Some audiophiles will never be happy - and a message for newbies
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pbirkett

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I'll start off by saying that my life has changed beyond recognition in the last few months, and all for the better. I wont bore you with the details, but basically, I find that there is a lot more going on in my life now, and that I am a lot happier as a result.

I'll also say that this thread will probably delight some and offend other in equal measures. It is supposed to be somewhat controversial, but my intention is not to be a troll, or anything like that, but the way I personally see things now that I have a different outlook.

Now, onto the subject at hand, in the last few months, I have been on the usual hifi forums, and my changed life has certainly changed my outlook on things, and it has caused me to read hifi forums with increasing bewilderment.

For me, there seems to be two main types of "audiophile". Using the basis that the word "audiophile" simply means someone who is discriminating about getting the best sound, I can conclude that you end up with two distinct types of people. The first is what I call a more casual audiophile. That is, they tend to know exactly what they want, and when they get it, they simply stop, acknowledging life is more important, and there is more to it than hifi. The second is the more hardcore audiophile. By and large, these seem to be the people who have thousands of posts (and yes, I am also guilty of this to a degree). They are not neccesarily more well off than anyone else, in fact, they may have quite tight budgets, but not always. However, when reading their thousands of posts, its very clear to me, that for them, the journey will never end and they will never be happy.

Let me elaborate on this a bit more. For one thing, they seem very easily led by the fashions that become prevalent on almost all hifi forums. Are these people not capable of using their own ears? A lot of people seem to just form their opinions based on what someone else might say, and then just go along with it - an element of fitting in to the forum society perhaps?

The thing with fashion is though, is that things fall OUT of fashion, and when they do, these people will look for something else. Then, whatever they had before, suddenly becomes crap. Well I can tell you this, I dont know if anyone else feels like this, but it really annoys me to read that something I bought 12 months ago which was better than sliced bread, is now crap! How can I trust opinions when they change so readily?

However, the top and bottom of it is this: Some of you lot will NEVER be happy with what you have. I go onto forums, and I see the same old battles being played out over and over, the bickering, the falling out. It all makes very amusing reading, but nevertheless, reading that is ultimately not very productive for those using these forums as an information resource. Ultimately, the same things get discussed again and again, and the same hardcore of people will continue to change kit at a monthly basis.

I mean a few examples. The DT880, CD3000 and the likes have all been classed as the in-fashion, and held in as high regard as the likes of the HD650 and yet months later, the majority have decided as some kind of fact that the HD650 is loads better. I have seen the HD650 described as having a Grado like sound by some people (yes ok that is rare, but I've seen it), and by others as being more laid back as to be almost muddy. Now how can a newbie, looking at such opinions, form any kind of realistic opinion about a product? I mean, whoever claims the HD650 has a forward sound to me is clearly on drugs. This confusion goes to sources too. I mean look at the 0404. When I bought it, it was described as a competitive rival even to the likes of the 1212, yet some months later, people now declare that the 1212 is *clearly* a better card, as if to state it as some kind of fact, and that even lowly cards in the Audiophile / EWX class that some of you were so keen for me to upgrade from are now in fact, better than a card that I bought, listened to and decided with my own ears that it was better. This kind of thing really does make me lose faith in hifi forums as any kind of useful resource. I frequent other forums on non hifi related things, and I can tell you that although some subjectivity does go on there too, at least the opinions dont change so damn wildly!!!

I ask you this, to the people who my description applies to: Do you really have a life outside of hifi? Do you not get bored with it? Do you not admit that really, its just more of the same? I ask you this, because at one time, I would have considered myself as one of the hardcore, but I got bored, really bored, and disillusioned with my life as a whole. Which is why I had to change it. My life is so much richer now, I listen to hifi less, and when I do listen, it always sounds amazing. What I am trying to say is, that if you do something too much, it ceases to be as enjoyable. I am now VERY happy with my system, and ultimately couldnt care less what anyone else thinks about it, as it is mine, and I am proud of it. The only things that annoys me is the pointless bickering and the constant FOTM that seems to occur not only here but on all hifi forums.

