Pearls of Wisdom-4


Active Member
Aug 31, 2006
(....Continued from Part-3)

  • If you are the top monkey of Hi-Fi ladder , all you see is all sorts of faces shouting, crying, fretting, Whining, smiling when you look down.But if you are not the top monkey, all you see when you look up are a##holes.
  • Ignore what other people say; if it sounds good to you it is good. Be it hardware or music, your tastes and preferences are the only ones that matter. Dont listen to people who say your stuff is garbage, Keep in mind there are a lot of stubborn, cynical, rude, and self righteous people.
  • Just like musical taste, you will probably develop a taste for different products that have their own musical signatures. The bottom end slam heard from transistors or the velvety soft sounds of set amps are available,(to mention only two). It can take years to learn where your tastes truly lie.
  • Decide what level of system you want and can afford (lots of soul searching here). Then decide what type of sound you are after (lots of auditioning here). Pick up all of your components and cables to match the level and sound you are after. Balance your investments (don't go with the $1000 cables and a $500 amp or $5000 amp and $10 cables). Buy used (exceptions can be made for speakers). Start listening (once the system is assembled). Fell free to try out tweaks, swap components, etc. Most important: buy lots more music and have fun!!!
  • Anyone who has spent money on line conditioners, power cords and expensive speaker cables will defend it to the death. Don't waste time talking sense or science to them. Let them be delusional and happy.
  • Your listening room is even more important. Good & correct treatment of it will allow you to maximize what you presently have. Poor acoustics [listening room] can break an otherwise excellent speaker. Match the speaker to the venue for best results.
  • Set a realistic budgetand Re-adjust your budget from time to time.
  • Learn to listen, and listen to as many system's as possible.
  • Forgive yourself the indulgence, it's too late, so enjoy the sweet music!
  • Beat the kids BEFORE they touch the system.
  • Listening over and over, reading, listening to dealers and audiophiles and re-listening, getting frustrated and re-excited. Discovered incredible tone, then discovered decay, space, dynamics. The first was tone. The second was soundstage. The third was quality bass, then extreme low frequency in musical context. Initial impressions soon went completely out the window and I had no idea what was real or what I liked. I finally heard a planner set up done correctly and "oh my god" now I get the planner thing (but still could not live without off-axis response.) I finally heard a tube set-up that blew my mind with richness and clarity, again "oh my god" (but I knew I still could not live without the frequency extremes and dynamic speed.) on and on and on.

  • Do not set your Audio Beliefs in "stone" , think of them as "temporary" . There are many things I believed 3-5 years ago, that either technology or just experience has taught me otherwise. I have seen too many friends defend their beliefs to the death and miss out on new experiences .Once you think you know it all you are locked up to any new ideas and concepts. Keep an open mind on everything. You might be surprised with the results!

  • Try these 5 first.

    1.Open a term deposit account before your money is all gone.
    2.Sell all your stuffs before your wife divorce you.
    3.Run away from this forum, don't even go online anymore.
    4.Try to listen to noisy music and learn to appreciate it.
    5.Don't check mail anymore, let your wife do it.

    If you can't do the above 5, try the following 5.

    1.Renovate the house before the room treatments dominate it
    2.Get rid of your heater as soon as you purchase a class A tube amp.
    3.Before your visitors ask, remind them that the cables are not water hoses and the big amp you have is not a mini washing machine
    4.Get some ear plugs in case of a complaint or...
    5.Buy some tape to seal your wife's mouth

  • The music you listen to and you what sounds good to you is the foundation. The room (size, neighbors, spouse) are the next important. Buy the best speakers you can afford. Speakers are the hardest and most expensive thing to do right. Get a bigger amp than you need. Go solid state unless you have lots of $$.There is a difference in CD players, amps, tubes, etc., but everything above has to work first. Source is cheapest to get right (except turntables).
  • Take your time to choose and keep organized. At least three to four months allows for good research and plenty of time to listen to things. It is also fun to search for various components and learn about the different nuances of each. As buying hi-end equipment is a big investment and there is a lot of equipment out there to choose from, take notes or do some sort of rating system. Personally, I rate on themes such as "emotional impact" or "goose bumps" in addition to "soundstage", "transparency", and "musicality."
  • Audition speakers (or other components) in your home for as long as possible. Factors such as your mood, time of day, or even being hungry can influence your perception at any given time. Having the component in your home for several days or more allows you get to know the component in the confines of your room and equipment, which is likely much different from the sellers. If you fall in love with a piece, its time to buy, unless you love two of the contenders.
  • If there is a tie between two or more components, try to audition them blind - if possible. This is difficult to do, but worth the hassle, and can only work if you are choosing between several components at the same store (e.g., different models of a CD player) or amongst various friends components. Not knowing which one of the two or three contending components that you are hearing removes any bias that you might have formed. (Of course, someone will need to tell you later which was component A, B or C.) In essence this makes your choice cleaner and based on your reaction only to the sound. It is easy to become influenced by "expert" salespersons, a friends opinion, or some other factor.
  • Don't listen to salespersons opinions about equipment that they don't sell. I've experienced too many salespersons subtly or blatantly putting down perfectly good equipment. (E.g., one guy told me that he was "embarrassed" by the fact that had previously sold B & W speakers (which I mentioned that I had auditioned). This can be a manipulative strategy designed to create doubt about the other product.) The best salespersons have just let me listen and decide for myself, or may discuss the qualities of their product. If a salesperson tells you something "bad' about the competitors equipment, it's probably best to assume that s/he doesn't really have your best interest in mind.
  • Use several different types of music during auditions, and use the same pieces for each audition. Select amongst songs that you know very well. I like to use instrumental jazz, good male and female vocalists, classical, and rock and roll. This helps to capture the range, dynamics, and emotional impact of the component that your listening to. Ultimately, in my opinion, it is our emotional response to the music reproduced by the various components that makes buying audio equipment worthwhile.
  • The acoustical environment that the recording was done in. Is the room alive, dead or some where in between. Are the artists in there own rooms in the studio where each has its own acoustic signature. Can you tell if a kick drum has the back cut out, does it have a blanket or foam in it, is it reflecting and reverberating from the paint on the walls, is the mic in the room picking up those reflections or is there acoustical foam absorbing the snare softening the sound. Or are the musicians in a single room where the main mic picks up the sonic signature of the other instruments within a given room. How has the engineer set instruments (The human voice is also an instrument) within the sound stage. Is the engineer affecting the tone of the instruments through the board or is the engineer working with the artist to achieve the tone they are after in a given song. If you have not gotten it at this point I recommend investing in a good boom box Phillips would do nicely.

  • Your ears should not hurt even during long loud listening sessions. If they do "THE TONE OF THE RECORDING IS DONE IN SUCH A WAY AS TO PROVIDE A BRIGHT HARSH SOUND" In other words what equipment was used by the sound engineer (Ears are equipment) does the engineer have hearing damage at certain frequency ranges. Ok for those that have hung on this long I assume you get it, now it is time to accept the following realities.
  • Ok learn what quality recordings and tone are all about. What are the artist and engineer trying to achieve. What equipment and environment were used. Audiophiles IMHO are engineers whether we want to admit it or not. Trying to achieve and accurate reproduction of the recorded music. If you are easily offend read no further.

  • The musical reproduction system is only as good as the sum of its components. (The Human Ear is one of them!), the room is a component. Without good listening habbits and the right environment within which the reproduction of music is to be done, it doesn't matter how much you spend on what. Now lets see is the problem the recording engineer or the reproduction engineer.
(...... To be continued in Part-5 )
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