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ohfourohnine
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Art and Audio

Jim Austin's "As We See It" essay explores some fascinating parallels between the evolution of visual art and the audiophile quest. For me, at least, it also provokes a question regarding the relationship, if any, between the visual and audio preferences of audiophiles. My main system is in a room that also houses lots of art, most of which is impressionist. My system is biased a bit to the warm side. Do the guys who pursue "accuracy" tend also to prefer realism in the art they enjoy?

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio

I like Jackson Pollock.

Uh, oh, why is it so quiet in here now?!?

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio


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Jim Austin's "As We See It" essay explores some fascinating parallels between the evolution of visual art and the audiophile quest. For me, at least, it also provokes a question regarding the relationship, if any, between the visual and audio preferences of audiophiles. My main system is in a room that also houses lots of art, most of which is impressionist. My system is biased a bit to the warm side. Do the guys who pursue "accuracy" tend also to prefer realism in the art they enjoy?

In all seriousness though.

"Day of the Daleks" is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, I also love R2D2 from "Star Wars," and I ended up with these speakers...

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Art and Audio

I have a really bad case of speaker envy!

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio


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I have a really bad case of speaker envy!

You know what they say... It isn't the sine of the wave, it's the motion of the ocean.

Monty
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Re: Art and Audio

You can bet it was a man who said that. I once worked in a Real Estate office that was almost ALL women.

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio


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You can bet it was a man who said that. I once worked in a Real Estate office that was almost ALL women.

Interesting, I thought most women like Bose satellites.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Art and Audio

I have thiknking about this art and audio article...as it takes me longer to get into a deep subject, one that requires some thought.

I believe it was a lack of "art" as in package-design that ultimately did in Hafler, but this is just my guess. Over the years many of us have enjoyed the Hafler mosfet sound, as I do in my office with my older TA1600, one ugly amplifier if there ever was one with purple output control knobs against a gray face plate with protruding 3+" BLACK ANNODIZED metal rack ears. Awful.

So I think of the art part as the visual appearance of the gear. Is it something with enough bling to make your friends take notice when they walk into the room. Like Ayre with understated elegance, or Mac with the 2-fingers in the mouth whistle saying, "Hey, over here", but still a look I love. I have always admired man-ly Mac gear.

The Moon, Levinson, Bat products I would characterize as visually pleasing, classy for want of a better word. Something I would not say about most black-front home theater receivers housing tons of watts and output current.

I wonder what most Nagra CDP owners would say about what their $14K just purchased? This is just perceived value as in looking at a piece of art hanging on the wall and your initial impression...and does it speak to you?

I think of the the elegant Marantz gear in the SA line up knowing that Cheapskate did not buy it for how it looked, but what it sounds like playing the music he enjoys. I would think the looks are an added benefit, but I would not be hinding them behind some smoked glass doors as attractive as they are.

I have to admit that some visual case work designs I just don't get or appreciate. Some I even think are mistakes given the price point.

The sound is another matter. Analytical as "comtemporary"? Maybe. "Expressionism" as warm sounding? Thinking of Monet and his work. Salvidor Dali...more in your face...startling...nothing held back? Manipulated? Enjoyable, but not accurate...more of a statement!

And then the music that drives all of this is all over the place as well. Style vs. style vs. style. and we haven't even touched upon engineering quality yet...and another extension of expressionism maybe?

I'm still thinking on this whole issue. My mind is not made up on any of it...I don't think.

Please, chime in!

Elk
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Re: Art and Audio

Jim, I like your point about some of the Hafler gear. Your description makes me think of current Apogee products - while they make some wonderful stuff I have to ignore its looks to appreciate it.

I am a fan of Renaissance art. I also like early music a great deal. However, I really can't think of a way to translate this into the type of sound that I prefer in an audio reproduction system...

Monty
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Re: Art and Audio

When I look at gear, it doesn't strike me as art. Oh, I like the way some stuff looks, but not in an art appreciating kind of way. I guess it's more the way I would look at a building that was aesthetically pleasing or interesting.

For me, it's in the reproduction of sound where art creeps in. I think most audio designers and recording engineers add a bit of artistic interpretation to what they produce and I think it can fairly be considered an artistic expression.

Of course, the line is pretty narrow between artful expression and gross colorations.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Art and Audio

I had a chance to trade for 2 complete B&O systems with their sleek receivers and turntables which I enjoyed for year, even if slightly underpowered. They sounded decent, but the comments were on the stylish, contemporary looks.

