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pablolie
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remember cassettes?

i came across *cassettes* in a different thread that had gone south (not by me). i kinda miss the ritual of putting dedicated cassette mixes together - because you'd obviously only do it for special friends (or girls you were trying to seduce, and good music helps).

also, there was the artisan satisfaction of having people tell you "hey this sounds great... how did you do it?"

going down memory lane, this was one of my most satisfying audio purchases ever (and it wasn't cheap given my income at the time):
http://th09.deviantart.net/fs7/PRE/i/2005/266/f/5/TEAC_V_8030_S_by_caracal.jpg

but i remember spending countless hours on front of it, recording stuff. putting together mixes for my car, friends or romantic prospects. it was a glorious, music-filled way to spend an evening, carefully choosing the mood one wanted to convey. :-)

and of course there was the audio-geek act of *calibrating* for the different manufacturers. i remember BASF, Maxell and TDK were my favs, and i'd buy 10 packs.

michael green
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surprising really

Yep, kind of surprising that tapes didn't stay as a mainstream for audiophiles. What's a little more surprising is that as tapes were calibrated and needles were tweaked their replacement, the Laser, didn't come with the same attention to adjustments. Kinda strange I always thought.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

commsysman
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CASSETTES

The dynamic limitations and poor frequency response were the reason cassettes never were high-fidelity.

I had a Nakamichi 3-head machine, and by putting a LOT of money and engineering into a precision mechanism with tape guides that would not wear out in a few hundred hours and excellent recording heads, Nakamichi built an exceptionally good machine that could make some pretty good recordings. No other cassette machines ever came close to their quality and performance (or high prices, which were justified).

Commercially produced cassettes, however were invariably absolute trash. They were almost always done on cheap tape at high speed, and sounded awful.

shp
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Pablolie, you forgot the very

Pablolie, you forgot the very important use case of copying all the records in the neighborhood. Mine was an Onkyo bootlegging through a Harman/Kardon receiver from a Technics SL-6 turntable (probably Grado or Audi-Technica cartridge).

Then I got my first CD player in 1986 (at 16) and never looked back. I've moved around the world and am confident my album or cassette collections would never have held up.

Now my entire music collection fits on a hard drive. If I could just settle on a DAC, I could complete the digital revolution. ...And then I can start assembling a new vinyl collection ;).

pablolie
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indeed, copying your friends'

indeed, copying your friends' LPs. :-) i can't recall a single friend that was as dedicated to the "quality" of cassette recording as i was, but most totally appreciated it.
there were plenty of great decks by the different brands - Sony, Pioneer, Nakamichi and TEAC all had extremely well engineered decks that reviewed with high praise, as of course had some German high end companies (i lived there at the time).
as to the quality - it is telling i never decided to rip a single cassette. not even to 128k MP3. and my TEAC 8030S ended ingloriously in the trashcan in the early 2000s, at first replaced by a Philips CD recorder. then came FLACs... :-)

jgossman
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Commsysman

That is just a big ton of non-sense. There were many decks that equaled or near equaled CD's technical performance and some that would auto calibrate to prerecorded tapes for exceptional performance. Tape was a fine format. It just got left behind. It is in most ways, except for catalog, a superior performer to LP and musically far superior to CD.

geoffkait
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That is SO true!
jgossman wrote:

That is just a big ton of non-sense. There were many decks that equaled or near equaled CD's technical performance and some that would auto calibrate to prerecorded tapes for exceptional performance. Tape was a fine format. It just got left behind. It is in most ways, except for catalog, a superior performer to LP and musically far superior to CD.

I think I'm going to cry.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

commsysman
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Examine the Technical Data
jgossman wrote:

That is just a big ton of non-sense. There were many decks that equaled or near equaled CD's technical performance and some that would auto calibrate to prerecorded tapes for exceptional performance. Tape was a fine format. It just got left behind. It is in most ways, except for catalog, a superior performer to LP and musically far superior to CD.

The above statement displays a total ignorance of the subject. It has nothing to do with "decks'. The cassette itself has severe inherent technical limitations. Your refusal to acknowledge this does not change the FACTS!!!!

Headroom, frequency response, signal-to-noise ratio, and dynamic limits are all pathetically limited in cassettes compared to CD and vinyl. It is a technically inferior medium in every respect. The only thing that is missing here is that you simply don't know the basic facts regarding the various media.

The simple fact is that cassettes were abandoned by audiophiles, recording professionals, and the industry in general because they had such severe inherent technical limitations that could not be overcome with even the highest quality equipment.

The technical data is available, and is well-known to any audio professional. Ask one.

pablolie
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on the other hand - my point

on the other hand - my point was just we were able to thoroughly enjoy music through a good CC player. those mix tapes allowed us to experience what now would be a playlist, something you couldn't get with LPs unless you were jumping up and down (and allowing your friends to handle your LPs, which i was very seldom inclined to do). something mixed for a purpose or mood. they were fun. they forced us to immerse ourselves in music, and because of the limitations of the medium those of us ambition-ed in good sound would truly try to optimize, in order to do the music justice. my point was fun and music appreciation. the limitations? i thoroughly enjoyed my own recorded cassettes. i never bought a commercial one.

geoffkait
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Technical limitations notwithstanding

The thing about cassettes relative to CD is that for all their technical limitations they sound more musical. Much more musical. Whereas CDs, for all their technical superiority, as it were, consistently sound hollow, thin, tinny, tizzy, threadbare, compressed (even when they aren't dynamically compressed), two dimensional, sour, like paper mâché, boring, pitch incorrect, congealed, whimpy, bass shy, harmonically disorganized, synthetic, missing information especially ambient information, lacking air and missing the sparkle, warmth and plain old listenability of cassettes. Listen to Heifetz playing Brahms' Violin Concerto on RCA Living Stereo CD then listen to the same piece on cassette. You be the judge. And things like opera, cassettes are so much more revealing and tonally correct. As a great philosopher once said about CDs, something's missing. Something's missing allright.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

commsysman
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Hmmmm

Something is certainly missing in your CD playback system if you can make honestly make those silly comments.

