A fun read. Thanks.......
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The article is two years old almost to the day but still as fresh as yesterday’s garbage. Pretty typical in most respects, hits all the usual audiophile soft spots....oh, my gosh, there’s even the perfunctory bit on Peter Belt (RIP), UK’s favorite dart board. What, no mention of Aftermarket Fuses?! Shame on Esquire!!
It's thought-provoking. It may be meant for non-audiophiles, but it prompts a fair bit of introspection upon this audiophile. My own belief is that we audiophiles at our very core rely on music to alter our sense of the World, just like endurance athletes who must have their "runner's high". We're mentally wired that way-music is like oxygen to us. But on top of that, we're equipment fetishists. Like car buffs who never cease to marvel at the freedom of motorized private transportation of the automobile, but also dwell on the specifics of the physical, we love the physical means-if only we could spend hours washing, waxing, and buffing our gear we would be even happier! But our hobby adds yet another fantastic element horology fans, car buffs, and gun collectors will never have-the element of mystery leant by objectively unexplainable tweaks, cables, and electronic gear that measures poorly but gives sonic nirvana. And on the other hand, I have never heard a car, watch, or gun guy complain about the pricing vs cost of materials-but we do.
fsonicsmith,REAL watch people? That means Patek Phillipe Vacheron, Jaeger-Lecoultre, IWC, and not just the superficial doctors et al who think Rolex and Tag are the watches to wear. The folks that buy the big time watches don't question the price. Just my humble opinion which you may very well claim to be incorrect.
And I think as a population we're not going to be understood by those for whom sound and music are not synesthetic, holistic experiences.
I know that sounds dreadfully elitist, but whenever I'm tempted to invite someone over for a "listening session", I wonder how I would react if a friend or colleague invited me over to watch a movie on his or her new awesome projector, just to see how amazing the picture quality is and how soul-searing the sound and sharpness is. I mean, I really wouldn't care. A movie is a movie, no matter how sharp or hi-rez the picture is.
A while ago I invited a colleague over to listen to artists he and I had in common - Tori Amos, Innocence Mission, Hank Dogs, etc. And tho he appreciated the music, he was ambivalent as to the fidelity of that music. Tori on his Best Buy stereo at home was just as fulfilling as Tori on my reference system.
And there's the rub. As a chromesthete, I've always seen colors and patterns when I hear music and pitches.
And, in part because of this, music has always been the preferred medium of consumption. I don't care if I never watch tv again or ever see another movie; but I would be bereft if I could never listen to music again.
And this, in part also, defines audiophiles.
simao, well said and a few posts above I tried-not as well-to express the same thing. Music triggers something in our brains that is addictive to us, but above that, fidelity or quality is necessary to feel what we need to feel. We all know people who love music but don't care much about fidelity. Hell, the same can be said for 98% of musicians.
I've noticed there is a type of person that pursues hobbies that can never be perfected. Me, for example. I drag race cars. You can never run a zero pass. I play golf. Not going to shoot an 18. I cycle. No century ride in one second. You can always go faster. My wife says my hobby is collecting hobbies and there are more. But you get the drift. Our stereos are never good enough and never will be. Now, are we perfectionists, suffer from OCD or are we simply masochists? Pick the two that fit you the best. :-)
Hey, look on the bright side, y'all... if it draws more ears into 'the hobby' (or 'quest', if you prefer...), then let's give it a plus, a nod, and move on.
One could wine over the plethora of Bluetooth'd widgets that make music more 'accessible' vs. "Hey kids! Here's what it's SUPPOSED TO SOUND LIKE!" Maybe some new interest (not to mention mere cash) will inject and infect the situation the 'state of the art' is in.
Being blunt, which I'm good at...we got 'into audio' when it was Affordable. Since then, it's gone stratospheric with regards to pricing and the apparent 'exclusivity' of items that can only be appreciated by those who've been 'in the mix' for a long time.
Now....the latter is OK by me. I can't afford to play at those levels, but I can appreciate one's drive to attain personal perfection. But if an article like that can trigger a certain level of interest in trying to improve one's reproduction of the medium, well, way cool...;) LP's are enjoying a renaissance, and who knows where that'll lead....
Affordable Good Audio is a 'taste thing'. One's trash is another's Nirvana at ear-splitting volumes. *L* And most of us can relate to that....;)
For me it's been a lifelong curse.When I was young certain sounds would drive me nuts, fluorescent lights,screaming kids,etc. Until I hit 30+ I could hear dog whistles and out of adjustment FM carriers. When I was a teen a car equaled freedom. I spent all my free time in mine so music was a must.Back then car stereos were pricey had about 4WPC (amps were an exotic,unreliable, bad sounding that cost 3x-4x more than my car). The car speakers then available were outrageously expensive and made hideous unlistenable noise,not music. Out of desperation and lack of funds I started building my own from old home speakers. My favorites came out of discarded console stereos They usually had 12" or 15" paper cone woofers and mid- tweets with tiny alnico magnets They didn't break my budget (free on trash days in upper class neighborhoods) the highs didn't grate on my nerves (rolled off around 8-10K) produced great base and would play at unreal volumes powered by a 4WPC cassette/FM. Building systems for other teens became my 1st business amd I've been involved in audio part time ever since.
.I couldn't understand why my cheapie speakers didn't get on my nerves like "good" home and car speakers ( female vocals were especially annoying) until a few years later when I walked into a high end audio shop. The owner must have been bored or had a sadistic streak, instead of running off a goofy, ignorant,empty-pockets kid he took the time to let me hear some MUSIC. I sat there totally awe struck and speechless while he cued up classical,jazz and rock tracks on an exotic looking record player and giant speakers for over an hour. It took deep into a place deep inside that I'd only glimpsed until then while experimenting with potent psychedelics lt left me disoriented,weak, and near to tears. He spent another hour giving me a very,very basic education on how this magic was made. I was hooked! Then he completely crushed my new found happiness and hopes for reaching audio nirvana. He let me know how much it all cost! Even the cheapest most humble entry level system was completely unattainable with my pitiful budget I left his shop in a deeply depressed state. Ever since, I've devoted much free time, on DIY projects, bought,sold, traded gear and spent way more of my total income on this insanity than any normal person could ever imagine trying to try to get back there! ---- Still trying! . ---- It's a curse worse than any heavy drug habit!!!. ----- Wish I'd have been born tone deaf! I'd have been far happier and had a bit of cash in my pocket for food and paying the bills.
----To my fellow addicts, My heart felt condolences!