The last 5 ?????

Sometimes as an Audiophile I come to a place where words no longer express the experience I’m having with my system. In this past year I have needed to sell off parts of my system, the biggest changes were going from two Plinius SA-102 amps bi-amped to a single amp, and replacing my Nordost Valhalla cabling with the far more affordable Kubala-Sosna Emotion cables.

The loss of the amp was clear, less dynamics and less involving. The cable change was something significantly different however. The Kubala-Sosna cables are every cliché we audiophiles use. Blacker, better definition, more space between notes, dynamic, extended… These words fail to express the improvement over my Valhalla cables however, and all I can say is I’m more musically involved. This was a clear improvement to my system, and for less money!!! But words fail to adequately express the improvements.

The second experience came when my Sony SCD-1 receiving all the remaining modifications available through Richard Kern at I had half the mod’s done four years ago, and received the remaining just last month. The fully modified player is said to better the EMM Meitner/Phillips combination. I can not speak to that in that I have never heard this combination, so my basis is strictly within my experiences listening to other systems.

The fully modified Sony is simply amazing, beyond my limits of expression. I could say it’s more analog than any digital system I’ve heard, and yet it’s well beyond analog. It is simply so much more than the analog most of us can afford. It’s also not at all digital, it has none of the electronic, edgy artifacts of solid state and digital systems. The best way I can explain this system is it’s beyond digital and analog that I’m aware of.

Words like three dimensional, attack, tightness, extended, clear, dynamic, natural, subtle all fall completely inadequate when trying to explain my system today. Words just can not explain the sound.

This leads me to my purpose of this post. The topic actually came up talking to Albert Porter when we were discussing continued improvements we make to systems that are already beyond 95% of anything available. In Albert’s case I suspect he is beyond 99.99% and yet we continue to change our systems and reach DRAMATIC improvements.

How is this possible if the last five or three or one percent is as significant as 50% to 90%? What I mean is when I moved from a $1000 system to a $4000 system the improvements were dramatic. Then I moved to a $9000 then $20,000 and finally to where I am now. Each step was marked improvement over the earlier step and even at $4000 I was far beyond anything 95% of the consumers will ever hear. So what’s actually going on? If $4000 gets me to the last few percent, how can each additional step be doubling or tripling the previous systems musicality or involvement or measurable improvement?

Why do some of us get to a point where we believe a single multi-thousand dollar interconnect brought us 100% closer to the music? Why are there some who still claim cables do not effect sound? Clearly they want good sound, but somehow are not aware of what is possible due to limits in there 95% system.

My answer is either the last couple percent are actually far more significant than the first 95% or we are actually only 25% “there” with a $4000 system. I can not even express how big the changes I have made are. They are well beyond two times, maybe three or four times the significance on the system before these changes. That would mean I was something like 25% or 45% “there” before. Well that is crazy because I have not hear a system I enjoyed more than mine. I’ve heard some that were better in one area or another, but overall… Of course this is a subjective topic, and I understand that, but the point is for my room, my ears, my taste I was already 100%, yet now I’ve bettered it by two or three fold.

All I can think is this is not a 100% issue. This is something more like the open ended Richter scale. On the Richter scale every tenth of a point is doubling the magnitude of an earthquake. The Richter scale is logarithmic, that is an increase of 1 magnitude unit represents a factor of ten times in amplitude. The seismic waves of a magnitude 6 earthquake are 10 times greater in amplitude than those of a magnitude 5 earthquake. However, in terms of energy release, a magnitude 6 earthquake is about 31 times greater than a magnitude 5.

-1.5 on Richter scale, equals 6 ounces of TNT
1.0 on Richter scale, equals 30 pounds of TNT
1.5 on Richter scale, equals 320 pounds of TNT
2.0 on Richter scale, equals 1 ton of TNT
2.5 on Richter scale, equals 4.6 tons of TNT
3.0 on Richter scale, equals 29 tons of TNT
3.5 on Richter scale, equals 73 tons of TNT
4.0 on Richter scale, equals 1,000 tons of TNT
4.5 on Richter scale, equals 5,100 tons of TNT
5.0 on Richter scale, equals 32,000 tons of TNT
5.5 on Richter scale, equals 80,000 tons of TNT
6.0 on Richter scale, equals 1 million tons of TNT
6.5 on Richter scale, equals 5 million tons of TNT
7.0 on Richter scale, equals 32 million tons of TNT
7.5 on Richter scale, equals 160 million tons of TNT
8.0 on Richter scale, equals 1 billion tons of TNT
8.5 on Richter scale, equals 5 billion tons of TNT
9.0 on Richter scale, equals 32 billion tons of TNT
10.0 on Richter scale, equals 1 trillion tons of TNT
12.0 on Richter scale, equals 160 trillion tons of TNT

So if we said a boom box was a 1.0, a Bose radio might be considered a 3.0. A top of the line Best Buy system might be a 4.0. The typical audiophile system might then be a 5.5 where the old 98% system might be a 6.5. If my system was a 7.5 before the changes it might be a 7.9 now. Albert’s system might be an 8.5, but his new cables could make his system 100% better, or become an 8.6.

