The Dynaco Tube Audio Forum

Dedicated to the restoration and preservation of all original Dynaco tube audio equipment - Customer support for Dynaco VTA tube amp kits, all Tubes4hifi.com products and all Dynakitparts.com products


    Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Share

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:03 am

    At the risk of making my somewhat new welcome unwelcome and ticking a few people off, is the word audiophile a bad word? I'm sure we've all heard about the obsessive nature of some "audiophiles" and how they fall for seemingly ridiculous gadgets in the quest for great sound. I just don't buy it- there is NO physical way a $1,000 block of oak holding your cable off the ground can improve sound. Digital Isolation Adapters? Disc Demagnetizer?

    I realized this fact when I had my brother switch cables out for me about a dozen times and I could not guess better than about 50% between my $1,000 Cardas and my self made Blue Jeans speaker cables (yes I was truly blinded.) I'm not saying better gear doesn't sound better or provide pleasure in its design/appearance/pedigree or pride of ownership (hell, who wouldn't want a set of McIntosh monoblocs?) I guess what I'm saying is that I enjoy stereo/sound gear because I love music. I have no musical ability, play no instruments and am clueless about musical theory. But if I hear a great sound system playing (second only to live music) it draws me in and mesmerizes me. I love stereo gear because I love a great sound which is why I'm moving to a Dynakit as a dedicated stereo setup (thanks for your help Bob.)

    So, is an audiophile a person with an abnormal obsessive compulsive disorder for stereo gear. Do I dear throw terms out like pedophile, agoraphile, aulophile, kleptophile...?

    I'm interested to know, are you an audiophile or do you just love music? In other words, are you in love with your gear or with great sound. Happy Holidays : )

    dougmon

    Posts : 65
    Join date : 2013-11-04
    Age : 59

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by dougmon on Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:16 am

    I can certainly chime in on this one. Some of my friends consider me an audiophile because:

    - I have a stereo with no home theater components
    - All of my amps have tubes
    - I still play vinyl

    I get a lot of questions like "Why do you need a separate amplifier for your turntable? Why do you need an amp for headphones? What's a DAC? What does it do? Why don't you just get a receiver and save all that space?"

    My favorite, though, was when my niece looked at my amplifier and said "Are these lamps just decorations or do you need them?" By "lamps" she was referring to the tubes.

    Funny thing is, I don't consider myself an audiophile. I just like music, and I think tubes make music more alive.

    corndog71

    Posts : 444
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by corndog71 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:43 am

    I became an audiophile after the first time I heard a difference between cables. I've heard them fairly consistently over the last 19 years. With that said there is definitely a lot of crap tweaks out there ready to feed the OCD. One must be careful when navigating the audiophile waters. I try to keep an open mind but not so open my brain falls out. Wink 

    I question your "blinded" comparison as I have many so called SBT and DBT tests as they don't account for other variables. According to you, your $1000 Cardas and much cheaper BJC cables essentially sound the same. As both are relatively high quality cables this shouldn't be too surprising. What your test does show is that price is not always an accurate factor with regards to cable quality.

    In the end enjoyment of the music is what matters. I agree that dynaco gear is fantastic for the money.

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:49 am

    I agree with both of you guys. I guess what I was trying to ask is "Do you spend more time obsessing over gear rather than enjoying music??" I think that's the line. I don't disagree things can sound better and price may play a role, what I was saying is that I would like to strike a balance and find great sound at a fair price and spend more time listening while drinking a 20 year old Bordeaux than fiddling with everything infinitely Very Happy 

    Tom

    Posts : 166
    Join date : 2011-04-04

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Tom on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:00 am

    You are a True Blue Audiophile if
    you're anxiously awaiting the
    NEW IMPROVED 2014 Wattgate 381!
    (do they do pre-order I wonder?)
    Wink

    daveshel

    Posts : 147
    Join date : 2011-11-06
    Location : Tucson AZ USA

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by daveshel on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:01 am

    I'm old enough to remember the Allied catalog, where I first saw the Dynaco and Eico and Knight kits. I bought my Sony TC-366 reel-to-reel when I was 13 and built my Dynaco SCA-80 when I was 14. I got a job is a stereo shop when I was in my 20s. I had fun but was astonished that people were satisfied with the cheap Kenwood and JVC integrated circuit receivers I was selling - none of them sounded as good as my system. Sure, we sold a few good lines, but most of it was quite pedestrian. Then CD-ROM was on the horizon, with its promise of finally solving the dynamic range issues of existing media...and a few years later it had become a medium of convenience and the market was full of cheap disposable walkman CD players that had all the dynamics of an 8-track. Fast forward to the 21st century and the convenience of MP3 all but buries the old-fashioned notion of high fidelity.

