High-end audio cables myth Trolls need to be booted off the island

High-end audio cables myth trolls need to be booted off the island. Now. And preferably with a BIG honking boot.

Why?

Because they are not audiophiles and all of us treating them as if they were is hurting the hobby.

Trolls, not Audiophiles

People who antagonize real audiophiles, insisting that running a signal through different kinds of wire does not affect the sound differently [violating the first or second laws of thermodynamics by the way], are just trolls.

Sometimes this is easier to see just how ridiculous our acceptance of these trolls are if we think of this happening in a more well-known hobby, like autos.

Saying that different cables all sound the same is like someone saying that different tires make no noticeable difference when driving a car.

Typically [continuing our analogy] these kinds of people would own a basic commuter car [modest stereo cobbled together from good, bad and terrible gear, typically wildly unbalanced sonically]. They put on some modestly nice Michelin V-rated tires [cheap cables one step above Monster] on it, and noticed no difference when using their car [stereo] the way they usually do – just plunking around [playing 3- and 4-piece jazz]  .

 

These are people with minimal experience, minimal qualifications, minimal equipment, minimal skills at listening, and tragic inability to understand science.

 

So what is the problem? The problem is that they then go on the forums and loudly bash real audiophiles, shouting that in their ‘expert opinion’, cables have no affect on any stereo and it is all just hokum

These people declare themselves ‘experts’ though they do not ever think about [going back to our tire analogy]  WHY they do or do not like the handling, about how it responds in emergency and under hostile weather conditions; how it could be better, worse or different; how it performs in the extremes of acceleration; and what parts of the design contributes to this or that behavior and subjective enjoyment or lack thereof. Etc.

These people are just trying to rile others and get attention by acting extraordinarily stupid. 

Let’s not give it to them. In fact, let’s take ALL our attention away from them.

Hurting the Hobby

This is serious.

‘High-end audio cables myth’ is one of the first suggestions Google gives when typing in ‘high-end audio cables’.

When noobs visit one of the forums, and they see people accepting as valid another’s opinion that cables have no affect on the sound, that it is just our imagination, they draw the reasonable conclusion that ALL improvements in sound may also just be the wild imaginings of us audiophools.

To a lesser degree there are also those who believe all solid-state amps sound the same, that all CD players sound the same, and that all computer DACs sound the same. These people are also trolls.

We have become a playground for trolls. People who get off on being a**holes and jerks.

I’m Against the Death Penalty in this Case

I’ve thought about it but…. no.

So, not proposing anything too radical here :-)

I just think we need to censure and, if necessary, kick these people off the reputable forums. If these forums are for Audiophiles, then let’s keep out the Audiophile-haters.

Face it, they hate us and yet they infest our forums.

Why are we putting up with this?

 

 

[Featured photo of big boot from Freshness Magazine]

Miles Davis: Pangaea – A genre of its own

On the front page of the Audio Federation website Neli and I get to post our favorite albums of the day, week, whatever.

[These favorite albums take the place of what was previously our Linkedin profile photos. Neli got tired of seeing this photo of herself everywhere. I think it is a great photo of her. Women... :-) ]

I currently have ‘Miles Davis Pangaea‘ as my Audio Federation front page album.

This double-album is part of a set of concerts during Miles’ electric funk space jazz phase. Agharta is another double live album of this concert series from Osaka, Japan. To a large extent Black Beauty, Dark Magnus, and even Miles Smiles are other examples of his of this genre. And as far as I am concerned he has this genre all to himself. Although Live-Evil is much more widely available, and many consider it part of this phase of his, I do not – it is more commercial electric jazz-fusion – nice but without the ‘space’ and ‘deep rhythm’ these other albums mostly have (Miles Smiles is missing a lot of the deep rhythm of these others, but it still stands above Like-Evil IMO in terms of groove and aggressiveness).

