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smejias
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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I like to believe that the more we (audiophiles) stress how hi-fi can lead to the greater appreciation and discovery of music, the more people will be attracted to the hobby.

I also believe that the more we focus on hi-fi for the sake of sound quality, the less people will be attracted to the hobby. Maybe it's a subtle difference but I've never found the whole 'absolute sound' argument to be the least bit compelling.

Ah, exactly what I was trying to say, in 8000 fewer words.

andy_c
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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I like to believe that the more we (audiophiles) stress how hi-fi can lead to the greater appreciation and discovery of music, the more people will be attracted to the hobby.

I also believe that the more we focus on hi-fi for the sake of sound quality, the less people will be attracted to the hobby.


Unfortunately, it appears that your editor disagrees with this.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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I like that there's a bit of a resurgence with vinyl among younger generations. But I don't like the reasons for why that is! If its because its just "cool" or "retro" or "dj friendly", and they simply don't know how it can be better than CD's, the problem remains.

My local vinyl society does not have a single setup I have heard that sounds as good as mine (a $1000 investment) or anyone's properly set up CD setup. The older folk are into it because they have a vast amount of old vinyl and like their old music. The younger for the fun and cachet.

I guess I am saying that the folk I know are not in it for the quality of the sound. I play because I like finding old used vinyl of records that I remember from when I was of the callous young, not because it sounds better. On my modest system, it doesn't.

smejias
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


Quote:

Quote:
I like to believe that the more we (audiophiles) stress how hi-fi can lead to the greater appreciation and discovery of music, the more people will be attracted to the hobby.

I also believe that the more we focus on hi-fi for the sake of sound quality, the less people will be attracted to the hobby.


Unfortunately, it appears that your editor disagrees with this.

I don't see your point. I agree with what John says in that post, too. I don't see my opinion and his as being at odds.

The magazine is not going to cover poor quality sound sources. That simply wouldn't make sense; we are Stereophile. However, as audiophiles -- you know, like, out in the world every day -- we don't need to bash newcomers over their heads with the idea that, quote-unquote, sound is all that matters. Instead, I like to promote quality experiences, which includes the exploration of music and the enjoyment it brings.

bifcake
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

You know, if more manufacturers were like John DeVore and more dealers were like the place we visited in the Village (someone help me with the name), I think more people would tune into hi-fi.

Alas, look at the richest manufacturers and dealers and their wonderful personalities:

You got Dan D'Agostino - Mr. Grumpy, Peter McGrath - Mr Happy about the recession, Andy Singer - Mr. Personality himself!

michaelavorgna
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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You know, if more manufacturers were like John DeVore and more dealers were like the place we visited in the Village (someone help me with the name), I think more people would tune into hi-fi.

The dealer is In Living Stereo - I figured I'd jump in on this one AlexO because we finally agree on something!

andy_c
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

To me it's an obvious contradiction. Part of the quality experience of being an audiophile is finding good new music that you haven't heard before. They you go and buy the CD or LP of whatever it is you've heard, so you can have a high-quality version of it. That's ultimately what keeps people's interest alive.

On the one hand you're saying that the overemphasis on sound quality has the potential of driving people away. Yet on the other hand, you are totally unwilling to have even minimal coverage of sources of new music that could help increase interest, because those sources don't meet your sound quality standards.

This "We are Stereophile" thing is just another way of saying "That's the way we've always done it". If you're looking for ways to increase interest in the hobby, this implies some sort of willingness to do things differently than before. I don't see any tangible evidence of such willingness on the part of Stereophile though - only lip service.

RGibran
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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... Yet on the other hand, you are totally unwilling to have even minimal coverage of sources of new music that could help increase interest, because those sources don't meet your sound quality standards.

This from the same editor who believes his writers should be allowed to voice their political opinions because high end audio does not exist in a vacuum!

WTF???

ROFLMAO

RG

smejias
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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This "We are Stereophile" thing is just another way of saying "That's the way we've always done it".

What I meant is: We are Stereophile, as opposed to, say, Popular Shitty Sound.

I strongly disagree with your statement that we are "totally unwilling to have even minimal coverage of sources of new music that could help increase interest."

In my opinion, we cover lots of these components. For instance, the NuForce Icon USB integarted amplifier, the Wadia 170iTransport, the Polk RTiA1 loudspeaker, the Sony Playstation 1, the Shanling MC-30 music center, the Audioengine 2, the Apple Airport Express, the Rega P1, and this could go on for hours.

I see these as gateway products. I understand that you might disagree.

michaelavorgna
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

I had a subscription to Popular Shitty Sound but I let it lapse because there were too many negative reviews.

bifcake
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Thanks! That's the place. Genuinely nice people working there. BTW, not to hijack this thread, but check out their closeout section!!!

andy_c
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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This "We are Stereophile" thing is just another way of saying "That's the way we've always done it".

What I meant is: We are Stereophile, as opposed to, say, Popular Shitty Sound.

I strongly disagree with your statement that we are "totally unwilling to have even minimal coverage of sources of new music that could help increase interest."
In my opinion, we cover lots of these components. For instance, the NuForce Icon USB integarted amplifier, the Wadia 170iTransport, the Polk RTiA1 loudspeaker, the Sony Playstation 1, the Shanling MC-30 music center, the Audioengine 2, the Apple Airport Express, the Rega P1, and this could go on for hours.

I see these as gateway products. I understand that you might disagree.


When I said "coverage of sources of new music", I was referring specifically to internet radio as we were already discussing. I don't know what on earth that has to do with "products".

Getting back to the subject, I'd like to make the distinction between listening for the purpose of discovering new music, and for the purpose of enjoying the music we already have. Many people may have first heard the music they love on something as mundane as a car radio. When I was growing up in the late 60s and early 70s, radio stations were playing lots of great stuff. With the exception of AM, it wasn't nearly as commercialized as it is now. If some radio station was playing really good music, that was news for me and my friends, and it would get around. For an audiophile who has already purchased their music, of course the idea is to hear what they have with as good a sound quality as possible. But both of those things are important to the audiophile experience as a whole.

It appears that the scope of Stereophile's coverage is primarily the latter. That's fine in and of itself. But there is concern about fading interest in the hobby. To address that concern requires looking at the entirety of the audiophile experience, including the experience of finding the music we love.

That's where internet radio comes in. It's a great way to find new music. Also, the sound quality of most stations broadcasting at bit rates of 128k and higher is as good as any rock FM stations I've heard.

You can take the view that you're not going to cover it in any shape or form because of sound quality concerns. Yet many of us have music now that we first heard with less than stellar sound quality, and that music is important to us. It fuels our interest in the hobby. When listening for the purpose of finding new music we love, sound quality is less important than when we are in the mode of careful listening to music we already have.

smejias
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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When I said "coverage of sources of new music", I was referring specifically to internet radio as we were already discussing.

We were discussing internet radio? Geez, had I known that I wouldn't have spent all that time inputting those damn URLs.

Just kidding.

Seriously, John Atkinson and many of our writers think that internet radio is an awesome source for discovering music. However, Stereophile is focused on attaining the highest possible sound quality, and internet radio doesn't seem to be there yet. Our webmaster, Jon Iverson, always says: Audiophiles perfect what the mass market selects. (Please read the essay if you haven't already.)

If the mass market selects internet radio, audiophiles will eventually perfect it. And, as that time comes, Stereophile will report on it. In fact, Jon Iverson, who recently reviewed the Sooloos music server, is now working on a review of the T+A Music Player.

andy_c
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Our webmaster, Jon Iverson, always says: Audiophiles perfect what the mass market selects. (Please read the essay if you haven't already.)


I've read that. It's a very Panglossian view of the high-end audio business. My background is that I pursued a career in electrical engineering due mostly to articles I read in Audio by Richard Heyser, Marshall Leach and others as a young guy in the mid 70s. In the intervening years, I've learned enough about circuit design to tell the real thing from BS, given enough information. The problem is that in the high-end audio business, this so-called "perfection" of things is not always perfection at all, but often merely gold-plating a turd.

