Adventures In Audio

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@frequentlycynical642:  Audiophiles are even more anal retentive that photography enthusiasts. It's interesting how many men..... statistically nary a woman to ever be seen....are involved in both hobbies. As a good friend says, "It's about the music." And Alan Parsons said something on the line of "Does your equipment exist to play the music, or does the music exist to justify your equipment?"

@plrndl:  Real music lovers listen to the music, not the mains cable.

@ericlubow4354:  We’ve all seen that cartoon of a fellow showing his audio system to a friend with the caption: “Two things that really drew me to vinyl were the expense and the inconvenience.” This is more true than meets the eye. During the CD era, I collected thousands of CDs. There was always something missing and it wasn’t necessarily the sound. After 20 years I went back to vinyl and have never regretted it. Yes, it’s more expensive and it takes more work, but on good recordings, the sound is phenomenal. Just ask some of the best mastering engineers like Bernie Grundman and Kevin Gray. And most of the records I buy today are well pressed and noiseless ( no pops and ticks). The whole process is more involving. Sometimes what’s easiest is not necessarily best. Why do people like small sports cars with clutches? Certainly a Lexus with automatic transmission, excellent suspensions and comfortable seats would give a smoother ride. Why should you have to work switching gears? BECAUSE IT’S FUN! In the same way, for me, vinyl is fun. I’m much more involved in the music than when I’m just pressing a button. If you’ve never opened a sealed 50 year old record that after cleaning plays perfectly, you’ll never experience that great feeling.

For those who enjoy digital, kudos to you. Each to his own! Amen…

@lilarosa8357:  ;-))))

@itsjim2875:  I like "Betty". 😁

@guestguest6414:  I once got my ears syringed and wow what difference it made to my hifi sound, everything sounded so much clearer. Furthermore, I am lead believe as you get older, your hearing degrades..anyway who am I to argue with the experts

@New-tu3mn:  There definitely are many ‘audiophiles’ who pompously, or in other cases by delusion, claim to have superior hearing acuity. They aren’t really charlatans, because they actually believe that what they do hear, and at other times, what they only think they hear are due to having superior hearing acuity. Which, experiments have proven they don’t. 

That said, what also is sometimes true is that experienced audiophiles have superior (practiced) auditory observation skills. They are used to spending hours intently listening to good audio system playback with focused attention. It’s not that their ears have superior perceptual acuity, it’s that their brains are more familiar with the processing the phenomena of loudspeaker based, stereo system music playback. Which, of course, involves the brain in psycho-acoustically constructing a 3D auditory illusion. I’d wager that, by far, most casual listeners have not ever heard an audio system set-up in a room so as to produce a stereo illusion. Therefore, it’s only natural they would have relatively little observational experience in that reward.

@New-tu3mn replies to @New-tu3mn: TYPO: “I’d wager that, by far, most casual listeners have never heard an audio system correctly set-up in a room so to PROPERLY produce a stereo illusion.”

@ksnstechtopics8650:  You are absolutely right, if you can't measure it then it doesn't exist. A flat frequency response, low noise, and minimal distortion are the key. The only thing that limits true Hi-Fi (in the digital recording/delivery domain) are transducers i.e microphones and loudspeakers and the listening environment. Oh and dynamic range. Please can we have some more when the format (CD/FLAC) is capable of delivering 96dB's of it perhaps 30-40dB wouldn't be so much to ask for!

@georgeswanson9483:  It's amazing what you can hear if you just pay attention. That being said, overanalyzing is the road to hell. The best litmus test I've been able to come up with after all these years (and it takes a while) is if I make a change to my system and it makes me want to listen to more of my music more often, then it is a step forward. If it makes me want to listen to less of my music collection or less often generally, then it is a step backward. The key is to only make one change at a time and be patient. As for whether or not a system can "improve" the sound, it all depends on how you define improve. I explained my definition above but someone else might have a different idea about what constitutes an improvement. With someone else maybe the decrease in measured distortion products calms the OCD voices in their head. To someone else maybe it's the approval or envy of their audio buddies does it for them. To me, audio systems are ENJOYMENT ENGINES and they should make you happy. If they don't, then what's the point? Greetings from Minnesota and thanks for the thoughtful videos. I'm really enjoying them.

@aeyb701:  Based on YouTube, only three artists audiophiles play: Diana Krall, Steely Dan and , oh yeah, Diana Krall.

@aeyb701:  I always thought “pace, tempo and rhythm” were defined by the time signature. Then again, i can’t recognize a soundstage if it broadsided me.

@atoptip6193:  I think “audiophiles with lots of money” is largely a myth. I used to go to the NYC (a wealthy enough city) Audiofile Society meetings. Most attendees were retired civil servants. They did all aspire to expensive gadgets but a lot of theirs were actually just adequate or even home-built (mostly the speakers). I figure mega-buck components are really made for AV installers, so that when they set up systems for their über-wealthy — but not audiophile — clients, their commissions can be bigger. After all what pusillanimous billionnaire will complain about a $500K+ bill for a system bill in their $35mm condo?

