High End Validation


Nice story (to me anyway)…

Had a pizza delivered today before the Lakers game. Latino guy in his late twenties. He’s been working at the pizza store for several years.

The stereo was playing. A solo acoustic piano piece on Paradise Radio.com.

“Nice music”, he smiled.

“Thanks”, I said also smiling.

“Is that a real piano…or the radio...?”, he asked.

“It’s the stereo”, I told him. Validation, I thought to myself.

“I like Beethoven”, he grinned.

The sun was setting on a beautiful Southern California evening.
tvad
Sad isn't it? How we look for validation of our relentless pursuit for audio nirvana. We spend so much time and money tweaking, listening, changing, that even a kind word from a pizza delivery guy hoping to up his tip can make us feel good inside.........

BTW Tvad, thanks to your tip on the other thread, I sold all of my gear and invested it all into women's shoes. You're pure genius man.....the chicks love the new room. Gotta run, Jenna wants to try on some stilettos.
LOL, John.

What got me into buying high end audio gear was hearing a friend's system during a summer BBQ. He was playing a mix of music, and at one point a piano was playing. It sounded real to me from where I sat out on the patio. I wanted the same thing from my system.

So, the pizza delivery guy's comment today was validation that I had achieved the goal in some small measure.

I certainly don't seek it. I don't ask leading questions about the system looking for compliments. His comment was completely unsolicited.

What really tickled me was when he said he liked Beethoven.
I know what you mean Grant. I try not to talk about my system either. Once in a blue moon (decade or so) someone will say something nice like that about my system, out of no where, and for some reason, it does make me feel good inside. This bothers me a bit though, as I've always tried to tune my sytem to my particular tastes regardless of what others think of it. That means that I should try to ignore a positive comment as I would try to ignore a negative comment.

I've actually gotten pretty good at this over the years, but I do realize, that as a human, we can shrink our egos, but they will never disappear entirely.

Cheers,
John
I try to keep a low profile with my system. Covetousness can be an ugly thing. In the end everyone loses.
I worry about thievery whenever someone like the pest control guy goes through the house. Is he casing the joint? Dan
With all the time and funds you have invested in your rig, I'm sure it can smack of realism. On an unrelated note, the Lakers took the first step towards a possible repeat. I'm happy about that.
Had kinda/sorta the same thing happen yesterday! The (really cute) property manager at the complex I'm living at knocked on my door to drop off a passcard I requested. The system was on (Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns!) and she sez; "great music!, who is that?" at which point I invite her in and we shared a glass of iced tea. Of course the conversation went to the size of my rig and how deep it went!!;) SCORE!!! Next time I break out the wine and Marvin! The chase is on!!
So the size of our stereos is an extension of our... egos?

My amp weighs 150 lbs.
05-01-10: Tonywinsc writes:
Covetousness can be an ugly thing.
Indeed.

Regards,
Tvad, LOL, Apart from our different personal prospectives might be, what we assume and what the prospective of others (non-audiophiles) might actually be can surprise us. Personally I never discuss 'audio' with others unless really pressed hard. I'd hide it all in a closet if I could. I don't like the conspicuous consumption thing so common in this hobby.

But my music collection is a different thing entirely. It is displayed and amongst my visitors it is the thing that is most often commented upon. And, I really am pleased by their comments. I've put a lot of effort in it.

My closest neighbors are folks with whom we regularly go to classical music performances. The wife is a cellist. Her husband is newcomer to classical music and has just discovered Sibelius. So she was returning some Sibelius recordings I had lent and I invited her in to introduce her to some acapella music of Sibelius including the reduction of Finlandia for a male choir.

She listened attentively and when over she complimented my system (I wanted to hide) and never spoke about the music (I wanted to cry).

Now my question for you, did your pizza man tell you your stereo system sound real but your music sucked? :-)
Now my question for you, did your pizza man tell you your stereo system sound real but your music sucked? :-)
Newbee (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
No. He liked the solo piano selection that was playing, which prompted his comment about liking Beethoven.

The irony of the situation, and the complete...and happy...180 degree spin on my preconceived idea of what he would typically enjoy was really what made me smile.
Are you sure he wasn't refering to the Beethoven sountrack?
Well...now there's something I hadn't considered...
I had a similar experience with a guy working upstairs on our renovation, about five years ago (my system has changed much since this happened, and moved upstairs). My system was downstairs at the time, playing a Beethoven piano sonata (pretty sure it was no. 32). The guy asked who was playing the piano downstairs. He had to go downstairs to prove it was not a real piano. It was a pair of monitor speakers and an integrated amp - very simple and modest system.
''So, the pizza delivery guy's comment today was validation that I had achieved the goal in some small measure.''

No offence, but what sounds real to the pizza guy (or anyone else for that matter) is so subjective that it might have sounded ''real'' with a Bose HT speaker set (dont laugh, I witnessed it once). So, the ''validation'' has a wide spread margin here.

