Stereo systems are like Harleys


You'll never see two exactly alike. They are an expression of the owners ideas on design and performance, usually within the construct of a budget. Often put together over time with new and used parts.

I love that about this hobby. How boring would it be if we all had the same ideas of how a system should sound or look?

When you go to any kind of a rally, be it a poker run, charity ride or whatever.... it's customary to just walk around, checking out other peoples rides and chatting it up. It's a great way to meet people and have fun. Oddly, those bikers who's stigma is to be rowdy and obnoxious, are the nicest people I've met. Never once have I ever heard comments like DUH you should done this or that with your bike. Everything and everybody is accepted as is.

Perhaps some folks around here could learn a thing or two from the bikers. 


treynolds155
Virtual signaling, now that's a new one for me...thanks for the link MC. If that's what you call a subtle poke to have people be a little nicer around here, so bit it. You sir, have a nice day. 
Concur in general with the assessment of the biker atmosphere.

I think the impediment to better relations here is that contra the bike rally, no one has an absolute grip on the system performance someone else has built. It must be discussed. In doing so, the vagaries of perception tend to conflict, people "think" differently regarding their opinion of the performance, which they tend to hold absolutely, and you have a conflict forming.

I have seen a much less contentious attitude at shows usually, where people discuss systems in a more jovial mood and much like the bike events. Online seems to be an issue. The quality of communication of the written word is so much lower than in person discussion.

An interesting aspect of having two distinctly different bikes; when I ride the sporty bike I get less "hello" waves from cruisers, and when I ride the cruiser, I get less acknowledgement from the sporty bikers. It seems that it takes dismounting the bike for some to be more friendly. Perhaps a situation not unlike the online/show dichotomy? :)


One day a Cary V12R power amp, sprung a leak overnight.
Sure reminded me of the old Harleys.  They use to mark their spot with the old chain oilers. This guy did the same.. Cracked me up.. It was the first thing I though of.. Harley 45 flathead, stick shift, foot clutch.

I hated that thing when I was a kid... I wound up on the wrong side of that thing a few times, trying to get it started and get to school. My mother use to pull start me..Behind a 68 Ford Torino, when it was cold. Yup.. I have pictures of her (my Mom and her sister) riding an old Indian Chief delivering mail during WWII in Texas..

I was raised around bikes.. I haven't ridden in years.. I've fixed a few though.. V8ed a couple through the years too.. :-)

Regards

treynolds155 , You have a Harley? Lets see a picture. 

 I posted a picture of mine on my system page. 
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/6395

I have owned Harleys since the late 1970's. I have owned Audio Research gear since the late 1980's.

I've had a bike on and off for 35 years, my last was a Dynaglide that had for over 10 years but sold it just over a year ago. I'm eying a Sport Glide now. Nice looking Softail, love the springer front end. 

So you guys get the whole Harley/stereo thing. Everyone is unique and that's what makes it so cool!!

Audio Research gear is on my bucket list, mid to late 80s I was into Threshold and Theta. 
My sound systems have never marked their spot, or enjoyed riding in the back of a pick-up, as did my dogs and '53 Pan (on rare occasion).                                                                Nor have I ever seen a shirt, proclaiming, "I Own An Accurate Sound System, NOT Just a T-shirt!"                                                                                                                                          One similarity: If anyone had to ask WHY I own either: they (obviously) wouldn't understand!

 I am more old school. I am not a fan of all the electronics in the new bikes. Just seems like more to go wrong. I don't even have fuel injection, my bike has a carburetor. Though I did upgrade it to a smooth bore Mikuni. I will say that the Twin cam was one of the most reliable engines Harley ever designed. I have not had any trouble with it in all the time I owned my bike. Just regular maintenance and a new battery. And it still starts right up every time.

 Back in the late 1980's I listened to everything I possibly could. I lived in Chicago then and there were plenty of audio stores. When I heard a Audio Research classic 60 I was hooked. It was so much better than anything else I heard. I have had Audio Research ever since. I have had other stuff in my system from time to time, but I always sell it and go back to Audio Research.

I hear ya on the electronics, but there's no going back. My Twinkie gave me no issues either mechanically, just fuel injection problems.  

