Blocking the propaganda


I have a friend who lives in the boondocks who is without question the foremost expert in this Country on a certain vintage turntable. I will leave the particulars out so as to avoid making him the focus of this discussion or letting someone else figure out who I am talking about. He said something to me recently that I always knew on a certain level but have not seen "transparently" until his comment. His statement is this; "audio magazines including Stereophile are useful for birdcages and if you run out of toilet paper and nothing else". This was in the context of discussing Mike Fremer's preference for 9" arms. I have concluded that he is absolutely correct, but only for those who have the guts to really dive into audio with open eyes and willing to expend the effort to focus all of their attention and for lack of a better word, devotion, to figuring out the truth for themselves. This person I speak of has unquestionably done that. He has engineered his own products that make his turntable of choice as good as it can get. He thinks outside the box. Convention or "accepted thought" mean nothing to him. The analogy that comes to mind is wine. I know of many who will not buy a wine unless some critic has given it a 90 or above. When someone points out how silly it is to rely on published numbers from someone they don't know, they claim that they rely on experts and numerical ratings because they lack the patience, time and resources to taste wine options for themselves. What it boils down to is intellectual laziness. I intend to filter out 100% of what I read in magazines and even audio boards as absolutely unreliable. I have no doubt that I will fall short, but it is a lofty goal nonetheless. We all ought to forge our own trail(s) with sweat and effort and open minds and avoid laziness. Apologies to those who don't appreciate sermons. 
Ca345ea6 6d98 46ab a9fe db0c7a572262fsonicsmith
I understand your disenchantment with the commercial magazines, but filtering out 100% of what you read on the audio boards as well?
I’ve found this board very helpful on set up quirks or optimization questions-
I agree that one should approach anything with a degree of skepticism but that also requires some open-mindedness-- since otherwise the ’filter’ is blocking out all information.
I find myself researching a lot of topics on industrial,scientific, chemical, plastics/materials sites, including boards, journals, white papers, etc. most of which are not directly audio related.
I’m not afraid to pick up the phone or send an email and ask a manufacturer or technical person to explain something if they have time--
I’m certainly not smart enough to design my own circuitry or equipment-- I rely largely on commercial products made and sold by others-- but I’ve learned a hell of a lot from the DIY fora as well as science and tech journals that are not directly related to audio.
And from some of the kind, knowledgeable folks on this board.
In other respects, I agree that groupthink is the easy way out. One should be inquisitive; I think people have a limited amount of time, energy and in some cases, money to invest in pushing the limits and questioning everything. 
PS: without getting into a skirmish over Mr. Fremer, I think he has done the vinyl/analog side of the business a great service in keeping the flame alive during the dark years. He’s controversial, he’s opinionated and he’s a classic NY character, but whether you like him or not, he’s helped to promote vinyl/analog more than any single person I can think of, offhand.

the guts to really dive into audio with open eyes and willing to expend the effort to focus all of their attention and for lack of a better word, devotion...
And I thought listening to music was supposed to be enjoyable.

Post removed 
I'm more or less am in agreement with @whart .

I started out in this hobby trying to find out which brands, if any, had the most prestige or mystique (not that I could afford them). Over the 4 decades since, I then tried focusing on the "basics" of design. Then graduated to listening to what the manufacturers and magazines were saying, then I dived into reviews, then I canvassed the market, then started looking at what the the magazines and the reviewers were Not saying, then I began looking at DIY and ultimately taking a peak behind the facade of what makers were presenting and looking at how they really do things and then started looking at what actually constitutes true innovation as opposed to claimed innovation and what ’accepted’ thought or tradition is vs the sorts of problems that might really need to be resolved.

It isn’t that I began by burning all my magazines and making a conscious vow against all that necessarily, it’s just that I’ve eventually evolved in my journey to the point that I no longer have to rely upon them....haven’t picked one up in years...nor have had any notion to.

Good luck in your journey!
He’s controversial, he’s opinionated and he’s a classic NY character, but whether you like him or not, he’s helped to promote vinyl/analog more than any single person I can think of, offhand. 
Without a doubt. And I DO like him, even though I only think I know him since I have never been in the same room with him but have read his columns for 25 yrs or more. As a fellow Jew, I think I have incite into his "NY character"
It has been a long time since I felt a reviewer or a price tag could tell me a damn thing about quality. The "high-end" sound has become a trend far away from natural sounding music to my ears. 

So as I have said for a very long time, to your own ears be true, and no one else's except your partner. ;) You who will live with the gear and will pay the money for it should be the one's who are pleased, not a reviewer, club or test gear. 

I also have said it is a lot of fun to talk tech and shop, but in the end only our hearts and ears should matter. 

