Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #26
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    It's always amazed me what music some big-rig dudes actually play. I mean $100K to listen to Norah Jones? Where's the adventure in that?
    Go over to stevehoffman.tv's music forums some time. All these people with megabucks systems listening to the Monkees.

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Go over to stevehoffman.tv's music forums some time. All these people with megabucks systems listening to the Monkees.
    And Toto.
    The music was hot, but my baby was not.

  3. #28
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    The only recommendation on your list that I have an issue with is this one. I think you run a rather high chance, in any audio club, of running into men whose goal is not high fidelity at all, but rather the fairy dust of extreme expenditure. People who simply love music are not the type to join clubs of equipment collectors who are more interested in "comparing their rigs" than listening to music.
    Robert its clear you are speaking from ignorance. Perhaps you should get out of the house more. I can tell you from direct experience that you are wrong.

    For the past three years I've been a member of the Philadelphia Area Audio Group. Membership is currently capped at 80 and each month a different member hosts a meeting. The systems range from DIY to extreme with the vast majority well to the left of center. Tubes and solid state, digtal and analog - we run the gamut. The common thread is a love of music - not gear. Of course discussions about gear is a component but there is very little dick wagging going on. That isn't the purpose of the meetings. The equipment only exists to serve the music and we don't lose sight of that. At a recent meeting one member played nothing but live performances he recorded. We listened to everything from Wilco to Bruce Springsteen soundboards. (This person has also hosted regular house concerts.) A typical meeting might find us listening to classical music, The Doors, some prog, lots of jazz - contemporary, bop, or even big band. Everything from Miles Davis to Joni Mitchell and believe it or not This Heat. One member of the group used to be in The Nightcrawlers! Members of the group are regular concert goers with many of them having subscriptions to the Philadelphia Orchestra. I've bumped into members at Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson concerts. Went to see Nels Cline Singers and Morglbl with others. One member, in addition to being a musician, is the treasurer of the Philadelphia Orchestra. We all spent more time getting hammered on his home brewed beer (his other hobby) than we did discussing equipment. The music sounded particularly good that day. We've had scheduled meetings at audio retailers and gotten private demos from manufacturers. There are perks including discounts from retailers and audio manfacturers that are group sponsors.

    Audio groups can be a great place to gain knowledge about music and equipment. More important - they can be a hell of a lot of fun. If you have one in your area you should seek it out. If not - think about starting one. You would be amazed how many people in your area have similar interests.

  4. #29
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I've spent some time around audio clubs and I experienced both the chance of hearing some cool equipment I might never had heard on my own and the guys who just want to show off their gear (and look down their nose at 'inferior gear'). Its a great chance to educate yourself yet the risk of buyer's remorse or budget strain is greater than if you shopped on your own. But you run this kind of risk joining any kind of club if you're so feeble minded you'd do anything to feel acceptance by a peer group. But it did seem the guys that wanted be of help outnumbered the audiophiliacs, at least in the groups I observed. I still participate in some DIY events and most of the guys are nice but I rarely discuss anything outside of a project.

    One thing I noticed about audiophiliacs is that while they also collect music, their choices seemed to gravitate towards works that "sounded great on their equipment". When they demonstrated their equipment they rarely listened to more than a minute or so of any particular piece of music and wouldn't consider owning music that didn't exploit their gear's capabilities.

    I actually was an audiophile of sorts; I referred to myself as an autiophile since my main obsession was my car system. As I grew older and became a parent I sorta fell out of the gear thing, but the one thing that was easily maintained was my thirst for new music. My music collection grew and my gear rack shrank. If a piece of gear broke it either got replaced by something cheap or didn't get replaced. I do still own some decent stuff, like a T-amp, my DIY speakers, various DVD and BluRay players, an old turntable. But I stopped being terribly concerned with audiophile quality music as much as I rather hear music I like on a little bluetooth portable speaker than hear audiophile quality recordings that bore me.

    Probably not the kind of post the O/P was looking for, so sorry about that. There's nothing wrong with the pursuit of audiophilia - once the kids are grown and on their own (fingers crossed) I intend to have a dedicated listening room with slightly more sound system than I need and way more music. I'll own vinyl because I like the way it sounds and I'll own a bunch of digital files of various sizes and types. Hell, I might get around to getting a surround setup of some sort. But what I won't do is chase perfection, whether it be gear, interconnects, power conditioners, green markers, CD deguassers and the like.

  5. #30
    I suppose there are several ways to approach being an audiophile. I'm certain that if I was significantly richer I would likely have a substantially more expensive collection of equipment. I'd probably have a lot more audiophile recordings that I would only listen to once. Quality sound and quality music are a high priority to me, but they aren't the highest. I'm the guy who is looking for the most bang for the buck, but understands that quality food rarely is bought on a fast food budget.
    Since I have a fairly modest income, that means I don't live in a home that I want a bunch of rich people to come to. It would be embarrassing.
    I listen to a lot of my music on 320K mp3 files. If my collection weren't so large, they would all be either FLAC or WAV.
    Now that I have a portable Hi-Rez player, I will likely be re-ripping many select tracks.
    I haven't yet decided whether I prefer WAV or if FLAC is worthwhile.

