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Long but true

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First, I'm going toconfess that I did not get past page 3.

However, what he says matches my own experiences from the past couple of weeks. I mentioned in another thread that I got a a pair of Heresies two weeks ago. They are currently hooked up to m the "B" speaker outs of my Pioneer HT receiver. My HT set-up consists of Polk Audio RTi 38s (L & R) CSi 30 (center) and some cheapie speaks from Worst Buy in back. The Polks have much more detail in the treble than the Heresies, but which ones will I be listening to music through when I turn off this computer?

Damn right! Ther Heresies. I can not tell you what they do to make the music more enjoyable, but they DO make the music more enjoyable.

Maybe we can't process all of the detail that our systems can give us. Mayve it isn't all necessary. I remember going to a Young Person's concert with my son at Orchestra Hall in Detroit. This is said to be one of the best palaces to hear music in the world. We werejust to the right of center and about 2/3 of the length of the hall from the stage. I closed my eyes and could NOT place the instruments like I could at home. I had Polk 7s at that time. I enjoyed the music just the same.

Sometimes, you just have to put your music on and let it do what it does and enjoy it.



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A great read and I read it all.

I found these comments to be most interesting found on page six.

" On the other hand, for musical enjoyment, all of this should be

irrelevant. In terms of the evolution of man, the part of the brain

responsible for the recognition of sounds is relatively new, being

located in the cerebrum. The part responsible for emotions is

comparatively ancient, being located in the brain stem. With this in

mind, researchers have conducted the following experiment (footnote 6).

It's possible to numb the specific part of the brain

responsible for the recognition and critical evaluation of sounds. If a

person so treated is exposed to music, he or she will hear nothing. Yet

the listener's mood will still be influenced by the music! This means

that, for the emotional response to music, the sound, or at least the

conscious experience of the sound, is unimportant!


far-reaching conclusion: You cannot tell what your emotional response

to a component's sound will be from a description by a critical

listener, because that response is independent of the conscious

perception of its sound. "

The emotional centers of the brain are located in the brain

stem and are very primitive, meaning they have has an evolutionary

presence for a much longer period of time then the cerebrum, which

contains our speech and sound recognition centers. In the human

brain there is a very direct neural pathway between the sound

recognition center and the emotional centers in the brain

stem. That's why music is such a powerful means of communication

and why it can evoke such powerful emotions even in the absence of


For years I have listened to instrumental and vocal music. The voice

for me becomes another instrument and for many songs which I like and

have listened to many times, I do not know the lyrics. The sound of the

voice is bypassing the speech recognition center on it's way to the

emotional center.

So what's my point ? When we listen to a sound system in a

audiophile mode, listening for the bass response, soundstaging, depth,

PRAT and so on, we are largely taking the brain stem emotive centers

out of our listening experience which I think results in a much

less satisfying experience. Listen to your system critically as little

as possible to decide it has the quality you like and then enjoy the


FWIW I also read and post on Audiogon, my Cornwalls take

a lot of bashing from them. I just keep saying they sound great to me.

Now I can reference this article to get those folks to listen with

their brain stems.

good listening,


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before i dedicate the time to reading this whole thing, do they justify why they don't do double-blind listening tests? because to me, that's the only way to know if a component is better than another.


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I will confess that I did not get past page 7. I thought much of the thinking was muddled. I also thought much of the "evidence" was nonsense.

When performance is dismissed (either electrical or perceptual discrimination), then the flood gates open up for snake oil.

The reason I get disturbed by this is that there are a great number of folks who truly would enjoy great music reproduction. Unfortunately they get burden down in some very trivial, but very expensive, aspects of sound reproduction. This is great for Stereophile (and their like) and for the boutique manufacturers. Now they can sell stuff that is outrageously priced and of dubious value (where value is function of both performance and price) .

