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Do audiophiles "like" music?  

post #1 of 345
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone,

 

This may be hard to explain correctly, and without offending, but as someone who is standing on the outside with one toe into the audiophile community, I must express a (hopefully) misconception that I cannot help but form as I read through these and other hi-fi forums.  

 

Basically, it appears that audiophiles don't actually like music - as in the music itself.  Rather, they like the delivery and experience of sounds, with a focus on how they are hearing something and not what they are hearing.  I'm sorry, but you could spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a system and you may be hearing Nora Jones' voice as if she were in the room.  But at the end of the day its....Nora Jones.  I use her as an example, not that I dislike her specifically, but she screams of that sterile, boring, reference point voice.  (Here is a woman singing a song.  My system replicates that better than yours).  It is like the music is one variable in a long equation.

 

For example, I recently watched a video on YouTube where a guy walked the viewers through his system piece by piece and it was just so incredibly cool.  From the furniture in the room to the chair to the ambiance of the space.  Finally, he gave a quick tour of his vinyl collection.  It was all soundtracks and reference material that was purchased for no other reason than to showcase a particular ability of his system.  There was not one "real" album.   I nearly fainted.  All this.....for that?

 

Now, I am sure this is what the response (if any) to this will be.  "This is a forum about equipment, not about music.  What you're saying is equivalent to going to a Calloway message board and wondering why the people are talking about golf clubs and not about their love for golf."  I'll counter that by saying that in a situation like that you can still tell that their equipment is helping them get closer to their best game of a game they love.  I don't feel the love for music here.

 

Personally, I hope it starts with the music,  And not the music that has the ability of "sounding" the best or that was recorded the best but the music you love.  I totally understand a quest to start with that music and spend your whole life finding the equipment that helps you hear that in a way that is best for you.  I hope when you get new equipment you want to go back and listen to all your favorite albums and find small pieces that you never heard before, rather than wanting to go out and buy new albums with a better range.

 

I am a consultant and have the good fortune to be able to listen to music while I work all day.  I listen to at least 5-6 hours of music a day.  That feeling of discovery, of hearing something for the first time and absolutely knowing that it could change your life.  That album that you buy for $15 and then wouldn't give up for $1,000.  Is the audiophile world the extension of that?  Or the opposite of that?  Are most kids with earbuds and beats having a better listening experience than you?  I hope not.

 

BONUS QUESTION - Is there one album that you would willingly sacrifice your entire system for if the alternative was never listening to that album again?  If so what is it?

post #2 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by dosprompt View Post

Basically, it appears that audiophiles don't actually like music - as in the music itself.  Rather, they like the delivery and experience of sounds, with a focus on how they are hearing something and not what they are hearing. 

This was my thought when I first joined, and to some degree I still think this.

post #3 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by dosprompt View Post

BONUS QUESTION - Is there one album that you would willingly sacrifice your entire system for if the alternative was never listening to that album again?  If so what is it?

My Akuma no Uta LP. No wait, my Ground Zero discography. Wait, any of The Doors CDs that I just got? Please don't tell me you'll take my Supercar or Weather Report stuff. There's too many, it's too hard to choose. Can I just give you all of my gear? I'd rather keep everything.

 

Visit the music sub-forum. It's definitely vibrant. I understand the stereotype, in a lot of cases it's sadly true. There are plenty of us though who have found a nice balance. These are headphones. We're not that entrenched (yet).

post #4 of 345

Interesting observation and I wholeheartedly agree. 

 

Music to me is different from other people, I tend to avoid vocals since I find that it distracts from my overall experience although there are a few exceptions to that rule. 

 

Since playing the piano at a young age, I seem to have developed a very deep connection with the instrument and the sound that it produces. To me a piano is not just a tool that produces audible sound but rather something that creates memories to hold dear to and flows with emotion from the pieces that are composed. I understand too well the attitude to getting the 'best' gear and to listen to the music 'as if you were there' which are noble pursuits in themselves but we all have to take a step back and examine why we are doing all of this in the first place, It's for the music isn't it? 

 

I like the golfing analogy you made, before discovering any of all this I was content with the way my music sounded through earbuds. However picture this, you're taking a photo of a very special moment in your life but the camera you're using isn't very good, the photo comes out and you don't mind the bad quality because you at least have something to hold onto right? However you're given a chance to go back in time and use a much better camera to capture the moment, surely you would definitely appreciate the higher quality photo and it would in fact amplify your memory and emotional attachment to it since you can now clearly see Fred's antics at John's expense and Sally's smile reflected in the evening sun. That's how I felt when I heard my first proper headphone.

 

And for the reason why I own different headphones, I'll put it this way. Back to the camera example, each headphone to me represents a different viewpoint or perspective to the same scene, different and distinct yet the same. Take for example, AT's bright, sparkly nature compared Sennheiser's dark and laid-back nature same music different perspective, listening experience and emotion.  