I had one of the best tape decks ever made, a Nakamichi 3-head deck, and I made many tapes from various sources over the years; but I never had any illusions about the tapes sounding better than my vinyl records or CDs.

None of them ever compared favorably with the excellent sound quality I get from my CDs and SACDs on my current system, which is pretty close to flawless. If yours can't do it, the fault is NOT in the CDs, it is in your playback system. Come over to my house and we will prove it to your satisfaction (and then you can start fixing your system).

Of course, many people prefer an impressionist painting to something that more closely represents reality; I like them very much myself. But I don't allow myself be fooled into thinking that the painting is a more accurate representation of the original scene than a good photograph, no matter how pleasant it might be to look at.

geoffkait
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Huh?!

Commsysman wrote,

Hmmmm
Something is certainly missing in your CD playback system if you can make honestly make those silly comments.

I had one of the best tape decks ever made, a Nakamichi 3-head deck, and I made many tapes from various sources over the years; but I never had any illusions about the tapes sounding better than my vinyl records."

Uh, better Re-read my comments. Nowhere do I say anything about vinyl. Try to stay on topic if you wish to debate the subject.

Some free advice: hold back on the personal attacks. Try to be objective.

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

commsysman
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CD PLAYBACK

[quote=geoffkait]Commsysman wrote,

Hmmmm

The fact remains; if I can play back my 1500+ CDs on my system and get flawless beautiful sound, and you get the utter trash that you describe, then your playback system has to be at fault. The CDs themselves cannot logically be the problem.

When you wake up to this rather obvious fact and do something about it, you will enjoy the outstanding sound from your CDs that is possible. Until then I can only shake my head and pity your situation due to your refusal to recognize the problem.

geoffkait
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Jack you're dead!
commsysman][quote=geoffkait wrote:

Commsysman wrote,

Hmmmm

The fact remains; if I can play back my 1500+ CDs on my system and get flawless beautiful sound, and you get the utter trash that you describe, then your playback system has to be at fault. The CDs themselves cannot logically be the problem.

When you wake up to this rather obvious fact and do something about it, you will enjoy the outstanding sound from your CDs that is possible. Until then I can only shake my head and pity your situation due to your refusal to recognize the problem.

Jack Youre Dead!

When you've got no more assurance
Than a great big hunk of lead
And if you don't respond to cassettes
Jack, you're dead!

When a chick is smiling at you
Even though there's nothing said
If you stand there like a statue
Jack, you're dead!

When you get no kicks from analog tape
And you blow your top instead
It's a fact that you ain't living
Jack, you're dead!

If you ain't got no cassettes no more
Since you've gone and lost your head
Rigor Mortis has set in daddy
Jack, you're dead!

Courtesy of
Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

commsysman
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The first step...

Healing cannot begin until you realize that you are in denial....

It may eventually occur to you that millions of people find vinyl and CD sound far superior to cassettes for very good reasons, while virtually no one but you is suffering under the delusion that cassettes are somehow better.

Once you realize that you are living all alone in a fatally flawed universe of your own creation that has no logical relationship to reality, there may be some hope for you. Seek professional help.

geoffkait
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Can't hold a candle

Can I suggest you get a thorough ear candling? Something's wrong somewhere. Again with the vinyl?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dramatica

michael green
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a true statement

"then your playback system has to be at fault. The CDs themselves cannot logically be the problem"

I'm glad, maybe even thrilled to see commsysman make this statement. People who bash CD's are people who have not reached the quality of system it takes to play them. This is plain and this is simply the truth. I enjoy all three Tape, Vinyl and CD for what they are, and with maybe the exception of the original 1 or 2 inch studio tape (mainly because of know how) CD takes the winner's trophy. We have to leave room here for copy types and subjective engineering, but all things being equal the CD is the clear winner.

Coming here over a year ago now, I have been shocked at the amount of "claiming to have good ear" audiophiles who have not figured out how to make CD's sound great. For myself it clearly spells out two levels of listening classes and has for some time now. Again not wishing to down tape or records, not being able to play CD's is a "system problem".

one thing I would like to add about attitudes

If your a member and haven't been able to play something, don't go around downing something just because you haven't figured it out yet. That looks really tactly of our hobby. Can you imagine a new guy coming here and reading these guys who have crapping sounding CD based systems. What makes them want to join a hobby that can't even make a CD sound good? All posturing aside, you guys who haven't been able to get good sound should dump the pride and talk to the guys who do. Stop blaming formats for your lack of system design and setup.

My Lord, it's a CD how hard can it be?

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

pablolie
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well, crappy recordings come

well, crappy recordings come in every format. i have CDs that sound abysmal, but the music and performance are sublime. the key in those situations is to have a system that is musical enough so you don't end up analyzing the limitations of the recording, and you still can immerse yourself into the music. it is a strange thing though, and probably just as dependent on one's frame of mind and ability to just chill.
but clearly even cassettes were never a limitation for such recordings. in fact some recordings were optimized to sound good as cassettes/8tracks/radio, which means they can sound quite awful anywhere else (can you say 60s Motown? love the music, but anyone that claims that requires full uncompressed 16/44 was dropped repeatedly dropped on the head as a baby...).
to a certain degree it is the same discussion we have about MP3 vs FLAC when it comes to digital formats. cassettes recorded on a good deck could sound pretty darn good for the time. of course i'd take the CD every time for a decent recording, but the cassette allowed you to put a mood mix together. you couldn't do that in better quality until CD burners came out... when was that... 1995? my mom's old Mercedes still has a cassette deck in it, by the way, but i have no way to record stuff for her these days anymore. she still has Maxell and BASF tapes that still play fine after 20 years!

michael green
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There ya go!

Good post! As your saying, the truth of it is recordings are all over the map, and part of being an audiophile is to be able to bring the most out of them, or just kick back and enjoy the ride with where-ever a system is set to play.

