• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Do "audio enthusiasts" like many of us here at ASR consider audio to be a hobby?

OP
Xulonn

Xulonn

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
1,295
Likes
3,425
Location
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
Thread Starter #81
Thanks for the interesting and varied responses - it's pretty much what I expected.

Knowing the attitude towards audio of people helps to understand where they are coming from when they post in various threads here at ASR, and knowing others perspectives helps to create productive exchanges.

Most of you recognize that there is no correct response to my query, but rather a range of opinions and attitudes. Even though we are mostly "objectivists" with respect to understanding the way we humans view and react to the world around us, we certainly don't forbid subjective pleasures.
 

xr100

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
518
Likes
224
Location
London, UK
#82
Can't say I'm all that good at playing guitar. Can say that regularly playing guitar calibrates my hearing, reminds me that, as regards recorded music, we really can't "get there from here". It's good to remember that no matter how good the playback gear, it never really sounds "live", in some way it will always sound a bit "canned".
I have often found the "live" sound of acoustic instruments to be dire!

I went to an ostensibly "Methodist" private school; I say "ostensibly" for there were pupils of all religious stripes... Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses... as well as atheists.

Anyway, we were required to attend "Chapel" and sing Hymns, accompanied by pipe organ, at the start of each school day. At some point in the 1990's, it was decided to replace the Chapel's organ, and for this a high-end digital organ system costing £10,000's was chosen. It was said that it contained two "computers" to calculate its output in real-time--samples were not used. A number of loudspeakers were installed where the pipes had been located, and the lowest octaves were provided by a massive purpose-built horn, running across the entire width of the building, driven by 2x15" drivers!

Suffice it to say, the replacement "digital organ" system ate the old acoustic pipe organ installation for dinner--a massive improvement in articulation, clarity, consistency and the lowest pedals could "rock the house."


Granted, the above is not a high quality recording; but even if it were, there would seem to be no avoiding that the instrument sounds utterly screechy, resonant and "peaky."

On the other hand, yesterday I passed by an excellent trumpet player busking on the London Underground (aka "Tube")--yes, I paid him some cash. It sounded very good to me--though, I can't help but wonder--not knowing anything about the state-of-the-art in brass instrument design--whether, say, application of "waveguide" theory from the loudspeaker world couldn't be used to improve the instrument's sound quality?

The real question, I think, is whether or not one has ever heard a "loudspeaker" system that doesn't give any hint that the transduction of electrical signals into the acoustic domain is happening...

Maybe, but pushing the technical envelope for reproducing sound is less like musical engagement. I find it actively irritating.
How about electric guitar players--including those who are first-rate musicians--who have gone to considerable efforts to "acquire" the "tone" they seek?

Of course playing music is OCD, but it's the sort of OCD that is constant
As an aside, I would kindly request not to use the term "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder."

Obsessive-compulsive behaviour or traits (which at their most severe are considered to be a "personality disorder") aren't the same as OCD (an "anxiety disorder")--severe manifestations of which can be utterly deliberating, resulting in the affected person being housebound with a constant litany of obsessive thoughts, manifesting in compulsions and ritualised behaviour.

I realise that anyone reading this might be nodding their head in recognition of such a situation in relation to "audio enthusiasm," and such activities as cable upgrades which yield imagined but non-existent changes to sound are, in a way, conspicuously analogous to endless cleaning activities to remove imagined but non-existent threats to health from "contaminants."

However, though it is currently (annoyingly?) fashionable to talk about "destigmatising" disorders and "improving the understanding" of mental health, all the same, IMO those suffering from serious OCD deserve for the term not to be banned around unthinkingly.

Otherwise... there is much more that could be said on the obsessive-compulsive, religious, perfectionistic and possibly above all the "disgust" aspects here... (a discussion of which may or may not follow in another post...)
 
Last edited:

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
1,134
Likes
997
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
#83
I have often found the "live" sound of acoustic instruments to be dire!

I went to an ostensibly "Methodist" private school; I say "ostensibly" for there were pupils of all religious stripes... Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses... as well as atheists.

