Disappointing Evening

I had some dinner guest's over last evening. I had my main system warming up just in case there was some interest from them in audio. I have a second system that was playing when they arrived. It's a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 9000 that my inlaws gave me a few years back. Well soon enough a couple of them were commenting about the good music, so I asked if they would like to hear my pride and joy system, mostly all tube gear that (IMO) looks pretty cool with all the tubes lit up and sounds way better than the B&O stuff. No interest at all in the tube system and they hovered around the B&O loving the way the glass door opened and the arm moved to each CD. Boy was I insulted, all the time, money and energy I have in my tube system!
I've had similar things like this happen over the years. People want to hear your system, and after about 5 minutes, all they want to do is talk, ignoring the music. I solved that by setting up a strictly audio room with one leather recliner in it, and so no one is allowed in for listening. They can listen to my upstairs system turned down low, and the audio room is never mentioned. I have no friends who seem interested in this hobby, much to my disappointment. Different strokes for different folks, I guess, as they say.
That was or is B&O's selling point. Maybe it does work. Bose and their tiny speakers have to be the main reason for people buying them. I guess you need to invite audiophiles over for the tube gear. They'll probably stop, take a quick glance at the B&O, and say where is the serious gear...
I have never had anyone who was as into audio as much as i am, as a friend.
Of my closest friends, they have devices to play music, but the total cost had to be in the hundred dollar range, then others who really have no interest in recorded music at all, but do go out to the theater, and to concerts, thought they will watch TV.
Some of them think i am just nuts for having such an expensive stereo, and are NOT at all impressed by it, nor care to listen to it.. except as quiet background music during conversation. (In fact the idea that I spent my retirement bonus on electronics created some friction between a friend and myself, on 'how could you (I) be so wasteful, you already HAD a stereo?' The fact I have spent 10 hours a day on average listening to music for the past 14 months since i retired does not matter. Her priorities just cannot accept it.)
So I do not worry. I never did worry about it. It seems to be a hobby I enjoy.. and not with others? so be it.
I remember how great the B&O stuff looked. Very euro-modern stylish. Impressive turntables that just didnt happen to sound as good as the pedestrian Thorens 160.
Most people don't know the difference, but given extended exposure to superior sound, many come to appreciate the difference.
welcome to the real world. i have a house filled with great components, but the guests who enter our home only enjoy my wife's bose radio.
Instead of expecting my guests to be impressed, I make the whole thing off limits.

I switch everything off and turn the speakers to the wall.

I don't mention it and change the subject if they bring it up.

That doesn't work either.
You are not the first to experience the lack on interest in your tube set, nor the last. Only like minded audiophiles will be able to appreciate. At 54 years in this hobby there is very little that floats my boat so to speak. So don't be to offended. Many of my non audiophile friends have B&O Systems and are totally happy with it, I know I sent them the B&O way. They love the way it looks and sounds and has great reliability. It appeals to those that want good music with a sense of style and it fits that criteria very well indeed. Big time WAF appeal.

The estoteric tube gear is only for those that can appreciate the time and resources that went into it.

I know a few years back picked up some very nice Threshold pieces from a widow. She told me straight off the B&O stereo was not for sale, but the Threshold I could have for a very nice price, go figure. I made out like a bandit, after all she was living in a Million dollar house with a six car garage and her daily driver was an Aston-Martin DB7. God only knows what was in the other 5 spaces.

So in essence to each his or her own.
This is why we have this forum......nobody else gets it.
i say don't worry about it.

there is a good chance one of your guests last night spent $500 on the shoes they were wearing----no one noticed either I bet.
Some people just don't see things the same way.

Any of you remember Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) in "The Jerk" sharing dinner with Bernadette Peters.

Navin R. Johnson: [upset about the escargot entre] First they didn't have the bamboo umbrellas for the drinks, and now snails on the plate!
people come to my place and ask why don,t i hide all the wires and cables and how many cd's do you need and don,t i know that clutter is stressful etc. you got off easy. ha
Things (pearls) should not be put in front of people (swine) who do not appreciate their value. Matthew 7:6
I snag 'em with music first. Then after a while they notice how good it sounds. Then they ask how much and turn into Elizabeth's friends and think I'm stupid. Then I want to drop one of my JL subs on their big toe.
Sharing something you're passionate about, only to discover people could care less, is a terrible feeling.

