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post #76 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
 

I have subscribed to TAS (and Stereophile... and others) since I was born. OK, that's an obvious hyperbole, but you get my point.

There are some writers who you come to not read, and that's a shame. Each rag seems to have them. They also have writers who's writing is brilliant... always... and whom I completely trust.

 

I lost all faith in the cred of Mr. Taffel a very long time ago when he showed (in a most egregious way) that he was a (OK, I deleted what I said earlier, cuz it was kind of rough) writer who wasn't thorough.

 

Now... should the Editor be the final arbiter and screen and guide and shepherd the writers and their columns? Absofrackinglutely. Should there be some fact checking and vetting? Truly.

But this stuff happens, especially with a tool like Taffel. He seems to shoot from the hip and write about things he knows just enough about to get himself into trouble.

But it's unfortunate that this occurs in a rag that many of us hold as gospel.

 

Ugh.

 

Absolutely: Just as we like and dislike certain people, we feel the same way about some audio writers.  I do find it curious however, that we both feel the same way about Taffel in particular.

I lost all faith in his abilities to even evaluate decent loudspeakers when the bulk of his review of the Marten Audio Django's (a speaker that I am very familiar with) was about his inability to get

them to sound right in his room!  He neglected to mention he had just moved into the place, and instead of figuring out basic set-up on his own - he wasted the readers time by oddly bragging about

that inability to set up the loudspeakers!

 

NOW - I just realized, I never intended my OCCUPY HI-FI series to turn into TAS bashing or anything like it.  Nor do I think you're doing that @shane55!!

I'm looking at the high end audio world with fresh eyes these days (as fresh as can be, given my long history there) - because I'm having so much fun  in personal audio!!

 

But while I've been doing that, it seems there's been no real progress on the part of the high end audio industry to initiate would-be audiophiles.  Now, I know I've been editorializing

on that for years (for those who didn't know, in my What is the Future of the High End series for Positive Feedback) but it's worse than I thought.  The elitism, the separatist ego-maniacal

maniacs that many of the readers admonish.  It's astonishing, but admittedly not surprising.

 

But I can't let that lie.

Or is it time to give up and let it go...

 

 

 

But while I can accept these happens occasionally

post #77 of 147

Nah... you're correct, this was anything but TAS bashing. As you saw in my post, I've been a subscriber longer than I can remember, and will continue to, as I think it's a great mag. It just has a writer or two that I have issue with (as do others).
Taffel's problem is not necessarily specific to audiophilia. It's an issue endemic to 'news' and reporting in general. Spewing opinionated or semi-factual articles without all the facts, or even a good deal of them. He often comes to the wrong conclusions based on faulty evidence. In rebuttals to his writings, I've seen him get hysterically defensive and incapable of listing to a logical argument. He's been so fundamentally wrong that I will do and believe the exact opposite of nearly everything he states.

 

But you are much more attuned to the Audiophile world than I. I just poke my head in occasionally and breathe deeply. I am far from an expert there, but you just happened to mention a person for whom I have fairly strong feelings.

 

So that's it... for now. Thanks for keeping the flame alive!!

post #78 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
 

Nah... you're correct, this was anything but TAS bashing. As you saw in my post, I've been a subscriber longer than I can remember, and will continue to, as I think it's a great mag. It just has a writer or two that I have issue with (as do others).
Taffel's problem is not necessarily specific to audiophilia. It's an issue endemic to 'news' and reporting in general. Spewing opinionated or semi-factual articles without all the facts, or even a good deal of them. He often comes to the wrong conclusions based on faulty evidence. In rebuttals to his writings, I've seen him get hysterically defensive and incapable of listing to a logical argument. He's been so fundamentally wrong that I will do and believe the exact opposite of nearly everything he states.

 

But you are much more attuned to the Audiophile world than I. I just poke my head in occasionally and breathe deeply. I am far from an expert there, but you just happened to mention a person for whom I have fairly strong feelings.

 

So that's it... for now. Thanks for keeping the flame alive!!

 

Thanks brotha!

