A Lady Audiophile Walks Into a Bar

Photo: Dan Havlik

A lady walks into an audiophile bar (footnote 1). She sees four men. They all turn to look at her.

All the first audiophile sees is some lady in a bar. He thinks nothing more. Can't be bothered. Let's face it—how often do you even see a lady audiophile?

The second audiophile does acknowledge her—but only because he clearly believes he belongs to a higher class of intelligence. A seasoned pro, he impressively regurgitates specifications and facts. This mansplaining gentleman knows what ladies like to hear. But what might she like to hear? The question never occurs to him.

The third audiophile marvels at this rare creature. How fortunate he is to be able to bask in her glory! Sadly, he knows that, after he's downed the rest of his perfectly peaty single-malt scotch, it's back to the Wife Acceptance Factor doghouse he goes.

The fourth audiophile isn't fazed at all. He's always glad to make new friends who share his interests. In his eyes, this lady audiophile is another music lover—one who also happens to appreciate good sound and shiny new toys.

I am a millennial female audiophile. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've encountered the first three types of male audiophiles. Sadly, it doesn't always happen in a bar, and I'm often caught off guard without my 16 year-old Lagavulin crutch in hand. The result is what has become an unintentional mental reflex: an instant categorizing of each new person I meet in the audio industry. While I always hope to meet a golden Type 4, I haven't been nearly as lucky as I would like.

But I gather that male audiophiles must have their own sad list of categories. I imagine it goes something like this:

• Type 1: The oblivious one who cannot comprehend why such a hobby exists and why it's so goddamn expensive.

• Type 2: The aesthetically conscious hider of speakers in walls and of subwoofers under couches.

• Type 3: The indifferent-until-vinyl-is-everywhere fiend.

• And lastly, the rare female equivalent of my golden Type 4: the love of your life who lives for high fidelity and high fidelity alone.

So, male e-readers: Would you agree if I said that, despite my being a woman, deep down, you and I have the same core, and that's all that matters? That in our shared love for music we are one and the same, cut from the same cloth? After all, this niche hobby of ours is built around a love of music. Being an audiophile should transcend gender and preconceived notions—or, in my case, carefully categorized stereotypes. We're all guilty of making these types of mistakes, but I hope that we—the audiophile community of women and men—can work far enough past it to become, in the future, more accepting.—Jana Dagdagan (footnote 2)


Footnote 1: For the sake of this post, imagine that there are such things as "audiophile bars" and that they are a rather normal occurrence. You know, a place where audiophiles go to drink, talk cables, debate electrostatics versus woofers and tweeters, and so on and so forth. You get the gist.

Footnote 2: Jana joined The Enthusiast Network's Hi-Tech Group in March after working in audio retailing, video blogging, and playing jazz and electronic music. As well as working on all of TEN's Hi-Tech properties—Stereophile, AnalogPlanet.com, AudioStream.com, InnerFidelity.com, Sound&Vision, and Shutterbug—she will be reporting on all things audio from the viewpoint of a millennial woman.—Ed.

COMMENTS
dalethorn's picture

You seem like someone who would be good to talk to at length. That alone is rare, and getting moreso.

Edit: Now I see the Nighthawk headphone - excellent!

Long-time listener's picture

Oooo, keep talking like that and she's bound to give you her number. And if she doesn't, I will, you smart, sensitive hunk of manhood you...

dalethorn's picture

And you will no doubt be booted just like the last three trolls here, you sick stalker you. I've built quite a collection of your stalker posts by now. Anyone who wants to see is welcome.

Long-time listener's picture

.

cgh's picture

Jana, I'm offended by your divisive and micro-aggressive quasi-misandristic rant!

Not really. :-)

I'm under 40 and male. Two facts: I could care less about our genders and if I see you in an audiophile bar I'll let you buy me a drink.

The old-guard isn't getting any younger so the problem, if there even is one, will take care of itself. The challenge for the younger crowd isn't addressing gender biases but keeping them interested. In this case the tree falling in the woods will not make any noise, regardless of the THD and soundstage.

