Audiophiles & music-have you got it wrong?

This thread is partly inspired by comments on "would you refer this to all the interested parties" but also by general comments made on a regular basis.

Of course each person to their own, I do not advocate my views are the definitive ones and I do consider myself a music fan who takes an interest in high end equipment rather than being an out and out audiophile.
However despite some reservations about certain audiophile beliefs I don't come on these forums and say burn in it doesn't exist,interconnects are a rip off and exhibit little more than fine tuning etc.etc.
Because I don't feel I've explored these issues fully nor do I really wish to therefore my comments would be largely uninformed even if they are accurate from my point of view.
And yet some audiophiles seem to make constant negative remarks about the price and quality of music currently available-are they right?

First up the price of music-this is not to say greed doesn't exist within the record companies but are CD's really that expensive when we compare them to how much we spend on our equipment?
My collection is now worth close to double what my equipment is.
Am I nuts or do I have things in perspective?
I consider I am probably at the extreme end of things with regards buying music but aren't some of you at the other end of the extreme?

Is it the quality of the recordings that's an issue?
Ok-I can't say sometimes that recorings don't disappoint or indeed the fact that older CD's can be badly mastered.
However is it possible that some have attuned their ear to a level of perfection that only exists in a limited number of recordings?
Nothing wrong with that but should our hobby be about matching that ideal or should it be more like how I see/hear things-getting the best audio reproduction possible but accepting that recording will always be flawed or indeed subjective?
Is Robert Johnson any less powerful despite the primative nature of the recordings?

Finally there's no new good music.
I read that endlessly here on Audiogon.
And I ask one question-how do you know that?
Do you read about new music?
Have you the interest to search it out the way you tweak or try to perfect your system?
Do you know what's been remastered recently?

There is plenty of new music that is good but even ignoring the new stuff,there is an endless supply of music already existing that you've probably never heard.
Do you try to expand your tastes?
Does it even interest you to try?

If your relationship with this hobby is about the equipment then fine,that is as valid as any music lovers quest however please refrain from these glib criticisms if you haven't taken the time to make sure you know what you are talking about.

I think that it is a natural tendency for one to reduce the quantity of music purchased as they age. When we are younger, you have more free time, you go out more with your friends, you hear more music both in night-clubs and at concerts, etc... As one gets older, we get wrapped up in work, family, etc... and your free time dwindles. As such, our exposure to newer artists and more current music dwindles with it. I don't think that anybody here is against buying / trying something new, but at the same time, reduced exposure and the time to check into such things makes that harder to do.

Personally, i know that i'm a LOT less daring when it comes to buying unknown or unfamiliar artists than i was when i was younger. First of all, the price of a disc is nothing to sneeze at anymore. When i was growing up, we could purchase albums for anywhere between $2.49 - $4.99 apiece. As it is today, you can barely find beat to death used discs for that kind of money. While used LP's can be found for that, finding someone that stocks such things with a good variety is a task in itself. On top of that, new LP's are priced astronomically to say the least. Yes, greed IS hurting the music industry.

As a side note, i made myself a promise several months ago. I had started checking the local concert listings and promised myself that i would see several different shows that were coming up. As it turns out, i was able to attend one out of about a half dozen due to various situations arising. None the less, it is my goal this year to get out and enjoy myself and music more than i have done in the recent past. Given that my girlfriend is a dedicated "home-body", that may be tougher than i think, but it is something i want to do. Hopefully, i'll be able to drag her to a few shows with me and she'll enjoy them enough that she'll want to make it a regular thing for both of us. Sean

PS... How about including some info with your responses? Let's list the last live performance that we attended. I spent New Year's Eve with my girlfriend at a White Stripe's / Flaming Lips show and the sound sucked :(
Sean a very considered and thoughtful response however you are not the type of guy who is making the type of criticisms that tend to get my back up.
I am not suggesting everybody should be like me,as I have a lot of free time and not too much responsibility but I do believe the blind spots many audiophiles are finding are as much to do with their attitude as anything else.
Ben, as usual your fighting for the music and doing a good job.

