Adventures In Audio

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Hermod:  Audiophile systems can NOT improve the sound, but worse systems can lead definetely deterioration.
In my opinion, you can also call yourself an audiophile if you don't own a high-end system. Audiophile means enjoying the music. And the taste is different, and what you dont hear you cant miss. ☺
kind regards from an Audiophile (I like Mi/Hi-Fi amplifers like Burson, Gustard, Singxer SA1, Hi-End headphones Hifiman HE1000se, HE6se, Arya and speakers Klipsch)

umdesch4:  I became an audiophile, partly because I love good sound quality, but maybe part of it is that it's been proven in a lab with a sine wave tone generator that I could reliably hear 23 kHz tones with 100% accuracy (back in my 20s, but no longer). Not sure how much overlap there is between my preferences and that ability. Personally, I hate it. Back in the late 90s, it meant that mp3s drove me up the wall with their artifacts.

umdesch4 replies to umdesch4: @Audio Masterclass Ouch! Well, Qobuz just finally became available in Canada, after 15 years of waiting, so I'm appreciating that. Unfortunately though, it's a bit of a minefield since many of the "hi-res" offerings end up being post-1995 remasters, and we all know what that means...

Audio Masterclass replies to umdesch4: Nostalgia is a powerful force of nature, but I don't hear many people longing for the revival of MP3. For driving anyone up the wall, digital radio in the UK running on MP2 (no typo) is the place to go. DM

Seth Mattison:  When the playback sounds realistic to my ears, I know I have as good a setup as I need. At the point, spending more wouldn't be a very good use of money.

Mark Barden:  There is a lot of snake oil in the world of high end audio. I call it bxllsh1t! The music either sounds wonderful, OK, or bad.

Thomas Heimer:  Audiphiles are crazy people, they spend a fortune for the perfect sound but in the end they may rather unmask flaws in the mix.

Eric Newhuis:  Ha this reminds me of an ongoing debate over 192 versus 48 and me crashing a china type, trash, and Zildjian's Oriental Crash of Doom, and still being able to make out all three and simultaneous rapid clikety-clicks on my hi-hat. :D I'm ~55 and I can still make out differences at the high end of the EQ. We're finding that although one may not be able to hear frequencies above 20kHz, the aliasing from layered effects isn't as noticable at the higher bitrates.

Webjammer1:  I was once mixing a well known band and the guitar player's girlfriend came up and said the guitar needed more 400Khz. I told her she had very good hearing and I was just getting ready to turn that up. I went to the guitarist channel and turned up an unused aux send and she said that's better.

NathanOakley1980:  Great video…. Subscribed

Mark Boyle:  Whenever audiophilia is discussed it's important to be aware of the fact that ears are merely pressure transducers and that your brain makes sense of it all. I have always been sceptical of audiophile claims, but I too was able to hear a difference in cables where physics tells me there shuld be none, simply because I was told that I should hear a difference and my brain applied the bias. This is why audiophiles hate blind testing. They apply word salad when all they mean is more expensive, so must sound better due to cognitive bias.

Hermod replies to Mark Boyle: Thats true, but but you're not going to deny that different sources have different quality, are you?

Douglas Blake:  Time for that old joke again ...

Most people use their systems to listen to music.
Audiophiles use music to listen to their systems.

Stephen Owen:  An ex-band member, a drummer who hit those things hard, and never wore ear plugs (I used to wear ear plugs during rehearsals) can apparently hear the difference between different high end hi-fi cables (I might be able to hear the difference between £5 cables and £100 cables, but when the music is playing I'm not really interested in focusing my attention on how much high end I can hear, I want to focus on the music in general). We are the same age, 60 next year, and I've protected my hearing for most of my adult life (I wear earplugs when walking around the city where I live because the traffic noise can be very high, and I find sometimes a little painful), and when I last checked my hearing it was about right for a 60 year old (lost a lot of that top end). Perhaps he can hear the difference between £100 cables and £500 cables, I cannot.

Jeff Werner:  Lol this is great. I remember seeing audiophile reviews of components like cd players or dacs or amps, and they talk about its “stereo image” or “soundstage” and I was like, WTF? The cd player sends the audio to the left speaker or to the right speaker, based on whats in the recording. The only reason a cd player could impact the stereo image of a recording is if it’s broken! There is so much BS out there, for sure! Enjoyed your video, thanks!

Rock And Roll replies to Jeff Werner: Dear God how little insightful many of you are. 🙈

Graeme J W Smith:  🤣🤣🤣🤣

Jason Hilliker:  I'm no audiophile, but I enjoy the hidden detail, imaging and stereo effects that high performance equipment can provide. There's a lot of quality equipment available at decent cost these days.

Hermod replies to Jason Hilliker: 100% agree

atomkraftteddy:  Snakeoil unlimited!

Jiri Zednik:  Things that are not in the record cannot easily be added. A typical example is Toscanini's Beethoven. The sound may be truncated and distorted, but it's worth listening to because it's Toscanini. Of course, the technical side of things is also important. But it's not the main thing. I don't understand those expensive 150 kg turntables when I put a 60 year old record on them.