@stephengriffin2188:  Probably unrelated. I have a couple of modest budget stereos. A floor stander, sub woofer, valve amp. And a class d monoblock, sub woofer bookshelf speaker set up. Any live music Ive listened to always sounds better recorded on my systems rather than the usually overly loud, bad theatre acoustics and conflicting ambient crowd noise of a night out. The thing that excites me most is space and separation and spacial width and depth between equipment. I don't really know that's even a thing but that's what gets me going when listening to recorded music

@pauldhoff:  Audiophile word salad.

@klausnurimller5781:  I do share your point of view and that has been my philosophy all along. But do not underestimate the pleasure of owning the right brand and what that does to your hearing - absolutely wonders, just trust me. But it reminds me of various gimmicks, like one where plenty of audiophiles were for an audition of interconnects (what we call cables) and could clearly hear the differences between them I think nicely correlated to the cost and storry it came with before connected and the same piece of music being played - they were no doubt about the wonders or differences the transparency improvements and so on. The only thing was that the system actually playing was another system all together not visible to the crowd - no cable was changed at any point but in the dummy system.

And when I see a cable that shows which direction the current should flow i get confused. Half the time it will flow the one direction the other half the other direction as far I have understood A/C doesn't move anywhere but alternates (I guess that's why it is named alternate currency).

Same gimmick with wine where the same wine coming from the same container poured into three similar bottles except for the label - however a clear difference in taste nicely correlated to the label design and the storry along with it - do not underestimate the pleasure of having spent that much money on the superb wine does to the taste.

I read somewhere that the cost of things is a sixth sense we have and that can make us believe in the unbelievable.

Keep it up - always entertaining and down to earth.

@realworldaudio:  I have noticed that the majority of people who have the most expensive systems have quite worse hearing (=discerning ability as far as sound goes). They rely on other audiophiles with better hearing (and less resources) to give them recommendations for their gear selection.
This is true for people I know of, in our audio circles. However, there are exceptions, and there are some with extraordinarily expensive systems while they also have very keen hearing. (In fact, they have the most expensive systems I know of.) The main difference between people who have expensive system and good hearing vs those who just have the money, is that the ones with good hearing all spent an awful lot of time, DECADES researching out their current system. Not necessarily major changes along the way, but extreme effort done to fine-tune it and to LEARN how to refine it. Those who cannot hear, have a rough canvas, very expensive components but they are not synergizing due to lack of skill in implementation. These sound more like showroom systems.
For those, who have the money and the hearing, their systems sound LEAGUES better than the finest I heard at any show, period. And it's not just "maybe someone could hear it, but we should all do a thorough AB test". No! Their systems sound so obviously better than other stereo gear, even to folks with hearing aids. The difference is so easily discernible as comparing a tin can to a drum.

@user-ud9rn7dw6q:  I personally think going to the royal Albert hall with my linear hearing and instruments which are linear woodwind timpani etc sounds perfect. You’ll never hear perfect sounds from any amp in digital just my opinion. It’s just a carrier of zeros and ones. Digital is great for tv picture quality and pcs photos and e mail. But when it comes to music linear is king. We listen in linear. Our hearing is analogue.

@stevengagnon4777:  Audiophile? Let's get back to the definition. In short...more than a casual interest in sound qualities ,yes a fairly broad definition. But this will take it to the heart of the matter...all encompassing. For example walk into an old church and you hear a trained vocalist singing and you appreciate what hear, that's all the works of various audiophiles. You the listener, the vocalist and the designer of the space. This can be both healthy and good. The same can be applied to electronic media . So when this becomes unhealthy it is now an addiction and hurts you and your family in the process. As all healthy people know an addict will say and do extreme things to justify the time and expense to propagate the addiction and isn't really an audiophile, but now is an addict. Thank you David for keeping it real and continue the good work.

@Dave_Outside:  I think people might this way too damn complicated. Because majority of it doesn’t matter. Unless you are a sound engineer actually working in a studio or maybe setting up sound systems for a band. Other than that, it’s just a hobby. I would worry less about technical specifications and a lot more about how it actually sounds to you. Because that’s all that really matters.

Audiophile? What exactly is it. And what qualifies a person to call themselves one? Nothing that I’m aware of. Other than somebody that has money and time to burn. The only person I would listen to giving me advice about such things would be a trained musician or maybe somebody that once again works in a recording studio or has a degree in acoustical engineering or something like that. In other words of person that has actual professional training and experience. Not just a person sitting around home labeling themselves an audiophile spewing out opinions on YouTube.

