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Thread: What do Audiophiles really hear...?

  1. #1
    Senior Seņor boputnam's Avatar
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    What do Audiophiles really hear...?



    Spent the last 6-hrs in a wonderfully configured, and suitably designed audiophile studio. The gear was far beyond my budget, and all top-notch. Krell feeding ProAc Resonse D80.



    I don't get it. Wifey here with me. We don't get it. Setting was nearly perfect. But there was no depth of soundstage. Virtually no imaging. Sure, the "sound" was honest and good, but it was not engrossing. It was so far from the "presentation" of the 4345's, I couldn't imagine anything more different. The instruments and vocals don't sound like they are right there, in the room. ??

    Admittedly, this audophile refuses to acknowledge the merits of an EQ (there was none). And that raises another question: If audiophiles really "get it", why do they not understand the need to marry their cabinets to room acoustics. Again, I say...

    OK, enough from me. I'm confused, but ever more committed to the 4345's, their great dispersion and imaging (GOOD HORNS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!) and wonderful soundstage.
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

  2. #2
    Member jblfreeek's Avatar
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    Maybe problem is the Krell's not Proacs. :dont-know

    I've heard about this in many places about Krell not performing well enough. (compared with others in same league like Mark Levinson etc)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by boputnam
    Admittedly, this audophile refuses to acknowledge the merits of an EQ (there was none). And that raises another question: If audiophiles really "get it", why do they not understand the need to marry their cabinets to room acoustics.
    Back when I actually cared about such things and was the only JBL owner in a crowd of snobby audiophiles the rule was if your system needed EQ it sucked. From my personal experience audiophiles never did "get it" and I eventually lost interest in their endeavors.

    Get It All - JBL

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    Angry Jerks! or another traumatic hi-fi store tale

    A couple of decades ago, I went into a high end shop in MI looking for an EQ. The snooty salesman was busy duping a Yuppie couple with his line of BS, and I was basically given the bum's rush: "We only have one equalizer, but it's a cheap model that we sell to people whose systems aren't good enough to not need one. You'd be better off getting a system that didn't require unnecessary help."

    Then he turned his back on me and continued with his victims.

    Well, the damn EQ was over $400, and I'd seen the same model over at Highland Appliance for $199. I was a little pissed so my thought was Okay, MF, I'll take my business elsewhere."

    As I was leaving, I heard the jerk leading the Yuppies in a chorus of elitist laughter about my plebian tastes. "I don't know why those kind of people even come in here. He's probably got a cheap receiver with a bunch of dancing lights and he wants more lights to impress his friends when they come over to..." and he made the "toking" motion with his lips and fingers. BTW I had hair then, very long hair.

    While they laughed, I fumed.

    Finally fed up, I couldn't let it go, and went to confront him.

    Excuse me.

    Yes?

    Have you been to my house?

    Uh, no.

    Do you know the size of my listening room?

    No.

    Do you know what's on my floors? On my walls? What kind of furniture I have?

    Of course not, but why...

    Do you know what speakers I have, or what amp?

    No, but I don't see...

    Are you telling me that without knowing any of that information you can proclaim that a) my system is inferior, b) there's no possible reason for me to need equalization, and c) that any sytem I bought from you and put in my house would be perfectly flat from the moment of install?

    Well, it's been demonstrated in all the high end journals...

    Journals? Journal is just another word for magazine, and magazine's just another word for rag. Give me a break. You believe it because some hack in a magazine told you it was so? Do you ever think for yourself? Do you ever actually verify any of this BS?

    I turned to the couple.

    If I were you, I'd run, not walk, out of this store and away from this moron. I'm going down to Highland where I know going in that the sales guy doesn't know anything, but at least I can get a great price.

    As you can tell, this caused me severe emotional trauma, and I've relived it many times over the years. This is how I remember it now.

    I noticed with glee a year later that this place was out of business.
    Out.

  5. #5
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Hey Bo

    Amazing isn't it. Went into a Magnolia to listen to some panel speakers that were playing. Had something like a 30K system going in surround which they happened to have Hell Freezes Over playing. It was bland for lack of a better word. No real focus, imaging was diffuse and it had no real bite. The bass was mushy had no pitch. Well people were loving it. "Doesn't this sound great!" I was like yeah ok. I didn't know what to say cause the guy really liked it. It seems there is no telling what someones system will sound like until you have a listen. There is so much variation in what passes as good sound you really have to go your own way. Maybe this guy thought it was the best he had ever heard??? I don't get the whole snob appeal aspect or the head in the sand about EQ either. Seems many get lost on the tweek side and either don't get or understand the basics or get so wrapped up in the equipment they just miss the boat.

    Rob

  6. #6
    norealtalent
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    Damnit! I HATE you guys when you're right!!! I DON"T WANT AN EQ!!! What good is an EQ without an RTA? ( I know, I know, I'm working on it. There's only 86400 seconds in a day!)

  7. #7
    Senior Member kingjames's Avatar
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    you are so right Giskard

    In the 70's equalizers were used by quite a few people including myself. Man did they look good with all those switches and lights. Hell,most people even had them in their cars as well. I never really liked to use one because it was a pain to adjust them to the right sound,and then when I just got it right my kids would come and move all the switches.Equalizers were also a status symbol,it was just another pretty piece to add to your system.There was a time when I had no JBL'S(couldn't afford them) so I was subjected to Radio Shack's Realistic's. They sounded good and the equalizer made them sound better.I think this was the norm in my area especially with the people that I hung out with.Later,when I was able to own some JBL'S I found out that I really didn't need an equalizer.When I was young it never dawned on me that I was using a EQ to (help) out my receiver and speakers. I thought it was necessary because without it my system sounded terrible.Giskard is right,if your system needs an eq then your system sucks. I haven't used one for over 20 years now and that's because I have the right equipment now.A good Receiver or some good separates and some JBl'S and you will never have a need for an EQ.