Carlos W:  It is not so much that you can or can not hear a difference. The issue is "does this difference actually helps or impairs my ability to enjoy this particular music piece?".
You can hear a difference. But.... Does it make a difference? Does it matter to you?.
Audiophiles 100% of the time will tell you "yes, it does matter"

kadelbach63:  Secondly people seem to have more money to spend on audiophile gear as they get older. I think manufacturers know this because a lot of very expensive gear sounds overly bright to me (and I’m nearly 60 😵‍💫) reflecting the target markets naturally declining hearing.

kadelbach63:  When I was a youngster I briefly worked for a audiophile company along side my day job as a studio engineer. One day I was shown what a huge difference it made turning a pair of RCA cables around (it sounded exactly the same to me). It felt like the emperor’s new clothes situation. I was also stuck by the miles of mic cables, snakes and other and other interconnects used in the studio all of which to my knowledge were made with no concern for the direction of the cable vs signal flow. Interesting that a 6” piece of silver wire with an arrow on it could miraculously resolve and improve all the errors created in the recording studio with miles of cables that had no direction marked in them.

Andrea Tomassini replies to kadelbach63: Haha...true

Phillip Kelly:  A tube monoblocks play better than anything iv heard. Cheap Chinese one's too. Haha

Jonathan Vogel:  most of the "audiophiles" I have met have mental issues

richclips:  I love music and audio systems, in theory I'm an audiophile lol, but I use a marantz cd player, a tascam LM8ST mixer and an old quad 303 that I rescued and repaired, lined up, driving some beautiful 2nd hand, so affordable ATC SCM35 speakers, sounds great and didn't cost a fortune. No frills, no black magic, no special interconnects etc, just a nice little system that I love and enjoy a wide variety of music with.. love the videos David, I'm quite addicted :)

Nomis:  I once took part in a test to determine whether it's possible to tell the difference between lossy compression and the original source. The guy running the test prepared two WAV files; one a straight rip from a well-known CD, and the other a copy which had been through 320kbps lossy compression. They were both played on the same system. The audible difference between the two didn't slap me across the face, but it was definitely there. The irony was that in a blind test I subjectively preferred the compressed version because the artifacts made it brighter and more detailed to my ears, even if some of the detail was effectively distortion.

My own system is decent enough but nothing to write home about. I don't have the luxury of a dedicated listening room, and there are enough compromises in my setup to make many an audiophile weep. But on a quiet winter's evening with the lights dimmed and a glass of single malt in hand it sounds plenty good enough to me, and that's all that really matters.

Audio Masterclass replies to Nomis: It can be difficult to tell the difference between uncompressed and AAC compression. My view however is that I would prefer not to have to worry that the music I listen to has been messed about with. Ideally we would be close to having universal uncompressed audio, but my bet is that it will be an upsell item for the next few years before it becomes the norm. DM

Richard Durishin:  But, in a stream, certainly the file format (kHz/bit rate) certainly can affect the soundstage.

Arvid Storli:  There was an experiment a long time ago, (in the late 80s?) a Swede made a network of "bad" components. Capacitors, resistors, coils. But made sure that all measurable units, frequency, phase and level were correct, after the signal had passed through the network. Listening tests showed that very few, if any, could hear a difference between the network and a straight wire.

Focuspix video & audio services:  Audiofiles.. buy a KV2 EX12 PA system with sub....😆

Danielle King:  oh dear god .Audiophiles still use belt drive turntables.Belts stretch which leads to really bad sound and have to keep getting new ones.The hi fi shops always see these guys coming a mile off

Brother Spock:  I tend to agree, but then again, I've never sat and closely listened to a million dollar audio system...and am pretty sure I never will. I consider myself financially locked out of any such debates.

The Irish Spaniard:  I tend to agree, in general. From a technical standpoint, I don't believe that a system can improve upon the original sound -- the weakest link, so to speak. The notable contradiction to this theory is, of course, remastering, digital restoration, and so forth -- but, arguably, this is altering the source prior to it being reproduced by the systems we're discussing.
That said, I think there's the subjective nature of psychoacoustics which may lead people to feel that a given system is improving the original sound. While not necessarily improving, it is (typically) altering the response of the system to produce a sound that a particular ear/brain combo finds more pleasing.
I still have excellent hearing (especially for my age), so I can hear things others may not. Plus, my ear knows what to listen for. With a spectrum analyzer and a sweep, I can dial-in a sufficiently capable system to be reasonably "flat" -- and I will invariably tweak the system away from this to satisfy my own preferences. I've knowingly and intentionally added imperfections which, to me, sound better. Have I "improved" the original? No, not on paper, but yes, when considering preferences.

I also argue that, even if one's hearing has rolled off (up to a point) that, if they're a savvy listener, they will still notice frequency roll-off in the reproduction system. My dad, who had fairly significant roll-off at 8K (or even lower), could absolutely and consistently tell when I would roll-off the treble on our system. While not able to directly hear all the overtones, he could still hear enough of them plus the interactions they have to "color" the sound to know when they were missing.

