Buddha
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Neat! This discussion is reminding me of High Fidelity! In the beginning of the book, Rob thinks that what matters most is what you like (books, records, movies) as opposed to what you are like. By the end, however, he decides that maybe what you are like (how you behave and treat others) is more important than the things you own.

Same thing happens in the wine world.

Are you just your cellar and what you drink, or how you cellar and how you drink?

The same weirdstuff happens, with wine people buying based on ratings rather than their own palates, etc.

There are even arguments over whether stemware matters. Perhaps the equivalent of interconnects?

The two hobbies have much much overlap.

Maybe time for a wine version of High Fidelity!

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But who are you to decide which really matters? Maybe objective measurements do matter to others, certainly in some contexts.

I guess we should address what the final arbiter is regarding audio quality. I would venture that it is how the listener responds to the system.

Do you know any audiophiles who sit and listen to something and tell themselves, "No matter how bad this sounds, I take comfort from knowing its objective specifications?"

As you sit and play music on a system, can you imagine where 'objective measures' would take precedence over how the system sounded, to you?

At the end of the chain, audio is pretty much entirely subjective.

Regarding Mr. Winer, he has said himself that he does not "base everything on measurements/science."

He says he picks speakers via sighted listening......just like Jan!

Ethan goes the extra mile to lay some BS on us that he is somehow immune to sighted listening bias, etc...but he picks the speakers he buys just like the rest of us.

Ethan is fond of telling us about DBT's for determining speaker preference, but he most certainly does not follow his own edicts in this regard.

JJ won't even answer about how he chooses speakers. (Maybe he did and I missed it, though. Things can get lost in between someone's proclamations of lack of sighted bias, etc...)

In fact, did JJ even mention the system he listens to? I'll go look.

You still don't get the point. Who are you to decide what is important for other people?

Your examples are patently silly. Sighted auditions are subject to bias, period. If one wants to eliminate the effects of those biases, one can do a DBT or even a good SBT. But who is it that has laid down the law that one should choose equipment solely based on the sound? Surely a number of other things, such as cost, ergonomics, appearance, reputation, play a role. And then, perhaps you simply find that globally you like the equipment better than others, feel more comfortable with it.

Now, as I have seen his responses on other forums, I am quite sure that j-j will not tell you to choose equipment using DBTs unless you want to do so. Apparently Ethan Winer doesn't tell you you have to use DBTs to choose equipment either--but apparently you want him to tell you what to do. It seems to bother you that he does not, so you project what you want onto him. Has he told you that you ought to use double blind testing to choose your equipment? Or did he just tell you that controlled blind testing is the way to establish that you can actually identify the differences, and when those audible differences are established, you can then identify which sounds best to you. If you want to do so.

I find some value in the speaker measurements John Atkinson does because they broadly correlate to what I hear. I also very much like the NRC measurements done for speakers for Soundstage.com. If they don't look pretty good (most speakers reviewed don't measure truly badly, but that doesn't mean they measure well, as there are all sorts of degrees), I don't put them on my list. I screen them out. If I found some of them in a store, and if I had the time, I might audition them, but I don't set nearly as much store by what people say about a speaker as I do by the measurements.

mrlowry
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Chicago's PBS station WTTW channel 11's slogan is "your window to the world" That's what my hi-fi is to me. It allows me to peek in on my favorite musicians any time I want in much the same way that people go to the zoo to watch animals. To extend that analogy seeing people live is like going on a safari to see animals in their natural habitat.

Jan Vigne
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Speaking of going to the zoo, has anyone seen Winer since the last page?

bifcake
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Perhaps if you were to start referring to him as "Mr. Winer" or "Ethan", that may begin to set your discussions with him on a road to civility.

absolutepitch
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Too much stuff to quote, so I leave it out.

Xenophanes, I think you put forth a good explanation on Ethan's behalf. There are certain fundamental requirements for hi-fi. The most important one is high fidelity - to the original sound (definition). That means that the playback system only amplifies the signal and neither adds nor subtracts anything to that information, reproducing it accurately, faithful to the original.

If we all can agree to the foregoing, then it follows from the developmental history of sound reproduction that several things are important for accurate reproduction. Among these are flat frequency response, vanishingly low distortion (THD, IM, etc.), realistic sound level capability, linearity (in many ways, including input vs. SPL output). There are more, but we need not belabor the point. Nothing in the words "high fidelity" requires a system to sound pleasing or disturbing to any particular person. The purpose is to reproduce the source accurately, by definition.

Standard, and some non-standard measurements are a means to judge how well a component or a system is capable of high-fidelity reproduction. It should easily follow that an accurate system will reveal anything right or wrong in the original recording. It should sound good or bad depending only on the quality of the original recording.

For me this is the starting point in choosing equipment, and how this relates to this thread. If I feed that system a very good recording, it sounds wonderful. If I feed it a poor recording, it will reproduce that poor recording accurately, and sound bad as expected. I want to hear what is on that recording and as accurately as possible. The only means I have available is to bring a recording of a live event for which I was present when the recording was made, and listen to that through a candidate hi-fi system. Any other recording, CD, etc., you're only guessing at what the sound should have been.

Why would I want accurate sound reproduction? It's the only way I know of to hear the artist/musician perform his sonic magic, conveying the full intent of the music to me (listener), without going to a live concert. The better the system, the closer I get to the details and nuances of the performance that approaches that last few percent shy of 'perfect' reproduction.

Here's where I may differ from some. I think that there is some truth to what people report about different cables, different capacitors, etc. I agree that many of these comparisons were probably conducted not under blind conditions, which means that bias has not been eliminated from the evaluation. Had bias been eliminated, would those people still have heard the same differences? If not, then it strongly suggests that bias may be to blame.

However, my own experience in sighted listening conditions tells me that different capacitors do change the sound. The more 'cap upgrades' I make, the more the sound changes in the same way (I judge it to be better). There are Spice simulations of capacitors (computer models) confirming that the effects are so small that it won't be audible. That's not what I heard in my system in a before and after audition - it was not subtle.

In one particular test I had performed under SBT conditions, a musician friend was able to identify two different test conditions 100% of the time, and describe each in detail. The test was substituting a wire in place of a speaker fuse. Unfortunately, I do not have measurements to correlate with what he heard to identify what parameters are causing the change in sound he heard. However, what my friend reported under SBT conditions was just as what I had heard under sighted listening conditions!

