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10-08-2006 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 2920
Reply to: 2920
The “Inverted High End Audio” ™

I always quite laugh when the Audio Morons ™, overwhelmed with zillion-dollars-worth audio installations and with primitive sound in their room, answer my questions: What you guys doing? Those people are under mistaking impression that they do High End Audio. In fact what they do is not what they believe they do and what they do it something that I call “Inverted High End” ™. The “Inverted High End” ™  is very common and very domination pattern in audio, not just dominating but practically the pattern that leaves no room for the real High End. The nature, the inner mechanisms, the harm of the IHE and how it should be different is something that I will be addressing in this thread.

The currently existing High End Audio consists of consumers and solution providers. The consumers are the consumers and the solution providers are manufactures, distributors, retailers and marketing people. The mechanism roughly works according to the rules that a manufacturer has an ability to offer a product that could be sold. From there, if the manufacturer embraces the little ballet that the distributors, retailers and marketing folks dance, then the manufacturer’s product become available for consumers consumption. Some manufacturers sell their products “direct”, bypassing the industry distribution chains, but it makes no difference as the consumers still harvest the results of the manufacturers efforts instead of addressing via audio methods the state of own audio frustrations. Some might think that consumers have “choice” among the hundreds of the manufactures and hundreds of manufacture’s different views on sound. Well, it is not so simple.

Let vive aside who most of the manufactures, what objectives they have and what justification and reasons they have to do what they do.  The deeper problem is that manufactures, as the providers of the solutions, address not the actual sonic nuisances but only generic and very limited objectives. They juts by nature of their operation could not afford to dive into the details. Pretend that you looking for a suite and your tailor just talk to you over a phone caring only about your height and asking you only about the color of your suite. Sounds ridicules? No more ridicule then audio people do in audio when they are “shopping for audio”. In realty the audio people go to a big market with hundreds of the common tailors and try to find a suite that would fit their body. Nothing wrong with it but it is not High End Audio but juts Audio, the regular consumer audio. I am been telling for years that using the regular consumer audio from regular very inexpensive consumer products it is possible to accomplish very-very high audio results, way higher then 99% of the results then Audio people are accomplishing today in this listening rooms. How can I explain to a person who paid $36.000 for his Mark Levinson, $25.000 for Krell, $15,000 for Burmester or $23.000 for his ASR Emitter that a proper model of $400 Denon or Techniques or Sony are able to perform the levels of magnitude more capable. It is not necessary that those Denons or Suzukis are better audio but because the Krells and Burmesters more made-up problems with Sound. So the generic demands lead to the generic solutions. It is not High End and there is not needs to apply the principles of the healthy High End snobbism to the very ordinary generic implementations. To do it is similar to trip to Woolworth’s and feeling that you look at the best tailor work possible for you custom body style. In fact this situation, when a consumer explicitly inherents the outcome of the industry audio defecation I call “Inverted High End” ™.

The “Inverted High End” ™ is dependency of consumer’s demands upon the availability of solutions. As the result the primitivism of the manufactures desire drive the consumers scope. Since most of the audio manufactures are drop offs from other industries, culturally handicapped or juts people who failed in other fields then we understand the depth of the swamp when the audiophiles are sinking. A solution how to become not subjected to the “Inverted High End”? Welcome to the club of the Real High End…

The Real High End is a situation when the desires of consumers drive manufacturers. I mean the level of the consumer’s audio development, the evolvement of the consumers reference points and the consumers views about the sound become the ONLY guiding principle in the consumer’s navigation within the market of availabilities. The mechanism is simple and almost absurd in the scale of the today audio world. A consumer use the proper pre-purchase assessment techniques:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?postID=2909 (and  DO follow the link within the post)

After this, when the requirements for the “next step” are formed and literally documented, then a consumer approaches a manufactures of his chose and imposes his requirements to the manufacture. Here is where a few phenomenally interesting moments takes place:

1) 95% of all manufactures go to dark and never show up anymore because they are disabled to make audio with predicable sonic characteristic.

2) The marketing superstructure of audio automatically get eliminated or very substantially suppressed, as there is no application market for their services.

3) Consumers get own responsibilities for sound in their listening rooms that serve a phenomenal educational tool.

