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Meet Etiquette - how to treat others' belongings

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
This is a rant, so be warned.

A true pet peeve, no, source of major frustration for me is the fact that people treat others' possessions with little regard/care.

I took very few pieces of gear to yesterday's So Cal meet (Part 1), and thus this is not stemming from how people treated my own equipment. Rather, it comes from repeated instances, with yesterday being a mere example.

Examples of mishandling:
*Headphones placed in a way that could/did damage the cups (esp. wooden bowls)
*Tube amps left without a load (i.e. a pair of headphones plugged in)
*CDs getting scratched due to being placed on tables, etc, rather than back in their cases/binders
*R10s not being treated as fragile, nearly irreplacable objects

I KNOW I am anal and extremely protective when it comes to gear. I treat others' belongings as if they were my own. I don't expect everyone to care for their own gear in the same way as I do. However, common courtesy would dictate that if one uses gear that belongs to someone else, that this person should be careful when using that gear. Sadly, this just does not occur.

I feel badly for anyone whose equipment is mistreated and now feel that perhaps notes need to be left next to certain items, instructing their potential users how to and NOT to handle them.

/rant
post #2 of 57
Yes, let's exercise common sense!
post #3 of 57
I've observed some of these things myself at several meets, and while there is no real 'excuse' for not treating the gear you handle respectfully, there are several 'reasons' that come to mind:

1. The physical space is often poorly or haphazardly organized, and/or insufficient for the sheer quantity of gear and people present at the meets.

(I've seen this, for instance, at the Grado Labs meets where the portable gear literally gets piled up on a small table because there is so much of it, or at the So. Cal. meet hosted by Orpheus where there where so many people in attendance, we ran out of table space to set up rigs. I'm simply providing these as examples, and not at all as criticism. The meet organizers at all of the meets I've attended have been uniformily helpful and accomodating of any special requests, but they cannot possibly ensure that everything runs smoothly on their own. They really do need other members to help out and keep an eye out for 'gear treatment' related issues.)

2. People get excited about what they're doing (listening to music, often in amazement at how wonderful it sounds relative to their rig at home) and get caught up in the moment and seem to lose persective on their whereabouts. They may want to quickly change to another pair of headphones, so they (almost) drop the pair they are wearing on a table (any-old-where will do), as they grab the next pair.

(Again, I'm not offering this as an excuse, only as an explanation. I saw one dude in NY talking about how great the R10's sound after he pulled them off of his head with one hand and was aimlessly flipping them back and forth in a rhythmic pattern with a series of flicks of his wrist, not even looking at what he was doing, as if he was doing a stress test on the pivoting mechanism of the earcup he was holding. I got that feeling in my stomach like you do when you see a baby falling on his face.)

3. Some people just don't know how to operate certain gear, particularly sources and amps, and instead of asking, they just take a guess and start flipping switches, often the wrong ones.

As to physical space constraints and the organization of gear at meets, this is something that the organizer and those who are helping out need to take upon themselves to facilitate in the best manner possible. One suggestion that I made after one of the Florida meets was to lay down towels on all of the tables where headphones would be rested (i.e., in front of the amps and sources) to minimize the risk of tings and scratches to headphones. This is something the tyrion (Mike) followed up on at the next meet and it helped a lot and put me at ease. He also rented a rather large conference room at a hotel which gave us a lot of walking around space as well as table space.

Concerning people getting excited in doing their comparisons, chatting among each other, and forgetting where they are at, there isn't a whole lot you can do about this because it's part of the fun. We all get carried away at times, but this is where an extra set of eyes or two would be helpful. Not that anyone needs to act as a hall monitor, but if you see someone mishandling gear, point it out to them nicely but in a sort of shocked manner like, "Oh, oh, please be careful with that..." and then 3 or 4 others will overhear you and also be warned. It's a delicate balance because on the one hand you don't want to be a jerk, but on the other hand, even if the behavior is innocent and aimless, it could still potentially damage the gear. I personally think that in this regard, it wouldn't be out of line to prominently post a list of "do's and don'ts" about gear handling some place where everyone will see it. One of the items on the list should be, "If you're not sure how to operate something, ask. Don't make assumptions because you could be wrong!"