HJC001's picture

there is a problem. your failure to recognize it is a PERFECT example of "The Problem".
it is of the type which falls in the following category: "If it ain't happen to me, then it ain't happen, not to nobody, not ever, so it ain't real, and it's just 'divisive' and 'quasi-misandristic'" TOODLES & XOs

cgh's picture

It was sarcasm. Younger people use it all the time. "If there is one" needs to be married with the following statement about a tree falling in the woods: IOW there are no women at audio events and few at shows to hear the BS or be made to feel exceptional.

My point still stands: if the industry can't attract and retain younger people then there will be no audience, male or female. For me, being around the 50+ year old men at audio shows must be what it's like to be at a muscle car event or a Jimmy Buffet concert. Well intentioned and good-hearted, but it's tired and anachronistic. So bravo SP and Ms Dagdanan.

grantray's picture

Just broke the 40 mark and I still can't bring myself to go to audiophile shows, much less admit I am one at a bar. In public. Where someone might actually hear me. My wife is the same. She has an exceptionally sophisticated ear, and a well-engineered recording will pull her into the living room from the back of the house, but the mustiness of Crotchety Old Guy is too strong for her even in the local shops. Every time she's mentioned that I'm an audiophile, she says it like she's outing me as an adult who still plays with action figures.

Music_Guy's picture

There are enough examples of male "audiophiles" that fit the ones you cited. In fact, you only touched on a few stereotypes ...there are many more.

I can't wait to hear more from someone (if that is a picture of you) like you who is young, female and audiophile. I am always eager to hear varied viewpoints. What I would love to hear more about is: gear that makes good music at sub-stratospheric price points and music that sounds good on that kind of gear.

Confession: If I was in a bar and I saw you, (until I noticed the headphones) the last thing I would bring up is audiophile-related small talk.

HJC001's picture

my vote: review more low-priced stuff.

also, stereophile should look into hosting more small, local shows. i live in miami. we have lots of weekly, monthly social events across the city in scenic locations and i always wonder why there isn't a mini-AXPONA,Munich, etc. to coincide with those events. those events are commonly hosted by women (DJing, promoting, catering, etc.), so, if there is a will, i can see Ms. Dag and DARko reporting/presenting/hosting at these small (but more frequent) events. btw, miami is crawlin with $$gentry now, so savy participants could profit well.

Audio_Visionary's picture

In every town and city in America, there is a small, local audio show which goes on daily - at your specialty hi-fi dealer. AVSF, Echo Audio, Filtronique, Gramophone, Sound Hounds, Pearl Audio, and dozens of other shops gladly and willingly show newbies how to enter this hobby at pricing which is downright affordable. Contact a brand such as Audioquest and ask where their dealers are in your community - these dealers have excellent, affordable products that can improve the audio experience for almost anyone. Younger people must get off the web and into stores - there are people there who can help you take your first steps. There is a world beyond your smart phone waiting to be found if you raise your eyes from your device.

prerich45's picture

What dealer? There are none within 60 miles (maybe 100 miles) of where I'm located!!!! I live in the dealer desert!!! I think my closest hi-end dealer is in Tallahassee on the east and New Orleans to the west and Atlanta to the North!!!! :(

scott.w's picture

Jana! Stir it up! Most guys I meet in this hobby, based on the way they dress, don't seem to realize that women even exist. Let alone that they have better hearing than we do. And dig music just as much as we do. Hey gents! Pleated pants with white socks and cutout bin t-shirts aren't a hip look. If anything it's a virginity protection suit of armor.

Whenever I encounter a 'WAF' reference I roll my eyes that somebody made a bad choice in life partner (in fact maybe both parties did). Quit bringing up the WAF and instead look in the mirror and ponder why you rolled the dice on someone who doesn't understand how serious the hobby is to you.

My girlfriend is fantastic in many ways (athletic, funny, yoga teacher) but above all she doesn't flinch at 90+ db SPLs. This combo is what I call a 'keeper.' She's happy with the Sonos I got her (baby steps) and I have a long view plan in mind (offsite secondary system).

So hey Jana - I'm your Golden Type 4. They exist, at least one. Thanks again for the great post.