Although I don't have as much invested in my music as my hardware, I have a considerable collection. I am open minded to new music to the extent that most of my visitors will only listen to a fraction of what I own.

I listen to some of my library with one group of visitors and some with another. There is music that it seems only I enjoy or share with my son, who is typically more open minded than my music group.

There is music that my son won't tolerate including boy bands, Kenny G, freeform Jazz and Missy Elliott. Although I believe his disagreement with Missy comes from her winning the MTV award that Johnny Cash deserved.

It was Johnny's NIN remake that moved him so deeply that he spent the remainder of this allowance for the CD.

Then when I think I have him figured out, I hear Carl Orff coming from his computer system. Not the ever popular Carmina Burana, but an obscure German radio movement. Proud and amazed, then I hear Eminem, Wilco, Dirty Vegas and Sigur Ros.

Last week he introduced me to (what I would call) Country Rap. You might say it's the best and worst of each. The artist name is Bubba Sparxxx and new to my listening experience. The cut I heard was not objectional, but not nearly as amusing as the expression on my sons face.

Oh to be that young again.
so much music; so little time. a minute is still a minute. I have oodles of different music and oodles more I want to buy (including my new found friend Tom Waits--) There isn't an Evelyn Wood speed listening course is there? Ben, you're always a good read. peace, warren

I'm definitely a music lover although I wish I could afford to be more of an audiophile. Case in point: I have so much vinyl software that storage and organization is overwhelming my music room. I've been wanting to buy a certain new preamp but spent the available funds for a new tig welder and plasma cutter instead so I can build a record storage system the world needs. Well, at least my little world needs this type of system. ;)

I listen to more live music than any of my acquaintences but stick with genres and artists that have withstood the test of time. New music is being produced that I'm sure I would enjoy but getting exposed to it is the challenge. In the US, radio sucks. Television? No help there either. Remasters? Gimme a break. How many copies of DSOTM do I need?

I maintain that many of the glib criticisms you refer to are well deserved. To be honest though, the comments that are rubbing you the wrong way have been repeated for decades. The good news in all of this are folks like you that take the time to post new finds of merit.

You my friend, are cutting edge, a new age prospector for tunes. I'm trialing edge and appreciate the effort you put into finding fresh music which will also stand the test of time.
Patrick-thanks for the kind words.

By remasters I do mean worthwhile releases-like several last year that took CD replay to new levels.

Amongst these were Beatles and Dylan and of course at last On The Beach by Neil Young in all it's ragged HDCD glory.

Sure some companies suck the life out of classics but what I'm referring to is knowledge.
I've seen many many posts on Audiogon that refer to the poor quality,usually early generation CD releases by major artists.
The simple fact is that these have been surpassed but audiophiles remain ignorant for whatever reasons.
I've seen posts on Queen,Peter Gabriel,Blue Oyster Cult,Joni Mitchell,Yes,The Police even something like One by the Beatles got lost to some people.

Information is a two way street-in some fashion you get out what you put in-if you search in the wrong places you'll find dross.

Yes these points have been made for decades which if you think about it just means we've got old because even the golden era of popular music wasn't rated by the oldies then!
The amount of music one can find on the WWW is so vast that it sometimes seems to be out numbered only by the stars in the sky and the bugs on the earth. My problem isn't finding recordings, it's affording the multitude that I find.

Equipment, I enjoy the heck out of it and have somehow been blessed with the ability to put a great sounding system together at all the price levels I have owned. All this great luck with components has opened up a huge can of worms in the software department limited only by the flavor of my day and never by the equipment.

I will admit to a short stay in the AUDIOPHILE camp a few years back..spent about two years there playing with and staring at all my stuff with this neurotic look in my eye, not a fun time for music listening in the old sogood household. I don't know for sure..but we may all go through this as part of the learning curve with components at one time or another in our lives. One only has to read through the daily forum to see what a confused bunch we can be.

