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Topic: It depends...

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 12-25-2010

In the thread: “The industry-embraced audio and classical music” Stitch made a post that implied that the industry-sponsored indifferent sound is more attracted to the people who has a lot of money. I do not know how accurate that observation but it made me to think about the following:

Who in contemporary High-End Audio has the most persuasive and more able sound? I mean is somebody would like to demonstrate to Martians what definition of success in High-End Audio is then what kind people would be able to do it?

No, I do not ask about your or myself to reminiscent about where you heard the best results from audio. I more interested to know what type or an abstract group of people per capita has better audio result then other group.

I do not think that rich audio people have good sound, generally the folks with a lot of money, despite having a lot of expensive equipment do not demonstrate changing sound. Sure there are exceptions but we are taking about composite result for entire group.

Dealer’s show rooms are also very very very seldom demonstrating good sound, there are many reasons for, not to last of them that sales personals shall not be able to demonstrate sound more able then buyer can understand. This is, BTW, one of the reasons why high-end salon’s owners heir only audio- retards to work on the sales floor.

The recording pros have unquestionably great opportunity to be the group with the best sound. It is not the case as they grossly discard playback part of sound reproduction. Also, the majority of them look to have recording to be a replica of live event – a bogus approach - so they are disqualified.

Reviewing, editing and publishing staff is out of picture for multiple reasons, not the last one because they have too frequently revolving equipment and they hardly able to organize playback to use whatever they got.

DIYers mostly have very bad, very-very bad sound. Of course DIYers might be different level and among DIYers you can meat incredibly knowledgeable and talented armature-engineers. However, most of the DIYers among those who learned how to cut wood and how to solder do not have cultural listening and musical background to assess what they do and to comprehend what the values of own solutions.

The rich audio people devoted to brands and stay with great loyalty to a brand. People with less money do not dedicated to brand and labels but they devoted to specific marketing campaign. The history of high-end audio, as I observe it for the last 15 years, is a string of marketing campaigns that pre-developed and sold to spineless and non-ambitious public. If to look at the sonic results that average audio person get but to subtract from that result the chewed up and presold marketing objective then in most of the cases the Hi-Fi king will have naked body, destroyed by hard-progressing gummatous syphilis.

I can stratify many other groups but I think you have the point. I think in today audio world the audio groups that most likely have the best sound are personal installations of audio manufacturers.   Not the crap that they demonstrate at audio shows but their own home installations.

Unfortunately, the audio manufacturers are absolutely removed from the audio demonstrations.  The richest of them do have own dedicated demo room and this is very good. Unfortunately those manufacturers own listening rooms are not exposed to public and I feel it is very unfortunate. If I want o buy $100K speaker or amplifier then what would be more rational then to talk to the person who did it and let the person to demonstrate to me what the equipment is able to. The plain ticket, even to another side of globe cost virtually nothing in compare to the price that I am about to pay for the speaker or amplifier. Sure, the industry jumps out of skin to shut up a manufacturer and to assure public that audio can be hear only by train to sell stolen cars professional demonstrator. Sure, the industry does it as it where the 70% of murk up come from… The biggest problem however, is not the money but the fact the injecting itself into demonstration process the industry by many means (very loaded comment) kills the sound that would be possible to obtain from a raw product by other ways.

I do feel that manufacturers, as a group, have best sound among all industry groups. It is in way similar to the winery - you can get the best wine by learning from a given wine maker how to drink his wine and how to get it.

I wonder can an audio dealer to operate as traveling guide instead as a sale person?  If we looking for a reference end  the opportunity to experience the best possible result in sound reproduction then why do not deal with the environment what the best possible result most likely to appear?

Rgs, Romy the Cat

Posted by Paul S on 12-25-2010
What a very interesting take!  Maybe it's a little like the politician who starts out with the idea that he will work extra hard and be extra correct in order to "make a difference" for the Better.  Then it turns out that there is already a well-tuned system at work, yadda, yadda,yadda...

