its all about the music,no way hose

is it really?

i posted a thread a few weeks ago asking why everybody got into high end gear & some of the responses got me thinking about this.

ok heres the deal,i constantly read the phrase"its all about the music" but is it really,i dont believe so,in a hobby where enthusiasts change gear as often as their socks i find that statement real hard to believe allmost like a herion addict claiming back pain is why he shoots up that crud.

ive seen guys spend upwards of $10,000 xtra for a special finish on their speakers,is that all about the music,how about paying high dollar for the same paint used to paint ferrari sports cars is that all about the music or how about the whole WAF deal where guys claim they are selling due to the wife not liking the way somthing looks no matter how good it sounds.

ive picked up alot of gear in person & ive seen where guys have $50,000 rigs but thier music collection is less than 50 discs or albums now that cant be all about the music.

just once i'd love to hear somthing honest like im in this hobby beacuse i love the gear,the way i see it is that this hobby is no different from say a guy collecting guns or sports cars or even motor cycles(my other hobby) or rare coins so why the big deal admitting it.

dont get me wrong i listen alot & since i dont watch television ever i listen more than most but its never been all about the music with me & it never will be,with me its about having fun with trying out different peices of gear & pride of ownership or even scoring on a very rare peice,sure, listening to music on a rig that produces music on a level that 99% of the population will never hear is a good thing but i find it very hard to believe thats the reason for most guys being in this hobby.

whats your thoughts?

Honestly, Mike, I'm in this hobby because growing up in a highly volatile household, playing drums and listening to The Clash was my therapist. Now that I'm older, Audiogon is. I haven't had a television since 1989, so I take my solace in writing fiction, cuddling with my wife and dogs, riding my bicycle, and listening to music. That's pretty much it. Play and repeat.
Wouldn't it be wonderful, if in addition to enjoying 'your' hobby, you were also really (seriously) involved with the music that was playing as well? For many of us, certainly speaking for myself, that is precisely what is occuring. That way we can speak reasonably intelligently not only about equipment, but music as well. Try it, its like having two hobbies in one! :-)
To me, music is not a hobby, it is a necessity for living, a passion, i couldn't live without it! I can enjoy music goin' down the road on my crummy car stereo, haven't you sang along or bopped to the music in your car before? Hi Fi is a hobby, a fun hobby that lets us get closer to the music by tweaking and upgrading equipment etc. It is sometimes frustrating, and and sometimes rewarding trying to get closer to the sound of live music, still not the same but close and very enjoyable, especially when you mod/tweak/ adjust your system and it is sucsessful so that not only can you hear Rickie Lee's breath , but feel it as she is singing right in front of you! Emotion, Passion, Happiness, Sadness! Yeah, Hi Fi is a fun hobby!
Of course it's about both. As you look through the systems here on Audiogon you see rooms filled with CDs, LPs and tapes. Most of these folks, including myself, have inordinately large music collections which retailed for quite a bit more than the gear went for. When my kids bring their friends over, their friends are freaked by my music collection and barely notice the gear.
It wouldn't be worthwhile for me if not for the music.
I dont think it took any of us too long to figure this out. Yes, we love music, but like the rest of us, we also love the toys and the hardware that graces the room it sits in.

I definately agree with you, and pride of ownership has its rewards, as well as its headaches.I think most of us here find it's not all about the music as much as we say, yet I know that without Audiogon, I would not have learned as much about music as well as the gear that plays it. I see alot of high priced systems that scream "I have money and Im going to spend it on the best I can get"..nothing wrong with that per se..but are these guys really interested in the music behind the gear...or just getting a good recording that sounds great with their systems? Probably more of the latter... I know Im guilty of that as well.

So, you are right about most of us as Audiophools who say it's all about the music...but our thinking and actions reflect more about the gear.

This post is a lot more complicated than meets the eye (ear?)...

To questions similar to, 'why do you keep doing what you do—what keeps you going?' three suberb classical artists responded:

Nathan Milstein: because I love the violin
Anton Rubinstein: because I love the sound of the piano
Marilyn Horne: because I love the sound of my voice

Why not 'because I love Bach, because I love Chopin' or 'I love music'?

