Can Audiophiles Embrace Science Over Religion For The Hobby To Have a Future?

Eppie

Eppie

Senior Audioholic
Thus the uphill battle in making laws enforcing serviceability/longevity....we've been accustomed to disposability.
Which people won't quibble so much about when it's a cheap coffee maker but when the trend moves up into washer/dryers, dishwashers, stoves and fridges then we're potentially talking big money. The study showed that the expensive top models were not much better. I'll hang on to our old Kenmore washer and dryer for as long as we can. Lots of parts still around and repairmen know them inside and out.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Oh no, I feel another rant coming on. :D Electronics are cheap to produce so it just adds to the profit margin. Manufacturers don't give a damn about serviceability. Market Place in Canada ran a piece on appliance reliability and more often than not repairs were difficult or sometimes impossible. Imagine spending $2,000 - $3,000 on an LG fridge and two years later being told that a replacement compressor is no longer available. They source out what is cheapest so parts change constantly and then they don't maintain any parts inventory. I'm all for the right to repair legislation that people have been advocating for.
I have serious problems with prices for many things- kitchen appliances are near the top of the list. At some point, I'll probably just cook outside- I like the flavor of grilled food and I can still use my wok without filling the house with smoke.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Which people won't quibble so much about when it's a cheap coffee maker but when the trend moves up into washer/dryers, dishwashers, stoves and fridges then we're potentially talking big money. The study showed that the expensive top models were not much better. I'll hang on to our old Kenmore washer and dryer for as long as we can. Lots of parts still around and repairmen know them inside and out.
My house came with an old Kenmore washer & dryer- the dryer doesn't dry well, but the washer still works and it wasn't new when I moved in 26 years ago. I needed to replace the rollers in the dryer and the knob finally let loose after I had "fixed" it by wrapping a nylon wire tie around the part that fits on the timer shaft. Found one at a place that reconditions appliances- I was going to write that it cost five bucks but I don't think he actually charged me for it. I must have looked especially pathetic that day.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Going back to the article, I think the kind of audio hokum that it complains about is waning. Maybe I'm not in the hi-fi loop, but junk science audio is such a niche portion of the audio market, and it seems to be getting nicher as time goes on. Maybe I am just better at tuning it out. There will always be folks who want living room jewelry, which is what this stuff really is, and they can come up with any hair-brained justification for it, but this isn't the direction that the audio hobby has been heading in for a little while now as far as I can see.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Senior Audioholic
Going back to the article, I think the kind of audio hokum that it complains about is waning. Maybe I'm not in the hi-fi loop, but junk science audio is such a niche portion of the audio market, and it seems to be getting nicher as time goes on. Maybe I am just better at tuning it out. There will always be folks who want living room jewelry, which is what this stuff really is, and they can come up with any hair-brained justification for it, but this isn't the direction that the audio hobby has been heading in for a little while now as far as I can see.
I've watched some videos of International hi-fi shows on Analog Planet and there is a lot of eye candy but generally the gear is reported as sounding very good, just silly expensive. Those high end manufacturers though are pretty much forced these days to display thick power cables and fancy interconnects and speaker wire. Who would want to be the one guy pitching thousands of dollars in gear with home made speaker cables? I imagine there will always be a need for sites and forums like this that promote honesty and fact based reporting. It is nice though to see guys like U-Turn Audio at those shows, making a quality product at reasonable prices. I think some reviewers could help debunk the junk science if they stopped listing their power cords and interconnects in speaker reviews, as if it made a tangible difference.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Every time I think about going to Atlona, I remember the idiotic things I heard about it and something gets in the way. Darnit to heck.

Sorry, that's about as upset as I can be about not going.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
The salient thing to embrace isn't science, religion, or even Audio itself.

The salient thing to embrace is love and kindness to one another, getting along, understanding one another, accepting one another, supporting one another, and helping one another.

People want digital and convenience? No problem.
People want analog and vinyl? No problem.
We can make room for both. :D
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
Whatever it is you are smoking, don’t bogart that s#%t.;)
 
R

rolf.taylor

Enthusiast
Powerful statement Gene. And good facts to make your point.

I briefly considered my self a budding audiophile in the 70's and early 80's. By the end of the 80's I avoided that that term because it became tainted by the loons. I am not a loon, and I believe in science. I don't claim to have any sort of special ears, but I do know that back when I was tweaking graphic equalizers folks were happy with the improvement.

I have always been on a budget so the evolution of my system has been slow. But I do know it has progressed and gotten better over time. I have not yet tried room correction, but it is only a matter of time. I am at 5.2 and I am dubious I will go beyond that (I am very discouraged by the cost and lack of really good 5.1 music) And yes, I have a pretty nice flat screen and when I watch video I am happy to have the advantages of good system.

