Just a thought
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Sczervok

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I am probably ranked pretty high on these boards for the crappiest set of ears ever... but I was just thinking.

I mean, most of us here are encoding in better qualities, spending more money on better phones, and buying amps, and then talking about these minor details that many people can't even hear. You just step up... your first phone may be a prepackaged one. You second may be one that you've bought, or was given to by a friend. And the more you buy, the better quality you look for in them, thusly the more you spend. After going higher, lower quality phones just don't cut it for you... you just can't take them anymore. They sound crappy, loss of detail, truncated frequency response... the absolute crap of quality. Always... something is just... missing.

But going higher, doing more, going beyond... does it matter? I've used my dad's phones, and from what I can tell, they are pretty damn good... all they really did for me, however, was to just turn my entire phone collection into crap. I mean, it was kinda hard to me to detach myself from my dad's phones and move back onto my own...
Was I enjoying music more with my dad's phones, than I was before with my old ones? With my old ones, I couldn't tell anything from anything else. It was just music, and I didn't care any about the quality... I was more concerned about how good the artist was, and didn't ever have any thoughts about how my earphones would affect it...

You get used to high quality. And when that happens, it becomes just that, the same enjoyment you got from you old ones before you moved up. Is spending an extra $50 worth it just for better phones? How long will they make you happy? How long before you enjoy music as you did with your older phones?

I see a guy with A900s (or some really big blue headphones that looked like A900s) just sitting there listening to music, with this really bored emotion stamped across his face.. NJB3, some random amp, I would guess, and another guy... he's using stock iPod buds, and he's having the time of his life...
Glancing back and forth amoung the two people, I just gotta say.. the guy with the A900s just doesn't seem to be rocking it at all... and the iBud guy? I would have knocked myself out already if I were doing that. That guy is just hip hopping the hell out of there! Probably would have started to break dance if we weren't standing on grass.

With the lower end (crap) phones, you not only get more of a selection, you also get to buy more (considering your not some multi millionare). Just about anything will work for you... and you can even enjoy those high end phones because they just sound better to you. But many people have taken the plunge, gotten a pair of $40 phones, and they've just permanently latched onto the ladder, climbing upward to hi fidelity. And probably never ever turning back.

Just a thought.. is it worth it if you enjoy your music as much as you did before?

Personally... I have various things I look for when I want to enjoy music...

First off is the artist, in which I must love or else I won't enjoy it all. If I love the artist... it doesn't really matter how bad my earphones sound (unless I can't understand the lyrics, then that's kinda pushing it)

Secondly, the comfort. I must treat my ears like someone I love, and can not bear to let them fall into pain, or discomfort.

Third... they must look nice. I can't go walking around with a pair of giant headphones shaped after telitubbies or whatever... that's almost like suicide.

Forth, sound quality.

I remember when I first got Kazaa. I had no clue what it was... then some experimenting revealed.. it downloads stuff for you.
Now what the f--- was I going to do with that?
Oh... music a good idea... wait... I don't know any musical artists...


For 3 months, I had 6 songs that I downloaded... from who? I don't know. I didn't really care. All I knew was that I was overwhelmed with emotion and feeling by the music I was hearing. They just sounded so moving coming out of a crappy Rio500 with stock earbuds...

Well, 7 months later, and after picking up a ton of foreign techno, and a Rio Volt, I was suprised... (mind you, the Rio Volt 150 is a piece of crap, but to me at the time... 700 megs of music? I didn't even have 700 megs of music). Not only did I have my entire music collection on there, but I was kinda suprised at how much better it sounded. Then again, I did buy a pair of $10 earphones, so that did have something to do with it...

I've compared this player + earbuds with my computer + Altec Lansing 5.1 speaker system, and I was just blown over by the bass response I got with the subwoofer. I could have cranked that baby up and shook the friken windows (my dad does that all the time), but even at low levels, I was just blow away (almost literally) by the sound.
A year later... I can't find that feeling anymore. They're just regular computer speakers to me.. nothing special anymore. All that subwoofer does to me now is to vibrate when I put my feet on it. Nothing more. My stock earbuds have long been modded, failed, and discarded in various experiments.

I've gotten used to things. And that alone has just taken away the peak enjoyment level that I could ever attain for my music. Never again, will I enjoy it so much. I had stock earbuds, and a halfworking player, and I was on top of the world. Now? I'm nothing. Music is just there. Quality is just there... there's nothing special to me anymore. Never again.