The problem arises when one claims that ANY difference heard is real and forgets about possible bias, when such difference is heard under sighted listening conditions. If the difference is large, then bias may be overwhelmed by other factors. When the difference is subtle, then the bias issue must be addressed. It's up to the person reporting to try to eliminate the bias effect if at all possible, when applicable. Otherwise, one never knows whether what he/she heard is really there or not.

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Perhaps if you were to start referring to him as "Mr. Winer" or "Ethan", that may begin to set your discussions with him on a road to civility.

Perhaps, but I really don't think so. In the DBT thread, his first post to or about me there, he began to set a discussion by calling me "Frog-boy". Then made some other insulting personal remarks about me, and then lied about something I never said, in a blatant effort to denigrate and attack my personal character. Do you think he will apologize for his unprovoked insults and ad hominem attacks against me? I tried being very polite and civil with him in a recent discussion in the Frehmer thread. But there's obviously no point in taking the "road to civility" with your friend Ethan, when he insists on staying on the road to hell.... while he nevertheless complains, at the height of hypocrisy, about others being "uncivil".

http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/printthread.php?Board=rants&main=66313&type=post

Jan Vigne
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I'm willing to negotiate but it's difficult when someone won't come forward and openly speak to your questions. We've all seen the results of that strategery played out. I thought at least a group on this forum had professed to believing that was a foolish position of weakness not strength or brilliance.

I am finding that many of you who claim to have me on ignore really don't. FC, you and now obviously Winer sees me when any of you want to. Right? Winer is his name, isn't it? He's shown he can see my posts just as easily as you can.

Winer made a claim about knowing all he needed to know about my system, do you really think it's because I don't constantly address him as "Ethan" (you really, really don't expect "Mr. Winer", do you?) that he can't or won't answer my question?

Jan Vigne
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If we all can agree to the foregoing, then it follows from the developmental history of sound reproduction that several things are important for accurate reproduction. Among these are flat frequency response, vanishingly low distortion (THD, IM, etc.), realistic sound level capability, linearity (in many ways, including input vs. SPL output).

As you have stated those "things" that are important I would say, no, I cannot agree to such broad definitions of what makes an audio component "sound good". Please refer to this post, #66308 - 04/28/09 05:10 PM, in this very thread for reasons why I cannot agree with such overly broad concepts as "vanishingly low distortion". Look at the frequency response of the Wilson Maxx2 if you believe flat frequency repsonse makes a high end audio product.

Possibly you do not care for those components that do not measure a certain way but then you would be saying that anyone, say, Art Dudley, who feels differently, doesn't understand high end audio or music. I can't agree to that either.

However, this is drifting this thread off topic and into the never ending battles that consume this forum day in and day out. The battles that fill 37 page threads insisting a component or system can only perfom as one person or a small group of persons feels is "adequate" in order to be "superior".

Is it an extension of my ego if my system doesn't measure as vanishingly flat as your system?

I don't think so.

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Same thing happens in the wine world.

Are you just your cellar and what you drink, or how you cellar and how you drink?

The same weird stuff happens, with wine people buying based on ratings rather than their own palates, etc.

That's interesting, and brings me back to another thought I had recently, which is that this hobby of listening to music on the hi-fi is not a single hobby, but many different hobbies somehow delicately tied together by music and gear.

I was talking to a hi-fi dealer during the SSI in Montreal. We were discussing this very thing, the different priorities we have in hi-fi, and he said something like: "I've come to accept the fact that they [meaning those who value certain different aspects of reproduced sound] are enjoying a totally different hobby. Their hobby is not my hobby."

As simple as this is, it's also fascinating to me. It's fascinating that we can be doing the same thing (listening to music on the hi-fi) but doing it for very different reasons, with very different priorities, in very different ways. Having just now written these words, however, the realization doesn't seem very bright at all. So what? It makes perfect sense that we may be doing the same thing (or something approaching the same thing) for very different reasons.

But why do we argue over our differences? Why does it matter? I keep coming back to these same questions, though I know many answers have been offered. Sorry. Frustrating.


Quote:
The two hobbies have much much overlap.

I can definitely see that. I had the most wonderful time traveling through Napa and Sonoma, tasting wines at such beautiful vineyards. What an excellent experience, and not at all unlike attending a hi-fi show (though I must say that, in my experience, the servers (is there a proper term for the people who serve wine?) did a far better job, in general, of introducing us to the complexities of wine than most hi-fi dealers do in introducing the intricacies of hi-fi.) Both hobbies are based around noting and appreciating subtle differences, while enjoying a quality experience.


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Maybe time for a wine version of High Fidelity!

Wasn't that what Sideways was all about?

smejias
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Chicago's PBS station WTTW channel 11's slogan is "your window to the world" That's what my hi-fi is to me. It allows me to peek in on my favorite musicians any time I want in much the same way that people go to the zoo to watch animals. To extend that analogy seeing people live is like going on a safari to see animals in their natural habitat.

Beautiful. For me, I think the hi-fi system is a tool (like a map or a compass or a time machine, heh) leading me to music from all over the world and from all points in history. It's fucking awesome. The hi-fi should inspire me to seek out more and more and more music. And, in doing so, I find that I see the world as a more beautiful, miraculous place. Yeah. It (the hi-fi, the music) just makes me a happier person. And I want to share that happiness with the people I care about, my friends and family--and, through the overall experience, I hope to make even more friends.

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If we all can agree to the foregoing, then it follows from the developmental history of sound reproduction that several things are important for accurate reproduction. Among these are flat frequency response, vanishingly low distortion (THD, IM, etc.), realistic sound level capability, linearity (in many ways, including input vs. SPL output).

As you have stated those "things" that are important I would say, no, I cannot agree to such broad definitions of what makes an audio component "sound good". Please refer to this post, #66308 - 04/28/09 05:10 PM, in this very thread for reasons why I cannot agree with such overly broad concepts as "vanishingly low distortion". Look at the frequency response of the Wilson Maxx2 if you believe flat frequency repsonse makes a high end audio product.

Possibly you do not care for those components that do not measure a certain way but then you would be saying that anyone, say, Art Dudley, who feels differently, doesn't understand high end audio or music. I can't agree to that either.

