I'm frustrated with people who don't ...

Sorry for a long post...
Recently I was at a 3-day meeting out of town for work. For an evening activity we had a cook out at a colleague's house. While there, we gathered around his deck and a small fire in the back yard. I found myself in a group of 6 guys discussing hobbies. I mentioned my love for audio and began to describe my system and music library. Almost instantly, I was "pounced" for believing that any "hi end" component is worth the money compared to anything else one can buy from Best Buy. "Digital is digital" one guy stated, "an $89 player is as good as anything else out there". I attempted to defend my position but in no way was I able to convince anyone. I told them the next time they're in town, I'd have them over to my place and let them hear the difference, but I know most will not acknowledge the quality of sound. Footnote: I've known these guys for 3-5 years and they are professional level headed guys, I wasn't bragging, I made no grand statements that my system is better than anything else, I just talked about my interest and brought it up when they asked me. The icing on the cake was their disbelief that my system can only play one CD at a time... "you don't have a carousel on your CDP?" Man, I was frustrated.
Well, Don't be...
It's realy easy to find a good CD-player among above 1k ones but very hard to find in low-hundreds range and even among carousels. Some of cheap Best Buy ones will sound like crap but some of them do deserve attention...
Puts me in mind of Rick Shultz's "Speed of Light magentics" thread. Those of us in this hobby are fervent believers, those who aren't think we are all nuts. People like to justify their decision to buy from Best Buy and Circuit City, by NOT hearing a difference. "You paid HOW MUCH for those wires?".....
I've found that men like to joust about hobbies. It's usually good natured but they will run you through if you don't play the game correctly. To the fisherman that attacked your system you should have asked if the Orvis bamboo flyrod was any better than an old K-Mart graphite. To the motorhead you should have said that a camshaft is a camshaft or all tires rotate, etc. Golf? Ping vs. McGreggor. Guitars? Gibson/Fender/Martin, etc. vs. Alvalrez or such. Photography? Nikon vs. Pentax. When in a group of men around a campfire whoever is most glib wins. Still, I share your frustration that some people just don't get it.
Hey everyone has their "thing". I have a friend who wears 3K watches, I have a friend who buys bottles of wine that cost in the hundreds, others are into automobiles.

Me I drive an Acura TL and love it, I wear an 80 dollar watch {and a 20.00 Movado knock off} and a 12.00 bottle of vino is just fine with me.

Thats how I explain my hobby to friends , and in that context, they seem to get it. Dont knock yourself out.
Enjoy the music.
Lugnut, You got it wrong, its Nikon v Canon, and Canon sucks! And I like jug wine, that stuff with corks in the bottles is a huge waste of money. :-)
You shouldn't get frustrated. You don't need to justify your hobby to someone that doesn't share the same thrill from it that you do. I have several other hobbies besides music and simply don't discuss surfing with my audiophile friends and vice versa, same with my other hobbies.
My next door neighbor has turned his entire back yard into a minature make beleive world that revolves around garden trains. I think it is silly but, would never tell him that, and I'm sure he thinks the same about my stereo system. So what.
One of the problems with our hobby is that quality is so tough to measure. It's easier to talk about the time to get from 0-60 mph or how many pixels your digital camera has. Lugnut is right that there are other hobbies like this (you spent how much on that reel?). It is frustrating and I normally respond that I enjoy it and love music. Generally, folks don't begin to get it until they really listen to a good system. Even then, if it's not a priority for them, they'll think I'm nuts. That's OK. I welcome the diversion from focusing on the real reasons for my insanity ;-)
I also sympathize with you but you are fighting a losing battle.Change the subject and don,t waste a "good fire poking night" on a people that have the "best rack system" money can buy and even brag about it.To each his own.
Lugnut sums it up well.

I get frustrated when friends/co workers who ask my opinion on audio equipment ,who think I'm some sort of an authority because I own audio equpiment that no one has heard of,and then shrug me and my suggests off with answers like....
...I don't need THAT kind of equipment..
...no,I'm only looking to spend $200 on a complete system..
...500 on a cd player..ARE YOU CRAZY!!
... you are right..I'm going down to Radio Shack and buy the best system they have....
...How Much!!!..no way that would definitely cut into my beer money.

and then climb into their $40,000 car and speed away..go figure!!