4)  Audio industry begins to develop for a first time the REAL methods of sound manufacturing and sound assessments.

5) Manufactures, also for a first time, begin to respect and to value the interest of consumers.

The ridiculeness of the Anti Inverted High End approach is that there is nothing in Real High End that violates the manufactures interest, menace money. Sure the manufactures do not do the cookie-curter products anymore but I am not talking about the completely custom products but about manufactures running this core topologies and tune the design for “Sound” that a consumes asks.  Sure, the manufactures make less products but the also do not give up 50%-75% of their income to the “distribution nothingness”. I think by properly organizing the R&D techniques and production is it perfectly possible to make products “accommodative”. Definitely it will create a certain discomfort among the manufactures but “fuck” them if the consumers can get in return better audio, better sound and healthier relationship with “solution providers”. Also, do not forget that 95% of all manufactures return back to where then come from - change the power outlets in hotels – and whoever left among the Real High End manufactures are the people who can “handle it”…

Utopia? Hm, yeas and no. I can see here and there pop up individual manufactures who have courage to do what they believe and to stay behind what they do.  Those manufactures are so capable that they are not afraid to take on the tasks to deliver to a consumer not the solutions but satisfaction. They might be even more expansive but the money with their products-projects actually relates to the result. If the mutual consumer and manufacture results are something that comes from the consumer’s objective then my hat off to this collaboration.

So, the Real High End vs. Inverted High End. The Realty of the Sound vs. the Surrogate of Sound. Who owns who? Manufactures own the consumer via their marketing pimps or we, the consumers, own this entire damn industry? The fraudulent and ignorant manufactures along with zombienised and damn Morons-consumers or fertile and wiling manufactures along with free and demanding consumers?

Well, you decide…

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-09-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 269
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 2921
Reply to: 2920
High End and Haute Couture
I agree with your thoughts. Current High End is to audio like Haute Couture is to fashion. You actually pay for something that a designer decided you may need (in fact he gives a damn if you need it or not always you buy it), and you take it as is, paying a high amount of money. Not the designer, nor the customer know if that thing is really worth that money regarding performance (sound for audio, wheather protection and good looks for clothes), and all you get is something others say is good, looks good and is above all very exclusive, but definitively is not worth its cost for the performance you get. The same way a "pret a porter" suit doesn't fit your body the same way a custom made suit or shirt would, a High End amplifier, speakers or DAC won't meet your objectives to have music sounding like music in your house.

Modern High End Audio is just a high status product, you pay for a brand, supposed high quality materials and manufacturing, and also to support an industry which is flawed from its conception. In this same way, as a mid-market product in audio may fit your needs as well or even better as a high end product, a mid-priced suit at Woolwart can fit you better and keep better your body heat than an Armani suit.

Are there any custom tailors in audio? Would Wilson produce for me something the size and price of the Sophias but without bass port, way higher sensivity and dead flat 8 ohm impedance to be driven with SET amps? I don't mean that would sound as I feel I need, but it would be a nice starting point hahaha.

Rgrds,

A.
10-09-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 2922
Reply to: 2921
You got it all wrong.

 Antonio J. wrote:
I agree with your thoughts. Current High End is to audio like Haute Couture is to fashion. You actually pay for something that a designer decided you may need (in fact he gives a damn if you need it or not always you buy it), and you take it as is, paying a high amount of money. Not the designer, nor the customer know if that thing is really worth that money regarding performance (sound for audio, wheather protection and good looks for clothes), and all you get is something others say is good, looks good and is above all very exclusive, but definitively is not worth its cost for the performance you get. The same way a "pret a porter" suit doesn't fit your body the same way a custom made suit or shirt would, a High End amplifier, speakers or DAC won't meet your objectives to have music sounding like music in your house.

Modern High End Audio is just a high status product, you pay for a brand, supposed high quality materials and manufacturing, and also to support an industry which is flawed from its conception. In this same way, as a mid-market product in audio may fit your needs as well or even better as a high end product, a mid-priced suit at Woolwart can fit you better and keep better your body heat than an Armani suit.

Are there any custom tailors in audio? Would Wilson produce for me something the size and price of the Sophias but without bass port, way higher sensivity and dead flat 8 ohm impedance to be driven with SET amps? I don't mean that would sound as I feel I need, but it would be a nice starting point hahaha.

