It used to bother me a lot when I would try to demo my system for someone and all they wanted to do was talk during the music. I get it - not everyone is an auditory person. But I still found it off putting and a bit depressing. Like if you took them for a ride on a windy mountain road in your Ferrari and all they noticed was the nice leather.
But FAR WORSE than that is when you're trying to demo your system for someone and they bring their kids. It happened to me last summer, and again tonight. In both cases it could not be helped but it totally destroys the listening experience to have a 6 year dancing around in front of the speakers while the 2 year old sings along with Rebecca Pidgeon. The listener is denied the chance of the listening experience that we all know and love. I found it actually painful, emotionally. A lost opportunity for a new person to be swept away by the musical experience that comes from a high end system. I guess this time it's like they strapped their screaming kids into child car seats in the Ferrari and only let you drive in the small parking lot. Why bother? And no, I don't have a Ferrari. But yes, with no local audiophile friends to appreciate it, I do yearn to at least share the experience with someone who's never heard good sound.
One other note. Isn't it funny that non-audiophiles often assume that you're going to blast their head off by playing Metallica with the volume set to 11?
...One other note. Isn't it funny that non-audiophiles often assume that you're going to blast their head off by playing Metallica with the volume set to 11?...
If you don't blast it they will be disappointed because that's the only thing that will convince them your system is awesome. You will only bore them with anything less. I had a Bang & Olufsen 2nd system in my sunroom that always got more attention than my main system. Go figure. Nothing will change, that's just the way it is.
I once had a friend over to do some listening and all they did was spend the entire time on their phone answering messages while giggling. Ugh! Also gotta love it when you have a couple audiophile buddies over for some critical listening and the neighbor’s yard crew starts up their lawnmower and string trimmer. Then, just when you have finished internally screaming and heart-rate reduces, the blower fires up. Ugh!
My brother-in-law farmer had two or three hi-fi systems languishing in his dank basement for years that he had gotten from a cousin. I rescued one of them and that is my current system.
He did not know how to work them or hook them up etc so I got the second system (Rotel/ B&W based....mid-fi, really) set up in my cabin and it sounded pretty good, I had them come down to listen to it and offered to hook it up in their home or even his shop.
They and my wife talked through the whole audition with various forms of music that they requested. They were utterly unimpressed and did not want me to set it up for them.
It didn’t hurt my feelings or anything. Some folks are into it, some aren’t. But I did not have a use for the system, didn’t like the B&W speakers/sub and so it all went back in their basement.
In the end audiophile pursuits tend to be solitary and even when not solitary it is quiet and contemplative. If the music and the SQ don’t move someone then they’re pretty much just sitting there....which for most people is the definition of boring.
Circa 1977, my living room system had a semi-auto TT(turned on when the arm was lifted and placed over the vinyl), with a felt platter mat and which sat atop an old console TV/stereo. My daughter had repeatedly seen me start the music, from her nest in my left arm, from the time she first came home from the hospital. One day, when she was just beginning to stand, she pulled herself up, high enough on the cabinet’s front to reach the arm(she used to do chin-ups, on her high-chair’s tray, whenever she was hungry). When the stylus hit the felt mat, it pulled the cantilever right out of my Sonus Gold Blue. I was thrilled, that I had fathered such a motivated music enthusiast.
If we are honest its only us older folk who are interested in Loudspeakers bigger than a cell phone. Virtually all my relatives and friends have no CD's and no system to play them on. Although my son in law was Impressed with ZZ Top-Le Grange when I really cranked it on my stereo. Its all Spotify that my family/friends co-workers use when I ask them. Its brings a smile to my face when my god daughter (3 years old) dances around the room to music she is hearing.
@ erik_squires - I am blessed in so many ways, but my 'other' family are all 4300 miles away scattered around Europe. The biggest problem here is that everyone is so busy trying to make a crust, so family /friend gatherings are really confined to family events rather than pop round to so and so's house for a cup of tea etc. My one Hi-Fi friend has a super 50k+ system, who is not Interesting in listening to my system. I think he hates Horns, lol...... If you are ever up in Denver, you are more than welcome to pop in for a cuppa tea!
Bob - I wonder if you invited your friend over to specifically listen to music and explained that him/her? I find that unless I’m clear that “I want you to hear this cool thing but you can’t talk or you’ll miss it!” Then people aren’t comfortable sitting in “silence”. Or they don’t consider “listening to music” as _just_ listening without distractions. If you explained it, and then they brought the kids, well you should have just moved on, because that wasn’t happening. But I agree, if you did explain it, that’s a little rude.
