Audiophile Priorities and Recent Topics

I'm increasingly fascinated by the number of threads that have been created lately by OP's who have joined over only the last 2 months with less than 30 posts that all seem related to the importance of wires and tweaks. While I'm not dismissing the notion that everything matters in hifi (including digital cable), it seems that these topics vastly overwhelm thread topics that clearly would have more influence to hifi audio sound such as discussions of the sonic characteristics of various amplifier topologies, the importance of simplifying the signal path, and identifying fantastic speaker/amplifier synergies, etc...

If some unsuspecting newbie were to stumble onto this forum they would likely come away thinking that a fuse or a piece of wire are the most important elements towards obtaining wonderful hifi sound. This is unfortunate. For example, my discovery of listening to a SET circuit years ago paired with speakers possessing a high and flat impedance greatly outshines any joy derived from identifying the finest digital cable produced by man. I'm simply questioning the hifi priorities that this forum seems to be obsessed with lately.

Is it just me?
Post removed 
Some are claiming that after you move a cable it takes some time for it to settle back in and sound good again. Someone pointed out that this is a bit of a problem for headphone listeners. I propose that cables sound best when they are in constant motion. Oh wow! We’ve got a new product here. I present to you the CableMover! Of course this thing will wear out your cables after a while so cable sales will go through the roof.

I've just tested this concept on my headphones by shaking my head frantically to keep the cable in motion. Definitely more spaciousness to the sound. The pratt and rhythm are improved and the music is unmistakably more emotionally involving.
three-easy -- Yeah. I totally agree. This joint has begun to cease seeing the forest for the texture of the tree bark.
Post removed 
I had to look I guess I'm over 30 posts but the phrase that I've gleaned from all the reading is "Everything matters"

I would think most of the people who found this site are aware of the importance of speakers but how to make them sound better would be a major  reason  for joining the forum so tweaks are really important to us newbies.

I also think there is an allure to the notion that a major improvement can be had for a relatively small cash outlay compared to amplifiers or speakers.  Something like..."While I may not be able to afford that $2,500 amp right now, I certainly could swing $150 for a fuse or $200 for a new cable...let's go that path because I've read it really matters."
@steakster  It's not that these topics haven't always been discussed since the beginning, it's the premise that perhaps tweaks and wires have shifted from a sometimes topic to overwhelming the joint.  If you go back just 5+ years ago you will see far more discussions relating to various amplifier design architectures and speaker pairings for example. It's the relative balance of discussion that I'm raising as a question and concern.
>> I also think there is an allure to the notion that a major improvement can be had for a relatively small cash outlay compared to amplifiers or speakers. Something like..."While I may not be able to afford that $2,500 amp right now, I certainly could swing $150 for a fuse or $200 for a new cable...let’s go that path because I’ve read it really matters." <<

I agree that’s part of it -- the hope to find an in inexpensive "magic bullet" to get great sound. Who wouldn’t like that (if it were possible)?

It also suggests desire to be part of an inside group that defies elite knowledge to arrive at something better than the pros can figure out. This tendency is seen in various parts of life besides audio, such as gimmicks to give cars better mileage, oddball "cures" for various diseases, and such. Whatever the need, you will find an oddball shortcut.

Finally, it’s easier to sneak a new pair of wires or set of fuses into the house than a new pair of speakers. That can be important to those who hope to be spared questions -- of cost and sanity -- from life partners.
@three_easy:   I've been around a long long time, all the way back to when Lafayette ruled.
I've seen many generations of 'what is important in audio' come and go and this current 'age of wire' will eventually go too, but it has been around a long time.
Sound is subjective so sit back and enjoy.
I agree that it's a question of proportion, and the way the discussion is carried on in a lot of threads these days, an unsuspecting reader might easily get the impression that substituting one brand of audiophile fuse for another makes as big a difference to the sound of a system as, say, moving from one brand of speaker to another.
I've seen arguments about cables since Monster introduced the first so called 'audiophile' cables. These arguments will likely go on until there is some kind of agreed upon evaluation of the efficacy of cables and/or any particular cable. In that case how about forever.