 
I'm trying my very best.  There was a time that I felt I had a constant chip on my shoulder because, as odd as it may sound, I felt alone in trying to grow the high end audio community!  I felt like mostly everyone in the Hi-fi press (except my friends and editors at PFO) just felt like the hobby would continue to exist no matter how separated it became from consumer culture, even consumer electronics culture!  Somewhere along the way many people in the Hi-fi press lost that enthusiasm for the sonic journey that Harry (Pearson) used to wax so elequently about.  Well, maybe they didn't lose it, but their prose lost that sparkle, that excitement that made me wanna hear new things they were writing about!  Things started to read like dry consumer reports, and who gets excited by that? 
 
The thing (one of the many I should say) that pumped me up most about Hp's writings were that I always felt his enthusiasm for the journey jump off the page!  It seemed like he was as excited to hear new things as I was, and so I would read everything he wrote, and not because I worked for him - rather because I enjoyed it!
 
We're talking about stereo systems, when it all comes down to it - whether played back through cans or loudspeakers.  The medium: The music, is itself such a coureous thing.  How could you not be excited to hear your music in a new way, a different way?  But instead of sharing the energy surrounding that journey, instead of pushing each other to discover new ground, the Hi-fi press started turning on itself.  The nasty commentary, the bickering, the politics, it all takes away from the simple pleasure that's at the heart of ALL of it: Listening to music.
 
I've dug so deeply into personal audio not only because it offers such a wide range of avenues to experience my music playback (which seems endless, and just when you think you've got your personal audio rigs where you want them here comes another toy) but it's also got a strong community-driven vibe to it! There's a scene associated with personal audio. Sure, I've met some great friends through high end audio.  But the truth is, there always seems to be personal issues keeping us all from being in the same room! That get's tiring.  The in-fighting, all that BS.  Now, you get trolls everywhere - but this is different.
 
I love going to Meets now, and not just because of the gear.  I enjoy meeting new like-minded people!  The crew of friends I have that I've met through Head-Fi - they're some of my closest and most cherished friendships!  Now, I can say the same thing about high end audio, but there's also a generation gap there between me and many of them (simply age in most cases honestly).  I feel a part of the tribe here, AND we're all on a shared sonic voyage together!
 
I think I just started my new What is The Future of the High End piece...
 
Thanks guys.
You also inspire me.
post #79 of 147

Well, at some point, hi-fi became more far more elitist than it used to be.  I'm at a loss as to when or exactly why this happened, but it did.  It went from "I love music" to "I love music more than you" to "I'm a breed apart" to "get away from me you filthy half-breed peasant!"  Of course not all high-end enthusiasts are this way, but this does seem to be a pervasive streak running through many audiophile circles these days.  And that's just a damn shame, because you attract more bees with honey than you do vinegar.

 

Now, I'd love to see how audiophiles respond to the following challenge:  what if you lost all of you gear and media in one swoop, and you had to start over from scratch?  I would hazard a guess that the true audiophile would be sad at first, but also terribly thrilled at the prospect of re-building from nothing.  Because it's all about the music... and the music didn't die.

 

By the same token, I think the pseudo audiophile would be devastated and utterly despondent.  For them, it was more about the gear, or the status, all along.  Now, I'm not saying that loving gear is bad.  If I thought that, I wouldn't be here.  But let's just be clear about that distinction.

 

So how do we fix this?  I'm not entirely sure we can.  Though I think every audiophile should start by reading (or re-reading) Dr. Seuss's The Sneetches.  Some life lessons are found in the simplest of places.

post #80 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
 

Well, at some point, hi-fi became more far more elitist than it used to be.  I'm at a loss as to when or exactly why this happened, but it did.  It went from "I love music" to "I love music more than you" to "I'm a breed apart" to "get away from me you filthy half-breed peasant!"  Of course not all high-end enthusiasts are this way, but this does seem to be a pervasive streak running through many audiophile circles these days.  And that's just a damn shame, because you attract more bees with honey than you do vinegar.

