Editor:For almost a year now I
I'm not getting it, I guess.
One (no offense) relatively obscure update columnist says one thing you don't like and that ruins the whole subscriber experience for you?
Stereophile's worth to you is so tenuous that all it takes is a couple of sentences by one of the staff to do it in?
I can absolutely see why you might take issue with Mr. Serinus' opinion, but I can't see how something so trivial could make you "...walk away from Stereophile and the types of product your magazine specializes in..."
Stereophile, if not our whole country, is all about allowing at least some small range of opinion on the issues it covers. I would suggest taking Mr. Serinus' comments within the context of editorial freedom of opinion rather than a personal affront to you or a tacit position statement by the entire magazine and staff. Instead of leaving, call Mr. Serinus out and tell the world how wrong he is and how and why you disagree. Taking your ball and quietly going home is only punishing yourself. Stay and have fun and banter, maybe we'll help you argue with him and we will win by getting to know a fellow audiophile!
On the plus side, at least this is only about letting a subscription lapse and not calling Fatwah against Mr. Serinus or Jihad against the Stereophile building.
Buddha is right, don't quit, just call him "out" as it is only JVS' opinion anyway. I say stuff that many may not agree with and they will have only proven for the un-teenth-millionth time that I am wrong...again!!!
As to what you hear on YOUR equipment...that is entirely up to you, whether you can carry a tune or play an instrument with any degree of success. The fact that you "want to be a listener" is enough to join the club of audiophiles. You should buy any equipment you want, nutty priced or not, that you can afford, or as in the Caliburn Continuum Turntable, CANNOT afford. If it matters to you who cares what someone else thinks. Compared to JA, MF, AD, ST, WP, RB's music systems mine is garbage compared to what they enjoy, but that does not stop me from enjoying the software and learning from them about better gear and new software to audition. There are snobs about watches, cars, neighborhoods, clothes and if someone says "you just don't measure up to THEIR standards, blow it off as to what it is: Garbage. Life is too short and there is too much music to listen to to get caught up in the "I'm smarter than you are" merry-go-round. If you find that commentary while your enjoying reading about this hobby just skip it and move on.
This forum is YOUR chance to tell us about what you like in music and gear, maybe tell us why you bought what you own, and if there is something that has caught your eye or ear. I come here as there are some unbelievably bright, informed, music lovers who because of their life experience have heard music I have not, or listen to music on gear I know nothing about, but hope to because they shared something with me what mattered to them. If they leave due to some "Phile" writer they don't agree with then the rest of us lose, not just you. I am not going to repeat what opinions are like, because we all know the joke. Yes, everybody has one...
It also doesn't matter whether you have hundreds of posts like some wind-bag like me or you just start coming here. If I had a life I would not be here as often as I am. Maybe I just cut through the crap and get on with learning something new about this great hobby. For me the thrill is when someone new comes aboard looking to put together a system for the first time and I can share something with them that makes sense to them and tries to help them get the most bang for their buck. That is what is really important to me, not whether you just went from an Ayre CX-7E to a DCS P8, or better. I'll be happy for you, but that is not what this hobby is about for me. Most of us here would be very happy with an Ayre 7. If you went from a Technics SLD turntable to a Rega or Music Hall and an outboard phono stage...well that's fun to me.
I would just ask you not to go and come here to the forum and have some fun. I am sure you are listening to some music I know nothing about. This is the age of enlightenment for me.
I think his point might have been that appreciating the more subtle differences in sound is something that doesn't come immediately. This is like saying that not everyone can appreciate fine wine, but with experience and numerous tastings you can develop an appreciable fondness for the subtleties. Once you reach this point of appreciation, little things start meaning a lot and differences that you would not have noticed at the beginning may become obvious and apparent with experience.
I think the question some people might ask themselves is whether or not they enjoy reproduction enough to want to develop a finer appreciation.
The "secret society" is open for everyone, but you have to be willing to walk through the door and then decide if you want to be a member.
Thanks for the comments. Something I didn't clearly express in my letter, something I didn't realize myself until after reading the responses is that I don't completely disagree with Mr. Serinus' column. It's a key component of the double blind test debate: Most people aren't capable of audiophile critical listening. I do agree with Monty that the question for me is whether I want to develop a finer apprecation, though I disupte that anything in Mr. Serinus' column indicates he feels that anybody is capable of being musical enough to discern the traits he does in equipment.
I guess after almost one year of reading Stereophile I'm convinced that most the equipment reviewed is too expensive for the level of investment (financially and muscially) I can or want to make. It's sad really, because generally I am the type of person who prefers to spend more for a higher level of quality.
Although this post was my first foray into the forums, I probably will continue to use them as a resource, even as I let my subscription expire. The conversation on putting together a system for $1000 was in some ways more useful to me than a year's worth of Stereophile opinions on monblocks and turntables.
Hey Ryan, you mentioned the discussion on putting together a sub $1000. system. This is interesting in that I believe much of what the hobby offers can be had for far less than the 5 figure prices of some of the gear being reviewed.
It isn't uncommon for me to prefer the sound of the less expensive models and the fact that I do makes the hobby far less expensive and affordable. The biggest mistake one can make in this hobby is the assumption that more money means better sound.
