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A no-taking-sides, no judgment classification of the 4 types of Audiophile. "The audiophile bestiary".

ROOSKIE

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The outcome may be unifying but more often segmentation itself is not. It is inherently divisive.
This is simply not true.
Segmentation is not any more inherently divisive than the lines on a notebook page or the 5 separate ink tanks in my printer.
You absolutely cannot have unity without first the parts. There is zero chance of togetherness without first a pile of separate parts.
All wholes are made up of parts, the very concept of whole is intimately and intrinsically dependent on the concept of parts. They can never be isolated.
A rainbow is clearly segmented and yet it is also a rainbow and the best ones are ones where you can distinctly see each color equally.

Divisiveness, which requires a sense of disagreement and or conflict is also often really import.
In fact that is the foremost principle if freethinking and unique behaviors are to be permitted one must allow for it. Allowing for extreme divisiveness, while uncomfortable at times, is the balance for totalitarian organization.
 

ROOSKIE

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This is trivially the reason why, despite being an iron rational from every point of view, I cannot be defined as an absolute "objectivist" in the audio world.
IMHO, no rational person would define themselves as anything absolute would they?
Attaching to such a fixed hook seems hardly rational at all :)
Living with complete objectivity I still think impossible. But detaching from emotion—including subjective like/dislike—for a particular event in a particular context is like yoga or meditation. Certainly possible, with practice/training.
Interesting take though very different from mine. Any involvement on my part in yoga and meditation has been to in fact connect with emotion, while perhaps being with things I do not like but certainly not to detach from them or transmute them into something other than what they are - something I don't like/like. (In order to be able to be with/sit/ with/see clearly, things you don't like, you have to actually not like them.) Of course there is much more but not for now I suppose.
Interesting as you speak of objectivity and then of yoga, a lot of the lineages if you get into that sort of thing, stem from the fundamental perception of life as a drama - something Shakespearean in its fundamental nature. Objectivity is not an aspect of much consideration at all, the story is. Development/tempering of the self through the dramas of life are primary.
Anyway, I'm interested in whether these descriptions make sense to people, hopefully they are not offensive to anyone!
Nothing offensive to me though I do see you got some various feedback.
Great post OP, I really enjoyed it.
I am definitely an Audiophile and like most I often shy away from the term. (Not due to not being one, I most clearly am one.)

Just based off your list I am currently
0% The Nominal Audiophile (been doing this to long for that)
40% The Objectivist Audiophile (yep, love to measure, test, confirm and think we have several product types that can 100% be measured beyond audibility -Amps,Wires,DAC's,More / not Speakers though better listen and know your room.
10% The Subjectivist (hey I am human after all ;) )
50% The Romanic Audiophile (go figure, I am an artist at heart you know. I don't give a big f about a reproduction of the Mona Lisa. When I saw my 1st Jackson Pollack in person it was a huge event with many, many works by many famous artists. In the midst of all the works, I could feel it pulling the air of the space around it and reaching out to my eyes and mind from across the room. I walked up to it and was just awestruck by it's power and palpable 'vibe'. The space was shimmering in a dark wave of black obsidian weight. It was a stunning painting and the experience more so. When I realized who had painted it, it all came into focus as to why he was so respected. Prior to this, seeing them in poor reproduction in video and print I was never interested in him at all. The spirit of this paining was strong and it was dark and it was haunting and was also truly beautiful. That mans soul was in that painting, all that apparent chaos and it was truly beautiful and it had to be experienced right there - no other way.

Anyway the Romantic Audiophile part of me is really why I give a crap, it is why I have many DIY projects going and way to many speakers and still read What HiFi, or watch an influencer shill speakers on Youtube after making a comment on ASR. I am basically a Hopeless Romantic. Love conquers all, which is especially true if you love it all.
 

Rick Sykora

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This is simply not true.
Segmentation is not any more inherently divisive than the lines on a notebook page or the 5 separate ink tanks in my printer.
You absolutely cannot have unity without first the parts. There is zero chance of togetherness without first a pile of separate parts.
All wholes are made up of parts, the very concept of whole is intimately and intrinsically dependent on the concept of parts. They can never be isolated.
A rainbow is clearly segmented and yet it is also a rainbow and the best ones are ones where you can distinctly see each color equally.