I'm sitting here looking at a schematic of the front end of John Curl's JC-1 power amp that was posted in another forum with John's approval. This is real engineering. It's designed from the ground up with discrete transistors, and because of its class AB design with high output power and high-current capability, it uses many expensive parts. Yet the cost for a pair of these monoblocks is modest by high-end audio standards. I think they are $7000 for a pair. That's the good side, and a real example of the perfection of things by the high-end audio industry.

Then there's the bad side. Companies like Bel Canto are repackaging some chip vendor's class D power amp module designs into fancy boxes. The power supply requirements of class D amps are way, way less than that of a class AB amp, as are the heat sinking requirements. These are some of the biggest cost drivers. The amp circuits have already been designed for them by the chip vendor too, so there is no development cost associated with that. So where does the $6000 price tag come from? There's no reason for them to cost that much. It's an example of a gold-plated turd.

So where does Stereophile fit into all this? Well, they're kind of the "dick splint" of the high-end audio business, so you can be sure a happy face will be put on it no matter what. Some people know better. I suppose it's beneficial for the industry in the short term to let this stuff by, but in the long term the existing base of potential customers is dwindling due to age. At some point in time, the status quo that is the real raison d'etre of Sterophile will need to change. I don't expect this anytime soon though, but I am hopeful.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

We'll have to disagree on this point (and also on how Rickie Lee Jones' stuff is brainy music ).

We certainly will. Because I for one have not seen anyone at the top of the pop charts in the last 15 years who's songwriting compares with Ricki Lee Jones.

And again, I'd like to say this kind of preconception - the kids listening to drivel, 20 seconds at a time - is exactly the kind of stereotype that the older audiophiles have of young listeners.

I never said "20 seconds at a time", but anyway, where do you think the "stereotype" as you call it comes from? I've certainly never heard my generation characterized as such. It's not just "the media", and you're not the only one who's been around teenagers or young adults. Many of those "older audiophiles" you say are blinded by the media hype have children around that age. Much in the scientific community has been written about the short-attention span of younger generations today, and there is much controversy as to why that is - which indicates its a real problem, not an imagined one the press invented. You should research and learn more about that, if you don't believe it is a real phenomenon that is occuring today.

Look, there is ALWAYS going to be the dumb popular culture, any generation, and this generation's dumb populace will get the amplified attention in this media-saturated age.

The problem isn't dumb popular culture. The problem is newer generations are getting dumber, period, and this is more reflected in the popular culture and habits, which are constantly being tuned to their "special needs", we'll say. Media has been around for decades, saturating most of the country. Yet previous generations consumed popular culture that newer generations couldn't even begin to wrap their heads around.

Even among the older generation, not everyone was listening to Mahlers, or bands like Big Star, I dunno, or Ornette Coleman.

Not "everyone" was listening to ANYTHING. That statement has been true throughout the history of the world. It seems I'm speaking in general terms, you're speaking about specifics. ie. Limited to the people you personally know. They don't necessarily represent their generation, as a whole, and statistics bear that out. Around that age, I would listen to bands like Hayzee Fantayzee, Carmel, Die Dissidenten, Scritti Politti... (before the latter became pop hits). No one I knew ever heard of them, or 90% of the stuff I liked. So I would not then say to some adult that my generation is fond of Hayzee Fantayzee and Scritti Politti. In fact, I can't even say I knew what kids my age were listening to. I guess "Bryan Adams" or "RATT" or some shit like that.

We're talking about people who are passionate about music, young and old. As I said, most young kids I know are omnivorous in their love for music. And I can't disagree more that the music scene is dead or uninteresting. In fact, I'm sure you can say that flippantly because you just haven't really listened to the bands.

Huh? Where exactly did I say that "the music scene is dead or uninteresting"? Don't know where you read that, but I didn't say that. What well known bands haven't I really listened to that are so fantastic, and of interest to the age group we're talking about? "The White Stripes"? "The Von Bondies"?, "Ladytron"?, "The Hives"?, "The New Pornographers"?, "Metric"?, "The Mars Volta"?, "Muse"?, "Bright Star"?, "M. Ward"? Because I've listened to (and have stuff from) all of them, and much more. Young people have always been fond of music, but the problem we're talking about, is that there's less of an interest in reproducing that music in high fidelity, today. It's not that there's a shortage of bands out there!

I don't care if JA said the things about the kids, or whoever, but there are stereotypes being perpetuated in both the hi-fi community and mainstream culture, and it doesn't help. Sure there are kids listening to their 2 minute buzz single, doing their hair. But what about kids who are PACKING every venue at SXSW? What about crazy young bands like Mastodon doing an entire frickin' metal album on Melville's Moby Dick? What about Stereophile's own SM, have you taken a look at his top 10 list for 2008? Would you say he listens to dumb music of today?

I don't know where this took a crabstep into what kids are listening to today, but let me assure you, I could not care less what kids are listening to today. The issue under discussion is about what they are using to listen to their music. And also how. They stand to lose out on what my generation and previous generations of audiophiles enjoyed.

Again, you can stereotype away, both at mainstream culture and hifi culture. It doesn't take too much digging in the AD's Listening archives to come across how so many audiophiels listen to brainless crap. And many people outside the hifi community do believe that the audiophiles listen to crap, brainless music but with matchless transient response or something (I agree with Michael Lavorgna, too, that the emphasis on 'absolute sound' is a pretty big turn-off). These are the stereotypes on both fronts that we can do away with.

Ok, how about you start with "audiophiles listen to brainless crap"? You saying "many people outside the hifi community believe that", is certainly news to me. Because I always understood the opposite as true. But then, I guess the problem is I have no idea what you are choosing to define as "dumb music", and what is the good "brainy music" all these smart young adults are supposedly listening to. As far as I can tell, you think the "dumb music" is jazz, blues, classical and classic rock. Which from what I saw and heard at the show, is popular with audiophiles. And that "smart brainy music" is "crazy frickin' metal" music. If so, I'm afraid we're gonna have to agree to disagree again. But just out of curiousity to see what you call "brainy music" that young people are listening to today, I went and Googled the top 40 of today's hits that young people listen to. I have listed the top 10 below.

Thank you for making me do that, as I hadn't looked at a top ten list in years, and its worse than I thought. If this Top 10 list does not speak volumes about just what kind of intellectually (or morally) bankrupt crap that young people are listening to today, then I don't know what does. I know full well that not all young people listen to the below, and I'm not saying they all do. But this represents what is popular with most of today's generation. I can better understand now why they're not interested in high fidelity. This garbage would probably sound worse in hi-fi, because then you would just get to hear how really bad it is in 3D.

http://top40-charts.com/chart.php?cid=27

Lady Gaga
Flo Rida
Soulja Boy
TI & Justin Timberlake
Jamie Foxx
Miley Cyrus
Kelly Clarkson
Ciara & Justin Timberlake
All American Rejects
Lady Gaga

michiganjfrog
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

I think we need to be more tolerant and have a little patience. The problem can only be solved if we get people to listen, so I see nothing wrong with people choosing to listen for reasons other than sound. Sound will come later.

I have no problem with the rave culture or whatever jumping on the vinyl bandwagon, because at least they're helping keep the format alive. But I don't think "sound will come later", per se. Most people who jumped on the CD bandwagon had turntables before they did that. They just didn't have good turntables. So they never heard how good their records could sound, and bought the hype that they -had- to sound better on CD. And superficially, CD's did sound better than LP's.

Why we do anything? We do things for fun, we do things to impress members of the opposite sex, we do things to make friends. All of that, to me, equals "cool." The question I want answered is: How do we make hi-fi cool again?