Actually I was not talking about the “custom tailoring”, in fact I do not feel that it is necessary in a large scale. In fact, considering the primitive development lever of the cousins Audio-Morons the custom tailoring would be very bad thing to have. I was more referring to the utopian situation when the Inverted High End stops to produce anything. In the world when there is no audio beside just the “table radios” people are perfectly allowed to desire “more results”. The people’s objectives desire should be the motivation for High End evolvement not the vice versa.

If you list you opera broadcast on your table radio, have civilized reference popints and you have heard the idiocy that the audio propaganda have implanted in your then you naturally never will have desire for “faster bass”, “more air at highs” or “better micro-dynamics”. All this crap does not exist in real world and it explicitly comes to audio people along with primitivism or idiocy of the industry’s assholes who hijack audio from audio people.

The Real High End is not customization but the development of ABILITY of the audio users to profile their audio demands into structured and meaningful requirement. Also it is the existence of an audio industry infrastructure what able to embrace and render this requirement into targeted implantations.

I do not particularly blame the manufacturers that they are disables to make audio with predicable musical and sonic characteristics. They are impotent not because they are bad but because they are the hostages of the very same disease as the consumers are. However, I DO blame the consumers who inept, incompetent and drifty audio consumers who could not even ask common sense having questions about audio. Why do you thon I ordinary call the audio hoodlums the Audio-Morons ™?

Rgs,
Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-09-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 269
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 2923
Reply to: 2922
Not that wrong
Maybe you didn't mean that it would be necessary or even desirable the existence of some "tailor audio", though I understood it implicitly. It's my fault. Custom audio (and not DIY as it's commonly practiced) is something that might work for me at my actual audio evolvement point, but not for most people. Nevertheless we both seem to agree that current High End is a mess where the industry has produced some "audio topics" helped by reviewers, creating "audio necessities" which are far away from giving any meaningful result. This has spoilt any serious possibility for the 99% of us to enjoy commercial solutions to evolved demands.

I think that high end was born as a marketing strategy in the US to fight the market invasion from Japan in the 60's. High end focused more in status and exclusivity, sturdy construction, and luxury looks than in real audio performance. To increase the difference, at first they started the "measurements battle", but since this didn't work for the already good measurements of midfi gear, they needed to create a new vocabulary to convince potential buyers that it wasn't just a matter of price or looks, they also were offering "better sound". This started all the vicious circle of better minute sonic features that only very educated and expert listeners could discern. In my humild opinion, it was then when high end started to sound like professional engineering gear, and less like music. Possibly it's better sound to hear 3rd row chorus singer farts, but not better audio.

After all audio suffers from the same disease than the whole eastern society and economical system: satisfy greed. The greed of consumers who want more of everything to fill the profound vacuum that this "modern life" produces in them, and of course the greed of the people who are continously designing procedures to take your money and become rich and mighty. Most of the goods produced and sold aren't necessary, not even useful, but thanks to this mechanism people have a job, earn money, have a house and eat every day. If people just bought what are sure to need, and purchased it only after a serious process of evaluation, economy wouldn't keep rising. Current high end is just one part of this nonsense. Just tell me any other market niche where offer from industry is really driven by consumer demands, and that these demands come from a deep knowledge from what's needed by the own consumer.

Rgrds
A.
10-09-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 2926
Reply to: 2923
"I think that high end was born...in the 60's" - wrong again.
 Antonio J. wrote:
I think that high end was born as a marketing strategy in the US to fight the market invasion from Japan in the 60's
Although it is not on the subject but still….

You are incorrect. The High End was borning in the mid of 30s by the efforts of Bell Labs, BASF, AEG and Telefunken. The Marketing concept of High End was conceived in 1945-46 when US army brought home the WW2 trophys – the examples of the Telefunken-made AC-biased Magnetophones. After hearing that sound and the Magnetophones’ capacities the Ampex copied the Magnetophones design and the Telefunken's ideas and made the first US's High End recordings. Sometimes in 1946-47 NBC broadcasted the Bing Crosby recordings made on the Telefunken-Ampex mashines and NBC had stunning success. Thousands and thousands people called NBC claming that they were mislead and it was not the recordings but a live Crosby’s broadcast. The consent that an "extended quality" might open new opportunities to sell product was born. BTW, I have those Crosby’s recordings and they are stunning…. The picture below is the original machine that was brought from the Germany to US and that was dissected by Ampex.