Divisiveness, which requires a sense of disagreement and or conflict is also often really import.
In fact that is the foremost principle if freethinking and unique behaviors are to be permitted one must allow for it. Allowing for extreme divisiveness, while uncomfortable at times, is the balance for totalitarian organization.

Please excuse some hyperbole on my part, as did not intend any absolute. Segments may be polarizing or may not or somewhere in between. In drawing distinctions (like objective vs subjective), often there is divisiveness but it is not always so. A market is composed of people and is rarely as simple as lines on a sheet of paper. People can be divisive over (sometimes simple preferences) like a car color.

If you are doing targeted marketing, knowing where your segments align or align less is key. It is more about distinction than divisiveness. So regret overemphasizing the divisive aspect. There are more appropriate terms to apply to market segmentation. :)
 

Axo1989

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Interesting take though very different from mine. Any involvement on my part in yoga and meditation has been to in fact connect with emotion, while perhaps being with things I do not like but certainly not to detach from them or transmute them into something other than what they are - something I don't like/like. (In order to be able to be with/sit/ with/see clearly, things you don't like, you have to actually not like them.) Of course there is much more but not for now I suppose.
Interesting as you speak of objectivity and then of yoga, a lot of the lineages if you get into that sort of thing, stem from the fundamental perception of life as a drama - something Shakespearean in its fundamental nature. Objectivity is not an aspect of much consideration at all, the story is. Development/tempering of the self through the dramas of life are primary.

Yes there are different disciplines of meditation and yoga. One of the interesting aspects of zen buddhist meditation is cultivation of awareness of the totality of phenomena, discarding the subject/object duality. In my (limited) understanding, the drama/stories of life are the opposite of sūnyatā (emptiness of the presupposed stories and world-views that we fashion to explain who we are and the world we live in, and grasping of the object of desire by the subject) that is a desired result of that meditation. I'm wondering how that can be applied to the polarised subject-object duality we see play out here. The approach you suggest is somewhat different, but that doesn't mean it isn't interesting. It reads somewhat like classical drama, or heroic journey (I guess you invoked Shakespeare) I'd be interested to know which branch of yoga/meditation it relates to.
 

ROOSKIE

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I'd be interested to know which branch of yoga/meditation it relates to.
Well, I suppose first I would propose that any lineage and branch of yoga and meditation study that traces to Hindu roots has at least been informed if not entirely driven by the notion of life as a divine play -Lila. (Which is a huge grouping, and some really very old, even perhaps original sources)
I am not a historian per say, though the above is enough to set you heading to good places on Google.

The approach you suggest is somewhat different, but that doesn't mean it isn't interesting. It reads somewhat like classical drama, or heroic journey (I guess you invoked Shakespeare)
The heroic or hero's journey is definitely another interesting take on 'path'. I was a big Joseph Campbell, fan when I was younger and before the internet. I really enjoyed his interviews with Bill Moyers - especially with the connection to Lucas. I was a huge original Star Wars fan and Luke Skywalker's heroic journey deeply influenced my childhood.

I believe in the context of the comment that started me responding, is that for some great many folks the subjective and objective debate is an irrelevant reality. Objective reality is merely the stage for the action and what it is, how it measures or how accurately the color spectrum is has little bearing on the authenticity of the drama. In fact this can be seen in the so-called 'objectivist vs subjectivist debate'. In this case though with the lens of Lila, it is not about who is right or more correct, rather that the 'debate' is really just providing the impetus for people to interact in a dramatic way and learn and develop. It is a way to bring out and shine a light on where one really is in their development and in the case of a yogic mindset, where they are in their spiritual development - their yoga, their 'joining'.