I guess the moral of this thread is to only trust your own ears. You can't trust anyone elses. If you even remotely want to have a life outside of hifi, then buy something that sounds good to you, and don't beckon these doors ever again. Because people will make you have doubts about what you have bought, and slowly they will bring you around to their way of thinking, and before you know it, you've spent far more than you've ever wanted to spend, and you find yourself pre-occupied by the whole thing. I know I did, and I'm lucky enough to see light at the end of the tunnel.

To those of you who purely do it for the enjoyment and genuinely get something from gear swapping and posting on these forums day in, day out, then good luck to you; I wasn't knocking it as a hobby any more than any other. What I am saying, is that I find it hard to believe that everyone is like this... and there this is clearly more to life than the rather anti-social hobby that is hifi. Its no real coincidence that I hardly know anyone who is interested in it within 100 miles of me. I can probably say with a degree of certainty, that in Britain at least, there are probably no more than a few thousand genuinely hard core hifi fanatics, and reading this forum with a different outlook has made me appreciate why this is such a small clique.

One thing I have realised in the last few weeks too, is that while I have been visiting the hifi forums, which I have done daily, but certainly I am not sitting on them all day / night like I used to, is that I genuinely dont seem to have anything more to add to these forums. And how can I, or anyone else for that matter, who is happy with their kit and not planning any upgrades, contribute to a forum like this? I find it very difficult to be honest.
 
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adhoc

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actually, imo fotm syndrome is a good thing: lots of headphones get bought, and then sold off at vastly lower prices.

who benefits? those who know what they want.


and sduibek, for every example you quote, you seem to miss the bigger picture:

the cd3000, dt880, hd650 are all still held in high regard, but with the hd650 having a larger following. this would make sense, considering the hd650 is a far more widely available phone.

the 1212 has always been held in higher regard than the 0404. there was some anticipation, some hope, that the 0404 could sound the same or even better at its far lower price point, but that hope turned out to be in vain in the end.
 
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mbriant

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You make some valid points. What you must realize however, is that each and every person is different to some degree or other. Their reasons for frequenting any internet board, or for that matter, doing anything, are varied. To some, it's a way to research their hobby. To others, it's a way to socialize with like-minded individuals. To others, it's a way to kill time. To many, seemingly like yourself, it's a phase in their lives. None of them are wrong.

I'm not sure if you're trying to say that frequenting audio sites made your life less interesting ( it comes across that way ), it really depends on whether your spending hours doing so was a cause or an effect. In most cases, it's an effect. Whatever it is that's changed your life for the better, obviously wasn't there before, so you filled your time on the computer. Does that make any of it wrong or bad? Not really.... just different. Are you happier now because you've stopped spending hours in front of your computer or are you happier because some other distraction has peaked your interest which gives you reason not to spend hours in front of your computer?

One person may like cats, so they buy one as a pet. Someone else may like cats so much, they decide to breed and show cats. Someone else may decide to adopt 200 stray cats and become the crazy cat person. Like cat lovers, there are various degrees of audiophiles. The extreme type you speak of, aren't really that common. They just happen to be more visible and vocal wherever audiophiles gather.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm happy you're feeling positive about recent changes in your life, but don't think it's fair, nor right, to judge other's lifestyles based on your own personal revelation. If it feels good, and isn't hurting anyone else, then do it. If it doesn't feel good, don't do it.
 
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hciman77

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mbriant
each and every person is different


I'm Not !

I like your use of cats as a metaphor for hifi, I dont like cats but my mum had 3 generations of the things and today a cat attacked my dog, I also used to have several generations of hifi, I think you see my point. So hifi is a cat that either attacks your dog or spreads out to engulf your whole life, brilliant


Must.... take...... medication....now....
 
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hciman77

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pbirkett
I'll start off


Hi Paul, I thought you had left ?

