IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

55 Pages V   1 2 3 > »   
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Article: Why We Need Audiophiles, The subjective perspective
2tec
post Apr 16 2009, 14:55
Post #1





Group: Members
Posts: 306
Joined: 29-February 08
From: Alberta
Member No.: 51676



I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile, which clearly goes completely against the grain around here. For instance:

"We play my solid 256kbps VBR MP3 of "Heroes" off my iPod; it sounds like shit. Free of pops and crackles, yes, but completely lifeless, flat in every way. This is the detail that matters: Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space. You close your eyes in Fremer's chair, and you can perceive a detailed 3D matrix of sound, with each element occupying its own special space in the air. It's crazy and I've never experienced anything like it." ~ Why we need audiophiles


--------------------
Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence~Potter Stewart
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
lvqcl
post Apr 16 2009, 15:29
Post #2





Group: Developer
Posts: 3385
Joined: 2-December 07
Member No.: 49183



QUOTE
Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs.


Never heard of it. Really?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
nig nig the conq...
post Apr 16 2009, 15:31
Post #3





Group: Members
Posts: 24
Joined: 3-September 08
From: Cornelia, GA
Member No.: 57832



I just got through reading that and I HAD to come to HA to find out what you guys thought. I had to stop reading, there was so much BS I couldn't stand it.

Moderation: Removed useless full quotation of the first post.

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 16 2009, 17:18
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Fandango
post Apr 16 2009, 15:44
Post #4





Group: Members
Posts: 1548
Joined: 13-August 03
Member No.: 8353



Hey , nig nig! How can you say that! They use logarithmic scales to measure the awesomeness of Framer's gear, pure science man!
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Bodhi
post Apr 16 2009, 16:03
Post #5





Group: Members
Posts: 261
Joined: 10-June 06
Member No.: 31712



If I had a $350,000 stereo system I wouldn't probably listen to any lossy codec. Since I'm not that well equiped, my lame 3.98.2 v3 files do the job!

Anyway, what is an audiophile without a $350,000 stereo system? A guy (or a girl) with two ears, that's about it.

...
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
krabapple
post Apr 16 2009, 16:16
Post #6





Group: Members
Posts: 2274
Joined: 18-December 03
Member No.: 10538



Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
blink.gif


Nice to see a few skeptics, though.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 16 2009, 16:32
Post #7





Group: Members
Posts: 3797
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005. After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s. His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.

To put this into perspective, my 16 year old son died of a brain hemhorrage about 10 years ago. By most accounts I can talk about that pretty calmly. Compared to matters of life and death, there's nothing about ABX or even all of high end audio thaat is as all-fired important as Fremer seems to think that one day back in the early 1990s was. All the other people I know who were directly involved with it have pretty well forgotten about it. And well they should. That wsa then and this is now.

To say that Fremer is a little tightly wound would be IMO an understatement. :-(

IMO, the only way to understand Fremer is to consider the meaning of the word hyperbole. Fremer seems to live in a world of hyperbole where nothing is anything like what it seems. For example, the Gizmodo article http://i.gizmodo.com/5213042/why-we-need-audiophiles mentions Fremer's alleged $350,000 audio system.

My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses? It is worth that today? Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

I'm sure the truth about Fremer will never be reliably known. Why should we even care?

Pardon me while I go and listen to some music... ;-)

Moderation: Removed useless full quotation of the first post.

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 16 2009, 17:19
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
nig nig the conq...
post Apr 16 2009, 16:39
Post #8





Group: Members
Posts: 24
Joined: 3-September 08
From: Cornelia, GA
Member No.: 57832



QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 16 2009, 11:16) *
Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
blink.gif


Nice to see a few skeptics, though.


I couldn't even read through the whole article, much less all the comments. It's frustrating how much misinformation is out there. I'm a frequent visitor to Gizmodo, but all this week has been devoted to "audio" and really, you should see some of the atrocious things they've talked about.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
skelly831
post Apr 16 2009, 16:41
Post #9





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 782
Joined: 11-April 05
From: México
Member No.: 21361



I've been a Gizmodo reader for a while, but all their recent "articles" (all tagged with 'Gizmodo Listening Test', lol) about expensive audio gear are starting to get bothersome. This one about Fremer made me realize the guys at Gizmodo really have no interest in objective criticism. They just want to put as many dollar signs under as many pictures of turntables and amps as possible. I skimmed a few pages of comments, it's nice to see a few smart people in there trying to call thir BS.