I have also heard a couple of pretty good systems owned by close friends of the Top Dogs, so there may well be something to the idea that the biggest problems are with the processes (and people...) involved with "marketing".

Even so, although we keep saying it, it is hard to swallow whole:  At least in this case, we get what we deserve.

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by Stitch on 12-26-2010
I thought about this for many years... but, to make the story short:
I agree with that idea for Loudspeaker manufactures, this makes a bit sense, but even here you will have experiences, which will make you die 10 years earlier.
Avant-Garde for example has such a Demo room, the Phono cable from Tonearm to Preamp is about 30 feet....
Do you really think, you will hear something new when you go to Harman Kardon to listen to the Mark Levinson Preamps/Amps? I know the answer.
In the last years, I met a few "manufacturers" (believe me, hard to believe who names himself with that title), most of them have absolutely no money, no idea from anything ... they exchange components (my DAC for your Preamp, your Turntable for my cables.....endless. My Preamp for a review :-)... And the worst, absolutely the worst from all....far, far above all are Phono Stage Designers. Ahem wait, or Turntable "Designers"?...).
Sometimes I prayed to God and asked for Mercy, based on that experiences I love Dealers. These poor guys have absolutely nothing to laugh know, what is the next horror ----> the customer, to hide their idiocy they name themselves "Audiophile" wait, even worse :"Music Lover"  :-)

Then we have the loyal discriminated Audiophile, he is also always short on money and these two parties find each other "I can give you a Demo model for 4500 instad of 10500..(or 20000 instead of 55000 it doesn't matter)."   "Oh great, I will love you until I die and of course I will write positive comments in all Forums on this nice and friendly you are...your enemy is my enemy..."
My neighbor is in jail now, for 3,5 years. He betrayed people and didn't pay tax....I said to my wife, great! I hope they find something more to keep him longer in the area of a well proved timetable and regular meals.
The local Hairdresser was shocked about the jail story "...he was always soooo nice and friendly...hard to believe"
My answer: "Yes, when you want to betray people you HAVE to be friendly & nice. Otherwise they will not give you their money."

Posted by AOK_Farmer on 12-26-2010
*House style*, whether couture, wine, symphonic composition, or something specific such as Romy's audio construction is a logical consistency between products from a given manufacturer due to that manufacturer's take on the art form. I would argue that the stronger the *house style* the more valid its artistic premis and the greater the absolute worth of that product line to someone trying to own something he/she can learn from because he/she understands the artistic language. Which is why Romy gets such high marks even if you disagree with his stated premises. Of course to build the *house* you usually have to also have commercial viability which, given the artistic foundations of *house style* leads to its necessarily high prices and exclusivity simply because most folks, rightfully so, wont to pay for an art that doesn't speak to them.

This is where the idiocy of wealth comes in. Wealth can afford the superficiality of owning the art of a *house style* without understanding it's language. People gravitate towards art even when they don't know it's art. Some can afford to own it without understanding it. Most of the world necessarily forsakes the seemingly subjective truths of art and *houise style* for the chosen single absolute truth of the age they live in. These are the mass marketed products.


Posted by Romy the Cat on 12-26-2010


sure we all know that exist crewless manufactures. Avant-Garde  is one of the examples. As far as I know, or as it use to be, they outsource all development and the core company itself is unfortunately are very accidental in audio people. Sure, not all manufactures are able, because of multiple reasons, to organize a proper demonstration of their products. Still, a person/company still not necessary shall demonstrate good Sound. I personally would rather do not witness proper Sound but rather I would like to see a person who by organizing his tailored playback and demonstration in certain way would be able to make a point, or to bring a testimony about what s/he is willing to express by the virtue of a given product.  If you visit me and ask me to make you familiar with specifics performing aspects of met say my A/D converter or one of the Macondo channels then I would know how to demonstrate my playback in order to indicate what I consider is the most valuable in the selected  A/D converter or Macondo channel. I assure that most of the manufactures have similar sentiments.

