AUDIOPHILES

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Would you call yourself an audiophile?

No - I only listen to guided by voices
18
53%
Sort of - I consider biamping my ns10s with tube monoblocks
13
38%
Yes - I only listen to Chesky recordings
3
9%
 
Total votes: 34

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Post by rwc » Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:47 pm

A well designed amp isn't going to be noticeable IMHO. JVC's low end crap is far from well designed!
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Post by dynomike » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:27 pm

rwc wrote:A well designed amp isn't going to be noticeable IMHO. JVC's low end crap is far from well designed!
Indeed! I just meant in relation to that Panasonic home theater amp anecdote... Panasonics and JVCs are pretty similar...
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:28 pm

It's all in the speaker positioning ...

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Post by fossiltooth » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:19 pm

joel hamilton wrote:I love music, and I listen to it constantly.
I can enjoy music on a shitty car stereo, coming out of my wife's ipod touch, or out of ADAM S3A's, or out of NS10's, or especially coming from JBL 4312a's! ;)

Seriously. I LOVE music. I really, really,really love RECORDED music, and recordings in general. I can listen to field recordings of fish or whales and then listen to a cassette recording from the 80's of a punk and, then right back to something Tchad Blake did to Dave brubeck, then back to slayer, then chet baker, then..etc..etc...
I really, really love recorded music.

At home, I dont even have a stereo set up right now beyond some altec computer speaker system thingy via Airtunes. Doesnt bother me at ALL.
Pretty similar situation here. I guess I'm in the same camp as Joel on this one.

I'll listen to just about any kind of music, and I'll listen on just about anything. For the first year at my new-ish apartment I had been listening to my 'lil lady's self-powered JBL computer speakers. I doubt they were more than $80 for the pair. Don't sound great, but hey, I was still listening to music. I got all my "hifi" time in at the studio.

I brought home a decent pair the other week becuase I wanted to get back into buying vinyl. We finally got some furniture that would ergonomically accommodate a record player in our little 1BR. Damned if I'm gonna hook that up to of computer speakers!

Sure, I like nice speakers, just as much as I like well-recorded music. I strive for "quality" in every move that I make. However, if I was going to put on some Howlin' Wolf, or the Germs, or Beck's "One Foot In The Grave", the last thing I'd want to do would be to pump that sh*t through the bigs! Give me some auratones or a beat up old boombox please.

You haven't heard "I Put a Spell On You" until you've heard it through some of the shittiest mid-sixties consumer "hi-fi" speakers you can find! ...much like you haven't heard Queen until you've heard them on a ridiculous audiophile system.

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Post by rwc » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:18 pm

After having no option other than a $50 sony tape player/radio with RCA in jacks on the front from k-mart to listen to music on for over ten years, I can say with certainty:

I'M NEVER GOING BACK!

seriously, you can pry the thiels from my cold dead hands. I intend to keep recording when I'm 70. when I do, I'll still be mixing my masters on this stereo. :D
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Post by Electro-Voice 664 » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:09 pm

fossiltooth wrote:
Sure, I like nice speakers, just as much as I like well-recorded music. I strive for "quality" in every move that I make. However, if I was going to put on some Howlin' Wolf, or the Germs, or Beck's "One Foot In The Grave", the last thing I'd want to do would be to pump that sh*t through the bigs! Give me some auratones or a beat up old boombox please.


I often find it funny when audiophiles talk about the terrible crap they listen to on their wonderful systems. Just gimme some DI on any_old_thang.
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Post by centurymantra » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:35 am

