Just a selfish post. [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums

PDA

View Full Version : Just a selfish post.



jrhymeammo
10-12-2006, 01:38 PM
So last night I was over at my friends place and hanging out over a couple of cheap domestic beers and some music on CDs. He has a JVC countertop system with a pair of Aiwa speakers that sit on his floor. The CD player in his JVC is dying and it would take us about 8 tries for it to actually recognize CDs. He lives in a basement of a house with concrete floors, brick walls, and some huge metal tubes running all over the place. His audio setup was a disaster. I thought about giving him some friendly advice, but he had everything the way he wanted. We were listening to a lot of Jazz. Miles, Rollins, Milt Jackson, Jason Moran, etc. I must say I havenít enjoyed music like that in a while. I honestly thought his system sounded exceptionally good. Bass was more than adequate, highs reached high enough, and mid range was there enough for me to hear the recordings. On top of it all, we were just bullshjtting and talking about music WHILE tune was spinning. Then I caught myself almost pulling out his speakers away from the wall, like I would with mine. How disrespectful would that have been.:nono:
I started thinking what a fool I am for spending thousands and thousands of dollars on equipments and trying to think what I can do to improve my setup. Donít get me wrong, I will always look to upgrade my system when it is NEEDED. I have been constantly analyzing my system, instead of enjoying it as much as I can. There is nothing wrong with changing equipments as a hobby, but to me music always come first. For past several months, I was only using music in attempt to making it sound better w/o enjoying it. Is there a room for improvement in my system? Maybe. But I'm not going to think about it, and get that in a way of my ever diminishing listening time.
So how does all this help/affect any of you guys reading it? Nothing. I thought I would act selfish and write it down on this website. Iím just using it as a tool to express and better myself so I can truly enjoy what I love.
Sorry and thanks. But no regrets.

-JRA

topspeed
10-12-2006, 03:17 PM
Good vent.

This is the old music-lover vs. gear geek argument. I've never been a gear geek (for which my accountant...and wife...are forever thankful :) ). I find what I like, buy it, and hold on to it until it breaks or becomes completely obsolete. Speakers are like luggage with me...I just never get rid of them. The Missions that I bought in '88 are now in my office, the B&W's that replaced them are thoroughly ensconced in the main rig now.

Is there better gear than what I have? Without question.

Do I care?


Not one whit.

Woochifer
10-12-2006, 03:17 PM
Actually, I think this post is a lot more instructive than most of the "which receiver/speaker/amplifier/cable/isolation/CD player should I upgrade to?" threads out there! A lot of the time these upgrade questions don't boil down to the music enjoyment itself, but upgrading for sake of upgrading. Your experience distills the answer down to SHUT UP AND JUST ENJOY THE MUSIC!

Growing up, my parents' system was a cut above what my friends used. But, that never stopped me from going over to their houses and playing music. I had a crappy all-in-one Superscope system in my bedroom, but again, that did not prevent me from enjoying the music whenever I just wanted to hang out in my room. Even now, I'm well aware of the flaws in my system. But, I hardly dwell on them because I set my budget early in the process and pieced together what I regarded as the best system that matched my budget and coincided with my preferences and listening habits. I'd rather enjoy what I play on my system, than consciously listen for faults and magnify their importance for sake of justifying a system upgrade.

I learned a long time ago that great music is great music no matter what system you're using, and you can definitely enjoy that music no matter if it's played on a cheap boombox or a reference quality system. Those who whine about every little flaw in a system component and declare everything short of so-called "high end" quality as unlistenable because they can no longer enjoy the music when played on a substandard system, are not who I would regard as music fans. For them, it's all about the audio quality first and foremost, with the music itself coming second.

We've had people on this board say that they will not listen to any music that has poor sound quality, and yet in the next sentence proclaim that it's all about the music. Personally, I cannot see any sentiment more contradictory than prejudging the merit and enjoyment of music by excluding those recordings that might have substandard recording quality. This means that they might claim to be jazz fans, but categorically exclude most of the works of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, or the early fusion recordings of Miles Davis because the recording quality was not up to par. Or they might claim to be classical music fans, yet refuse to listen to many legendary performances from the likes of Arturo Toscanini or Bruno Walter or Fritz Reiner because the audio quality did not measure up.

