What is wrong with audiophiles?


Something that has happened countless times happened again last night. Ordinary people over for a party listening to some music easily hear things audiophiles argue endlessly don't even exist. Oh, its worse even than that- they not only easily hear but are stunned and amazed at what they hear. Its absolutely clearly obvious this is not anything they ever were expecting, not anything they can explain- and also is not anything they can deny. Because its so freaking obvious! Happens every time. Then I come on here and read one after another not only saying its impossible, but actually ridiculing people for the audacity of reporting on the existence of reality.

What is wrong with audiophiles?

Okay, concrete examples. Easy demos done last night. Cable Elevators, little ceramic insulators, raise cables off the floor. There's four holding each speaker cable up off the floor. Removed them one by one while playing music. Then replaced them. Music playing the whole time. First one came out, instant the cable goes on the floor the guy in the sweet spot says, "OH! WTF!?!?!"

Yeah. Just one. One by one, sound stage just collapses. Put em back, image depth returns.

Another one? Okay.

Element CTS cables have Active Shielding, another easy demo. Unplug, plug back in. Only takes a few seconds. Tuning bullets. Same thing. These are all very easy to demo while the music is playing without interruption. This kills like I don' know how many birds with one stone. Auditory memory? Zero. Change happens real time. Double blind? What could be more double blind than you don't know? Because nobody, not me, not the listener, not one single person in the room, knows exactly when to expect to hear a change- or what change to expect, or even if there would be any change to hear at all. Heck, even I have never sat there while someone did this so even I did not know it was possible to hear just one, or that the change would happen not when the Cable Elevator was removed but when the cable went down on the floor.

We're talking real experience here people. No armchair theorizing. What real people really hear in real time playing real music in a real room.

I could go on. People who get the point will get the point. People who ridicule- ALWAYS without ever bothering to try and hear for themselves!- will continue to hate and argue.

What is wrong with audiophiles?

Something almost all audiophiles insist on, its like Dogma 101, you absolutely always must play the same "revealing" track over and over again. Well, I never do this. Used to. Realized pretty quickly though just how boring it is. Ask yourself, which is easier to concentrate on- something new and interesting? Or something repetitive and boring? You know the answer. Its silly even to argue. Every single person in my experience hears just fine without boring them to tears playing the same thing over and over again. Only audiophiles subject themselves to such counterproductive tedium.

What is wrong with audiophiles????
E4faee34 8363 486b b950 7687e7a5d2d7millercarbon
Well, not all audiophiles. I’ve always trusted my ears and find myself a bit tired and annoyed at the counter arguments to what I hear being touted around here.

Those arguments used to be civil, informed, and yet, open minded. For a while now they just run the gamut from loud, crude, and juvenile to snide and condescending, with all the grace and wit of a YouTube comment.

If they’d only calm down and actually listen, they’d have enough crow to lower their grocery bills for a month. A win-win by any measure.

All the best,
Nonoise
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Very well said Miller.
Gets my vote for a top class thread OP.

However now let's just wait for the crazies  to descend like a horde of avenging Angels.( In their wet dreams of course.....).

😎😎
Very interesting. 🙄
So the non-audiophile, average human being talked about the soundstage collapsing and image depth changing?  Yes, very interesting!
Miller what a trouble maker you are!:-) I totally agree with you though.I've heard/seen the same thing happen at my house.
I would say the problem is no one here, unless you know some of us in real life, can be at your home hearing the changes you describe. Of course there are some who wouldn't believe their own ears anyway. That to me is also fine just no need to argue about it. If someone tells me they hear something then they hear it who am I to say otherwise?
Thanks for sharing Miller! I have always been of the opinion that if a change in the system makes a dramatic improvement, it should easily past the double blind test. 
People who care about things like that are called audiophiles. 
How often do guests tell the host trying to impress them "what the heck are you talking about"?

I am not saying that was the reason for display of awe, but some people are more polite in person than "audiophiles" are on a forum.

