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Islander

Why we need audiophiles

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Well I suppose the writer is correct.  Once having obsessed over amps, sources, Dynamat, capacitors, .......  It became quite tiresome.  I now find myself satisfied and with a system that moves out of the way, presenting music and movies realistically enough that my Brittany barks and charges the door at the sound of a doorbell.  And *if* I obsess, it is now over the quality of the recording. 

 

If a power cable changes your sound, your electronics are crap no matter what they cost. 

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Fremer is a dinosaur that serves a purpose. He deliberately charted a course that would set him against the digital age, and champion analog - specifically records.

 

over the intervening years, it has made him a lot of money, and kept Stereophile relevant in the cause of Audiophilia at one end of the spectrum. The quest has also ensured that he would be knighted for his quixotic quest, and bestowed with numerous deep discount gears.

 

Just as deeply vested are the digital cd crowd, and now the computer based digital consumers. I have heard systems every bit as good on the digital side as the vinyl/analog side at this point, and the digital side has the advantage of not making the room look like a tornado just passed.

 

Like all bell cow dinosaurs, Fremer can find a hill and roar over the superiority of his viewpoint, but as the recording industry shifts almost exclusively to digital recording, his stance that analog is best becomes evermore specious.

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I love reading audiophile's reviews of gear and albums for this reason: they always mention some of their favourite recordings they use for reviewing/testing. As soon as they do this, I look them up and if I like them, add these to my 'Audiophile' playlist on Qobuz/Spotify/Whatever. In just a few weeks, I have now collect 5 hours worth of really enjoyable music from all genres. Even though  I stream it as 320Kbs mp3, which is no audiophile quality at all,  these tracks sound fantastic on my Klipsch RP160M speakers.

 

I got to learn many new bands and artists I never heard before, often 'old' or non-mainstream, and when friends visit our home, it is quite fun to see their mouth fall open with surprise when they hear this music.

 

In the article posted here by the OP, I got to learn Air's "Run" from Talkie Walkie. You should look it up. Really great!

 

This is my public 'Audiophile 1' playlist at Qobuz: https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/2003467

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On 2/10/2019 at 12:12 AM, JohnA said:

Well I suppose the writer is correct.  Once having obsessed over amps, sources, Dynamat, capacitors, .......  It became quite tiresome.  I now find myself satisfied and with a system that moves out of the way, presenting music and movies realistically enough that my Brittany barks and charges the door at the sound of a doorbell.  And *if* I obsess, it is now over the quality of the recording. 

 

If a power cable changes your sound, your electronics are crap no matter what they cost. 

+ 100 times. I am done after this S-MWM build and will be looking for better files to play. The experimenting is over.

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11 hours ago, sheltie dave said:

Just as deeply vested are the digital cd crowd, and now the computer based digital consumers. I have heard systems every bit as good on the digital side as the vinyl/analog side at this point, and the digital side has the advantage of not making the room look like a tornado just passed.

That hard drive can sure hold a lot of albums and it is the way I choose to go. Plus mix and match and playlists for the day.

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OK so I go and read that article. That guy is nutso and needs some $250 beeswax impregnated fuses to go with his I can HEAR the difference $4,000 speaker cables.

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Suspended speaker wires should be enough of a clue... and those speakers look like transformers (as in the movies).  Wonder what else they can shape-shift to?

 

I came to the realization decades ago that good enough is good enough.  Your ears will acclimatize to whatever you're otherwise content with.  Violins sound like violins would sound, etc. and as has been pointed out elsewhere, it's all an illusion anyway.  The only way you can truly reproduce a live event is if you're wearing binaural-recording headphones at some event and wearing them while listening to the recording you thus made.  Even then...

 

The clicks and pops are equivalent to folks talking, opening cough drops, etc.  That's a gem.

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On 2/9/2019 at 10:12 PM, JohnA said:

 

If a power cable changes your sound, your electronics are crap no matter what they cost. 


Actually, if you go from 16 gauge lightly shielded power cables to 10 gauge heavily shielded power cables, it would be odd if you didn't hear a difference.  In Fremer's case, I have no idea what he had and what he got to replace it, so I have no opinion about that.  I do have an opinion about my system.

 

A couple of months ago, I found a really great deal on some used Cardas Clear Beyond power cables and bought two, one for each power amp.  The improvements were immediately obvious.  The bass was a bit more full and solid, as you would expect, plus there seemed to be a bit more detail that could be heard.  The improved detail retrieval would be due to the improved shielding and inline toroidal filters.  The difference was not day and night, but it was clear enough that you wouldn't miss it.

 

Using the cheapo cables that come with most components will let the component work, but a big premium cable will let it work better.  This is not imagination.  Bigger cables = less resistance = more current available to power the amplifiers.  Better shielding = lower noise floor = more audible low-level sounds.  No magic or snake oil there.

 

I was so pleased with the results that I went back and got a pair of Clear M power cables for the Dx38 digital processor and the Blu-ray player, plus a Golden Power cable for the subwoofer.  The net result is that the good-sounding system sounds bit better, even at low levels.  A visitor noticed the improved detail, without being told any change to the system had been made, so that confirmed what I was hearing.

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If all the vinyl naysayers would spend as much time and money on an analog system, you might find that today's vinyl isn't full of clicks and pops, just music reproduced the way it's supposed to be.

  Funny how Best Buy quit selling CD's and is selling Vinyl. More and more music is being remastered on vinyl everyday. Sure, digital can be more convenient, but you lose the whole tactile interface that flipping a vinyl lp over has to offer. And liner notes, posters, etc that come with a vinyl lp. I feel sorry for the digital crowd.

