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Article: Why We Need Audiophiles, The subjective perspective
2tec
post Apr 16 2009, 14:55
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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


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Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence~Potter Stewart
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B0RK
post Apr 17 2009, 05:13
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Well fine thoughts expressed indeed .

But I still think the other side of the coin deserves some thread space ,so there I go:

I Still feel too many people are a bit light on the trigger regarding
Fremer's view , & audiophiles in general .. (Wait a minute .. Arent we some breed of Audiophiles as well ? )

QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 18:11) *
If I may state things boldly, it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, ..

But the notion of skeptics with iPod earbuds is a straw man.


I have nothing but utter respect & gratitude to all the amazing people here & elsewhere that push great audio forward, with Engineers way high in the ranks, but I wouldn't bundle Engineers & innovators with skeptics , if you know what I mean.

So I fear in the global scheme of things ,Skeptics with iPod earbuds (Hey sounds like a good title for a punk band unsure.gif ) are a tad thicker then a straw ..

Lossy Audio has mutated from it's specialty niche economy playback format into the defacto standard & changed the music world ,& probably MUSIC forever, & not for the better.

I feel that people like Fremer ,try in their own way & methods, to preach this sermon,
I am hopeful it will turn around, maybe the HD trend will help.

QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 16:11) *
it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, by helping ensure it is most available at lowest cost.Bingo.


While you may feel that is true , & we are talking lossy audio here ..
that's a half truth to say the least.

At least regarding lossy audio.
If Lossy audio had an effect on cost (aside from 'Free' Music)
is it made what should have been considered standard, respectable audio gear by (way back) yesterday's standard ,wear a HIGH END PRODUCT sticker, killing the part of the industry we consumers need the most , the mid priced gear , by having shot it's right to exist with a generation of music lovers growing up with a veiled reference of what true sound is, essentially causing the prices for decent gear to go UP, not down.

QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Apr 16 2009, 19:38) *
The idea of having a $300,000+ hi-fi playback system that revolves around a record player is, to me, completely counter-intuitive.


For those who missed this era , here's some background.

Fremer, Like Some of us , has been through the big promise of Digital & the move to CDs.
I have been through it too.
The PROMISE.
The bunch of pure lies that surrounded the CD launch.
The arguments with friends about the first heard cd versions in comparison with the LPs & even tapes of the material still echo in my head.

Oh & Let's not forget the Greatest Audio Marketing Line / Joke Of All Time ,
that never wears off in trigerring my blood pressureon so many of our cds:

"The music on this Compact Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the Compact Disc can reveal limitations of the source tape."

If you have been there , you know what I mean ,& it worked.
Lol at some stage everyone was getting rid of their Records like the plague.

Fremer won't forgive.
Many of us that lost their record collection because of it & rebought their record Collection on CDs, only to find out the jittery truth afterwards, still feel the pain, now more then ever.

When the 'New' Change Came ,& people were told:
"You know , we have done some research, turns out CDs are just not as good as we assumed, Here's a SACD for ya , now give me your credit card"
they were shown the door instead.

So I sure get it.
for All these people, like Fremer, only NOW, true HD recordings can compete, but maybe too little too late.
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Ron Jones
post Apr 17 2009, 06:40
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QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 20:13) *
Many of us that lost their record collection because of it & rebought their record Collection on CDs, only to find out the jittery truth afterwards, still feel the pain, now more then ever.

What truth? As I see it, the only "shortcoming" inherent in the Redbook compact disc is that it's capable of containing, and almost encourages on a technical basis (but let's not get into that here), excessively loud recordings. Unlike with the vinyl record, engineers needn't sacrifice playback length to cram in loud, so-called "radio-friendly" masters on a compact disc. In such cases where the LP of a given album isn't as hot as its CD counterpart, the LP can "win out" in that respect -- but that really says nothing of the media itself or the capabilities of that media with respect to maintaining source fidelity.

As a consumer format, Redbook 16-bit, 44.1 kHz audio leaves nothing to be desired. With the wealth of precise digital processing available to us, the obscenely low cost of modern, transparent and practically noise-free converters, and the major advances made with psychoacoustic dithering techniques, the compact disc, and indeed 16/44.1 PCM audio in general, have never been more attractive as a high-end consumer format. The CD itself may not have changed, but the technology responsible for retaining the fidelity of the original recordings prior to them being delivered on CDs has improved considerably.

MP3/AAC/OGG/etc. can be just as attractive to any given person from a sound quality perspective if it's perceptually transparent to that person on their playback equipment. I can certainly understand the hesitancy to adopt and adapt to what is, from every technical basis, inferior to CD audio, but I certainly can't understand the vitriol I sometimes see toward lossy compression. Audiophiles typically cast it aside as being universally "flat" and "lifeless" without any kind of blind testing to verify such perceptions. The more unruly audiophiles attempt to justify their decision to cast lossy compression aside by claiming it causes listening fatigue, or, more hysterically, muscle fatigue, without any real evidence to back up such radical claims.

QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 20:13) *
When the 'New' Change Came ,& people were told: "You know , we have done some research, turns out CDs are just not as good as we assumed, Here's a SACD for ya , now give me your credit card" they were shown the door instead.

SACD was marketed toward audiophiles -- to a niche market -- as a technologically superior format, but I don't recall any analysts predicting that it would in any way overtake the venerable compact disc. It's only natural that SACD was marketed as being superior to CDs: it's unlikely they could have sold any otherwise!

On the subject of SACD, its supposed superiority to Redbook audio is actually still a subject of debate to this very day. For a myriad of reasons, I myself lean toward the "CD is better" side of the argument, if that surprises you (or doesn't).

QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 20:13) *
So I sure get it. for All these people, like Fremer, only NOW, true HD recordings can compete, but maybe too little too late.

The real competition actually seems to be taking place between CD audio and the so-called "HD" audio. We're struggling to find verifiable cases of audible differences between the two. I know of only a single sample of typical program material that's been ABX'ed to a somewhat-correctly dithered downrezzed version, but not with a desirably strong degree of consistency. I know of no tests undergone which have demonstrated clear data either way. That being said, when you utilize the best sample rate conversion techniques and the best dither available, I truly do not believe any listener, using any playback system on the planet, could discern a difference.

As far as "HD" PCM competing with vinyl, I would say there is no competition. From a purely technical, fidelity-oriented perspective, the former is favored wink.gif