Rgs, The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-10-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 269
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 2927
Reply to: 2926
Sorry for the off topic

I think we are speaking about different things, you speak about real High End which should be best possible sound quality to serve a musical purpose, and I'm speaking about a High End industry which doesn't give a damn about musical performance, because it's all about selling you a difference. The status difference and irrelevant sound differences.
I meant High End as a whole audio conception with the marketing strategies and magazines we have now. At that time you're refering they started more to speak about High Fidelity than about High End, though I don't doubt those were the first High End tapes, maybe there wasn't still a High End industry in the same way it started to exist in the sixties, changing their focus more on exclusivity and high prices than in real better sound for a musical purpose. My impression is that historically High-Fidelity became a popular term in the 50's and with the advent of inexpensive japanese gear in the 60's which also met the DIN 45500 standards (so might be called HiFi), the audio industry in the US needed to develope a marketing strategy based upon the "even better" which became High End to be differentiated from average HiFi.
Nevertheless I think we agree that High End should be a different thing than it is :-)

rgrds,
A.

10-10-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
yoshi
Jefferson (MA), United States
Posts 69
Joined on 05-04-2005

Post #: 7
Post ID: 2928
Reply to: 2927
the bigiining of the high-end market
I did some reserch sometime ago on how the current high-end market started.  In the 60's, stereo gears were sold at electrical stores along with other electrical items.  Some people had seen a possibility of specialty streo market and started so-called high-end salon in late 60's to early 70's.  J.G. Holt declared the establishment of high-end market in Stereophile on 1970 or 1971 (I forgot).  In the economical turmoile of early 70's, middle price products were dropped off from the production.  Mass products were absorbed by then growing suburban chain stores and higher priced products went into high-end salons.  This pretty much established the discontinuity of distribution networks of stereo gears we have today.

J.G. Holt, followed by Harry Pearson, and their reviews seem to have had a big impact on the high-end market, subsequently to the manufacturers.  I've read many of Holt's reviews from late 60's to early 70's.  His source was strictly classical and the key word in his reviews was "accuracy".  I couldn't help to have an impression that "accuracy" he's talking about was that of tonal accuracy.  I haven't had a chance to read reviews of HP's early days, but I suppose the key was "sound stage".

Like Jesus swept the 2000 years of western culture with the idea of "sin", the idea of high-end reproduction after 70's seems to have swept by the way those two reviewers saw fit.

Yoshi
10-10-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 2929
Reply to: 2928
The presumptios nothingness….
Yoshi, it is interesting that you associate existence of high-end with Holt’s and Pearson’s publications but not wit the actual audio accomplished efforts. The Holt declared the establishment of high-end market in Stereophile on 70s… many years after the real high-end begin to due. I think those “pioneers” in fact were the primary responsible parries who planted the marketing simplicity that harvested today the dominating consumer Moronity. Anything new starts as heresy and end up as prejudge… The high-end in US stared as stolen heresy and is being paraded as a presumptios nothingness….

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-13-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 9
Post ID: 2943
Reply to: 2920
The part played by the "Inversion" of language itself
Well, this sounds pretty much like consumer society as a whole, where the consumer is fed only what he pays for many times over, and marketers chase their own tails looking for the next hot item, or at least the next popular catch phrase with which to move another slightly different version of the same old crap  "upmarket".
   In the case of audio, it seems like the language of music became music-ish somehow melded with electronic-ish, which has somehow been hijacked and morphed into a sort of industry-specific doublespeak that the "educated" consumer deciphers in order to pre-determine whether a given product is for him.  Ironically, this is also the "language" of the high end (not to be confused with High Art).  And it's long since lost the meaning it had when it was novel and just beginning to explore its subject.
   But I think this is the reason that art tries constantly to re-invent itself, in order to free itself from the clutches of Philistines and their debasement of its meaning.
   Do I understand you to say that you propose an actual commercial cure for this problem?  Because I think that if there is a cure then we are potentially the seeds of it (or not), if only because of your refusal to keep putting the information back into the "accepted" context, whereupon it would certainly be transposed and fed back to you as some sort of barely-recognizable product.   While the result of the process you describe as a possible cure is just that , a process, I have always felt a romantic attraction to the idea of a society that consisted of people who both liked and cared about their callings, and I have actually encountered a few isuch people in my lifetime.
   One of my own weaknesses, I think, is to be satisfied, or at least placated, with whatever "works", as though the world were some vast scrapyard to pick over.  I may have the oft-reinforced notion that there are already "good things" out there, if only one knows where and how to look.
   Except for phono stages.  All of those extant suck!