Anyway, we were required to attend "Chapel" and sing Hymns, accompanied by pipe organ, at the start of each school day. At some point in the 1990's, it was decided to replace the Chapel's organ and for this a high-end digital organ system costing £10,000's was chosen. It was said that it contained two "computers" to calculate its output in real-time--samples were not used. A number of loudspeakers were installed where the pipes had been located, and the lowest octaves were provided by a massive purpose-built horn, running across the entire width of the building, driven by 2x15" drivers!

Suffice it to say, the new replacement "digital organ" system ate the old acoustic pipe organ installation for dinner--a massive improvement in clarity, consistency and the lowest pedals could "rock the house."


Granted, the above is not a high quality recording; but even if it were, there would seem to be no avoiding that the instrument sounds utterly screechy, resonant and "peaky."

On the other hand, yesterday I passed by an excellent trumpet player busking on the London Underground (aka "Tube")--yes, I paid him some cash. It sounded very good to me--though, I can't help but wonder--not knowing anything about the state-of-the-art in brass instrument design--whether application of "waveguide" theory from the loudspeaker world couldn't be used to improve the instrument's sound quality?

The real question, I think, is whether or not one has ever heard a "loudspeaker" system that doesn't give any hint that the transduction of electrical signals into the acoustic domain is happening...



How about electric guitar players--including those who are first-rate musicians--who have gone to considerable efforts to "acquire" the "tone" they seek?



As an aside, I would kindly request not to use the term "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder."

Obsessive-compulsive behaviour or traits (which at their most severe are considered to be a "personality disorder") aren't the same as OCD (an "anxiety disorder")--severe manifestations of which can be utterly deliberating, resulting in the affected person being housebound with a constant litany of obsessive thoughts, manifesting in compulsions and ritualised behaviour.

I realise that anyone reading this might be nodding their head in recognition of such a situation in relation to "audio enthusiasm," and such activities as cable upgrades which yield imagined but non-existent changes to sound are, in a way, conspicuously analogous to endless cleaning activities to remove imagined but non-existent threats to health from "contaminants."

However, though it is currently (annoyingly?) fashionable to talk about "destigmatising" disorders and "improving the understanding" of mental health, all the same, IMO those suffering from serious OCD deserve for the term not to be banned around unthinkingly.

Otherwise... there is much more that could be said on the obsessive-compulsive, religious, perfectionistic and possibly above all the "disgust" aspects here... (a discussion of which may or may not follow in another post...)
Ok, if it works it's an Obsessive Compulsive Tool—my visual art, like that Yantra in the upper-left corner, is the result of a truly obsessive technique applied slowly over time.

DSCF4368.jpg


Conversely, my interactions with audio gear are more the lines of a disorder. As regards Electric Guitar players obsessively searching for the sound, the same applies to any other musician, to greater or lesser degrees.
 

xr100

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
518
Likes
224
Location
London, UK
#84
Ok, if it works it's an Obsessive Compulsive Tool
Hey, I like the "rebranding." I'll have to use that term whenever I'm told that I'm "too OCD," or similar--LOL.

my visual art, like that Yantra in the upper-left corner, is the result of a truly obsessive technique applied slowly over time.
Nice artwork. :)

I wonder if you previously meant that you find your own obsessions/obsessive behaviour/etc. irritating, or at least frustrating? If so, then sometimes--OK, altogether too often--I find myself in the same position.

Conversely, my interactions with audio gear are more the lines of a disorder. As regards Electric Guitar players obsessively searching for the sound, the same applies to any other musician, to greater or lesser degrees.
To me, it's the quest for, and enjoyment of, the best possible auditory/musical experience.

Had I fully developed a gift for performing music, then I'm sure I'd find the greatest of pleasures in playing a Steinway or other fine piano. Alas, I'm am not in that position. And I think that everything else--from musicology to composition to instrument design (both acoustic and synthetic instruments) to recording/production to electronics to DSP to loudspeakers to room acoustics to perception--would still be of significant interest.

It's a highly multidisciplinary field, any subsets of which can turn into obsessions, in a functional ("tool") manner... or otherwise!
 
