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OCCUPY HI-FI - about Head-Fi (in relation to High End Audio) - GLOVES ARE OFF - Page 7

post #91 of 147
@currawong you voiced quite eloquently about audio what a dear friend says about wine. "Anyone can pay $150 for a good bottle of wine. It's finding a good bottle for $15 that is the worthy challenge!"
post #92 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

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.

"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."

 

I'm with ya on many points, but how you relate to the experience, and reflecting on it - that's what I cherish most.

That's one of the reasons I actually looked forward to every Harry Pearson review of ANYTHING: stereo components,

music, film, home theater gear (and I didn't even give a f__ about that).  I always felt like he was taking me on a voyage

of new discovery along-side him while he was jotting it down.  "The journey's the thing" after all.

 

Obviously financial responsibilities to advertisers and other important business relationships are always going to keep the

pure discovery aspect of things away from the status quo editorial/commentary on audio - like with anything else.

 

Pure art, expression turned into an industry will always lead to some form of corruption or compromise of values somewhere

along the line.  I'm not just a dreamer - but doesn't it seem like we're having more FUN than the old guard in high end audio too??

 

I'm in the process of workin' on my next installment of my What is the Future of the High End series for PFO, and then gotta

think of somethin' BIG for the next Occupy piece.

 

Keep the thoughts COOKIN' fellas.

post #93 of 147

Out of all my 'phone collection I use one of my HD600's most.

 HD800 is my favourite dynamic phone.

 

Sometimes the DT880 is out of this world.

 

If only we all could realise that in a garden the spectacular rose is not the only flower there.

The buttercups, pansies, lillies, orchids, etc are also beautiful in their own way.

post #94 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by wink View Post
 

Out of all my 'phone collection I use one of my HD600's most.

 HD800 is my favourite dynamic phone.

 

Sometimes the DT880 is out of this world.

 

If only we all could realise that in a garden the spectacular rose is not the only flower there.

The buttercups, pansies, lillies, orchids, etc are also beautiful in their own way.

 

I especially like the buttercups. :smile:

 

Good sentiments in general. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the search for the perfect rose that we forget that other people might like buttercups, or pansies, or any other flower more.

post #95 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post
 

 

I especially like the buttercups. :smile:

 

Good sentiments in general. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the search for the perfect rose that we forget that other people might like buttercups, or pansies, or any other flower more.

 

this ia FREAKY

as this is a BIG part of the next installment of my What is the Future of the High End series for PFO that I just submitted!!

 

we all interpret differently,

and when our hobby is the vehicle to music, my favorite art-form aside of the written word,

well, art will always be in the eyes, mind, and heart of the beholder...

post #96 of 147

Something I've thought about for a while but had trouble putting into words is the concept of how music sounds in my head versus how it sounds through equipment. What I mean is the way the music sounds when it's not actually playing but when I'm playing it back in my mind. We've all had a song get stuck in our heads, or else caught a chorus or theme of a song or piece we'd like to buy and played it back over and over in our minds. What I've noticed is that I will compensate for the imperfections of whatever my current gear is, and thus hear the music "better" than anything I own can play it. This was true even when I didn't have access to nice stuff. When I first started paying attention to sound quality, I began noticing the discrepancy between my mental representation and what my speakers and headphones were producing. Back then, the music definitely sounded much better in my head than it did on my equipment.

 

Now, the gap is smaller, and it's far less often that I put on a recording and it just sounds obviously wrong from the standpoint of my expectations. This brings up an interesting point. In my case at least, I have a benchmark. I want my headphones to render music the way I hear it in my head, with similar balance, detail, and presentation.

 

Another point is that, though of course this kind of thing is difficult to compare, I don't think my mental representation of the music has ever changed appreciably after a gear upgrade. I know my recordings well enough now that the parts I traditionally concentrate on have had a pretty constant representation. If new gear were the revelatory experience a lot of people describe, shouldn't those mental representations have all been rewritten every single time I got a new, better headphone? Instead, I think the way Tyll describes the high end is a better fit: you're isolating and fixing specific problems. Maybe a previous design had a grating peak in the lower treble, or else lacked extension on either end. A newer model might attempt to address these issues. These things won't fundamentally change how the music is presented or unearth new details or musical parts. But they will improve the overall performance level of the headphone, and perhaps bring it closer to an arbitrary benchmark.