Do yourself a BIG favour and just enjoy this great hobby that only the gifted (..lol..) understand.
So . . . Mijknarf, are you ready to admit that LP's sound better than CD's? (LOL)
I just tell people that is it really great that they are happy with their components (cheap ass best buy stuff), and just explain that I can hear a difference and it causes me to spend way to much money that they are saving.

Actually, I'll talk about my video system since people can see the difference versus hear the difference.... 103" Screen blows everyone away and they start asking that how much I just state it cost less than the 400 DVD's I have..

In person they sit there with their mouths on the floor (video system), but sit them in front of my audio system they say wow that's dynamic or clean but they don't know how to listen critically or even care.. their 64kbps MP3's sound good to them...

I avoid talking prices because as everyone stated no one understands (even here on the forum) why 3 of my cables cost $16,000? This is a really painful discussion with my engineering friends... a wire is a wire..

Any high end hobby people don't get.. many people on this forum wouldn't understand why I have mountain bicycles that cost $5k either?
When people talk about their cheap Best Buy systems, I just say it sounds fine, and then move on to the next subject. When people come over and hear my system and make remarks on how clean or good it sounds, I just say "thank you" and move on. I gave up many years ago trying to educate the masses. If they are happy with their MP3's, let them have them.
Despite the hyperbolic language used to describe sonic differences the audiophile world is about subtle nuances. The general public is simply not into nuance. Whether it's music, cars, politics, food, sports or religion most people (American's anyway) only want direct, unambiguous, readily digested, instantly gratifying morsels of information. There's a reason why it's call "pop" culture.
I dont discuss my addiction with many people at length, I just accept that they dont "get it". Of course, many people truly cant hear the difference.
But what makes it all worthwhile is having someone over, letting them sit in the sweet spot, and watching their eyes light up and jaw drop when they hear what they have never heard before.
The best part: Then they buy some of your stuff, and you get to upgrade here at Audiogon!
Even with myself being on the low end of the food chain here I get a little ribbing from a good friend on how much I spent as he is listening to 20 year old mass market stuff with mismatched speakers. I just tell him that compared to people on Audiogon...my stuff is just a molecule in the drop in the bucket...Then he tells me my stereo sounds good and that he doesn't understand why anybody would need to spend more...guess I did a good job of passing the buck.
Just face it. This is an insane hobby where we are never satisfied. We are crazy to pay what we do for this stuff. Thousands for recorded sound coming out of a Marshall or Fender amp with $10 stings on the giutars. The sudios use eq's galore but we cannot without messing with purity. Your friends are correct - you are insane. You just appreciate your insanity and along with the rest of our population thrive on it and will defend it to the wallet. They are insane in their own hobbies. Just talk about music - you will save yourself a lot of grief. We only represent less than 1% of the population otherwise Best Buy would carry our stuff. Notice high end TV is in Best Buy at prices we pure audiophiles think is absurd. They also have a refrigerator with a TV built in the door for 2599.00. I bought the 399 one. Refrigeratorphiles are not happy that I do not understand.
To each his own. Don't let it get you down. Those who've been opening the egg at the wrong end since birth have little idea how crude it appears to others :^)
As an engineer I work with alot of other engineers from various disciplines. I think a few of them get it but still look at you with a kind of skewed expression when you talk about it.
the other day i had an accomplished finger-style guitarist over to help me unpack some speakers. i asked him to sit
down for a few minutes before we began weightlifting, and
listen to a cd i had on w/classical guitar playing bach.
i could hear the attack and decay of every note/chord as well
as the beauty of the composition, but my friend quickly became bored (!), so we started in on the chores. later, he
took out his new handmade $6k guitar (madagascar rosewood/adirondack blanchard) and we both played it for awhile- the
guitar had the most beautiful harmonics and a mellow tone totally unlike most steel-string flat-tops. this guy could hear every nuance of sound that guitar could produce, and we both went a little nuts passing it back and forth, trying different tunes/techniques (he's about 10,000 times better than i am...). even laymen comment on the unusual appearance of my mark levinson 33h amps, but he just said that i have a great system and that was all i could get out of him. he's working on his 2nd cd right now, so he knows enough about electronics/digital recording to get by to say the least.
everyone has a mental prism that they look through, but playing musical instruments is what got ME into audio.
this guy just wants to save up for another guitar- well he does play 3-5 hrs a day...
I've concluded with many of your responses, there was nothing I could say to convince anyone, just move on. When I get a chance I'll get some of the guys over and let them hear for themselves. You guys are right, at the end of the day, it's about the music and our interests... just got 2 new CDs from Amazon, I'm gonna' go crank it up.
It depends on how you use your music system. Audiophiles listen intently, and get upset about the slightest fault. But many people listen very casually, background sound while engaged in another activity. For them expensive equipment would be a waste. And furthermore, new technology, particularly digital, has greatly improved the sonic quality of very inexpensive stuff. If you don't believe this you haven't hooked up a $275 Panasonic digital receiver to a good speaker, perhaps even $500 Maggie MMGs.
Not everything is the same to everyone. There are those that will have pre-set notions and beliefs to those who are open to "unknowns" and differences.
Still, many will hear a high end system and say "big deal!"...I don't get it. That's ok. Maybe Bose soud just as good.
And, as you mentioned, some think digital is digital. Well if you think so, then go buy the cheapest cd player!...just don't bring it over to my house to stick it in my system! I know better. And more importantly, my system sounds infinitely better with the better(IMO) CD player!...I think 99 out of 100 would agree if they heard my system.
The same is with cables, and all dissagree. But then again I don't like the sound from systems that have crappy cables, let alone crappy gear. I can immediately hear the differences. To each his own
Well, there are often some misconceptions within the audio society as well,e.g. cables are the most important items, speakers must always be used with spikes, to name a few.
We usally don´t perceive the world as it is, but as we believe it is.That´s a difference for, sure!Personally, I´m not sure if the direction in audio is towards a more "enlightened" view. We often cling to our concepts,because questioning them would be too inconvenient.