However, this is drifting this thread off topic and into the never ending battles that consume this forum day in and day out. The battles that fill 37 page threads insisting a component or system can only perfom as one person or a small group of persons feels is "adequate" in order to be "superior".

Is it an extension of my ego if my system doesn't measure as vanishingly flat as your system?

I don't think so.

You are talking at cross purposes. You want a system to "sound good," presumably to you and perhaps others, using the program material available to you. WTF wants accurate reproduction. These are two different goals.

Jan Vigne
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The hypocrisy of Ethan Winer's ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments.


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Frog-boy is not swayed by facts or logic or even common sense.

I note that this insulting response of yours was completely unprovoked, as I have never addressed you in this thread. So don't ever complain about anyone else's name calling, ad hominem attacks or strawman arguments; provoked or unprovoked. For this post will remain, and will be illustrated to show you to be a lying hypocritical fool, never to be taken seriously by anyone but same.
http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=66389&page=0&vc=1&PHPSESSID=#Post66389
/>

This does seem to be a MO Winer prefers.

WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where are you Winer? Where are my answers, Winer?

Jan Vigne
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I was talking to a hi-fi dealer during the SSI in Montreal. We were discussing this very thing, the different priorities we have in hi-fi, and he said something like: "I've come to accept the fact that they [meaning those who value certain different aspects of reproduced sound] are enjoying a totally different hobby. Their hobby is not my hobby."

For a dealer to say that indicates, I believe, a lack of insight into what his clients are seeking from him. Look to another hobby, photography to see another answer.

Must I only take portraits if I want to be interested in photography? Or landscapes? Or close up micro-detail images? Or, more appropriately, if I want to be considered a well versed photographer by others? Of course not, I can take any or all such areas or select among the menu of options available when I become interested in how a camera operates and what it can reproduce for me.

If I concentrate all of my efforts into becoming the best action photographer possible with my skills and my equipment, am I any less or more of a photographer than the person who uses his equipment to reproduce close up images of anatomy using a corpse as his subject? Which one of us has the higher degree of intuition regarding our chosen usage?

I have a friend who uses his camera to record his various hunting trophies with exacting precision. While I find his interest rather gruesome and not to my taste, I allow him the freedom to work as he sees fit since this also contributes to his better understanding of the camera and makes him a more capable photographer in other areas.

Should I tell him he is not a photographer because he doesn't take the same sort of photos I would? Or should he tell me that same?

The dealer has clients with priorities unlike his own, every dealer does and the day they stop coming in his door is the day he goes out of business. To dismiss their priorities as "another hobby" is, I think, arrogant to the extreme. If he cannot remove himself from the agenda long enough to assist the client in reaching their personal goals without imposing his own, then he should not be talking to those clients who express concerns different than his own. If I went to another professional, a medical doctor, who told me he didn't agree that I was bleeding profusely because he didn't understand the concept of bleeding, what should I think?

Jan Vigne
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Beautiful. For me, I think the hi-fi system is a tool (like a map or a compass or a time machine, heh) leading me to music from all over the world and from all points in history. It's fucking awesome.

I see my system as an instrument - not a tool. An instrument much like a guitar or piano. I choose its voice and character, I can tune it to my preference and then it is the servant to my skills and ambitions as much as it can be by my selection of those qualities. It brings to me music from the distant past or compositions yet to be written. It can be no better than my skills and my personal ambitions allow but it has a soul of its own that can come to life in the hands of a more skilled or more ambitious person. It can introduce others to the wonders of music.

The music is not in the instrument but the instrument must be capable of the expression of music that I desire from it.

I think of a hammer as a tool. You can do only so many things with a hammer - build something, tear something down or threaten someone who does not agree with you (if you were going into a bar fight, would you take along a clawhammer or a nine foot Steinway?)- and those are the limitations of a tool. If you want to cut a board, you would choose a different tool.

An instrument has no limitations other than those of its user.

michaelavorgna
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From now on, I'm just going to say I listen to music on a stereo.

Buddha
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Wasn't that what Sideways was all about?

Maybe so!

Miles was such an unhappy guy, it was harder to love him than it was Rob.

Have you noticed at the wineries, they manage to convey their love of the product and the nuances of the hobby in general, all with only a one brand product line?

______
______

Another aspect of all this that seems like such a part of our person starts with how Hi Fi utterly fails at its goal. If you think of how often your Hi FI makes you think you are hearing live music, it wouldn't bat above the Mendoza Line at accomplising its goal.

So, we make compromises.

The sound of live music has a certain frisson that is wanting in reporuced sound. Actually, it's probably a whole bunch of frissons at once!

So, in an imperfect world/hobby, when we put together our Hi Fi's, we are really just assembling a collection of compromises - prioritizing certain aspects of what we find important enough to insist upon, and then living with that set of compromises.

We all have to do it, so how we do that also communicates what those 'frissons' of live music are that we value more highly than the other missing frissons.

Each system is a window, or a sonic/musical fingerprint of its owner's take on the frissons of live music that he/she most relates to.

I think system variation between audiophiles is one of the absolute coolest things about Hi FI.

Soap box: That's also why I like assembling different systems - and then seeing how they are different from one another and what parts are similar. Endlessly fascinating.

michaelavorgna
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I think system variation between audiophiles is one of the absolute coolest things about Hi Fi.

Me too.

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But why do we argue over our differences? Why does it matter?

Quote:

It doesn't matter enough to argue over. Some people are just immature, self-important assholes who create drama for their own twisted needs. You can't escape them.

If they pulled this shit in the real world they'd get stomped like bugs. But in this virtual world they are invincible warriors of the perceived insult who carry on like 6th grade schoolgirls (no offense intended to 6th grade schoolgirls) hunting down each "offender" and blogging insults ad nauseum about the other girls in school. Then after starting all their shit they run to the principal and rat out their victims.

Why can't everyone be more adult, like me?

May Belt
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>>> "It's fascinating that we can be doing the same thing (listening to music on the hi-fi) but doing it for very different reasons, with very different priorities, in very different ways. Having just now written these words, however, the realization doesn't seem very bright at all. So what? It makes perfect sense that we may be doing the same thing (or something approaching the same thing) for very different reasons.