The main issue for me these days (and something that was briefly alluded to above) is that, as some of us grow older, the amount of perceived actual time diminishes. Yet music will always require real time to enjoy. Devices may be faster and machines may produce more in shorter time frames, and we will all be expected to accomplish more in less time, but nothing can change this when it comes to listening for enjoyment.

For that reason I have been exploring the vinyl back- catalogs of artists from the 60s and 70s, and even jazz from the 40s that I wasn't familiar with previously. The hardware acquisition syndrome is now gone and it is all about the music now, when I can find the time to listen.
Remeber when you were a teenager? As a matter of natural selection,you rebeled against your parents,so you would leave the nest while,at the same time,being expected to conform to their expectations about whom you dated,what school you would attend,and so forth.

You mirrored your rebellion against both facets mentioned above. You rebelled against their conformity by dressing and acting the same way others your age did.

It might have been long hair,tie dyed t shirts,and a marijuana habit. It might have been dressing and talking as you believed an urban ganster talked.(Remember that Tupoc and P Diddy are middle class suburban kids.) If you were female,it was dressing in a way that pissed off your mother.

Your music was designed to annoy and piss off your parents. It was loud with sexual and drug references.

What is aimed at these adolescent consumers was and is more entertainment than music. I suspect that Brittany Spears knows she can't sing and that she is actully a geisha act(in a larger sense.)

So of course,those of us who have outgrown it think it sucks and is overpriced.

There are so many good jazz and classical players out there,it's tough to keep track of them. There are places to find their recorded output at reasonable prices. One place to look is the Naxos label.

Pro Musica.
Good posts by music loving audiophiles.

I alway thought that music (I'm performance orientated, not recorded sound orientated) was all that really counted and that I'd love it as well on a boom box. Well, I got my wish, so to speak...............

I work on the computer in a room accross the hall from my system in which everything is tubed - on 16 hours a day! Got frugal and bought one of these generic mini systems for my desk figuring I'd save the cost in the 1st year on tubes alone. By now you've guessed - I'd rather hear my music from the main system accross the hall than on the mini system on my desk..........

But (here is the big however) I'd still rather hear the music over the desk system than not at all - my imagination can still fill in the blanks. I couldn't imagine life with out it. I'd guess that I am an audiophile after all but I'd still rather talk about, and listen to, music than equipment, or work for that matter.
I think it's really sad when otherwise intelligent people use the "there's no good new music" excuse. More music is being produced today than ever before. That means that there's tons of bad music being made and and also tons of good music being made. There's absolutely nothing new with having to wade through the crap to find the isolated gems. I think what some people are really saying is that they don't want to take the time and effort to find the new good music. That's their choice, but they are not really being honest when they blame today's music. Sometimes the music evolves and it's the listener who is left standing still.
Pragmatist I'm afraid I never listened to music to piss off my parents-I took music in at a much deeper level than that.
On such a weak foundation it's no surprise that you view certain styles of music as throwaway.
I think that a lot of the music I enjoyed as a teen and young adult was heard on inferior equipment. I enjoyed it and I got used to the way it sounded on that equipment. I remember that A Ertegun said he did the final mix of Aretha Franklin's music over car stereo speakers. I still think that Bell Bottom Blues sounded the best over an old Dynakit tube amp through AR speakers and a Garrard turntable. Most of the old rock and roll I play on my system doesn't sound as good as I remember. That may be my system, not enough power in my Pass Aleph 5 for my Talon speakers, but I think it is my memory and the way I heard the music first.

I do own around 1000 CDs. However, I usually try out CDs when I find them at a Half Price Bookstore (especially their sale rack at 1.00 or 3.99). There are a few artists which I will pay the full price for Richard Thompson, Chris Smither, Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Delbert McClinton, Buddy Miller, Karrin Allyson,Scott Hamilton ... Recently, I found both Greg Trooper albums for 3.99 at Half Price and I have added him to my list. I think you can get a good music collection if you are patient and shop.

