Compiling info for Audiogon FAQ's

Given the fact that many questions are asked and discussed over and over again in these and other audio forums, i thought it might be a good idea if Audiogon developed a Frequently Asked Questions section.

We could do this by selecting common topics and then selecting individual responses or entire threads to reference for that subject. Since some threads may not be as "good" as others yet may contain VERY useful info hidden in a dozen posts, i think that being able to pick and choose the highlights of each subject and responses from the archives would be the best way to go. My thoughts are that an individual collection of "pearls of wisdom" that forum users find useful on individual subject might be better than listing an entire thread(s). Obviously, this would have to be done at Audiogon's discretion, but i don't think that they have a problem with making this a more user-friendly site and cutting down on the number of posts to moderate : )

This would allow people interested in a subject a quick way to find answers to the majority of questions without having to dig through the archives. On top of this, it may streamline the forums a bit, resulting in fewer "generic" questions being asked. This may open up the doors for both greater participation and diversity of questions since the basics will have been pretty well covered in the FAQ's.

With that in mind, let's open the forum up to suggestions on topics that should be "FAQ'ed" and how we can go about submitting threads / posts to be contained under those subject titles. While i've got a few suggestions of my own ( as usual : ) i'd like to see what you folks as end users want included and what Audiogon thinks about the subject. There have been some very helpful suggestions that i've found when doing searches and i'm sure that others would like to have their "quick picks" made available for others to learn from also. Sound like a plan ??? Sean

My favorite- CD player with volume control??

-Tubes vs. Solid State
-CD vs Vinyl
-a full briefing(non stop discussion) of Biwire benefits and short comings

Excellent suggestion. I was a lurker here for over a year before recently becoming an active participant for exactly the reason you discuss. I didn't want to waste people's time asking questions that had been asked a hundred times before. The archives are immensely useful, but it isn't exactly easy sometimes to navigate through the maze of threads to get the info you need. Why not start with some of the basics for the folks making the transition from mass market equipment? How about these for a start:

1) Concise description of basic speaker wiring configurations (single, biwire, triwire, shotgun, etc.)

2) Amp setups (vertical and lateral biamp, etc.)

3) pros and cons of no preamp vs passive preamp vs active preamp

4) discussion of how speaker sensitivity, amp power, and spl output relate to each other

That ought to be good for a start...And BTW...Thanks! Many of your posts have been incredibly helpful.
I think this concept was brought up about 6 to 9 months ago. I liked it--I think it has a lot to offer. The problem is weeding through the material. If you had a thread say on dedicated lines (how many times has that come up in the last 3 months alone) you would have about 400 responses--too many to weed through. Someone needs to go through all of them and weed out the good useful responses that can really help, because most users won't wade through all those responses to figure out what to do. That being said--we all know that takes time and manpower which means money. So perhaps there would be "archival sponsors". I for one would be interested in sponsering archived threads on room acoustics. There are likely other companies that would be interested in sponsering other types of archived threads. Good idea--implentation seems to be the tough part.
10 cents a foot wire vs $1000 a foot wire.Is there really any difference? :~)
Glad to see that you folks think that this would be useful. Having said that, i'm thinking that you still missed some of my points OR i didn't express myself as well as i thought. Wouldn't be the first time for either one ... : )

I was thinking that WE, the end users of Audiogon, could suggest topics and THEN forward specific threads / posts to Audiogon to include in the FAQ's for those topics. In other words, if / when you do a search and find a "real gem" that helps you out, chances are, at least a bit of that info would probably do the same for someone else. As such, bringing that post / thread to the attention of Audiogon via forwarding it to them would lighten their work load AND allow the end users ( you, me and the other "average joes" ) to decide what we thought was worth referencing. There have been MANY posts made here that have helped me out and / or opened my eyes to alternative points that i had previously overlooked or simply not even considered. Just because i know something does not mean that it is "common knowledge" and vice-versa. Someone sharing a tid-bit of knowledge here and there can be a real eye-opener for any one of us under any given circumstance.

While it is obvious that not ALL questions could be answered in a FAQ, i think that a good amount of "basic" info could be shared in a relatively efficient and usable manner. Questions pertaining to specific gear, current products, etc... would obviously have to be posted for general consumption and replies, but most other standard questions could / should be covered by at least a basic amount of info in the FAQ's.

I know that this sounds like a BIG task, but if we put our heads together as a group, i think that we can come up with one HELLUVA good set of reference questions and answers. After all, i think that a LOT of what "scares" people away from "high end audio" is the lack of reliable information available and not being familiar with the terminology and how things work. If we can both help and educate at the same time via helpful resources such as a "kick ass" set of FAQ's, it can be nothing less than beneficial to ALL of us involved. Know what i mean ???

Why don't we work on a list of specific topics that we feel should be covered first. These should be relatively broad topics now as i think that they will all end up getting more specific as they fill out and mature further down the road.

Right now, those that come to mind might be ( listed in no specific order ) :


AC wiring


Speaker placement

Speaker design

Room Acoustics





Obviously, each one of these could be broken down into further sub-categories and responded to from there. For instance, "Cabling" could cover such basics as wire geometries, types of conductors, types of insulators, what is inductance, what is capacitance, what is skin effect, what do various gauges have to offer, the pro's and con's of different designs, etc... Since "wire is wire" ( at least at this level ), a good basic understanding can be learned right there. From that point, it can be branched out into interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, etc... and cover specifics in each of those individual categories.