Here is what Amazon has to say:

“(2-LP set) Recorded on the same day as Agharta (FMN 811), Pangaea‘s 2 LPs of material are culled from the evening performances at Osaka’s Festival Hall. Featuring just 2 songs, both clocking in at over 40 minutes, Pangaea shows Miles’ band really stretching itself to the limit. Live electric jazz-fusion from the undisputed master of the genre. 180 gram vinyl in a gatefold jacket with a reproduction of the original black and white insert.”

I discovered these albums back in the late 70s, early 80s. There was a store on the ‘Hill’ in Boulder that sold lots of cutouts for $3 and lots of mostly Japanese and some European (mostly German) imports for $7. I spent a large percentage of my wealth here at the time [not much to speak of, but it was a lot to me...]. I got this as a Japanese import.

It was definitely an OMG experience that has lasted for 40 years. At the time it was also life-affirming in the sense that an ‘old’ master of ‘boring’ jazz could do something that was so now and ‘with it’.

There is nothing out there like it that I have come across. They lay down a groove with a significant beat and then overlay electric jazz and space all over it for over 40 minutes [on the album].

Make no mistake, this is NOT Kind of Blue. This is more like Funkadelic if you imagine them at the end of a week of playing in front of 100,000 people after being dosed to the gills over and over again. Or Sun Ra if Sun Ra knew what the heck a beat and a melody was.

There are some bootlegs of these concerts. Haven’t played them in awhile, so forget what quality they are [the music itself is, of course, awesome in the sense that It does Inspire Awe].

Neli likes these albums too and they are accessible to the average listener –  just Not At All what you would expect to hear from Miles Davis.

The sound quality is B+. It is really quite good IMO. I have mostly played the original Japanese import LP, though we have been playing the CD for convenience lately. 40 minute songs do require a commitment – there are no obvious places to stop the rhythm once it gets started – so you have been warned :-)

 

LIKE Audio Federation on Facebook (please)

We now have an Audio Federation Facebook Page.

Now, with Audio Federation officially on Facebook, we need people to LIKE US so we don’t look quite so darn lonely. :-)

We just added the old LIKE button from the old site to this new one.

And …. you might have noticed the number of Facebook ‘Likes’  we have is much lower now than what it used to be.

 

hand-pointing-up-right

It’s up there, in the upper right header next to the ‘blog’ link. If you click our ‘Like’ button here Facebook will know that you ‘like’ Audio Federation.

Well, there is a wonderfully wonderful reason for that.

*sigh*

Previously, the Likes were for Audio Federation, the WEBSITE.  Now the Likes are for Audio Federation the FACEBOOK PAGE. [Crazy that FB can't figure out that they are one and the same thing. I mean, there are only about a  Billion websites who have had this problem. But no, they are just too understaffed and have no funds to hire a couple of more of best programmers in the world to do this little thing.]

You see, we just added Audio Federation to Facebook.

Yep. Good old 2014. What took us so long? Us? The geeky software geeks?

You probably already guessed.

Yeah, it was a husband and wife thing. Waiting for the other to do it. The other saying they were going to do it ‘sometime soon’, but never actually, you know, doing it. One of us [me] never going to FB and one of [not me] going there daily. But why would that matter in this battle of wills [yes, it was me who finally added Audio Federation to FB]

Spintricity was up there in 2009. In my mind that kind of put the ball in Neli’s court. I’ve dont it once. Not it is her turn. Not that she thinks this has anything to do with ANYTHING.

Before I get into even more trouble…

Please Like us again if you liked us before, because those previous ‘Likes’ now only exist in some dusty database table rows on one piddly disk on a forgotten server deep, deep in one of Facebook’s giant server farms.

If you haven’t liked us before, then please Like us NOW.

We’d really appreciate it.

Thanks everybody!

 

New Harmonic Resolution Systems HRS RXR Rack

These photos of the HRS RXR rack are from CES 2014.

They were [are] supposed to go up on the Ultimist show report – but time has been at a premium here lately.

So we’ll post them here, and hopefully later will get back and add these, along with a 1000+ other photos, to the Venetian part of CES 2014 show report on Ultimist.