There is no doubt in my mind that the things that I find important to my enjoyment of reproduction don't come with high price tags. Why in the World would I care what somebody else thinks I should appreciate about music reproduction? Especially, if that means I need to spend even more money?
I'll guranty you that well over half of that 'secret society' of audiophiles have systems that aren't anywhere near 5 figures. That is if you don't count all the gear boxed up in closets and garages
I can't decide who to elect for assistant moderator. Just when I think Budda's definately my man, Jim steps up to the plate and whacks a homer!
Maybe the swimsuit competition can help us sort it out? Shaved legs optional.
Two things in life you do not what to see: Me or ST in a Speed-o. You'll just have to trust me on that one!!!!
Also, I just moved my Class B "Phile" speakers to our home theater room for my familiy to enjoy and I pulled out my very old (20+ years old) JBL L-15 bookshelf speakers on the stands I left behind. They have actual wood veneer.
They are not of the same quality, but are remarkably good and reminded me when I laid down my $275 for them why I did it. I had re-foamed the woofer surrounds myself 5 years ago and they still make me tap my feet. There are less mistakes for the designer to make in a good 2-way system. John Marks' statement of, "buy right, buy once" is ever so true. If you find you are still listening to gear you bought 20 years ago you will know you did the right thing.
I WILL ALSO REMIND YOU TO SAVE YOUR HEARING! My tinnitus is getting progressively worse (crickets on a summer's evening) over the last couple of months, ( I have had a cold and sinus condition since Thanksgiving), and find that I am doing more Grado headphone listening to get closer to the music. I think a really good headphone amp may be in my future. I can thank WP for some great recent reviews to lead me in the right direction.
You know, this seems as good a time as any to mention a reasonably good listening (and wine tasting) trick.
Sometimes, stuffy eustachian (middle ear) canals can make for stuffy ears with poorer frequency response/sensitivity as well as worsening tinnitus.
For a really critical listening or tasting session, a topical nose decongestant like Afrin can pop open those canals and make for a better experience.
Also, occasionally, once open, the ear canals stay more open than they would have been and one treatment can make tinnitus better for a reasonably long period.
The bummer is that the Afrin family of medicines can be "addictive," so if you did this trick more than once or twice a week, you can get "rebound" stuffiness. Caveat Sniffor.
Even more also, if the Afrin trick works, that is a sign that it may be possible to make things long term better via other, non-addicting (and not absorbed into the blood stream - so minimal chance at side effects) but slower acting treatments. If the Afrin trick works, your personal doctor can help pick other treatments that may make your listening more pleasurable!
I don't mean to be overly familiar or presumptious, just wanted to toss that out. It has made my wine tasting life much better and has also helped with avoiding troubles from air travel.
Jim is right about treating our ears well. After all, we are actually the most important part of all in the playback chain!
Hope you feel better soon.
I am in a similar position. I recently let my subscription lapse after one year of subscribing. But, I still highly value this forum as well as Audio Asylum. I have received much more out of this forum than I did with the print magazine. (I hope hanging out here and posting once in a while without being a subscriber does not earn me the title of freeloader :-))
It was fun reading about the equipment, but the novelty wore off. I found it just was not entertaining anymore to read month after month about stuff I would never be inclined to buy (either because it was not economically justifiable or because the product was plain nonsense.) Reading the magazine became a chore.
I do miss the editorial pieces, but most of them are available on the website after a while. And some of the interviews were good reading. I will say though that the editorial professionalism of Stereophile is second to none. Maybe I will come back some day. I can find no equivalent or better magazine out there. I do miss the old Stereo Review, if just for the number of record reviews it carried.
Jim - my tinnitus (constant high pitch tone in my head) has caused me to go in the opposite direction. I find I can no longer tolerate headphones. It aggravates the condition. I am hopeful it does not progress to the point of interfering any more than it does with speaker listening. Best wishes.
Something you guys with tinitus might want to at least consider is talking to your Dentist about the problem.
During a recent trip to my Dentist, he commented on some evidence of teeth grinding and how jaw alignment can effect hearing problems. He said it is pretty common and that while tinitus is not very well understood, improper jaw alignment and teeth grinding are considered to contribute to the problem. Naturally, he wanted to sell me a bite guard and about 2k worth of other dental services so take this for what it is worth.
My wife, Diane, had a major problem with grinding her teeth and we found splintek mouth guard that have worked great for her. Now she has a small problem with her jaw being slightly out of allignment, but that was better than the serious problem she would be causing her teeth. It is certainly afforadable. I just considered her real problem to be all the stress of being married to me.
I am in the opposite position of you and Ryan. As a result of these forums I have decided to subscribe to Stereophile (Did so about a month or so ago, where
What Windzilla said. I associate myself with his sentiments. I subscribed less than a year ago and have used the forums to further my knowledge of audio. There are some really knowledgable members here that have given some great advice that would be very difficut to obtain elsewhere. I just love the way the magazine cares about their forums by communicating with the audio enthusiasts.
I also notice that not all the members have 20,000+ systems and that many have given great tips on how to aquire a quality music system on various budgets.