This hobby to me is playing with electronics, plain and simple.
35 responses Add your response
To add to what Elizabeth said, this hobby really is being addicted to spending ridiculous amount of money in exploring reproduction of very often bad pre-recorded music. We spend oodles of money in trying to make pre-recorded music sound good when often it is just simply bad recording and then find out how our great system "revealed" all the flaws in the recording. Sometimes I wonder whether I have better things to do with my life....
Playing with electronics and extracting the most enjoyable music reproduction that I can financially muster. I love tubes, cables, plugs, tweaks and other stuff associated with audio. very similar to my auotmobile hobby, racing, race rims and tires, racing cams and heads, coolers, special gears. Different hobby, but similar methodologies to achieve better results. Ciao,
Hobbyists are usually building or collecting things. I don't think too many of us are building our own gear, but we have probably collected a great deal of electronics over the years. It seems like "the Hobby" is another way to sum up the Quest for the absolute sound. The path to the Quest is summed up well by Avguy and eventually one comes to the same conclusion as Mike_in_md.
"This X" is a way of defining something which sounds a bit stilted to many people over the age of 30. It seems to have come into popular use in the first few years of George Dubya's presidency when George, and many politicians (mostly conservative side) started to describe "the USA" as "this country" and "this country of ours" rather than "our country" or "the United States of America." I looked around for a while to try to discern whether it was a Bush-ism or someone else's schtick. I have not found the source if it is not George Dubya (or his speechwriter's).
"This" has become a word which implies inclusiveness without saying 'our' which sounds too possessive to some people. It no longer seems to be a way of commenting about the the thing specifically (while insinuating that the observation may not apply to other ones). Personally, I find the usage to be annoying and contrived, but it certainly has gained a foothold in this language (smirk).
T-Bone, insightful. Possibly Shakespeare inspired?
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.The RSC 2000-01 season was titled "This England".
I purposely did not use "our" so as to allow for differing opinions about the exact nature of the hobby.
Obviously audiophile type activity has something to do with reproducing music, assembling equipment, tweaking systems, etc. My question, which is intentionally very open ended, was intended to find out if there was a specific area along the audiophile type activity spectrum that we could agree upon as the central focus of our hobby? I suspect not, but I don't really know, hence the post. If it's just playing with electronics, then where does music fit in? If it's exploration in reproduction of prerecorded music, then the whole equipment side seems diminished. My impression is that the hobby reference occurs most often when people are talking about changing equipment, the so-call upgrading. That's also where I see the most references to drug use/mental health issues.
The Wikipedia definition is so broad that virtually any non-employment related activity is a "hobby". Being a serial killer qualifies as a hobby under that definition. Audiophiles would fit under the scale modeling/diorama area of the hobby definition. I never thought of it that way, but it's true.
Finally, where does Audiogon's forums fit into our hobby? Reading and writing about assembling electronics and listening to music seems to take up a fair amount of time.
I didn't think that "this" or "our" was in question but rather hobby? I think Onhwy61 makes a very strong point about Audiogon forum's. The forum's bring enthusiast's together and without intent, it promotes the hobby and makes us all feel good about this/our/your hobby. Let's face it, without Audiogon, if you don't have anyone to share "this/our/your Hobby" with, it can be a bit lonely and not as much fun.
hmmm. now that's an interesting question!
Seeing as how this web site's extent is not addressing animal husbandry, UFOology, or how to improve & maintain your compost heap.... I'd say such an accolade pertains to none of those more interesting past times.
But I'll take a shot in the dark as it were.... my guess is it has to do with something like the various in's & out's of Home audio... and maybe on a level surpassing that of Sears & Wal-mart.
of course... I could be mistaken as there is the occasional refference to iPods & Bose bantied about now and then.
Actually the real answer is far simpler... this is a world wide bulleten board every major international intelligence concern utilizes to pass on encoded messages from one agent to another.
Just check out the classified sales ads that have gear which is ridiculously over priced so no one will attempt to contact them . Except for their black ops buddies1
Especially those ads which post no pics but say innocently enough Pics provided upon request.
Sure. Pics of What? Missle silos? Sub bases? All of our current K-mart Locations?
Now theres a lot of bang for your buck at $4 a pop!
I know it was all so hush hush for years and I've outed them now... but hey! If I could see it... everyone else probably did too.
I thought that you had specifically read "this hobby", which to me is slightly different than saying "our hobby." I was certainly not suggesting you had picked up a George-ism.
I admit the passage you quoted, from "King Richard II" is one of the all-time great usages of the word "this" in a monologue. I remember it very clearly from high school English. My English teacher was quite the dramatician. I actually remembered that monologue when I started seeing "this X" crop up in public speech/soundbite form because it was very specifically "this country" which I heard so many times - and that made me think of Shakespeare's paean to England as a country apart from other countries, which suffered the everlasting misfortune to not be England.