Half the battle, from what I have read people talk about, plus visiting systems, is the listeners condition. Personally I think some of these systems sound like a broken boom-box their so uptight. Likewise the guy who has them is just as uptight. I enjoy critical listening (it's what I have done all my profession) but I also enjoy listening to someones old reel to reel setup with an old vintage piece of gear. Perfect? Far from it, but the body of the tone keeps you in a good place, and it feels like home.

This is an industry of discoveries, and those discoveries are far more vaste, and the industry is far bigger than one man's sound. For myself this is part of what makes it so exciting.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

pablolie
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michael green wrote:
michael green wrote:

This is an industry of discoveries, and those discoveries are far more vaste, and the industry is far bigger than one man's sound. For myself this is part of what makes it so exciting.

entirely agree. i would hope our joined obsession is to simply make sure we enjoy music we love to the max. but when we overthink and overlisten, we allow technology to get between us and the music we love - and not closer, as our intent should always be.

i think that was kind of my nostalgic note about cassettes - not to say they sounded great or better, just to remember that, as limited as the medium may have been, hey, those were sometimes some of the best listening sessions, at least for me. because the mix meant a lot to me, and i recorded it as well as i could with my own fingers, so to say. and i have never received such appreciative thank yous as when i gave a friend a tape i recorded for them - because they appreciated how much time it took me, thus they listened to the music more intently, and they also paid attention to the fact the tape sounded well. plus - when i recorded something for friends i always knew i was reducing the original quality some, hence i never felt i was ripping artists off.

(note - these days, when and if i record stuff for other people, i reduce quality to 192k MP3 - make me wonder which format these days most closely represents compact cassette.}

and yes, our ears, our brain and our frame of mind are way over 50% of the audio chain equation. anyone that spends good money on an audio system also should spend time emancipating themselves from the tyranny of listening to *equipment*, and just make a note to simply enjoy the music.

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music

Hi pablolie

My view of music might be slightly different from those who may have seen the hobby from the high end audio hobbyist part only. Saying that, it pains me when someone says something sounds bad. I like you have to enjoy the music first. I have seen many turn from the typical audiophile path and go back to the hobby of enjoyment. This doesn't mean a lack of anything, quite the contrary. Musicality is a state of listening that drives the senses and that's not necessarily tied to a sweet spot that is barely inches wide. Audiophile theory or lack of can look pretty strange to the music lover. The music lover has a far bigger picture, and I think the high end audiophile has squeezed themselves into a box that only appeals to that person who can only live in that 5 or 6 inch sweet-spot. High end audio to me is to be able to make the music any way I wish, and with that I need a system that sounds like music whether I'm in the chair, walking down the hall, or crawling in to bed for the night (I play music 24/7). The hobby of music is a far different one from the hobby of high end audio many times, sadly. It's great to see some here who have combined the two.

The music as you say is a much different sound than the "equipment". I say this often "there are two types of systems, one where the equipment is playing the music, and one where the music is playing the equipment".

nice post pablolie!

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

geoffkait
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Just another Strawman Argument

See, this is just the sort of blather that demonstrates you must not know any audiophiles, what with silly talk of 5-6 inch sweet spots and grumbling if anyone says things sound BAD. Let me set you straight. Not only are audiophiles saying CDs sound bad, for those with real vocabularies they're saying CDs frequently sound whimpy, congealed, compressed, hard, metallic, nasal, boring, bass shy, airless, soulless and threadbare. Of course it makes perfect sense that someone who can't tell the difference between tape and vinyl and digital would get his panties in a twist over someone saying the King has no clothes. If you like the sound of CDs in general, which you obviously do, I'd say off the top of my head you must be easily entertained.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

michael green
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lol

geoff said

"CDs frequently sound whimpy, congealed, compressed, hard, metallic, nasal, boring, bass shy, airless, soulless and threadbare"

That's all the better your CD's sound geoff? Holy smokes dude, take a chill pill lol.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

geoffkait
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Look on the bright side
michael green wrote:

geoff said

"CDs frequently sound whimpy, congealed, compressed, hard, metallic, nasal, boring, bass shy, airless, soulless and threadbare"

That's all the better your CD's sound geoff? Holy smokes dude, take a chill pill lol.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

At least I haven't resorted to acting like a monkey on crack constantly getting up and trying to turn the room until the CD sounds halfway decent. Good luck with those half decent CDs. Whatever turns you on.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

michael green
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turn on

Well... "CDs frequently sound whimpy, congealed, compressed, hard, metallic, nasal, boring, bass shy, airless, soulless and threadbare" is not on my menu of fun.

I do want to point out that having a tunable system allows the options. In my one setup here I haven't made an adjustment in a couple of months after setting it to a nice tube-y relaxed setting with a nice lower bump. I've been playing a lot of blues and rock in that room. It's also the room we put the cassette and reel to reel setup in during the testing.

I'm usually not into listening to sound changing do to the equipment signature, but sometimes I get that bug to go back to the 50's and 60's sound. I have tweaks in my sound closet to get that sound, and in a matter of 5 minutes can turn any of my systems into about any flavor I want.

It's interesting that amoung the pictures geoff tries to paint of me (for whatever reason who knows lol) he says that I can't tell the difference between tape and CD, which is a bit stupid if you read my background, but getting past his trolling, I have been using two CD Players that are extremely easy to tune and they help me to achieve a wide range of characters, including that "tape/tube" sound. All I have to do on the one system is use a certain LTR Block under one corner of the player and make a slight angle change on the two front PZC-FS and baam, I'm in analog heaven using the CD. Of course it's important to keep pointing out that every source is digital and every playback is analog, so all the different sounds and textures are there.

Geoff makes the statement of not knowing the difference between tape and CD, and my answer is pretty simple. If it was recorded on tape, of course I can get the tape sound. That's the whole purpose of being an extreme audiophile listener. I hate that these threads turn into geoff/mg twist and turns but getting past that, why wouldn't I want to be able to make my system sound how ever I wish?

