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Rusty Ankles
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What are the goals of audiophiles?

A very good friend of mine and an avid audiophile stated his goal, is to tweak and upgrade his system until CD's sound as good as vinyl. As a beginner I'm enjoying the detail, clarity, and imaging that I've gotten so far but I have no real goals. So, does anyone else have goals in mind for their systems?

dcrowe
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?


Quote:
A very good friend of mine and an avid audiophile stated his goal, is to tweak and upgrade his system until CD's sound as good as vinyl. As a beginner I'm enjoying the detail, clarity, and imaging that I've gotten so far but I have no real goals. So, does anyone else have goals in mind for their systems?

My goal at the moment is to achieve the same clarity (freedom from congestion) in massive orchestral passages as my system delivers for solo instruments and other relatively simple orchestrations.

Monty
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

My goal is to eventually have a system that allows me to stop listening to the things that I dislike about my equipment and start enjoying the music more than I already do. You know, as is often said, that level of reproduction where your equipment disappears.

Rusty Ankles
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Already you guys have given me something to think about as far as my system goes, and I appreciate that. I get lost in the music whether it's on my walkman or through my system, but I do have a dream setup in mind that I'm working towards and perhaps the sound reproduction at that point will me my goal...
I hope there are more replies!

Buddha
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

My goal is for my system to sound as good to me when I am sober as when I am baked.

ludwigvan968
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

The two most important elements of music reproduction to me are:

Keeping the Tune- Maintaining Pitch Definition (also known as the interval between notes)

Rhythmic Coherence- Music is basically frequency information arranged in a time grid. If you do not have the frequency information and you do not have organized information, you have noise.

These are also the two elements most people look for when listening to live acoustic music, which I believe is part of the reason why when you have a hifi that does them well, it sounds live.

My current system does it quite well, although I can think of a few which do it much better. Anyway, I hope this helps.

beto
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?


Quote:
A very good friend of mine and an avid audiophile stated his goal, is to tweak and upgrade his system until CD's sound as good as vinyl.

Did that sound like an oxymoron or what... if I wanted my CDs to sound like vinyl, I would just go and try to find the LP versions as much as I can. Sure I'm biased to analog, but I still think you cannot get out what it isn't there in the first place..

Now concerning goals, that one is pretty simple to me - to be able to pay all the credit of those audio purchases every month! although I also have to agree with this one...


Quote:

My goal at the moment is to achieve the same clarity (freedom from congestion) in massive orchestral passages as my system delivers for solo instruments and other relatively simple orchestrations.

The day I can get that "eureka" moment from my system will probably be the day I'll stop spending money in components and stuff. That's sort of the ultimate goal for me too.

bjh
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

When you experience something real, something live, you do that and that alone ... you experience it. Real time analysis only lessens the experience, cheapens reality.

At good system allows one to transcend analysis and simply experience, at least some of the time. The event of course depends upon a great may factors. One must acknowledge that the cards are generally stacked against you, after all as Dylan might put it ... there are no truths outside the gates of Eden.

Rusty Ankles
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

I think clarity, the seperation between notes, the imaging and sound stage will be my goals to the point where my speakers dissapear and the energy of the music hangs in the air. I've heard/seen this done with Blues, and Classical but not with the music I listen to...not with electronic music. Not dance club electronic but another type.
You guys have given me lot to consider...thanks!

carl valle
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

My goal is a little different than what I have read here so far. I wish to collect definitive recordings of classical works I find important from a musical history perspective. My system needs to be accurate enough to judge the performance and the recording quality itself. I can listen through LP noise as long as the performance is clear. This means low harmonic distortion, no wow and flutter, and speed accuracy. The last two items are specific analog problems I have mostly solved. By far my biggest concern is the coverage and quality of the Library as opposed to obsessing over hardware. The only exception is my vinyl front end, which since it impacts the library directly (record wear), is much tweaked.

carl valle
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

I have not seen live performance electronic music. I mean to say classical music especially chamber or solo or piano, is relativly easy to image on a decent system. I think this is because there is a given known structure to the actual performance. Live recordings using direct stereo can sound quite real even for fairly large orchestral pieces if you can generate enough clean sound level. Modern multi-channel classical pieces are more difficult to image. The new wave jazz stuff, electronic synths and so on, yes they have left and right channels, and i suppose you can imagine the music floating in space, but i wouldn't call that imaging. Maybe it's more like immersion. I am thinking pink floyd the wall for exaample... Rock music where the drum kit is miked in stereo or panned. It sounds great, don't get me wrong, it's just not the same as an orchestra recorded in binaural, where all the instruments stay in the same place.

