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Thread: Audiophiles...

  1. #1
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Audiophiles...

    Hi guys,
    I just watched this today and thought it was quite relevant to our hobby
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs

    Hope you like!

  2. #2
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I've watched it before. It's a nice video. It doesn't make fun of "us".
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    Awesome gear! I working in a machine shop years ago and made most of the parts for the first Versa Dynamics Vacuum Platter Turntable. I thought that was a bit nuts back then. The motor had to be mounted to concrete flooring in a basement to eliminate vibration.

    http://andyhifi.50webs.com/images/versa_dynamics.jpg

  4. #4
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Hi Audio amatuer - respect to you and hope you are well.

    Forgive me for being contrary - I think audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often. Too much utter stupidity and insanity. We deserve absolutely no respect from sane individuals. Too much bull**** and lies these days I think. When you see a pair of speakers or amp or whatever that costs as much as a Ferrari Challenge Stradale or a Merc SL55 or an Aston Martin Vantage or DB9 on the used market, someone has got to be very high on drugs to justify this. Take for example those manufacturers who tack on 20thousand here or there every year for no other reason other than a whim, one has to start being very uncomfortable being associated with such excess and nonsense, especially given the shake-up the world is going through. Take for example Acapella. Now I know Acapella speakers well. Their 26k LaCampanella is ultimately crap, the 70k (where did that come from!!?) High Violons sound kinda ok/nice, but sincerely - my $4000 Monitor Audio Gold Reference 60s (which can be had for so cheap used) tear either of these speakers a new rectum in terms of sheer musical energy, power and enjoyment.

    I wouldn't care so much, but the mags intentionally have coined the phrase high-end and the implications are that high dollars equals high performance, ergo implying that sanely priced gear is somehow compromised - which is utter balderdash.

    I cancelled my subscription to Stereophile and TAS, because of the absolute horse dudu that permeates those pages. Some of the writers are cool-ish, but I think those that are, are pressured to fall in line.

    So, forgive my negativity, but I believe audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often Maybe then, we can get back to the truth/honest science, and to sanity
    'Lets See what the day brings forth'.... Reginald Iolanthe Perrin

  5. #5
    Audio/HT Nut version 1.3a
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    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Forgive me for being contrary - I think audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often
    Amen!

    RR6

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    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Worth it for the peggy lee.
    Did you see those old speakers? Wonder how they sound?
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  7. #7
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Music is life, you either understand it, or you don't.
    SIMPLE AS THAT.
    Twenty five grand and you drive an old car, no brainer, really.
    For the guy who quoted a bunch of car prices, well, if that is what you value...
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  8. #8
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Hi Audio amateur - respect to you and hope you are well.

    Forgive me for being contrary - I think audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often. Too much utter stupidity and insanity.
    ...
    So, forgive my negativity, but I believe audiophiles should be made fun of a lot more often Maybe then, we can get back to the truth/honest science, and to sanity
    This is why I will probably never purchase speakers that are that expensive, and there would simply be no hesitation between a 360 CS and a speaker costing that much
    Mind you I probably wouldn't for a car either, despite the fact that i'm a petrolhead. Now if I had millions and millions, that could be another story.

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    O'Shag not that you don't have some what a valid point, not all ultra expensive gear lack the value though. I have heard the $100k Dynaudio Evidence in a system that has synergy and if I had the money I wouldn't hesitate to pay that for them. I personally would pay $100k for speakers before a stupid car. You can't drive a Mercedes or Farari and then sit to make fun of an audiophile who purchases an expensive system that gives them pleasure. Rather hypocritical wouldn't you say? Not to say I'd be just as happy with a $16k pair of Sapphires which I found at that price to be quite a value. Since I don't have that kind of money I have to be happy with what I have and people can certainly spend less to get a system with good synergy that will provide enjoyment. It's not fair to make generalizations of hi fi gear or audiophiles based on a couple of examples which are purely subjective any way.

  10. #10
    Sure, sure... Auricauricle's Avatar
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    I agree with you, Mr. P:

    Audiophiles like these constitute a niche market and as such are prey to the trappings of vanity and insanity as any "afficianado", be it music, (graphic) art, cigars, wines or whatever. There are folks who take their hobbies to extremes, spending thousands of dollars for a cartridge, say, or a Renoir, but this is their passion and they have the money to spend, so why not? Manufacturers often lie in wait for these people, knowing that they will be snapped up. The prices are stratospheric, yes, and maybe the performance of the gear is only marginally better (if it is at all) than stuff costing far less, but that's your smug little secret and why you'll be vacationing in Provence while the guy with the 15,000 dollar phono cartridge will stay home. This is a completely different ball-game, and it can be just as much fun to watch as it is to play....