And, it's not even as much one sound vs another, it's about knowing how to make the music performance what you like. I could never live in...("CDs frequently sound whimpy, congealed, compressed, hard, metallic, nasal, boring, bass shy, airless, soulless and threadbare") that world and haven't with any of my systems. That is a level of listening that I left back in my teens. Why would anyone want a system that sounded like that, plus talk about that sound for 50 years instead of growing past it? No thanks! That's not being an audiophile, is it? Not in my book. Heck geoff, MP3's sound better than your system description.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

geoffkait
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What we have here is failure to communicate

The whole point is you already made the adjustments, just as I have tweaked the system and the CD before it sounds good. Don't you get it? When I say the CDs sound bad I mean before you do anything. Hel-loo! An ordinary man has no means of deliverance.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

michael green
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simmer-down buck-o

Simmer down there geoff-a-roney. We all know you have an issue with me and tuning, no biggie. There's a whole forum for you to blast away at Cd's, pro people, or people from Dayton Ohio and me or whatever, but lets have a little fun listening while your ranting okie dokie?

Get that Sony Portable Cassette Player of yours, pop in something cool and fade away daddy-o.

:)

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

shp
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Michael And Geoff,

Michael And Geoff,

Watching you guys go back and forth reminds me of the old Georgia Championship Wrestling shows with Nature Boy Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Rowdy Roddy Piper.

It got me thinking. How about a tune off? Two identical rooms and a set budget. The guy who makes the best sound wins. You can bring a Walkman. You can bring a modded Magnavox CD player.

Invite a panel of judges. Stream it over Stereophile or TubeLand or Techno-zone.net.

Maybe sell tickets to the general public to raise money for a charitable cause, like something for kids with hearing impairments.

What do you say?

Scott

michael green
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right on!

That would be a blast!

I think that's exactly how people should deal with audio flames!

But why don't we make it interesting, let's do this. We'll put our budget tunable system up against Stereophile's class A best!

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

jgossman
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Technically...

Commsysman, you are just incorrect. I had a 581, which when well tuned was a technically superior deck to most other Naks (it sits next to me, now a parts machine). -85 to 95db in the late 70's early 80's, regardless of source format surpassed that of most of the finest preamps money could buy then, and approaches it now with some very good tube line-stages today. And the finest cartridges only approach the channel separation of a decent deck. Channel separation is really the only area where CD has a real advantage over Cassette. And the human brain can only comprehend about -65 or 70 maybe 80 db of dynamic range if you are a VERY good listener, anyway. Don't even look into human perception of channel separation of you want to defend CD, it's below that of a fair to middling MM cartridge - where phase coherence is MUCH more important to image than channel separation. So the dynamic range argument just doesn't hold water - especially tape compared to CD compared to LP's, because oscilloscopes and FFT charts don't care what stuff sounds like. And I love LP's. If you want to say you don't like a little tape noise, that's fine. Clean, brand new LP's can still barely compete with a good cassette deck. If you want to just come out and say, I fucking hate cassettes, just do that. It's perfectly okay and certainly more honest than this psuedo-objectivism.

I hate the audible haze left around the human voice and the plastic-y texture of drums and guitar by even very good CD players. Does that mean I HATE CD's, no not really. You take each format for what it is and do the best you can with what you've got. Any way you cut it, tape and LP just have a more natural, non-fatiguing sound who's flaws and distortions are complementary to music rather than competing with it. Like ceramic cartridges and 16 RPM LP's, CD's just kind of scrape the surface of what digital can do. So you don't throw out the baby with the bath water. You simply do the best with what you have. And if you have a nearly mint Nakamichi LX-5 or Arcam Alpha 7 or it's CD 72/CD 73 progeny, YOU DON'T SELL THE GOD DAMNED THINGS!

Okay, I got that out of my system. Again. Sometimes your own arguments become very, well, personal. :)

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a suggestion

Guys

I say we all have a fun showdown or series of showdowns in Vegas. We'll host. We'll setup all the sources and you guys along with us can play. The reviewers can do a live event with Enjoy The Music. Wouldn't it be great to have meetings where we are actually doing some listening outside of our own space?

No reason why we can't have meetings like these and share the hobby from everyones point of view.

what do you think, we're in

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

pablolie
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isn't it clear to everybody

isn't it clear to everybody some CDs sound awful some CDs sound sublime? ain't the medium, it's the recording quality. and that holds true to any medium. only with a good recording me (and every testing device we MSEEs can throw at it) i trust CDs to reproduce the original the best. absolutely no doubt.

geoffkait
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Showdown in Vegas

My dear fellows, I haven't felt so honored and teary eyed since I was invited to a judo summit by one of The Amazing Randi's disciples on Randi's yatch down in the Caribbean during one of His Amazing Randinesseses retreats, that one assumes included a lot of drinking. His Amazing Randiness' disciple also threatened to kick my ass. This is so nostalgic, I'm getting all choked up.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

michael green
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the audiophile is still young

There are so many different camps of belief in this industry and hobby that I'm pretty sure everyone believes they are correct. It's all based on experience and schooling. There's a lot of the hobby yet to be writen and there are as many myths as truths in this hobby to sort through.

Anytime you have a hobby that is this subjective, and one that is mostly driven by men and money, it's going to be extremely opinion based as well as ego driven. On top of this, you also have an industry that is half artist and half engineer.

For myself, when I see a group of guys who start at the tail end of the hobby without getting involved in the beginning my eyes roll a little, but that's me. Other guys divide the hobby/industry up in these small clubs and try to gather members, thinking the biggest membership wins somehow. It's all kinda silly when you think about it. If a couple million guys out there past and present all have different sounding systems that to me is the wake up call to reality. It really doesn't matter in the long run who is the loudest or most popular. What matters is not how many votes one gets, but what happens in the privacy of listening.