Rusty Ankles
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?


Quote:
I have not seen live performance electronic music. I mean to say classical music especially chamber or solo or piano, is relativly easy to image on a decent system. I think this is because there is a given known structure to the actual performance. Live recordings using direct stereo can sound quite real even for fairly large orchestral pieces if you can generate enough clean sound level. Modern multi-channel classical pieces are more difficult to image. The new wave jazz stuff, electronic synths and so on, yes they have left and right channels, and i suppose you can imagine the music floating in space, but i wouldn't call that imaging. Maybe it's more like immersion. I am thinking pink floyd the wall for exaample... Rock music where the drum kit is miked in stereo or panned. It sounds great, don't get me wrong, it's just not the same as an orchestra recorded in binaural, where all the instruments stay in the same place.


Straycat,
Immersion is a good word to describe and electronic band. Imaging comes usually from the steady sequencing, which has been described as the image of eternity in music, everything else blends, floats, and surrounds that image.
I've seen Tangerine Dream, back in the 70's and I've heard others through very good equipment. That reproduction and energy added to comments I've read will be the direction I'll build my system toward.

Javry
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Another great thread. My goals are several:

1. To seperate my HT and audio systems. I used to sit in front of my system and just enjoy the sound, imaging, ect. Nowadays, I've gotten lost in all the digital advancement....which is great on some levels for movies. But the system just plain sucks when it comes to pure audio.

2. To get back to a very well put together audio system...that is more analog than digital....if that makes any sense.

3. To keep the two separate from now on.

Javry

Buddy
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Your cabinet must be inert and heavy.
Crossover must be isolated- non resonant.
Drivers must be tightly scewed on.
AC power must be 'very' clean.
Questions?
Buddy

Reed
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Musicality is my current goal.

I have recently spent a good chunk of change on component changes. These changes provided a great wealth of detail. I found myself constantly saying to myself "Man was that really cool".

A funny thing happened over time, though. I found myself actually listen to my system for lesser lengths of time. All of that detail was wearing me out. I then visited a well respected audio designer/manufacturer. He came over one Saturday to listen to my system. I then went and listen to his. I was surprised at how sterile my system sounded. It is so easy to get addicted to detail.

Like he said to me: "How many people go listen to live music and say 'Man, did you here how detailed that was'". I have since changed my system with musicality being my paramount focus. I'm now back to enjoying music again.

Monty
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

I never fatigue of too much detail if it has reasonably good timbre. For me, there are very few things that can suck the life out of the music like obscured detail that you know is missing.

If your system is composed of quality components and has a little too much zip for your current tastes, you might consider trying some flavored cables and interconnects to tone it down a bit. The Tara Labs Reference 2 cable might be a good place to start. It has a somewhat tube like sound minus the ultimate resolution and detail, but with very good soundstaging and a very smooth and natural timbre. I have a 1 meter IC that you are welcome to try if you will cover the shipping.

Rusty Ankles
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?


Quote:
I never fatigue of too much detail if it has reasonably good timbre. For me, there are very few things that can suck the life out of the music like obscured detail that you know is missing.

If your system is composed of quality components and has a little too much zip for your current tastes, you might consider trying some flavored cables and interconnects to tone it down a bit. The Tara Labs Reference 2 cable might be a good place to start. It has a somewhat tube like sound minus the ultimate resolution and detail, but with very good soundstaging and a very smooth and natural timbre. I have a 1 meter IC that you are welcome to try if you will cover the shipping.


I have to switch between my Tara Lab Prime 1000's and my Wireworld Atlantis 3's as the Tara gives me the smoothness and the WW3's gives me the detail and imaging. They both have good soundstage. After I upgrade my processor, I'll try to find a cable that gives me both!

dogface1956
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Hi,

My goal is to collect all the music I like in whatever format I can. My system is the tool I use to listen to the music I like. At home I have a pretty good system and lately have really enjoyed analog because I have been finding LP's that I really enjoy the music and can't find the music contained on them any other way. I also have been listening to reel-to-reel lately because I found a bunch of old 50's and early 60's tapes that sound great and more importantly have great music on them, music that I have not been able to find on any other format (yet). To me the goal of any system whether it is my iPod, my car stereo, my home stereo, computer or home theater is the same, it's the music. Sure I can hear things on my good home stereo that I can't hear on my computer or iPod, but that does not mean that I don't enjoy listening to music on my iPod if I'm out on a walk.

