He called me an Elitist

Discussion in 'Hardware Lounge' started by John Beavers, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. John Beavers

    John Beavers Active Member War Zone Member

    So I was at a bar the other night, talking with a gentleman who plays the Sitar. We were discussing musical tastes, and the mediums for playing the music back electronically. He wanted to send me some of his music on mp3. I said I didn't have speakers for my computer, and that I did not listen to music that way. Why?, he said. "Isn't the music itself what is most important?" I countered with my experiences with high end gear and analog equipment, and how every work of musical art is more real world by the gear you play it back on. He agreed analog was the best medium of playback, but the question remained...is not the music in any form what is most important. He added, that MP3 being an internet based music medium is an incredible tool...that music from ancient arts like the Sitar can be perserved and shared with people all around the world, via the internet. I thought about this, and in the end had to agree with him...I'm an elitist :lol: Though not as bad as I was before. Can't wait to hear his work. He has not been able to play his instrument for about a year due to wrist and thumb damage from playing the instrument. He's had surgery and should be ready to take up the instrument again in a few months.
  2. Alfer

    Alfer New Member

    Damn elitist bastard!

  3. John Beavers

    John Beavers Active Member War Zone Member

    Ahhh....the memories ;)
  4. Chris White

    Chris White New Member

    We would probably all agree that it is the music that matter most, but it's not unreasonable to have standards for reproduction quality. I have some classical music CDs. As much as I'd like to enjoy them, I can't because the recording quality is just too poor. I look at this as no different from listening to a junior high band play Mozart. That I don't want to listen to the band play doesn't mean I don't love the music.
  5. LarryB

    LarryB Active Member

  6. Max Yokell

    Max Yokell Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    You know,...If the Shoe Fits. :)
  7. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Larry (and John) my friend, that may describe you but I must disagree that it also describes the vast majority of audiophiles out there.

    I'd say that most audiophiles love the pursuit of some audio ideal they have in their heads a LOT more than they love music. Indeed, I'd go so far to argue that many audiophiles do not love "music" at all, since most of them seem to have very limited taste and to only listen to a very narrow selection of genres and eschew even the experience of other musical types unless it is being used to demonstrate some reproduction nuance in a system - especially if it appears to be of some type or recorded in such a way they have predetermined will sound "inferior." Audiophiles love the pursuit of nuance in what a system can do and more times than not completely miss what the music is doing. Music lovers will forgive or ignore or not even be aware of major shortcomings in a reproduction system for the sake of the emotional involvement in the music.

    To me, a "music lover" is someone who loves music for its own sake and listens to every kind of music available no matter what their personal preference might be, in any setting available, and loves the music for its artistry, its structure, its variety, its emotion, and its performance.

    Mike made this point many times on HTT and I happen to agree with him most strongly. A genuine music lover does not care what form the music takes they simply listen to it. The music if far more important than the nuances of its reproduction. Audiophiles focus on those nuances often to the exclusion of even enjoying the music.

    Audiophiles - and engineers - often listen to the sound, not to the music at all.
  8. LarryB

    LarryB Active Member


    I do not equate "music lover" with the beadth of one's taste in music. I interact on a weekly basis with people for whom music is their life and livelihood, yet many listen almost exclusively to classical. These people live, breathe, and sleep music, and travel around the world to play and/or hear it. To suggest that they are not music lovers makes no sense to me whatsoever. It is essentially saying "if you don't love it THE WAY I DO, the YOU DON'T LOVE IT AT ALL."

    Kevin Holt listens mostly to blues. Not a music lover? Absurd!!!

    Music has always played a big part in my life, but I like only certain genres; the others simply don't move my soul (though I may admire them on a different - - i.e., intellectual level). The msuicians I hear often comment on how passinate I am about music; should I tell them that I'm really not a music lover because I don't like all types of music?

    I do however agree that many audiophiles are drifting farther and farther away from the music, and I discuss this in an article I am in the midst of writing. A sure fire sign is the use of "demo discs," a concept I had never even heard of until I joined internet forums.

    Absolutely. However, hi-end audio should be about revealing the nuances OF THE MUSIC which give it its soul. Many individuals have commnented that they didn't really understand a piece of music (most often, more complex music) until they heard it on a really good, hi-end system. That is the reason to own a hi-end system - - to allow the soul and expression of the music to come through. The focus on boom and sizzle I encounter with increasing regularity is, in my not so humble opinion, a mid-fi mentality.


