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What IsAn Audiophile?


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I love to listen to music, but cannot stand 'background music'. I have to listen to music if it is playing.  I think I am an audiophile, so I was fascinated to read this on a website:

 

Quote

WHAT IS AN AUDIOPHILE?

Almost everyone loves music (believe it or not, some people don’t!). So why doesn’t everyone love hi-fi?

Well, the reality is that most music lovers regard recorded music as a background activity: they listen via ear buds while walking or exercising, via a radio while driving, via in-store systems while shopping, and so on. Yes, at a live performance, they’ll probably focus solely on the music, but, once outside the concert hall or club, they don’t mind succumbing to distractions.

What distinguishes an audiophile, then, are two things. One is the willingness to listen to recorded music in the same way most music lovers listen at a concert, with music as the sole focus of attention. He or she may have a cup of tea or a glass of fine brandy in hand, but nothing else, nothing that would distract attention from the performance. The second, of course, is the willingness (and means) to invest in a system capable of reproducing music in a way that encourages such a focus.

Despite the claims of some audio manufacturers and reviewers, no system can reproduce music that is indistinguishable from live music. But a good system can nonetheless evoke in the listener the same sensations and emotions experienced at a live concert. This is the goal of the true audiophile, to become immersed in recorded music as if it were live, and it doesn’t have to involve spending huge amounts of money. In fact, a well-crafted budget system can be far more satisfying than an expensive one, randomly assembled.

 

 

I wonder if anyone else here would consider themselves an audiophile, or am I part of a dying breed?

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Unfortunately I don’t have the time, or money to be an audiophile. If I had more of both then I could see myself getting involved in the finer things in hifi. Coming from a music background I do know when something sounds good and when it doesn’t though. I am happy for the moment to have a basic sound system that gets me by but appreciate a good sounding amplifier and speaker set up. 

 

My wife is into old vinyl so I recently bought her a 1980s retro Marantz amp for £29 to get a relatively authentic retro sound for her records. Sounds good and it was within our budget. 

 

I must admit that  during meetings and assemblies I notice every bit of feedback or too high/low volume and wish I could do something about it, whereas most people don’t notice it. Maybe that’s OCD or just the music background sounds in me.

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Dunno if im an audiophile but when i listen to music i want to immerse myself in it and be one with the music. Sometimes,  a good place to focus on listening to music is in the car if it has a decent system.  Growing up , the best cd recordings I could find had the Telarc label. They claimed it was pure digital DDD. I couldnt tell the difference but it played well with little distortions. 

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I don’t believe it’s merely the digital format that killed sound quality. Certain digital formats can have qualities far in excess of any analog format. In fact, most amplifiers don’t have the ability to fully express the dynamic range (98dB) and low noise floor of a typical CD quality format, which is 16-bit at 44.1kH sampling.

Some of the early audio CDs were harsh sounding, but that was because they were produced by sound studios that were setup for the earlier tape recordings, where the high frequencies were bumped up to compensate in magnetic recordings.

 

The real problem is three-fold:

  • The prevalence of low quality formats, like MP3s encoded at low bit rates. This was a problem in the earlier days and not so much now, as storage space for better quality recordings is not so much an issue. There are lossless formats, too, where sound data is not thrown away to save space.
  • Recording studios insisting on compressing the dynamic range for material. All the sounds are adjusted, so that they are all at the same level of volume. Soft sounds are brought up and loud sounds are brought down. No soft/quiet sounds are allowed and no sounds are subtle. It’s so packed and compressed that you can barely make out the vocals. This is the audio equivalent of throwing in fast moving scenes to overwhelm the senses. The original reason for doing this was so that all the sounds could be heard on cheap sound equipment - equipment that didn’t have the ability to produce the nuances of a good recording. The fault lies with the recording studio, not the original band or musicians.
  • I forget the third:lol: It’ll come to me sometime.
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7 hours ago, bohemian said:

... So why doesn’t everyone love hi-fi?

.... The second, of course, is the willingness (and means) to invest in a system capable of reproducing music .....

.... a good system can nonetheless evoke in the listener the same sensations and emotions experienced at a live concert....

