I Was at a Funeral of An Audiophile...

the other day, and the visitors were subjected to 70's rock music not only in the atrium but also in the chapel up until the moment the service began. The obituary read that the deceased was an audiophile and had a "state of the art" system. I had seen that rig; it was a "Brick and Mortar Special", with a Denon 7.1 surround receiver, nondescript front end and Klipsch lower end, package deal speakers. The surrounds were not placed well, solidly Mid-Fi.

But... the man loved his gear and the music. Completely deluded in terms of where he stood in the hobby, but had a passion for it. I'm guessing he bought the line, along with the equipment, from some salesman that he was getting a "state of the art" rig, and was very proud of it.

I have thought about having my Christian music favorites played at my funeral; I would want people to hear music which speaks of transcendent values. I would want them to hear the beauty in the message and the music, even if played on a wretched building PA system.

When the family found out that I also am an audiophile and understood terms like "calibration" of the system - the deceased calibrated his system often to get perfect sound - they were amazed that there are others in the world like him. I smiled and said I could relate to his desire for beautiful music, an attempt at capturing a feeling, experiencing perfection, if you will.

It's sort of like how we love our cars, and it won't make a bit of difference when we're gone how wonderful our ride was. We may observe another person's rig and wonder how it sounds, and we see some people with modest systems and others with outrageous rigs. There's no telling if that owner is truly satisfied and enjoying their time with it.

One thing came through at the funeral, however, and was very positive. As much as the family marveled at how much he loved his stereo, they knew he loved them much more. His rig brought him happiness, but he kept family as priority. You could say he died a fulfilled audiophile.
Push cry button. I'm touched. Thanks.
"Completely deluded in terms of where he stood in the hobby"

That's harsh.
Yeah! being an audiophile is a great way to measure a life lived, such an important part of life and death!!
Compared to many systems here, bricks & mortar specials are not so bad. I think it is the height of bad taste to denigrate someone at their funeral - not everyone has the same priorities...perhaps this fellow spent his money on music rather than gear
Deluded in what way? At least he was deluded into spending large amounts of money on snake oil.
Shadorne said: I think it is the height of bad taste to denigrate someone at their funeral:Well at least the deceased couldn't complain.And again maybe he can cryogenic-ally freeze along with his cables and listen in the after life..
They can just say I liked music at my funeral.

Technology too I suppose, since I make a living doing that.

In the immortal words of the legendary Forrest Gump:

"That's all I have to say about that."

"Note to self, take the 'Play my stereo at my funeral' portion out of my will. Just in case some 'real audiophiles' show up"

Once again, "Ouch"!!!!!
Play your records, leave your tubes on, share your passion with friends. Give or sell excess equipment to the young, but interested, cheap!
As a lawyer I can tell you that your precious stuff is just somebody else's garage sale!
Do you think this guy is now listening to a 'heavenly'system? God's gotta have a nice system, right? Probably an all tube system with a killer tt and 'to die for' speakers. No stillpoints or vibropods needed since all components are positioned on billowy clouds. Doesn't matter what he, or she, listens to since it all sounds righteous.
On the other hand, he could've been a badboy and was sent the opposite way. Hate to think he's in a really hot room for eternity listening to hellishly compressed MP3 recordings on an all Bose system. I think we all need to pray for this man.
People still have funerals?
I am hoping to die in some ultra secluded spot and no-one ever find the bones. Just disappear. No funeral.
My folks had thier ashes dumped out someplace far far away from civilization. I want the same without bothering with the creamation part.
Somehow, this reminds me of a great episode of Six Feet Under where a biker dies and his friends hold an all- night vigil at the funeral home listening to rock music and holding up lighters in the presence of the deceased...that was something special.
My wife's grandfather was buried by his friends in an old churchyard near his home. They dug his grave with ordinary garden shovels, They performed a simple singing service, ate lunch on the ground picnic style, with the extended family in the graveyard, children running about occasionally inspecting the headstones, old folks walking slowly, visiting old plots. His simple wooden box was then buried and the assembly dispersed. I actually enjoyed his funeral, but was also more than a little jealous.
Very nice story with a great message Douglas, thank you.

