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Is Audiophile something that is real or just your imagination?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by denon2010, Nov 19, 2015.
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  1. Denon2010
    Was having a conversation with my friend who is an Electrical Engineer and has a BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering. During our conversation the topic of audiophile was brought up. He is very good at Physics so he understands the science of Audio.
     
    However he insists that Audiophile equipment from speakers to amps are all in our imagination, many who spend absurd amounts of money on audiophile gear for example try to justify it by claiming there is a noticeable difference or a difference that justifies the money spent however the truth is they are just trying to justify the fact that they just wasted money so they convince themselves that the money wasted was well spent so they can sleep at nights. Just think about the fact that people actually believe that burn in is something that is real and has something to do with the speakers built into your headphones when the truth is it is simply our brains adapting to the new sound hence it finally sounding good to use after X amount of hours, even scientists have said burn in is not real its our brains that are adapting. Yet you often hear audiophiles claim really crazy and unrealistic things like "headphone amp burn in" as if they could even tell the difference in a non perfect world.
     
    This then had me wondering, long ago I owned a Denon D5000, Audio Technica M50, Sennheiser HD 555 and a SONY MDR headphones monitor. In my test I had noticed that the Denon while the most fantastic out of all was at a price seriously inflated. For the honest truth, was almost identical to the quality of the $100 USD HD 555 sens. In order for me to actually tell the difference with this and the rest I needed a dark room, air conditioning turned on, FLAC quality tracks and a variety of music while quickly switching between headphones to notice any kind of slight difference.
     
    It was then and there I had known that Audiophile was a bit of a gimmick but kept it to myself because while I understood this there was a scary truth. The Sennheisers spoiled me, by this I mean when I got a M50 AT Studio Monitor and Sony MDR monitor, I realized what "boring" meant. These studio monitors were the most accurate way to get a recording as it is meant to be heard, and was down right the most awful experience I ever had in my life.
     
    There was something about the monitors that were how to put this, FLAT. and NOT singing, NOT Musical, NOT fun. They were somehow vastly different to the fun and enjoyment I had with my HD 555 and D5000 even though on paper the monitors were superior to nearly all audiophile gear. It was as though they were indeed made for professional recording use and NOT for music enjoyment, it is here I finally understood a part of Audiophile that was real.
     
    In the end I kept my HD 555 and sold off everything else and got back most of my money. The sad truth is between $1 to $100 is where the truth rise in quality lies. When you cross the $100 mark you have entered that phase of gaining something like 3% quality for every $100 you spend where as below $100 the difference is astronomical.

    Then you would need to factor in age, condition of your hearing, both of which would relegate audiophile equipment rather worthless. This leads me to understand now why Headphone and most of the audio market is so lucrative, companies spending $20 to create headphones and sell it back for $400.
     
    kn19h7 likes this.
  2. Mr Rick
    Interesting question but probably the wrong forum to be asking it.[​IMG]
     
  3. McPatD
    It sure is cold in here. Someone must have turned the air conditioning up to full blast!
     
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    I prefer the term "HiFi" over "audiophile." Take the former to mean what it literally means, and it means the goal is a system with the smoothest (ie, flattest possible, because no speaker or headphone are absolutely flat as amplifiers can be, not even if you throw a bank vault at it) response. The latter doesn't just mean you love listening, but conjures up ideas of syrupy ant-ridden active and passive components EQ-ing each other system designs.
     
  5. toolio
    Yawnnnnnnnnnn :deadhorse:
     
  6. zazex

    +1
     
  7. knowhatimean
    That normally is the same reaction I have on discussions about whether tube or SS is "superior". & the same for talk of how running your headphones Balanced is the "better" way to run them .(At this point ,signal path weaknesses should have already been taken care of)

    In most cases no one bothers to mention what steps (if any) they've taken to lower their playback system's "Noisefloor" . Splitting hairs over which "Topology" they use is just that. As whatever benefits you may get using one method over another isn't nearly as noticeable as your playback will have starting from a much "cleaner slate" to begin with ! :wink:

    To be "politically correct" (which is a nonsense concept anyway) , YMMV !:rolleyes:
     
  8. kurosaki123
    In a way, I think "audiophile" is just a pursuit of individual interests for "better sonic achievements", where the goal of "better" is deemed by the individual. Does "better" means a more accurate representation? Does it mean a greater soundstage? More musicial? More bass, highs? Buyers always try to put some form of comparisons to the intangible perceived notion of "better" audio. Ultimately, it comes to the point where you start asking yourself "is it worth spending X amount? Will I improve the sound by Y times for brand A vs B vs C?"
     
    I think a most important question to ask oneself before purchasing is "does your current setup contains poor sonic weaknesses that affects your daily routine of listening?"
     
  9. WindowsX
    Some of audiophiles are really snake oil and imagination. Some voodoo like tiptoe/isolator may work wonders with right physics studies.
     
    What I know so far is all engineers who said that'll only make crappy gears like many we have seen so far recently. I still miss a lot of them from 90s.
     
    And last but not least, you must have proper setup of decent equipment to enjoy really flat sound. Real performance can't be that boring. If flat is boring, Try putting Beyerdynamic T1 on some good gears. They're dead flat but very real and enjoyable on decent systems.
     
  10. Denon2010
     
    I just realized that the reason I have have found the studio monitors boring is because I was spoiled by Sennheiser's HD 555 Flatness. I thought 555 was NOT flat but its flatter than the ATH M50 which I sold in a heart beat. so this begs the question why did I do it? why did I hate the M50 so much even though it was not as flat as 555?
     
    Turns out my brain was trained to love Sennehsier since it was my first pair of cans, had I been using M50 before its likely I would have  hated the HD 555. This is as best as I can think off.
     
  11. WindowsX
    I find neither of them being really flat though I'm more leaning toward 555. 555/595/650 are my favs :D.
     
    If you happen to know about DT series before, seeing 770/880/990 lineup should some what explain why some people can't agree to meet on the same flat frequency.
     
  12. fishyee
    Our minds are flawed. Pick up a book on cognitive dissonance/self-justification. Tell me what you think about the audiophile mindset after reading the book.

    For example:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-Made-but-Not/dp/0544574788/ref=la_B001H6NFZ8_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448427893&sr=1-1
     
  13. judgmentday
    I think it is both: Real and your Imagination, depends who. An audiophile has trained ears and he/she can discern sounds or nuances that a non trained ears individual cannot.  For the casual listener an audiophile imagine things. Just because he does not have ears to hear it does not mean than sounds are not there. Engineers of any kind or any kind of scientific individual may know lots of things even music but if he/she does not have an ear for audio; he is no better than a deaf person to give his darn opinion about how a $3,000 cable sounds or a $15K cartridge sounds. To him there will be no difference between a $50k turntable and his iTunes.
     
  14. toolio
    With respect, this nonsense is why I seldom read this forum any more. "Trained ears"??? Give me a break. All you need to realize that some audio equipment is clearly better than others is an opinion. And all you need to be happy with the equipment you like best is your own particular taste.
     
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