Best regards,
Paul S
10-14-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Dominic
Montreal, Canada
Posts 69
Joined on 08-23-2006

Post #: 10
Post ID: 2950
Reply to: 2943
Solutions looking for excuses/problems
I got partway through your first post in this thread and i thought to myself that perhaps the solution is to list greivances and ignore the good bits when it comes to reviews- published in an audio review magazine, or not. It's not too hard to get used to a piece of gear even if it really does suck so obviously saying it's 'good' or better than another piece of kit doesn't really help in the search for the sound one looks for.

I did something similar last time i dropped by the local Societe des Alcools de Quebec. I told the shop keeper what i disliked about the last bottle of wine i bought there and she was able to help guide me towards something more my taste.

It serves no purpose really to state how well something performs in one area. That however is the usual way of writing it: "this thing is pretty good, and better than that other one, but here's a caveat". Rather i would propose that the tone anyone takes to describe something is the one they would in the months just before they start looking to replace it. Something along the lines of: "I kinda hate how it falls down in this and that area, and i wish it would be a little nicer here, and it would be great if i could find something that would have the same little magic it has there but more cleanly spread across the spectrum". I hope that wasn't too abstract.

As far as the netherleagues of IHE there is also the bragging rights phenomenon, when you're rich, you want to be able to tell your friends that you have the best audio system that money can buy (we know that no such thing exists but the idea that there is no ultimate is not something most people understand). Mostly though you want to do it without having to put a real dent in your leisure/work/family time by spending time researching. That why rich guys get Pinnafarina and West Coast Customs to modify their cars and the working class does it in their garage with their uncle and a case of beer.

The downside with my idea is that it discourages people from trying because they will expect a bad result, as i just realised when i went to respond to Paul's remark about phonostages. I was going to write: "I'd like a sweet phonostage too, but i'm afraid to get into the market as it seems very iffy". Why do i say that? Well maybe it's because phono type people inherently find the phonostage to be a dubious link in the chain or something and this leads them to be very sceptical and harsh. that's not to say there aren't reviews (by people on forums or what ever) that recomend certain phonostages, but the thing is, it's always relative. I don't remember ever reading a review of a phonostage that said it was Good, full stop; only that it is better, or even, much better than these other well considered ones - for the price, usually.

it'd be nice if there were eaiser less time consuming ways of finding the truth the matter. If there was such thing as the absolute sound then the search for the best fit in your life wouldn't be such a big deal.
10-14-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 2951
Reply to: 2950
I am for a complete elimination.