My son listens to Rockabilly and I actually think there are a lot of good Rockabilly players like Southern Culture on the Skids, etc.... I find that there is a lot of good music out there for youth to enjoy and for old folks like me. I think I just enjoy folk, jazz, and alternative country more that I enjoy rock and roll anymore. Some of the more thoughtful rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen, John Hiatt, Van Morrison, Billy Joe Shaver, etc., still sound good on my stereo.

I agree that most big time music is more about entertainment than the music. This is probably the result of music videos and MTV. However, I still like a lot of the music out there, especially the less popular music.

Live music still is the best if the soundman is good. I used to see a lot of music live at the Caravan of Dreams, but they closed it down. In my area there are hardly any venues for live music that are small with a decent sound system left.
My music may have "pissed" off my parents, but it wasn't written for that purpose. Pragmatist, if you played your music to annoy your parents; well that's another incites and provokes, but as to why and how, remains an internal affair.
Right now, there is so much new music that is so good, albeit, contemporary classical music. I cannot keep up. I am averaging around 10CDs a week( sorry about the LP, but there is definitely a lack of interest from the majority of classical labels ,majors and indies). Just pick up the American Music Guide or Fanfare or BBC's Music or Gramophone, and you will see literally a couple of hundred CDs per month. Of course, I will not get into the aesthetics of contemporary classical art music. However, Julian Johnson once said: Just because you can see does not mean you can read, just because you can hear does not mean you can listen. Both take training, understanding and the ability to learn. Contemporary classical music is critcal listening, and is well worth the journey! And believe me, there is tons of the music out there!
So much good music exsists today and is overlooked because the record companies funnel the majority of resources into a small percent of acts they want to market.
I do most of my CD and LP shopping at Mom and Pop new/used outlets. I know the point has been made about CD prices coming down, but at the large stores "Tower, Borders, etc." I still see very high prices, with profits going to record companies to fund more acts they want to promote while the real talent gets no exposure.
There is plenty of good music out there, but in relation to why music sales are down, maybe it should be put another way. The popular music the record companies promote sucks and is overpriced.
Ben and company,

Clearly it's all about the music, no other logical reason to accumulate quality gear. That being said, time marches on and also becomes a very rare commodity so expanding an already volumonous music collection can't always be a priority. If you're fortunate enough to have the discretionary income it's entirely possible you don't have the leisure time to enjoy it. Here's an example, a guy with a job that requires LOTS of travel and three kids (ages 10, 12, 13).

10 year old daughter: in the winter she swims indoors three days a week, goes to Girl Guides once a week, takes karate twice a week, and participates in indoor soccer once a week. In the summer she swims daily, diving meets twice a week, and soccer three times a week.

12 year old daughter: in the winter she plays ringuette twice a week and does her karate twice a week. In the summer she swims daily, diving twice a week, soccer three times a week, golf lessons once a week.

13 year old son: in the winter he plays/practices hockey daily. Golf in the summer. Listens to the same shit on the computer as Albert's son does, thinks about and chases girls 24/7.

The government is unreasonable and won't let them drive yet, so a parent shuttles them all over the place. Yep, this is my life and many other 'Goner's have similar schedules and demands on their time. We still enjoy the hobby and love good music. I have a ton of music I don't have time to listen to, yet still buy more, maybe I'm an optimist?
Relating to Sean's first point....
I budget approximately $35 per paycheck for new or used CDs.
Obviously I'll get over budget sometimes. Due to stores unwillingness to carry much stock, sometimes you must buy when you find a desired item. When I was younger I budgeted for 2 albums per paycheck. Cds cost a bit more, but I still budget for four recordings or more a month.

