Really, Truly, refreshing to see a positive and uplifting OP.
I think a lot of it has to due with Covid, no seriously. I think Audiogon in general may have a lot of people with a lot of extra time on their hands that just like to comment, get their numbers up or just be a troll. Add the extra time of being home due to quarantine and now that just amplifies the extra post. What gripes me is if someone post looking for information about their system or brand X vs Z, I love when people comment with absolutely no relevant information just to comment. Cable post are the worst. Yes I know it is system dependent, so do most of the other thousands of members, but if someone has a question about brand X of a cable with their brand Z speakers, answers like "cables are snake oil" are just a waste. The question wasn’t about if you think cables work, the questions was asking for experience with a certain brand. If you have no experience with that brand, kindly move to the next thread, rubbish snake oil answers just clog the post, start fights and prohibit the OP from getting their answers which is truly what a forum is about.
On balance the blather far outweighs the useful. That said, pay attention, sift and search, this is where I learned about DBA, HFT, ECT, PHT, PPS, springs and Townshend Pods, Herron, Soundsmith, Raven, Tekton, and much, much more.
Some of these like springs and Schumann resonators I never in a million years would have tried without people like Rixthetrick, roxy54 and magister helpfully describing how they sound.
Things like these have brought my system to a level I would not have thought possible. Okay technically it was me that did this. Everyone else gets the same info, but only a few of us actually bother to act on it. If more did, imagine where they could be now.
But instead, not only is it just a small minority who listen, but a larger and much more vocal majority not only don't listen they bash bash bash and actually succeed in driving away a lot of the best contributors.
One of the worst even devotes a whole thread to mocking and insulting people who try and make their systems better.
So it is a mixed bag. The site itself is useful. Wish the same could be said of more of the people posting on it. Guess the same could be said of the internet, and life in general. KBO, as Churchill used to say. KBO.
Top things I’ve learned on Audiogon:
1) I needed to upgrade my old Pre-amp. Someone here I trusted told me so.
2) discovered Class D amps
3) learned a lot about tube gear from many. A lot from Atmasphere and Almarg in particular.
4) dispersion patterns are an important consideration when choosing speakers. This topic is an Audiokinesis specialty.
5) Impedance matching between components is key. You are trapped if this is not done right. This topic was an Almarg specialty.
6) Wires can matter. So can power conditioning. YMMV here.
7) people here helped me tune and match my phono section specifically...cart to step up TF to phono stage. Also got the idea to use mu-metal foil as an EM shield around my otherwise noisy but now dead-quiet step-up transformer here somewhere.
8) Jitter control is key when it comes to DACs and digital sources. I’ve found Kijanki’s posts on this and other topics very helpful over the years.
9) Good bass does not come easy. More demanding of power than I realized prior. You need lots of quality power/muscle in most every case to truly do it completely and well. This is where Class D amps shine uniquely in particular.
10) learned to consider and factor in how human ears work as part of the system.
11) Lots of good products to choose from and how to do it.
12) Mamboni helped me a lot early on to learn more about Ohm Walsh speakers.
13) learned a lot about the instruments used in making music and the sounds they make as a result of topics discussed here.
Notice a lot of the people mentioned here are professional engineers with large knowledge base and willing to share. Guess what I do for a living? Not related to audio though. There have been many others I have learned from though, not always technical gurus, just credible folks with good experiences to relate.
My understanding is Mamboni was a retired classical musician in a major symphony orchestra I believe and also a big Ohm Walsh fan. He is probably the one who helped me set my course here the most early on.
By the way old posts by smart people are not forgotten history here. You can look up all posts ever done by any member here if so inclined.
To me, this site is so much more than just a buyer's guide. Yeah, things can sometimes get a might testy here but I still enjoy the heck out of the joint. I enjoy the passion here. I get a kick out of how articulate some of the posters are. Am I offended that discussions involving PrimaLuna tend to devolve into blood sport? Well, yeah, but then I slap myself a couple of times and tell myself to get over it.
The negative comments don't bother me as long as they aren't mere personal attacks. It's an entertainment/hobby site, not unlike sports boards. It's not 'important' in any sense. I didn't love my music any less when i had scratchy used Seraphim discs playing on my BIC turntable or cheap cassettes on a Sony tape deck. And if someone denigrates low-end tube amps or face-palms because I have lampcord speaker cables or is outraged that I play cd's at all, so what? It's not going to make anything sound different to me, nor is it going to inspire me to pay (or regret not paying) 20-30K to improve things with a room re-build or a new pair of speakers (it might inspire me to invest $100 or so or perform some simple $0 tweaks!).
I was a nut for audio in the 70’s and early 80’s, with intermittent toes back in ever since. I was an early Audiogon member, then had kids and had a demanding career, and am now back enjoying lots of music. Even though I am an old hand, I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed my membership immensely upon my return to membership! I am lucky to have really great new and vintage audio stores near me (Command Performance and Hifi Heaven), and my experience has helped me separate wheat from chaff here. But, boy, there are some knowledgeable and savvy people here. I am grateful for the site!
Audiogon is my go to for some of the best audio discussions and equipment. Many other places to go too thanks to the world wide web. AG was my first audiophile forum experience in 2007. Born in 1950's so guess my first 'audiophile' experience was in the 70's along with some other beginnings.
I have blocked maybe 2 or 3 users in 14 years. Took a quick look could not find but worked a year ago when was more than appropriate.