Ethan Winer:  This video is great. To answer your ending question, no, there's no change that any system can make that would improve the sound because any change is by definition a degradation. Now, it's possible that someone's hearing falls off at 10 KHz, so a treble boost in a preamp might be an improvement for that one person. In that case buying an equalizer probably makes more sense. The real issue with too many "audiophiles" is they have little understanding of the limits of their own hearing. So they imagine hearing things that don't really exist. As proof, many believe that a replacement AC power cord can improve the sound, or speaker wire elevators etc. Measuring the four basic parameters of fidelity quickly disproves their flawed perception.

TheCarMan:  I don't think it's a fair assessment to claim that audiophiles say they have 'Golden Ears' as compered to everyone else and that their ears are able to discern the differences in quality of super expensive audio gear. I believe we all pretty much have this ability but do not have the exposure to such equipment in the home where it's set up optimally. The latter not only requires much in the way of $$$$ but time as well --- not only in setting up the equipment, but in researching what will work best for one's home and musical preferences. It simply doesn't happen over night.

James Manon:  If it hurts your head than it isn't art.

Konstantinos T:  As someone who's is involved
professionally in Audio Reproduction for over 30 years, I agree...

free的man:  Audiophiles don't have superior hearing they just have open wallets.

Terry Clark:  It's interesting that musicians are rarely audiophiles, and are often happy with an "adequate" audio system. I used to be an audiophile and gradually lost interest in it, which sort of corresponded with the time that I was learning musical instruments myself. I think one aspect is that musicians hear their own instruments and other musicians playing live music a lot and so the mystical "absolute sound" that hifi enthusiasts talk of is not much of a novelty. In fact live instruments can sound a lot rougher around the edges than the sound that an audiophile typically seeks. Perhaps another reason is that musicians are more focused on making music than listening to recordings, and when they do listen it will often be for a practical purpose of studying the performance.

Tony Jedi Of The Forest:  Excellent video, there is a lot of BS spoken about hifi but there is also a lot that is true. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what is what. I try and use logic and common sense in my hifi purchases and like to involve my wife and sons who often can hear differences that I am thinking. That way I know that it’s not my imagination or bias. My middle son has a particularly good ear and can vocalise his opinions very well which is something that I can’t do. I simply know that something sounds good but can’t explain it the way he can.

Mark Hayman:  Hi, another great informative video, dead right how your own hearing frequency range can hear . I have done a lot of short wave long distance listening over the years and trained brain to listen noise, but as you said as older we get we loose our top end frequencies hearing. Some good quality headphone for eg Sennheiser Hd560s frequency response goes up to 38kHz and no way I can hear that . That’s why can’t hear totally difference between that and my other Sennheiser headphones. Regards Mark

Brendan Gallagher:  I’m not qualified to argue with your views, but can I just chuck in a brickbat….some people just love, well, ‘stuff’. If you’ve got the wherewithal, and you like expensive shiny things, fill your boots. Thinking you can hear a difference is a welcome justification for emptying your wallet. The expensive shiny stuff can also be an adjunct to the pleasure you derive from music.
(PS. I’m not wealthy!)

KenTeel:  My goal is to get guys who spend $30,000 on speakers to listen to my music that I recorded using my $79 Behringer interface and my $88 recycled computer.

KenTeel replies to KenTeel: @Douglas Blake Thanks for the positivity !!

Douglas Blake replies to KenTeel: Hey Ken! Good to see you.

Anyway... as you know I've listened to your stuff and, jaded old me, was duly impressed.
David could do a lot worse than spending an hour with your demo disk.

KenTeel replies to KenTeel: @Audio Masterclass Yeah !!! I like that. It'll be like Robert Johnson recordings on those old wire recording, hopefully: the content is so interesting that overlooking the limitations of the recordings will be automatic (or hearing the limitations of the recordings will be viewed as part of the character of the tunes.) Yes, indeed, I think that should be most musicians' dream.

Audio Masterclass replies to KenTeel: They'll be listening to your art, which will be so good that $30,000 is worth it. DM

Zeh Netto Oficial:  Just loved your comments! The very well known British ironic way pleases me. Indeed....🙂

Zeh Netto Oficial:  I totally agree!

Peter Graham:  I think for the most part if we can't measure it in this day and age it's probably not very relevant in music reproduction given the tools we have and our knowledge of psychoacoustics as well. But at the same time I think it's important to note that hearing is not just a function the ear's physical characteristics but also the brain's interpretation of signals from the ear. Some people have perfect pitch, can tune an instrument by ear, can easily learn a song by ear, and so forth, while others would really struggle to learn to do these things.

Eric Austin:  I have the exact same opinion. Thanks! It seems to me that audiophiles, a group I formerly considered myself to be in, like colored sound. Not flat or transparent but something they simply like to hear. That didn't use to be the case. It's very much the case with headphone reviewers as a group. Hey, if the song didn't have punchy base why should it have it when I'm listening to it through headphones?

Hermod replies to Eric Austin: @Scott Lowell stereotype, cmon

Scott Lowell replies to Eric Austin: A lot of them hate bass and extended treble. They exist in a midrange-only world.