It's like cocaine.... you'll reach that extreme high, but never in your entire life will you ever attain that level again... you just crash down and down. The next time, it'll be great... but not as good. And the more you use it, the less high you can get until you're just saving yourself from crashing down too low and getting stuck there.


Well... I guess I've just lamented my permanent loss of acheivement... but it's a little something to think about at least.

Maybe in the future... we'll have reached even higher limits of sound quality, to the point where phones have such fidelity, that it would be impossible for human ears to be able to detect... at that point, it wouldn't matter anymore.

I've decided to postpone me ordering my shure e2c's for a while... a long while... at least after I get a pair of real $2 fidelity discharge buds. I'm kinda doubting if that'll work either... I wonder if I've gone too far down the abyss already.
 
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Leeco

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Interesting post, Sczervok

Sounds like you realised that you are addicted, and it makes you feel depressive.

I think Head-Fi is a GREAT place to help you find the music bliss, but be carefull of the dark side.... giving up your own opinion and taking the one of other "experienced" members (like changing music from what you like to what others think you 'should' listen to).
Now, go get some fresh air and think positive (how much you learned here for example).
P.S: Stop reading Head-Fi
if you can ......

Good luck!
 
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terrymx

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ok, first off i just read your profile. unfortunately, everything i listen to is extremely slowpace, under 100 beats a minutes. i tried introducing some of my best music ever to a guy here and none of them interested him.

i am firm believer that i can control myself and keep away from the senseless audio gear upgrading. (ok i lied, i just bought the k501, but its b/c i dont have any fullsize headphone right now). for the music i listen to, i do not get bored with them (as long as i don't listen to them 5times a day). i can listen to the same bands day in and day out and memmorized like 500songs i my mind and still enjoy them. the music is most important. if you listen to a song for the first time and like it, chances are you won't like it so much after you hear it much. if you listen to something complex with layers and emotion transitions and is hard to understand, the more you listen the more you will see the beauty of the music.

as for the equipments, i'm positive that i can enjoy music if i dont have any headphone right now and go out to radio shack and buy one of their $10 or $20 headphone. all these equipments are just to enhance the pleasure. but because some people want higher and higher quality so bad, that's why they are dissatisfy. they aren't listening to the music for the right thing. you should listen to the emotion, meaning and enjoyment of music, instead of concerntrating too much on the flaws or how unreleastic the drum beats are or something like that. i'm not talkign critical listening, but everyday listening. i just don't understand how some people freak out and reject when they have to listen to music at a lower quality equipments. if they can't do that, then they shouldn't be able to stand the voice of normal humans and everyday atmospheric ambiances either. like my friend said; "a good band should be able to make music that is enjoyable by the means of conventional audio equipments."
 
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Textual Intercou

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this is an interesting question about the epistemology of consumerism and luxury goods. does a bmw make you enjoy driving more (yadda yadda there's no concept of an 'accurate car')? does money improve your life?

would I be better off as a librarian, easily spending my life in a quiet building, living on $35,000 a year? these are interesting questions but once you've bought in can you go back?
who knows..
 
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markl

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Quote:

this is an interesting question about the epistemology of consumerism and luxury goods. does a bmw make you enjoy driving more (yadda yadda there's no concept of an 'accurate car')?


To me, the analogy of cars doesn't hold, because audio isn't about having "things" to take around the neighborhood to display and show off to others and declare your status in society (you show most straight people your audio gear and tell them how much you spent on it, and they won't envy you, they'll pity you
. This is an obsession/addiction one must hide.).

For most audiophiles, music is an addiction (why else would they spend so much time and energy and money obsessing over this stuff?). Me, I *need* music. For me, audio is just a drug delivery system, a means to an end. The better the audio system, the bigger the buzz. I'm convinced if you could measure the brain chemicals in the brains of audiophiles, science would discover they are using and rewarding the same centers and pathways of the brain the same way as a user of drugs feeds his addiction. Getting a hit of music probably isn't all that different from getting a hit of coke.

Music affects you on an emotional level, it can alter your mood, change your perspective, expand your mind, enrich you and nourish you. That's why it's so addictive-- it's potent stuff! A car can't do that. Maybe car guys get the same kind of "buzz" from a high-performance automobile, but I doubt it.
 
