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Video: Why Won’t Audiophiles Listen To Each Other?

Emiko talks about problems within the audiophile community and what we can do collectively to address them.

In a follow-up to the series of articles by W. Jennings highlighting the problems in the audiophile community, Emiko (aka @ThatHiFiGirl) has a some strong feelings about this topic.

She knows all too well the abusive and insulting comments that can be cast at anyone that doesn’t fit into the “Old Boy’s Club” in audiophile circles.

The audio establishment is also segmented into different groups and ideologies and it’s rare to find consensus on some topics.

Healthy debate, however, is good for any industry when it comes to moving the ball forward and expanding the base. The issue is that some audiophiles feel the need to be “right” about a topic even when the ugly discourse turns existing and prospective audiophiles off.

This hobby is about the enjoyment of music and appreciation of technology that makes that experience better. Nothing more.

For an industry that is all about “communication” — we’re really terrible at communicating with one another.

If only audiophiles could listen to one another as intently as they listen to music, then maybe, just maybe, there is a path toward progress.

Watch the full video on YouTube or click play above.

Related reading: Does the Audiophile Community Have a Problem? (Part 1)

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Tim

    December 29, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Hi Emiko, I’m halfway through the video, great job. There are so many ugly biases deforming the conversation. One that bothers me is the classism, where opportunists try to inflame resentment against more well heeled audiophiles by claiming the other side are snobs. I come literally from nothing – – I was homeless as a teen, absolutely on my own and with zero prospects. I’m now 50+ and live a very happy, enviable life with a great system that I have saved, budgeted, sold and traded my way up to. I have no problem with what anybody buys, because being part of this community means I support artisans and hopefully help a company innovate in the future. But I have zero patience for grim measurement technofascists who try destroying reputations because they expect they are entitled to something for nothing. They’ve turned measurements into the new snake oil, and shame on them. If all you can afford is a CCA, well I know how that feels, I’ve been there. But I wouldn’t turn that into some grandiose ego trip about how superior my amazing audio powers are. Personally I don’t think transports or cables are terribly important, but that’s today, and tomorrow I could experience something that changes my mind. That’s the beauty of this hobby. Stop the rigid dogmatism and pseudoscience. I won’t engage with audio incels who are one Pepe meme away from their own Gettr channel. These people are poison.

    Other than that I have no opinion on the subject. Best wishes, T

    • Emmanuel Cruz

      December 31, 2021 at 6:36 pm

      Most of us Audiophiles or hobbyists cannot afford very high end gear and some of us like to experiment what sounds good in our ear. Bottom line is what sounds good to your own ear no matter what you bought and what brand, and in skilled people what they built. Some of my speakers I built. I collected used speakers as a hobby like amps, preamps. Some people won’t buy gear from China which is racist. There great designers everywhere. Sound is not based on price, brand and where it is made but too many base it on these things. Most of us can never afford MBL, GERMAN PHYSICS, TRANSMISSION AUDIO, Mcintosh, Mark Levinson just to name a few even used ones from Audiogon. What matters is what sounds good to the user not some SPECS in someones tech report. SPECS should only be used for INDIVIDUAL needs. Not everyone needs to use a 250 watt per channel mono block on basic two way floorstanding speaker for example. Specs does not determine what you actually hear. There are so many factors involved and based on individual taste. Been in audio since 1979. Did not get my first HI FI until 1981 when I entered the military. I have an electronics background, was a home theater in between military enlistment. I have built my own speakers and I collect vintage gear. Can’t afford anything new anyway since retiring in the military in 2014. I cannot stand AUDIO SNOBS.

      • Ian White

        December 31, 2021 at 6:48 pm

        Emmanuel,

        Amen to what you wrote.

        “Some people won’t buy gear from China which is racist.”

        I covered this in my ‘Chi-Fi” article which you can find on the website.

        Happy New Year,

        Ian White

      • Tim

        January 1, 2022 at 11:43 am

        Hi Emmanuel, I agree, there are lots of great components regardless of country or price. Customer service is also huge. I had an amazing experience with Krell service, for example, that really meant a lot to me personally and makes me more loyal to them. Ditto Oktoresearch in Prague. Pavel was fantastic when my DAC8 needed service. A big part of this hobby is relationships. I work hard to earn my customers’ trust, and really appreciate it when the manufacturers take care of me.

