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Topic: Is it all bull**** now? (Read 2107 times) previous topic - next topic
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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. 

 
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