 

I guess it all depends on what you call "Hi-Fi". It seems that, today, it is defined/described as "high-quality reproduction of sound to distinguish it from the lower quality sound ". However, when I was young and had a "hi-fi" system - systems were not considered to be hi-fi just because they were loud or even "high-quality" - they were only said to be hi-fi if they could produce music from 20 hz to 20 khz, something that not all systems back then could do. Many only produced from 50hz to 10 khz. Although these systems produced "high-quality" sound, they were not said to be hi-fi.

 

Now, this may not agree with what Wikipedia says about hi-fi - but then, I do not know how old the person(s) who wrote the Wikipedia entry .... but, I did live in the 50's, 60's and 70's when the "golden age of hi-fi" gave way to solid state.

 

So, why doesn't everyone love hi-fi. Well, quite plainly, many today cannot hear 20 hz - 20 khz. They think "loud" is good and don't understand that the loud is ruining their hearing.

 

Now, as to getting the same sensations and emotions of a live concert .... there is not a music system on the face of the earth that can do that. Having heard and played in orchestral settings and hearing live concerts as well as live jam sessions ....... there simply is no recorded music that can match "the real thing" - at least, that is my opinion :thumbsup:

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For me, there is no such thing as "background music", only music that is way too quiet in the background. When music plays it does become a center of what I'm doing, whether that's driving, dancing, or working.

 

I'm one of the few people who professes to notice a distinct difference between MP3s and original audio-CD's.

 

Our Kingdom Hall has a terrible set of loudspeakers that date back all the way to the 80ies, I believe. Up until recently, we had a live orchestra with piano, guitar, sometimes violin and keyboard (ugh) and it was so much better to sing to than the (otherwise beautiful) orchestra renditions being played from MP3 source through those less than mediocre loudspeakers.

 

Having said all that, most people don't seem to notice any impact in the change at all (even though our singing has become terribly out of tune and out of rhythm since the change). So I am one of only few that actually suffers from this.

 

It also seems that there are people who can't tell the difference between a home-made, hand-made patty and a McDonald's burger.

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I know that there are many who feel that vinyl records are the 'gold standard' when it comes to sound quality, but I feel that is only a familiar type of distortion to which we have become used.  Digital sources can reproduce very 'analogue sounding' music. My own cd player is such.

I find that valve amplifiers produce a sound which I like very much, very fluid and with no digital 'edge', and I can experiment by trying different valves within limits. 

 

I recently heard a system which did feel almost 'live' at a demonstration, but the system cost £150,000!  Elgar's cello concerto was vary 'real'.

My own modest system at times has raised the hairs on the back of my neck, and certainly female vocals are spectacularly realistic.  At times a voice has begun singing and I have looked up thinking that someone was in the room with me.

As a result I find my musical tastes have expanded too, although there are some genres which are just not for me!

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15 hours ago, vern said:

digital music killed the higher qualities of sound.... I remember music being so much more wonderful as a kid... now i can survive without a radio for years. lol

My ears were much more wonderful as a kid. :D

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21 hours ago, bohemian said:

I love to listen to music, but cannot stand 'background music'. I have to listen to music if it is playing.  I think I am an audiophile, so I was fascinated to read this on a website:

 

 

I wonder if anyone else here would consider themselves an audiophile, or am I part of a dying breed?

Guilty. As often as time allows I will put music on and focus solely on it. And I don't like to be interrupted.

Interesting that someone has put a label on it. I just used to think of it as "real music lovers" vs. the others.

I too have a music background...playing in a rock band when I was younger. Now that I've lost 80% of my hearing and have to wear hearing aids I've backed off on the drumming and sold my Yamaha set . I loved it,  but I love my hearing more. :(

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10 hours ago, Qapla said:

:bouncing:

 

Hey you're pretty nimble for an old timer. I'm getting tired just watching. :lol:

 

John I love some of  all kinds of music genres.* But where and when I grew up, if you played anything but a guitar, drums, or electric organ you'd get laughed at. :laugh:

I loved classical music, I love some of my parents music but as a kid I didn't tell my peers.:secret:

Now of course I could care less what others think.