I read music mags and newspaper reviews. Ocassionally I'll try some artist I have no knowledge of. Most recently this was Eric Truffazz. Sorta Maynard Ferguson meets King Crimson with a healthy nod toward the early to mid 70s Miles Davis bands. He has four CDs out on Blue Note. Electric jazz. I have no tendancy toward conservatism in my purchases of music and in fact new artiasts are in demand here! Dave Douglas and Bruce Barth are two recent discoveries for me.

My point is I see a different natural tendancy than Sean. Mine is to maintain my music habit at approximately the same level as 30 years ago. Minimum of four recordings a month and I'm always seeking new artists. I also use the Internet to locate concert dates by my fav artists, get the tickets and hotel reservations. It is much easier than in 1975! Yep...I still try to see Santana, Mike Brecker and the like whenever possible. However, I do not have as much time to pursue music as I once did. But then I do work full time now.

And yes Ben, the cost of the music purchased over the years drawfs the retail price of my current system and in fact the retail of all systems together that I have owned. I sell or trade equipment and music I do not like. And stereo does not sound like live music...probably never will. Apples and oranges imho.
The complaints about price regard direct/personal and indirect consequences. I can not get in to the validity of the indirect, but after subtracting it plus subtracting the number of complaints about the price of audio gear, I'm not sure CD cost complaints are worth mentioning in Ben_campbell's music v. gear context. Even less so when people argue the principal of the overpricing and doing the math for $3-4 over a hundred or two CDs. Some people are set to be cheap with CDs and not gear, but that sliver means nothing to me. Just people.

"There's no good music anymore" irks me, actually. I find it pathetic. My theory is the claim is sum of the following: (a) "Good" music, whatever that is, is harder to get a hold of, obviously for a number of reasons. (b)"Sometimes the music evolves and it's the listener who is left standing still." by Onhwy61 is apt. (c) The disdain for societal direction is probably another turn-off, another barrier, cummulating in to too much effort to find what is worth while. This is sharp contrast to the good old days, I'm sure.

"My collection is now worth close to double what my equipment is.
Am I nuts or do I have things in perspective?"

Even imagining the literal extremes of both ends, I really think this question should be limited to one's self. People talk about "it" being about the music, but the "no good music anymore" claim and certain posts is evidence that audio is intrinsically enjoyed more than music exploration.
I'll probably never have as much invested in gear as I do music, but I've come closer than I ever thought I would just a few years ago. Which actually disturbs me - not only because I think of audiophilism as being fundamentally silly and wrongheaded in many ways even while I pursue it to a large degree, but also because this trend is probably at least partly the result of my not liking current music offerings enough to keep me occupied going to concerts and buying new recordings. I spend less and get more records now than 20 years ago, simply because almost everything I buy these days is scrounged up used. Still, it's really impossible to ever run out of worthwhile music you don't own, and I do buy a fair amount of reissues and comps.

What I really need to do is get a better computer and connection so I can discover music online, since radio where I am is useless nowadays. It's not a method of exporation I enjoy thinking about, but I'm so limited in my ability to exploit it right now I don't really know what I'm missing. Or maybe, like 20 years ago, I just need to get a part-time job in an independent record store (or what the hell, open up my own). Except that being exposed to or wading through too much musical crap depresses me, and I no longer care about being hip or current. I figure that at my point in life (40 this year), I finally deserve to be a curmudgeon, and am blessedly free to hate almost everything, no matter how many try to tell me it's good. When it comes to art, I think there are limits to how worthwhile what's produced outside of a thriving and organically evolving millieu can be, and the forms I love most are way past their golden ages. (BTW, that also mostly goes for art, literature, architecture, industrial design, cinema, TV, and radio. I told you I was a curmudgeon.)

One thing I am looking forward to that audio technology can assist me with is fully experiencing the record collection that I already have. I've got many thousands of 45's that I would like to play more, but it just takes so much time and effort, when even having to flip over LP's can be a distraction. I intend to get a real old-fashioned jukebox one day, but would also love to eventually get into the kinds of digital hard-drive based storage systems I think are coming down the pike. Additionally, I forsee myself seriously considering adding some kind of digital satellite radio capability to my system (and car) in the future, because who wants all the music you hear to be stuff you own?