Music lovers are driven by many passions, and there are a lot of audiophiles that aren't into puting the music first neccessarily. A lot of guys are in this as much for pride sake as music sake. We have to look at the why someone in this hobby does what they do to understand their likes and dislikes. Lets face it, there are an awful lot of 40-80 year old guys in this hobby that are not happy about life. Somehow and I have no idea how they have turned their hobby into one of the negative instead of exploring the positive.

It blows the mind really. Hobbyist "A" puts on a piece of music and it sucks. From that point on anyone and everyone who likes that piece of music and has been able to make it sound good is wrong, doesn't have ears, or has an inferior system. Listener "A" never considers that they may have an inferiority complex, that has been developing over time because of owning systems that are almost there, but still something isn't right. It's got to be the recording or it's got to be the type of source. Guys making these judgement calls that have never stepped inside a recording studio, mastering house, copy production plant or much more than reading a magazine, owning a few components, hobbyist testing tools, a living room and belonging to the local audiophile club.

The hobby if one chooses, goes much deeper than a stereo sitting against the wall of your living room. No one can force you to make those recordings sound good, and you can spend the rest of your life believing all are wrong and you are right, or you can explore this hobby by maybe getting a little out of the pride and comfort zone you've built around you.

If listener "A" can't play the recording and listener "B" can, maybe it's worth it to go listen one, and two look into how and why listener "B" is and can. Isn't this hobby as much about having good sounding music as it is collecting Stereophiles recommended components?

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

shp
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Tune-O-Mania 2015

Geoff, Does that mean you're accepting the invitation to Tune-O-Mania(R) 2015?

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Pablolie,

Pablolie,

What kind of turntable do you have these days? If you were making a mix tape for someone, what would be the #1 tune on there?

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Come again
shp wrote:

Geoff, Does that mean you're accepting the invitation to Tune-O-Mania(R) 2015?

You're serious, aren't you?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dramatic

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CASSETTES

I hate to tell you guys, but the funeral for the cassette technology was over 30 years ago, and you aren't going to raise it from the dead no matter how much you loved the pathetic creature.

No one is even interested in exhuming the body, because it stunk then and it is even worse now.

Quit trying to disturb the grave.

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off topic question

Hi Guys

I hate to sound new to this, but do you guys know each other here on the forum? Now that I've been here a little while I'm starting to see the relationships between certain members. I also have seen the process of new members (active posters) vs what to me looks like long time posters.

Do you guys ever have get togethers, like what we were sorta talking about?

I'm trying to get a feel for how you guys interact. On TuneLand we have listening get togethers and do a lot of referencing, but on here (maybe I'm looking in the wrong places) I have not seen soundstage comparisons, and that's really odd to me. I've been here coming up on a year and a half and still don't see where you guys are actually listening together. I get a new member posting on TuneLand and within a week we are familar with each others stage. It's just kinda weird to me that's all. I mean if you guys aren't referencing music what is the main purpose here? I'm not saying this to be a smart A**, I'm really at a loss sometimes at how you guys can be so opinionated yet not talk about the specifics of recordings in a referencing context.

Does anyone else see this as odd? I'm not trying to start something, but would like honest thoughts on this.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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Oh, geez, not Soundstage again

Michael, we've already been all over the topic of soundstage. Remember, soundstage is your pride and joy, since according to you at least you can tune in soundstage for every recording. You also provided a tutorial on why soundstage actually involves all other aspects of the recorded sound. So, according to your pretzel logic, if you achieve a wide soundstage you automatically achieve low distortion, low noise, proper tone, frequency response, and all of the other audio parameters. You also said headphones are unable to provide the soundstage information. Any of this ringing any bells? You also informed us that Tuning is the ONLY way to achieve a big wide soundstage and that if there were other ways to do it your guys would have found them and incorporated them into the whole Tuning thing. Still not ringing any bells?

Ya gotta love it when someone who isn't discussing things honestly, on so many occasions, putting words in peoples' mouths and so forth, declaring "yes, we've tried all those things," should make the statement,

"I'm not trying to start something, but would like honest thoughts on this."

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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One thing that is missing from this thread

The funny part about this thread is that we are comparing the quality of a dying format to a dead format.

For the .1% of tape decks sold that delivered Audiophile grade sound, I will acknowledge that they sounded very good and other than the hiss, delivered very respectable quality. I still have my Carver TDR-1550 and although not in the same class as the Nakamichi's, still a damn nice deck but it is in the .1%. It was like $800 in 1994. I paid a lot less for my Carver CD player.

In regard to the other 99.9% of cassette decks sold in the country, they sounded like crap. Worse than crap in most cases. CDs dramatically improved sound quality for almost every consumer as the average CD player way outperforms the average tape deck. And that is the important thing here.

For the small number of people who had the money and/or were committed enough to attaining audiophile grade cassette sound, it was an annoying but good sounding format. For a lot less money and a lot less effort, you could get as good or damn close to as good sound out of CDs. Also, you can skip tracks, they never wear our and your players never destroy your recordings.

Now, CDs are dying for a different reason. Why bother skipping bad tracks when I don't even need to buy them. And if I buy ALAC or FLAC files, the quality is as good if not better than CDs. It has taken convenience to a completely different level.

We are arguing the merits of an audio format that is dead because it was inconvenient to use, sounded inferior on 99.9% of players, required maintenance in the form of regular cleaning and even when everything was working well, a very good player might eat and destroy your recording because it was wound a hair too loose.

And CDs are dying because musicians largely seem incapable of producing more than one or two songs that don't suck, and fill the balance of their albums with "music" that no audio format can make sound good. This is just pure economics.

The vinyl renaissance proves that if a format really sounds great, is moderately easy to use and players that sound good are available at accessible prices, consumers will come back to it but the number of new releases and even classic releases that will succeed on vinyl will be greatly reduced.

No amount of hipsters walking around with vintage Walkman's will be able to resurrect cassette's and pre-recorded CDs will be gone soon.

