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Originally Posted by EssBrace
I thought it would go like this - all the venom against hi-fi lovers who are doing no harm to anyone and just want to hear their music sound better.

I have been an 'audiophile' but no longer consider myself one. I can see both sides but I always find the unpleasantness towards hi-fi lovers from non-hi-fi lovers difficult to rationalise.

At some point surely anyone would accept that some music replay systems are better than others. The desire to improve a music replay system gets labelled as 'audiophilia' or some other derogatory thing. When? Is it based on cost? When is that line crossed (in the minds of the audiophile haters)? I don't know. But how is it intrinsically bad that someone should want to hear their music sound as good as possible within their budget?

Exactly. I agree completely. The people I have bought my components from have more money than I have to spend on putting together a high quality system but I don’t disparage them because of that. The components they sell me help me improve my sound quality and I help them improve their sound quality by buying components that they are upgrading.

In turn, I sell the components I’m upgrading to those of lesser means so that they can improve their sound quality. I don’t disparage those people either.

I have never heard a complaint from anybody I have sold a piece of gear to, they’ve all been happy with the price and quality of what they’ve received.

Last edited by LarryK; 04/01/21 05:32 AM.
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Audiophiles in my (biased) opinion are most often people who don’t like music. They don’t care and are not touched by music.

Given that the point of a hi-fi system is to play music your statement is rather odd.

Why is wanting a better turntable/streamer/CD player/amps/speakers any different to wanting a better piano? Or better car? Or better wristwatch?

Using your argument:

Buyers of expensive or luxury cars don't like driving. Buyers of a high quality watch don't care about time. Buyers of Steinways or Avant Grands don't care about the piano.

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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Audiophiles in my (biased) opinion are most often people who don’t like music. They don’t care and are not touched by music.

Given that the point of a hi-fi system is to play music your statement is rather odd.

Why is wanting a better turntable/streamer/CD player/amps/speakers any different to wanting a better piano? Or better car? Or better wristwatch?

Using your argument:

Buyers of expensive or luxury cars don't like driving. Buyers of a high quality watch don't care about time. Buyers of Steinways or Avant Grands don't care about the piano.

Haha, brilliant point. When dealing with goods that can rise in value, there can be an argument made that the owners do not care about using the item. For instance, someone once quipped that Leica should stop putting shutters in their cameras because people were collecting them and not using them, in the hope that the value of them would rise.

This is not the case with any of the items you’ve mentioned, they’re all depreciating assets and are put into service. I don’t sit around with my stereo components in the original boxes hoping they’ll increase in value, I use them every day.

Does somebody who tolerates music on a terrible sound system love music more than someone who appreciates music on a finer playback system? I worked for a very wealthy man who played music in the office on a tiny Bluetooth speaker. The sound was terrible, but I did not complain, although I wished he would just use headphones like I did.

Last edited by LarryK; 04/01/21 06:09 AM.
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Audiophiles in my (biased) opinion are most often people who don’t like music. They don’t care and are not touched by music.

Given that the point of a hi-fi system is to play music your statement is rather odd.

Why is wanting a better turntable/streamer/CD player/amps/speakers any different to wanting a better piano? Or better car? Or better wristwatch?

Using your argument:

Buyers of expensive or luxury cars don't like driving. Buyers of a high quality watch don't care about time. Buyers of Steinways or Avant Grands don't care about the piano.
Exactly! People who buy luxury cars would most often buy them because they want to show off or because they enjoy how technologically advanced the car is. Same for Steinways and AvantGrands. Please note that I used "most often" and "there are exceptions of course".


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Audiophiles in my (biased) opinion are most often people who don’t like music. They don’t care and are not touched by music.

Given that the point of a hi-fi system is to play music your statement is rather odd.

Why is wanting a better turntable/streamer/CD player/amps/speakers any different to wanting a better piano? Or better car? Or better wristwatch?

Using your argument:

Buyers of expensive or luxury cars don't like driving. Buyers of a high quality watch don't care about time. Buyers of Steinways or Avant Grands don't care about the piano.
Exactly! People who buy luxury cars would most often buy them because they want to show off or because they enjoy how technologically advanced the car is. Same for Steinways and AvantGrands. Please note that I used "most often" and "there are exceptions of course".

What is wrong with enjoying technological advancements? I haven’t owned a car for the last twenty years. It was not until we started building cars that included autonomous driving features that my interest was piqued and I bought a Tesla Model 3. The car will outlast me, is zero emission, always has a full tank of “gas”, and has incredible acceleration. I’m happy. I needed a car and did not want a gas car and so I bit the bullet.

I voted with my dollars to not burn more gasoline, and my small purchase helps pave the way for even cheaper electric vehicles.