"I've heard/seen the same thing happen at my house."
You guys actually subject your guests to cable elevator challenges?

Really, what is wrong with audiophiles?
My wifes are always holding the cables for me.
@gosta


"wife's"?? better yet wives??  Lucky you or tortured you.  Who knows?
What you are describing is not audiophiles. It’s anti-audiophiles. 
I equate most discussions as being a fly on the wall in a room full of mother inlaws .
The only problem I have with guests these days is the difficulty in prying their jaws off of the floor. :-)

Frank
I have a life. It will be short. As all lives are. I don't care if I'm listening to a transistor radio. If the music is good- fine. Life is too short. Chase the dragon if you must.
Lol!A transistor radio category should be added here.Just think of the heated discussions about which are the best batteries.Black,blue,or orange:-)
So the non-audiophile, average human being talked about the soundstage collapsing and image depth changing? Yes, very interesting!


Not in those exact words, but yes, definitely. A more literally accurate quote would be, "Its like before it was like the guy is RIGHT THERE and then he wasn't, well not as much, like..." and with arm gestures  and so I tightened it up a bit.

Which brings up yet another "what's wrong with audiophiles" because the #1 thing everyone always finds most amazing and enjoyable is imaging. Yet there's audiophiles who actually question its importance. They should try talking to normal people. They will look at you like you have two heads or something. Like, what is wrong with this guy? Which is what I'm asking.

Very well said Miller.
Gets my vote for a top class thread OP.

Thanks!
Miller what a trouble maker you are!:-) I totally agree with you though.I've heard/seen the same thing happen at my house.


I don't doubt it. Not for an instant. 

One little party, was about 50/50 audiophiles and Porschephiles. Caelin (the Shunyata Research founder and CEO, that Caelin) was there with some new power cords, and we tried them out. 

What I normally do is try and play whatever the one in the sweet spot will enjoy. Which is never the same track over and over again. So when doing demos, same thing. Maybe one time paused and swapped cords in the middle of a song. Never once played anything twice. Couple times even made a change between songs on different albums.

Always the normal folks just sat and listened and responded to whatever they were hearing. Which usually was pretty amazing. I bought one of his power cords on the spot. But all the audiophiles, they were rolling their eyes so much one of my buddies asked me afterwards, "What the $*@T*( is wrong with that guy? He was about to jump out of his skin." Another one was outright mocking certain audiophiles. What I find most interesting is the behavior they were mocking is so common among audiophiles. Not all. But for many its not just common but practically their defining characteristic.

I would say the problem is no one here, unless you know some of us in real life, can be at your home hearing the changes you describe.


Now this is exactly what I'm talking about. 

I had this one friend, he was so into wine and champagne he had this annual champagne tasting party. Everyone would bring a bottle. He was so knowledgeable he would open them in order. A lot like the way I will play recordings of increasingly good quality as the night goes along, he opened the sparking wines, then the Champagnes, then the Doms. 

I learned so much from this. In all the many years since, and all the dozens of people I've told about this, not one has ever said, "Well unless you were there in real life tasting the wines he was pouring at his house...." Not once! 

Now, I'll grant you, one wine enthusiast did suggest a brown bag double-blind test to see if we all really did prefer the wine be allowed to breathe before drinking. (Spoiler: we did.) But then he was an engineer, and we all saw this more as an interesting extra little challenge and excuse to open an extra bottle than as anything else. Not a one of us ever questioned our own sense experience. The way audiophiles do all the time.

Do you see how wrong this is? This is the sort of behavior normal people deride and mock when they see it. Its just so out of touch. 

The only problem I have with guests these days is the difficulty in prying their jaws off of the floor. :-)
Step up your game, Frank. Get stuff that looks cool enough they'll be drooling so much jaw hits the floor, slides right off.
Interesting to use the comparison to wine tasting as it has been shown with multiple studies/experiments that even experts are not consistent or reliable at wine tasting.
Hush, shame on you. What is next? You will go around Kindergärten telling kids that Santa Claus does not exist?
Ordinary people should be so blown away by your system I doubt they would say it sounded any different because you took off a cable elevator.  Have them close their eyes next time instead of you talking it up first.  

