House calls vs. institutions?

In the old days (vey old days), physicians carried a black bag to each sickly person's humble abode, filled with simple instruments for diagnostic purposes. This 1 on 1 interaction has been touted as "the good old days" of doctor/patient personalized care. Granted, you couldn't carry an MRI machine in your back pocket, but I'm talking about that initial BOND that seems to have diminished throughout the years.

This brings me to the possible correlation with audio.

How many of you, think that there should be a similar relationship between the designers of high-end audio equipment and each prospective client? Now, I'm not stating that they should "fly" to our homes/businesses and take a survey. I am specifically referring to a 1 on 1 interaction where the opportunity for specific design implications are sculpted to each clients unique circumstances.

Keep in mind that I'm not suggesting that Pass, Rowland, Levinson et al can realistically do this. I'm implying towards other smaller entities than CAN and DO prefer this sort of relationship.

Now, one could interject that "dealers" are the interface between designer & client. You would be correct I think.

Let’s look at examples where one could have their own unique tube amp designed for their specific needs. Or preamp. Or speakers. Or something much easier to implement like CABLES.

Cost factors come to mind I would think. This type of 1 to 1 is usually associated with higher cost. But what if that were not the case?

Would we all prefer this relationship? Does this mean that "dealers" would not have a place in the industry (GENERALLY SPEAKING OF COURSE). Would we be more satisfied with the outcomes? How would are ideologies be affected when feeling that this 1 on 1 could steer our subjectivities one way or another. Maybe we would come to the conclusion that the "sound" we have helped to sculpt (through the designers) IS better than just buying and trying out equipment? How would our subconscious deal with this???

Now, after all my ramblings, I would like to focus on an area where I think this would be the easiest and most practical of the bunch to visualize and put into practice...CABLES.

Please feel free to comment. As far as my personal opinion...I would welcome these opportunities.
(OFF topic, but similar) Cars: why can't I just order the car "I" want with the special color, stuff, engine.. Nope! The cars are made for the dealer. Dealers have to BUY the cars first, before you do. So the dealers want only 'safe' colors. no pink cars.. no yellow cars.. Only silver, black, white, and mabe a few sporty models in red. The interior is now ALWAYS grey, or Beige, or black. Ditto for the mechanicals.
Ditto audio equipment. The dealer is the manufacturers' buyer.. NOT the audiophile. Dealers want safe stuff.
This is true Elizabeth. Let’s look at this on a deeper level. Audiophiles are subjective creatures. What is best for one can be horrible for the other. Could are behavior and expectations be altered if we knew that a specific piece of equipment was tailored to our specific whims? Would we "think" that it sounds better BECAUSE of this 1 on 1 interaction with the designer? It has been shown, that the human touch does wonders for developing infants. It’s absolutely mandatory for proper cognitive development. Also, patients show marked improvements when a more "hands on" approach is taken by the doctors. When dogs or cats are brought to nursing homes and children's hospitals there is a direct correlation with improvement in emotional/psychological behavior which can lead to improved health.

Anyone who feels free to elaborate on this proposed philosophical and behavioral supposition...please chime in.

There should be more discussions here on AudiogoN on how we are influenced through external variables, and proposed alternatives to repetitive behaviors.
Well, I would be more concerned with sound quality and dynamics and I truly don't think anyone could build the perfect sounding gear that I have in mind, not at any price, and not in this lifetime !


It seems to me that everyone out there designing and building whatever it is they design and build, have given a little thought to what they wish to make and for it’s point of sale pricing. The sound, it’s esthetic and so forth.
A lot.

Not everything in their components by and large are all made and constructed in house…. Or solely by strickly ‘hand made’ as so many of this ‘cottage industry at it’s finest’ implies. Consequently by their own hand it’s just gbeing assembled there and not entirely fabricated.

They’ve decided on the ‘voice’ they wish to impart to a thing and settled on that. Too, there is some pride there as well.

Even God does that, you know? If you have ever pick out produce at the grocery store? He says to me all the time, If you don’t like this squash, get that one, or that one over there! Same way with potatoes, cucumbers, etc. Amps, Preamps… etc.

I’ve asked for some different ones now and then but He’’s not seem fit to put them into my path, and reminds me to be less picky.

Cables are the easiest I suppose, to alter. Add a few more strands of this or that, this connector or that one, this amount or type of dialectic. BUT… IT will always be about the voice.

Personally, I don’t see how a cable or device maker could ever hope to satisfy accurately, a buyer’s idea of the voice he or she desires unless the buyer is right there during the alterations… like buying a nice suit or shoes, or a ring, or other very personal ‘needs to fit’ items. That’s going to take time and resources from both the maker and buyer so very many do not have to spare…. Or want to.

Good luck with all that. The underlying caveat remains… in six months or a year…. Or a bit more…. You’ll just want something else anyway.

Things have changed for a reason… a few in fact. There are more people. Less time for one another and our nuclear society is no longer so closely knit. we’ve outgrown our nucleus. Expanded. Detached ourselves from intimate personal contact in perhaps the guise of sophistication or personal growth and our populous as a whole has thrived on it’s remoteness. Industry too has so enabled us with cell phones, the web where no one has to be themselves or disclose themselves to another as the rule. We’ve come to being as anonymous a population as we can afford to be. We are 300 million folks on 300 million islands.