  8. #8
    norealtalent
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    I used to think if your system needs EQ then you need a new system. I still think that in many ways. Of course all you vintage reciever lovers will have to give up your bass, treble and loudness switches. Afterall, they're just simplistic eq's themselves. What I think an EQ would be nice for is those unpleasant room anomollies that I have. My livingroom is slightly L shaped, with the 2 speakers placed at the corners of the bottom of the L. The small portion of wall at the L reflects the sound no matter what I do to it. I'd like to try a nice RTA/EQ just to see what structural differences I can compensate for. I'm gonna get one, just need a few more seconds in a day. Maybe if I stayed off this damn computer for a week I could get something done...naaah

  9. #9
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    I suspect I was too vague once again. Oh well. :dont-know

  10. #10
    norealtalent
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giskard
    I suspect I was too vague once again. Oh well. :dont-know
    Latest in audiophile terminology; The Giskard Anomolly, named in honor of it's founding father.

  11. #11
    Senior Seņor boputnam's Avatar
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    Er, no. You were quite clear.
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by boputnam


    Spent the last 6-hrs in a wonderfully configured, and suitably designed audiophile studio.
    Hi all-

    OK- this may make me sound a little ignorant (too late, I know)- but isn't a studio environment supposed to be ruler flat? You don't want excessive imaging and or depth of stage- isn't that the whole concept behind near field monitors?? You have to practically sit in front of them (near) to get any imaging at all. Right?? Monitors monitor. You're checking sound in a studio- not indulging (per se).

    And as far as audiophiles 'not getting it' I agree- most don't. However, that's a sweeping statement- kinda like 'guys that listen to JBL's are tone deaf'. We all know how far from the truth that is, don't we??

    I consider myself an audiophile and I do get it. I have heard systems that are so detailed- yet are not engaging at ALL. You almost have to concentrate to understand why the gear is so celebrated. Like Totem brand speakers. At first listen- they sound boring. YET- they offer amazing detail that my JBL's cannot offer. BUT- I like the JBL's BETTER. Confusing, I know. I dont want to concentrate to enjoy my system- but I don't want it to hit me over the head with excessive responses either. I like a balance. I guess it all comes down to personal pref.

    In the end- I don't understand how the industry has become so divided into 2 camps- The assholes- and the asshole haters. The way a regular guy gets treated in a high end shop makes me wonder how ANY of them can remain in business. What are people buying in there? Gear or prestige tokens?? It's all about the music!!

  13. #13
    JonathanKeehn
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    HAVE YOU HAD YOUR HEARING TESTED RECENTLY?

    One reason to use a 31-band equalizer is correct deficiencies in one's hearing. Most people think nothing at all about wearing glasses or contacts to correct vision problems - so why not use an equalizer to correct hearing limitations caused by hearing loss? As one who has lost some of his natural hearing ability due to playing the drums as a teenager and then logging too many high-SPL JBL hours over the last several decades, I've often thought about inserting a high-quality equalizer into my system. The attached hearing test graph from 6 years ago will illustrate this. How many audiophiles have actually had their hearing tested recently to see how "flat" they are? I think I paid $ 63.00 for this audiogram.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  14. #14
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    "What do Audiophiles really hear...?"

    Mostly it's the designer label, possibly. And then they may be focused on one or two things that are good, like the midrange, which I happen to like myself.

    Psychoacoustics can be tricky. The speakers you build can be completely without fault, and so can the equipment you pay too much for.

    Since I was in sales once, I've never really been able to talk to an audio sales person.

    Lucky me.

    David

  15. #15
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boputnam
    What do Audiophiles really hear...?
    As I am sure many others here, I have personal experience with this. Not all so called Audiophiles are the same. I consider myself one. I have used a lot of money on things some of you here on the forum is making fun of, including expencive cables of all sorts, filters on the power supply to the electronics etc. With this in mind you are also making fun of me, and is this any better than the example in the first post by boputnam? I tell you this: I have never bought any product unless I could hear something to the better! I could also make fun of some ideas and opinions I read about on this forum, but why should I? It has always been my philosophy that: "if you are pleased with your system, it is right for you".

    My brother is another Audiophile. We agree with amps, CD players and other electronics, but we use compleatly differnt speakers. At the moment he uses, I think they are called "Swan", and American brand. I use as you know the 4343B.

    I think his system sounds very good, but I prefer the 4343's. My brother think my system sounds old fashon, and do not have the details he hears on his own system. When I listen to both our systems I hear differences. Both sounds good, but I prefer mine because of the sound of the speakers. The elecronics is good on both systems, and you can't hear much differenses changing components.

    Then there is other people who buy the most expensive components the can afford (and even more), and believe they have the ultimate. Those people will not even speak to me if they know what kind of speakers I use. That is ok for me, I let them live in their world.

    As I am not a neutral "allmighty hi-fi guru" I can't tell you who is right. I believe we all am right to our own meaning, and use the equipment we like.

    Rolf

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