Casual listeners used to iPods and AVRs don't even know what to listen for.  95 % of the "ordinary people"  have no idea what a soundstage or imaging is.   
... I have found that as soon as ANYONE chimes in "...Can't Be ..." - the verbal gates of hell open, sane people lose their composure, and the gloves are off...
Well the problem could be that too often people make posts like yours, miller.  Instead of posting something in a positive way that makes other people want to experience what you're talking about, you make a negative post that accuses people who haven't had the same experience as you of being dummies who can't hear.  There are probably many systems out there that are not as sensitive to Cable Elevator changes as your system is.

Why do you do that?  Do you think that the way to convince people that Cable Elevators make a huge difference in sound quality is to say that there is something wrong with anyone who hasn't had that experience?

Be positive, friendly and open to the ideas and opinions of other people, and you will find other people to be more accepting of your ideas and opinions.  Be dismissive, negative and argumentative and you will find many other people responding in kind to your ideas and opinions.  


 
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Strange,
Even the people I know whose regular bottle of wine is $15.00, by the time they are old enough to be invited to a high end bubbly tasting party, know, and would never question whether a bottle of red, allowed to breath, would taste better .... having done that a 100 times themselves.


Of course, nice of someone to bring, or supply, two bottles of red, preferably bottled from the same barrel, to a bubbly tasting party. Rather convenient that the protagonist was an Engineer huh? Wouldn't have made it nearly as poignant a story if he wasn't.

I guess there is always a first, but then I was never much of a Dom Perignon Champagne lover and I don't play audiophile games with my non audiophile friends.




I had this one friend, he was so into wine and champagne he had this annual champagne tasting party. Everyone would bring a bottle. He was so knowledgeable he would open them in order. A lot like the way I will play recordings of increasingly good quality as the night goes along, he opened the sparking wines, then the Champagnes, then the Doms.

I learned so much from this. In all the many years since, and all the dozens of people I've told about this, not one has ever said, "Well unless you were there in real life tasting the wines he was pouring at his house...." Not once!

Now, I'll grant you, one wine enthusiast did suggest a brown bag double-blind test to see if we all really did prefer the wine be allowed to breathe before drinking. (Spoiler: we did.) But then he was an engineer, and we all saw this more as an interesting extra little challenge and excuse to open an extra bottle than as anything else. Not a one of us ever questioned our own sense experience. The way audiophiles do all the time.

I think a lot of what has happened here with "audiophiles" is "perception bias".  They get locked onto a perception of what something "should be" instead of the actuality of "what is".  This means that whatever idea or product or brand has been suggested or documented somewhere (i.e. professional reviews, engineering measurements, etc.) becomes an influence to almost an obsession where the "audiophile" is no longer listening but responding to an idea.  A lot of this is human nature and is difficult to change.  The downside here is that some people get so obsessed that it becomes a religious crusade in which everyone else needs to be converted to their ideas.  This is an unfortunate bi-product of what has happened on this forum.
A cantankerous bunch that my parents told me to avoid!
You must’ve misunderstood. You thought your parents told you to emulate them.
Aging audiophiles are becoming less tolerant with those younger aspirants who claim 
1: they  qualify as audiophiles, they have the latest gear, they have the knowledge and therefore have a say;
2: this is a challenge to those who have grown with the development of HiFi over the years and claim they have the knowledge;
3: the very high end Hifi may or may not exceed the capabilities of mid range, but certainly can we justify the costs; and
4: the performance of a mid system and a mid age person (on average)
match each other, hearing will appreciate these systems better than hi-end systems (which leave no change to change and adjust);
we elder aficionados do not want to be told (threatened) that our trusty reference systems are oldsville, tweaked or not;
5: We (oldies) love the skin we are in and the same with the system we assimilate with, or have aged with gracefully..