@nitromcclean:  You tell it beautifully and I agree with just about everything you say, especially in this video. There's also something I didn't hear you say in this video that could also play into this context.
My hobby is recording, mixing and mastering music. I've noticed that the exact same mix played on exactly the same equipment at different times can sound different to me. I believe that exactly the same sound comes out of my speakers or headphones, but that I cause the difference myself. When I'm tired at the end of the day (and have heard a lot of noise) I am no longer able to judge a mix. I just can't hear it anymore. When I listen to the same mix early in the morning the next day, it suddenly sounds much better.
And I experience another difference. I can enjoy the musical performance while listening and be really moved by it, but I can also focus on one of many aspects. Then I hear something really different. I am unable to hear all aspects in detail at once.
I know that what we see is what our brains make of it. There is too much information coming in through our eyes to our brain at once for us to be able to process it all. Our brain makes a selection based on recognition, fills in "gaps" and that is what we think we see. I have long thought that this is different with sound. You just hear the sound around you. I now think that this works the same as with seeing. A lot comes in through our ears and all the details are too much information for our brain to process. What we think we hear is therefore, in my opinion, not the same as the sound that reaches our ears.
I think that audiophiles and hi-fi enthusiasts take in all kinds of things in their minds and that affects their listening experience. If that makes them happy, they should do that. If they also respect me for my listening experiences then we are good friends.

@andrewwebb4635 replies to @nitromcclean: Wow! What a fantastic explanation. Thanks for the view from a professional. I’m merely a listener - I like good quality sound but I’d never call myself an audiophile. I too, however, think the same recording on the sae equipment in the same room can sound different under different circumstances. My test is Barbara Streisand: is she sounding lovely and clear or is she sounding just a little bit edgy?

@ampheat:  Some audio existential questions: Is possible that one listens to the equipment rather than to the music? may that affect our sonic judgement?

@danender5555:  Audiophile loves to listen the Hi-Fi music, while audiosnob loves the Hi-Fi equipment.

@cukymonster33:  A word to people (viewers), a great deal of subjectivity is definitely required at every level. Think of that before giving us your opinion and please, be a humble critic.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @cukymonster33: No thank you. DM

@cukymonster33 replies to @cukymonster33: OH sorry, not you, all the people who watch your videos. I find your opinions a touch harsh, but logical. and Thank You for the truth as you, an experienced audiophile and someone my age, sees it. Cheers

@AudioMasterclass replies to @cukymonster33: @@cukymonster33 OK no problem. People do sometimes seem to confuse opinion with fact but in hi-fi audio sometimes facts are hard to determine. DM

@TH-ox5ig:  Brava

@Garry646:  As a hi-fi enthusiast, I can agree with this video on the consumer side. There is no magic in an expensive speaker cable carefully raised 10cm above the floor Vs a sensibly priced(copper isn't cheap) one. A "power conditioner" won't transform your whole system into a million-dollar one if you get your power from the national grid(all your amps already have filters to deal with that, just look at their S/N rating)
Looking at it from the side of an architect of a system(in the analog domain), you're either solving problems left-and-right, or choosing the lesser of two evils. For example, in electronics you deal with the phase curves of individual sections, then how they interact, the frequency curves of sections, and how they interact(electrolytic vs film caps, myriad of different components, ICs, etc), and once you figure all the specifics figured, you realize it would actually be pretty expensive to build, so you try to trim the costs down until you have a balance of costs vs flaws.
Next, we have the transducers(microphones and speakers), the most distorting piece of equipment that comes from the manufacturers. Here, “The code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” No one even knows what perfection is, thus it has never been achieved. Full-range? Coaxial? Two-way? Three-way? Dynamic? Horn-loaded? Condenser microphone? What are their polar patterns?(remember, the more directional it is, the worse its frequency curve)
Then, we have the room. Boy-oh-boy you better not skip this one, otherwise you just made an expensive headache-inducer. This is where the home consumer does the work. Speaker placement, toe-in, listener position, subwoofer placement if you have it(then 360° phase and level matching with the speakers), room treatment, all need to be thought through for an optimal listening experience.

And then you realise the music you want to listen to is so compressed it might as well be 8bit with some smoothing effects on playback, what used to be a low resolution sRGB picture of a house, is now a 4k ProPhoto RGB picture of a single color square with triangle on top, made in MS paint

@Kris_M:  I heard $2000 power cables can also really open up your wallet, euh, the soundstage.

@galactusgalan4233:  Fantastic! Just found your channel and love it! Subscribed and thank you.

@MichaelW.1980:  I don’t believe in audiophile matters. That’s why I won’t comment any further on it. If they believe in it, who am I to challenge their believes? I wouldn’t challenge anyone’s sexuality or choice in religion either.

@andymouse:  Design your own amp if you feel inclined to gain or already have the skill set, that way it will sound like no other amp and will swear (and believe) it is the best sounding amp on the planet. I know this as a fact !....cheers.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @andymouse: You are oh so close to a topic I have in mind for an upcoming video. DM

@andymouse replies to @andymouse: @@AudioMasterclass Great ! :)

@KeriRautenkranz:  Once, long ago (pre-'95!) I met an older gentleman at dance class who apparently thought it was normal for everyone to have their multi-thousand dollar turntable mounted on stone. Even though we both liked the dance music of the 80s-90s, the typical ballroom or studio had a completely average turntable like my own, at the time. This was my first exposure to an Audiophile, a nice person generally but kind of obsessed. He did not like my appreciation of CDs one bit!