If it were all about the music, then maybe a cheap radio/ghetto blaster/discman would suffice...unless of course, music AND sound are what matter.

Just my two cents...
my rig costs less than a quarter of my music collection.

btw anyone's any info on the Sakamoto's new werk? plz share...
Well, turn it around - if there was no music, I certainly wouldn't buy the gear.

I don't know if I've ever said it was exclusively about the music, but I think the point that others have made that I listen to music regularly, both on a nice system at home, but also on the car stereo, on cheap systems at friends houses, etc., reinforces that the music is at least the key point.

I also know that my conversations with others about music are somewhere between 10X and 100X more common than my conversations with others about audio gear.

So, I think "it's all about the music" is usually not meant to be absolute, but is just a short-hand for "I love music".
It is about a lot of things: it's the love of music, it's the love of equipment, it's the beauty of sound, it's the daydreams about the unachievable, it's the comradery with all of you even when we throw barbs at one another, it is the obsessive compulsion of participating to outwardly pointless discussions on Agon, it's the discovery of the voice of Glenn Gould singing along on his recording of the Goldberg Variations which I have owned for over two decades, it's the very magic of it all. Can you find a better hobby?
And yes, I too largely and happily ignore the TV thanks to Audiophilia Nervosa.
OK, alright, ya' sussed me out mate! You really got my number! I should know better than to try to pull the ol' polyester over BigJoe's eyes! Yep, it's all an extension of my huge ego and my tiny bone pipe. I'm so ashamed... was it the rain forrest Bubinga wood? The half-inch etched billet with blue meters and deeply etched logo? The huge cooling fins? Or was it the massive power supplies? What gave me away? I feel so shallow! I'm not sure what a "no way hose" is, but I'm sure I'm guilty of some of that too! Mea culpa! Just shoot me in the back of the head, bury with my rig, and call the world a better place!

For me it is the joy music brings and the accurate reproduction that is stirring and delivers "goosebumps" to the listener.
The gear gets you there and is nice in its own right.
As an aside,I think you meant "No way, Jose."; not "no way hose."
Music? What's that...I just like the shiny objects...if I could only have a full blown multi chassis Jeff Rowland system sitting in my living I can just sit there and marvel in it's doesn't even need to have the electronics in it...well...if they could keep the blue LED's I'd be happy...but other than that...just give me that beautiful case...not to mention it would be a blast to be able to look at my reflection kind-of like a funhouse mirror.

At least I don't need to spend money on IC's ,speaker wire or even speakers...although there are some really beautiful speakers these days that I'm thinking about putting in my front yard as lawn ornaments.
Yes it is all about the music! I have a 1100 plus CD collection, 500 plus DVD collection and 100 plus vinyl collection. Listening to music was taught to me by my parents who did not allow us to grow up watching TV during the week and limiting time on the weekends. I also I believe it goes back to the teaching of setting goals and achieving them on one's quest for perfection (as elusive as it may be). I remember as a kid trying to hot rod my bike to look like a motorcycle. As well as the hot rodding my car to to make it perform better or look better in my opinion.
I still look at car and motorcycle mags to see what is out there pretty much the same way I look at the audiophile mags. Occasionally there is something that catches the eye in an article or an ad that triggers the impulse to change/upgrade.
Audiogon has made the transition to upgrade so much quicker and easier since we are not dealing with full retail on new equipment purchases. Instead if the 10 year period for a partial or complete system upgrade it is now less than five years. Keep listening!
Audiodoc, he meant "No way Bose" not No way Hose.

I agree, the music could never be important enought to listen on Bose.
It's a mixed bag. Consider it the pursuit of excellence on differing levels in my case. Most of my music is not audiophile quality but I've built my system to make the most of those lesser sources. By doing so it also makes the audiophile software sound wonderful. You might want to check out the room pics of a few of us to see the quantity of software. My system ain't no guiled lilly. It just works like I did to own it.
Fe--If you have 500 DVDs then it not All about the music, is it? Just kiddin' mon. Your post is spot on.

