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ohfourohnine
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What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

More often than not, I agree with Wes Phillips' point of view. As an example, I accept that Stephen has summed things up about as well as one can with his, "Listening to music. On the hi-fi."

Based on what appears in this forum, however, I have to part company with Wes when he says of those who participate in our hobby (As We See It - August), "We like being exclusive. We like being disputative. We just loves our arguments."

Where exclusivity is concerned, the reaction to newcomers' posts in the Entry Level segment shows just the opposite. Long time hobbyists, some with really fancy gear, are standing in line to offer thoughtful advice to beginners without a hint of condescension.

As for disputes, set aside one or two who seem to know no other form of discourse, and you find very little of what you could call argument here. On the contrary, there is a general tone of listening to different points of view and inquiring about details which might not be clearly understood. Those, for example, who have led the move to hard-disc based music storage are being listened to carefully by those of us who've lagged behind. That stems, I suggest, from the common characterstic Stephen has pointed to - listening. Those of us who really listen to the music on the hi fi are likely to listen to other points of view as well.

Listening is the key. We make it a point to listen - because we like to.

On the other hand, I guess this post means I've fallen into the trap of being disputative. Clever fellow, that Wes.

bobedaone
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

Great post, Clay! I think I'll go listen to music now. On the hi-fi.

Elk
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.


Quote:
Those of us who really listen to the music on the hi fi are likely to listen to other points of view as well.

Listening is the key. We make it a point to listen - because we like to.


Nicely done. Quotable even.

Monty
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

While we would all like to think that we are good listeners, I believe it is something that takes awhile to aquire and even longer to sharpen and hone. Those who consider themselves audiophiles are far more likely to have sharpened their listening skills beyond that of the average music listener. My point being that we often find ourselves speaking a language that is somewhat exclusive in nature and not well understood by people new to high quality reproduction.

It's not that we revel in exclusivity so much, it's that we have sense enough to know that what we are describing can be a foreign language and like many things, you have to be able to relate to your audience in ways that they can understand and appreciate.

Sometimes all you can do is try to point someone in the right direction while they bring themselves up to speed. This can give the appearance of embracing exclusivity, though I think it's more a matter of recognizing the difficulty in trying to teach so much stuff with far too little time.

Those with the burning desire to learn will teach themselves and appreciate the journey a lot more.

Oh, and just in case this comes across as sounding like I consider myself to be in the exclusivity camp, that's not my intention. Quite the contrary, I'm coming from the perspective of someone who has come to realize why it took me so damn long to move from blithering idiot to novice when it comes to understanding this passion.

Jan Vigne
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.


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Those who consider themselves audiophiles are far more likely to have sharpened their listening skills beyond that of the average music listener.

Unfortunately, what many, if not most, of us have trained our ears to pick up are the things that quite often matter the least in music. If you have a professional musician as a friend, ask what they listen through. I've seen systems that should have been put on the curb years ago as the only music making device in the home of the Dean of the Music Department at a local college. And cheap rack system speakers so misplaced there was no concept of staging or even clarity to my ears being used by the principle conductor of a local symphony. In my experience, a musician tends to listen quite intently to the performance and with an ear that excludes most of the noises we consider important. I've yet to meet a professional musician who cares whether the system can portray the subway beneath Carnegie Hall with the correct low frequency rumble or whether the ability to hear the HVAC system switching on is relevant to the final product. Maybe they exist but most musicians I have dealt with are more intent on hearing how the music is being made rather than where it is being made.

bifcake
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

I don't think I've ever "trained" my ears to listen for certain artifacts. I remember knowing even as a kid what stereo sounded good and which didn't. It takes a while to develop a vocabulary to properly describe the nuances, but for the most part, I always "knew" what sounded good to me. I've always been sensitive to certain aspects and less sensitive to others. For example, I was always more sensitive to gaps in frequency responses than to sound staging. To me, sound staging was always nice, but if there was a gap in frequency between where the mid driver left off and the woofer picked up, that was a deal breaker. I was also sensitive to sibilance and brightness, but much more forgiving of dark, laid back systems.

