Are audiophiles BS-ing themselves about sound ?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Rich-n-Roll, Mar 18, 2023 at 1:39 PM.

  1. Rich-n-Roll

    Rich-n-Roll Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington State
    Steve makes some great point concerning this, are we as audiophiles BSing ourselves in the pursuit of of achieving nirvana when it comes the sound we hear from our systems what do you say ?

  2. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Obversarian

    Haven’t watched this yet but to be on a never ending pursuit of something that doesn’t really exist seems ultimately rather fruitless. You have to say “that’s it” at one point and enjoy what it’s all about: the music.
  3. CarmineRed

    CarmineRed I promise I'm very nice in person

    As usual, I can only listen to him for about 2-3 min and then I lose interest BUT I agreed with those 2-3 min! ;)
  4. John3655

    John3655 Well-Known Member

    Stating the obvious, funnily enough I can't get Cheryl Crow to perform live in my living room, so I'm stuck with recordings, I'm under no illusion that it's a copy but so what it's still enjoyable and better equipment maximises that.

    Audiophile I prefer the term audio enthusiast.
    You only have one life and music can be a big part of it.

    Cheryl would be very welcome though along with Dido....:love:
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2023 at 2:31 PM
  5. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Agree. Subjective tastes likely will change over time, who knows, maybe as we age and hearing changes this might even correlate with those preferences. I guess in that way, as a pursuit that's "fun", then nothing wrong with trying out different products. At some point, we might get interested in other toys and move on recognizing that we've experienced enough. As a seasoned audiophile and reviewer after all these years, Steve seems confused about a number of things at times which should be obvious.

    Objective performance however can be measured and "better" can be defined. That would be more my path... I'm excited when cheaper things perform better and we can see a progression in the hardware technology because that means more people can be exposed to higher fidelity sound. From that vantage point, overblown hype and elitist folks who tout $10,000 amps or sell snake-oil are IMO the problem and why "audiophilia" gets a bit of a bad reputation among technology hobbyists.

    Like getting bored of the toys subjectively, there is an end point objectively as well because at a certainly level, we can say the performance is "beyond good enough". Just enjoy music after that point or chase some other hobby or technology. Or run measurements and share with others what the performance looks like as I do for fun. ;-)
    RolandG, Tone?, Melvin and 2 others like this.
  6. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    Didn't watch the video, but I can agree.
    I am very pleased with where I am, I'm easily able to hear differences in pressings/masterings and that's enough detail for me.
    I plan to only purchase new hardware as the old wears out and can't be easily repaired.
  7. John3655

    John3655 Well-Known Member

    Sometimes I wonder if Steve gets paid for putting out videos.
  8. bever70

    bever70 To boldly go where no ears have gone before

    Of course, what else!
  9. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forever moving forward

    Having confirmation bias? Purpose or true motivation for thread?

    After reading the post, I thought as I was clicking into your profile "probably has a modest set up" and was verified.... Nothing wrong with that, I promise not to say something demeaning or silly like "Those who don't hear a difference are BS-ing themselves, they're just unaware" :) (see how easy that was?) BTW, I think "Knobsound" is spelled without the "K".

    Many happy folk out there without a higher dollar system, but why the need to take a shot across the bow at those who like to sample, try new / different even more expensive things, and DO hear a difference?

    Do you *really* believe that it's just chasing a ghost, all these folk are just wasting their time? Oh I know, you were just sharing, not doing anything like that, wasn't your view?

    Yeah, yeah, yours sounds perfect, you got it right and wonder why everyone here is talking about new gear, something wrong with them. Heard it before...

    It's an Audio Gear forum, that's what they do, people are here for new inputs on buying gear ---- not to be told their pursuits are BS or chasing a fruitless dream repeatedly by others. One of these things doesn't belong here.

    And why the endless implication that those why buy / try new things *don't* enjoy the music? I think they do, maybe more than you.

    I've always viewed those who hang around here and passively or actively taunt, make fun of, and / or at times even call those here names (OCD, the nervosa thing) as the *ultimate* definition of trolling. Think about it. It's a gear forum, yet some are here and taunt / demean those that buy gear.

    Take that or leave it, could care less. But analyze it before reacting and being butt sore.

    All those that are happy with their systems and don't understand why folks here like to buy gear, take a flyer to the OT forum. It's time, you've graduated. Congrats.
  10. bgiliberti

    bgiliberti Will You Be My Neighbor?

    I wish I could like this twice.
    Juan Solo, CarmineRed and John3655 like this.
  11. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    no, of course not...if one cannot tell the difference between sound doesn't deserve to be an audiophile...
    Juan Solo likes this.
  12. goldwax

    goldwax person of interest

    I think your summary doesn't really speak to the point of the video. He's not talking about "nirvana," whatever that means. He's talking about replicating real, in-person sound: what a musical performance truly sounds like.

    And of course he's right. No reproduction sounds exactly like the real thing and anyone who expects it to is deluding themselves. However, I do think that certain recordings and gear do come closer than others, in many cases much closer.

    What he doesn't get into is that most recorded music for the past 55 years is only trying to give the illusion of a live musical performance, having been built track by track, edited, sound processed, mixed, etc. etc. So it's impossible to say that the recording fails to reproduce the original event, because there is no original event. You can only criticize it for how well it conveys a theoretical original event. And often you can't even do that, because some recordings aren't concerned with that at all, and are only trying to convey an engaging sound-world that has little basis in acoustic live performance.