This thread has remained quite civil - no flame wars...yet. :D

I will have to admit to being a bit of an audiophile. Perhaps more a 'recovering' audiophile, as I'm now more into developing my studio than a listening system. That being said, I spent a number of years being pretty deep into hi-fi sound - ever since I was in high school really - and over those years developed the stereo systems that I have now, which are quite nice. I fully enjoy this. There is this common stereotype of the audiophile listening to cringe-inducing antiseptic fodder while they anally scrutinize every nuance. Trust me when I say that I am not, nor never was this type of audiophile. I have simply always been deeply into music, listen to a huge range of music - as much as any Tapeopper on here I'd gather - and just LOVE the experience of immersing myself in an expansive sonic playback of all my favorite music. Yes, good music can be listened to anywhere, anyhow - but kicking back and sinking into a nice audio system is simply a whole 'nother experience. As far as I'm concerned, to argue otherwise is akin to someone telling me they don't need to go to the theatre cuz they just watch Youtube on their Ipod now.
fossiltooth wrote:
Sure, I like nice speakers, just as much as I like well-recorded music. I strive for "quality" in every move that I make. However, if I was going to put on some Howlin' Wolf, or the Germs, or Beck's "One Foot In The Grave", the last thing I'd want to do would be to pump that sh*t through the bigs! Give me some auratones or a beat up old boombox please.

You haven't heard "I Put a Spell On You" until you've heard it through some of the shittiest mid-sixties consumer "hi-fi" speakers you can find! ...much like you haven't heard Queen until you've heard them on a ridiculous audiophile system.
I definitely appreciate this sentiment and I'm basically with you on it, but sorta hints at a common atttitude I have been known to argue about a bit. There is this commonly held notion that awesome 'audiophile' systems are really only good for well-produced 'hi-fi' type music and, while it is true that this music benefits the most, a good system should make everything sound better...not just "audiophile" music. If it doesn't, there's a problem with your stereo...IMHO. I feel that a good stereo isn't just revealing all the sonic details out, but is pulling all the MUSIC out in a way that allows you to really feel the emotions and vibe of what's in there - regardless of whether it's a Gun Club bootleg, an Einsturzende Neubaten field recording, or a Steely Dan record. It isn't gonna make that garage rock record unlistenable because it's just revealing the harsh sound and sonic flaws...it's gonna listen through all that shit and pull the music out...seriously - that is what I call a good stereo system.

The other big point is that I think that the shittiest hi-fi consumer gear of the '60s is waayyyy better than the shitty consumer gear of today. Techology has progressed, but in the cheap consumer gear sector, this technology has led to plastic, mass-manufactured crap with little attention to sound quality...more about making things cheap and small so people can fill their house with a bunch of crap. Heck....give me a crap boombox from 1983 over a pair of $5 earbuds or the dime sized speakers in a cell phone...and I seriously doubt ANY speaker manufactured in the 60's sounds as shite as my laptop speakers.
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Post by fossiltooth » Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:04 am

centurymantra wrote: I seriously doubt ANY speaker manufactured in the 60's sounds as shite as my laptop speakers.
Good point.

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Post by Judas Jetski » Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:55 pm

Is there a category for "I despise the act of listening to music on crappy equipment but can't afford anything nice?" 'Cause if there was, I'd be in that one.

You all should *see* my home stereo setup. No, wait. You shouldn't.
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Post by E-Rock » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:10 pm

stereopathetic_banjo wrote:Not much to add, but as far as tube amps go, i've always wanted to try the z-vex nanoamp. If it sounds great, that could be a really cool way to power nearfields at moderate mixing volumes. Anyone have experience with tube amps for their studio monitors?
I'm not an 'audiophile', but I have a ZVex nano and I love it.
I don't know how Zack does it, but everything he does, I love.
I've got some old Polk audio speakers that sound killer with the Nano powering them.
You would never guess it's only 1 watt per side! :)

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Post by Trick Fall » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:23 pm

I can't stand really bad, but I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile. I do have to have decent headphones though and I almost didn't buy my car because when I was test driving it the stereo sounded like shit. I realized pretty quick that someone had jacked up the bass and cut the treble. Once I set everything flat it sounded good and the deal was made.

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Post by GREGL » Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:33 pm

Having worked as an audio service tech during much of the 70's and an avid audio junkie during the 80's I went deep into the world of the rabid audiophile for a while. While I never had the money to go completely over the top like many have, I found over the years that it became very easy to over emphasize the wrong goals. I heard so many "audiophile systems that had a great "soundstage",
"imaged" well, had over the type RIAA accuracy, $100 a foot cables etc. etc..
But in spite of that many of them did not sound musical, or often stripped recordings of their charm and soul. In many cases they made recordings that had flaws unlistenable. This would not be my definition of a good system. I soon found that there was a middle ground that served the music and it wasn't always the most expensive gear that did this. In addition, all the money does not buy much if the gear isn't optimized from a system standpoint. I started to find it humorous that many favorite audiophile classical reccordings were recorded in the 50's using cable and components that many rabid hi-end type audio types wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole in the 80's and 90's.