As for tweaks, many more have been invented over the years, I recall a time when only tweaks were of the diy variety. Much more fodder for opinions today.

Not all using tweaks are trying to get away with something on the cheap. For many they are the final products purchased for systems otherwise optimized. Seems to me the reason they're called tweaks.

Finally, repetition is the lifeblood of social media, without it these places would die.
I see someone feels so incredibly threatened by this thread that they started an identically named thread in order to dilute the conversation. Incredible. Draw your own conclusions.
I think priorities change as often as they need to.. 

How much can be said about anything stereo.. EXEPT the weird stuff.

I try to temper the conversation with a little "insight" on exactly how I burnt the house down, or blew the hair off my rabbits ears.. I like to SHARE other stuff to.. LOL

I already feed the chickens, so that's out.. :-)

I got 50 panel exciters, I've been mounting 5 a night on the neighbors house and burying cable, I got 25 mounted so far.. 25 to go.

4 12K pro amps are just waiting for me to flip the switch and start playing the theme from Close encounters of the 3rd kind wide open throttle..

I like his girlfriend she brings me Angle food cake..

Go ahead be my neighbor and turn up the BASS at 2:00 am.. :-)

you pretty much nailed the psychology behind this recent tweakery.  How about helping me sneak a new bicycle into the house?  My tactic so far is that the more bicycles you have, the less likely one more will be noticed.  That approach sort of works with stereo equipment too.
Post removed 
I see someone felt so incredibly threatened by a discussion they had it removed. Rent free.
I didn’t have it removed. The Mods must have removed it because they believed it was created for the sole purpose of mocking my thread. Forum members can draw their own conclusions.
I thought MC himself removed it after I pointed out that the OP of this thread (three_easy_payments) must be living rent free in his (MC's) head. I had to go out for a bit but would love to have seen the follow up comments.

All the best,
The thread was serious. This much would be readily apparent to any sentient reader. What it said basically was many, many threads have been ruined by the same small group who have nothing to contribute to the topic. Instead they blather and banter back and forth, the same old same old. Anyone can see it happen over and over again.   

Sometimes readers even point it out and ask them to please move along. New people coming across the site get the impression that is what it is all about- pure incessant nonstop blather. I even had to point out to one of them recently that if they hang around and learn which ones to filter out there is a lot to be learned here. Just not from the ones who post back and forth all day pretending anyone cares.  

That's the long answer. The short one is: What part of "rent free" do you not understand?
Tell um tvad.. I'd try an Elephant if the floor would hold up and, And, AND, well you know that's a BIG dipper. 

Pooper Scooper.. Snow shovel size.

I always mange a way to sneak a pair by though.. I just let her think I'm out seeing my girlfriend, it's easier to explain. :-)

After hijacking my thread in order to bring everyone up to speed on what was included in the thread that was deleted by the Mods, perhaps MC will let us proceed with a thoughtful discussion regarding audiophile priorities that forum members feel have moved the sonic needle most and given them the most enjoyment - and perhaps which mattered the least.  Looking forward to the input.

btw - the irony of being lectured on blather by someone who has posted 10,895 messages in less than 3 years isn't lost on me ;-)
I think Mike nailed with people today trying to improve sound on the cheap due to current economic conditions and disposable income sinking like a rock.  
      I would prefer telling them to spend money where it counts first, treating the room. The tweaks aren't going to help in a sh*t room.  Second.....a good source.  But hey, why not listen to the shills talk about how their orange fuse and special wire made miracles happen.  Got to run now, one of my speaker wires fell off its little stand thingy.........   ;)

PS....I really can't talk, I bought two Fake Ficus trees this weekend for much needed diffusion behind the panels so yes, hypocrite much very I am. 
btw - the irony of being lectured on blather by someone who has posted 10,895 messages in less than 3 years isn't lost on me ;-)
That reminds me of a recent thread where he used the word "blather" so often, it lost meaning. Kind of a meandering blathering thing (maybe an attempt at irony?).