 

Now, I'd love to see how audiophiles respond to the following challenge:  what if you lost all of you gear and media in one swoop, and you had to start over from scratch?  I would hazard a guess that the true audiophile would be sad at first, but also terribly thrilled at the prospect of re-building from nothing.  Because it's all about the music... and the music didn't die.

 

By the same token, I think the pseudo audiophile would be devastated and utterly despondent.  For them, it was more about the gear, or the status, all along.  Now, I'm not saying that loving gear is bad.  If I thought that, I wouldn't be here.  But let's just be clear about that distinction.

 

So how do we fix this?  I'm not entirely sure we can.  Though I think every audiophile should start by reading (or re-reading) Dr. Seuss's The Sneetches.  Some life lessons are found in the simplest of places.

 

Nice post Warren.  I am a gear slut, so I would initially be bummed at the loss.  I've been churning the same little pile of money around in head-fi gear for years.  I occasionally add a bit to the pile to make up for buying new stuff and selling used (my tried and true method of buying hi and selling low), but I mostly buy and sell stuff that has reached it's "perpetual value" so to speak.  Once I got over that, I'd go back to iBuds and work my way back up to mid-fi again, and be happy as a clam again.  The music would be around anyway.  Radio and CD player in the car, gotta have an iPhone or whatever, so there is Pandora (and maybe MOG).

 

I contend that there may be a difference between audiophiles and music lovers.  One can be one, the other, or both.  My wife is a music lover.  She could care less about gear, other than it makes me happy, and I don't seem to spend too much on it.  I love music, and I love gear.  Do I love gear enough to believe that the $10,000. mono block amps (4 required for biamping) are really gonna be 40 times better than my $1200. peachtree nova?  Naaaah. Note even.  Not sure where that puts me.  A little of both I guess.

post #81 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post
 

Nice post Warren.  I am a gear slut, so I would initially be bummed at the loss.  I've been churning the same little pile of money around in head-fi gear for years.  I occasionally add a bit to the pile to make up for buying new stuff and selling used (my tried and true method of buying hi and selling low), but I mostly buy and sell stuff that has reached it's "perpetual value" so to speak.  Once I got over that, I'd go back to iBuds and work my way back up to mid-fi again, and be happy as a clam again.  The music would be around anyway.  Radio and CD player in the car, gotta have an iPhone or whatever, so there is Pandora (and maybe MOG).

 

I contend that there may be a difference between audiophiles and music lovers.  One can be one, the other, or both.  My wife is a music lover.  She could care less about gear, other than it makes me happy, and I don't seem to spend too much on it.  I love music, and I love gear.  Do I love gear enough to believe that the $10,000. mono block amps (4 required for biamping) are really gonna be 40 times better than my $1200. peachtree nova?  Naaaah. Note even.  Not sure where that puts me.  A little of both I guess.

glad to see someone else using the "buy high, sell low" method of obtaining one's audio gear.

i too appreciated warren's post, and have been doing some reflecting

i have lost all my gear before, and even almost my entire music collection, while it wasn't instantly, it was over a very brief time.

what i didn't loose was my love of music, there was always music !

 

now, back in the day, my "audiophile" days, there was a point, that i realized it had become more about the "gear and sound" rather than the music.

i've seen/read many debate the music/gear/ sound "what is an audiofile?" deal, i just don't care anymore really, the differences, similarities aren't that important to me

we can debate, define, and split hairs ad nauseum

what does bother me, is the attitude of the elitist , of the if you don't like or have what i do, then you aren't a "__________"

this thing we have here, head fi, personal hi fi, audio , whatever you want to call it, is much more "inclusive" vs. "exclusive"

i look at those who are into the "exclusive" end of things, are collectors of, not lovers of_______.

music and fun are meant to be shared !! not kept to myself !, BUT i too like, love gear, toys gadgets , and thats ok too. its about fun !

so, if i had to put a label on what i am, i'm a music lover who happens to like among other things audio related gear, gadgets toys, electronics , etc, etc , and tjats just fine with me

post #82 of 147

For me, it's about the 'sound'. Well... what isn't about the music.

