Once more unto the breach...

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Mr. Big

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #60 on: 17 May 2022, 02:26 pm »
Good stuff.

Mr. Big

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #61 on: 17 May 2022, 02:27 pm »

ric

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #62 on: 18 May 2022, 01:59 pm »
Yes, I too have more or less (hint, hint) reached a point where the desire to improve has waned, and as long as I am still getting surprised by my system in a good way, no recent upgrades.
But--once I decided on these speakers (Spatial), and was happy with cables, amp, dac, TT, sub, I set about putting IsoAcoustics under everything (literally) and tweeked with Synergistic, Bybee, Quantum Science (tweek geek) and in the midst, never let go of my DIY Hallographs--still a critical part.
In a way it's a relief not to be consumed with the money onion and sit and listen with a critical ear, made moot by the system at hand.

radarnyc

Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #63 on: 18 May 2022, 08:18 pm »
Fantastic intro post btw; you came out swinging! I have the X5s and I've happily been using it with the LTA Z10. I just went for the Ultralinear (to get the 5% bump? 0%?; TBD!) so I just posted my Z10 for sale if you're interested.
https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649860828-linear-tube-audio-lta-z10-integrated-upgraded-input-tubes/

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #64 on: 19 May 2022, 04:36 pm »
Fantastic intro post btw; you came out swinging! I have the X5s and I've happily been using it with the LTA Z10. I just went for the Ultralinear (to get the 5% bump? 0%?; TBD!) so I just posted my Z10 for sale if you're interested.
https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649860828-linear-tube-audio-lta-z10-integrated-upgraded-input-tubes/

Thanks for the kind words and the offer, but I think I'm holding out for either a Don Sachs Vahalla or Atma-Sphere S-30, both of which are what I originally heard driving the X5s and which combos compelled me to lay out for the X5s.  I know, or I'm pretty sure, that Clayton has used the Z10 to show the X5s at shows, so I have no doubt it's a good amp for the job.  I've just got it stuck in my head to go with the Valhalla or S-30, partly, I guess, because I've heard them both and loved them both, so I have at least some sense of surety I'll be happy with what I get, which, as we all know, is not always, or even typically, possible in this pursuit.  But many thanks for the offer.  Best of luck with the sale - I'm sure you'll have no trouble selling it - and with the new amp.  Regardless of the percentage of improvement (and I doubt seriously it won't be clearly noticeable), new gear is always a blast.  Thanks again.

Josh

Daryl Zero

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #65 on: 19 May 2022, 05:45 pm »
I think this thread is getting too big for its breaches.

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #66 on: 19 May 2022, 06:03 pm »
Yes, that's why I wrote this:
Once upon a time, there was an audiophile, although some would call him an audiophoole. One day, as he (it's almost always a he) was out shopping for new audio equipment (something he thought about a lot) he came across a unique audio product known as the money onion. Now this money onion could only be purchased with said purchase tied to his bank account. The money onion worked like this, any time you wanted to hear an improvement (something the audiophile wanted badly) in sound, all he would do is peel back some of the money onion, and as layers of money were shed off from his bank account, the sound got better and better!
   Finally, the audiophile realized he never had to buy another audio product ever again! All he had to do was take layers off the money onion and voila, sound improvement! But sadly, there was a flaw in using the money onion--it's center could never be reached!
    The audiophile stripped layer after layer, and as he did, his bank account got smaller and smaller, but somehow it didn't matter to him that he would never get to the center of the money onion, even though in his heart of hearts he longed for what reaching the center would sound like. Audiophiles would even call this the "phantom center", for obvious reasons.
     In the mean time, there was that thrill every time a layer was removed. Each improvement in sound was so fulfilling, he wanted to tell all his non audiophile friends, did you hear that! Wow! Fantastic! But they didn't hear what he was hearing and scoffed at his waning bank account. Only his audiophile friends knew what he was talking about, but they had their own money onions and seemed immersed in their own layers being removed.
   It was in this way that the money onion brought a tear to the audiophile's eye. There was something about the sound, THE SOUND, THE IMPROVEMENT OF SOUND! LAYERS!
   Yes, the money onion was considered by many to be the greatest single audiophile product ever made--until they came out with the money onion II.
    But that's another story.