@terryscanlan6738:  I loved your reference to "differences that don't really matter" in a previous post. That is my experience. My brain is capable of finding the essence, the fun, the beauty, in the music whenever I listen to an adequate system. I have several, and while they are different I can enjoy each one. Spending big dollars to get small increases in measurable specs. seems a fool's errand. Are we listening to the gear or the music? (It seems that the engineers have really caught up with our ears. The marketers are not done with our heads.)

@andrewwebb4635 replies to @terryscanlan6738: I like your idea of several mi-fi systems! I’ve long believed all these nuances in reproduction quality due to changes in amps, DAC, wires and so on is more psychological than actual. Of course, you need to have basically good quality gear but I think I’d agree with you that changing rooms or using another setup would make your ears hear afresh sounds and details they have long got used to. There’s another side to this, of course. It may be a lot cheaper to swap your interconnects or even speaker cables than buying a ‘spare’ system!

@tophat27:  I look for qualities that are quantifiable speakers sound different rooms sound different equipment sounds different placement of speakers seating to a lesser degree wires but they still do the hvac system and other outside noises now pick your poison

@alanjerram9258:  Betty scares me a little bit. The ridicule is probably justified, there is a point of diminishing returns but I don't begrudge anyone chasing after the best possible sound. As a person with more limited financial means who loves listening to music, I'd be happy just to get to that diminishing point. I can still find enjoyment in the incremental improvements I can afford and in my not very humble opinion I think I still have some decent ears, even without the best equipment to prove it.

@samiraperi467:  Jitter isn't really relevant at the bitrates used for audio. It wasn't in the 80s, it's even less now.

@jamescarter3196:  I don't understand how there's so many people who act 'angry at audiophiles' in a world where it seems like almost nobody claims to be one. Where are they? Where are they saying the snobby things everybody's responding to? I used to work in a music store and know damn well what 'gear snobs' are and they're extremely plentiful these days (and I think that's the term people should be using), but 'audiophile' is really a weird thing to be angry at. Wasn't CD once considered 'audiophile quality'? Shouldn't it be? How is it that so many people are using digital music systems and many of them grandstand about how great their stuff is, but they still act beleagured about the IDEA of 'audiophiles' somehow? It's such a convoluted subject, and it's just always disappointing to see people getting so weird about a term that describes THEMSELVES while acting like 'it's somebody else and they're unavoidable even if I never encounter any of them in my entire life'. I guess conversations and videos must start somewhere but 'be angry at snobs who barely exist' makes it a lot harder to focus or learn or enjoy anything.

@duncan-rmi:  improve the technical, on-paper quality? no. improve the experience? perhaps. but there's so much dick-waving in 'audiophile' circles that it's impossible to take any of them seriously.

I once saw some giant super-realistic paintings in an art gallery- they were of airstream style caravans, & the detail in the painted reflections on the metallic surfaces was astonishing.
why was it more impressive than a giant photograph? because there were imperfections, & the imperfections made you appreciate the enormous effort that had gone into this laborious reproduction.
but you'll never get an audiophool to admit that. they just want to read you the numbers, while ignoring the cognitive dissonance required to justify their expensive hobby in the face of far cheaper & (again, on-paper) better digital audio. if you try to tell them that you like analogue audio equipment because of its flaws, they suddenly lose any sense of humour they may once have had. 😕

@420gzuz:  i'm just an autistic guy who taught myself some pretty crazy tricks that work wonders in the realm of remastering and bootleg restorations but i remain idiotic enough to attempt these tricks without anything but crappy laptop speakers

@schemkesa:  Great opinion. Audiophile seem to think speakercables can make the sound better.... even lifting them of the floor 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

@PiotrBarcz:  You're technical assistant is an AI generated image, how quaint, I guess it does drive the joke a bit better though xD

@closereveryday:  In some cases like digital clipping, in orher cases like improved opamp slew rate ( but mostly that is just a better resolution of what could be considered already present) just not easily revealed.
Other Examples:Intranarual crosstalk , and Holographic imaging details

@diemturner5755 replies to @closereveryday: lol

@4ujase:  That AI female, has ghastly American accent, hearing her/she (pronouns) has neutered all my audiophile aspirations.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @4ujase: Technically, being totally AI generated, Betty is an 'it'. Her character though prefers the regular she/her. I'll be in trouble if I ever get that wrong. DM

@Wizardofgosz:  Ethan Winer showed quite clearly that any artifacts from not dithering when going from 24 to 16 bits is so far in the noise floor it can't be heard. So you can scratch that off your list as well.

