How important is it for you to know exactly what is happening with your audio system and room?

A friend recently explained that he favors "chance and luck when choosing components." Do <I>you</I> think a little unexplained audio mystery a good thing? Do you like to carefully study the physics of your room and the technology behind the components, or do you prefer to go with your instinct for good sound?

How important is it for you to know exactly what is happening with your audio system and room?
Very important: I like to know exactly what is happening
36% (50 votes)
Somewhat important: I like to get the general idea
31% (44 votes)
I'm ambivalent: just want it to sound good
24% (33 votes)
I prefer a little mystery: don't want to analyze it too much
6% (8 votes)
I like a lot of mystery: don't care to know anything about it
0% (0 votes)
4% (5 votes)
Total votes: 140

Keith Y's picture

It is all about the sound of the music!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuna's picture

Yes, a general idea is very helpful in trying to put it all together but I don't care to drown myself in the minute details. Life's too short.

Tuned In's picture

Why spend 20 grand if you don't care about where the gear performs! The room is the beauty shop of the gear. Let the mystery be in the recording, which is the one factor we have no choice in—so make the best of everything else.

Robin Banks's picture

When you have paid big money for your stereo equipment, you SHOULD know exactly what is happening with your system.

brankin's picture

I believe cables, components, tweaks, room treatments, etc, all make a difference and can matter in how things sound. Know what? I don't give a hoot about any of it. There is such a small percentage of components, if any really, that will make something sound bad or unlistenable, truly. Maybe if I'd try to drive Martin-Logans with a $4 transistor radio. As long as you pick something decent and don't put it in an aluminum bunker, you'll be fine. All the fussin' is just so we have something to stew about on the web!

Greg's picture

I like to know exactly what's happening. You often have questionable products on your site, some of which have outrageous claims—and a price to match! If you don't have competent, logical explanations (ie: proof), then you shouldn't advertise questionable, illogical products.

R Nelson's picture

stupid question

WalkerTM's picture

I feel we do not of yet have adequate understanding of the science of sound to be totally relient upon it. We still have not come up with any medium or equipment that can top the real thing.

HK Mendenhall's picture

I am not a coincidence theorist and therefore subscscribe to "chance favors the prepared mind." Audio and Detroit have one thing in common: everything is a compromise. Art Dudley stated that the amplifier is the most important link in the chain (presently). For me? 'Tis the room. After beefing and squawking about laying down $400 for sound suppression drapes, I marveled that it was a bigger improvement than upgrading the amp from a Carver TFM25 to a CJ Evolution 2000. Am I chasing some exotic bird? Perhaps. Synergy vs the pursuit or arrested development meets (gasp!) contentment.

Joe Evans's picture

Synergy between your components and you and your room are what makes the sound right. It would defeat the purpose of high-end audio not to care and make an attempt to find out. After all, if you don't know and/or don't care your chances of achieving that elusive goal of audio heaven are greatly diminished. As a matter of fact, I want to know even more about what is happening. I most especially want to know why I like vinyl better after all these years of "perfect sound forever." By the way, some of the CDR mixes I made five or six years ago are starting to become difficult to play. Skips glitches and random noises have crept in. Am I hearing the result of CD wear? Are the bits slip slip slipping away? Is it a plot perpetrated by the RIAA to stop me from making mixes of material I legally own? I just want to know more about everything concerning my rig and music reproduction.

Ole G.'s picture

I really dislike the people who listen and "know" which component (down to individual capacitors some times) contributes what part of the sound. But obviously, I too am a victim of my own prejudice: eg, I tend to believe light and rigid is a more cost effective approach to physical design (cartridge to speaker) and will probably look for it.

Mark Perdue's picture

In a perfect world, everything would be understandable and I would understand everything. Yeah, sure. As it is, I try to read as much as possible (which is why I read Stereophile, among other publications) and understand what I have read—often a bit of a stretch for my non-electrical enginering, non-acoustical physics trained mind. Sterophile's technical reviews and analysis are a principal reason why I purchase your magazine. The tech reviews offer the analytical structure on which I hang my decisions. I wish I knew and understood more about these subjects and would enjoy finding more technical backgeound articles in Sterophile that would deepen my understanding of circuit design, acoustics, and such. So please continue and perhaps expand the technical reviews you provide. They are vitally important to many of your readers since you are our only source of such info within the context of music and music hardware. Thanks much and keep up the good work.

Randolph W.  Schein's picture

While the room is important, and its size, especially, should be taken into consideration when purchasing speakers and determining amplification power requirements, I don't think most people will purchase all new equipment just because they move to a larger (or smaller) listening room. It is important to know the electrical specifications of source components, preamps, and amplifiers, however, to prevent impedance mismatches and to ensure that you will be able to effectively drive your speakers.

Harold b.  Roberts's picture

It is neccesary to know what is going on to be able h a system that doesn't colour the sound of natural insturenents;;;pleas corect speling

John V.'s picture

I need to know exactly what's going on in my room. Is the on-year-old about to fall down the stairs? Is the equipment being touched by curious hands? Are the speakers being run into? Are wires being pulled on? Are the CDs or LPs being mixed up or pulled off the shelves? Is the three-year-old yanking too hard on the one-year-old? Yes, whenever I'm in my listening room I need to know exactly what's going on.

Tom Warren's picture

As I began purchasing audio equipment in high school during the early 70

Frosty's picture

You can go nuts tweeking and moving things around. Just pick a good spot and leave it alone!

Dennis's picture

Hey, it's a hobby. I drool and over obsesse over EVERY aspect of it.