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Tyson

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I found that generally as price of equipment increases, quality goes up. At some point you reach diminishing returns where large amounts more money does not equal large performance increase. That's where I tend to spend my money at, the HD600/650 CD3000 E5c, etc. I find once you get to this level 2 things happen,

1) It's really hard to "step down" and appreciate lower end, less expensive gear, guess you get spoiled.

2) At this level of quality the final decision and long term happiness is knowing/understanding your preferences and owning gear that matches your preferences. This part can get expensive as you buy/try a bunch of stuff until you get a good idea of what you like. The good news is that once you know what you like, it's easy to dismiss and not lust after other gear (unless the other gear fits your preferences better, of course).
 
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commando

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl

For most audiophiles, music is an addiction (why else would they spend so much time and energy and money obsessing over this stuff?). Me, I *need* music. For me, audio is just a drug delivery system, a means to an end. The better the audio system, the bigger the buzz. I'm convinced if you could measure the brain chemicals in the brains of audiophiles, science would discover they are using and rewarding the same centers and pathways of the brain the same way as a user of drugs feeds his addiction. Getting a hit of music probably isn't all that different from getting a hit of coke.


If you're saying this, you obviously haven't tried drugs


(the rest edited out because I probably shouldn't have said it in the first place)
 
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zeplin

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i'm in agreement with markl on this one.
enjoying the music because of the music (the emotional side), and enjoying the high quality sound are different, but at the same time, somewhat intertwined...or are in separate categories, but each affect eachother to a certain extent. for me, that extent is not every big, but it is there. i can enjoy music, and still do so with 10$ headphones on a regular basis, no matter what. it is just that being presented with a choice to upgrade the quality of sound reproduction, i took it and happened to like it. another part that has to do with this is i simply like, no love, the way speaker/amp/audio-electronic-technology works...i'm obbsessed with it...it is my hobby. so obviously spending more will get you more. however, how much more you get depends on what price category you are willing to put yourself in. like markl said, all this gear buying and improving the quality of the sound being played is just a means to make the end result that much more of a pleasureable experience sound quality wise. if my ears can detect the difference between a crappy 10$ headphone and a high quality 350$ headphone, then why not treat them to the latter option? i was given this ability to hear very well, so why not take advantage of it while it lasts?! when it comes down to it, it is all about how and in what order we place our priorities in life. people who can't understand this, i feel very sorry for
 
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sleepkyng

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yeah, for me, it is an injustice to some great music if i can't even remotely reproduce it when listening to it.

i mean, the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould are incredible. But do i do them justice out of some ipod buds?

sure, it sounds ok, but i really can't appreciate the music unless i can really hear the clarity of the downbeat (which i love soo sooo much)

i guess that's why i'm into it. i want to do justice to the music that i love and find new music to appreciate along the way.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
To me, the analogy of cars doesn't hold, because audio isn't about having "things" to take around the neighborhood to display and show off to others and declare your status in society (you show most straight people your audio gear and tell them how much you spent on it, and they won't envy you, they'll pity you
. This is an obsession/addiction one must hide.).

For most audiophiles, music is an addiction (why else would they spend so much time and energy and money obsessing over this stuff?). Me, I *need* music. For me, audio is just a drug delivery system, a means to an end. The better the audio system, the bigger the buzz. I'm convinced if you could measure the brain chemicals in the brains of audiophiles, science would discover they are using and rewarding the same centers and pathways of the brain the same way as a user of drugs feeds his addiction. Getting a hit of music probably isn't all that different from getting a hit of coke.

Music affects you on an emotional level, it can alter your mood, change your perspective, expand your mind, enrich you and nourish you. That's why it's so addictive-- it's potent stuff! A car can't do that. Maybe car guys get the same kind of "buzz" from a high-performance automobile, but I doubt it.


although I respect your opinion, I'm not sure I agree. although it is true that audio systems aren't the same status symbol that fancy cars are, and this is another good point, I know people who identify with their car to the same extent that I identify with my audio systems. I believe the act of driving is (or can be) an incredibly emotional experience. of course, there are millions of problems with this comparison, as audio doesn't serve a utilitarian function, etc.

those differences being noted, I believe that any hobby that allows the potential of complete immersion has the ability to become incredibly emotional. sports, playing instruments, books, theater, etc., some of these (audio, eh?) has a monetary hierarchy, due to its esoteric nature. it's likewise fairly unique in its vastness...

i agree that the nature of music is geared to intense emotion, but I find a similar connection while driving in my hometown. as for where I stand, I don't have a car but I do have a stereo system, so you can see where my interests lie
. that being said, intense emotional attachments with, and spending lots of money for, hobbies is something that's dependent on the person, not the hobby. i imagine my uncle, who's a motorcycle fanatic, would never fathom that listening to music in a living room could compare to touring the western coast. and he's right, it could never compare, they're two completely different things...but it's not as if one somehow touches the human need to find beauty in the world more than the other.
 
