE coloring.)  I'd hope that people spend the extra money on other audio/listening & enjoyment endeavours rather than to unknowingly fund more snake oil.
Don't get me wrong -- I am all for the LOVE of a hobby, but I wish some people didin't turn it into a religion!!!


Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #32
You could probably make perfectly flat EQ (in an anechoic chamber) speakers that sound like dog-doo in my living room. 
Unless the off axis is poor and/or the speaker is broken, that statement isn't supported by science.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #33
I've been burnt few times with what headphones to get. I pretty much just gave up grabbed a pair of ER4XR's, use a fiio Q1 DAC for my PC. Reading Head-fi on its funny how act how world changing allot of the $600+ iem/over ears are ignoring flaws, Like the SE846 pretty poor treble roll off. 

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #34
... Then the only demo track they seem to play is some shitty old horn or string music from the Stone Age.  ...

And... Hotel California

AAAaaaaarrrrrgh!

(I think I used to enjoy that song before I met audiophiles)

It's ironic that these "audiophiles" love Hotel California so much since the song is all about self-indulgence, excesses and the vices of (then) modern America. Of which they're pretty much the poster boys.

That's something I've noticed about "audiophiles", it doesn't seem like the music is actually their priority. They often have a cliché taste in music and tend to play the same songs over and over again (and lots of Jazz of course, it's all about image with these folks). They're like car collectors who never go on a roadtrip.
I left Hydrogenaudio because of the asshole moderators. I recommend everyone do the same thing if they don't want to be insulted and berated by self important little pricks who just delete your comments if they don't agree with your opinions. Bye Bye!

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #35
It's ironic that these "audiophiles" love Hotel California so much
Hotel Audiophilia. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.


That's something I've noticed about "audiophiles", it doesn't seem like the music is actually their priority.
I am not sure if I'd reply "not anymore", or would go "well the hard-core ones yes".
I was at one of those hi-[fi|end] fairs some time around y2k. Obviously the sales guys tried to convince people that this gear could play music (rather than test CDs I guess), and that is probably how they would sell the audiophilia pill to ordinary people.
Then after quite a few rooms, I bumped into one of a distributor known for his arrogance. Sat down in a chair, and ... hey, this does not sound impressive at all ... *listening* what's wrong? Oh. The guitar is NOT three meters wide. It actually sounds like someone playing the guitar, not someone trying to put you inside it.
Nobody else was there, so I stuck for quite a while.
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #36
The expensive sound systems don't repair the damaged ears of the olders.

For an average sound amateur like me, a cheap $120 speakers eg. Microlab M-910 are good enough for my PC in my room. With a tested audible range of 10Hz-14,000 Hz (audiocheck.net samples), these speakers cover the ATH of any so called "audiophile" aged >50. Someone wrote here the people aged >50 rarely can hear sounds >10,000 Hz and I trust him. The 10 Hz and 14,000 Hz samples seems to be more like vibrations and perceptions than sounds. I think these expensive and sophisticated sound systems (others than the snake oil pretty devices) are good only for some extra surround effects wich make people think they got the God's ears.

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #37
Enjoyment is the name of the game. I'm still happy with my Yamaha RX-460 and Paradigm 3seMk3 speakers, as well as other speakers that I (in my mind) have positioned carefully.  Never felt the need to go beyond the bass, treble, mid-cut, and the other crucial tone control: volume. I can make the system sound good to me at any level I consider reasonable for the situation.  How did we ever get by without room correction?  Yeah, yeah, something like the picture I posted earlier, I know.  Oh, that and bass traps. ;)

I also have an RX-770 and a pair of AR9s (Hi-Res Series), but I don't have an appropriate room to put them in.   I also had a pair of AR S20s that I really liked.

Do I have tin ears?  Dunno, but I was told that I was one of the best critical listeners at the time when I worked for Dolby Labs.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #38
Enjoyment is the name of the game. I'm still happy with my Yamaha RX-460 and Paradigm 3seMk3 speakers, as well as other speakers that I (in my mind) have positioned carefully.  Never felt the need to go beyond the bass, treble, mid-cut, and the other crucial tone control: volume. I can make the system sound good to me at any level I consider reasonable for the situation.  How did we ever get by without room correction?  Yeah, yeah, something like the picture I posted earlier, I know.  Oh, that and bass traps. ;)

I also have an RX-770 and a pair of AR9s (Hi-Res Series), but I don't have an appropriate room to put them in.   I also had a pair of AR S20s that I really liked.

