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The 1 biggest truth in 'audio'.
Most people who I know (in person) who are audiophiles are in symphonies, are opera singers or in jazz combos. Wasn't until I started participating in online forums that I realized how uncommon that was.
The Audio Critic is completely correct. Equipment tests are accurate however loudspeakers remain subjective as many factors such as wavelaunch, soundstage and listening room contribute to ones opinions.
Speaker cable- 10 gauge zip cord compared to Monster sound just the same. Painting green rings on CDs doesn't let my computer read data any differently. Period.
What DID I buy? 5 sets of Spherex for me and my children. A Zeppelin Air. All my other six large professional systems were purchased rationally as I am a symphony orchestra conductor, recording engineer, and have owned both a loudspeaker manufacturing business and a professional sound company.
Although I disagree with most of the record reviews, and question some listening criteria, TAC only confirmed what I have known for many years. ..that the audiophile press is full of hype and just plain outright lies.
Anything that TAC recommends can be bought with confidence except for speakers which one has to judge for themselves.
The Audio Critic is a completely accurate, truthful and reliable source of news and reviews on audio equipment. Loudspeaker reviews are always colored by the preferences of the reviewer, and all the waterfall graphs of speaker pulse decays cannot possibly tell you what they sound like, or if you will love them or hate them. Record reviews - beauty is in the eye (or ear or mind in this case) of the beholder, and IMO agree with only a few of them.
WHAT DO I OWN based TAC's recommendation - I purchased five sets of Spherex speakers after a TAC review, one for myself and four more for my children. This system is probably all most will need for a lifetime of audiophile-quality surround sound. For only $300. Should have bought some more. Here is the TAC review: http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=7&blogId=1
A Zeppelin Air was purchased after being inspired by a glowing review of the B&W 800 system, flying from Acapulco to Ottawa just to audition a pair of the 800's. Losing all inspiration after actually hearing the 800's, on my way out the door the owner of the salon thought I should give a listen to the Zeppelin Air. Six seconds of listening was all it took to convince me to write a check and stuff it in my suitcase. The Zeppelin Air basically uses the same tweeter as their $27,000 speaker system. If you want to get a true audiophile education, take your 6th generation iPod Classic (best DAC and analog output), load up your favorite Apple Lossless encoded tunes, drive on over and place the iPod in the Zeppelin Air's cradle, turn up the volume and listen. Stick your face into it, literally, and put your nose on the chrome iPod holder. Then close your eyes. That is all you will ever need to know about quality sound reproduction. Period. And for only $550.00 USD. http://www.amazon.com/Bowers-Wilkins-Zeppelin-Wireless-AirPlay/dp/B004PJC9QU/ref=cm_wl_huc_item
WHAT WOULD I OWN? I would own any electronics (not speakers or recordings) that TAC highly recommends. Without reservation. However, I still have six large audiophile systems, some of which were purchased prior to accidentally noticing a copy of TAC at my parent's house 15 years ago (my Dad, a respected audiophile, and eminent NASA space engineer, thought TAC was the "bible"). Anything I do own would have been thoroughly validated and recommended by their reviews or their "candidness" (can't really be called a "philosophy" if TAC is based on matters of science, physics and electronic truth can it?). I am not planning to "own" any different equipment soon, and am actually downsizing because I have two large systems too many. But no, I have never had, or ever will have, anything Monster, or green rings on my CD's to "improve" their fidelity, or wax on and on about the depth of a soundstage heard only on "X" brand speakers, when the original recording was made in an anechoic chamber.
