ONLY if you think YOUR priorities are the ONLY right ones! Mine ARE, in MY listening room. Natural and balanced ARE, in the venues I set up(according to my clients).
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All one has to do is go to any high end event and listen to the myriad systems on display and the loyal followers, the know it alls, the disparagers, and the ones with the bemused looks on their faces. We all know what sounds good to us from the journeys we've taken and it can only be seen through the prejudices we have developed.
I really like your question and the way you framed it.
I agree, we listen with our ears and can only really know
that single certainty. We listen with others and to others
systems, but we listen with biased tastes. Like eating a
great meal, certain flavors are more endearing to our palet
than someone else's. We base our opinions on many things but
mostly inner ego, or what satisfies us. Is that prejudice or
just selfish behavior, or are they the same?
Yes, I think audiophiles are sound-prejudiced. Audiophiles pre-judge based on the expectations and preferences of what sound quality is, built up over time. It's human nature. Being an audiophile is about sound quality and audiophiles are very discerning of it. Because the equipment is very sensitive and does not guarantee success when putting a system together, our prejudices make it complicated to achieve the sound quality desired. Audiophile systems are by their nature, not plug and play. There is typically trial and error involved in the process of building a satisfying system. Sound prejudice has much to do with the entire process.
Nonoise, thank you for your kind words and thoughts.
Theo, Prejudice is typically something which is prejudged. Much like premeditation changes a killing to a murder. It also confers the idea of a lack of openness to what something may or could sound like or be like. A musician may have, and hopefully will have, a very good idea of what their instrument should sound like. Selfish behavior is based usually on what one perceives is best for that person, which may or may not be the case. The difficulty with separating them is that one's prejudices may be so centered around one's thoughts of what is best for one's self that they can be difficult to disentangle.
No, not exactly. Different genres of music sound best on different systems. Extreme audiophile's systems highlight the music and certain aspects of that music they like best. This is most apparent in choice of cartridge. Someone who likes female jazz vocals will prefer Grado, while someone who likes Rock will consider Grado a "slow" cartridge, and this continues for the rest of the components.
It's the music we like that determines the gear we prefer.
Tmsorosk, Just met a dealer of fine audio equipment and he has very set opinions, so just because many of us have been at it for awhile is no guaranty that we will approach it with an open mind. I know I get some flack for thinking people will listen to what I play for a demonstration instead of just reacting to the music as to whether they like it or not.
Orpheus10, agree partially with you, yes in trying to get the most out of this or that record it has caused me to work on my whole system, and once that one was taken care of reasonably well, search for a new record that gave my system problems. The selection of cartridges is indeed a way to advance or hear more of what you like in the music.
So yes it is the music that leads us on, but isn't that based on our prejudices for this or that music genre?
Uru975. I think dealers should be omitted as they have a financial reason for there bias's. For me, the longer I've been at it the more I learn not to be to certain about my ideals. Tweaks are a good example of that, just when your ready to dismiss something you thought was poppycock, someone shows you how wrong you were, then it's back to humblesville. One thing this hobby has taught me above all else is to keep an open mind. I built my first system in 1972 from a bunch of parts I purchased from Ratshack and to date am still learning how little I really know.
To be fair to dealers some do sell lines that they really like and stay away from the rest others sell what sells and to heck with the rest. So for the latter half I agree with you for the former maybe not.
As for what I know that is system and room dependent get beyond that and I am forced to be open to other ideas.
I have to agree with Tmsorosk in that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know and will never know. Everything you learn opens new doors to what you will never know.
Just have to be discerning about what you chase and have fun in the learning.
On a good day,I have heard some systems that have changed completely what I thought was possible and in that exposure changed my prejudice. On others days I'm sure my prejudice caused me to just hear what was missing that I wanted to hear.
"we all hear and listen to or for different things and may have different priorities"
This is a much under-appreciated aspect of the hobby, I think. When we talk about our own likes and dislikes regarding equipment, it's easy to forget that each of us may gravitate toward a different set of the sonic and musical aspects that make up reproduced sound.
Some months ago, one person compared audiophiles to collectors. It made me think of the various gun collectors I know, one of whom cares only for Ruger products, another for black powder, another for single-shot pistols, and so on. Audiophiles can also be quite different in what they want to "collect," with, for exmaple, one concentrating on things like soundstaging, air, and transparency while another focuses more on pace, rhythm, and dynamics.
Here's a budget-priced example: for about the same money, a person can assemble a Sota Moonbeam II, Jolida JD-202A, and a pair Vandersteen 1C speakers, or you could get a Rega RP3, Brio-R, and RS1 speakers. Both systems are good, utilizing components with complementary strengths, but their musical presentations are quite different, and the systems will appeal, or not, to different people based on each person's unique sound prejudices.
I think most dealers do appreciate this, so they carry multiple ranges of products to meet the quite different needs of a wide range of potential customers.
as i think more about the concept of prejudice, i think that some audiophiles are prejudiced against components and /or stereo systems they don't like. they are closed minded when people express preferences which are at odds with their pre-conceived notions of good sound.
i have encountered many cases of this personally, because i tend to prefer stereo systems which are subtractively colored, while most prefer resolution and accuracy, and a lack of coloration.
since audio is a subjective hobby, there is no absolute better or worse sound, only different sets of idiosyncratically based criteria.