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2013 Head-Fi Winter Gift Guide (Over-Ear Headphones)
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The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2 - Page 1202
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #18017 of 199759/3/13 at 10:02pmpost #18018 of 199759/3/13 at 10:07pm
Tool/toy instrumentality/art opposition may be convenient but as discussed earlier, depending how you look at things, art can be seen to have instrumentality, and instruments/tools can take on artistic value themselves. I like the point Lauchlan raised about how the appearance of function or functional performance can become a fashionable or desired aesthetic style or even broader zeitgeist, the examples given of streamlining in cars, which carried over to architecture and industrial design in art deco, similarly modernist architect Le Corbusier talked about creating machines for living. One can find functional elements being used decoratively or in a manner which cannot be accounted or justified by functional considerations alone. I would argue that technology became a spiritual fixation - a symbol of prosperity and progress and that this was reflected in design and associated rhetoric. Conversely art has it's own relationships of causality, motivations, intent, as well as measurements of worth or value - for the artist it is not only art but also a meal ticket. My point is that tools are not purely instrumental, and art is not purely decorative, or more likely trying to separate art from craft over function doesn't really work.
(just saw the pun)
Edited by drez - 9/3/13 at 10:10pmpost #18019 of 199759/3/13 at 10:45pmQuote:
Totally misconstrued your wording. =/
I think it being very cold (or very hot) probably has a numbing effect on the taste buds. Give it a shot if you're interested.Quote:Originally Posted by eke2k6
Daily dose of beautiful sarcasm:
From the article:
lol. Amusingly enough, Evian is the only water I won't drink. I think it tastes aweful. Seriously.Quote:
This is actually how the 1plus2 sounds to me. I planned to write a description of this type of art in my impressions. Was strongly considering drawing a diagram lol.post #18020 of 199759/3/13 at 10:53pmQuote:
Lolsrsly? I bet you think cables have effects sound too. Lulz what a joker.Quote:
Whoa. Now I'm really interested in reading those.post #18021 of 199759/3/13 at 11:00pm
I went to a flea market this summer, and found old Czechoslovakian matchbox stickers (about 350 of them). I don't know how old these are, and I don't know how authentic they are, but I found most of them to be very artistic, and some even propagandic. I'll let you interpret their meaning for yourselves, but look at those children behind the socialism book, or the happy workers, or how about saving fuel for the battle? I am lucky not to understand czechoslovakian so I get to interpret the pictures themselves, and not be influenced by what I am reading, and this way I really see a sort of meaning behind every picture. And I think there is supposed to be one.
Going a bit back to the question of art contra tools, I think, yes, there is art where we don't think we find it. Headphone collectors are treating headphones like babies, putting them on their own stands not just to keep them there, but also to look at them. Is this familiar somehow? Well, for one, this is how we treat art. I think those matchbox stickers, at least to me, shows that there is art even on tools. Art and tool isn't mutually exclusive; tools can be art, and art can be tools.post #18022 of 199759/4/13 at 12:29ampost #18023 of 199759/4/13 at 1:42am
Whoah. Why does the editor look all Safari now?
I'm sorry. I'm just a little miffed because we spent a few pages talking and then your statement sorta suggested that it was redundant.Quote:Actually, it's all about function, it's function in its purest form because better designs enhance artistic presentation. A digital picture frame isn't art, but if it has a high quality LCD it can enhance works of art displayed on it.
I feel like we may be talking at cross purposes. If different headphones have different signatures, and people like these different presentations differently, then I really don't see anything 'purely' functional or objective about it. On a 'high quality' LCD, people have differing ideas of what a nice looking colour temperature, contrast or saturation is. I certainly dislike my friend's AMOLED smartphones for their overblown colour reproduction when they find my iPhone overly warm and maybe a little dull. People like the different signatures of headphones and there is something aesthetic in this that goes beyond thinking about the performance characteristics of the headphone.Quote:Many people attribute things to Jobs that weren't of his doing. Jonathan Ive was (is) the craftsman, the creative mind behind the best of Apple's products, while Steve was the prime facilitator (and bully, if needed), he connected art to technology. If you've not read this, you should: http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson/dp/1451648537
I enjoyed that book very much! I'm not saying Jobs was spending his time futzing around on Autocad or drawing design sketches. But he was certainly a curator, and what I am saying is that there is something artisanal in what he said yes to, what he said no to, and how he crafted an overall vision for the company.Quote:
That must be pretty amazing to see in person...post #18024 of 199759/4/13 at 5:12amThread Starter
The "defined by what something does" notion is actually pure raw Platonism. For instance the 'good' knife is the knife that does the job the best, ie. cutting. We thus measure its goodness by how sharp it is. We can adorn the handle with a design, but the art is the design and not the knife. The knife cannot be art, because then it wouldn't be a knife. A craftsman hones the blade, but the craftsman is no artist even though we say the craftsman goes a trade skillfully. We need only substitute a few words to make this apply to headphones: musical reproduction, transparency, etc.
The problem with trying to use this definition to delineate art is that it attempts to reduce everything to neat categories. It also fails to take into consideration dimensions of art that are experiential on the part of the audience, focusing on what's inside the display case rather than why it came to be there in the first place and who is looking at it. It fails to take into account art's plasticity, its ability to encompass a plethora of objects without necessarily disrupting what that object originally was in the first place.