This is an interesting thread though...I did go myself to a ''validation'' phase, but that was years ago.

Here is are a few words I've written in response to another recent thread.

This thread was in the section where people show off their systems. One guy posted this totally unbeleivable system and it was obvious (to me anyways) that such display of how much was invested in terms of money and time, was in effect someone seeking ''validation'', instead of just wanting to share his experience. I responded in a manner of , well, if it makes your motor run, good for you - type of way.

This may seem off topic, but the relation to the ''validation'' is quite real. I think it relates to how I somehow disconnected completely from a certain level of involvement in this hobby, to make room for other things...

Here's part of what I wrote:

''So, your system and post brought back some memories when I admit to having been in love with music (I still am today) but even more with the gear, as the gear part took over big-time and I had to let go as there was no end to this.
My first ‘’serious’’ component was a pair of $ 15,000 speakers. That was the start of it.
(see my review here! forum.audiogon )It's still there after all those years.

– I eventually doubled that amount in a preamp and an amp alone – then a ‘’high-end’’ (very high-end) turntable, then cables the price of 20 evening outs at the local symphony and dinner (for two).

Then I did a foolish thing, I sold it all!
This is no joke; this is what I got in return:

Huge Coleman fold-down tent – toured the USA & Canada for 7 years with it with our two kids! Wonderfull memories.

A Martin guitar for my son – (my idea of live music) no system can reproduce this.

One for myself, although not a D-series but an OM size (concert size)

A nice Yamaha violin for my daughter (she took 5 years of wonderful classes).

Trip to Paris (for the four of us) with a couple of live concerts and good food

Trip to Italy (for the four of us) with an Opera concert.

And (almost forgot) also, a ‘’mundane’’ Cayin A-88T integrated with Sonus Faber speakers and Rega cd player,hardly drool-worthy units, because, I still love music just as much (but not quite as much as playing guitar or hearing a live instrument in my living room, even if not played to perfection).

This does not make me any better or worse. I actually LOST MONEY! on this foolish spending, contrary to savvy purchases of blue chip audio gear, by savvy buyers and sellers. Somehow, I feel that I am richer for it after all. But thats just me.

Now the kids (in their early twenties) no longer ‘’follow’’ on camping trips with the ''air-conditioning-equiped'' Coleman– so we sold that – that was a sad day ending some incredible memories, but there are other, different ones to come... now if I can just find that ad again for that nice Audio Research amp I skipped over the other day....

Thanks again for bringing back so good memories, nothing personal !

As for my ''silly'' name (sonicbeauty), well, can't please 'em all I guess!

Cheers!
''So, the pizza delivery guy's comment today was validation that I had achieved the goal in some small measure.''

It's a little known fact that both Robert Harley and John Atkinson both started out delivering pizzas. The rest is history.
Tvad - I once had the experience you describe in the OP, and I also found it satisfying.
Lakers,Beethoven,pizza and a guy from Montebello who knows the score.Makes me homesick for DT Long Beach,thanks for the memories,cheers,Bob
Sonicbeauty,

One guy posted this totally unbeleivable system and it was obvious (to me anyways) that such display of how much was invested in terms of money and time, was in effect someone seeking ''validation'', instead of just wanting to share his experience.

I think your comments on Mihalis' system thread went over the line, yet you were treated fairly. You personal story is interesting of itself, but you were wrong to call Mihalis out. You don't know him.

Regards,
I wish I had used a word other than validation.

That really wasn't the point at all.

Anywhoo...
I don't like the Lakers for the title this year. Not even confident they can beat San Antonio. Lacking a certain authority, maybe? J
Metralla: If you read the thread correctly, you will notice that I did leave a posting saying that I did enjoy Mihalis' contribution and that he seemed very experienced. I never went over the line anymore than what the original posting suggested to me. It is all so subjective, and I always mention this as it is true.

We seem to forget that these forums are for public readership - and public criticism also - and it is a matter of free speech...
Jmcgrogan
I've forgotten Jenna's address where she hangs out and just can't remember what she likes!!! A little help please!!! Her openness is intriguing!!!
05-02-10: Sonicbeauty writes:
We seem to forget that these forums are for public readership - and public criticism also -
I am not forgetting. I am criticising your behaviour.

Regards,
05-02-10: Sonicbeauty writes:

We seem to forget that these forums are for public readership - and public criticism also -

I am not forgetting. I am criticising your behaviour.

Regards,

Touche!

This exchange somehow reminds me of a line from one of my favorite films.

