Audiophile book of "Common Sense"


It has often been said that,"common sense is very uncommon in the world", and I believe that applies even more to our passion/hobby in the audiophile world. I thought it would be fun and useful to compile an "Audiophile Book of Common Sense" that would contain guidelines and suggestions to help us make good decisions by using our "common sense" towards our passion. So, I'm going to offer a few guidelines to start this project off, but hope the rest of you Gon members will jump right on board and share your suggestions with the rest of us members. 1) No one technology is superior to another technology. Examples- non-upsampling DACS vs upsampling DACS, tubes vs solid-state amps, planar vs box-enclosed speakers, silver vs copper wires, etc. Each has its own merits/differences but not superior to the other one. 2) The difference in the sound of your system with a new piece of equipment doesnot necessarily mean an improvement towards the sound of music in the long run. 3) More expensive equipment usually means better build quality and performance but not necessarily so. 4) Companies that come out with a new product and a few months later have a new "generation" of that piece or a replacement for it are either just trying to sell more through the hype of "new and improved" or came out with their product before it was a finished design. 5) All REVIEWERS should not be trusted, but read for two reasons. First, for fun/entertainment and to see what new products are coming out that you might be interested in, that's all. 6) Your PERSONNAL TASTE is the most important factor when putting together your home system. Your EAR'S nobody else's opinion. 7) Always, if possible, do home audtions of any equipment your interested in that might possibly lead to you purchasing it. 8) System synergy is always important. How an individual piece matchs the +/- of the rest of your system. 9) When audtioning new pieces always go back to your orginial reference point and then see/hear if the new piece has better sonics virtues than your old gear. 10) If your lucky enough to end up with a great sounding system, be very wary of claims such as," this new amp just BLOWS away my old ML-mono 33's". Sonics do improve with better electronics, but in small % not in gross ways unless there was something terribly wrong/missing in your original piece of equipment. But its a great come-on to pray on audiophiles not using their "COMMON SENSE". 11) Their is NO the "BEST" in the world, but many wonderful pieces of equipment that give the pleasure of coming closer to the illusion of real music. So, don't get your EGO involved keeping up with the latest/greatest in the world of high end audio. 12) Just have fun and don't take any of our hobby to seriously!
teajay
You covered most everything. What else is there to say? Oh, I know......

Forget about using live music as a point of comparison for the evaluation of electrical components and speakers as if it were a goal to be achieved in your home. This is a false god!

(1) Most listening rooms would be overdriven by live musicians playing anything much more than an acoustic guitar. (2)The recordings you are listening to are not, nor will they ever be accurate replications of live music. The change from live starts with the mic and continues thru the cables, mixing boards, etc. The end result, at its best, will be euphonic, i.e. altered so that it sounds good over the system that the recording engineer imagined it would be most likely played. For example rap and boom boxes go together well.

So, be an anarchist! Tune your room and system to sound they way you like it without regard to what others may think.

One last thought, if music is as valuable to you as so many seem to say, put your mind and money where your mouth is. Start exploring music you are not yet familar with. Buy some! Help keep the recorded music industy alive. Next time you're tempted to spend 1K or thereabouts on a new cable/IC to improve resolution go out and buy 65 new CD's, or 300 LP's, and improve your mind and spirits. :-)
Nice, I was thinking of posting something like this a while back.

My main contribution from first hand experience would be somewhere between #2 and #8.

"When an 'upgraded' piece of equipment creates more problems than it solves get rid of it immediately and stay happy."

I'm sure at some point we have all had that upgrade that led to several other upgrades to fix things. If you are just starting out, save your money and upgrade in sets or do a ton of research into equipment matching. That brand new super component with the great reviews may just ruin your system and cause you to 'upgrade' around it.

My simple recommendations for newbie system matching:
1. Match the speaker to the room size, shape, and sonic character.(Bright speakers in a bright room are bad news.)
2. Match your speakers to an appropriate amp.
3. Match your your source and preamp to your amp / speaker combo.
4. Use inexpensive cables known to be near neutral until you have a system you are going to keep for a while, then buy a set of cables that works well with your system.
5. Don't waste time on tweeks that make your system sound different not clearly better. (see #4)
6. Don't be afraid to start over.

You can't use the terms "audiophile" and "common sense" in the same sentence - it constitutes an oxymoron of epic proportions :)
Join an audiophile club or start one. Listen to as many systems and components in someones home as possible. Club members become great friends and are utterly honest in my experience with regard to the virtues of gear. Besides, it's a great way to pick up good gear when another person with deeper pockets is upgrading. The biggest benefit however is the exposure you will get to new recordings.
Well, in the AudiogoN thread book of common sense, your thread would appear easier to read, something like this:

"Audiophile Book of Common Sense"

1) No one technology is superior to another technology. Examples- non-upsampling DACS vs upsampling DACS, tubes vs solid-state amps, planar vs box-enclosed speakers, silver vs copper wires, etc. Each has its own merits/differences but not superior to the other one.