There's nothing wrong with investing in a good audio system, or with trying to find ways to improve it. But, there does reach a point where the constant quest to improve that system by obsessing on its perceived flaws no longer advances musical enjoyment, but rather hinders that enjoyment. Your post captures that process very well.

Vardo
10-12-2006, 04:51 PM
Jrhymeammo.....that's about the best post I've read here in a long
time. To many people on this board (fourms) have the upgrade
bug. I rarely post here, because If I don't have the equipment
being asked about then I feel there is no need to reply. I've heard
different equipment in show rooms and if it really impresses me
then I might reply to a post.

Music is to be enjoyed, and not fret over. My first set of speakers
(Klipsch LaScalla's) I enjoyed for almost 20 yrs. I finally listened
to a pair of Marage M5si speakers (when Roger Sound Labs in
So Cal was going out of buiness) and they really caught my
attention, so I bought them, and have been listening to them for
over 12 yrs. Alot of times people bash Bi-polar speakers (like
Mirage), but I like 'em and don't have any plans on getting any
new speakers (and equipment) in the near future.

I enjoy the music, and that's what it's all about.....vardo

markw
10-12-2006, 05:12 PM
An excellent example of keepin' it real. Your friend seems th have achieved that magical state that we all claim to strive for but, like a carrot on a stick, it always seems to elude us.

Your friend has achievd it and you were able to share in it for that short time.

It's called "contentment", and may we all reach that state and be wise enough to realize it when we get there.

JoeE SP9
10-12-2006, 05:54 PM
If you look at my equipment list you will see nothing but old and older stuff. The Lexicon was the first piece of gear I've bought in 6 years. Once I get a piece of equipment I generally keep it until it doesn't work anymore. My TT was originally bought in the 80's along with the preamp. I listen to music. I don't agonize about my gear. What I have sounds good to me. That's all that really matters.:cool:

musiclover60
10-12-2006, 07:15 PM
jrhymeammo,

Not a good post....a great post!

Without the music, the equipment is just so much plastic and wires collecting dust.

It was, is, and always will be all about the music

musiclover60

Dusty Chalk
10-12-2006, 07:21 PM
I've always said, if you think your system isn't "involving" enough, then you aren't listening to "involving" enough music.

SlumpBuster
10-12-2006, 07:47 PM
An excellent example of keepin' it real. Your friend seems th have achieved that magical state that we all claim to strive for but, like a carrot on a stick, it always seems to elude us.

Your friend has achievd it and you were able to share in it for that short time.

It's called "contentment", and may we all reach that state and be wise enough to realize it when we get there.


No, no, no... His friend didn't acheive it. Jrhymeammo achieved it. His friend is just a broke guy living in a concrete basement with a thrift shop stereo. :cornut: J/K

Actually, I've always been into music. I grew up in a musical family with lot of people in the biz (as they say). Sadly, my skills are limited to mashing out Judas Priest's Livin' After Midnight on my wife's drum kit.

However, I can't imagine many, if any, of us had a first system that wasn't a piece of crap. Even the biggest gear geek will have a music lover at the core. After all, he started out with a crappy stereo too. And, something (often a Boston record) made him think, "Dang, I need a better stereo." Mine was a SounDesign system in a (you guessed it)... concrete basement.

jrhymeammo
10-12-2006, 08:27 PM
I'm not sure how long this rediscovered "lifestyle" is going to last. But as for now, I'm really enjoying music. like I used to. OH yeahhh!!!!

-JRA

topspeed
10-12-2006, 10:18 PM
Sadly, my skills are limited to mashing out Judas Priest's Livin' After Midnight on my wife's drum kit.

Dude, I've never met your wife...

but she's soooo sexy! :D

drseid
10-12-2006, 11:26 PM
While I confess to having the "upgrade bug" from time to time, at the end of the day your post says it all. It *is* all about the music. You can enjoy good music on an old $20 boom box or a one million dollar system. I think your post is a good reminder to us all that when you start to get constantly focused on the gear playing the tunes, a lot of the time you are less happy than if you just sit back and enjoy -- a great performance is a great performance regardless. Excellent post.

