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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    Things only an Audiophile would tolerate :)

    My Disclaimer: This is meant to be a fun thread about things we tolerate in our hobby that a non-'audionut' would not.


    These are just a few things I notice that many of us audiophiles are ok with, but would probably be totally unacceptable to the masses:

    1) Analog volume controls - Ever notice how much gear aimed at Audiophiles have woefully inaccruate volume controls (via the supplied remote)? many of us have mastered the art of tapping the volume up, then down buttons in rapid short bursts, in order to accomodate for the dramatic shifts in volume caused by just barely touching the volume button on the remote.

    Now imagine a tradtional manufacturer of Receivers or mini-systems (e.g. Panasonic or Yamaha) trying to sell products with 'defective' volume controls via the remote to the mass market. I suspect the products would be returned to best-buy or Circuit-City pretty soon.

    Interestingly though, many companies who produce audio gear for both the 2 channel crowd and HT have digital volume controls on their HT gear but still use analog on the 2 channel stuff.

    2) Tempermental CD players - Ever buy a highly acclaimed, best-in-class CD player and find that it refuses to play many of your favourite CDs? I remember having a Panasonic Mini-System as a teen that could play every cd in my collection regardless of whether it was a CDR or was scratched, then I updgraded to an entry level 'Audiophile' CD player and was shocked at how many of my CDs it failed to read...

    3) Ugly products - I saw a post in this forum by a newbie and he mentioned ruling out NAD integrateds because they are 'obtrusively ugly', and while I totally agree with him on how ugly they are, I have to confess that I owned a NAD Integrated Amp and CD setup for 2 years. For the price of any NAD gear there are some really decent looking HT Receivers from Yamaha, Denon etc... So why don't we hold audiphile brands such as NAD to at least the same standard of acceptable looks as mass market gear? I don't think many people would buy ugly HT Receivers, but us audiophiles will gobble up ugly gear, since we think that ugly/cheap looking gear means that the manufacturer spent all the cost of the product on quality instead of looks... which may or may not be true...

    4) Single Disc CD players - Ever notice how few (if any) Audiophile CD changers are available? Yet in the consumer market 3 - 400 disc changers are practically the norm (actually even that has now moved to universal disc players and changers).

    5) Vinyl - It's 2008 my friends and the turntable is still holding on, thanks in no small part to the high end audio crowd, many of whom are convinced that nothing is sweeter than an old record... Now try selling a turntable to a non-audiophile and see what response you'd get. It would be really kinda fun to see Best Buy selling a wide range of turntables in a row next to the latest selection of i-pods.


    Those are the first five observations that come to my head, feel free to add your own or just comment (whether you agree or disagree).... But please don't take offense, this is all just in fun.

  2. #2
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Couldn't agree more! Just getting off the couch to adjust one of my old vintage amps makes me a nerd. But being an old-school audio enthusiast is a badge I wear proudly. All my cool old gear doesn't have to just look cool, it has to sound better than anything anyone who visits my basement has ever heard.

    I guess I would have to call myself a basement audiophile! And I absolutely LOVE IT when something doesn't work, because I get to troubleshoot all my gear. I'm like a dog in the mud...

  3. #3
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    These are just a few things I notice that many of us audiophiles are ok with, but would probably be totally unacceptable to the masses:
    How about needing to switch the ICs to the power amps when changing sources? While I have a full function preamp, the high output CDP sounds better bypassing the otherwise superfluous gain stage.

    rw

  4. #4
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    How about needing to switch the ICs to the power amps when changing sources? While I have a full function preamp, the high output CDP sounds better bypassing the otherwise superfluous gain stage.

    rw
    lol - that is hardcore audiophilia....

  5. #5
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Its too bad that "audiophile" has become equal with expensive and inconvient.
    Yamaha, denon, Marantz all make great 5 disc changers, Onkyo a six disc, but you
    wont catch one on an audiophiles shelf, gotta have a single slot because its "better" for some reason.
    Indeed, a lot of what "audiophiles" put up with is self inflicted, I decided a few years ago that I PREFER LISTENING TO MUSIC instead of futzing around with contrary equipment.
    Its easier to play lossless off of a HD so thats what I do, and its a heck of a lot cheaper, and the sound doesnt suffer a bit.
    If you can tell the dif between a high end CD player and a USB dac then you are a german shepard
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  6. #6
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    If you can tell the dif between a high end CD player and a USB dac then you are a german shepard
    Careful Pix, you're bordering on Melvin terrirory here. Several of the hi-end CDP makers take a pass on commercial DACs, preferring to buy blank chipsets and tweak them on their own. MacInosh, Meridian, and Krell come to mind and their may be others that I have no experience with.