Hmmm.....maybe a fake ficus is a room treatment.....but If I spray it orange will it count as a tweeeeek ? I can decorate it with some of those little dangly things. 
fundamentals always matter... speakers that reproduce sound accurately and beautifully, properly set up in a good room, driven by amplification well suited to the speakers, fed by a source that is quiet, pure and true to the media being played

while 'hygiene matters', wires tweaks fuses springs contact enhancers are rounding error, last 1% kinda stuff

like a fresh set of nikes won't let a high school hooper be the next kobe, a new driver won't turn a recreational golfer into another tiger

what is unfortunate to me, about a-gon, is there is the lack of a proper set of ’pinned posts’ or ’stickies’ that many enthusiast forums have, that lay out some foundational information, and well known truths, that newcomers can lean on... not be found here, it is too bad

@jjss49 All good points on the fundamentals - and the pinned threads which are very helpful in other forums.

Audio has definitely been and continues to be quite a journey for me. Some of my hallelujah moments which helped shaped my priorities have included: Class A amps, single-ended/triode tube designs, effective room treatment, amp/speaker synergy, tube gear in general, easy to drive speakers with high & flat impedance, isolation transformers in conjunction with tube gear, and the use of quality SUTs.

Some of my experiments that haven’t led to much increased sonic joy have included power cables (although my Sugden amp is the exception as it responds well), interconnects (I can hear a difference but it’s subtle), and speaker cables (I’m very hard pressed to hear a difference in any although my old Wireworld cables definitely sounded better lifted off the floor - lifting never improved the other brands I’ve tried). I tried a SR Blue fuse once and couldn’t hear a difference but it was worth a try. I can’t hear the difference between USB cables and feel silly having spent too much money on a couple.

Some areas where some benefits occur and are worth probably about what you pay for them - quality rack (I use Symposium), component isolation (primarily with tube gear and TT setup - I like Rollerblocks but only buy them used). Rolling tubes definitely can shape sonics but it can take a while find tubes that you connect with, it gets expensive with vintage, and figuring out what works well in any given piece of gear can take a bit of effort - some gear just doesn’t respond well).
No exorbitant cables, no risers, no fuses, no springs, cables are a mess, rooms not perfect, no fancy contact cleaners....and it's all good! 😁
That's the long answer. The short one is: What part of "rent free" do you not understand?
The whole part.  Remember, MC, we're not inside your head.
It is getting to hard to find a respectable Audiophile speaker for 
under $15 k , and to make it worse the internal Xover parts are not much better then C+ in quality ,myself having been doing upgrades or mods for years. My quest now is do I buy a high quality used speaker and just upgrade the internal Xover ?
either  way it’s over $10k  to start ,inflation ,supply in demand .
It’s just on my short list things to do after the New year .
@audioman58 I’ve been very curious for years about trying out something from the Living Voice speaker line. You can occasionally find used examples show up for very reasonable prices. They are typically 94dB 6ohm designs but the impedance curve is very tube friendly - which is important to me. They present a resistive load which translates to a flat impedance, and an inductive rather than a capacitive phase angle. So they provide tubes with a consistent and predictable load. Even new these speakers are well below $15K and I’d certainly call them "respectable Audiophile" by any measure.

My priority the remainder of the year is cull down some of the “ vintage room “ gear. Made peace with that. Gift a lot of it. Send more music to friends. Post covid pandemic, try to get a Vinyl Sunday going per @unrecieveddogma that dude is cool. Spend less time fencing with the arrogant fool child. Have some DIY projects in the design / parts selection phase with three (so far ) attenuators. Build some reclaimed wood diffusers I call them Virtue Signaling Quadratic. ….. dog sit….for dogs that are audiophiles…
If I were approaching this without any prior background in music, hi-fi or consumer electronics (that one’s tough, most every one has a few appliances, but hobbyist audio is different, I think), I’m not sure I could make sense of much of it-- lots of threads deal with discrete issues, rather than overall system building, though I have seen some threads about building a digital front end from folks with analog experience. Engineers would probably be comfortable entering the fold, but will quickly find that all that is measured is not gold.
In terms of priorities, I think they are all over the lot and it depends in part on the vantage point of the person in the audience.