 

Well that's how I've always viewed this hobby, it works as an amplification to my music rather than a replacement but anyway take my view with a grain of salt since everyone sees this differently.  

 

Edit: In regards to the bonus question, I would not be able to narrow down my choice to one. 


Edited by Spastic - 8/18/13 at 1:44am
post #5 of 345

shouldn't this be posted under the musi... oh, i see what you did there...

 

post #6 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by dosprompt View Post

 

BONUS QUESTION - Is there one album that you would willingly sacrifice your entire system for if the alternative was never listening to that album again?  If so what is it?

 

 

edit - misunderstood the question...


Edited by toomainstream - 8/18/13 at 2:24am
post #7 of 345

You have your thesis and 'proof' in the original post, why even ask the question, sounds like you've already decided what you think the answer is.

post #8 of 345

I listen to music in (at least) two distinct modes.  Well, three, really, but that I'll just toss into "elevator music" category and call it good...

 

One is when I am listening to music to evaluate a particular piece of equipment.  I choose particular pieces of music that demonstrate different parts and kinds of music. Different ranges, combinations, etc.

 

A second is when I am listening to music to enjoy the music.  To let it carry me away.  When I listen to music this way I put on a favorite album and get blown away by how much my old system covered over and hid.  Blurred and smeared turned to detailed and clean from all that listening and fiddling done when using method one.

 

People tend to talk about the first method a lot.  This is an equipment focused forum, after all.  And, yes, from time to time, we need to be reminded why we go through all this.

 

 End of the day, its about experiencing the music.  I'll tell you, though, if I'm in Mode 2 and something doesn't sound right... Right in to Mode 1 in the blink of an eye!  It can be quite distracting, sometimes!

post #9 of 345

Stop liking things I don't like!

post #10 of 345

I love music. I love experimenting with gear to make me love said music even more. The end.

 

-Daniel

 

BONUS ANSWER: I can't play my favorite album with out my system. Duh.

post #11 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonance View Post

You have your thesis and 'proof' in the original post, why even ask the question, sounds like you've already decided what you think the answer is.

Social re-affirmation is part of the reason why people converge on internet forums, really.

 

I like that he just made a statement, instead of asking an inflammatory question inciting discussion like so many of the other "questions" asked on here. It's more straightforward. Beating around the bush? Why bother.

post #12 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by dosprompt View Post

Hello Everyone,

 

This may be hard to explain correctly, and without offending, but as someone who is standing on the outside with one toe into the audiophile community, I must express a (hopefully) misconception that I cannot help but form as I read through these and other hi-fi forums.  

 

Basically, it appears that audiophiles don't actually like music - as in the music itself.  Rather, they like the delivery and experience of sounds, with a focus on how they are hearing something and not what they are hearing.  I'm sorry, but you could spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a system and you may be hearing Nora Jones' voice as if she were in the room.  But at the end of the day its....Nora Jones.  I use her as an example, not that I dislike her specifically, but she screams of that sterile, boring, reference point voice.  (Here is a woman singing a song.  My system replicates that better than yours).  It is like the music is one variable in a long equation.

 

For example, I recently watched a video on YouTube where a guy walked the viewers through his system piece by piece and it was just so incredibly cool.  From the furniture in the room to the chair to the ambiance of the space.  Finally, he gave a quick tour of his vinyl collection.  It was all soundtracks and reference material that was purchased for no other reason than to showcase a particular ability of his system.  There was not one "real" album.   I nearly fainted.  All this.....for that?

 

Now, I am sure this is what the response (if any) to this will be.  "This is a forum about equipment, not about music.  What you're saying is equivalent to going to a Calloway message board and wondering why the people are talking about golf clubs and not about their love for golf."  I'll counter that by saying that in a situation like that you can still tell that their equipment is helping them get closer to their best game of a game they love.  I don't feel the love for music here.

 

Personally, I hope it starts with the music,  And not the music that has the ability of "sounding" the best or that was recorded the best but the music you love.  I totally understand a quest to start with that music and spend your whole life finding the equipment that helps you hear that in a way that is best for you.  I hope when you get new equipment you want to go back and listen to all your favorite albums and find small pieces that you never heard before, rather than wanting to go out and buy new albums with a better range.

 

I am a consultant and have the good fortune to be able to listen to music while I work all day.  I listen to at least 5-6 hours of music a day.  That feeling of discovery, of hearing something for the first time and absolutely knowing that it could change your life.  That album that you buy for $15 and then wouldn't give up for $1,000.  Is the audiophile world the extension of that?  Or the opposite of that?  Are most kids with earbuds and beats having a better listening experience than you?  I hope not.

 

BONUS QUESTION - Is there one album that you would willingly sacrifice your entire system for if the alternative was never listening to that album again?  If so what is it?