Best,

E
I have to agree that for folks who do not want to spend the time, lack the inclination, the magazines and blogs and web review sites offer a lot of useful info. With the caveat that one should have a chance to listen before final payment. (IE a return policy)  
For those who can do it for themselves, remember they too had a lot of trial and error to become experts. They did not pop out of Zeus' leg fully formed and knowledgeable.. (At least I do not think so) 
And for people who are newbies, thinking all the stuff written is 'propaganda? Foolhardy to an extreme. Plenty of folks really care about helping others to learn, and care about what they write.
@fsonicsmith -M. Fremer is a "kibitzer" in the good Yiddish sense of the word. There's a pretty well-known Lenny Bruce schtick about NY'ers that I'll have to dig out...
And for people who are newbies, thinking all the stuff written is 'propaganda? Foolhardy to an extreme. Plenty of folks really care about helping others to learn, and care about what they write.
Well, let's examine that. That speaker manufacturer with the seven or twenty one tweeters in the middle of two woofers in a cheaply constructed box with auto paint colors has suddenly been advertising heavily in Stereophile and after four or five months of their advertising what do they get, but a positive review. Hmmm. 
There are a couple of large threads praising that speaker here on Audiogon. Are all those people fools or propagandists?And one example does not make any case for anything  anyway..
There are a couple of large threads praising that speaker here on Audiogon. Are all those people fools or propagandists?And one example does not make any case for anything anyway..
I don't have the patience or ability to tolerate straw man BS. I didn't so much as insinuate that we-myself included naturally-are fools for reading and relying upon the critics. And your use of "propagandists" is a misplaced. But please don't throw me a grenade, I like you sir. Sorry if I hit a nerve. 
For whatever type of sound and gear you prefer, there are usually one or two reviewers (usually old guys) who can help you reach the endzone. For example, Dick Olsher for flea weight tube gear. Why re-invent the wheel, when someone else with good ears and expertise has devoted a lifetime to getting at the truth?

Audio magazines are like car magazines and so on. Who can rush out to buy the latest Porsche or Lambo because they might be 0.2s faster in the 0-100kph, or that Top Gear drives them.

These are a read because we are interested in the hobby. It is not that we are being forced to purchase anything but what is on display in the magazine.

Those that object to a speaker thread should also complain about the multitude of "tweaks" blatantly advertised in this forum.

Is this forum a form of "magazine" that we all contribute to?

Aren't we all critics, in what we read here? There is certainly a very wide spread view on all subjects audio, and more. That is what makes these forums/threads so interesting. We see far more of each person by what is written, and how it is written.

That to me is just communicating on a like subject, audio. And by doing so we are learning from others, if we choose to or not. This forum is very much DIY, and magazines are an extension of this hobby. No one is forcing magazine on anyone else.

Some get away with advertising a product by way of this forum. I for one objected strongly against is because it was not in the spirit of this forum. The Moderators of the forum decide what is OK or NOT. I was howled down and called a Troll, Naysayer and worse.

Now, I just accept what people write/post. I can like it or lump it. No one is forcing me to buy anything or change my opinion on anything.

I am in charge of that. I repeat, I am in charge if what I accept on this or any other forum or magazine.

fsonicsmith, Thank you for informing us that you intend to ignore anything we might post. I don’t know why you needed to inform us of that, but thanks anyway. Now get your lazy a** out of here and start learning audio from the ground up, and no, we don’t want to know what, if anything, you learn.  Apologies to anyone who doesn't appreciate the truth.
Post removed 
Now get your lazy a** out of here and start learning audio from the ground up, and no, we don’t want to know what, if anything, you learn.
I learned something about you tomcy6. I learned to put you on "ignore". But if you had something known as "reading comprehension" you would have noticed that not once did I use the word "ignore". I talked about filtering out as unreliable. 

These are a read because we are interested in the hobby. It is not that we are being forced to purchase anything but what is on display in the magazine.

amg6-absolutely! I read and participate on this Board because I love the hobby. And there are things to be learned on this Board. I would not have investigated Reed tonearms but for Chakster on this Board. I did not accept everything or even anything he had to say as gospel, but I investigated Reed arms on my own because of his enthusiasm. I learned that Equi-Core products were a fraught with shipping and fulfillment problems on this Board. But nothing should be accepted carte blanche. 
I intend to filter out 100% of what I read in magazines and even audio boards as absolutely unreliable.
Damn! Now you’ve hurt my feelings, fsonic, but I’ll give you a little advice to start you on your road of devotion anyway. If you don’t read something, you don’t have to filter it out.
Now this is getting entertaining! OP what I've learned from these boards & audio magazine's is that audiophiles don't agree on much of anything. For a long time I really thought the only thing we agreed on was that bose sucks, but talked to another audiophile a while back who says they sound good. 

