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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a question I never would have thought to ask. In fact, I think the only person that would think to phrase this question as they did would be an audiophile, This video is of a musician explaining how he listens to music and the idea that musicians "do not care about audio quality" is strangely accurate.


There are many reasons I bring this up. First, if people do the "illusions" from Diana Deutsch's site, I would be interested to know what you heard if you are willing to share.

General opinions related to the topic are welcome!
 

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I listened to the illusions, I could feel myself trying to make sense of the phantom words but most of them sounded like non-specific pseudo vocal sounds although a couple nearer the end coalesced into words for me.

Audiophiles have always confused me because they seem to listen to utter crap on their expensive kit, I've always put it down to a 'gear fetish' phenomenon experienced by affluent older guys (and it is guys) whose hearing is starting to fail anyway, you need complex information rich music of the highest recorded quality to really resolve any difference and you need to listen to it loud, so the loud requirement means cheap gear with no headroom will always sound bad.

A decent amp and speakers will get you most of the way there, as long as your source is a lossless format then you should hear it all through good headphones anyway. I did notice detail I had previously missed in some music when I upgraded my gear but I really don't think there's any more to come from spending more money because I listen to the informational content rather than the superficial sound of the music.

Being able to resolve individual instruments in a symphonic work is really missing out on the composer's intention for the piece.
 

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I do think that musicians hear music differently than the casual listener, while audiophiles are in search of a different kind of experience. I don't mind listening to lower quality audio... to a certain point. I like to hear rich bass if the music was recorded with it, so if the playback device sucks and doesn't even have a "tone" control then I feel like something is missing. It's frustrating and I can't get past it! Some of this may be due to my own hearing loss at certain frequencies. I hunted/shot guns a lot as a kid, have been to a lot of concerts that were too loud, and I raced flattrack motorcycles for years.


All that being said, I have an ex-coworker with a very serious sound system... $50k plus easy. TAD drivers in custom Baltic birch cabs driven by Bryston 4B amps, Klipsch horn drivers in tar filled horns driven by class A tube amps, and on and on and on... down to the granite slab turntable and first pressing records and Hsu sub and specially extruded directional wiring. The guy is a real jerk, but the system sounds freaking awesome. You can be listening to something well recorded and mastered, like Steely Dan or Pink Floyd, at very high levels, and it doesn't sound that loud or fatiguing. The sound is so crisp and wonderful... it amazes me. I would never put that much into a sound system, but it really is astounding to hear quality music through it.
 

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it really depends on why i am listening to something...much of the time i want clarity as i tend to subconsciously analyze the music...if something catches my ear i want to know why it works so i'll listen through my studio monitors which are much clearer than normal stereo speakers (albeit with a much different but more defined bass frequency)...if i'm listening purely for enjoyment then a decent stereo is the way to go...it accentuates certain frequencies and makes the bass much more prevalent, making everything sound "bigger" just as compression over the fm radio air waves does...i'm guessing i'm not the "normal" though...d.m.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
it really depends on why i am listening to something...much of the time i want clarity as i tend to subconsciously analyze the music...if something catches my ear i want to know why it works so i'll listen through my studio monitors which are much clearer than normal stereo speakers (albeit with a much different but more defined bass frequency)...if i'm listening purely for enjoyment then a decent stereo is the way to go...it accentuates certain frequencies and makes the bass much more prevalent, making everything sound "bigger" just as compression over the fm radio air waves does...i'm guessing i'm not the "normal" though...d.m.
Clarity is key to learning to listen. Listening to movies heavy on the sound FX with an orchestral score through studio monitors is a really good way to develop the ear as it turns out. For me, studio monitors are my decent stereo and I use my iPhone like a radio, for news and stuff. That is "normal." ;)
 

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I'm a musician and a professional recording engineer, before getting into pro audio I remember getting my first good stereo and listening to music on it, and being enveloped by the sound. When I started to write music and record and then become a an engineer for a living, my perspective didn't change, I always went for a more Hi-Fi sound. These days I get complimentary copies of the Absolute Sound sent to my studio and it's a laugh, there is SO much these people buy into, like the idea that an 11,000 dollar power cord is something you need. How about you go to your power company and pay from premium electricity. I have a wonderful pair of Focal Twin 6's in my control room and revealing and accurate are both words I would use, not to mention that my control room is an acoustically accurate space. For me I can still listen to music as a musician and engineer but I also enjoy turning that part of my brain off and listening to music as an experience. I recently upgraded my speakers in my home stereo from some absolute junk to a pair of Elac speakers, because I wanted to enjoy listening to music OUTSIDE of the studio.
 
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