Are we crazy?

November 25, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

I have been asked so many times whether or not I am crazy that those questions not only roll off my back like water and ducks, but I have become convinced it is true.

I would perhaps prefer the word obsessed to crazy but then what difference would it make?

In any hobby or passionate pursuit, there’s a crazy amount of energy expended in reaching for a goal. Who wouldn’t think it crazy to build subwoofers in cars so loud they can only be measured outside the vehicle? Anyone inside would be dead. Yet, to subwoofer aficionados the louder the better even if it is unusable.

Are we crazy to want the best sounding stereo systems possible? To work hard and spend money on digging deeper into the music? Uncover what’s missing? Be blown away by how something sounds?


Thankfully, we’re all nuts.

And I love it.

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22 comments on “Are we crazy?”

  1. Obsession is ok if it’s a passion, but at what expense?
    Nuts is a step beyond…. Where is the line drawn?

    How far to go… knowing you’ll you’ll never reach “the pinnacle” … could drive many nuts.

  2. Ah, yes. I remember the 80s, where the goal wasn’t to build the best system possible, rather the best system affordable. A friend had enormous woofers in the rear of his Mercedes. We joked the cones were so stiff they remained stationary while the entire car jumped up and down to create all that bass. He was a ski instructor at Aspen and this was his compromise to lack of income. It made a fine chick magnet.

  3. Hmmm, FR30 50% off Black Friday sale must have created website issues…now that stock is sold-out, seems all is working okay?!? 😉

    Audiophiles aren’t crazy or obsessive, just Passionate about their Music Fidelity!

  4. Excuse me whilst I realign my audiophile tuning cups. I was told they should be aligned with geographic north, now I find out it should have been magnetic north all along. No wonder the stereo was sounding so terrible.

    1. The problem is both poles move. No wonder we can’t keep things sounding good day to day / year to year. We need an audiophile grade inertial navigation system, combined with a low noise GPS, and a magnetic compass with extreme detail. All servo looped together and time sequenced to within a few attoseconds of each other. But then again don’t obsess.

    2. The problem is both poles move. No wonder we can’t keep things sounding good day to day / year to year. We need an audiophile grade inertial navigation system, combined with a low noise GPS, and a magnetic compass with extreme detail. All servo looped together and time sequenced to within a few attoseconds of each other. But then again don’t obsess

  5. Purses:
    Debbie Wingham’s Upcycled Easter Egg Purse – $6.7 Million
    Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse – $4.3 Million
    Hermès Kelly Rose Gold – $2.6 Million
    Hermès Birkin Bag by Ginza Tanaka – $2.4 Million
    Hermès Chaine’d Ancre Bag – $2.3 Million
    Lana Marks Cleopatra Clutch – $550,000
    Niloticus Crocodile Hermès Himalaya Birkin – $425,000
    Chanel “Diamond Forever” Handbag – $300,000
    Fuchsia Diamond-Studded Hermès Birkin – $252,000
    Hermès Exceptional Collection Shiny Rouge H Porosus Crocodile Birkin Bag – $203,150
    Blue Crocodile Hermès Birkin Handbag – $150,000

    Converse Fastbreak (Worn by Michael Jordan) – $190,373.
    Platinum Guild Stilettos by Stuart Weitzman – $1.09 million.
    Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordans – $2 million.
    Ruby Slippers by Ronald Winston – $3 million.
    Nike Shoes Thrown at President Bush – $10 million.
    Debbie Wingham High Heels – $15.45 million
    Moon Star Shoes by Antonio Vietri – $19.9 million.

    Tickets to outer space, Private islands, Superyachts, Renting celebrities, Kopi Luwak Coffee, Laboratory Hamburger Grown by Stem Cells – $332,000 each, $175 pack of gold staples, Iceland Glacier Water – $60,000 per bottle, 22-karat Gold Toilet Paper – $2 Million per roll and $120,000 for a frickin banana duct taped to a wall???

    And WE’RE nuts??
    Me thinks not.

    $2237 to fill my furnace oil tank this year – now THAT’S nuts!!!
    Gotta keep those ribbons warm..