The RXR is HRS’s least expensive rack. Though more modestly priced, it still has that high-performance vibration control technology that the SXR and MXR racks were so successful with. Hard to pin Mike Latvis down on what percentage of the performance of the SXR we can count on for the RXR – but that has a lot to do with its configurability.

The rack can use any one the 3 HRS platforms for its shelves. Or you can mix and match. As you can see in the photos, you can use their top of the line M3X, their somewhat more modest S1, or a basic platform that was specifically designed to work in the RXR rack.

The idea is you can get the rack and a few basic platforms. Then, when funds permit, upgrade to the better S1 and M3X platforms – thereby slowly building yourself a very high-performance rack over time.

 

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The HRS RXR support system (equipment rack)

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The HRS RXR support system (equipment rack)

IMG_0945-hrs-rxr-equipment-rack IMG_0946-hrs-rxr-equipmenrt-rack IMG_0948-hrs-rxr-rack-from-underneath IMG_0949-hrs-rxr-rack-platform-side IMG_0951-hrs-rxr-rack-platform-underneath

The underneath of the new basic platforms for the RXR. The corners there are made of the special HRS polymer similar to that which goes into their other, top-of-the-line products.

IMG_0957-hrs-rxr-rack-platform-from-bottom IMG_0958-hrs-m3x-on-rxr-rack

IMG_0960-hrs-rxr-rack-with-m3x-platform

The HRS S1 platform on the RXR rack

 

 

IMG_0961-hrs-rxr-rack-feet

Adjustable metal feet.

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IMG_0942-hrs-nimbus-and-analog-disk-and-damping-plates

Finishing off this photo essay with photos of their Nimbus Couplers / Spacers, Damping Plates and Analog Disks

IMG_0941-hrs-nimbus-vibration-control-feet

Another look at the HRS Nimbus Couplers / Spacers, Damping Plates and Analog Disks

 

 

 

Humor: slow tube amplifiers

We were just having fun at the expense of slow sounding tube amps; maybe you will think this way of describing them is as hilarious as we do.

Not sure why ‘slow’ is such an appropriate word for some brands of tube gear… but it is!

For each note is it like…

 

Hello!

I am a note. I am coming to see you. Watch out! Oh, yeah, here I come!

Don’t worry, it’s be soon now. It just takes me awhile to gain a little momentum. Feeling tired, you know?

Ah, it’s a wonderful day isn’t it?

Oh! Here I am.

So. How are you? And the kids? Wacky weather we are having, don’t you agree?

OK! Now it is time for the big decay.

You ready? Sure?

Maybe take a little nap. Feeling sleepy….

Well, that’s better. Guess I’ll be leaving you. Hope you enjoyed my stay!

 

Bye now…….

 

 

Are you sure you’re not getting a little gray….?

 

 

Na-Nu Na-Nu

Photo of Mork and Mindy coming down the Boulder Canyon at the beginning of their show.

Robin Williams always portrayed Real. In-your-face Real. Fearless Real. Real with a smile and a wink.

The Mork & Mindy TV show with Robin Williams and Pam Dawber ran from 1978 to 1982.

1619_Pine_St,_Boulder,_Colorado

It was situated here in Boulder CO, 2 blocks off the Pearl Street Mall.

I was in and out of University then, also here in Boulder. Like I have been for 41 years.

Boulder was still nice and wonderfully weird back then [probably before we became the smartest city in the U.S. (most BS and PHDs per-capita), and fittest city in the U.S.]

Being weird was… normal – lots of drugs, public drug-use, selling, buying… public laughing, singing, wearing funny clothes [even men!], be openly romantic… massive Halloween parties on the mall with 10s of thousands of people.

If you were a business and were going to make a go of it on the Pearl Street mall, you catered to the party ‘do whatever you want to do if it don’t hurt no one’ culture. This led to some very interesting business models.

It was awesome. It was relaxed. It was cheerful. It was non-commercial.