This parable is well-done and clever and funny (phantom center - ho!), and I know it's both a constant lament and regular joke shared among audiophiles at their own, yes, expense.  But, at the risk of curmudgeonly side-stepping the joke, I think its moral disregards or mischaracterizes the study and pursuit of gear as an endeavor unto itself.  I know I'm repeating myself, but few I've met seem willing to acknowledge or admit to this seemingly less noble, less, call it spiritual, more materialistic side of the hifi hobby.  Take these forums for example.  While they're a pragmatic source of information, they're also rewarding just to read and participate in (for some), and that is a pastime separate from, though clearly connected to, listening to music.  This coincides with study or research in general.  It's fun and instructive to learn about gear, even gear you may never own.  And there's a very real gratification in learning how something works, how ultra-linear vs triode vs SET works (none of which I pretend to grasp, though I still enjoy reading about them).  Again, this is connected to, but separate from the enjoyment of music.  I also think, for the sake of the joke, it renders audiophiles in a more compulsive light than they truly deserve.  Do we spend more money on hifi than people not interested in such things?  Of course.  But people spend money on all sorts of things that others would consider extravagant to the point of, at the very least, idiocy: golf clubs, cars, motorcycles, art, shoes, Hummel figurines.  And, while I know we love to make much of our profligacy, all the audiophiles I've met and talked with can either well-afford the hobby or, full of regret, spend within their means.  I've yet to meet an audiophile compulsive in the same sense of a compulsive gambler, spending his wages, savings, life insurance policy, children's college fund to support his habit.  I suspect more audiophiles shed tears for what's beyond their reach than at having reduced themselves to penury.  Lastly, the gear.  The stuff.  The material goods.  The pleasure taken in the objects themselves, even when they're sitting silent.  The pleasure and satisfaction in ownership.  The Money Onion presupposes none of those things matter or are viable, fully rewarding concerns and pursuits in themselves.  I, for one, and maybe I'm the only one, had I the chance to improve my music via the Money Onion (or even the Money Onion II), I'd turn it down.  The Money Onion robs one of searching through, looking at, buying, bringing home or having delivered, and, finally, owning all that lovely gear. 

I fully realize I'm the guy spoiling the joke by needlessly explaining it or questioning its logic - you can imagine how fun I am at parties - but I do wonder at all the protestations that these pursuits are finally an audiofool's errand, and of the need to get off the merry-go-round or to stop chasing one's tail, and to simply sit and enjoy the music.  I do!  I listen!  I swear it!  That doesn't mean all the other parts of the hobby can't be, if not an equal (though there's no reason why not an equal) than a tremendous, legitimate source of satisfaction and gratification.  Of course, if those aspects of the hobby no longer bring you any pleasure, then it makes perfect sense not to do them.  But the characterization of those aspects other than the listening - the reading about, the gear searching, the forums, the tube rolling, the cable swapping, the gear changing - to describe these things as tail chasing and merry-go-rounding seems to me to do them an injustice and to obviate their legitimate pursuit and rewards.  I suppose someone who's grown up and put away such childish things might say I protest too much.  It's an impossible charge to defend.  I've only been at this for 12 years or so.  Check back with me in 20 years and maybe I'll have changed my tune.

Josh 

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #67 on: 19 May 2022, 06:04 pm »
I think this thread is getting too big for its breaches.

Mea culpa.

Daryl Zero

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #68 on: 19 May 2022, 11:47 pm »
Mea culpa.

Just a joke I couldn't resist.

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #69 on: 20 May 2022, 02:35 pm »
Just a joke I couldn't resist.


