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Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media
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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Most people I know don't listen to music. They use music as a background soundtrack to whatever it is they're doing. Of all my non-audiophile friends, I know of no one who actually sits down, closes their eyes and listens to music. Nobody I know views listening to music as an activity in and of itself. For those people, ipods, mp3's, home theater out of the box and $10 earbuds are good enough.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


Quote:
Most people I know don't listen to music. They use music as a background soundtrack to whatever it is they're doing. Of all my non-audiophile friends, I know of no one who actually sits down, closes their eyes and listens to music. Nobody I know views listening to music as an activity in and of itself. For those people, ipods, mp3's, home theater out of the box and $10 earbuds are good enough.

Most people I run into don't listen to anything, let alone music!

I think the world is primarily full of monologists, all delivering material simultaneously.

One great thing about this place is that sometimes, communication actually takes place!

I agree with you about how most people seem to approach music.

It also seems that there is some sort of gene that gets turned on during high school graduation ceremonies that prevents any further integration of new musical content or forms in many people.

Kaplan's article was pretty good, but it will saldy disappear into the "ethernet.*"

*Ethernet, the infinitly large electronic space into which great ideas permeate, but are not retrieved.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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[Kaplan's article was pretty good, but it will saldy disappear into the "ethernet.*"

As of Wednesday, Fred's article was Slate's 5th-most e-mailed story and, by Fred's estimate, will soon be read by as many as 100,000 people.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


Quote:

Quote:
[Kaplan's article was pretty good, but it will saldy disappear into the "ethernet.*"

As of Wednesday, Fred's article was Slate's 5th-most e-mailed story and, by Fred's estimate, will soon be read by as many as 100,000 people.

Do you think Terry Teachout or Anthony Tommasini will be part of that figure?

Hey, if it brings one music lover into the fold, it was well worth the effort.

I wonder if Christopher Hitchens will read it. Maybe, he hangs out at Slate. Ol' Chris could use a little cheering up. This isn't his best time of year.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


Quote:

Quote:
[Kaplan's article was pretty good, but it will saldy disappear into the "ethernet.*"

As of Wednesday, Fred's article was Slate's 5th-most e-mailed story and, by Fred's estimate, will soon be read by as many as 100,000 people.

Compare that to the original NYTimes and Wall Street Journal articles that he's responding to. I wonder how many people read those articles and heeded that advice?

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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Compare that to the original NYTimes and Wall Street Journal articles that he's responding to. I wonder how many people read those articles and heeded that advice?

I know! Gazillions!!! Right?

Which is why Michael Lavorgna and I will be starting a new magazine dedicated to enthusiasts of convenience . We're not sure what it's going to be called yet -- maybe Why Try Harder, I'm Almost Dead?, maybe Pretty Good, The Magazine for Underachievers -- but the first issue will have features on 7-11, drive-thrus, ATMs, microwave ovens, EZ Pass, and MP3s (of course).

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

I have a perfect name for it: Mediocrity - A magazine for those who settle

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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I have a perfect name for it: Mediocrity - A magazine for those who settle

Ha! I just left a comment at the blog saying almost the same thing. We're onto something.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Too bad "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is already taken.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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maybe Pretty Good, The Magazine for Underachievers

Appeal to their ego, Stephen. Really Pretty Good, The Magazine For Overachieving Underachievers, delivered to your sofa each month.

Really Pretty Good is the complete compendium of articles you've never bothered to read in other magazines.

Subscribe online and pay by automatic debit. Each 12 month subscription includes the Special Year End Bonus Issue which is blank.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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It also seems that there is some sort of gene that gets turned on during high school graduation ceremonies that prevents any further integration of new musical content or forms in many people.

Buddha,

That's a very good point and unfortunately all to true. And if the person in question happened to like the Grateful Dead, well you probably know what that means.

On the plus side, look how many burnt out (and most likely quite broke) musicians from the late 60's and early 70's can now reform the groups which once made them famous, launch a "reunion" tour, sell out many venues and then go on to live quite well in their old age.

In other words, can you say Eagles, The Police, Cream, The Spice Girls, The Moody Blues, Chicago, Blondie, The Cars, The James Gang? (To mention but a few.)

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

How about some more titles...

"Not So Bad"

"Could Be Worse"

"Can't Complian"

"Middlin'"

"Whatever"

"Target Catalog"

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

"Lackluster sound" a magazine for lackluster people

"Audio compression"

"Portable Poop"

"The sound of tin" - a magazine for plastic people

"Audio congestion"

"Quantity over Quality"

"The median peak"

"Top of the bell curve"

"Bleh"

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

How about Shrug: Quarterly Newsletter of the Apathetic?

