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The Obsessive, Compulsive Audiophile

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During the past two decades in practice as a psychotherapist and Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy, I have witnessed most every psychological disorder listed in the Diagnostic Service Manual. This manual defines each psychological disorder which Psychiatrists, Doctors of Psychology and Doctors of Clinical Hypnotherapy treat in their practice. One of the disorders listed in the manual is the Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

A person with OCD behaves in such a manner that they are obsessed to do certain things compulsively. An example of this would be an obsession to always have clean hands and, therefore, the patient impulsively washes his/her hands dozens of times daily for no apparent reason. A person with OCD may be obsessive about cleanliness and neatness. Therefore they feel compelled to keep their home extremely clean, even sanitary. They arrange items on shelves, in cabinets and drawers, on counter tops and even items in their refrigerator to be neatly placed in a specific order. Everything must appear organized, labeled, catalogued, very neat, aligned, placed just so, and of course, be extremely clean. By the patient’s physician’s referral, I have hypnotized these people to end this subconscious driven disorder. Now, what has this all got to do with we audiophiles? Read on and you shall find out. You may discover you are an OCD Audiophile.

In my hobby of audiophilia (the mental dominion of the audiophile) I have noticed that some audiophiles are obsessed over the quality of sound reproduction from their audio system. Further, the manner in which they go about perfecting the sound they hear and the audio system, recording and the room that reproduces it is clearly compulsive. If you are free from this disorder, you may find the following symptoms amusing. If you see yourself in several of the following examples, you may be an Audiophile with an obsessive, compulsive disorder commonly referred to as the OCD Audiophile. It is a mental disorder or disease for which there is no known treatment.

What follows is how an OCD Audiophile thinks and how they behave:

  • An OCD Audiophile begins a serious listening session by cleaning his ears with a an over the counter ear wax removal product purchased at a local drug store. He makes certain his ears are pristine clean to assure he will hear all high frequency sounds played by his speakers. He may even have his hearing checked by a board certified audiologist annually just to be assured he is not missing any of the sound frequencies on the recordings he listens to. When not listening to his hi­fi, he has in his ears a small wad of cotton to protect his acute hearing accuracy from everyday loud noises. He can hear better than his wife and children which he considers is the bragging rights of a true audiophile. Sound bizarre? A leading reviewer of a major hi­fi rag admitted to this behavior, years ago. And, yes, he was diagnosed s having Audiophile OCD.
  • The OCD Audiophile makes certain that the listening room in which the stereo speakers are placed is free from pets (including a goldfish in a fishbowl). He checks to see if the room is clear of human beings and closed off from intrusion of outside sounds that rattles or rings when music is played loudly. He clears his mind of all thoughts other than those related to his audio hobby when having to do something with his stereo. He forgets he is married when he does this and considers all audiophiles who submit to WAF (wife approval factor of a man’s hifi set up) as being wimps and not true audiophiles.
  • Before he begins a component or speaker install or a music listening session through his he­man audio rig, his cell phone and landline telephone are turned off. The forced air heater or air conditioner is turned off to eliminate any sounds of moving air from vents in the room. He would rather freeze or sweat then turn on these appliances which he believes wrecks the sound during a listening session.
  • He hates ceiling fans because they move the moving molecules of air (which is sound) in the room, thus distorting the sound before it reaches the OCD Audiophile’s ears.
  • The listening room is checked to make sure everything is in its proper place.

Even the crystal glass from which the audiophile was knocking back a shot of Whisky is removed from the room. He believes that a glass left sitting on a table may cause the sound heard from his speakers to not be correct because glass and/or ice cubes may ring or rattle altering the sound reproduced from the speakers.