    That is what it has always been about, high fidelity. I can hear it in my equipment. I don't hear it in most of what people listen to today. Maybe that makes me an audiophile, or a snob of some sort, I don't know. What I do know is I am not satisfied with the lowest-common-denominator nature of sound reproduction out there these days, because it isn't high fidelity. So call me what you want but don't call me to listen to an MP3 on a surround sound system with no thump, no sizzle, no soundstage, no dynamics...

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 am

    daveshel wrote:I'm old enough to remember the Allied catalog, where I first saw the Dynaco and Eico and Knight kits. I bought my Sony TC-366 reel-to-reel when I was 13 and built my Dynaco SCA-80 when I was 14. I got a job is a stereo shop when I was in my 20s. I had fun but was astonished that people were satisfied with the cheap Kenwood and JVC integrated circuit receivers I was selling - none of them sounded as good as my system. Sure, we sold a few good lines, but most of it was quite pedestrian. Then CD-ROM was on the horizon, with its promise of finally solving the dynamic range issues of existing media...and a few years later it had become a medium of convenience and the market was full of cheap disposable walkman CD players that had all the dynamics of an 8-track. Fast forward to the 21st century and the convenience of MP3 all but buries the old-fashioned notion of high fidelity.

    That is what it has always been about, high fidelity. I can hear it in my equipment. I don't hear it in most of what people listen to today. Maybe that makes me an audiophile, or a snob of some sort, I don't know. What I do know is I am not satisfied with the lowest-common-denominator nature of sound reproduction out there these days, because it isn't high fidelity. So call me what you want but don't call me to listen to an MP3 on a surround sound system with no thump, no sizzle, no soundstage, no dynamics...
    Great post!! No, you're NOT an audiophile by my definition. If you were, you would not strike a balance between sound and what it takes to get there, you would be latching onto all the latest gear and gadgets always searching for something better rather than enjoying your soundstage, dynamics, thump and sizzle. Seems to me you're a music lover. I have a friend who has every conceivable piece of gear (lives in Norway) and just keeps on buying because "stuff keeps getting better every year." This is what happens when your father gives you unlimited funds, and your priorities about hi fidelity are not in sync. I would rather listen than fiddle is all.

    This was brought home again last week when my 11 year old son was taken, by me, to "Mecca" (Audio Classics which is a mile from my office.) We walked in and he went into one of the listening rooms and just sat and listened to music while I talked. He said "Dad, why doesn't your stereo sound like this, this is awesome!!!" It wasn't loud. It was just spacious and clean and dynamic and if my 11 year video game addicted child was mesmerized, I'm happy because for him it wasn't the gear, it was the sound that kept him planted there.

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1285
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by sKiZo on Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:05 pm

    Anything more than an ipod and earbuds is just plain stoopid ...

    Anyone who builds their own stuff when there's perfectly good stuff available at the local big box store is just plain crazy ...

    I think I may need professional help ...



    Which brings to mind another category of listener ... the hobbyist. None of my stuff is what would be considered "audiophile grade", but with TLC and constant tweaking, I consider it truly awesome. Works for me anyway - which is more or less the point. Half the fun is putting it together ... a good bit of the pleasure comes with knowing I personally made it happen, complete with the occasional fireworks (nobody's perfect). Every piece of gear pictured spent time in my basement shop - I figure having it sound good puts me in the bonus round.

