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 Steven Rochlin's memo to the industry

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charlesll



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Join date : 2013-08-06

PostSubject: Re: Steven Rochlin's memo to the industry   Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:14 pm

High end audio has made itself unattractive for a long time. There is no way anyone could make a logical choice on what to buy based on how this hobby presents it's equipment.

I got off the boat a long time ago when Michael visited my home in Allentown PA. He stopped by to talk to us at a local store and after spent the next two days tweaking private homes. He did stuff to my system that I never would have thought of. I have never heard a system come close since except for a CES where he put on some rock for a group of guys who brought their own CD's. The line went down the hall to get into the room. Best sound of the show for sure, and made the other rooms sound like mono.

I agree with the guys here that say the high end guys have stood still forever. Now I think it's too late. I might buy the same setup Michael has been talking about for my new place if I don't hook up my old faithful. Nice for a change now and then but not the stuff they try to push that cost an arm and a leg, and you know it's not that good.

thumbs down to amp of the month
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Bill333

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PostSubject: Re: Steven Rochlin's memo to the industry   Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:11 am

This may be a bit off topic from the way this thread has been going, but I've been bothered for a while now about the whole 'enjoy the music' thing, and I'd like to say a few things about it.  There has been a line of thought going around in the audiophile community that says audiophiles have lost sight of what's important in this hobby - music.

I disagree.  I do agree that the audio hobby is off track in many ways, but this hobby is not about music any more than mountain climbing is about mountains.  Mountain climbing is a goal oriented sport that challenges a person to achieve ever more difficult tasks as their skills improve.  So do mountaineers enjoy the beauty of the mountains they climb?  I don't know any, but I imagine they do.  If they didn't, they would probably have gravitated towards other goal oriented sports, like triathlons or weight lifting.

What do you think would happen if you walked into a meeting of mountaineers planning a climb, and said, "Enjoy the mountains!"?  A "Yeah, sure." and a couple of rolled eyeballs is what you would get.  They understand what they're doing and why.  Why don't we?

Like the mountain, music is just the means through which a larger goal is achieved.  The truth about the audiophile hobby is that it's really an engineering hobby.  Designing, building, and improving complex systems is engineering work.  And make no mistake about it, a stereo system is a very complex system.  One of the reasons this hobby is stuck where it is is because reproduced sound is influenced by so many variables that it is difficult to track or understand them all.  Most can not be measured in any meaningful way.  Basically, listening to the reproduced sound and changing one variable at a time is the only means available to us.  Sorting through and understanding influences ranging from the placement of a RoomTune, to the gauge of wire used  in the interconnects, to the type of wood used as a bridge under the receiver is a monumental task, but we are audiophiles and this is the task we have set for ourselves.

And do not think that because you are not designing electronic circuits that you are not designing a system.  My best guess is that the variables involved in the electronics (amp, source) are about 25% of the variables involved in the whole system.  

So what I want to say to audiophiles is this: whether you think so or not, you are an engineer.  Be proud of what you do and don't apologize to anyone for trying to make sound better.  It's a noble pursuit that will in the end create greater enjoyment of music for everyone.
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POD

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PostSubject: Re: Steven Rochlin's memo to the industry   Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:57 pm

Hi 333

You must be an engineer.

Audiophiles come in many packages, but I have seen the engineer side (High End Audio) over the last years ruin the hobby.

I do think it's about the music and the emotion that comes with listening. I don't mean to belittle your statements, and think I know where you are coming from, but the reason that I read tuneland is because RoomTune has turned me into a true audiophile.

For years I wanted the experence, but when I got tuned I could enjoy the music at the level I thought it should be.

Audiophiles started in the 1950's and were music collectors mostly. This is different from High End Audio that came along later and was more the engineering side you talk about. I wouldn't call an Audiophile a High End Audio hobbyist though. You can be an audiopile and care less about the equipment playing it.
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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Steven Rochlin's memo to the industry   Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:38 pm

Hi Guys

I found this and thought it was interesting

"An audiophile is a person enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction.

Audiophile values may be applied at all stages of music reproduction: the initial audio recording, the production process, and the playback, which is usually in a home setting."

vs

"The term High-end audio refers to playback equipment used by audiophiles, which may be bought at specialist shops and websites."
_________________________

If I may it seems to me that the audiophile is more the whole hobby of listening to music from a content point of view, and the High End Audio part is a particular part inside of this hobby.

I can see both sides of this, and even though I'm tweaking constantly I view it more like someone tuning a guitar and associate a guitar more with an artistic view.

I would never want to over engineer a guitar and feel that many guitars out there are over built for my taste if I was wanting the over all tones. To relate this to equipment on my terms. The job of the audio system is to present the whole picture, and as a bonus to be able to give variable tonal and size tastes. Recorded music is cool, but it varies greatly and I don't want to be stuck (forced) listening to a cool piece of music but with a set of tonal and size balances that are way off to my taste. This is what I see the current High End Audio doing. It's so over built that you can't play a wide range of music on it. And I question that the designers understand the big picture of the audio trilogy.

moving on

I remember a time when a client would walk into an audio store and the salesman would say "what type of music do you listen to?". This use to really bug me as I want to be able to listen to what ever I want. One thing that Hi Fi had over High End is a lot of those systems played music. I can remember them sounding a little boomy and maybe the highs were a little rolled off but boy you could sit in a room and listen for hours.

When we started to clean up the sound going from the 70's to 80's I could hear us starting to get sterile but still there was enough there to the gutts of the sound to make you tap your toes. Then we became antiseptic and certain parts of the music seemed to disappear.

