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Steve Jobs was an audiophile

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Baron Von Talbot, Dec 13, 2011.

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  1. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Taking a ride with public transports I bought a STEREO magazine and to my surprise there was that big article by Richard Fryer from Spectral and a short comment from David Wilson who set up a pair of his first super speakers in Jobs home decades ago. He stayed a loyal and very demanding customer to these 2 brands - always wanting the absolute best possible and pronto..lol..
    Always wanted to know why something sounds better...
    Most dealers were frightened to deal with Steve, so after a while he went to the boss, who happened to live just around the corner in his hometown in California. Very nice story, Steve even selected the DAC for the very first iPod and Richard Fryar thinks the iPod show Steve Jobs dedication for sound.
    Favorite styles were amo Jazz, ECM and Bay Aerea Rock. Cool stuff.

    There is still a SPECTRAL DAC 200 waiting for a "good home"-Steve gave that back recently with these words when he got the brand new DAC 400.
  2. Sandeep725

    Sandeep725 Forum Resident

    Why do the bundled headphones with iPods and iPhones sound so dreadful then?!
  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    And yet there are reporters who have been to at least one of Steve Jobs' houses, and he said all Jobs had was a very modest compact stereo system. Either somebody's mistaken, or maybe Steve had multiple houses.
  4. Because the iDevices are designed for portability first, but have the capability for high-quality reproduction as well. If Jobs was some kind of audiophile, as the article suggests, then he was probably well aware that serious listeners had their own great-sounding headphones ready to be plugged in.
  5. Sandeep725

    Sandeep725 Forum Resident

    Well that doesn't make sense at all. Either he is an audiophile, in which case they supply half-decent headphones, or more likely he's not and it somewhat makes sense they provide the rubbish they do.

    It always baffled me how Sennheiser never made a deal with Apple to supply their low-end in-ear buds which have fantastic sound quality (obviously more likely Apple didn't want to do anything like this, but always smacked of a missed opportunity).
  6. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    If Jobs was an audiophile, howcum there's still no lossless files on iTunes? Apple has had no shortage of bad- (or marginal-) sounding audio products over the years, including the iPod earbuds. And don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of a lot of what they make.

    They sure kept a lid on Steve being an audiophile for 30 years. I think it might have been a Rolling Stone 1980s article that said that Jobs had a big house, mostly empty, with almost no furniture -- and one room had a chair and a modest compact stereo against one wall. I'm pretty clear on that memory.
  7. lv70smusic

    lv70smusic Senior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    But think about all of the people who simply use the earbuds that come with their Apple devices, never hearing the sound quality that could be possible. You'd think an audiophile would have at least wanted his products to ship with earbuds that were good enough to give people a glimpse of what is possible. For that matter, you'd think that Jobs would have made sure that Apple had aftermarket earbuds of a much higher quality available. Think of all of the people who might have discovered better sound if they were confronted with "iBuds" while selecting their latest player at the Apple store.

    Maybe Jobs cared about sound quality for his own listening, but it seems a stretch to claim that he was trying to introduce the masses to high quality audio.

  8. Claude

    Claude Senior Member

    Because Apple sells products for the mass market, not for audiophiles.

    The owner of a fast food chain can also be a gourmet. Fast food is his job and the source of his income, while excellent food is his hobby.

    Concerning Steve Jobs, that story about his hifi equipment looks a bit too good to be true. Being a billionnaire, he probably owned the best products in many fields, but does does not necessary make him an aficionado in those fields.

    I'm not interested in great cars, but if I was a billionnaire, I would have a Porsche just for the occasional fun.
  9. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Actually, Jobs did not always own the best products. His house was relatively modest -- no high walls, no security guards, no acres of property. (Bill Gates' house was $50 million -- about 10 times the value of Jobs' house.) Jobs drove a Mercedes SL55 -- a great car, but not (say) a Bugatti.

    If you read Walter Isaacson's best-selling autobiography, you'll see that Steve actually lived a fairly down-to-earth life with his family -- certainly not the life one imagine's somebody with $7 billion would live. Jobs makes several statements in the book about how disdainful he is about people who make garish amounts of money in the tech business and then spend it on Rolls-Royces and plastic surgery for their wives.

    He definitely doesn't strike me as somebody who would spend $200,000 on speakers (plus amps, plus a room for them). But he could clearly afford them. On the other hand, Jobs did have a $40 million Gulfstream V private jet... (a gift from Apple).
  10. ArneW

    ArneW Forum Resident

    Cologne, Germany
    Now that's ascetic!
    kevinsinnott likes this.