MIT did a study and found that electric car owners win over the long term. We pay more upfront, but gain from reduced maintenance costs, lower “fuel” costs, etc, over the long haul. I’m in it for the long haul.

How do you define showing off? Why can’t we celebrate human advancement in all its forms? People work hard to build better sound systems, cars, and pianos. Their efforts should be applauded, not denigrated.

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Electric cars are an entirely different discussion. I have no opinion. Or I have but it's because there are almost no charging stations over here, so if I have to travel to the seaside with an electric car, or do a road trip the way we love to do with my wife, they will have to tow me at some moment.

Originally Posted by LarryK
How do you define showing off? Why can’t we celebrate human advancement in all its forms? People work hard to build better sound systems, cars, and pianos. Their efforts should be applauded, not denigrated.

As to showing off. There is showing off and showing off. Human advancement isn't measured in what you can purchase with your money. Or are you telling me that it's easy to spot which Lamborghini driver is a neurosurgeon and which is a money launderer? People should show off with their actual achievement, not with assets derived from the money they earned through their skills.

Am I showing off with my piano clips in the N1X thread? Well, to a certain degree yes, although there are zillions of people that play better than me, so it's also pretty silly and boring. But at least I'm trying to show how I play and how I learned a new piece and how the AvantGrand helped me play better (I've posted comparisons in the past about how I can play better trills on a real piano actions, etc.), and not how I own an AvantGrand, otherwise I would post pictures of my living room with the N1X smile

Audiophile stories are just showing off because we can't hear how it sounds. So it's just silly showing off.

Last edited by CyberGene; 04/01/21 06:51 AM.

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I think this argument is beginning to ignore the difference between spending large sums and being obsessive over the ownership of such items.

If I read this correctly, CG finds distaste in the latter. His view of audiophilia involves obsession or compulsion or vanity, or some combination of these.

It seems that Larry and Ess fall into the former category: spenders who lack the peculiar obsession. Do they see themselves as "audiophiles"? I think CG does not.

But the term (like many others) is vague. I think this argument derives from that vagueness.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Electric cars are an entirely different discussion. I have no opinion. Or I have but it's because there are almost no charging stations over here, so if I have to travel to the seaside with an electric car, or do a road trip the way we love to do with my wife, they will have to tow me at some moment.

The future is coming, and charging stations along with it. With ranges of over 300 miles, now, the electric car is a viable option. I use 120v to charge at night and my car is ready for me every morning but I don’t drive long distances.

Originally Posted by LarryK
How do you define showing off? Why can’t we celebrate human advancement in all its forms? People work hard to build better sound systems, cars, and pianos. Their efforts should be applauded, not denigrated.

Originally Posted by CyberGene
As to showing off. There is showing off and showing off. Human advancement isn't measured in what you can purchase with your money. Or are you telling me that it's easy to spot which Lamborghini driver is a neurosurgeon and which is a money launderer? People should show off with their actual achievement, not with assets derived from the money they earned through their skills.

Am I showing off with my piano clips in the N1X thread? Well, to a certain degree yes, although there are zillions of people that play better than me, so it's also pretty silly and boring. But at least I'm trying to show how I play and how I learned a new piece and how the AvantGrand helped me play better (I've posted comparisons in the past about how I can play better trills on a real piano actions, etc.), and not how I own an AvantGrand, otherwise I would post pictures of my living room with the N1X smile

Audiophile stories are just showing off because we can't hear how it sounds. So it's just silly showing off.

People enable human advancement through what they purchase. If we all spent our money on criminal enterprises, there would be more crime in the world.

Since most of us do not do that, we have things like sophisticated pianos, autonomous vehicles, amazing computer systems, and good stereo systems.

I do find super cars to be a bit silly, as I am long past the age where I could drive one anywhere close to its limits and I’m not a race car driver. The Tesla is faster than any car I wanted in high school, lol.

As for the piano, and your use of the AvantGrand enabling your progress, good for you. I’m going to try to get a teacher to use my Disklavier as a tool in teaching me how to play the piano.

Everybody hears a poor reproduction of the actual sound of an instrument or stereo when captured in a recording. Unless you’re in the room, you’re not hearing the thing. Still, there is some essence of the thing in a recording.

I was on a Zoom work call and had absentmindedly left the stereo playing downstairs. The people on the Zoom call said, where is that beautiful music coming from? Ha, I could not believe that it sounded good at all, considering it is on the other end of a Zoom call.

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This is how I describe myself:

- I appreciate how higher end headphones sound. I can see the difference between them and cheaper ones.
- I don't understand the physics of sound and digital technology well enough answer the question: is what I have now the best and end of it, or is there something more?
- Because I don't understand, I get another pair.
- Then frustrated because I cannot answer that question never seems to go away, I return to the original one I bought a few years ago, which was itself an expensive purchase

I love the sound the audiophile headphones provide. I can hear the difference between them, radio and other headphones.