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    I myself would also rather have a 100K system than a 500sl. The people who do buy the high priced cars just so they can play "Look at me" are just as insane. There seems to be no need to go from 0 to 120 when for the most part the speed limit is 55 and can be achieved for $100,000.00 less.

    That being said, 100k for a pair of speakers that only sound twice as good as a pair costing 5k does not fly with me. I have heard all the big systems when Soundex was still in business. They had a complete setup of Dynaudio from the $150k each monoblocks to the outrageous Arbitur speakers all cabled up with what resembled vacuum cleaner hose sized cables. Yeah it sounded great but not 20x better than a reasonably priced system.

    The people who buy the mentioned gear have the cash to do so without blinking an eye. It's not for everyone and I agree Stereophile and TAS are hurting themselves more than helping to create new fans by only talking about the mega bucks gear and not mainstream reality.

    I can remember many occasions in Soundex where a doctor buys a 10k turntable and two weeks later is trading it in for 8k to put towards a 15k pc. And then come back in another two weeks and do it again. If I had cash to burn, I might play the game, but I don't.

    I make fun of myself and other Audiophiles all the time. Cables, sorbothane, granite blocks for my speakers, raising the speaker wires off the carpet (using folded cardboard instead of $20 per block of wood with a v sawed into it).

    It's just like anything else, if it's your passion and you have the money, why not?

    I know too many people that shell out major cash for pets that will only die in a few years anyway. What's the difference? It's their passion and what they choose to blow their money on.

  12. #12
    Sure, sure... Auricauricle's Avatar
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    Presactly!

    Besides, if we can't laugh at ourselves sometimes, what can we laugh at?

  13. #13
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Hope you like!
    Nothing succeeds like...excess! I'm over the top as compared with most folks, but some of those guys are off the scale.

    Nevertheless, it is quite fun to hear well put together mega-systems from time to time with you own music. Now, back to listening to XM on the computer...

    rw

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    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Let's not confuse "audiophiles" with "hi-end." Unless, that is, we believe that you cannot be one without the other? Can you be an audiophile and have a Kenwood receiver pushing Technics speakers? Or, as some would believe, must you have speaker cable that requires an equity line to purchase?

    The rap on audiophiles I think comes from the questionable return on investment for the gear. When there is very little, if any, measureable advantages from price point to price point, it's not hard to ponder the sanity of someone that becomes giddy when installing Valhalla wire into their system. By comparison, cars are a horrible analogy if only because their performance is quantifiable. It's either faster or it isn't. It either corners better, brakes shorter, gets better mileage, or circles the Norschliefe faster...or it doesn't. There are no "golden ears." No grey area about personal preference. You know what you are paying for because it's right there on the stop watch and the differences are rarely subtle. You can't do this with audio, and therein lies the rub.

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    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    I think some of you are missing the point. Its got nothing to do with wanting an expensive car. When we buy something, is it not reasonable that we operate with some form of true value process ie the cost to build something vs the cost to buy that something? If you do not operate this way then you are likely not making sound decisions and your behaviour might be described by some (and rightly so) as an uncontrollable obsession or addiction.

    There is not one speaker or component that is even one one-hundreth as complex and difficult to manufacture as any of the cars I mentioned. It matters not that you care not for a car (although I'm a petrol head too). and in the context of this conversation, it matters not the performance characteristics of the car. The fact is, that any car, including the AMC Gremlin, is far more expensive and difficult to manufacture, spin it how you will, and that is the point - value. This is concept that goes out the window with many audiophiles. I know, I know - well there is the value of the joy of listening, but lets get real, there has to be a realworld assessment of value also. Otherwise, one's significant other would be completely justified in sueing for divorce.

    My problem is not with people spending to their hearts content, I myself ( in my absurdity) have a large sum 'invested' in Audio/HT gear. My problem is with the mind-job that is being continually perpetuated among the audiophile cognescenti. Its fine to review and discuss the merits of absurdly priced exotica, but to imply that the main road to audio nirvana is really only achieved spending obscene amounts of money - that I cannot stand. The rich-person's price tag, beautiful casework, shiney-shinies etc, as beautiful or weirdly fascinating as they be, have little to do with the sonic outcome of a component.