---Dave

Worf101
10-13-2006, 03:38 AM
I enjoyed your post. I don't just "listen" as much as I used to being "chief chauffeur and Sports Dad", but I try. I'm just glad that my midfi system is good enough for the ole lady to realise how much better it is than the 8 Track/Turntable garbage she used to listen to at her mom's. I find that I've not problem just "enjoying" music on any system, my problem is with "live" music. I'm a musician, bass player, lead singer, song writer, and while I can tolerate or even enjoy good music on a less than stellar system.. I can't handle bad live music at all...

I don't think it's a playa hater thing... I just can't stomach bad rhythm, flat vocals, stiff presentation... it's enough to make me wanna take the pipe sometimes... But back to the original topic, I hope you continue to listen to and enjoy the music...

Da Worfster

bobsticks
10-13-2006, 06:25 AM
...ditto previous posters, and a hearty "well-said".

Cheers to ya

Florian
10-13-2006, 10:45 AM
Its a good post, but one we have read many times. Its not ment offensively, but it comes down to this.

1. If your happy with what you have, then thats good for you. If you feel you need 80K speakers to feel happy then so be it too.


-Flo

PeruvianSkies
10-13-2006, 01:19 PM
I agree and I disagree at the same time....

I've also grew up with lots of music around me, most people do. Music is hard to escape. However, there are some that feel more passionately about music. I also learned various instruments growing up and I once heard a very prolific violin player once say...

"You are never going to get any better than your instrument allows."

I always wondered what that really meant. When I began playing guitar a few years later I remember hearing that quote again in my head. I was playing some crappy acoustic guitar that had rusty strings. I then started saving money and finally bought a good guitar, not a great guitar. I became better the moment I began playing the better instrument. Then many years later I finally had some 'real' money around and bought my first REALLY good guitar. Once again I was playing better the moment I sat down with it...I was hearing things better and it became easier to play.

I honestly believe the same is true for music appreciation and music reproduction. The better my equipment gets the more I love music. I don't "NEED" great equipment to love music, but having better equipment does enable me to love the music even more and hear things I never heard before. Not only that, but I also believe the great music is meant to be heard the way it was always meant to be heard. Music was always meant to be heard live, our current equipment enables us to enjoy that experience though without hearing it live. We are attempting to create that experience though. Home theaters are attemping to sound and feel like a real theater, just like home audio is trying to capture the live essence of the recording quality of that music. I'm sure Mozart's Requiem Mass was never invisioned to be coming out of a teeny tiny little boombox, neither was it meant to be heard coming from a $250,000 audio system, instead it was meant to be coming from some of the most prolific concert halls. Nothing in our homes will even come close to that experience, but we can try. We can also fall in love with that music in both venues just the same, but it's far more enjoyable to me to be able to hear as much detail as possible, so the quest begins.....but does it ever end? NEVER!

Morpheus77
10-17-2006, 11:31 AM
No offense to anyone here, but could it be the fact that music, and systems tend to sound better when we drink? Could that be part of it?? Again, no offense intended, just a thought.

markw
10-17-2006, 11:44 AM
No offense to anyone here, but could it be the fact that music, and systems tend to sound better when we drink? Could that be part of it?? Again, no offense intended, just a thought.Not so much about imbibing, but moreso with the attitude and mood of the listeners. If one is intent on listening to the system as opposed to the music, then i'm quite sure I could find fault with virtually any system. If one just kicks back and lets the music "flow" into themselves then, barring glaring deficiencies, I'm quite sure it will be satisfying.

Dusty Chalk
10-17-2006, 12:44 PM
No offense to anyone here, but could it be the fact that music, and systems tend to sound better when we drink? 13 members of this forum promptly turn into alcoholics

natronforever
10-17-2006, 04:38 PM
When I bought my modest sound system, I bought it not just for myself, but for others as well. It's a means of bringing people together for music, movies, etc. That's the great thing about music - you can share it.

