Author Topic: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks  (Read 1377 times)

zzzone.net

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NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« on: July 28, 2013, 12:48:50 PM »
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/garden/the-new-audio-geeks.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0

Points I would like to make:

1.  MP3s may usher a lot more people into the hi-fi world but many people with iPods could care less
2.  Digital or analog is fine as both have pros & cons
3.  The laws of diminishing returns applies to audio equipment probably more than any other area of technology or entertainment
4.  I think the article should have focused more on lossless versus lossy files
5.  No one can hear the difference between $10 and $1000 interconnects
6.  Vinyl, although I have had an addiction for it, is not the gold standard of audio formats

Jim

Edit:  Here's one of THOSE interconnects: http://www.thecableco.com/Product/Absolute at over $5000!  and another http://www.thecableco.com/Product/Mexcel-7N-D6100 at almost $7000.  If I had money to throw away, it certainly would not be on that nonsense. 

PS If you want a monthly laugh, check out http://www.theabsolutesound.com/ in paper format.  The equipment is described in highly subjective terms and NEVER tested in blinded settings to demonstrate that there is an objective reason to throw away 10 grand on a particular DAC, or cable or CD player.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 01:38:44 PM by jimzzzak »

petekelly

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 01:04:59 PM »
I could never afford to be a 'true ' audiophile, but I've known people who were.
I remember over 25 years ago going to this feller's terraced house in Leeds to share the quasi-spiritual experince of listening to a Can album through his monster-fi. Huge Quad (I think) electrostatic speakers, mono-block amps and the most esoteric turntable I'd ever seen. It did indeed sound great, but the whole thing seemed to bring him as much aggravation as joy, as he was constantly buying and upgrading gear.

Quote
5.  No one can hear the difference between $10 and $1000 interconnects
 
I would tend to agree :)

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 05:04:57 PM »
Utmost respect to you both but I care to differ on cables / inter connectors......without question I can hear the difference between $10 & $1000 wire.  I have had a decent amount of cables in this audiophile price range connected to an audiophile amp and audiophile speakers in my studio when it was setup for mastering and recording.  Good sound is good sound.....I prefer not to listen to mp3's....I can hear that something is missing.  Flac is fine! 

I was fortunate to grow up in a house in the UK where Quad was the hi fi system which I later persuaded my mum that she really did need and absconded it. 

Certainly this audiophile gear can get out of hand but like most things in life...the line of communication is paramount....you want it to be received, in this case music, the way it was intended. Like sitting before the Berlin Philharmonic performing Beethoven's 9th symphony.

Now I'll go and read the article ;)......Love & Peace 

petekelly

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 01:42:29 AM »
Julio,
I should clarify my reply by saying that I've always used good quality interconnects and cabling, but the one time when I moved towards the more audiophile side of things (Van den Hull carbon fibre interconnect), I just couldn't get it it's 'superior' transmission qualities.

I think Jim's point #3 is a good one:
Quote
3.  The laws of diminishing returns applies to audio equipment probably more than any other area of technology or entertainment


Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 06:35:04 AM »
Yes Pete.....diminishing is the right word.  I did recently sell my Andromeda synth for twice what I paid for it in 2006 so its not all downhill.   

All of my master gear is sold except for 2 cables...Acoustic Zen balance inter connectors that go from my DAC to my monitors.  I had thoughts of selling them and did my own test between a pair of mogami cables and the Acoustic Zen cables.  The Acoustic Zen cables won....now to describe what I heard is so subjective that perhaps it comes down to I liked them better.....well what did you like about them more than the mogami?  That is the question.  Perhaps it as silly as preferring vanilla ice-cream over chocolate.  Like I prefer my Lavry AD/DA converter over the conversion from my Metric Halo Box.  Is it better no.  It does cost twice as much.  Does the Lavry sound different, yes and its that difference that keeps me using them.

I got this impression from scanning the links you posted Jim.....opinions are all over the place. Need to read so more

There is a learning stage or better put you acquire over time an appreciation for what this gear does.  In good mastering rooms around the world you find names like McIntosh, Krell and Pass labs amps to name a few.  Audiophile cables and speakers like B&W, Revel and Thiel.   This gear does a serious job and is not for pleasure purposes.

Ultimately we use the best gear we can afford and gets the job done from the joys of listening to our favorite music to recording our next release!

Seren

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2013, 01:04:19 PM »
Many years ago I had technics system - I upgraded from something like £10 speaker cables to £20 - it sounded so different I had take time swapping them back and forth until I got used to the difference - which was an improvement.

The difference when I got some JMLab speakers was even more astounding.

About the same time I was working in another part of the UK and took a colleague into a Hi-Fi shop and pretended I'd just inherited £10,000. he didn't know my music so the sound did not really hit him. I asked the shop to put on a track currently in the charts - Frozen by Madonna - and my friends jaw hit the floor, he said it felt like he could hear her jeans rub as she walked around.

in 2011 I was buying some new headphones (grado 325si) and played some of my own music on the shops £16,000 system - played Strange Attractor (from the Hypnos compilation Sounds of a Universe Overheard) and the clarity of the sound was awesome. They kept turning up the volume and the bass sounds did not trouble it at all - and the clarity of the treble was not lost either......

I'm always reminded of 2 sayings - 'the more you open the door, the more shit comes flying through' and 'your sound is only as good as the weakest link in the chain' - If I was spending these amounts of money I would not waste the money by getting cheap cables.

chris23

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2013, 01:48:24 PM »
I'm not sure if I envy those of you who have the ears to appreciate the distinctions in quality or whether I think you're cursed.  ;)


zzzone.net

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Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2013, 05:09:07 AM »
Interesting read Jim.......the one non myth that really struck me is this quote from the article copied below

"Experiments have shown that people can hear the difference between sources where one is just 0.2dB louder than the other – and a trained mixing engineer can probably do better than that. The effect is one reason why the A&R staff at record labels insist on making masters as loud as possible – a track that sounds louder on the radio will often fare better with audiences."

This fact that music, especially pop music has been made to be as loud as possible has actually destroyed the pleasures of listing to music.  By making the master as loud as can be the music gets distorted, and this is not tape distortion or subtle tube distortion that our ears like. Also by making everything loud the dynamics are severally altered where and instruments that may have been more desecrate in the original mix are know right up front. 

This is less of a concern for the ambient / electronic genres we love here but like most things there is a trickle down effect and with many ambient musicians, who are not mastering engineers, doing there own mastering with software presets designed with a modern approach, care needs to be taken.

So how does this effect the person sitting in front of their $10,000 audiophile system and that person with an iPod and ear buds......perhaps the ipod will not exhibit this problem and the audiophile's microscopic show every audio detail system will hear the nasty truth in all its glory.  I would expect it to be this way. 

As the quote states....."a track that sounds louder on the radio will often fare better with audiences." suggests that people dont care or perhaps to know to care in the first place and that slamming the music at the mastering stage potentially ruins it

mgriffin

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Re: NY Times.com: The New Audio Geeks
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 12:04:00 PM »
When people tell me they can hear the difference between $10 and $50 cables, I don't doubt them. Likewise, it's not far-fetched to imagine you can hear the difference between a $200 amplifier and one costing $1000.

I wonder about people who claim they can hear huge improvements between $50 cables and $100 cables, though… or $2000 and $4000 amplifiers.

I also think it's funny how many people will assert that power cables, HDMI cables and USB audio cables of different/better quality will result in better sound (or picture) coming from the components connecting them.
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