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Steve Guttenberg - Audiophiliac

Wes

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while "pretty much everyone who would self-identify as an audiophile reads a lot about the technology," they are usually unable to understand the concepts involved
 

ctakim

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I think the issue is like Erin pointed out, it's not us vs them. The preference for each person is different in audio but the issue is when you push snakeoil as a must and magic. As long as people understand that typical "audiophile" does not represent hifi and clear sound. I think this can only be done by debate, facts and non aggressive behavior, you catch more flies with honey.

It mainly comes down to knowing that the parts in the chain have their tasks and shouldn't deviate from it. Your DAC, Amp, Pre-Amp, Receiver , etc should do its job as clean and distortion free as possible. Wires are there to transfer signal, there is no magic only electrical engineering physics.

Now where i feel difference of human preference should come in is at speakers/headphones/iems. While these should be clean and noise/distortion free each person likes different characteristic for frequency tuning , dispersion, etc. Also, if you like a different characteristic to your sound like tubes that's perfectly fine just don't push it as clean.

i think people should learn the importance of objective data to make an informed decision with their subjective take. it's easier to buy state of the art equipment at a great price these days then just add whatever sound you like in the chain.
One important point is that non-audible subjectivity can push us in the other direction too! My next two channel amplifier may well be the Benchmark AHB2 based on what I've learned here at ASR. It may not be audibly better than the current Outlaw amp I'm using now but I will be getting some degree of extra happiness (smugness?) from the knowledge that it ranks near the top of Amir's list or recommended amps! So I'll be guilty as charged, but who cares as long as I am enjoying this hobby and I can afford it?
 

Cbdb2

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If they had someone else buy that gear with no research, then I call them music lovers. There are plenty of wealthy individuals who have their "agent" shop for them for example and "get them the best there is." They have no interest, nor any time to spend on figuring out what hardware is the best. They want to just enjoy music or show off the gear, or both. We never see or run into these people in these circles. But they are responsible for ton of high-end audio gear purchases.

There is a class that buys the hardware you mention that most definitely researches it to death and spends as much if not more time on that, than listening to music. They have two hobbies: enjoying music and enjoying research and experience of buying/owning hardware.

Well thats your definition derived to fit the people in "these circles". The dictionary says "An audiophile is a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction ". Says nothing about wanting to know how an amp works. Your reading that in. From that definition someone who buys a hi end system by auditioning the gear, because he can hear the difference and wants the best sound, and then just listens to music is still an audiophile. They are out there, more than you think. The term I use for myself and others that are interested in how the hardware works is gear head, much more specific, less confusing.
 

Wes

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One important point is that non-audible subjectivity can push us in the other direction too! My next two channel amplifier may well be the Benchmark AHB2 based on what I've learned here at ASR. It may not be audibly better than the current Outlaw amp I'm using now but I will be getting some degree of extra happiness (smugness?) from the knowledge that it ranks near the top of Amir's list or recommended amps! So I'll be guilty as charged, but who cares as long as I am enjoying this hobby and I can afford it?

did you see the chasing sinad thread?
 

amirm

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Well thats your definition derived to fit the people in "these circles". The dictionary says "An audiophile is a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction ". Says nothing about wanting to know how an amp works. Your reading that in.
I am explaining to you the two distinct type of customers for high-end audio. There is nothing being "read in." You have customers who research luxury products and those that just buy. The latter have utility for the product, not it being a hobby in itself.
 

Helicopter

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@amirm totally calls Steve out (twice) in the B&W video. It is fair though. Steve praises a bad speaker and Amir is focused on truth before relationships. I respect that. Steve is laid back and likely puts a higher relative value on relationships.
 

Crane

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Again i feel there is too much emphasis on "bad speaker". Is it a neutral/hifi speaker? no, but you can see from the review that it is adequately designed.

Everyone has different tastes in food just because you dont like to eat fish, apples, or steak etc doesn't mean you are wrong. Now if you try to eat wood, sand, etc or say that those foods earlier are poisonous and bad for you then we have a problem.

Point being, liking different sounding speakers for their highs, mids, bass, etc isn't wrong but advertising it is true to sound recording or clean when it is just full of noise/distortion then it is an issue.
 

amirm

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Point being, liking different sounding speakers for their highs, mids, bass, etc isn't wrong but advertising it is true to sound recording or clean when it is just full of noise/distortion then it is an issue.
If you watch the two videos Steve did on this speaker, you can't make heads and tails out of what he is saying. It is one thing to say what you said: "the highs are very exaggerated but I like it that way." He either says nothing relevant for a while ("we have had B&Ws at Cnet for years"), or some random thing about how the speaker images, etc. which he could say and probably does for every speaker.