  • All controls on the preamplifier are set to flat or to a direct bypass mode of operation. Digital EQ and other external sound processors are turned off or disconnected. Purity of sound is lusted after. Therefore, anything in the signal path other than a straight solid gold wire used as a conduit to transmit gain is a violation of the secret sound purity oath taken by all true OCD audiophiles. So, the less stuff between the signal source and the speakers, the better.
  • All components in the stereo rig from the dedicated electrical circuit from the street into the audiophile’s listening room to the little stands which supports the speaker cables so they will not touch the floor and, oh­my gosh!…vibrate, thus distort the sound, are in place. All electrical connections and wire connections are cleaned with denatured alcohol to assure no signal resistance, thus no retardation occurs. Speaker mounting hardware screws are torqued to 5 ft lbs each using a calibrated mini torque wrench to assure a perfect, snug connection. He rationalizes that if one speaker cable is not fastened to the speaker or the power amp as tightly as another like wire, the sound will be out of phase. (Honestly, OCD audiophiles actually think this way).
  • Speaker grills, socks and clothes, if present, are removed and trashed. They are, to his thinking, high frequency sound suppressors that act like a muffling treble tone control turned down a notch or two. Therefore, panel and electrostatic speakers shamefully bare their all to satisfy the OCD Audiophile.
  • During a stereo audio system install, the OCD Audiophile listens monophonically to the right speaker only to determine its best placement away from the rear and side wall. A 20Hz to 20kHz sweep tone CD is played through the the speaker. After no less than 20 sweep tests @ 75dB are heard, and measured for the best, flattest decibel sound reproduction (without the aid of any EQ application), masking tape is applied to the floor to mark that speaker’s location. The left speaker is then installed at the exact same distance from its side and rear wall to assure a perfectly balanced stereo image. He first learned of this technique when he set up his first hi­fi speakers which were Bose 901 speakers. He hung them from the ceiling on chains. This was, in his thinking, to eliminate stands. He thinks stands absorb speaker cabinet vibrations and transmit them to the floor. The floor, then becomes a giant speaker and everything is in a hell of a mess. He later abandons this technique as he realizes the chains would ring and became tweeters, thus messing up the beautiful highs produced by a stereo pair of 18 over equalized, 3­inch, $3.00 speakers mounted in a pair of Bose 901 speaker enclosures.
  • The OCD audiophile measures the exact distance (+ ¼ of an inch) between where the left and right stereo speakers are placed. The Audiophile then sits erect at exactly that same number of inches away from the front left and right speaker (being in the center between the left and right speaker) to form a perfect triangle pattern.
  • The entire speaker system and room is digitally, pulse reduced, time aligned and equalized to + 2 dB at a 75dB sound pressure level while seated in the central seating position after the speakers have been properly placed. This process alone takes about 3 days to get sound to be as flat as possible when the microphone is placed precisely where the ears of the audiophile will be when listening to music at the primary, central listing position. The OCD Audiophile always holds his breath during each sound sweep so its sound will not be picked up by the measuring microphone. This is part of his obsession.
  • The OCD Audiophile then prepares to digitally record live music on a state­of­the­art digital recorder, at 96kHz 24 bits resolution or higher, using a professional studio microphone stand which supports an expensive, studio quality, calibrated microphone connected to the recorder by a studio grade, high­end microphone cable. The OCD Audiophile rationalizes the more expensive these items are, the more accurate the test results will be.
  • This music is played on a real musical instrument by a professional musician in the audiophile’s listening room. The live musical instrument is played and recorded from its highest to lowest note for which the musical instrument is capable of playing. All notes the instrument is capable of playing from top to bottom are played in a 3 minute time span for subsequent audio memory retention purposes.
  • The musician and musical instrument played is placed precisely between the audiophile’s stereo speakers. The musical instrument is then played and recorded for 3 minutes. This is the number of minutes required to obtain a 30 second audio memory of the sound produced by the musical instrument. Okay, stay with me here, this is really how an OCD audiophile thinks and often behaves.
  • The recording microphone is placed 1 meter from the musical instrument played and exactly at the measured height of where the audiophile’s ears are from the floor when and where he always sits to listen to music. This process is done with every musical instrument commonly played in a world class symphonic orchestra to include a huge timpani drum, kettle drum, bass drum, bass viol, electric bass guitar, cello, violin, wood, reed and brass instruments all the way up to bells, a variety of cymbals, a piccolo and a triangle. Only one instrument and one musician at a time is allowed in the room in which the recordings are made. The audiophile is always seated where he always sits to listen to his stereo.
  • A professional, high­end decibel meter is used to record the decibel level of each live musical instrument played. Each musical note or octave decibel level is noted. When the recording is played back through the audiophile’s speakers, the playback sound decibel level (volume) is set to be identical to the sound level the live instrument was recorded at. This is the only reference that can be taken seriously by an audiophile with OCD. Anything less than that used as a reference to compare music from one’s speakers to the music produced from a live musical instrument within the listening room would cause the OCD-afflicted audiophile to cringe and possibly suffer a nervous breakdown.
  • After a given instrument has been recorded, and its decibel level noted, the OCD Audiophile then plays the recording of that instrument back through his he­man stereo rig for three minutes while the audiophile’s audio memory is reliably functional. The difference in sound then heard compared to the sound remembered (an A to B comparison) is noted. Note: A true OCD Audiophile will not subject himself to an ABX (blind) test, as he feels above that sort of thing. It is his opinion that a simple A B test (not blindfolded) is all that matters.
  • The audiophile than looks for the difference in measurements taken in 20hz to 20kHz sweeps of the musical instrument’s notes and that of the same notes played through the OCD audiophile’s speakers. The difference heard of the live versus reproduced sound of a musical instrument’s note should be seen when comparing the computer’s frequency sweep charts of the live musical instrument’s notes and the recorded, reproduced and played back musical notes through the audiophile’s speakers. Now, at this point if you are having difficulty staying with what is being said here, you might consider you are suffering from an Audiophile Attention Deficit Disorder which is an entirely different mental disorder to deal with.