HJC001's picture

I love that sometimes my wife also enjoys sitting, eyes closed, in the sweet spot. I'll set everything up, listen for a bit, then run over to her it's her turn. Fun for us. I ask her sometimes "did you hear it", the stereoscopic effect, etc.

Grigalem's picture

And was it good for you?

Robert Baird's picture
You Go Jana! Welcome to Stereophile!
desperaudio's picture

Other than the 'drinking' part that Footnote 1 sound a whole lot like our store. Almost exactly like our store.
And I was a bartender for several decades before the store so I guess I get to acknowledge what an "audiophile bar" should resemble!
Good blog. I'll pass that along to the female audiophiles in our local audio enthusiasts group - who, to some serious degree, are better at being audiophiles than many of the males.

Part-Time Audiophile's picture

Way to stick the landing, Jana! Congrats and best of luck on the new gig -- looking forward to seeing you "out on the circuit"!

volvic's picture

there are plenty of Type 4 audiophiles. Great writing, look forward to more posts and articles. Welcome!

Anton's picture

What I hear is that the NFS Audio room at the coming THE Show will have 16 year-old Lagavulin, 18 year old Laphroaig, 21 year old Ballantine, and a new rising start....several Kilkchoman bottlings.

Just saying.

There will also be some cool Hi Fi gear, hopefully good tunes, and we won't be in a whirl, 'cause we don't care if you're a boy or a girl.

HJC001's picture

Ms. Dagdagan, i have a young daughter. to me, the problem of "audience" which you address is massively obvious. I'm 42 and have been reading stereophile (and other such rags) for about 20 years, and female names are totally absent in my mind as authors in these magazines. it is unacceptable to me, but beyond my influence. recently, stereophile has brought on a few YOUNG(ish) writers and (i think) a couple women writers: FINALLY!! Kudos! I will renew my subscription if the Magazine stays culturally relevant. one more thing: please review and measure more low-priced gear. be well :)

Shadow Ferret's picture

Good blog and so true. Not only are audiophile women few and far between in this hobby, audiophile men who accept them without feeling threatened or needing to mansplain are also few and far between. Welcome.

gnostalgick's picture

Really glad to see a new face & have a new voice here. My girlfriend and I recently attended AXPONA, and though she didn't comment about being one of the few women there--she was quite amazed by the lack of music anyone under 50 would be familiar with.

eriks's picture

Hi Jana,

Nice Post! I'm sorry you feel so judged, but you were really insightful. I'm hoping that it helps you, but judgements are really not just about women. As an audiophile or buyer in a store I feel judged pretty much all the time, and I must admit, I judge my fellow audiophiles all the time, regardless of gender. :)

My categories are different though. There's the "room acoustics are irrelevant but I'll spend a thousand dollars for a cable with quantum noise cancelling" type, the "parts is parts" type and the "This speaker costs 120,000, so it must be 10x better than the one that merely costs 12,000" and then there's the masochist who believes the further away from a defined scale the sound is the more desirable it is.

Best,

Erik

Odin 412's picture

Welcome to the magazine! Nice to hear from a fellow music lover. My stereotype image of audiophiles: Grumpy old men listening to boring music. Hopefully you'll inspire more young people (and more women) to join the hobby and make music (not astronomically priced gear) the main focus.

mmole's picture

Jana: "Being an audiophile should transcend gender..."

Stereophile: "...she will be reporting on all things audio from the viewpoint of a millennial woman."

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

These statements are not necessarily contradictory. After all, Jana is a woman who owns her womanhood. And she is also a millennial who embraces that identity. What remains to be seen is if her reports will actually manage to transcend gender, or if she gets trapped by her own "shoulds". On that score, she has set up quite a challenge for herself.

Managing to transcend the "millennial" box, with all the expectations that come with it, will be another. I recently spoke to a 27-year old publicist in the business who hates the term, because she thinks it carries with a set of expectations that she has absolutely no interest in meeting.

Speaking personally, I have yet to discover a singularly gay perspective in my approach to audio and music.

Bluejimbop's picture

Somebody snatching those Nighthawks off your head while you're listening to "Got" by Mos Def. In essence; I'm from Oakland and there's certain things you just don't do. Oops - mansplaining?
Well anyway, looking forward to your columns.