Take a pot from some "primitive" culture. We see these in art museums all the time, yet they were created for a very specific purpose by people we wouldn't necessarily consider artists. They have designs on them, which we consider artistic craftsmanship, yet at the same time we consider the entire pot an art object. This is because of the pot's context: it's a prototype for objects we encounter today, and we encounter it with a sort of mystical reverence. It solicits an emotional response in us, and in its standing in to represent the very idea of a pot it has significance beyond being a mere pot. Yet even when considered an objet d' art, it still remains a pot. There is no danger of the pot ceasing to be because, for a moment, we look at it from other perspectives. Art is about how one sees something and experiences it just as much as it's about the 'what.'
As someone at the user end of a particular experience, I can see my pair of headphones as an art object, to view them as an end in and of themselves rather than a means to an end. I can break down the individual elements of my experience while maintaining their relation to the whole, appreciate the specific arrangement of points of sensory datum in the context of it being 'a pair of headphones.' I can appreciate how these facets affect my notion of 'a pair of headphones' and what that understanding even entails. For instance, are they not on some level a symbol of isolation? They reflect our lives and changing values, embody the libidinal urges of our consumerist tendencies and our fashion sense. How I choose to see this is independent of what the intent was when they were manufactured. The reactionary response to this will dismiss it, usually out of fear that some floodgates are opened where anything and everything can be labeled art, usually coinciding with some rant about people abusing grants and labeling a dead bird nailed to a plank 'art' just to get money. Of course, someone could just as easily get money from nailing dead birds to planks and calling it taxidermy, but then you don't get to call yourself an artist.
Another point I found somewhat interesting that I failed to explore further before was this notion of the audio chain's wholism. Does the medium not play just as big a role in the message? The music itself is the art, but it's recorded onto a specific medium which actively changes what we hear. The degradation becomes part of the experience. Similarly do headphones not color what we hear, even the most transparent (there is no completely transparent headphone)? We run into problems when we start bandying about phrases like "what the artist intended." We really don't know this despite our false sense of confidence. In other words, the "art" can be viewed as the entire experience of listening, listening to a specific type of media with a specific type of playback device. I'll return again to the notion of art installations.
Nam June Paik's Random Access. The observer uses a handheld reader (the sound head detached from the tape recorder) to "play" the tracts of tape, passing it along and creating a composition by "cutting" into various parts of the recording and controlling the speed of one's tracing.
I think Final Audio has adopted this approach in their own devices, this idea that listening is a wholistic activity. Their devices are meant to simulate specific contexts such as listening on vintage horn speakers. The good headphone is defined thus by the experience of user enjoyment rather than strict fidelity.post #18025 of 199759/4/13 at 6:52amQuote:Originally Posted by MuppetFace
I think Final Audio has adopted this approach in their own devices, this idea that listening is a wholistic activity. Their devices are meant to simulate specific contexts such as listening on vintage horn speakers. The good headphone is defined thus by the experience of user enjoyment rather than strict fidelity.
Which Final Audio gives you the most "user enjoyment"? (sorry bout that, kind of a tangent)post #18026 of 199759/4/13 at 7:49amThread StarterQuote:
To just clarify, I was talking more about Final's methodology. Fidelity and user enjoyment aren't mutually exclusive by any means. In the case of Final, I see them as focusing more on the actual context of listening. Going back to some earlier posts of mine a lot of high-end Japanese audio companies like to focus on the holistic nature of an audio playback system, this notion that you're always listening to recorded music with something between you and it, and so that something should be considered as part of a whole. On one level I think this is why they often tune their high-end headphones with matching amps and even sources in mind, or more recently sell earphones tuned specifically for certain DAPs. On another level however, the context in which one is listening can be viewed as part of that whole as well. It's the overall experience. That's why theme restaurants are so big there I suspect, and why they build clubs that use vintage gear in their sound systems to go along with the decor and overall ambience.
Look at a company like Shindo Labs. The designer---a true artist IMHO---designs gear around specific vintage components. It's not just building something to try to listen to music "as the artist intended" or "as faithfully as possible." It's purpose is to listen to music under a specific modality, to take advantage of the unique character of certain playback systems and compliment it, appreciate its distinct qualities. Like one vintage of wine over another. I know with certain trends in head-fidom this notion is often balked at and chalked up to "paying more for distortion" or whatever, but that kind of perspective only exists if you consider playback devices as tools with a singular function that can't be fruitfully enjoyed in other respects. We buy audio gear for the purposes of satisfaction, though the mindset may differ from one person to the next.
Going back to Final, they have a very definite artistic vision and set of goals. They've been trying to capture the experience of listening to vintage horn speakers for years now, and their past attempts (1350 and 1601) have led to the current line of Piano Forte models which are designed with this experience in mind. In other words, Final has a definite opinion of what they want music to sound like. I think all manufacturers have such an opinion, ideas of what makes for a valuable listening experience. Final's just happens to be rather unusual by conventional standards.post #18027 of 199759/4/13 at 7:59ampost #18028 of 199759/4/13 at 8:10am
All this long-haired talk about art is boring. Folks are never going to agree on it. So, how about some music talk for a change? I recently picked-up the Blasters' 2-cd set Testament, and I must say it's quite good. These guys were an interesting band out of Downey California in the early 80's, they played a mix of rockabilly and blues. They played gigs with everyone from Mellencamp to X. Sadly, they are long forgotten today. A taste of their stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhTAkvrD05E Enjoy!post #18029 of 199759/4/13 at 8:19amMusic you say?
CD buying is unfortunately a new thing for me, and (un)fortunately for me, I love buying CDs now... At least pertaining anime. It's just something... positive to be able to give back to an industry that I have been leeching from for free for... I dunno... 7 years at least? And holding something I love physically is ahhhmazing.
Subjectively and placebo-ly, the songs sound somewhat more fun from the CD compared to the ripped files.
- The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2
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