I don’t blame you. Some things just beg to be spoofed. I’m a big believer in taking a little air out of the balloon sometimes, being completely cognizant of my own tendency toward over-inflation.

ric

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #70 on: 20 May 2022, 02:51 pm »
Yes, me thinks you (might) protest too much, BUT, I think we may be comparing apples and oranges, mine more on the macro side, and yours more on the micro. Part of my parable protest, is not to put down the listener or what happens internally for him (or her), but I am really taking a swing at the commercial side of this hobby, in particular the magazines where practically every new piece of equipment is awesome, improved, better than before and of course more expensive.
     Listening to and appreciating music in and of itself whether on cheap headphones or multi buck platforms, is an end unto itself. Then came the audiophile and gleaming fetishistic pieces of audiophile gear. To separate the two, is the rub.
    There are people that buy expensive pieces of equipment that (I assume) care less about the sound, and more about the look and cost, and technology of the product, perhaps as more of status symbol than us (sensitive listeners).
   It is more in this vein that the money onion--the self perpetuating continual sound improvement and money sink, is dedicated to, which has less to do with the listener and more with the capitalistic marketing that we are all subject to.
    And of course having this type of forum to debate the money onion is great fun, thanks for engaging!

DBT AUDIO

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #71 on: 20 May 2022, 03:30 pm »
   It is more in this vein that the money onion--the self perpetuating continual sound improvement and money sink, is dedicated to, which has less to do with the listener and more with the capitalistic marketing that we are all subject to.
Bingo!

Mr. Big

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #72 on: 21 May 2022, 02:49 pm »
Yes, me thinks you (might) protest too much, BUT, I think we may be comparing apples and oranges, mine more on the macro side, and yours more on the micro. Part of my parable protest, is not to put down the listener or what happens internally for him (or her), but I am really taking a swing at the commercial side of this hobby, in particular the magazines where practically every new piece of equipment is awesome, improved, better than before and of course more expensive.
     Listening to and appreciating music in and of itself whether on cheap headphones or multi buck platforms, is an end unto itself. Then came the audiophile and gleaming fetishistic pieces of audiophile gear. To separate the two, is the rub.
    There are people that buy expensive pieces of equipment that (I assume) care less about the sound, and more about the look and cost, and technology of the product, perhaps as more of status symbol than us (sensitive listeners).
   It is more in this vein that the money onion--the self-perpetuating continual sound improvement and money sink, is dedicated to, which has less to do with the listener and more with the capitalistic marketing that we are all subject to.
    And of course, having this type of forum to debate the money onion is great fun, thanks for engaging!

A lot of gear is marketed towards the very well-off, and yes it is status and looks they are paying for, they want the look when people come into their rooms, got zip to do with just the music. I heard great systems 30 years ago that sounded like real musicians in your room than I do today and many audio store systems in the 100K+ range I have heard, they do look more impressive though.

I make good money and I have been priced out for the gear magazines rave about monthly. The reality is my whole family including in-laws and their kids' number 125 or more now, ages now between 30-88 not counting their kids and grandkids, and not one as a music system of the cost of my one power cord, not even close, this always gives me a perspective of what I been able to build over 42 years in this hobby, and all the gear I went through from tubes to solid-state, vinyl to CD's and tube amps to solid-state amps and preamps. So I am blessed, I also will no longer subscribe to any of the audio magazines after they run out, I thumb through them, they hold no interest and really are an arm of the manufacturers to promote sales of gear I would not be willing to pay for with more responsibilities where to spend my money, older and wiser today.