  6. #31
    rcarlberg: Is there anything sadder than a song that has never been played?
    Plasmatopia: Maybe a song in D minor that has never been played?

    bob_32_116: That would be a terrific triple bill: Cyan, Magenta and Yello.

    trurl: The Odyssey: "He's trying to get home."

  7. #32
    It always amazes me - though perhaps it shouldn't - how groups of like-minded people ( and I'm talking audiophiles, prog fans, sports fans, you name it) can vary so widely on what should be common goals... Perhaps that's the beauty of the cosmos? dickish pride? why we're all here on PE? LOL!

    One listening quirk I do have is that I do not listen to music with headphones or earbuds, and I do not listen to music on "portable" music players. The former probably has to do with (quite unfortunately) age and tinnitus, the later, mostly because I don't have to. That said, I really prefer to not listen to music at times, like my morning commute to work, which is usually the zen of silence and a cup of coffee or perhaps talk radio, or at work (cuz you know I'm working) and find myself setting time aside to listen to music, more or less actively and above all meaningfully. Sounds like a load of crap, I know, but there's truth if you look for it.

    I also listen to music in two distinct ways - one obviously for pleasure, and the other best described as for "archaeological" purposes. As a huge fan of rock-n-roll as long as I can remember, I'm extremely interested in the progression/regression/whatever of that generation of men that created what we call progressive music. To go (for example) from a band's formative years through their creative peak and then onto solo albums, is, or at least can be, viewed as a musical journey (and ultimately what my book/website is all about).

    Fortunately I'm in a place in my life where I a) have a dedicated "man cave" for my collection and listening (see Show Us Your Collection thread), and b) can afford to make modest upgrades to my equipment. That said, I've always tried to put the what I'm listening to before the how I'm listening to it.

    Somehow, I'd say that's what makes me an audiophile. YMMV
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  8. #33
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    As in any group of enthusiasts you have:
    - equipment junkies
    - casual hobbiests
    - wannabees
    - true lovers of the root (e.g. music in this case)
    - rich
    - poor
    - crazies
    - young
    - old
    - those whose minds are made up
    - those whose minds are open
    - hands on
    - hands off
    - etc.

    You just have to give it a chance and figure out what you, personally, want from the hobby. Joining a locval audio group opens you up to meeting these exciting people who share a hobby, regardless of their beliefs. You will likely learn something, and have a good time doing it. Plus, the other members are usually more than willing to offer advice, even to the point of lending you equipment to try for yourself. Many club members will have old equipoment in their closet just gathering dust, and a loan could turn into a sale for them and a great bargain for you.
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  9. #34
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KGHofSF View Post
    any suggestions as to labels that really do make a superior product and which are more hype than reality??
    I did a thread on this very subject a few months ago, but the problem is there is no consensus on what constitutes superior recordings.

    Some listeners prefer a 'live' sound, others despise it.

  10. #35
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Is anyone else like me, who prefers to invest in albums rather than incremental improvements in hardware and holy grail masterings of the same albums over and over? (Although I've begun picking up 5.1 material since getting a $1200 home theater system)

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Is anyone else like me, who prefers to invest in albums rather than incremental improvements in hardware and holy grail masterings of the same albums over and over? (Although I've begun picking up 5.1 material since getting a $1200 home theater system)
    I don't like to listen to music in 5.1, so that has definitely saved me some $ as far as re-buying old favorites.

    My personal take on gear is that I know going in that I'm not going to spend the kind of money that a true audiophile would spend (if nothing else, for very practical reasons: I live in a city apartment and don't have the luxury of a "listening room" - I play the music in the same room where almost everything else except for sleeping happens, and can only do so at moderate volumes).

    I have about $2500-$3000 spent into my 2-channel system and that's good enough for me right now.
    Last edited by Facelift; 01-06-2015 at 01:58 PM.

  12. #37
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I didn't think I cared much about music in 5.1 until our TV died last year. Rather than pick up a stereo or 2.1 "soundbar" to go with the new flat screen, we got a deal on a Harman Kardon system. Hearing Sailor's Tale playing in 5.1 was amazing.

  13. #38
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk View Post
    Looks like a cool gadget. $1200 is way more than I'd be willing to pay for a portable player.

  14. #39
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Robert its clear you are speaking from ignorance. Perhaps you should get out of the house more. I can tell you from direct experience that you are wrong.
    Well I'm glad your experience has been so positive over the past three years. Mine over the past twenty was somewhat different.

  15. #40
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Well I'm glad your experience has been so positive over the past three years. Mine over the past twenty was somewhat different.
    If you've been a member of an audio society for 20 years and its all about dick wagging over gear then you must be a masochist.