  9. Chris White

    Chris White New Member

    Isn't this a matter of how you define audiophile? If your definition of audiophile is, "someone that loves the pursuit of some audio ideal" rather "someone who loves music," then your generalization would be correct (redundant, but correct).

    I agree completely.
  10. LarryB

    LarryB Active Member

    Everyone loves differently; this is equally true of music, one's partner, or anything else to which one can apply the word "love." There is no right or wrong way to love, only different ways.

  11. Chris White

    Chris White New Member

    Thank you Dr. Phil. ;)
  12. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    I knew this was another "hot button" issue but what the hell, I went for it anyway. :)

    IMHO we are disagreeing about semantics. Here's my point: a "Music Lover" (TM) loves music more than the way it sounds and they don't care really what kind of music it is or if it's on CD or LP or MP3 or AM radio. An audiophile loves the way it sounds more than the music itself and has biases about certain media that may or may not hold up under scrutiny. Audiophiles tend to be very specific about what kinds of music they expose themselves to, often based on preconceived notions about styles or artists or medium, and they use music to demonstrate aspects of their reproduction systems more often than they simply sit back and listen to it. Indeed, they often cannot simply sit back and listen because some sonic aspect they think they hear distracts them from becoming involved in the music.

    We are all music fans. A fan loves one particular type or style of music over all others. Most people have limited taste when it comes to music and while they may certainly love what falls into their taste spectrum, they may also hate all else. This means they may be a lover of their narrow selection of musical styles, but they are not a generic "Music Lover" (TM). And yes, I am being extreme.

    The problem I have with audiophilia in general is when the focus is on the detail of the reproduction so much that the music loses its importance. That, and the observation that too often audiophiles, like fanatics of many persuasions, believe their own hype even in the face of contradictory evidence. No audiophile in this kind of fanatic category is a "music" lover unless they can also disregard a system's foibles and be swept away by the emotion in, say, a Tuvan throat chant. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  13. Steve L.

    Steve L. New Member

    I don't think David and Larry(aka Dr Phil) are talking about the same things here.

    To me, David is talking about the audiophile who is nuts about the sound his gear reproduces. Whtehr it be dynamic/coherent or hyper detailed, finesse WHATEVER!.

    Larry is talking about a certain melomane who loves music, but only certain types of music. This said, he adds on the fact that this music can be better enjoyed through a rig that makes the music come alive through sonics such as dynamics/coherence etc etc.

    Different debate !

    I'll say that for David POV, I agree. I get caught up in sounds that my rig creates vs listening to the performance of the musician i.e the music.

    I'll admit it!!! :)

    WHat can I do, I like the fact that my system can make the music come togther more than when I am in my car or through a getto blaster or whatever.
  14. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Thank you Steve, that's it exactly. And thank you also for seeing that I am not saying that either position is necessarily any better than the other. They are just different approaches, different importance being placed on different parts of the experience. Viva la difference!
  15. Steve L.

    Steve L. New Member

    No problem, I am always out to making things more coherent :)


    O.K. bad one.

    I agree David, 100%
  16. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    My turn,

    Of course it's the music. I can get the shivers from tunes in the grocery store, and I've been known to hang out in the asile with the best sound and wait for the song to finish. And haven't we all stayed in the car after we've arrived 'cause ya just can't turn the song off? Celine Dion gives me tingles in elevators.

    That said, it's also about the gear. When the tunes start playing in my head, I hear it like I was in the garage.

  17. Shane

    Shane Active Member

    Larry and David,
    I think you are both right to an extent. While I think Larry is more correct than David on this topic, I will say I have met quite a few audiophiles who focus on the equipment rather than the music itself.

    And John, feel proud to be called an elitist. I've never understood why anyone would be proud to be called "J6P" or like everyone else. Who doesn't aspire to be better? Mind Boggling.
  18. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    It's the music. I first heard Norah Jones on a real POS radio at work, with shop noise all around. On a station I don't normally listen to. Bought the disc, played it at home, and loved it. It's still the music, but better stuff does get me closer to it.
  19. LarryB

    LarryB Active Member


    Well said. If the equipment didn't matter, we'd all be listening to music through boomboxes. And to quote from an article I'm writing: "If your system doesn't enhance your emotional connection with the music, you bought the wrong system."

  20. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    It's the "elitist" word itself.

    Yes, to be striving for something better, to be learning new things, to keep experimenting with different stuff...

    These are all nobel goals. Good terms are, student, adventurer, inventor, even dreamer.

    Elitist means to me "I am up here on my mountain and look down on everything else. I have nothing to learn, I know it all."

    Paris Hilton is an elitist.


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