Anyway, I've pissed off enough folks around here before with my diatribes about stereotypical audiophile listening habits, and I don't think we need to go there again on this thread (and especially not for the people posting to it, for whom such bile generally wouldn't apply, thank goodness).

P.S. - Nice going on the Lips show Sean. Sorry about the sound, hope you've managed to get over it :-)
Jeff, that was a nice little vinette of your life. Funny I know you guys, but I don't know you guys. Many are, just, names and plain ole audiophoolish personalities, yet we all have lives, families, jobs, and geography. Wouldn't it be a cool post (maybe this was done before my time on the 'gon) for us to post a little mini vinette about who we are beyond the audiophoolish lives we live. Just an idea. Sorry Ben, for getting of the thread, but we've, as usual, beat this baby to death. 'twas good while it lasted. peace, warren
I'm on the opposite side -- music outweighs the cost of the hardware (by far, I should think). OTOH, as Jeffloistarca notes, I wonder when I'll have the time to listen to all the software I have say, once again; the rate of incoming music outstrips the listening, so there's an accumulation of stuff.

After all, music is like a book: it's important to grab and have at home. One day, we'll listen to (read) it. If we don't have it, there's no chance of enjoying it, is there?
A little off topic, but is it really unfair to not let 10 thru 13 year old kids drive? Can you imagine the carnage on the road? Thank goodness for sensible government regulations!
Jeffloistarca - Ya, I do the "kids" thing too, but before you know it, they'll have grown-up considerably and you'll have more time on your hands. Right now, I can find much enjoyment in even just one day a week when I get a couple of hours to sit, undisturbed, with my eyes closed, listening to music. The music we've been buying is always there waiting for us when the opportunity arises....

Ben, I don't think the term "Audiophile" means just people who buy a bunch of equipment and change it regularly, but don't buy music. It was once explained to me like this:
"Audiophile" could perhaps refer to two different groups: Music Lovers and Hobbyists.
Music Lovers spend way more on music than equipment and often enjoy the music regardless of the recording quality.
The Hobbyists are the ones who are always changing their equipment, often because all they are doing is obsessing in how various noises are being reproduced in their system, instead of listening to the music. (although they can love music, it's just not as important to them, apparently) They often hear the noises they're looking-for, but miss the big picture - MUSICALITY!! These are often the same twits who refer to equipment or music as "unlistenable"! I just want to smack those idiots across the head! If a recording is not perfect, get over it! Listen to that one when you're working in the house or in another room and enjoy the performance for its musical value. If you want to obsess about sound quality, play the best recordings when you're sitting in your sweet spot.
I almost feel sorry for those who can't enjoy music because the recording quality isn't up to the best of modern standards. They are missing a lot of good music!!!!

I've long since exceeded the value of my system with the music I have purchased. As to pricing, I don't often pay full retail. I wait for a sale, I buy it used, I buy over the Internet, I buy at a CES when they're on sale, etc. But, it still adds-up to a LOT of money, and I sometimes wonder if I'm nuts or not. I couldn't listen to all of the music I've purchased if I sat in front of my system 24/7 for almost a year!! (with no sleep...maybe a year & a half with sleep time ;-) Why have I done this?! Hell, I coulda' bought a new car with that money! But then, even though I love cars and I love to drive fast on corners, it's mostly just transportation. Overall, I get way more satisfaction out of listening to my music system....and I'm always playing music in my car!!
I've taken a lot of time listening at various places and reading a lot of books & magazines to find the best albums by the best people. I've accumulated a very good collection of excellent albums in many different categories of music. (That's because, like has been said in this discussion, there is a LOT of good music out there; you just have to be open-minded and willing to listen) I can reach out any time I want, and depending on my mood, I can find just the right kind of music to listen-to.
Plus, if the small part of the Hobbyist inside me wants to impress a visitor, or if I want to seriously infect someone with this Audiophile Disease I have, chances are I have just the kind of music they want to listen-to, or I can 'wow' them with something great they've never heard before.