In terms of listening loud - well it is helpful to have people not talk!
well, and maybe Sony too. Phillips to a wee bit lesser degree but they are definitely culpible.
I think there is something to the notion people now neeed something to view or visually interact or interface with, the sound.
Albeit quite necessary, sound quality is seldom the focus.
there are 'screens' everywhere... and the speakers? now, those are much harder to find.
on your wrist! in your eyewear. in your pocket. on your belt. on the dash board. on drop down LCDs.
OMG! Even in the back seat which used to be a sacred part of every sedan!
you can't get away from them. only cameras are coming close to parralleling flat screen numbers.
I know a guy who put flat screens in the hallways of his house so he could view whateveer without interruption.
yep. there's one on an articulating arm in each bathroom so one can watch from any standing, ;'seated' or reclining position.
yep. 4K video... no k audio with most screens, save for those in homes whose owners dig both sides of the home entertainment coin equally.
BTW... the fella with all the flat screens throughout his house? he has a huge plasma screen in his 'theater' room. reclining chairs with cup holders in all of the arms. but uses Bose as his audio system.
its always about one's priorities.
oh, and a little bit about 'expectations'.
I seldom show my system to anyone not 'in the fold', so to speak.
I would as soon just keep the actua level of my insanity on a 'need to know' basis..
Anytime I demo my rig, folks are very impressed. They are fascinated by the ESLs, the turntable and tubes. We talk about the age of the gear, how I got it, how it all works. Most have no idea about how things work but when they see the glow and the mechanics, they are curious. But, yeah, silence, head in a vice, and great jazz/blues 60s analog recordings all help. They seem to connect with vinyl and to hear it like they've never heard any stereo blows them away. P.S. Leafblowers should be banned.
I can understand the disappointment. I worked in a hi-fi shop, selling. In my free time, I took stuff home from the store to personally audition as I had (by far) the best audio system amongst my co-workers. I wasn’t really cut out for selling hi-fi, as I couldn’t understand why someone needed persuasion to want what was on offer. Meridian, McIntosh, Mangepan, or a Magnavox home theater in a box. The customers were able to comfortably afford the good stuff, but were almost never moved by quality as much as they were moved by price. They had nice things that were good for showing up the Jones's, but audio required too much effort to show off.
In my house, it's more of a social event than a "listening session". I think it's hard to get people into critical listening as a first step. In my room, there's a listening area with a selection of albums, and nearby is a pool table, fireplace and bar area. The music is in the background, although usually loud enough to make you talk a little louder.
In that context, I notice that people first are talking and chatting, and then there is a point where they tilt their head and start to listen a little closer. Eventually a few will go have a seat in the listening area for a bit. Over there, they will find a few magazines to entertain them while listening, as well as a book with the record listings, so they can choose the next title.
Maybe it's the liquid sound enhancer, or maybe they are ready for a little break in the conversation, or they lost at the pool table. But, I think it's mostly that they aren't "forced" to sit and listen when they really want to chat for a while.
I work in a building of about 60 highly technical aerospace engineers, and I've always been so disheartened by the total lack of interest in musical fidelity. Many of them are really into music, but have zero opinion about how it sounds. And it's not that they are intimidated by the technology of audio. Nor is it a lack of funds for many of them. Sadly, my two best friends at work who do appreciate audio, are both married with kids, but their WIVES don't care about audio! I feel lucky to be married, no kids, and my wife loves loud, full range music!!
I've been in this same situation as the OP - with similar frustration and incomprehension. And I wonder of this is an accurate analogy? - What if a friend invited me over to see her newly acquired projector, made by Technology Company Z, with simply 12K resolution, organic LED, organic NGMO presentation, and holographic capability with properly installed RealStroke (TM) goggles? Like, I would head over out of friendship and I would pay attention as she played various clips and scenes, demonstrating the projector's powers. And I might even be lucky enough to want to see a whole movie, but in the end I really won't care -- a screen's a screen to me, whether it be the aforementioned tech marvel, or a 13" black and white with a coathanger antenna I had in the 80's.
I imagine the same can be said for most non-audiophiles out there. Music is mostly just music: background soundtracks to the days of their lives with the occasional private moment, though that's usually in their car.
Now - would I bring my children over and have them run everywhere and flick lights on and off? No. But only because I know what's expected at a session. Or even that such a thing as a listening session exists.
I don't even bother anymore. No more auditioning my system for the unappreciative. When it comes down to brass tacks, most non-audiophiles could care less about good sound. So, I have stopped trying to persuade them, and I will no longer go to the trouble of selecting audition programs carefully, only to have someone spend the entire time texting or talking while listening.