In my mind this is more logical for explaining the effects I have experienced. This also means we never find 100% for this scale has no end. Now the issue is how we actually mathematically quantify this logarithmic expression. I figure if some of the engineering minds out there might have an answer for this and this could be a new expression for us to use. If we could come up with a quantifiable formula, it might be a new language for us to express our systems to each other. If we had something like this maybe it could be a part of the virtual systems. We could then begin to understand how an improved cable is affecting our systems.

I may be way off here; it would not be the first time. I do however feel we need another language to express the “last couple percent” because the system we are using is inadequate, and at some point all the clichés mean nothing, and words are wholly inadequate. Perhaps this is a start???
I read your post with great interest. Personally, I have been going in a completely different direction lately. The additional spending in my system did not yield the overall sonic gains that I was anticipating. Maybe my goals were set to high. There are several boutique cable designers that allowed my system to get to where I wanted to go for much less then I expected, to the point where I did not feel the extra % was worth the price. With so many boutique cable makers advertising, it did take some time to really sort out which ones really knew what they were doing. In addition, I have also come to realize how much my room impacts my system's sound and that maybe I will never accomplish my sonic goal because of my current environment. To me, the room characteristics and AC noise reduction where the two biggest impacts on my system's overall sonic signature.

I have often thought to myself exactly what your words in this post describe, especially as I listen to other systems and especially dealer systems. One can really sort through the dealerships and find a few truly experienced establishments.

I hope that your thoughts here, are well received. I enjoyed them.

Happy Listening.
Jadem6, your a man of many, well thought words, I'm a man of few and hopefully, well thought out words too. What your struggling to put into words are categories/increments of change/improvement revolves around the differences between quantitative changes vs. qualitative shifts towards the real world reference of live music. So, its not just getting greater and greater improvement(quantitative improvement- same sonic variables with better resolution) for more money, but at times experiencing a qualitative shift(a new/different variable that was not in the sonics of the system)that brings you to a completely new "experience" when you listen to your system. So, its not on the same scale, its on a different level/plateau then before. I just recently had that experience when I auditioned the Stealth Varidig Sextet digital cable in my system. When I went to write my review for the Gon regarding this cable, I stated that it was not just an improvement in all the areas that audiophiles talk about, but some how the Sextet was either removing/adding something that let the music become more real/natural then ever in my system. This would be a classic example of a qualititive shift, not just an improvement of already existing factors, but on a different scale or level. So, its not going from 95% to 100%, but adding something totally new/different on a different level or scale to bring the the total sonics of a system to a different, not just better place.
I really think you are onto something and I believe that there are a number of logarathmic functions like this around...

For example, loudness is measured this way (dB). I did some work on consumer impressions of consumer proudcts and found many times where the customers response to a stimulus was related to the log of a physical characteristic.

What are your thoughts about where you would put "live music in an excellent venue"?

Its all about realities....

If i strap the tnt to your chest....Would it make a difference...1 lb or 2...a ton or 1 million...

As Ziggy Stardust pours from my 10 year old $12 Aiwa FM clock radio on top of the refrigerator my only comment is 100% of what - a feeling of comfort with your system? Analytical nirvana? The Mona Lisa doesn't need to be in the Louvre to be appreciated.

The only reliable explanation of audio upgraditus that makes sense is that the human ear/brain enjoys adjusting to change. Perhaps this is what it does best. The eureka effect, registering at one or fifty percent, always wears off.
I too read with interest and agree about the richter scale.

In some ways I guess it justifies spending the thousands as you get so many more tons of TNT!

Seriously though, I agree with bigkidz that the most important variable is the room. It could be argued that the best dealers know how to set up the best room. Not only to sell their kit, but also top then help you enjoy what you have bought. This may not always be the case as they may not want to, or you may not want to pay them too.

It might help if there was a sign at the door of audiogon to help those new to the hobby that this is potentially the most important factor!
Some people need to spend large sums of money to "get closer to the music" and others can get that same feeling when listening to a boom box. If you think constantly spending and upgrading is a worthwhile endeavor, then more power to you and I'm glad that you're glad. What you shouldn't do is make the mistake of generalizing your experiences and applying them to others. That last 5% just isn't valued by every experienced audiophile. It may be that they are perfectly capable of hearing the sonic changes caused by upgrades, but they just don't describe them as dramatic, huge, earth shattering, unbelievable, etc. To each his own.
I'm trying to figure out if (maybe in a different way) this has already been said, but all the other remarks notwithstanding, there is a qualitative issue that affects the (subjective) percentage gain one experiences from the addition of new hardware, at different levels of system development. This has to do with whether, or how much, of the improved performance latent in that new cable or component, the system is ALREADY capable of making audible.

This most often happens with cables, both IC and PC. Someone with a modest (but respectable) system adds (for instance) some Purist Dominus or Siltech ICs. They hear an improvement over their old Maestros or budget Audioquests, but "no big whoop." Conclusion? The megabuck cables are hyped up, overpriced snake oil!! When the guy with a 99% system says those same expensive cables made a HUGE difference in his system, the first guy thinks he's deluded, ignorant, has money to burn, or worse!