I don't know if most people approach audiophilia the same way or if most others sit there, trying to train their ears, taking careful notes. I just know what I like and how I like my music presented. Furthermore, I don't sit there trying to nit pick a system. I either enjoy it or I don't. If I don't, I can tell you why I don't, what things bother me about it.

ohfourohnine
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

Your experiences, Jan, with the way some musicians listen to music and the stuff they listen to it with, aren't unusual. Your statements, however, raise the question why one would think of musicians as the paragons of listening skills - whether those skills are applied to music or speech. Maybe that's not what you were implying.

I'm reminded of the old story about the french horn player who had hurt his lip and had to sit out in the audience during an important rehearsal. When the rehearsal was over he rushed back to the other horn players and said, "You know when we're playing daaaa daaaa daaaa., well, the rest are going da dit da da, da da da dit da da. How about that!"

It would be silly to suggest that all professional oboe players listen only for the oboe part, ignoring the rest of the orchestra, but some of them do. I know one.

My point was simply that those of us in this hobby spend time deliberately listening to music, not hearing it in the background. I think very few listen for page turning or the like. Those who do, miss the point. I ,frankly, love vinyl and listen through clicks and pops all the time. I take them out if I'm loading the selection on a hard disc, but they only get my attention then. Given that we listen in a focussed manner to music, we, I suggest, also pay rather careful attention to what others say - or in this situation, write.

Jan Vigne
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.


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"You know when we're playing daaaa daaaa daaaa., well, the rest are going da dit da da, da da da dit da da. How about that!"

It is a gross over simplification but speaking with professional musicians I find many of them listen to the player on either side of them and the bass line. Another over simplification is many of the clients I had while selling audio were listening for paper turning, subways running and HVAC's blowing. They read - they want. As the lady on TV says, "It's just that simple."

Everyone listens for their own peculiar "priorities". I have a friend who has done medical transcription for twenty years. Listening for the tiny inflections of the human voice that tell her whether the physician operated on this organ or that organ, she has developed a sensitive ear for the expressive qualities of the human voice. She plays the piano and can tell when a note is a microsecond late or whether the player has misinterpreted "adante". She's not so attune when it comes to guitar.

jkalman
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.


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Based on what appears in this forum, however, I have to part company with Wes when he says of those who participate in our hobby (As We See It - August), "We like being exclusive. We like being disputative. We just loves our arguments."

You have to admit, it is ironic that parts if this thread so far have exhibited qualities of that character that Wes illuminated. This leads me to believe that while it might not always be the case, that it sometimes is the case. That at the least, all of us involved in this hobby in some way, or everyone involved in any hobby with more than a passing interest, are creatures of habit.

bifcake
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

I see Audiophiles primarily as gear heads. They remind me of photographers who worry more about accumulating equipment and arguing over the lens specs than they do about actually photographing. Audiophiles are a lot like that (it seems to me). They care more about minutiae and subtle attributes of a particular piece of gear than they do about actually listening to music.

Monty
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

I'm sure that's the case with many audiophiles, myself included. I do enjoy the gear aspect as well as the music. However, let's draw an analogy using video instead of audio. Someone who has been watching a 20 inch tube television for years and enjoys movies suddenly experiences his favorite movie on a 60 inch LCD flat screen with surround sound and a remote control. His increased enjoyment of watching movies on the new rig might make it very difficult to continue enjoying movies on his little set knowing that the movie can be so much more engaging.

Has this guy become a videophile or has his enjoyment of movies caused him to seek the most engaging system he could afford so as to enhance his enjoyment of movies?

Elk
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.


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Has this guy become a videophile or has his enjoyment of movies caused him to seek the most engaging system he could afford so as to enhance his enjoyment of movies?


Clearly a trick question.

dennis in md
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Re: What it is we do when we do that thing we do.

"I see Audiophiles primarily as gear heads. They remind me of photographers who worry more about accumulating equipment and arguing over the lens specs than they do about actually photographing."

I don't think "gear head'-ism is unique to music or photography. You get this kind of behavior in all sorts of hobbies - autos, fishing, sports... the list goes on.

I think an offshoot of Stephen Mejias's definition should be as follows - the best system in the world is the one you are listening to NOW.

- a drinker with a stereo problem

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