This post has been edited by skelly831: Apr 16 2009, 17:48


--------------------
we was young an' full of beans
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
2Bdecided
post Apr 16 2009, 16:44
Post #10


ReplayGain developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 5142
Joined: 5-November 01
From: Yorkshire, UK
Member No.: 409



I don't think it's that bad. If you want to listen to music from decades ago, you will find (much of the time; not all) that a copy of the original vinyl pressing will sound better than a modern remastered CD of the same material.

I know the article was trying to say more than that (i.e. vinyl is better than CD) but anyone who says "256kbps VBR MP3" doesn't actually know what they're talking about, do they?

So it's typical journalistic sloppiness, and probably getting carried away in the moment.

And let's face it - we do need people wanting better quality than can be heard on 99% of pop releases in the 21st century. Does anyone think CDs (as actually sold, rather than as theoretically possible) sound that good in the pop world in 2009?


Where the article is really wrong is in the last paragraph...
QUOTE
we need someone like Fremer up on that wall, a preservationist of archival recordings and an ombudsman for new recording techniques, because one day you'll want to hear it, and it'll be there because of audiophiles.

These guardians in and outside of the recording industry ensure that, whether it's in a movie theater tomorrow or in your own home listening room on some far off future date, you'll be able always get back to a recording that expresses every frequency, every ounce of warmth and life, of the original performance. Because if you can hear, it, if you ever get to live in that 3D space, you'll be glad Fremer helped defend it.
We won't be able to hear music properly in the future because the "?best?" music will continue to be recorded by small labels who release over compressed CDs, and lose the master recordings. It'll be the 1930s and 1960s over again - lose the masters and leave the future with whatever consumer format was issued at the time. The only hope (and I feel like a traitor saying this!) is that large labels buy small labels and preserve their archive properly.

Plus I've heard lots of this hi-end stuff - not $330k, admittedly, but $100k systems with various sources. Some are great, some are garbage (over blown, mental, noise making rather than music reproducing systems) - but the biggest quality improvement I ever heard was 6.0 surround sound with four speakers at the front. And guess what? It's the audiophiles that hate surround sound the most, and keep this most significant advance from getting a foothold.

So much for helping us to hear things better.

Cheers,
David.

EDIT: Interesting post Arny - didn't see it before writing this. I'd probably need physically restraining if I found someone burning The Beatles master tapes or something, but no, not about this!

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Apr 16 2009, 16:48
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
nig nig the conq...
post Apr 16 2009, 16:50
Post #11





Group: Members
Posts: 24
Joined: 3-September 08
From: Cornelia, GA
Member No.: 57832



QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 16 2009, 11:44) *
So it's typical journalistic sloppiness, and probably getting carried away in the moment.

And let's face it - we do need people wanting better quality than can be heard on 99% of pop releases in the 21st century. Does anyone think CDs (as actually sold, rather than as theoretically possible) sound that good in the pop world in 2009?



Good point. Fremer's still a douche, though.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
pdq
post Apr 16 2009, 16:54
Post #12





Group: Members
Posts: 3407
Joined: 1-September 05
From: SE Pennsylvania
Member No.: 24233



QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 11:32) *
My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses? It is worth that today? Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

It's not that hard for the manufacturers of "$350,000 worth" of audio equipment to donate it to Fremer, because the actual manufacturing cost was probably only a few thousand, if that.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
krabapple
post Apr 16 2009, 17:02
Post #13





Group: Members
Posts: 2274
Joined: 18-December 03
Member No.: 10538



IIRC (and I may not) in his 'real life' Fremer was/is a psychiatrist, and in in NYC that can pay pretty well.


This post has been edited by krabapple: Apr 17 2009, 17:03
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Ron Jones
post Apr 16 2009, 17:04
Post #14





Group: Members
Posts: 412
Joined: 9-August 07
From: Los Angeles
Member No.: 46048



QUOTE (Bodhi @ Apr 16 2009, 07:03) *
If I had a $350,000 stereo system I wouldn't probably listen to any lossy codec. Since I'm not that well equiped, my lame 3.98.2 v3 files do the job!

I would.

I've come to a very definitive conclusion regarding my ears' abilities to resolve sonic information: there's a finite limit. Investing $350,000 in an ultra-high-end stereo isn't going to suddenly grant my ears the ability to hear atoms bonding or to be able to resolve the sound of a mosquito sucking blood from an elephant in Zimbabwe. To me, it's more about trying damn hard to be realistic about the capabilities of my physical (and mental) self and trying damn hard not to get caught up in a tailspin of perceptions I can't attribute to a known reality.

I have a strict policy of listening to whatever format contains music I enjoy. If that means 128kbps CBR FhG MP3s circa 2001, if that's all I have, then great! If that happens to be 24/96 FLAC, that's better because I know it's better, but it's still just as great as listening to the admittedly less-than-stellar MP3s. To me, there's no major difference in terms of my being able to enjoy listening to music -- even when there are obvious artifacts or other problems that can be attributed to lossy compression. I just do my best to enjoy what I have available.

QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 07:32) *
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh...After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s. His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.

I couldn't say this is all that surprising. There's a certain part of me that sees modern "audiophilism" as some sort of mental disease. Unfortunately, Fremer would probably feel similarly about anyone who subscribes to the notion of audio objectivism: that we are not only wrong but that we're indeed knee-deep in some sort of circle of madness. Thankfully, logic dictates that objective thinking is not only rational but quite comfortably sane, so I can (generally) rest easy smile.gif
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
krabapple
post Apr 16 2009, 18:03
Post #15





Group: Members
Posts: 2274
Joined: 18-December 03
Member No.: 10538



QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Apr 16 2009, 12:04) *
I've come to a very definitive conclusion regarding my ears' abilities to resolve sonic information: there's a finite limit. Investing $350,000 in an ultra-high-end stereo isn't going to suddenly grant my ears the ability to hear atoms bonding or to be able to resolve the sound of a mosquito sucking blood from an elephant in Zimbabwe.


Indeed. Fremer's pricey system didn't restore his ability to hear the LP hiss that the reporter heard.

Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
kornchild2002
post Apr 16 2009, 18:04
Post #16





Group: Members
Posts: 2079
Joined: 8-April 05
From: Cincinnati, OH
Member No.: 21277



QUOTE (2tec @ Apr 16 2009, 06:55) *
They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space. You close your eyes in Fremer's chair, and you can perceive a detailed 3D matrix of sound, with each element occupying its own special space in the air.



This made me laugh a lot. I didn't bother reading the whole article as there is no need to. However, I didn't realize that audiophiles had a third eye allowing them to actually see sound waves in three dimensions (possibly four?) just pouring out of $350,000 speakers. Hell, I would go crazy if I actually saw my music rather than listening to it. All those sound waves going everywhere would drive me insane. I guess I would hold myself up on a high horse too if I could actually see music. I guess 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the rest of us will just have to be fine with listening to music instead of trying to pear into the fourth dimension.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
caligae
post Apr 16 2009, 18:35
Post #17





Group: Members
Posts: 186
Joined: 23-January 02
Member No.: 1132



This might finally give some insight to their objection to blind listening tests. If they are not allowed to use their third eye during a test, it must be seriously flawed!
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
2Bdecided
post Apr 16 2009, 18:41
Post #18


ReplayGain developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 5142
Joined: 5-November 01
From: Yorkshire, UK
Member No.: 409



But good systems with excellently matched speakers (with excellent time and frequency domain responses) do "image" spectacularly better than lower quality stuff. The front/back depth of the sound stage is increased, the location of (say) the singer is focussed more tightly etc etc. You can also put the speakers further apart before the sound stage falls apart. It's not what the record producer intended (usually), but it's very impressive. Stereo is supposed to work with 60 degree speaker angle. I've heard it work stunningly well with 110 speaker angle - but only with very good speakers.

The photographs of that particular listening room are not impressive unless they misrepresent the reality - from what it looks like, I'd want the speakers much further away from the walls, and from everything else. The kind of early reflections I'd expect in that room would seriously damage the magical 3-d sound stage that's claimed to exist.

Cheers,
David.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
rpp3po
post Apr 16 2009, 19:06
Post #19





Group: Developer
Posts: 1126
Joined: 11-February 03
From: Germany
Member No.: 4961



In the context of synesthesia the 3D metaphor is really amiss (like about 99% of anything audio related in the context of Fremer). But it's not complete bull. About 5 years ago I did extensive ABX tests (128kbit/s ABR AAC) with my brother-in-law, who was studying Jazz back then. Out of 20 random Jazz tracks (modern recordings from the 90's and 00's) he could differentiate 19 (myself 3). And he always explained that he heard differences within the spatial image in his head.

PS: We later repeated the tests with Nero 1.0.7.0 at q .5 (~200kb/s) and stopped after 5 tries, because he said that the differences he had originally heard were completely gone.

This post has been edited by rpp3po: Apr 16 2009, 19:19
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
zipr
post Apr 16 2009, 19:30
Post #20





Group: Members
Posts: 180
Joined: 13-September 05
From: Baltimore
Member No.: 24445



Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds 'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source material -- or the creator's intentions?

