What's at the audiophile convention?


#1

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#2

“Audiophiles tend to be smug know-it-alls.”

Hear hear!


#3

“Audiophiles tend to be smug know-nothings”

FTFY


#4

I guess this finally answers the question “Is it possible for an entire convention to be insufferable?”


#5

As much as I want to look down on Audiophile culture as a whole, I absolutely adore their ongoing contributions to (and inspirations for) a dazzling array of product reviews. I want to see the world the way they do and simultaneously read the brilliantly written parodies and rebuttals written by their detractors.

I think it is because it is like the perfect flame war: the stakes could absolutely not be any lower, and yet the passion is so real.


#6

The stakes are actually very high, as one $7,000 USB cable will feed a family of six for a month.


#7

Admittedly, you have to boil the hell out of it to get it tender enough.


#8

My thought is, are all the attendees quietly competing to see who can spend the most?

Do people set up kiosks outside selling Klystron Pace Requantifiers at $100 a pop that actually consist of cut-up pieces of old Elmo costumes?


#9

There’s no need to spend a lot of money to become an audiophile. All you have to do is hang a grid of dangling cotton strings at intervals of no less that one foot from the ceiling of your listening room and BAM! Your ears will convulse with pleasure and alarm. Don’t listen to the other so-called audiophiles: They’re all just a bunch of vinyl fetishists who don’t know what a linear tracking turntable is.


#10

At these profit margins, I don’t think the manufacturers even care if 999 out 1000 people just point and laugh, as long as a single rube keeps falling for it. It works for email scams, doesn’t it?


#11

I do like the magnetic levitation turntable supports…
Gershman news
Oooo, they even make ones to levitate your cables:


I guess I wouldn’t want my $7k Pear Anjous laying on the floor.


#12

Here’s my thinking on audiophile woo.

When played, a vinyl record’s grooves vibrate a needle, which is then translated into electrical impulses which eventually drive speakers. How well the music is translated depends on any number of factors- whether the needle is being vibrated by the grooves, or by mechanical flaws in the system, or by vibrations external to the system, such as a passing truck, or footsteps, or even a bass heavy sound recording coming out of your speakers.

So on one level, it makes sense to isolate your turn table, and make sure that your tone arm is mechanically sound, etc, etc.

But those sorts of things really don’t make sense when applied to digital sources. Beyond the obvious sorts of things such as making sure that your player doesn’t have have a fan, or that the disc playing mechanism can’t be heard outside the player, most of the (potential) problems don’t involve mechanics. They aren’t intuitive to non electrical engineers–i.e. audiophiles.

But there’s big money in selling to audiophiles. The trick is to invent new mechanical “problems” which the audiophile can then “solve” by buying your products. You’d isolate your turntable, from vibrations, right? Well, assuming you still used one. You can still isolate your speaker cables, though!


#13

Yeah. But it’s not ***Pro-***Audio, is it?

Unbalanced RCA cabling. >Sniff<


#14

They still make audiophiles? Or is this one of those blogging history stories? I thought digital oversampling killed them off?


#15

I heard a nice characterization.
Non-audiophile uses an amplifier to listen to music.
Audiophile uses music to listen to the amplifier.


#16

Whenever anyone tries to lecture me on the subtleties of properly burning in the high-end headphones they had recabled, I just take hold up my hearing aid and tell them that it’s all the same clicks and buzzes no matter what I’m listening to.


#17

Will this do?

Okay, so what’s a Quantum Purifier? Click here if you want the whole story. For an extracted quote, here goes:“Bybee Quantum Purifiers operate on the quantum mechanical level to regulate the flow of electrons that make up the signal (picture a metering light regulating freeway traffic flow). Current flow within the Quantum Purifier is unimpeded and ideal (think of the unencumbered flow of traffic on a lightly traveled expressway). During transit through the Quantum Purifier, quantum noise energy is stripped off the electrons, streamlining their flow through ensuing conductors. Unwanted quantum noise energy dissipates as heat within the Quantum Purifier rather than emerging as a layer of contamination residue over the audio/video information.”

source


#18

Rob, leave us alone. I’m an audiophile and I’m tired of the trolling.
Buzz off.


#19

And by the way, Mark Frauenfelder, you hired me to write about audio. This is BS, and it’s beneath Boing Boing.


#20

I’ve been to the NY audio show with my dad and uncle, in a previous year. They are definitely audiophiles, though I am not, but like me, they are well aware of all the woo. Yes, there are lots of people competing to spend the most money and nothing else. And there are plenty of companies willing to take that money. But if you have a good ear, and you listen to all the systems, you can hear that some are dramatically better, even if it has only very poorly correlated with price. Like wine quality.

When I went, the best setup I heard used about $50k worth of equipment (Watt Puppies, I think), compared to well over ten times that by some others that I thought sounded terrible. They had put a lot more thought into room setup (placing absorbing material in the right places, etc.) and system settings, and prioritized quality over flare.

Anyway, all that is well outside my price range and I’d use my money for other things even if I had it, but there is an art, and a science, worth appreciating here.