If I don't like the music, I won't care how good it sounds. And conversely, if I care about the music, I'll really care about how it sounds.

 

It's about the gear, but not the nameplate. I don't care who makes something, so long as it is good. To care more about the nameplate is like caring more for the name of the winery and it's prestige than for what's in the bottle.

There is elitism in all walks of life... cars, wine, bikes, gated communities, etc.

 

If the best sound I can get is out of a speaker... great. If it's out of headphones... great. If it happens to have a 'desired' nameplate... well, that's OK, but it's not why I bought it... and might even turn me off to it.

 

I made wine for 24 years. I belong to many wine clubs / wineries. We just quit one because it became to 'marketing' oriented, and too damned elitist. It started appealing to the 'yacht club' types who knew nothing about wine, but desired the label and the status it represented.

 

I feel the same way about gear. If it's about the prestige of ownership, count me out... for the most part. If the gear is truly amazing I might still consider it (but tape over the nameplate)  :wink_face:

 

As for 'audiophiles'... I don't have an issue with the brand. I think it's just meaning someone who appreciates the excellence in in fine gear that brilliantly reproduces music. Whether or not that 'audiophile' is an elitist snot... well, that's just per individual.

Speakers, cans... it doesn't matter to me. Good sound is good sound regardless of the delivery system.

For me it's all about purpose. I use my speakers for one purpose, my cans for another. I use my IEM's for one purpose, my closed or open cans for others.

The right tool for the job.

 

Yeah... that's it.


Edited by shane55 - 9/25/13 at 3:20pm
post #83 of 147

"If I don't like the music, I won't care how good it sounds. And conversely, if I care about the music, I'll really care about how it sounds."

 

a very loud "AMEN BROTHER" !! that's a great way to put it !!

post #84 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post
 

Well, at some point, hi-fi became more far more elitist than it used to be.  I'm at a loss as to when or exactly why this happened, but it did.  It went from "I love music" to "I love music more than you" to "I'm a breed apart" to "get away from me you filthy half-breed peasant!"  Of course not all high-end enthusiasts are this way, but this does seem to be a pervasive streak running through many audiophile circles these days.  And that's just a damn shame, because you attract more bees with honey than you do vinegar.

 

Now, I'd love to see how audiophiles respond to the following challenge:  what if you lost all of you gear and media in one swoop, and you had to start over from scratch?  I would hazard a guess that the true audiophile would be sad at first, but also terribly thrilled at the prospect of re-building from nothing.  Because it's all about the music... and the music didn't die.

 

By the same token, I think the pseudo audiophile would be devastated and utterly despondent.  For them, it was more about the gear, or the status, all along.  Now, I'm not saying that loving gear is bad.  If I thought that, I wouldn't be here.  But let's just be clear about that distinction.

 

So how do we fix this?  I'm not entirely sure we can.  Though I think every audiophile should start by reading (or re-reading) Dr. Seuss's The Sneetches.  Some life lessons are found in the simplest of places.

 

Very good points. If I lost everything, I'd probably try to eventually get it back again just the way I had it, simply because I know I liked what I had. In the mean time, I would hit the ultra bargain threads to try to find something that would serve as a good stopgap measure until I restored my setup. And I would certainly enjoy the music along the way, and might even find a piece of inexpensive gear that surprised me. I'm not averse to the idea of something that doesn't cost $$$$ sounding good.

 

I think you're dead-on about the status thing. To be brutally honest, I see no difference between audiophiles buying $$$$$ cables and $$$$$$ amps, DACs, and speakers; and the typical teen or tween buying Beats. Both have bought into marketing and notions that are rarely (if ever) backed up objectively but are instead reinforced through appeal to inherent beliefs, the "more expensive = better" concept, and groupthink.

 

Like you, Warren, I'm not sure how to fix this. The only thing I can think of is to write off the audiophools/snobiophiles and try to bring more down-to-earth people into the hobby so we can eventually outnumber them. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this?

post #85 of 147

Ha!  See what I mean?  By and large, I've noticed that most Head-Fiers could care less who owns what.  Beyond knowing how much one is enjoying something, or what signature something has, or knowing what to avoid... gear choices are largely irrelevant around these parts.