    Also, any sane individual can see that the audiophile hobby is simply infested with balogney.

    My respect might be re-gained somewhat, if the press and or those who we rely on to guide us would clearly state that the NORMAL, and ADVISABLE path to sonic nirvana is the middle road (mind you not most reviewer's so-called middle road) , and that even if you have lots of lolly to spend on gear, you are unlikely to see any improvement in sound. What I know from experience, is that a brilliant sounding system that will beat the pants of most of these ultra expensive systems can be put together with prudence for one tenth the price.
    Last edited by O'Shag; 05-21-2009 at 01:59 PM.
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    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shag
    The fact is, that any car, including the AMC Gremlin, is far more expensive and difficult to manufacture, spin it how you will, and that is the point - value. This is concept that goes out the window with many audiophiles. I know, I know - well there is the value of the joy of listening, but lets get real, there has to be a realworld assessment of value also. Otherwise, ones significant other would be completely justified in sueing for divorce.
    Well said...soup for you tonight.

    Good to see you posting Shaggy...
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    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Howdy Bobsticks.
    Soup is good..
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    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    The price of this stuff and the attitudes thereto are all subjective. I suppose I think it's crazy to spend $100k on a pair of speakers...dunno...but then there are people who would think $4k is a crazy amount to spend on speakers. I get a chuckle when I see an ad on craigslist that refers to an audio system as high-end or some other lofty adjective/superlative and it's a receiver and 8 speakers that listed for a few hundred dollars. Those people probably don't even know it's possible to spend $4k on two speakers....much less $100k.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    By comparison, cars are a horrible analogy if only because their performance is quantifiable. It's either faster or it isn't. It either corners better, brakes shorter, gets better mileage, or circles the Norschliefe faster...or it doesn't. There are no "golden ears." No grey area about personal preference. You know what you are paying for because it's right there on the stop watch and the differences are rarely subtle. You can't do this with audio, and therein lies the rub.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you...

    Comparing audiophiles to petrolheads simply does not mean anything. If I had the cash, I'd be running a car (I have never owned one) on the track day in day out. Well i'd like to think so anyway. In that world, you actually get good marginal returns as you go up the price scale, and these are clearly quantitative. I feel that in the audio world, you can get good performance for a fraction of the price you would pay for ultra $$ speakers. Just what Shag was saying.

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    You all are setting a double standard for audio gear. What if I pay $100k for speakers, some pay it for a flipping rock to put on their finger or a gown. Value is not a must for anything. A Coke a be a buck out of a machine and you pay it, you are at the ball park and it's $10.00 you pay it. I don't think you have a point.

    I think auto to audio is a valid analogy. You can't measure a 50 wpc amp and compare to a 200 wpc amp? You can't remove the top off a Kenwood and see the difference from a Krell? You guys just have different priorities and will never see my view nor will I yours. You try to puff yourselves up and claim superiority to justify your high end auto purchase. There's no difference between that and a high end audio system, you just like to think there is. It all depends on what gives you wood, a fast car, an incredible audio system or $5k Italian suits or a $10k watch. But the bottom line is not one purchase can be justified over another to the guy who buys the item.

    You can claim you've heard this or that and if you've had a bad presentation of the gear or just didn't get it then fine but you can't make wild generalizations like no expensive audio gear is worth it's price tag. I don't think there's a product on the market that will give you dollar for dollar performance upgrade as you spend more. So why try to hold audio to that? If some one can hear a difference then it's up to them whether the expense is worth it. It's like the $10 Coke, yes, you might think you got screwed but if you were thirsty enough that 10 spot was a deal, wasn't it. Audio is like any other product as well that some manufacturers are better at the craft than others. So you may find a $5k amp that sounds as good as a $10k. As in buying any product you have to be a good consumer and do some home work. Just as Kia claims to be as good or better than Toyota, some autos compare themselves to BMW for half the price, are they? Maybe to some. those who fall for it. Or, maybe it's true. There's always going to be products who try to climb the ladder by claiming to be as good as the big dog for less. Just as Oppo or Emotiva. Are they Krell, or McIntosh? Those who buy it think so. And, if you all know as much as you seem to about autos then you realize that there is much more profit on a higher end car than an entry level. A salesman may not see much commission on a Corola but it is sizeable on the Lexus. Same for any auto line Focus to Lincoln or whatever. So keep your car on it's pedestal but don't expect me to swallow that Mercedes is worth every dollar you paid for it. I can pick up milk or take the kids to soccer just as well in a Volkwagen Beetle.