I think those who are enjoying their music with the systems they have
no competition with the younger set, their music or systems. They would have no appreciation of slide rules, log tables and palmtronics.
Leave then to their world and where possible, add a few facts to point them on the correct path.


Grandchildren can teach us a lot :)

AMG


What’s wrong with audiophiles?    Interesting: you mentioned, "concrete examples".    The typical naysayer’s mind, is a excellent example of perfect, impenetrable, concrete.    ie: Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set!
Mpingo discs anyone?
Mpingo discs. Now there’s a misunderstood GREAT product if ever there was one. I can certainly understand why the Average Joe might not be able to find a place for it in his system. I get it. 🤗 They are tricky little dumaflodgies. No one promised you a rose garden. 🌹 🌹 🌹
I purchased a Bluesound Node 2I connected RCA analogue to the dealer's 2 channel amplifier.  He told me adding a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC would make things sound better.  However, by doing so I gave up listening to the complete unfold of MQA.  We did a blind test 5 times and every time I picked the Bluesound played by itself.  So, what did I do, I opted to purchase the Pro-Ject DAC and a Carbon Audioquest digital coax cable because I listened to the dealer and did not trust my ears.  Kind of like the Emperor's New Cloth's.  If you spend the extra money you must be hearing better sound quality.  I just sold the Pro-Ject DAC and digital coax on Audiogon for half the price I paid for them.  That is a lesson I will not forget.  I will also not purchase items like these again until I hear them on my home system.
The problem with us audiophiles is that our perennial quest for audio satisfaction is often beleaguered by the various misinformers they we may encounter along the way.

Some of those we encounter may mean well, and some no doubt will be plotting to ambush and rob us soon after we embark upon what is usually a solitary lifelong mission.

It is certainly a dangerous mission, not as dangerous as mountain climbing - but still one that may take an entire lifetime and a large amount of free capital at our disposal.

Even worse, there is no guarantee of success as the sheer number of disillusioned long time audiophiles out there will attest to. 

Young man take care...
I would propose a simple rule for posters on this forum. If you have not auditioned a particular class of gear (i.e. power cables, cable elevators) or a particular piece of gear (amp, speakers, whatever) then you shouldn't have an opinion on how they sound, whether or not they make a difference, or if they are worth the money.

I am highly skeptical by nature but I have heard some pretty amazing differences when I didn't expect to. This has taught me to be humble about things I haven't tried like little pea sized metal thingies you stick to the wall or even cable elevators. I live in a semi-rural community so I don't have any local audio buddies (my best audio friend lives across the country) so I just have to sit here and wonder about things like 5 figure power cords. I've been to a couple audio shows and had the fortunate experience of hearing some demonstrations that overwhelmed my skeptical bias.

When non-audiophiles have heard my system I have often gotten an incredulous response. They look at me with and expression of "I can't believe this" and will say something like "I had no idea. The musicians are right there." As millercarbon stated it's the imaging that really gets them but the full range, the detail, and dynamics are big factors.

So my question @millercarbon is how do I get invited to one of your parties? I'll bring a nice bottle of whatever you're having and I promise to let it breathe.

We live in a contentious and polarized world. Moderation is rare. And there is a good deal of ego channeled through audio choices. I would say that “audiophile” differences in perception and reaction are to some extent informed by the social and political world around us as well as our own learned modes of perception.

 

Few seem to have a sense of the complexity of neurological processes, learning curve, and experiences that underpin perception. While there may be an audio event that one person perceives, another will have different neurological experience and perception. Think of the variety of perception and activity involved in playing a violin or hitting a baseball. While there might be one audio event, it will be perceived differently by virtually every listener. My wife, who is a music lover of great experience but not an audiophile, hears aspects of recordings that I don’t notice until she points them out to me. And then I learn something new about perception and try to add it to my perception and learning as makes sense.

 

Let us enjoy the music as fully as we can.