Speaking of change... I watch Netflix and I have yet to watch content that claimed to be 5.1 or better. In fact, I don't know whether or not my streaming video device will actually pass DTS/Dolby Digital to the reciever. It should in theory, but that's my point. The content providers are not doing their part as far as I am concerned. For these reasons (at least in part) I am still buying plastic discs. Another factor is ownership rights. I know as long as I have that plastic I can burn a new file if it gets lost. WIth online subscription models (at least certain models) a business restructuring could make any "purchased" content disappear.

About the ladies. I wouldn't give up on them. Most of them can discern high fidelity better than men. As you know, radio format's aimed at women tend to have far more discrete audio processing. Yes, they are not obsessed with tech for tech's sake, but advances in tech have made hi quality audio systems far less obtrusive. My ex's wife used to scoff at my 4 large tower speakers. She said you know there are really good smaller speakers (and I pictured in my mind Genelecs and the price tag to match, which is NOT what she was talking about). My wife didn't mind them because she could hear the quality (I used to joke I had the ultimate WAF). After the divorce she got a pair of Focals. And once I got fully employed again I was finally able to get the Genelecs. But my point is, 5 small speakers truly address the aesthetics nicely compared to even 2 large towers. But as you say, the wires need to be hidden, etc etc.

It is definitely time for a change....
 
S

skris88

Audiophyte
You're absolutely spot on, Gene!

I still go to church. But when it comes to audio, science has won.

I've long since given up on fancy HiFi. Starting my infatuation in the mid 1970s, I've "Been there, done that". These days a fairly modest DSP-based 2.1 system gives me all that I have previously spent 10s of thousands on before. Better? Perhaps not. But only marginally not.

The benefits of my new simply system far outweigh the negatives. So now I simply enjoy the vast library of streaming music and movies galore than fret over the precise downward angle of my stylus.

My gear now? A pair of tall DIY open baffle 2 ways (with horn tweeters) and two non-mirrored (important) 8-inch powered subwoofers. Driven by the cheapest available Audyssey AVR to manage the bass transition and critical timing aspect between these 4 sets of transducers. 100dB action movie peaks? Easy! My favourite streaming radio station? Radio Swiss Jazz.

So now I just turn it On, and relax. Great recording quality (mostly - although some recording engineers MUST have Photoshopped their credentials!). Great music. Next step, a Skip button by Radio Swiss Jazz for those bad recordings. Like Radio Paradise offers.

The future of great, no - fantastic - HiFi is here. Now. Exotic gear are the way of the dodo. Or for those with more money than sense.
 
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S

skris88

Audiophyte
To steer back to the original discussion somewhat, I had an enlightening experience with non-traditional or "lifestyle"-type audio products. I went over to my new girlfriend's house for the first time over the weekend. She has an Amazon Echo Show in her kitchen and had some Frank Sinatra on. Now, I have profound privacy concerns about such products, don't have them in my house at all, but putting that aside and focusing on its music capabilities...I was getting ready to sneer at it to myself but then I realized...the damn thing doesn't sound half bad, really. It was filling the whole room with pleasant sound. It was not tinny. There was bass. Ole Blue Eyes's voice sounded good. The atmosphere was on point. The decent sized screen was telling you what was playing and scrolling the lyrics in time with the music. You can verbally tell it to play something. She was also viewing recipes on it while cooking.

Again, I'm setting aside the considerable privacy concerns, but just in terms of the functionality and sound of the product - I was impressed with that. It is extremely user friendly, with better than expected sound, that I have to grudgingly admit is perfectly adequate for casual listening. I'll take my floorstanders and sub all day, but the Echo wasn't bad at all.
Slam a Chromecast on your AVR and that great audio would be pouring out of you mains and sub(s). Easy!
 
FeRDNYC

FeRDNYC

Audiophyte
For these reasons (at least in part) I am still buying plastic discs. Another factor is ownership rights. I know as long as I have that plastic I can burn a new file if it gets lost.
IF you still have the plastic. And IF it's still in readable condition. And IF you've hung on to a device that's able to read it and make rips.

Or, IF you were sure to make a good backup rip when you first got it. And IF that backup drive still works when you power it up. And IF it's in the right file format, or IF you have the time and patience to convert it.

(Most people under 30 don't own anything that can read circular media, today. The default configuration for all computer configurations has been sans optical drive for a number of years now. Even for those extremely rare software products where some sort of physical media form is available, that medium is a USB key.)

WIth online subscription models (at least certain models) a business restructuring could make any "purchased" content disappear.
There's an extent to which that's true, yes... but there's also an extent to which it's always been true, and us old-timers are merely romanticizing our notion of "ownership" based on possession of a physical copy. As if that somehow conveys something meaningful. As if "possession is 9/10 of the law" is anything other than a wildly inaccurate legal cliche with no actual validity.