But why do we argue over our differences? Why does it matter? I keep coming back to these same questions, though I know many answers have been offered." <<<

I think the basic reason why people argue and disagree so much is because some people argue, quite strongly, that THEY must be right, that their approach is the ONLY way and that anyone else who travels a different path or experiences something different or believes something different to them must be WRONG !!!

To give some striking examples. :-
Alexo :-
>>> " I think that we can and should accept the premise that "if it can be heard, it can be measured". Once everyone accepts that premise..... !!!! " <<<

Everyone DOES NOT accept that premise - and thereby lies the start of the arguments.

>>> "it doesn't preclude them from purchasing vinyl or tubes or demagnetizers. However, folks wishing to do so will do so with full appreciation that they're buying either into the (for lack of a better word) distortion they like or a cool looking gadget that may simply serve as paper weight. That's all well and good as long as it's not marketed as doing something it cannot possibly do. " <<<

In other words, in AlexO's viewpoint, in order to discuss matters audio with AlexO, people have to accept that if they are purchasing a 'tweak' (such as a demagnetiser), then it MUST BE for the purpose of creating a likeable distortion or simply as a paper weight !!!!!!

So obviously, many people disagree with those statements !!!! As follows :-

Michael Fremer's experiences after applying a demagnetiser to discs.

>>> "But more importantly, why don't you trust your ears???????

I trusted mine when I heard what the Furutech did, despite my utter cynicism about it (which is why it sat on the floor for 3 months before I tried it).

What I heard was so obvious, so repeatable, so clear, it was like "is that the Empire State Building?" Not "I'd better do an A/B/X to prove it really is the Empire State Building" (I know that analogy is not valid). The point is, not one skeptic---and I'm talking recording engineers, mastering engineers whose names you know, and the editor of the magazine have all heard the difference....the only reason. The only reason you wrote what's above is because you haven't experienced it. Because had you, even if you don't trust your own ears (or your own eyes I guess), this is an easily heard, easily repeatable phenomenon. It's a HUGE difference." <<<

And Michael's experiences after applying a demagnetiser to CDs. "when I brought the CD-R to CES last year the differences were obvious in every room and heard by some of the industry's greatest skeptics like Tim deParavicini....."

Stephen Mejias gives his experiences after Michael had demonstrated to him the effect of demagnetising an LP, "We only had time to try it with one LP, but, with that one LP, it made a big improvement. There is a difference and it is obvious and it is immediate. The applause at the very beginning of the LP sounds more like real applause, more like pairs of human hands coming together to make sound, and less like Styrofoam or static."

During the discussion panel at the Montreal Hi Fi Show, Robert Deutsch commented that "He occasionally applied a demagnetiser to CDs, if he was not particularly happy with the sound of any particular disc."
And, during the same debate, John Atkinson (who had also previously reported hearing an improvement at the same time as Stephen Mejias - whilst doing something in another room at Michael's) made the comment "There are things which boggle my mind, when I have believed that I have an understanding of most technical aspects, then something happens which literally blows my mind, and it doesn't fit the world view."

But, unfortunately, ALL their experiences dismissed so casually by Ethan with his "The difference between me and guys who are certain they can "hear capacitors" and hear the effect of "demagnetizing plastic" is that my hearing is thus proven superior to theirs. I never once was fooled into thinking I heard such silliness that so obviously does not exist."

It really makes one ask the question "Why should those particular journalists and many, many others really take the trouble to report on their experiences for other people's benefit when they can be so readily dismissed by such as the Ethan Winer's of this (audio) world ?"

Ethan states that he has had 40 years experience in the audio industry. What I do not understand is how, in all those 40 years, he has never experienced "something happening which literally blows his mind". I know that it has never happened to him because if it HAD, he would never again be able to use the old sentences, sentences belonging to the period BEFORE the 'mind blowing' incident happened. ONCE you have experienced the 'mind blowing' incident, and moved to the next 'stage', you can never go back to the old sentences of "technically it cannot happen, it should not have happened, therefore it did not happen !!" If a person still uses those very sentences, then it shows that they have not experienced what so many others HAVE experienced. The sentences they use show exactly at what stage they are in 'awareness of what is going on' !!

Whereas, when you have actually had the 'mind blowing' experiences, when you have passed the 'old stage', one's sentences change and are then similar to John's i.e "Which is unmeasurable yet exists." AND "then something happens which literally blows my mind, and it doesn't fit the world view."

Regards,
May Belt.

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>>> "never ending battles that consume this forum day in and day out. The battles that fill 37 page threads insisting a component or system can only perform as one person or a small group of persons feels is "adequate" in order to be "superior"." <<<

The actual equipment which people use or own should really be totally irrelevant to other people. Should not become so significant in any discussion.

You can improve the sound from such as an MP3 player, a Walkman device, an iPod or one of the tiny T amps - just as well as you can with the far more expensive audio equipment. Because, in so many cases, it is the human being who is doing the reacting - to what is happening in the modern environment and to the equipment present within that environment. So the ACTUAL equipment is irrelevant - ALL equipment (and environments) can be 'treated'!!

Also, the cost of some 'tweak' or other is only partly relevant.
Relevant, yes, in a personal choice thing i.e "Do you spend 2,000 US dollars on a 'tweak' gadget or do you put the same 2,000 US dollars towards say a better amplifier or speakers ?"

But, concentrating on this approach disguises (masks) something quite fundamental.

Let me give you a quite generally used description of improvements which people hear after using various so called 'tweaks' - with all manner of equipment !! :-

>>> " Improvements noted are notably better air, sparkle, transparency, openness, imaging, soundstaging and most importantly, naturalness and musicality, not to mention bass improvements." <<<

People will use their own selection from that general description I have given but even their individual selections are within the same 'theme'.

And, the same selected descriptions cover a multitude of different 'tweaks' - such as :-

PWB Devices and techniques.
Cryogenic freezing.
Colouring the edge of CDs.
Directionality in wires.
Dieter Ennemoser's C37 lacquer.
Shun Mook devices.
Harmonic Discs.
Shakti Stone.
The lacquer which Sonus Faber use on their speaker cabinets (which they claim is 'friendly to audio').
Nordost ECO 3 liquid.
Applying a demagnetiser to LPs and CDs.
(Small size !!) Room resonance devices.
Aiming a hair dryer containing Tourmaline balls at a CD.
The Schumann Resonance device.