I hope to maybe have some records played at my service - hopefully many years forward - and potentially have equipment I own at the chapel.

Most importantly though, like your deceased friend, I hope that my family knows that I loved them the most of all!!!
Wish I liked my system as much as this fellow liked his. Goes to show that you don't need to spend a lot to get a ton of enjoyment. Happiness is in the ears of the beholder.
"Audiophile" is a state of mind as much as the equipment owned.
Elizabeth, I share your idea. Just tell me where you intend to go to find that spot and I will go the other way.
Audiophiles or not, this subject is real music to ears.
Yeah, family top priority on life...thats why i spend time with them during the wkd before listening to my audio gear.
"Completely deluded in terms of where he stood in the hobby"
Even at a funeral we get judged........might have left that part out of it to be honest.
Ever heard the old saying "never speak ill of the dead."
Douglas expressed an opinion that others would probably have thought likewise, maybe fleetingly. We all form them, even at funerals. Part of his post tells of his relating on good terms with the family about being like the deceased in his love for music and trying to capture it. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
The OP's post left me feeling uncomfortable also. Those "stones" should have been kept in the pocket and put to better use elsewhere. This was not the place. Disappointed.
As long as stones are not in my Kidney they dont bother me much :)
Sometimes you just pick the wrong words at the worst possible time to say them.......happens to us all i suppose. We all make stupid comments, if it were not for the one tacky line it would have been a nice thought.
Lets hope that doesnt make it into a review :)
I have been flamed more than once for my words, you get used to it.
Judge not that thee be not judged. Too late for that, Douglas. Your tone is trite and catty in this post.

Didn't MLK say something about being judged by the content of your character rather than the color of your skin -- or the price of your sound system?

There is a subtext here concerning the attainment of audiophilehood. Has the deceased made the grade? Is he just a crass pretender? Doesn't his stupid family understand that he is not a real audiophile like me? I mean, for crissakes, he didn't buy the right stuff at the right price from the right sources. He probably didn't read the right mags.
And yet these simpletons think he's a bona fide audiophile. More's the pity. R.I.P.
What a bunch of stinky and illogical poo is being hurled at poor Doug here.

Can you guys read? All Doug did was make a pretty much totally objective observation, that this gentleman's system was definitely not "state of the art" by any reasonable standard. Rather than kicking him for it, it seems fairly obvious to me that he respects the man for being satisfied with it and for not putting too much emphasis on material things. I could be wrong about that, but he certainly is not snottily, derisively dismissing the man as a human being over his inferior stereo!

So, you guys who believe it was "mean" to make this objective observation apparently believe that the system in question is indeed "state of the art"? Will you be trading in your systems for Denon receivers and Klipsch Best Buy speakers then? Or do you agree that the system is plainly not "state of the art" (meaning in the category of the very best audio systems available) but just think it's not "nice" to say so? But Doug just said that to us, here, who ought to know what he's talking about, not to the man's family!

So, there was clearly no moral judgment going on here, not of behavior or beliefs much less total holistic judgment of the man.

(I am wondering if part of the reason Doug is getting blasted is his stated Christian affiliation. Given all the snide rhetoric of hypocritical "judgment", that strikes me as likely. It seems the one thing that people who hate Christianity *think* they understand about it is that "you're not supposed to judge", but they really don't understand the doctrines at all. Of course Christianity requires judgments about many things to be made; if not, it would be a bag full of meaningless moral relativism. What's forbidden is judgment of a soul itself, in whole, which is not our domain. Doug pretty clearly wasn't doing anything like that yet some here want to believe he was. For example, I have corresponded privately with one individual who chimed in here with guns blazing at Doug who expressed to me his disgust with all "organized religion". Of course, he didn't include that tidbit here when he decided to make himself an expert on Christian morality. You know who you are, and here's my quote for you, courtesy of Cardinal Neumann: "Lovers of sin are poor judges of the Gospel.")
How many times has each of us uttered stupid words or thoughts only to think later "What the heck was I thinking?". It is all part of being a human being. Nobody is immune from the occasional egotistical, critical, haughty or mean thought. Fortunately we don't always verbalize them. Criticizing others is often a method by which we try to make our own selves look good.
It sounded to me like Doug felt superior because he didn't like the non traditional music played and his system is a real audiophile system.