Ditto for manufacturer advertising.

For my part, I am clear about what the performance is objective and subjectively. You walk away knowing exactly what this speaker is about. Then you can clearly judge if it is for you or not.
 

Crane

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If you watch the two videos Steve did on this speaker, you can't make heads and tails out of what he is saying. It is one thing to say what you said: "the highs are very exaggerated but I like it that way." He either says nothing relevant for a while ("we have had B&Ws at Cnet for years"), or some random thing about how the speaker images, etc. which he could say and probably does for every speaker.

Ditto for manufacturer advertising.

For my part, I am clear about what the performance is objective and subjectively. You walk away knowing exactly what this speaker is about. Then you can clearly judge if it is for you or not.

Yea i didnt watch his videos, i was just stating the issue of being completely dismissive of personal taste of subjective reviews. The goal is always to have people learn about the science and make informed decision which is easier when people dont get bombarded with negative and aggresive attitude.

My point is not against what you do at all, it is about how people seem to take it as the end all for also EQ and frequency response while they may not like it and it affects their entire take on objective data. They need to know how to use data for informed decision and know that you are represent some data as a standard.

That said you know all my speakers are revel :)
 

Easternlethal

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I'm not sure why there's any distinction made between CD and streaming really. It's all just Digital. The fact that it's on a hard drive (somewhere) rather than on a silver disc in a plastic box really is meaningless.

On top of that, with physical media / digital files you own the right to enjoy the music forever whereas with streaming you only enjoy it only long as it is licensed to the streaming platform.

I remember reading somewhere that there is more music which is currently not licensed than licensed (either cause the owner is dead or lost interest in licensing) so people who rely on streaming are expanding their library but at the same time letting someone else manage it.
 

tmtomh

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How would you classify vintage audio electronics enthusiasts?

Well, the spirit of my prior comment is that I would not necessarily want to classify others for them.

That said, I would say that a vintage electronics enthusiast could be an audiophile, or not - I see the two things as compatible and overlapping, but one does not require the other.

So for example, @restorer-john is someone I would presume is an audiophile - though again, if he does not identify with that term, then I would never try to force it on him. I just mean that he's clearly a vintage audio enthusiast, and he clearly is into well-built, well-measuring, super-robust equipment - high fidelity performance, backed up by engineering and rigorously performed measurement is important to him, based on his posts here.

By contrast, there are plenty of folks at places like, for example, AudioKarma (a great site!) who are also vintage gear enthusiasts, and who of course really love music and listening with hi-fi gear; but from what I can tell some of them are not folks I would call audiophiles (though again, if they self-identify that way, I would not try to say they're wrong). They focus a lot on the appearance of the gear, and they are very attached to supposed sonic profiles of certain brands versus others, which sonic profiles are likely not supported by measurement or else the result of poor measured performance in some area.

Regardless, even those folks are very much interested in the technology and to some degree in the electronic and electrical nuts and bolts of that vintage equipment - which is Amir's point: The percentage of audiophiles who actually practice what subjectivism preaches is very, very low IMHO.
 

jkasch

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I think nostalgia plays a big role for a lot of folks. The vintage, or vintage appearing, equipment takes them back to a simpler and perhaps happier time when they were young. Also, audio was more tweakable and involving, especially vinyl. Not as accurate but satisfying, nevertheless.
An analogy for myself, would be coming of age in the first muscle car era. I bought a new Dodge Challenger Hellcat because it has retro looks and a warranty. I also bought one with a manual transmission, even though the automatic is technically superior (and quicker) in every way. It makes me happy and feel fifty years younger.
 

Robin L

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Well, the spirit of my prior comment is that I would not necessarily want to classify others for them.

That said, I would say that a vintage electronics enthusiast could be an audiophile, or not - I see the two things as compatible and overlapping, but one does not require the other.

So for example, @restorer-john is someone I would presume is an audiophile - though again, if he does not identify with that term, then I would never try to force it on him. I just mean that he's clearly a vintage audio enthusiast, and he clearly is into well-built, well-measuring, super-robust equipment - high fidelity performance, backed up by engineering and rigorously performed measurement is important to him, based on his posts here.