As for tossing CD's down on a table shinny side down, that's just plain ignorant. I've actually gotten to the point here in Cayman (and I really hated to do this because I love to share my joy for the audio hobby with others) that I won't lend CD's out to ANYONE (and I don't burn them either). It's sad, but so many discs have either never come back or have come back badly scratched up.
post #4 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus
As for tossing CD's down on a table shinny side down, that's just plain ignorant. I've actually gotten to the point here in Cayman (and I really hated to do this because I love to share my joy for the audio hobby with others) that I won't lend CD's out to ANYONE (and I don't burn them either). It's sad, but so many discs have either never come back or have come back badly scratched up.
Personally If someone isn't going to put a cd back in its case i'd rather them do that than toss it label side down. My reason for this is that scratches on the shiny side can be fixed, ones on the label side can not.

I've only been to one meet (south florida meet 6/4/05). I never noticed any problems like those mentioned above. I guess the florida meet crew are good about respecting gear at a meet.
post #5 of 57
I think if you make people aware that the equipment is more delicate than it looks then usually people will treat it accordingly.
post #6 of 57
I have had somebody specifically tell me that it is A-OK to unplug a headphone from a (particular model of) tube amp while it's on, so there may quite a bit of justified confusion there. But yeah, it's something that just ought to be known by most head-fiers.
post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Publius
I have had somebody specifically tell me that it is A-OK to unplug a headphone from a (particular model of) tube amp while it's on, so there may quite a bit of justified confusion there. But yeah, it's something that just ought to be known by most head-fiers.
To be safe Agile_One told me to lower the volume on the amp fully when pluging in or unpluging headphones from an amp.
post #8 of 57
I heard of one story of a headfier who goes to his uncle house and he needs to stick on a pair of gloves to use his uncles' Burmester and even then it is under close scrutiny by the uncle.

Is his uncle being unreasonable, maybe but seeming it's his then he can lay down the ground rules if you want to try it.

When my sister uses my ML I always change the cd for her I won't let her do it. It's not that I don't trust her to do it competently. I do trust her. It's just it uses a floating mechanism and even she were to damage it I don't fancy the shipping costs not to mention Madrigal famous "Diagnostic charge". This is before they will do any repairs or parts cost or labour fees. IIRC the charge is $1500 before any work is done. Which is still a lot of money regardless.
post #9 of 57
Try as I might, I give a little "demo" on how to properly wear my R10's. And also to be careful with the cable, as it is very fragile (I wonder how many R10 owners know that the cables are secured only with zip ties inside the cord yoke?). In defense of newbies, not everyone knows that some tube amps need a load regardless of whether music is being played or not. Honestly I think it would be best to have small signs or sticky notes at larger meets. Or perhaps a designated "hall monitor".

I usually hand my R10's out with a foam pad so that they can rest them down on top of them. But I did find my R10's face down on the table on the edge before.

I am pretty anal about my gear, but perhaps maybe because my R10's are not perfect mint condition that I am not uber anal about them, but it certainly does not give others the right to be careless.

Why did I even bother bringing my R10's to the meet?
Simple, because nobody else was. Sharing is a two way street. I know of others that may not want to bring gear because they were afraid they would get damaged. Perfectly reasonable.

BUT, don't get upset if someone else doesn't bring a piece of high end gear you would like to play with.

So far, I have been lucky. I guess I'm being open and sharing until someone ruins it for everyone else.