My Pet:  your AI assistant's eyes do weird things one eye appears to look at the "script" while the other looks at me😜

Audio Masterclass replies to My Pet: Don't worry. She will control your mind soon and everything in the world will be lovely. DM

Yours Truly:  I have a pretty sweet audio setup. Not a $100k system but a pretty good one that covers the frequency space very well. One thing that blew me away was when I decided (to an audiophile's horror) to bring the digital streaming music, CDs and also vinyl into a live performance DAW app with VST audio plugins to modify the sound more to my liking. Mind you, this goes waaaaay beyond simply EQing. I'm using audio plugins that are used in the some of top mixing rooms in the world here. These are high quality plugins which are usually operated around 32 bit and a least 96 kHz for dynamic "headroom". When doing this I'm able to take the sound to a whole other level, IMHO. It's so delightful. And when using headphones I employ plugins like Realphones to duplicate the sound in studio listening rooms or all types of places. Yes, it is audiophile blasphemy but, my goodness, it sounds soooo damn good. And isn't that the true purpose of being an audiophile in the first place? Good sounding music?

Hermod replies to Yours Truly: Digital streaming music isnt an audiophile's horror if you use an DAC - it´s perfect.
"And isn't that the true purpose of being an audiophile in the first place? Good sounding music?"
^^ YES, I agree 100%

A.H. D.H.:  Talking about audiophile systems. What is it that a audiophile system stands out from a non-audiophile system? Do not leave out the snake oil.

Carmine De Santo:  Btw, your assistant is…..creepy….but 👀

Carmine De Santo:  Great gear and well mastered always good …but sometimes tis’ guiding the lily.

ARVID LYSTNUR:  If all the components, minus the speakers, are flat or transparent in the processing of the signal, the speaker is technically the weakest link in accurate reproduction.
Ever mix or recording is equalized to one specific speaker.
Who's to say what is right.

Michael Cantwell:  The audiophile forum purple prose reminded me of another YouTube video analysing a forgotten piece of audiophile equipment to improve the dynamism, airiness, clarity and, of course a much wider sound stage. This was the CD shaver. A piece of equipment that blithely ignored how the technology actually works to deliver improved audio by reducing unwanted internal reflection from the CD edge. I've put a link that goes straight to the comments from reviewers and it's full of the usual audiophile bunkum. It's perhaps true that I can't hear what these self-professed audio experts can pick up because I seem to have been born with natural bs filters in my ears.

Somebloke:  There's rarely more bull$hit than there is in the world of hifi. I put together my first system in 1982 and I don't think I've ever experienced "soundstaging", "inky black silence", or "PRAT". And don't get me onto cables.

Tom McGrew:  Can an audiophile system actually improve the sound? "Improve" is subjective. But you also need a reference. Improve on what? The original master? The master is the master. And as long as it's presented transparently with no distortions, alterations or coloring, then there's nothing to improve upon. BTW, that's impossible -- every system out there alters or colors the original master in some way and there's nothing to be done about it. Even the equipment the master is recorded on will color it when it's played back on said system. But if you're someone (like me) who actually enjoys that little bit of coloring, then that could be seen as an "improvement". But that's only an improvement to "me".

Tom McGrew:  "They have the best ears in the world. Something money can't buy." LOL. It's funny though how their hearing does seem to get better after spending thousands of dollars.

Jolyon Caplin:  When I was a lad, I was really impressed with audiophile setup my neighbour had. He was a retired electronics engineer and his setup included very large horn loudspeakers and a very solidly mounted record deck. Everything was carefully laid out and operated. His friends would often come round and they would listen to a wide range of classical music.

He was quite hard of hearing, though.

I plucked up the courage to ask how he could appreciate what his sound system was doing for him. He replied kindly that high frequency response is only one aspect. He could still enjoy the stable bass performance, the clear stereo imaging, lack of wow and flutter - and many other things. Plenty of scope, still, for subjectivity!

mark penland:  Im into 2 channel audio and AI. Your chanel is delicious.

Mallacai Wolfe:  audiophiles use music to listen to their hifi, music lovers use their hifi to listen to music

Rock And Roll replies to Mallacai Wolfe: No. Music lovers use their iphones to listen to music on streaming. Hifi is nonexistent among average people these days.

ian reynolds:  There's a truth about audio equipment in general, that when you spend more money you get better design and better components, chassis and build, this isn't always the case but it's a crude rule of thumb. Above certain level whether or not any improvement is actually audible is another matter.

I'd gage it like this:

Equipment sub £1000 is entry level
£1000 to £3000 is mid fi
£3000 to £10,000 High End
£10,000+ Ultra High End

I've found that my system which is entirely analogue: About £9000 front end (Turntable, Arm, Cartridge, Phono Stage) Integrated Amplifier £8000 and Speakers £4000, I'd say that my system is relatively high end, and it serves me very well. In order for me to improve it in a meaningful way I'd have to spend two or three times more than I have already invested and have the room to offer a better response.