  2. dana

    December 29, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    The comments we make are a reflection of who we are. Consider the polarization of Digital vs Analog, Tubes vs Solid state, Jazz vs Rock n Roll. Classical vs Everything else. As an audiophile community we do listen and we actually either hear a whole lot of really bad stuff or we stick to the tried and true. Either position is just that a position. There are a whole lot of yahoos out there including myself that have a position that was formed by conflict. To me my approach is the correct one and if you would only listen you would have to agree, wouldn’t you?

  3. Chris G

    December 31, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Another insightful piece from all of you at ecoustics, much appreciated.

    Personally, I’ve accepted that being an “audiophile” is nothing more (or less) than participating in an expensive hobby. If you don’t believe me, I can bring you to any number of hobbyist pages I follow, where you can watch folks quibble over things like….

    1) Why the carburetor in the 1965 Corvette is better than the 1970 Mustang

    2) The finer points as to why Batman if clearly better than Superman…

    3) Why IPA’s are better than Pilsners…

    4) A Mint on card Jawa with the plastic cape is better than the “give away” Boba Fett in the plastic bag…

    5) What rifle is best for hunting deer…

    It’s ALL silly – enjoy life, be good to one another, full stop.

    • Ian White

      December 31, 2021 at 2:58 pm

      Chris,

      Well said.

      2.) Punisher always.
      4.) My “Revenge of the Jedi” poster from an actual theater over both.

      🙂

      Happy New Year,

      Ian White

  4. secret player

    December 31, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Try asking yourself – why. Think Alpha and Omega.

    With an answer in hand you could have a path to understanding (both ways) and then progress.

    Emiko – very good reflections and posting.

    SP

  5. Ron

    January 1, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Hi,
    Good posting!

    I feel there is a lot of debate and talking in absolutes and right and wrong over something as subjective as sound quality. It’s like debating colour preference. Accept that other people like another colour or sound. Listen to arguments, maybe get some tips and insights in how to improve… or just agree to disagree and go listen to your awesome system.

  6. Colin McWilliams

    January 2, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    Hi I don’t normally respond or post online, but the topic being discussed has really grabbed my attention as it’s one I have come across a number of times on the few online sites, YouTube channels I choose to follow.

    I have been into music from a very young age – the love of it has never waned but the pursuit of the ‘gear’ has gone through phases of inactivity. Covid has reinvigorated my interest and I have been enthusiastically pulled back into ‘audiophaiia’

    I’ve only recently thought of myself as an audiophile- a term which had negative connotations largely due to my few attempts to connect to the ‘community of audiophiles’ which at the time seemed to be located on the online forums. I can remember humbly asking for advise, or others opinions in the daunting task of upgrading or seeking out new gear only to find that no one appeared to answer my inquiry but went off in a tangent, or my request was met with people telling me to forget about what I was interested in and that I should instead pursue item X Y or Z. So before long my original post seem to be ignored or left behind. It was a very disappointing and disheartening experience, because not being an naïve before I had reached out on the forum I had already gone to the trouble of researching and reading around a range of equipment at my budget. So in answer to your question Emiko, what was my response – I got off those forums asap – not to return!

    What a shame! as being a ‘social’ kind of person who enjoys interacting and connecting with people with a common passion. My experiences left me not wanting to be identified or associated with the type of ‘audiophiles’ ( with a few exceptions ) I had encountered.

    I have read many times being an audiophile can be a solitary kind of passion which I can identify with myself. Fortunately I have found a select few online publications, and YouTube channels which I now read/ watch regularly, which I hasten to say aren’t about sharing my opinions BUT do seem to share a philosophy of trying to be inclusive, respectful, welcoming to all and provide helpful information, Interesting opinions – and are entertaining to watch and read.

    Indeed many of the channels I follow or online publications I read were discovered during the COVID era, and have helped me feel part of a like minded community which is a real feel good thing for me as a passionate lover of music first and foremost, and of the ‘gear’ that reproduces it.

    Needless to say eacoustics is on my list of go to resources out there I follow – so asking this question in tour written articles and on your new YouTube channel is so important and humanises a hobby/passion which can seem at times soul less!
    Best Colin PS sorry for the long-winded post

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