I've settled on Mcintosh for now, pretty happy with it for the time being. My bucket list keeps growing though. 
Ha.   Thank God I don't have to spend as much time replacing tubes, bad solder joints, broken switches, bad wiring, stripped bolts, valves, pistons on my system as I had to on my '67 stock XLCH.
When I first started riding I met any number of Harley enthusiasts and it was always chill.  But at some point in the late 80s/early 90s I noticed a change.  Suddenly there were these faux bikers who thought they were bad boys tooling around on $25k toys.  They were McDonald's franchise owners, urologists and investment analysts.  They were the type of people who paid taxes and voted in local school board elections living out some sort of mid-life crisis.  They were just consumers who put it on their credit cards.  I hope there's not an audiophile equivalent.
Hee Hee, That’s what I mean. I’m from the Bay Area. Richmond, Oakland, Jan Jose. Those old bike were as long as a VW bug back then..

Jack Egan, Sonny Barger, Jaime Melgoza. They met up for Sturgis in the little rural communities like Brentwood, Byron hot springs, Bethel Island. Never any problems. Usually 3-500 would roll through. My Dad knew more of than me, a LOT were veterans of WWII, Korea and some of the 62-65 Vietnam advisers... I knew their kids.. They were pretty strict about their kids going to school. No lack of discipline, lets say..

My Dad worked on a LOT of their bikes pre Sturgis and a few of the Widow maker runs.. Hill climes.. LOT of fun back then.. !/2  milers too. The beautiful 750 Harleys, all rollerised.. My dream bike back then, reverse throttle guy too.. Just made good sense back then for good wheelies.. Hee Hee..

My Dad had an Ariel Square Four. Beautiful..Me a flathead 45, hated that thing.. Had a transmission out of a trike SFPD retired 45s.. lots of parts.. had a reverse... YUP.. was for a trike.. 50.00 usd..

Regards
"I hope there’s not an audiophile equivalent."      The wannabe/weekend warrior/shop-to-live, live-to-shop, "audiophile"  (99%ers, maybe?)

 There is, it is called "The audio lifestyle". This was big a few years ago. Audio Research when it was owned by McIntosh push this among other brands. I remember an Audio Research Rep telling me it was not about audiophiles anymore. It was about living the audio lifestyle. I told my Audio Research dealer (a good friend), I was too old for another lifestyle. I was just in it for the music.

 I am glad to say that it looks like Audio Research has gotten back to the family philosophy. Not just trying to sell new gear but servicing the old stuff as well.

Weekend Warriors? Accessorizing because from the factory, the thing is kind of disappointing? Weight to power ratio? I dunno. I had a "not real Harley"-- a V-Rod which was a great motor in search of a frame that didn't flex, had brakes that didn't do much (I installed Brembos and then the frame really did flex) and did do some customization by stripping off all the crap the prior owner had installed to make it a rat rod.  That market peaked several years ago (kind of around the same time that Guitar Heroism™ died), except for the hard core riders. Old Harleys are cool, but man, you got to have an ass of steel.
I had a friend who did the Real Cannonball Baker run (not the car thing, but running X-country on a bike, in his case a pre WWII Harley with a suicide shifter when he was in his early 70s). Tough Brit.
So, Japanese bikes are like digital to Harley analog?
Where does BMW fit in?
I liked the Italian bikes.
I'd really like a Brough for bragging rights, but I quit riding a while ago and never considered myself good, only careful. I'm now too old, too likely to really hurt myself and my reflexes aren't what they were. I do miss the freedom you feel on a bike. Maybe flying is the way to go. 
I traded my Road King for a minivan over 15 years ago.  Now I listen to music with my 15 year old.  :-)
Just a little virtue signaling there.  Only hurts when I laugh, haha.
miller carbon +++ thanks for sharing

Stereos may be like Harleys, but audiophiles are not like bikers.

The band I was a member of in '75 got hired by the owner of a motorcycle repair and customizing shop on El Camino Real somewhere between San Jose and San Francisco to play at a party he was throwing in the shop. The band played Jump Blues music, a very danceable genre.

Seeing a bunch of burly guys with beards and long hair, black leather jackets over Levi jean jackets, stiff blue jeans and motorcycle boots dancing without female partners was a sight to behold. I kept my bemusement to myself ;-) . 

All the guys were chugging bottles of beer, using it to wash down whatever pills they were swallowing. It didn't take but about a half hour for things to turn ugly. Altamont came to mind. Aggressive personality traits mixed with speed creates quite a little monster. The shop owner came to the band's rescue, and the party was over.