That's a good question. Hey, how 'bout "Stereophile Jr."? (Or "Culturephile"). The first audiophile magazine targeted specifically at the 15-24 year old age group. The hardware is all about getting the cheapest quality gear possible, and the music reviews are all about The Strokes, Ladytron... whatever this age group now listens to. Here's the twist: unlike most audiophile mags, it isn't just about hardware-software (kind of like "Fi" used to be), but includes whatever topics would be of high interest to this age group. Articles that tell them how to be "cool". That sucks them into buying the magazine, see. Then the music. Then the gear reviews. Imagine the lead singer of their favorite emo band (or whatever) being interviewed in the magazine, and talking about specific brands of quality hifi gear he owns and listens to music on. This tells them its "cool" to have similar gear. Think BLAG meets BLENDER meets THE AUDIO CHEAPSKATE. Think fashion, lifestyle, street culture, hip young art, sexiness, music and budget audiophile gear, with a little bit of Wiccan rituals thrown in. (Damn. I don't know why I always include Wiccan stuff. Yeah, scratch that last item).

Now, when we're talking about "the younger generation" with their iPods and their MP3s, who are we talking about? Are we talking about the 10-15 year olds? That's what it sounds like to me. And if you're telling me that 10-15 year olds are filling up their iPods with thousands of songs and enjoying it, then, fuck!, that is awesome. Right? What are we complaining about?

That they're listening to their music on iPods. In terms of sound quality, that's worse than the portable CD players that came before. But I expect that of 10-15 year olds. When I was 10-15, I was listening to music on a microcassette player, which I had recorded from my audio system to microcassette, with a single mono earbud (few people know this, but I actually invented the "Walkman" that day - before it was a gleam in Sony's eye). Sure that's great that they're getting into music. But the "younger generation" I was talking about, is more like in the 15-24 age group. This is generally where you start as an audiophile, and get interested in something higher in fidelity than a digital Walkman (aka iPod). I was maybe 13-15 when I started buying my first quality audio gear (Dual tt, ortofon cart., tower spkrs with poly drivers, etc). Needless to say, even with all its superficial flaws, the sound of that starter system was infinitely better than an iPod-dock or boombox system. So like, 30 years later... this is progress?? What horrifies me, is what "progress" is going to look like in another 30 years, if the state of the hobby continues regressing as it has.

Being a music lover doesn't mean you're going to care later about reproducing it well. Or that you will even be clued in to what "well" is. Most people who aren't audiophiles like or love music just the same. One thing you can not do with a good system is cart it around from room to room, over your shoulder. That means it is -imperative- that you learn to stay in one place, in between the speakers, and listen to your music. The question in my mind is, will the 10-15 year olds, who seem to have trouble paying attention for even 10-15 seconds, learn to do that?

And when we talk about pop music being compressed to shit, what are we talking about? Britney Spears and the other shit they play on the radio? Well, yeah, I agree, but who listens to the radio?

According to Radio Audience Trends 2006 report from journalism.org, 94% of people older than 12, on a weekly basis. Note, that doesn't include me, however.

Another thing I failed at explaining during the debate (and maybe I'm failing now, too) is that, alright, vinyl is becoming popular again... So, what does this mean for music? I see so many indie bands releasing their work on vinyl, recording music specifically with the vinyl release in mind. They are creating music as art. They are recording albums, rather than strings of singles. They care about the final product, and they want it to sound good, and they expect it to be listened to from beginning to end. They are creating quality art with the intention of it breeding quality experiences. And that's hi-fi, isn't it?!

Well, unless its played back on high fidelity high resolution equipment, it ain't "hi-fi", to me. It may be a hi-fi recording, and its great if some artists are caring about the fidelity of the recording and maybe not allowing engineers to screw it up, but unless its going to be played back by the consumer on equipment designed to approach the fidelity of the group playing in front of you, then its no different than the many recordings of the past that never got their due. Because they were never given as much care and concern in the playback stage.

If we're not doing it because it's fun and cool, then why are we doing it? Because it hurts? Because we think we should be punished for something? If so, well, that's just weird, and we should stop doing what we're doing, and take up some other hobby.

Easy enough to say but.... no other hobby wants us.

linden518
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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I for one have not seen anyone at the top of the pop charts in the last 15 years who's songwriting compares with Ricki Lee Jones.



Quote:
The problem is newer generations are getting dumber, period, and this is more reflected in the popular culture and habits, which are constantly being tuned to their "special needs", we'll say. Media has been around for decades, saturating most of the country. Yet previous generations consumed popular culture that newer generations couldn't even begin to wrap their heads around.


If you listen to yourself, you'd recognize that this is what people of your previous generation would say about your generation.


Quote:
It seems I'm speaking in general terms, you're speaking about specifics. ie. Limited to the people you personally know. They don't necessarily represent their generation, as a whole, and statistics bear that out.


Except when you talk in 'general' terms, you're relying on Billboard Top 10 #s or something like that. Again, who the hell listens to what's top ten these days? I'm not just talking about people I know, Michigan. Again, there wouldn't be this surge of great new bands putting out LPs if it weren't for the younger generation of listeners supporting them. Just as much as you believe I'm talking too specifically, everything you say sounds like some talking points gathered from Reuters news bites or something.


Quote:
Huh? Where exactly did I say that "the music scene is dead or uninteresting"? Don't know where you read that, but I didn't say that.


Sorry. You said it's getting dumber.

Quote:
I don't know where this took a crabstep into what kids are listening to today, but let me assure you, I could not care less what kids are listening to today. The issue under discussion is about what they are using to listen to their music. And also how. They stand to lose out on what my generation and previous generations of audiophiles enjoyed.


Look, Michigan, if you'd just be clear-eyed for once and see the line of your own reasoning, you'll see that you - like many others - keep insisting that the young people do not recognize good sound because they're incapable or stupid, and they listen to stupid music on the top ten lists. Which is why I mention some of the bands and artists doing innovative work because frankly, when you talk about the youth in general, you talk in stereotypes and news bites from some popular culture. This is not an ad hominem, btw... just read over what you wrote.


Quote:
Ok, how about you start with "audiophiles listen to brainless crap"? You saying "many people outside the hifi community believe that", is certainly news to me. Because I always understood the opposite as true.


Again, Art Dudley's columns are way too near and well stocked on this topic for me to even hyperlink them. He's way more eloquent than me on this point.


Quote:
As far as I can tell, you think the "dumb music" is jazz, blues, classical and classic rock. Which from what I saw and heard at the show, is popular with audiophiles. And that "smart brainy music" is "crazy frickin' metal" music. If so, I'm afraid we're gonna have to agree to disagree again. But just out of curiousity to see what you call "brainy music" that young people are listening to today, I went and Googled the top 40 of today's hits that young people listen to. I have listed the top 10 below.


!!!

Again, a beautiful illustration of how you don't even listen to someone you're in a dialogue with. Where the hell did you get the idea that I'd classify classical & jazz as "dumb" music when the exact opposite is true? Did you even notice that I said the kids listen to Xenakis, Wuorinen? And don't you think that the kids who listen to such music will also be familiar with other classical composers?

I think the problem here is that you REALLY want to peg a certain contingency of people into a box. It's gotten to a point that you're even claiming that I'm saying that classical/jazz is "dumb" music, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I've been saying! And you've even used that wrong assumption to say our generation's "brainy" music is Top 10 stuff, and what's more ludicrous, you say that it's "brainy" music according to me!

Do you see what you're doing? To perpetuate your own version of stereotype, you're making stuff up, even about what I believe and what I said. If you doubt, read over what I wrote. I'm sure most of the people have already read what I wrote and could at least gather - even if they're in disagreement with me - that I never even came close to implying that the "dumb" music is classical/jazz and "brainy" music is Top 10. But, go on & check for yourself. I haven't edited shit.

And you know what you'll find? That weird formulation of dumb=classical, brainy=top 10 actually just came from your own head filled with this desire to further stereotype people, even me.

smejias
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Our webmaster, Jon Iverson, always says: Audiophiles perfect what the mass market selects. (Please read the essay if you haven't already.)