10 Responses to The Obsessive, Compulsive Audiophile


  1. JamesD says:

    It’s unfortunate that the writer gives credit to ABX tests and standard technical measurements as meaningful indicators to sound quality. ABX test limitations have been beaten to death – a primary limitation being the length of listening and the quality of listener and their familiarity with the system and component under test. Standard technical measurements are still pretty meaningless indicator to sound quality. A case in point being that virtually all solid state electronics would test “perfectly”. To buy into these notions is to suggest that audiophiles are fools. I do not believe that to be the case. Audiophiles only part with their hard earned money when it is worth it for the sound. There are certainly mistakes being made and foolish purchases being made, but not to the magnitude that inadequate technical tests and meaningless ABX tests would suggest. Buying into these two meaningless indicators shows massive inexperience and lack of understanding about excellent sound.

    • Dr. Dean’s response to To James D’s. reply:

      James, when you listen to your hi-fi and favorite recordings to evaluate the sound of your hi-fi, you are only building MENTAL muscle memory of what you are hearing. And, what you are hearing is what your particular hi-fi sounds like. You have essentially made your standard of reference to be the sound of a what your hi-fi produces. The fact is, James, there is not a hi-fi rig on this planet that can accurately produce the live sound of music as heard in its venue. If you could first carefully listen to your hi-fi play one of your favorite musical pieces, and then have the musicians with their instruments play that same song in your listening room at the same decibel level, you would hear an enormous difference between the replicated playback and the live playing of the music. This has already been done numerous times to prove this point. Therefore, if you are hammering into your subconscious mind what music sounds like in you listening room by playing music artificially through an electronic/mechanical means, you are simply pushing into your mind the sound of what your hi-fi sounds like and not the sound of real, live, “you are there” music.

      The only true absolute reference is hearing, in person, the music live within the venue it is played. Now, James, get this clear in your mind. There is no hi-fi on this planet that can reproduce music with such accuracy that it sounds exactly like the live music within the venue the music was recorded.

      Since the aforementioned facts are true, the only way one can evaluate their “he man” hi-fi rig is to first determine how accurate it can pass an electronic signal to transducers (speakers) and how accurate those speakers can replicate the signal passed to them within an echo free environment. To determine the level of accuracy involved, it requires the proper and skillful use of calibrated, laboratory grade electronic and mechanical instruments. Once you have the facts revealed by the reading of these instruments in test use, what you then have is merely an “idea” of how accurate your hi-fi reproduces electronic and mechanical signals fed to it and through it and out of it.

