Friday, July 31, 2009


Hey, before you read today's post, go cast your monkuPoll vote! And catch up on the days you missed, too!

I know I've written about audio stuff here before so I apologize if this is just the same old stuff but then I don't have anything else to write about tonight. So why write, you might well ask me.. well, why read it, I might well ask you, lol..

I'm just wondering if I have very undiscerning (if that's the right word) hearing because I don't seem to be able to hear the differences that seemingly everyone else can hear between different pieces of audio equipment.

Now I can tell the difference between speakers, but that's probably the component that varies the most in sound quality. Other people talk about how they hear differences between amplifiers or preamplifiers or even cables but for the most part, it escapes me.

For example, I read reviews on a headphone forum/message board about various headphone amplifiers and how there was such a big difference when using x versus y. I had three different headphone amplifiers (now two since I sold one) and with the volumes adjusted to be equal, I heard no difference at all among x, y, or z. I could hear the difference between headphones, but not the amps.

Recently I bought some new audio equipment but in switching back and forth between the old and new, in most cases I really don't hear a difference. I read comments from other folks and they say things like, "I heard details I've never heard before," "the soundstage really opened up," and "it was as though a veil had been lifted," and stuff like that. Try as I might, I could not discern any meaningful difference when switching back and forth. Blindfolded, I couldn't tell you which one was which. When I thought I heard a difference, I'd go back to the 1st source and nope, there really was no difference. Now I said, "in most cases." Because at times I do hear a difference but that's in the wee minority of instances, certainly not with the frequency that others say they hear them.

Thing is, I can't very well post these kind of comments on the audio forums and message boards I visit.. I'd be ostracized! So I just share them in secret with you, my small circle of readers and hope you don't out me on one of those boards.

I read this joke long ago.. maybe I already wrote it in this blog but with so many entries already my mind is too mushy to remember.

A guy was getting his hair cut when his barber asked if he wanted to pay extra for the "special" treatment to protect his hair. When the customer asked what that meant, the barber explained it like this:

Every time you get your hair cut, it sort of "bleeds" a bit at the end, which damages your hair and eventually causes it to stop growing. The barber had a special potion to counteract this; treating the customer's hair with this potion would keep his hair growing nice and healthy.

"Then answer me this," responded the customer. "Why is it that I've been shaving my beard for over 25 years each day but yet it keeps growing back stronger than ever?"

The barber looked at him. "Simple," he said. "You ain't the kind of person this story was made up to tell to."

Anyway, I am wondering if I am saddled with lead ears because I sure can't hear the differences others say are so obvious. And I'm really sitting there listening intently when I do these comparsions, too.

Oh well.. maybe I'm listening to the wrong stuff or it isn't loud enough or whatever. One thing I can say for certain: happy Friday to you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When people say they cannot hear the difference I always say presbycusis has an effect and they tend to say 'huh'. I don't know if they could not hear me or did not study for their SATs.

Here's a link to some interesting audio graphs. The older we get, the more we need. Same thing happens with light and our eyes. Every ten years we need twice as much.

I agree with you a hundred percent Rickie. In a previous life I was a sound tech for McIntosh and had audio spectrum test equipment in my car. I could show a person visually what a system was doing, but it usually did not matter. I can jack a Shure SM 94 into a laptop and tell you exactly what a system is doing or not doing. But people do not care. Its pretty good for tuning pianos but even then, people want to argue. Sheesh.
Bose proved that a company could take particle board, telephone wire and 45 cent four inch paper cone speakers and by the effective use of notch filtering and advertising make fools pay a hundred times the cost.

Monster continues to push their product on those that do not understand the skin effect and have a size problem. Yes, that size and the shrimps buy it and brag.