I bought a lot of plastic circles throughout my life, both in physical music stores and via mail-order. (Or non-order. By the time I started college in the early 1990s I'd already amassed a largely BMG- and/or Columbia House-fueled CD collection numbering in the hundreds of discs, and it only went up from there.)

I've also, over the course of my life, dealt with greater than usual issues of housing instability, impermanence, necessary sacrifices, and etc. that all added up to most of that collection being lost to me, one way or another. Of all the physical-media music I previously "owned", the number of those releases I actually have access to is maybe a couple dozen, max.

I won't pretend that my situation is typical at all or applies to everyone, but part of my point is that the "ownership" we imagine a physical copy conveys upon us can, in its own way, be just as fragile as digtal "ownership", or it at least imposes upon us the responsibility and the burden of having to maintain that ownership, a factor that's rarely taken into account.

My other point, and this one's the real kicker for me, is not my "I've lost access to nearly all of the physical media I purchased" tale, but rather one of the very few exceptions that I do still have access to: Bloodhound Gang - One Fierce Beer Coaster.

Why that album, specifically? Am I that much of a Bloodhound Gang superfan, that I've jealously clung to that particular CD over all others?

Not even remotely. In fact, I DON'T still have that CD anymore. It's lost somewhere in the world with all of the others.

But that album WAS the first CD I ever ordered from Amazon, back in the early days when they were still primarily a bookstore. I happened to throw the CD in when I placed a textbook order one semester. (Late-1990s Amazon's standard carton filler was free box(es) of Cracker Jacks, which probably influenced my decision to buy books from them more than I care to admit.)

One afternoon a few years ago, long after the physical CD had disappeared from my life forever, an email notification showed up from Amazon. It seems One Fierce Beer Coaster had been added to the Amazon Music catalog, and my physical purchase from 20 years prior entitled me to a digital copy as well. So, of all the CDs I've owned and lost, that one album alone I can still play anytime the mood strikes me just by calling it up in Amazon's service.

By all means, buy the beer coasters if it gives you peace of mind. I mean, heck, even my story hinges on previous possession of the album in actual-CD form. Plus, somebody's gotta keep the distribution model alive. (Both of the physical disc medium, and more generally the record album itself as a release format. Album sales are hurting, BAD, now that everyone just buys individual songs. The entire notion that an album is the standard unit size for a music artist's releases has been circling the drain for several years now.)

But even if you do buy the discs, make a digital copy, and then make a copy of that digital copy for backup. And back it up into the cloud, to keep that copy safe from the myriad disasters that can befall physical data storage of any kind. (The cloud, it's often been observed, absolutely does just mean storing your data on someone else's drives. As anyone who's ever suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure can probably appreciate, that's actually one of the best things about it!)
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
IF you still have the plastic. And IF it's still in readable condition. And IF you've hung on to a device that's able to read it and make rips.

Or, IF you were sure to make a good backup rip when you first got it. And IF that backup drive still works when you power it up. And IF it's in the right file format, or IF you have the time and patience to convert it.

(Most people under 30 don't own anything that can read circular media, today. The default configuration for all computer configurations has been sans optical drive for a number of years now. Even for those extremely rare software products where some sort of physical media form is available, that medium is a USB key.)



There's an extent to which that's true, yes... but there's also an extent to which it's always been true, and us old-timers are merely romanticizing our notion of "ownership" based on possession of a physical copy. As if that somehow conveys something meaningful. As if "possession is 9/10 of the law" is anything other than a wildly inaccurate legal cliche with no actual validity.

I bought a lot of plastic circles throughout my life, both in physical music stores and via mail-order. (Or non-order. By the time I started college in the early 1990s I'd already amassed a largely BMG- and/or Columbia House-fueled CD collection numbering in the hundreds of discs, and it only went up from there.)

I've also, over the course of my life, dealt with greater than usual issues of housing instability, impermanence, necessary sacrifices, and etc. that all added up to most of that collection being lost to me, one way or another. Of all the physical-media music I previously "owned", the number of those releases I actually have access to is maybe a couple dozen, max.

I won't pretend that my situation is typical at all or applies to everyone, but part of my point is that the "ownership" we imagine a physical copy conveys upon us can, in its own way, be just as fragile as digtal "ownership", or it at least imposes upon us the responsibility and the burden of having to maintain that ownership, a factor that's rarely taken into account.

My other point, and this one's the real kicker for me, is not my "I've lost access to nearly all of the physical media I purchased" tale, but rather one of the very few exceptions that I do still have access to: Bloodhound Gang - One Fierce Beer Coaster.