He has a cool video he presented at AES about "Audio Myths." he also addressed the jitter thing. Same phenomenon. Too far into the noise floor to be heard.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @Wizardofgosz: Problems due to not dithering 16-bit may be very low in level, but in my video the benefit of dither for dynamic range is clear. Personally, for 16-bit I'm on the side of dither. DM

@Wizardofgosz replies to @Wizardofgosz: @Audio Masterclass I'll have to watch the video, because while I'm mastering I certainly choose dithering with shaped noise, but I'm not convinced it's necessary at all. Maybe you found the example where you can hear it, I'll have to check.

@Wizardofgosz:  Narcissism is rampant in the audiophool circles.

@jchervella8150:  Sound technicians, for many years now, have been trained to make recordings sound pleasant when listened to with headphones on a smartphone. They only care that the music has a balanced and compressed frequency spectrum as much as possible so that it sounds as high as possible. At no time are other factors such as the recreation of the sound scene taken into account. Actually, almost all music (except classical music) is recorded in false stereo, as they are just separate mono tracks, layered in the mix from left to right with the pan control. Yes, in pop music everything is an artifice, in jazz and classical it is more feasible to record the group in their space, so hi-fi makes real sense to me when it comes to reproducing acoustic music naturally. That's one of the reasons why any Rudy Van Gelder jazz recording from the 50s (yes, recorded without multitracking, in analog and with tube electronics) sounds much more real when played back on a good hifi system than any recording. made in ProTools, without noise and without distortion. Indeed, the studio technicians do not consider the time domain at all, only the frequency domain. Likewise, music is not a standing wave, and therefore, although we use the Fourier Transform to analyze its behavior, the equipment (the electronic components that make it up) actually spend more time working in the transient regime when playing music ( is studied with the Laplace Transform) than in the permanent regime. This is why two amps that have the same noise, frequency response, and damping factor will sound identical when playing a sine wave, but different when playing music (with stops and starts, pulses, rests, etc.)

@diemturner5755 replies to @jchervella8150: lol

@curioustraveler1390:  Burning question...If everything that can be measured is the same, can two components sound different?

@AudioMasterclass replies to @curioustraveler1390: This is the question we keep asking. DM

@curioustraveler1390 replies to @curioustraveler1390: @Audio Masterclass  Given your experience, which is likely much more than the average person, what are your thoughts?

@AudioMasterclass replies to @curioustraveler1390: @Curious Traveler My thoughts are in the video. When I have more, or different, thoughts, I'll make another video. DM

@carlitomelon4610:  I would happily have your assistant read stereophile to me...
I quit my free subscription a couple of years ago.
Lost patience with the snobby pricetag listeners.
The down to earth
Herb Reichert endorsed kef's flagship ls50s as worthy & reasonably priced monitors. He also recommended the Magnepan LRS
And John Atkinson bought a pair of Ls50s
These are now my reference speaker systems with pairs of REL subs.
It's not just about frequency response and distortion when it comes to music reproduction.
I love the recreation of the hall acoustic and imaging.

@mekore:  even for non flat room-system frequency response, my ears gets accustomed fast.. and if I subjectively like the said non-flatness then so be it😅 I really thought I would keep on upgrading but just stop because I think I like my current system-room the way it is. I had already put aside the budget for whole new heavily treated room with soffit mounted monitors, but when I go around testing I just like my current better so why bother

@AudioMasterclass replies to @mekore: As in many aspects of life, it's good to know when to stop. DM

@nicoras8803:  I think you should define improve. If someone have one foot, then two feet might definitely an improvement in walking, but would three feet improve it more, or 10 feet for that matter?

@6doublefive3two1:  As an aspiring audiophile I'd believe you more if Betty's stereo image were more robust. She's American after all.

@englishdeltajazz:  So you believe that all adequate systems which measure perfectly sound the same? How quaint.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @englishdeltajazz: If Einstein could believe in a hidden variable, then yes I believe this should be so. Otherwise there's something wrong with the measurements or measurement methods. DM

@englishdeltajazz replies to @englishdeltajazz: ​@Audio Masterclass "Believe those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it"

@glenlapwing8468:  They don’t have better hearing than anyone else, they just hear more music on their $100,000 speakers, amps & turntables & so would you

@websdaleandrew:  Do top audiophiles listen to top audio files.

@richsherman3673:  Awesome. You are spot on. I just play music and enjoy it. The equipment I use delivers each a version of the recording. No worries as I focus on the Music, not the Gear.

@MostlyBuicks:  It isn't hearing, it is paying attention to what most people are not trained to nor interested in hearing. It is not hearing, it is listening.

@evenblackercrow4476:  she's beautiful

@jeremythornton433:  Audiophiles often make me laugh. I have a friend who is one. He complained that one set of high end speakers was "too forward". whatever that means. Here's the thing though. Live music is "forward"! When you go to a show or club, the live music is forward. Punchy, it's supposed to be. I know, I'm a musician and I also own a recording studio. The funny thing is, most studios have less expensive equipment than the high end audiophiles own. Well, at least least the rich ones.