I have given (in another response) Michael Fremer's. Stephen Mejias's, Robert Deutsch's and John Atkinson's reaction to applying a demagnetiser to LPs and CDs.

Take any selection from the general (improvements heard) description and each selection means, logically, that the people making their selective description have 'heard' (been able to resolve better) additional information - giving them the improvement in the sound they have described.

THAT should be where we start. THAT should be the fundamental thing we should be focusing on - not what a particular 'tweak' costs.

Because, if these people have heard (been able to better resolve) additional information AFTER using a particular 'tweak', then that means that they had NOT BEEN HEARING (resolving) that same additional information PRIOR to doing the 'tweak' !!!

Now, you can explain this away (as many are insistent upon doing) that the people 'hearing' these improvements are doing so because of 'auto'suggestion', 'the placebo effect', 'imagination', 'snake oil', 'audio faith healing' or 'effective marketing' or, as Buddha prefers to believe, that those people must NEED such 'tweaks' as 'props', 'talisman', 'rituals', 'potions', elixirs' etc, in order to be able to relax so that they can hear the information available better. But that such as he (Buddha) does not need such props etc.

OR, you can recognise the IDENTICALness (if there is such a word) of the descriptions of the improvements which people have experienced in their sound - from different people, using different 'tweaks', with different discs, through different equipment, in different rooms, in different locations in the same country and in different countries !!! Continuing over many decades !!!

All this, when one begins to study it closely, points to more than 'auto-suggestion' etc.

It points to "there is something going on which cannot be explained from within conventional electronic or acoustic theories" !!!!!!!!!

One is left with the question "If the people describing the improvements in their sound are hearing additional information AFTER applying the 'tweak', why had they not been able to 'hear' that same additional information BEFORE applying the 'tweak' - from exactly the SAME discs, through exactly the SAME equipment, in exactly the SAME room they have been using for the past (say) 5, 10 15 years." ???????????

What the various 'tweaks' (and people's experiences with them) is telling people is that there is far more information to be resolved from ALL discs and from ALL equipment and in ALL rooms than they have ever realised.

To some people - THIS is what frightens them. It takes them out of their (sometimes technical) 'comfort zone'. Their equipment - what it is, how they chose it, why they chose it IS personal - it is SELF !!!! And, any realisation that they might not have been 'hearing' everything which had been available, all the time, from the discs they have, from the equipment they have, can be extremely disturbing for their SELF !!

Regards,
May Belt.

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You are talking at cross purposes. You want a system to "sound good," presumably to you and perhaps others, using the program material available to you. WTF wants accurate reproduction. These are two different goals.

I can count on you to disagree, can't I?

Yes, "sounding good" is not always the desired goal for an audio system, is it? But I have no use for a system that does not sound good or that does not find the music in any recording.

IMO this concept that a "better system" must show the flaws and imperfections of the music and recording is hogwash. I have found my system over the years and as it has evolved to be more amd more capable of getting beyond poor recordings.

Before you get on your high horse about accuracy and how I must have forsaken accuracy to get this level of performance, I would say stop and listen.

Crappy recordings do not suddenly sound less crappy on my system, that is impossible. However, one of my priorities has always been that my system be capable of finding the music. Poorly recorded performances of excellent music are just that, and I want the music. My system has become more capable of extracting the musical values of the performance - the communication, the talent and the expression of intent - while down playing the recording's quality. As the system has become more transparent to the source, the source has become the music and not the recording of the music.

I listen to many older and historic performances going back to 78's and I have learned there is substantial talent and a wealth of ideas in those grooves. I want to hear that despite the flaws of the medium.

Whether it is the system's ability to extract that information in a cogent and meaningful way or my ability to listen beyond the noise and crud or a bit of both I don't know and I don't care. I would say it is the former more than the latter because I have listened to difficult recordings and found little there to appeal to my senses and then I've applied something on the order of a Belt treatment and found music in front of me; performers playing counter rhythms, polyrhythms and flights of fancy that were not there just a moment before.

If accuracy precludes my ability to enjoy the music I prefer, then I have no use for accuracy as you describe it.


Quote:
You can probably guess my next two words, but in case you can't, one of them was holy and the other one was shit.

I didn't sufficiently trust my sanity or the weak fabric of reality to listen to on the next selection

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From now on, I'm just going to say I listen to music on a stereo.

With due respect, you should try a "mono".

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Miles was such an unhappy guy, it was harder to love him than it was Rob.

I like Rob almost immediately, even though in many ways I think he is an awful, selfish character. Still, he reminds me of myself.


Quote:
Another aspect of all this that seems like such a part of our person starts with how Hi Fi utterly fails at its goal. If you think of how often your Hi FI makes you think you are hearing live music, it wouldn't bat above the Mendoza Line at accomplising its goal.

Yes, which leads me to believe that we've set out to achieve the wrong goal, an impossible goal. Art Dudley, I think, has made this same (or a similar) suggestion. So, I am not interested in putting together a hi-fi that completely fools me into believing I'm listening to live music. When it happens, it is nice, but it's not the ultimate goal for me. For me. High fidelity is just an approximation, not an exact (re)creation. I'm fine with that. Having said this, however, I realize I'm wandering into the territory of definitions and absolutes; while I'm not interested in arguing those sorts of things with anyone because I don't see the point, I'm happy to hear other opinions.

I wonder if we confuse hi-fi's goal with that of home theater. It seems to me that home theater's goal would be to recreate the live music experience, with picture and sound that work together to fool us into believing we are there. And we have seen that it also fails. At its worst, the images are flat, the sound is a confusing mess, and the whole thing is tedious and complicated. I wonder if, in the future, we'll have three-dimensional images (resembling reality to the extent that these images can be touched and can even react to our presence!) hanging out in our listening rooms, playing songs for us. Is that what we are trying to achieve with hi-fi? Maybe then we'll have something to argue about. For now, as I see it, hi-fi is a pursuit for music, with musical sounds being set within and around two speakers.

Anyway. These are just ideas. I know nothing about the history or goals of home theater.

Buddha, what is the goal of the wine tasting hobby?