The best answer to the question I sometimes get about my other hobby (flyfishing);"why did you release all the fish you caught", is maybe,"because I wanted to do that"?Only if I think the other person is able to understand, would I bother to explain in more detail....Do I know if the other person will get it?No that´s a prediction,and like all pre-dictions uncertain.Excuse me for being somewhat philosophical.I´m a Swede.Does it matter?
Don't be frustrated, keep in mind that most people do love music. They love the tunes but are more than happy with a
"500 watts" Mini System from a shelf at K-Mart, their jaw
drops when they hear a Bose Wave Radio. We on the other hand love music and the audio gear of our deams, We are always looking for that edge that will give us the impresion of listening to the real thing. Just enjoy every minute you spend listening to your favorite music. Hector

Name of your guitar friend if possible. I'm a big fan of acoustical and classical guitar.

Hey Newbee, I've been a photographer ever since I picked up my first camera in 1972. I've owned many Nikons and Canons. They are both fantastic tools offering different features for different people. I’m currently using the EOS 1n system with all "L" series lenses. This camera has been all over the world with me in all kinds of weather conditions. It's been soaked with water and dropped to the ground many times and I've never had a single problem with it.The "L" series lenses are so sharp, I am able to blow-up my 35mm transparencies larger then 16x24 with no real loss of sharpness. I'm talking about "Film" and not "Digital". Do you even know what that is? I can only guess at your youthful age by that childish remark. What really sucks is not Canon, but your Audio system. As for your pallet, I guess there’s room for improvement there as well.
Zippyy, I can't believe you took my comments seriously. Did you not see the smiley face?

You should lighten up, life is too short and you sound like you are a good candidate for an early stroke or heart atack.

Lugnut, You were right, Pentax was an excellent choice. It's amazing what folks will rise to, wish it was that easy when fishing! :-)

Well, well. A little touchy today aren't we? After Newbee's post, which was intended as humor, I sent him an email saying that I had actually written the same comparison but switched to Pentax just to be on the safe side. I told him how many times I'd witnessed such a comment leading to an argument about the merits of Canon vs. Nikon.

You and I must be about the same age. For the record both brands have fine optics and are very durable but IMHO Nikon established itself as a world class product long before Canon. I do find you to be the exception rather than the rule for having owned many models of both brands as you suggest. About the only common control between these makers is the shutter button. If one is familiar with the operations of one brand then using the other requires more thinking than I like. Having known a ton of photo enthusiasts over the years I've found that the differences between these manufacturers are profound enough that everyone I know chose a rut and stayed in it.