Having said that, I've had several positive experiences playing my system for guests. But I am VERY cautious about taxing people's patience with it. So I never invite them to listen unless they ask first. And I never ask them to listen for longer than 5 minutes, tops.

By observing those two rules I have found that most people, even those with minimal appreciation for music, can be gracious about it. And some of them actually enjoy it. Then we move on to other things.

By doing that, I avoid disappointment.

Navin R. Johnson: [upset about the escargot entre] First they didn't have the bamboo umbrellas for the drinks, and now snails on the plate!

"Die, Navin R. Johnson." "He really hates these cans!"

As far as the thread goes: Simpletons !
Were they in different settings? People usually enjoy congregating in kitchen and dining areas more than dens or isolated rooms.

Also if you were really honestly insulted you might try working on your expectations. 99.9995% of the population does not care about high end audio (don't quote me on that number.) Perhaps try politics or religion, always good dinner party topics.
People see the B&O gear and think: Angelina Jolie!

People see the industrial looking but good sounding stuff and think: Snookie!
I play my system very softly in the background during a dinner at a party. Usually at least some of the guest say, What is that beautiful CD? I show them the CD cover. They don't comment on or notice the equipment. Later if I cant resist and someone lurks around the equipment, I play the system at a healthy volume for half of a song and get some positive reactions to how real it sounds. I then quickly shut it down and we move to other conversations. But I enjoy those 3 minutes of show off time.
Also it is really wonderful to have audiophiles in your area come over for a couple hours of serious listening and gear talk. I encourage them bring their favorite music and I usually hear great new recordings that I want to add to my collection that way.
First, I would be frustrated if I were Markpao in that instance, but I have no expectation whatsoever with guests' interest in my stereo. One is either an audiophile or really has no concept of high-end audio. What bothers me, which can be seen as another theme of this story, is that so many people have no appreciation for quality in anything, even when comparing things that are right next to each other.
Maybe I am a fogey, a jerk. I don't know.
Yup.. Most people don't understand this hobby and sometimes I don't either. But I go on enjoying the music and the equipment. I guess I always have and always will.
Why would you assume they would care?
I don't understand being frustrated at all! It's like expecting people to appreciate a great wine or tobacco when they are not experienced with either. Friends are more important than things. Why be frustrated that someone doesn't share the same sensibility as you, as long as they have other redeaming qualities?
I am just happy when people discovering my system ask to hear it, most just are amazed and say so and go on to other things. That to is fine.
Next time put on the "Glee" soundtrack, Katy Perry or Justin Beiber and they will flock to listen to your audiophile collecton.
Most people dont get thrilled with High End just live with it.

I can understand your disappointment, you really wanted to turn these people on to the joys of really good music and they weren't interested.

The fact that many people aren't wired to enjoy the quest or to say it in another way, many people aren't intrigued enough to want to seek out what is better in many things.

It is like seeking out what is really good coffee and it ain't Starbucks, or what a great steak is all about ie Peter Luggurs vs a Diner Steak.

It seems that the settle for anything gene is much more prevalent than the seeks out excellence gene which fuels audiophilia. To me seeking out excellence is the distillation of something to its purest form, be it a sports car, a steak, an audio system or single malt scotch.

So there will always be the I just got a Bose system and its fantastic guys out there and if you tell them that there is another world of music reproduction they will get offended, and there are a few of those people who will not get offended that you are criticizing their choice which means you are criticizing them but will say "really what is it, I thought Bose was great, what do you recommend?"

You tried, don't take it the wrong way and you never know if you play something that sound really amazing one day it might hit them, and then again it may not.

Sensory experiences need to be developed like wine tasting, but it all must start with a desire to understand what makes one wine better than another and then to have the desire to learn and experience what great wine is all about.
This thread makes me think of the fact the the proponents of multichannel systems claim that stereo is a "social disaster", for these is only one sweet spot.
Well, apparently that one sweet spot is all that's really needed...
What if the tables were turned and you were invited for dinner? Would you be genuinely interested if the host’s hobbies were coin collecting, ceremonial masks, or rocks?