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:48 pm

    To which I might add the following: two years ago I wandered into a second floor bookstore in Camden, Maine with a crotchety, odd fellow behind a stack of books a mile high. There soon poured out from behind that incredible mess the sweet smooth warm sound of Neil Young's album "After the Goldrush." It just sounded so....good!!! I looked back there and behind him on the shelf was a pair of un-named speakers and what I think was an old MC1700 and a turntable (it was all such a mess.) Best of all, I got a first edition Harry Middleton "The Bright Country" for $1.50. So I listened to Neil and got a great book and realized I needed to someday get a turntable too. Anyways..I digress and don't feel like working right now.

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by deepee99 on Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:30 pm

    The line to audiophilia is crossed when the purchase price of two M-125 monoblocks is now exceeded by the cost of one's "emergency stash" of output tubes.

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:18 pm

    deepee99 wrote:The line to audiophilia is crossed when the purchase price of two M-125 monoblocks is now exceeded by the cost of one's "emergency stash" of output tubes.
    I hope I never get to that point...

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1285
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by sKiZo on Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:56 pm

    I'm working on it ... Here's what I've accumulated for drivers the last couple months.



    Got a couple spare sets of driver tubes too ...


    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by deepee99 on Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:45 pm

    Laminarman wrote:
    deepee99 wrote:The line to audiophilia is crossed when the purchase price of two M-125 monoblocks is now exceeded by the cost of one's "emergency stash" of output tubes.
    I hope I never get to that point...
    Wimp. Wait till you've rolled some black-plate RCAs into your preamp or driver sections, then go casting about for perfection in a 6922. Oh! there are so many flavours in the multi-hued distortion orchard -- all of them yummy.

    ramon68

    Posts : 83
    Join date : 2009-04-12
    Age : 75
    Location : naples fl

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by ramon68 on Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:50 pm

    People who listen to equipment are audiophiles. People who listen to music are music lovers. Simple.

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:17 pm

    deepee99 wrote:
    Laminarman wrote:
    deepee99 wrote:The line to audiophilia is crossed when the purchase price of two M-125 monoblocks is now exceeded by the cost of one's "emergency stash" of output tubes.
    I hope I never get to that point...
    Wimp. Wait till you've rolled some black-plate RCAs into your preamp or driver sections, then go casting about for perfection in a 6922. Oh! there are so many flavours in the multi-hued distortion orchard -- all of them yummy.
    I have NO FREAKING IDEA what you're talking about...and now I'm scared Shocked 

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:17 pm

    ramon68 wrote:People who listen to equipment are audiophiles. People who listen to music are music lovers. Simple.
    Yeah, I think that's I was trying to say.

    kaner

    Posts : 88
    Join date : 2011-09-20

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by kaner on Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:49 am

    I listen to music and play it. To me the whole point is to get as close to live as possible. Can a VTA ST70 sound like a Les Paul played through a Tweed Deluxe? No. Can I make a Les Paul pour out sound like Jimmy Page does? Not in my wildest dreams. Can my ST70 bring the sound of Jimmy Page into my living room? Yes it can!


    GP49

    Posts : 717
    Join date : 2009-04-30
    Location : East of the sun and west of the moon

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by GP49 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:34 am

    In the days when the LP record was king...and even now...the audiophile was the one whose copy of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra was worn out for the first 1 1/2 minutes, while the rest was in mint condition.

    But in places anywhere near a major liberal arts university, a discussion of Also Sprach Zarathustra always got somebody commenting about Nietzsche, the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Übermensch.  At that point both the audiophile and the non-audiophile would walk off and go have a beer...   What a Face

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:08 am

    GP49 wrote:In the days when the LP record was king...and even now...the audiophile was the one whose copy of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra was worn out for the first 1 1/2 minutes, while the rest was in mint condition.

    But in places anywhere near a major liberal arts university, a discussion of Also Sprach Zarathustra always got somebody commenting about Nietzsche, the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Übermensch.  At that point both the audiophile and the non-audiophile would walk off and go have a beer...   What a Face
    It's 6am, I'm barely awake and this makes me want to go back to bed Shocked 

    tubes4hifi
    Admin

    Posts : 1261
    Join date : 2008-11-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by tubes4hifi on Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:06 pm

    great discussion!! Ramon and GP49 are both right on!! Skizo isn't anywhere near being an audiophile, too much mainstream electronics in his rack.
    My old next door neighbor was an audiophile, he had about $25K of AudioResearch gear which he upgraded every single year.
    But he kept coming over to my house and was constantly blown away by how good my $3000 system sounded.
    But let me say this - you HAVE to have an SP14 and a PH16, or you just haven't lived yet!! Very Happy 
    Adding a couple of M125s to that with some decent $5K speakers will take you to heaven now, so you don't have to wait until you're dead.
    Anyone who spends over $10K on audio gear is an audioFOOL !! But go ahead and spend that money on vinyl, some better CDs, and LISTEN TO THE MUSIC, not the gear!