I always thought that up to a certain level spending more money will give a better result, the law of diminishing returns not withstanding. However, above a certain level it really comes down to what you like, your room and what you listen to. A piece of equipment can't ever improve a recording but it can give you a presentation that you might prefer.

I have a small listening room 10' x 15' so I have no need for huge speakers or a massively powerful amp, so I've been able to invest more in my front end, other people will need bigger speakers and more power to drive them so their budget will go in another direction.

Really it comes down to what you like, budget equipment these days does very good job of reproduction and a couple of thousand pounds worth of gear will more do a fantastic job for the vast majority of people. I love my record collection, I have invested probably nearly £100,000 in it over the last 35 years. I consider my system my way of enjoying my collection, do I need it to get the most out of it? Maybe not, but I do I enjoy? Absolutely!

Good Sound:  If this channel was about food, you would be making fun of gourmets eating in haute cuisine restaurants, because you find that eating a hamburger at your local fast food supplier is as nutritious, therefore it’s pointless to spend so much on expensive food?

Audio Masterclass replies to Good Sound: I had lunch in a two-Michelin star restaurant only last week. It was nice but I wouldn't describe the portion sizes as adequate nutrition. Don't worry, I had a KFC later. DM

G. Gray:  The moral is.... NEVER trust a petite chick with giant kobongos.

Robert Thurston:  I think you need to listen to a lot more stereo systems and then give an subjective opinion. Have you ?

Nyquist:  Sound reproduction is an attempt to emulate the real thing. Audiophiles are people who are suggesting that the improvement from say 18% to 19% in this endeavor is extremely significant. Ordinary people do not find this significant since they realize how woefully inadequate 2 channel stereo actually is. If hearing these tiny differences takes skill and years of learning it might reasonably asked how important are these differences to begin with.

Geoffrey Wilton:  I tried to be an audiophile but the music kept getting in the way

Rock And Roll replies to Geoffrey Wilton: @Audio Masterclass But if that car taking me from A to B while making an annoying constant tumbling sound it gets on my nerves, compared to a more (fully) balanced one.

Audio Masterclass replies to Geoffrey Wilton: There is a certain amount of truth in this. But I'd equate it to an enthusiast of car maintenance, and there are many, and electric cars that have little to maintain. Any car gets you from A to B, but where's the fun? DM

Perhaps:  @2:13 "...both of whom, I've heard live..."
Live is not necessarily live. What do I mean?

When you go to a live concert, you see the band, live. But (in nearly all cases) you are hearing them through their sound system. At least that is the case for nearly every concert.

It is rare, to hear a band or an orchestra with no sound system; no amplification; no speakers, etc. Just the band.

And even if you have the good fortune to hear a band, live (really live), then you are probably listening to them in a room full of echoes, plagued with some other issues. Or, perhaps, in a parade, with all manner of outside influences.

It is really hard to hear a band, live, in a proper setting.

No stereo, at any price, will properly duplicate the live sound from voices and instruments.
However, a professionally set-up, high-end stereo, in a treated room, playing cherry-picked content, can get you pretty close to you feeling like you are sitting in the studio, with the band, getting a private performance.

I heard one such stereo, in a high-end store, that had Vandersteen's System Nine equipment, with an AMG turntable, Graham cartridge, Aesthetix Metis pre-amp, Aesthetix Io Eclipse phono amp, and a Clearaudio Goldfinger cartridge, in a treated room, playing a white hot pressing of Led Zep II (the RL / SS hot cut), and a primo pressing of that stamper code.

My ears and my eyes were fighting over whether or not the band was in front of me. I could hear where each band member was standing, with precision. They were 3-dimensional. It felt like I could reach out and touch them.

So all of the banter about specifications, and fancy review verbiage, will never come close to actually hearing what I had the good fortune to have heard.
Anyone with decent hearing would have heard what I heard, just as if the band was really there, anyone with decent hearing would hear that, too. No super human hearing required.

Note that when you listen to music, if close your eyes, and your ears can detect the location of the speakers, then something is wrong.
On a properly set-up system, the speakers disappear. Your ears cannot identify their location. You simply hear a 3 dimensional sound-field. You will hear voices and instruments seemingly coming from between the speakers, and beyond the outer edges of the speakers (by several feet on really good systems), as long as that information is in the recording.

Again, no super human hearing needed to experience the above. And no tests exist that measure much of the above. i.e.: I know of no way to measure which speakers throw a wider soundstage.

Alas, most recordings are between poor to decent, especially for digital, where due to its convenience, the studio personnel over-process so many recordings. Each box that they use adds distortion and coloration, and the effect is cumulative. And they love to use their boxes. For vinyl, poor sound quality is often due to an nth generation copy of the master tape, and / or of a stamping plate used for too many pressing. Few are excellent, and nearly none are spectacular. That is why I cherish my Led Zep II experience, because hearing that band sound so real was a treat that words cannot convey.