I've read that. It's a very Panglossian view of the high-end audio business. My background is that I pursued a career in electrical engineering due mostly to articles I read in Audio by Richard Heyser, Marshall Leach and others as a young guy in the mid 70s. In the intervening years, I've learned enough about circuit design to tell the real thing from BS, given enough information. The problem is that in the high-end audio business, this so-called "perfection" of things is not always perfection at all, but often merely gold-plating a turd.

I'm sitting here looking at a schematic of the front end of John Curl's JC-1 power amp that was posted in another forum with John's approval. This is real engineering. It's designed from the ground up with discrete transistors, and because of its class AB design with high output power and high-current capability, it uses many expensive parts. Yet the cost for a pair of these monoblocks is modest by high-end audio standards. I think they are $7000 for a pair. That's the good side, and a real example of the perfection of things by the high-end audio industry.

Then there's the bad side. Companies like Bel Canto are repackaging some chip vendor's class D power amp module designs into fancy boxes. The power supply requirements of class D amps are way, way less than that of a class AB amp, as are the heat sinking requirements. These are some of the biggest cost drivers. The amp circuits have already been designed for them by the chip vendor too, so there is no development cost associated with that. So where does the $6000 price tag come from? There's no reason for them to cost that much. It's an example of a gold-plated turd.

So where does Stereophile fit into all this? Well, they're kind of the "dick splint" of the high-end audio business, so you can be sure a happy face will be put on it no matter what. Some people know better. I suppose it's beneficial for the industry in the short term to let this stuff by, but in the long term the existing base of potential customers is dwindling due to age. At some point in time, the status quo that is the real raison d'etre of Sterophile will need to change. I don't expect this anytime soon though, but I am hopeful.

I can't believe you called us "Panglossian" and "the dick splint of the high-end audio business" in the same post. Impressive use of insults. You might as well start telling mama jokes.

Seriously, I think I know where you're coming from. I disagree with you on just about everything.

At least we agree on the Parasound JC 1. Nice amp. Have you ever listened to it? Have you ever listened to the Bel Canto Ref1000 MkII?

Buddha
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

This has become a killer great thread!

Either sitting on the sidewalk catching what the local boom boxes are up to, or strolling through a high end show, it seems lots and lots of people within and without the hobby listen to brainless crap.

The difference is, audiophiles keep buying 'remasters' of their brainless crap.

I took my B-I-L through the CES/THE a few years ago. (Total non-audiophile, I call them civilians.) His comment? "Those Hi Fi guys are disproportionately fond of female vocalists."

I think it was the year that at any given moment, Norah Jones was being demo'd in about 60% of the rooms.

On the plus side, my wife had only heard Norah while driving around town in the Dodge minivan, and the show was a revelation for her: she realized that Norah sings, "Come away with me, on a bus," instead of "Come away with me, honey bunch."

Thanks, Quad!

However, I like my wife's take on the lyrics better.

____

Now, being one, I know it's OK to mock myself...

I often wonder if we audiophiles are refined musical connoiseurs or mere sonic fetishists. If we need to hear the sound of dishes being stacked in order to fully appreciate some bullshit Swedish jazz disc, then what the Hell are we, really?

Audiophiles are bumming that The Beatles remasters won't initially include Hi Rez. Why? Do we need that to finally 'get' the music? Will hi rez versions of Rubber Soul change your appreciation of the music? Not likely. I think all it would actually accomplish would be to get a group of aging white men to sit around a computer screen and type about how they've never before heard that deeply into the orchestral tectures of Eleanor Rigby.

The surest sign of the Hi Fi apocalypse is when some guy who thinks Amanda McBroom, Madeleine Peyroux, Diana Krall, or Patricia Barber played 100 times per year is superior to what the younger generation is listening to.

smejias
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Why we do anything? We do things for fun, we do things to impress members of the opposite sex, we do things to make friends. All of that, to me, equals "cool." The question I want answered is: How do we make hi-fi cool again?

That's a good question. Hey, how 'bout "Stereophile Jr."? (Or "Culturephile"). The first audiophile magazine targeted specifically at the 15-24 year old age group. The hardware is all about getting the cheapest quality gear possible, and the music reviews are all about The Strokes, Ladytron... whatever this age group now listens to. Here's the twist: unlike most audiophile mags, it isn't just about hardware-software (kind of like "Fi" used to be), but includes whatever topics would be of high interest to this age group. Articles that tell them how to be "cool". That sucks them into buying the magazine, see. Then the music. Then the gear reviews. Imagine the lead singer of their favorite emo band (or whatever) being interviewed in the magazine, and talking about specific brands of quality hifi gear he owns and listens to music on. This tells them its "cool" to have similar gear. Think BLAG meets BLENDER meets THE AUDIO CHEAPSKATE. Think fashion, lifestyle, street culture, hip young art, sexiness, music and budget audiophile gear, with a little bit of Wiccan rituals thrown in. (Damn. I don't know why I always include Wiccan stuff. Yeah, scratch that last item).

My blog, I hope, achieves some of this.

It's an idea we've tossed around a bit over here, but we lack the resources to get it done properly, and I really don't know if launching a new magazine is a smart thing to do right now, in this economic climate and with print media struggling in general.

There's a beautiful magazine, right here in the States, that does a pretty good job of this (minus the audiophile gear, but including the Wiccan stuff) called The Fader. (I know some of the staff over there. Many are actually into hi-fi; their publisher even reads Stereophile and they have a complete NHT system in their office.)

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Audiophiles are bumming that The Beatles remasters won't initially include Hi Rez. Why? Do we need that to finally 'get' the music? Will hi rez versions of Rubber Soul change your appreciation of the music? Not likely. I think all it would actually accomplish would be to get a group of aging white men to sit around a computer screen and type about how they've never before heard that deeply into the orchestral tectures of Eleanor Rigby.

When Jon Iverson learned of the Beatles news, his first question was: Will there be hi-rez versions?

Without putting words into Jon Iverson's mouth, I think the reason for this is simple: Audiophiles know that hi-rez offers the best, and we want the best. It's not that we need it, but why should we have to settle for less?

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

If it was done links to downloads the reviewers like would also help.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


Quote:
This has become a killer great thread!

Either sitting on the sidewalk catching what the local boom boxes are up to, or strolling through a high end show, it seems lots and lots of people within and without the hobby listen to brainless crap.

The difference is, audiophiles keep buying 'remasters' of their brainless crap.

I have always thought that 90% of every generations music is pure crap...the 10% that lingers beyond that generations death reflects what is 'good' music and the flotsam simply disappears into audio purgatory.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Great point.

Time is a terrific crap filter.

Jon Iverson
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

The reason I'd like to hear hi-rez from the Beatles or any artist: it's more exciting to listen to music when it sounds real - and hi-rez sounds closer to real. Anyone who has listened to live musicians right next to them understands this. So I search for the best transfer of a loved recording. To state the obvious: there is a difference between what it sounds like live in the studio and what you get out of the final CD. That difference is always a musical loss, not a gain. Who wouldn't prefer a medium that gets us closer to the real event, since we can't be there in person?

michiganjfrog
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

If you listen to yourself, you'd recognize that this is what people of your previous generation would say about your generation.

