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OCCUPY HI-FI - about Head-Fi (in relation to High End Audio) - GLOVES ARE OFF

post #1 of 147
Thread Starter 

Well,

 

The gloves came off last night.  

PLS check out my latest essay for The High Fidelity Report entitled Occupy Hi-fi:

 

OCCUPY HI-FI

 

I've been meaning to write this essay for a long time, and needed the proper place to host it.

This is not an indictment of the Hi-fi industry (well, I guess it is in a way - but it wasn't my 

intention), rather a looking glass into the sweeping changes over the last few years, and how

Head-Fi is leading the way in terms of being a gathering place for like-minded audio and music

addicts.

 

I love this community, and after spending 20 years in high end audio, it's refreshing to feel like 

I'm actually a part of one that gives back to itself.  You guys have built something extraordinary 

here - and its time the crunchy codgers heard a little harsh truth.

 

Please leave a comment if you have time.

The response from my peers in the high end has been great - thank God!

I didn't want them to think I had some sort of vendetta or something.

 

I'm psyched to be part of this community.

 

 


Edited by mikemercer - 8/23/13 at 10:17am
post #2 of 147

Very well written editorial!  I have to echo that I am extremely happy to be part of this community!

post #3 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by morserotonin View Post

Very well written editorial!  I have to echo that I am extremely happy to be part of this community!

Thanks brotha!!

 

I poured my guts into that piece,

as the last 2 meets and recent events have inspired me.

 

I look at how much I get out of this community, as the result of

how much I put into the community, and I realize this is what I was

seeking in high end audio all those years.

 

But egos from the print reigns era just keep it in this tiny niche.

Many of the users too.  But I have some very good friends in that

business - and that essay was as much for them as anyone.

 

I'm also VERY thankful to have a place where I can just blow...

I don't have to worry about offending any of my editors or fellow 

staff writers because the High Fidelity Report is just me and my 

friend Chris Sommovigo!!!

post #4 of 147
Seeing all the young folks at CAS and L.A. Head-Fi meet and the passion they had in audio reminded me of my younger days, but we didn't have shows/meets that I would feel comfortable being at.
Reply
post #5 of 147

Oh yeah!
Nice piece, my friend. Thanks for beating that drum.

 

This is a great community, And if I didn't think so I wouldn't return to meets, or be so damned upset when I can't make them.

What we had a couple weeks ago was a very engaged group. It was a smaller meet than the usual 'February' Bay Area meets, but those in attendance were a good sampling of the type of people who usually show and get involved.

A seriously great bunch of people, who are dedicated to the search for amazing sound and the discussion of that quest.

 

Rock on.

post #6 of 147

Great article and very poignant. 

post #7 of 147
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys!

 

You made my day.

 

This cat keeps arguing with me in the Head-Fi Facebook page.  I just posted a newsletter that Bob Lefsetz wrote about Audeze,

which is a very cool thing because Lefsetz is a leading commentator on the music business - so it was good for Audeze AND

personal audio as a whole).  I don't know why he has such a issue with it.  It was only a newsletter!

 

But THIS is what it's all about: Supporting each other.

 

I know we'll have differences of opinion here and there.  That's natural. 

But here we get to do that respectfully!

 

I'm SO glad you guys dug the article.

It means alot coming from both of you.

post #8 of 147

Mike, cool article.  I had not considered the old vs. new and autocratic vs. democratic angle of high end vs. personal audio.   I have been fascinated by the whole Centrance HIFI-M8 development process, and the things Hifiman, AudioGD, Mr. Speakers and others are doing in engaging the community in the feature list of products - it makes good sense, to a point anyway.

 

"High end" based on price point to me has always been a Rob Report type hobby.  $10K, $20K, $30K, $250K 2 channel system?  Not even in my dreams!  Headphone rig - "The Best" from $2K to $10K-ish (and pretty dang decent under $1k).  "High End" speaker rig - $2K gets you some of the cables. 

 

I've been to 3 CAS so far.  The small, upstairs rooms where 3 or 4 cottage industry makers split a room and team up to build the system - THIS is where the democracy and reason still exists in high end audio, IF one stipulates that high end refers to the sound quality of the music coming out of the system, and not the price point.  The Fritz/Wywires/Wired4Sound room comes to mind, but there were at least half a dozen others at each show I've attended.  Rooms where +/- $5k gets you something to brag to friends about, because it sounds really good.

 

Alright, rant over.  Mike, I'm in agreement.  Great article.  Thanks for the forum for my rant!

 

Edited a bit to remove some unnecessary venom.

Edited again to try and be "nicer" and rant a bit less.