Who's right, when you take their respective systems into account? Answer: Both

So adding new improved stuff to any system is a bit like remodeling a house -- you don't want to "overbuild" for the neighborhood!
Boy, with such a mind blowing system, how did you find any time to post? :)
Of course I fully understand some people are completely satisfied with a ten year old Aiwa clock radio or a simple low budget system, and to that persons ears, they are satisfied. Clearly this thread was not addressing those people. In fact I’m always taken back by people who make these comments. Why are you even here at Audiogon? I also understand some people who are offended by others spending more money to get more out of their systems. I even understand there are people who just don’t like me; I’m fine with that too. I always wonder why these people chose to read these threads and what they are looking for at Audiogon. If it’s a low budget sound system fine, but why the need to respond to threads that are clearly not your interest? Onhwy61, you and I have always gotten along well I thought. I’m sorry if my generalizations offended you, I guess I made an assumption that an audiophile website might have audiophiles at it. I guess I didn’t expect too many boomboxers hung out here, sorry I meant nothing against you.

I feel as if somehow I need to explain to these people that I enjoy this hobby, and it has nothing to do with how much I do or do not spend, it’s what I discover is possible. I also feel judged that my expenditure is wasteful or wrong in their eyes. Well to them, until you live in my shoes, please you have no right. When I hear some of the comments it just puzzles me, are these comments for learning or just to make controversy? Some of what I read makes me think these people somehow think I’m lying or have something to gain by expressing my experiences. I just don’t get it, why even comment?

OK, back to the topic at hand. First I fully applaud the comments made by Bigkidx. Your recognition of the room is so big, and so important to the overall experience. I often forget about the countless hours I spend working on improving my rooms reaction to my system. I am very lucky in that my music room is not used for any other activity than music or reading. The full wall of books is not only my library, but it’s a huge piece of the overall room’s performance. I have base traps, corner acoustic triangles, panels on some reflection points, heavy wool rugs, strategic placement of furniture, strategic location of brass pucks, wood “things” that add a pleasant acoustic to the room. I have spent many hours working on deadening lively nodes as well as livening up dead nodes. My bookshelf is designed to break up standing waves…

These features all affect the room’s response to my speakers. Some things have hurt the sound; some have helped create a more realistic sound. Most things do nothing, but the process of trying things never stops. I am always “playing” with something. See the difference between me and those who do not understand my constant striving for better is I enjoy it. Yes I’m certifiably crazy, I accept that, but I’m happy.

So yes the room improves the system in a very, very significant fashion. Once my room is “right” I discover a different tweak suddenly has a far bigger impact than it had before. This is obvious in my endless isolation experimenting. Then once I get a new tweak to increase the performance, I now hear a room effect that I could not hear earlier because the tweak had not been made. The system and room build simultaneously and in harmony with each other. This is the fun for me, and I enjoy sharing these experiences with others who enjoy the hobby.

Bgrazman, I love the question, and the concept of grading actual venues could be useful for us to understand what people are hearing. Again if I’m suggesting my system is now a 7.9 to my ears in my experiences I would say Patricia Barber heard from a center fourth row table in a local jazz night club rated 7.1. Hearing Crosby Stills, Nash and Young a couple years ago in a arena was 6.6. I’ve seen a number of people in a 3000 seat auditorium that was 7.4. A local outdoor 500 seat amp theater was 7.6. Minnesota Orchestra in Orchestra hall is 7.7. And Michael Hedges in the world renowned Guthrie Theater was 8.0. So in my personal experience Reference Recordings disks of Minnesota Orchestra sound better on my system than live. IN MY OPINION, of course. So if all music could be performed in Guthrie Theater in front of 2500 people I would probably not need such a system. My reality is most live music is in woefully inadequate venues and/or the people I enjoy are dead, or not touring 2500 seat theaters, or no long playing or never tour. If these comments are not true, then the venues they play are substandard to my personal tastes.

So what I’m saying is Minnesota Orchestra on my system is two or three times the experience of live in Orchestra Hall. Now the disclaimer is, I have not had the opportunity to be born into a family that owns third row center seats. I expect that would be an experience of 8.5 or more.
You can't fix a lie .....with another lie. You are knee deep in hi-fi lies. You actually believe that some guys don't belong here on the gon.You are right of course ,but for the wrong reasons.Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself....Why can't get the sound i wan't ???? Even if I get you a million dollar budget,you will fail .Do you know don't get it. Hi-fi ,or the lies you are tangled in.

Nsgarch ...he hit it on the nail. Quality and quantity. Different universes that need to be in harmony to work. You are living in the quantity alone. I've owned 100k system so ........Money cannot solve one single problem in life...not even one.

I've thought about this, too, and agree that many things in life are perceived logarithmically, and that this is likely one of them.

However, I think it's more complicated than that. I believe that most audiophiles actually respond more to the change in the perceived sound, rather than the absolute perceived sound. They may also respond to the rate of change of the system's sound (the audiophile equivalent to velocity or perhaps even acceleration). But with the rate of change theory, you don't necessarily have to be increasing on your "Richter scale" to perceive benefits; you could also just keep making lateral moves.

Jadem6, you have a very well thought-out post that I largely agree with. It's good to hear other people thinking similarly.

"The mystery man came over
and he said "I'm outta sight!"
he said for a nominal service charge,
I could reach nirvana tonight.
If I was ready, willing and able
to pay him his regular fee,
he would drop all the rest of
his pressing affairs and devote
his attention to me.

