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Is Audiophile level sound an acquired taste? - Page 5  

post #61 of 244
Please note the very word 'audiophile' means 'lover of sound'.. In modern terms, audiophile simply means a HiFi audio enthusiast, who may not even be a lover of sound..

As many would say, it's the music, not the equipment..

A very good forum thread: http://headphones.com.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=38
post #62 of 244
When I show people my rig (which, like proud parents, we love to do), I definitely don't advertise the price. It 'colors' expectation unfairly -- and you never know in which direction. I also only show it off to music lovers, not geeky tech-first people -- which by the way is fine by me, you know. Whatever blows your hair back. I suspect that not everyone is doing it first for the love of music, at the end of the day, but again, that's actually fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
One of my bandmates (he's also my bestfriend) thinks because I care so much about the quality of sound, that I get less emotional experience from actual music than he does. I hate this conflict we have and I know that most of you at Head-fi will back me up that this is not the case necessarily.
At the same time he is lucky I care so much about sound because I do all our engineering for free:-)
Well, I think you're right that many will disagree with his statement, whereas someone could just as easily say, "what, you say you don't care about the reproduction of the melodic quality of a drum's 'note'? How on earth can you say you like music?" And while that's clearly a stretch regarding the judgment call, listening critically only helps me to appreciate music more.

You know one thing that's been a true revelation -- a lot of music that gets classified as R&B has quite a bit of production and layering of instruments that I've never ever heard before. I used to just hear the vocalists and a bass line, maybe a guitar once in awhile. But there's all sorts of other percussion and melody going on back there that I never heard because it was either lost in the reproduction or I didn't know how to listen critically for it. While it's probably more the latter than the former, I would also argue that the sheer salience in those "minor" features in high fidelity audio gear allowed me to hear those details so effortlessly. Only now can I go back and listen to recordings from a Walkman's radio to the stock buds and actually hear some of the detail -- but it's only because I know where it's supposed to occur and am listening actively for it. What a ear-opener.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
He may very well be better than me LOL

He also thinks Highway 61 is the best engineered album ever.....so when I try to emulate the recording techniques of Andy Wallace or Roger Nichols, he gets very dissatisfied. We just don't see eye to eye
How does this affect the dynamic of your band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
Imagine we were the dumb ones, and it turned out the apple buds produced the purest sound on earth......and companies like AKG, Stax, and Sennheiser paid companies like headroom and audiocubes to promote "less lusterous" sounding phones which looked more expensive but were in fact not the real deal - the apple ibuds! Imagine we were all fooled
I like the way you think ... amusing suggestion!
post #63 of 244
What?!?!?! How dare you define AKG to ibuds!??!! IBUDS RULE

(sarcasm..)
post #64 of 244
Maybe the leap is just to big for them(considering you're using a very good setup), they grew accustomed to the ibud sound, all the high-end phones which tend to make the music sound really different from what they remembered might be a bit too much for them.

Try letting them listen to their favorite music with your setup for like an hour or so, and let them go back to ibud, I'm sure they'll beg to you later(I think...)
post #65 of 244

"Taste" Is A Loaded Word

I believe that everyone has to learn to listen to some degree. That is, you literally develop technique, or acuity, or ability to discern as you listen more. Some folks have more initial natural ability to listen, and some develop it faster than others, but probably most people have reasonable ability and can develop it by listening, and will develop it more quickly if taught to listen by someone with more listening experience/ability.

There may be some coupling between this and musical talent, but the correlation is certainly not absolute, though most competent musicians will develop more ability to listen as part of their musical training. I have known very talented classical performers who do not know classical literature unless they have played it and have no knowledge of recordings or reproduction equipment. In fact, in my experience the correlation between musical talent and interest in this "background" stuff is somewhat negative.

