Does your system sound different to you when other people are listening critically to it?

Does your system sound different to you when other people are listening critically to it?
Yes, it sounds much worse
23% (40 votes)
Yes it sounds much better
9% (16 votes)
No it sounds the same either way
56% (98 votes)
I don't have friends listen to my system
11% (20 votes)
Total votes: 174

Have you ever had a pal over to listen to your system, only to find under the scrutiny of the audition that you hear your system differently than when you were alone?

David Andersson's picture

What can I say? Of course it sounds the same!

dave f's picture

It never fails. Whenever a friend listens, the system tends to sound less impressive. Mind you, my friends' music could be the culprit!!!

Badeephol Inpirom's picture

Well, yes and no. I rarely have friends over. But when I do, the system sounds the same to me when I'm sitting in the sweet spot, and sounds a bit different when my friend is in the sweet spot.

Arnel Enero's picture

I respect what my friends tell me, good or bad, about my system . . . but their opinions NEVER affect my own perception of how my system sounds. I should know my own system better, anyway.

g.i.madreemer's picture

seems a liitle pride is very effective tweak along with the fact that all my friends go home to 400.00 systems and had the idea that all turntables, cd players sound the same

Bengt's picture

My system sounds the same to, but it may sound differently to my pal, because different people listen to different things (or prioritize differently).

Guido Roemer's picture

I've checked "Yes it sounds much worse." Reviewers are also prone to this kind of effect. Therefore I advocate blind testing again and again in discussions like this.

Dan Stenning ( Hi Jos )'s picture

Maybe it's because I often listen late at night, whereas my friends come over earlier. I put it down to mains ( power line ) interference. My system often seems better after 11pm.'s picture

Where pals/gals are at home or not when I listen to my system doesn't change it's sonic behavior. It's true that I'm more excited to share my passion, but usually it's them who gave me their feeling about what they hear. However, it's true that my system doesn't sound always the same, as explained in a previous Vote! forum. Thanks to my P300 power plant, I can however minimize this. The main factor is how I feel when I listen. Herv

Jim Merrill's picture

The same, of course. I don't believe our audio hobby lends itself so easily to self-delusion.

J.  Arbukle's picture

Not much worse, but different. It's just a psychological thing, but I bet old J10 would say that I should have placed some Mpingo disks on my friend!

I.M.  Outthere's picture

Nothing like butt crack and bad posture to ruin the sound of an audition.

G.  Smith's picture

My friends and I tend to listen to the MUSIC, not the equipment.

Mike H.'s picture

This weekend, my wife discovered the audible benefits of removing large objects from the space between the loudspeakers. Our television has been banished to the guest room.

al marcy's picture

i like people, too

Louis's picture

I have quit having "audiophiles" listen. They are a competitive lot, and very boring. Music takes a backseat.

JR's picture

My friend is deep into tubes and I am a solid state, Levinson kind of guy and my system is always dry, overetched, cold and cerebral, in his humble opinion. But I digress. To each his own, I guess. Tubes or solid state ? That is the eternal question.

Nick Anderson's picture

It's just the same to me. What's more amazing to me is the number of friends I have that have absolutely no ear for very high fidelity music. Basic audiophile observations are lost on them. When I tell them the value of my system , they almost hit the floor! Of course, I do have a FEW friends that are absolutely blown away. Regardless, what's important is that the music moves me.

Beken's picture

Most of my friends don't pay any attention to my system. They get into the music. It's kind of a wake-up call for me. When you listen to the music, the system sounds great!

Nicholas Wybolt's picture

I used to think that it did -- in the sense that a positive or negative comment would lead me to believe that there were aspects of my system that I previously did not hear (or was aware of). It finally occured to me that the visitor was simply voicing his or her opinion. What really mattered, visitor or not, was how engaging my system was to me and what sort of emotional reactions to the music it could elicit. This is related to the "reviewer effect," where someone elects to buy, not buy, or replace a component based on a reviewer's opinion.

quadraphonic fiend's picture

I'm a shut-in.

W.O.'s picture

Well, my friends tell me that its sounds awsome, which is more than I can say I guess. We often find something wrong with our systems, untill someone who has a Sony listens to ours! So, I guess its sounds better.

Chris S.'s picture

I don't think it sounds any different if I'm listening to it alone or with someone. I always think it could be better and I doubt if my non-audiophile friends telling me "It sounds fine" will change my mind.

Mr Lindsay Cameron's picture

A little better rather than much better. Psychoacoustics at work, perhaps? Maybe I use more volume on these occasions, as well as putting on only the better recorded discs.

Scott's picture

You know, it's funny, but even though my stereo sounds much better when I have critical listeners in the room, my driving gets much worse when I have carefree passengers in the back seat. What do you suppose is wrong with the people I hang around with?

Mannie Smith's picture

I don't have any audiophile friends. Anyone of my friends who listen have never heard anything quite as good.

Steve Gilbert's picture

I never tell outside listeners what I think are the shortcomings of my system. Neither audiophiles nor non-audiophiles ever seem to hear its shortcomings, only its strengths. I think that people generally hear the strengths of systems/equipment at first; it takes a while to hear the problems in a fairly good system or with a decent piece of gear. Audiophiliacs needn't have performance angst once their systems reach a certain level.

Dino Saurus's picture

All of my friends are owners of 5.1 multichannel noise, and I tell them so. Me? I'm an SET, horn, and vinyl MUSIC listener, and my friends tell me that I'm extinct. Who's correct? I am, of course!

alan's picture


Barry Krakovsky's picture

I have two distinct groups of friends: audiophiles and normal people. When my audiophile buds come over we're all crammed in to a fairly small sweet spot. Any discussion tends to focus on sonics rather than music. They think the price of my cartridge is a steal! My normal friends really get off on the music, beer in hand, possibly dancing. They have the ability to enjoy a song or two from an adjacent room. They think I'm nuts for spending so much on a cartridge! BTW, my system sounds best when these guys(normal folk) are over.