 

Or to put it another way... I'm not saying that we don't care about what gear WE have.  I'm saying that we don't care about what gear OTHERS have.  Methinks that makes a world of difference!  :smile:

post #86 of 147

That's very true. There are some of the higher end headphones I'd love to try, but it's not because somebody else owns them, but because the descriptions of their performance I've seen sound like something I'd enjoy. I also don't really bring up headphones in conversation, unless somebody specifically asks. I actually try to avoid talking about how much my gear cost, not because I'm worried somebody might think this guy's nuts, but because I don't want them to think this guy's one of those audiophile snobs or this guy is clearly an elitist.

 

Plus, on Head-Fi I wouldn't brag if I actually had remarkable equipment. If an Orpheus fell into my lap, I wouldn't go around mentioning Oh, I was listening to my ORPHEUS the other day... in every post, just to make sure everybody knew I had one. I don't define myself by my gear. I might define myself based on the music I listen to, but not in the sense that my music is better, but rather here's what I enjoy...let's talk about it.

post #87 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post
 

That's very true. There are some of the higher end headphones I'd love to try, but it's not because somebody else owns them, but because the descriptions of their performance I've seen sound like something I'd enjoy. I also don't really bring up headphones in conversation, unless somebody specifically asks. I actually try to avoid talking about how much my gear cost, not because I'm worried somebody might think this guy's nuts, but because I don't want them to think this guy's one of those audiophile snobs or this guy is clearly an elitist.

 

I went through that for a LOONNNGGG time, lol!  It's almost like an audiophile anti-establishmentarian phase.  These days, I'm simply content to say that good gear is good, price be damned.  It helps me stay sane in this hobby, not only in terms of a consumer of said gear, but also as someone that gets asked for a recommendation now and again.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post
 

Plus, on Head-Fi I wouldn't brag if I actually had remarkable equipment. If an Orpheus fell into my lap, I wouldn't go around mentioning Oh, I was listening to my ORPHEUS the other day... in every post, just to make sure everybody knew I had one. I don't define myself by my gear. I might define myself based on the music I listen to, but not in the sense that my music is better, but rather here's what I enjoy...let's talk about it.

 

EXACTLY!  That's where all the fun is at... which probably explains why I'm so into meets and get-togethers.  :smile:

 


 

BTW fellas, my fellow PFO writer Roger Skoff just wrote up a little something that pertains to our current convo:  http://audiophilereview.com/affordable-speakers/is-the-high-end-really-better.html

post #88 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post
 

 

I went through that for a LOONNNGGG time, lol!  It's almost like an audiophile anti-establishmentarian phase.  These days, I'm simply content to say that good gear is good, price be damned.  It helps me stay sane in this hobby, not only in terms of a consumer of said gear, but also as someone that gets asked for a recommendation now and again.

 

 

EXACTLY!  That's where all the fun is at... which probably explains why I'm so into meets and get-togethers.  :smile:

 


 

BTW fellas, my fellow PFO writer Roger Skoff just wrote up a little something that pertains to our current convo:  http://audiophilereview.com/affordable-speakers/is-the-high-end-really-better.html

 

nice of Warren to mention our fellow PFO scribes piece.  As much as Roger maybe a little isolated himself (I've spent a bunch of time with Roger and he's a really good guy), and so therefore he doesn't always "get it" when it comes to headphone-related gear, he works to understand it.  Like anything else he takes interest with.  I welcome this attitude and approach from a fellow "high-ender" especially!  When I broke a bit from covering strictly high end two channel components years ago I got alot of sh-- from some of my peers in that industry.

 

It was the community at Head-Fi that kept me going, kept me excited, kept me engaged.  A few of you have asked: How do we fix this problem of "audiophile" = elitist in many cases today??

Hell, I've been writing about and trying to figure that one out for years!  I suggest what I can and take all action I can in order to help usher growth in  this wonderful industry based around a hobby; whether it be 

high end two-channel or personal audio!