Some folks make a tacit bad assumption that our ears are like microphones that send signals to our brain and our brain then sits there and listens to the music. In fact, I think about our ears, and other sense organs as extension of the brain. We hear with our ear/brain and they both learn based on how they are originally wired and based on what they have heard and paid attention to. I think this bad assumption is at the basis of certain emotional disagreements we see here about engineering measurements vs. listener perceptions. The most classic case is compression discussions where the specifics of the ear/brain system are taken into account in the compression algorithms.

So back to the title, "taste" is a loaded word because it seems to implicitly carry the modifiers "good" or "bad." We also tend to assign negativity to ignorance, but in fact if you are simply not aware of something because it hasn't been pointed out, or demonstrated, or taught to you, that isn't really a value judgment about your character, just a statement about your experience to date. To paraphrase G. Spencer Brown: ignorance as a natural state is not something to be either proud or ashamed of.

Alan
post #66 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post

Anywho, my friends are a mixed crowd, I have brought alot of equitment into school for "demo" days, one or two would ask for me to bring in my old Zhaolu and my Micro (gone, will miss it forever ) along with my stash, and we would listen in study off my friends laptop. Some others would join in, with varing responses. I noticed after a few days that the negative responses got more common, even from those who praised the setup at first. That said, peer pressure may have to do with it, or they just went deff due to high volume iBud listening. I think its more of option one than 2. Try having your friends over one by one and see what the responses are.
^
*slap*

It seems to me that:
Friend X doesn't know what the word "soundstage" means.
Friend Y is a total basshead.
And Friend Z is A) Completely deaf, B) A guy from Apple's PR department or C) Both

It's entirely possible that the songs you were listening to were bad recordings, but I find it highly unlikely. Also, friend Y, as many have pointed out already, is an example of the fact that most people nowadays just seek bass and comfort.

I doubt ANY of those people really enjoy music, and really listen to it. It's just not in their set of priorities.
post #67 of 244
I think part of it also has to do with media...

The media always shows headphones that usually have an extreme bass boost and a very fast decline into the mids and highs.

Peoples definition of good has become loads of bass (plus your mp3 players bass boost) over even balanced sound

I have to admit I am one of them... people always talk about bass being high in marshmallows and of the 50 times I have worn them I always put on a really bassy electronica song and think there is next to no bass...

My next pair of headphones is gonna be a good balanced pair (with medium to minimal bass) and I am planning on trying to "cure" myself from the low quality bass addiction disease

I might end up Kramer modding my marshmallows to get rid of some bass and add some highs to the mix
post #68 of 244
Most people DO NOT care much about sound quality. That's why the high-end audio community, be it stereo or headphone-related, is such a niche market.

Do yourself a favor. Quit trying to get approval from your real, in-the-flesh friends. Rely on your cyber-friends instead.

Cyber-Friend says:

"Wow!! All your headphones sound so amazing and incredible. I've never heard so much detail in my life. What? $500? That's nothing for that fantastic sound. I'm gonna have to get one.

Thank you so much for turning me onto these incredible headphones. I didn't know what I was missing."
post #69 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
I'll tell you....my dad got a pair of 7 dollar sony ear buds last week. While I wouldn't call them god's gift, it still sounded good and it makes it hard to justify spending 1000 dollars on my UE10s...........The UE10s probably arent 140 times better than those ear buds, but I would say they are 20 times better and I have to convince myself that thats worth paying over a 100 times the price
Yeah, I sometimes think people forget how much we pay for the margins we get.

A couple months ago I needed a headset in an emergency, and picked up a $20 "Acoustic Research" headset from Best Buy. I was shocked at how good they sounded for $20. They do highs better then some headphones I've seen around the $200 mark. It makes me wonder what other no-name stuff out there we just all pass by because of pedigree.
post #70 of 244
I do believe in 'quality bass'. Its much more solid and comes in notes.

Your 'man on the street EX-71 bass' is much muddier and more of a blob of sound.
post #71 of 244
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioDwebe View Post
Most people DO NOT care much about sound quality. That's why the high-end audio community, be it stereo or headphone-related, is such a niche market.

Do yourself a favor. Quit trying to get approval from your real, in-the-flesh friends. Rely on your cyber-friends instead.