But what category am I? Obsessive? Ignorant? Spoiled brat? All three? I actually now realize I am not an audiophile. True audiophiles seem to have an understand of how sound and sound-related technology works.


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Originally Posted by mmathew
This is how I describe myself:

- I appreciate how higher end headphones sound. I can see the difference between them and cheaper ones.
- I don't understand the physics of sound and digital technology well enough answer the question: is what I have now the best and end of it, or is there something more?
- Because I don't understand, I get another pair.
- Then frustrated because I cannot answer that question never seems to go away, I return to the original one I bought a few years ago, which was itself an expensive purchase

I love the sound the audiophile headphones provide. I can hear the difference between them, radio and other headphones.

But what category am I? Obsessive? Ignorant? Spoiled brat? All three? I actually now realize I am not an audiophile. True audiophiles seem to have an understand of how sound and sound-related technology works.

I don’t think one can win in the court of public opinion. Ad hominem attacks are to be expected. If you buy something that was expensive, they’ll say you could have gotten better quality at 10% of the price, and that you hate music. If you buy cheap stuff they’ll say you’re a true music lover who transcends the limits of the equipment.

It is natural to be confused by the myriad choices out there and the difficulty of finding what sounds better but some systems do sound better than other systems, and some components are built to higher levels of quality then other components. The same applies to headphones, of course.

I don’t think you need to know anything about sound to appreciate good sound. If it sounds good it is good.

I’m not much into headphones anymore because I no longer ride the subway. Besides, I don’t like being locked into one physical position. Also, I now work at home so I can play my system out loud.

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I've only heard outstanding hi-fi systems a few times and was blown away each time, what a pleasurable experience!!!!!!!!!!! I would love to have a 'higher-end' system, but honestly I don't sit and listen to music much. I would invest in higher end monitors for my keyboard, which could do second duty as mix-down reference.

Probably the best sound I've ever heard was at an outdoor wedding. I'd set up 2 sets of speakers for the ceremony and reception, which was in an open meadow with a hill that rose up on one side somewhat steeply. I was aghast, what a sound! It felt completely 3d, I felt like I was INSIDE the sound, totally mesmerizing.

My speakers were nothing special, so I attributed it to the sound not bouncing off walls, and the hill that was next to us, bouncing the sound back.


The best speakers/headphones I've ever used were my Sennheiser HD 540 Reference II headphones, probably 25 years old? Beautiful, crisp, enveloping sound.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I’ve noticed there are a very few audiophiles among musicians. Musicians can appreciate your stereo and will love it but in the very next moment they can listen to their favorite recording on the mono speaker of their phone and would not care at all. Audiophiles in my (biased) opinion are most often people who don’t like music. They don’t care and are not touched by music. They collect only music that is considered “referent” for audio quality but would just spin it up for a minute once a month to either enjoy their system, not the music. Or to use it as an excuse for why they need to upgrade the power cable, or whatever, and would always find that there is something that needs an upgrade. There are exceptions of course.

I think, most arrangers, film scorers, composers (chamber orchestra) would disagree. These are people who love music, they create it, touch people with it. But as with every occupation, they need the best tools. They need to hear every detail. Primarily they are musicians, but are audiophiles as well by the definition of the hifi gears they use/need.

I understand audiophiles who always find something missing here, there. F1 drivers are the same, they can't win races while fidgeting about something, like too far pedals, or too soft a seat, or a tiny smudge in the helmet visor. Surgeons have their own quirks as well. There are just that, people who prefer to enjoy stuff or do stuff on their own terms.

To summarize, some people take a dump to loud music, others to scented candles and zen music. Whatever it takes to get the job done. smile


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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
I think, most arrangers, film scorers, composers (chamber orchestra) would disagree. These are people who love music, they create it, touch people with it. But as with every occupation, they need the best tools. They need to hear every detail. Primarily they are musicians, but are audiophiles as well by the definition of the hifi gears they use/need.

These people use studio equipment: monitors, mixing desks, audio interfaces, computers, plugins, software.

They don’t buy pseudo-science such as expensive USB and power cables or audiophile speakers and components.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
They don’t buy pseudo-science such as expensive USB and power cables or audiophile speakers and components.

So what is an audiophile speaker, or component?

The haters always give me the impression that they don't even accept some pieces of equipment are in fact better than others. Some ARE better and they SOUND better. And consequently they invariably cost more. I know you are way too sensible to take the view that all speakers (as one example) sound the same. So what is the problem with someone wanting the best they can afford? When does that cross the line into being an audiophile?