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1 hour ago, Islander said:


Actually, if you go from 16 gauge lightly shielded power cables to 10 gauge heavily shielded power cables, it would be odd if you didn't hear a difference.

 

How is it that your electricity travels dozens, maybe hundreds of miles through countless line splices, noisy transformers, etc.. then dozens, maybe hundreds of feet of ordinary Romex through your house, yet the choice of cord for those last six feet of wire b/w the wall and your component somehow makes an audible difference?   Why not just eliminate the outlet box and extend the Romex from your power panel to your component?  ..Or maybe buy 200 ft of Cardas wire and extend it from your component to your power panel?

 

Ugh...  I don't mean to harsh you Islander.  ...But this hobby needs more objectivism.

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5 minutes ago, kevinmi said:

If all the vinyl naysayers would spend as much time and money on an analog system, you might find that today's vinyl isn't full of clicks and pops, just music reproduced the way it's supposed to be.

  Funny how Best Buy quit selling CD's and is selling Vinyl. More and more music is being remastered on vinyl everyday. Sure, digital can be more convenient, but you lose the whole tactile interface that flipping a vinyl lp over has to offer. And liner notes, posters, etc that come with a vinyl lp. I feel sorry for the digital crowd.

 

Agreed.  Modern turntables and cartridges don't damage records the way the cheap ones that some of us had 30 or 40 years ago would do, so they don't add permanent surface noises every time you play them.  I have some clean LPs that have practically zero surface noise.  They're quiet enough that they can be mistaken for a CD playing, which is pretty cool.

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1 hour ago, glens said:

Wonder what else they can shape-shift to

Cash funnels to someones bank account.

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1 minute ago, ODS123 said:

 

How is it that your electricity travels dozens, maybe hundreds of miles through countless line splices, noisy transformers, etc.. then dozens, maybe hundreds of feet of ordinary Romex through your house, yet the choice of cord for those last six feet of b/w the wall and your component somehow makes an audible difference?   Why not just eliminate the outlet box and extend the Romex from your power panel to your component?  ..Or maybe buy 200 ft of Cardas wire and extend it from your component to your power panel?

 

Ugh...  I don't mean to harsh you Islander.  ...But this hobby needs more objectivism.

 

Hey, I am objective.  Maybe Running the Romex straight to the components would be the ideal setup, but it would be a bit inconvenient.  And I couldn't afford 200 feet of Cardas wire to run directly to the panel.  Here's my logic:  I see the "came in the box" power cords as bottlenecks that restrict power flow and may pick up interference from the rat's nest of cords behind the electronics stack.  Getting bigger and better cords just eliminates that bottleneck between the wall and the component.  If I didn't hear a difference after installing the first two cords, I wouldn't have gone back for four more.

 

I'll admit that I was a bit surprised that power cords could make such a difference, since they're not in the signal path, but there it was.  With speaker cables, it's just as noticeable.  If you go up or down one size (16 to 14 AWG, for example), you likely won't hear a difference, but if you go up or down two or more sizes, it's easy to hear the difference, especially on loud transient sounds like handclaps or drumbeats.  That's why I use minimum 12 gauge in my two systems (living room and bedroom), and 8 and 10 gauge for the JubScala II woofers and tweeters respectively.

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26 minutes ago, kevinmi said:

but you lose the whole tactile interface that flipping a vinyl lp over has to offer. And liner notes, posters, etc that come with a vinyl lp. I feel sorry for the digital crowd.

Just wow. I did not realize I had been missing this very important aspect of listening to music. I feel this terrible void now that must be filled with tactile sensations.

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1 minute ago, Dave A said:

Just wow. I did not realize I had been missing this very important aspect of listening to music. I feel this terrible void now that must be filled with tactile sensations.

 

You can look at it this way:  playing a CD is like cooking with a microwave, while playing an LP is like cooking with a barbecue.  The whole vinyl "tea ceremony" can add to the experience.  You don't generally put on an LP for background music.  You set up the record, play it, and listen to it.  No multi-tasking.  LPs are for mono-tasking and really listening to the music.  You don't do it every day, but it's fun when you take the time to do it and enjoy it.

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2 minutes ago, Islander said:

You don't generally put on an LP for background music.

 

I never thought of it that way, but that definitely nails it.

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10 minutes ago, Dave A said:

Just wow. I did not realize I had been missing this very important aspect of listening to music. I feel this terrible void now that must be filled with tactile sensations.

Your loss

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1 minute ago, Islander said:

I see the "came in the box" power cords as bottlenecks that restrict power flow and may pick up interference from the rat's nest of cords behind the electronics stack.

 

They're certainly not bottlenecks.  They wouldn't restrict enough flow to impact anything even if they were 50' long at their gauge.  And they don't pick up any interference that could possibly get by the diodes and filters in the power supply.  However, they may cause interference in nearby low-level cables if those cables have inferior shielding.  If that's the case and fancy power cables are cheaper than better low-level signal cables, then definitely take the cheaper route.

 

1 minute ago, Islander said:

With speaker cables, it's just as noticeable.  If you go up or down one size (16 to 14 AWG, for example), you likely won't hear a difference, but if you go up or down two or more sizes, it's easy to hear the difference, especially on loud transient sounds like handclaps or drumbeats.

 

Nothing wrong with that, of course, but seriously, do you really believe you'd hear a difference in a well-constructed A/B/X test?  I'm being genuine.

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