That may be so. Though I couldn't recall any instance of such, until I remembered my stepfather once listening to me playing my Devo "Freedom of Choice" album made a remark about how silly the music was. At the time, I knew it was because he didn't understand that it only sounded stupid on the surface. After all, the band wore Ikea flowerpots on their head, and sounded like goofballs. Far from stupid, "Freedom of Choice" is what I call brainy music, commenting on democracy, even referencing Aesop's fable, "The Dog & The Bone". In 1980, it was #14 on the Billboard charts. Now contrast that to today's popular music, exemplified by the Top 10 list I gave you. Which is stupid on the surface, stupid below the surface, stupid around its immediate vicinity, and it makes anything that comes into contact with it, stupider by association. The simple reason for that is the people making the music are far stupider than the guys in Devo were. What I think you're failing to realize is, the criticisms of previous generations have legitimacy, just as the criticisms from those of my generation toward those of yours, or those that followed yours. You may have difficulty with this, but I have no problem acknowledging that previous generations to mine, which grew up without TV, weren't dumbed down by it, matured faster than we did, read more intelligent books and watched more intelligent movies, and weren't bored as easily. Today, that criticism isn't simply as legitimate; for in general, the kids of the newer generations are just -shockingly stupid-. Literally "mind-numblingly stupid". Between my generation and the generations that followed, the intelligence gap grew in major leaps and bounds... toward the stupid end of the scale. If you wont research this phenomenon, as I suggested, then you should at least try to rent the movie "Idiocracy". It's a documentary on the American social landscape that touches on this problem.

Except when you talk in 'general' terms, you're relying on Billboard Top 10 #s or something like that. Again, who the hell listens to what's top ten these days?

Only more than 90% of the retail market, apparently.

"Data for Billboard's sales charts -- which include all of our album charts -- are compiled by Nielsen SoundScan from a universe of merchants that represents more than 90% of the U.S. music retail market. The sample includes not only music stores and the music departments at electronics and department stores, but also direct-to-consumer transactions and Internet sales (both physical albums via Internet, and ones bought via digital downloads). A limited array of verifiable sales from concert venues is also tabulated." http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/about_us/bbmethodology.jsp

I'm not just talking about people I know, Michigan. Again, there wouldn't be this surge of great new bands putting out LPs if it weren't for the younger generation of listeners supporting them. Just as much as you believe I'm talking too specifically, everything you say sounds like some talking points gathered from Reuters news bites or something.

Though not so, Reuters is at least a verifiable source of information, which is what I've been trying to offer you. The only source you've given me is some people you know who go to Columbia U. So you're saying we're supposed to believe the personal opinion of one forumer from NYC of what today's popular current music trends are about, over verifiable data collected by official reporting agencies, which the entire music industry depends upon for sales and marketing? Sorry if I'm skeptical. If you're that reliable a source of information, why is Billboard still in business? This "surge of great new bands putting out LP's" is nothing new to me. But its not adding anything to this debate, because I bring you back to these comments of yours that I was responding to: what sort of music (or format if you will) is popular with -most- of today's generation. n.b. "Most" of today's generation would probably not include unknown jam bands who sell 75 copies of a vinyl EP.

Again, Art Dudley's columns are way too near and well stocked on this topic for me to even hyperlink them. He's way more eloquent than me on this point.

So now you're saying that Art Dudley agrees with you that "audiophiles listen to brainless crap", and your defense of that statement, is that Art Dudley believes audiophiles listen to brainless crap? If I get someone to agree with me that its these newer generations you're defending that listen to brainless crap, not audiophiles, which one of us is right, then?

Again, a beautiful illustration of how you don't even listen to someone you're in a dialogue with. Where the hell did you get the idea that I'd classify classical & jazz as "dumb" music when the exact opposite is true?

Where the hell did I get that idea? From this:

Selfdivider:

"AD's Listening archives to come across how so many audiophiels listen to brainless crap. And many people outside the hifi community do believe that the audiophiles listen to crap, brainless music"

Which you then reconfirmed here:

"Again, Art Dudley's columns are way too near and well stocked on this topic for me to even hyperlink them. He's way more eloquent than me on this point."

Question is, if you're now saying that classical and jazz is what you are calling "brainy music", where the H.E. double hockey sticks did -you- get the idea that audiophiles don't listen to classical and jazz?? It sounds like you don't know an audiophile from a bibliophile. Classical and jazz music is the staple of (very nearly) all audiophiles. (I consider myself a rare exception). Hint: this is why ALL audiophile record labels produce classical and jazz music. Have you ever even been through the media section of a hifi shop? Have you ever seen the media sold at a hifi show? At the SSI show recently, there was an entire room filled with CD's and records of audiophile quality, geared towards audiophiles. Guess what. It was ALL jazz and classical. Guess what the predominant type of music playing was in every room I walked into at the recent audiophile show? Hint: One starts with "j", the other starts with "c".

Did you even notice that I said the kids listen to Xenakis, Wuorinen? And don't you think that the kids who listen to such music will also be familiar with other classical composers?

Oh yes, naturally. So according to your previous statement about what audiophiles listen to, you're agreeing that kids listen to "brainless crap".

Look, Michigan, if you'd just be clear-eyed for once and see the line of your own reasoning, you'll see that you - like many others - keep insisting that the young people do not recognize good sound because they're incapable or stupid, and they listen to stupid music on the top ten lists. Which is why I mention some of the bands and artists doing innovative work because frankly, when you talk about the youth in general, you talk in stereotypes and news bites from some popular culture. This is not an ad hominem, btw... just read over what you wrote.

The reason your arguments are not holding up SD, is because you're either ever too specific, or too general. When you say "young people", you never define what you're talking about. I've defined my "young people" as 15-24. So at least I hope we're still talking about the same thing. Next, you're being too specific. How many kids between 15 and 24 even ever heard of "Xenakis" and "Wuorinen", you tell me? But more than that, -show me- with links that you have that this is even worth tossing out there. Because if its just part of your old clique at Columbia U. that represents what you wish to characterize this generation as (and you're dismissive of any hard data I try to give you), then that's why it doesn't even get on to the radar of any music tracking charts out there. How about you show me a -single- tracking chart with those two groups on it, for starts? Otherwise, you've shown you know less about what 15-24 year olds are listening to, than I do. I have a friend who has a son who's 15, he listens to Metallica and Bob Marley. Her 19yr old daughter likes Fleetwood Mac. I could go on the same pulpit as you and say kids today, 15-24, are listening to Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley and Fleetwood Mac. Same shit they were listening to in the70's, fancy that.

I think the problem here is that you REALLY want to peg a certain contingency of people into a box. It's gotten to a point that you're even claiming that I'm saying that classical/jazz is "dumb" music, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I've been saying!

I'm not trying to "peg" anyone, I'm only reporting on what is true and factual. As for you complaining that I misunderstood you, well I'm sorry, but that's your fault. I even asked you to define exactly what you meant by "brainy music" as you kept saying, and you did not. You only defined what "brainless music" was, by citing anything popular with audiophiles. Since classical & jazz is exactly what's popular with audiophiles.....

And you've even used that wrong assumption to say our generation's "brainy" music is Top 10 stuff, and what's more ludicrous, you say that it's "brainy" music according to me!

No, again, you misread me, as that's not what I said. I said the Top 10 list represented how -stupid- music has become, for the 15-24 age group. That is not the same as saying this is this generation's "brainy music". As for the rest, you said that young people listen to "brainy music" The Top 10 chart lists exactly what young people listen to. If you meant something else, again, I did give you the opportunity to define what you meant.

michaelavorgna
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


Quote:
So I search for the best transfer of a loved recording.

Me too. Unfortunately I think some audiophiles search for the recording to love of a best transfer. Their obsession with sound quality dictates what music they buy and listen to. It's become a stereo-type (sorry I couldn't resist).

I had a conversation with Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note about this and how it relates to hi-fi. Here's his quote: "Your system is only as good as its ability to play your worst recording."

I agree with him too.

michiganjfrog
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

I just started to read your blog today. Interesting articles (you might need to get a metal or glass shelf though...), and yes, I can see the resemblance to this idea. Well I'm glad to see the idea has already been tossed around (and here I thought it was original.... oooh!), because I think it's just what the high end industry might benefit from. But I agree now isn't the time to launch it. I was easily convinced by what one of the panelists at the SSI debate said about how anyone trying to launch a new audio magazine at this time, is never going to succeed.