Well I just wanted to chime in and say a couple things. DISCLAIMER: THIS IS MY OPINION AND NO ONE HAS TO AGREE

 

So for me its all about the music.  I am a student and because of that I have a lot of walking around to do on campus and also spend a lot of time at my desk studying or doing whatever that needs to be done and honestly if I don't have to concentrate on something very hard there will always be sound coming out of my speakers or headphones. (that means listening to music close to 8 or 10 hours a day) Now I don't have the largest library of music but not the smallest either.  It consists of 100GB  and about 5500 songs.  Some are horrible quality and some are amazing. I have listened and heard every single song in there at least 2 or 3 times and some more than 30 or 40 or even 50.  The point I am trying to get to is this.  I was into music way way before ever becoming and audiophile and honestly for me its not about the gear...its about the music.  Than why do I have all this gear?  Well because for me it lets me enjoy it more.  If I can hear every single note more clearly there is nothing that makes me happier.  Now granted some music has become a bit less interesting because it just doesn't sound as good from an audiophile perspecitve but that doesn't mean I don't listen to it. Also you refered to Norah Jones and I can say this about her.  She A. has an amazing voice and B.  has some very nicely recorded stuff and C.  I love her music.  But thats another point.  To me it is more enjoyable to listen to her like she is right in front of me than between my ears.  Without music we would not have this gear and honestly I don't know about anyone else but I just have to say I throughly love every song that I listen to and also appreciate the way all the different pieces of sound come together to form what I can only describe as something magical. 

 

To answer your bonus question I would be willing to sacrifice every single piece of gear if it meant not having to delete a single piece of music from my library.  

 

Sorry I am a math major and am not good at writing.  Basically what I am trying to get at is to me music is way more important.  The gear just helps me enjoy it more.  

post #13 of 345

I somewhat agree but disagree with you at the same time.

I love music but I don't enjoy it when it's delivered badly and that is why i spent quite a bit on equipments.. but i do believe there's a point when I just think.. it's too much.

 

BONUS QUESTION - Is there one album that you would willingly sacrifice your entire system for if the alternative was never listening to that album again?  If so what is it?

I love a huge range of music so i wouldn't mind if I was to never hear one single album again.
Obviously I would be disappointed and have that craving feel for the album, but I wouldn't trade my whole entire set-up.
This is simply because my enjoyment for listening comes from both the balance of good presentation as what I'm actually listening to.

It's like playing a piece on a $20 000 piano vs a $200 keyboard

It's the same piece, it has the same notes, but the way they're delivered and the sound that comes out will be different.

I might still enjoy the piece on the keyboard but maybe not as much as if it was played on the piano.

If, however the question was asking about one ARTIST instead of one album, then I'd say yes.
It would be a Japanese band called THE BACK HORN, I just love the songs they write too much.
post #14 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zashoomin View Post

Well I just wanted to chime in and say a couple things. DISCLAIMER: THIS IS MY OPINION AND NO ONE HAS TO AGREE

 

So for me its all about the music.  I am a student and because of that I have a lot of walking around to do on campus and also spend a lot of time at my desk studying or doing whatever that needs to be done and honestly if I don't have to concentrate on something very hard there will always be sound coming out of my speakers or headphones. (that means listening to music close to 8 or 10 hours a day) Now I don't have the largest library of music but not the smallest either.  It consists of 100GB  and about 5500 songs.  Some are horrible quality and some are amazing. I have listened and heard every single song in there at least 2 or 3 times and some more than 30 or 40 or even 50.  The point I am trying to get to is this.  I was into music way way before ever becoming and audiophile and honestly for me its not about the gear...its about the music.  Than why do I have all this gear?  Well because for me it lets me enjoy it more.  If I can hear every single note more clearly there is nothing that makes me happier.  Now granted some music has become a bit less interesting because it just doesn't sound as good from an audiophile perspecitve but that doesn't mean I don't listen to it. Also you refered to Norah Jones and I can say this about her.  She A. has an amazing voice and B.  has some very nicely recorded stuff and C.  I love her music.  But thats another point.  To me it is more enjoyable to listen to her like she is right in front of me than between my ears.  Without music we would not have this gear and honestly I don't know about anyone else but I just have to say I throughly love every song that I listen to and also appreciate the way all the different pieces of sound come together to form what I can only describe as something magical. 

 

To answer your bonus question I would be willing to sacrifice every single piece of gear if it meant not having to delete a single piece of music from my library.  

 

Sorry I am a math major and am not good at writing.  Basically what I am trying to get at is to me music is way more important.  The gear just helps me enjoy it more.  

 

I agree. It's about the music. While I do love Bruce Sringsteen's "Darkness On The Edge Of Town", it would be nice to hear a better recording of it. But it is what it is and it is better to hear it thru a good stereo that it is to hear it thru a crappy stereo. It ain't no sin to enjoy great miusic thru a great sounding system. Maybe the OP should get on all the boneheads out there driving massive pick-up trucks and HumVees they don't need? I got a friend of mine who owns 7 motorized vehicles, why doesn't the OP go bug him about it?
post #15 of 345
Thread Starter 

Good stuff everyone.

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