    Side note: I think that the title of the video and your summary of it might cause people who don't actually watch the whole video to think that all audiophiles are fulling themselves about everything. That simply isn't true. Yes, there's "different" and "preferences," but there's also "objectively better given certain parameters."

    I can tell you that I recently spent a borderline insane (for me and a lot of other people) amount on a full-system upgrade, and it objectively blows away my previous much, much, much cheaper system (enjoyable as it was). I am under no illusion that it's as real as live music, but i also understand that i could spend more or do more to get closer. I'm just not prepared to do that, being so happy with what i have now.
  13. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    Who knows what the brain does with sound. I sometimes when needed put “ fan noise” on my phone so I can sleep. I can easily tell when I go to bed that there is a fake tiny fan coming out of the phone’s speaker on the night stand. I found out a strange thing happens when I wake up, it sounds like fan noise coming from all directions. I can look right at the phone and not tell the sound is coming from it. What else can our brains do with sound?
  14. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.

    I see nothing wrong with the thoughts of those you quoted. I was on a upgrade journey for a few years...and glad I took it because of where I ended up. But there comes a time with many that you do take a timeout, evaluate, and just let it be if you're happy.
    If you're not there yet...and enjoying the ride...the more power to you!
    I try never to give gear searchers any issues. I'm sure most here do or have been searchers.
  15. Melvin

    Melvin Forum Resident

    Surprising video from Steve, thanks for sharing @Rich-n-Roll. I think listening to some live un-amplified music to re-calibrate your ears/brain is indeed good advice. As for me, I'm finished with the chase after all these years. I've tried enough gear and built enough systems using very different approaches to be quite satisfied. I've held on to some favorites if I want a different presentation, not better, just different.
  16. __Patrick__

    __Patrick__ Forum Resident

    Twin Cities, MN
    He ABSOLUTELY does get paid for videos. Most of these guys do.
    Every hear Steve bash anything?
    nosliw and John3655 like this.
  17. John3655

    John3655 Well-Known Member

    In some ways the recording may be better than being there, the mics have very good spots and seat 54b behind a pillar next to someone with a cold eating crisps and costing ££ is not so good.
    I've tried getting close to Dido but the multiple injunctions and restraining orders don't allow.
  18. Rich-n-Roll

    Rich-n-Roll Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington State
    I hear yeah, like the point Steve makes about sound I apply to my system everything is vintage save for the streamer, speakers and the Cd player. I don't think you have to pay $$$ to get good sound quality even from the most modest system I've heard high end systems both personnel and at shows that sounded...well less then what the components would lead you to believe.

    A system can be had that rivals anything that is $ the dollar amounts less with a little knowledge and if you know what your doing ;) you can have system to rival those Highend dollars systems. The idea and what I think get lost on folks and what matters most is what works best for the individual, for the modest system that I have people are amazed at the sound I get out of it just enjoy the music

    Cheers my man :)
    lazycat57, 33na3rd, Swann36 and 2 others like this.
  19. Rich-n-Roll

    Rich-n-Roll Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington State
  20. goldwax

    goldwax person of interest

    I don't think it's realistic to assume that simply throwing money the problem of sound reproduction is automatically going to give you an amazing system. (Though it will probably still give you a very, very good one.) But I also don't it's realistic to assume that you can achieve the best possible sound just "with a little knowledge," however comforting a thought that may be.

    I do, however, agree that what matters most is making is make oneself happy--but that also goes for people who spend a fair bit of cash, and who, yes, actually have a little knowledge about what they're doing and why they're doing it.

    Glad you're enjoying the music. I'm pretty sure that many people who have spent way more than you and I are too.
    bever70 likes this.
  21. goldwax

    goldwax person of interest

    What exactly do you not agree with?
  22. bever70

    bever70 To boldly go where no ears have gone before

    Enjoy the music? Sorry, I cannot enjoy the music if it doesn't sound good on a dedicated system (nevermind the cheap car radios, boomboxes, alarm clocks or whatever),because that's just a waste of money! So you keep on tweaking until it sounds good to you and then you can start to enjoy the music on your dedicated system. That's all there is to it. No need to make it so complicated :).

    HIRES_FAN Forum Resident

    Apparently, "live music" is some kinda gold standard for audiophiles?!?! :D
    Have you all heard stanky make his lead guitar squeal at the Croakerhead bar? It is very LIVE!! But, it sounds like a swine's hiny.
    It really depends on which venue you went to and who was singin...
  24. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    To me, most audio systems --even very good ones-- fall short compared to real instruments in a club environment. Hard rock and other loud concerts in big halls often sound terrible, so not as good a baseline for comparison as acoustic instruments, jazz, small combo, in a suitable venue.
    Audiophiles often climb the mountain by upgrading and comparing gear, which is fine to a point.
    I had the luxury of being able to listen to a lot of really good systems starting in the early '70s-- was sometimes impressed, but often disappointed. Still, I think whatever your budget or aspirations, you should get an opportunity to hear some top tier systems set up properly in a good listening environment just to hear what is possible. It's harder to do if you aren't near a good brick and mortar store that offers the opportunity and/or if you are in a place where there aren't a lot of other audiophiles who are willing to share their homes/systems with you. I learned a lot just by seat time.
  25. Art K

    Art K Retired but not tired!

    Corvallis, Oregon
    I couldn’t agree more with Steve on this. I’ve been saying something similar for years. We are inadvertently or intentionally just chasing differences and being persuaded by preference rather than any semblance of accuracy. I listen to a lot of unamplified music…bravo Steve.
    Rich-n-Roll likes this.

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