I am spoiled, I was able to get some K-Horns for a great price and I have complemented them with reasonable equipment. I get turned on every time I turn on the music. I wish others could have the same or a comparable experience. Sure, I will continue upgrading, but it will always be done in a sensible way. Believe me, the audio voodoo will not be driving the decision making.

I wish others could also enjoy well-recorded and well-reproduced music. However, there is a legion of detractors who will continue to confuse every issue and to exploit and misinform. In part it is driven by ignorance, in part by the placebo effect and other expectations. But this biggest part is profit. Make no mistake, it is simple greed behind so many of these audiophile myths.

Gee, what is the latest in cryogenically treating speaker cable ....? The logic from sterophile would be that a simple ABX-performance test in order to dismiss the nonsense is just somehow not right since it takes away from the "subtler experience".

Enough of my ranting for now.

Good luck,


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I got the sense that what the article was trying to express is that when you love the music you are hearing the rest of the technical aspects fade into irrelevance. I did not get the 'snake oil' sense while reading this article. If anything, it is the other way.
He begins by revealing that he prefers high sensitivity horns and tubes, and vinyl - in effect saying that his preference goes counter to the current wisdom of audiophile lore. The article is an intimate and honest exploration of why this is.
As said above, I too find that I listen and hear voice as another instrument - I don't know the words to any songs and really don't hear the words when I listen.
I think the analysis and critique of the double blind listening test says it all. It reminded me of an episode of that car show 'Motor Week' on PBS - two cars were reviewed, one had all the best engineering for tires, suspension, steering, acceleration, etc., but the reviewer admitted that the 'lesser' car (new Ford Mustang) was the one he really liked to push down the test track. It was more emotionally satisfying even though the other should have been superior because of its better engineering.
Same thing applies to women (female readers substitute 'men'), but I am hesitant to elaborate here... you know what I mean...


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well he has to be excruciatingly long-winded in order to support his argument.

it's just another example of my theory that subjectivists need to invent ever more contrived explanations for why they see what they believe

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This guy took 15 pages to say what Paul usually said in four of five...trying to engage the supposedly informed readers of Stereophile. Yes, he makes some good points, but those of us here are saying "Really? No S---?" to all of it.

He quotes that law of 400,000 nonsense again. It also was called the law of 500,000 in the Badeimaff and Davis book in the 50s. Just like "inventors" who rediscover well-established acoustic principles (and even get patents on same, an ongoing scandal), this horse-hockey keeps coming up. Anybody ever demonstrate this with modern filtering to see if there's any validity? Of course not.

Still, it's surprising that Stereophile would allocate so much space to a viewpoint largley (if not totally, to be fair) at odds with their house opinions and the agendas of their advertisers. A Class B discussion of a Class A topic.

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It was more emotionally satisfying even though the other should have been superior because of its better engineering.

Same thing applies to women (female readers substitute 'men'), but I am hesitant to elaborate here... you know what I mean...


It's okay Pauln you can elaborate. If you substitute men for women in that statement it is accurate.

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I think that it all boils down to "you are there". The more convincing that effect is, the more satisfying the experience becomes. Nothing else but that. My bottom line is that I am building an escape machine. If I listen to music and time and space evaporates away and all there is the musical experience, then that is a 10 in my book.

On a scale of 1-10:

how is the effect of "you are there" with your gear - in your space?


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I have not read the article yet, but intend to (doesn't someone here have a round tuit as an avatar?). I HAVE read all the responses and repartee with great interest and it validates what I consider the "great divide" in the Forum and in audiophile circles in general.

I've always said in these pages that I absolutely do not doubt there are those who can hear the difference in one speaker cable over another, or that tightly regulated and filtered power can work wonders, and so on. I really do not.

For my part, I've noticed that I can be totally happy with my system and one of those types I trust will point out some odd phase interaction or timbre in the sound and suddenly I am hearing it, and unhappy until I fix it.