The wire and fuse thing really doesn’t distract me because it is not a subject I pay much attention to; I gather @three_easy_payments that you think undue emphasis is placed on these (arguably secondary) items, perhaps at the expense to the neophyte of addressing more important issues first. (And addressing may or may not involve spending money).
There is an implication that Miller started this (I’m not pointing any fingers), but I’ve seen discussions about using stratospherically priced cable with otherwise middle of the road gear in the more distant past, which makes no sense to me.
I’ve never messed with audiophile fuses, not because I don’t believe they do anything, but I drew an arbitrary line in the sand; I’m OCD enough and have enough on my plate to crank up the main system (as a friend said, I make it hard on myself) to worry about extracting that last iota and add fuse rolling to my list. (Oy)
I suspect for hobbyists already in the Great Game, apart from the basics, a lot of the hobby is in fact upgrades, tweaks and comparisons of, or synergies between, specific things.
The tweaky part is a question of personal preference- some of it borders on DIY rather than store bought upgrades, and some it makes no sense but there is still something there-e.g. I have an Acoustic Revive 888 Schumann Generator.Though I do notice its effect, I prefer listening to music without it.
There has been no good scientific explanation that I’ve seen about why it has an affect on the listener or the system but I hear it. Is it measurable? Probably not. Which takes us into the so-called subjectivist camp, and sharing anecdotal experience about what specific things, or combinations of things, sound like.

Assuming a listener who has some experience, or is looking to get back into hi-fi after a hiatus, there may be questions about what to replace first among a system’s worth of components that are dated (but perhaps includes a jewel or two).

Is everything of equal importance? I don’t think so, hence the notion that one can rationally prioritize with better outcomes. But, that’s where it gets a little subjective doesn’t it? And dependent on the circumstances of the listener/querier.
Depending on where you are on the continuum of this hobby, along with budget, space, musical preferences, sound leakage concerns (late night in an apartment or flat) and a host of other variables, one person’s priorities may differ from those of others. Someone I know recently wrote to me about playing a collection of 78s that they rediscovered.

We are not in the same room listening to the gear in question. So, we exhange words here as a means to convey ideas. I think most people appreciate that two realities can co-exist: that some gear is very overpriced for what it is (hence the heavy depreciation and what used to be a healthy churn in high end at the end of the flavor of the month); and that spending a huge amount of time and effort to tweak inexpensive gear may prove to be a bad investment, depending on the gear. (In point of fact, most stuff that has been modified is less desirable, at least in collector hi-fi circles).
I don’t have an answer for you, but it’s not all contentious and doesn’t need to be. I’m an optimist in the sense that time will prove what is enduring insofar as the expenditure of time, money and effort is concerned. I’m also confident that, to the extent any of these posts actually survive, some may prove enduring as well.
I apologize for the length of this post.
Bill Hart
@whart   Thanks for the very thoughtful post Bill.  I'm not trying to imply that anyone "started this" but you are correct that I'm asserting that perhaps "undue emphasis is placed on these (arguably secondary) items, perhaps at the expense to the neophyte of addressing more important issues first. (And addressing may or may not involve spending money)."

And beyond the neophyte addressing the the more impactful issues first I'm actually just very interested in hearing accounts from folks on this forum about where individual audiophile priorities fall based on  actual experiences.  What areas have had the biggest impacts?  Where would you definitely not waste money?...etc.
Or, put another way, @three_easy_payments, if I had it to do all over again, what would I do? And I don't know the answer because part of where I am is where I've been. Somebody who listens to metal at crushing volumes is different than the chamber music or classical listener, and though we can say "oh, metal, that's not really music" it is. (Some of it, anyway). I guess I needed to go through the experience to get where I am, and am still learning. I'm getting to the point where I have one more speaker system to consider on the horizon and that one is going to take time given that it may be a frankensystem of horns. The usual suggestions may not work because I am very reluctant to give up what I get out of the Lamm ML2 amps (if I had to buy another pair to make the right set of horns work, I would probably do it, but that's a question that doesn't have an answer yet). 
I think we are all on our own journey. The fact that we can share this stuff without going to a club meeting or talking on the phone one at a time, but instead, reach a worldwide audience with a potentially vast readership who might be able to contribute is a marvel unto itself. 
I think to be fair to the tweakers, perhaps there is an implicit assumption that you already have a system that you are satisfied with and just want to eke out that last bit of improvement. It is a hobby after all, nothing wrong with obsessing over minor details/improvements.

