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09-06-2012 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,042
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 18589
Reply to: 18589
Justification of Buying Expensive Audio Equipment
Ehh, what do you know – I subscribe the TAS last week. I think I did it 7 years back but I was wondering if it be some kind of fun. I got my first issues a few days back and made an attempt to read it. Funny but I do not exactly understand what they are taking about in there. Truly, I do not clearly believe that they are really felt the way how they express themselves.

There was good article about the BS that people attribute to “master” tapes and the semi-accurate explanation of the nature of CD problem. The article has a LOT of black holes, I do not remember who wrote it but I am sure that it was written by the very same people who push to the market crappie CD players and barbarically mastered CD. The reason I mention the TAS event because there was another article in there. It was some kind of justification of buying expensive audio equipment.

I did not read the article but read only one first paragraph. The author insist that he has “expensive audio equipment” and insist that he know the value of his equipment as he is conducting some south CA orchestra. What the full of stupid crap!!!

I did not read the article further then his claim that he has the same audio experience from his orchestra as he has from his MBL amps. For sure the argument is very bogus. The conducting qualification is absolutely irrelevant to evaluate value of audio, in fact to a degree preventive, and I am sure that the whole argument that this person able to bring to the table to very moot. The argument itself is very valid however.

I do not think that TAS is able to cover that subject of Justifications to buy of Expensive Audio Equipment. The whole concept of Expensive Audio Equipment is very controversial in context of TAS publication.  Before arguing the Justifications we need to define what it means “Expensive Audio Equipment”.  TAS mostly does not informed about “Expensive Audio” and very seldom, if ever advertises or reviews the “Expensive Audio”. They have plenty of Audio with inflated price tags but that audio has no Expensive Value (the author’s MBL amps are great example). Audio equipment that TAS promoted is being sold at 10 to 20 times of own cost. This is not number from my head but what many audio manufactures informed me about. It is not that manufactures are so bad – it is the industry that has too much money sucking dirt factored into the price of product, so the manufactures pretty much obligated to keep the cost high to be afoot.  The normal price of all TAS-promoted audio is approximately the 1/4-1/5 of the sticker price. Look at the prices of mass-market audio: like Bose and alike. 95% of TAS products are inferior to most of the mass-market audio and they shall not be more expensive then mass-market electronics. This however address only very small part of the problem as there is a bigger problem then cost – value.

Generally audio people do not understand the concept of value in audio and they confuse it with cost in the very same way how audio people confuse power and gain of amplification. Value is very tricky subject as Value depicts the servable purpose instead of abstract mathematic approximation know as Cost. The problem is that high-end audio as it known today is formed by elaboration of motivations to obtain. Since we cannot buy and sell Values the industry does not operate by trading Values but instead they use only Cost. Ironically, if any products ever show up that has low cost but high value then the industry literally ban them as they afraid that Values can destroy Costs.

So, the article that TAS has published about Justification of Buying Expensive Audio Equipment should not be sane as Expensive Audio Equipment is just empty set of words from the mouth of TAS writer. The proper name for the article shell be: “Read my solicitations on the subject of recursive compulsive paying high for pricey under-performing audio-related equipment.

Rgs, Romy the Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-06-2012 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Posts 435
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 2
Post ID: 18590
Reply to: 18589
Musicians view
I play trumpet professionally, I conduct semi professionally. Neither of those two characteristics helps me with (expensive or any other) audio. Actually they are in fact more in the way.

As a trumpet player, much of what I hear comes from the wrong side of the instrument. Our playing qualities are developed by learning to factor what we really hear to what we think our audience expects. A grin from the conductor is generally a sign that this is in the right direction. So deception of our hearing senses is a big factor when playing real time.

As a conductor, we have to be ahead of our time in anticipation of what the musicians in front of us are going to do. This also means by the time that we have heard something, it is too late to react. Because of this function, we really aren't listening to enjoy or sonically analyse - we are listening to see if what we think that we are conducting is really being played!

A very big problem from both of the above situations is that our perspective from the podium or seat in the orchestra has nothing to do with audio geometry. The characteristics of the instruments are also not as consistent as in a recording. The brass section around me is very direct, other instruments are playing in a direction not faced toward me, with a lot of ambience.

One very big problem for me with audio in general is that many instruments with the highest frequencies (violins, flutes, percussion) have strong reflections from the ceiling. Forward facing tweeters do not recreate this effect. I have often thought that the finest stereo must also recreate this "vertical" space. This is not height of image, it is a different geometry about where what sound comes from.

Speakers that "image" perfectly are also a great source of distraction as even on stage, NOTHING is that pinpoint accurate.

So, I agree with Romy that musicians have no innate advantage or inner track to the truth. Expensive audio is only a term for those that talk about the "how" instead of the "what".

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
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