Is it do-able to ‘personalize’ a thing completely? Sure. Whoever wants it done though is going to have to pony up some serious bucks…. You know the ones, those where Ben Franklin is grimacing at you.

One off items have forever cost whomever, lots of dead presidents. Doubtless this trend will continue.

I did read a review recently in Sic Moons I think, where an amplifier maker can and will voice his amp to your squeakers…. Though there are limits in that endeavor too. It was a tube amp or a Hybrid I think. Recently I believe. Or you could just buy a Wolcott and twist the knob yourself to suit..

Gone is the charm of distance we enjoyed so, or endured enough, when we actually had to visit each other in order to have one another’s company. The telephone ultimately took that away. It’s a brave New World and the acutely personal touch is a vanishing memory.
Brilliant post Jim!!
Amazing synopsis Jim...that is an example of what I'm going for here. There are better ways agreed, but giving up the ghost seems depressing. Do we all HAVE to follow the path laid before us?

Thanks very much… I get carried away on these ideological campaigns.

God gave us all a hint, when He decided to make flora & fauna in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

mankind has followed suit with his productive zeal, innovations and ingenuity to afford us choice after choice in most everything we can pick from on this incredible planet. So many alternatives it can and does boggle the mind at times. The aspect of individuality if carried to an extreme can thwart such an exercise all together, or confound it greatly.

So far as individuality and personal touches go, I don't feel it so much an immense thing to place endemically our fingerprint upon a thing as end users but to find those products which satisfy us readily. Truly there is nothing wrong with striking some personal brand of sorts on a thing, but when the sole pursuit is pointed to alteration, why then not find that which does indeed finish the chase once and for all.

Certainly there is something to be said for the pursuit of purity in sound. Achieving a level where all of the music on display seems so real and organic. A virtual audiblly recreated reality.

Thus far I’ve found such levels aspirations only and not a reality. I catch glimpses of just such instances now and then in my own affair. Sometimes more, sometimes less as recordings go. I fear that for myself the big brass ring isn’t mine to be had now, and perhaps never. That’s simply my reality. I’m hamstrung money-wise but not quite so with my desire.

But there is a flaw in that viewpoint. My expectation is that I require more of a thing in order to be content with it. Getting more then, will be the solution. Well, it’s one answer, but it might not be the solution.

Too, too often it’s not the equipment… it’s my own thoughts about it. It’s just my own ego barking at me to improve things… add more… do more… tweak this … mod that… and each prescribed addition is an addition I’ve no past experiences with… that’s the funny part.

Oh it sounds this way… so I need a such & such to make it better? Maybe, maybe not.

if I can eliminate ego, or dramatically diminish it, my perspectives change. A change of perspective is as important as is acquiring another step up in equipment, for the goals have now been changed.

Honestly, were I to have the unrestrained means, Bill gates-like dough, I’d surely buy a setup which would startle and raise the hair on your neck. Hopefully. Probably several differing sorts as well. I’d be a kid locked in a candy store overnight. With any luck, I’d come to my senses by the morning. For the real golden nugget to all of this is enjoyment, as past times are supposed to provide.

There is so much stuff out there which is very, very good. I often wonder about system builds like this… “who’s to say once a pretty good level is met with components, that we already have on hand the tools needed to give us just such a truly involving and ultimately rewarding assortment?”

It’s at that point merely a matter of matching and maneuvering about the accessories and peripherals to gain their highest benefit. This list seems inexhaustible.

It’s said, “Desperation is the mother of invention”… maybe ‘desire’ is it’s Father. If it just ain’t out there, or happening for someone, they should look to their own hands for it’s generation…. Or reconcile their aspirations once again. It might prove out as a whole new career move! Or surprisingly enough, one could find themselves quite as ease with their rig as it stands.

Last night I switched about a pair of ICs in my system Just for kicks… a “Let’s see” thing. Turned it and went out to a anniversary dinner with friends, when I got home and began to listen I had to recall what I was listening too, the sound was so immersive and fascinating. It was not my better pieces in play at the time. I was spinning disc after disc… that sort of system is the kind I want. The one that’s tuff to turn off. Apparently I had it all the time and only needed to move about one pair of signal cables for it to come more alive.

I’ve had them up for sale a couple times feeling I needed ‘more better’ ones. Maybe I don’t after all. This stuff sure is funny in a laughable way, and a weird way too, a lot of the time.
I would also interject that some scenarios involving personal interactions between client and designer are very favorable. The difficulties ensue where practical business models come into play. An individual looking to make a career in the high end audio arena has to make some key decisions which will ultimately dictate where their products fit in, and how they are categorized by each individuals ideologically developed schema pertaining to the high end audio market. You can't please everyone is the dilemma. Some designers will strategically place themselves within the "normal" distribution curves of statistical mean. They may have an incredible product designed to compete with the higher(more expensive)tier items, but decide to market it elsewhere withing the marketing arena. It is most common from my experiences that prospective clients want an easily obtainable solution. Here is the is what it does...and here is the price.

If a designer chooses to approach this from a more personally involved interaction with the client, then the dynamics change considerably. There may be more avenues available for "that personal touch" feeling, but this also brings many other questions into play like cost factors, expectations, liabilities, and well defined delineations between beginning and end.
Wow! the same idea I had when we started our Signature line a couple years ago, says it clearly on our Signature front page.
I usually don't post here to promote our business, just nice to see someone else with the same thinking and had to chime in.