 

* I do not like rap music. I think Rap is to music what etch- o-sketch is to art.


Edited by Pjdriver
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I know exactly what you are talking about.

 

When I was young my parents had a collection of 78's. Most of them were things like Hank Snow, Hank Williams and the like with some Benny Goodman and that style thrown in.

 

Back then, all the teachers knew how to play the piano and we HAD to have music. Only thing is, I cannot sing. Never could. I was given a new Silvertone guitar in 1960. I couldn't play it. I tried but just couldn't seem to get it. I came to the conclusion that, since I couldn't sing, I just wasn't musical.

 

When I was about 11 or 12 we went on a field trip to the University. They had a huge pipe organ. We got to hear the pipe organ being played by someone who really knew how to play it. We also got to hear the live orchestra accompany the pipe organ. Once you hear a live orchestra - well, what can I say! There is nothing that can match that sound - NOTHING!

 

Since I grew up in the 60's, I was there for the "British Invasion". Rock and roll changed to "Rock" and many of the kids I went to school with learned the guitar and drums and started bands. Even though that kind of music was not my favorite, I liked Country, I did enjoy hearing some of them play - again, live music! It has no match.

 

As we got into High School, some of them even started playing "gigs" and making money with their bands, One of the things that became somewhat popular among those with the bands was using "storage units" to practice in. My Brother and I used to go listen to some of them on occasion. When I got my license and was able to drive myself around, I still went and listened to some of them play. There was this one group that practiced quite often in a storage unit that was easily accessible, so I was able to listen to them fairly regularly - that is, until they decided to practice elsewhere ... and then they moved away. That particular band was Tom Petty :thumbsup:

 

When I was a senior in High School I was in a school play. One of the other guys in the play played the guitar. I told him about my guitar ans how I could not play it - after all, I couldn't sing either. He told me that, just because I can't sing, doesn't mean I am not musical and had me bring my guitar to school so he could see it. When I did, he tried to pay it. He said the reason I couldn't play was because the string were too far off the neck and made them too hard to hold down. He told me to put nylon string on my guitar. He told me where to get them and exactly what to get. He had me bring my guitar back in and he showed me how to put the nylon strings on.

 

Seems he was right. I ended up learning to play the guitar. I never really played "lead", I played rhythm. I later got an electric guitar and a 12 string Hofner acoustic. I still have all three of those guitars.

 

I also got an electric bass.

 

I helped an inactive Sister I had gone to school with get back active. She played the clarinet. She helped me learn to read music. I also got an alto sax and a trumpet. I learned to play them both and how to transpose the music. I never got all that good on the trumpet. I was able to play the sax and the bass in the orchestra for Circuit Assemblies and District Conventions.

 

One particular DC I attended, I did not play in that orchestra but I was the attendant for the orchestra, had a large orchestra complete with a set of drums and kettle drums. It also had a chorus. We also had a Brother who really knew how to conduct both at the same time. Again, There Is Nothing That Can Match LIVE Music!!!

 

I used to take my 12 string to get togethers. Another Brother and I (I studied with him through his baptism and taught him to play the guitar - he could sing) used to play together and he would sing John Denver songs. It was well liked at the gatherings. But, alas, my body has gotten much older and my fingers no longer work as they once did so I have trouble playing the guitar :(

 

I used to have a very nice Hi-Fi system back in the 70's. I even had a really nice Hi-Fi headset! That was extremely nice. But, now that, not only do my fingers not work like they used to, I cannot hear as well as I once did.

 

I still like live music!

 

 

 

I might add, You commented, "But where and when I grew up, if you played anything but a guitar, drums, or electric organ you'd get laughed at" - where I lived, since the University had a large marching band and so did the HS I attended, there was not so much peer pressure to play rock or nothing. Those who could play other instruments were still appreciated. After all, our HS band was one of the tops in the state. It had nearly 200 people in it.