    1. I feel so lucky to live where I am. My last propane fill was $1.46 per gallon, delivered with all taxes although they add a $5.00 hazmat fee. Feed that into a super high efficiency boiler and we stay nice and warm. The price of the boiler? That’s crazy

  6. Robin Williams (RIP) was asked if he was crazy, to which he
    replied, “Yes, & I make a wonderful living being that way!”
    I would suggest that Paul McGowan is & does too 😉

  7. No, not crazy. What’s crazy is that so much audio reproduction is so poor, so inaccurate; equivalent to watching a 19″ B&W TV set from 20 feet away and thinking that you’re getting the Big Picture as to what is being televised.

    Once you’ve experienced what’s possible with accurate playback chains there’s no going back – it makes excellent sense to persist with ironing out the bugs that handicap most audio replay; quite often the bottlenecks can be resolved at relatively low cost, allowing one to finally experience what the contents of recordings really contain …

    1. fas42,
      Please tell all of us here what home-audio components
      we should be buying & using, so that we can have the
      same accurate home-audio rig that you apparently have.
      Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way … my mindset is that of a troubleshooter – I start with some gear, usually cheap, and listen for what it’s getting wrong. And sort out answers or workarounds, to improve the standard – what you work towards is that 3D, holographic, completely invisible speakers thing; the greater the accuracy, the closer you get to that presentation.

        As an example, current setup uses excellent value for money active monitors made by Edifier, with source being an ordinary DVD player playing CDs, over Toslink. A key thing I always do is stabilise the cabinet of the speakers, using extra weight to “tie them down” in this case. Then, as is often the case, it was clear that the cables in the system were introducing noise, and that the setup was very sensitive to the quality of the mains power. Having got temporary solutions for that in place which seem to be good enough, so far, the next issue turned out to be the infamous jitter problem – how bad it is depends upon how happy the DVD player is; in the ToDo basket is to insert a waveform buffer and regenerator in the optical link, to solve that properly.

        Currently, when all the stars are in alignment, the status of the setup allows very accurate playback … can be better, should deliver a high standard more reliably – it’s a Work In Progress …

        1. fas42,
          You finish with, “it’s a work in progress”…well NEWS FLASH…just about every home-audio rig is a work in progress.
          You’ve said nothing new or revolutionary here.
          Some people weigh down their loudspeaker cabinets, some use whole watermelons to do so, & some prefer to use isolation devices to make a sonic improvement…Townshend Engineering, IsoAcoustic, etc.
          Some people upgrade their amplifiers with higher quality caps &/or resistors.

          One person’s “accuracy” is another person’s, “that doesn’t sound quite right”.
          Trust me, I’ve been doing this a lo-o-o-ong time.
          Don’t talk about “accuracy” unless you have a definitive way of attaining it, otherwise it’s just waffle.

          1. There isn’t anything new or revolutionary in getting audio reproduction to work well – and there never will be. It’s all about the fact that the gear you buy, no matter how expensive, is never made as well as it should or can be – and the user has to then sort out the unfinished bits. I was fortunate enough to have my system at the time, 35 years ago, snap into shape by virtue of getting enough of the shortfalls sorted – so then knew exactly what the goal was. Which a lot of audio people don’t; you know they are still unsure what they’re aiming at, because of the comments they make.

            Accuracy is simply the absence of the worst misbehaviours in rigs, that haven’t been sorted. You get better accuracy by identifying each weakness, and resolving it. And do this step by step. No magic, just borin’ old slogging away until you do enough to get acceptable SQ.

            1. fas42,
              Well, I don’t agree with you when you say that “…the fact that the gear you buy, no matter how expensive, is never made as well as it can or should be -”
              Everything is built to a price…everything.
              As I said previously, you can always upgrade internal components (if you’re handy with a soldering iron)
              Trying to find perfection in an imperfect world is a fool’s errand.

              But I do agree with you when you say that getting synergy within a home-audio rig can be a slog, however sometimes, if you’re very lucky, you can get it right straight off the bat.

  8. Nor crazy, neither obsessed. Just alive!

    Don’t you see how many people around us are literally flat? No enthusiasm, no interest, no passion… and the worst thing no curiosity! I think that self ironic and curious attitudes define a person more than any other attribute.

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