Interesting post, Dominick. However, my views are way more radical. I am not for discouraging – I am for a complete elimination. What I feel should be elimination is a superstructure that sets artificial and completely bogus hierarchy in audio. We rank tennis players but we do not rank artistic performances. We rank mutual founds but we do not rank paintings or musicians… I mean we rank the simple subjects that might be evaluated in simplistic one-dimension: score or yield. We can even rank pop-songs, however we don’t do it by artistic qualities but only by revenue that they generated. The audio industry invented a bogus concept that better audio has some other meaning then juts being “better’ audio. Interestingly that the industry never was able to define what would mean “better audio” and then the industry tosses in some linguistic surrogates that do not serve any other purpose then… to build a primitive “perceptional hierarchy”. The problem is that the audio users generally are not really audio-intelligent people and within an absent of any audio intelligence or sonic integrity those people sponge unfortunately absolutely anything. Do you know that most of audio manufacturers when the time comes (it happens when all pre-buttered customers “have bought” and now is the time for the next round to sell) design their audio not with sonic objective or with customer benefits objective but targeting the very specific pre-developed marketing gap? I spoke with one manufacturer (one of the most prominent whose product at the very top of the industry hierarchy) who told me that he dose not care how his products sound and do not even care what kind press he will be getting when he release his products. According to him the mechanism is so well-oiled, so corrupted and so idiotic (his word) that whatever he produces will be sold as soon he punch the necessary marketing buttons. So, the industry is not about the encouraging of discouraging customers but about implanting the replacement-awareness into the brains of the Morons-consumers and then stupidly and very non-elegantly milking that implanted awareness. Interestingly that any industry person who involved in this, even for a short time, get so infected and do degraded that the person very rapidly devaluates up to the point of absolute nothingness. Pay attention: any industry person who do this crap more then a year might be a perfectly balanced and rational human being but as soon as a subject touches the subject of his professional interest then his/her eyes flip upside down and the person begins to express so much idiocy that it is not even funny. I personally put all industry people out of prentices of my interest and I am for a complete elimination of those people. Who should be left: we - the consumers, our requirements and the people who are able to fulfill the requirements. All the rest is just a ballast that fucks up audio as a subject of interests.

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-15-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Dominic
Montreal, Canada
Posts 69
Joined on 08-23-2006

Post #: 12
Post ID: 2952
Reply to: 2951
I can't really dissagree
  It can be a bit difficult to get across the full breadth of one's meaning. I had a few perspectives in mind when i wrote the last paragraph, one being the (i don't want to sound too pretentious, but for lack of a better word) enlightened audio consumer, and the other being the, as you so succintly put it: "the audio users who generally are not really audio-intelligent", but i spoke only to one of them, the former. In the case of the latter i was thinking that discouraging interest mightn't be such a bad idea because the dynamic of the unwashed customer and the oily system leads to crap product, as we know. We can't very well eliminate the audio market as it stands, mostly due to size, but there are socio-economi-political reasons that would make it difficult as there are a lot of minds to change at a very basic level.

  The flipside is that one could just plain ignore the whole crappines and focus on doing the best one can.


tell me though, how is the high end's idea of better audio different from say the car industry's idea of
the car you need? It would be nice if audio could be a beacon of sanity in the world of consumerism but it's no island as far as that goes.
10-15-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 13
Post ID: 2957
Reply to: 2952
... a big unnecessary thing...

 Dominic wrote:
Tell me though, how is the high end's idea of better audio different from say the car industry's idea of the car you need?

The car industry promotes better cars that address customers’ needs. The high-end audio industry has no thing to do with customers’ needs but instead it develop own simulated needs and then make customers and manufactures at chaise those bogus needs. Once Socrates return from his local market and told: “Now I’ve learned that there are many things in this world that I have absolutely no need”. I would not enumerate all faulty needs that the high-end audio industry created but I declare the entire industry as the a big unnecessary thing.

Well, to be a little more practical (admittedly utopiacly practical) I think that a overly sensitive, almost anal-retentive, prosecution of the industry idiots-writers is something the might kill that superfluous dirt. You remember when in 1984 Bose Corporation sued Consumer Reports Magazine for publishing a review in which a reviewer blamed Bose that images from Bose speaker "tended to wander around room". There was a bunch of other foolishness in there and Bose took the Consumer Reports to the Court. Eventuality they were running all the way up to Federal Supreme Court. I think it was absolutely brilliant move for audio manufacturer. Since then any industry bubble-pusher afraid to touch Bose products with their dirty hands.  So what?  Bose runs it’s own marketing; do not give a damn about the entire industry and very much flourishes as company… while the Stereophile magazine sells itself for $9 per year. I think it is exactly how it should be. The reviewing superstructure, as an independent marketing force, should be hit by overvaluing amount of lawsuits from manufactures when they publish BS and from another side they should be hit by overvaluing amount of lawsuits from consumers and consumers unions when whey spread their fraud and deceptions. It would make those idiots to shut up for good and in the absent of the reviewing noise that the industry injects into audio the real consumer awareness will start developing.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-16-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 2962
Reply to: 2928
Re: the bigiining of the high-end market
Yoshi wrote: I did some reserch sometime ago on how the current high-end market started.  In the 60's, stereo gears were sold at electrical stores along with other electrical items.  Some people had seen a possibility of specialty streo market and started so-called high-end salon in late 60's to early 70's.  J.G. Holt declared the establishment of high-end market in Stereophile on 1970 or 1971.
 