Do you guys remember this? It's like we lost our road map and detail grung replaced real. I was a dealer when this happened and can name you the models almost in a product companies lives when the music left town. Audio companies names are flying through my mind right now and I don't want to make enemies, but the sound change was clear like for many a line drawn in the sand. All of a sudden you couldn't like Radio Shack or buy common caps or resistors. And copper had to be oxygen free, and all these rules of the audio snobs were made without any foundation.

Over night stable audio names turned into "mid fi" and were off limits. Names like Phillips, Sony, Samsung, Marantz, Pioneer, Yamaha and many others were booed and Hafler, Rotel, B&K were put on the so so list. The High End Audio world gave little room to any of these companies unless the ads were flowing, but even then companies like Audio Research and Klipsch had to build their own sub cultures. It was very strange and happened over night like the grinch. I remember clearly when B&W was a no no to have in your store and if you had names like this you were considered questionable.

After years of developing name recognition for the audio industry High End Audio wanted to bless their chosen few and disregard those that got them there. It was like as I said before going from Toyota to Kit Cars. If it would have been going from Toyota to Lexus that would have been different, but the industry started going backward and the end user got the shaft.

In my usual fashion I have come the long way around to say this. I would have to agree that the "throw it to the wind" engineers that came along really hurt this industry. If they would have been skilled listeners that would have been different but the junk that came out and then getting passed on was a big part of what killed things.

Now you have an industry so far off track that the average "engineer try it type guy" has no clue what sounds good or not or how to change the sound, and sadly a lot of these guys are product makers.

excuse me, I have Steely Dan's greatest hits on and it sounds terrible

5 minute tweak, boom sounds great and I can continue

That's what I'm talking about. Laughing  How did I just know to make that change? It wasn't hard and it was a big change. Much bigger than changing out a compontent or part, and I did the change a foot away from the signal path.

Back a second to Bill's comments. The tweaking or engineering side of this may be a big part for at least the forums that we see like AC and AA (if that represents the hobby) but why so unskilled? How can these guys not understand the signal path?

I think

We almost had the industry to the place of learning and getting good sound through the 80's mid 90's then we turned completely away as if this is something other than something that needs tuned in.

I am absolutely sure the music loving audiophile is out there in big numbers. I know cause I see them all over the place. I also know they don't want anything to do with the departure from the hobby of music that the industry took.

remember the days of tapping your toes when you went to an audio show Question 
____________________

So to "rap" up this post, I think someone looking at the High End Audio forums could easily say this is about engineering, but from someone looking at music or social forums High End Audio doesn't exist. I believe they understand audiophile as someone who is an audio (stereo) enthusiast, but I see the High End Audio as making an exit from the music industry.

So that I don't have people saying I'm full of it, I went to bing and typed in Music Forums. Up comes a ton of forums, but as went through the pages not one High End Audio forum in 7 pages.

This speaks volumes to me. The disconnect is that big? I spend a little time on these forums and it's clear these folks are listeners. They seem to know the music in and out so they must be listening to something.

they must be listening to something

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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Steven Rochlin's memo to the industry   Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:05 pm

POD wrote:
Hi 333

You must be an engineer.

Audiophiles come in many packages, but I have seen the engineer side (High End Audio) over the last years ruin the hobby.

I do think it's about the music and the emotion that comes with listening. I don't mean to belittle your statements, and think I know where you are coming from, but the reason that I read tuneland is because RoomTune has turned me into a true audiophile.

For years I wanted the experence, but when I got tuned I could enjoy the music at the level I thought it should be.

Audiophiles started in the 1950's and were music collectors mostly. This is different from High End Audio that came along later and was more the engineering side you talk about. I wouldn't call an Audiophile a High End Audio hobbyist though. You can be an audiopile and care less about the equipment playing it.
Hi POD

Welcome to mingle!

You made me go back and research what came first the audiophile or the High End Audio.

this may not be official

"High-end audio is a class of consumer home audio equipment marketed to audio enthusiasts on the basis of high price or quality, and esoteric or novel sound reproduction technologies. High-end audio can refer simply to the price, to the build quality of the components, or to the subjective or objective quality of sound reproduction. The high-end audio movement started in 1962 with the launch of J. Gordon Holt's Stereophile magazine, which departed from advertising-driven commercial publications like Stereo Review and High Fidelity and instead promoted a philosophy of reviewing and comparing audio components solely on the basis of sound quality.

History

Originally the term "Hi-fi" meant high fidelity sound, excellent and organic audio. In 1960s, it meant the same as high-end today. Later, due the goal of achieving better sales, Japanese audio manufacturers started production of cheaper audio equipment with hi-fi labeling, which offered inferior sonic quality when compared to earlier models. As this trend continued, a new term was needed to identify equipment of the original high quality. Later, the high-end term has also suffered some loss of value. Very expensive units are now sometimes referred to as "ultra high-end."

Classification and strict borderline between hi-fi and high-end is difficult and may sometimes not be necessary. The border between the terms is vague and poorly defined.

Costs

High-end audio equipment can be extremely expensive. It is sometimes referred to as cost-no-object equipment. Audiophile equipment can run the gamut from budget to high-end in terms of price range.

Controversy

The human sense of hearing is subjective and difficult to define because of the way that electrical signals from the ear are interpreted by the brain. Psychoacoustics is a division of acoustics that studies this field.

Measurements can be deceiving; high or low figures of certain technical characteristics do not necessarily offer a good representation of how the equipment sounds to each person. For example some valve (vacuum tube) amplifiers produce greater amounts of total harmonic distortion, but this type of distortion (2nd harmonic) is not as disturbing to the ear as the higher order distortions produced by poorly designed transistor equipment.

Items often questioned are accessories such as cables utilizing exotic materials and construction geometries, cable stands for lifting them off the floor (as a way to control mechanically-induced vibrations), connectors, sprays and other tweaks."

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