However, if this new project ever does see the light of day, well as much as I like "Stereophile Jr." and "Culturephile", I donate the name "Heavy Culture" to Stereophile. I think it's a killer name! Very catchy. Plus, I checked, and there's no other mag with that name. Resources come from hiring new journalists. You could have advertisers from at least 4 different industries (music, fashion, audio, and at least everyone that advertises in Maxim or Blender). Which is perfect, as you don't have to rely on one industry in particular, and no one industry can try to call the shots. Maybe it could also start out as a webzine, like The Fader (they've got a cool idea of giving you live links to hear the music under review, in some cases). Then once it gets "buzzy" enough and the economy gets stronger, go into hard print and a wider, subscription-based audience. If so, the first issue should feature a cut-out collage of various pictures, exemplifying the various themes the magazine will cover. (And the mission statement that audio never be chucked out, as that's the magazine's raison d'etre!).

linden518
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Michigan. Your posts are getting really hallucinatory. It seems that you really like to assume certain things about what I said and also like to put some made-up thoughts into my head, as if you're some mindreader? It's very apparent that you probably think the same of me, so I'm mainly going to let our posts stand and people can just see them as they are.

You somehow seem to believe that classical/jazz is the only domain of the audiophiles? And where in the hell did YOU get the idea that I implied that audiophiles don't listen to classical?!? I think I can answer that. In a typical fashion, you seem to classify classical/jazz as 'brainy/good/audiophile' and popular, etc. as 'dumb.' There are dumb music and good music in all genres. I said in my earlier posts that even metal bands like Mastodon are putting out smart, literate and amazing work, as well as classical composers like Nico Muhly, etc. Which is AD's point when he rails about audiophiles listening to worthless crap (the examples that he cited, usually, were of audiophile pressings of bad rock/pop.)

You just love to say that I said something that I did not say.

As for links or evidence that the young people - okay, in my head, I had in mind 18-25, etc. - actually listen to worthwhile music, rather than some billboard crap. I can cite a few. From the New Yorker magazine:

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/musical/2009/02/02/090202crmu_music_ross

Just in case you don't like to read:

"The audience at the Philharmonic might be described as hard-core classical: mostly people fifty and older. Later that day, a different crowd showed up to see the singer, songwriter, and composer Gabriel Kahane perform at Le Poisson Rouge, the lively Greenwich Village club that mixes classical music with other genres. Kahane is twenty-seven, and his listeners seem roughly the same age. He is well on his way to developing an original creative personality; his music absorbs everything from nineteen-twenties neoclassicism to blue-grass and modern indie pop, with potent melodies bridging the disparate styles. In league with a six-piece ensemble called yMusic, Kahane presented his song cycle

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


Quote:
I just started to read your blog today.

Thanks for taking a look, Michigan. Here's a link to my favorite albums of 2008, mentioned earlier by SD. I think most of the albums listed here can be categorized as pop, but, in my opinion, they're some of today's best pop albums. (I sound like a radio DJ. "Today's best pop!")


Quote:
Maybe it could also start out as a webzine, like The Fader (they've got a cool idea of giving you live links to hear the music under review, in some cases).

I'm not sure if you're saying the Fader is a webzine, but, just to be clear: the Fader, to my and JA's eternal chagrin and bewilderment, is a fat-assed, gorgeous, thick-stocked, glossy as hell, real-deal magazine. Last I heard (a couple of years ago), they had a controlled circulation of 80,000.

Edit: Fader's stated circ: http://www.thefader.com/advertising/circulation

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


Quote:
This has become a killer great thread!

Either sitting on the sidewalk catching what the local boom boxes are up to, or strolling through a high end show, it seems lots and lots of people within and without the hobby listen to brainless crap.

The difference is, audiophiles keep buying 'remasters' of their brainless crap.

I took my B-I-L through the CES/THE a few years ago. (Total non-audiophile, I call them civilians.) His comment? "Those Hi Fi guys are disproportionately fond of female vocalists."

I think it was the year that at any given moment, Norah Jones was being demo'd in about 60% of the rooms.

On the plus side, my wife had only heard Norah while driving around town in the Dodge minivan, and the show was a revelation for her: she realized that Norah sings, "Come away with me, on a bus," instead of "Come away with me, honey bunch."

Thanks, Quad!

However, I like my wife's take on the lyrics better.

____

Now, being one, I know it's OK to mock myself...

I often wonder if we audiophiles are refined musical connoiseurs or mere sonic fetishists. If we need to hear the sound of dishes being stacked in order to fully appreciate some bullshit Swedish jazz disc, then what the Hell are we, really?

Audiophiles are bumming that The Beatles remasters won't initially include Hi Rez. Why? Do we need that to finally 'get' the music? Will hi rez versions of Rubber Soul change your appreciation of the music? Not likely. I think all it would actually accomplish would be to get a group of aging white men to sit around a computer screen and type about how they've never before heard that deeply into the orchestral tectures of Eleanor Rigby.

The surest sign of the Hi Fi apocalypse is when some guy who thinks Amanda McBroom, Madeleine Peyroux, Diana Krall, or Patricia Barber played 100 times per year is superior to what the younger generation is listening to.

Buddha,

This is the greatest posting ever made on this forum.

I 110% agree with you. Its pains me that many/most of the best selling albums by audiophile music distributors are re-releases. The produces of "new" material follow the money... and the money is made by feeding off the neurosis of audiophiles.

Your post says it all.. and describes the downward spiral the high end is in perfectly.

linden518
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Its pains me that many/most of the best selling albums by audiophile music distributors are re-releases. The produces of "new" material follow the money... and the money is made by feeding off the neurosis of audiophiles.


Me three.

returnstackerror
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

If as has been stated that 10% of any generations music is worth a revisit.. and if we accept that a reasonable part of high business (hardware and software) is driven by the need to revisit the music of our youth then when the current generations get into a position to revisit there past...is there anything really earthshattering to revisit.

The current crop of audiophiles revisit musical releases from many decades (at a minimum the 50's/60's/70's/80's).

Each one of these decades has produced a mind numbing variety of musical genres.. and much of it was ground breaking... so that 10% of the good stuff is really good stuff.

Can we say the same of the legacy that is the 90's/00's...so when we are all dead and gone.. will people of the current generation with any tendancy towards audiophilism actually make the journey because the music legacy of their youth is so compelling?

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Michigan. Your posts are getting really hallucinatory.

I see. Well, than maybe you might want to consider retiring the bong at this point.

You somehow seem to believe that classical/jazz is the only domain of the audiophiles?

You mean, the only type of music they listen to, or that only they listen to that type of music? Because whichever you mean, I've never stated -either-. In fact, I stated I'm an audiophile who listens to neither, so that should already discount at least one interpretation of your claim. As for the second interpretation, I'll repeat what I said if you promise not to mangle my words once again: "Classical and jazz music is the staple of (very nearly) all audiophiles." If you would focus less on what people "seem to believe" and instead concentrate on what people actually write, I think you would get a lot further in your understanding. Now if you want to continue to debate whether my actual statement is true, whether classical & jazz is what audiophiles listen to, let me tell you, you've already lost.

And where in the hell did YOU get the idea that I implied that audiophiles don't listen to classical?!?

Look, this doesn't have to be like pulling teeth. Just read what I wrote before responding with such questions. You said "audiophiles listen to brainless crap" (of which you included Ricki Lee Jones in that category), then you tried to convince me that your generation listens to "brainy" music. To which I responded:

MJF: Question is, if you're now saying that classical and jazz is what you are calling "brainy music", where the H.E. double hockey sticks did -you- get the idea that audiophiles don't listen to classical and jazz??

I think I can answer that. In a typical fashion, you seem to classify classical/jazz as 'brainy/good/audiophile' and popular, etc. as 'dumb.'