    That is not to say that they are "better", and certainly not "more accurate" (as they tend to strive for a house sound) but definetely different. I'm confident both you and a german shephard could tell the difference in an a/b test.

    Good morning, btw.

  7. #7
    The Bargain Hunter
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    Thanks pixelthis

    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    Its too bad that "audiophile" has become equal with expensive and inconvient.
    Yamaha, denon, Marantz all make great 5 disc changers, Onkyo a six disc, but you
    wont catch one on an audiophiles shelf, gotta have a single slot because its "better" for some reason.
    Indeed, a lot of what "audiophiles" put up with is self inflicted, I decided a few years ago that I PREFER LISTENING TO MUSIC instead of futzing around with contrary equipment.
    Its easier to play lossless off of a HD so thats what I do, and its a heck of a lot cheaper, and the sound doesnt suffer a bit.
    If you can tell the dif between a high end CD player and a USB dac then you are a german shepard
    I couldn't agree more,I don't own any gear that would be considered audiofile,as a matter of fact I believe there are many on this forum who have paid more for that high end CD transport than I have spent on all my gear combined.I'm always looking to upgrade when I can but money is always a problem so I watch ebay,cl and hit the garage sales,this is a GREAT hobby for anyone you enjoys music regardless of income.I should really go start a thread for the bargain hunters like myself so we can talk about some of the great deals we've gotten along the way.

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    My bugaboo: vinyl

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    ...

    These are just a few things I notice that many of us audiophiles are ok with, but would probably be totally unacceptable to the masses:
    ...

    5) Vinyl - It's 2008 my friends and the turntable is still holding on, thanks in no small part to the high end audio crowd, many of whom are convinced that nothing is sweeter than an old record... Now try selling a turntable to a non-audiophile and see what response you'd get. It would be really kinda fun to see Best Buy selling a wide range of turntables in a row next to the latest selection of i-pods
    ....
    I not personally afflicted with any of the items on your list except #5, and that only in couple of particular ways:
    • I still have a couple of hundred LPs and playback rig. They waste a lot of space. I keep them for the sake of the music, but if I weren't so lazy I'd rip them to digital form and flog or give away the the LPs.
    • The real demon of vinyl, IMHO, is that it has retarded the adoption of hi-rez, multichannel media such as SACD.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Careful Pix, you're bordering on Melvin terrirory here.
    hahahaha I see Melvin had become an icon here

  10. #10
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Careful Pix, you're bordering on Melvin terrirory here. Several of the hi-end CDP makers take a pass on commercial DACs, preferring to buy blank chipsets and tweak them on their own. MacInosh, Meridian, and Krell come to mind and their may be others that I have no experience with.

    That is not to say that they are "better", and certainly not "more accurate" (as they tend to strive for a house sound) but definetely different. I'm confident both you and a german shephard could tell the difference in an a/b test.

    Good morning, btw.
    Whos "melvin"?

    Look, "high end" CD players are simply things marketers put together to appease an
    audiophiles snobbery. Most have generic sony, phillips, etc drives, and if you bypass the DAC there is really no reason to buy one.
    I have been playing around with a usb HD and an external sound card, the sound coming from these plain jane devices is a revelation to say the least.
    I do like well designed gear, especially simple, sensible stuff, but I GOT INTO THIS TO LISTEN TO music , not make my living room resemble a WWII german submarine.
    Anyway the differences between any kind of CD players is going to be slight, if there at all
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  11. #11
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    Look, "high end" CD players are simply things marketers put together to appease an
    audiophiles snobbery.
    By all means, continue to believe this if it makes you feel good.

    rw

  12. #12
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    Whos "melvin"?

    Look, "high end" CD players are simply things marketers put together to appease an
    audiophiles snobbery. Most have generic sony, phillips, etc drives, and if you bypass the DAC there is really no reason to buy one.
    I have been playing around with a usb HD and an external sound card, the sound coming from these plain jane devices is a revelation to say the least.
    I do like well designed gear, especially simple, sensible stuff, but I GOT INTO THIS TO LISTEN TO music , not make my living room resemble a WWII german submarine.
    Anyway the differences between any kind of CD players is going to be slight, if there at all
    While I'm not a fan of high end CD players (because I'm a computer audio nut) I would never go as far as to say that they are just there to "appease an
    audiophiles snobbery"....