@8th-note: " I would propose a simple rule for posters on this forum. If you have not auditioned a particular class of gear (i.e. power cables, cable elevators) or a particular piece of gear (amp, speakers, whatever) then you shouldn’t have an opinion on how they sound, whether or not they make a difference, or if they are worth the money."                                                                                                                                             Good luck, getting a cadre of OCD gum-flappers to observe any such, "simple rule"(ESPECIALLY, given the logic).
Ordinary people should be so blown away by your system I doubt they would say it sounded any different because you took off a cable elevator. Have them close their eyes next time instead of you talking it up first.

As a matter of fact what happens is they come in and "Oooh! Ahhh!" and sit down and I turn off the lights and they listen in the dark. Well there is a lava lamp. And LEDs. But basically dark.

So this is another great comment to ask once again What is wrong with audiophiles??? Because in this case its been made perfectly clear these things did in fact happen. Not just once either but repeatedly, so often I’ve lost count, and over a period of many years. So who in their right mind would have the arrogance to say, "I doubt they would..." Only someone who either cannot read, or who is calling me a liar.

What is wrong with audiophiles is generic. Now I have to ask, What is wrong with YOU, delkal?

Casual listeners used to iPods and AVRs don’t even know what to listen for. 95 % of the "ordinary people" have no idea what a soundstage or imaging is.


Right. So now the question is, "Do YOU?"

Soundstage and imaging are words. Words that audiophiles banter about because like every other specialized language the one word "soundstage" is a whole lot more efficient than "the believable illusion of sounds coming from all across the front of the room, with the sound of each instrument and singer appearing to come from its own unique location in the room, in width and depth, as if it really was there in real life."

A phenomenon that was there all along. So audiophiles know a few specialized words. Keep in mind however that specialized lingo is there to facilitate communication between the adept. Superior vocabulary does not make you superior.

For the record, nobody ever, not one person in 30 years of doing this, has ever needed to be told to listen for imaging, soundstaging, or any of that. What they all do, every single one of them, is prove beyond a shadow of a doubt they are in fact hearing it. They do this a million ways. They point. They get up and look around. They take pictures (a recent irritating habit, I am about ready to ban cell phones from my listening room). They get up and move around while the music is playing coming closer and closer moving side to side trying to figure out the boundaries of this illusion. One even got up and looked under the blanket covering the TV, so convinced he was there was a speaker hiding behind it.

So let there be no doubt, no doubt whatsoever that ordinary people and casual listeners hear imaging and soundstaging. They do. The arrogance of someone, to assume otherwise.

What is wrong with audiophiles!!!!!

auxinput has an answer! Well one of them anyway, for sure:
I think a lot of what has happened here with "audiophiles" is "perception bias". They get locked onto a perception of what something "should be" instead of the actuality of "what is". This means that whatever idea or product or brand has been suggested or documented somewhere (i.e. professional reviews, engineering measurements, etc.) becomes an influence to almost an obsession where the "audiophile" is no longer listening but responding to an idea. A lot of this is human nature and is difficult to change. The downside here is that some people get so obsessed that it becomes a religious crusade in which everyone else needs to be converted to their ideas. This is an unfortunate bi-product of what has happened on this forum.


Definitely a great big grain of truth here.

I get pushback all the time from audiophiles for saying to disregard all the reasons, just go and listen, because the reasons are almost always all BS. Normal people, never. Normal people all seem to know there are things we simply do not understand. Normal people are, er, perfectly normal in this. Not audiophiles. Audiophiles seem to want to believe the BS. Or maybe its not just that they want to drink the Kool-Aid. Maybe its also they like to feel superior, and pseudo-tech talk does that for them.

For sure I have been at audio club demos where guys who had just heard the round cones sound totally better than the pointy spike cones would nevertheless stand there pontificating on how necessary the pointy spikes are to "grounding" or "isolation" whatever. Yada yada. Like you didn’t just hear it. Then when another one says well maybe what you’re hearing isn’t more detail its hyped attack and treble they look at him like he’s from Mars. Which makes no sense if you’re a listener, but total sense if you’re an audiophile locked onto a perception of what "should be".