The fact of the matter is that, unless there is some massive ground loop, a worn stylus, a missing channel, or something pretty catastrophic wrong with my system I go "equipment deaf" the minute the music of the ages sounds its call. My big 'ol horns don't have the latest crossover upgrades, my cables didn't dent the kids college fund, and my ST-80 isn't going to cause a lot of envy...but the MUSIC! It is SUBLIME and as close to God as I hope to be for some time.

As to the equipment hobbyists, I listen to their every word and often have questions for which I get highly detailed, well reasoned, and well documented answers by email. I just prefer to keep them out of my listening room (not really-all are welcome but PLEASE try to avoid pointing out issues that I can't fix with a run to the garage, some weatherstripping, putting a brick on or under it, or a trip to Rat Shack).

That is, unless you are feeling real Jolly this Christmas and...


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Well folks this thread has alot of meaning to me!

I read the whole thing...kind of boring except for the emotional part which I can relate to!

I had a La Scala based system for about 10 years and my freinds RAVED about my SYSTEM....sometime in that time period I started reading STEROPHILE(what a mistake!!!!!).

I was convinced that I could build a better system and sold the Scala's for a killer $20,000 system that I put togetther.

My old friends said it was OK,my new friends that never heard the Scalas RAVED about the sound of the new system(and I kept saying ...man you should have heard my KLIPSCH LA SCALA's I used to have)

After 5 years of reading Stereo@#%$ I was so frustrated...oh I had killer sound from 20hz to 20khz,cleanest ever heard to this day!!!!!WOW...but something was missing...I was into that soundstage,definition...BLAH BLAH BLAH..,insanity,chasing my tail but I got there and WOW the sound was just as THEY described it SHOULD be...I hate stereo@#%$ as they represent the Dark road in my audiophile expierience.All along I knew I made a mistake and denied it ...I no longer have a subscription to this magazine,from the day I bought my present La Scala's.

My new subsciption is this forum and the kind members who know what real music reproduction is all about...the emotion it produces.This thread has prompted me to say what I wanted to when I joined this forum.I was going to start a thread called I'M BACK...to Klipsch, my audiophile journey.

The system I have now is built around Klipsch and TUBES!!!! with a little SS thrown in for the bass reproduction not what Stereo@#%$ recommends.To bad they can't review a Khorn or La Scala...guess they don't cost enough to warrant a reviiew,or horns are to colored to review or WHATEVER the excuse of the day is!!!!

Who is this guy,I missed this one,would have saved me alot of money,time and frustration...not to mention that Klipsch sound I love so dearly.This article is old as someone said...wished I would have seen it as I was an avid Stereo@#%$ addict.

Like another member said OVIOUSLLY they havent changed their format much(can't say because I have'nt read them in @3yrs)but maybe there is hope for the future?

A great post IMHO and hits home for me...I'M BACK folks and lovi'n it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Great Post Greg!

Very interesting read. The author does ramble on a bit, but its amazing that this article was ever printed IMO. He actually seems to value the emotional impact a system gives the listener more then the so called hi-end jargon and justifications. Though the article is a bit long winded, it is worth the read. The audiophile comunitiy could use more of this kind of discussion in my opinion.

Here's what he says about loudspeakers:

"Which explains, by the way, why certain old loudspeakers with a very high sensitivity and thus a very high precision in the rendition of dynamics, especially of very small signals---just like certain tube amplifiers with very simple circuits---and despite more or less obvious colorations and the omission of an octave or two, manage to reproduce with disturbing fidelity all the emotional intensity of an interpretation. Which should give our designers something to think about, and convince them that the musically more important kind of dynamics is that which loses itself in silence (footnote 14), not the kind that turns into noise."

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He can't work there anymore because his article flies in the face of everything Stereo@#%$ brainwashes us with!!!!

I got an attitude... yea I know,but I blame them for my trip through the dark forest...how many other people are they leading astray?


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Greg, I find Stereo@#%$ quite handy. I leave it in the lav open to pages with $10,000 amps or $45,000 speakers for the wife to see. That way when I tell her the amp or Belles I want to buy for a grand are a bargain........


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