Erik said

"The "high-end" sound has become a trend far away from natural sounding music to my ears."

I totally agree and so do many Audiophiles who either have, or are on their way, to this same conclusion.

good post Erik

mg

Hi MG. No hard feelings I hope. We choose what we want to learn or are happy with what we have learnt. All cool.
I use an apodizing filter to get rid of the unreliable bits.....
like this thread.....
Also after working kaizen on many many complex machines ( simple stuff missiles, space shuttle, 787 ) - I do not believe perfection is yet attained.... on anything- let alone your friends mystical unnamed turntable.....
The "high-end" sound has become a trend far away from natural sounding music to my ears.
erik and Michael, Getting natural sounding music has been difficult since the days of wax cylinders. I think that today we have more high quality equipment (high quality does not mean the most expensive) to choose from to produce a musical, natural sounding audio system than ever before. The problem, as in many areas of modern life, is that we are faced with so many choices the problem becomes sorting through them all. But that’s just another opinion. You guys continue to take your $100 receivers apart or listen to vintage equipment or whatever sounds best to you.
Who cares what some other person thinks about ANYTHING. Let alone other 'audiophiles'. I would agree the last few years a lot is arguing. Doesn't matter what about. Just arguing. Like each little island with a big moat. and a "Do not walk on MY grass" sign.
It is a sign of decadence, of falling apart. Clinging to some last vestige of hope against a scary World trying to take it all away.
Some folks try to go backwards, to a time it was NOT scary.Some folks try to blame everyone else. So they do not trust anyone, the 'others' are trying to take away what you had...All of America seems to be like that now. Sad. Just like the op of this thread.
elizabeth, We all care about what other people think. We learn from their experience and opinions. I would not like to try to put together an audio system without any input from anyone, just start picking out components at random, not even knowing what they do.

We just have to try not to be the people who start arguments. When a thread goes bad just don’t read it. Stick to the threads that are helpful or enjoyable. There are a lot of people who like to argue but there are a lot of good people here, we can’t let the argumentative ones chase the good ones away.  There's even a thread titled Cds vs Vinyl that has managed to stay civil.  Who would have ever believed that that could happen?

Tip: Stay away from threads about fuses or the directionality of wires.



+1 @tomcy6
I think I first started posting here (rather than just searching) when I was considering the transition from Crosby Quads to horns. I got some good input from a number of people, including Fred Crowder, who owned Crosby Quads and had moved to a horn type speaker.
Since then, I’ve gotten help on electrical issues in running dedicated lines (@Jea48 has been a wonderful resource), and on other targeted subjects, including air compressor issues (for my tonearm), grounding using an isolation transformer and the use of surfactants in ultrasonic record cleaning machines.
Someone once told me that in any discussion, public discourse, meeting, whatever, take what you get that helps and don’t fret the stuff that isn’t constructive or helpful. Interestly, as my knowledge base increased, I found some older threads here (and on other Internet resources) to have more relevance.
@fsonicsmith - I think in some ways you overstated your "filter" and drew the ire of other members. For example, you acknowledged learning about a tonearm via the forum, but then did your own research. If so, you are still finding value in the forum as a starting point.
@elizabeth - your input is valued, as is the input of others here. So, as far as I’m concerned, I do "care" what others think if I am seeking their help or input on something. Perhaps that’s not what you meant.
**************************************
As to snark and Internet sniping, I think it’s always been there. I helped advise a forum related to cars some years ago and the amount of rancor among well-heeled, supposedly sophisticated people was over the top. I don’t think it’s gotten worse, we are just more attuned than ever to the words spoken and written via the Net since it is now a primary connection to the world around us, for better or worse.
@fsonicsmith - I think in some ways you overstated your "filter" and drew the ire of other members. For example, you acknowledged learning about a tonearm via the forum, but then did your own research. If so, you are still finding value in the forum as a starting point.
You're absolutely right. Right that I went too far and that it drew ire for that reason. It was a poor choice of words on my part. I went overboard in trying to convey the premise which is that in the modern world, we think that we are too busy to pull up our sleeves and dig into how things work and why for ourselves. Too busy to figure out for ourselves what is and what is not important.That we tend to rely on Motor Trend or Car and Driver for rating cars while we don't expend the effort to learn how to change the oil. Or continuing with cars, that we buy an expensive sports car but don't take a professional driving course on a track to learn how to properly drive it. I reported the comment by this turntable technician and how it made me think differently. When you disassemble customer's turntables and rebuild them from the ground up day after day and install different tonearms and listen and design and machine your own custom parts, you develop a knowledge base that is truly independent. In particular, this turntable technician taught me that the choice of cartridge is far less important than proper alignment. On any given deck, he can make the table sound better with a simple vintage Shure cartridge than most of us can with some megabuck cartridge. 
I read audio mags and forums for entertainment...like many my ability to assemble an audio system is driven by my ears only, and if somebody else hears good things from an item I own, hey, that's great (A reviewer recently liked my Klipsch Heresy III speakers, and I thought it was my secret...who knew?). The market for expensive tweaks often made up of inexplicable "magic" properties is one that always needs criticism, simply because it's mostly driven by greedy frauds preying on the insecurities of gullible audio geeks who welcome any hyped placebo. If you've been around a while you see this stuff pass into history as silliness. Experience and listening to things while being secure in your own tastes is important as well as being able to detect hyperbole from reviewers.
wolf_garcia
The market for expensive tweaks often made up of inexplicable "magic" properties is one that always needs criticism, simply because it's mostly driven by greedy frauds preying on the insecurities of gullible audio geeks who welcome any hyped placebo.
If you're really so convinced that what you allege is fraud, why don't you go to court and sue for damages? Of course, it's much easier to just keep repeating your allegations here without having to prove your rather paranoid instincts. And it's probably more fun for you. But please consider the legion of souls you could save with just one court victory! And you'd have lifetime bragging rights here.
Damn!  We just got the first argument worked out and now another one is about to blow. 