Cyber-Friend says:

"Wow!! All your headphones sound so amazing and incredible. I've never heard so much detail in my life. What? $500? That's nothing for that fantastic sound. I'm gonna have to get one.

Thank you so much for turning me onto these incredible headphones. I didn't know what I was missing."
LOL, I love my cyber friends:-)
post #72 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler
I'll tell you....my dad got a pair of 7 dollar sony ear buds last week. While I wouldn't call them god's gift, it still sounded good and it makes it hard to justify spending 1000 dollars on my UE10s...........The UE10s probably arent 140 times better than those ear buds, but I would say they are 20 times better and I have to convince myself that thats worth paying over a 100 times the price
The "taper rule" (as I call it) applies. As you get higher in quality, to upgrade, it will cost more and more. For example, to get a significant upgrade from a $20 'phone will cost you an extra $80. To get an equal upgrade from that, you might have to pay $125+ more. And so on down the line...
post #73 of 244
I guess this happen to everyone here,

Anyway, you shouldn't take that seriously over your buddies, this is your hobbies and not everyone understand what you've called "good" or "bad", and it applies to everyone.

I don't have any technical experience for commenting this post, but from my past experience, which happen long time ago, at time I wasn't aware about headphones & audio stuff.

I was reading a game magazine, and there is a review about headphones, at that time, the only headphone's brand that I recognize only "sony", "Panasonic" or "Pioneer", and the most expensive is the best. But that day change my life, a word "sennheiser" came up.

After a while, I was walking with my dad, and pass an Audio shop, suddenly I recognize the words on the banner, "Sennheiser", then I told my dad about it, and we go inside the shop. There is alot of Sennheiser headphones, all inside box and I don't recognize any type or whatsoever about it, so the shop owner ask me to try on one of the headphone, so I choose one (randomly) and try it on.

He open the headphone and plug it into a black amp (quite big and looked retro/vintage), then he press "play" button on the CD player.

The first sound that touch my ears, were so beautiful, I can't express it with words.... at that time, I wasn't have any knowledge about sound (sq, bass, midrange, etc), but that day, I recognize straightly this is GOLD. My dad has similar reaction as mine, so we agree that there is grade in audio, that determine sound quality.

So we're tempted to ask the price, and too bad the amount money that shop owner ask is way above our budget, so we don't buy it (we can't) and keep the moment in our heart.

Then right now, I kept buying stuff (headphones, amp, etc) to search that 'holy grail' - and my girlfriend and friends keep asking, why would you keep buying headphones? Isn't one is enough? although they understand the quality of my stuff but they said it's not worth for the price.

The moral of story, not everyone understand, but some understand, some feel it, some don't, so don't feel bad if people around you don't understand what you feel, beside isn't friendship much better than your hobbies?


ps. sorry for sloopy post :P
post #74 of 244
Thread Starter 
I have a feeling my friends would take a great appreciation with Yuin's products (which I am not familiar with). It seems to me that if everything was an earbud then the quality of sound would matter to them.
post #75 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by edstrelow View Post
I think the Floyd sound good on just about anything. They have some pretty good sounding recordings. My one daughter who does appreciate good sound a bit, listens to Floyd. The other, who has a tin ear for sound, listens to Springtseen who has really crappy sounding recordings. Some of his msuic is good but he should have fired his recording engineers.
So, is the intelligibility of Springsteen (the lack there of) the fault of his engineers or does he just mumble a lot? J/K

I'm trying to balance achieving a better quality of sound without going overboard and still never being satisfied (that is, chasing perfection.) I'd be perfectly happy to be a member of Team Good Enough and still enjoy the pursuit of the modest goal of enjoying my music at a level where I'm immersed in it without going broke (and what I've spent is still mind boggling to some friends.) At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it (for now.) So, while we'd all like to have others acknowledge the validity of our passion here, it's going to be hit or miss and that's why we have a Head-Fi to find like minded friends.
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