      Understand that the recorded media you are playing is flawed beginning with the mic and other recording electronic instruments used to record the music played in its venue. One only has to be in the recording studio and hear the “live” music being recorded and then step into the mastering booth and hear the recording of the live music to understand the two do not sound exactly the same. They can’t for numerous reasons. So, my audio friend, you are evaluating hi-fi rigs music reproduction based on a flawed reference (the sound your hi-fi produces) to another individuals flawed hi-fi to evaluate how good their hi-fi sounds. This is the “blind leading the blind”. When you read a reviewer’s remarks on how a given hi fi item (amp, speaker, wire, etc.) sounds, you are really hearing a human being expressing the difference they hear between their distorted hi-fi item of gear to the distorted hi-fi item of gear they are evaluating. In other words, the standard of reference used by reviewers are flawed to begin with, thus are not suitable for an accurate standard of reference. Only live music one personally hears within the venue in which it is played can be used for a true standard of reference. And, when that is done and then compared to the reviewer’s hi-fi rig or any of its components that make up that hi-fi rig, one realizes how flawed their hi-fi rig really is.

      The only thing you can hope to do is obtain hi-fi gear which measures mechanically and electronically as close to perfection as is possible in all measurable parameters plus provide a modest amount of room treatment, and further perfect the sound via digital manipulation of the signal to overcome flaws in the recording (CD, records, tape, etc.) and the hi-fi gear that produces the sound and the room in which the speakers are located. When this is done, most audiophiles are very pleased with the sound of their hi-fi as it approaches a loose idea of what the real live sound is.

      For instance, when one uses a tube based hi-fi rig on the basis the music sounds more real, warmer, our “musical” compared to solid state based systems, what they are really saying is that is their preference of distortion when compared to the live sound of the same music in the venue in which it was recorded. How does music sound warm? Does it change the temperature? How does music sound more musical if, in fact, it is already music? These terms only appeal to the subconscious programming of experienced audiophiles. The fact is music does not sound warm, dynamic, cold, fast, tight or compressed. Music sounds like music played by live musicians on real musical instruments…period! So, if one likes the sound tubes do to distort musical reproduction, which is generally a softening of the transient response and a slight decibel reduction in the higher frequencies and deep bass, but with a slight rise in the upper bass, then they have been “programmed” to “believe” that is how real live music sounds, therefore, they are living in a lie. This does not make the tube loving, experienced audiophiles liars or crazy. They are simply programmed into a false belief as to how real live music actually sounds. Some audiophiles prefer the sound of music reproduced via hi-fi to the sound of live music. This proves how powerful subconscious programming is in the minds of millions of audiophiles worldwide. (Instead of living in a lie, I propose we’re seeking to experience aspects of a live performance in the comfort of our own home. Still, Bob’s point is valid. For a small portion of the money spent on audio equipment, we could easily hire soloists to perform for us. -Pub.)

      People who swoon over how “real” their hi-fi sounds would be shocked at the difference in sound from their hi-fi if they could hear the live music at the venue in which it was recorded within less than a minute after hearing their hi-fi rig’s reproduction of that same live music.

      Therefore, to obtain hi-fi gear and even recorded media by one’s “listening judgement” is a farce; doing so is merely deciding which component or hi-fi rig sounds the most like music they have heard in spite of the fact accurate musical comparative memory is only good for about 30 seconds.

      So, what to do? It’s simple. Obtain audio and video components which electronically and mechanically measure as close to perfection as is possible in which a human being can actually hear. A amp that measures + or – .0001 from 5 to 100,000 Hz is amazing and very accurate, but of no consequence in what you’ll hear. The fact is, most human beings cannot hear below 10 Hz or above 20kHz. So, anything that goes on below or above those frequencies is a moot point (not heard). Therefore, when I say obtain hi-fi gear that measures as close to perfect as possible, I mean measures to as close to perfection within the realm of what a healthy (young) human being hears with unimpaired hearing ability.

