The Joy of “Different”

The Joy of “Different”. The absolute joy of hearing an often very, VERY familiar song with a different sound than what we are used to.

This drives so much of the commerce in our industry as well as providing so much of the pleasure [for me anyway] but it is not talked about much.

Yes, it is related to ‘upgrading’ and certainly ‘better quality sound’ is one of the ‘differences’ that are very enjoyable. And, of course, a different pressing, a remastering, a different technology, these also provide these wonderful experiences.

But there are also lots of differences that are just slight improvements and sometimes more just changes in ‘flavor’ – and these are also quite enjoyable and should not be ignored or disparaged. They are healthy and help us both understand music and our preferences as well as just plain fun. And many of them do not cost a lot of money. A change of cables or powercords. Using better isolation feet. Putting spikes under the speakers. Moving the speakers a little. Moving the rack from between the speakers. Cleaning the CDs or LPs better. Cleaning the ends of the cables. Etc.

And, of course,these changes in ‘flavor’ can cost some serious coin, like swapping one $11K powercord for another $11K powercord. Yikes. But, wow, whatever the price point, this can be soooo much fun. 😀

[And even downgrades can be enjoyable. For example listening to a lower-end system at a friends house, or changing out a speaker for a less-expensive but higher efficiency one, or less-expensive but higher resolution one, or whatever – these can be so much fun and invigorating.]

Some of these ideas are disparaged by some people as not being pure. “There is a right way something is supposed to sound”, and any variance from pursuing that precisely defined [in their minds] sound makes you a ‘lesser audiophile’ or something. Then again, just look at what system these people have and when we stop feeling sorry for them and the bad decisions they made we can go back to having fun. Yes, there is a Path, but as long as we stay near the Path, to the best of our pocketbooks capability and to some degree luck, then we are OK, in my opinion.

A long, long time ago, we talked about The Path. The path from whatever modest system we start with, near the bottom of the mountain, to the Ultimate System on top of whatever mountain peak we can afford which suits our basic preferences. The idea of that post was to talk about how some systems were close to the Path and others were not so much [that these others were sometimes found cul-de-sacs, which required backing out of quickly, or we risk getting disenchanted and leaving the hobby – or worse, pissing off our house partners :-)].

But once you reach your mountain peak, or even before then as we make our way up the Path, a fun way to pass the days, and years, is to try something different every so often and wake up our ears and our soul again – to shock it into listening deeply with the attentive mind and open heart again.

 

 

Stupid Audiophile Troll Tricks and Why am I posting these?

Stupid Audiophile Troll Tricks and Why am I posting these? (you might ask. Well, Neli did 🙂 ).

Neli doesn’t read comments when she is out-and-about on the Internet. But I do. Sometimes. And on YouTube, Stereophile, and many other places, sometimes over half of the comments have some very aggressive troll-like anti-audiophile sentiment.

The average person, a member of the general public, reading these, must think WTF? These angry nuts are so passionate with their attacks – can they be right?

Considering how often people believe ridiculous things these days just because the messenger is outrageously aggressive, this is a real worry if one has hopes, like we do, that more of the general public should join our hobby.

Some people [for example Michael Fremer and Myles Astor], counter this by publicly responding to the trolls – replying to their comments using either common sense or the troll’s own expletive-laden language.

Their responses help but the energy required to do this, by me anyway, would be difficult to sustain over time.

I am trying to weaken the trolls in a different way here by helping dispel any doubts about whether these trolls have a clue [they do not], and make sure that the readers of these Stupid Audiophile Troll Tricks posts know exactly why what the trolls are saying is ridiculous and nothing but trolling.

Another purpose here is that when an audiophile reads these, it is upsetting. Here we are just grooving to the beat with as much fidelity we can afford, checking in what our friends are doing, seeing what’s new out there, and these angry haters show up?

One way to deal with this upset is to have seen these troll’s attacks before – and seen it dealt with in a calm, reasonable, logical, factual manner. Then, when we see these trolls, we can think “oh yeah, THAT one. Not just jerks but unimaginative ones at that”.

I am hoping these posts here on the Blog help do just that, but examining each of these class of troll attacks in the light of day and putting them to rest.

Perhaps we should go one step beyond and list copy-and-paste audiophile-approved pre-written responses that, if enough of us automatically post these as comments to the troll’s attack comments, might actually tire them out and make them go away.

Who are they? I think half of the trolls are just envious[who isn’t? we all want all the goodies, right? :-)] and the other half are dysfunctional men (or boys) who see another group they can bully.

[Personally, I also consider extremely negative anti-cable, anti-tube, anti-solidstate, anti-analog, anti-digital etc. comments as evidence that there is a troll about. There is overwhelming evidence that each of these technologies have a great deal to offer, albeit each with their drawbacks, that a reasonable person with adequate funds might indeed be making the exact right decision purchasing them. enuf said].

Stupid Audiophile Troll Tricks #1 – “All cables sound the same”

Stupid Audiophile Troll Tricks #1 – “All cables sound the same” (or “Cables Have No Sound”)

An ongoing series of posts where we debunk common comments made by trolls. Because trolls are quite unimaginative, this will not be a very long series of posts. I use the world ‘stupid’ to be charitable – these trolls are bullies seeking attention through their aggressiveness and they just so happen to choose audiophiles to pick on.

This particular stupid comment is often used to insinuate that, because, if true, our industry would then be lying about cables having a sound [which they are not], so they must be lying about most everything else as well and much if not all of high-end audio is therefore ‘snake oil’.

This is easy to disprove.

We start  by assuming they are right, that cables really do have no sound [or all sound the same]. Then no matter what the electrical properties (capacitance, inductance or resistance) of the cable, there is no affect on the sound.

But the cable is just another [albeit important] part [extension] of the electrical circuit consisting of the source, preamplifier, amplifier and speaker – so if the cable has no sound, regardless of its electrical properties, then nothing else in the circuit has a sound either no matter its electrical properties. All those capacitors, resistors, transformers, they have no sound. That, because cables do not have a sound, no matter how low or high its resistance is, for example, that we can just put resistors in any circuit, no matter how low or high the number of ohms, and it will sound the same.

Hopefully this is obviously untrue to most of you, and so it is obvious cables do indeed have a sound. And if cables do have a sound, there will be those that sound better and those that sound worse. And the ones that sound better will cost more if their manufacturer has any kind of understanding about how capitalism works [which most do].

Of course, most of us just need to use our ears to hear the difference in how one cable sounds versus another

One can also get a cheap sound meter, or sound frequency analyser, and see a visual report on the differences in SPL or sound frequencies if one cannot trust one’s ears.

[you do need a hifi system that is resolving enough to reveal the differences in sound. If you have a very inexpensive system, then cables may not make a measurable of a difference to you and you should spend your money on getting a better system, not cables].

*sigh* Feels good to write this but don’t expect the trolls to go away anytime soon :-/