That being said, everybody listens to music on different planes, or levels. The same holds true outside of music. I mean, some people put worms on a hook when they could be throwing flies. Some people snowboard when they could be skiing. Others yet buy 2 wheel drive pickups when they know very well the 4x4 exists. Remarkably, the bait fishermen sometimes catch fish, the snowboarders claim to be having a great time, and the 2x4 owners get decent utility out of their trucks. It's now how I do it, but I'm not going to waste breath trying to convince somebody else how truly miserable they are, when clearly they are not. Good thread, everybody.

Florian
10-17-2006, 04:42 PM
When I bought my modest sound system, I bought it not just for myself,

Exactly! We are musicphiles and do this because of the music. And if you spend 500$, 5000$ or 100K and above we do this for the music. And when i see some crap about "equipmentphiles" i get ticked off. Not that is has much to do with this thread but it had to be said :o

Dusty Chalk
10-17-2006, 06:18 PM
I bought mine for myself.

Florian
10-18-2006, 12:45 AM
I bought mine for myself.

So do i, and i surely work my butt off for it.

thepogue
10-18-2006, 02:21 PM
I say not only "enjoy the music"....but "enjoy the hobby"!! some wear their gear as a badge...but that should tell you a WHOLE LOT about them on the inside!

As far as drinking and music sounds good.....go to a Pogue's show...the truth will be plain!

Once again good post!

Peace, Pogue

FLZapped
10-19-2006, 04:14 AM
... I thought about giving him some friendly advice, but he had everything the way he wanted. We were listening to a lot of Jazz. Miles, Rollins, Milt Jackson, Jason Moran, etc. I must say I havenít enjoyed music like that in a while.

So how does all this help/affect any of you guys reading it? Nothing. I thought I would act selfish and write it down on this website. Iím just using it as a tool to express and better myself so I can truly enjoy what I love.
Sorry and thanks. But no regrets.

-JRA

Nothing selfish about sharing this experience. Too many people turn into gear snobs and don't spend enoguh time just listening to the music and enjoying it - they become hyper-critical and usually end up hearing flaws that are most likely not there in the first place. One of the reasons I don't reveal what I own, it doesn't matter, I'm happy with my system and enjoy listening to it.

Regards,

Bruce

daviethek
10-19-2006, 06:58 AM
Refreshing. Lots of people remembering back to what they used to like and it is all about the music and not so much about the equipment. It was about what we could afford. People are happier with what they have when they know they are at their spending limit.

As long as we are on the analysts couch, I played Live at the Filmore 238 times in 1976. Mixed in with it was some Miles and Hubert Laws. I was thrilled with my big fat extremely used Marantz amp and AR speakers. I used to visit the High-end store and hear Dave Grusin and Mac gear with salesmen touting the virtues of such. Thats when I learned about guys who were way more interested in gear than music. This post has helped me to re-focus a bit.

emaidel
10-19-2006, 08:07 AM
There's absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying good music, and enjoying the sound of a good system at the same time. I'm reminded by this thread of the tale of the audiophile who has about $30,000 invested in his system, but only owns 3 CD's and 4 records.

I think my system sounds terrific (as does anyone who'se heard it), and I own about 1,500 CD's and 1,000 LP's. Yes, I listen to the sound of the system itself when I'm tinkering with this or that, but above all else, I listen to the music. If I can hear instruments I've never heard before when I change something (a loudspeaker; a preamplifier; a cable; etc.) then, so much the better for musical enjoyment.

I sing in my church choir, and we did an exceptionally dififcult piece by Vaughan Williams recently. I bought a CD of that piece, brought the sheet music home with me, and practiced many times before we performed the piece last Sunday. If it weren't for the quality of my system, I would never even have heard the particular bass notes I needed to work on. That speaks volumes about how a quality system can aid in the enjoyment of music.

Good thread!:)

Grandpaw
10-19-2006, 09:40 AM
I don't think there is any question or debate that a higher end system will make the music sound better. The question in my mind is, can I enjoy listening to music and it NOT be on a high end system and for me the answer is YES.