2) The difference in the sound of your system with a new piece of equipment doesnot necessarily mean an improvement towards the sound of music in the long run.

3) More expensive equipment usually means better build quality and performance but not necessarily so.

4) Companies that come out with a new product and a few months later have a new "generation" of that piece or a replacement for it are either just trying to sell more through the hype of "new and improved" or came out with their product before it was a finished design.

5) All REVIEWERS should not be trusted, but read for two reasons. First, for fun/entertainment and to see what new products are coming out that you might be interested in, that's all.

6) Your PERSONNAL TASTE is the most important factor when putting together your home system. Your EAR'S nobody else's opinion.

7) Always, if possible, do home audtions of any equipment your interested in that might possibly lead to you purchasing it.

8) System synergy is always important. How an individual piece matchs the +/- of the rest of your system.

9) When audtioning new pieces always go back to your orginial reference point and then see/hear if the new piece has better sonics virtues than your old gear.

10) If your lucky enough to end up with a great sounding system, be very wary of claims such as," this new amp just BLOWS away my old ML-mono 33's". Sonics do improve with better electronics, but in small % not in gross ways unless there was something terribly wrong/missing in your original piece of equipment. But its a great come-on to pray on audiophiles not using their "COMMON SENSE".

11) Their is NO the "BEST" in the world, but many wonderful pieces of equipment that give the pleasure of coming closer to the illusion of real music. So, don't get your EGO involved keeping up with the latest/greatest in the world of high end audio.

12) Just have fun and don't take any of our hobby to seriously!

There, isn't that much easier to read?

Regards,
John

FWIW, I do agree with what your book, just trying to make the book easier to read.
I agree with Newbee's premise that 1.) most listening spaces could not accomodate live performers, and 2.) that at best, even a direct to disk recording is still an electronic step or two away from the original.

The conclusion he draws (Tune your room, etc. . . . ) though not wrong, is a bit general and could be misleading to those just starting out who perhaps are not yet sure what they "like."

The Audiophile book of "COMMON SENSE" should state that anyone who goes out of their way to make even a modest extra effort (in time, money, and self-education) to have an "audio system" (another highly subjective term!) is expecting a little something more in return (I think that's just common sense) The real question is more what?

And though personal taste is always a factor, I think the answer that most trancends all issues of personal taste, is "excitement", or to use the vernacular, "what gets you off." And the one common denominator (excitement-wise) that I've found throughout the audiophile community, stated or implied, is that folks are most stimulated by the perception (illusion if you like) of actual performance.

And accepting Newbee's caveats 1 and 2, still, the one remark we've all heard again and again when a non-audiophile hears even a modest, but well set up system is, "it sounds like you're right there!"

So I would say that the goal of home audio is not the accurate duplication of live performance -- how would one even go about making such an assessment? -- but rather reproducing a recorded performance that has enough ingredients, and with enough accuracy, to generate the "perception of performance." Beyond that point (I reached it around 1985) one crosses into the realm of the connoisseur or madman, depending on your point of view.
It would be the thinnest book on the shelf.
The best sounding system is the one you're listening to now.
I think it's funny that the recording process uses the cheapest, but in good condition, cables. Miles of it.
Mixing boards of who knows what caliber. Mics of whatever origin. Mastered by Mr. ???, in most cases, yet at home, when trying to get "right to the source" sound, we spend tons of money to get it "right"! Do you really think the studio has $500. per foot interconnects?
" Spending money is good,losing money is bad.... "

Important when considering any purchase of audio equipment.
Common sense...

Common cents...

Common scents...

They are all frighteningly applicable.

The brown stuff in the tins you get at the shoe store, that stuff is "Shineola". It's for polishing your shoes. Comes in a commercial tin...dead giveaway. The brown stuff left on the sidewalk by various domesticated animals, and often not removed by the owners of those animals, that stuff is shit. Doesn't normally come in a tin. You probably even produce some yourself on a fairly regular basis. I know some of you share yours right here on Audiogon sometimes! No need to examine it closely...as a matter of fact, please don't. Don't use it for polishing your shoes. Use the Shineola for that.

That's my words of wisdom for the budding Audiophile. You can thank me later.

Marco
that was funny Marco thanks dude
>>You can thank me later.<<

Okay, it's been awhile. Thanks!
well Marco, at least someone here knows shit from shineola!
If you dont know, ask sean. I think there is a 800 number.
It would be the thinnest book on the shelf.

....and the cover in near mint, never used condition! 10/10!
If you dont know, ask sean. I think there is a 800 number.

I think Sean's got an upcoming appearence on Oprah to correspond with the release of his book. I predict he'll have his own show in short order in which he figuratively beats neurotic audiophiles about the head in the guise of "tough-love" while setting them straight on their misguided notions of the inner workings of their system. Oh yes, he'll be changing lives right before our eyes, mark my words!

Marco
If he doesnt get banned again
He's been banned before?