 

And instead of making that benchmark something a computer spits out and says is "neutral" based on one methodology and set of assumptions or another, or else what a bunch of people with motivations, tastes, and priorities different from your own agree is "correct," why not make that benchmark the way music sounds in your head, unspoiled by any equipment whatsoever?

post #97 of 147
Thread Starter 

I wrote a long and heartfelt response to this,

and honestly don't know what happened!!

 

man that was a downer.

I thought I hit send but who knows now...

It's early morning and I pulled an all-nighter last

night writing.

 

I'm too tired at the moment,

but will respond in detail ASAP. Thanks for such provoking thoughts btw


Edited by mikemercer - 9/30/13 at 4:00am
post #98 of 147

I remember the first time I heard Spanish Harlem by Rebecca Pidgeon on the Chesky Ultimate Demonstration Disc.

I was so rapt in Rebecca's voice, it was only on subsequent lintening I realised the track was not acapella.

 

I truly believe sometimes we all suffer/are blessed with this phenomena to varying degrees.

 

This is why it is very important to audition HiFi gear with material you know very well.

post #99 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wink View Post
 

I remember the first time I heard Spanish Harlem by Rebecca Pidgeon on the Chesky Ultimate Demonstration Disc.

I was so rapt in Rebecca's voice, it was only on subsequent lintening I realised the track was not acapella.

 

I truly believe sometimes we all suffer/are blessed with this phenomena to varying degrees.

 

This is why it is very important to audition HiFi gear with material you know very well.

 

AMEN to that!

Always use something you're familiar with, something that grabs your heart.

Your mind will either take you there via new gear you're auditioning, or not, or maybe

just a bit of the way there...  But having a frame of reference is KEY!!

 

To @Argyris's point in his post:

 

I think that we all carry that sound in our minds, the sound you're referring to as a reference point.

I also believe that's a huge part of the fun in the audible journey: Trying to find that amazing sound in your head,

by any means necessary electronically! 

 

After all, we're chasing after music, and music is one of the ultimate art-forms (if not the ultimate - for me it's music

and the written word - followed by film, painting, and others).  It will always be in the heart AND mind of the beholder!

 

For me, a great sound system ultimately disappears - gets out of its own way, leaving just me and the music.

post #100 of 147
Thread Starter 

Wanted to share my latest installment of:

Sonic Satori - What is the Future of the High-End Part VI: Can't We All Just Get Along?

 

 

 

with this thread before biting my lip and starting a new one for it!!

 

I sincerely hope you guys dig it!!

 

When I saw that Steve Guttenberg retweeted it this morning - well, it was a nice feeling.

He's always been a supporter of my efforts, but only when something seems to really resonate

with him does he share my articles in his space.

 

Let the discussion keep flowin!!

post #101 of 147

^^^ @mikemercer - nice article.  I just finally figured out what I like best about your writing.  You are an explosion of emotion and enthusiasm just looking for a place to happen.  It leaps out of your writing, and makes it a blast to read.  Nicely done!


Edited by aamefford - 10/1/13 at 11:27am
post #102 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post
 

^^^ @mikemercer - nice article.  I just finally figured out what I like best about your writing.  You are an explosion of emotion and enthusiasm just looking for a place to happen.  It leaps out of your writing, and makes it a blast to read.  Nicely done!

 

holy sh__

 

Thanks bro.  That could be one of the greatest compliments I've ever been lucky enough to receive!

Mind if I share it?  You MADE MY DAY

 

I try with everything I have to get those things to shine through

post #103 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

 

holy sh__

 

Thanks bro.  That could be one of the greatest compliments I've ever been lucky enough to receive!