Rasheed Khan:  Yes, the halo of light through her hair and soft wisps of mist behind Betty were completely necessary. :)

Mark Fischer:  One major difference between all hi fi music and real music is the critical role the acoustics of venue plays. The reflections of sound heard from live music is most of what you hear at a live concert. The devil is in the details. This is why one concert hall, say Boston Symphony Hall greatl enhances the sound of music but a room of comparable size like Avery Fisher Hall badly degrades it. But whichever place you hear live music the sound is substantially different from hi fi music. Compared to real music hi fi music is dead, lifeless, and awful no matter what the cost. The current state of the art has a poor understanding of sound let alone the ability to recreate sound fields from recordings comparable to live music. That audiophiles don't hear this confirms my experience with them that few if any I've met are what I'd call critical listeners.

Not only do even the most expensive hi fi systems fail to recreate convincing sound fields, they are so poorly engineered that they incorporate no provisions for adjusting to variables of listening room acoustics and spectral balance differences in recordings. Even the published specifications are based on flawed measurement concepts which tell you only how equipment performs on a test be ch but not how they will perform when. Connected together which can be entirely different.

I'm not an audiophile, I'm a music lover and an engineer.

Mark Fischer replies to Mark Fischer: @grumpy It is not possible using current technology although Ambisonic sound could come close if better applied in playback. Analyzing Wave Field Synthesis for a long time I thought it was the same invention as mine. It isn't. It has one fatal flaw in the concept. So given the best you can buy today you cannot come remotely close. Binaural sound recorded through a dummy head and played back through headphones has a fatal flaw too. That flaw has been known for at least 60 years but nobody ever asked the question why is it a flaw and how do you fix it. One person figured it out and did fix it ... but only in one plane.

49 years ago I figured out how room acoustics work with the precision of mathematical equations that accurately describe sound fields in any room from a close to a sports arena. It's nothing like the way the current science of acoustics looks at the problem. I'm not an audiophile in the sense you understand it. I'm a music lover, a concert goer, and an engineer. I managed to invent an idea that could duplicate any sound field with great precision. Then I managed to adapt it (I think of it as bastardizing it because it was originally conceived of as a laboratory) to playing recordings with a convincing concert hall effect. The parameters have a great range of adjustments and there are many of them. Most of the more than 100 of them are aimed at tunng the system to the listening room whose characteristics are critical since it becomes part of the system. About a dozen are directed at adjustments for each recording. They are made for each recording so I'm both an objectivist and a subjectivist in audiophile terms.

If you read a textbook on acoustics to try to understand it, you will come away more confused than before you read it. Although I haven't paid my dues in decades I'm an inactive member of the American Institute of Physics and the Acoustics Society of America, both being scientific organizations. Although I've patented my invention there was no commercial interest in it and it probably could not be made into a successful product. So my demonstration prototype is a one of a kind curiosity I use for my own entertainment.

I recently discovered something that surprised me. I have a new phone that was state of the art up to about a few weeks ago when a newer version was marketed by the same manufacturer. I decided to hook it up to my sound system just to see what would happen. I bought an inexpensive blue tooth adaptor. It worked so well I bought a second for another sound system. (it was cheap, bought from Amazon.) What I learned was that I was wrong about CDs being the best and only source that would give the results I wanted. High quality analog over the internet on YouTube meaning tape, phonograph records, and DVD give indistinguishable results. You couldn't tell them apart from CDs. But they must be high quality. I'm thinking of bringing a turntable back into my best listening room. In case you are wondering, I'm not in this industry, never was, it's just a hobby.

grumpy replies to Mark Fischer: in my experience, some live-in-concert hall recordings sound more realistic than others in capturing the ambient sound field. I suspect that use or non-use of mics in the far-field ("ideal" listening position, wherever that might be) may explain this distinction in capturing the realism of the performance in situ. are you asserting that it is simply impossible to capture the true/live acoustic, or that recording engineers (& their mics & subsequent signal path) do not attempt to do so?

Signalfixer:  One statement I have for you. You can't hear measurements only sound. Read the specs and measurements and I will listen to the music.

OCD HI-Fi Guy:  😂LOL, you think we describe Audio the way your Chat Bot porn actress with a PS Audio Tshirt does ??? Christ almighty... clearly you don't understand us, therefore should not assert any sort of professionalism towards what we do. What type of Master are you ?? ...Class ?

M Singh:  A lot of things in life border on the imagination, and the appreciation of fine music is certainly one of them. Was that lady a bot? I would like to think she was real. It all depends upon the observer. Her confidence on the quantum entanglement issue would have left Einstein confused. It's all in the mind...

Andrew Denis:  I know this is likely obvious, but in addition to the two main factors of frequency response and noise that you cite, you need to look at time domain response characteristics as a function of frequency, phase, damping and levels. Also, in the case of monitors/speakers, the room, the position of the monitors in the room and the listening levels are all important factors.
Finally, power transfer, impedance matching, efficiencies and damping / control factors all affect and are often affected by other components in the signal chain. For example, if you try to drive a high current load device like a Martin Logan or Magnapan speaker with a typical amp that is designed more around driving resistive loads in the form of voice coils and compression drivers, you will find a poor match in terms of resulting distortion, response and output levels.