Why that album, specifically? Am I that much of a Bloodhound Gang superfan, that I've jealously clung to that particular CD over all others?

Not even remotely. In fact, I DON'T still have that CD anymore. It's lost somewhere in the world with all of the others.

But that album WAS the first CD I ever ordered from Amazon, back in the early days when they were still primarily a bookstore. I happened to throw the CD in when I placed a textbook order one semester. (Late-1990s Amazon's standard carton filler was free box(es) of Cracker Jacks, which probably influenced my decision to buy books from them more than I care to admit.)

One afternoon a few years ago, long after the physical CD had disappeared from my life forever, an email notification showed up from Amazon. It seems One Fierce Beer Coaster had been added to the Amazon Music catalog, and my physical purchase from 20 years prior entitled me to a digital copy as well. So, of all the CDs I've owned and lost, that one album alone I can still play anytime the mood strikes me just by calling it up in Amazon's service.

By all means, buy the beer coasters if it gives you peace of mind. I mean, heck, even my story hinges on previous possession of the album in actual-CD form. Plus, somebody's gotta keep the distribution model alive. (Both of the physical disc medium, and more generally the record album itself as a release format. Album sales are hurting, BAD, now that everyone just buys individual songs. The entire notion that an album is the standard unit size for a music artist's releases has been circling the drain for several years now.)

But even if you do buy the discs, make a digital copy, and then make a copy of that digital copy for backup. And back it up into the cloud, to keep that copy safe from the myriad disasters that can befall physical data storage of any kind. (The cloud, it's often been observed, absolutely does just mean storing your data on someone else's drives. As anyone who's ever suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure can probably appreciate, that's actually one of the best things about it!)
It's pretty simple to rip a cd and back it up. I have an external drive hooked to my pc set to auto back up anything new. I have a lot on my phone too. Yes there are myriad disasters that can happen to your cds and multiple backups but it's extremely unlikely they'll all happen at the same time to every copy you own... I s'pose my house could burn down but then I have bigger issues to worry about than music.

I'm not against streaming services either. I just don't think it's that ridiculous to spend 5 to 7 bucks on a cd and have the content forever. I box 'em up and store them in a spare room after they're copied, and I'll bet they'll be playable long after I'm gone.

Is there a streaming service that sounds as good as a cd or high quality mp3 even? I haven't found one yet. That's really my main reason for preferring cds.
 
Trell

Trell

Audioholic Samurai
It's pretty simple to rip a cd and back it up. I have an external drive hooked to my pc set to auto back up anything new. I have a lot on my phone too. Yes there are myriad disasters that can happen to your cds and multiple backups but it's extremely unlikely they'll all happen at the same time to every copy you own... I s'pose my house could burn down but then I have bigger issues to worry about than music.

I'm not against streaming services either. I just don't think it's that ridiculous to spend 5 to 7 bucks on a cd and have the content forever. I box 'em up and store them in a spare room after they're copied, and I'll bet they'll be playable long after I'm gone.

Is there a streaming service that sounds as good as a cd or high quality mp3 even? I haven't found one yet. That's really my main reason for preferring cds.
I've quite a few multi channel SACD that I'm unable to backup due to copyright protection :(
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I've quite a few multi channel SACD that I'm unable to backup due to copyright protection :(
Why would you need to back up a SACD in your possession? It's not a FLAC file. But there should be a way to back up the CD layer of the disc, unless it is has only a SACD layer as is the case with several Sony discs.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Why would you need to back up a SACD in your possession? It's not a FLAC file. But there should be a way to back up the CD layer of the disc, unless it is has only a SACD layer as is the case with several Sony discs.
Its a simple matter to backup the cd layer....but the multich dsd layer isn't.
 
Trell

Trell

Audioholic Samurai
Why would you need to back up a SACD in your possession? It's not a FLAC file. But there should be a way to back up the CD layer of the disc, unless it is has only a SACD layer as is the case with several Sony discs.
As @lovinthehd says it's the multi-channel layer that is problematic as the SACD stereo layer is usually the same as the ordinary CD layer.

Here is i multi-channel SACD where the SACD stereo layer is just the singer on his grand piano while the CD layer has mixed in more artists : Google: "Hold On" by Christian Willisohn
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
As @lovinthehd says it's the multi-channel layer that is problematic as the SACD stereo layer is usually the same as the ordinary CD layer.

Here is i multi-channel SACD where the SACD stereo layer is just the singer on his grand piano while the CD layer has mixed in more artists : Google: "Hold On" by Christian Willisohn
I don't think I have any with track differences like that....pretty sure each of mine just has a 2ch version of the multich mix....
 

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