    Despite the fact that many on this site hate to hear this term - I think it all comes down to dimishing returns (I had a thread on this a year or two ago).... I've found that you get the greatest value for your money by changing speakers, then amplification, then cd player/source and last and most definitely least - cables...

    And as you spend more on any improvement you see smaller and smaller improvements in sound quailty.... whether the improvement is worth it to you, really just depends on how much money you really are willing to spend...

    Simple example... back in 2001 (when I was in university) I moved from a mini-system to all Technics seperates.... and really loved that setup - in 2005 when I had been working for a few years I spent more than 5 times as much on a NAD and Mission setup (all were highly acclaimed products)... Now did the NAD/Mission gear sound much better than the Technics - Definitely... but was it really worth 5 times as much? At that stage in my life - Yes, but Not if I was still in school... If I was still in school I'd have regarded the NAD/Mission as overpriced audio snobbery.... Now it's the absolute minimal acceptable quality I could live with...

  13. #13
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    So is this true:

    "last and most definitely least" are the cables?

    I would guess the CD player is least important. I just remember the difference I could hear when I first got monster cables in the 80's.

  14. #14
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkheath
    So is this true:

    "last and most definitely least" are the cables?

    I would guess the CD player is least important. I just remember the difference I could hear when I first got monster cables in the 80's.
    What do you think would make the most significant impact on your system?

    $50 Monster Cables and a $1K CD Player (eg Marantz SA8001)

    or

    a $50 CD Player and $1K worth of cables

    What I'm saying is that once you have a nice thick set of cables (like Monster - which are very cheap), then you're not likely to see great benefit from jumping to ultra-expensive cables.... not unless you're system is running in the 10s of thousands...

  15. #15
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    Well... when you guys are talking about $1000 CD players.. you are WAAAAAYYY outside of my realm. And I had NO IDEA that there was any such thing as $1000 cables... holy crap!

    So no... I certainly could not see that much difference in your world.

    BUT... in my world, where the question is more like:

    What would make the most sound difference: going from a $50 CD player to a $200 CD player or going from that crappy speaker wire you can get for $8/100 ft to monster cables? The cables would win in a land slide. At my level... the extra expense is more likely to just mean a few more features on the CD player as opposed to somehow reading more information off of the CD.

  16. #16
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkheath
    Well... when you guys are talking about $1000 CD players.. you are WAAAAAYYY outside of my realm. And I had NO IDEA that there was any such thing as $1000 cables... holy crap!

    So no... I certainly could not see that much difference in your world.

    BUT... in my world, where the question is more like:

    What would make the most sound difference: going from a $50 CD player to a $200 CD player or going from that crappy speaker wire you can get for $8/100 ft to monster cables? The cables would win in a land slide. At my level... the extra expense is more likely to just mean a few more features on the CD player as opposed to somehow reading more information off of the CD.
    lol... I hear you... and you are right... going from crappy speaker wire to monster is probably better than just getting extra features on a cheap CD player...

    Oh and some people spend not $1K but several thousand on cables.... Yeah, our hobby has no price limit....

  17. #17
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    The reason higher-end cd players choose single cd transports as opposed to the multi-disc jukebox that is common in the more convenience-oriented mass-consumer market, is purely for one of performance. You can more easily design a better transport that is jitter and resonance-free around a single-cd system. Higher-end players work to minimize jitter, and address both internal and external resonance. High-end cd players may indeed become redundant in the long run because the technology to access and read high-resolution uncompressed data files direct from a hard drive is upon us. The inherent advantage of bypassing the transport altogether is the elimination of resonance and jitter associated with that mechanism. However, to think that a higher-end CD player like, for instance, the Cambridge 840c or Audio Research CD7 doesn't sound better than run of the mill fair such as a $300 panasonic or toshiba, is to deny the truth.

    With respect to over-sensitive volume controls, which happen to annoy the hell outta me; the excessive gain in volume can be addressed with additional resistors.