Do I have tin ears?  Dunno, but I was told that I was one of the best critical listeners at the time when I worked for Dolby Labs.

My mantra is: I'd rather have a 9000$ CD collection playing on a 1000$ audio system, than a 1000$ CD collection playing on a 9000$ audio system. Because in the end, if my tech budget is eating up my music budget, then what's the point of getting an audio setup in the first place.

Put it this way: What would you rather eat? A great meal cooked on a decent stove or a mediocre meal cooked on an amazing stove?

We'd all like to have it both ways but that's just not a reality for 99% of people. And a lot of the times when I listen to "Audiophiles" talk, I have the nagging suspicion that that's where they find enjoyment. They enjoy the realization that they're the lucky few who can splurge on this type of stuff.

This fetish for spending insane amounts of money and all the mysticism and snake oil that comes with it seems to be unique to the audio community. You don't find this in other parts of the tech community, take PC gaming for instance. Sure there are expensive graphics cards and processors that people buy, but there it's all about the benchmarks and concrete scientific data. And if companies like intel, AMD or Nvidia use deceptive marketing practices or manipulated benchmarks then there are legions of tech reviews ready to call them out on their BS (which we saw recently with the core i9 release).
There doesn't seem to be this propensity for mysticism and pseudoscience which you find in the audio community. Now you might say that this is because audio is a very subjective topic. But that doesn't explain why people still promote ideas that have literally been scientifically disproven such as SACDs sounding better, 1000$ USB cables sounding better, Nyquist frequency not being adequate, WAV sounding better than FLAC etc. etc.

And this whole "I'll trust my own ears" thing is complete Bull. There's nothing more subjective than one's own hearing after having spend thousands of dollars on a USB cable. Trust me, after having spent that amount of money you're going to hear a difference whether there is one or not.
Besides, you can't turn a subjective personal experience into an objective universal argument.

Anyway, forgive my rambling. I realize some people's eyes might have glazed over :D

I left Hydrogenaudio because of the asshole moderators. I recommend everyone do the same thing if they don't want to be insulted and berated by self important little pricks who just delete your comments if they don't agree with your opinions. Bye Bye!

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #39
My mantra is: I'd rather have a 9000$ CD collection playing on a 1000$ audio system, than a 1000$ CD collection playing on a 9000$ audio system. Because in the end, if my tech budget is eating up my music budget, then what's the point of getting an audio setup in the first place.

Put it this way: What would you rather eat? A great meal cooked on a decent stove or a mediocre meal cooked on an amazing stove?

As someone with enough great meals to kill me (that is, too many CDs to listen to, I bought a few collections over the years, and just last week I filled some holes at £1/piece ...), I spend more on going to concerts. Since I am into amplified music, that means near-mono rumbling, knobs tuned by guys whose "experience" has cost them the second-to-highest octave ..., and I am also well aware that part of what I "hear" I actually see on stage. All them issues with non-blind "testing", I happily use to my advantage.
A side effect is that I have gotten pretty good at "compensating", mentally, for certain types of deficiencies - while I am pickier on others. Rollercoaster bass response? I hear that it is wrong, but it does not bother me much as long as I have the lowest end. Whenever I am caught by the urge to get rid of the room, I put headphones on.
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #40
My mantra is: I'd rather have a 9000$ CD collection playing on a 1000$ audio system, than a 1000$ CD collection playing on a 9000$ audio system. Because in the end, if my tech budget is eating up my music budget, then what's the point of getting an audio setup in the first place.
On the face of it this seems an eminently sensible attitude. More music to choose from = good.

But when you think about it, 90% of everything is crud - and this applies as much to music as anything else. There are people out there with enormous music collections, much of which they will never have time to listen to. Whatever happened to prizing quality over quantity? I'd rather have a few hundred really good albums playing on a really good system than thousands (of varying merit), the cost of which has limited the quality of the system I can afford to buy.

Re: Is it all bull**** now?

Reply #41
Excessive off-topic zealotry removed.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?


 
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