Rerurn to Romy the Cat's Site

Playback Listening
Topic: Got today via email.

Page 1 of 1 (7 items)

Posted by Romy the Cat on 01-19-2007

Looking at the sound that audio high-enders cultivate as High-End Sound I have little enthusiasm in what I see/hear. The High-End Sound, as it exists in 99% of listening rooms is not really High-End Sound but rather the High-End Labeled Sound where the sound is not the result of person/playback efforts but rather a rendering of the precompiled answers to the un-asked questions…

In the past high-enders adopted to themselves an “insulting word Hi-Fi” and they spread it to any “better” sound that they feel did not reach the true High-End demands. The concept was rational but the presence in High-End of those incredible idiots who use phrases instead of the phrases ‘ meaning completely devaluate the applied negative meaning of phrase Hi-Fi. Nowadays you will see many people who represent a summit of sonic nothingness but who very quick to label whatever they do not sell or do not understand yet as “Hi-Fi”. Ask them to explain to you what Hi-Fi means in term of Sound and you will see who you deal with…. I call is the “acid test of audio dealer”: listen to am audio-dealer as ask a few “whys” upon his comment – 99% of then colaps immediately….

The irony is that what today most of the Audio-Morons ™ call as High-End in fact has all attributes of original “applied-negative” meaning of “Hi-Fi”...

So, what in today High-End audio world widely accepted as High-End Sound? The picture is very grim. As time will come I will be posting in this thread my bitching about what Audio-Morons™ consider as their “High-End Sound”. I’m not wiling to target any specific manufactures Rather I would like to think about common unfortunate tendencies and the generalized unfortunate results…

The caT

Posted by jessie.dazzle on 01-21-2007


Because I am sort of mentally challenged and slow, I have dissected and rewritten what I think you meant to say in the middle of your post. Below is my interpretation (say so if I've got it wrong) :

...In the past high-enders came up with the term Hi-Fi, which they applied in a somewhat derogatory manner ; using it to define what they considered "better" sound, but sound that still fell short of their High-End demands.

The concept was rational. However, the incredible idiots (now ?) populating the High-End world use terms without consciousness. In the case of the term Hi-Fi, it is now employed in complete ignorance of its original, somewhat derogatory connotation.

Nowadays audio dealers (?) representing what has become the summit of High-End Audio (really the summit of Sonic Nothingness) are very quick to label products that are slow to sell, or products which are not yet understood, as "Hi-Fi"...

The rest of your post is very clear ; in fact, it is all very clear to me now, but I sort of needed to go through this dissection to get there.

Still, I may have got it wrong, let me know... "hang in there jd, it will come to you..."


Posted by Romy the Cat on 01-22-2007

Generally it is very uncharacteristic subject in audio: the destiny of audio reproduction. Destiny might be only with something that has its own lifespan. Audio reproduction is in a way an imitation and therefore should hot have own destiny because it coupled with the subject of imitation - live sound. Well, it is not so simple.  Audio reproduction as it understood toady in so-called High-End audio if far from simulation of original sound and audio reproduction fully developed its own life. Therefore it is perfectly possible to observe the rules and properties of the audio reproduction as a self-contained entity.

The dissociation between audio reproduction and live Sound took place long time ago. I will live this subject aside as it is not necessary the fault of audio itself. Sine then Audio developed itself into as self-serving entry with own rules and definition of success. The destiny of Audio took hit after hit: the introduction of ported enclosures, the introduction of solid state electronics, introduction of soft suspension, introduction of first badly implemented digital, shaping up the industry propaganda mashie and many others. It was long time ago and it’s all pilled out a layer after a layer from the body of civilized Sound. Among the events that took place recently there was also one very important event that moved general state of audio in listening rooms of general audio public from being just a mediocre  sound imitation to being an expellant surrogate of  sound abstraction. I’m taking about introduction in the end of the 90s a notion of high resolution digital.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong in the notions of high resolution digital. Those 16-bit are not enough and the difference between 16-bit and 20-bit is very auditable even within a scope of a D/A processor that costs $10. However, with high resolution digital unfortunately we did not have the promised high resolution but we had a very badly implemented (in most cases fraudulently implemented) pseudo-high resolution, or a sort of “something new and something blue” to justify the new marketing taking points. Get a good quality 24/94 A/D processor, makes a live recording and then compare it with the crap that “they” push to us as DVD-Audio? I’m even taking about SACD that Ed Meitner slaughtered what he went form 4-bit DSD to single bit SACD. Any civilized engineer, even without hearing, who has his IQ higher then air temperature in Massachusetts during January would tell you that it is juts imposable, juts mathematically impossible to get SACD properly implemented at 1-bit,… still the audio Morons keep “love it” that new “high resolution SACD”…