    Yes, mass-market receivers and other components are much more user-friendly, have better ergonomics, and are aesthetically more pleasing; but they generally... no, ALWAYS sound dead compared to a really good preamp. So, you either want excellent ergonomics in an aesthetically pleasing chassis, that make sense for those with only a moderate interest in getting the best out of their music and movie software, or who may be restricted to a tight budget. Or, you'll settle for something that some might say looks ugly as hell, and is ergonomically backward, but produces music that the first can only dream off. Hard choice.... There is of course a third option, you can by a product that has both - a super high-end product, which is all good, except it now costs $40,000.00
    Last edited by O'Shag; 02-02-2008 at 07:19 PM.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    I'm a 'hairshirt' also. Some of the cable-changing and positioning I do would have a normal person consider that I am insane. which I am not...I think....

  19. #19
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    lol... I hear you... and you are right... going from crappy speaker wire to monster is probably better than just getting extra features on a cheap CD player...
    Absolutely not. Wire should be the last thing yous should consider.

    If you have a cheapo CD player, then I suggest you look for a decent player such as Marantz 5001. It'll be a dramatic improvement than switching from copper wire to top of the line Nordust Speaker cables.

    I guess you can always get a external DAC and keep your CD/DVD player, but I would try to procure a good CD player first.

  20. #20
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Absolutely not. Wire should be the last thing yous should consider.

    If you have a cheapo CD player, then I suggest you look for a decent player such as Marantz 5001. It'll be a dramatic improvement than switching from copper wire to top of the line Nordust Speaker cables.

    I guess you can always get a external DAC and keep your CD/DVD player, but I would try to procure a good CD player first.
    Hey, I think you misunderstood my post.... I still think wires are the last thing to be considered....

    I owned a Marantz CD5001 and it was an excellent player for $300....

    What I was saying is that if you have really bad speaker wire and/or interconnects... then just upgrade to cheap monster or really any other cheap but thick cable.... no kevlar coated nonsense....

  21. #21
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Hi Ajani, good thread!

    If you don't mind my asking, where did you migrate from and where to? I'm guessing, but the statement about yor still missing your 2-channel rig would indicate you may have sold it because of electrical voltage incompatibility in your new country... Its tough to build a system again, but fun too as you get to make choices based on more experience...

    Cheers

  22. #22
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Hey, I think you misunderstood my post.... I still think wires are the last thing to be considered....

    I owned a Marantz CD5001 and it was an excellent player for $300....

    What I was saying is that if you have really bad speaker wire and/or interconnects... then just upgrade to cheap monster or really any other cheap but thick cable.... no kevlar coated nonsense....
    You should never underestimate the importatnce of proper sheilding of cables.
    Especially when you are using them for LOMC phono preamp.
    When signals are being amplifed by 60+dbs, they are likely to pickup alot of airborne noise

    I would rather get cables from BlueJeans But yes, with Monster Cables, you can be certain that they contain more than 95% copper.

  23. #23
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Cables do make a big difference you know...

    and yes, shielded cable is important, I experienced that myself when I was stupid enough to connect my tt to my phonostage with my Kimber PBJ's...

    let me be clear, don't do this

    I quickly changed it to the Qed Qunex 3, and used the kimber to connect the phonostage to the amp...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  24. #24
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Hi Ajani, good thread!

    If you don't mind my asking, where did you migrate from and where to? I'm guessing, but the statement about yor still missing your 2-channel rig would indicate you may have sold it because of electrical voltage incompatibility in your new country... Its tough to build a system again, but fun too as you get to make choices based on more experience...

    Cheers
    I migrated from Canada to the Caribbean.... it wasn't a voltage issue though... I had just about decided on a Monitor Audio Gold Series/Musical Fidelity Combo as my next upgrade, when I decided to move... so rather than ship my old Mission/Rotel setup, I figured I'd just sell them and buy the MA/MF combo when I got here... but I got married after I left Canada, so rebuilding my 2 channel setup has been put on hold temporarily... and to complicate matters, where I am there are no audio stores... so I'll have to import anyway and pay heavy local taxes...

  25. #25
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    and yes, shielded cable is important, I experienced that myself when I was stupid enough to connect my tt to my phonostage with my Kimber
    MM/HOMC settings seem to do okay with numours cables. It's been said that $50~$5000 Kimber has some of the worst EMI/RFI shielding in the IC business.

    I think PBJ is one of the biggest bargin in audio IC, but just have to be careful what you plug them into.

    Getting back to the topic, has anyone seem pics of my 48sq inches of Smurf?

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