But I said "Look here brother-who you
jiving with that cosmik debris?"

Happy Listening!
Ah, but you are forgetting the Audiophile Paradox: the more you improve upon the system, the closer you get to the actual ideal - the cumulative losses of the recording chain.
Jade, my observation was not an attempt to rate you, your logic or choices. But given your predilection for a numerical methodology to come to grips with your pursuit I can see why you might see it that way. You're a pioneer of sorts and I applaud your efforts.

My point is that beauty is not quantifiable and exists wholly in the listener's imagination and nowhere else. If some people need more help than others to free their imagination, or are simply just plain restless, their persistance to fill that void is admirable.
No offense taken and I truly hope I haven't given offense. I have nothing but admiration for your dedication to this hobby, but at the same time that doesn't mean I won't vehemently disagree with you.

As audiophiles we seem to place increasing importance on extremely small sonic changes. For some people that is the hobby. For others, those increasingly small sonic changes are of little or no musical importance. Each is a valid position. You could of course argue that the sonic changes are in fact not small, but quite large. But I would argue that if you could tell it was an oboe and not a bassoon, that it's Ella and not Sarah, that Paul is playing a Rickenbacker and not the Hofner, etc. before the upgrade, then by definition any sonic improvements resulting from any upgrade to that specific system are small and subtle. If the change in sound was really dramatic then even untrained people could spot them in blind listening tests. If we can accept that some people are happy with $150,000 systems and others are equally happy with $30,000 systems, then logic would dictate that there must be some people out there who are equally happy with their boomboxes. And depending upon how they got there, to the boombox level, they could even be considered audiophiles. Not everyone is walking down the same path.
Wow great thread. I thought Jadem6 was only at 90% so I went ahead and bought the green wrapping paper and red ribbon and bow to deliver a Callisto Signature for Christmas. But hey, if he's at 95% ...........

And yes, for most of us, the big issue to tackle is the room. And oh what a task it is.

In his excellent post, Jadem adopts an holistic approach to a system (i.e. NOT focusing on specific sources of improvement: cable or room or...) -- and talks about quantifying improvement. The exponential -- rather than linear -- explanation is very attractive in that it adequately covers the otherwise absurd-sounding statements "I changed (say) wires and the system soared... at least 50% improvement!!!

Jadem sez:
I fully understand some people are completely satisfied with a ten year old Aiwa clock radio or a simple low budget system, and to that persons ears, they are satisfied
I think that your original post is clearly on the subject of the perceived IMPROVEMENT rather than the subject of enjoying music (even thru a $10 clock radio -- enjoy listening to music even through a clock radio).
Onhwy61 sez:
As audiophiles we seem to place increasing importance on extremely small sonic changes. For some people that is the hobby. For others, those increasingly small sonic changes are of little or no musical importance. Each is a valid position
Again, methinks that Jdm's post wasn't addressing the latter; he tried to offer an explanation (using mathematical support) to the disparity b/ween what SEEMS like a minute change and the perception of improvement that change makes (i.e. "wow, wee, etc" effect).

Finally, I don't think we're discussing existence of improvement and the reasons why, either; i.e. WHY a wire should make a difference and if it does offer improvement...

Nsgarch's comment on the POTENTIAL for improvement any system may have is very interesting. This is a simple way to explain why, by inserting the same item in two different systems, the change is not identical. That much is obvious -- but I think that Ns's point is that one can go beyond the subjective (I like the change) to a more objective approach (whether I like it or not, the change is significant in system A that in system B).