My sense of what you are really saying is that you committed to Canon early on (back in that day they were much cheaper) and are overly sensitive to criticism about your gear of choice. Roll back the clock to when you got into this particular hobby and nary a single professional photographer used anything but Nikon.
All of my friends are pretty supportive of my hobby. They ask my advice on anything AV related, and i do what i can.

My buddy Ben is thinking of upgrading his speakers. He has an older "3 models down" from flagsmip model of yamaha reciever, a technics cd player, and some bose 201's. He makes quips sometimes about how his system sucks compared to mine.
All i do is ask, "well, do you smile when you put in yer favorite tunes and crank it up?
He says "yeah"
I tell him he really doesent need anything else then.
Which is true as far as im concerned.

Its alla bout what you enjoy, and if your "deam system" is a bose accoustimass, then go for it. Nothing wrong with that. Some of us just feel like it should be better.

Its just a hobby, nobody else has to understand, and if anyone gives me crap about how much i might spend on something, i use the boat retort.
In colorado, you have some lakes you can go boating in, but only about 4 months of the year. It is suprising how many people here have boats.
I say my system doesent even cost as much as a good boat, and i can use it every single day regardless of weather. :)
They usually "get it" then
Slappy, You`re wise beyond your years! I know a fellow with a $12-14,000 bass boat that he takes out seven or eight times a year, that he`s paying interest on, insurance, license, various maintenance costs, depreciation, but his boat will be outdated in four or five years! He can`t believe what I paid for my (somewhat meager) stereo system, which I listen to every day, and plan on listening to 25 years from now, when I retire! (Krell build quality!)
Newbee, I apologize, I get defensive when people crap on Canon for no intelligent reason. For the record, my grandmother is 97 and my dad is 76, so I'm not too worried about heart attacks. But thanks for your concern.
Lugnut, I always go with the underdog. Nikon did establish itself before Canon. I was a yearbook photographer in Junior High when I bought my first Nikon FTN. Remember that one? For me, the Canon is like a MAC computer (which I will only use). I find them more intuitive and user friendly. As far as optics is concerned, I dare a comparison of the two. The bodies always end up being personal choice for features. As far as your comment regarding back in the day, pro’s used Nikon, true. I think Canon hadn’t yet come out with the F1. Maybe I’m wrong. My first Canon was the A1. An electronic nightmare, but I stuck with Canon, and I never looked back. It was sort of a nose thumbing at Nikon for me.
Leica optics puts both Canon and Nikon or Pentax and especially Tamron to shame. I know because I've been using Leica since 2004.

You are most certainly correct about Leica optics and also its shutter speed accuracy. They produce a very fine camera. Back when I chose my photographic rut a Leica was clearly out of my price range.

While I may be wrong, when we are speaking of these three brands of cameras I feel strongly that today the biggest difference is in the film we choose. I've gravitated more to the digital side over the last ten years. I find it satisfying that I no longer have to spend any money to take tons of photos. I simply recharge my batteries and format my memory cards and away I go. This might be the photo equivalent of the MP3 but the savings allow me to buy more music software.

Whatever camera you use, may all your shots remain in focus and the exposure spot on!
The best advice for people like that is to not engage them. Arguing with someone who hasn't heard or doesn't understand is a waste of time. Just kindly smile and change the subject.
I always tell people that they might not be interested in the differences, but they will certainly be able to hear the differences. So far nobody who has heard my system has denied that it sounds substantially better than anything they've previously heard, and better than they has imagined a hifi could. But most say it's not important to them to have a similar sounding system. That's cool ... we all like different things.

If someone positively denies the difference and then refuses to listen, well just leave them to their ignorance.
Happy owner of Nikon F5 here.Cheers everyone!As far as audio equipment goes ,my mother in law humiliates me ,regarding my "crazy hobby" almost every week. My reaction to that"I keep buying more gear".I haven't met anybody yet at work or street (besides here at audiogon)that" understands ".And who cares anyway?
Happy listening
I have three hobbies, Audio, Photography and Computers. I got so engrossed reading the entire thread that I got delayed for a dinner invitation.