Edited by Qapla
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I used to play on whatever was near when I was a kid - be it an instrument or household appliances. These days I am a classically trained singer, violinist, pianist, and get to use my bag of stuff in Jehovah’s service. I would enjoy great orchestras in every congregation, but I also know our focus must be on the ministry, not putting together 300’000 decent little bands. So we even it out in the best way possible. So we gather some musicians and other personnel to make useful music, and gather singers at various locations to produce vocal songs. It works.


Any day now...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Firstly, I love the thread and listening to some of your backgrounds!

 

I would consider myself an audiophile but not having the means to buy the gear.

 

I love listening to a radio station called ClassicFM.  Very often I will excuse myself to the bedroom, lay down in the dark and just listen.  No lights or sounds, just allowing the radio to take me places.

 

Just recently, Sinfonia Antarctica by Vaughan Williams had an unnerving effect on me.

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33 minutes ago, thebluebaron said:

Firstly, I love the thread and listening to some of your backgrounds!

 

I would consider myself an audiophile but not having the means to buy the gear.

 

I love listening to a radio station called ClassicFM.  Very often I will excuse myself to the bedroom, lay down in the dark and just listen.  No lights or sounds, just allowing the radio to take me places.

 

Just recently, Sinfonia Antarctica by Vaughan Williams had an unnerving effect on me.

 

The music is the key, Jason.  The problem with getting the equipment is that it is like an itch that you have to keep scratching!  I have just upgraded my preamplifier and am amazed at the extra detail I am hearing in familiar pieces.

My wife and I have recently listened to the 9 Beethoven symphonies in two performances (Karajan and Vänskä) and they were amazing.

 

I agree, too, Jason, about the feelings that Vaughan Williams' Sinfonia Antartctica evokes.  I love his music.

 

I am now advertising my previous preamplifier for sale, maybe that will fund another 'scratch'?

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3 hours ago, thebluebaron said:

Very often I will excuse myself to the bedroom, lay down in the dark and just listen.  No lights or sounds, just allowing the radio to take me places.

 

:eek:  If there are no sounds - how are you listening to anything?  :shrugs:


Edited by Qapla
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  • 1 month later...
On 11/4/2017 at 5:40 AM, Pjdriver said:

 

* I do not like rap music. I think Rap is to music what etch- o-sketch is to art

 

 

You are very generous...I've always got the sense that it is akin to the "music" resulting from the demolition of a large building, like that last stadium that didn't go so well. Perhaps I'm confusing music versus lyrics...

 

old age age and all that...

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Well,  I guess I'm the opposite of an audiophile.  I don't listen to much of anything,  anymore.  I turn off the radio in the car and much prefer listening to road noise and being in tune with the vehicle. 

 

Same thing with being out on a lake somewhere.  If I'm on the water in my kayak it's because I like the quiet and solitude.  If some glitterboat goes past with a thousand watt system blasting noise out at me I find it fairly intrusive and offensive.  

 

As for our songs at meetings,  I wish it was the old piano music. 

It seemed easier for me to sing to and I could keep better track of where I was at in the song.

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I think I'm an audiophile... but a lover of hearing music at all times.  I have a very fine stereo at home and what's in my car isn't bad.  However, while I do love to sit and immerse myself in some new music - CDs, etc.. I have music playing nearly constantly.  I have an incredibly eclectic mix playing on my computer at work (right now) from accuradio.com (it's great; you can pick and mix any genre of music you want and it's free!).  I don't like working without music on; it helps me focus.  In my car, something is always playing - usually Kingdom Melodies, sometimes other stuff, sometimes the best radio station in the world, KMHD.FM - jazz, etc... with a little NPR news and commercial free.

 

I love live music as often as I can afford it and I own several concerts on DVDs that I enjoy.  I truly love singing with the orchestra music at the Hall.. I feel more comfortable singing out and loudly.

 

I feel that if I had unlimited funds, but the condition was that I could only spend it on one thing, it would be the pursuit of music: any live concert/performance I wanted, THE BEST stereo equipment, music/voice lessons, any CDs/DVDs released that I wanted... it's my favorite thing to buy.

 

However -- I'm not a snob about requiring perfect conditions or equipment to listen.  Music is a gift and blessing to me in any way I can hear it; it keeps me sane.  My mind makes the worst recording great.

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