Christoph Martin:  There is a one thing that audiophiles are have indeed. And that is the memory of all their experiences with certain music , records and gear. That alone gives them the confidence to argue that they are audiophiles/superior in hearing. It has a grain of truth if you concentrate it to comparison of the same recording but different masterings, etc... But anything else is highly subjective and many of them know it. Not speaking about the gear voodoo stuff.

Alexey Samokhin:  To a large extend hearing "sound stage" and "fluidity" is a mental condition. Unless audiophile folks can hear sounds beyond the measurement's levels of physics, their "perception" is just a brain game and has no footing in the objective reality.

Stjernholm Reviews:  No matter how you choose to view it, the fact that audiophiles FEEL a difference is a fact. As a "AV-Therapist" this is something I meet a lot. I do a lot of blind testing, and have teached sound engineering for 3 decades, and one thing you can never underestimate is the power of the mind. See this change? Can you hear it? The change was fake.. Can you hear it now?

Just seeing a bigger cable, can alter your perception of what you hear. Seeing that "high res audio" light turn on on the equipment, or the components looking bolder for example. can have great effect on the perception of how it sounds. Does that make it less true to the listener? After all, music is all about how it makes you feel, trying to use reason or logic on that is just a silly as questioning why someone loves a specific kind of music IMO 🙂. Great work on the channel!

DMD:  The best audiophile equipment of all time is ……young ears. Sadly most “audiophiles “ are granddads with shot ears

Paul Henner:  LOL another good laugh.................You ARE indeed an Audiophile...........the people to whom you refer are in a different & superior class they can pick a more "musical" turntable and cables which contain more bottom end etc...................and these experts are more accurately known as .......Audiowankers

Bill:  People claiming they can hear well over 20Kh. yes of course they can.....Indeed........ you can pay whatever money you want on a turntable... £10.000. no problem. you still cant get rid of scratches and all the other stuff associated with vinyl. I used to worry about audio gear years ago....I gave it up. now i just listen to the music......

Kent Corbett:  Over the years I've found that I have heard some of things your techo assistant descrbed. Just because you can't measure something doesn't mean there isn't a difference A basic entry level violin probably measures the same as a Stradivarius but they sound d quite different

Greg Fox:  Are there no things that could be better that are being measured, hence the discontinuity between specs and sound?

Paul Riley:  I can't hear anything above 13KHZ so I should just be fine with FM radio? Can someone feel high frequency on their skin? There must be some way to restore hearing above 12KHZ as we get older. Maybe it's earwax? I know some medications cause tinnitus so maybe hearing loss is chemical?

Mike Mcguinness:  I think people should mind there own fucking business.
Il spend what I want on it .
Another thought one ever questions the cost of a ferrari!

ThewayICit:  Just like wine connoisseurs, an audiophile gains knowledge and appreciation of good hi-fi through experience, properly auditioning hifi equipment. And just like some wine "experts", some audiophiles develop and refine their snobbery to the extent that they would pay $20000 for a system that they are convinced is better than something else at half the price.

Dean replies to ThewayICit: $20000 for a system? That wouldn't even cover the cost of the power cables for some audiophiles!

David Sucesso:  what i found is that instead of using new soundbars i get more quality using old hardware... the speakers that i bought two years ago was 2 pioneers cs-787s 50 euros both of them in 2nd market no one wanted them nor seem to care. im completely happy with a good speaker from the 80s and a good amplifier pioneer from 2014 2 hand market as well.... 120 euros amplifier and 50 euros the speakers... cables i dont remenber the price bought many years ago before all this. its not rocket science.. old good speakers continue to be good today

Lotus cola:  I can hear the decay of carbon 14 isotopes on the linings of my pockets.

laika25:  Hahaaa, where did you get the very articulated bot girl???

Audio Masterclass replies to laika25: I could attempt an amusing reply but the honest answer is that if I include a quote in a video and I speak it myself, I have to do the 'air quotes' gesture to demonstrate that it isn't my own words. So I first used an AI speech generator to speak the quotes and then I thought why stop there. DM

laika25:  Some "audiophiles" could very well be politicians. 😆

laika25:  I'm laughing so hard 🤣🤣 In total agreement. 👏👏👏

Brodie Jones:  Innumerable double blind tests have been done that show "Audiophiles" can't hear what they claim they can can. E.g. 24 bit v 16 bit and differences between interconnects or heaven forbid, power cables! They of course always have an out. "You need to listen for a week to fully appreciate the differences. A double blind test isn't fair..." I think it fair to say you won't be changing your mind anytime soon.

Steven Rubin:  Brilliant summary, an endless game of chasing your tail.

William Palminteri:  Oh PLEASE...................

Faluda Butt:  Hi mate. You should be happy with the mid-range.

Raymond Bunkofske:  I basically agree with your premise with this note. I believe there are system characteristics which we don’t know how to measure yet, or, are measured so seldom that most people aren’t aware that the measurement exists. Awhile back I purchased a new DAC because the power supply on the old one failed and parts were not available. One of my friends loaned me a CD which had been played on the previous DAC and said “see if you can hear the talking now”. He had noted a conversation in the background at one point in the playback, we were unable to hear it on my system with the old DAC despite carefully queuing up the music at the precise time point. I took home the CD and could now hear the background conversation and “proved” it by writing down the words spoken which he later verified. (I didn’t know them beforehand). Clearly something about the new DAC made a difference but it wasn’t due to any of the specifications published with either DAC. That doesn’t mean the reason for the difference isn’t measurable, just that it wasn’t—or can’t be—measured. Like the old saying “strangers are friends we haven’t met yet”, these perceptions may be “things we don’t know how to measure yet”.