One man's sin may be another's gospel.
Doug: "the man loved his gear and the music".."..."had a passion for it"...."and was very proud of it".."as much as the family marveled how he loved his stereo, they knew he loved them much more"..."but he kept family as prioroty" A very nicely done eulogy! Father Doug
I would be happy to have Doug say a eulogy for me, of course I don't plan on going for quite some time. Tho, he'll probably throw in at the end "Hey, who's got dibs on his stereo"?! HA
Move upstream, y'all and consider why Doug saw fit to comment in the first place. Have any of you attended a funeral that you felt inclined to write about on Audiogon? Were you concerned about the audiophile credentials of the deceased? Did his surviving relatives accord him some status that rightfully applied to you instead? Were you maybe just a little bit jealous? Well I never........... did you see his system? That stuff is barely mid-fi and his speaker placement plainly indicates that he was a phony, a pretend audiophile.

You are correct - I know who I am. Thanks for that acknowledgment. You have kindly pointed out to everyone why I don't participate in medieval superstitions. However, I feel pretty sure none of us care about my personal beliefs or your supercilious attempts to read them into my unrelated comments about the offending funeral.

No one, no matter how ignorant or arrogant, knows where we go when we die. Those who insist they do, are delusional.
I thought the post might generate some interesting discussion. I appreciate all replies, and anticipated that some would see my post as arrogant, snotty, etc. and others would see it as realistic/pragmatic, etc.

It's difficult to discuss deceased persons, making judgments about them/their life, without possibly offending. I think most of us would have felt similar in terms of assessment of the system, but I simply had the guts to say it publicly.

In terms of making judgments, or judging others' actions, you bet, I do so all the time. Further, I will judge someone's actions whether living or dead. What I hope not to do is what might be termed "judgementalism", harsh criticism of another - the old "get the log out of your own eye," mistake. We tend to want to "cushion" comments in certain social settings and on certain topics. If someone doesn't they come off as brash, harsh, insensitive, etc. So, what if this guy could only afford entry level gear, or had other financial priorities? Perhaps, but the exuberance over his being an audiophile with "state of the art" gear was what triggered my reaction.

When I began learning to ski at age 27 or so I was very proud to proclaim myself a skier, though I wasn't really much of one considering that "real" skiers spend a lot of time on the slopes, have beautiful form from years of perfecting body mechanics, often adopt the culture of skiing, have likely moved upward in terms of equipment and clothing, and may have taken special trips to ski in fantastic settings. I had done none of those initially - but I was telling everyone, "I'm a skier!"
I was actually a hack learning my first baby steps, but was overly proud of my initial progress.

I guess that doesn't happen to anyone else, huh? Especially not audiophiles.

I was intending to lead others reading the post to two concusions:
1. The man was an audiophile, despite what I concluded was a bit of unsupported pride over his rig. He loved music, played it on his rig incessantly, and enjoyed his gear. That's the basic foundation of an audiophile. The quality of his rig is not determinant, but his habitus, his lifestyle of subjecting himself to the music with regularity.

2. His family was loved. We can get too wrapped up in our audiophile world and lose sight of the things which matter most - family, friends, faith (and though faith is important to me, I'm not interested in arguing it), etc.
In the end the quality of his rig was inconsequential, as it will be for us.

Perhaps for the audiophile there are three things which cannot be avoided: death, taxes and judgments of our systems! ;)
I knew exactly where you were coming from, Doug.

That was a nice follow-up.