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ferdit

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Sczervok, I feel you man.

Personally, I feel that I am lucky that I can still enjoy listening to music either using a not-too-crappy buds or a hifi system.
 
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TMC

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I think it's about getting into a hobby rather than a hobby getting into you. I just think it's sad when I read about people saving up for some new audio equipment and being really happy with it just when they get it, but a few days later when they read about something that someone else finds better, and or course costs more, they stop enjoying what they have and just start obsessing about something that's better out there. I'm not saying I haven't had these thoughts myself, I'm sure most of us do at one time or another about a multitude of things. But then I just need to have a reality check and just use my gear on their own merit, and I very often find that what I have still allows me to fully enjoy the music. And that's what it's about in the end, a tool to enjoy the music.

On the other hand after being into audio for a couple of years there is certainly a limit to what I find acceptable I won't and can't go below. There's just no way I could find the enjoyment in stock earbuds anymore because I would be too aware of what I'm missing out. But a portable radio and MX500 is still pretty enjoyable sometimes when they play something good
 
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wallijonn

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Sczervok,

So you've now become jaded?

If you're that far gone, learn to listen to the music (silence) between the notes.


Yes, $10 buds will suffice. But so will FM radio. Heck, I drive a Miata - no chance to have high end audio there. So I just enjoy the music for what it is. But the music has to be good. Just any old garbage music will not suffice. I'll listen to the wind when I'm in the mood, rather than listen to music.

But when it comes to listening at home I do not want to listen to distortion. I don't want to hear lisps in voices. I do not want to listen to compression.

Maybe you DO need better sources. And it all starts with really well recorded music. Compressed gansta rap is not music. Nor is it 96 vbr MP3s through your computer.

BTW, you think that there aren't some here who do not listen to the silence between notes? You'll see some talking about "blackness" and "airy" and "transparent" and "uncompressed".

Try to find a soundstage on a $10 bud. Well, technically there probably isn't any on Top 40. In which case MTV will serve just as well. After all, why even bother buying music when you can record it from FM radio or MTV?
 
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oneeyedhobbit

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I still enjoy music on crappy sources. I can't say I enjoy it more on my set up per se, but I like the detail and balance it brings, it just sounds so much better. Its the classic argument of being happy by striving for the most you can obtain or being happy with what you have.
 
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Sczervok

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I'm not saying high end sources are bad... I'm just bringing up a thought...

Jaded? I've heard it, I've read it, and I've seen it used. I have no clue what it means.
I did rate the artist's ability to entertain me as my first priority to enjoying music... obviously, that is something that must be true for everyone.

I never said anything about people who don't listen to high end phones and good source formats. People on these forums talk about things in a certain phone's sound quality to such extent that I don't know what they're talking about anymore. Most of it is just stuff that my ear can't pick up, but to them, they can hear it just fine.

When I started listening to music, I was completely unaware of any defects of 128 kbps mp3 files compared to wav files. 15 some months later, that's changed.. quite a bit... I'm pretty sure the average person who has just started to listen to music would be about the same... if not at a faster rate than me, after all, I am pretty damn crappy.

There's a range of quality that is worth it. Sure, some $2 phones that you found on the ground that are cracked in half, bent out of shape, and being held together by a thin film of plastic sure arn't going to be good for sound quality. Calling them music reproducting phones is kinda hard to do at that point.

Everyone has a point in which they don't need any more quality. Mine is higher than it seems, but I feel sad that it is. All hi end phones seem to do for me is provide pure musical bliss... for 30 minutes... and nothing more.

The car thing... yes people can get emotional rushes by driving a car. People can also get emotional rushes by listening to various noises that are organized in a special way. Both are arts...

I don't really enjoy going fast on my bike... I'm just going through places quickly. There is some sensation, but nothing you can call special. I need the aid of a fully automatic airsoft gun to do drivebys in order for me to enjoy such activities. Some people don't.

Nothing wrong with buying high end phones. It just shows that you demand such quality for your ears, and that your ears are skilled enough to detect such minor things. But even with various gains that you get from buying phones, attuning your ears, and the like, you always lose something.
 
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