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:02 pm

    tubes4hifi wrote:great discussion!!  Ramon and GP49 are both right on!!  Skizo isn't anywhere near being an audiophile, too much mainstream electronics in his rack.
    My old next door neighbor was an audiophile, he had about $25K of AudioResearch gear which he upgraded every single year.
    But he kept coming over to my house and was constantly blown away by how good my $3000 system sounded.
    But let me say this - you HAVE to have an SP14 and a PH16, or you just haven't lived yet!! Very Happy 
    Adding a couple of M125s to that with some decent $5K speakers will take you to heaven now, so you don't have to wait until you're dead.
    Anyone who spends over $10K on audio gear is an audioFOOL !!   But go ahead and spend that money on vinyl, some better CDs, and LISTEN TO THE MUSIC, not the gear!
    I agree on your 10K comment. I don't begrudge people who have the money to spend and they should do as they please. But I agree, to me it's like the hunter with one gun who always gets a big deer, the photographer with one worn out camera who can capture a great photo because he knows the light...the fly fisherman with pedestrian gear who always is into fish while those with thousands of dollars of gear stand in the water with their rod in their hand (...that doesn't sound right..) You get my point, you can become obsessed with equipment and not the music. There was a whackjob of an audio dealer near me some years ago, he had the only high end shop around. He ended up going under due to bad business decisions, but he had the best stuff in town for a long time. My first "serious" system (NAD/Paradigm..) was from him. I kept pumping him for information, technical details, kept reading everything I could, kept auditioning in his immaculate listening rooms. He said, "Stop reading and buying, go listen to music already, let your ears be the judge, not your brain. Listening is learning, you have to keep doing it, it's an active process, it's never passive. Your ears will tell you when you need to upgrade, not some idiot in a magazine who gets paid to write an opinion." He was whacky as the day is long, but I never forgot that pearl. I paraphrased him but he delivered that sermon in his listening room in his pajama bottoms, wool sweater and slippers right about 1984.

    tubes4hifi
    Admin

    Posts : 1261
    Join date : 2008-11-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by tubes4hifi on Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:21 pm

    you were lucky to have a guy in a hi-fi shop with that attitude.
    That's why I don't like people to email me or call me and have me recommend something for them.
    It's like they want me to say, well, you'll want my top of the line $5000 preamp.
    Maybe what they really want is my budget $500 preamp.
    I get about 20 emails everyday from someone new I've never heard from before - they say, I hear you have some good stuff, tell me what to buy . . .
    That's a decision THEY have to make. I refuse to SELL anyone anything. But if you want you buy something, you're welcome to . . .
    You should also know whether you want to buy a Porsche or a VW bug, either will take you down the street.
    Read a lot, listen a lot, don't just buy something you don't know anything about.

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by deepee99 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:25 pm