Although I'm always open to upgrading my system if the opportunity, type of component and price are right, I'm at the point that my system sounds very good all the time. I always enjoy listening to music, and I'm more likely to think about what album to buy next or what kind of music I want to try than what hardware "needs" changing.

Thanks for the thread Ben.
>>First up the price of music
Yes, this is an issue. As Sean said before & I agree - extreme greed is killing the music industry or what's left of it! Consider what it takes to actually phyiscally make a CD-ROM & what the price of music is. It's close to 1000% mark-up! Yes, the musicians need to be paid & people w/ special talents are always rewarded more than the avg. human being. But, there are 601 middle-men in the whole music distribution scheme who EACH need 100% profit!! How much greed is enough? In this, too much is not enough! Yes, the music industry does not exist as a charity or a not-for-profit organization. I agree & accept that. However, how much profit-gouging are they going to do before they think it is acceptable? As it stands today, it is totally unacceptable by me & by most of us.

>>Is it the quality of the recordings that's an issue?
Yes! For many recordings on digital medium this is an issue. If you are going to charge an astronomical price for music, atleast record it to the best of the medium's capability! In yester years, the recording industry was learning how to make CD recordings & so one can forgive the mistakes made there. However, over the years, thru the world-wide knowledge of this industry, recording houses have made leaps & bounds of progress in this domain. These days it does not take a rocket scientist to make an excellent recording. It should almost be a given that anyone in this field should be learned in the art of recording, mixing, mastering (I don't mean that the same person should be but it's entirely possible that it is). Using Digital Theory 101, it should be relatively easy to make an excellent digital medium recording. Is that we the users do not demand this from the recording houses? Is our collective population ill-educated such that the recording houses can feed us any crap & we swallow it? As a parallel example: how do you think that, say, Toyota has become the world-class car manuf. that it is today? They stumbled upon it? Ask a Japanese citizen what they *demand* from their automobile. It is clear that Toyota stepped up to that challenge. So, quality begins at home. So, maybe the masses should wizen up & demand better quality recordings for even mass music rather than accepting hot recordings with significant compression in the peaks.

>>Finally there's no new good music.
This is a very personal choice. I always felt that music (literature, art) always reflected the sign of the times. If you look thru history, this is clearly reflected. So, this line of reasoning seems to be validated emperically. Today's times seem to be vastly shallower than times gone by & the music reflects it. Many of us accept today's music. Fine by me. Many others complain that "there is no good music". Perhaps one should ask them what their definition of "good" is. For those that I personally polled, I found the answer all too close to mine - that there is no depth to the music or the lyrics as compared to yester years. Yes, I have & am expanding my music tastes. I think that I have come a long way in the last 2 years & I have a long way ahead of me. However, there is some genres of music that I cannot accept as music. Simple a matter of taste & personal opinion. It is as correct as the fellow standing next to me. It is very likely that people yearning for "good" music are yearning for times gone by. Looks like those times have gone by.....Today's information age has certainly diluted our objective of why we are alive (my opinion). Our music certainly reflects that.
Some nice replies on this thread.
Bombaywalla-nice post however a few points in response.

PRICE OF MUSIC-maybe music is overpriced but is it different from other products?Isn't our high end equipment vastly overpriced?
Not an excuse or justification of the view music is overpriced just a point.

QUALITY OF RECORDINGS-could you give some examples of new badly recorded music?
It's my view the production is a big part of the artists statement and if the band/singer produce badly recorded music it's because it doesn't feature as part of their statement.
Most new music I hear is very well recorded and suits the music,there is the odd band that obviously compress their music for some reason probably mass appeal on boom boxes etc.
I hear this a lot but don't hear too many examples with the exception of Santana and U2 recently.