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Well, I wouldn't call the man in OP's video an audiophile by Cybergene's standards.
Even if he has a super steady table for vinyl record player with 3 almost-floor-to-ceiling speakers. Respect is still a must.
Although we find it funny to see an expensive sports car stuck in traffic like the rest of us,
we don't walk up to the guy and dance around his car, do we? We don't judge another man's culture by our own. Like when taking a dump, most Western cultures does it sitting down, while most Asian culture prefer squatting, neither is wrong.


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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by CyberGene
They don’t buy pseudo-science such as expensive USB and power cables or audiophile speakers and components.

So what is an audiophile speaker, or component?

Sorry, I was a bit over the top. I actually think speakers and components make difference. And I think some of my friends’ outrageously expensive speakers are worth it (of course with the law of diminishing returns fully applicable but that applies to pianos too).

What I wanted to say is composers and arrangers IMO rarely use audiophile speakers because they prefer studio monitors. Not because audiophile speakers are bad. They are not! I guess we all mean slightly different things when calling someone an audiophile. I appreciate good audio quality, so to a certain degree I’m an audiophile too maybe.

Speaking of which, I think I may be overly sensitive in regards to audiophile talk because I participate in a closed audiophile forum (it’s a long story but I was invited by my best man because I wanted to find good headphones). Some of these guys have USB cables that cost €1000 and they believe they can hear how that makes the sound “more open, punchy, velvety” and nonsense like that. It’s a digital cable carrying zeroes and ones, not audio, how come one can believe a cable carrying digital signals can make the sound more “open” and is worth it €1000 is beyond me. If that’s not the best example for stupidity, I don’t know what is…

Which is why I may be too grumpy when I hear “audiophilia”.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by CyberGene
They don’t buy pseudo-science such as expensive USB and power cables or audiophile speakers and components.

So what is an audiophile speaker, or component?

Sorry, I was a bit over the top. I actually think speakers and components make difference. And I think some of my friends’ outrageously expensive speakers are worth it (of course with the law of diminishing returns fully applicable but that applies to pianos too).

...I think I may be overly sensitive in regards to audiophile talk because I participate in a closed audiophile forum (it’s a long story but I was invited by my best man because I wanted to find good headphones). Some of these guys have USB cables that cost €1000 and they believe they can hear how that makes the sound “more open, punchy, velvety” and nonsense like that. It’s a digital cable carrying zeroes and ones, not audio, how come one can believe a cable carrying digital signals can make the sound more “open” and is worth it €1000 is beyond me. If that’s not the best example for stupidity, I don’t know what is…

Diminishing returns, yes, definitely. At the high end you can spend multiples more to get another few percentage points of whatever it is you're looking for.

As far as cables (especially cables for digital data) are concerned I pretty much agree with you. But I don't think it's stupidity on the part of people who do spend big on such things. They hear a difference. Or they think they do. And that's all that matters. My Dad is into it. I always say to him he wouldn't tell any difference in a controlled blind test. But ultimately he thinks he hears a difference. Which makes him happy. I don't think we should underestimate the effects of psycho-acoustic phenomena. Thinking you hear something can be as good as hearing something in certain circumstances. Like a placebo effect in clinical trials. This is really powerful stuff; the power of the mind over physical aspects.

All audiophiles (or, we could just call them people) are trying to do is get closer to the music; to hear it better. To hear it sound as good as it can within the limitations of the original recording. Because that's what gives them pleasure. Given what some people spend their money on, or what their interests are that might be destructive and/or negative (hunting or killing living things for pleasure for example), I just can't understand the irrational unpleasantness that is directed at them from some quarters.

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How? you ask ...
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Some of these guys have USB cables that cost €1000 and they believe they can hear how that makes the sound “more open, punchy, velvety” and nonsense like that ...
It’s a digital cable carrying zeroes and ones, not audio ...
How come one can believe a cable carrying digital signals can make the sound more “open” and is worth it €1000 is beyond me.
Why did the Heaven's Gate people believe that they would ascend into the afterlife by committing suicide when the Hale–Bopp comet approached?

Beliefs come in many shapes. But I don't know how.

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I grew up in the 1950s \ 1960s and fondly remember reading equipment reviews by Julian Hirsch and Gladden Houck in Stereo Review.

They measured and tested equipment and removed the b̶u̶l̶l̶s̶h̶i̶t̶ metaphysical nonsense. smile


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Better materials do make a difference in the audio output. Better materials literally every inch of the audio chain do make the audio better. Consequently, the price goes up, and I can accept that.

Forget $1000 USB cables for a minute. There is a post somewhere in the mazes of the audiophiles forums that talks about a specific type of weight block (I forget the technical term), that is placed on top of a high-end CD player. The weight block reduces the vibrations introduced by normal operation of the CD player, to negligible levels or zero. And the science says that the audio is cleaner by that much. I remember the price of that block to be well over $1K US.

I love the passion and science that's in play in audiophilia.


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