  21. #21
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Well said Mr. Peabody.
    I happen to be one of those who is into automobiles, audio, watches, cameras and other enthusiast things. My audio gear is listed here. My 26 year old Turbo Porsche, Tag Heuer watch, Nikon F-2 and other things were purchased because they were what I wanted. Like my audio gear, the idea that I wouldn't need to replace or constantly upgrade them was/is very important to me. What I buy is bought to please me. I don't give a rat's ass what other people think. If I've learned only one thing in 61 years it's that making myself happy is what matters.
    As you can tell I keep things a long time. I take care of them and expect them to last. As Oscar Wilde said "I have the simplest of tastes, I'm always satisfied by the very best".
    BTW:
    A Honda Interceptor 500 and a custom made bicycle frame with full Campy Gruppo are other things I have bought and kept. The Honda is 25 and the bike is 26. Old stuff for an old guy!

    O'Shag:
    If I'm obsessed or addicted, so what! It's my money and I can spend it as I please. Frankly, it's none of your business what I or anyone else spends on anything. The fact that you can't or won't understand someone who spends more than you think prudent in no way invalidates their purchase. I could turn the tables and say you're cheap because you're not willing to spend what I spent. I wear Armani suits, Bally shoes and have my shirts custom made at Brooks Brothers. Is that a waste of money also?
    If you say my taste for Dom Perignon is senseless I just may start throwing the empty bottles at you.I wouldn't want to waste good bubbly! If PA had a bottle return law I'd return the bottles for the deposit. I'm not crazy or a spend thrift, just indulgent.
    Last edited by JoeE SP9; 05-21-2009 at 10:50 PM.
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  22. #22
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    You all are setting a double standard for audio gear. What if I pay $100k for speakers, some pay it for a flipping rock to put on their finger or a gown. Value is not a must for anything. A Coke a be a buck out of a machine and you pay it, you are at the ball park and it's $10.00 you pay it. I don't think you have a point.
    Huh? What does being a captive audience at a ballpark have to do with the price you pay? You buy a $10 Coke because you don't have a freakin' choice! Unless, that is, you'd rather pay the $15 for the beer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. P
    I think auto to audio is a valid analogy. You can't measure a 50 wpc amp and compare to a 200 wpc amp?
    Considering you rarely need more than a few watts to drive most speakers to sufficient spl's, the question is whether you can readily hear the benefit of the extra 150wpc. All things equal, at sane listening levels (no Spinal Tap Crank It To 11), that's the question. Put a Pass X150 vs a X350 level matched on a normal, efficient speaker (no ESL's that require current worthy of an arc welder), and I'd wager anyone would have a hard time hearing the benefit of the extra wattage. OTH, anyone will immediately feel the difference of a 638hp ZR1 vs a 403hp C6. Same car, huge difference in measured performance from the second you dip your big toe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr P
    You try to puff yourselves up and claim superiority to justify your high end auto purchase. There's no difference between that and a high end audio system, you just like to think there is. It all depends on what gives you wood, a fast car, an incredible audio system or $5k Italian suits or a $10k watch. But the bottom line is not one purchase can be justified over another to the guy who buys the item.
    I wasn't aware this was a pissing contest. Why can't we be passionate about many things, as Joe is? My point has nothing to do with idealogy or rationalizations. I simply think that on the face of it, using cars as an analogy is a bad idea because unlike cars, gains in performance are extremely difficult to measure and verify.