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

I followed Stephen's link to Teachout's column the other day and noticed an email address for him at the paper. FWIW I sent him a stinging rebuke. I'm sure it fell on deaf ears.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

In other words, can you say Eagles, The Police, Cream, The Spice Girls, The Moody Blues, Chicago, Blondie, The Cars, The James Gang? (To mention but a few.)

The James Gang!!?? Will the Eagles be loaning them Joe Walsh? Funk #49 rocks!

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


Quote:
How about some more titles...

"Not So Bad"

"Could Be Worse"

"Can't Complian"

"Middlin'"

"Whatever"

"Target Catalog"

I'll write the food column- Velveeta or Aerosol Cheese? Appetizer Taste-Off!

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

I have an idea for your next column--

Wine: overpriced grape juice?

rvance
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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

We are cracking ourselves up!

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Quite often I believe that we on the high end are just as guilty of not listening to the music. Too busy listening to the equipment and what is not right and needs upgrading.

For another example of people not listening to the music just go to any live concert. All of these people pay good money just to hear themselves yell, hoot and holler during the whole performance.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

To that I say this: I accuse people with no interest in hi-fi of "not listening to the music" because the music to which they are listening is so far removed from the original intent of the musicians, composers, and engineers that it is no longer the same music.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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To that I say this: I accuse people with no interest in hi-fi of "not listening to the music" because the music to which they are listening is so far removed from the original intent of the musicians, composers, and engineers that it is no longer the same music.

Wow, that's heavy, man.

My wife is a true music lover, but before we met, she didn't know Hi Fi existed!

Most people who aren't into Hi Fi do not usually have the first idea that our little world exists. I don't think they are shunning Hi Fi, they just aren't exposed to it.

I know many people, especially women, who completely dig music and get the same joy from it that I do. It's just that I am unable to assemble the experience with the facility that they do. Maybe I have a handicap that requires the aid of prosthetic music enhancement to get me to the same place many other people go with a car radio.

I often wonder if it's us Hi Fi nuts who can't hear right - we need much more information than "normal" people in order to enjoy the music.

Are we the ones who may be handicapped by an inability to reconstruct the content of the music without the aid of our fetish instruments?

Seriously, we spend time talking about AC power cords and their impact on "the music," and other people just get on with it.

I think many audiophiles listen to gear rather than through gear.

The neurology of Hi Fi is fertile soil.

I don't know how this plays along with my wine hobby.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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We are cracking ourselves up!

That's just like me and Michael Lavorgna last week. I'd receive an e-mail from him with some great bad idea, and spit all over my computer screen with laughter before sending him some great bad idea in return. Good times.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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My wife is a true music lover, but before we met, she didn't know Hi Fi existed!

Yeah, before I got this job, I didn't know that hi-fi existed.


Quote:
I often wonder if it's us Hi Fi nuts who can't hear right - we need much more information than "normal" people in order to enjoy the music.

I've been thinking about this lately, and I don't buy it. I don't think we're emotionally handicapped or anything. I love music, always. In all ways. But I'd rather hear it sounding its best. Once you hear how good it can sound, and once you really get into that sound, why would you want to settle for less? Once you know it can be better, it's hard to be satisfied with computer speakers or a boombox or the car radio. You know what you're missing. That's all.

Same thing with the idea that musicians don't need hi-fi. Bogus. Musicians don't have some superpower to emotionally connect with recorded music regardless of playback system.


Quote:
Seriously, we spend time talking about AC power cords and their impact on "the music," and other people just get on with it.

It's just that we're always looking for that little bit more. Sometimes it gets silly.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Stephen, what did you do before you got this job? Since you didn't even know hi-fi existed, I'm surprised JA would hire infidels to work in the sacred halls of Stereophile and walk among the altars of uber expensive equipment and mingle with the Gods of equipment reviews. <GONG>

Did you have to walk around on your tip-toes, speaking in whispers when you first got hired?

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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Stephen, what did you do before you got this job? Since you didn't even know hi-fi existed...<GONG>

A used car salesman, maybe! He sure convinced me that he knows his audiophile stuff.

Marvelous work, Stephen!

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

I was hired as Editorial Assistant. It was my first job after college. While in college, I worked at the student radio station and newspaper. Summers were spent doing construction work at a chemical plant in Port Newark.


Quote:
Did you have to walk around on your tip-toes, speaking in whispers when you first got hired?

Ha ha. Maybe I should have, but, no, it was never that way. JA, Robert, Pip Tannenbaum (our production manager at the time), Nerissa Vales (managing editor at the time), and Jonathan Scull all made me feel very comfortable. At first, though, I don't think I realized what I was a part of. I had no sense of the history of hi-fi or of our place in it. Little by little, I began to appreciate how great it is to be here.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Hey, Buddha! I just noticed that you responded to my post.