I have a sneaking suspicion George Dubya did not pick it up while watching the RSC, though perhaps his speechwriter did. It is possible that it is a Texas-ism I had not previously recognized which wandered into speech patterns. I still think the change in usage has been remarkable. I view it as being part and parcel of a popular move towards an 'empathetic construction' of the English language.
Certain small events or triggers - seemingly insignificant at the time - change linguistic usage forever. How many threads have you seen start with "So...", or "Okay." These are also products of the past 10 years. Interestingly enough, I think they are connected with the "this X" because all three of them are signals of empathy; the speaker is trying to identify common ground with the listener. Starting sentences with "So" and "Okay" is, as far as I can tell, a manifestation of the decline of the spoken paragraph. It is meant to connect what is about to be said to something which might have come before but did not. I think both (starting with "so" and starting with "Okay...") signal an increasing lack of confidence in social speaking, similar to the almost ubiquitous use of a rising intonation in sentences, making a lot of what comes out of teenagers mouths sound like questions. How many of you have heard the following while standing in line at Starbucks? - "Okay, so, I was going to go shopping with Melissa on Saturday but she couldn't go? [rising intonation, sounding like a question, probably elicits a nod] And so I called Julie to ask her if she wanted to hang out? [rising intonation, another nod] And so we went to the mall and we were just hanging out (and we saw this really great dress), and like you'll NEVER guess who we saw there!" Michael Lewis pointed out a few years ago that "so" as a start of a sentence came from Silicon Valley, and I can imagine that the "so" start is an effort to "pick up where we left off before" which is so innate in the conversation of coders/multitaskers ("so, where were we? Ah yes, I remember...")
In the end, language is a living breathing thing. Personally, I am substantially less bothered by the linguistic issues of using "this X" as an empathetic construction than I am bothered by the shortcut of conversational construction implied in the use of "so" and "okay" as sentence starters. The art of conversational silence has long gone, and the art of speaking in paragraphs is rapidly disappearing. I suppose all this signals I am a linguistic snob. Okay, so maybe this language thing is like, well, you know... I mean whatever...
You're right. Don't forget to mark the mailbox with chalk.
Onhwy61 wrote: My question, which is intentionally very open ended, was intended to find out if there was a specific area along the audiophile type activity spectrum that we could agree upon as the central focus of our hobby
I like Art Dudley's definition: the purpose of a hi-fi is to play your records with an acceptable degree of fidelity, and thus bring music into your home. No audio component, let alone system, is perfect, so priorities have to be selected and acceptable compromises determined. These may well be different for each person, with those appreciating offerings from companies like Linn and Rega perhaps not caring for products from VPI and Basis. This is the central focus of the hobby for me, both as a consumer and, formerly, as a salesman--determining what aspects of reproduced music make it compelling for the end user and figuring out how to best accomplish that within the constraints of one's home and budget.
It isn't a hobby to me. The word "hobby" being used here is a misnomer for me at least. What this is for me is buying and assembling an audio system so that I can enjoy hearing high quality playback of music. The real "hobby" is collecting and listening to music. Once my system provides me with high quality playback of good music, I plan to enjoy the music, and the buying of equipment will finally, finally be over. It's hard to get there however, because assembling a great sounding system that provides high quality music playback is not as easy as some think. (including me when I started buying better equipment)
This isn't a "hobby." It's a "quest!"
Why is it difficult to assemble a high quality system?
Onywy61, it's not difficult to assemble a high quality system, especially if you have a little money. What I've learned is you can assemble a system of quality pieces that produces average sound. Matching the right gear is the challenge, but that's how you get great sound; and having a complimentary room. Matching the gear well to get great sound is what can be difficult.
Onhwy61, first I want to apologize for such a long time span between your question and my answer. I was obsessed with critical listening. Now I realize that was foolish. Imagine a plane that overshoots the runway by 10 miles. I should have stopped a long time ago and listened exclusively to the music.
For me this hobby is playing around with the gear. Listening to music is an activity, not a hobby. That's like saying "my hobby is watching TV."
I do not look forward to the day that I look at my system and think that I've nailed it, nothing more to do. Right now I'm looking at my DIY amp with 2A3s in it thinking I can slap a switch and a resistor in it and make it 45-tube friendly. Not because I think 45s will sound better (they may), but because I want to hear how 45s sound. That's the hobby for me. Changing the system and listening to how the music changes. Not necessarily getting the best sound from my system. Certainly not assembling a system that's the best I can afford and calling it a day.
Judging from the posts, "Audiophiles" can be divided into two groups; equipment lovers and music lovers. By necessity, we all have to begin as "equipment lovers"; there is no other way to get the sound up to the very high level that audiophiles demand. I am a music lover, and I have ceased that never ending quest for the ultimate "audio high"