I actually enjoyed the turntables back them, but you had no cartridge options, but with my Shure Test Discs, which I still have, they tracked as well as an Ortofon OM10, and sounded decent to me.

I was never a fan of their speakers, so I stuck with my Polk 10's (my wife's favorites of all time) and the Many ARs that were in my house at that time starting with the 3's and the 2AXs. I do wish I still had thoses. Even with the drivers gone I think I could have bought updated speakers and cross-overs and had some "home-made" fun.

JimAustin
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Re: Art and Audio

Hi folks. I just discovered this thread. I appreciate the interest. To stir things up just a bit, let me ask you a question. Have you ever owned anything--audio-related or otherwise--that was entirely suitable, maybe even very good--but that just somehow didn't excite you? I used the example of my first pickup truck, which I sold after six months. So what did you end up doing with it?

For audio consumers--us--I think it's much the same. It doesn't really matter how good it is if you don't love it. And if you do love it, it helps you connect to the music. If it leaves you cold, the music leaves you cold.

Much later I bought another pickup truck, used and cheap, that I liked a lot more. It was big. I felt good driving it, and it did what I needed it to do. They won't let it on the road anymore, so it's rotting in my yard. Still runs though.

This same sort of thing is at work at every level, I think, in the creation of the (reproduced) audio experience. It's true of the more serious (passionate) designers. It's certainly true of the musicians. And it's true for us in the act of listening. Not sure this makes sense, but I'll say it anyway: Listening is an act of deliberate intoxication.

The gear serves the music, and delivers it--as the musicians do--with its own spin, it's own interpretation--a manifestation of the designer/artists personal vision. We, in turn, either love it or we don't.

I just love that Nietzche quote. Maybe it's because I have a proclivity towards intoxication. :-)

Thanks everybody.

Jim Austin

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Art and Audio

The fact that I have gone through so much gear in my 59+ years IS telling in some fashion. But then again, I have not owned anything in Stereophile Class A...yet, so their might be hope.

But, I have had Cairn FOG 24/96, Audio Analog Maestro & Puccinni, Jolida JD100, Music Hall 25, Sony CDP XA1ES, and other Cd players in my home. Although they were all an improvement on some level, none still took my breath away. So the trek in digital goes on...for me at least.

DSD does do it for me and wouldn't you know I'd pick a format not supported by its maker. I would also have to say that I do not care what ever the rational is for not including DSD playback, at $5K without it I would never buy a silver disc spinner without it.

Nagra's argument for exclusion at $14K is NOT rational. I think of all the current digital suppliers Marantz and Ayre, to name just 2, are getting it MORE right than most in pure audio. It is possible that Denon's flagship DVD player may work as well. Dr. Kal would know best here. At this level I would be looking at EMM Labs.

Just my take. I can see a Marantz 8001 or an SA 15 in my future pretty soon.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Art and Audio

"Have you ever owned anything--audio-related or otherwise--that was entirely suitable, maybe even very good--but that just somehow didn't excite you?"

You're right, Jim, much though all of us who call ourselves audiophiles claim to be seeking to duplicate live sound, we're really, if we're honest with ourselves, after the sound that excites/intoxicates us. We use long term in-home auditions hoping to eliminate systems candidates that don't make the grade, but we get trapped sometimes by the honeymoon effect. We wind up giving components away when the honeymoon is over and we realize that the thrill is gone. One specific example I remember over the years was a B&O Linear Tracking Turntable. It looked a lot sexier than the AR it was intended to replace, but I had to realize over time that it just didn't know how to make music. The guy I gave it to, loved it - after all it looked great, didn't it?

showflash
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Re: Art and Audio

Hey Jim,

Did you mean the Denon DVD-5910CI? Just wondered because I was looking to purchase the DVD-3930CI. I wanted great video as well as audio and hope that Denon would do both well. From reviews these two Denons have great video... but haven't seen them reviewed in TAS or Stereophile yet so wouldn't know about the audio.

DVD-5910CI
http://usa.denon.com/ProductDetails/3127.asp

DVD-3930CI
http://usa.denon.com/ProductDetails/3297.asp

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio


Quote:
Hi folks. I just discovered this thread. I appreciate the interest. To stir things up just a bit, let me ask you a question. Have you ever owned anything--audio-related or otherwise--that was entirely suitable, maybe even very good--but that just somehow didn't excite you? I used the example of my first pickup truck, which I sold after six months. So what did you end up doing with it?