I need to clarify, as my language in the above post seemed to indicate that I was accusing all who weren't into hi-fi, which isn't the case.

Here's the group on which I should have focused: Those who are aware of high-fidelity, and have listened to it extensively, but choose to opt out on the basis of cost, inconvenience, etc. I was referring mainly to people like those journalists, who claim that MP3's and iPod earbuds are "good enough".

I hope that clears things up.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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Same thing with the idea that musicians don't need hi-fi. Bogus. Musicians don't have some superpower to emotionally connect with recorded music regardless of playback system.


No superpower, but I find that musicians as a whole are less interested in hi-fi than average. Most listen to a lot of music however.

I suspect it has to do with the ability to mentally fill in what is missing.

I have had the experience of hearing an instrumental part during playback of a symphony that actually isn't there or is merely hinted at and having it not bother me at all.

OTOH, I find that I enjoy music reproduction more when I can hear more.

I suppose this make me both a bad musician and a bad audiophile.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Like Elk, many of my musician friends "listen through" recordings and fill in the blanks in their heads, or something. Some of the most gifted musicians that I've know have been totally oblivious to playback systems weakness, sometimes raving about the most horribly produced recordings because the "performance" was special. OTOH, I know many musicians that crave really great playback.

Dave

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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Some of the most gifted musicians that I've know have been totally oblivious to playback systems weakness, sometimes raving about the most horribly produced recordings because the "performance" was special.


Some years ago I was dragged into a older car with an incredibly bad stereo with only one channel so that I could hear a recording of a female vocalist "with incredible phrasing".

It was the first time I heard Eva Cassidy. My musician friend was correct, her phrasing was both different and wonderfully musical.

But this was all I could tell.

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No superpower, but I find that musicians as a whole are less interested in hi-fi than average. Most listen to a lot of music however.

Maybe it comes down to how we define "musician." Many of the people I consider to be musicians might not think of themselves as such. I don't know, but it seems to me that many, many people in hi-fi are musicians, of some sort.

Many of the musicians I know aren't really aware that hi-fi exists, or simply think that hi-fi is way out of their price-range, and so, don't bother.

I imagine that many musicians are like many other people -- they just have other priorities. In this case, instruments, music. They'd rather spend time and money on making music, than on recreating it in their home. It's not that they don't need hi-fi.


Quote:
I suspect it has to do with the ability to mentally fill in what is missing.

Maybe, but I'm not sure. I was a musician before I was into hi-fi. All it took was for me to hear how great this stuff can be. Now I want it all the time. I can fill in the gaps, too -- I've had that same experience of hearing what's not there -- but when I hear crap, I want it to be better.


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I suppose this make me both a bad musician and a bad audiophile.

Nah, I'd say it makes you a good musician and a good audiophile.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

A bit off topic, but all this talk about musicians reminds me of something...

I used to be a wedding photographer. I did it for about 8 years and that's how I put myself through school.

So, I'm shooting this wedding and they sit me down with the wedding band for dinner. As I sit down, one of the band members takes out some pills and pops them in his mouth. I said to him jokingly:
"I hope you brought enough for everyone".
He replied: "You don't want to take what I'm taking".
I said: "What are you taking?"
He said: "I'm taking the 'consequences'"
I said: "Oh... I'm sorry... but you know what the difference is between a pig and a musician?"
He said: "What?"
I said: "A pig won't spend the night trying to make love to a musician"

We had quite a belly laugh and he nodded in sad agreement.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


Quote:
A bit off topic, but all this talk about musicians reminds me of something...

I used to be a wedding photographer. I did it for about 8 years and that's how I put myself through school.

So, I'm shooting this wedding and they sit me down with the wedding band for dinner. As I sit down, one of the band members takes out some pills and pops them in his mouth. I said to him jokingly:
"I hope you brought enough for everyone".
He replied: "You don't want to take what I'm taking".
I said: "What are you taking?"
He said: "I'm taking the 'consequences'"
I said: "Oh... I'm sorry... but you know what the difference is between a pig and a musician?"
He said: "What?"
I said: "A pig won't spend the night trying to make love to a musician"

We had quite a belly laugh and he nodded in sad agreement.

Is that a bagpipe joke?

bifcake
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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Bagpipe?

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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Bagpipe?

Sorry about that. I once knew a guy who played bagpipes, and he said the old bagpiper's joke was that playing bagpipes sounded like a musician trying to "screw" a pig.

What you said reminded me of that. I figured if I had heard that joke, everyone must have.

Apologies for being off track there!

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Q. Why do bagpipers walk while they play?