Last edited:

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
1,134
Likes
997
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
#85
I wonder if you previously meant that you find your own obsessions/obsessive behaviour/etc. irritating, or at least frustrating? If so, then sometimes--OK, altogether too often--I find myself in the same position.
I think my electronic/audio interactions went beyond mere irritation into the realms of self destructive behavior. Lots on money, lots of time spent before I realized that you simply can't get there from here.
 
Last edited:

xr100

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
518
Likes
224
Location
London, UK
#86
A question to ponder: What is the SINAD of an acoustic instrument?

Their harmonics and timbre will determine their SINAD. A more ear-pleasing timbre pf a simple tone say the C# will have higher harmonics thus lower SINAD while a more monotonic timbre will have just the fundamentals without the harmonics thus higher SINAD
Hmm... but those harmonics are "signal"--timbral information--aren't they?

Sounds can be divided into harmonic/inharmonic/noise/residual components.

Obvious examples of potentially unwanted components include "clicking," "thumping," "rattling" etc.

Here's a paper from 1940...

The residue -- a new component in subjective sound analysis.

Presumably, definitive numerical "SINAD" figures are not possible.

However, I offer it as food for thought. Given that ppm levels of SINAD are sought in audio electronics, if not necessary in terms of audibility then for peace of mind, how can the imperfections in the original sound sources/generators, aka instruments, possibly be ignored?
 
Last edited:

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
7,753
Likes
6,273
Location
Central Fl
#87

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
1,200
Likes
1,612
#88
You might be surprised.
Diversity in viewpoints is a wonderful thing. I do like an "all are welcome" atmosphere.

There was recently a commenter on Archimago's web site who was browbeating arch for not coming down on religion as a natural extension of thinking scientifically about audio. I found it obnoxious and Arch was right to keep his focus on audio. We need all sorts of ways to say "Look, we all can share a viewpoint on THIS even if we may disagree about THAT. So sites like this and Archimago's are an oasis for those who want to think rationally about audio, and we share this aspect whatever our other differences.

(And I'm a bound-for-hell atheist).
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
5,952
Likes
4,755
Location
Australia
#91
There is only a type-space between 'a theist' and an 'atheist'. A pity people make it so much larger. That's dogmatic dogma for you.

I am surprised that non-divisive Humanism is seldom mentioned in the modern world.
 
Last edited:

xr100

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
518
Likes
224
Location
London, UK
#92
There is only a type-space between 'a theist' and an 'atheist'. A pity people make it so much larger. That's dogmatic dogma for you.
Wikipedia - Mathematics in medieval Islam

To quote: "Important progress was made, such as the full development of the decimal place-value system to include decimal fractions, the first systematised study of algebra..."

What was happening in the "West"? Crudely... the "dark ages." So, no need to discuss here what variety of temple, if any, people attend.

However, there are other aspects of "religious" thinking and experience to consider. For example, "temporal lobe epilepsy" suffers having "religious hallucinations"...

BBC Horizon - God on the Brain - Q&A

To quote from Douglas Self's anti-subjectivism diatribe:

"How [music] acts as a direct route to the emotions remains profoundly mysterious."

He may or may not have been correct; however, surely we all seek "transcendental" experiences from music?
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
5,952
Likes
4,755
Location
Australia
#93
Wikipedia - Mathematics in medieval Islam

To quote: "Important progress was made, such as the full development of the decimal place-value system to include decimal fractions, the first systematised study of algebra..."

What was happening in the "West"? Crudely... the "dark ages." So, no need to discuss here what variety of temple, if any, people attend.

However, there are other aspects of "religious" thinking and experience to consider. For example, "temporal lobe epilepsy" suffers having "religious hallucinations"...

BBC Horizon - God on the Brain - Q&A

To quote from Douglas Self's anti-subjectivism diatribe:

"How [music] acts as a direct route to the emotions remains profoundly mysterious."

He may or may not have been correct; however, surely we all seek "transcendental" experiences from music?
We just want an endorphin 'hit'. With music as in other experiences the trigger can be different across the population.
 
Top Bottom