There are no absolutes. Except for no two people will hear and exprience the exact same thing. We all have different preferences, stimulants, experiences, physiology, and hang-ups. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" applies here.
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1. A component, wire, or tweak must be used (heard) in your own system and room to actually assess/determine its sound quality and value to you.
2. Some tweaks will work and some won't-- in YOUR system, and some can be very beneficial.
3. It's important to develop "critical listening skills", and it's just as important to differentiate between critical listening and listening for pleasure.
4. It's important to understand your own listening preferences/biases.
5. The room is every bit as important as speakers, components, wires, and tweaks.
6. When it comes to speakers, assuming a good quality product, the three most important factors in music quality are location, location, and location.
7. Music is more important than system, and recording quality is really important whether played in a low-fi or high end system.
8. There's no accounting for taste(s).
9. All audiophiles are obsessive-compulsive and suffer from audiophilia nervosa.
10. "Spirits" are an excellent lubricant and can greatly facilitate the enjoyment of listening to music.
Potshots to the above list are welcome. Good thread Hank. Cheers. Craig
There are a few absolute truths:
1. Keep your connections clean for good sound.
2. Get the grounding of your components right for good sound.
3. Get the right polarity in your equipment for good sound
4. Check for room reflections for good sound.
5. Experiment for speaker placement for good sound.
6. Try to decouple your components for good sound.
7. Keep powercables away from interconnects and speakercables.
8. Keep speaker cables and interconnects apart.
9. If they must cross, see to it, that they cross at right anglesnever run them in paralells.
10. output impedance of preamp and input impedance of poweramp should correspond. (ask the geat Sean for the right values)
11. Listen in the dark for better sound.
12. Don't listen alone, but with a significant other for better sound.
13. Have a good glass of red for better sound.
The following is the truth as I know it: Imaging and Soundstage width and depth is due to two things ---- speakers (and the room interface) and the recording!
Anyone who tells you amps and cables can improve the above is a fool with more money than sense, or an audio reviewer who claims to hear improvements because he must in order to keep getting all those nice (expensive?) toys to play with.
I've got thick skin and good ears, so slam away.
It's easier, cheaper and more time efficient to consider yourself a music lover instead of an audiophile.
Stay behind the technology curve and buy used to save lots of $$$.
Audio mags can be enjoyable to read, but if you ever find yourself taking them seriously, stop reading them.
Lasagna is better than turkey, but only with the perspective of taste. In terms of a healthy diet, turkey is much better. I don't see how ANYBODY could claim that lasagna is better than turkey is an absolute truth. Geesh!
Don't put plants on your stereo equipment.
Don't water the plants that you have on your stereo equipment.
Don't play vinyl after you've smoke the plants on your stereo equipment.
Don't use Drano to clean any of your stereo equipment or software.
If your puppy develops parvo, keep the puppy far away from your stereo equipment.
Don't even attempt to have a critical listening session when your wife is in the same room.
Don't throw a bachelor party for a Navy SEAL in the same room as your stereo equipment.
Don't let a "rap" or "hip-hop" DJ use your turntable or play your vinyl.
Don't try to argue with someone who thinks CD's sound better than vinyl.
Don't tell the majority of your friends and family how much your stereo equipment, cables and power cords cost.
DON'T LET CHILDREN IN THE SAME ROOM AS YOUR EQUIPMENT WHEN YOU'RE NOT THERE!!!
And of course: music is in the ears of the beholder!
The possibility something in your system will break is directly proportional to the length of time before the visitor arrives, their importance, and the distance they traveled.
If the system does not break, your library of 6000 LP's does NOT contain the music requested by your guest.
If the system does not break and you have the visitors favorite music, the lights will go off in spite of clear blue skies and no bad weather in a 300 mile radius.
If none of the above occur, the guest will be in a chatty mood, speaking over the music with topics of furniture refinishing or how bad the roads are near his home.
If you have never suffered any of these, you are not a audiophile.
God exists. And He requires much of each and every one of us.
As to absolute truths in audio?
1. One must spend a lot of money in this hobby to realize one need not spend a lot of money.
2. When it comes to some to many so-called 'high-end' products and reviewer's opinions; "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a platapus."
3. When a reviewer says about a component; "It's like being strapped to a rocket sled and lighting the fuse.", you can bet dollars to doughnuts he's had too much chile the night before.
4. Frequency reproduction below 40Hz matters as much as any other part of the spectrum no matter what others say.
5. Room acoustics really do account for up to 80% of the sound.
I really liked reading here. I have read, and read many (conflicting and contrary) reviews, and advice, etc. It is very interesting after reading everything, that there isn't
a clearer understanding. I find in life, that it isn't so much what I learn, as it is what I unlearn, that really teaches me. I find myself enjoying my system more, and learning to let my ears be the judge. It seems to not be an overnite process though, but it is starting to be a little bit more enjoyable.
I just don't know, but I sure did when I started. I think what I mean is that I am unlearning some of the overbearing hype that seemed to get in the way of the fun that this can be. Not that I have overcome my obsessions, just that I am
doing the same thing I was, only with better self control.
Certain amps really spark a curiosity in me (Citation 7.1),
and the Audible Illusions Modulus 3a preamp seems like a really good sounding component, but I can live with what I have. What really helps me is to read the above, because it helps to confirm what I have been feeling. Thanks....
*A bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush.* Don't fret over the fact that what you have isn't good enough until you explore all the options that will make it as good as it can be. So often we give up and move on to the next "improvement" without realizing the full potential of what we have.
"Keep your connections clean for good sound." To further expand on that excellent advice by Detlof the following is offered, if you are a tube groover, don't forget to clean those tube pins! A dremel tool, polishing pad and a wee bit of compound is all it takes. It's cheap, will make a dramatic difference especially with those NOS tubes that have been sitting in the box for the past 30 years.
Another audio truth, the amount of money spent does not necessarily correlate with greater enjoyment of listening to reproduced music.
In response to CDC:
No matter how much you spend or what you buy you will never be satisfied."
I had a system 5+ years back in the UK (now in SF, Cal.) that cost minimal money but I had a fabulous room for it:
Brick walls (double thick)
About 20' x 16'
System was in a steel 2 shelf frame bolted to solid end wall
and no complaining neighbors!
System consisted of ($$ are very aprox and $=UK pounds)
Pioneer A400 integrated - Giant killer($120 used)
(I have never heard anything as satisfying since http://www.audioreview.com/PRD_116076_1583crx.aspx)
Pioneer stable platter CD used as transport ($200~)
Cabletalk speaker cable ($3 meter)
Cambridge DAC? (about $150-200)
Turntable Dual?? (made in Germany)
B&W P4's slim floorstanders - another Giant Killer (about $400 used)
If I could have that system again I would be happy for life!
(the only thing stopping me is the voltage difference!)
Total cost about $1000 UK pounds, nirvana
...but do need the suitable environment too :)
Well said, Albert. Don't overlook other possibilities in that last thirty minutes before the visitor arrives:
1. A ground loop hum will appear when you've never had one before.
2. The visitor will bring a crying infant and/or a three year old curtain climber with inquisitive fingers.
3. The furnace blower will develop a rumble and the day will be far too cold to do without heat.
4. Worst of all, the distinguished visitor will be totally unimpressed.