Jana Dagdagan's picture

I love Mos Def!

prerich45's picture

Cool, the more the merrier!!! I don't drink, and my wife doesn't understand the hobby - but she does understand that we all have our hobbies - including herself!!! Going on 30 years of marriage and wouldn't trade her for anything!!! So I guess I'm a modified classification that you haven't run into yet :)

Jana Dagdagan's picture

This comment made me really happy. Congratulations on 30 years :)

mink70's picture

Wow, yes, finally, a woman writer at Stereophile. What a concept! Welcome aboard, Jana! Perhaps, soon, some of the magazine's gay writers will actually refer to their partners in print. How awesome would Partner Approval Factor be?

But really Editor: "[Jana] will be reporting on all things audio from the viewpoint of a millennial woman"?

When you introduced Herb Reichert to us, did you explain that "he will be reporting on all things audio from the viewpoint of a middle-aged man"?

I mean, John, does the utter bias here even need to be explained?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I have been married to David for 14 years - he is coming with me to Munich High End - and my homosexuality is anything but a secret. I have referred to him several times in print, and will continue to do so. But I never refer to him as my "partner;" to me, that language smacks of a business agreement. Before we were married, he was my lover. Now he is my husband.

David is also the Spouse Acceptance Factor in my life. For years, I have been pushing for the adoption of Spouse Acceptance Factor (SAF) or Significant Other Acceptance Factor (SOAF) as the new nomenclature for this high-end phenomenon. Hopefully Jana will adopt similar language, and Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) will become the language of the past.

jason victor serinus

mink70's picture

Apologies Jason... I didn't realize that you had mentioned David in your pieces. Kudos to you for that! It's time we do away with the presumption that all of us audiophiles are white middle-aged straight men. And maybe instead of "approval factors," we can just talk about design :)

Grigalem's picture

Wasn't that the point of hiring Stereophile's first female writer in eleventy-leven years?

Anton's picture

My wife likes audio, so WAF is not an issue, but I do not begrudge a married man referring to wife acceptance factor if he has a wife, or you wanting to call it husband acceptance factor, if you like. We are speaking from personal experience, so a specific gender modifier is fine to me.

In print, it changes somewhat. Addressing a large group of readers and speaking in a general sense during a review or report, I like spouse acceptance factor.

If an article were a more personal column and the author was speaking of his or her own experience, then a gender specific wife/husband factor statement would be fine.

I have it easy - I can post and talk about having a wife, and catch no flack. Everyone, including other women can be legitimately excluded because I am only speaking of one particular person. You, as an author, are often not afforded the same luxury.

Anyway, Jason, if you were to post about the MBL demonstration in Munich and say that the gear would require so much space in your home that the husband acceptance factor might come into play - I would be able to understand you perfectly and in good humor and we'd be sharing the same experience, regardless of being married to a man or a woman.

I hope that post came across correctly. I meant it to mean that whether you say husband or wife, I get it when you say it. have a great trip!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

the whole idea implicit in WAF / SAF / SOAF etc. is that we committed audiophiles are either a bunch of slobs or a subclass of human beings that spends it days and nights walking the earth with eyes closed. At least some of us are not. In one show report, I have commented on at least one speaker monstrosity I encountered, calling it a lopsided cyclops or something of the sort. I don't need my husband to tell me that that thing will never enter our front door. My God, even our dogs would attack it as some kind of hideous creature from outer space.

Mrs Hifi Pig's picture

and we get to meet David?! Very excited, see you there :) x

Tyll Hertsens's picture

The new Amazon voice activated Echo has turned the world of bluetooth speakers on it's ear with disruptingly humungous sales. Sonos is in a bit of a tailspin as a result.

To me the most "old school" part of traditional audiophilia is that it views all the components needed as a pretty unchanging set. Meanwhile, your clock radio, telephone, and every remote control in your house has jumped into your pocket in either Android or iOS form.

My question is: Does a millenial audiophile see a rack of equipment with speakers to either side as the iconic goal, or is the field of gear a larger and more loosely associated group, or is it something else entirely?

