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10-31-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,052
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 21291
Reply to: 21291
Audio industry metaphor

Recently I was traveling and spoke with an audio guy. He advised that I need to stop by to listen his playback. I ask why he thinks his playback is worthy to listen. He gave me a long list of expensive and industry-reputed component that formed his installation. In his mind it was some kind of assurance of "audio quality" that he presumably is able to demonstrate.  Listening his bombastic recite of his audio investments and without hearing any evidence that he is able to express any sensible or valuable to me audio or musical thoughts I desisted that to visit him does not worth my time. The sad thing in this story is that the pure guy's feeling about himself is very typical in audio community.
Audio is kind of fucked up field with many completely corrupted definitions. For instance I have horrible ski techniques. Not just horrible. I was using skis just a few hours in my life and it was a disaster. As a result I am absolutely not able to ski. However, if I use high-end audio interaction paradigm and willing to ski then I would buy some kind of expensive and prestigieuse slalom skiing equipment and then I would behave like I do dally jumps over Lauberhorn's Hundschopf. The point is that in skiing even a fool understands that sine I have no skiing skills then no amount or quality of sophisticated skiing equipment would be able to rectify it or make me less capable on a slope. Furthermore, since I am absolutely ignorant in skiing I shall not bale able even to recognize or differentiate any bad skiing tools from better skiing tool. I might use a common sense but since I am not practicing skier then my opinion can't be put in use and worth nothing. The very same logic in most of cased would be applicable to most fields of human activity but is NOT something that we see in high-end audio.
In high end audio a presence of expensive toys is almost a self contained target. It is not about a pride of ownership or price per se but rather a need for a typical audio moron to build an association between himself, audio industry and the rest audio Morons using a given peace of audio gear as some kind of bounding devise. So, in a way for most of typical audio simpletons an amplifier, a speaker of the proverbial cable elevation act as some kind of physiological decoy that cures whatever mental, cultural or physiological challenges they have. The audio industry in this direction acts no different than another ugliest industry – the pharmaceutical. As pharmaceutical industry invents new ways to incentivize a consumer to buy their products the audio industry do identically the same. If you look at ALL audio reviews that were written during the last let say 20 years then you will see that they were product centric but not the consumer need-centric. In this environment it is not secret why most of audio products, regardless of price, do not provide any predictable benefits to audio consumers.
So, what happed to my guy above? He is the person who has no-well formed listening objectives. It happens that he did not buy a boating, golfing or any another "hobby" magazine but it was some kind of audio magazine.  The person clearly has issuers of self-identification and in his week mind to get $300K audio is one of the ways to deal with self-appraisal. I certainly do not blame him, in the end it is better to brainlessly polish TT platter than shot heroin, drink vodka, beat wife or join Nazi party. However, the pursuit of those people in audio unfortunately is totally irrelevant. Furthermore it is not difficult to evaluate the capacity of 99.9% high-end audio industry that is explicitly structured to satisfy the demands of the people who has irrelevant audio pursuits. What would you exact from high-end ski maker who design equipment for use by a person who not only unable to ski but who even goes for skiing trips ONLY because he loves to remount his snow tires on his BMW? Can we truly care about ski-makers idea about ski profiles if the only thing that ski consumers care in the whole skiing episode is how the consumer's new pneumatic tools help him to mount those winter tires? The metaphor is not as detached from reality as you think....

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-31-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Posts 440
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 2
Post ID: 21293
Reply to: 21291
The metaphor of modern life?
Just for the sake of digging a bit deeper.........
If we are sick, we go to a doctor (well some of us do....)
If we have trouble relating, we go tho a psychologist
If our house is on fire, we call the fire department.
In times of strife, many discover religion
We read magazines to get recommendations on what snow tires to put on our BMWs
Why in hell should it be different with audio?

Did the doctor solve our sickness, offer a bandaid or give us information to change our lives to minimise sickness?
Did the psychologist help us grab foot in society again - or just accompany our misery?
Did the fire department just use brute force to put the fire out or try and minimise damage
Do all of our religious leaders lead us to a better life or is it yet another opportunistic situation to build a power base?
After an accident in the winter can we say that we got the "best" snow tires for our BMW?
Why in hell should it be different with audio?

I know that it is hard to look at some poor guy that just invested 300 grand and has no idea what to do with it and feel so sorry that we try to help them, but do we lose an opportunity by not trying or picking a strategy guaranteed not to work? Who are the really fortunate ones on earth - those that prove ignorance is bliss or those that are in the eternal hell of being "surrounded by incompetence" (thank you Elmer Fudd). To be honest, I am not sure anymore, but sure am happy that when I listen to my audio playback in "music" mode, that no issues of cable, phase or frequency response spoil the fun..........

If I were travelling, and seated next to you and started talking about audio, I probably would also invite you to listen to my playback. The reasons would be to share some of my favorite recordings with someone who obviously knows a lot more about audio than I do. The visit would not be just audio however, there are many other great reasons to visit someone than the music room. My playback may not be worthy of illustre audience, but then again.................

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
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