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Message to golden-eared audiophiles posting at ASR for the first time...

Newman

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Hey, Mr Blake’s only joking, he meant the opposite AFAICT.
 

Robin L

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Oh, so you believe the opposite?

Just remember this: “I was only joking” is never an acceptable comeback to having one’s insult called. Nor is the standard second line of retort, “You sure lack humour”, just in case that was on the tip of your pen. Too many people think the internet discussion communities are perfect for sarcastic and mocking quips, and that hanging an emoji off such style makes it all as-cool-as-can-be. It simply doesn’t work. Vocal tone is absent, and these communities are international, with many readers not English-first-language. Best to say what you actually mean.

And I wasn’t the only one. At least Robin L now knows that his long reply on your point was unnecessary, because…you were only joking.
One doesn't hear "tone" on internet text exchanges, with the potential exception of emojis [or good writing]. But no matter, I think my post qualifies as information rather than noise, so I have no cause to be perturbed. And I think there is something to the adage in that those that do focus on equipment will often play obsess on a limited number of recordings due to the nature of the recording, rather than the music. I my case I'll repeatedly play "Late in the Evening" by Paul Simon on account of its brass sound, right on the edge of distortion, but just under on good playback gear. Gives the APO equalizer a workout. Similarly Material's "Soul Killer" has a lot of deep electronic bass without overtones, a sound that either will be inaudible with speakers/headphones that cut off at 70hz, or doubling. And there are a lot of people listening to gear that doesn't go down as far as 70hz.

I think people getting absolutist with their "objective" complaints often lose track of how things work out in the real world, partially on account of the Apollonian nature of their complaints.
 

SimpleTheater

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On the other hand, the Totaldac-d1-six goes for a little less than $14,000, performs only slightly better than the Dragonfly and much, much worse than the Topping E30.
Just to confirm, you recommend the Totaldac-d1-six over the Dragonfly.
 

Robin L

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Just to confirm, you recommend the Totaldac-d1-six over the Dragonfly.
No, in no way is it cost effective. I'd want neither one, neither is good value for money, and neither approaches the performance level of the E30. The Totaldac is overall worse than the Dragonfly, too big, underperforming and inexcusably expensive. The Dragonfly would be recommendable as a portable device if it wasn't clearly outperformed by cheaper competitors:

 
D

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It's funny, but I know people who try to listen to music through poor systems, and suddenly discover a whole different world when they listen to a good system. I know because I have converted several.

I also indeed do know "audiophiles" that are system obsessed, sadly. It is indeed about the music.

My experience pretty much parallels yours. One of my post-retirement projects is a soundbar killer system consisting of a Class-D mini-amp and a pair of upgraded speakers. People really do go after it once they discover how bad their earbuds and miniature bluetooth speakers are.

I can be a little system obsessed at times. Seems I'm always tinkering with something and it does take some effort to dig out the bargains for my friends and clients.

It's a real shame some people just don't have a sense of humour at all.
 

Raindog123

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I also indeed do know "audiophiles" that are system obsessed, sadly. It is indeed about the music.

Why “sadly” though? Yes, sometimes it’s about the music… and sometimes about “a search for perfection [real or illusive]”.

Just like restoration of a vintage car is not about getting “a transportation means” but indeed about something else. A hobby! :)
 
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dkinric

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I know the old adage, but these are not mutually exclusive. For me, hearing music that moves me on a good system enhances my enjoyment of the music. Listening to good and well produced music enhances my interest and admiration for the electronics. They feed off each other for a sum greater than the parts.
 

MaxBuck

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It's funny, but I know people who try to listen to music through poor systems, and suddenly discover a whole different world when they listen to a good system. I know because I have converted several.

I also indeed do know "audiophiles" that are system obsessed, sadly. It is indeed about the music.
It's too bad there's no such thing as a "superlike."
 

novice

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I know the old adage, but these are not mutually exclusive. For me, hearing music that moves me on a good system enhances my enjoyment of the music. Listening to good and well produced music enhances my interest and admiration for the electronics. They feed off each other for a sum greater than the parts.

Context is everything and...relative. Our parents/grandparents played cards over the kitchen table commenting on how great the radio on the counter sounded. Go further back and you'd find oohing an aahing over a wind-up 78rpm record player. I've even had the experience of goosebumps over a car radio, late at night, focusing on the music rather than the audio. However, as you say you'll get there much quicker (the enjoyment part) if the playback foundation is good to begin with.
 

novice

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It's funny, but I know people who try to listen to music through poor systems, and suddenly discover a whole different world when they listen to a good system. I know because I have converted several.

I also indeed do know "audiophiles" that are system obsessed, sadly. It is indeed about the music.

Oof, I was that guy long ago. Play one track over & over trying to discern improvements over previous iterations; listening to gear not music. And almost certainly dismissive or outright mocking anyone who said they enjoyed what they heard on their "mediocre" system. Past life cringe...
 