Do musicians listen to their own stuff on $350,000 equipment?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Nick.C
post Apr 16 2009, 19:46
Post #21


lossyWAV Developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 1791
Joined: 11-April 07
From: Wherever here is
Member No.: 42400



QUOTE (Fandango @ Apr 16 2009, 15:44) *
They use logarithmic scales to measure the awesomeness of Framer's gear, pure science man!
i.e. Awesomeness = Log10(Cost in USD) + 4

This post has been edited by Nick.C: Apr 16 2009, 19:46


--------------------
lossyWAV -q X -a 4 --feedback 4| FLAC -8 ~= 320kbps
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
timcupery
post Apr 16 2009, 20:22
Post #22





Group: Members
Posts: 780
Joined: 19-December 01
From: Tar Heel country
Member No.: 683



synesthesia is a real thing, and the comparison may be valid in some case; thanks to rpp3po for providing the kind of example that I was hypothesizing after I read kornchild's post.
Of course, whether or not a person's senses can actually take in data that their brain can differentiate, is separate from synesthesia. A synesthesiac who can't hear "soundstage" differences like rpp3po's brother-in-law won't be able to visualize those soundstage differences either.

Which is why blind-testing will stay important.

One of the most interesting cases where synesthesia seems related to impressive mental abilities is the case of Daniel Tammet, a British autistic savant who is very high-functioning and can describe how stuff feels and works in his mid. He can do amazing math calculations in his head, like the square root of a prime number to 30 decimal places, or the like. His autobiography is called Born on a Blue Day and there's a fair bit of stuff about him on line if people are interested.


--------------------
God kills a kitten every time you encode with CBR 320
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
HotshotGG
post Apr 16 2009, 21:17
Post #23





Group: Members
Posts: 1593
Joined: 24-March 02
From: Revere, MA
Member No.: 1607



QUOTE
I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile, which clearly goes completely against the grain around here.


If I had a quarter for every B.S article that Stereophile publishes I would be a rich man. Some of John Atkins articles give me a good laugh. I like it when he tried to compare sound quality with so called "graphs" to make it look like it was half-assed pseudo-scientific. People actually listen to these boneheads though. My friend actually thought monster cables could make a difference in sound quality once. I was appauled and questioned him were that information came from he told me he read it in "some magazine", but couldn't remember the name of it. I just rolled my eyes and told him it was B.S. laugh.gif


--------------------
College student/IT Assistant
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Axon
post Apr 16 2009, 21:24
Post #24





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1984
Joined: 4-January 04
From: Austin, TX
Member No.: 10933



I'm not really sure Fremer and Mahoney actually doing much damage with this piece, besides priming young iPod people to buy megabuck systems later in life. I'm not sure if I can get much bent out of shape about convincing people to go lossless, buy a decent home system, etc.

But some of the Gizmodo commenters are asking if Fremer could provide a low end recommended system. He is the absolute last person you should ask for that. It's more important than ever to maintain an objective eye with the low end, and Fremer is likely to just run off into the weeds and choose some horifically underperforming system because it provides a better match for his ears alone.

QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 16 2009, 10:16) *
Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
I'm sure it's better journalism as far as Gizmodo is concerned. Maybe someday they'll grow enough to hire people with actual journalism degrees and such.

QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 10:32) *
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005. After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s. His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.
That wasn't the infamous "cable" test, was it?

There are a few stories like that about Fremer's attitude. Salvatore's exchange with him is pretty fun (although Salvatore is easily just as much of a pompous windbag as Fremer is). There's also that long-standing alleged fight between Fremer and the NYT over vinyl coverage...

QUOTE
My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses? It is worth that today? Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?
No, only Steve Hoffman does that. *rimshot*

I'm no longer thinking malice on Stereophile's part in the context of loans and reviewers' pricing. I think it's plain to see that the economic status of its editors and reviewers is substantially less than the audience it is actually gearing its reviews too. Long term loans and preferred pricing are more justifiable in such a situation.

QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 16 2009, 11:02) *
IN his 'real life' Fremer was/is a psychiatrist, and in in NYC that can pay pretty well.
Fremer is a psychiatrist? That joke writes itself. Multiple times over actually. Heh.

QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 16 2009, 12:03) *
Indeed. Fremer's pricey system didn't restore his ability to hear the LP hiss that the reporter heard.
Nor does it guarentee that his LPs play back with a speed tolerance of any less than 0.6%, as I observed a few days ago with some needledrops he posted.

Next time you hear an audiophile claim that high-mass turntables do not have speed issues, pour that into their cornflakes and shove it up their ass.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
cpchan
post Apr 16 2009, 21:24
Post #25





Group: Members
Posts: 299
Joined: 14-July 07
Member No.: 45304



QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 10:32) *
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005. After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s. His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.


crying.gif I am totally speechless. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance.


This post has been edited by cpchan: Apr 16 2009, 21:32
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

55 Pages V   1 2 3 > » 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 22nd September 2014 - 22:47