HiFi etiquette

December 30, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

14 comments on “HiFi etiquette”

  1. Good story from India. I like this one. All other is a good recommendation. One problem when visiting audio shows for listening to stereo systems was that it was not my type of music which I am familiar with. So I can’t judge the absolute sound quality. Sometimes I feel that the presenter chooses the music what sounds best for their system.

    1. Why should the presenter choose music which sounds bad via this system? He rather will choose music which was used when voicing the system by the manufacturer/designer, isn’t it? 🙂

      1. Right, of course. But some music hides the noncapabilities of a stereo system. Often music was presented with almost no bass content like vocal plus acoustic guitar. Or synthesizer/keyboard with clean sine waves. Or drums with cymbals. Hard to justify. Very seldom a big band with dynamic expression.

        1. I agree. Reproduction of big bands is a tough job, but also a grand piano and a female voice (the latter not getting too shrill. However “normal” stereo (the majority of all audio systems) is just about acoustic/sound effects and not about high fidelity. High fidelity requires most sophisticated recording techniques and a reproduction chain with cross talk cancellation and loudspeakers with perfect timing/step response. Thus normal demos try to hide or mask the inherent deficiencies of non-perfect stereo setups. And the sales guys want and have to impress the audience! I know exactly from my headphones-listening which details I want to hear from my reference tracks and I never evaluate an unknown system from the perception of unknown tracks in an unknown room and not sitting in the sweet spot.

    2. Hi Sven,
      Yes, the last HiFi show that I attended, very few exhibitors would allow attendees/prospective customers to listen to their own CDs/music.
      Most of them just streamed what they wanted the public to hear.
      As far as I’m concerned that’s a bad move.

      Now that I’m very happy with my current home-audio rig, I don’t think
      that I will bother to go to any more Hi-Fi Shows since quite a few
      intelligent & unbiased Audio Reviewers go to them & then document
      85% of it on their YouTube presentation anyway.
      Lastly, most audio shows don’t allow the equipment to give a great
      account of itself anyway, due to the terrible sounding rooms.

      1. Then again, there’s always one old fart at a show who insists on bringing their Zamfir collection so they can test for themselves the intermodular distortion of system.

        You have to draw the line somewhere.

        1. Bkhuna,
          Hey dude, nice to see you drop in after so long 😀
          One old fart vs tens or hundreds of prospective
          customers with money to spend?
          I think that the odds speak for themselves.
          Happy New Year ✌ (in forty minutes here)

  2. On those rare occasions when a visitor actually shows some interest in my stereo system I always ask what type of music they like to listen to. If I have it, I will put it on. If not, I’ll try to find something as close as possible. If someone is coming to my house specifically to listen to music, I ask them to bring favorite CDs or vinyl along. This is how we conduct our audio club meetings. It’s important, I think, to allow others to listen to what they want to listen to. However, I also like to introduce people to pieces of music they may not be familiar with. I have been introduced to new music that I like in this way. The key, however, is—with rare exceptions—to play no more than about five minutes of any music.

    1. Good afternoon LaszloPhoto!
      All of you made some very grate points here!
      One of you is correct about the unknown types of music.
      How are you going to be able to make a proper decission about any system if you don’t know the type of music that’s being played?
      Yes, ask to hear something that is well known by you.
      This is where a lot of the times, you can make a very informed decission about the system you’re listening to.
      The other one of you, is also correct about the bass or the lack there is of it.
      Records that are made to sound like that, won’t make the system tell you the truth about what it really can do.
      And as for the last one of you, 5 minutes?
      Sometimes, that’s not doable.
      There are slews of tracks out there, that are longer then 5 minutes.
      Some of them are between 7 and 10 minutes.
      Some of those tracks like the ones by Mials Davis, are conceddered as Audiophile jims.
      Some people even put those on at audio shows.

      1. I didn’t mean “five minutes” as a rigid requirement. “7 and 10 minutes” is fine, too. But not thirty minutes to an hour.

        Also, I agree that you would want to play something that shows off bass even if most of the music you enjoy has little bass.

  3. Ah yes. A similar thing happened to me years ago, but it was in New Orleans, not a foreign country. I was staying in a nice hotel on business. The cab driver wanted to take me to the Chart House for dinner. I suggested someplace he would go for dinner. He didn’t care for this. We finally agreed he would take me somewhere he would take his wife for dinner providing I called a cab to get back to the hotel. It wasn’t a good neighborhood for tourists.

    As it turned our, there were three restaurants in a row. One a bar on the corner, the middle was an average looking place the the third an upscale eatery with white tablecloths, the Half Moon Cafe. They were all the same outfit, but separated by walls. I chose the middle one, full of down-to-earth people, and the food was fantastic. My travel mantra became “eat with the locals and avoid the tourist traps”.

    As for the bad neighborhood for tourists, I eventually decoded that to mean the locals don’t tip well, Tourists get better service as they tip more heavily.

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