Yes, it is very possible that that point or a performing aspect that a proverbial manufacture is willing to demonstrate you find invalid or not important for you. This is perfectly fine – here is where the balance of reference points takes place. I remember I was invited in a home of my local Boston amplifier manufacturer. He informed me that he makes unique SS amps. I did stop by and I heard it. After I heard it and explained him about his amps sound he literally tossed me out of his house. I think that this is normal and we did not waste time on each other. The important part was however that turned me off was not how the amp sound but the maker objectives that I found absolutely childish.

The point I am trying to make is that in manufactures hands products might be in condition to be able to expose this best characteristics.  That is why I feel that per capita, among all groups the manufactures most likely have the best demonstrable sonic result. If not they, then who?

The Cat

Posted by Stitch on 12-27-2010
 Romy the Cat wrote:

 If not they, then who?

The Cat

Romy, I know, you are one of the very rare guys in Audio who want to push the curtain, to improve reproduction and to serve good knowledge to the mass of discriminated Music Lovers.Unfortunately most don't understand you right, but you can't change it, most wouldn't detect a good sounding Preamp, even when it would be thrown into their face.
The huge difference between you, me and others is the job we have and the definition of "good".  We don't need to sell units to survive, we have a real job and High End is a hobby (lets use that definition) and what we rate as "good" from our listening experience/knowledge/understanding/what-is-responsible-for-what has nothing in common with a Manufacturer, Importer, Dealer. Their definition of "good" is based on sold units. Nothing else.
"They" only listen to you when they have the impression you like their units or you are interested to buy it.

When you tell them what is inferior/wrong/cheap they will hate you from one second to the next. And they hate you MUCH more when they know you can afford their units but refuse to, because you got the point(s) of weakness. Then they start to badmouth you (that is much more simple than to think about their own "design"). Same is valid for listening to Systems from Audiophiles, you are welcome as long you are in ave...Based on these experiences I went to dealers to have demos. I offered them money to hire their listening room for 1-2 hours and asked them to connect the units I was interested.
The other way is - or was - getting in touch with Audiophiles who own a interesting System, but this needs a LOT of time, and it is also depressing at the end of day. Most are horrible, because they all believe the monthly nonsense from the mags. And the difference from sound quality between cheap or expensive? None.  Only in higher volume and nicer Design.
The very few Systems I listened to which were really outstanding ( maybe 3 from 40 ) are from people which have absolutely no interest to get in touch with other "Audiophiles", are very seldom in Online forums and I found them more or less by accident or private recommendations.In the 90's I had a few dealers which were a bit different, they had 2 opinions, an official one (for the monthly idiots they had to live from) and a private opinion about something (and a private System). All of them are out of business, based on age or frustration. I stopped going to dealers, the whole business changed. Sound quality is only blah-blah but no one knows what it is. When you start to talk about, they nodd, but have absolutely no idea.The only thing you have in common is the sentence "What an idiot". The Manufacturer/Shop owner will say that to his employee when you left the shop and you do the same.Real High End with some  (not much) brain behind is a - very - lonely way today.

Posted by unicon on 12-27-2010
 Stitch wrote:

We don't need to sell units to survive, we have a real job and High End is a hobby

Stitch I really agree with you but to be more clear we are kind of guilty as well I think WE as audio people never took a part in audio industry .
And I seriously believe that if 1 % of audio people here get involved in audio industry (making a perfect (means fault free to me) ) products then we could get free and run away from collapsing shelter of High-End ... .


Posted by rowuk on 05-01-2019
If we want to show martians what commercial audio is about, then we visit a studio like Abbey Road and let them experience a commercial productionIf we want to show martians playback ritual, then we go to LinnIf we want the martians to experience bleeding edge technology, then we have to find an integrator worth his salt. I know of no one.If the martians are intelligent, they will be asking questions that we have no answers for because we do not have terminology to describe what we need.

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