@kenhurstmedia:  You are expressing exactly what I've been thinking lately after hearing and reading so many audio "experts" go on and on with ridiculous verbal descriptions of what they think is good or is bad about an audio component. It leads me to think that they have little understanding of audio and of how to express themselves in words.

@josiahferrell5022:  Personally, I simply have an issue with the term "audiophile" seemingly only applying to the concept of spending a lot of money on equipment. Audio refers to sound, not gear.

An audiophile is someone who's appreciation of music appears to be stronger than the average person. There may be ways to demonstrate this or there may not be. For example: myself. I can appreciate pretty much all genres of music and when I sit down and really pay attention to what I'm listening to, there is a tendency towards moments of strong neurological/physiological response.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @josiahferrell5022: I don't disagree but the meaning of these terms tend to gravitate towards usage. has 'audiophile' as "a person who is especially interested in high-fidelity sound reproduction" so by this definition it isn't necessary to spend a lot of money - just have an interest. DM

@dancemusicorganisation:  Obviously age can play a part, as you get older your ears hear less, as you state, so I'm sure on some expensive equipment, a much younger person than me would hear more. Then there is also SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) to consider, as many on the spectrum have sensory issues which can not only be over-sensitivity to heat, light, smell, touch, taste, but also sound. So it is totally possible and very likely for a much younger person than me who has SPD, to be hearing far more than the majority of people. Some people actually see colours associated with sounds, so not only hear more but actually see more than most people. Of course there are those who simply want to feel / seem superior to others or simply feel the need to justify the amount of money they spent on their equipment. At the end of the day everyone's hearing is different, as is their taste in music, so most of this is totally subjective and some is not possible to be measured by any equipment. If someone claims to see colours in sound, I can only do one of two things, believe them or not believe them, there is no way I can prove it either way!

@johnmeredith3368 replies to @dancemusicorganisation: I must point out that seeing colours with sound is well established as purely a characteristic of some minds and has no direct connection to sound quality.

@dancemusicorganisation replies to @dancemusicorganisation: @John Meredith You can't state that for a fact! As someone with SPD, I am hypersensitive to sound, and therefore hear more that can be quantified as better sound quality in certain circumstances. I suggest you stop reading nonsense about people on the spectrum and start listening to what people on the spectrum actually say!

@StylusDrop:  You can have two different amplifiers, for example, that measure identically but sound rather different. Everything cannot be measured.

@tobiaxelsson:  As a former EMI measurement engineer I believe a big reason for all the debate is that a lot of people are unaware about frequency domain and time domain as in the former effects being mostly unknown/misunderstood and how they transfer in between ie a frequency response measurement won't properly catch the effects in time domain. Good example of this is how random jitter looks like noise in the frequency domain, while is actually a time domain distortion, and the same effects also apply to analog. The reason being that the frequency domain is based on component waves that are continuous (thus time is no longer in the measurement other than phase since phase is only equal to time in continuous waves) and simply put don't contain the time component. Time domain is quite a bit more difficult to properly measure, especially waves in a 3D space, so it's quite overlooked compared to frequency spectrums. My personal analogy is that frequency domain is a bit like engines in cars (quite easy to measure) while time domain is more like a cars handling (quite difficult to objectively measure and thereby a lot of BS in the industry, but still a real thing).

@AudioMasterclass replies to @tobiaxelsson: I'm going to read this before I go to sleep and let my subconscious work on it overnight so I understand it in the morning. DM

@jchervella8150 replies to @tobiaxelsson: Sound technicians, for many years now, have been trained to make recordings sound pleasant when listened to with headphones on a smartphone. They only care that the music has a balanced and compressed frequency spectrum as much as possible so that it sounds as high as possible. At no time are other factors such as the recreation of the sound scene taken into account. Actually, almost all music (except classical music) is recorded in false stereo, as they are just separate mono tracks, layered in the mix from left to right with the pan control. Yes, in pop music everything is an artifice, in jazz and classical it is more feasible to record the group in their space, so hi-fi makes real sense to me when it comes to reproducing acoustic music naturally. That's one of the reasons why any Rudy Van Gelder jazz recording from the 50s (yes, recorded without multitracking, in analog and with tube electronics) sounds much more real when played back on a good hifi system than any recording. made in ProTools, without noise and without distortion. Indeed, the studio technicians do not consider the time domain at all, only the frequency domain. Likewise, music is not a standing wave, and therefore, although we use the Fourier Transform to analyze its behavior, the equipment (the electronic components that make it up) actually spend more time working in the transient regime when playing music ( is studied with the Laplace Transform) than in the permanent regime. This is why two amps that have the same noise, frequency response, and damping factor will sound identical when playing a sine wave, but different when playing music (with stops and starts, pulses, rests, etc.)