Sorry SD, you're wrong again. No soup for you, I'm afraid. I classified the current Top 10 popular as "dumb". That should have been pretty clear, 'cos I went on long enough about it. Since you seemed to classify classical and jazz as "brainless crap" (citing that audiophiles listen to "brainless crap" and that -is- what audiophiles are known to listen to), I disagreed. If you still can't follow all of this by now, we should probably just assume you're not going to be able to.

There are dumb music and good music in all genres. I said in my earlier posts that even metal bands like Mastodon are putting out smart, literate and amazing work, as well as classical composers like Nico Muhly, etc. Which is AD's point when he rails about audiophiles listening to worthless crap (the examples that he cited, usually, were of audiophile pressings of bad rock/pop.)

You know, you might avoid a lot of frustration here if you were clearer in your communication. You complain to the heavens about how you (not to mention your entire generation) are misconstrued, by you still haven't defined what you are citing as the "brainless crap" us audiophiles allegedly listen to. I can only respond to what you give me, not what you don't. I don't read Art Dudley, so there's no point in mentioning him, if you won't be more explicit than that. So I'm sorry if I don't get too bothered by that fact that you feel misunderstood.

As for links or evidence that the young people - okay, in my head, I had in mind 18-25, etc. - actually listen to worthwhile music, rather than some billboard crap. I can cite a few. From the New Yorker magazine:

Well there you go. I made it clear several times I was talking about the 15-24 age group. Secondly, the age group talked about in the article, when they're not 50-60 year olds, is 27 -- above what we both we're talking about. Third of all, I'm still not sure what point you're trying to prove by any of this. That some 27 year olds listen to classical music? Is this supposed to be news to me?

What does this mean? That at the very least, you cannot generalize and say that the young people follow the bands on the Billboard.

You're the one generalizing, I'm the one being specific. Giving you specific data on specific facts; none of which you have even come close to presenting to support your arguments. And in being specific, I will repeat what Billboard has said: their charts represent over 90% of the nationwide sales market in the US. Now if you're trying to argue it doesn't represent the -entire- market, well... show me where I ever said it did?! It sounds like you're arguing with yourself a lot, with all the strawmen you're putting out.

michiganjfrog
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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Thanks for taking a look, Michigan. Here's a link to my favorite albums of 2008, mentioned earlier by SD. I think most of the albums listed here can be categorized as pop, but, in my opinion, they're some of today's best pop albums. (I sound like a radio DJ. "Today's best pop!")

I was looking around for that earlier on the blog, and couldn't find it. Cool list, 'cos I never heard of most of the bands, but I recognize some of them (ie. familiar with Ryan Adams and got some of Mogwai's earlier stuff). I've not really been checking out too much in the way of new music in the last year or so. Did get a Nightmares on Wax album recently, but wasn't crazy about it. What I just learned from your list though, is that Cat Power, my favourite artist these days, has two new albums I've never heard about. Gotta get back in the loop... When I get a chance, I'll check out Lights, and whatever sounds interesting.

I'm not sure if you're saying the Fader is a webzine, but, just to be clear: the Fader, to my and JA's eternal chagrin and bewilderment, is a fat-assed, gorgeous, thick-stocked, glossy as hell, real-deal magazine. Last I heard (a couple of years ago), they had a controlled circulation of 80,000.

Wow. No, I've never heard of them, I just looked at their site today and assumed that's what they were.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Can we say the same of the legacy that is the 90's/00's...so when we are all dead and gone.. will people of the current generation with any tendancy towards audiophilism actually make the journey because the music legacy of their youth is so compelling?

I can just see someones teen aged kids hearing their parents Rap favorites, looking at each other, and rolling their eyes in despair..

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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You somehow seem to believe that classical/jazz is the only domain of the audiophiles?

You mean, the only type of music they listen to, or that only they listen to that type of music?

I tend to think that audiophiles congregate there because so much of popular music is compressed, poorly recorded, and over processed....Jazz normally can be found that sounds something like it sounds like through the instrument and the actual words of the singer/singers can be understood. When 'music' is produced that reduces the dynamic range to a quarter of what is available and is mixed so that every singer and instrument is equally loud, what is being sung about is often a mystery...and a blessing

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

It's been amusing, Michigan. Our posts are here for everyone to read, so it's not hard for anyone to figure out who said what. You can keep treading the same water, though, and keep spinning if you wish.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

It's been amusing, Michigan.

Same here.

Our posts are here for everyone to read, so it's not hard for anyone to figure out who said what.

Hmm, I'm not so sure about that. Considering how difficult it was for you to even figure out what you were saying, let alone what I was saying. But I know how everyone in the world cares, because the fate of our universe rests on them figuring this out, so let's hope you're right.

You can keep treading the same water, though, and keep spinning if you wish.

No, you've got me all wrong again. I don't tread water, nor do I spin. More like I go hippity-hoppity, then splash, then hippity-hoppity some more. Repeat as necessary. You can keep self-dividing if you wish.

Above all, enjoy your music, guy. That's what it's all about.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Above all, enjoy your music, guy. That's what it's all about.

That's exactly what all them damn younger generation are doing. They damn sure aren't worrying about your ass. And despite the alleged dumbing, I suspect they are smart enough to run like hell when you attempt to coerce them to join you in the sweet spot!

RG

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Above all, enjoy your music, guy. That's what it's all about.

That's exactly what all them damn younger generation are doing. They damn sure aren't worrying about your ass. And despite the alleged dumbing, I suspect they are smart enough to run like hell when you attempt to coerce them to join you in the sweet spot!

RG

I can't speak for you, or the "damn younger generation" you speak of, but I can damnguarantee you that the only person I would want or attempt to coerce to join me in the sweet spot is my woman.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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Its pains me that many/most of the best selling albums by audiophile music distributors are re-releases. The produces of "new" material follow the money... and the money is made by feeding off the neurosis of audiophiles.


Me three.

It's hardly surprising really. They won't take a risk on spending a fair of amount of time/money producing an album destined to sell for $20-50, if they're not assured of success. Past "hits" are the safest way to do that, considering the small numbers involved. They wouldn't last very long otherwise.
Instead of blaming the audiophile labels, we should be blaming the majors for the total lack of artist development and the lousy sound quality of much of the new products. The music industry has yet to figure that their end is coming because of a good 2 decades of pretty lousy management - wanting immediate returns, going for the lowest common denominator and ripping off the consumer over and over again has driven the music public away. Instead, they blame the internet .. back in the early 80s, they blamed the cassette and were trying to pass a levy on blank cassette sales.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if


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The music industry has yet to figure that their end is coming because of a good 2 decades of pretty lousy management - wanting immediate returns, going for the lowest common denominator and ripping off the consumer over and over again has driven the music public away.

This is the norm...make a quick buck and to hell with the consumer. It's happened in the auto, banking and investment industries.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

I think we have to hold the artist responsible for some of this. The new Sonny Rollins comes to mind. What a piece of ....

RG

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Michigan, it turns out all your observations at the show have been declared 'dishonest.'

Since you didn't do your listening blind, your opionions are now null and void.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Michigan, it turns out all your observations at the show have been declared 'dishonest.'

Since you didn't do your listening blind, your opionions are now null and void.

Yes, well now that the forum has been invaded recently by the DBT-zombies, I guess we can all stop pretending that this fancy "boutique" high end equipment so many "audiofools" have been brainwashed to buy by the High End Audio Establishment, due to a lack of "scientalific knowledge" about the "TrVth" about audio that we had just been missing all this time, is any better than this week's special at Best Buy. Time to pack it in, and trade in all high end gear for whatever scrap Ethan's been playing with this week.

They all seem to be old white men, representing the old guard, who's heyday was back in the 70's. Back before turntables were thought to have a "sound", when muscle amps were de rigeur (and the more watts it had, the better it sounded), and whatever cheap scrap cables that came with the equipment were good enough, because cables had no "sound" either. To me they're zealots who struggle and fight against change and progress, and anything that interferes with their safe world view.