 

And, as we've been waxing about labels and such too: I find it entertaining when peers argue with me because I don't label myself an "audiophile."  I've actually had editors of well-respected audio publications get in a fuss, watching their ears turn red over it!  I've been calling myself a music addict for years.  I say that because I literally need music.  It's why I went to go work for Arif at Atlantic Records after TAS - 

because I wanted so desperately to learn about the actual music-making part of the process!  I listen to music all the time, while working, in the shower, outside, driving, shopping, sleeping, you name it..

 

Now, the gear?  It's merely the vehicle.  But that doesn't mean I don't love my boy toys (which is really what all this

boils down to) - hell, especially the components that help break down all the ******** between me and the music!

 

Maybe that's why I dove so deeply into personal audio!  After all, the goal in any high end audio system, for me, was/is to get the system to disappear; make me forget I'm listening to Hi-fi and just be left alone with music playing in a room.  

 

Well, with the right cans, not only do you do away with all that fights against you in the room, but you severely cut down on your interfaces!  Sounds like a great path to music reproduction to me!!  Some will get it, that there's room for both loudspeaker systems AND personal audio, and others will continue the futile fight about everything, and that fight is what spawned the elitism in the first place.  The idea/notion that "what I have is better than yours" - which is human nature, but, I also think this thought process was also perpetrated by the high end audio magazines - before the internet they were already building their separate tribes.  Who knows when it all went pear-shaped, but it sure did!

 

Which is also why I feel like I have to carry on, as Hp would want me to.  He's a big fan of what we do here.  I'd be lying if I said he'd spent much time here, but I tell him about Head-Fi often.

He once told me it "sounds like the community I always wanted to build with high end audio" - and I told him it is!!

 

I LOVE the convo going here gents.

Keep it up.  You continue to inspire me... 

 

listening while enjoying my tea this morning in beautiful wine country:

oh, and wait a minute, I didn't have to sacrifice high fidelity!

(this is what they need to understand most)

 

nothin' like a little live Matisyahu in the Northern Cali mornin'!!

post #89 of 147

http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/27/tech/innovation/death-stereo-system/index.html

 

::facepalm::

 

I'm not talking about the article.  I'm lamenting the fact that there are some SERIOUSLY IGNORANT maternal fornicators commenting on that article.  :angry_face:

post #90 of 147
I remember in high school that what shoes you wore was a big deal. A friend of mine, the pseudo "leader" of our group (maybe more the person we all looked towards) was given a pair of Reebok Pumps by a rich uncle, which cemented that*. Now I guess it is whether you have Beats or not. I wonder if kids care about other brands at all.

So I think that audio snobbery is just human nature and, if anything, prevalent in young people. It probably doesn't help that in many well-paid professions people are expected to fit in by going to the right places, doing and saying the right things and owning the right gear. And, of course, looking down upon other people who aren't like them.

I think though that what has been very good to the hobby is the greater fidelity available for less money than before. Sennheiser Momentums anyone? I still love finding the bargains amongst equipment -- often from small manufacturers who don't care about making huge profits, just making great gear. That pushes everyone else to raise the bar, not just create stuff at different price points, each lower one more compromised than the ones higher.

For me, it is fascinating to experience things, then reflect on those experiences and try and learn and understand the reasons for them. Reflecting on myself at the same time is important too. Finding greater enjoyment out of a lower-fidelity system than a higher one, for example, is a great opportunity for this kind of thing. Likewise when someone has a radically different opinion or impression of a piece of gear. Other people see these things as a threat to their beliefs, which is where the problems start I think.

Now, if I could afford it, I'd still buy a dCS Vivaldi, and SET amps, and maybe horn speakers (after I bought a house, and a better car) but second-hand, but I know what I want and why, which is for my enjoyment, and sharing that with my family and friends, which is the most important thing.

*The irony here was that his family was quite poor. He is a fascinating guy though and I would pay to have him visit Japan and come to one of the shows. He'd find it fascinating I reckon, as he studied industrial design.
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