Rock And Roll replies to Raymond Bunkofske: You prob got a opamp in the new DAC with 6dB extra headroom. This will unveil more details.

A.H. D.H. replies to Raymond Bunkofske: Psychoacoustics excluded?

Leif Goodwin:  Thank you. I used to buy What HiFi magazine on the rare occasions I bought a hifi separate. They would describe an amplifier as authoritative, or musical. I never could understand a word of the reviews. What on earth does authoritative mean? And aren’t all hifis musical when playing, err, music? But I thought they must be knowledgeable. I now believe it is florid vacuous nonsense and they are deluding themselves. Oddly enough review marks often reflect the stylishness of the casing and controls, or the brand name, with boutique brands often favoured. We have solved most of the hifi problems, so even modest priced amps, CD players and DAB receivers can be as good as perfect. Some amps are voiced by the designer, often to give a so called warmth, so there can be audible differences. Personally I want neutral. I had a supposedly amazing Chord Mojo DAC. I compared it to the cheap Apple DAC dongle, using decent headphones, and I couldn’t hear a difference. Measurements published online show the £10 Apple DAC dongle to perform extremely well, bearing the Mojo in some areas. The only advantage of the Mojo is a volume boost, but my latest Apple iPhone outputs more power, and handles my Sennheiser HD600 headphones perfectly well. And after three years the £400 Mojo died. The £10 Apple DAC dongle is fine after five years. Many audiophiles naively accept withiut question the marketing spiel from high end hifi makers. An audiofool and his money are soon parted.

David Morgen:  Ya wanna hear it all ?get some( horn speakers Klipsch.)Dont spend more then $300 a pair! Thats all!

Edgar Ortiz:  When you take into account that most audiophiles are well into their 50's, you must take all of their recommendations with a grain of salt. Everyone's hearing declines significantly over time.

Chaotic System:  Blink twice if he's holding you captive!

Connor Duke:  One sonic aspect that matters a lot to me is that bass guitar needs to sound both weight and fast at the same time. My Marantz PM11S2 with HDAM does this very well, yet many much higher prices amplifiers cannot pull it off. Some Class D amps can, but then often at the expense of midrange smoothness.

CMI2017:  An audiophile can quote stats and brand names but can't tell an E♭ from a F♯ or a diatonic harmonic progression. Their superior ears are actually eyes that read the product spec-sheet.

sigriston replies to CMI2017: It’s interesting, in my experience audiophiles don’t care much about equipment specs, because if they truly did, they would never buy ridiculously priced gear, as the specs on modestly priced gear already tell us that they are audibly transparent. In my experience they are more about spending tons of money on snake oil. In fact, for most of the really expensive stuff (like above 5 or 6 figures) you can’t even find tech specs or measurements.

But that being said, I agree that either aspect of the audio hobby (obsession with specs or obsession with “audio jewelry”) are distractions from what really matters which is the enjoyment of music.

CMI2017 replies to CMI2017: @Rod Salka It's about the equipment as you say.

Rod Salka replies to CMI2017: From my brief readings on audiophile forums, I think you are misjudging. Sure, there's the ridiculously expensive cable aspect of it but most seem to be interested in the electronics as well as the history of speakers and amps. Different setups are going to make source sound different and some of those setups just look amazing in a room. Ultimately, philips, sony, panasonic, etc nailed it with digital cd audio in the 70s and 80s and it's so perfect that it will probably never need to change, and all of us can enjoy music in high quality on cheap headphones or expensive speakers

Scott Lowell replies to CMI2017: @KenTeel or they "Know electronics" but don't know any characteristics of components or the relationship between amp/ohm/volt/watt. They cite product literature with no idea of how it works.

Scott Lowell replies to CMI2017: A lot of them would do very badly at a pure tone audiometric hearing exam. They also fail badly when faced with a double blind test.

Simplyveej:  Not sure I understand the point of this video.

Leif Goodwin replies to Simplyveej: It is interesting to hear the views of someone whose livelihood is based on hearing music reproduced by electronic equipment.

D Jaquith:  All I can say is LMFAO! 😂 Meanwhile often they're piping their clean (insert AI BS) music through tube amps and tube rectifiers which distorts the music. Alice in Wonderland.

twtwtw1:  Who is that knowledgeable lady ? Asking for a friend.

Zockopa:  Whats even more funny is that many of this ppl are old. I mean grandpa old.
As far as i know from my own experience over the decades,the hearing doesnt get better but worse
objectivly and measurably.

Audio Masterclass replies to Zockopa: This is true. However the enjoyment of music doesn't decrease. In fact it gets better. DM

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Thursday April 20, 2023

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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