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In the Forum: Horn-Loaded Speakers
In the Thread: Aporia - Silbatone Acoustics speaker
Post Subject: Maybe cats don't like kim chee because they never tried itPosted by Joe Roberts on: 1/16/2009

Certainly, this sincere invitation was offered in part because they found you an interesting Cat, but I think that the offer was also inspired by the fact that you are writing pages of critique on items that you have not, in fact, ever heard.

My Korean friends thought you might actually want to hear it, and I assume they think that if you did, you just might like Mirrophonic or their Mangers more than your prefabricated evaluation system suggests.

I can't say that I know whether you can teach these guys anything about sound...but they thought you would be fun to hang out with for a few days, drinking some wine, and listening to some music and you might want to hear some different things, so they invite you as a guest.

This is not about buying you out or paying you off, because, let's face it, you don't have anything to sell. This was simply an friendly offer to come see/hear for yourself. I told you these guys were evangelists and not putting sales first.

There is little marketing at play, because is probably 5 levels below for moving hi-end gear--and I KNOW you are not buying Silbatone.

Even if you do buy, I don't pocket anything. I am retired from audio and just helping out an old friend with Silbatone in the Western World. Parasound or Sterophile could not pay me enough to convince me to work for them. I had it with the audio biz and I know more about it than most people on this board.

I know what you mean. I would not go two miles to see mountains of audio "stuff" in this age either, but the experience is worth doing once. I never saw as much hi-end gear in one block as in Seoul.  In terms of sheer excess, it is a monument to a special form of insanity. In one day you can hear 10 Manger systems, if that is an interesting proposition and what you need to learn. To me, not so good bait. I'd rather hang out in a bar and drink wine with some audio nuts and talk trash.

Yes, I tend not to talk about sound too much except in plain descriptive terms. I also firmly believe that people should not care what I personally think about a given system or whatever. What difference does it make?

For example, I have been seeing a stupid ad with my name attached since 1993: something like, "If you want see-thru listenability, try Hovland Musicaps" I wrote that in passing 15 years ago and it won't go away. Why should anybody buy a cap because I liked it? That ad is painful for me to see. The caps are OK, not the best, but still.

I realized long ago that I can happily listen to almost anything that doesn't hurt, including the sound bar on my DELL monitor. I can recognize differences in quality and I have had what I consider to be really nice systems in various typologies. But, for me, the lust to own and dominate audio gear is no longer there. I don't NEED the best anymore. I just NEED some music.

I am an anthropologist, not an engineer or professional critic. My interest in audio is as much about people, their projects, the ideologies and and the material culture of audio more than listening reports. I am also an electronics hacker, so I like circuits and designs.

How can I talk about the sound of a circuit? The abstract circuit has no sound. Only real amps do and every one built from a plan I published in Sound Practices will sound different because they are never built the same. Similarly, talking about the "300B sound" is totally useless because there are so many possibilities.

Similarly, I will listen to any single-driver speaker and see what it can do, without too many prior objections. I am always prepared to be shocked, even if it doesn't happen very often. I don't think "single driver" has a sound, and the Aporia moves me further in that direction.

I retreat into the world of direct personal experience. I listen and I like it or not. if the guy next to me loves it and I think it is doo-doo, so what. If I like it and Tony Cordesman thinks it sucks, good!...more for me. I know whether what I am listening to is right for me, but I do not have an a priori evaluation checklist worked out yet.

The absolute sound notion of total reproduction of live music is a joke. Nothing is even close to live music. Any other scheme is arbitrary and reductionistic. I really believe that a case by case "emotional" reaction is the true path.

Generalized theories about typologies and whatnot are mostly misleading and a giant sharp stick into the eye of the mind. There are always huge exceptions that cast doubt on the whole procedure. The map is never as detailed as the territory.  Beyond a certain point all the mapmakers see is their own maps.

Most of my writing was about trying to inspire people to try something new, maybe do some building or experimenting, and ignore the "experts" with their evaluation programs and boring assessments, which may or may not be important to "you, the music listener."

When I first started talking about horns, mainly to piss people off although I truly like horns, I got near death-threats via phone. Everybody was stuck in the TAS approved typology scheme. Now the hi-end typology scheme includes horns. Does this make it any better? No, it is still a stupid checklist, it is just a bit longer with more checkboxes.

I also wrote reviews for money but they were mainly about "extraneous" topics, as you put it. I think that the non-sonic dimension of audio is often the most important part in people's lives. Listening experience can be important but the details of the sound are up to individuals to evaluate for themselves. The hobby and craft of audio are at least as vital as the pure sonic output of the systems,  even more important.

I had a magazine, you have a funky website. Does this make us experts worth listening to? I'm not impressed in either case.

Some years ago,  I just shut up about it and went on to do my own thing in private. This dialogue is more audio-related writing than I have done in a decade. I find it odd to be stamped as a commercial party because even when I was in business I never could figure out how to be commercial and since 1995, all I do is sell SP back issue CDs on ebay to juice up my paypal for books and guitar parts. If I am a commercial figure, this business is in worse shape than I thought.

South America is a valid destination. If you do it right it can be almost audio-free.

Like your lack of desire to visit Korea, I never wanted to go to South America but I went to visit my now-wife who was living in a Mennonite colony in the Paraguayan Chaco for anthropology and linguistic research in 1985. I saw a 12 foot long giant lizard. I saw six foot balls of spiders on light poles. I ate strange roots, saw new kinds of wood. it was very interesting. I have loved the idea of South America ever since.

If you do find yourself in the East, Seoul is a very interesting and sophisticated place and well worth visiting. The audio culture and musical culture is very impressive. I am sure the invitation is open-ended, so let me know if it works out. As a social experience and audio adventure, I am not steering you wrong with this travel opportunity. The people on the offering end are my good friends, great folks, and would do their best to ensure a pleasant and interesting stay.  If you appear in Seoul, making the contribution to take the journey, they will gladly put you up and show you around. This is the Korean way.

Any snide comments like the one about the "white robe and candle" were my own decoration, not from the Korean office. I may not be Romy-grade cynical but I am pretty bad.

Anyway, it's been real...but I have to sign off and stay with my retirement plan. Filling pages on audio forums is not in the plan, but this subject was close to home.

Anybody wants to chat, PM me or via my "commercial" email

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