I hear you still can't ski worth a shit though. I judge your skiiing to be sub-par. I've written a treatise on the subject that is to be published in The New Yorker upon your death.
Now I know the next time I say something that many take issue with I just had the "guts" to say something many others are thinking.......I will assume they secretely agree with me. Thats gonna make life alot easier!
Are you sure the man was a true audiophile? True audiophiles would have their audio equipments, speakers and cables cremated and buried with them, so they can continue listening to their music forever in heavenly peace, or in eternal damnation if you are a rock & roll Kiss fan - Amen!!!
Shad, Sonny Bono would love that collection........maybe not :)
What too soon? lol
Let's face it, the deceased was not an audiophile, he thought he was because someone sold him some midfi gear and made him believe so, or maybe it was his family that decided he was an audiophile. Damn, it's too bad that the poster was at the funeral of an audiophile and not a friend. Maybe we would have really known something about this guy, about his character, about his achievements, something more than a Denon Surround sound system. It sucks that he died and probably never knew of the existence of Audiogon?? Wherever he is going, there must me some sort of Audiogon, right? or maybe he's not allowed to join because he wasn't an audiophile, really.
No what sucks is the OP and others in this thread confuse "audiophile" with equipment price and "percieved" quality. Being an audiophile used to mean you cared about music and wanted to try your best to make it sound good but that has obviously been lost on some.
Maybe they guy didnt make much cash, maybe he didnt have any exposure to more quality gear, maybe he had a life that gave him varied joy so he spread his focus on more than just buying gear....maybe it was good enough for him too?
Or maybe he met some of us and got soured on our definitions of what being an audiophile is truely about and thumbed his nose at us, and perhaps rightfully so. It wouldnt take more than half a lap around a audio convention to scare off some pretty sane folks and I know this because I have been in the company of many in our hobby..........its a scary bunch.
God speed to the person who inspired this, and I hope he doesnt laugh to hard at us all for the at times misguided actions far too many of us our guilty of.
The bottom line was he was judged and wrongfully so IMO.
Amen Chad.
Chad, did you read my second post? It doesn't seem like you did. You have simply ignored my clear statements that I considered him an audiophile in order to do your bashing. :)
Discussing audio and audiophiles in the context of funerals and death certainly helps put things in perspective.

What else is there to say?
This is a stupid thread.

Mapman, the other day a young woman I know was partially run over by a SUV at night - albeit slowly, as she was walking in a parking lot after workout (perhaps the driver was distracted by texting, trying to get away with it in a slow moving vehicle?). The clearance of the SUV and very slow speed prevented her from being mangled and possibly killed or maimed for life.

Her pet, her job, her social life, her hobbies - not much of all that was too important at that moment. Perhaps as she lay under the vehicle screaming for the driver to back up the upcoming wedding with her fiance' was the most intense thought besides fearing for her life itself.

It's as she recovers and realizes she'll continue to live that these other things will return in seeming significance.

Part of my post was to recall that we will all face that moment. Then what will it matter if we were the super-audiophile or the dabbler?

Work hard, enjoy the music, but be ready to let it go.

I'm certainly not a fatalist, but your are absolutely correct; it puts things into perspective.
I feel the OP merely stated a their own observation. It was the OBITUARY which read "the deceased was an Audiophile and had a state of the art system". The OP then described his personal feelings for the funeral "host". I think that was done rather well. An Audiophile would be anyone who likes music enough as to work on their system to get the most out of it, then enjoy the music, period. I can only imagine if we had all been in attendance, and went to a restaurant afterward, what our conversation would be. Hey, maybe the guy lost a bunch of money at the racetrack, and just TOLD his wife the system was ultra expensive. Ya' never know.....
Hey I read all posts, and like you said "I just had the guts to say something", what is that only a one way street?
When you say something its considered brave, when I do not so mush........hmmm.
I dont think I am alone in this as witnessed by remarks from others, I didnt see any sign of apology so I dont feel any need on my part. Honesty is best and thats honestly how I feel. Cheers
Chad, I knew that the OP would elicit strong feelings. No problem. :)
Schroeder - I've seen your name occasionally for years now in these forums but I never really took notice of who you are. Now I have - and I will disregard your observations henceforth. Silly putty.