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J. Gordon Holt grows up

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Sprezzatura2010, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Sprezzatura2010

    Sprezzatura2010 Senior member

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    I recently found this gem of a quote from Stereophile's founding editor, thanks to a friend who alerted me to Harman engineer/designer Sean Olive's blog. "Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me..” Of course, people who "hear" differences in identical-sounding commodity audio boxes (DACs, switchers, amps, and certainly digital media readers and wires; basically everything but turntables, room-correction processors, and speakers) based on brand names and price tags won't understand JGH's lament. But that's their problem.
     
  2. MiloX

    MiloX Senior member

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    X2

    If it measures the same, it sounds the same.
     
  3. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    If it measures the same, it sounds the same.


    That would only be true if a set of measurements could capture an audio experience. Unfortunately that is not the case.

    The audio hobby is not dying but if it were my money would be on the iPod/convenience/download revolution.
     
  4. MiloX

    MiloX Senior member

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    Oh jeez. You probably spend thousands of dollars on cables too.
     
  5. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Oh jeez. You probably spend thousands of dollars on cables too.

    No, but I do spend hundreds of dollars. They make a difference. Better copper and silver, better connectors, better ICR metrics, it all makes a difference.
     
  6. MiloX

    MiloX Senior member

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    Can you hear a difference between two cables that measure the same?

    I am down with spending more for cables for construction, aesthetics, or component quality.... Especially if the environment is going to be brutal on them.... like in a car for instance.
     
  7. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Better copper and silver

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It's LCR, dude. At least get the technobabble right.

    --Andre
     
  8. Sprezzatura2010

    Sprezzatura2010 Senior member

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    That would only be true if a set of measurements could capture an audio experience. Unfortunately that is not the case.

    You only say that because you're too deaf to hear the improvements in fidelity between good-measuring gear and badly-measuring gear. Such as speakers with uniform, controlled polar response and all of the other crappy speakers out there.

    Well, JGH didn't say anything about measurements. He specifically referenced "basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal."
    BUT, if you could point to something that measured the same (assuming serious and relevant measurements of known audible things) but came out sounding different at a statistically significant level in legitimate audio testing, that would be very interesting. You can't, of course.

    So you use price-tags of gear as your proxy. Obviously if someone's willing to charge $3k for a CD spinner, it must be better-sounding than the $70 one!

    The audio hobby is not dying but if it were my money would be on the iPod/convenience/download revolution.

    That is just plain stupid. If anything, the iPod has opened up more niches for music listening and created more demand for hi-fidelity reproduction. A decade ago, for instance, the only widely-available IEM's were the Etymotic ER-4. Now at airport electronics shops they're giving demos of $500 Shure IEM's!

    And downloading just gives access to more music, which is only good for gear. And if said music is full-rez or losslessly compressed, fidelity is equal at worse.

    No, but I do spend hundreds of dollars. They make a difference. Better copper and silver, better connectors, better ICR metrics, it all makes a difference.

    You and I spent in the same general range on wires? That surprises me.

    Oh right, you don't have a real hi-fidelity system, but a cheap hack. By "hi-fidelity" I mean one with at least three channels - left, center, right - of identical speakers with controlled midrange directivity and bolstered by multiple subwoofers, in a room that incorporates well-designed acoustic treatments installed and tweaked through iterative measurement-listening loops, and modern room-correction software such as Audyssey MultEQ XT or the ones used by Meridian, Anthem, etc.

    To spend "hundreds of dollars" to wire up a silly 2-channel system is just poor allocation of resources.
     
  9. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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  10. Sprezzatura2010

    Sprezzatura2010 Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    I=Inductance


    Actually, anyone with a moderate-to-below-average familiarity with this sort of things knows that inductance is generally referred to by "L" or "Le" (the latter in the Thiele-Small loudspeaker model, maybe other places as well), not "I."

    http://www.cardas.com/content.php?ar...able+Resonance

    Cable "resonance?" Are you fucking kidding us?

    I'm beginning to wonder if you aren't actually, as opposed to metaphorically, deaf.
     
  11. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    [​IMG] I used ICR as shorthand. I don't measure inductance for a living so I wasn't trying to use L as in some equation. Some might confuse LCR as Left-Center-Right in any event as it is used in home theater mags. The point remains though that these measurements are important for cable performance. I've not seen that disputed by anyone. I cannot believe you label any two channel system as "not a real hi-fidelity system." That's one of the more ridiculous statements about audio I have ever seen. It is also tiring to have to read these endless personal attacks. True gentlemen can disagree about audio without attacking one another.
     
  12. Sprezzatura2010

    Sprezzatura2010 Senior member

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    I used ICR as shorthand. I don't measure inductance for a living so I wasn't trying to use L as in some equation. Some might confuse LCR as Left-Center-Right in any event as it is used in home theater mags.
    Do you think the others who have posted in this thread "measure inductance for a living?" No wonder you love Sarah Palin so much.
    The point remains though that these measurements are important for cable performance. I've not seen that disputed by anyone.
    There is no such thing as "cable performance." They're just wires!!!
    I cannot believe you label any two channel system as "not a real hi-fidelity system." That's one of the more ridiculous statements about audio I have ever seen.
    Perhaps because you've never heard a real, modern system designed to play music. One designed around science, and not around the bizarre voodoo assertions of con-men such as George Cardas. My offer to make money off of you failing a double-blind listening test - which, remember, "High End" icon JGH wrote is a "basic honesty control...that ha legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal" - between your electronic box or wire of choice and a generic model still stands, for the record.
     