James.Seeds's picture

How about reporting from a point of view regardless of the gender of the person. If Stereophile wants to attract more female readership than that's fine but remember not to long ago there was a magazine called Audio Video Interiors that had a female editor at the helm and catered to both sexes and it went belly up. Maybe this is a hint of the direction Stereophile is going towards hopefully it doesn't alienate the readers who keep this magazine afloat. Maybe Sound and Vision might be a better magazine to attract female readership and let Stereophile be

John Atkinson's picture
James.Seeds wrote:
Maybe this is a hint of the direction Stereophile is going towards hopefully it doesn't alienate the readers who keep this magazine afloat.

Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't understand how Stereophile bringing on a new writer like Jana will alienate other readers. No, Jana is not an old fart like me, but I'm not going anywhere.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

James.Seeds's picture

John, let me first state that new blood is welcomed to this forum, just like years ago when Stephen M. wasn't an audiophile when he began writing for Stereophile, he brought a different, refreshing and somewhat naive perspective that evolved. Nobody is purposely preventing or keeping women out of audio. Pointing out that this industry is strictly a boys club even if it's sarcasm implies that there's misogynistic undertone on her first post. It's not our responsibility to bring women into the fold they either like it or not and that's fine by me. Many of us have spouses who tolerate our hobby just like I tolerate my wife's penchant for Gucci yet I don't whine about the bag toting Gucci sellers sticking it to my pocket book. Maybe it might be time for a lingering fart like you to pack it in and move to Florida if you're losing readership.

cgh's picture

I am within a few years of being able to call myself a millennial. About 35 people work for me ranging in age from 25-50. The millennials are freaky. First, they don't talk on phones. They text or email. They're annoyed if you try to call them, like you tried to use morse code. Second, they will quit their super high paying and intellectually stimulating jobs to go to Vietnam or some place like that for 1 year on a whim because "they'll be happier there and it seemed like good idea".

Millennials ARE the disruption.

Now, Wisconsin has a program for the homeless that results in the state having few homeless people. It's called winter. Similarly, millennials tend to enjoy a bit of a parental cushion that I didn't get to enjoy. Pull the plug on that and the whimsy may go bye-bye. The millennials that work for me have starting compensation well into the low six figures so they can afford nice toys if they want like amps and speakers. However, most millennials don't make a bunch of money right out of school. I'm still not betting against them. Non-zero 5 year probability that the next Editor of SP is playing minecraft right now :-)

Anton's picture

The readers who 'keep this magazine afloat' want a few things:

We want an engaging writer who has a good ear (or two) and can communicate what that person hears in an entertaining and relatable manner.

We don't care what reproductive organs the author may or may not possess.

We want these descriptions of the audio experience to resonate with our own lives in the hobby. Sam made me love Lars. Wes made me look up hidden meanings in his section headers in his reviews. Stephen reminded me of the joys of new audio discovery and the importance of keeping the hobby fun and communal/approachable. Art reminds me to not always be dissecting the poor damn hobby like it's a lab experiment. Herb reminds me that we all approach the hobby from a point of view where audiophilia is but one part of an otherwise well lived and enjoyed life. Mikey reminds me to root for the success of my hobby. JA reminds me of the mysteriousness of the place where the subjective meets the objective. And on and on.

That's the stuff we want.

None of those things is gender specific. I love Art as much as I loved Enid Lumley or Sue Kraft, and don't feel compelled to include anyone's sex as having any impact on my feelings for them.

The thing I am really looking forward to is the day when Stereophile announces the presence of a new female writer and nobody thinks that's unusual.

Grigalem's picture

How do you do that, John?

John Atkinson's picture

>How do you do that, John?<

Make sure you are posting in "Raw HTML" mode.

Then type the following text:
[quote=name] quoted text [/quote]

. . . cutting and pasting from the message to which you are replying.

As you are in HTML mode, you need to add a paragraph code <P> or line-break code <BR> where applicable. - JA

saronian's picture

This is a good place to be. Audiophiles one and all.

mvs4000's picture

Does the crafting industry wring its hands in angst that 99% of its clientele is female? Should it? Why should hi-end audio?