@bradt.3555:  Audiophiles should spend some money on decreasing their ego rather than non exsistent distortion. I doubt their hearing but they have mastered the art of flowery meaningless adjectives.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @bradt.3555: Thank you for your comment, which I appreciate. I would say however that the flowery adjectives mainly come from reviewers, commentators, and hi-fi 'gurus'. There are people out there who just get on with the job of enjoying hi-fi and I admire them for that. DM

@melaniezette886:  I enjoy listening to loudspeakers, they all sound different

@AudioMasterclass replies to @melaniezette886: You raise a good point. My Yamaha NS-10M Studios vs. my B&W 801's vs. my bedroom hi-fi Sonab OA2's. I enjoy them all. The Sonabs are a little raspy but I guess that's what fifty years of age can do. DM

@josephkosak1675:  I think they are just using 'a smidgeon of creativity' with their essay.

@matty74123:  if you keep your speaker cables lifted off the floor the system sounds better, but one needs to spend several thousand dollars to get the right speaker cable lifters, the metal has to be forged by elf virgins from the volcano in Mt Doom

@AudioMasterclass replies to @matty74123: I agree, and your listening sofa should have feet made from pingo wood tipped with industrial diamonds. DM

@j.t.cooper2963:  "Audiophiles" are mentally disturbed. They think they can hear the slightest things all the while ignoring the sonic imperfections of vinyl.

@ghost500e:  Im priveliged enough to have heared the difference of high end speakers compared to normal sub 1000$ bullshit speakers.
Yeas there is a very very big difference between a 100K$ system and a 10k$ system i kid you not.
If you got the money, then spend it.

@92trdman:  The way I see the so called audiophile, the use of expensive materials and chasing after perfection are most common thing... And then the designed which every over engineering pushing the limit as high as possible...(one day somebody will tells that equipment chassis made from outta space's rock ! To achieved the best damping factor!

@DigbyOdel-et3xx:  If you just spent say $10,000 on a turntable you already know its sounds better without every plugging it in and actually listening to it.

That is what audiophiles know. I was falling into the audiophile end of the swimming pool so to speak. Spent more money than I should especially on vinyl playback. But I inevitably stopped before spending a King's ransom endlessly on vinyl playback.

I eventually walked away from vinyl playback and re-engaged my CD playback to just enjoy my CD collection going back as early adopter in the mid 80's.

I stopped drinking the audiophile and notably vinyl Koolaid and accepted truth that in general CD playback mops the floor with vinyl playback.

@1ralton1:  In answer to your final question:- To "Improve" a sound is a completely subjective thing. A "Sound" comprises of many different artifacts as I'm sure you know. And it also depends how good or bad the "Sound" was to begin with. Again, as I'm sure you're aware, there are already many digital devices which can distinctly improve the sound of a poor recording. But when it comes to "treating" a sound produced by a modern day studio, what comes from that "treatment" may well be consider to many as simply that. It might be different but not everyone may perceive that as being better.?

@1ralton1:  I agree, I've been enjoying hifi for decades and I find I don't need equipment worth silly money to obtain really enjoyable and often quite analytical detail and a tonally neutral sound. In fact some of the best audio experiences I've had were on systems I had decades ago on a turntable I made myself with an amplifier worth about £100 through cheap speaker cable to a pair of budget 2 way bookshelf speakers. But surely you can't make the assumption that someone who can afford expensive hi fi has superior hearing? In some ways one can draw the opposite conclusion. Those with better hearing are able to understand more where audible problems exist in a given system and are better equipped to solve the problem more effectively and efficiently rather than just throwing silly amounts of money in building a hi fi system in the hope that its bound to have a positive effect!!??

@latheofheaven1017:  I do wonder with audiophile equipment reviews that they seem to be exercises in creative writing more than anything else. What does '...a surgical view of the music that was only revealing, never analytical' even mean?

@diemturner5755 replies to @latheofheaven1017: Precisely. It's fanciful gobbledygook that says nothing. I'm always reminded of art critics when I hear them talk. Their, ahem, interpretation of a blank canvas is quite something.

@mijorchard6206:  The audiophiles' contempt for any form of blind testing tells you everything you need to know about their brand of woo.

@micht6888:  My ears ring constantly, and loud. So there's no audiophile level equipment for this guy, but a mid level system I can hear the difference between cheap stuff and a mid systems. My brother is a an audiophile junky, he gets made when I tell him I cant hear the difference from my set up. HAHA.

@commodoor646:  And what does the artist say about improving the sound ? And at what point will technological advance exceed the ability of the human ear to detect technological corrections. And then there are the artists who prefer analog limitations, such as an analog synth versus a digital synth, or a guitarist preference for an valve amp (tubes) versus solid state, or even modeled amplification. Or what about a producer quantizing either time or pitch? James Brown's music sped up and slowed down. Is this humanized variation in speed a benefit or a detriment to the performance and does it demand quantization? Does technology play a role in homogenizing what we hear to an algorithm that dictates the degree of so-called perfection"? If indeed technological improvements can correct or improve a performance, recording, or playback, are we better off for losing our human imperfections? The beauty is often in the imperfections.