Good one!

I think some of us are missing the point of Miller's post.Non- audiophiles can easily hear changes made in our systems in a blind test.I don't "subject" my guests to the testing ,it's happened a few times by accident.In a recent instance I swapped in some new tubes in my pre while everyone was otherwise occupied outdoors.Later on my SIL requested another listen to the CD that we'd enjoyed earlier and all present immediately noticed the change.My SIL asked if it was a different 'live' recording.
That's not the placebo effect.
“I would propose a simple rule for posters on this forum. If you have not auditioned a particular class of gear (i.e. power cables, cable elevators) or a particular piece of gear (amp, speakers, whatever) then you shouldn't have an opinion on how they sound, whether or not they make a difference, or if they are worth the money.”

The OP has done quite the opposite, majority of his posts stems from his biased opinion instead of actual experience with the product or accessory under discussion. I question him other day on advocating a $500 power cord for a component costing just as much, to which he had no first hand experience...don’t think I got an answer back 😉
Some really good posts here by @tomcy6, @auxinput and @amg56. 


The OP has done quite the opposite, majority of his posts stems from his biased opinion instead of actual experience with the product or accessory under discussion.


TOTAL FAIL! 

So total in fact it has nothing to do with audiophiles at all. If there's one thing for sure we can say about the OP its that the responses of people vs audiophiles actually happened. Its reported fact, not opinion. So this one is pure reading comprehension fail. 

But even worse, "majority of his posts" another total fail, as no one here comes even close to me in saying over and over again to go and listen and figure it out for yourself. Its almost like whatever you write, this guy reads the opposite.

Please try and stick to the topic: What is wrong with audiophiles?
Could just as well titled this what’s wrong with Porschephiles.... I get sick of air vs water vs manual vs pdk, etc....

back to the music....
Oh come on, it is quite obvious what is wrong with Porschephiles ... Ferrari envy ;-)
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@atdavid, not for those who have owned both, just like audio gear... so many pontificate about stuff they have never heard or driven... now where did I put that Lambo crystal decanter ???
But speaking of the prancing horse, anybody heard from @whart lately ??? Hope he is ok
a number of weekend guests noted my system sounded better the next day...I never mentioned I left the amp on overnight and that it had only been on an hour when they first heard it...same CD at same volume...
a number of weekend guests noted my system sounded better the next day...I never mentioned I left the amp on overnight and that it had only been on an hour when they first heard it...same CD at same volume...


Exactly. Similar story, friend one time said he thought one track sounded better than the rest. Cleaner, clearer. He had been asking me why some recordings sound so much better than others. Well he was right it did sound better so instead of guessing told him well sometimes they put recording details in the liner notes let's have a look, and... what do you know, that one track was recorded direct to half-track. All the rest was mix-downs. So of course it sounded better.


TOTAL FAIL!

So total in fact it has nothing to do with audiophiles at all. If there's one thing for sure we can say about the OP its that the responses of people vs audiophiles actually happened. Its reported fact, not opinion. So this one is pure reading comprehension fail.
With due respect millercarbon, I have noticed that you always are a negative poster against anything home theater and tend to just push the idea that 2-channel will always be superior without listening to what the OP really wants.  Not everyone is after the ultimate 2-channel experience.



Au contraire mon frere! Are you triggered? Because you’ve completely misconstrued what should be quite clear.

Somewhere between the giant Sony ceiling mounted projector and the enormous 9 foot screen on the wall, somewhere in there a person might maybe get the impression painting me as anti-home theater just maybe might be a bit of a stretch.

Also if you’ve been reading my posts you’ll know they’re all focused on getting the best sound for the dollar, regardless of how its done. Time and again the emphasis is on quality, and value.

So my crime according to you is wanting the best sound, multi-channel or otherwise. In other words not being slavishly tied into the latest greatest format. In other words thinking for myself.

Guilty as charged.

But for being taken to task over this I have to ask, What is wrong with audiophiles????