How long could you sit through a discussion about igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks? Once your patience was exhausted from this conversation the host then leads you to a secret room behind the bookcase to show you his rock collection.

Is your goal to enjoy the music with your guests or to have them be interested in the medium you play the music?

For myself, I never discuss audio, besides those with like interest, or other hobbies I have with others. If I am asked about it I may choose to comment. I am not saying everyone should adapt my approach but I do not expect others to show an interest in what I am passionate about.

There is a great line from the movie “Entrapment”. When Sean Connery brought Catherine Zeta Jones to his Scottish castle she commented what a waste to have such an extraordinary art collection for no one else to see. Connery’s reply was I collect art for me to enjoy.

Something to think about.
One point that was not mentioned yet is envy. They might actually appreciate Hi-Fi and other fine things but will hide it. They might also envy not the equipment itself or money but the taste and sound quality. Quality of anything. We envy each other too.
Would you be genuinely interested if the host’s hobbies were coin collecting, ceremonial masks, or rocks?

perspective....thank you.
I would be interested in ceremonial masks and the one who collected them.
You are welcome.
I can think of it like religions. Don’t try to convince the non believers or you will likely lose even your friendship! I have so many friends and even families looked at me with disbelieve of the time and efforts I have spent on this hobby. It’s truly like a religion; it will only reward those who seek!
What Irish65 said.
Markpao, You need more guests over!!! Eventually, someone will like your system and you'll have a new buddy, and we'll have another AudiogoN newbe that we can pour our advice into.
What if they did show interest and then wanted you to engage in homoerotic activity, I would say that you would be obliged.
I have no expectations for visitors or guests when playing the big system. The music plays. If there's a an epiphany it's splendid and if not, oh well. We are all exactly where we were before the music started. I'm comfortable with this hobby and don't need or want endorsements.

Frankly, half the fun is casting pearls before swine to see if they get it. If they do it's an evolutionary step, if not no energy is wasted. I like my system and my music regardless of other opinions. It's not quite profiling but it's a quick cut to the chase. Soul check? Whatever. I can't explain my attraction to music and gear so I spend less and less time trying. Regardless, I let the light shine and if someone else can relates that's great!
Showing a normal person your all tube system is like asking them do they want to see your coin collection. Most people won't care. Don't be insulted. It's not like you're interested in their carved ivory figurines.

What I've noticed is that people who like music don't pay attention to the equipment, but they get giddy when they see my music collection (either physical or computer files). Friends will spend time looking for specific recordings or will ask if I have something. It really puts a smile on their faces when I actually have some recording they haven't heard in years. Typically they say it sounds good, but they really aren't paying attention to the sound. It's about the music.

In my experience B&O makes pretty decent sounding equipment that has solid engineering behind it. They were one of the early proponents of moving coil cartridges, Dolby HX significantly advanced cassette recordings, they were one of the first to emphasis a speaker's phase performance and more recently they engineered the ICE amplifier modules. I think of them as a true audiophile company.
Well, since I'm still not happy with the sound of my system, I definitley don't concern myself with attempting to impress anyone else with it. Markpao, insulted!? Don't be. We are a tiny niche group in society. No one gets us or the "expensive" gear we buy.

My best friend and his family from out of town were visiting us for the weekend and stayed at my house. He knows I have this big interest in audio and thinks I will never stop changing out speakers and other gear. During the weekend, he never once mentioned my system or asked about it, and he was sitting in the same room with it; not even to ask about those "tubes" sticking out of the tube preamp, and I know he never sees vacuum tubes.
A dinner party is a social get-together centering around conversation. Listening to music carefully is a silent, solitary activity. There's a disconnect between the two. I actually think your guests were polite to listen quietly for a few minutes. It means they were likely pretty interested, but other priorities exist.