Totally agree. This site can be a great resource. I have searched old discussions to make upgrade decisions in my journey for better sound quality. Many knowledgeable audio enthusiasts here. Everyone has a different “flavor” they seek in the sound of their systems. I like the warmth of tubes. Others prefer the crispness of class D. It isn’t a matter of right or wrong. Just a preference. I watch for posts that more closely relate to my preferences when reading posts. Posts that are not in line with my preferences are still informative and I read to increase my knowledge of high end audio. No need for bashing. We all share the passion.
I hang around here because I'm retired, suddenly have extra time on my hands and have nothing better to do.
My impression is that I'm a fairly typical Audiogon member; born in the 1950's, became very interested in music and the gear to reproduce it well in high school in the mid 1970's, added video in-home reproduction to my interests during college in the late 1970's and began building my 1st serious home a/v systems after graduating, getting my 1st serious job and having much more disposable income.
I believe the sad reality is that many of us built our 1st decent audio systems, of course with vinyl as the source if you're about my age, when we had little money but big aspirations. If we stay interested in the hobby, it then typically takes a substantial increase in income or several years to truly build one's first high quality audio or a/v system.
I remember religiously reading every issue of Stereophile cover to cover in the 1980's, back when it came in a small book-like form, and daydreaming about my ideal system if I won the Lotto or saved enough disposable income. But I also was daydreaming about assembling the best system I could given my actual limited budget,
I think it's still possible for a newbie to build a very good quality system on a limited budget but it takes a learning curve and/or some good advice from a knowledgeable and experienced source, a willingness to buy used gear, a certain minimum requirement of intelligence. common sense and determination to do it well.
As I look back on my a/v system building journey, now much older and gimpier, I can clearly make sense of my journey and progression in a/v system quality level from highly questionable to my current system that I consider very high quality and that I'm almost completely satisfied with. But it took me almost 50 friggin years to get here!!
I understand I could have certainly expedited this process if I had access to a great resource like Audiogon along the way, but I didn't even discover and join this site until 2013. I know I've accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience along my a/v journey, however, and I'm glad to be able to share my limited lessons learned along the way with others; as well as to keep learning from the many knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic fellow travelers here.
I've learned a lot here on Audiogon that influenced my systems since 2013: that some class D amps were actually very good, constantly improving and worth a try, that some good quality interconnects and power cords actually are beneficial to overall sound quality and that one member in particular, audiokinesis, is an expert on getting very good bass performance in virtually any room.
I think of this Audiogon virtual meeting place as somewhat like the bar in Cheers. It's a demographically and temperamentally diverse and interesting collection of characters/loiterers that share a common interest. No, not drinking, high quality audio/video. I'll leave it up to you guys and gals to decide which members represent which characters from Cheers.
Thank you, baclagg, for a very nice post! I don't think any of us will stop posting anytime soon. We can't, we're just as enthusiastic about, and hopelessly addicted to, this enjoyable hobby as you seem to be.
I’ve found this site immensely helpful, overall. I agree with several of the posters' observations about what they learned from the experienced and, in some cases, highly educated (e.g. almarg, RIP) members here.
Here’s what I’ve especially liked, here:
Expert advice. Some of my questions are really specific -- e.g. I had one about electrical outlets with reversed polarity. That lead to a week of me testing outlets, reporting voltages, and getting advice. Wow. Can’t buy tailored help like that.
Friendship. Not being corny. I’ve reached out via direct message to posters here who responded kindly and with helpful, specific answers to my specific questions. They have direct messaged or emailed me with further advice. I believe I have made a couple genuine friends, here. That’s something I am really grateful for.
Understanding of the hobby. I’ve gotten a good sense of where the divisions of opinion are -- vinyl vs. digital, etc. While these questions have not been settled for me, it’s given me an MRI as to where the important issues are.
Connection with an older generation. I’m in my 50s. Most of my friends are, too. My parents are in their 90s and my kids are teens. But here on Audiogon, many are 10+ years older than me. I appreciate hearing what they think, where their journey has taken them, and I have learned from their memories of an audio age (e.g. the 1970’s) when I was just learning about audio but not able to afford much or pay that much attention.
There is snark, put-downs, weird tales of elaborate conspiracies, unfounded claims, and myopic advice. There is a lot of repetition of questions. But amidst this forgettable noise there is all the good signal, and I keep coming back. I like it here.
Its a great site ! This hobby like most people I read about has given me years of enjoyment. I truly appreciate the effort and time people have put in sharing their knowledge and experience . A good friend of mine who introduced me to the site instructed me to ignore the negatives.
Great advice. I just skip over the trolls and move on....... Thank you to all the contributors.
I stated on an earlier post:" I hang around here because I'm retired, suddenly have extra time on my hands and have nothing better to do."
Cleeds then felt the need to post and state: "That's just sad."
Thank you for your concern but there's really no need to fret. My statement was facetious and made in an attempt to be sardonic. While it is true that I'm retired, I'm actually the opposite of sad and have numerous hobbies and interests that usually keep me quite busy but currently only fairly so. This is mainly due to Covid-19 restricting my varied and extensive travel plans.
Thanks again for your concern,
OP, Your comments and insights really struck a chord with me. I was an intelligence analyst for 27 years, and the most important training I was given was CEOAD: collect, evaluate, organize, analyze , disseminate. Evaluation requires source evaluation (why do they think that, why are they telling you that, is their information accurate, etc). What you described was textbook intelligence source evaluation.
I cannot emphasize enough that source evaluation is important for any form of information, especially if it is derived from the internet. OP nailed it, as some posters are trollers, some educated, some have different preferences. Research and time will help you determine who gets invited into your information loop.