In the twenty or so years I've been debating these net kooks, I've heard them say that DBT's prove that CD players don't have any influence on the sound worth mentioning. Here's the kicker. NEITHER DO: turntables (cartridges may be an exception with some of them), amplifiers, preamps, DACs, jitter reduction units, speaker cables, interconnects, spikes, cones, stands (other than height)... and now according to their one of their elders, Sean Olive, even loudspeakers exhibit no appreciable difference! Large $3600 critically acclaimed high end speakers or small cheap, low-end plastic jobbies - it's all good. No difference. Geez, speakers was about the only thing in audio these wackjobs told me would make a difference! And audiophile fuses, or green pens? Don't even go there. Just about ALL audio accessories are fraudulent snake oil to the DBTologists.

I realized that as loony as I might seem (to those who don't understand where I'm coming from), I don't think I come even close to what kind of mad drunken lunatics these insane DBT preachers actually are (Steven Sullivan, Ethan, jj, Axon; just to name a few). And as someone who started out in this hobby gobbling up that misleading shite the sheeple read in Stereo Review, I fully understand where they're coming from. (I'm a little embarassed to admit that, but hey, I had an excuse. I was 12 fuckin' years old! I had yet to buy any good gear). I even understand where they are - most or many are in the pro-audio trade.

I thought about just how stupid and implausible the DBTologists really sound, looking back on all that I had heard at the show. I suppose if you don't have much experience listening to high end audio, you might get sucked in to their belief systems. Especially if you're constantly cynical and afraid of getting ripped off all the time, because you haven't learned to trust your own ears. But the more you get sucked into that delusional world of the ABX comparator and the misleading statistic, in order to try to make sense of the world around you, the more you close your mind off to what is really happening in the world, and live in a perpetual self-induced delusion. Which can be summed up thusly, from my experience at the SSI 2009 show:

DBT tests of one stripe or another have proven in the last few decades that cd players, amps, turntables, cables, wires, accessories, and now speakers do not matter. Yet my dead grandmother can hear the difference between Ethan's Pioneer rack system, and say, the Martin Logan or Herald systems that I heard at the show. I don't care whether you're an audiophile or not, anybody who is not a lunatic and has two working ears can hear the differences between those two examples. You look like a complete idiot standing there and telling someone you can't hear a difference between a $100,000 system and a $500 system. So the DBT zealots tell themselves that even if they do hear differences, it means nothing, because they're not -really- hearing those differences they "think" they're hearing. Sean Olive has made that much clear.

I don't have a problem if someone tries to tell me I got this or that system wrong in my report, because by them it's really much better (or worse) than I think it is. But for someone to tell me that everything I heard is no better than a Pioneer, because Sean Olive's blind tests say it's so?!! I'll treat that person like the nutjobs that scream on the street corners about how "the prophecy" says the world is soon coming to an end, and respond as necessary. For one of these DBT-fanatics to tell you that you can not possibly be hearing differences between the $100,000 system and the Best Buy special because the DBT religion says its so, does not need a copy of Floyd Toole's latest meanderings on the "importance and validity" of double blind tests.

They need psychological help. And the sooner, the better, I say.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Hi. New guy here. I'm the one who recorded the Stereophile Debate and posted it online. I'm also preparing a video of the show which I'll probably post online next Monday. But before I do, I'd like to describe what my camcorder's Rode Videomic had picked up while recording the rooms.

One important detail. I have practically no experience on brand names or price listings. So while I didn't fully experience the DBT phenomenon, my lack of knowledge helped me get pretty close to that level, especially that I'm not fooled by appearances. The Rode Videomic was the perfect candidate for DBT since it has no intelligence whatsoever. It just transferred exactly what it heard to the camcorder.

Despite this, what my ears heard, and what the microphone heard, were startling by the differences in perception.

In the most extreme example of a major difference in perception, the Totem room that I've heard was entirely different from what the microphone had heard. What I heard was multi-channel sound from a two track source. And while it's a system I wouldn't want in my home, it still sounded more or less good.

Listen to the camcorder recording however, and it sounds like an incredibly cheap $20 boom-box. Ouch!

In an example of consistency however, many rooms were a bit heavy on the low frequencies, especially those that added a subwoofer in their set-up, and used it a bit too aggressively. Those extra deep frequencies actually started to hurt my ears a bit.

On the camcorder recordings, these same "booms" either caused low frequency distortions in the recording, or caused the ALC circuit in the camcorder to dramatically drop the recording levels during a loud beat. The microphone actually reproduced, and enhanced my perception of the low frequencies in the bass-heavy rooms!

I've checked the settings on the camcorder and on the microphone. They were all the same this year as they were last year. But last year, the recordings were for the most part pretty reasonable. So why do I have so many more "problem" rooms this year even after using the exact same camcorder settings? I don't get it.

I'll post the "Bonus Rooms" video on my YouTube channel later this week before releasing the final version of the full video. I'd like some feedback as to what the microphone captured, and if it's consistent with people's general opinions of what they heard in those very same rooms.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Great post!

Welcome.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Hi Francois

I think its great you are making available a recording of the show, for those unable to attend. You seem to be suggesting you are a neutral listener, because of your lack of experience with high end audio, and that your recording equipment is a neutral observer, because it has no "intelligence" (bias). You compare this with a DBT, which is supposed to suggest "neutrality".

I'm not sure I know what you are suggesting when you use the term DBT in conjuction with your video recording, but if any of this is to suggest that listeners will have a "neutral" experience of each system at the show by watching a video replay, it doesn't sound like that is the case. Or that it can be, because it's all but impossible to capture the real sound of the rooms on a video recording and transfer it through the net. I agree its possible to capture a "facsimile" of the sound, but how successful that is may vary, as you observed with the recording of the Totem room. Your mic may transfer "exactly what it hears", but what it hears will be limited to what it can capture, and how it captures it (-especially- if you have an ALC level limiting circuit in place). It will not capture what a human in that room will in general, never mind some of the specifics (musicality is one of the first things lost in a recording). As you yourself noted, the Totem room sounds like an incredibly cheap $20 boombox on the recording, but that was not at all my experience of that sound. It was a pretty impressive demo, particularly at the beginning of the track.

I would suggest that, despite the fact that I'm sure I have more experience than you with the high end, I was not fooled by appearances either, and can be relatively neutral in my observations. Had I not been, I would have concluded the Martin Logan CLX electrostatics, which are each the size of a door, would have produced a very thrilling sound. Except I wasn't thrilled by the sound that system made, and neither was my partner. I preferred much more modest speakers, where music is concerned.

I've checked the settings on the camcorder and on the microphone. They were all the same this year as they were last year. But last year, the recordings were for the most part pretty reasonable. So why do I have so many more "problem" rooms this year even after using the exact same camcorder settings? I don't get it.

I didn't go to last year's show, but I heard they held it at the Delta in previous years. So if it was the Delta rather than the Sheraton, it wasn't the same rooms...

I'll post the "Bonus Rooms" video on my YouTube channel later this week before releasing the final version of the full video. I'd like some feedback as to what the microphone captured, and if it's consistent with people's general opinions of what they heard in those very same rooms.

I'll try to check out some of the videos, but I'm not sure if I will remember what each room sounded like now, enough to compare it to what is on your video.

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Re: Brief comments on the Montreal Audio Show (Son et Image) if

Hi Frog,

The main intent of the recordings is to show the gear in the room. Under no circumstance should anyone evaluate audio gear based on a camcorder recording. It's just funny that what I've heard and what the camcorder has heard are often two entirely different set-ups. Some rooms are simply not recognizable anymore.

Last year's show was also at the Sheraton, so I'm recording inside the same type of rooms this year. In fact, some manufacturers have set up shop in the same rooms as last year.

Once the videos are posted, I'll also post a chart indicating the variance between what I've heard, and what the microphone has heard in the rooms where I remember what they sounded like. I'll definitely remember the rooms that have affected me the most.

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