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

Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
Jerry, I couldn‘t agree more with much of what you say, and where I may differ is inconsequential. But I also wonder if part of them problem hits upon two issues: a lack of mid-fi oriented brick and mortar establishments, and changes in the way younger folks consume music.

At 56 I well remember having a variety of home audio stores in my teens and twenties at which i could spend hours talking with salespersons and ogling the unattainable equipment, while saving for the attainable. I just don’t see those stores any longer. There are some, but they are far and few between the big box consumer electronics stores and the high end folks. My two local establishments cater mostly to high end home theater sales and installation and offer the higher-end of mid-fi, but almost as a second thought.

I can also honestly say I personally know not a single person my age or younger within 20-years who has a real stereo of any nature. Sound bars. Check. Bluetooth speakers. Check. Cheap in-ears. Check. I just don’t think most people in their 20’s and 30’s seem to care about the ability to have better sounding, quality equipment.

However, there may be hope. My wife of the past four years (and 17-years my junior) had never in her life heard music played on anything but cheap stereos. She didn’t know one could own a home stereo which could replicate at suitable volume the sound of live music, especially voices, with which she was personally and intimately familiar. We recently purchased a pair of Magnepan .7’s and when connected to my Parasound Halo Integrated she had the opportunity to hear a vocalist with whom she was very familiar in a live environment. She commented how this setup made it sound like the artist was right there with us.

This is, to my way of thinking, the way to get people to sit up and take notice of better sounding equipment. But without a place to go, sit, and audition I don’t know how we enthusiasts can ever hope to generate both interest and excitement in audio equipment.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Jerry, I couldn‘t agree more with much of what you say, and where I may differ is inconsequential. But I also wonder if part of them problem hits upon two issues: a lack of mid-fi oriented brick and mortar establishments, and changes in the way younger folks consume music.

At 56 I well remember having a variety of home audio stores in my teens and twenties at which i could spend hours talking with salespersons and ogling the unattainable equipment, while saving for the attainable. I just don’t see those stores any longer. There are some, but they are far and few between the big box consumer electronics stores and the high end folks. My two local establishments cater mostly to high end home theater sales and installation and offer the higher-end of mid-fi, but almost as a second thought.

I can also honestly say I personally know not a single person my age or younger within 20-years who has a real stereo of any nature. Sound bars. Check. Bluetooth speakers. Check. Cheap in-ears. Check. I just don’t think most people in their 20’s and 30’s seem to care about the ability to have better sounding, quality equipment.

However, there may be hope. My wife of the past four years (and 17-years my junior) had never in her life heard music played on anything but cheap stereos. She didn’t know one could own a home stereo which could replicate at suitable volume the sound of live music, especially voices, with which she was personally and intimately familiar. We recently purchased a pair of Magnepan .7’s and when connected to my Parasound Halo Integrated she had the opportunity to hear a vocalist with whom she was very familiar in a live environment. She commented how this setup made it sound like the artist was right there with us.

This is, to my way of thinking, the way to get people to sit up and take notice of better sounding equipment. But without a place to go, sit, and audition I don’t know how we enthusiasts can ever hope to generate both interest and excitement in audio equipment.
But all you have is mid-fi gear :) Not nearly expensive enough to qualify as hi-end.....
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
@Pogre I have been following Steve Guttenberg on and off for many years, since the old Sound and Vision magazine, so I've grown to like the guy. He has a lot of genuine enthusiasm for the hobby. I think his promotion of peripherals is few and far between, though, fortunately.

It's only natural that he will have a lot of old contacts in the industry, but he does try and promote younger people as well. He was one of the old guard to highlight Jana Dagdagan and her Earspace recordings on Youtube and her work with John Darko. Since Steve's move to Youtube, though, his reviews have been rather subjective so they are one more amongst many opinion pieces that don't produce any independent measurements.
I had noticed the same about SG, but then a thought occurred to me: he’s been around a long time and heard a lot of great, good and bad equipment. Maybe his subjective view is good enough? I’m not certain if I agree with this thought, but it may have some merit.
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
I'm pretty new this game (in fact this my first post here) I think this article reflects the issue I've had trying to find decent information.

So I watch a few YouTube videos and I find.
- Guys talking about putting weights on DAC's to improve audio quality.
- Guys talking about power cables. What about the 20m (~66ft) of regular cable in your walls? Or the miles of overhead cable connecting to the nearest substation?
- Special ethernet switches - what do these companies know that Cisco or Juniper don't?

I like this site because it dispels the bullshit. What noobs like me are looking are looking for are things like:
- What are good products for first comers.
- What happens if I can't do things optimally - like speaker placement? What can I do alleviate problems?


I've spent a few years doing PA mixing on very amateur basis - none of the BS exists in that space. Information on sound reinforcement is excellent and readily available. I'd love to see the equivalent of the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement manual for home stereo systems.

For a noob like me it's painful and I have a bit of a clue, for someone who enjoys a listening to music and wants a better experience they'll be seriously off put by what they read on some forums.

