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Is there anything psychological that can explain an audiophile or (for some of us) our addiction...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm sure many of us here that loves audio gear strive for the best quality sound.  Some of us spend lots of money in trying to achieve that sound are looking may it be perfection or a certain sound signature or the highest resolution.  

 

I was wondering is there any explanation as to why we seek it?

post #2 of 9

Because it's fun and we enjoy it?

 

Why do people build model planes? Why do people run marathons? Why do people eat fast food?

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

I was wondering is there any explanation as to why we seek it?

 

What? You think people would seek worse sound? Why not just no sound at all?

 

Or do you mean...

 

Q. 'What is the point of an audiophile?'

 

A. 'Absolutely none whatsoever.'

 

I guess it's all part of life's rich tapestry, evolution, small organisms that break down decaying matter and such.

 

The issue was originally highlighted by Murphy, the famous Lawyer. 'Anything that can go wrong, will,' he said. And so it did.

 

w


Edited by wakibaki - 4/13/14 at 8:02am
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post
 

 

What? You think people would seek worse sound? Why not just no sound at all?

 

Or do you mean...

 

Q. 'What is the point of an audiophile?'

 

A. 'Absolutely none whatsoever.'

 

I guess it's all part of life's rich tapestry, evolution, small organisms that break down decaying matter and such.

 

The issue was originally highlighted by Murphy, the famous Lawyer. 'Anything that can go wrong, will,' he said. And so it did.

 

w

Some people are content with whatever sound they get, like those that are perfectly fine with using ibuds.  And on the opposite side of the extreme, somebody could be so into the hobby, their wallet is taking a huge toll.  I was just wondering if there is some sort of an psychological explanation of such behavior on the opposite side of the spectrum.  You know, lots of our habitual behaviors are result of some sort of inner conflict according to psychology, and was wondering if there are some interesting theories about audiophiles.

 

I was wondering if there are some weird theories like were the audiophiles were not given their favorite toy as a child, so it evolved into seeking the perfect sounding equipment... :p 


Edited by SilverEars - 4/13/14 at 1:03pm
post #5 of 9
One word: Neurosis.

se
post #6 of 9
The struggle to achieve great sound seems unachievable when you don't really understand how sound works. You flail around making random changes and buying random equipment in the hope that it might make the sound a little bit better. It's frustrating, expensive and never ending.

But if you take a little time to research how sound reproduction works and how your hearing works and how equipment works... you can go in like a laser beam and pick up *exactly* the components you need to reach your goal and tune it to produce perfect sound. No struggle. No frustration. No craziness. No addiction.

I guess it depends on whether you care about optimal sound quality, or amassing a nice collection of fancy black boxes with wires between them. A lot of people make a fetish of equipment and don't seem to care about sound at all.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Any literature you recommend bigshot?

post #8 of 9
Check out Ethan Winer's stuff on the web and youtube.... and hang out in Sound Science and listen and ask questions. When you hear something that sounds interesting google it and look for a clear explanation. It really isn't tough.

For instance, I kept hearing folks talking about jitter. So I started googling to figure out what jitter was and how it was measured. Then I looked for listening tests. Then I looked for the perceptual limits on jiitter. Then I started laughing at all the people who made mountains out of molehills.
post #9 of 9

Addiction is not exclusive to audiophilia - that comes in many flavours and forms of course.

 

The problem is that upgraditis in audiophilia is cruel.  Consider the following:

 

-  The listening experience is completely personal and subject to personal preferences and biases

-  The listening experience is subject to the listener's mood, state of mind and level of focus

-  The listener can tend to derive emotion from the listening experience, even when trying to remain objective in evaluation

-  The listener is subject to the placebo effect of the perceived quality of audio equipment before the listening experience has started

-  Sound reproduction quality varies with music genre and recording quality

-  There may not be any good recordings of the music/genre/artist/song that you like

-  Everyone is a reviewer, some reviewers opinions seem to count more than others and no one reviewer is exactly the same as each other or you

-  The difference in perceived sound reproduction quality in technically competent audio devices can be indistinguishable from each other

-  It is difficult to maintain the exact same volume level when comparing amps and DACs.  Differences in volume levels affect sound perception.

-  Dissatisfaction is a vicious cycle that is purely psychological.  Then again, so is satisfaction.

 

All these factors (and many more) influence your enjoyment, listening experience and purchasing decisions.  Sprinkle a little dose of neurosis into the mix and you have that hellishly persistent itch that is audiophilia.  

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