By contrast, there are plenty of folks at places like, for example, AudioKarma (a great site!) who are also vintage gear enthusiasts, and who of course really love music and listening with hi-fi gear; but from what I can tell some of them are not folks I would call audiophiles (though again, if they self-identify that way, I would not try to say they're wrong). They focus a lot on the appearance of the gear, and they are very attached to supposed sonic profiles of certain brands versus others, which sonic profiles are likely not supported by measurement or else the result of poor measured performance in some area.

Regardless, even those folks are very much interested in the technology and to some degree in the electronic and electrical nuts and bolts of that vintage equipment - which is Amir's point: The percentage of audiophiles who actually practice what subjectivism preaches is very, very low IMHO.
I was looking for old copies of High Fidelity yesterday. Starting back in 1970, it became my regular reading material. In large part this was due to their Beethoven discography, with me hunting down Harris Goldsmith's recommendations for Beethoven's Piano Sonatas:

High-Fidelity-1970-10.pdf (worldradiohistory.com)

I've owned most of the complete editions mentioned in that survey, still have Schnabel, Arrau, some Brendel. Looking that issue over, I was struck at how many advertisements there were, many of products I later found in thrift stores in less than perfect condition, no longer unobtanium, now an empire of dirt. Amazing how many 8 track decks you'll find in "High Fidelity" back then, along with the first attempts at surround sound.

Then I looked at the their first issue for the first time, struck by the use of the term "Audiophile"

High-Fidelity-1951-Summer.pdf (worldradiohistory.com)

I'm not sure if this is the first use of the term in the context of recorded music. Strictly speaking, an audiophile is a lover of sound, independent of that sound's source. But I guess the 1951 premier edition of High Fidelity must have pushed the term in the direction of audio gear and records. The more the term appears in the context of high [often over] priced audio gear, the more the term replaces the love of sound with the love of the sound of expensive audio gear.
 

egellings

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For me, it's both. I like to build the amplifier (linear, not switchmode) parts of my system and have to purchase parts I would not be able to build, such as disk players, digital sources and speakers that sound good. Of course, the fact that it makes music is what makes me putter with it. As an example, I have no special interest in electronic motor speed controllers. If I end up needing one, however, then I'd likely get into them.
 

sal

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What do you guys make of Steve?

I could be wrong. Didn't he once say in one of his videos, that measurements are meaningless?

I don't know about you lot. But I've noticed on every video review Steve always likes and praises the product. Hardly ever seen a negative review come out of him.

S.
I have heard him say that he refuses to review certain products. Basically if the product sucks, he does not publish a review for it
 

Cbdb2

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I am explaining to you the two distinct type of customers for high-end audio. There is nothing being "read in." You have customers who research luxury products and those that just buy. The latter have utility for the product, not it being a hobby in itself.

And Im explaining to you that this is the new definition. The old one says nothing about audio hardware as a hobby. Dont know when it changed but I think I know why. This new definition is exactly what the audio rags and snake oil salesmen want. The constant search for "better" hardware, wallets open, right down the rabbit hole.
 

tmtomh

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And Im explaining to you that this is the new definition. The old one says nothing about audio hardware as a hobby. Dont know when it changed but I think I know why. This new definition is exactly what the audio rags and snake oil salesmen want. The constant search for "better" hardware, wallets open, right down the rabbit hole.

You've been repeating the same argument, and the same dictionary definition of "an audiophile is someone who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction" over and over, so let's cut to the chase: much of subjectivist audiophilia is not actually about high fidelity - it's rather about a euphoric experience that many self-identified audiophiles will equate with "realism." When pressed, they are happy to claim that measured performance - in other words, empirically testable fidelity - has nothing to do with, or in some cases even is the opposite of, "true" high-fidelity aka "realism."

That's the issue @amirm is trying to get at, and the piece you seem to be consistently missing. Audiophiles don't directly have to be interested in the nuts and bolts of technology. But if an audiophile is someone interested in high fidelity sound reproduction, then by definition that means they're interested in the playback (reproduction) of sound that is as close as possible (highest fidelity) to the original recording. To the extent a self-identified audiophile equates fidelity with such things as "the violin on this particular recording sounds like a real violin to me" (regardless of whether or not the recording actually captured the particular sound the person is hearing), or "this speaker brand is voiced for musicality rather than measurements," then that person is not, in fact, an audiophile by the dictionary definition.

Now, as I've noted above, personally I'm not really interested in trying to tell someone they are or are not an audiophile. The point is that interest in "technology," as Amir has been using that phrase, is really about investment in the ability to measure performance, in other words to measure fidelity.
 
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