Most of us go through the same thing, especially with those who happen to be interested in nothing! Yes, that is also true there are people who have no hobbies. Those are the kind who are the most difficult of the lot when one needs to explain the cost of audio system. Someone who is passionately involved in a particular hobby may finally get the hang of it (meaning understand the reason for the expenditure on our part). Keeping a low profile is the best thing one can do. There is no need to explain to anyone why we are so insane. It is just a waste of time.

Enjoy your music (and equipment) and forget about what others have to say.

If you think you are insane just come on over to Audiogon, we are all alike! :)

Happy listening!

PS Although I am a Nikon user, I have no hesitation in accepting the fact that Leica offers better optics and better bodies. Nikon vs Canon? No comments Digital vs Film? I agree with Lugnut about digital more like MP3 and its usefullness, I still think you get better results from good ole Transparency film.

PS 2 Intel vs AMD? Both good in their own ways. I personally use Intel based systems.
Here's the links page at my professional photo web site. Any of those brands look familiar? You guys forgot about Zeiss and count me in as another F5 / D1X guy.

Albertporter, you do some nice stuff. Love your little Benz Ruby picture. Oops, forgot Zeiss
Shutterbug had an article in the latest issue re a comparison between medium format and a Nikon D100. Sez as a pratical matter, resolution wise, there isn't much significant difference. I couldn't tell that from looking at the pictures! I guess it's time to get a digital camera to supplement my film cameras though - its a PITA to scan slides, seems to take forever - for ordinary "snapshots". Any recomendations? Fuji or Nikon SLR types vs Olympus 8080?

Nikon 8700 is very good if you are thinking of cameras in the price range that Olympus 8080 falls. The software part Nikon wins by a big margin compared to all the others in the line-up. I use Nkion Digital Camera as well and have used other software bundled with different brands, I found the Nikon View software the best. Fuji Cameras are popular only because they are value for money cameras not necessarily in the same league as the Nikon. I am sure Albert will confirm my point of view.

Albert: you are right about Ziess, shame on all of us who forgot that brand.
It's Leica all the way...until you reach Hasselblad!
And both use Zeiss optics exclusively!
Film v digital: if you're after quality its film!
Even Hasselblads 22megapixel digital back doesn't even come close 35mm, nevermind the 60mm it is supposed to replace!
And if you never listened to an analogue mastertape (stereo on 1/2inch tape or 24track on 2inch, both running at 30ips) you don't know how good audio can be.Moral: Digital can be convenient and it is cheap, yet for pure quality it still lags far behind!
Someone I know who attended PHOTOKINA and he mianly uses Nikon film gear. He said the for film the days are numbered as he was surprised that for the first time there were no transparency film developers at the Photokina. Everyone was into digital. Another friend of mine who is also a film user said he was watching some documentary on Telly and they were giving comparision of the resolution of film and digital, the digital actually beat the film!

From the two different sources I can gather that truly the days are numbered for film.

I still don't know why Nikon came out with this F6 though!:)
All of my friends and relatives used to nod their heads indulgently wheneaver I talked about audio, just like the guys you described. Then, last weekend, my wife held a surprise birthday party at our house and invited everyone over.

Within 5 minutes of each guest arriving, they would gravitate to my system and start asking what brand of gear it was, where I got it, requesting to hear different cd's, etc. It was fun watching their ears being figuratively openned for the first time as to what a non-Best Buy rig sounds like.

The problem is that so few people have ever experienced a well-matched high-end rig that they take it as an article of faith that all gear sounds the same. I know the folks who came to our party don't feel that way anymore.

My system is far from being termed as high-end but it is also not something you buy at the Best Buy. I have had similar experience when folks come over who have never heard anything better than a typical $500 rack system.

They usually start of by saying "Why dont you have the wires concealed rather than it lying all over the place?" than maybe "Why do you have those cones under your CD Player, I can see the feet?"

Some however, have actually gone ahead and bought a good system with my advise, those were the ones who had never heard anything beyond boombox, but, they realised what they were missing.

Only if we can be a bit patient with such people we might as well convert some to this hobby and no longer be called ENDANGERED SPIECES :)
Sound is registered by the sence of hearing. Food is regristered by the sence of tasting. Since all CD players, speakers, amplifiers, power cords sound alike, all food must taste alike. After saying this, take him to a MacDonalds restaurant and tell him that a Big Mac is the same as Beef Wellington.