The Mork & Mindy show portrayed Boulder ass-backwards.

Mork was the normal one, the rest of the cast was your typical psychopathic Hollywood conceptualization of normal, normal hippies, normal bankers, whatever [well, not Jonathan Winters... he really WAS an alien :-). And Pam Dawber, she was a metaphor for all that less-weird women have to put up with when dealing with more-weird men].

They eventually included The New York Deli which opened on Pearl Street as part of the show in one of the later seasons. I knew people who worked there. I think my brother eventually worked there.

With the real house on Pine Street and this real restaurant, it was just really, REALLY, R-E-A-L-L-Y confusing at the time.

Where did Reality stop and Fake Real begin?

Seems like a silly question. Just like Robin Williams often seemed silly. But they are not. Not really.

For me, this is what the show was about, what Robin Williams was all about, what Weird Boulder was about, what being young and experimenting with life is all about.

A question which no one has answered and hardly anyone asks anymore.

But Robin Williams asked it. And kept asking it. And still asks it through his body of work.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

 

jared-polis-mork-and-mindy-house

Our congressman, Jared Polis, in front of Mork & Mindy’s house

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Later, the front of Mork & Miny’s house

Where to find collectible Vinyl, LPs, Records

I haven’t been tempted in a loooong time.

I used to be an addict. Rent. Food. Brain Food. Music. [Luckily, beer fell in both Food and Brain Food categories].

You know the feeling. Where you want to spend outrageous amounts of money for albums that you didn’t think you needed… until you see them! Until you find out that they exist.

Record Luuuuuust!

I just stumbled across RecordMecca. They have a boatload of collectible Vinyl, LPs, Records. Records I might even want to, the horror, listen to over and over.

Full reverse, Scotty! Hurry, before it is too late!

I know, Ebay is supposed to be the place. Many people seems to like to shop there for LPs. I find it… unexciting. YMMV.

Another place for weird rare stuff is SystemRecords in the U.K.

Maybe should add a page for these places to a new page in the Audiophile’s Guide. Maybe, after my eyes stop bugging out.

 

 

The Guide to all High-end Audio Racks

We updated, modernized, and moved the Audiophile’s Guide to the Galaxy’s guide to High-end Audio Racks.

This is a pictorial guide of all the brands of all of the high-end audio equipment racks we were able to find. We chose a few prime examples from the manufacturer if they made more than one kind of rack.

We are still working on making it look cool and awesome [and pretty], but it is not so bad right now :-)

Many racks are no longer being made, but people do still buy and sell [trade] them. So we may end up making another page of ‘dead racks’ in the future. Anybody interested in this?

At first I thought there weren’t that many racks out there. Then I discovered there were more than I knew. But, now, later, I am back to thinking there are not that many after all.

Most are just ways to get the gear off the floor so you can run 1 meter cables between it all. How else would we make this work? Laying flat on the floor? Then it would take some mental energy to figure out just the right layout to make all those 1m cables reach. Makes my brain hurt.

Just seems like one of those necessities of [audiophile] life – but few people talk about these things.

There are a few that tout this or that technological advantage, that they either don’t muck up the sound or, a very few, say they can even improve the sound.

Some are beautiful. Most are… less so.

Some are heavy. Some are not.

Anyway, the Audiophile’s Guide is a easy way to see everything that is available [know of one we missed? Let us know! Please!].

 

 

Taking our specials page to warp 9 (used and demo audio equipment)

Changing Times. Crank it up to warp Nine.

We’ve had a specials page for most of our 12+ year history.

But it was never like this.

The easiest way to buy demo and used audio equipment [often trade-ins or gear on consignment] is once again direct from the dealers themselves. Trust. Support. Email. And you can use credit cards.

Our new Used and Demo Audio page is very popular with links to many dealer’s special pages.

We want to be there to meet this demand and help audiophiles find their used ‘gems’ as well as, of course, their new ones.

So now we have tons of stuff on our page where we sell our own demo and used audio equipment.