@michaeltablet8577:  I can hear a gnat fart at a half mile and can tell if it was flat or sharp. I also have a bridge for sale in San Francisco.

@pauldionne2884:  I'm 62 and the upper limit of my hearing is now about 13K. I've always been into electronics and make my living testing semiconductors. I've also a musician finishing up 20 years in a popular wedding band. I remember getting into electronics because I was curious about Hi Fi but of course I could never afford cool stuff when I was starting out. Thank GOD! I surely would have wasted more money than I did. I always had mid grade consumer stuff that served me well. Now I can afford whatever I want but still don't indulge in very hi end gear. As a technician I can tell you that there is nothing about anything electronic that can't be measured directly or indirectly. The data collected on a simple op amp chip would blow you away starting with the basic menu of analog puzzle pieces that make up the chip then the chip functionality under stress power and load conditions at various temperatures. While I'm attracted to your beautiful AI assistant when she starts babbling audiophile nonsense it's a sign she has been mis-programmed!

@Think-Tank_Denkfabrik:  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.

@AudioMasterclass 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

@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...

@FiddlingCPA:  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.

@75eszhgclk:  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.

@thomasheimer3578:  Audiphiles are crazy people, they spend a fortune for the perfect sound but in the end they may rather unmask flaws in the mix.

@enewhuis:  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

@markboyle9941:  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.

@Think-Tank_Denkfabrik replies to @markboyle9941: Thats true, but but you're not going to deny that different sources have different quality, are you?

@latheofheaven1017 replies to @markboyle9941: Imagine the job of a reviewer though. After the fiftieth Pair of speakers, amplifier, turntable etc. has passed in front of you, and they're all really good, how do you say something different? How do you say, "Yup. Clear stereo image, full frequency response, undistorted with clear transients" over and over unless you find new ways to say it? The magazine or website needs to keep its readership, and you need to keep your job!

@stephenowen5229:  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.

@JeffWernerIthacaNY:  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!

@rabarebra replies to @JeffWernerIthacaNY: Dear God how little insightful many of you are. 🙈

@diemturner5755 replies to @JeffWernerIthacaNY: @@rabarebra Dear God, how poor Engrish some of you are.

@graemejwsmith:  🤣🤣🤣🤣

@jasonhilliker2266:  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.

@Think-Tank_Denkfabrik replies to @jasonhilliker2266: 100% agree

@MostlyBuicks replies to @jasonhilliker2266: So you are an audiophile. Why deny it? What does it need to have a negative connotation.

@pedrocols replies to @jasonhilliker2266: @@MostlyBuicksThat's exactly the point mate. What makes you an audiophile? What make them think they can hear things in ways nobody else can?

@MostlyBuicks replies to @jasonhilliker2266: @@pedrocols Some people think to be an audiophile requires super hearing. An audiophile is someone who desires and appreciates accurate sound reproduction. It is a hobby, not a capability. And it is not about hearing, it is about listening. Some care some couldn't care less, just like any hobby. I do not care about wine tasting. But I will acknowledge there are those who can pick up nuances of wine that I do not even care to try to understand.

@pedrocols replies to @jasonhilliker2266: @@MostlyBuicks I am sure that you are fully aware that Accurate sound reproduction is impossible.

@atomkraftteddy:  Snakeoil unlimited!

@trilobit4:  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.

@carlosw1687:  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.

@andreatomassini5521 replies to @kadelbach63: Haha...true

@cisco1138 replies to @kadelbach63: Then there is the $180 for a 2 meter length of AC power cable between the components and the wall outlet. I'm told that discarding the included AC cable and replacing it with these cables will improve sound quality because the long grain copper conductors in these are all Direction-Controlled to assure induced noise is dissipated and drained properly.
Hmmm, that only fixes the last 2 meters, what about the 50' of romex between the circuit breaker and wall outlet?

@TerryClarkAccordioncrazy replies to @kadelbach63: @Cisco Isoffthegrid Fancy mains cables are nonsense sold on a misunderstood idea of how power supplies work. I have designed PSUs for a living and the mains cable makes zero difference to the output unless it has such a high impedance that it's literally broken.

@TerryClarkAccordioncrazy replies to @kadelbach63: If someone could explain how a cable carrying an alternating signal can be directional I'd love to hear it.

@RickRoberts_simplyrick replies to @kadelbach63: Drive a mini van. You can get around on the highway just fine, a BMW M5 won't be a better experience and more capable of speed and handling for you. For me, it will be significantly more capable. Now just enjoy your Big Mac, you won't know it from a fine dining experience at all. Take that to every other experience in your life. Ignorant bliss...

@phillipkelly736:  A tube monoblocks play better than anything iv heard. Cheap Chinese one's too. Haha

@patthewoodboy:  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 :)

@nomis4913:  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.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @nomis4913: 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

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

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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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