  16. #41
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    If you've been a member of an audio society for 20 years and its all about dick wagging over gear then you must be a masochist.
    He only takes out enough to win.

  17. #42
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    Said Uncle Miltie.

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    I wasn't surprised at how quickly I saw posts about cables not making a difference, or how how pricy products are all sold by "shysters". But I am very glad that the thread didn't deteriorate into the typical argument of "yes it does" - "no it doesn't".
    At the risk of causing such a deterioration in the thread, and with the caveat that I don't consider myself to be any sort of expert, I have been doing a bit of reading up on speaker cables recently and my understanding is that the physics says that in normal domestic situations there might be a benefit from upgrading say from bell wire to 'reasonable' cable but once you get beyond a certain point there is no measurable difference. I use some QED 79 Strand that I bought years ago and as far as I have been able to find out nothing will improve on this. Apparently, keeping an eye on the terminations is of more importance. For example, if using banana plugs these can acquire a layer of oxidation.

    I haven't done much investigation on interconnects. I guess the same argument applies that there is a cut off beyond which there is no benefit but I don't know where that is. I have to admit that some of mine do look a bit thin and nasty. I'd be interested in opinions on what is the cheap but good enough point for interconnects?

  19. #44
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannygoodlike View Post
    I'd be interested in opinions on what is the cheap but good enough point for interconnects?
    In my tests anything beyond Radio Shack is a waste of money.

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
    I haven't yet decided whether I prefer WAV or if FLAC is worthwhile.
    Data-wise they are effectively the same as it is possible to uncompress FLAC to a bit perfect copy of the WAV.

    The advantages of FLAC are:

    1. Less disk space (FLAC uses roughly half of what WAV uses).
    2. FLAC can store tags, WAV can't.

    Having said that, chances are that you won't hear a lot of difference from 320K mp3.

  21. #46
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannygoodlike View Post
    The advantages of FLAC are:

    1. Less disk space (FLAC uses roughly half of what WAV uses).
    2. FLAC can store tags, WAV can't.
    However if you're burning a CD-R you can embed the tags via the burning software. You have to re-type them -- but you probably have to anyway

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    In my tests anything beyond Radio Shack is a waste of money.
    We don't have Radio Shack in the UK but I took a look on the web site. You mean something like this? Those are the sort of things I have at the moment.

  23. #48
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannygoodlike View Post
    You mean something like this? Those are the sort of things I have at the moment.
    I like gold plate -- they're only a wee bit more, but they don't oxidize.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    However if you're burning a CD-R you can embed the tags via the burning software. You have to re-type them -- but you probably have to anyway
    Do you mean CD-Text? I think that's what you get on some commercial discs - my car CD player shows me artist/album/track info for some CDs. Not sure how it compares with ID3 type tags though.

    In general I find that my ripping software isn't too bad with tags for non-classical. I have to keep an eye on them and I adjust the odd thing but not too bad on the whole. With classical it's a whole other story. Every disc I rip seems to have different tagging conventions in the retrieved tags. It's the main reason I am way behind with ripping classical CDs compared with everything else in my collection.

  25. #50
    The term 'audiophile' has obtained a bit of a negative connotation recently, as referring those that care more for the equipment than the music. While this may describe what I believe is a minority of audiophiles, it does not seem to describe the majority, as far as I can tell.

    I belong to the Los Angeles and Orange County Audiophile Society, and of course when there are meetings, the talk will be mostly about equipment and media formats, but everyone I talk to, the main reason for the love of the equipment is all about the music.


    When it comes to average mid-fi gear, maybe it might be true that modern is better than vintage.

    I own a combination of vintage and modern gear, and I will have to disagree with the statement that modern is always better than vintage. I am driving a pair of rebuilt and modified Maggie IIIa (not really vintage anymore considering the modern mods and rebuild involved) speakers with a set of Kenwood LO7M mono block amplifiers from over 30 years ago, and I'd put these amps against just about any modern amps of the same power anywhere up to about $1500 each.


    kenwood_l-07m.jpg




    im looking for the best sub woofer for around $500, to complete my 5.1 system. Any recommendations?
    Go DIY from Part-express.

    You can get a kit for $599 that includes amp, finished enclosure, Dayton 12" driver, and all hardware. Within about an hour of assembly, you will end up with a sub that will outperform commercial products for almost twice the price.

    http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-...r-kit--300-742

    It's always amazed me what music some big-rig dudes actually play. I mean $100K to listen to Norah Jones? Where's the adventure in that?

    For many audiophiles, some recordings (not specifically Nora Jones) are used as a tool to evaluate equipment, and not always for listening pleasure.

    A top quality recording, even if not exactly what I would normally listen to for pleasure, is sometimes better for evaluating equipment, than a recording of a band I like, with all it's overdubs, reverb, delay, EQ and other studio effects that can hide the real sound of an instrument.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

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