One of the interesting aspects of zen buddhist meditation is cultivation of awareness of the totality of phenomena, discarding the subject/object duality. In my (limited) understanding, the drama/stories of life are the opposite of sūnyatā (emptiness of the presupposed stories and world-views that we fashion to explain who we are and the world we live in, and grasping of the object of desire by the subject) that is a desired result of that meditation.
(bold type emphasis is mine)

Well suppose emptiness without fullness has no value. It does not exist. How would you know what either one was without the other? They are intrinsically linked or maybe it is even fair to say one thing. The experience plays out something like - The very same bowl that was empty has been filled with hot delicious soup and after you eat it down to the last drop it returns to emptiness again until you get hungry again and reach for more soup and refill the bowl. All these techniques and efforts really are cued up to teach one to eat when hungry and do something else when not. To move about with awareness of what is now and adapt to changes. I'd would ask myself how can someone experience and be aware of 'the totality of phenomena' if I discard anything? (including grasping and desire)

I have been around Zen Buddhist folks and attended meditations and learned some cool things. Many years later, at this point in my life it is a different story that I relate toward. In terms of folks who teach within and around the canon of Buddhism, Alan Watts is an old standby. Especially since there is so much content available on YouTube these days. I like having him in the background sometimes when I make stuff in the garage. I was a pretty big fan of Chogyam Trungpa (Mahayana Buddhist). Both these men were very flawed and fallible folks which makes them all the more appealing to me.

I'm wondering how that can be applied to the polarised subject-object duality we see play out here.
Shunyata/sunyata is presented in Trungpa's teaching as being open, 'seeing things as they are', which is not possible if you have a predetermined side to take, such as being objective or an objectivist, or subjective or a subjectivist. I'm less versed in Trungpa's books than I used to be so I quickly searched Google, and picked this quote

"Shunyata literally means "openness" or “emptiness." Shunyata is basically understanding nonexistence. When you begin realizing nonexistence, then you can afford to be more compassionate, more giving. A problem is usually that we would like to hold on to our territory and fixate on that particular ground. Once we begin to fixate on that ground, we have no way to give. Understanding shunyata means that we begin to realize that there is no ground to get, that we are ultimately free, nonaggressive, open. We realize that we are actually nonexistent ourselves. We are not--no, rather. Then we can give. We have lots to gain and nothing to lose at that point. It is very basic. -Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche"

So we are dealing with shunyata while using both the terms 'Open' AND 'Empty', you see? Like a bowl that you can fill with soup, not like a cube or sphere that is hollow inside but with no opening and with no way to fill it in anyway. You do try and stay empty but you are familiar with it, and you know how to effectively and appropriately get back to that state if need be. So a bowl can never be defined as something that is empty or full.

Allan Watts, would probably like to add that as the bowls empties of soup it is simultaneously filled with atmosphere. So the bowl is always filled the exact same amount, though it is what fills the bowl that changes. The perception of the fullness and emptiness of the bowl is really dependent on what we filter in and out with our perceptions and awareness's as real and valuable to take note of.

Like states of emptiness and fullness, subjective and objective are different states of the same thing. They are one in the same and ought not to be considered polar but rather enfolded into one another.

I know I am not really saying exactly how to 'apply' much here. I think a lot more sitting 'with' might have to happen before that.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Are these descriptions supported by data, or are they "subjective"?
 

don'ttrustauthority

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That's not a category, but the exact definition of what any audiophile should be in the first place.
What if the record is released with the intention that it be played on inferior equipment, so the bass and treble is jacked up? That is how most records were produced for decades.
 
OP
kemmler3D

kemmler3D

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Are these descriptions supported by data, or are they "subjective"?

These are observations based on extended observation, which is a little more than anecdote, but certainly not data.

I'd have to interview at least a few dozen audiophiles to start to produce something "data-backed" which is too much like actual work to do in my spare time. :)

As for the question of objective listening and whether it's possible to "be" a pure objectivist:

You can listen to equipment objectively without bringing your preferences into play. This is what people in charge of voicing speakers do, or really anyone properly engaged in critical listening, for example.

However, the types of audiophile are categories that basically describe your personal preferences. As others have noted, it's kind of an oxymoron to have a preference divorced from your own preferences. However, I think it's possible for "pure objectivity" to primarily motivate your buying behavior. At the end of the day this list is really more about how you choose gear than what you like to listen to.
 
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don'ttrustauthority

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These are observations based on extended observation, which is a little more than anecdote, but certainly not data.

I'd have to interview at least a few dozen audiophiles to start to produce something "data-backed" which is too much like actual work to do in my spare time. :)

As for the question of objective listening and whether it's possible to "be" a pure objectivist:

You can listen to equipment objectively without bringing your preferences into play. This is what people in charge of voicing speakers do, or really anyone properly engaged in critical listening, for example.