I'm embarressed to admit it, but my 802Ds... Excellent speaker for sure, but when compared to the Wilson Watt Puppy 8s I ordered, no contest IMO. I just had to have the WP8s, I couldn't settle with the 802Ds, especially after finishing my HT and still not being satisfied with it's inherent sound character.

It actually started around a year or so ago, when I demoed Ayre equipment on the WP7s. It ruined me forever. I never felt the same about my 802Ds again. During the demo I thought to myself, "I'll never be satisfied with my system until it sounds like this..."

I was hoping that building the HT and optimising it for two channel listening would alleviate those feelings, but instead it only intensified them. The precise instrument localization, the balanced presentation throughout the entire audible frequency spectrum, and the eerie sensation of the event actually taking place in front of me, not just a recording coming out of two speakers, was never going to be at that level of intensity unless I spent the money on the speakers that gave me that level of effect.

So, that is where I am at today, and I am losing a lot of money on those 802Ds unfortunately (they are only one year and eight months old or so...). They are excellent speakers, but not the type of sound I prefer the best, and my wife won't let me put them anywhere else in the house, LOL.

I ordered the WP8s about two weeks ago and I just recieved the Elusive Disc Newsletter today that shows the cover for June's Stereophile (WP8s are on the cover). That is why I am on the website right now (looking to see if there is anything on the fora about it yet). I must admit, I'm anxious to read the review, but I'm completely satisfied with my own experience with the WP8s, as I was with the 802Ds as well before they were reviewed, especially at their price and when compared to the 800D's sound and price. The 802D review/grading was icing on the cake for me, and is likely making it easier for me to sell mine used on Audiogon.

Cheers!

showflash
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Re: Art and Audio

OT:

WP8s are on the cover of the June issue! Watt/Puppies rock!

I hope that Stereophile does a full review, measurements and all. I have been waiting for the full Watt/Puppy 8 Stereophile review for some time. The last time they were in the magazine was for the 7's in 2003 so it will be interesting as to how they measure up with the new cabinets and tweeters. No lead in the Watt and the Puppy is now all X material from what I've read somewhere.

Ultra Audio
Wilson Audio Specialties WATT/Puppy 8 Loudspeakers
The Watt: "New European Union regulations have banned the lead plates formerly used to damp resonances."

If you are looking for more information on the Watt/Puppy 8 see Hi>Fi+ magazine. The review is not that good, however...no measurements to be had.

In any case I look forward to reading JA's measurements every month. Very elucidating.

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio


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If you are looking for more information on the Watt/Puppy 8 see Hi>Fi+ magazine. The review is not that good, however...no measurements to be had.

I misunderstood what you typed. I thought you were saying the reviewer gave the WP8s a bad review, LOL. So I purchased an online copy to read real quickly, out of curiosity. Needless to say, it put what you said in context. Now I know you were saying the review itself wasn't great because it excluded measurements.

I'm interested to get the June Stereophile in the mail, but I'm not concerned it will be a negative review. Like you, I'm interested most in the measurements. Though I do like to read the subjective parts of the review as well, I like to read about how they measure. The Ultra Audio review did have some measurements and comparing their previous WP measurements was entertaining.

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio

BTW, the Wilson WP8 setup with the BAT gear sounded mesmerizing on Saturday at the show (as did the Lamm Industries room with the WP8s as well). My only regret is that I don't have them in my listening room already.

showflash
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Re: Art and Audio

No I was saying that the magazine did not review the speakers correctly in the fullest depth possible as Stereophile is capable of doing and does on nearly every occasion.

I like Watt Puppies and the subjective review but look forward to everything that Stereophile does in a review....and clearly STATED that I am looking forward to seeing the issue. The first thing I said was "WP8s are on the cover of the June issue! Watt/Puppies rock!"

jkalman
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Re: Art and Audio


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No I was saying that the magazine did not review the speakers correctly in the fullest depth possible as Stereophile is capable of doing and does on nearly every occasion.

I like Watt Puppies and the subjective review but look forward to everything that Stereophile does in a review....and clearly STATED that I am looking forward to seeing the issue. The first thing I said was "WP8s are on the cover of the June issue! Watt/Puppies rock!"

Yes. I get that now. Unfortunately, I didn't get what you meant until I downloaded the online version of that magazine and saw it was a positive review of the speakers (Ouch! Talk about a costly mistake... ).

I like Stereophile and Stereophile's reviews also, that is why I came and continue to come to these fora and became a registered member.

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