Edit: hi-end audio being overwhelmingly male, obviously.

fork's picture

Hand wringing is probably an overstatement, but yes Hobby Lobby would love to have more male customers. I would love it if I could build a vibrant contingent of female clients. There's real value in engaging different approaches and points of view; history has any number of examples where this has been shown.

fork's picture

Welcome Jana, I've never quite understood the tremendous gender gap in audio.

I've been involved in the audio society here in Seattle for about 5 years; the female membership during that period has been roughly .5-1% and only about 20% of those members were not a wife or sister of an existing male member. While I was president of the organization I asked around and we raised the issue from time to time, but never came up with any real solutions.

As an audio retailer, for every 1,000 orders, probably two of those will be from females and in most cases those sales are gifts for a male. Granted, gear is not designed with a female look. You won't find a bedazzled, pink amplifier in the high end world. My experience is that such a product would not be popular with men and would not be a financial success.

Women enjoy music in roughly the same proportion as men. As a female audiophile, one would not be socially cast anywhere near the same light as some ultra-male field, such as auto mechanics, contractor, plummer, etc, but my guess is that none of those pursuits have lower female participation.

I'm sure there's no quick or simple answer. However, Jana's arrival is surely a good sign and a step in the right direction.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

That a woman audiophile would want a bedazzled pink amplifier. That anyone would want such a thing.

Now, why am I seeing visions of my mother's plastic "boutique" kleenex holder that she kept in a prominent place in the downstairs bathroom? One was black with black and gold raised flowers with little rhinestones in the center of each flower. May they never again walk the earth.

fork's picture

The color of the new female-oriented gear will be up for debate, but surely Black and Silver are not going to fly.

BTW, your mother's kleenex holder sounds a lot like my sister's cell phone case.

cgh's picture

A guy in my club puts crystals and other dots all over his speakers and listening room. Maybe pink and bedazzled makes it sound better.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

:-)

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

The Stein Harmonizers contain quartz crystals that are energized by batteries. They do work; the concept is not as far fetched as it sounds. Or maybe it is, if you consider that anyone who steps out of the box, be they woman man gay straight trans New Ager or Bernie supporter, is a loony.

I think you'll enjoy the AWSI I wrote a few years back, "The Death of an Audiophile." You can find it here: http://www.stereophile.com/content/death-audiophile#WCS9QUQiQUw4XFjy.97

jason

cgh's picture

Ha! I didn't even need to get through the second sentence of The Death of... before having almost total recall of the story. What I didn't remember was that you wrote it.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Thank you.

Grigalem's picture

Har Har Har.

fetuso's picture

Seriously, I cant recall another post here that led to so many comments. You would think the Arab-Israeli conflict had been solved. Who cares what gender the writer is? As a reader all I want is for the writer to be qualified, informative, and possibly entertaining. And one more thing; other than more sales, why does it matter if more women get into audio? I'm not saying they can't or shouldn't, I'm just asking why it matters? Why is it important?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

If you were a woman, and had found yourself marginalized and dismissed over and over again because of your audiophile interests, I do not believe you would be asking this question. Then again, you might. There used to be a street theater group called "Ladies Against Women" who took on the Phyllis Schlaflys of the world. There are always people who go against their own self interests. There are probably as many of them as there are people who never rise about their own narrow self interests and attempt to understand the realities of people who are not like them.

fetuso's picture

A couple of weeks ago my family and I were at a kid's birthday party. After a while there I found myself sitting on the couch next to the 70 something year old grandmother. We talked for a bit and eventually, I can't recall how, we started talking about cars. She's really into cars. We talked about our first cars and all the cars we've owned over the years, as well as cars we wished we owned. Was I expecting to have this particular conversation with this particular person? No way, because it had never happened before. Did I dismiss her or marginalized her? Absolutely not. First of all, she knew what the heck she was talking about, and second that's not my style. My point is that perhaps Jana and all the other marginalized audiophile ladies out there are just hanging out with the wrong men.

lo fi's picture

and defines herself accordingly. I hope that her next effort will improve upon this disappointingly trite introduction.

mink70's picture

If you were to attend, say, a local Head-Fi meet, and found yourself the only woman in a room of 300 men, and many of these men were staring at you with that weird unguarded mix of fear and desire, you might not think that gender "doesn't matter." Or that gender is a matter of "different reproductive organs." Come on guys, we're not the only sentient beings on the planet.