After taking up lots of space already, I'd add :^) that different kinds of music also may hi-lite changes to differing degrees. I have many examples with classical. Not to be any more tedious suffice it to say that SOMETIMES, the reproduction I've heard fm systems is, basically, "impossible". Simply put: EITHER what I was hearing was tonally, phase, etc, wrong OR it was right and the musicians were grossly off track. Since the latter is highly improbable (i.e. they'd never have graduated fm conservatory in the first place, let alone that recording reaching the music stores) it must be the former. No?
Firstly with regards to the last 5% and logs. What you are describing when making a comparison with the Richter scale is an a steep asymptote. You're simply describing the law of diminishing returns. I disagree with a couple of concepts. The first is that the quality of a system in terms of delivering what you like hearing, nevermind sterile empiracle lab data, must cost something extra. Secondly the quality of your system is entirely in your mind. And your mind only. You imply there is a true absolute as Sufentanil points out better audio system. This is simply not true. The great unwashed teeming masses are quite pleased with vastly less expensive systems.
Where is the sacred book of audio rules which defines better and worse. We all have an idea of what we like but there is extraordinary diversity amongst well liked systems and sonics in the mid fi and up cost wise. Clearly there is no way of knowing that you couldn't find the same qualities you like in a less expensive system. Its only 95% to you. There is no known route to your 99.99% costing more or less. Its more like sex than science- how much you like it depends on how you percieve it.
I enjoy bathing in the sound of my system, it washes the numbers from my head and that's why I'm drawn to this hobby. I'm sorry if this sounds condescending but I don't understand why so many are hung up on quantifiing pleasure.
This is indeed a grand thread. I apologize for the Zappa lyrics earlier if it left anyone offended or confused to my intention. It was an abstract response (yes, poking a little fun) to how abstract I personally find it of trying to quantify seeming improvement of faking the sounds of real music from a real acoustic environment in our living rooms. I would agree also that many times live performances compared to Hifi performances leave me with mixed review to what I would rather sit in front of. I commend the higher thinking and questioning of this thread as it is a rare departure from the usual blabber present in a growing larger amount of threads.
What I find hard to come to terms with though, and so the cosmic Zappa lyric outburst, is the effort to put a numerical value on a feeling of possibly rapturous proportion. Just as Mechans put it so well before me "the quality of your system is entirely in your mind". It's an illusion. How does one intellectually grapple with explaining an illusion? I realize we are not comparing something as simple as the merits of why chocolate might be better than vanilla. I would agree that it is much more a thing of texture and nuance and timbre and pace that tickles our perception.
I am an artist by trade and on a daily basis I deal with engineering and sales people who try to quantify something as I create it from a blank sheet of paper. I always find it interesting the dynamic of perception from one person (vantage point) to another. It's juxtaposition to expectation and preconceived notion leaves me entertained but gleans little true light on an understanding. I am not the wordsmith that many of you are and I hope I can convey my ideas of this clearly enough. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for me maybe Shakespeare or Chagall, Wagner or Hendrix might have been able to express this thing better than all the mathematical theorists we could employ (with all due respects). Happy Listening!
Jadem - I feel the urge to address your most recent comments that seem to question why certain folks are posting here. Perhaps you might consider to extend the definition of "audiophile" to anyone who appreciates the reproduction of music outside of the actual performance, and the associated gear used to reproduce it. My guess is that all who pursue this hobby don't limit the hobby to the same absolutes and extremes that you are writing of here, yet do enjoy it at all the various levels which it can be appreciated on (which are many). That would include ten year old Aiwa's, boom boxes, as well as those who choose to invest larger amounts of money into the hobby. One need not be a champion swimmer to enjoy swimming, nor does a car enthusiast need to own and tinker with Ferraris in order to truly appreciate the automotive hobby. That's a long way of saying that I take exception to your singling those folks out whose investments appear to drop below a certain threshold as not belonging on this forum. I find the elitist viewpoint that appreciating musical reproduction and the associated gear has something to do with some kind of "absolute truth" to be, well, to be polite about it, a bunch of hooey! That said, I agree (I think) with what you seem to be asserting in your original post, that the hobby becomes a pursuit of rapidly diminishing returns as greater investments are made. I'd also be willing to bet that the vast majority of folks posting and reading here are not investing the kind of money into their sytems and related room treatments you are talking about demand. Therefore I wonder why it comes as any surprise that you'd get more than just a few folks raising an eyebrow and questioning the motivations to pursue the hobby to those extremes (which, by the way, I think you addressed quite eloquently as far as your own viewpoint is concerned).

Marco makes a good point. At what point of investment and study does
one attain the status of Audiophile? It seems to me, Audiophilia and
Attaining the Grail is, at its core, a rich man's game requiring investment
beyond the comprehension of most music lovers. As JD points out, the
last Nth degree of perfection generally requires substantial monetary
commitment that is out of proportion with the benefits received.

Too often, those who choose not to make The Commitment because
they are happy listening to satisfying, yet moderate systems, are
dismissed as non-audiophiles.

I have decided that since I don't choose to devote time studying the
science behind music reproduction, and since despite upgrades in nearly
every aspect of my system what I truly desire is musical enjoyment for
less dough, not more, I am qualifying myself as an Audiophile-Lite.
I don't know if it really exist, but I imagine that at one point somewhere somebody made an audiophile boombox. It was battery operated, had a single cross-overless mono speaker powered by tube amplification and came with both a Karaoke and phono input (MM only). There was probably also a Reference upgrade that included improved cyro wiring and a non-resonant myrtle wood carrying handle. If this product really existed I am sure that a small industry dedicated to mods would spring into existence. If anybody actually bought this boombox, then upgraded to the Reference version and then had it modded..., well they're my kind of audiophile. I also hope they would be your kind too.
I am qualifying myself as an Audiophile-Lite.small>

...less filling!

...Tastes great!

Does that make Jadem an "Audiophile Savant"?

Where do I fit in? Wait, don't answer that! Please allow the secret to remain
safe in my Audiophile Decoder Ring!

Now lets all join in a rousing chorus of the Audiophile Anthem!!! Will
everyone please stand....

Clearly I need to apologize. I apparently come across as an elitist, and I see I created this impression. I debated whether or not to use the term Audiophile. My fault lay in the fact I do not spend the time I used to in the forums and clearly a new group have become active. I meant not to insinuate that dollars equal quality or even that a certain amount must be spent to qualify for audio discussions.

That being said, I was under the impression people used these forums as a way to learn and share their hobby. I had no idea people who enjoy boom boxes spent time discussing cables, my mistake.

My initial and subsequent comments are trying to investigate methods of explaining to others how changes affect their system once they run out of words or numbers. For my needs, I would like a better description than “way better” to express the experience the person has had. I think I explained I had run out of words, yet I continue to find more potential in my system than I had when I thought I “was there.” Of course I realize some don’t care or “need” to have the final 5%, but I know some do. I mistakenly expected those who don’t care would simply not post on this thread. What is the point discussing something you do not care about?