Quote:
The sound of live music has a certain frisson that is wanting in reporuced sound. Actually, it's probably a whole bunch of frissons at once!

So, in an imperfect world/hobby, when we put together our Hi Fi's, we are really just assembling a collection of compromises - prioritizing certain aspects of what we find important enough to insist upon, and then living with that set of compromises.

We all have to do it, so how we do that also communicates what those 'frissons' of live music are that we value more highly than the other missing frissons.

Each system is a window, or a sonic/musical fingerprint of its owner's take on the frissons of live music that he/she most relates to.

I agree. I think this is what JA was talking about with his mountain metaphor.


Quote:
I think system variation between audiophiles is one of the absolute coolest things about Hi FI.

I agree, absolutely. I think our differences should be celebrated rather than denigrated.


Quote:
That's also why I like assembling different systems - and then seeing how they are different from one another and what parts are similar. Endlessly fascinating.

That does sound like a lot of fun, and I look forward to a time when I can do that, too!

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I've heard some amazing mono systems!

OK, from now on I'm just going to say I listen to music. ;-)

Jan Vigne
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May has arrived!

Long live May!!!!!!

Not to treat you like bait, ma'm, but when you have made your entrance Winer cannot be far behind.

Wiiiiiiiiineeeeer, answer my questions, wiiiiiiiiineeeeeer.

Don't be ashamed to say you don't know jackshit.

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I think the basic reason why people argue and disagree so much is because some people argue, quite strongly, that THEY must be right, that their approach is the ONLY way and that anyone else who travels a different path or experiences something different or believes something different to them must be WRONG !!!

Yes, I think this may be part of it. But why do we feel this way? Why must there be a right and wrong when it comes to enjoying music on the hi-fi? And, if we disagree with that which is right for another person, why don't we just shrug our shoulders and be happy for that person, satisfied that we can pursue our own course?


Quote:
It really makes one ask the question "Why should those particular journalists and many, many others really take the trouble to report on their experiences for other people's benefit when they can be so readily dismissed by such as the Ethan Winer's of this (audio) world ?"

I don't think there is anything wrong with our experiences being dismissed by others. We can be wrong, of course. It's important for others to take what we say and weigh it against their own experiences. Some will agree with my opinions, others will disagree. Some will trust my experiences, others will not. That's fine. All I can do is try to be honest, clear, and thoughtful. I try to be open-minded and respectful, and I hope that I am met with open minds and respect.

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Ethan, Jan: If you want to go back and forth, hashing out your relationship here on the forum, I suggest you start a new thread.


I have no interest in hashing out anything with Jan. It's not possible to reason with unreasonable people, so I don't even try.

--Ethan

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Buddha, what is the goal of the wine tasting hobby?

Great question that I will turn into three questions!

1) The goal of home theater: To make people think they are seeing a movie at the theater.

I have a home theater gear thing in the basement, and the wife and kids like doing it, but I am no videophile. I'm just as happy with a 20" screen on a coffee table.

For video, I would be the equivalent of my wife, who can listen to the car radio and enjoy the sound as much as any of us do with our Hi Fi's.

I like film/movies/cinema, I just don't care much about how it's delivered.

(Same with books. A mass produced paperback is just as enjoyable as a leather bound first edition, to me.)

Funny, how sometimes the medium matters, and sometimes not. I will just fall back on calling this idiosyncratic!

2) Goal of Hi Fi: To 'remind me' of the mental 'images' in my head of a piece of music. If I hear new music on it, it's goal is to set up those 'images' in a way that makes me settle for as little 'pollution' between me and the creator/performer of what I'm hearing as is feasible.

Live music is a sonic reference, and beyond saying that Hi Fi should replicate that, Hi Fi should also make it so I have to do as little mental work as possible to create the 'image' in my head of how a recording 'would' sound in a live environment.

The less a system intrudes on that illusion, the better.

I wonder if a big part of the thrill of Hi Fi is my brain, hearing a 'good system' and saying, "Woo hoo! Doesn't take much work to make this a pleasing experience!"

That's a bad description, but one of the Hi Fi descriptors I like is 'ease of listening,' and I relate to that as my brain not having to work as hard when it goes to create what I 'hear' in my head vs. what sounds the gear is making.

Maybe Hi Fi helps people with 'lazy' hearing to enjoy music as much as a non-audiophile whose hearing isn't 'lazy' and can get the same joy from table top radio as I get from my gear.

3) The goal of wine tasting: To make something delectable happen. No platonic ideal, just pure experience, so there is no reference for wine tasting.

There can be good tastes and bad tastes, but, to steal from another Hi Fi publication's name, there is no "Absolute Taste."

Wine differs from Hi FI in that way, but the application can skew over to Hi Fi-ism when we have people saying one wine is 'better' than another, one glass has a more salutatory effect on the experience than another, etc...

In general, I try to keep my 'wine expectation' limited to 'pours well' and 'assumes the shape of its container,' and everything after that is a bonus. (I guess Hi FI is similar in that way, too

Jan Vigne
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I have no interest in hashing out anything with Jan. It's not possible to reason with unreasonable people, so I don't even try.

There ya'go, Alex! There's your answer as to why I don't refer to him as "Mr. Winer".

All I want you to do, whiner, is answer my questions about my system. I know you can see the questions so let's not pretend you don't.

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I have no interest in redefining words, Ethan.


Okay, great. So now you agree with the standard definition of "hi-fi" as accurate reproduction, yes? Well, that's definitely progress!

The next step is to apply that yardstick to Jan's system and we'll have our answer. What do you suppose is the frequency response and distortion at, say, 90 dB SPL of a single 5-inch driver fed by 75 watts through 30 gauge magnet wire? And what can we conclude about the knowledge of someone who considers that a worthy system?

--Ethan

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Versus a DUP-style system that everyone can pick out 100 times out of 100 - tons of very clean power, great loudspeakers, but with normal wires and no silly "tweak" products.


And

Quote:
Otherwise, we all might as well buy a graphic EQ and dial in a smiley face to make everything sound "better.


And from AlexO on DUPs system:


Quote:
The first disk DUP played for us was the Stevie Ray Vaugn and BB King SACD. It sounded like crap! Mid bass suckout, bright to the point of being shrill, absolutely painful. I figured our day will be short. Wait... what? WHAT??? You got an equalizer in the system??? Turn that shit off!!! I want to listen to your system, not your interpretation of what music should sound like. Jayzuzzzz! Ok, EQ off.