  13. MiloX

    MiloX Senior member

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    [​IMG] Artisan, what characteristics of sound reproduction do your wonder cables affect? Linearity? Tonality? Staging? Imaging? Not talking parameters, just "characteristics", clearly science is not important to you. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. MiloX

    MiloX Senior member

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    There is no such thing as "cable performance." They're just wires!!!
    Not to pick nits... but I would argue that there is such a thing as cable performance. The part and build quality will affect the long-term function of a cable in a given environment. Like I mentioned in my earlier post.... In a car or a boat it is advantageous to have sheathing and connectors that will withstand the constant vibrations of the environment. As far as the the content of the cable? Unless your are making runs long enough to have measurable signal drop... it won't matter. The rest is pure voodoo.
     
  15. Sprezzatura2010

    Sprezzatura2010 Senior member

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    Not to pick nits... but I would argue that there is such a thing as cable performance. The part and build quality will affect the long-term function of a cable in a given environment. Like I mentioned in my earlier post.... In a car or a boat it is advantageous to have sheathing and connectors that will withstand the constant vibrations of the environment.
    Not in the context of domestic audio, if someone approaches it reasonably. Yes, maybe running a 28AWG magnet wire for 30' between a 2kW amp and an 18" subwoofer driver or a pair of Apogee Scintillas is a bad idea. Yes, maybe an RCA or XLR cable needn't be made out of 3/0 welding stock. But for all practical purposes any generic wire with the right ends will serve its purpose just as well as any expensive wire with the right ends. We spend excess money on wires and their dressing (TechFlex, bananas/spades, locking RCAs, and so on) entirely for the aesthetic improvement. Or sometimes because they make things more efficient, such as the comparative ease of swapping out speakers or moving a system when the speaker wires are terminated with Speakon ends or bananas compared to bare wire or spade lugs. There's nothing wrong with spending money on wires or electronics boxes over and above what is going to sound the same, based on looks or feel or whatever. I do think one should just be honest about it, and not justify his purchase by claiming nonexistent sonic differences.
     
  16. ms244

    ms244 Senior member

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    F, as a fellow capitalist, I wholeheartedly support your WSJ posting rampage in CEsspool but have you ever seen a machine that makes cables?

    Its not something that you can make on a small scale, cable is cable the only difference is possibly shielding and there is no way a low voltage, low current cable needs to cost more then a couple of bucks a foot. Even ones meant for high frequency.

    High cost cables are a sham which I wish I could get into.
     
  17. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    AF, as a fellow capitalist, I wholeheartedly support your WSJ posting rampage in CEsspool but have you ever seen a machine that makes cables? Its not something that you can make on a small scale, cable is cable the only difference is possibly shielding and there is no way a low voltage, low current cable needs to cost more then a couple of bucks a foot. Even ones meant for high frequency. High cost cables are a sham which I wish I could get into.
    It really depends on the company. Kimber, Cardas and Nordost do in fact make their own wire. There is a good profit margin on cable (Sam Tellig refers to the cable companies as the "wire bandits") but sadly my ears tell me that there are gains from better cable. I'm not out buying mega priced cables but I do use some industry connections to buy good brands on accommodation prices (dealer cost or less). I usually spend around $100-200 per meter pair on interconnects (Kimber Hero and Cardas Neutral and Golden Reference models) and $300-500 per 8 foot run on speaker cable (Kimber 8TC and Cardas Golden Reference). Like everything else in audio, the new Kimber Hero is a tremendous bargain for the performance. The whole key to high end audio is to ignore some of the hype and seek the best bang for the buck components. Another secret is to have an established relationship with a local dealer. I only buy if I can do a home audition for a week. Then I do A/B comparisons with existing cables using recordings I do and am very familiar with. I would also suggest that cable, power, and isolation improvements should be done only when the rest of the components in the system are satisfying.
     
  18. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    Artisan, what characteristics of sound reproduction do your wonder cables affect? Linearity? Tonality? Staging? Imaging?

    Not talking parameters, just "characteristics", clearly science is not important to you. [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I hear sound differences most in three areas:

    1. Amount of forwardness in the soundstage as well as instrument separation.
    2. The amount of detail one can hear. Nordost does this very well.
    3. Instrument tonality. How close is the sound to that of live instrument. I do a lot of violin and string instruments in my live to two track recordings. The violin has a certain sweetness in sound on the top and many cables/systems don't capture that well.

    With cable, good performance is neutrality - letting the music flow through unimpeded to the next component.
     
  19. audiophilia

    audiophilia Senior member

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    'Tonality' implies pitch and key. Timbre is the correct word. Tonality is an oft used word by audiophiles and writers. It is incorrect.

    Rocking some super cables right now sent to me by a reader. They will be inexpensive and match well with my system.

    As for Gordon. His revisionism is funny.
     
  20. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    'Tonality' implies pitch and key. Timbre is the correct word. Tonality is an oft used word by audiophiles and writers. It is incorrect.

    Yes, timbre was the word I should have used. Thanks.
     

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