It was this exact type of exchange that made me lose interest in this site in the past. I had thought it was better now, but I don’t know. I’m sorry I’m an elitist in some minds; I simply was trying to figure out why some people would even post on my question if they felt it was so esoteric and elitist. I just don’t get it, that’s all.

If questioning ones motives for posting is elitist, then yes I am an elitist. I however only post on questions I can add value to, not for the sake of disagreement. Sure disagreement has its place, it simply surprised me this thread was one that fit that description.

So yes I must be an elitist, and yes I must be looking down my nose at all you little people. If that’s what works for you, fine.

Signed your snobbery, JD
JD - Looks like your nose hairs could use some trimmin'! I doubt boom box owners are interested in wires since there are very few connections on your average boom box. Now bring up where to get the best prices on 'D' batteries, or rechargables VS. disposables and you've got yourself an exciting thread!

Well, I've managed to get myself into some hot water over the past couple of days. I'd like to be clear that my comments above were not directed specifically at JD, but rather to a general perception I've formed over a couple years of reading posts from many Audiogon members. Hell, I've learned an enormous amount from reading the threads, and I've learned a fair amount through personal experimentation, but I still think of myself as an Audiophile-Lite, and I consider this moniker self-deprecating humor rather than an attack on the group at large.
Your misundestanding the point.You'll never get the last 5 or 10% from the quantity aspect. Only the quality will deliver. You can figure out a recipe by using the math and science.You can hunt for the best ingredients at an price. You can choose the best Chefs on the planet.

Can you write me a scientific "white paper" on flavor.

ART the appilcation of a science. Not the science.Science is just another belief like religion.LOL
Math and logarithms are a language of symbols,not an absolute.
I'd like to add a little chocolate fudge sauce, whipped cream and some jimmies to my apologies. I didn't mean nuthin' by any of it...really I didn't! Just the part about the "hooey", and the elitism, .... but I weren't meaning no harm to JD or anyone else, just funnin' y'all, that's all! I'm a smart-ass, what can I say. I see the opportunity to make smiles amidst the almost mortuary seriousness some of us take our pursuits to with this particular hobby and I grab it by the horns. I appreciate you are doing the same in a way, JD, with your strap-on TNT comparison in the original post. My initial objection about the 'elitist' angle of this, or any other hobby, stands. I truly do not get the pursuit of some "absolute" that does not exist. It is all entirely relative, and my interest in this thread was that it strongly leans towards some kind of "absolute" goal. This was my main motivation for chiming in. I wasn't necessarily trying to say JD is an elitist, though I think he could easily come off that way in the way he stated the follow-up post I responded to, but heck, I don't even know him, nor any of you really. So you can just call me a smart-ass...but there usually is some point buried deep down there in all the silly bits (sometimes they're just silly though). No offense, at least in this case, was intended. There, now I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy inside! C'mon, group hug now!

ART the appilcation of a science. Not the science.Science is just another belief like religion.LOL
Math and logarithms are a language of symbols,not an absolute.

This reminds me a bit of Art Dudley's piece in the beginning of the Dec. 05 Stereophile (which I could not have said better)! His contributions to that magazine make it worth the cost of a subscription IMO.

I'll see if I have some time to look up the quote(s) of his (not online yet) that remind me of what I think you are trying to say (which I applaud with both hands in a most hearty and rhythmic clapping. Can you hear em', cause they're starting to get raw!?)

Ah, here's a tidbit from Dudley's piece titled "Reistance is Futile" - pick up the December 05 issue of Stereophile if you care to read the rest.

I still prefer my own path to audio bliss: I want the music in my home to have a sense of flow and momentum, and I want all the texture, presence, and sense of scale I can get- and I'm willing to sacrifice a certain amount of timbral neutrality in order to be faithful to those other, more important criteria. But I know that my approach is "better" only inasmuch as it's the one I've worked out for myself, howsoever subconsciously, and while it allows me to internalize and enjoy the art of muisic to my own satisfaction, that's all that it does. Art isn't truth, it's freedom from truth: It's the ultimate in relativism, and any approach to diseminating art that seeks to confound that notion is doomed ot irrelievance.
-Art Dudley

The rest of the piece is excellent as well, and is certainly worth reading. It will probably be on their website next month if you don't want to buy a copy of the current Stereophile.

Dear snobbery JD, I for one found your thread and point of view quite interesting and not like mine and I think it's safe to say, that it has generated mostly stimulating responses. I wouldn’t think of approaching this subject in the manner on which you did, and that makes it all that much more compelling for me. I find diversity in our thought to be inviting rather than detracting. For someone to find you an elitist is tawdry at best and I don’t agree with them. Although esoteric, you may be, your passion is obvious and shows a humbleness of sorts in the self-deprecating way you try to come to terms with the measure of change or of worth and a grasping for ways to explain it. Hang in here JD and damn the torpedoes. Happy Listening!