A. They're trying to get away from that terrible sound..

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Hey, you guys play nice; I was born in Nova Scotia.

Do you think Linn equipment is especially adept at reproducing pipes?

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


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Hey, you guys play nice; I was born in Nova Scotia.

Do you think Linn equipment is especially adept at reproducing pipes?

"Dildo has a long history...."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dildo,_Newfoundland_and_Labrador

Town of Dildo..and South Dildo:

Not quite Nova Scotia..but close.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

How DARE you!

In Canada, and in the mainland Maritimes especially, "Newfie" jokes are common. For whatever reason, we decided that people from Newfoundland are inferior. Go figure.

I have a friend here in Michigan who was originally from Ontario, and we rip on each other in uniquely Canadian ways; He calls me a Newfie, and I call Ontario the "51st state" (because it is so Americanized relative to the other provinces).

Good stuff. I bet Dildo has interesting postcards.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Q. What do you call bagpipes thrown over a cliff?

A. Perfect pitch.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Back on topic:

I believe that we (meaning this small forum of self professed audiophiles) may be missing the point of "mp3s sounding good enough".

MP3s do sound good enough - on the "bad" enough audio playback systems of the vast majority of listeners. In other words, when mp3s (or any other lossy file format) are played back via earbuds, run of the mill computer speakers or a home theater in a box system they are going to sound "good enough" since with these play back systems a lossless file, i.e. flac file, is going to sound, for all intents and purposes, identical to the mp3 file.

Remember we live in a world full of advertising, most of which is telling people to buy their music on iTunes and to watch their videos on an iPod. Not only that, but the advertising is also leading them to believe that this the state of art!!

If watching a little tiny video on an iPod is "good enough" then listening to an mp3 on an iPod is also "good enough".

So what we have is in effect a double whammy - poor quality play back systems playing poor (audio) quality material. Add to that the fact that most people think that this situation represents the state of art. Very sad.

Sure flac or wav files are "better" than mp3 files but just how good does the play back system have to be for one to be able to hear the difference? Certainly the system needs to be substantially better than the types of systems most people are presently using for music listening.

A common problem with many enthusiast hobbies is the loss of a sense of scale as things relate to those with a less than enthusiastic approach to the same subject. Some examples: a sports fan wearing face paint to a big game, a bicyclist training to ride 100 miles in a single day, a runner running 10 miles a day, an oenophile spending $500 on a bottle of wine and a watch collector spending $25,000 on a wrist watch (when a perfectly functional and quite accurate wrist watch can be had for under $25).

To those people who are not enthusiasts any of the above activities seems like quite a bit of over kill. So yes, mp3s can sound pretty bad and that's with mp3 files that are well made but what of poorly made mp3 files? Take for example an mp3 file which was made from a CD that was in turn burned using files downloaded from the iTunes store, the conversion history which looks something like this:

Original wav file converted by Apple to an AAC file -> AAC file converted to wav (to make a CD) -> CD converted back to a wav file -> wav file converted to an mp3 file.

Where each step in the process adds (or in the case of lossy compression, subtracts) a degree of digital noise to the original file. Again, very sad.

As another example of just what I'm trying to say, take the case of many people's video systems. Nice big screen high definition television with home theater in box audio systems, and poorly set up audio systems to boot!!Once again, sad, very sad.

So before people can hear the difference between mp3 files and flac files they first have to care enough about audio to have a play back system on which those differences are audible, otherwise mp3 files will always be more than "good enough".

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Q: What's the definition of a gentleman?

A: Someone who can play the bagpipes but chooses not to.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


Quote:
Q: What's the definition of a gentleman?

A: Someone who can play the bagpipes but chooses not to.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

A new one to me, thanks, JA!

Bagpiper leaves his bagpipes in the backseat of the car when he stops for coffee. Comes back to car - oh no - the window is smashed - now there are 2 sets of bagpipes in there...

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

One day last week, a fourth-grade teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living.
All the typical answers came up:
Fireman
Mechanic
Businessman
Salesman
Doctor
Lawyer, and so forth.
However, little Justin was being uncharacteristically quiet, so when the teacher prodded him about his father, he replied,
"My father's an exotic dancer in a cabaret and takes off his clothes in front of other people and they put money in his underwear. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go home with someone and stay with them all night for money."

The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly took little Justin aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your father?"

"No," the boy said, "he's really a bagpiper, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids."

BillB
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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media


Fantastic! I'm going to start a new topic on musician jokes.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Bagpipes get a bad rap in my opinion. I like the sound myself but I could do without the old guys wearing skirts part.

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Re: Audiophile article by Fred Kaplan in mainstream media

Why do Scotsmen wear kilts?

Because sheep can hear zippers.

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