You have more farewell tours than old blue eyes.

Glad your life is better, now let the rest of us wallow in our sad social inadequate hobby
 
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3lusiv3

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Great stuff Paul! I'm with you.
 
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braillediver

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What’s funny is instead of saying something positive about what you found in your life or how your life has changed for the positive you instead project your emptiness, loss, confusion and disappointment on others?

I’m happy for you that you’ve made these discoveries.

Maybe it’s time for you to move on and put this all behind you?


Mitch
 
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TWIFOSP

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That's the thing with high end headphones. There is no better or worse, just different. Those differences might appeal to your own preferences or music tastes, but that's about it.

I think most people who bash other headphones are the same type of people who feel they have to justify their purchases. Shrug.

It's all about the music for me. I love all kinds of different headphones that make the music take on a different personality each time a I listen to it. Even some of my most treasured songs can get old after I listen to them hundreds of time. But find a new "way" to listen to it with new gear, and it's almost as good as hearing it for the first time all over again.

Even if I prefer another pair of headphones than the ones I'm currently listening to, I still like to listen to the headphones I don't prefer to get a new perspective. If only to make the headphones I prefer sound that much better when I go back to them. It's like going outside in the cold, just so you can enjoy your hot chocolate that much more.

That's how to enjoy being an audiophile, in my opinion. Enjoy what it does to your music.

On another note, I was rather disapointed to read that your own personal happiness was tied to the forums and this hobby. If this revelation was truely a life changing beyond recognition event, then I would suggest re-reading your post and see if some of your own sage advice applies to yourself.
 
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bln

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Quote:

Originally Posted by braillediver
Maybe it’s time for you to move on and put this all behind you?


He's tried about five times already, with a sanctimonious farewell speech every time.
 
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Enverxis

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Im a Nerd, and I have no life.

I may have disagreed with that statement, but over time, as people continuously ravage you with such statements ... you convince yourself of them
 
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Kirosia

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I agree people should trust their ears, but sometimes general opinions on a phone are useful. Most people don't have the resources and time to try out eighty different phones, amps, and sources to see what they dig. (although I wish we could!)

I also agree on most of your points, like how one piece of quip. is considered auto-obsolete or highly to inferior to another, even though probably at one point in time they were rivaled or something. And how some just seem to disappear from the public eye. (I think that's what you meant)

As for hifi, I'm not into it as much as others, with factors such as money, location, etc coming into play. Do I ever get bored of playing the head-fi upgrade game? Yep. But it doesn't make me unhappy. That said, I've stopped for the moment, although I do get the urge to to kill my bank account on occasion.

Finally, although this may be OT, I find the less time I spend at forums, the better I feel. I've learned this the hard way, after getting into numerous useless arguments, being attacked for no reason, and going off on benders and attacking others myself. I can't be who I normally am *on the internet*, and I tire of seeing forum-trolls act like big a-holes just cause they can hide behind a keyboard on the other side of the world. Luckily such is much more prominent in forums controlled and populated by teens and early adult. (I'm 19, so I'm not biased against the young) I do have a life outside of my computer, I just haven't utilitized it yet to the fullest. But I'll find a way, cause I know it decrease the animosity I've gained from discovering the internet. (I didn't really use the internet till about a 3-4 yrs ago)
 
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I don't have anything against the people who are rich or crazy enough to change equipment like it was underwear. Sometimes I wish I could do the same - it's really hard to figure out what the hell you actually want in headphone gear without having stuff on a long-term basis (buy or borrow).