For the folks that say a high end system is a must I would just like ask this question..... At what price level does the system need to be at to enjoy the music properly? No matter how much is spent on a system there is always one out there that is more expensive. So where and how is the line drawn so you know that you can properly enjoy the music?

I have thousands in my system and enjoy listening to music on it. There again my wife can enjoy listening to the same music on a $29.95 boom box and be perfectly happy. Somehow as bad as I hate to admit it she is getting a lot more bang for the buck than I am, so which one of us is the smarter listener? Jeff

I was just thinking about this and scanning though my memory banks and far back as I can remember I can remember people really getting into music and singing along with a transistor radio or singing along with the car radio and really getting into and enjoying the music. And for the life of me I just don't remember seeing anyone enjoying listening to a high end stereo enough to sing along with the songs being played on it.... Why is that I wonder?

emaidel
10-19-2006, 10:06 AM
.

At what price level does the system need to be at to enjoy the music properly?




That's a question that likely will never be answered. There are many who hear systems worth hundreds, and then others worth thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, and don't hear any differences. To them, "as long as it works" seems to be sufficient.

To me, after having invested over $10K in mine, I think I've spent the money wisely, but know that there are many, many others out there that sound better. Fortunately, I can ask the following question:

"How many systems have you heard that sound better than yours?"

My answer to that, is, "None." I know they're out there. I just haven't had the opportunity to hear one. Perhaps I'm lucky in that respect...

nightflier
10-19-2006, 11:55 AM
Worf,

I completely agree about live music. If you pay good money for it, live music should be near perfect - because you're only hearing it once. At home I can try different things and repeat the perfomance as many times as I like, but live music is a one-time thing.

I recently attended a performance at Orange County's new Segerstrom hall, which is supposed to have world-class sonics. While the musicians played as well as could be expected, the whole experience was ruined because the organizers decided to load the stage with speakers and amplify the performance. Only in the last two minutes of the finale, did one of the soloists have the bright idea to step away from the mic - the sound of her voice in that silent hall was breathtaking - no one even dared to clear a throat. But the previous two hours of the performance, that I paid a fair amount for by the way, were ruined.

So while I understand the need to enjoy music for music's sake, there are a million ways to make that music grating and unlistenable. I grew up w/o tv (can you believe that?), but there was always classical music playing. While my parents didn't have a lot of money, I learned to listen for details in the music, the tempo, the style between seemingly different performances. Not being able to hear this because of shoddy equipment is problematic for me.

Yes, I'm very critical about my sound system, but just like my father, I'm not made of money. I have friends that have systems that can make a war-hardened marine cry (literally, I've seen it), but mine is still impressive to my ears. Luckily we trade stuff all the time and so I do get to hear pricier stuff. But most of the time, the synergy doesn't match what I've set up for myself and what I have grown accustomed to in my own home. Most of my equipment was bought used or traded and if there's a tweak, plug, option, or fix that didn't cost me a pint of blood, I've tried it. The point is that upgrade-itis doesn't always have to be expensive.

I highly recommend trading equipment with friends and participating in local audio clubs. I would never have had the opportunity to try so many types of equipment otherwise. Most people don't get the opportunity to audition different types of gear, so they end up buying things that are less than ideal for them, thus leading to expensive upgrades far too often. So many times, the much more expensive piece just wasn't for me. I also applaud manufacturers like magnepan that will honor upgrades and trade-ins. It's an expense for them, but helps build brand-loyalty and allows us cheap-skates to hear more gear.

Anyhow, music is the goal, but the fussing over how things sound is part of the fun in this hobby. Sorry if I'm with the minority of people detracting from the original post, but it isn't a black-n-white choice.

jrhymeammo
10-22-2006, 07:58 PM
Well, I bought a pair of new speakers. I just simply needed much more efficient pair. Plus I ended up pocketing $900.

Worf101
10-23-2006, 03:34 AM
Worf,

I have friends that have systems that can make a war-hardened marine cry (literally, I've seen it), but mine is still impressive to my ears..