Audiophiles, on the other hand, are a bunch of p*ssies ;-) .

Yeah we all have our own ideas but not only that diferent experiences and ears make the differences as well, but the main difference is listening time to music the more you listen the more you will know what good sound is.
I lived in Redding CT for years and I was 10 minutes from Marcus Dairy in Danbury that had become a Sunday morning mecca for bikers from all over...hundreds of every type of bike (and a couple times a year sponsored "special event" Sundays with easily thousands) with greasy egg sandwiches to help that Sat nite hangover...I had two interesting bikes and got many useful tips and stories from strangers. Sadly the place was gone by 2011 (I had moved away in 2000), but nobody around that scene will ever forget it. There's nothing in the audio world remotely like that...nothing.
First bike, S90 Honda....learned how to make small cc work for you.
Second, RD350.  Keep the nose down, and fly away. 2 strokes pissed some off and best left behind.  Spouse inherited it...
"You let your wife ride an RD?!" (common comment)
She completed college @ SF State riding a 180 Yamaha scoot and wanted better brakes and handling...and was the right size and weight for it.
3rd and final, 550 Vision V twin '83 with the fairing, shaft drive, daily ride to work and weekend wanders with spouse.
We rode down to the 1st GP @ Laguna Seca to watch the real runners qualify and drag knee.  Got to walk the entire track the night before the races on a lovely warm night.  Still remember standing on the corkscrew and considering the transition it presented....
Stopped riding in Houston, a bit too warm for proper attire and most roads too straight.
Would love to get back into a saddle, but blood thinners make me leak too easily and I bruise if you look at me hard...
But I can still pick out the sound of a Duck 1/2 mi. away....*G*

Audio and bikes held nothing in common for me, other than the sound of a well-tuned (or badly needing) high RPM yowl. ;)
....and this is why you Don't want me to win a lottery.....

https://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/a10022304/lotus-elise-hillclimb-car-uses-v8-formed-from-two...

A 'street' version of this would be my first splurge... ;))
As a certified H-D technician of over 27 years and being raised around them I will agree to a certain extent that owning a Harley is like owning audio gear. The obsession part of it anyway.

What I don't see is a guy go out and buy a McIntosh amp and all of a sudden think they're a tuff guy or pretend they have been into audio their whole lives after they bought their first stand alone DAC at 40yrs old.

Those are the guys that go on poker runs and charity rides. Every one of those rides end up with accidents.
I don't have to be there to know what happened,  the bikes and the story's usually end up at my garage.

@onhwy61 has it right. Image the nonsense I have had to put up with since fictional shows like OCC came out. It was a phenomenon that I like to call biker by checkbook.
Their bike hasn't even left the showroom floor and they already got all the current t-shirts, leather accesories, do rags and boots. Looking like a kindergartener on their first day of school.
It used to piss me off (mostly the ones with bigger check books than mine) now I just laugh while I get paid to install back rests and crash bars along with the other items in a pile of newly acquired accessories.

@bdp24 you better be careful it's not 1975 anymore. Things have changed.
I heard those "San Francisco bikers" like to ride them with no seats.


@wolf_garcia 
Have been to Marcus Dairy quite a number of times on a Heritage Softail (carbureted). That's an old pleasant memory.  Tried riding the '76 shovelhead rigid chopper up there one time...too much pain, seems I waited too long and tried to fool myself into thinkin' this will be fun!  WTH its only 90 miles each way...yeah right. Still have both of them.  BTW, going to Limerock for the IMSA race in July (if its not cancelled).

@lostbears 
Yeah it's been ARC since early 70s,  Corvettes since early 70s,  My dad was a Harley fan so we had a bike or two around.  Fun stuff.

To the OP:  yup rallies are one thing, biker parties are another thing altogether.  Usually runnin' on the ragged edge of...well you know.
 

 There was a place in Illinois called the Highland House. It was up north on highway 41 by 22. Every Sunday bikers would come from near and far. You would wonder around and see all sorts of unusual bikes. It is long gone now. I use to go there in the late 1970's and early 80's. I miss those days, I still had my 65 pan.