I'm still not a big fan of the FOTM issue though, and you are right that it makes it really hard for somebody coming in looking to buy a piece of gear and stick with it to get good, fair, sane recommendations. I have an NEC CDR602 that I got as part of a group-buy here a while ago. People were raving about how this was an amazing bargain transport and would be equal to high end CD players if you stuck a nice DAC with it. I didn't have the money for a fancy DAC, so I just hung onto the drive. Now when it's time to select a nice source, I'm going to have to come back and ask "Hey, is this thing REALLY any good?" Because before it may not have been, it was just the FOTM frenzy convincing everyone it was the best deal ever. Now I only paid 25 bucks for this thing, so no big loss if it's junk. If it was $500 headphones, I'd be a little more concerned (unless I personally loved the sound, then I wouldn't care what others said). It's just hard to buy stuff on recommendation when you don't know whether it's "tried and true" or the hot new thing that everybody is pushing now and will be bashing in 3 months.
 
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Wmcmanus

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I allowed the game of golf, which was a real passion in my life, to become an obsession, much as you've described with hi-fi. It was indeed all consuming, but then after years of serious thought, I decided to give it up once and for all. I've not swung a club in nearly 9 years, and I feel the same way that most people going to AA feel... I know it could 'get me' again at any time! The thing is, I was quite good at it for a time. My handicap got as low as 3 for a couple of years, and hovered around 5 for several more. But I couldn't get that last bit of improvement from my game that I was dying for! So I gave it up.

Now I approach the hi-fi game from a totally different persepctive. It is pure enjoyment, with no illusions of ever achieving perfection. In fact, I can enjoy a variety of "lesser" systems every bit as much as I enjoy the best systems I've ever put together. Maybe the difference is that hi-fi gear is "just stuff" as far as I'm concerned and it has no reflection on my skill or ability, so why should I ever take it seriously? Why be disappointed to the point of true frustration if you can't reproduce an orchestra in your living room? Yet, from my golfing days, I can understand why people will sometimes except too much of themeselves. I guess the only equivalent would be "Why did I buy Speaker X without first reading about and listening to Speaker Y? Gee, that was lazy of me!?!?" But that's still not as bad as picking the wrong club because you misread the wind conditions.
 
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wallijonn

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pb,

Congratulations on springtime arriving to your soul.

Quote:

For me, there seems to be two main types of "audiophile". Using the basis that the word "audiophile" simply means someone who is discriminating about getting the best sound, I can conclude that you end up with two distinct types of people. The first is what I call a more casual audiophile. That is, they tend to know exactly what they want, and when they get it, they simply stop, acknowledging life is more important, and there is more to it than hifi. The second is the more hardcore audiophile. By and large, these seem to be the people who have thousands of posts (and yes, I am also guilty of this to a degree). They are not neccesarily more well off than anyone else, in fact, they may have quite tight budgets, but not always. However, when reading their thousands of posts, its very clear to me, that for them, the journey will never end and they will never be happy.


There two type of head-fi'ers: those with a lot of money and those without.


Yes, one can get wrapped up in hype. It's exciting, new friends are made, satisfaction attained with each subsequent purchase. The amount of CDs purchased races exponentially high. Whether or not one gets vicarious satisfaction, and how long it will last, is purely subjective. Me, I try to stay out of the areas which may make me spend more money. Heck, I'm using K401s for gaming.
My headphone purchase phase is over - I'll continue to use what I have.

Since it is Springtime almost all the time in Phoenix the problem then becomes one of gas prices to feed the Miata.

(Those who know me know why I've had to curtail my listening: I hear music in my dreams and while asleep. Heck, I hear music during the day when I day-dream.
The same thing happens with any other obession, for example, one is likely to play games in one's sleep after playing games for hours on end during the day.)

This past month saw Wally move, which caused him to not have DSL for 3 weeks and 1 week where everything was packed. I've now upgraded from 256k to 1.3M and saw me using the comp for two many hours one night. This caused to go to sleep later and ruined the whole day. Man, it's great to be back. I just have to be much more careful, as I can see where it can get to be a bad habit. One can OD on any one thing...

Enjoy your springtime. Go out and bike, hike, dance, water raft, parachute jump, water ski, watch the lovelies on the beach... there's more to life than any forum or hobby. Kick back and enjoy watching the grass grow. Cheers, mate.
 
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