NEW GOOD MUSIC-yes I agree, not everybody will like the more extreme descendants of popular forms and I can accept that easily.
My main point on this is that I believe many audiophiles are missing out on music they would like but don't take the time to find it,indeed it would seem searching out release and general music news doesn't feature strongly in their lives.
As Jeff points out above many don't have the time but some of them do then complain bitterly there is no good new music about.
That's my main point.
>>our high end equipment vastly overpriced?
Yes! Vastly overpriced! You won't get an argument from me re. this but just 'cuz equip. is over-priced doesn't mean that music should also be! Today the amount of high quality, good sounding, reasonably priced gear is at its highest. It's a trend that I don't see stopping anytime soon.

>>could you give some examples of new badly recorded music?
I'm mostly a vinyl person so I buy fewer CDs than yourself & most of you. However, I do have a fair amount of run-ins with bad recordings. Some examples:
"All That You Leave Behind" U2 - sibilance city (Grammy award for this!). It's a Dutch pressing that I got when I went home to Bombay. I can't listen to it at all but I really like almost every song.
"Brothers In Arms" Dire Straits - original CD. Compression in many of the tracks esp. in the title track. Heard it on my friend's system, which has a SET amp, and the compression wasn't as glaring. I think it's a tube vs. ss thing.
"Greatest Hits" Carlos Santana. This is a re-issue from some yrs back (red cover). Says that it uses 20-bit re-mastering. Was listening to Black Magic Woman w/ a friend. We both agreed that the recording was marginal. Fair amount of sibilance.
"Colour of My Love" Celine Dion. I beg forgivness! I bought this CD by mistake. I do not like her one bit but something got into me & I bought it! Her voice is strong but boy is it compressed! There are very few airy highs & there is a lot of opportunity for airy highs in her CDs.
These are few that come to mind right now.

>>My main point on this is that I believe many audiophiles >>are missing out on music they would like but don't take >>the time to find it,indeed it would seem searching out >>release and general music news doesn't feature strongly >>in their lives.
Very possibly true! However, there is so much trash out there that it maskes it very hard to wade thru all of that to get a few good releases. The effort:reward ratio is tilted the wrong way! Add to that that many audiophiles/music lovers have domestic responsibilities & the effort:reward ratio gets further tilted the wrong way. When I tell my neighbours & friends what music I listen to their eyes glaze over. They tell me that their parents & grand-parents listened to the artists I'm listening to! They cannot fathom how somebody can listen to this old music today. I've got to be listening to the "latest" music! The point is: the music industry is catering to the masses. Re-issues of "good" music is a 2nd priority & are fewer & far between. The smaller recording & manuf. labels have made it their mission to fill in this gap (for which I'm grateful) but their prices are sky-high! I can get 2-3 CDs for $100 from mail-order companies! Good grief! I recently got hold of a vinyl copy of "Brothers In Arms" Dire Straits. Original LP. Probably beats the pants of the $40 XRCD re-issue. I paid 1/10th for it!
Kind of off topic, But...I picked up Muddy Waters (folk singer) cd the other day. This remaster has caused me to order another Muddy Waters remaster. I've begun to explore more of this old stuff. While Muddy Waters was no stranger to me, I am finding many of the other artist's from his day are. Sound quality on this disc is very high and was a great surprise.

One issue no one has raised is whether there is a relationship between the level of ones "audiophillia" and the time one spends listening to individual recordings. In other words, the dollars I've spent on my system allow me to listen deeper into my music, and, consequently, I find I have played a given record, say, even more often as my stereo has been upgraded over the years. (Except when I first started out and only had a few to play, of course.) This has slowed down my purchasing of more recordings as I don't have the time to appreciate them all. Still, the quality of the artistic experience I enjoy has been enhanced as my stereo has been because I can connect better emotionally with what the musicians are doing.
The result of all this is that my music collection is relatively small compared to most of you, and its cost is exceeded by that of my system. However, this is not a matter of priorities.
As an aside, I'm basically a "tweak". I don't swap gear as much as optimize it by adjustments and accessories.