Well, do you remember as in 80s-90s people were renovating our concert halls trying to make the concert halls to “response” similar to the sound of cheap solid state electronics? The very same effect took place in 2000s. The introduction pf the high resolution surrogate switched the entire high-end industry to a very specific direction. The industry, literally, begun to aim itself to impersonate what that bad pseudo-high-resolution did. As the result: everything that I ever heard from 2000 and up to now has that glare of “expedited resolution”. It is interesting that the expedited resolution has nothing to do with true resolution. The expedited resolution more reminds me a silver film playing at 35 frames per second. It has almost caricature quality and it would be even funny to watch if people do not take it seriously. The biggest problems that people do take it seriously, not only take it seriously but also they completely lost their minds about own listening objectives and the nature of non-expedited Sound.
Let me say again: I do not know any single manufacture in today audio that stay not affected by irrational expectations of today's listeners. This ever-present surrogate high resolution become an identity of today audio, the unfortunate identity I have add…. The next post I will dive into the nature of that “new identity”…
Romy the caT

Posted by Romy the Cat on 01-23-2007

***  This ever-present surrogate high resolution become an identity of today audio, the unfortunate identify I have add….

Did you note that that all so-called high-end items while they try to send a message to users that they sounds “better” in fact sound in a very SAME distinguish way? Someone among older philosophers, I do not remember already who it was, suggested that a person should roll a barrel ahead itself. If a person walks across a village then no one notice him. However, if a person rolls a large barrel ahead himself then anyone recognizes that the “person who rolls a barrel” has visited the village… The very same happens with so called high-end audio elements. They all inject that “barrel” into sound. Ironic is that for the contemporary typical audio idiots who get their “education” from audio press and from the Audiogon/AudioAylum sewers the presence of this “barrel” is in fact the definitions of audio quality. Do not even try to plays to those Morons a playback that does not do “barrel”. If you do so the Moron will be sitting in there in complete loss, spinning his head like intoxicated ducks and without understanding what is going on he will keep asking you “Where is the sound?” (Not invented story, I witnessed it multiple times)

So, what characterizes that “surrogate high resolution” or the “barrel sound” of the toady’s audio? The answers is not that you expect….

To be continuing….
Romy the Cat

PS: Sorry, it was pointed out to me that I used Mormonism instead Moronism in this post. It was very un-intentional and I juts miss-spelt it, it is corrected now.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 01-25-2007

Make an experiment. Take any of those contemporary “highly reputed playback systems” and roll of their HF and LF unit you reach gramophone bandwidth. You might narrow the bandwidth with electric (LC) filers or with mechanical filers it would not be relevant. Yes, your filtrations method will have some consequences but let discard the delta coming from the filtrations method. Now, after you did roll, the tails off you have a contemporary high-end system with bandwidth roughly between 100Hz and 7kHz. Listen what you have. Yes, you obviously will be distracted by the frequency limitations and many other factors but if you care about the music itself instead of interest of portraying of HOW music Might sound then you will be tuned to that limited bandwidth and will eventually experience less frustrations. Spend a few days listening like this and get comfortable. Listen a few other playbacks in the same “gramophone mode”, so get use to this sound. Now remove your bandwidth limiting mechanisms.

It is very interesting to observe what happens. Of course in wide bandwidth many “positive” properties will please your hearing and sound unquestionably become “better”. However, pay attention that with introduction of wider bandwidth you DID NOT gain anything that benefit your ability to “get” music. What that wider bandwidth will do is masking out the imperfections that your system had while it played the “gramophone bandwidth”. I t is not secret that most of your gramophone bandwidth sound very poor and what those “wider bandwidth extension” will be doing? They will be exactly the barrel that a person is rolling ahead himself while he is waling across a village (look for a previous post)… It is unfortunate tendency in today audio as most of the efforts of the today audio builders targeted to moderate size and nose that coming for that barrel instead of observing why that person is waling across the village and sensing where he is doing…

Let look deeper into the results that we will have with today audio in the limited “gramophone” bandwidth – the result before the “barrel masking” treatment was applied. The main problems are following:

1) Max dynamic insufficiency
2) Dynamic compression
3) Chromatic blindness and lack of tonal discrimination
4) Articulation disability

Those problems generally heavy dominating in today sound but they are not too obvious for a typical listener-moron because they are masked out by the “wide bandwidth barrel stimulators”. Those Hi-HI stimulators act like some Alzheimer dedications. The Alzheimer patients when their body movements get almost immobilized use medications that hipper-stimulate their muscle activities (the appearance of Michael J. Fox on TV for instance). Without the medications those people’s muscles would be like vegetables but induced by the mediations the people might function somehow.  So,  in today audio, instead of trying to make better the unfortunate sound inside the “gramophone” bandwidth the industry inverts new and new ways to mediate the ill sound inside of the “gramophone bandwidth” and the industry does it with different “wide bandwidth stimulators”… 

BTW, if you feel that inside of the “gramophone bandwidth” YOUR AUDIIO does well then listed the … gramophone itself. You might learn a lot….

OK, let look at the sound of those wide-bandwidth barrel-stimulators without connected them to the sound inside the “gramophone” bandwidth. It is interesting that the sound of those stimulators is kind of opposite to the limitations inside of the “gramophone range”. The stimulators mostly have:

1) Subjectively higher dynamic range by using artificial sound acceleration
2) Subjectively  expended dynamics by slaughtering harmonics
3) A perception of tonal discrimination by compartmentalizing sound into little “impactfull”  disconnected particles
4) Setting up own accents that have absolutely no relatively or connectively with musical or performing intends.