Jana Dagdagan's picture

Dear Readers,

Thank you for reading my first piece! As I read the comments here, I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to write for a group of such passionate individuals. It is quite an honor.

To my dearest types 1-3 audiophiles: Rest assured, I will eventually resign the topic of gender and move on to more “normal” topics for your reading pleasure. While I do see the irony surrounding my introductory piece and footnote 2, I still feel that it is absolutely necessary for me to put all my thoughts on the table regarding these matters before moving on to affordable reviews and show reports. I believe that issues need to be communicated and defined properly before they can be fixed.

And for those of you who do not find this to be an issue and do not understand why I am writing about this: I’m happy for you. It warms my heart to hear that you are surrounded by such a kind and loving audiophile community. All I ask is that you keep an open mind to the possibility that not all communities are like yours. Failure to acknowledge this will result in the slow death of this entire hobby. It’s not just about me and my emotions. It’s not just about making more sales and keeping the industry afloat. It’s about adopting a new attitude that will help this hobby continue to grow and flourish long after we’re all dead and gone.

Lastly, your criticism is greatly appreciated. The more constructive the better :)

Love,
Jana

Archimago's picture

Welcome, Jana. As you note, it is unusual to see women in the hobby; or at least the specific hobby of "hardware audiophilia" which I think you find yourself in present company.

Speaking as a Gen-X'er who over the years have met many like-minded music lovers, IMO it's not uncommon to see women "music lovers" at all. In fact, before my eyes as I watch my kids growing up, it is my daughter who loves the high quality headphones over my son and loves listening and collecting new music (my boy has his interests as well with computers, and mechanical stuff). It was she that requested to take my old iPod and wanted the Sennheiser HD800s (Sorry... No way until she gets a part-time job!). What is rare though is I think the "boys and their toys" tendency. Inherently, I think the interest in the *technology* itself has a male bias. The fascination with technology to reproduce a virtual world and the joy of dominion over the "man cave". That (at times) obsessive hoarding or even somewhat "one track mindedness" which euphemistically can be called "passion" of the hardware audiophile I believe is what is much less common in women [note that this is not a bad thing since that same passionate drive leads many men & women to greatness in other domains like their careers].

Well. I am looking forward to hearing your perspective and I think it would be fascinating to learn how you see things in this industry! I think the men should remember that women generally have better hearing and that hearing quality deteriorates more gracefully as they age. I routinely ask my wife to evaluate the sound of gear and she almost always does a fantastic job... The only thing she lacks is that geeky passion :-). And that's cool too for finding balance in worldviews and expands shared experiences!

Mrs Hifi Pig's picture

Bravo Jana, the more young and/or female writers (and fans) the better for the hifi/audio world....it's what will keep the industry alive! I've been writing and reviewing for Hifi Pig for a few years now, check out my Bird's Eye View column on www.hifipig.com ...the first time I went to High End Munich I got a few strange looks as a woman, but things have come a long way in the last few years. We also have Janine Elliot writing for Hifi Pig, she's a music teacher, musician, ex BBC engineer and avid vintage hifi collector...she really knows her stuff, she reviews and writes the Retro Bites column on Pig. I have discovered quite a few women working in all parts of the industry (we have a women in Hifi group on Fbook to which I have added you). Writing about Hifi as a woman can challenge people, some people will love being presented with a different point of view, some people hate it (I was accused of 'dragging the itchy blanket of gender politics into hifi' recently) but whatever you do, believe in yourself, write from your heart, trust your ears and upset the apple cart :) Lin

James.Seeds's picture

Dear Jana, we all wish you well in your new job, you obviously can write and it'll be interesting to read just how crafty of a wordsmith you are. For me what's annoying is labeling and categorizing members of this forum into 1's, 2's, 3's, and 4's. We are not a human evolution chart and we are not here to antagonize a hobby/industry that we enjoy that is at the very core a subjective one with no right or wrong, we are here to exchange information on products that may interest us.
All the best

Jana Dagdagan's picture

Thank you for the warm wishes and feedback.