A slightly different story: I was listening to music on my main rig one afternoon recently when my four year-old daughter comes in and quietly sits on my lap, waking up from her nap. The first thing she says to me is, "Daddy, your speakers are working really good." I was so pleased I didn't even correct her grammar!
That's daddy's little girl and proud papa! Very nice!! When I was in first grade, I would sometimes go to my best friends house after school. I would always head straight for his parents stereo and listen to their records. I recall my favorite one being Herb Albert "Whipped Cream and Other Delights".
My friend never understood why I was so interested in his parents records!
In cases like this - the five minute demo with polite guests- you need to shock and awe. I just crank it and guests are totally amazed because it sounds just like a real live show.
We are a rare breed of enthusiasts, and we have priorities that are unique to each of us, even within this forum. I have a few audio buddies but we don't spend much time listening to each other's systems over the course of year. My closest audio buddy that does "get it" lives 500 miles from me so we only see each other and share the hobby at his place or mine no more than a couple of times a year.

Personally I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to live in a time when there was much choice in equipment, which logarithmically expands to possible system configurations (no two need be exactly alike!). But more than that, to also be able to connect via this medium with those who do "get it" and know what it means to have "moments of epiphany" while listening. And there will always be light year differences between listening and hearing, which is what most people do with music. Our brains are wired differently than others and music is essential to our health and well being. It's only natural that we seek the best means of experiencing that which provides our best "view" to the source.
'They' will never, ever get it, but really, it is all about the music. Most people who get interested in audio quickly find out it is a solitary pursuit, partner included. and it should be kept that way. I never talk about or show off my gear. It pleases me. The only comment I get connect to the gear is the vast collection of music I have acquired over the last fifty years. I never play any music for those who ask. I do offer to lend them music that they might be interested in. Often that is very much appreciated as it brings out something they fondly remember but no longer have.

As for B&O, I think they do a great service. In my town, population 22,000, we have a B&O store front and two other brick and mortar audio shops. One is hi end and has been in town for over thirty years, the other came into town about two years ago with a business model that bypasses actual equipment demo's, just information. The hi end shop has never been interested in seriously cultivating my business, and that I can understand. We are not a good fit, they are not interested in what I have, only what they can sell to me. I have over the past fifty years spent about $200K on gear, maybe $500K on media. From time to time I drop into the B&O store to listen to their latest stuff, they are always very friendly and have a high customer oriented IQ, which explains why they do so well. B&O is always a very pleasant experience for the many friends I have sent there. Most buy B&O. The few I have sent to the hi end store front always seem to come away buying nothing and remarking how 'cultish' the owners are.
:-) LOL. Am I the only one who thinks you set yourself up?

I never talk about my system with the un-enlightened, and they have to really beg if they ever do mention listening to it. I'm not an evangelist and have no interest in converting anyone. People either get it or they don't. I certainly could care less about their fly fishing rod collection, or their 'vette that comes out of the garage once a year, or the Harley they ride for 5 months of the year, etc.
Since I moved, I no longer have audiophile friends. While listening to music with "golden eared" friends is quite enjoyable, there is a downside. When this hobby becomes an "obsession", it's no longer fun. If you begin to listen to interconnects as opposed to music, you are not having fun. With "audiophile" friends, this will happen. There is no such thing as a "magnificent obsession".

I believe everyone that posted, is best off like they are.
How to be a good host: Find out what your guests like and give it to them.

How to be a good guest: Find out what your hosts like and give it to them.

If one of the above happens, it will be a nice evening.
If both happen, it will be a great evening.
let's face it music is preferred in the background mode by most people. if you had demoes your main system instead of the beo system, i'm confident that your guests would comment favorably about the sound.

for most people, music is not an end in itself, rather it is a means to stimulate some other activity. thus, the quality of the sound is not the issue. it's the fact that there is a "sound" that facilitates pleasure when people are doing something else. music is a catalyst.

only a small proportion of the population are willing to sit for any period of time and listen to music.

i see this occurring in an audio club of which i am a member. attention span is about 10 minutes and then people lose interest.
Remember - not everyone in this world is "gifted" as us folks on audio forums. Every time some things like these happen, I Thank GOD for giving me these invaluable gifts of sight and hearing, that others don't have. Be proud rather than being disappointed.
I have found people like to listen to music outdoors. Set a system up on your deck and let people wander further away to sit in your yard or garden. We usually get compliments on the unusual music (to most folks) we play. But I know it's the good sound also.