But I did learn a lot about audio electronics in the process of building many pieces of audiophile gear. While there is a lot of snake oil about cables, components etc. (that would be an understatement) there is a lot of validity to points like component quality. Capacitors and resistors, wire type etc. can make a difference in a well tuned system. But $1000 a foot speaker cables?
Just can't buy it and have yet to hear any well conducted test that says I should. I can hear the difference in a mic preamp wired with solid silver vs. copper stranded. But $100 a foot solid silver? There may be a difference but it ain't worth $100 a foot.
A very interesting aside- I have a very old pair of Wharefdale open back speakers from the 50's (sand filled baffles, 3 way with only a cap. on the tweeter, violate every rule of hi end speaker design). Old recordings that don't sound right on many high end systems come alive on these speakers. I've had the same experience with old Altecs and Jensens. Is audio technology missing something in its march forward?
One more point- I have occasionally taken heat from my audiophile bretheren because my mixer isn't all tubes, every patch bay isn't wired with audiophile grade cable, etc. The fact is, most recordists are interested in creating mojo. This doesn't often involve see through, holistic audio quality (although that can be a nice goal if you can pull it off). Despite many years of recording stuff with 2 mics and tube preamps I find that I get more enjoyment being a "vibe merchant". Then I can just worry about whether it sounds cool, not whether it meets some hi end audio criteria. The hi end audio paradigm can then be applied if desired to accurately recreating whatever sonic mojo we've created.

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Post by Bob Womack » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:13 pm

How do you draw that line in the sand? My music composition professor used to say that a piece of music is never finished, the composer simply chooses to stop composing.

I discovered a few things:
1. When I woke up one day buying albums of music I didn't like in order to sit perfectly centered between my speakers and listen to the recordings through my gorgeous stereo, all the while wondering if my cables were holding me back, it ended there.
2. Despite all the print in all the audiophile magazines, I discovered that I didn't like the sound of many of the products they were touting. They were often willing to take their compromises in places I wasn't.
3. After entering recording as a profession, I discovered that the average top-end recording studio couldn't afford to be as "golden ears" as the aficionados. They would need multiple speaker systems in the room for reference, etc.

So, I just stopped, and started listening to music I liked, regardless of the recording quality, and equipment I like, regardless of the reviews.

Bob
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Post by linus » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:00 am

I'm not an audiophile but I do recognise the benefit of being able to listen to the music I love on a system that can produce clear, powerful, pleasing reproduction (notice I didn't say acurrate).

For me it's all about bang for the buck. My CD player and turntable at home are consumer grade sony and technics. My reciever (yes a regular stereo receiver) is a Kyocera from the mid 80's. I bought it 5 years ago at a thrift shop for $150 when I needed a new reciever. I remember reading about that exact model in the mid 80's and it was a Stereophile end of year best for it's pricepoint (about $1500 new at that point).
The speakers are B&W Nautilus 805s. I got them on Audiogon used for $1200 in mint condition. They would be over twice that much new.

I don't see the point in spending anymore than I have. The law of diminishing returns kicks in.

I think it's worth spending a bulk of the budget on the speakers.

I also recommend buying used on Audiogon because the audiophile people are ALWAYS upgrading their systems and dumping yesterdays "must have" item to get todays "must have" item.

I also have to admit that at least 75% of the music I listen too is on my ipod through canalphones. I KNOW it's file compression but I'm perfectly happy. I just LOVE listening to music.
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Post by Sloan » Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:05 pm

I've got a pal that deals tubes and stuff.

He loves the tube poweramps and just bought two McIntosh tube amps (m200??) that Grateful Dead used to use. They were featured in some Vintage tube magazine or something. I was like WHAT.

He just got these really cool speakers from a theater that was closing down and runs them from a Fisher amp. It sounds really good.
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