Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Crash N Burn
OP Crash N Burn Regular Member • Posts: 119

Don_Campbell wrote:

MediaArchivist wrote:

My experience with audio gear over the years (which is not as extensive), my experience with computer systems (which is extensive), as well as discussions with many, many audio engineers, leads me to conclude that everything in the previous post is 100% correct.

On the other hand, some of those $500 USB cables sure do look pretty!

Some of the audiophile boxes are also gorgeous. My audio stuff is unobtrusive and sounds terrific. I wouldn't pay the extra for a snazzier look. Heck, the snazzy look may go out of fashion tomorrow and who wants to shopping again? I'm pretty certain that the extra cost wouldn't get me much better sound than I can get from my system.

My collector friend who has what seems like a whole houseful of vacuum tube equipment, loves his stuff. I can't say I think his equipment looks gorgeous, but it does look "hot" in a fashion. I'll get my heat as passive solar instead.

I learned electronics on vacuum tubes, I know vacuum tubes, I've fixed my own vacuum tube radios (car radios) and stereos (my first stereo FM set was vacuum tubes). I understand the distortion caused by vacuum tubes that my friend admires. I once paid $2 for a 4.5 foot tall vacuum tube radio that included short wave and I made a high current-low voltage power supply with ultra low ripple to power the filament-based cathodes so it didn't buzz. That saved me from trying to find the old fashioned batteries it was intended to be powered by in the days before rural electrification. I also understand vacuum tube shot noise that is unavoidable at low volume and I know exactly where it comes from and why it's unavoidable or worse, if avoidance is tried, why distortion is increased. I understand why the tubes go out at different rates and how that affects the channels. In spite of all that, I also understand that what I learned about vacuum tube circuits that I built and maintained from the early 60's through the 70's is not useful information to my vacuum tube loving friend. I actually don't think he'll gain much from reading the Audio Woo column either. Attachment has a real meaning.

That is a very interesting post, especially the part about the vacuum tube hiss, distortion and the like.

With all that, your friend's equipment might sound worse than an iPod with low bitrate mp3's.

Then again, there are a few who shoot film, which, with all its grain etc etc, is probably outdone by a bargain-bin Powershot.

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