      Now James, I want you to think about what I have said to you. Once you realize these truths, you can enjoy your hi-fi rig for what it really is, which is a “musical instrument” in its own right and not a very accurate musical reproducer when actually compared to real, you are there, “live” music.

      Regards;
      Dr. Dean

  2. Eric Lubow says:

    Very enjoyable and sadly true. This reminds me of a posting I made several years ago about vinyl audiophiles, very much along the same lines:

    The vinyl world has recently been abuzz with the discovery in a small apartment in Vienna. The apartment belonged to a Helmut Freud, a great great grand nephew (on his father’s side) of the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Apparently, going through an attic of his recently deceased father’s apartment, Helmut’s son came across an old unpublished monograph of his father’s entitled “Vinylphilia Nervosa.”Helmut, during the 1970s and 80s owned a shop called Vienna Village Vinyl at 31 Friedrichstrasse Street . Apparently he ran this shop as a second business. Like his famous ancestor he had a degree from the Vienna Psychiatric Institute and treated patients for almost forty years.

    The monograph discovered by his son Sigfried came as a complete surprise to him. His father had apparently planned to publish it, but died before he was able to complete it. Sigfried explained that his father had often spoken of the customers that frequented his shop as “the greatest comglomeration of nuts in one place” that he had ever seen. Getting to know them over a period of the seventeen years he owned the shop, he described his clientele as ranging from the “slightly quirky “to the “quite decidedly insane”.

    Sigfried recently had the monograph published in a small Viennese psychiatric journal. “Vinylphilia Nervosa” seems to be an attempt to classify the various and sundry diseases that afflicts vinyl lovers. Though loosely translated from the German, it becomes clear that Helmut was on to something. He describes a cluster of syndromes that are inevitably all too familiar to some of us. I will try to enumerate these as best I can.

    The first section of the monograph deals with his obsessive-compulsive clientele. By far, the largest percentage (77.2 %) of his customers fall into this category. He divides these into four sub-categories: buying, storing, cleaning and listening. It is impossible to enumerate all of the case-histories he cites but I will touch on some of the most salient.

    BUYING

    These are individuals that can never have enough records. Many have more records than they can listen to in ten lifetimes, even listening 24 hours a day. They are simply obsessed with accumulating. One of his customers apparently had a fixation on Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and owned every version ever issued on vinyl or acetate, 78s, 33s, or 45s. He categorized them chronologically by year of performance and every evening would attempt to make his way through as many versions as he could before bedtime. After several years of this, he succeeded in driving his poor wife to suicide. The sad epilogue to this is that he actually was late for the funeral service because he discovered a version of the symphony that had dropped behind a shelf and, consequently, had never heard. By the time he had cleaned and listened to it, the service had almost ended.

    Freud cites another case of a client that had accumulated so many records that they filled two of his upstairs bedrooms from floor to ceiling. Visiting guests would have to sleep in the basement. His wife, a generally congenial companion, would rarely complain, even when finding overflow records in the pantry. But she eventually put her foot down when she came across several albums of Hawaiian music in her broiler.

    CLEANING

    The necessity of cleaning vinyl records has been well documented. But apparently some of Helmut’s customers carried this to extremes. One history recounts a gentleman who unequivocally believed his records were not clean until he washed them 24 consecutive times on his VPI machine. Every single record he owned went though this process. Often, he ran his machine for eight hours at a stretch. Not surprisingly, he was not overly popular in his apartment building. Apparently, he spent so much time washing his records, he had little time to wash himself, with the result that he had emptied quite a few elevators. Eventually he was evicted from his apartment for being a general nuisance. He also blew quite a few fuses in his time.

    Another interesting case involved a collector who put his records through a succession of cleaning machines before he was satisfied, including a Nitty Gritty, VPI, a Monks, a Hannl, and a Loricraft. He never really seemed to settle on a fluid that he liked having gone through Disc Doctor, lâ Art du Son, Last, Smart, Bugtussel and several unnamed solutions. Once, apparently upset about the shoddy cleaning these methods produced, he allegedly wrapped the thread of the Loricraft machine multiple times around his throat in an attempt to choke himself. Fortunately (or not) he ran out of thread before he could complete the task.