Edited by aamefford - 8/23/13 at 6:55pm
post #9 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

 

This cat keeps arguing with me in the Head-Fi Facebook page.  I just posted a newsletter that Bob Lefsetz wrote about Audeze,

which is a very cool thing because Lefsetz is a leading commentator on the music business - so it was good for Audeze AND

personal audio as a whole).  I don't know why he has such a issue with it.  It was only a newsletter!

 

Somehow, I don't think he would've had a problem had Lefsetz been lavishing praise on his HiFiMAN HE-500 instead.  Basically, what he means to say is:

 

post #10 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

Somehow, I don't think he would've had a problem had Lefsetz been lavishing praise on his HiFiMAN HE-500 instead.  Basically, what he means to say is:

 

 

LOL.  Seriously.  That guy just wouldn't stop, and then he tried to lob it back at us.

That was hilarious.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

Mike, cool article.  I had not considered the old vs. new and autocratic vs. democratic angle of high end vs. personal audio.   I have been fascinated by the whole Centrance HIFI-M8 development process, and the things Hifiman, AudioGD, Mr. Speakers and others are doing in engaging the community in the feature list of products - it makes good sense, to a point anyway.

 

"High end" based on price point to me has always been a Rob Report type hobby.  $10K, $20K, $30K, $250K 2 channel system?  Not even in my dreams!  Headphone rig - "The Best" from $2K to $10K-ish (and pretty dang decent under $1k).  "High End" speaker rig - $2K gets you some of the cables. 

 

I've been to 3 CAS so far.  The small, upstairs rooms where 3 or 4 cottage industry makers split a room and team up to build the system - THIS is where the democracy and reason still exists in high end audio, IF one stipulates that high end refers to the sound quality of the music coming out of the system, and not the price point.  The Fritz/Wywires/Wired4Sound room comes to mind, but there were at least half a dozen others at each show I've attended.  Rooms where +/- $5k gets you something to brag to friends about, because it sounds really good.

 

Alright, rant over.  Mike, I'm in agreement.  Great article.  Thanks for the forum for my rant!

 

Edited a bit to remove some unnecessary venom.

Edited again to try and be "nicer" and rant a bit less.

Thanks!  And thanks for your thoughtful answer.  I sang the WyWires/Fritz speakers room praises while I was on the Ask The Editors panel at CAS, and in my Headmasters report on Part-Time Audiophile!!

We seem to have similar tastes.  You're right - when manufacturers get together to set up rooms there is a democratization there (which was part of my title for this piece originally - as @warrenpchi saw

(he saw the RUFF COPY).  However, its the fact that those manufacturers won't take risks with regard to the music they play for the most part, except the guys from Zu Audio, Peachtree, and WyWires and

Fritz!  I have a buddy who's been an importer of some serious high end gear for over forty years - and he listens to completely different music at home! I beg him to take a chance, play Radiohead, Tori Amos,

ANYTHING other than the typical audiophile playlist!

 

They're selling themselves short there.  They should be bold.

I showed up to the Wadia room at RMAF last year, played James Blake and Eskmo - and they asked me for a copy!

They LOVED it.  They just gotta take chances.

 

and thanks again for the kind words!!

post #11 of 147

^^^Glad you read my post after my editing.  I was frothing at the mouth earlier for some reason.  I like it better now, though the previous version was pretty funny.

 

Similar taste - I love the LCD3, the LCD2.2, not so much.  As I've said before, it is a great headphone, it just won't likely end up in my stable.  It's a cost/benefit thing for me (Mad Dogs get too close for too much less $ for me).

 

I bet you prefer soft domed tweeters.

 

As to music I'm mostly stuck in the previous two decades.  And the 70's.  And 80's.  And some of the more acoustic stuff that is recent - Civil Wars type stuff. I'm always open to be turned on to new music though.  If the musicianship and recording is good, I will always appreciate it, even if I don't like it.

 

Oh, and Fritz - love his speakers, absolutely love his voicing, and he is just the nicest guy.  After a half dozen emails and as many phone calls, he came up to visit his girlfriend in the North Bay.  During that trip, he shows up in front of my house in this HUGE gold vintage Merecedes Benz 450 diesel sedan with a pair of Grove towers laying on the back seat.  He carts them in, and we hook them up to my Peachtree Nova, and listen to music for a couple hours.  He says "keep 'em for a couple weeks.  If you like them, send me a check."  NOBODY does business like that any more - granted, with good reason most times.  I wouldn't expect that kind of trust and generosity as a matter of course (I must have an honest face), but it is a great story and really describes Fritz to a "T".


Edited by aamefford - 8/23/13 at 7:58pm
post #12 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

^^^Glad you read my post after my editing.  I was frothing at the mouth earlier for some reason.  I like it better now, though the previous version was pretty funny.