-Ed
post #10 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus
As for tossing CD's down on a table shinny side down, that's just plain ignorant. I've actually gotten to the point here in Cayman (and I really hated to do this because I love to share my joy for the audio hobby with others) that I won't lend CD's out to ANYONE (and I don't burn them either). It's sad, but so many discs have either never come back or have come back badly scratched up.
If you absolutely HAD to place a CD on a table, and not back in it's case where it belongs, it's actually better to place it shiny side DOWN. Because the actual foil and data is underneath the Label side of the disc. If a scratch happens on the "shiny side", the disc can easily be repaired (usually). But if the scratch happens on the label side, and penetrates the laquered layer, the data is permanently damaged. The foil is also prone to denting, known simply as "foil denting" which can cause errors and affects the laser.

Anywho, it's best just to avoid being careless. But just wanted to clear up common misconceptions. Really surprised me when I first heard it.

-Ed
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood
If you absolutely HAD to place a CD on a table, and not back in it's case where it belongs, it's actually better to place it shiny side DOWN.
Lol didn't I already say that?
post #12 of 57
I hope I didn't mess up or damage anyones' equipment at the last two meets I went to in Oregon I find that I try to take as much care of other peoples' posessions as much as I can, because I believe that a person should get their gear back in the condition that it had when they departed with it. In some cases, I can even return the equipment in better condition, i.e. find smudges on gear that can be buffed out with a dry cloth that in no way damage anything (even CD's in many cases, I buff out from center to edge only).

At the same time, I do find that some of my gear is a bit more durable than people give it credit for, although I do try to keep my gear in top shape whenever possible. Also, if I need to set a CD down, I find that it is best to lay a CD face down, and then stack all other CD's face up on top of it. This also applies to vertical storage, since all CD's I've ever seen have a small spacer ring in the inner diameter of them that spaces them just right for this purpose(it also saves ALOT of space, but can make things less manageable in some cases). Also, I hate it when people borrow CD's or games on disc from me and return them all scratched up, as if they not only didn't care how to treat the disc, but also didn't take any care to at least clean it right

At least the scratched discs still play, that I can be thankful for. For now, anyway.

,
Abe
post #13 of 57
At the one meet I attended, I was more curious about the etiquette of use. If you find gear not in use, do you just sit down and have at? Do you try to find the owner and say "Hey dude, can I listen to your gear?" Do you NOT use it if you can't get an ok? Do you start plugging your own stuff into somebody else's (I'd really love to hear my headphones and amp with your source)? That kind of stuff is not entirely clear for meet-newbies, and the meet I was at, at least, it seemed most of the people were not first-timers. There were no nametags even, so there was a lot of "Hey, I'm Elec/Andy. Er...which one are you? What'd ya bring?" You could spend an hour listening to gear and not realize it belonged to the guy who had been sitting next to you the whole time. Crazy.

My favorite though were some signs somebody had made for the meet that said "DO NOT place anything on top of this gorgeous Meridian CD Player!". The signs were on top of the players which was slightly ironic but served as a good reminder if you ever thought to lay headphones or CDs on the player. The next meet I take gear to, I'll probably have some written info about what it is and how I expect it to be treated/used. Sounds simple, and it is, but putting that with the gear hopefully will keep it in good shape. It's either that or hover over it the whole meet
post #14 of 57
I guess all of this boils down to what your parents taught you when you were four years old. This is precious gear and should always be treated as such.
post #15 of 57
I am constantly amazed at the generosity of well-outfitted Head-Fiers who bring their amazing, and expensive gear to meets for all of us to try. A resounding "Thank You!" to all of you who share so unselfishly.

I always treat other people's gear at least as good as I treat my own, which it pretty darn good. And I always operate on the assumption that should I break it, I fix it. Since I know how much this stuff costs, that is usually good enough a deterent to treat it all very gently, if my own normal behaviour wasn't enough. Accidents do happen though.

As far as CD's at meets, I bring my own, and take them with me when I leave a gear table to go to another. If I find another CD in a source when I open it up, I look for a case nearby, otherwise I gently place it on an out-of-the-way surface face-down. If I lend a CD, I consider it a gift and don't expect it back, never mind the condition.
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