Incidentally, the OP talked about the nostalgic feeling or putting together a mix tape and that was awesome and it was the sound quality, but the thought that counted or the memories associated with it. Even radio recordings could be great. I remember listening to a recording of Led Zepplin A to Z from 'Dyer Maker to the Imigrant Song. I probably listened to that tape 1000 times. To this day I still associate John Lennon's Imagine with the song Houses of the Holy because of an add that ran before it seeking support for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for John Lennon. Those are the things that were great about cassette's.

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I'm just the piano player

My comments regarding cassette sound quality are not directed at shitty sounding cassette players. Any more than you would use a shitty sounding CD player to make a point about CD quality. You say you owned a .1% cassette tape player yet you say you don't like the sound of cassettes. Do you see the pretzel logic in what you said? It doesn't make sense. What we have here ladies and germs is nothing more than a simple controvery. And as we all know there are two sides to every controvery. If there weren't any controversies in audio things would get a little uh slow. Both CDs and cassettes have their advantages and disadvantages, sound quality wise, I'm just pointing them out. Hel-loo. Don't shoot me, I'm just the piano player. You digital dudes get SO defensive, geez! Lol. By the way, now that you bring up tape hiss, I wish it were audible on CDs, the ones that were remastered from the original master tapes. Why can't you hear tape hiss on CDs? You should be able to, no? Is it the same reason CDs don't have air? Just curious. Am I missing something? Lol

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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reel to reel

I'm also a little surprised this conversation has not come around to reel to reel. It's odd to me that there is not a reel to reel vs vinyl debate.

As far as the amount of sources out there to be found, there are collectors in almost any type of medium if you look deep enough. There are plenty of music forums out there besides high end audio ones. We need to remember that the High End Audiophile market is not nearly as big as the general music lover market. When you look at the charts of any medium such as the rise of Vinyl we need to keep in context that this rise did not happen with High Enders, but a completely different chapter of audiophile.

Because most of us are born of TAS and Stereophile, it's easy to think we are the buying public. That's not neccessarily the case. Walk into your local record shop and ask the buyer if they have heard of TAS or Stereophile and more times than not the answer is "who"? "I didn't know there was a high end audio club". Or you will hear them talk about a friend who is into it, but most of these guys and gals are not part of the same ranks, websites and social networks as the mainstream highender.

If the buyer is there any product of past days can be reborn. There are more people who own record collections out of fashion than there are high end audio guys. Go to your search engineers and type in music forums and get an education on who the market is.

Not to discount what bierfeldt is saying cause you are very on target I think, but if we are talking about dead, we should be looking into social media for the real answers to the buying market place and the definition of "dead" when it comes to music movements. If we look at this forum and TAS's as compared to other music forums we on here would be considered the dead.

I'm sure both Stereophile and TAS are going to have a far different look in years to come. Again to second what bierfeldt is saying "files" and I have no doubt "smart phones" are going to and already do rein as the king of music playback. Nothing is going to bring back any of the old technologoies past the level of niche products. Saying that though, there's nothing wrong with supporting and building the "niche" world. 20 million pieces of vinyl a year is still a worth while venture. The latest update is a worth while read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramophone_record . Still compare these numbers to files or Compact Discs and the vinyl market looks like a spect on the windshield.

Cassette tapes? If you have a collection, or belong to a cassette club your probably good to go, but I can't see the cassette come roaring back (who knows).

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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Oh, geez, not Soundstage again, geoff says

geoff, have you met anyone in this hobby who doesn't listen to a soundstage?

If so could we have a list please. I have never been involved in a recording or playback situation where it was not about the soundstage, nor have I worked with anyone else or seen anyone else not put the soundstage at the top of the list in anything stereo. How can you even be here talking stereo if you don't even acknowledge it?

The act of "stereo" is a soundstage. I understand your just trolling but don't you think it does you more harm than good, when the entire hobby of stereo and you writing on a forum called "stereophile" which is about soundstages, and your painting a negative picture of the stage? I'm sorry but the entire hobby is about revealing a soundstage not marginalizing it.

using wiki

"Stereophonic sound or, more commonly, stereo, is a method of sound reproduction that creates an illusion of directionality and audible perspective. This is usually achieved by using two or more independent audio channels through a configuration of two or more loudspeakers (or stereo headphones) in such a way as to create the impression of sound heard from various directions, as in natural hearing. Thus the term "stereophonic" applies to so-called "quadraphonic" and "surround-sound" systems as well as the more common two-channel, two-speaker systems. It is often contrasted with monophonic, or "mono" sound, where audio is in the form of one channel, often centered in the sound field (analogous to a visual field). Stereo sound is now common in entertainment systems such as broadcast radio and TV, recorded music and the cinema."

You trying to pick fights with me or anyone, using the lack of soundstage or marginalizing it's importance to the hobby as your arguement, on a forum call Stereophile, seems to be the worst thing you could possibly do if you are trying to build a credible voice.

I can't speak for the rest of the readers here or posters, but I'm here to talk about and promote stereo. If you wish to keep stalking me around this forum, Okie dokie but my story is the same. I really don't think anyone here with any kind of brain is taking you up on me not being about stereo. If so I invite them to TuneLand and read for themselves.

I also don't want to be associated with you and try to be nice but sincerly hope no one is puting you and I in any sort of same camp. I know this site is mostly old farts who don't hang out together and have needy spirits, but I also think there are others who are here for the sake of this being stereophile, and it's sad that the public has to sort through the mix, but again that's a black eye for Stereophile not the music lover.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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Time out for TuneLand Tinkle Time

 photo photo_26_zpsnx4mihe0.jpg

Always nice to hear how you don't wish to speak for other people here and hope you feel better after tinkling all over this thread about cassettes. If you wish to hump my leg about soundstage and how Tunees enjoy a soundstage as big as the state of Kansas or whatever I urge you to start your own thread, let's see, you could call it Soundstage, good bad or indifferent? And can I remind you, don't put words in my mouth. I never said any of the things regarding Soundstage you just accused me of. Can I suggest you keep a log so you won't have to rely on your memory which is showing signs of early Althsheimers. Even better, hire one of those Tuning gals as your secretary, let her keep track of who said what. Obviously you either can't keep track or are just lying again, difficult to tell which.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Part of my point was

The gap between a great tape deck and all the rest is much bigger than a great CD player and all the rest. I remember when I was a kid during the 80s - I am not an old fart, thank you very much - when CD players were on the rise but still relatively innaccesible and asking a friend, why CD? First thing he said was they were so much clearer than tapes. Second was that you could skip tracks or play something on random.

