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Describe your decisive experience that completely changed your view of audiophilia with a comment.

I had a very similar experience and take away from my experience with the Harman speaker shuffler.

In my case it was as a dealer so they were selling me on their science, but as I listened to the three speakers on demo, one was a standout as a real honker. I thought to myself, "Oh dear god, this must be a JBL horn system. How embarassing!" The other two were much closer. I preferred the bass and upper midrange of one and the lowest bass and the highs of the other. Honestly I could be pretty happy with either.

It turned out that the honker was a Martin Logan 10" woofer hybrid electrostat, I don't remember the model, and the other two were the B&W 800 Diamond and the JBL 1400 Array. I had preferred the bass extension and the highs of the B&W but at half the price, the demo worked. I bought a pair of the 1400 Arrays for myself and kept them for several years.

All in all, I found the experience quite humbling. It was a very clear demonstration of our preconceived notions and sighted bias.
I like ESLs, but my opinion of those M_Ls with a woofer sighted matched your description. I've never liked them. Maybe the ones I heard were not well positioned on the room. Though i heard them in several different places and a few models. Today you could eq it. But those woofers in earlier M_Ls stunk up the sound. I shook my head over those I knew who purchased some.

Now the CLS was another matter. There were flaws, and things it simply couldn't do. What it could do however was pretty special.
 
I've always played with my father's speakers and amps, and when I was a silly teenager I would try to boost the bass with the tone controls to get a good feel.
One evening I went to a disco with friends and listened to a song I knew. I felt the most satisfying bass beat of my life, it was totally devoid of all that tone control judder. It was very violent, but DRY, I felt it in my gut and I loved it.
From that day I started to understand what I really liked and how to work to get it
 
I like ESLs, but my opinion of those M_Ls with a woofer sighted matched your description. I've never liked them. Maybe the ones I heard were not well positioned on the room. Though i heard them in several different places and a few models. Today you could eq it. But those woofers in earlier M_Ls stunk up the sound. I shook my head over those I knew who purchased some.
I too like ESLs and owned a pair of Soundlabs for a number of years, but they do have many issues. At the end of the day, there is something to love about so many speakers. None are right... but heck, often I am not right either. :D
 
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Positives: Hearing a prominent "soundstage" for the first time. It was Leonard Cohen's tower of song, his voice was floating in the centre of the speakers and sounded real. It was kind of like a hallucination, overwhelming in the sense that i couldnt figure out how it was possible.

Negative: blind testing amplifiers, dacs and cables, then realising I had been conned. I'll never trust a subjective audio review again.
 
Positives: Hearing a prominent "soundstage" for the first time. It was Leonard Cohen's tower of song, his voice was floating in the centre of the speakers and sounded real. It was kind of like a hallucination, overwhelming in the sense that i couldnt figure out how it was possible.

Negative: blind testing amplifiers, dacs and cables, then realising I had been conned. I'll never trust a subjective audio review again.
Spectacular imaging can be mesmerizing and quite seductive. It isn't reality, but then neither are the The Philharmonic nor Lenard Cohen really in our listening rooms. ;)
But yeah, I enjoy that too.

NEVER trust a subjective review?

I think they can be somewhat useful. True they are not as reliable as measuring an open voicecoil verifying the tweeter is toast, but if you have a feel for the reviewer's point of view or tastes, they can inform you somewhat. When the review is describing the cosmic glow and warmth given to the spirit of the artist performing, well then yeah... pretty useless.
 
Describe your decisive experience that completely changed your view of audiophilia with a comment.

A classmate had found a pair of used German (Siemens?, Klangfilm?) studio monitors. I was completely surprised that out of our old records came a completely new sound dimension with "distortion-free" high volume and a hard firm bass.
This was the starting point for a lifelong journey of pleasure.

Mine was simple but high impact: the first time I really understood the importance of speaker position. I'd remodeled my multichannel audio room with everything new, only to discover a terrible bass null right at the sweet spot of the main listening position. That sent me down the rabbit hole of learning in detail all about subwoofer and speaker position. I got a hold of Floyd Toole's works, read tons online, and bought Jim Smith's book "Get Better Sound," which I recommend highly. I came out on the other side with a reoriented and incredibly well-tuned room and a new respect for the room as my most important piece of audio equipment.

