Since I'm stuck at LAX on my way home from a wonderful Spring Break with the wife and kids down in Texas as well as a Caribbean cruise, I thought I'd polish my response to Hal Espen's comment in the last post... BTW, I enjoyed visiting Bjorn's in San Antonio just to see the audio and home theater gear they had on display. Some really nice stuff and it looks like they're upgrading their main demo room to Atmos soon. I appreciated the knowledgeable staff and friendly attitude; taking time to demo the gear even though they knew I didn't even live in the USA.
So Hal, nice comment:
Pure confirmation bias from beginning to end. None of this really exists. : )Gets right to the heart of some of the heated debates and arguments I suppose... I guess I "swing both ways" in some regards. :-)
You can't have it both ways. Either your blog is about providing the little bursts of brain chemicals that us vs. them skeptics receive when scientism is seen to be crushing audiophilia, or you're going to go wafting into the subjective realm of the subtle and imaginative "classy" pleasures of reproducing music electronically, as you do with evident misgivings here.
Which side are you on, boys? Which side are you on>
Remember though, I am "more objective" in my leanings in terms of intolerance for some of the true BS (like certain cables). However, I have no issues with enjoying the finer things in life. If a $50,000 pair of speakers made with premium materials look fantastic with my decor, sounds great, and I really wanted them; I would happily buy them! But as an objectivist, I would just like to make sure that they are built to scientific principles around the ability to convey accurate sound (decent frequency response, minimal enclosure resonance, good time alignment, rational crossovers, adequate power handling...). The philosophical issue I have with pure subjectivism is that I see these parameters as pre-requisites as an informed consumer to my purchase and essential to any complete review due to psychological limitations (biases) and limits of human hearing acuity based on personal experience with my own failings and knowing the limits of various "golden ears" I have come across in my travels. I don't think it's unreasonable to state that some folks lack insight into their own abilities and limitations - this is not just a comment about audiophiles but apply to many other situations as well.
There are many examples in the Stereophile reviews where IMO it's quite clear that certain "recommended" components should be viewed with suspicion in the eyes of those interested in objective criteria of accuracy and "high fidelity". An example is something like the DeVore Orangutans - they don't "measure up" as can be seen with the Stereophile measurements and there's even a comment about audible coloration with solo piano by JA. Many interesting comments in that post. For the asking price of $12000/pair, I think that's unreasonable performance for the expense given a myriad of other options at that price point and below. BTW I have heard them and although they sound OK especially with low power amps, I am just not interested in gear that "color" the sound in a significant way. No matter what some subjective folks "think" or "hear" or "feel". (Esthetically these speakers do nothing for me either.)
This principle is all the more relevant with stuff like cables (especially for digital signals) where there's literally nothing there to measure or difference to be heard once any kind of controlled protocol is put in place. Other than subjective esthetic preferences and psychological "feel good" about owning expensive copper snakes. I really don't care enough about the "bling" of cables to feel it's worthy of the expense since that is all they offer.
Ultimately, I think it's OK to embrace the various "shades of grey" in audiophile philosophical leanings and I hope I don't come off too intolerant of anyone's freedom to believe what they want. However I don't have to believe everything I hear/read and I choose to take a stand on buying gear based on what appears to be reasonably "sound" science. Some folks seem to think it's about expense or "envy" about the cost of audiophile gear; and that's the reason why some people criticize the equipment or company. While this may be the case at times, personally I do not believe this is my concern at all (nor have I met many objectivists where I thought they might be projecting envy as a major reason for their disdain of nonsense). Over the years I've easily spent >$50,000 on audio gear and much more than that to buy a house meeting my criteria for a decent enough sound room (yet another pre-requisite - something I wish all audio reviewers would talk more about and show us pictures of the soundroom rather than listing likely insignificant accessories like cables used).
I truly find it bizarre that recently folks like Michael Lavorgna at AudioStream keeps talking about "envy" (like here and here)... Folks, when objectively some things don't make sense like $1000 ethernet cables, what is there to be envious about unless one is honestly willing to accept that they are in this audio hobby not for sound quality but acknowledging that "bling" is worth coveting (like that $17,000 Apple Watch)?
Gents (and ladies). Enjoy the music!
No need to get upset in flame wars since it's just a hobby... One of I hope a number of others since there is so much in this world to enjoy. Figure out what's important to you and your stance. Most of all, for the love of the community, stay cool when it comes to debates out there :-). IMO, the objective perspective has so much to offer in terms of reality testing, tools to help adjudicate qualitative differences, and a way to tease out collective facts from individual beliefs... For something as obvious as ethernet cables, put the facts forward and wait for reasonable responses or evidence to show otherwise. Hopefully folks will think about their beliefs and engage in reasonable conversation about what is important and how we can all benefit from improved sound quality.
And it's always good to realize there's more to this than a simplistic and childish "us vs. them" attitude of course...
BTW: I just couldn't help but run into this article on the "JCAT Reference USB" cables. Can someone tell me the definition of a "true believer in the audiophile experience" or the "true hobbyist"? So what does that make "us" or are we "them"? :-) Also, shouldn't we be reserving phrases like "true believer" for religion and faith rather than engineered products based on applied physics!?