However, the types of audiophile are categories that basically describe your personal preferences. As others have noted, it's kind of an oxymoron to have a preference divorced from your own preferences. However, I think it's possible for "pure objectivity" to primarily motivate your buying behavior. At the end of the day this list is really more about how you choose gear than what you like to listen to.
Well if you are truly going to be "objective" about your buying preferences (personally, I think "objective" is a lie constructed by nationalist religious fanatics), then should you not measure the negative utility of buying extra digital audio converters when the one in your phone serves all the purposes you need it for?
 

CoastingOR

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This has been a (slightly) amusing thread. Those of us of a certain age remember when "hi fi" came along replacing 78 rpm acetate mono disks and 45 rpm single song disks. People didn't spend new-luxury-car prices or home down-payment prices for components, but those into hi fi eventually enjoyed being thought of as "audiophiles," literally audio lovers. The importance was getting good quality recordings (rare when I was a kid) and playing them with good reproduction and as little vacuum tube hiss as possible.

My feeling is that as in many "worlds," the Internet created multiple tiers of reality from one extreme of concrete technical understanding by those with the technical background to understand it, to the other extreme of the con-man-crazy BS of special polished pebbles which were placed on equipment to create magical enhancement of audio. Somewhere in between there is the magical $30K 6 foot speaker cables and the "power source filters" that provide your equipment with greatly enhanced capabilities that are missing when you just plug the stuff into a wall socket.

As in politics, environmental science and health products, the audio snake oil folks take advantage of people by pitching BS that travels faster and farther in the Internet age than it did in the 1950's and 60's. Sprinkle in the magic or a conspiracy and you get people pulled away from logic and accepting fake whatever. To me, objectivity is about learning how to "distinguish sh*t from Shinola," in the phrase of the mid-20th century. Most folks alive today never had a tin of Shinola or know what it was back in olden times.

Categorizing people by what kind of motivations they have isn't too useful to me. People make decisions based on what they know or don't know and many other factors. ASR gives us a lot of high quality information to help us know. I feed that into my understanding of how my listening room, my speakers and my beyond-medicare hearing factors into my experience. The objectively terrific stuff is also objectively good beyond my ability to hear it as better than my current audio stuff and probably beyond technical the quality of most of the recordings I love to listen to but it's highly interesting to my technical self. Many thanks to Amirm for a great site and great objectivity with a sprinkle of subjective enjoyment added ;).
 

birdog1960

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I feel 2 "types" can exist simultaneously. Mark me down as nominal and romantic...and comfortable with it. I think nominal includes the satisfaction of finding quality, satisfying equipment for lower cost.
 
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fpitas

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I'm in the "reluctant audiophile" box, in that I got into audio to teach myself how to design speakers. Soon enough I proved to myself that I had no clue. I purposely bought very good drivers, so I had no excuses. Luckily, in time (years) I got better at it. Problem is, now I can't take listening to crappy speakers. C'est la vie...
 

sq225917

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I'm 100% utterly numerically driven objective audiophile, unless it's ugly or expensive in which case I'll give bit a pass.

Increasingly I find myself in the can't be arsed audiophile category, my gear is good enough and I just can't be bothered to spend money in improvements I'm 20db away from being able to hear.
 

VintageFlanker

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but your answer implies that you can be an 'audiophile' with a $500 system. I happen to think this is true. What do you think?
Of course it is. Price is out of consideration.

Audiophile literally means: the one who loves audio. Not snob guy with an expensive system.
 

OldHvyMec

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I've met a lot of music enthusiast. Some actually concentrate on 'listening to music". Others spend their time fixing something they heard, or adding a new gadget found at the local stereo store. I'm a person that likes "things" and usually before I get anything home, I'm already thinking about what I can change to make "IT" better.
As time marched on, I had to ask myself a question. If what I liked as far as equipment, was picked by me when my ears were better, what on earth would change my
mind now when my hearing is not as good, 30 years later?

The light flickered for a while and then I saw the light. Quit chasing perfection and enjoy what you have. The equipment still looks and sounds as it did 30 years ago (with maintenance). The only thing that changed, was me.

I try not to be an arrogant ass about anything, especially about people beloved stereo gear. What is worse are the unkind words or ribbing because some guy paid 15K for a piece of stereo gear. If he/she doesn't feel bad about, I sure don't. I try to be a gentleperson about my opinions.