 

Similar taste - I love the LCD3, the LCD2.2, not so much.  As I've said before, it is a great headphone, it just won't likely end up in my stable.  It's a cost/benefit thing for me (Mad Dogs get too close for too much less $ for me).

 

I bet you prefer soft domed tweeters.

 

As to music I'm mostly stuck in the previous two decades.  And the 70's.  And 80's.  And some of the more acoustic stuff that is recent - Civil Wars type stuff. I'm always open to be turned on to new music though.  If the musicianship and recording is good, I will always appreciate it, even if I don't like it.

 

Oh, and Fritz - love his speakers, absolutely love his voicing, and he is just the nicest guy.  After a half dozen emails and as many phone calls, he came up to visit his girlfriend in the North Bay.  During that trip, he shows up in front of my house in this HUGE gold vintage Merecedes Benz 450 diesel sedan with a pair of Grove towers laying on the back seat.  He carts them in, and we hook them up to my Peachtree Nova, and listen to music for a couple hours.  He says "keep 'em for a couple weeks.  If you like them, send me a check."  NOBODY does business like that any more - granted, with good reason most times.  I wouldn't expect that kind of trust and generosity as a matter of course (I must have an honest face), but it is a great story and really describes Fritz to a "T".

Yeah Fritz seemed like a really cool guy.  I know Alex and Nina Sventitsky from WyWires real well and they introduced us after finding out that until my Zu Audio Omen Defs I was strictly a two-way speaker devotee! And the bottom end driver direct-coupled to the amp preferably.  I hate complex cross-over componentry.  I want a speaker to get the hell out of its own way and leave just the music and me in the room!  And I can say I've loved speakers with soft-domed tweeters, but not necessarily that I prefer them.  My Omen Defs (with upgraded crossovers to Clarity caps & Russian paper-n-oil) only have Eminence Super Tweeters.  But then again - these are the first floorstanders that I got to completely disappear in my small listening room!

 

Two-channel geekery aside - that story about Fritz is, unfortunately, the exception these days and it shouldn't be.

At those prices the people involved should all be as gracious and engaged as Fritz.  But that's not the case, and, unfortunately,

as much as I would like to, I can't think of the high end without thinking about bloated pricing!!

 

It's another reason I wholly appreciate this community: Users and manufacturers - because the law of diminishing returns that plaques the high end doesn't seem 

to play well here!!

 

and, imagine the editors of TAS and Stereophile getting together to do anything!

 

Bottom line: Their infighting and ego battles just make it TIRED.

post #13 of 147
Bloated pricing - funny, that was the frothing at the mouth I edited out...
post #14 of 147

A wise person once said if you want to sell something you need to speak in the language of the buyer.

 

That's why beats made such a mark in spite of it's rotten product.

 

The modern youth doesn't listen to the old paradigm - except for the odd case here and there.

 

I believe you summed up the situation quite succinctly in your piece.

 

What the modern Beats dude needs to get into real high fidelity is more places like Head-Fi and less peer pressure.

 

Hopefully this up and coming generation will have more people who like and crave for real high fidelity instead of musical furniture that my generation was saddled with.

 

I really hope that modern technology provides real hi-fi at a more reasonable price than in the past.

 

 

If you look at the automobile of yesteryear and today, are we as a society enjoying the same advancement in technology?

 

I leave it up to you to draw the conclusion on the general scale.

post #15 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wink View Post

A wise person once said if you want to sell something you need to speak in the language of the buyer.

 

That's why beats made such a mark in spite of it's rotten product.

 

The modern youth doesn't listen to the old paradigm - except for the odd case here and there.

 

I believe you summed up the situation quite succinctly in your piece.

 

What the modern Beats dude needs to get into real high fidelity is more places like Head-Fi and less peer pressure.

 

Hopefully this up and coming generation will have more people who like and crave for real high fidelity instead of musical furniture that my generation was saddled with.

 

I really hope that modern technology provides real hi-fi at a more reasonable price than in the past.

 

 

If you look at the automobile of yesteryear and today, are we as a society enjoying the same advancement in technology?

 

I leave it up to you to draw the conclusion on the general scale.

Thanks SO much for your thoughtful response @wink!!

 

I greatly appreciate it!!!!

 

I feel so passionate about this community because here my enthusiasm and passion are welcomes - not seen as a constant

bone of contention (many of my older reviewer friends make fun of me because I'm still so enthusiastic - one manufacturers 

distributor actually accused me of being "fake" because he said I had non-stop enthusiasm, and that's "not normal".

 

This is what I've been dealing with all these years BEFORE Head-Fi!!

 

Can you believe that?  He also said my laugh was "annoying" and turned people off.

The bastid - and I wrote more glowing reviews of his clients product than anybody else, and even generated sales for them.

But his attitude just turned me off.

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