I had no idea we had this much stuff squirreled away.

Lots of stuff I never knew we had at all [but someone knew. Guess who?]

Crazy Audiophile Wife Stories

One of us [not me] has been piling up boxes of stuff in the Audio Closet. In Listening room 3. The garage, the storage unit, the dining room table [seriously, yes] for YEARS. *I* just thought the ever growing mess was bad organization skills on the part of one of us [no, not me either :-)].

My wife is a pack-rat!

Who knew! [I guess maybe I am supposed to know these things? How am I supposed to keep up? Now she wants to collect phono cartridges. ???!!! Me? Speakers and amps and turntables? Yes. Definitely. Why not. Cartridges? No. That. Is. Just. Nuts. :-)].

[We've been trying to sell our house for awhile, and come to think of it, I wonder what the lookey-loos thought about all the boxes and cables and tweaks laying around. It'll be nice when we can have a little more elbow room here. Maybe I'm just getting old and like to see the walls and floor sometimes ;-/]

Special Specials

So now we have one of the largest specials pages in the U.S. Us! Audio Federation! A sale. Feels weird.We hardly ever feel so ‘traditionally store-like’.

The only relatively new thing of ours we are selling [i.e. it is less than 5 years old :-)] is the Acapella Atlas speakers. These have been to a few shows and we have all agreed that they deserve a nice happy place in someone’s listening room where they can just make music for a good long while. [People, you should get these if you can swing it. Awesome performance. Awesome special pricing. Just saying.]

We take Consignments

And, beyond the stuff Neli has been putting in the corners, Under the beds. Behind the desks. On top of the closets. Is a lot of stuff we are selling is on consignment. Many people were never that comfortable with selling online, and it has gotten worse the last few years for high-end audio.

We are happy to do consignment for our customers and other reasonable people. We have one of the best world-wide reputations and tons of goodwill with audiophiles everywhere. We accept credit cards and wire transfers – and we are always happy to get gear into our international friends hands as much as we are people here in the Americas.

Happy shopping. And to infinity and a little bit more.

 

Thrill of the hunt: used audio equipment and demo gear on the web

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to buy something.

It doesn’t matter if your system could use a little jump-start in this or that area.

It doesn’t matter if you know the names of a lot of gear or hardly any at all.

There is a inherent THRILL of plodding around, clicking through things, and finding really good deals on used audio equipment …. and wondering … “What if I got THAT? Maybe I SHOULD get that? It would be SO awesome to get to play with that.”

The thrill of letting ourselves be tempted. Kind of like the old Audiogon ‘New Today’ page.

I remember going there several times per day. Over the years, after we became members of the ‘industry’, this turned from…

‘Wow, that is EXPENSIVE, but what a deal! Maybe we should get it… ”

…to…

“Wow! That awesome old gear is hardly ever on the market – and look at the price! That guy is nuts to sell it for that. Maybe we should get it so people could hear it here… and get more people wanting to visit the store [and, winking at each other, we get to play with it to our hearts content :-)]”

See?

The T-E-M-P-T-A-T-I-O-N! [in my head this is said with the same fear and awe and fascination as the phrase: 'the horror' from Apocalypse Now]

It [and the sometime joy of falling for the temptation] is so much apart of our hobby. It is gear lust cross pollinated with hi-fi system design.

And a wonderful way to while away the hours for people who get bored. :-)

You too can experience the Thrill of The Hunt.

We revived our old Audiophile’s Guide to the Galaxy Used and Demo Audio page.

This page links to several dozen ‘specials’ pages put up by dealers all over the U.S and Canada.

You can hunt by clicking through them, seeing 1000s of demo and used gear being sold by reputable dealers [all of whom, at least, we either know personally or have had an active specials page for over 10 years].

Of course, our very own specials page of Used and Demo Audio equipment is also on the list [more about our experiences with our specials page, and how did we manage to fit all that gear in the house anyway? ... in the next post].

 

 

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