Marcus Dairy, oddly never made it there even though I'm close. Limerock is a lot of fun, lots of open space so should be open.
Stereo systems like Harley's???
Sure hope not. Don't want to work on my Stereo all week just so I can use it on the weekends! lol
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@treynolds155, Same thing for Porsche clubs, and Corvette clubs and any Cars and Coffee meetings I've every been to. But think about the people you meet at a HiFi show. They are nice also.
The problem with chat rooms is that you can't see or hear the other person's expression and you don't have to worry about his fist jumping out of the monitor and punching you in the nose. You think we are bad?
You should see some of the female chat rooms. Talking about volatile.
As someone well versed in them once said to me, Harley measures tolerances with a yardstick.  Maybe similar to some hi-end audio manufacturers.
Dgarretson--  Ha!!!  Exactly!  The tolerances were such that anyone--even me!--could work on them (these are 60s bikes here).  I believe I put one of the pistons in backwards, and after a few miles, recalled precisely my hand movements putting in the wrist pin, and OH CRAP, I ...   Rode home, took about a half hour to strip it down and put it in correctly (and I am NO mechanic!)--heads roughly where they should be--hell, good enough!  It ran fine.  There was no way that was going to work on a Japanese machine.  Riding one of those was like listening to really really good 78s played with a wooden needle.

And then there are the Ural hack riders like me, with a Thorens TD124. The 60 year old Thorens needs less work! 
Unfortunately, I can't not agree that you can blanket all "bikers" into the category of "the nicest people I've met".

I've been riding for 40 years, non of those on a HD but Japanese, Italian and English.  I heard and seen plenty of comments and gestures from HD riders towards me, because I'm not riding what they deem as the only motorcycle brand that matters.

Your comment about "rowdy and obnoxious" definitely holds true where I live, with every HD in my neighborhood with strait pipes that have no regard for speed limits, and just love to blast their stereos which can be heard blocks away.

I love motorcycles and motorcycling - I have three bikes in my garage, but I'll never strike up a conversation with another "biker" who is rowdy and obnoxious to an entire neighborhood.
I’ve never heard of a hi-fi rally- maybe car stereo stuff though; you can meet other peeps on your motorsickle but you can't drag your monoblocks to a car park
When most Harley riders looked at my airhead BMW or Guzzis they'd scoff or say something smart like this actual example, "they must be good because they're awfully ugly".  The ones who were real motorcyclists and in the know admired the machines and knew their capabilities.

There used to be a T-shirt I saw occasionally at BMW rallies that read "if Harley Davidson built an airplane would you fly in it"?   LOL

 
https://electrek.co/2020/05/15/harley-davidson-livewire-electric-motorcycle-exceeds-range-speed/

Finally a Harley that "could" compete with a good road bike like a Ducati etc etc maybe.

Cheers George
I thought you were gonna say "because the low frequencies of both hit you in the groin"!

You have to give a nod to the pirate spirit of bikers...until it crosses the line.

I remember, decades ago, hitchhiking across Canada, after the band vehicle broke down mid-tour. Between Wawa and thunder Bay, Ontario. Far from home in BC.

The guy who picked us up near Calgary had just got out of prison. He was adamant he would take me and Veronica [Tangent, our sex bomb singer] to the Calgary Stampede, but first he had to pick up his girlfriend.

This woman told us stories about the Hell’s Angels saving her life in the past. And that because of that, whenever they [rarely] asked her to do something, she had to put down what she was doing, and do their bidding.

I like Robin Hood "banditos" as much as the next guy, but controlling women crosses a very serious line.

Just meant as an interesting story to somehow fit in with the first post.
  At 63 years old, I’ve grown up with both. At 17 years of age I had Dynaco MK III’s , JBL 100’s and a Garrard  TT. My bike was a Ness framed, 900 cc cast iron Sportster my friend built . The Danny Gray custom seat cost $60. It was Pearl peach with gold leaf . Tank held about 1.5 gallons and it looked good sitting still .                            Fast forward to the present I have a stage III 2000 Buell and a stage I 2000 Road King . My current system is a Rogue pre and a Had Inspire amp . So 45 years later it’s still tubes and carburetors. Many personalities and experiences along the way . I’m friends with the Mathews family that has the dealership in Fresno . Harold was a world class hill climber and his collection of bikes makes up the majority of photos in the oversize coffee table books that are published. I grew up hanging out in Stereo and repair shops . I’ve logged countless races ( as a fan )  at San Jose and Sacramento miles , Laguna Seca and Riverside . Fresno has produced many racing champs in every discipline of cars and motorcycles. During my life I’ve crashed bikes and blown up  stereo equipment, and survived . My firearms experience is equal too, but that’s for another day . I’ve hung with the 1% crowd , but I neither admire or fear them . As a kid , I grew up on dirt bikes and listened to my Crystal Radio. Then it was a custom van and a modified RD 400. Since then, I’ve always had a Harley and a stereo . I’ve never considered myself a BIKER , I’m a motorcyclist. I never considered the HD Vs Tube comparison much , but they both have big personalities and huge quirks . BTW my Buell will hit 150 mph. Thanks for allowing me to stroll down memory lane. Regards , Mike B. 
For musical enjoyment I feel highly accurate, resolved, tonally correct, full range (with requisite dynamics) musical reproduction is the goal. If others desire something colored, in any direction, that is fine but I feel the one perfect system (or as close...) disqualifies any need for another.

