Catch-22 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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04-15-2006, 11:53 PM
Hello peoples...

I thought I would write something that I find interesting and I am curious to hear thoughts from others on the matter.

It has occured to me over the past few years that there seems to be a catch-22 when it comes to searching for the Holy Grail of sound. Essentially all audiophiles are in that search for the perfect match. So, over time we tweak this, tweak that, adjust this, upgrade that...right? Did you ever notice that the more we make these refinements the more revealing the source material becomes, which sometimes can be less desirable. Limitations are often heard even greater when we are using better equipment. Things that sound decent end up sounding worse when we modify, but of course the beauty is that really well-done material does sound better. I point this out because for example let's say we have CD EXAMPLE A, which no matter how much money we spend and do it will only sound as good as it was recorded. So, the limitations of CD will only delivery that 16bit/44.1 kHz compressed sound. Better equipment will reveal more of the quality, but also more of the poorness. I noticed many years ago that if you have low-end equipment you can hardly hear a difference from one CD to the next...they all sound about the same, but once you enter into the mid-fi to hi-fi range you instantly notice that is clearly not the case. Then to take things up a notch once you begin hearing the HDCD's, which are still uncommon sad to say.

Another topic of interest though is what is 'real' and what is the 'preferred' sound suppose to be like. Some listeners prefer a different sound than what is probably most accurate for a particular audio source. I am guessing that purists are going for a colorless sound that only gives you what the source sends out, but is that really possible? There are so many components that are in the mix that it is nearly impossible for some enhancement and alteration occur. Then again, what is considered 'accurate'? Should it sould like it did in the studio when it was recorded? Was it even pure then? In the studio they would have been using monitors as well, which could have alterered the playback. Our ears play the biggest factor into all of this because everyone is going to have slightly less or more sensitivety witth the ears. Some are still capable of hearing upper frequencies or lower ones, while others may not. This makes it challenging for people to agree on 'too much' bass or 'too little tremble' etc etc. I am a big proponent on making things sound the way that YOU enjoy listening to it. If it's your money and your time going into the investment than it should be your decision on how you want to listen to it. I am still respectful for those that want things to be mathematically calculated so that their EQ meter is happy with the way that it sounds.

I am interested to hear various thoughts on this...

04-16-2006, 06:25 AM
Since I am the only person that listens to my system 99% of the time I really don't give a rats ass what someone else prefers. But in the back of my mind if another audiophile (someone from one of these forums) where to visit. I would want him/her to think they just heard an outstanding system. It would bruise my ego if they were to say something negative.
I don't feel guilty or stupid for persuing the ultimate sound for my budget. I mean I have seen people lose 10,000 dollars playing blackjack in less than 10 minutes. Every one has different interests. Someone likes golf and will pay big bucks for a nice set of clubs and buy membership to elite club. Others waste their money on alcohol/drugs.
I've had conversations in my taxi with people and there is this perception out there that spending time and money on music is for kids and they have outgrown that and have more important things to do. I don't see it that way, in the rat race of life finding solace in hi fidelity music is the only thing right now that makes sense to me. Everything else is chasing after the wind. Its a luxury, and I thank God that I am fortunate enough to partake in it.

04-16-2006, 08:58 AM
I agree that as your system gets better the more you become aware of how good or bad a recording is. Liking the song for me is still top priority, if its a great recording but I hate the music then I won't play it. When its music I like however then I want the best recording. Having a 'live' like effect is what gets me intoxicated. A well recorded cd can have this effect, but is more apparent on sacd and dts. The best example I have of a 'live' like sound is the concert dvd of Peter Gabriel 'Growing Up' in dts it's as good as it gets. Unfortunately this quality of recording is few and far between.
I don't limit myself to what I listen to because of recording unless its really bad, but I definitely get more satifaction the better the recording.