It still kills me to see people obsess over speakers while cramming them into unlistenable spaces, with their heads smack-dab against harshly reflective walls and windows. Now my audio fantasies ALWAYS include the room, treatment, and an ideal placement setup, not just KEF Blade Metas and Benchmark amps.

PS - For the record, I am all for obsessing over speakers - just make sure you can put them where they can sing.
 
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Experiments with damping panels on the front wall:
- did my amp just loose half of its power?
- did my records just start to run slower? (or was just more quiet when it supposed to be quiet)
- did I just get a new record collection?
 
1. My father bringing home KEF 5.2 speakers with Carver amplification (the Carver Cube and the Carver Sonic Holography C-400 preamp), when I was in my teens. Aside from all the great attributes, it was the first time I was confronted with "realistic" sound/imaging/soundstaging. Listening to Phil Collins' track The Roof Is Leaking (first solo album) and the sensation of listening right in to the acoustic space of Phil seemingly "singing in a small cabin" is burned in to my brain.

2. First encounter with Quad ESL 63s. Again another paradigm shift in "realism" (in certain aspects), clarity and hearing 'no box at all' for the first time.

3. Various blind tests. They weren't as transformative: As a Young Skeptic (and avidly devouring skeptical literature/investigations) I was always keenly aware of the phenomena of bias. So hearing sonic differences disappear in blinded conditions wasn't a shock. What it did was give me experience of the phenomenon, not just intellectual knowledge. Experience is what sinks these things in to your bones and you don't forget.
 
One day I got hold of a Roon test license. I got it running and I was not expecting something special but a miracle happened: suddenly all of my music sounded so much clearer and more beautiful. I had more than an hour of audiophile bliss.
But the experience that changed my perspective came the next day when I tried to pin down what exactly was different by switching between Roon and Airplay what I normally use. But the magic was gone. There was no audible difference.
So, be careful when testing out new stuff: even if you think you’re a skeptic you still can fool yourself.
 
Having my library on a server has allowed me to spend more time listening to music.
This. I should have added: Having a huge universe of music available by streaming has changed my life. When I was a kid I used to take the bus to the Lincoln Center Music Library to browse and listen to new records on the weekends. This practice expanded my tastes.

Now I do it every night from my armchair sweet spot. What a life.
 
Back when I switched from a lowly receiver to separates many many years ago for the supposedly night and day difference type thing, that wasn't, was one, plus moving my gear among several different homes/rooms and noting how different each was had me more think of the room/speaker combo as the more significant.
 
Back when I switched from a lowly receiver to separates many many years ago for the supposedly night and day difference type thing, that wasn't, was one, plus moving my gear among several different homes/rooms and noting how different each was had me more think of the room/speaker combo as the more significant.

I remember, a few years after the Stereo Review article, comparing my expensive power and pre-amps to a much cheaper Yamaha integrated. Didn’t really want to admit what I heard (didn’t hear).
 
I remember, a few years after the Stereo Review article, comparing my expensive power and pre-amps to a much cheaper Yamaha integrated. Didn’t really want to admit what I heard (didn’t hear).
Yeah and even though my separate amp had 3x more power hadn't been introduced back then to the logarithmic nature of the math for amps or speakers yet :)
 
In the late '70s, early '80s I read an article in a hi fi magazine about high end speaker cable. The highlight was a double blind test with golden ear listeners between zip cord from the hardware store and super high end cable. No difference. Also when I was younger I read about the weaker links in the audio chain. Back then it was the speakers and the cartridge. When I got old enough to have money to spend on audio equipment I remembered that.
 
In the late '70s, early '80s I read an article in a hi fi magazine about high end speaker cable. The highlight was a double blind test with golden ear listeners between zip cord from the hardware store and super high end cable. No difference. Also when I was younger I read about the weaker links in the audio chain. Back then it was the speakers and the cartridge. When I got old enough to have money to spend on audio equipment I remembered that.
One moderate complaint about that test. They used Magnepan speakers (without ribbons). Those are a purely 4 ohm resistive load. Even with moderate effects from different size cables there is no difference with such a speaker. A more complex quality speaker might have been more appropriate.
 
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