Beg to differ. There were many "hi-fi stores" in the Fifties and Sixties, back when Radio Shack had two locations (both in Boston) and many ordered cheaper stuff through the mail from Allied (Chicago) and Lafayette (NY). Some record stores and department stores also sold audio gear, but not the component brands -- more like console stuff. Mono was the game, and the specialty stores introduced stereo.

Gordon Holt was a breakaway reviewer; he first plied his trade in High Fidelity magazine in the mid-Fifties but tired of the corporate pressures and thus founded Stereophile.

The "high end" was always there, even in the Thirties, but unnamed as such until Harry Pearson came along.

Like Jesus swept the 2000 years of western culture with the idea of "sin", the idea of high-end reproduction after 70's seems to have swept by the way those two reviewers saw fit.

Beg to differ. The concept of "sin" had been around for a while. In the Christian version of repentance, however, one no longer had to do 100,000 obeisances to the master, or whatever; a simple acknowledgement to the Lord that one has strayed from the Path is sufficient for Him.

clark
10-16-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 15
Post ID: 2963
Reply to: 2962
“We do not wash windows anymore…”

The guys like J.G. Holt brought to the wide public the things, from which “all the crap begun”. Holt was the first who came up in mass-publication with a concept of looking at the music through the dirty window where his new term “transparency” is clearness of that dirty window. I do not think that Holt meant bad but misuse of that and many other allegories lead to the following outcome:

1) Audio Industry instead of producing music imitating machines got converted into the Industry that produces nothing else but the widow polishing liquids

2) By focusing their eyes on the depth of focus where the window is located the industry completely lost association between the “transparency of the window” and the “transparency of the musical image through the window”

That is why I feel that the birth of the official, sponsored and lobbied High-End was actually the beginning of the High-End’s ending. Now, return back to the first post in this thread and read it again…

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-16-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 16
Post ID: 2965
Reply to: 2963
Language and sound
One big thing for Gordon Holt was to create a standardized language to be used to describe what we hear.  If you think about it, this task is made very difficult by the fact that there are really very few aural-centric modifiers; rather most descriptive terms we use are visual.  It is well known that Holt was a poor businessman, and as he slipped ever further into debt, others lent financial support along with their own ideas about everything, including their own words to be used to describe what they themselves were hearing.  At one point many years ago I wrote several resentful letters to then newly-hired Editor John Atkinson about just this problem: that no one could understand anymore what the hell they were talking about.  He was very nice, and he even seemed to finally understand me; but he of course opined that I was making a mountain out of a molehill.

I think the original idea was to use language to compare and contrast live music with reproduced music, and of course this is where Pearson's idea of the "Absolute Sound" came from.

But, just as you say, came the usual, perhaps inevitable, involution of language for which there is no known/shared context or meaning.  And from there it was only a matter of time until the most clever among them took charge and began to re-define all terms to suggest some sort of leisure product, and your "window" became a vacation destination instead of an invisible barrier.

Paul S
10-17-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,295
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 17
Post ID: 2966
Reply to: 2965
Death wish to the "invented audio language".

I think all that Holt-invented language is bogusness. That language exists only in order to manage mechanism of audio distribution/marketing and for nothing else. Sure, those language-armed guys form the Industry see themselves in an epicenter of administration of audio needs but it is not where I see them. I see them as opportunistic sons of the bitches who injected own absolutely unnecessary presents into audio. Read my initial post in this thread and tell me in witch ass all those marketing whores should be stuck if the things in audio were not according to the “Inverted High End” rule? Why do we need any “language” in audio if musical culture has a perfectly developed, stratified musical language? In fact, the distortions of the musical language, while the language is going through audio, is for years, one of my tools to assess playback systems.  Well, as Clark uses to say a few years back “audio became a hobby about literature”…

BTW, Do you know a differents between parks planning in UK and US? Americans recruit an architect who analyze traffic, make the layouts for the roads across the park. Brits seed the whole park with grass and then after a year observes where people were walking and made walkways on the grass, and then, they convert the walkways into the roads….

