An Off Topic Question Re Off Topic Questions

When pondering a question, I try to remember to scan and research old threads and posts on Audiogon first.

Reviewing old threads, I am often reminded what a wonderful community of experts Audiogon has been since I first participated circa 2000.

In particular, I appreciate how many of you are wise, witty, intelligent and very generous with your time and expertise - particularly those of you who are not professionals, and those professionals who give disclaimers and/or do not relentlessly promote their own products.

Knowing that very smart, enthusiastic people are as close as the keyboard has inspired many of you to ask off topic questions, albeit usually cloaked in a cheeky audiophile context:

What do audiophiles drive? What kind of watch do audiophiles wear? Best drink, best bike to ride etc, before a good listening session?

Perhaps this is the best way to proceed, and we can all not so cleverly camouflage our questions within an audio topic and hope the moderators accept them.

However, I for one, would greatly appreciate being able to come to Audiogon, knowing our smart enthusiastic community would most likely come up with some good advice.

It would be nice knowing the moderators wouldn't mind, and without rephrasing questions in the style of:

Which Subzero refrigerator best preserves snacks and drinks to later enjoy during a Blu Ray home theatre demo? Which cardiologist in the New York area might maximize my life span to ensure listening sessions until the age of 100? Which new sports car has the best handling and 0-60 times, even if the trunk is not big enough for any audio equipment? Which lightweight winter parka best alleviates the need to curl up next to my tube amps after being outside in sub zero weather?

I trust you get my point.

Could OFF TOPIC be added to Audiogon as a subset of the Forums, as its own category alongside SPEAKERS, MUSIC, TECH TALK, MISC AUDIO etc?

Would anyone else use and enjoy OFF TOPIC?

Such as a forum for off topic questions?
I think it would be an excellent idea. It is sometimes called "Open Chat" on other forums, and sometimes "Off Topic" as you suggested. It is an idea that seems to work well in my experience on some computer-related forums, at least in cases where the forum as a whole has a culture of respectfulness and maturity.

I suppose the key question is whether the owners and admins would want to accommodate the additional traffic and message volume that it might generate.

-- Al
I've seen this type of thing on other sites. Seems fine if that's what you want. But I look at it this way. When the offbeat topics appear in the general list of topics, I stumble across them randomly and find them an interesting diversion that I might comment on at that time. If I had to specifically go to a different location to read posts that are not really audiophile related, I probably wouldn't bother looking at them at all. So in my case, an off-topic forum would be ignored.
I think it would be useful and interesting, and I am sure it would be pretty easy to set up for the powers that be (they would not even have to announce it). And it might draw more people to the site, which would only be good for the powers that be (and sellers that be).
Its a nice idea although I would probably be similar to Markphd and not specifically look in that forum topic section. I think the benefit of having them in the general section is that you then easily stuble across them and they are an interesting diversion and a bit of fun.
I'm with the "Marked Hens".
Thank you for your replies.

On reflection, yes, I agree that the administrator might take a view on traffic, and forum members might not tune in as closely to "off topic" questions as they might to the latest hot thread on a new component.

The idea, however, is that it would be a resource for members to help other members with other questions.

Therefore, we could make an effort to check it and contribute, in the spirit of the community?

In the meantime, I'll continue to ask questions like

"Which all season tires for a Volvo V70 R wagon best ensure the safe delivery of fragile audio components when there is Northeastern snow and ice on the roads?"

Hi CW, I've seen recommendations for ContiProContact as a sporty/quiet tire for the 850 series, which is of a similar size, and for Continentals, the Kumho Ecsta, and some more expensive Michelins on the VR 70. Never having had more contact with the VR70 R than a bad case of the drools, I would leave this in the hands of greater experts.
Thanks T Bone

In the tradition of off topic questions, I was just rambling another off the top of my head, while barely concealed in a nonsensical audio question.

I was just reflecting on my mistake to use the high performance stock tires last winter - even with the AWD it was really bad, much worse than I expected.

This year (2nd winter for the 2007 V 70 R)Pirelli "all season" tires seem to have been fine on all but the iciest of days and steep driveways.

The car is great - about as cool as it gets for a full blown "family" wagon.

Fun to drive and very comfortable too.
That's what I have always liked about the 'sporty' versions of Volvo wagons - they are generally as functional as they look, and you can surprise a lot of people off the line if you want.
I have some relatives driving Volvos in the northeast. I'd put Michelins or Goodyears on them. Toss a coin. I find the winter Michelins wear down a little more quickly than the Goodyears when the road is bare, but perhaps have better grip on pack snow and glaze.

I drive a minivan. Maybe I could have a Volvo if I didn't have to spend my money on audio equipment.

You make a good point.

On reflection, maybe I could actively biamp my Tympanis if I didnt have to spend my money on the Volvo.
An urgent appeal to the audiogon community, please:

Unfortunately I am writing to inquire about the best furnace to heat your listening room, without depositing soot all over your house and audio components.

On a cold day in NY, I have just been informed that a) the "heat exchanger" in our furnace must be broken which is why b) our ducts have spewed soot all over the house this morning and why therefore c) I need a new furnace.

They have offered to install either a "Hallmark or an Armstrong", have not yet specified the model but have quoted $4875.00 installed. Googling around, I have yet to see furnace for much over $1000 so I am little confused.

If anyone has any experience with these things, I would greatly appreciate it.

Unfortunately, we live in a landmarked community where it is not easy to get or install propane tanks, but perhaps with the appropriate permission that might also be a consideration?
I assume you're talking about an oil burner here and I haven't had to deal with those for decades, gratefully. Going rate for a simple natural gas furnace replacement around here is $2500 Canadian ($2000 US). I'm sure there must be many complications and conversions involved in that quote.
ngjockey, thanks

Yes, an oil burning furnace, but not so sure there are any other complications beyond a distressed homeowner and NY area prices.

I am also looking into a gas replacement, but there may be issues in our area with that as most people seem to burn oil.

If I am stuck with a new oil furnace, was just wondering how out of line $5K might be....

Thank you,
If that's an installed price, its not too bad, IMO, esp. if it includes disposal. However, first you might want to get another opinion on whether its just a clogged nozzle or poorly adjusted burner. How old is the burner?
Oil burners are more expensive. I did a quick google and saw prices between $1200 and $2500, depending on BTU and quality. You don't want to buy a cheap oil burner, it's a tough fuel to burn properly. They even have hi-eff, condensing oil burners but that looks like trouble to me. Add markup, $1000 to $1500 labour, taxes, warranty, duct and chimney cleaning ...

As far as converting, a propane furnace is much cleaner and less maintenance. Propane furnaces are usually much cheaper, offsetting part of the cost of conversion. It's getting harder to find technicians with any experience with oil. Oil is less expensive per BTU with current fuel costs but that savings gets eaten up by yearly service.
Swampwalker and ngjockey thank you so much...we are trying to clean up soot and figure this out...

It seems propane is not used much in our village and there is a lot of red tape involved in getting a permit for the tank.

We believe the furnace dates roughly to 1984, so perhaps not unreasonable that it was at the end of its life?

Re 5K is that is a reasonable price, I guess that is the deal, but obviously would rather spend that kind of cash on a pair of interconnects or something!