Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Don_Campbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,874
Re: Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

J A C S wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

J A C S wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

J A C S wrote:

Crash N Burn wrote:

That great thread ended with Don Campbell's interesting post:


Don, I don't know if you read that entire thread, but some people there spent hundreds of dollars on audio cables.

Do you have any words of advice for people tempted to go down that road and who subscribe to "audio woo"--the various vague and unsupported claims for getting better sound quality most often peddled by hobbyist psuedoscientists?

As a scientist, my advice is to be skeptical to everybody who claims that what you hear and feel is pseudo-science and he can explain to you why is that so. As a former audiophile I can tell you that I have heard difference between cables, confirmed by my wife whose sole purpose in life at that time was to make me spend less. There are other claims in that link which contradict my experience.

As a scientist, my laboratory research was deeply dependent my personal construction and daily use of high gain, ultra-low noise analog electronics and D-to-A and A-to-D instrumentation.

My research was to listen to my system.

Sorry, but that's personal perception and not science.


That perception is totally useful in the price ranges you compared below and not irrelevant, just not science.

Who said that it had to be science? On the other hand, at least it is not junk science...

I'm sorry if you took my comments to be offensive. You were the one who seemed to invoke science as involved in your decisions. Perception is fine to invoke and I said it was totally useful. What's wrong with saying that?

$30 would buy reasonable quality interconnects for a reasonable run of distance. That's a far piece different from "Hundreds of dollars...." from an "audiophile's" system.

Who said that?

The OP's post pointed out that in the previous thread "some people there spent hundreds of dollars on audio cables." That level of expense is fine with me if it satisfies a perception of theirs but it does not seem to me to be entirely rational. Your added expense of $30 or so seems entirely rational to me if it satisfies your perceptions because the cost was totally reasonable and consistent with the improvements you experienced.

Indeed, in my post before that I said, "If it was only a few dollars difference it might be irrelevant but if were talking big bucks, a bit of understanding of the underlying physics might be financially rewarding." The point gets pretty close to the idea of what expense is worth going to for the result intended. In many worlds you get what you pay for. My feeling is that this is not always the case in the "audiophile's world."

As for "junk science," I'd suggest that there is a lot of that being tossed around in the audiophile world. If the definition of "audiophile" is as Merriam-Webster says, "a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction," I resemble that. The idea that the term dates back to ~1951, means it came at a time of great advances in audio recording and reproduction.

My childhood listening was with 78 rpm records that shattered if you dropped them. The player stylus was a sharp steel needle. I welcomed the advents of FM radio with higher quality sound that replaced AM in my household. I welcomed the advent of 12" hi-fi records, diamond styluses, multiplexed stereo radio, stereo vinyl, and on and on. Improvement after improvement and a hi-fi lovers dream. It was a great time for improvements.

What seems to have changed over that 60+ years' time is that the term "audiophile" has evolved from a person simply enthusiastic about good audio reproduction, to something more and something less.

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