Cynicism is the worlds new cancer. You can thank non human contact for that (the internet).
There is one thing worse than being ugly, not realizing your looking in a mirror. "My Grandmother" 1889-1988

I can say this and it is my opinion. If anyone claims to be a person who loves music, it will always reflect in their action, not their possessions.
Show me the beef. I'LL MAKE the choice for me, right after that, it's your turn. :)

Being passionate about something gives me hope, being a passionate jerk on the other-hand. Sorry I was looking at another site and watching the
rat packing, WOW. I'm so glad I released a few sites over the last year. Time better spent in the shop anyway. Social media is a time bandit. LOL

This is the best kept site, I've seen.

I ran a dial up BBS for 12 years in the 80-90s Spitfire software. Thanks SysOp Amir.

Time to feed the Chickens.
 

birdog1960

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I've met a lot of music enthusiast. Some actually concentrate on 'listening to music". Others spend their time fixing something they heard, or adding a new gadget found at the local stereo store. I'm a person that likes "things" and usually before I get anything home, I'm already thinking about what I can change to make "IT" better.
As time marched on, I had to ask myself a question. If what I liked as far as equipment, was picked by me when my ears were better, what on earth would change my
mind now when my hearing is not as good, 30 years later?

The light flickered for a while and then I saw the light. Quit chasing perfection and enjoy what you have. The equipment still looks and sounds as it did 30 years ago (with maintenance). The only thing that changed, was me.

I try not to be an arrogant ass about anything, especially about people beloved stereo gear. What is worse are the unkind words or ribbing because some guy paid 15K for a piece of stereo gear. If he/she doesn't feel bad about, I sure don't. I try to be a gentleperson about my opinions.

Cynicism is the worlds new cancer. You can thank non human contact for that (the internet).
There is one thing worse than being ugly, not realizing your looking in a mirror. "My Grandmother" 1889-1988

I can say this and it is my opinion. If anyone claims to be a person who loves music, it will always reflect in their action, not their possessions.
Show me the beef. I'LL MAKE the choice for me, right after that, it's your turn. :)

Being passionate about something gives me hope, being a passionate jerk on the other-hand. Sorry I was looking at another site and watching the
rat packing, WOW. I'm so glad I released a few sites over the last year. Time better spent in the shop anyway. Social media is a time bandit. LOL

This is the best kept site, I've seen.

I ran a dial up BBS for 12 years in the 80-90s Spitfire software. Thanks SysOp Amir.

Time to feed the ChickensI
I appreciate technical insight. There's clearly much available here. But some of us are less advanced (me). Was A/Bing between stereo and surround modes today and noticed that my sw wasn't firing on stereo. Took me a while but I fixed it. Now there's no question stereo is better with good bookshelf fronts, a sw and a big room imo. Details didn't matter before with a matched 5.1 set of def techs...and I think they sounded pretty good (in fact, not really). And Audyssey helped a lot. I would have totally screwed up or taken all day setting by ear. Different points on a fun journey (was looking at the audyssey software upgrade thread today- probably not savvy enough to make it worth it). I think the huge question is when you meet the point of diminishing returns. I hope I'm there but time will tell. Time to shoot bb's at the deer eating my garden.
 
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OldHvyMec

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I had a problem with skunks. The neighbors. They would freak out and so did the skunks. NOW that I calmed the neighbors down
the skunks haven't been a problem.

Deer are almost as destructive as pigs. I cleared 3 cabins overran with everything. 4 Jacks took care of that over a 4 day period.
I sprayed over a gallon of concentrated peppermint oil (about 55 gallons). I went back 6 weeks later.
No rats, no deer, no pigs, no puma scat anywhere. LOL Everything stayed away.

I gave up on the surround sound. I have MX120 and a 121, Krell HTs. I don't watch TV and if we concert 2.XX is fine for me.
The wife is a streaming buff. I like CDs, or a TT. Cary, Mcintosh, Nord, Peachtree (it's new). I like tubes though. Have for years
and the winter is coming. Time to swap amps and warm a room or two. I picked up a Herron phono stage.
Yummy addition I been waiting to listen too.

Regards
 
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