Anyhow, I do sensually feel that if tomorrow all that industry superfluousness that uses that “invented audio language” as their “processional qualification” would due out from kind of “Syndrome of Sharp Reviewing Moronity” then audio as awareness would only gain from it. As far as I concern they all are dead to me anyway….

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-17-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 18
Post ID: 2969
Reply to: 2966
making the best of a bad situation

So what other than one’s own sense of what’s realistic makes for “good” reproduction?  For instance, I have found to my surprise that few people seem to notice or care about correct pitch, timbre, weight and scale, or colorations, as long as the sound is “clear”, with lots of details, and/or it fills the room in a certain way.  Others seem to care mostly about “dynamics”, “imaging”, etc., again, to the point where they seem to need only the one facet to suggest to them the entire diamond.

Yet, just to press this point, I have noticed that very often the person who says he cares so extremely about one or another “part” of music never actually gets that one part right, either.  In fact, this “part” that he finds so important is too often rendered in the most aberrated and ridiculous manner, and winds up being the worst thing about his system, just like the unbearable car stereo nut who cranks up the bass until everything around him shakes in stunned disbelief.

But I think that some reviewers just believe it is not possible to re-create music with hi-fi in a realistic fashion, and of these there are some who seem resigned to making the most of what they assume is a stuck/bad situation.  Art Dudley, for instance, always struck me this way.  If I am wrong about this, then I can in no way account for the sound he favored for so many years, all the unnatural colorations and constrained presentations, just for the PRAT he so prized that he disparaged systems and gear he found to lack "it".

I can say I had become resigned to try to “get the most” from my records, abandoning the earlier dream of “accuracy”.

But now I have tried the ML2s, and I am being forced once again to re-think my ideas about hi-fi and what can be done with it.

If the "gunshot" switch-on relay pulse from one amp doesn’t blow up my speakers, I will take the opportunity to listen anew to listen to some great music and ponder the unique characteristics of this totally different “amplifier”, which is not without flaws, as some have suggested, but which does seem to succeed in getting my attention to a whole different level of (sound and) music appreciation.

And when the time comes to try to share my experiences, I will take a breath and do the best I can.  I always hope for that most significant form of language, the dialogue.

Paul S
12-02-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Geoff


Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
Posts 6
Joined on 12-02-2007

Post #: 19
Post ID: 6003
Reply to: 2969
Hmmm...
 Paul S wrote:

So what other than one’s own sense of what’s realistic makes for “good” reproduction?  For instance, I have found to my surprise that few people seem to notice or care about correct pitch, timbre, weight and scale, or colorations, as long as the sound is “clear”, with lots of details, and/or it fills the room in a certain way.  Others seem to care mostly about “dynamics”, “imaging”, etc., again, to the point where they seem to need only the one facet to suggest to them the entire diamond.

Yet, just to press this point, I have noticed that very often the person who says he cares so extremely about one or another “part” of music never actually gets that one part right, either.  In fact, this “part” that he finds so important is too often rendered in the most aberrated and ridiculous manner, and winds up being the worst thing about his system, just like the unbearable car stereo nut who cranks up the bass until everything around him shakes in stunned disbelief.

But I think that some reviewers just believe it is not possible to re-create music with hi-fi in a realistic fashion, and of these there are some who seem resigned to making the most of what they assume is a stuck/bad situation.  Art Dudley, for instance, always struck me this way.  If I am wrong about this, then I can in no way account for the sound he favored for so many years, all the unnatural colorations and constrained presentations, just for the PRAT he so prized that he disparaged systems and gear he found to lack "it".

Interesting view.  From what I've read , the term "high-end" is such a grey area, it could mean anything, from the size of one's speakers, how many little lights are on one's amp, or the lack of them, to how pretty it looks with the wife's decor.

Personally, if it sounds good, makes you get up and start dancing around the living room while you listen to your fave music, that's "high end!"


Endeavoring to convince my family that I'm not nuts!
12-02-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
drdna
San Francisco, California
Posts 487
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 20
Post ID: 6004
Reply to: 6003
Dancing High End
But I am worried what all my friends and neighbors will say if get up and start to dance to Lutoslowski!
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