From here is very obvious how the motioned “barrel-stimulators” view by many fools as a complimentary to the problems that playbacks have in the dystrophic “gramophone range”. The process of stuffing a dead body of bad sound in “gramophone range” by the anti Alzheimer medication … it is what  the Audio Morons ™ call today as “High End audio”

The next post I will be looking into those hi-fi “stimulators” and explain why they are so “comfortably addictive” for the majority of audio public

Romy the Cat

Posted by Romy the Cat on 01-31-2007

Mighty lights changed that night into morning,
Speakers blew up that orderly silence
With my tunes that the country had learned.
But my voice, gruff and husky, and roaring,
By the latest achievements of science
Into pleasant falsetto was turned.
(Vysotsky, 1973)

In the would of “surrogate sound” the primary objective of audio component is to deliver an immediate gratification to a listener by exposing him/her to various simulated sonic effects.

Those Sonic Effects are evidences of Sound or the manifestation of sound but not THE Sound itself. Where is the difference? Well, Sound it self-justifiable entity where the characteristic of Sound’s expressionism have relevancy to Sound meaning. The Sonic Effects are the sounds that exist themselves without any connectively to own purpose.

Where is a difference between Sonic Effects (I call them the Surrogate Sounds) and Sound? Try to “compare” a play of many of contemporary high-skilled piano players with some “other” greatest players. Many today’s players have stunning techniques and have no mistakes in their notes rendering. However their notes are not “compliable” within a framework of the human idea of the performing peace. From other side of you look at “other” pianists (let take for instance the Vatican Recordings of Arturo Michelangeli) then we see that he made a lot of something that could be called “mistakes”. However, those “mistakes” are very much justifiable and balanced out by the performer’s intentions and therefore those mistakes did not work as ‘shortcomings of performances’ but rather they worked as the features of the interpretations. The very much the same is in Sound reproduction. Sound serves meaning and purpose that has association with humanity of a listener. The Surrogate Sonic Effects have no meaning and no purposeful messages besides informing a listener about the self-serving “Sonic Differences”….

Many of today’s hi-fi manufactures, from sonic-cultural perspective, are very shallow individuals. Many of them juts learned hot to apply bias to tubes or how to screw drivers to polished boxes and they feel that their “skills” enough qualification to become audio solution providers. They produce their audio at the best of their knowledge but their knowledge and their understanding of Sound restricted by their primitive understanding of Sound. In reality they do not know Sound but rather they know only the sequences of Sonic Effects. Therefore they mostly do not recognize own mastership of infliction to Sound – they involved juts in the Sonic Effects rearrangements. They do not create Sound as a super entity but they manufacture Sonic Effects toolkits - the commodity to entertain the pre-sold public.

Here is where we reach a very important point that has a lot of to do with fate of Hi-Fi. There is a silent alliance between primitivism of manufacturer capacity and the areas of consumer frustrations.  This silent alliance the hi-fi industry chose to exploit. The today’s industry propaganda does encourage a consumer to search for more meaningful audio. Rather the industry ignite in a prospective consumer a set of artificial frustrations and then offer to the consumer some kind of audio product that presumably addresses those frustrations. However since this “inspirited frustrations” are purely artificial,  purely contrived and have no relevancy to real live then the “virtues” that today “successful” audio product delivers exist ONLY in context of Sonic Effects not in context of Sound. Since the “inspirited frustrations” and “deliver virtues” have no real meaning the industry dance around the “varieties” and “difference” failing to educate consumers that those “differences” and pointless.  In fact, stressing and creating anxiety around those “meaningful difference” is way how the industry makes living and it is why unfortunate audio people  keep buying PURPOSEFULLY each year a new amplifiers of a new speaker. Why PURPOSEFULLY? Because the industry convinced them that a new model delivers a new set of those “Surrogate Sonic Effects” – and as I said above the Sonic Effects are “not important”. As the result an average audio person in the hand of today industry demonstrate behavior similar to that Pussy from “New Yorker” magazine:

There is a lot of recursion in the processes of pushing of the “Surrogate Sonic Effects” but the biggest problem, as I can see it, is that this recursion has an EXPANDING SPIRAL CHARACTER where each new turn further and further moves listening awareness from any more or less civilized Sound.

Surrogate Sonic Effects slowly become the identifiable characteristics that the Audio-Morons understood as “Good Sound”. Form here the supply-demands progression is logically flows: The producing layer of Morons offer to the market ONLY what the consumer layer of Morons are wiling to get. Between them are running the marketing layer of Morons, putting up new and new sets of easy achievable and easy saleable Surrogate Sonic Effects. They setup their new directions that leads any Morons-consumers to a new turn of ever-expanding spiral of the Sonic Effects bogusness…

The next my pots in this there will outline some specific exemplas how the Surrogate Sonic Effects become the fate of High-End Audio objectives.

Romy the Cat

Posted by Romy the Cat on 08-04-2010

Page 1 of 1 (7 items)