WHAT WOULD I NOT OWN after being highly praised by TAC? The Alexander family flew and then drove from Acapulco to Ontario, to personally visit John Otvös in his home, checkbook in hand, to audition and purchase a pair or two of the Waveform 17 speakers. John, a 20th Century Renaissance Man and his wife were quite gracious to receive me, my wife and 4 children in their home. After getting the full-monte tour of his spotless workshop and toying around with his green Shelby Cobra, it was down to business and listen to some recordings I brought. As impressive as the capacity and clarity the Waveform 17's demonstrated, driven mightily by banks of Bryston Audio's best and making clothing flutter across the room as if by a breeze (!), somehow the "music" was missing. Thanking John Otvös and his lovely wife for their kindness, the next day we drove onward to Toronto and auditioned other speakers at a factory (whose brand I shall not mention) that DID sound just like "music", purchased and had them flown immediately to Mexico for legal importation, no small feat. I have pictures with the Otvös, but here is someone else's experience, very similar: http://www.audiophilia.com/features/waveform.htm
Hopefully YOU would "want to own" any electronics recommended by The Audio Critic, and shun the items they dislike. And also YOU would "want to own" lots and lots of 10 gauge stranded, polarized plain brown zip cord to hook up those wonderful speakers you personally auditioned and fell in love with, as TAC's opinion can never be superior, or better informed, than your own, in speaker matters.
Those who doubt my credentials, can listen to the SOUND of your humble servant directing one of the world's finest philharmonic orchestras in this short Beethoven clip recorded with an old iPhone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W96v7cmMzE8
I just noticed this quoted above. I thought it pretty funny because coincidentally I'm listening to Neil Young, one of those "flakes". He doesn't pull any punches in criticising compressed audio and even red book and he is trying to introduce his hi-res Pono playback system. He seems like a pretty decent guitar player to me
Maybe calling people names doesn't say much even about them, let alone the issue at hand?
edit: btw I don't own any of the items recommended by the publication and couldn't care less what they like or dislike. I'm absolutely enjoying listening to music with stuff that sounds nice but scares people with its low price, unfashionable branding and by not being the latest thing.
That doesn't mean that all audiophiles are knowledgeable when it comes to music.
And, also, we have to accept that some folks are more interested by the gear itself than by the music it tries to reproduce accuretely. That's fine, why deny it?
Clearly I didn't suggest that.
Nor did I deny anything.
If there's anything else I didn't actually say that you feel needs correcting....I'll be out.
Anyone who has been in home audio for a while has learned many of those points the hard way. I'm not familiar with negative feedback in amps, but the rest of the points completely jibe with my experience.
Neil Young isn't an audiophile. He's a luddite.
argumentum ad hominem doesn't get any less fallacious just because you think you're right
A luddite is someone who doesn't trust modern technology. I think that is an apt description of Neil Young's views on digital audio. If I wanted to get into ad hominem, I'd comment on his vocals.
He's trying to create a hi-res portable player and to market 24/192 files with a view to offering 24/384. His ideas about lossy compression, red book standard, hi res audio and the need for yet another format can be debated but aren't a symptom of someone mistrustful of modern technology: he is being critical of specific elements of it while engaging with the stuff that suits him.
Avoiding the ad hominem argument would also avoid this kind of obvious misunderstanding. Name calling is very rarely a short form of reason, it's usually a short form of being wrong.
edit: he is also involved in developing hybrid bio fuel/electric vehicles, also with his wife he founded and sponsors
He is also a model train nut and actually developed command and control systems for all the other train nuts out there It was quite a surprise when listening to his recent autobiographical book to suddenly hear him start talking about the beauty of algorithms and variables and the challenges of modelling and prediciting and emulating real world behaviour in software.
The man is not a luddite and trying to demean him on that basis is uninformed at best.
Believe it or not, I know about him. I've read his comments about digital technology. I know about his son. I know where he is coming from.
It didn't show, but that's the power of name calling.
I agree on all points anyways.
Thus, I am happy with my totl vintage system from 77 (All technics "pro line" and SB-6000 speakers) and don't fret about headphone gear at all except that I love the look of tubes.
If I had to build a new sstem, I'd get a decent 200w per channel pro amp, drive it with an ASUS ST/STX card and spen the big part of my budget on speakers/headphones. Cables? I am happy with el cheapo whatever. Speaker wire? I'll build my own from som decent copper cables, wrap it in paracord or what not and be done with it.
So money spent on: Speakers/headphone - Music.