It seems to me that we can sometimes forget that our systems are tools, to get at and to the music nothing more and nothing less. If we get too wrapped up in trying to hear if this cable sounds better than that cable or whatever we are missing the music and that is kinda sad.

Jeff

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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

In his December column, John Marks estimated the cost of a more ambitious than usual two-channel music system at $35,000-$50,000. I contend that expenditures at that level include a significant amount of audio jewelry - goodies meant to be owned for their own sake and to be seen more than heard. Don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely opposed to that sort of jewelry, but I lean toward the less-is-more approach where it is concerned.

Consider the following system, for example.

VPI Scoutmaster with JMW arm.
Shelter 501Mk 2 Cartridge
Audioquest LeoPard Cable
Ringmat or NoneFelt Speedmat set
Ginko Cloud 11
Acoustech PH1 Phono amp
Pathos Acoustics Classic 1 Integrated amp.
Marantz SA8260 CD/SACD player
Musical Fidelity X10v3 and XPSUv3
Sonus Faber Cremonas (great sound and beautiful jewelry)
Kimber Silver Streak interconnects
Nordost Blue Heaven speaker cables
PS Audio Power Conditioner
Any suitable rack or racks

Rock music devotees might want to switch amps and speakers (Musical Fidelity and Spendor?), but my point is that, unless your ears are of the purest gold, this system or a similar one will deliver music at such a high level you'll probably find any up-grades you might invest in difficult to hear.

That said, note that this system just nudges $20,000 - less than half the midpoint of John Marks' estimated range for ambitious audiophile systems. Either John's estimate is way off, or lots of us are involved in buying audio jewelry for its own sake.

Nothing wrong with that, if that's your bag. It may reveal a clue to the future of high-end audio. Tiffany's represents the business model and I think lots of high-end manufacturers are well aware of that. Perhaps, like Tiffany's customers, we should start admitting that we really love owning beautiful expensive audio "jewelry". Having done that, we can stop searching for those subtle sonic differences and go back to listening to the music. That was the goal to begin with, wasn't it?

nrchy
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

My goal as an audiophile is to learn contentment, but if I did that I guess I wouldn't be an audiophile anymore.

dcrowe
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?


Quote:
Your cabinet must be inert and heavy.
Crossover must be isolated- non resonant.
Drivers must be tightly scewed on.
AC power must be 'very' clean.
Questions?
Buddy

None of that is relevant to congestion that is inherent in the midrange driver design. I made major progress by switching to Revel.

gkc
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Hi, Rusty -- great topic! I think one's goals change a lot over the years, especially for old farts like me. When I first got started, I just wanted a "component system" (remember, in those days most people bought all-in-one consoles) that sounded as loud and dramatic as the one in the Music Department's listening room in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah. It had wall-to-wall JBL speakers in a humongous custom cabinet (sort of a monstrously multiplied Hartsfield/Paragon system), McIntosh tubes, and a Weathers turntable/Pickering analog setup. That sucker could raise the dead! It could also duplicate the experience of listening up close to an air-raid siren. Later, as I attended more and more live symphonic concerts in different halls, I wanted only to get that lush, silky, airy sheen of massed violins into my living room. First, AR 3's, then Bozaks, then the KLH 9 electrostatics. Aaahh. Ooops! There went the dynamics, the sense of immediacy, and the balls. You couldn't even dream of having it all, until manufacturers like Levinson, Audio Research, Infinity, B&W, KEF, and Martin-Logan came along in the '80's and started to stretch the boundaries of what was possible. Then CD's and transistors (the early ones) sidetracked the quest, as super-detail at all cost became the rage. Now, with MUCH better digital and transistor technology, it seems possible to, if not actually transport the concert hall into your living room (that will never happen...), at least get a good piece of the emotional experience (based on one's recollection of last night's concert) into your listening space with remarkably few distractions. This requires really, REALLY good equipment, and, take it from one who has been at it for 4 decades, there is a LOT OF IT out there nowadays. At all price levels. The huge variations in recorded quality among all the different CD's, SACD's, and LP's in my system has shifted my own quest from chasing some absolute in the equipment itself to how it plays ALL of my software. I expect huge variations in recorded quality. That's not a problem -- expectations will vary from modest to grandiose, depending on the specific recording. But the goal is enjoyment without distraction: Monty mentioned, on this thread, just having the system go away and being left alone with the music. Within the context of the above, I can't say it any better: you want to enjoy all your favorite music as an extension of what you remember from the live concert. Just the music. You want to recall the live experience (now vanished forever) as closely as possible, but you realize it is still a phantom experience that can never be truly recalled. Part of the fun, of course, is tweaking and fussing, and drooling over all the solid clicks and thunks, fancy knobs, and flashing lights that decorate the boxes, but my final goal is for the equipment to disappear when the music starts. The software is now the limiting factor, the area of compromise, in my opinion, and that's the biggest challenge of finding a system -- getting something that sounds decent with all the music you want to play through it. Clifton

Buddha
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Nrchy! You are batting about 1.000 when it comes to hitting the nail on the head. Right you are.