You seem like a very nice person. Unfortunately, the truth is that some people in our hobby aren’t as nice as you. They forget to treat others with kindness and respect. Or perhaps there is a disconnect between what they feel is respectful, and what actually is respectful. This can sometimes get in the way of keeping this hobby fun. I know this from personal experience as well as from feedback I’ve received from both men and women.

What I’m saying is: I agree with you completely. That’s what I want too. I only resorted to the harshness of 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s because I felt it would best communicate my feelings on the matter.

dalethorn's picture

"They forget to treat others with kindness and respect."

Oh, I don't think they forget. Reminds me of a religious radio host who got a call from a listener asking "If I go to confession and I forget to tell the priest one of my sins, would that be counted against me?"

And the host replied "Only if you forget on purpose."

piinob's picture

Hi Jana, Welcome and I look forward to gaining your insight as you see fit to share. Good luck. Perry

jimtavegia's picture

where I teach middle school math music means much to my students, but how they listen to it and on what means little to them. I have brought in my Grado 80's, Sony 7506's, Koss Porta Pros, and even my Focal Spirit Pros for the ones who I feel are serious about music to listen to. They love the sound of all of them. Most listen on the worst ear buds known to man and some have moved up the ladder to some JBL's IEMs from WalMart or JBL.com, but not much over $40. Of course there are Beats all over school because style is everything here...for now. Nice clothes, IPhones, Levi's, expensive "kicks" are every where, but it seems that "if I can hear the music it is good enough".

Now I am having to ask them to put away their JBL bluetooth speakers so we can begin class. As if they needed even more distractions that now all the class can be involved in. It is clear that music is 90% of the experience and what they listen to it on is 10%, but most of what they are listening to are poor MP3's so...maybe the gear matters less here.

I am planning next year to start a Digital Audio club that will meet before school one day per week and I will try and enlighten them about digital andio in general terms, more on the varied formats that digital offers to make them aware there is much more than MP3s (SACD/2496/24192), and then let them listen to the high rez formats and see for themselves that there is more to hear and you don't have to spend crazy money to hear it or appreicate it, but you do have to know what is out there and care about it enough to invest some time and money to improve their listening experience. It also gives me the chance to reveal to them what the marriage of mathematics and computer science has given them that they are totally unaware of...better audio than they could ever think as possible. It will be interesting to see if any of them care to see if HOW we listen matters enough to them to get them to invest in this hobby.

It does make me wonder if any of their parents have nice audio gear as all of my 4 grown children are deep into audio and the gear as they have been exposed to very good to great sound all their lives. I never had to say much as they just heard it and picked up on it for themselves.

Robert Deutsch's picture

At the Montreal Salon Son & Image in 2013 there was a panel discussion on (and by) women in audio--see http://www.stereophile.com/content/women-audio#mFmoAkkIWs2Oil2x.97. With Sarah and Michel again in charge of the Montreal show, perhaps they'll arrange for another panel dealing with topic at the 2017 show. It could include the panelists from the 2013 show, plus others. Jana would be a great addition to this panel.

dalethorn's picture

Based on the 68 comments, it seems clear that audiophiles (my youtube headphone reviews demographic is 95 percent male) are desperate to share their interests with females. But the difference is the gear, not the music, yes? Hmmm...

gsnorris's picture

All of my shared audiophile moments since the early 70's have been with male buddies.. except one evening about 20 years ago, when my favorite couple and I A/B'ed the Classic Records double vinyl "Kind of Blue" with the (then-current) 20-bit CD they brought with them. The vinyl's superiority was overwhelming.

More gratifying was that the lady was soon out shopping for (and buying) high end stuff. My first and only female infectee.

Eoldschool's picture

Hi Jana,
May I just say with all sincerity that it is refreshing to see someone like you in the hobby. I for one, find value in the female point of view in this seemingly strictly testosterone club. The fact is, that as you said, there really is no difference at the core and that is true. We all may have different likes and dislikes and opinions of course, but that's really where the differences end.
For me it’s about the music, first, last and always.

Eric Shook's picture

A woman who is not trying to kill the hobby.

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