Fact is, even with a DAC from 25 years ago when CD players became much more affordable, for instance in a boom box or shelf system, they sounded much better than the corresponding tape deck in that same system. That is what most people remember most about Cassettes.

Now, The point about the lack of hiss on CDs recorded from tape based masters would suggest to me that the hiss is an artifact of the compact cassette and not tape specifically. Dolby HX Pro was a big advance in noise reduction technology but was introduced while tapes were circling the drain. Innovation just stopped because the market went away . Had CDs not come out or become affordable for 10 or 20 more years we may have had completely hiss free compact cassettes. And then the media would have still died because of the fast forward and rewind buttons.

Billions of cassettes were sold so it will never go away completely, but I believe it will remain much more niche than vinyl because of shortcoming that have nothing to do with the sound. When you factor in that most people have never heard a good sounding tape, that seems like a double whammy. I know the post title isn't obscure media and its likelihood of turning into a $100M industry, but it helps reinforce the real point.

When CDs came out, virtually everyone said "wow, they sound so much better than tapes." I said it and stick by tape mediocrity because I had to spend $5500 on an audiophile grade system in 1994 to make a tape sound good. I had a wow moment when I first played a tape on my Carver system. I didn't when I played a CD. CDs sounded better but the improvement wasn't as obvious. And, because tapes were annoying, I basically stopped listening to them and slowly converted to CDs like everyone else.

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“Oh, geez, not Soundstage again.”

Geoff said about you Michael :-

>>>: “You also informed us that Tuning is the ONLY way to achieve a big wide soundstage and that if there were other ways to do it your guys would have found them and incorporated them into the whole Tuning thing.” <<<

And you, Michael, said :-

>>> “the entire hobby is about revealing a soundstage” <<<

So, it is going to be very interesting, in fact Extremely interesting, as the discussion progresses regarding the effect on the “soundstage” of such as the Synergistic Research Acoustic Enhancement Atmosphere currently being offered by Stereophile as a ‘prize’ they are giving away !!

Because, Michael, the effect of the Synergistic device (creating the Schumann resonance) is to enhance the Soundstage as experienced and described by one reviewer just recently :-

Quotes from the Review of the Synergistic Research Acoustic Enhancement Atmosphere by Steven Plaskin in the December 2014 “AudioStream!”.

>>> “In My Listening Room
This Scene places the performers in your room with settings optimized for close miked string instruments like guitar or when you wish to hear enhanced focus and clarity. In the default setting, low frequency control, natural midrange texture, and clear image focus are characteristic of In My Listening Room. In addition to the default setting, one can move the slider at the bottom of the image and access the Advanced Settings. One can select a Liquid sound or Sharp sound, Studio or Live sound that opens up the soundstage.

I particularly like this Scene for its enhancement of the clarity and focus of voices and instruments. One can easily expand the soundstage with the Live selection or enhance detail with the Sharp setting.” <<<

Showing that there is already a wealth of musical information, already present in the listening environment, but which is not being resolved correctly without the presence of such a device.

This is evidenced by the fact that the Synergistic device creating the Schumann Resonance is NOT attached to any audio equipment – so therefore not dealing with any shortcomings of that equipment, NOR is it attached to any wall or acoustic surface – so therefore not dealing with any shortcomings regarding room acoustics.

Showing that there is a wealth of musical information already on the disc (or tape) but not being resolved correctly until such a device is introduced into the room. Showing that this ‘wealth of musical information’ has already been handled quite adequately by the audio equipment and presented into the room and showing that this ‘wealth of musical information’ has not been limited by the room acoustics !!

Which leaves the question “What had been preventing this ‘wealth of musical information’ being resolved correctly - before the Synergistic device was introduced into the listening environment ?”.

Everytime I ask you such questions I get the answer “Done the questions and got the answers”.

So, Michael, I will ask again. How is it that the reviewer I have quoted from heard a better Soundstage AFTER the Synergistic device had been introduced into his listening environment than he had been hearing before ? Seeing that not one of your “variable tuning” techniques had been used ? Seeing that you repeatedly claim that yours is THE method, is THE answer, and is THE truth ??

Regards,
May Belt,
PWB Electronics.

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The CD is born

bierfeldt said

"When CDs came out, virtually everyone said "wow, they sound so much better than tapes." I said it and stick by tape mediocrity because I had to spend $5500 on an audiophile grade system in 1994 to make a tape sound good. I had a wow moment when I first played a tape on my Carver system. I didn't when I played a CD. CDs sounded better but the improvement wasn't as obvious. And, because tapes were annoying, I basically stopped listening to them and slowly converted to CDs like everyone else."

mg

This was my experience and take-a-way too. I had pretty good success with Tape (especially reel to reel). The cassette movement was an attempt at making reel to reel portable and or for the car. Some of the companies did do good jobs for what it was but the whole idea of alignment spelled the death. A stock tape or tape head sooner or later is going to get out-of-line.

Cd's I never had a problem with, mainly because I treated them more like something that needed adjusted like any other source trying to match the recorded code to the playback, but even stock the CD had more of a chance over tapes (that almost always need aligned or EQed) and tables (that were completely about aligning).