    LISTENING

    In this section, Helmut describes a gentleman in a town outside of Vienna with a very expensive and elaborate audio system. He was enamored of the wonderful sound his vinyl produced but had one problem: He was a stickler for a huge soundstage and pinpoint imaging. For years he searched fruitlessly for a phono cartridge that he felt would do his system justice. Finally, he found it- a $16,000 Japanese cartridge that was a revelation. He would invite friends over and with some frenzy would rush back and forth pinpointing instruments and showing how far the soundstage extended beyond the walls. It was, indeed, impressive, but came to a rather abrupt end when, trying to locate the tuba player at extreme stage right, he crashed into the wall, suffering a serious concussion. He was briefly hospitalized, and subsequently promised his wife he would listen only to string quartets.

    STORING RECORDS

    We may think there is nothing to be added to the already crowded rulebook of vinyl storage. But, alas, the gentleman noted here has added a new dimension to this controversy. This audiophile had several large coolers constructed to store his records. According to Helmut, he apparently believed that the vinyl must be stored at exactly 47.5 degrees. Once removed from the cooler, they may be played safely for a period of only 30 minutes. After that, the vinyl would thaw too much to play. Although labeled a “crackpot” by his fellow audiophiles, he insisted that his theory was sound. Clearly, he said, the stylus produces very high temperatures as it moves through the grooves, inevitably leading to distortion and wear. In his opinion, playing a cold record reduced the temperature, and thus wear, considerably. He was only known to break this rule once when he played Peggy Lee’s “Heatwave.” DON’T EVEN ASK!

    Helmut next turns to the MANIC-DEPRESSIVE category. Here he describes the strange behavior of one of his customers as related by his wife. She reported that he had come home one evening from the vinyl store seemingly elated. Apparently he had found a rare Shaded Dog pressing that he had been searching for for some years. He seemed “really pumped up” she said, and started doing what she described as sort of a tarantella dance, shouting, screaming and leaping. After about 30 minutes he seemed to calm down and went up to his room to play the record. His wife, concerned that she hadn’t heard anything for several hours went upstairs, only to find him crying under the covers. Nothing she could do seemed to comfort him. Apparently, after discovering that the record played only a VG+ though it was marked a M-, he abruptly feel into a severe depression. Several days passed like this until his wife, playing an old cassette of Kenny G, discovered a smile on her husband’s face., and subsequently reported him quite improved.

    The next case cited is one of VINYL CATATONIA. Here is described an individual who left his Vienna apartment one morning to pick up bagels for himself and a houseguest. When he returned, he discovered that his guest , during his absence, had been playing his vinyl, and had inadvertently dropped the tonearm on his prize Beatles’ album, “Yesterday and Today” (in a butcher sleeve), scratching three tracks. As if to rub it in, his friend recounted that the stylus bounced three times before settling on the label. Within minutes, the gentleman started shaking, and ultimately went into a rigid pose completely unresponsive to stimuli. The friend, unable to arouse him, became quite concerned and immediately called 911, but not before he finished all four bagels.

    This just about sums up the monograph. I thought perhaps reporting these unusual cases might be instructive and help us all to identify those who may need help. THANK GOD NONE OF US ARE LIKE THIS!

  3. john a says:

    Just for the record, might you supply the name of the accredited degree granting school or training institute from which one can earn a a “Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy”? Also, You mentioned the “DRM” as a source for listing “psychological disorders”. Did you mean the DSM or DSM-5, the standard professional source for diagnosing mental disorders?

    • Robert says:

      Joha a; The university in which one can earn a Doctor of Philosophy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, is the American Institute of Hypnotherapy which was later purchased by the American Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawaii. I attended both schools. One must have a Bachelor or Masters Degree in psychology or hypnotherapy to begin their Ph.D. program. It takes up to seven years to complete which includes intern training and completion of and acceptance of a dissertation related to psychotherapy and/or hypnotherapy and doctoral thesis. And yes, it was very-very expensive.

