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

P

prerich

Enthusiast
The future is here: Apple Music's Spatial Audio, which can be enjoyed via a Dolby ATMOS sound bar. It's as the song says, "the times they are a changing". At any rate, the need for high end to get high fidelity is gone. The iPhone now reigns, delivering high quality sound, even from AAC, to inexpensive amplification and speakers via Airplay or Bluetooth.
As an Android guy, I'll never swim in Apple's ecosystem. I have a son that's about 36 years old...he's built a system that's very similar to my own. He loves vinyl way more than I do (I love it but I've moved passed it). Just as audiophile gear is niche, believe it or not, so is Apples ecosystem. Everyone doesn't buy into it. As long as there are choices, there will be differences of opinions.
 
M

Marc Manley

Audiophyte
Nice article. I agree mostly or rather, I agree but would add two parts: one, audiophilia has suffered from being a white man's game for a long time. I know as I'm one of the few black folks who'd call themselves an audiophile, or more accurately, an audio enthusiast. Having worked in sales in an audiophile shop in southeast Michigan, I can attest that many black folks feel intimidated when even entering hi-fi shops. I myself recently, when visiting a shop here in SoCal, had the sales person state to me, immediately upon the shop, "Hi. Our systems start at $1,000". It's that kinda 'ish that's gonna discourage black folks from even being curious about hi-fi gear. Two, I think we also need more enthusiast-cum-entrepreneurs. Meaning that many of the brands we have now started as folks who were enthusiasts and then decided to try and make/build something. I think this would be especially helpful in making gear that's actually within the price range of the average Joe or Janet. Little irks me more than when I peruse audiophile mags/blogs and a majority of the advertising is for gear in the 10's if not 100's of thousands of dollars. That just ain't practical.
 
J

jhaider

Audioholic Intern
The future is here: Apple Music's Spatial Audio, which can be enjoyed via a Dolby ATMOS sound bar. It's as the song says, "the times they are a changing". At any rate, the need for high end to get high fidelity is gone. The iPhone now reigns, delivering high quality sound, even from AAC, to inexpensive amplification and speakers via Airplay or Bluetooth.
Your first two clauses were correct. The rest…

A well calibrated immersive system (I.e. 5 to 9 discrete bed channels, 4 to 6 height channels, 3+ subwoofers) is needed maximize fidelity on an Atmos track from Apple Music or Tidal. A soundbar won’t give you what the format is capable of offering.

I take your point on electronics - if you don’t need or want advanced signal processing there’s a lot of perfectly fine stuff out there. However, great loudspeakers are always going to be expensive. They play dual roles: sound equipment and furniture. Fine finishing costs money. You can buy an IKEA sofa or a Florence Knoll, and they serve the same core function while differing greatly in price.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Your first two clauses were correct. The rest…

A well calibrated immersive system (I.e. 5 to 9 discrete bed channels, 4 to 6 height channels, 3+ subwoofers) is needed maximize fidelity on an Atmos track from Apple Music or Tidal. A soundbar won’t give you what the format is capable of offering.

I take your point on electronics - if you don’t need or want advanced signal processing there’s a lot of perfectly fine stuff out there. However, great loudspeakers are always going to be expensive. They play dual roles: sound equipment and furniture. Fine finishing costs money. You can buy an IKEA sofa or a Florence Knoll, and they serve the same core function while differing greatly in price.
Everything I said is correct.
 
J

jhaider

Audioholic Intern
Everything I said is correct.
If you really think an “Atmos sound bar” (I presume some unitized structure that “bounces” content around) is an ersatz for a discrete immersive system…no. It’s little different from saying one can “enjoy” records on a 1980s console stereo from Sears. Strictly speaking true, but not the same experience as a nice turntable and phono pre feeding a pair of TAD speakers and 4 good subs.

Same goes for paired ur-HomePods. We have a pair set up in a guest room actually. They’re easy to use (pair with AppleTV or iPhone) and sound notably better than any soundbar known to me save perhaps Sennheiser Ambeo. But can they compare to well calibrated 7.1.4 with multisubs? Not a chance.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
If you really think an “Atmos sound bar” (I presume some unitized structure that “bounces” content around) is an ersatz for a discrete immersive system…no. It’s little different from saying one can “enjoy” records on a 1980s console stereo from Sears. Strictly speaking true, but not the same experience as a nice turntable and phono pre feeding a pair of TAD speakers and 4 good subs.

Same goes for paired ur-HomePods. We have a pair set up in a guest room actually. They’re easy to use (pair with AppleTV or iPhone) and sound notably better than any soundbar known to me save perhaps Sennheiser Ambeo. But can they compare to well calibrated 7.1.4 with multisubs? Not a chance.
Soundbars are Fukkin junk. Period.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Can Audiophiles Embrace Science Over Religion For The Hobby To Have a Future? Let me answer the question with another question. Will audiophiles ever believe that there hearing is indeed not infallible and influenced by bias whether they are aware of it or not?
 
GaryReg

GaryReg

Audiophyte
Great article Jerry,

I agree with you. Mis-information is a plague which is affecting much more than Audio reviews (as it has done for over 40 years). I remember when Monster Cable came out and the audio dealer was demonstrating with one speaker on these cables and another with 14 gauge speaker wire. He was suprised when I moved the lesser bass speaker into the corner, like the other one was positioned and the bass equalized!

Keep up the good work!

Cheers,
GaryReg
 
D

David Harper

Audioholic Intern
"it is immoral to allow a sucker to keep his money" ; W.C. Fields
 
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