Grant, I get where you're coming from, and I think most here probably do, regardless of semantics. Our hobby is basically solo..rather isolating and separatist otherwise. More often than not it can be the subject of ridicule, probably because most people listen to and enjoy music, but not many take it to the extremes that many here do. So it is nice when someone from the "outside" actually gets it. I guess it can feel like a connection, or that you've contributed something to someone's experience, or opened them up to another possibility.
I think sometimes we're so close to our systems, and we polished and re-polished the gem so many times we don't recognize the luster.

The comment from the guy at my door provided fresh ears. He heard music approaching reality to the degree he had to ask if it was real. Frankly, his initial assumption was that it was real. I believe what caused him to second guess himself was the size of our living room, which is not large enough to conceal a piano from the view of someone standing at the front door.
"...."we polish and re-polish the gem so many times we don't recognize the luster"

Oh yeh!~ That's why outsiders think we are nuts. :-)

In my experience though, some times the phrase could use a substitution of the words turd and stink for gem and luster.

But I wish I had a nickel for every time I've rested and thought 'this is so good I can't imagine how it could be improved'. And that thought lasts as long as it takes for me to find a way. Thank god it's fun, otherwise this compulsion would drive us whacko.
I wish I had used a word other than validation.

That really wasn't the point at all.

I, for one, didn’t take the word “validation” in the OP as a sign of ego, narcissism, or anything else pathological. I took it to mean “satisfaction” or “gratification,” the kind that results from another person’s recognition of your success at something to which you have devoted considerable time and effort. In my view, that is a feeling that needs no justification.
I took it to mean “satisfaction” or “gratification,” the kind that results from another person’s recognition of your success at something to which you have devoted considerable time and effort.
Bryoncunningham (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
Yes. You understand it.

Yet, prior to the comment about the piano being made, I was still striving to attain the goal. The comment by the delivery person made me recognize that in some measure, the goal had been already been achieved.

Sometimes we need a metaphorical smack up side our head to wake us up to reality.
Yikes. I really needed to edit the post above. Sorry for the confusing syntax.
I used to deliver pizzas.

I say take a pat on the back when you can.
I say take a pat on the back when you can.
Ohlala (Reviews | Threads | Answers)
Ohlala, I imagine many of us can take a pat on the back. Sometimes it takes a fresh set of ears to help us realize our achievement.
What a great thread Tvad. The occasional nice comment is refreshing. My in-laws and kids think I'm nuts.
''I am not forgetting. I am criticising your behaviour'' - Metralla

Looking back on many of your previous ''contributions'' you seem to have a certain pattern of criticizing behaviours which seem to you more important than discussing actual audiophile experiences, music, or gear.

Fair enough if it floats your boat.
Looking back on many of your previous ''contributions'' you seem to have a certain pattern of criticizing behaviours which seem to you more important than discussing actual audiophile experiences, music, or gear.

Possibly so.

I'm fascinated that you looked at my "contributions" here. Must be a slow day at Sonic Beauty's house. I guess you need a hobby.

Regards,
Tvad,

Of course this means that you should leave everything alone now and not change a thing......
It is a safe bet that there is a bit of desire for validation in all of us. The thing is, so few folks recognize the quality or effort that we have put into our systems because they simply are not "into it". Fair enough. When friends walk into my living room for the first time a common comment is "what are those?" as they look at the Maggie 20.1s. Hardly a validation!! I did tell one couple that we were so in love with our small farm that when we moved away I took the matching front doors from the barn with us. They bought it, at least for a moment. We all laughed. When they get a demonstration of the music there is a hint of validation, but really, it is no different than if someone would show me their high-end, tweaked out car . . . it means little to nothing to me. Personally, I like the validation but live quite comfortably without it.
Sounds like the beginning of some bad porn movie.
I meant to add . . . great thread Tvad! I've enjoyed reading the comments.
Puerto, what was refreshing in the moment was that the person commenting on the sound had no idea he was listening to a stereo system. He couldn't see it. He was commenting on what he heard, which at first he thought was a real piano.

I don't expect any friends or visitors to give a damn about the stereo system, or to comment on it, or to even ask to hear it, and 98% of the time my expectations are met.
HAHAHA! Same here Tvad!! Your point is well taken.
I have had many similar 'validations' . One particular one stands out though. One afternoon UPS made a delivery of two heavy boxes. I had to have him go around in the backyard and back french door for easy delivery in to my family room.

Bach's solo piano was playing loud. He exclaimed who is playing the piano? I said it is the stereo system, and he could not believe it was the system. All good so far. The irony of the whole thing was that the delivery he made was of my new tubed monoblocs and out goes the Solid state monoblocs:-)

I wonder what he would have said of my new monoblocs!
Metralla,

Maybe going back and looking at someone's forum contributions may take a half-day for you, but for me, it was three clics of the mouse and a whole 20 seconds. I can show you how if you wish. Sure is an eye-opener to get an overview of an audiogoner's values, or lack of. Not a slow day at all, and no need for you to get insulting, I guess I've just found YOUR hobby right?
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