So DUP uses an EQ in his system, and it sure sounds like a smiley-face config, and he also does not use any room treatment which you

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I have no interest in redefining words, Ethan.


Okay, great. So now you agree with the standard definition of "hi-fi" as accurate reproduction, yes? Well, that's definitely progress!

The next step is to apply that yardstick to Jan's system and we'll have our answer. What do you suppose is the frequency response and distortion at, say, 90 dB SPL of a single 5-inch driver fed by 75 watts through 30 gauge magnet wire? And what can we conclude about the knowledge of someone who considers that a worthy system?

--Ethan

Ethan, I think you are missing an important part about Hi FI.

It's all compromise, and someone may have different priorities than you do.

There may be something absolutely magical about what a full range high efficiency speaker can do at capturing that certain je ne sais quois that that person values in the recreation of sound.

I'm starting to worry for you. You can't enjoy a lovely SET or tube amp making the magic with a high efficiency full range driver?

Why not?

Freud would say you are fixated.

Besides, what could you have against Radio Shack wire? Doesn't it all sound the same?

ethanwiner
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It's all compromise, and someone may have different priorities than you do.


If accuracy is not one of their priorities then they're not really hi-fi enthusiasts by anyone's definition. They might as well buy a table radio having a phony mid-bass boost and admit they like that sound.


Quote:
There may be something absolutely magical about what a full range high efficiency speaker can do at capturing that certain je ne sais quois that that person values in the recreation of sound.


Again, if someone likes that sound then they're not really an audiophile.


Quote:
You can't enjoy a lovely SET or tube amp making the magic with a high efficiency full range driver?


Actually, I have a boombox that I enjoy well enough to listen to NPR in the kitchen while making breakfast. It sounds fine, but I'd never hold it up as being high fidelity, and I'd never have it as my only system!


Quote:
Besides, what could you have against Radio Shack wire? Doesn't it all sound the same?


All competent wire does sound the same, but 30 gauge is not competent for driving 75 watts into a loudspeaker!

--Ethan

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Quote:

Quote:
It's all compromise, and someone may have different priorities than you do.


If accuracy is not one of their priorities then they're not really hi-fi enthusiasts by anyone's definition. They might as well buy a table radio having a phony mid-bass boost and admit they like that sound.


Err, um, hold on there.

You can't argue with someone's preference, even if you disagree strongly with it, as it is, after all, THEIR preference. Of course, when they try to generalize it, now we need testable, verifiable, falsifiable evidence.

I also must point out that capture of soundfields is so primitive that in fact some kinds of nonlinearities, etc, actually can make something sound "more real" to at least some people than the accurately reproduced recorded signal.

So "accuracy" is hard to define in the real sense of the word of reproducing the original sensation in the original venue (assuming such exists, of course).

Quote:


Quote:
You can't enjoy a lovely SET or tube amp making the magic with a high efficiency full range driver?


Actually, I have a boombox that I enjoy well enough to listen to NPR in the kitchen while making breakfast. It sounds fine, but I'd never hold it up as being high fidelity, and I'd never have it as my only system!


Well, you can't compare an SET to a boom box. An SET, because of its rapidly increasing distortion with level, can create a "false" (I'll explain the quotes in a few) sense of much larger dynamic range on typical lowpassy signals.

I say "false" because the change in loudness (bear in mind loudness is the perceived level, and intensity is the measured level) due to distortion in an SET at higher levels is much bigger than the change in intensity (output power). This spreading of the bandwidth due to distortion does create an impression, and a real one (in the perceptual sense) of "louder" peaks.

It's a perceptual trick, and it's due to distortion, but it does create a sense of a bigger change in loudness between the loud and soft parts of the signal.

Quote:


Quote:
Besides, what could you have against Radio Shack wire? Doesn't it all sound the same?


All competent wire does sound the same, but 30 gauge is not competent for driving 75 watts into a loudspeaker!

--Ethan

It barely suffices for providing the power to a 5 watt AMD multiplier chip when used in .5" lengths.

Jan Vigne
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Instead you want to focus your yardstick on Jan
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You can't argue with someone's preference, even if you disagree strongly with it, as it is, after all, THEIR preference. Of course, when they try to generalize it, now we need testable, verifiable, falsifiable evidence.

I also must point out that capture of soundfields is so primitive that in fact some kinds of nonlinearities, etc, actually can make something sound "more real" to at least some people than the accurately reproduced recorded signal.

So "accuracy" is hard to define in the real sense of the word of reproducing the original sensation in the original venue (assuming such exists, of course).

This is very interesting and thought provoking. Thanks!

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Jan,

I don't want to get in between this ongoing 'argument' but I have to say if I were in your position, I simply wouldn't care what anyone said about my system. Especially if they don't even know what it is and have never heard it.

If someone was doing that to me, I'd figure they were just yanking my chain. No chain no pain.

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You can't argue with someone's preference, even if you disagree strongly with it


Yes, agreed. But if someone's preference is for sound that is clearly not faithful to the original, then it's not high fidelity even if it's their preference. Often an uneducated listener can learn to appreciate good sound quality. But first they have to be exposed to it.

Hey, I have an idea! Let's all chip in and buy Jan a plane ticket so he can visit DUP and hear DUP's system. Ya think? I bet it would be life-changing for both of them.

A parallel to this is the notion that a 2-channel room should be live sounding. Or at least more live sounding than a 5.1 home theater. But once they hear a room that's properly treated they often change their opinion.


Quote:
I also must point out that capture of soundfields is so primitive that in fact some kinds of nonlinearities, etc, actually can make something sound "more real" to at least some people than the accurately reproduced recorded signal.


Agreed again. One of the points I make in my Comb Filtering video is that microphone placement is often more about finding pleasant sounding (or seemingly natural) locations where the peaks and nulls complement the instrument being recorded. The response captured may be far from flat, but the sound might still be very clear and open etc.

Likewise, adding distortion on purpose is a common technique in recording, and sometimes even I like that effect as described HERE. But I would never argue that distortion is truer to the source, and I certainly do not want my amp or speakers adding distortion to everything I listen to.


