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The Ill-Tempered Audiophool

Taking stock: The Good, The Bad and the Bogus

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I'm just shy of two years into this hobby. The new year is often a time of reflection and assessment. So here we go:

Good: I've benefitted from an enormous amount of helpful advice and generosity from folks here, have been introduced to new music, DIY projects, and new ways of looking at things. Listing names seems slightly tacky, and toxic if I manage to forget someone. That should not in any way detract from my sense of gratitude.

Bad: I find myself repeatedly sucked into the same circular discussions that go nowhere, and whose (downward-spiraling) trajectory can be predicted with almost metaphysical certitude. I think I am going to have to learn to STFU and walk away, rather than take the bait.

Bogus: Probably what troubles me the most about this hobby is the the large amount of chicanery and sometimes outright consumer fraud, accompanied by the character assassination visited upon anyone with the temerity to call any of this into question. The so-called high-resolution downloads that turn out to be deliberately up-sampled when analyzed are probably the worst and most pervasive example of this, but there are others.
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  1. esldude's Avatar
    Well in a Few Good Men, was the famous line "You can't handle the truth!"

    I don't think that is the case here. I think lots of people want to believe in magic and don't really want the truth. It is perplexing as to why blowing the whistle on fake HiRez recordings would raise someone's ire (other than the perpetrators of this fraud). Yet such is a normal reaction to whistle blowing in general anyway.

    The forums like here at CA are a great place for sharing information most especially techniques and issues on something like computer based audio. They aren't so great for finding the truth or even discussing it much of the time however. I have learned much in a short time. I am disappointed that chicanery and fraud based upon people's doubts and fears of this relatively new form of audio seem to be expanding exponentially.

    I guess I don't have much to add other than I understand some of where you are coming from and find it a problem. Don't know what to do with it however.
  2. Jeff In San Diego's Avatar
    WGScott, first, thanks for the good blog post, and congrats on having what I consider to be the best use of your "avatar" of anyone here on CA. Are you the guy who had the "tin-foil hat" avatar a year or so ago?

    I completely agree about the "bogus" section of your post (though, of course, this is sewn into the fabric of audiophile since it's very inception back in the 60's.)

    I've been filling some of my non-listening spare time with watching all of the past episodes of Discovery Channel's Mythbuster's series on Netflix. While the amount of science is limited to make for "good TV", I really enjoy that show.

    To be sure, audiophile could stand to have some "myth busting" going on. While not as entertaining as the TV series, the folks here who have done the frequency analysis plots to blow the whistle on the fake HiRes files are a good start.

    While I realize that there are often various and sundry types of interdependence (i.e. politics and capitalism) that would prevent it, it would truly be grand if one of the larger audiophile groups (like LA Audio society) would spend part of each meeting having their members participate in some double blind A/B testing to bust some of the myths (or confirm them, where applicable).

    Well, we can dream...
  3. Kimo's Avatar
    At most you would be out 20 bucks or so, but of course with high end audio you have the chance to be fleeced a fair bit more. For example, what of certain high end components built in Asia, which you can purchase in Asia at published prices one half the retail price here.

    You could take a vacation there, buy your system in a local shop, ship it and you back, and still come out ahead with some brands.

    How often do you hear reviewers prattling on about something like that? How about wire mark ups in that 60-75 percent range? How about 8 to 1 price to parts cost being the norm? How about the fact that audio shows seem to be dominated by relatively unknown companies with virtually no audio pedigree trotting out their new 20K amp and 30K speakers? It is like getting a whole new bunch of Porsche models to choose from every year, except they are not made by Porsche and they cost more. I have to wonder about the value there.

    This place is one of the best that I have seen. There is really good information on most forums, actually, but you have to wade through the work of the loudmouths and know nothings to get at it. Most posters here seem pretty reasonable and sincere. Probably a younger less boomerish crowd, so that helps make things better.
  4. Paul R's Avatar
    Well, I for one and very glad you are here. You not have great insight, but several times I have had a rotten day and I read a comment from you that is so spot on and utterly funny I crack up laughing and smile for some little afterward. :)

    As for the hi-res stuff going on, well, this is a case where you are on the leading edge, and a lot of brown smell stuff just naturally gets thrown your way. You just see clearly and have a bit of difficulty understanding why other people can't see what is right in front of their faces.

    Have a nice cold virtual Sam Adams from this hear virtual bar - it's on me.

    Here's to another two great years!

  5. wappinghigh's Avatar
    Don't give up hope WG..

    I like your posts as well.....keep them coming!
  6. Brian A's Avatar
    Re Good:

    You are right on, man. I find the caliber of the people here to be breathtaking. Record company owners, equipment manufacturers, famous recording engineers, class scientists..., wheelers and dealers all rubbing shoulders with plain folks like me. I enjoy the innovation and puzzlement that goes on in these pages; sometimes the probing seems truly cutting edge. Very cool.

    Re Bad:

    Debate is fine, but I am surprised here at how many people go beyond clarifying their opinion and feel an insatiable compulsion to convince other people of their position. People don’t work like that. The repetition is annoying.

    Re Bogus:

    I am not as bothered by it. If some people believe in fairies; fine. If hardware or software is said to be special, therefore special it is. The only problem there is with bogus hi-rez is that you are measuring it rather than just believing in it. (... uhh, that was a joke.)
  7. Paul R's Avatar
    Of course, you know I meant to say you HAVE great insight, rather than "you not have great insight." Damn spell checker.

    I'll say that again Bill - you have great insight and I really enjoy when you share you thoughts.

  8. wgscott's Avatar
    Thanks, everyone.

    Although, reading back on this almost a month later, it sounds kind of whiney and petulant. Sorry.
  9. Mark Powell's Avatar
    Personal maybe, but I'm going to say it. You are one of the most 'wise' contributors here. For me, second only to barrows in whose posts I look for.

    Lightened with a dose of humour, sometimes a touch too subtle for some, including me, to catch.
  10. Boris75's Avatar

    I appreciate your posts; please do not walk away from the forum.

    I had the same remark as Jeff: I seem to remember that you had a different picture -- a nice B&W shot -- until not long ago. I thought it was a very nice picture I must say...
  11. wgscott's Avatar
    Sorry, I didn't mean to give the impression I was going anywhere. I apologize if I got anyone's hopes up.

    Do you mean this picture?