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #73 on: 21 May 2022, 09:10 pm »
Yes, me thinks you (might) protest too much, BUT, I think we may be comparing apples and oranges, mine more on the macro side, and yours more on the micro. Part of my parable protest, is not to put down the listener or what happens internally for him (or her), but I am really taking a swing at the commercial side of this hobby, in particular the magazines where practically every new piece of equipment is awesome, improved, better than before and of course more expensive.
     Listening to and appreciating music in and of itself whether on cheap headphones or multi buck platforms, is an end unto itself. Then came the audiophile and gleaming fetishistic pieces of audiophile gear. To separate the two, is the rub.
    There are people that buy expensive pieces of equipment that (I assume) care less about the sound, and more about the look and cost, and technology of the product, perhaps as more of status symbol than us (sensitive listeners).
   It is more in this vein that the money onion--the self perpetuating continual sound improvement and money sink, is dedicated to, which has less to do with the listener and more with the capitalistic marketing that we are all subject to.
    And of course having this type of forum to debate the money onion is great fun, thanks for engaging!


First, thanks for not taking my response amiss.  As you clearly understood, I was not so much attacking your parable’s argument and moral so much as defending a position I felt it failed to take into account. 

Now, while I may (only may, as I’m not quite willing to concede the point) protest a bit too much, I still think your parable, while clearly buttonholing the audio business and all its attendant and often ethically questionable machinery (magazines, forum plants, advertising-driven reviews, advertising generally), I think its implication is that the onus falls on the practically willfully gullible and dupe-worthy audiophools.  After all, were the buying public not label-mongering status-seekers, or simply too lazy to do their own research, where would the audio hucksters and gougers be?  But this is true of any product in any market, from Ginsu knives to Gaia isoacoustic footers.  Hucksterism and the born-every-minute fools hoodwinked by them are endemic to commercial enterprise everywhere. So that, while hifi may be something of an outlier in the insanity of what it can cost (though no more so than cars, jewelry, art, and many other things), it is a commonplace in a world of products to sell and profits to be made.  Caveat emptor, no?  I agree that the practice that engenders the need for such a warning is regrettable, deplorable, nefarious even, but it is also universal and not at all unique to hifi.

My point (he said, repeating himself), is that it is possible, I believe, to love the perusing and acquiring and owning and appreciating of gear as object (or objet, if that makes it seem more legit) without it being a consequence and manifestation of gullibility meeting rank hucksterism.  One can research, acquire, and love the gear for itself without it being a fetish or badge of status, and also sincerely love the music the gear produces.  One doesn’t necessarily obviate the other.  And I think no one, or few, would deny there are very real, legitimate improvements to be had as one learns and moves up the ladder of gear quality.  I think you’re right, that we’re in part talking apples and oranges.  You’re militating against the more unscrupulous aspects of the commercial industry writ large, while I’m lobbying for the legitimizing of the pursuit and love of the gear as both an activity unto itself while still being connected to the genuine love of music, apart from any blinding property of the shiny bauble, and most certainly having nothing to do with any status the gear may reflect upon its owner.  I know it’s true for me; I love the gear and I love the music, and each one enhances my love of the other.  My guess is, we don’t even need to agree to disagree, as I suspect we’re pretty much entirely in agreement.

In any case, I very much appreciate the discussion and the spirit of the discussion.  Many discussions on many forums seem to degenerate almost instantly into squabbling, vituperation, and ad hominem attacks.  It’s a real pleasure to be able to sort through ideas about a hobby that, for whatever our reasons, adds so significantly to all our lives.

Josh

ric

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #74 on: 22 May 2022, 02:19 pm »
Yes Josh, agreed!
It reminds me, many years ago of a musician roommate,  who described his drummer friend as spending multiple hours at his drumset, not playing, but looking at it and minutely adjusting everything just so. He was a very good drummer, but also obviously loved his kit.

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #75 on: 23 May 2022, 01:29 am »
Yes Josh, agreed!
It reminds me, many years ago of a musician roommate,  who described his drummer friend as spending multiple hours at his drumset, not playing, but looking at it and minutely adjusting everything just so. He was a very good drummer, but also obviously loved his kit.

Ha! Yes, that’s it, in a nutshell.  I confess, I used to rub my hand lovingly over the top of my beautifully walnut-finished Heritage Specials every time I walked past them.  That is, until I ruthlessly sold them off to pay for my X5s. Ain’t love grand?