You could have corrected my spelling and grammer you know....
Similar threads touting the undescribable and miraculous transformation, after repeated and exhaustive trials, some cord or wire imparted to a system remind me of a part of Voltaire's Candide. Exsqueeze me if I remember it poorly but it went something like this:

Candide, the eternal and naive optimist, meets a well heeled man with a vast library. He marvels at the wondrous colection and assemblage only to ask the man of all these volumes which is your favorite? The elitist replies well none of them, I dislike them all. Candide thinks to himself, here indeed is a great man of refined taste for nothing at all can please him!

Back in the 21st century I, as a lesser, more complacent but perhaps more balanced audiophile, feel complelled to perform an intervention whenever a thread glorifies the tone generator kind of fidelity of someone's system. I understand some are wholly invested in the gee-whiz-listen-to-that-replication form of thought so much so that nothing can change them. That's one deep rabbit hole. I was there once, but I climbed out and so can you. Color me happy to report that it's much more satisfying to perceive the performance and expression of the musicians than the sounds their instruments make. Along a similar line, I believe one reason analog fans are so dedicated is because the format itself forces them to listen thru an enormous noise floor to get to the music beyond. Maybe this is the rub here. If you choose to listen to your system and nitpick or quantify it's relation to some imagined reality you'll miss the glory of casting that whole concept aside once and forever. You may not believe it Jade but those of us steering our stereo ships on this heading really want to take you along to a new land of enjoyment.
Prey tell, If I listen to those new fangled little shiny silver discs of sterile acoustics, unrealistic blackness and the edgy nervous jittering of 1's and 0's will they allow me to not be so dedicated to my listening?! Gee-whiz I can have a wireless remote control too! Paint this listener an analog fan I'm afraid. Cheers!
It helps a lot to understand what was humor and what is criticism. When I started posting at this site six or seven years ago I used my typical expressive sarcasm to lighten some very serious discussions. I quickly learned that humor is difficult to portray over the internet. Expression and tone are a large part of the delivery. It was then I quit humor and decided to try and share experiences rather than debate the quality of certain experimentations. (Turns out I actually have a lot of humor in my life, it just is too hard over the internet) The cruel humor continued and eventually this site was shut down. After a lot of work by Audiogon they re-opened with new guidelines. I kept my humor to myself, which makes me sound like I’m preaching. I understand this shortcoming of my personality, and eventually left the site because I felt I was no longer of value to the forums.

I came back about nine months ago after a number of people asked me to return. Many of you may not know me or my approach to this hobby, and so I will briefly explain myself. I suffered a major heart attack nine years ago and was expected to die. I was never expected to be alive still today, but I am. My health is not good and I have not been able to work for over three years now. One small place I can express my creativity is here at Audiogon. As an architect creativity is my being, and I miss it deeply. I have found music, this site and volunteering at the local high school architectural drafting class my solace in an otherwise very boring existence.

I tell you this not for sympathy, I would hate that, but rather to explain where I come from. My system has been exactly the same for almost five years before an unexpected hospital visit and ungodly charges force me to downsize my system. Within this downsizing I had occasions where my system sonically fell completely apart, and a couple discoveries where I found better performance for less money. My goal, as always here is to share those findings. In that I no longer partake in the threads where we argue the merits of different cables or the possibility of power conditioning making a difference, or even the blind/ double blind tests, I was not fully prepared for some of the comments I was reading. I have shared my experiences as I downsized, and after receiving my modified SACD player I again wanted to share, but simply had no creative way to explain what I had found. To me a grading system that could compare systems to live music and to other experiences I’ve had made sense. It had nothing to do with elitist grading or the need to say mine is bigger than yours. In fact the huge amount of drugs I take guarantees mine is no longer bigger…

Those who have taken the time to know me know I am passionate about this hobby. Remember, this IS my life. Sad but true, I no longer have any physical activity, I no longer create, but I have incredible friends and family. Some of my friends are here, and we spend a lot of time discussing tweaks in private emails. We discovered it was easier to discuss these things without being critiqued for experimenting. I AM THE WORST OF THE WORST TWEAKER. This is fact, and I have discovered some extremely helpful things. Some want to argue those findings, and as I said I have quit those threads. I do however like to continue moving my enjoyment of this hobby forward. So much of what I have learned over the past five years cost little money, but these tweaks have cumulatively brought my system to a place I could never have imagined. I expect many have also not imagined these tweaks matter, so I share.

This thread is off course of my usual posting, and I have been far too sensitive to the comments I’ve read. I will calm down, and the above humor I now understand and appreciate.

I again apologies for taking this hobby so seriously, but again I will say “until you live in my shoes…”

As a different way to describe myself, people who change equipment like there cloths and every day express “This is the holy grail” drive me crazy. Please understand this is not me. Like I say, my system has remained until I was financially forced to change my components. Most of the time I’m simply enjoying music and ultimately this is where I’m happiest. This is my goal, enjoying music not equipment. I still however believe the initial purpose of this thread has merit, and could help to explain how “we” rank the changes we hear when playing stereo.

So all that said, Thanks for the clarifications and the humor.

Gratefully the most snobby of the esoteric Audiophile kings, JD
C5150 - Alas, asking ME to correct grammer and spelling is like asking an
infant to do calculus! I'm lucky if I get one or two sentences in without
showing what my least favorite subject in second grade was (actually you're
lucky you did not provide historical references too).

