Does it bother you?

I'm a recording engineer who has worked in some of the world's top facilities. Let me walk you though an example signal path that you might find in a place like, say, Henson Studio A:

1. Microphone: Old. Probably a PCB inside. Copper wiring.
2. Mic cable: Constructed in house with $1/ft Canare Star Quad, solder, and a connector that might have been in the bottom of a box in the back.
3. Wall jack: Just a regular old Neutrik XLR connector on the wall.
4. Cable snake: Bundles of mic cables going to the control room.
5. Another XLR jack.
6. Another cheap mic cable.
7. Mic preamp: Old and lovely sounding. Audio going through 50 year old pots.
8. Patchbay: Another cheap copper cable is soldered into a patchbay where hundreds of connectors practically touch.
9. TT Cable: Goes from one patch to the next in the patch bay. Copper. No brand preference.
10. DB25 connector: Yes, the same connector you used to connect a modem to your computer in 1986. This is the heart and soul of studio audio transfer.
11. DB25 cable to the console: 25 strands of razor-thin copper wire, 8 channels of audio, sharing a ride.
12. The mixing console: PCB after PCB of tiny copper paths carry the audio through countless op amp chips.
13. DB25 cable to the recording device: time to travel through two more DB25 connectors as we make our way to the AD converters or tape machine.
14. AD conversion: More op amp chips.
15. Digital cable: nothing fancy, just whatever works. USB and Firewire cables are just stock.

...and this is just getting the audio into the recorder.


None of this equipment has vibration reducing rubber feet, it's just stacked haphazardly in racks. Touching.

No fancy power cables are used, just regular ol' IEC cables.

Acoustic treatment is done using scientific measurements.

Words like "soundstage" and "pace" are never uttered.

Does it bother you? Do you find it strange that the people who record the music that you listen to aren't interested in "tweaks," and expensive cables, and alarm clocks with a sticker on them? If we're not using any of this stuff to record the albums, then what are you hearing when you do use it?
As flawed as the recording process may or may not be, it produces something with lots of low-level information. The playback system has to be significantly better in all regards, or else losses will occur in the playback.

Regarding distortion, many of the analogue distortions are pleasing to the ear, which is why many listeners prefer old analogue recordings to modern digital recordings.
Many audiophiles treat music as if it was fragile, carefully passing it to speakers over kilo-buck elevated wires and through a dozen other danger spots that could break it. But music is incredibly resilient. Pump it through ninety miles of air and to a transistor radio, and it's still captivating and foot-stomping joy. It can be made more enjoyable at the playback end, but we can easily lavish useless "everything matters" obsession on its care and feeding, which is no different than other obsessions.

Amazing sound music from your gear in your room is the outcome of a good gear and many talent people involved in its production. It’s a chain of good events and gear. It’s the result of good taste and knowledge. It’s a miracle made real. How this chain is given? I think there are six important points:

a) Talent and knowledge of the musicians
b) Hi quality technology record equipment
c) Talent and knowledge of the mixer engineer
d) Hi quality technology gear in your room
e) People who has “good taste” and knowledge to appreciate the Art of music are audiophiles.

Beautiful music and good musicians stay in the mind of generations. The next 300 years people will listen Beethoven, Mozart, Doors, Pink Floyd, Enigma, Placido Domingo, Dave Bruveck, Smashing Pumkings and many others artists. I am sure that people in 200 years will listen the 9a Symphony and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; there is no doubt of that.

Talent and knowledge musicians in the present days demand professional recordings. If you can give better sound recording with a clip and nuts, that’s great. When you have talent musicians in the present days they are going to demand the best records. They are not going to accept clip and nuts.

When the musicians are not professionals, they do not take care of the recording work. They will not notice clip and nuts in their records. And of course they will not stand out. Bad musicians with bad records are going to disappear in time. Nobody remember them.

Audiophile is owner of a “good taste” and “knowledge”. Common people can not notice the difference between a Steinway & Sons and Yamaha or Stradivarius in a concert hall in orchestra and any cheap violin on street. It’s the same with gear. Must of the people can not encounter difference between good gear and clip and nuts doing noise. Many people say “you should not spend money on sound quality gear. Look with this 100 pesos you can buy a radio FM and listen music” I think I am sure you have one of these in your house. I am sure you can not note any difference between Mozart and Beethoven. I am sure you do not have any musical education, good taste, music knowledge. I am sure you do not have any interest in music. That is the reason you think it’s the same to listen music in a cheap gear than any other Hi End quality gear.

Excuse me if my English is not so good but it’s not my principal language.
":Audiophile is owner of a “good taste” and “knowledge”.

Well said! You hit the nail on the head! Those are the two main ingredients. Also, maybe just a bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, at least on occasion :^)

Lots of hobbies thrive on good taste and knowledge. Technology has always fascinated me. Reproduction of music with the quality possible today is a technology enabled miracle as I see it. It has always fascinated me as a curious mix of science and technology with art. Figuring out how it all works and where the boundaries may lie in of itself is a fascinating thing. Then there is all good music and its effects. It has its quircks like most things, but I would love to see more young people get into this stuff. Gotta keep it real though. That can be a challenge sometimes.
A friend of mine records and mixes live jazz in the USA an Europe. He told me that he's oftentimes afraid to plug in his equipment because the clubs are in such poor repair. I said "junk in... junk out". Long story short, he purchased a BPC conditioner and was happier than a pig in mud with the results.