JimmyBuckets

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Oof, I was that guy long ago. Play one track over & over trying to discern improvements over previous iterations; listening to gear not music. And almost certainly dismissive or outright mocking anyone who said they enjoyed what they heard on their "mediocre" system. Past life cringe...
Being an Audiophile ruined listening to music for me. Even if there were a perfect system, your job as an Audiophile is to find what's wrong with it. I sold everything years ago and listened to a $30 Bluetooth speaker for close to 10 years. I knew the playback method was shit but that kind of was the point. Rock out to the music. I have a nice headphone rig now and about 5 pairs of headphones. It's easy to start down that slippery slope and start swapping headphones and see which one is better. I go with my heart and which one makes the music sound the best that day. The funny thing most people never talk about is how you maybe listening to you $10000 system to a song recorded with a $100 microphone.
 

ajawamnet

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Being an Audiophile ruined listening to music for me. Even if there were a perfect system, your job as an Audiophile is to find what's wrong with it. I sold everything years ago and listened to a $30 Bluetooth speaker for close to 10 years. I knew the playback method was shit but that kind of was the point. Rock out to the music. I have a nice headphone rig now and about 5 pairs of headphones. It's easy to start down that slippery slope and start swapping headphones and see which one is better. I go with my heart and which one makes the music sound the best that day. The funny thing most people never talk about is how you maybe listening to you $10000 system to a song recorded with a $100 microphone.
And recorded through this much wire

wire.png
 

Robin L

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. . . .The entry-level equipment of today is better than the best that could be bought only a few decades ago. But even if one accepts that some LPs were exceptionally well mastered, it doesn't explain why one would continue to play back vinyl. Why not buy a USB audio interface and make your own FLACs if you like the original mastering so much?
I don't because I can hear all the additive distortion that was not on the master tape.

Also, I dumped all my vinyl three years ago. Haven't regretted that so far.
 

liquidman101

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Why “sadly” though? Yes, sometimes it’s about the music… and sometimes about “a search of perfection [real or illusive]”.

Just like restoration of a vintage car is not about getting “a transportation means” but indeed about something else. A hobby! :)
I agree with a most of the statements in this thread. It's very much a matter of each to their own. I am just super grateful for this site - where I can exchange views and get advice from people who have a wealth of knowledge about audio and are happy to share.

It is also a joy to listen to Amir doing his you tube videos on audio.

On the subject of diminishing returns - which I think is always present in any discussion about 'good, better or best' audio gear - I have a story about a recent encounter in an audio store in Sydney Aust.

Before I attended this store I knew it was a store that sold high end systems, although, at the time I didn't know how 'high end' exactly. So in I go to purchase a Topping DX5 dac based largely on the ASR review. The sales assistant takes me into a room to compare the DX5 with the SMSL m500 mkii. As they are both highly rated dacs I didn't think it would make a huge difference but I went with the Topping.

Anyway the point of this story is that the young guy kept telling me about the source of the music making all the difference - which makes sense - and then proceeded to tell me that he was recently invited to the 'flagship' store of his company in Melbourne, where he had the privilege of listening to a system worth $1,000,000. (I thought hmm, this guy's not going to make enough commission out of me to pay for his morning coffee). Apparently the 1 mill system comprises amps worth $100G, a Dac worth $50G and speakers that kick in at just over $500G. (I thought to myself, I'm guessing he hasn't seen my 20 yr old Mazda parked out the front of the store!)

On the way home it occurred to me that you really can't argue with someone who can afford to spend $1m on an audio system or a car or a watch. Remember the words to 'fiddler on the roof' - 'when your rich, they think you really know!'.

For me, before I found ASR I was really struggling to cut through so many of the opinions out there. Now I have a much better idea of what I need and how far I need to go to put together a very nice system that won't break the bank and as Amir often says - 'you don't need to be embarrassed about'. Thank you.
 

sjeesjie

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That’s a great story @liquidman101 , I too used to be embarrassed because I couldn’t hear the difference between a Spotify stream and Tidal, or between Ultra-linear and Triode switch on a tube amp… now I don’t care anymore. Maybe there are differences but if I can’t hear them then who cares? Salesmen shouldn’t take advantage of this but should really inform the buyer better.

If anyone should be embarrassed it’s people who say they can hear differences but actually can’t.
 

tmtomh

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This is simply not true.

It’s not the kind of statement that can be evaluated in an absolute, objective manner - so it’s not necessarily universally true, but nor can it be said to be simply false.

The idea that listening to well-produced, well-recorded music that you like, on well-performing equipment, would be more enjoyable than either (a) listening to the same music on poorly performing equipment, or (b) listening to poorly recorded music on good equipment, is not an unreasonable or implausible idea.
 
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