Man, that's priceless. Might even become my new sig. Thanks for the love. I agree totally. I've guys here I could trade with but it's too much work. When you lug gear on the weekends to make money, the last thing you wanna do the rest of the week is lug gear for fun. Interesting proposition though... I'll look into it.

Da Worfster

nightflier
10-23-2006, 12:39 PM
Yes he is a former Marine who listens to modern classical (a lot of Russian / Eastern Euro stuff I don't know too well). He's a history buff so we have lots to talk about, but I've never asked about the Marine thing, he just mentioned it in passing. He has a pair of Cremonas (beautiful speakers, by the way) driven by a Pass amp, I think it is the 250, that is no less than 3 feet deep... and ahem, he doesn't consider any of my gear too impressive.

He's a bit hard of hearing, so he plays his system rather loud, enough to make you want to leave the room. One day we were listening to something with a thoundering choral section and he started to tear up. Maybe it reminded him of something, I dunno.

jt1stcav
11-12-2006, 02:25 PM
That's when I know I've reached musical nirvana...when the music I'm listening to brings a tear of joy to my eyes. And that happened while driving my car listening to a piece of music on NPR radio on my cheesey OEM car radio! I later bought the CD and played it through my high-end home audio system and I almost cried like a baby. Obviously, the better sounding system helps in achieving this effect on me, but in the end it's still all about the music.

Great thread...

jrhymeammo
01-19-2007, 05:28 AM
Since then I've acquired alot more gears. Does it make me a hypocrit? Still enjoying da hell outta my music.

Alot of times hanging out with frineds talking about music over music is better than sitting in a dark room listening to Florian's system(Of course I wouldnt know, but I'm almost positive). I need a girlfriend who loves good music.... Yeah, like that ever gonna happen. Does your lover enjoy music as well?


btw, this wasnt a shot as you Flo.

SlumpBuster
01-19-2007, 07:45 AM
Since then I've acquired alot more gears. Does it make me a hypocrit? Still enjoying da hell outta my music.

No. I used to drink margaritas made with canned syrup and El Toro, now I make them with Grand Marnier and Cabo Wabo. That doesn't make the a hypocrite. It just makes me sophisticated and refined. :cornut:

kcramer
01-22-2007, 09:57 AM
The first post reminds me of the time I was riding with a friend in HIS car.(back in highschool) He spent all this money on his audio system. Separate tweets and mids in the front. A really expensive deck with separate eq AND offboard crossover network. When he plays music he plays it rather loud. And all the upper levels on the EQ are cranked all the way up. In essence, WAY TOO MUCH TREBLE. Of course, I adjusted the eq becuase it HURT my ears. uh oh, oops, did I cross the line? TISK TISK That wasn't my system to be messing with. I have my own that I mess with now all the time. Sounds awesome, better than his. (in my opinion) I don't ride in his car anymore. that's my solution. I don't like being blown out by distortion or an eq that isn't properly calibrated...

Of course, I'm a stickler, I like the music to sound as CLOSE TO THE ORGINAL MIX AS POSSIBLE. NOT OVERLY ENHANCED WITH AN EQ or a LIVE ROOM. I'll admit, I spend a lot of time tuning the stereo(like they do in the studio), but at some point, I'm done messing with it because I finally acheived the sound I'm looking for while also keeping in mind: NOT ALL MUSIC IS MASTERED IN A WAY I CONSIDER "CORRECT". But I listen anyways and appreciate the ample amount and/or lack of time engineers put into the mix. heh heh

Just stirring up the pot....

blackraven
01-22-2007, 11:42 AM
Fantastic post. I think that most audiophiles are perfectionists and are always searching for the ever elusive HOLY GRAIL of audio equipment. We are never quite satisfied with the sound of music on our systems, so we are always analyzing the sound and take little time to just sit back and enjoy the music. I think this is more prevalent when we are in our own homes without the outside distractions of people and conversation. I totally agree that music can sound much better on an inferior system when we are in a bar or at someone's home having a good time and not over analyzing the faults in our equipment and sound.