I often wonder why I bother with a 3-box front end, but the disc starts spinning and all else falls away. Yes, it takes up some real estate but it's all vertical, and well worth it, esp. when compared to some one-box players that have been through the rig.

What really blows my skirt up is mining a lot of gems at the local used CD store, seeing the discs of many artists I've never heard of or about. Some of these musicians make superb music that I would never discover without this wonderful source, and at prices that even this pauper can afford.

The dichotomy of this hobby is best summed up by a whole website "Enjoy the Music", where the hardware and the music are explored and enjoyed. Great thread.
I would say the music first----better reproduction of same a close second. Everywhere I go;it's music. Boombox--car radio--or my home system.---Many movies have great soundtracts. Just watched "Deloris Claybourn"---Danny Elfman did the music. Many movies aren't known for their music as such but have astounding scores.----So,yes I do movies and 2ch. I watch many ballgames with the tv sound on mute.--OH, I don't have any garden "hose" speaker wires.
You're probably right about a good number of audiophiles, even some here on Audiogon. They're equipment junkies masquerading as music lovers. It's shameful. I have a system values at $25,000 plus, but it's my software collection that I prize the most. I have multiple copies of every Stereophile test CD (surprisingly there's a huge variation in sound quality between pressings), the XLO break-in disc, the Chesky sample series (the music sucks, but the channel balancing tracks are outstanding), plus I have a vintage Universal Audio tube white noise generator (modded to also generate black noise). My pride and joy are my vinyl recordings. I have eight, yes eight mint, unopened Shure cartridge test discs, as well as the HFN&RR and Cardas test discs. Finally, I've recorded my own series of Saturn V take blast off discs. Properly reproduced, no mini monitors need apply, they're sonically out of this world. It's definitely the software, Hose!
Onhwy61, your blacknoise generator sounds real fancy! I'd like to test it on Ellery's electronics-less radionics-based Rowland shell system. I bet it could reproduce even the sound of galactic black holes!
I was so proud of myself. I am actually using my old Luxman R-1030 receiver for the sound of its headphone output rather than the just as old Optonica which looks a lot cooler just because it sounds better. It was a tough decision. So there is some truth in what he says. Dlr
I think the music is a given. Getting into high end audio is asking about just that. I'd assume that we were all into music to begin with. Some people get into gear, and I even have to catch myself from listening to gear too much. If you're not taking the time to enjoy the music, then it's defeating the purpose.

Good Post
You're probably right about a good number of audiophiles, even some here on Audiogon. They're equipment junkies masquerading as music lovers. It's shameful.
If it was all about music, this site wouldn't exist. We'd be off chatting on some other site about music, and only about music. The fact is that we all have a nutty level of attachment to our equipment. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here, arguing over cables, hawking our "best evers" in a classifieds section, or posting spring semester class pictures of our audio children. Sure, music is a part of it. But for anyone participating in this conversation, it's a little about the music, and a lot about the stroke. Nice system, by the way, Onhwy61. Pass it on.
...or posting spring semester class pictures of our audio children.

My kids graduated "Summa Cum LOUD"!