  11. I just read the entire book "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, and it clearly states that Steve Jobs never owned any stereo beyond a cheap, off-the-shelf Wal Mart type stereo. The book is a great read, and deals extensively with Steve Job's music appreciation, but from extensive interviews with family and friends, Steve never owned a nice stereo.

  12. This whole post is spot on. The claim by anyone that states that Steve owned a nice stereo is just BS.
  13. audiolab1

    audiolab1 Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    Really now? A photo from 1982 showing Acoustat 3 loudspeakers and what looks to be an Oracle Delphi turntable. Certainly not the sort of system someone who doesn't care about fidelity would bother with.

    Attached Files:

  14. mr_mjb1960

    mr_mjb1960 I'm a Tarrytowner 'Til I die!

    If Steve was an Audiophile,then why didn't he do away with sound compression by inventing something that made the sound better on Low-Bit Mp3 Files? They'd always sound too boxy to me!:shake:
  15. bresna

    bresna Forum Resident

    York, Maine
    I thought I knew all the kinds of Jazz out there but I cannot decode "amo Jazz".
  16. jpm-boston

    jpm-boston Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    In his personal life Steve may have been an audiophile, but in his professional life he was a businessman. Big difference between the two.
  17. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Damn right; I've been deeply impressed by the iPod Touch I have (3rd Gen, 32Gb model) and it's partnered with some Seinnheiser CX-300II in-ear 'phones. Great device - wouldn't be without it. What it'd be like with even better headphones, I can only imagine, but it's fine for my needs as-is.
  18. ChadHahn

    ChadHahn Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ, USA
    iPods were pretty expensive when they came out. Imagine how expensive they would be if they had come with good headphones. If you go to head-fi, you can't get people to agree on which earbuds sound good. What if the iPod would have bundled with Sennheiser or Shure? People would be complaining that they should have gone with a different model or brand.
    I don't think that iTunes was developed for audiophiles. How many audiophiles just download one song at a time? I think that it was made for people like a girl I worked with who would buy a CD with the latest hit on it and when the next hit came along she'd get rid of that CD and buy another. She was spending $17 or so on a CD when all she wanted was one song. Now she can buy that one song for 99 cents and she can get it at a pretty high bit rate to boot.


  19. I never heard of "amo jazz" either, but maybe it is atmosperhic jazz.
  20. BrewDrinkRepeat

    BrewDrinkRepeat Forum Resident

    Merchantville NJ
    I fail to see how you can determine whether or not Jobs was an audiophile by the type of headphones that were bundled with the iPod, or whether the iTunes store sells lossless files. Despite Jobs' hands-on role with most Apple products, column A doesn't necessarily prove or disprove column B.
  21. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Berlin, Germany
    Ken Follet might still enjoy some Goethe or Shakespeare even though his books are not written in iambic pentameter.
  22. João

    João Active Member

    Lisboa - Portugal
    Nonsense. Tyll Hertsens (link) said it all about the ear-buds supplied with Apple products:

    "I suspect there's a number of reasons Apple chooses ear-buds. You're buying an iPod, not the headphones, so it's on the gadget Apple needs to focus the money. If you're into audio at all you'll replace just about any headphone that comes with a player, so I think it's appropriate for them to include cheap headphones, as they'll often go unused. Many people don't like to stick in-ear headphones deep into their ear canal, so that's not a solution that will work universally. Inexpensive headphones with a headband might not be useful for women with fancy hair, so a headband is limiting. Seems to me, ear-buds are a good choice for the type of headphone to be included with a portable player.

    Apple knows ear-buds suck, but they know they've got to put 'em in the box. So what they did was make one of the best ear-buds out there."
  23. acjetnut

    acjetnut Forum Resident

    He was also obsessed with collecting Bob Dylan bootlegs.
  24. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders

    I'd agree with that Chad, though I'd maybe caveat it by adding that I see iTunes as a facilitator and a pretty flexible one at that. Simple interface (relatively) and carries most of the main file formats that most people will use. I go for WAV myself and that gives me CD quality.

    I've used mp3 as low as 128kbps and if the recording's good, the quality of the lower bitrate playback can be surprisingly good too. Went with 192kbps on my older iPod nano (which only had 8Gb to play with) and that was absolutely fine on playback.

    Most people can't really tell a difference IMO and Apple deliver products that bring form, performance and functionality to the table. The rest are catching up however; high quality and price aren't tied together any longer.
  25. sushimaster

    sushimaster Forum Resident

    that is one crazy looking avatar wolfram.
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