      Finally, you are right, the desk reference manual is the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Service Manual) which I keep on my desk. What you read, DRM, was a typo for which I apologize.

      Regards; Dr. Robert G. Dean

  4. Psycho-acoustics has suffered from the general mis-conception of applying the methods of mineral science to biology. Things that have supposedly been proven by science can be patently false under this paradigm. For example, properly trained humans can hear ten times better than the Fourier uncertainty principle, ostensibly violating the laws of Physics and Mathematics:

    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-human-fourier-uncertainty-principle.html

    This perceptual proficiency is uncommon, however, because it requires specific focused training. In fact, the post-industrial population suffers from neurologically stunted hearing. Individuals who practice playing music during childhood grow substantially larger cortex regions for musical and spatial intelligence, plus more white matter, for neuro-genesis of an additional 10 billion brain cells:

    http://www.jneurosci.org/content/23/27/9240.full.pdf+html

    OCD audiophiles then should not be seen as necessarily delusional, but possibly stimulated hyper-sensitivity to variations in sound fields. I will say that in my highly educated opinion the majority of audiophile lore is pure bunko, and people who listen to live acoustic music more hours per week than to speakers and headphones have a far better grasp of reality.

    At the least, the vast sums spent on audio gear is better applied to attending live concerts and music lessons, or funding house concerts.

    • Larry;

      Well put my audiophile friend. I play sax and keyboards and my wife, a few years back, came out 1st place in her singing group competing in the California Barber Shop Singing Contest. We love “real” “live” music and attend music concerts of all kinds regularly. When I hear my he-man hi-fi rig give me several brief glimpses of a live musical note or portion of a sound, it startles and bring joy to me . This is the listening pleasure I realize from our audio hobby. When this occurs, I can then relax and enjoy the music (even if it is a reproduced myth) because it “reminds” me of the live sound of music.

      Best regards;
      Dr. Dean

  5. Doug says:

    Great article, if it’s one thing I know about we people, it’s that we are all crazy, it’s just manifested in different ways.
    Worked at a dealership repair center once and can’t tell you how many times I’ve ridden with people who were convinced the car was making a noise, “hear that”? ” no” …”ok there it is” ..”no sorry”. Turn the radio and ac off, turn left “hear that”?…”NO”! Just obsessed..it’s some peoples nature.

  6. Hubert says:

    Sorry guys, this all ends up to not much, but just to say that there are real obsessed audiophiles. That seems very logical, as you would find all sorts of other obsessions, and the exchange of thoughts between doctors who seem to believe they know better because of the Dr title, remind me a lot of audiophile sharing thoughts about their passion. No true and wise audiophile would go about saying that their music system sounds just like the real event, and I mean a truly pure acoustical event, without microphone, amps and speakers. Audiophile, in their own absolute right, go about pursuing that prospective reproduction, and they should be respected and not associated with unconscient nuts and bluntly discredited in doing so. The idea of putting the money in attending to live events is just so basically stupid and short minded. How much of such events can you attend at wish, and are you always well positioned in the often noisy and coughing crowd, are the musicians always good, do all music lovers live in areas with such wide choice of musical events? The answer is obviously no to all these questions. Is studio recorded popular music better than reproduced by a very well designed home music system? Hell no! Studio music is not music that really exists other than on a cd or vinyl, is it? Is sound quality of a rock, or blues venue, or any sound engineered venue better than an excellent home system playing with you sitting pin point? He’ll no, no and no. In these situations, the best home systems are far superior. Only live acoustically pure venues better the best audio systems, of course, that is an evidence. You are not crazy if you try to get close as possible to that, it’s a kind of science, nearly an alchemist search, it’s a great voyage and if you have the chance, education and intelligence to be able to constitute a great gear, you can go close and nearly touch it, and just whenever you want to do so in your free time. It is greatly rewarding hobby. If it was just subjective sound, it would be an insult to millions of people, and they might just as well sell off their gears and get an iPod, with some hypnotherapy, you may force in their poor head the idea that it sounds great.

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