I think most people would agree, if you set a CDP, a turntable and a reel to reel (full size or portable) side by side with no adjustment at all the CD has a greater chance of taking the prize.

about the age comment and other stuff

Wasn't refering to any one in particular about the age BTW. Sometimes it just feels like a nursing home here to me. Again not refering to you bierfeldt, you were very clear in your points of view and statements. I was refering to any time I'm around audio people who can't take the time to listen together but have the time to shmuck, I don't take their comments serious.

I find on this forum many who don't have much experience on topics yet act like they are some sort of world authority. If I or any other professional acted this way in a live session we would be shown the door pretty darn quick. (unless their dad owns the studio, ran into that a few times lol) And I think many in this industry spend their time inventing a voice when they haven't really done the research, work and experience to make accurate or even true statements. Their like these little audio bobbleheads popping up to look relevant.

These are people who when you say to them, "what are you listening to tonight?", they have no answer, or make up one, or troll.

It makes it a pain for those of us who have a blast listening and wish to share the fun.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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Good one! A post about nothing

Michael wrote,

"Cd's I never had a problem with, mainly because I treated them more like something that needed adjusted like any other source trying to match the recorded code to the playback, but even stock the CD had more of a chance over tapes (that almost always need aligned or EQed) and tables (that were completely about aligning)."

But we're not discussing cassette players that are misaligned. We're talking about cassette players and cassttes in good condition. We're not talking about cassettes that' have been played too much, left out in then sun too long, missing the little felt pad, crappy sounding cassettes or cassettes played on bog standard earphones or headphones. Of course you can come up with disadvantages to anything. There are disadvantages to each type of medium. We all know the drill. For vinyl it's the misalignment, too, that is a big issue. Now I'll grant you CDs are relatively convenient and I don't imagine the laser misalignment is a big problem, but geez, who can stand to listen to the stupid things? Perfect drek forever. Whereas, cassettes even on a cheapo portable player, one that's working properly, not like your ridiculous example, a misaligned one, the sound is glorious - open, airy, musical, dynamic, detailed with loads of snap, crackle and pop! If you cannot hear the difference between CDs and cassettes you need a good ear candling.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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MG - No worries about the age comment

I was just kidding but know exactly what you mean.

I am most definitely not an expert, but I have been an active audiophile for more than 20 years. I am not an engineer or an audio professional. That being said, I go out and listen to audio equipment the way car guys go out and test drive sports cars. It's fun. I like hearing new and different things. I just like music and have always sought extraordinary sound so I could maximize my enjoyment. One of the things that bothers me about this an many forums is the arrogance of many of the posters and the outright dismissiveness and contempt they show for people who are just trying to learn or are trying to spend their limited funds as wisely as possible.

I feel like there's are three different schools of thought or parties. The guys where innovation is the enemy and are hard rejectors of technological advancement. Then we have a hybrid group where DAC advancements and improvements in speaker technology are great but certain advancements like Audyssey or Class D amplifiers are just a step too far. We have a third group that embraces all new technology as it comes and is ready for prime time. I most definitely fall in the last group and stick around out here because I feel like that group is severely under represented.

One other thing, to Geoff. Your point on limitations of every format is probably the most true thing anyone can say. What I am going to do is go find a recording I have on disc or file, vinyl and cassette and give it a listen. I will acknowledge that the last time I played a classical cassette, I remember being surprised at how good it sounded. I am almost certain I have some Black Sabbath tapes still floating around, I will give it a serious test. If my wife will humor me, I will try and get her to help me with a blind test.

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the forum & remembering

Yep, I have to admit after I'm here for a while getting back to Tuneland is like dying and going to audio heaven.

At the same time Stereophile is the place where the listeners should be, and people should be able to come up here with the pride wall in check. I see the whole reason for a forum like this to be one of sharing music fun. Allowing flames and flamers is the last thing I think the management of Stereophile should allow to happen.

I hate to keep coming back up here and saying how much I like "all" sources and almost "all" recordings and have been listening to them successfully, only to be followed around by a jacka** making me repeat myself. A big waste of time when there is music to be listened to.

I float around from my now 4 setups and talk to people around the world about their setups and love for the hobby and come here to be flamed, no thanks. Will I stop coming? No thanks, I love this hobby and meeting you guys and hope the day will come where there is harmony for all.

You said "Your point on limitations of every format is probably the most true thing anyone can say." refering to geoff's comment. I look at statements like this as something to build ideas and relationships on. At the same time geoff needs to see others as people who wish to talk about a community of moving forward and not, just another flame, or something he must turn into one. My response to a comment like that one is "we should see what the limitations really are, past just our personals systems limitations". I don't see any flame in that type of statement yet there are folks here who would read this only with the intent to make war. Nothing about exploring the possibilities, simply angry guys being on a forum they have no business on if they are here to turn it into flames.

Audio, past, present, future is a gift to enjoy and explore, not something we use as an internet flame.

Man, remember the days of Black Sabbath and Led and all those great bands and our tape decks, that was a blast. I got to listen to a lot of these when I ran tapes in Florida. So my job was to take the mother masters and run off tapes, reel to reel and cassettes. I went home every night with a fresh copy right of the mother for my own listening. So this is what shaped my views of tape. I got to hear them before they ever went to be mass produced. The mothers smoked the sound of the generations down stream. Like wise I did the same with vinyl and CD's. Your views on all this is quite a bit different when you are in on the making vs from a consumer view.

I say this again because I wonder why someone would even try to flame me without having the same experience to base stuff on, but I come up here and there's a geoff or may or catch just waiting to pounce on something they have no experience with and I say "what the H*** are these guys talking about"?

I hope this someday will change before the death of the forum, as people decide they want to hang out some place fun. I hope this becomes the place where the fun can happen. Than again, maybe this is J.Gordon's argumentative side coming back to haunt. Maybe Stereophile cares more about keeping the arguments alive over sharing the good of the hobby. To that I have not made up my mind yet.

As for myself as a designer and part of the music biz, I see that music brings the best out of those who are successful at it and the devil out of those who aren't.

here's to the good times

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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