JD, you are obviously a gentleman, to be sharing yourself so generously here,
and with such honesty. I am glad to meet you through this forum. I, on the
other hand, am an acquired taste, and not everyone likes pizza with
pineapples. Might I suggest some Bromo and a hot water-bag for your
stomach after reading my posts. I meant more to provoke thought rather
than to offend, and if I did the latter, I am sorry. I do like to stir the pot on
occasion, and mostly it comes in the form of humor, which I suppose is not
always easy to spot, and certainly not always appreciated by all.

Besides all that, I'm enjoying your thread, so thank you for posting it and
continuing to participate!

Just glad your here Jadem6, one of the first to be "approved" on the no censure list, way back in the early days of Audiogon :^).

I feel bad I did not press you more for a return to Audiogon, I missed your posts and had no idea about your health issues.

As for Marco, pay him no attention.

Today he is making so much money photographing all those kitchens (new job) that he could buy and sell all of us. He's just pretending he likes only the reasonably priced stuff.
As for Marco, pay him no attention.

Sage advice, as anyone might expect from Albert! I'd recommend following it!

Oh yeah, Kitchen photography is my new specialty! I'd highly recommend reconsidering your career direction! Between kitchens, and burning tall stacks of cash, I can hardly find time to eat or sleep! What's a photographer to do? ;-)

JD, I did not recognize you by your moniker, but when I looked at your system thread I remembered who you were to me. Good to see you back! I enjoyed learning a thing or three from your experience with isolation techniques they helped immensely. As Le Corbusier (I think) said, God is (truly) in the details and our tweaking in many ways is as important as our equipment choices. Granted, it's all about the music. Please take note, your extensive review of the Aesthetix Calypso really firmed up my decision to buy both it and a Rhea, and I thank you for that. This was a huge move toward the music for me and I couldn’t be happier with its build quality and operation modes. I’ll be on my way to a Shunyata Hydra as well very soon. I also found your brief remarks on the Kubala-Sosna Emotion IC’s helpful, as there has been quite the buzz lately. Happy Listening!
Marco, I was actually enjoying your comments, you are over the top enough for me to read through. Kitchens!!! I designed entire houses and hardly made a buck, you take pictures of an insignificant corner of those houses and stay warm by burning money. How was that fair?

Albert, thanks. I will be contacting you this week-end about my cable findings. I hate it when I discover another two tenths on the audio scale and the cost is six tenths. Those Purist cables are special!!!
I designed entire houses and hardly made a buck, you take pictures of an insignificant corner of those houses and stay warm by burning money. How was that fair?
For some of us, our appliances are no less than our children. Many have scoffed at such a relationship, suggesting maybe a Harley or set of Snap-On tools as a worthy replacement for my love. But to this, I must say NO! I would sooner give myself over to an Osterizer or a Whirpool than to commit to a lifetime partnership with a smarmy, garage dweller. In fact, I'm considering the commission of a family portrait, and might need you, Marco, to come shoot the kids, so to speak. How are you about full frontals of a double-breasted Sub-Zero? Speaking of which, and more to the topic at hand, that Purist Dominus PC truly helped squeeze the last 5% of juice from my lemons. Who would've guessed? Leave it to Albert to exploit my weakness for all things fresh.
How are you about full frontals of a double-breasted Sub-Zero?

I have to be honest with you Howard, and tell you that I am not the best qualified to shoot your beloved Sub-Zero nor your Fisher and Paykel double drawer . What you need is an Appliance Photographer to give you your money's worth. It's a whole other specialty field, and the guys and gals that do it have my respect and admiration. I have to warn you, those folks ain't cheap, but you won't just have a photograph, you'll have a family heirloom to pass onto your grandchildren (when they're of age of course). I'll hook you up with an appliance shooter that does discreet work given your request for the X-rated views. Rest assured if you use my guy your fridge won't end up on the Internet on some sleazy site. Now if the built-ins in your kitchen cost over $100K to build and install, and they need to be imortalized on film, then, hey I'm your man!

Any time you're feeling your anal compulsivness may be getting out of hand, go here, and feel instantly sane:
Those images make the mind "reel"

Hey Marco, any discount for tiny wine fridges?
Al Judy has issues it appears.

I had a mini frig. in collage, I sure wish I had some pictures in my photo album. I think of that little guy often, and miss it deeply.

Marco, I have a $5000 kitchen, but I've designed many $100,000 plus kitchens, would that qualify for your services?
Nsgarch - sanity now preserved - thanks for the check! LOL
JD - If you would rate your kitchens on the richter scale I will consider each on a case-by-case basis. Did you design for residential primarily? Any specialties yourself? Architecture is only one of mine as a photogrpaher. Architecture was actually my second career choice after photography. I'm glad I went the way I did having seen the struggles of architecture up close and personal, and having got to know a few architects working on various levels. You have my sympathies. I know it has its rewards as well. Anyway, I have yet to master appliance photography but I can always dream.

Albert - Sub Zero makes a very fine little wine fridge with rolling racks. Jeeze, they've come a long way since I was in college. C'mon now, I know you don't need anyone coming round to photograph your mini wine fridge. I'm sure you've got albums full of photos of it already. You're just teasing me now aren't you!