Quote:
This spreading of the bandwidth due to distortion does create an impression, and a real one (in the perceptual sense) of "louder" peaks.


Sure, and the mid-bass boost in a Bose radio can sound fuller to uneducated ears. But once you learn to identify the sound of phony bass, and hear what real bass sounds like, it's hard to enjoy the phony type.

--Ethan

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I'd figure they were just yanking my chain.


There is some of that, because Jan has been rude so many times to me. But the main reason I focus on Jan's system is because he has refused to ever describe it. Why do you think that is? Do you know anyone else who is into hi-fi and doesn't brag about his setup to anyone who will listen?

--Ethan

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But the main reason I focus on Jan's system is because he has refused to ever describe it. Why do you think that is?

Gee Ethan, do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that you already make fun of it every chance you get? Maybe he just doesn't want to give you more fuel for your fire. I'd also imagine he may believe he's protecting some manufactures from what he may perceive as unwarranted and clearly biased treatment in a public forum. Of course, this is just a guess.


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Do you know anyone else who is into hi-fi and doesn't brag about his setup to anyone who will listen?

Yes, plenty of people.

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Chicago's PBS station WTTW channel 11's slogan is "your window to the world" That's what my hi-fi is to me. It allows me to peek in on my favorite musicians any time I want in much the same way that people go to the zoo to watch animals. To extend that analogy seeing people live is like going on a safari to see animals in their natural habitat.

Beautiful. For me, I think the hi-fi system is a tool (like a map or a compass or a time machine, heh) leading me to music from all over the world and from all points in history.

Stephen=-

I too have used the time machine analogy. When I was in college most of my friends were training as classical musicians which gave me the chance to hear live orchestral and string quartet music on a very regular basis. Though I 'm no expert.

One night we were all sitting around and shooting the breeze while my stereo was playing Debussy in the back ground and one of my good friends asked, "Isn't this all a bit excessive?" while motioning to my system of that time. He was a huge Johnny Cash fan so I asked him, "When you pop in an early Johnny Cash CD into your boom box what is your goal?" He smugly replied, "I want to listen to a Johnny Cash CD of course" thinking that he had won the argument. My response was to say that, "Then a boom box is an acceptable tool to reach your goal. My goal is different. I want to be transported back in time and space to 1955 Memphis, Tennessee at Sun Studios with Mr. Cash and his band 10 feet in front of me and Sam Philips a couple of feet behind me in the control room." Instantly everyone in the room sort of got what all of the madness was about and from that day forward they respected what I was trying to accomplish.

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Okay, great. So now you agree with the standard definition of "hi-fi" as accurate reproduction, yes? Well, that's definitely progress!

Please don't patronize me, Ethan. There are several definitions of hi-fi that I am attracted to, and I don't consider any of them to be a standard.

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Quote:


Quote:
This spreading of the bandwidth due to distortion does create an impression, and a real one (in the perceptual sense) of "louder" peaks.


Sure, and the mid-bass boost in a Bose radio can sound fuller to uneducated ears. But once you learn to identify the sound of phony bass, and hear what real bass sounds like, it's hard to enjoy the phony type.

--Ethan

The two effects are not analogous, though. One is based on a fundamental property of human perception, the other one is purely individual preference. Everyone will hear the increased dynamic range, regardless of how much they may or may not prefer it.

I've built any number of loudspeakers, including some the last few months. One characteristic is that people generally think they aren't "loud" even when putting out intensities you should never listen to.

The reason is linearity. They don't distort hideously at higher levels.

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One night we were all sitting around and shooting the breeze while my stereo was playing Debussy in the back ground and one of my good friends asked, "Isn't this all a bit excessive?" while motioning to my system of that time. He was a huge Johnny Cash fan so I asked him, "When you pop in an early Johnny Cash CD into your boom box what is your goal?" He smugly replied, "I want to listen to a Johnny Cash CD of course" thinking that he had won the argument. My response was to say that, "Then a boom box is an acceptable tool to reach your goal. My goal is different. I want to be transported back in time and space to 1955 Memphis, Tennessee at Sun Studios with Mr. Cash and his band 10 feet in front of me and Sam Philips a couple of feet behind me in the control room." Instantly everyone in the room sort of got what all of the madness was about and from that day forward they respected what I was trying to accomplish.

Great story, mrlowry. I'll remember that! Thanks for sharing.

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I want to be transported back in time and space to 1955 Memphis, Tennessee at Sun Studios with Mr. Cash and his band 10 feet in front of me and Sam Philips a couple of feet behind me in the control room.


I'm with you 100 percent. That's what I want too. But 5-inch drivers will never get you there.

--Ethan

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Gee Ethan, do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that you already make fun of it every chance you get?


Chicken and egg. Jan was being a jerk to me long before I had a clue about his gear. Then one day when Jan was being particularly rude, two different forum members sent me PMs describing Jan's gear, so I could see who/what I was dealing with. I was really surprised! I had assumed Jan had at least a clue as to what constitutes a good system. Boy was I wrong!

--Ethan

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Gee Ethan, do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that you already make fun of it every chance you get?


Chicken and egg. Jan was being a jerk to me long before I had a clue about his gear. Then one day when Jan was being particularly rude, two different forum members sent me PMs describing Jan's gear, so I could see who/what I was dealing with. I was really surprised! I had assumed Jan had at least a clue as to what constitutes a good system. Boy was I wrong!

--Ethan

Do you hear yourself? You sound like a child, Ethan. When you and Jan are arguing, you both sound like children. Do I really have to say this? Grow up.

michaelavorgna
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Last seen: 7 months 4 days ago
Joined: Sep 26 2007 - 5:40pm


Quote:
I had assumed Jan had at least a clue as to what constitutes a good system. Boy was I wrong!

And you're wrong again Ethan. The trouble is you're too close-minded about this subject to understand why.

And the "he did it first" argument is something we don't let our children get away with so you'll get no points with me on that score.

michaelavorgna
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Last seen: 7 months 4 days ago
Joined: Sep 26 2007 - 5:40pm


Quote:
I'm with you 100 percent. That's what I want too. But 5-inch drivers will never get you there.

Here's a hint for you Ethan:

"I'm with you 100 percent. That's what I want too. But 5-inch drivers will never get me there."

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