This post has been edited by Ron Jones: Apr 17 2009, 06:41
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Posts in this topic
- 2tec   Article: Why We Need Audiophiles   Apr 16 2009, 14:55
- - lvqcl   QUOTE Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. Ne...   Apr 16 2009, 15:29
- - nig nig the conqueror   I just got through reading that and I HAD to come ...   Apr 16 2009, 15:31
- - Fandango   Hey , nig nig! How can you say that! They ...   Apr 16 2009, 15:44
|- - Nick.C   QUOTE (Fandango @ Apr 16 2009, 15:44) The...   Apr 16 2009, 19:46
- - Bodhi   If I had a $350,000 stereo system I wouldn...   Apr 16 2009, 16:03
- - krabapple   Sad to read how many commenters there thought it w...   Apr 16 2009, 16:16
|- - nig nig the conqueror   QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 16 2009, 11:16) Sa...   Apr 16 2009, 16:39
- - Arnold B. Krueger   Unlike most people who post here, I've had the...   Apr 16 2009, 16:32
|- - pdq   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 11...   Apr 16 2009, 16:54
||- - krabapple   IIRC (and I may not) in his 'real life' Fr...   Apr 16 2009, 17:02
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 10...   Apr 16 2009, 21:24
|- - shenzi   Elsewhere on the site someone posted a link to an ...   Apr 17 2009, 11:47
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (shenzi @ Apr 17 2009, 06:47) Elsew...   Apr 17 2009, 16:32
- - skelly831   I've been a Gizmodo reader for a while, but al...   Apr 16 2009, 16:41
- - 2Bdecided   I don't think it's that bad. If you want t...   Apr 16 2009, 16:44
|- - nig nig the conqueror   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 16 2009, 11:44) So...   Apr 16 2009, 16:50
- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (Bodhi @ Apr 16 2009, 07:03) If I h...   Apr 16 2009, 17:04
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Apr 16 2009, 12:04) I...   Apr 16 2009, 18:03
- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (2tec @ Apr 16 2009, 06:55) They ...   Apr 16 2009, 18:04
|- - rpp3po   In the context of synesthesia the 3D metaphor is r...   Apr 16 2009, 19:06
||- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (rpp3po @ Apr 16 2009, 11:06) But i...   Apr 16 2009, 23:31
||- - benski   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 16 2009, 18:31...   Apr 17 2009, 00:40
||- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (benski @ Apr 16 2009, 16:40) The 4...   Apr 17 2009, 04:13
|- - Linux Zealot Troll   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 16 2009, 18:04...   Apr 18 2009, 22:29
- - caligae   This might finally give some insight to their obje...   Apr 16 2009, 18:35
- - 2Bdecided   But good systems with excellently matched speakers...   Apr 16 2009, 18:41
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 16 2009, 13:41) Bu...   Apr 16 2009, 21:49
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 20...   Apr 17 2009, 13:16
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 17 2009, 08:16) Le...   Apr 17 2009, 17:37
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 17 2009, 08:16) QU...   Apr 17 2009, 20:16
- - zipr   Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, a...   Apr 16 2009, 19:30
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (zipr @ Apr 16 2009, 14:30) Has the...   Apr 17 2009, 16:45
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 17 2009, 16:45) QU...   Apr 17 2009, 17:09
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 17 2009, 11:45) QU...   Apr 17 2009, 23:47
- - timcupery   synesthesia is a real thing, and the comparison ma...   Apr 16 2009, 20:22
- - HotshotGG   QUOTE I'm interested in what the HA community ...   Apr 16 2009, 21:17
- - Axon   I'm not really sure Fremer and Mahoney actuall...   Apr 16 2009, 21:24
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 16:24) QUOTE (...   Apr 17 2009, 17:02
- - Axon   Nope. According to Mejias, Fremer's a Jersey m...   Apr 16 2009, 21:51
- - SnTholiday   Do you think Fremer really gets into the music wit...   Apr 16 2009, 22:05
- - DVDdoug   2tec, Thanks for that post & link. Good stuf...   Apr 16 2009, 23:08
|- - carpman   QUOTE It's like when you go to the symphony, a...   Apr 17 2009, 08:30
- - Axon   I think it's abundantly clear that Fremer is a...   Apr 16 2009, 23:45
|- - /mnt   So if I upgrade my crappy PC speakers and my cheap...   Apr 17 2009, 02:01
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 18:45) I think...   Apr 17 2009, 17:14
|- - hybris   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 23:45) I think...   Apr 19 2009, 10:10
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (hybris @ Apr 19 2009, 04:10) Is th...   Apr 19 2009, 12:01
|- - hybris   QUOTE (cpchan @ Apr 19 2009, 12:01) QUOTE...   Apr 19 2009, 12:43
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (hybris @ Apr 19 2009, 06:43) Eatin...   Apr 19 2009, 13:20
|- - hybris   QUOTE (cpchan @ Apr 19 2009, 13:20) QUOTE...   Apr 19 2009, 18:55
- - B0RK   From what I have read , I have to say I see no pro...   Apr 17 2009, 00:56
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 19:56) From wh...   Apr 17 2009, 17:16
- - Axon   Calm down B0RK. (B0RK B0RK.) None of us are arguin...   Apr 17 2009, 01:11
- - greynol   Like the suggestion that an expensive hi-fi system...   Apr 17 2009, 01:18
- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 15:56) He is a...   Apr 17 2009, 02:38
- - shakey_snake   We need audiophools about as much as we need AIDS....   Apr 17 2009, 05:12
- - B0RK   Well fine thoughts expressed indeed . But I still...   Apr 17 2009, 05:13
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 23:13) I Still...   Apr 17 2009, 05:29
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 21:13) So I fe...   Apr 17 2009, 05:32
|- - greynol   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 21:13) Oh ...   Apr 17 2009, 06:35
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 20:13) Many of...   Apr 17 2009, 06:40
|- - Axon   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 23:13) I Still...   Apr 17 2009, 07:18
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 00:13) Oh ...   Apr 17 2009, 17:24
- - Dracaena   Hilarious. For $350k you could spend a good f...   Apr 17 2009, 07:36
- - MichaelW   @carpman One day you'll be old, fat, and in th...   Apr 17 2009, 09:11
|- - carpman   QUOTE (MichaelW @ Apr 17 2009, 08:11) One...   Apr 17 2009, 09:57
- - HotshotGG   QUOTE There is a cottage industry in the audiophil...   Apr 17 2009, 13:58
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Apr 17 2009, 07:58) I ...   Apr 17 2009, 14:38
- - B0RK   First, @2Bdecided ,Thanks you for bringing some mu...   Apr 17 2009, 21:14
|- - rpp3po   A post's length often inversely correlates wit...   Apr 17 2009, 21:53
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 13:14) Some vi...   Apr 17 2009, 23:12
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 12:14) for all...   Apr 17 2009, 23:23
- - pdq   This is very disappointing. Year after year the me...   Apr 17 2009, 21:40
- - Axon   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 17 2009, 10...   Apr 18 2009, 04:22
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 17 2009, 19:22) The dis...   Apr 18 2009, 05:50
- - B0RK   @Ron Jones well ...Now in your post you switched t...   Apr 18 2009, 06:15
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 22:15) So afte...   Apr 18 2009, 17:39
||- - chelgrian   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 18 2009, 16:39...   Apr 18 2009, 17:48
||- - Fandango   QUOTE (chelgrian @ Apr 18 2009, 18:48) So...   Apr 18 2009, 17:50
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 21:15) You...   Apr 18 2009, 20:17
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 01:15) This is...   Apr 19 2009, 06:07
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||- - B0RK   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 18 2009, 10:39) B0RK, y...   Apr 19 2009, 01:41
||- - Frumious B   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 20:41) That we...   Apr 19 2009, 04:05
||- - pdq   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 20:41) To trul...   Apr 19 2009, 04:55
|||- - B0RK   QUOTE (pdq @ Apr 18 2009, 21:55) It truly...   Apr 19 2009, 06:22
|||- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 01:22) But We ...   Apr 19 2009, 06:42
|||- - pdq   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 01:22) QUOTE (...   Apr 19 2009, 13:15
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||- - Frumious B   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 19 2009, 07...   Apr 19 2009, 14:10
|- - Fandango   QUOTE (ShowsOn @ Apr 18 2009, 14:40) Frem...   Apr 18 2009, 17:43
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- - ShowsOn   QUOTE (Frumious B @ Apr 19 2009, 01:22) W...   Apr 19 2009, 04:58
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