This approach starts with the basics and then expands into further detail and specifics as one reads on and continues their quest for better understanding. As such, one can start at ground zero and go as deep in any specific subject as they like. Obviously, keeping the FAQ's as "unbiased" as possible would be the goal, but without a LOT of input from various sources as to what should be included and highlighted, it would be possible for the FAQ's to become a pulpit to preach personal preferences from. As such, i would encourage everyone with or without technical knowledge to participate in making this happen. After all, we want the "average" person to be able to follow along and learn, not just post a bunch of semi-technical mumbo jumbo that only techno-geeks can relate to.

Personally, i think that the simple Q & A format along with simple explanations works best, but obviously, that is only my opinion. Obviously, at this stage of the game, now would be the time to lay the groundwork and see how much architecture is involved and if we have the "people power" that would be willing to see such a project through. Are there any takers out there or is this a lost cause ? Sean
Sean, I think it is a good idea. In the archives though, the off topic and batting back and forth stuff should get removed. That might sound like censorship, but when you are going through archives to get useful information, having that stuff in the way is like trying to make time on a highway with speed bumps. Doing that takes time and likely sponsorship. As I said, I'm willing as a manufacturer to sponsor an archival section (pending pricing of course) to support the resources to manage and post it. I do think it would help if we users suggest the threads that need to get into the archives.
Another feature that would be nice, is the ability to have a poll with choices set- members could vote(anonmyously) for choices pre selected by the originator of the thread. The poll would tell percentage who vote for any given topic and the total votes for each topic. Surely audiogon could handle that in short order! If they could implement the voting system many of us remember and hated this should be a piece of cake. Perhaps this belongs under a seperate thread, but its an idea I have had running around in my head for quiet some time now.

I do like the idea of FAQ's how ever it may be impossible where to draw the line and what subjects are to be included and further more how to keep them on track- as we all know tangents do tend to fill up the 'gon a lot. Not that I think that's a bad thing just doesn't belong in the FAQ section.
Good idea Sean. We at Audiogon have considered this off and on, and debated various mechanisms with which to build such a knowledge base. We had gotten so far as to list some of the "Questions", which can be viewed at this link:

Audio FAQ's

The above is just a static list, and doesn't actually lead anywhere other than to show the questions we had in mind. If there is sufficient interest/volunteers to work on an FAQ, we could implement a first step which would be for members to suggest Questions. Once there is a solid list of questions, the next step could be addressed at that time.
Arnie(and crew)- Looks great! You guys don't waste any time that's for sure!!! Seems like you are off to a good start, and the topics seem very basic yet allow users to find great amounts of information by specific catagory. I would be willing to offer as much time as I can spare to do anything that would help in this effort. The one thing I would add to the digital catagory is the query- CD players with variable level outputs(volume controls). That question is asked at least once a month and it would be nice to have a reference thread to point folks to.
Perhaps, there could be a place next to a post, for one to put a rating, such as *=good, **=better, ***=best. Should a post recieve X number of * it could be included in the FAQ or answers to the above.
Thanks Tireguy, for your kind words and for your volunteering to help. We will add the question you mention, because it does seem to be common. Perhaps something like "Can a CD player with Variable out run an amp?".

Others reading this thread should go ahead and post candidates for Questions right in this thread, which will then serve as a reference for building the "final" set of questions to throw up there.

Once we have a set of questions, we can make them into "threads", and members could add links to previous posts, or actually write out a comprehensive but general answer under a particular question. We (me and other staff) could then filter the answers and then post the threads as the FAQ. Once they are actually posted, any new answers to those questions would be highly scrutinized by moderators before posting, thus limiting the answers to just a few comprehensive ones per question.
This has got me thinking. Perhaps some of us could flatten out some of those speed bumps we've (like me) created. Many times (with appologies to Mose Allison) my mind is on vacation and my fingers are working overtime. Perhaps some of us could retract some Posts, with moderator approval of course. I can't remember all the times I've posted "after" when I meant "before" only to post a retraction and a follow up. This would be like a golfer replacing a divot.
I would like the FAQ to be based on concrete facts rather than popularity (if everyone thinks it is, then its true?).

The FAQ could be divided in to two sections: one on terms and basic, undisputed technicals and facts, and one section of links to threads on popular, controversial issues. Be careful in including FAQ topics that need to be updated, ex. CD volume control. You kids could make a fab FAQ (Rives and Sean are a great start), but there are some members who would rather use it as their throne.
Discussion of turntable/tonearm/cartridge setup
Discussion of record cleaning techniques
Disussion of biwiring and biamping techniques (not whether either are "good" or "bad")
Discussion of component impedance issues
Discussion of speaker sensitivity and OHM rating issues

NO battles of SS vs. Tube or Analog vs. digital
4yanx- The reason I feel that the highly controversial and perhaps never ending threads I suggested belong in the FAQ section is because they are something we talk about- and instead of starting a new one every few months just keep a long one going. Maybe its not what others want, but instead of seeing a new 'cds are better then LP's because....' thread popping up every few months these individuals could just add there thoughts to the already started topic. By doing this it would allow more room for new topics to come up. Again this is just my view and it could be out of place in the FAQ section(as another member has hinted at already).
Sean..great idea..why didnt I come up with that? As always, I enjoy your thoughtful, intelligent responses to my posts and others...cheers
Tireguy: If a one long-running thread would obviate the need for multiple threads of this type, I fully concur with your suggestion. :-)