My business law prof told me many years ago to stay out of court if at all possible.  cleeds you're just going to have to accept that wolf_garcia is a skeptic and can't hear what you can and not let his views upset you.  wolf_garcia should let the tweakers have their fun and not try to rile them up too much.  I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do, just offering a suggestion to help keep the peace.  Who wants to argue about something that can't be settled.  We can't hear with anyone else's ears, just our own.
I believe in paragraphs. Does that make me anti-audiophile?
Nah, it means you're old and went to school a long time ago.
Post removed 
You called that one right!
Audio mags are fun to read. Don’t take them too serioulsly. Forums like this can be educational and they can be filled with arrogant airheads determined to prove how smart they are. Mostly here and many other audio forums, you find positive comments from audio nerds who AGREE Abc equipment is great. There is not much tolerance for negative comments or experiences that would be educational and informative about an audio manufacturer or dealer. In that stricter sense I don’t see magazines or forums as balanced information.
Post removed 
I don't care one iota about what people feel they need to do to tweak their rig...I have tweaks here and there...it's the promotion of sketchy products by commercial interests who cram their posts with hyperbole, with zero explanation of why or how a "magic" fuse or magnetic placemat can do anything other than enrich a greedy commercial entity that is lame. Cleeds is clearly unaware of how the legal system works, and that's not surprising...the claims of subtle or not so subtle improvement to hifi systems using hyperbole and subjective reviews of what could best be described as expensive placebos is part of the game, but keeping the sales force out of forums is what matters most to me. 
I had the honor of Mr. Fremer calling me an IMBECILE after I called him out on UTube for promoting (flogging) expensive PC's in Stereophile! 
I bring my own hose to the gas station when I fill up my Bentley! Seems to run better!
I'd like to see Penn and Teller compare a cheap IC to an expensive one! 

roberjerman
I had the honor of Mr. Fremer calling me an IMBECILE after I called him out on UTube for promoting (flogging) expensive PC’s in Stereophile!

>>>>What a dork! You, not Fremer. 🤡 It is becoming apparent there is a huge gap between the cheap mid fi naysayers and the progressive, well-heeled High Enders. Light years, I’d opine.
Dishonesty is rampant in the Audio World!
Tsk, tsk geoffkait!! I'm sure Fremer would be interested in your Teleportation Tweak! 
I am just trying to add some needed humor into these oh-so-serious debates!
Ouch! Buffoonery is humor’s backward cousin.
Fremer recently promoted (reviewed) the 16K Grado cartridge! Raise your hands if anyone thinks this is a "good value for the money" product!
roberjerman, My hand is raised. I do not own one, but why do you think your trivial belittling matters? Your humor is crude and poorly done. And if you could actually read, you might notice plenty of humorous bits stuck into all of these threads.
Audio Cultists deserve a good poking!

roberjerman
Fremer recently promoted (reviewed) the 16K Grado cartridge! Raise your hands if anyone thinks this is a "good value for the money" product!

>>>Typical pseudo skeptic Strawman argument. Nobody ever said it was a “good value for the money product.” Obviously it’s not. Duh! 😛 In fact, I’d call it a “bad value for the money” product. If you want to cause a ruckus you’ll have to do better than that.
Michael Fremer was bought out long long ago. I am sure he is a nice fellow but he has sold out.
More to discover