Clifton, I really enjoy reading about your audio odyssey.

You guys got me thinking more about this.

I keep coming back to the creation of space. I want my rig to create a space, but in a different way than that sounds.

I want my hi-fi to create a space that becomes mine, where I can listen within it for different experiences but at the same time know that the rig is giving me a consistent and honest (to my ears) portrayal of those differences.

I want my space to be easy to listen in and through.

I want relaxed sound - maybe a slightly laid back imaging style...behind or at the speakers, not in front of them.

I want gear that doesn't call attention to itself. None of that "that piece of gear really does blah blah blah" stuff. I want electronics and dynamic drivers that get out of the way and demure to the greater good of music.

Speed and time alignment are, therefore, crucial. Speed, to me, is the ability to keep up with where the music is going, making things seem spontaneous and of the moment. Time alignment is not so much all frequencies arriving at the same time so much as it involves keeping all the sounds within the music arriving together - as if that makes sense!

I don't need a system to do EVERYTHING, I just want it to do what it does well and without insinuating itself into my enjoyment.

I've heard great systems that cost less than my cheapest component. It's all about capturing a piece of the essence of music, and since no system can capture all of it, I'm often happy when a cheap system captures even a small part of it - in the right way.

Sorry to get all paisley on y'all.

ohfourohnine
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

I agree with much of what you've said, Buddha, and like you I'd use a lot of words to express where I've been trying to get over the years. Had to laugh at myself in that regard when I put an old Connoiseur Society record on the turntable earlier. Their motto, printed around the label says it all, "Sound in the Service of Music." Well, maybe it should have a corollary alluding to the pleasure of tweaking.

gkc
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Hey, Buddha,
You said the two magic words, speed and space. When I go to a live orchestral concert (Disney and the LA Philharmonic, most often nowadays), I hear most of the sound emanating backwards, from a plane defined by drawing a line across the stage from the podium through the concertmaster (on the listener's left) on through the 1st cellists and bass fiddlers (on the listener's right), across the front of the stage, but not out into the audience. The source of the sound goes deep to the rear of the orchestra, but never projects into the audience. Depth of space is so important, because you hear from the conductor BACK to the rear, not from someplace in the audience back to the conductor. To me, one of the definitions of "finesse" in sound reproduction is to portray a 3-dimensional sound that extends from the front of the speakers back out into the patio, street, and next county. But never jumping into your lap (that's what chicks are for!). Timing is USUALLY a given when you are live, but, believe it or not, from a seat 12 rows back and dead center, I HAVE heard confused time alignment. Even the greatest conductors have bad days (more on this in another thread). That, to me, is where good stereo trumps almost all of the surround attempts I have heard. Good stereo puts a 3-demensional "block" of sound in front of you, an image that extends from the conductor to WAY back, not from some vague place in the audience back to the conductor. If you get this illusion from your system, you can live with most of the other distortions, as long as the sound is dynamic, on time, and timbrally close. I think this also applies to smaller spaces and smaller combos, such as jazz or solo vocalists. I noticed at the last concert I attended (a couple of weeks ago) the microphones were suspended from the ceiling on a plane almost exactly even with the conductor's podium. There is, of course, no cure for tricked-up miking...but I have found the effects can be quite pleasing if the ambience and music are "right." I guess there are no rules, only expectations. When you play music at home, you just hate it when the expectations are violated. Cheers, Clifton.

nrchy
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Re: What are the goals of audiophiles?

Buddha, it seems to me that the ability to enjoy ones system has more to do with a concious decision than it does having the right combination of equipment. If live music is the goal,it's not going to happen!

The trick is to determine to enjoy what you have rather than look to the next piece that will put you where you want to be. The ability to enjoy the music is in your head, and as the ancient Chinese said, in your liver. The latter is harder for Americans to accept.

I try to choose to be content. Maybe that next upgrade will do it!?!

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