PS I like the idea of listening to vinyl records - not for some purity, but because it's imperfections and a reminder of times past. Same for AM tube radios.
I like your take on why you listen to vinyl. And it’s interesting because it is the imperfections that had me abandon it for CDs in the mid-80’s. But to each their own. If vinyl makes you want to listen to music and you enjoy it via that medium, more power to us all.
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
Vinyl may have its imperfections, but low fidelity it AIN'T. That's simply an insane claim. As explained in your article, from this very same site. Del Colliano has an irrational hatred of vinyl, for some reason. He seems to think every turntable should be thrown in the dumpster immediately. It's a fanatical, illogical point of view. I think he's a smart guy who makes many good points, but it's undermined by that glaring bias. Such as his utterly baffling claim that vinyl is "worse than poison" in terms of getting younger people into the audiophile realm. Kids like vinyl...duh. It's certainly not the Boomer crowd buying all those Billie Eilish LPs! Maybe a Technics bit him as a child, I dunno.

I'm still to this day puzzled by the either/or fanaticism between vinylphiles and digiphiles. In the article you posted the author even used the term "religious war". It's just more irrationality (as is religion itself in my opinion, but that's a different conversation entirely). Personally, for what it's worth, I love both and have invested a lot of time, energy, and money on both. Since I'm not wealthy, I afford this by being frugal in other ways, such as always making my own meals, almost never ordering takeout or hitting drive thrus. I've got two turntables, one specifically for headphone enjoyment. I've got a Roon server, with Qobuz, and multiple Raspberry Pi endpoints. I love it all!

Each format offers myriad things the other lacks. I'll take vinyl sound all day - done right, there's just something so magical and beguiling about it. And being able to play a 30-50+ year old historical artifact, and have it sound fantastic is incredible. And the thrill of the hunt - finding a great LP in a dollar bin when the lowest price in discogs is $20! I love vinyl! Yet digital sounds great, too. And has wonderful things like playlists and queues, track and album tagging, not having to kick the cat off one's lap every 20 minutes... I love digital! (I do NOT love MQA, which seems like little more than a very snake-oily proprietary money grab. No thanks.)

Why must we choose one camp or the other? Let's put the stupid tribalism away for good. If you choose one to the exclusion of the other, you're only cheating yourself. Same for speakers vs. headphones, for that matter. It's four great ways to listen to music: vinyl & speakers, digital & speakers, vinyl & headphones, digital & headphones. Why limit yourself??
Maybe a Technics bit him as a child made me snort aloud.
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
Yes, simply because it's fun! I usually stream music out of convenience and because my digital library is larger, or I might want assorted music for a couple of hours. Flipping LPs becomes a chore then. Other times I like to hold the media in my hands, enjoy the art work and read liner notes on something bigger than a 6" screen. I watched Guttenberg's video today on viewer system photos for the under 30 crowd. A lot of those systems had turntables. The point being that there is room for both formats to attract people.
It shouldn’t matter what medium attracts younger folks to this life. Unless it’s 8-tracks. That’s just not right. ;-)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I do suck. It’s true.
I just find the term mid-fi annoying, since it was just created at the "high end" to indicate lower priced offerings, nothing particularly to do with fidelity....
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
LOL yeah I needed an injury to get the time to do it without taking it away from usual activities. There are ripping services, tho....or at least there used to be.
I did it. 10 CDs every other night (on average) for way longer than I care to think about. But it’s done and I love being able to play my collection this way.
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
I just find the term mid-fi annoying, since it was just created at the "high end" to indicate lower priced offerings, nothing particularly to do with fidelity....
And I use it solely to denote a price-point. Or is there a better term to use?
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
Wow.. Puffy the Penguin comes on and trolls this thread and throws out dumb posts like a slut offering BJs in dark alleys? I hate it when that happens.
Which? The trolls or the bj’s? ;-)
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
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.
And that is a very good point. We may want folks to understand and share in our passion, but there has always been, and will always be, a subset of music consuming consumers who feel that products like this are just fine for them. And who are we to tell them they are wrong?
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
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.
poop. We just bought a LG fridge!
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
And I use it solely to denote a price-point. Or is there a better term to use?
One that doesn't refer to fidelity? Why do you need to classify good components of reasonable fidelity as mid-anything? Price isn't a great guideline.
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
One that doesn't refer to fidelity? Why do you need to classify good components of reasonable fidelity as mid-anything? Price isn't a great guideline.
So how do we discuss... identify....such equipment?
 
Eppie

Eppie

Senior Audioholic
It shouldn’t matter what medium attracts younger folks to this life. Unless it’s 8-tracks. That’s just not right. ;-)
As I mentioned once in another thread, the only 8-track I liked was Cheech and Chong's Wedding Album. Too stoned to care about the click - click.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
So how do we discuss... identify....such equipment?
Which equipment are you trying to segregate this way? The bluetooth/portable stuff you mentioned has its own understood limitations, but if you want to say if something is of somewhat lesser fidelity that sort of stuff could well be it. Some perform fairly well, tho.
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
And I use it solely to denote a price-point. Or is there a better term to use?
Hifi vs. Stupid Money?

The rest of the public thinks we're insane putting 5 grand into a system. Never mind the people who sneer at $5K systems while they spend that on their power cords.
 

Latest posts


newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top