Paradigm shift!
About eight years ago I'm walking to work because of a transit strike and I happen upon a sale in a church hall that some guy, liquidating the contents of three of his four homes, is conducting. Records flashed in my mind so that's a good reason to be late to work besides the strike. Asian statuary, lavishly framed art and wow, that old component set looks way retro cool with those blue meters. I rave to my girlfriend about them but she says they look too 50s. At $40.00 I thought that I'd research them before I waste my cash, besides I have a $400.00 Pioneer receiver with all the bells, whistles and lights. I leave and she comes back later in a cab and buys those heavy ass things. Gota love her.
Later that evening I hook em up to what I could see. Wow what cool meters...wonder if it will blow up my speakers if hook em up? What the heck. Five minutes later I'm dropin a needle on to an LP and suddenly my world is inside out. Those components are at least 30 or 40 years old but... I put on another LP and I'm looking at my Pioneer like it's a sheep in wolfs clothing. My entire LP collection was suddenly undiscovered territory.
I haven't looked back. Is it the equipment, maybe, but at the time of my paradigm shift I already had 5000 LPs.
For myself, it's more like: 'It's all about what sounds good", more than "It's all about the music". I think sounds soothe us in a basic, primal way. Cliche enough?
High-end equipment generally makes a given CD or LP sound much better than mass market gear. But this isn't always the case. For example, two of my favorites are Coldplay and Jack Johnson. Coldplay recordings don't sound near as good to me as Jack Johnson's and others on my system. So, I play Coldplay on my car CD, but not on my home system, because I enjoy the sounds more. There may be too many recordings geared toward car and portable systems.
I admit some 'pride of ownership' is in the mix, too, but that's secondary.
I think the equipment is a fun by itself, just not as fun as what it does. I have had a good time collecting, building, modifying and fixing equipment over the years. But, I've never gotten a rush from any of that. I get a rush every time I listen to great music through a great system. I think that recorded music is an artform unto itself, and the more communicative the system the more complete the experience. Anyone that thinks differently either hasn't experienced this, or is prejudiced against it.
marco,i dont think there's a hose b but i'll keep my eye out for ya.

Ellery911,with joking aside how can you or any other high end owner look at the rowland system you mentioned even if it is imaginary & not say damm thats beautifil looking gear.

my music collection far outshines my rig with well over 1,000 titles in my every day listening collection plus around another 1,200 or so that get rotated in & out,who ever said that music wasnt a hobby & that it was a necessity of life was spot on & i just take that as a given for anybody in this hobby .

Onhwy61,im at a loss as to how you can describe a guy appreciating the sheer elegance of alot of the gear out there as "shamefull" hell,ive seen gear that looks more like artwork then it does gear,for me its not just about the gear or the music its an equal share of both.

sometimes i'll just look at pics of gear & marvel at how somebody can create somthing so beautiful from just having an idea let alone the fact that it plays music in a way that not many people will be fortunate enough to experience,there isnt a single person here who cant appreciate somthing beautiful,how can that be a bad thing.

Bigjoe, next thing you're going to start comparing stereo equipment to a beautiful woman. Equipment can look good and it can be elegant, but to describe it as beautiful is announce to the world that you have a fetish. It may or may not be a bad thing, but it is a perversion. But hey, you're not alone, most of my friends live behind closed doors. Enjoy, after all "it's yo' thang...".

Is my command of the English language so poor that I have to hit people with a brick over their heads?
Onhwy61: AudioFetish? What's wrong with that? From Audiophile to audioperv? Sounds good to me, I rather like it!
Onhwy61,your right,its my thing & i like it,if we all liked the same thing we would all own multiple copies of the same test disc,call it a fetish if you like im ok with that,it might be a fetish or a perversion,who knows?

as for your command of the english language its perfect,it fits the standards now days where small men rarely say what they mean & use the english language to play on words.

enjoy your test discs.

Hey Bigjoe, that came through a little zingy across the ether. Want to tune down the old emotostat a couple of Dbs? My ears are still ringing.

Your fellar audioperv!
Hey Mike - I was just yankin' yer' hose! I know just where to get Hose B for only $31.70 + shipping. I don't know if I'd know what to do with it though. I bet some of these fetish folks here could give me some suggestions. Heck, you know I could think of some suggestions, but they'd kill this thread if I did.