    Laminarman wrote:
    tubes4hifi wrote:great discussion!!  Ramon and GP49 are both right on!!  Skizo isn't anywhere near being an audiophile, too much mainstream electronics in his rack.
    My old next door neighbor was an audiophile, he had about $25K of AudioResearch gear which he upgraded every single year.
    But he kept coming over to my house and was constantly blown away by how good my $3000 system sounded.
    But let me say this - you HAVE to have an SP14 and a PH16, or you just haven't lived yet!! Very Happy 
    Adding a couple of M125s to that with some decent $5K speakers will take you to heaven now, so you don't have to wait until you're dead.
    Anyone who spends over $10K on audio gear is an audioFOOL !!   But go ahead and spend that money on vinyl, some better CDs, and LISTEN TO THE MUSIC, not the gear!
    I agree on your 10K comment.  I don't begrudge people who have the money to spend and they should do as they please.  But I agree, to me it's like the hunter with one gun who always gets a big deer, the photographer with one worn out camera who can capture a great photo because he knows the light...the fly fisherman with pedestrian gear who always is into fish while those with thousands of dollars of gear stand in the water with their rod in their hand (...that doesn't sound right..)  You get my point, you can become obsessed with equipment and not the music.  There was a whackjob of an audio dealer near me some years ago, he had the only high end shop around.  He ended up going under due to bad business decisions, but he had the best stuff in town for a long time.  My first "serious" system (NAD/Paradigm..) was from him.  I kept pumping him for information, technical details, kept reading everything I could, kept auditioning in his immaculate listening rooms.  He said, "Stop reading and buying, go listen to music already, let your ears be the judge, not your brain.  Listening is learning, you have to keep doing it, it's an active process, it's never passive.  Your ears will tell you when you need to upgrade, not some idiot in a magazine who gets paid to write an opinion."  He was whacky as the day is long, but I never forgot that pearl.  I paraphrased him but he delivered that sermon in his listening room in his pajama bottoms, wool sweater and slippers right about 1984.
    Boilocks (to some extent) to this debate. Who says you can't be both a music lover and an audiophile? Agreed, the end is bagging that elk, or drawing a lunker up from the depths to attack your fly. I have listened to and fiddled with hi-fi most of my life, and can count on one hand the times I've actually heard a piano come out of the wall. Hook me up with something from Wal-Mart that can do that for a hundred bucks and I'll throw all these tubes and transistors into the creek. I would agree that specs and reviews are for the most part meaningless. I want to hear the bloody piano, that's all, and if I can make a hobby and have fun getting there, so be it. It's what I tried to mean in an earlier post. The choice, really, is among different types and levels of distortion. If there were perfection in audio there'd be only one circuit, one input, and one speaker on the market. But there isn't. Equipment with identical specs sound different, and differently to diferent people. So you pick the kind of distortion that sounds best to your ear and tweak it as best you can.

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    A case in point

    Post by deepee99 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:35 pm

    Is this guy an audiophile or a music lover?
    http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes-valves/246524-building-vta-tubes4hifi-ph16-phono-stage-2.html
    I submit he's both (and it's a very nice write-up on the Tubes4HiFi's PH-16).

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Laminarman on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:45 pm

    [/quote]Boilocks (to some extent) to this debate. Who says you can't be both a music lover and an audiophile? Agreed, the end is bagging that elk, or drawing a lunker up from the depths to attack your fly. I have listened to and fiddled with hi-fi most of my life, and can count on one hand the times I've actually heard a piano come out of the wall. Hook me up with something from Wal-Mart that can do that for a hundred bucks and I'll throw all these tubes and transistors into the creek. I would agree that specs and reviews are for the most part meaningless. I want to hear the bloody piano, that's all, and if I can make a hobby and have fun getting there, so be it. It's what I tried to mean in an earlier post. The choice, really, is among different types and levels of distortion. If there were perfection in audio there'd be only one circuit, one input, and one speaker on the market. But there isn't. Equipment with identical specs sound different, and differently to diferent people. So you pick the kind of distortion that sounds best to your ear and tweak it as best you can.[/quote]
    Boilocks???  I see where you're coming from and I agree, you can be both.  But ask 1,000 people what an audiophile is and you'll get 1,000 different answers.  My question was tongue in cheek of course.  Do you want to be painted in the broad brush strokes of the term for what it means to most people?  I know it all doesn't really matter in the end as long as we enjoy our music.  But c'mon, look at some of the stuff written out there, it's almost comical in the reviews and how seemingly spending $20,000 more will make the sound that much better.  There is a HUGE amount of coloration of our perception by what we're fed ahead of time.  I'm a wine lover and there are parallels there too.  The descriptions for wines can be incredibly verbose, when sometimes you just need to enjoy the glass of wine.  More expensive wine is not always better wine.  I appreciate your perspective and thanks for that great link!


    Last edited by Laminarman on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:46 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammatical)

    Sponsored content

    Re: Is "Audiophile" a dirty word??

    Post by Sponsored content Today at 9:53 am


      Current date/time is Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:53 am