Mind if I share it?  You MADE MY DAY

 

I try with everything I have to get those things to shine through

Of course you can share it.  Only thing better than getting your day made is making someone's day.  Sh__, here we go with the bromance again....

post #104 of 147

Excellent article, Mike! I particularly liked the part where you showed the folks on the plane how your gear sounded. Something that I've noticed the Hi-Fi crowd tend to do is discard certain music--sometimes entire genres--because they say it sounds bad on good gear. High quality equipment will certainly highlight the flaws in a recording, but it will also bring up the good parts as well. A bad recording will sound better on an HD800 than it does on iBuds. And just imagine that you're not focused on finding faults and have only ever heard your favorite music on cheapos. Even if it was recorded in a tin can the experience will blow you away the first time you hear it on something nice.

post #105 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post
 

Back then, the music definitely sounded much better in my head than it did on my equipment.

 

Doesn't it still?  And to a certain extent, won't it always?  :o

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post
 

an arbitrary benchmark.

 

And instead of making that benchmark something a computer spits out and says is "neutral" based on one methodology and set of assumptions or another, or else what a bunch of people with motivations, tastes, and priorities different from your own agree is "correct," why not make that benchmark the way music sounds in your head, unspoiled by any equipment whatsoever?

 

Well, we need a common reference.

 

Having some kind of external reference point helps us to:  communicate with each other in the absence of a shared audition; share/compare gear experiences with each other; and yes - sometimes - evaluate gear for one another (as is the case with reviews). 

 

However, I am with you 100% with regards to how far people take that benchmark in terms of importance - too far.  It's one thing for everyone to agree that we can have a common point of reference.  It's something ENTIRELY different when people start insisting that point of reference is somehow right or correct as you pointed out earlier.  That's generally when someone goes off the rails IMO.  :angry_face:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wink View Post
 

I remember the first time I heard Spanish Harlem by Rebecca Pidgeon on the Chesky Ultimate Demonstration Disc.

I was so rapt in Rebecca's voice, it was only on subsequent lintening I realised the track was not acapella.

 

I truly believe sometimes we all suffer/are blessed with this phenomena to varying degrees.

 

This is why it is very important to audition HiFi gear with material you know very well.

 

And like.  :smile:  Let's not forget the like... or in Mercer's case the pure and unadulterated love that is a piece of heaven itself.  Joshin' ya bro.  ;)

 

There are certain "audiophily" tracks that we all know... some of us very well... but that doesn't mean we like them.  I don't fire up Krall or Jones when I'm just looking to have a good time with my music.  I might do it for a review, but I'd rather not if possible.

 

For me, the source of all this is the music, not the sound.  If people want to geek out on the sound all day long, that's fine too.  But chances are I probably don't have a lot to talk about with that person.  I'm certainly not enjoying the same thing that person is enjoying during an audition.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

Always use something you're familiar with, something that grabs your heart.

 

Yeah, what he said.  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

 

For me, a great sound system ultimately disappears - gets out of its own way, leaving just me and the music.

 

I have an ever-so-slightly different take on this.  For me, there is music on some media somewhere.  It should be in me, but it isn't.  So now I need all kinds of hardware to get it in me.  Fine, that's cool, it is what it is.

 

The problem for me is that every one of these devices - by virture of its very existence - effs with my music.  So for me, I'm literally searching for that which effs with the music in the least offensive way possible.  Bloat effs with my music.  Sibilance effs with my music.  Mids that sound like felines in heat eff with my music.  Rolled-off highs eff with my music.  And if something starts to eff with me and mine too much, well then that maternally-fornicating thing has got to go.

 

I don't think I'll ever be able to find gear that truly disappears, though I will spend the rest of my life searching nonetheless.  But in the meantime, I'll settle for not being effed with too much.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post
 

^^^ @mikemercer - nice article.  I just finally figured out what I like best about your writing.  You are an explosion of emotion and enthusiasm just looking for a place to happen.  It leaps out of your writing, and makes it a blast to read.  Nicely done!

 

And having met him, you KNOW that this his writing is a true representation of the real him.  :smile:  The Mercer is the Mercer, whether in person or in print.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post
 

Sh__, here we go with the bromance again....

 

LOL!  :D

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