But as for our two-wheeled friends, all my old motorcycles served a specific purpose. I've never owned a Harley, but one old '82 BMW (still) and lots of Japanese bikes and each motorcycle was a very different tool for a different ride, from a little 300cc licensed trail bike to a 6cyl Honda Goldwing. My mid-sized cruiser was fun in different ways from my in-line four 1000cc rocket. I loved 'em all (and still have five around for fun).

Two channel listening wins out, especially in winter but I only need one great system to enjoy all types of music. I'd like to think true audiophiles are aiming in the same direction. I understand variances in how we feel about speakers but hope the goal is the same. With motorcycles it is not, at least for where I like riding (paved, unpaved, dirt).
I live in both worlds. There's good people in both of these passions, and a**holes too. Just sayin........
Like a Harley?  I hope not.  Harley's are all image.  I was in the power sports business, including owning a successful race team, for over two decades.   The last ten years were with Harley Davidson dealers, as a salesman, sales manager, finance manager, and internet manager.  Although there is no doubt that some so-called audiophiles are more concerned with image and looks than sound (Well, that is akin to Harley stuff.),  when we sold Dan Marino and Dave Wannstedtt's Harley's for them, I learned the term, "Garage Jewelry".  Their nearly ten year old bikes, with way under a thousand miles for the pair, certainly qualified for the moniker, but unlike audio Harley's, audio systems must perform, including when being compared to other brands.  In the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina mountains, my crowd called Harley's, "Moving Chicanes".  We just had to ride around these loud beasts, most often on our brakes.  Few audio systems totally qualify as "Den Jewelry", because they must perform, which Harley's do not, unless you are happy paying a fortune for two cylinders from a 100 year old radial airplane engine to fail at keeping up with a Japanese sport bike of 20% the displacement, and price; and without an ounce of fine detail such as handling and brakes.  I have my audio electronics in a small room adjacent to my speaker room.  The system is for sound and performance, not for impressing people who stream music on their MegaBoom's, or add chrome... uh, speaker wire trestles and big meters for show.   As a sociologist, I will be nice, and not discuss the political and human rights beliefs of Harley's Hog Club members.

  +1 to crazy eddy ! Gorgeous Panhead and nice system !                                                 To those that point out the poor design and high prices for Harleys , I totally agree . But it’s like having a rusty McIntosh tube amp and Altec VOT’s . It’s flipping cool and loaded with personality . I also have vintage Marantz and Sansui SS receivers . Vintage JBL and Klipsch speakers . In the living room I have Zu. In the bedroom I have Audeeze cans on a SS Dac/amp .       My point is it’s ALL COOL , none of it is bad , it just differs !  One of the joys of this is riding other people’s bikes and listening to other systems . It’s all good stuff .            😎.   Riddle me this ... What happens to old Harley Riders when they die ? They go to Heaven and get a Gold Wing ....                                     
I invite everyone to pull down this track and run it on your main system. Crank it up. Loads of fun!

Don't bother if all you're going to do is listen on headphones or your desktop speakers.  Waste of time.  Put it on the big system.

Donny’s Harley
Stereo systems like Harley's.... my stereo starts when I push the on button and it doesn't leak oil.
Get a Harley V-Rod! Much more reliable. Unfortunately you can only buy used now.
My first system had a Heathkit for left channel, Fender Bandmaster for right channel, and a turntable with a ceramic cartridge since who knew from pre-amps?  It wasn't real detailed, balanced, or nuanced, but it sure was loud.  And yes, my '67 XLCH was pretty much the same.