    Now, if we consider "hi-end" audio to be a "luxury" item, then we should be comparing them to collector cars. In this context, I think they are comparable as you're using a completely different set of criteria, not the least bit being ego. Performance now takes a back seat to provenance, scarcity, and emotion. When someone spends $186,000 on a Plymouth 'Cuda at Barrett/Jackson because it reminds him of his first car in high school, as a friend did this year, there ain't a lot of logic involved in the decision making process! Emotion? Yes. Ego? You betcha? Measured logic? Oh, hell no. In this realm, spending $38,000 on a Boulder amp makes sense because, as you so aptly put, it gives you wood. Park a Ferrari 275 GTB in my garage (which is slower than my daily driver) and I guarantee you I will have wood. Hell, I might even make a grainy movie of me caressing the rear quarter panel with Zaino and post it on the internet. Wait a sec, I need a minute...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr P
    keep your car on it's pedestal but don't expect me to swallow that Mercedes is worth every dollar you paid for it. I can pick up milk or take the kids to soccer just as well in a Volkwagen Beetle.
    You're right, at their core, cars are designed to move you from Point A to Point B, just like all audio gear is designed to create a sound. The difference lies in the abilty to discern how they go about their business. Will a MB SL500 allow you to pick up the milk faster, with more comfort, listening to a better stereo, and with more peace of mind knowing it's far safer than a Beetle? Yep. It costs more because you get more. It's right in front of you. You can feel it, touch it, see it, and smell it. There is no point of argument, reality refutes opinion. Put 5 audiophiles in a listening room and start cycling between a pair of $25k WP8's, $45k Grand Utopia Be's, and $150k VR11's and let the arguments begin! There will be no right answer because it comes down to personal preference, not measured performance. BTW, of the three, I prefer the least expensive Wilsons. Go figure.

  23. #23
    Sure, sure... Auricauricle's Avatar
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    In medical research a distinction is made between statistical significance and clinical statistics. Statistical significance refers to numbers: after reaching a certain threshold of results, that which is being measured demonstrates positive or negative effect. Yet this is a numbers exercise only, and may not reflect upon perceptible impact. To address this, clinical significance is considered, describing the ability for these impacts to have any perceptual effect.

    As an example, consider a program that wants to ascertain the effectiveness of a medication for a given symptom. A look at lab tests demonstrate that the med reaches a certain level after a certain period. Because the differences in the new level and old level are mathematically demonstrated, statistical significance has been achieved. Yet, in spite of this data, not everyone feels different, alas. Because there is no perceptual difference, there is no clinical significance.

    Of course things are more complicated than this, but it’s a good start.

    In the pursuit of things audiophile, there is a clear and discernible difference between data driven satisfaction (statistical-related) or emotion-driven satisfaction (clinical-related). I suppose many of us are quite aware of the data-related factors of our equipment: slew rate, SPL, WPM, frequency response, etc. are examples. More important, I reckon, are the emotion-related factors of the passion: does this amp perform in a way that is pleasing; does this speaker rock or is it a wimp, etc. While the numbers are important in narrowing the field to make better informed decisions about quality and the ability of a certain component to please us, the decision to buy or not to buy, to keep or to upgrade, etc., is subjective.

    Because the decisions regarding the appreciation of equipment and of music in general are driven mostly by subjective, will-o-the-wisp emotional appraisals, I would say that the audiophile hobby is absolutely prone to obsession, fanaticism and occasional momentary lapses of reason

    You can gripe all you want about somebody’s purchase of a multi-thousand dollar preamplifier or an outrageously priced RF choke; you say turn three shades of red when a guy who has money to burn opts for a cheesy Emerson CD player over a Wadia; but these arguments presuppose that these purchases and this satisfaction is all about reason, and disinterest. It ain’t, and it never will be.

    Whether someone spends a pile of money on a chunk of equipment or not; whether he can tell you this or that about his purchase’s performance characteristics is not important at all, if you ask me. What is important is that the stuff that he buys and what he listens to brings him joy. Period. If he rants and raves aout it, so much the better.

    Who is the audiophile, I ask: The guy who tells you he owns a couple of Krell monoblock amps, a Counterpoint pre, a couple of Tannoy Westministers and a Goldmund CD transport and separate DAC and couldn’t and doesn’t say anything more than it sounds good? Or is it the guy (or gal) who tells you that his Sanyo boombox sounds fan-freaking-tastic and that the woofers on that hummer sound as crisp (to his ears) as they were played live and that when he plays a CD on that portable player through that boombox just rocks his soul?

    Benjamoin Disraeli is credited, but Samuel Clemens is known for saying, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. In this little world of our hobby, the justifications and rationales that are used to substantiate our experinces are just as prone to foible and solipsism as anything else that is personal. Statistics and numbers and sense are useful, but when the end of the day comes, and you're listening to one of your favorite recordings, all those numbers just fade into sweet, sweet, blue.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    High Joe SP9. Sorry no offence meant.
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    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    543
    never mind
    Last edited by O'Shag; 05-26-2009 at 11:05 PM.
    'Lets See what the day brings forth'.... Reginald Iolanthe Perrin

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