We use all of our senses of which we are posessed, and make meaning from each and every input from all of them whether we are aware of it or not. It makes no sense to deny our visual sense. Whether our taste runs the industrial, the audio jewelery, or audio art, plain as white bread, or whether we choose to hide/deny/ignore our feelings about the way things look, we cannot help but have some reaction. How important that reaction may be to you, and exactly what you make it mean to you is, I suppose, what this thread is about. But in that sense, I'd agree with you Mike, it certainly is not all about the music...nor about any one single thing. We are complex creatures and tend to make life that way too. I would wager that most of those who do make a statement like, "it's all about the music." (as I might), would tend to put far more stress on the experience of listening than they would in observing what their gear looks like, or what others think of its appearence. As you may be suggesting regarding your friends who've spent large coin on their systems - those people are likely to put a whole different meaning on those components, and probably have a different set of values than the person who puts the stress on music. I'm guessing they'd both enjoy music and that it would be a priority in both of their lives. They may even find come common ground there. I'm sure there are those also, who spend the price of a house on their system, who actually don't care that much about what it looks like and do put more emphasis on how it sounds. It takes all kinds, eh? I guess I just wasn't sure what you were trying to say in your original post either. I'm not sure I clicked with the "99% of the population" stuff, and the poor deprived masses that are implied there. The enjoyment of music does not necessarily depend upon the way it is reproduced, or the collections of items used to reproduce it. I still enjoy music on the radio in my car, which is not very good at all. Yes, I do enjoy the gear too, and do marvel at what it can do. What's your point?

Marco comments were entirely tongue in cheek...I love the look of the Rowland gear personally more than any other gear on the market...I also see the industrial art side of our hobby and have appreciation of the work that goes into the case design itself.

Had my comment's been about a tube based would have been the Vac Phi stuff as I think that is beautiful gear also.

Some of this gear should be in MOMA as far as I'm concerned.
Back in the early 70's I did have this beautiful Macintosh amp and if you put a wig on her and some lipstick...oh excuse me, wrong forum.
I see it just like anything else. If you love golf, you will slowly upgrade your clubs, etc. to get the best. Your real joy is playing the clubs, although it feels good to just have them.

If you are into riding bikes seriously, you are going to eventually get a better and better bike to ride, not just to display.

I think it's just natural to try to polish and upgrade whatever you are into.

I think some people go overboard and compare and try to tweak the sound a majority of the time, but I like having things set up and knowing that all I need to do it hit play or drop the needle.
Marco you have all together too much time on your hands!

Guido is the user name audioperv going to appear and guidocorona disappear?
What an intriguing idea Nrchy! Audioperv sounds like a perfectly wicked moniker to me!
To me music is important when I'm driving(stock Bose system) and important as well as I listen through my setup.
ellery911,i knew you were pullin my chain,i gotta agree about the rowland gear in fact i agree with just about everything that was written in the thread.

hi marco,i knew you were screwin around too & i wasnt really tryin to prove anything i was just stating somthing that ive observed over the last few years in the hobby,i was saying that i think its silly for people to use words like shamefull or sad to describe other people's reasons for being in the hobby.

there wasnt any meaning or point to my reference to other people not hearing music the way we do,im pretty sure somewhere down the line all of discovered that we enjoyed music more than most or none of us would of taken the plunge,my point (if any) was that i see many reasons why people get into high end gear but the only one we ever hear about is its all about the music,there's really not alot more to it.

ok the hose a deal,there is a hose b,he works for me,i have 2 employees named jose & i cant pronuonce either of their last names so we call one hose a & the other hose b,all in fun ofcourse & nothing meant to dishonor either of them.

Onhwy61,if my response offended you then i apologize but your response came off to me as a slap in the chops,oh well i'll live.

to me its never been a matter of importance as to why anybody is in the hobby what matters to me is that its a fun hobby for all.

Guidocorona,when can we expect the transformation from just plain ole guido to the infamous audiopervert :)

Nrchy, too much time on Marco's hands? Bold statement from a guy that makes fictional stories and posts them here!
The gear is a means to get the sound i enjoy,when i first picked up a guitar,any guitar would keep me happy,then as i got better,i wanted a better guitar,because i was able to better express,and enjoy what i was learning,it felt and sounded better to play a good guitar,I have loved music since i was very young,and the better its reproduced ,the more i enjoy it! I can still enjoy a good song on a cheap radio,but it sounds soooo much better on my system,,it is nice to look at all my gear too!
Fiction? What was fiction? Are you questioning the authenticity of my stories?

I like good sound, design and craftmanship. Hope that's Ok.
Gear that looks good is rewarding in many ways.