@three_easy_payments -- is it fair to assume that your concern is not so much with the value (or lack thereof) of the suggested tweaks but the sudden onslaught of the 'presumably' newly-minted posters?

Actually i think the frequent gear changers have no real grounded baseline. Cat chasing the tail, so to speak

How many years have you had the Lamm Bill ? i bet you know them intimately

i have  ( let me push the button ) 5,301 hours on my Ref5se with essentially 3 tweaks: HRS isolation, A Nos usa Tung Sol 60’s tube in the power supply, SAIN power cord. I do have a $71 fuse on the way…

Tweaking is just a spectrum. Way back in the Eighties, i met a writer/ reviewer for Sensible Sound. He was a contemporary to Enid Lumley. I heard his tweaked out system Dynaco pre , etc, Vandy 2, ALL connections except cartridge clips soldered, everything but amp on battery power, etc..

Enid went further…

Then i met a guy who had his own transformer at the street

As Neil sang “ long may you run “….

best to you.

@tomic601 - I've had the ML2s since around 2007, with a few trips to the Vlad-meister (none at unreasonable cost or time) and many tube set replacements later, they continue to amaze me at their ability to capture and convey what is in the signal.  Now, that's the rub- what's the rest of the chain? My analog is still far better than my digital, but I've also spent 10x on the analog side. So I reach no conclusion about digital other than that the less computer nonsense I have to put up with, the better the experience (and some of the DSD stuff is incredible. In fact, so is some of the Redbook even at bargain basement pricing in terms of basic gear). 
I loved reading Enid Lumley when she was writing for The Absolute Sound because she seemed so wacky but was proved so right in so many respects. (Float your grounds, kill your refrigerator). 
I tried to get another transformer in NY. The power company guy came, and said no way, even though one of my justifications was an electrically heated long driveway. 
Oh well, it's just a hobby.... :)
@arafiq - your question to @three_easy_payments  is precisely the question. 
Float grounds, priceless…just leave my multi-source system, it’s the preamp. 

I have a love / hate relationship with the refrigerator - it’s on a different leg of the panel….but.

Only three houses on our transformer…..

I’m a newbie with about a year and a half in hifi audio. I wrote a long post, but decided to tldr; the thing:

1. I like tweak threads because they’re fun, like having a rum and cherry coke with a good steak. A few tweaks have greatly improved my system. 

2. I don’t think the volume of tweak type threads indicates tweaks make a bigger difference than big upgrades to major system components. 

3. I would love to see more “system building and synergy” threads. I agree there are fewer of those. 

4. The real forum-related obstacle to being a newbie isn’t an imbalance of thread types; it’s the bizarre viciousness that makes me hesitant to post anything.
@three easy pieces
You are entirely right, well written and thank you.
But I doubt that will have much effect on these fools.
My recommendation is to get to know which members write this rubbish and ignore them.
Meanwhile I've gone to paint my fuses orange.
There are so many incontrollable variables involved it is impossible to have a point of reference to start from making any evaluation of a system's sound and accuracy difficult at best. Top this off with incredible amounts of lay instinct and mythology and it becomes very hard to interpret what many have to say. 

@whart , Getting your own transformer is easy. Just put a three phase converter and a bunch of 10 hp woodworking machines in your basement workshop and the power company will force you to buy your own transformer. Does it make a difference in anything? I have no idea although it is fun to brag about it. It sure is an eye sore.
Great post.
By the way everything does Not matter when it comes to audio. Inane prop for some whose insecurity fuels a borderline obsession disorder.

Reminds me of the Protestant arguments and divisions over Baptism. Historical investigations all well and based conclusions ridiculous. 

And isn't the argument that "we heard it so we are therefore right", nothing more than faith?

One more there a degree of economics at play for some utilizing this rent free space?
Audiogon is only rent free to those who we are stuck with reading their thousands of posts per year and instead of showing respect for the mods and the site sell their equipment on another free sales site.

But who can blame them, for example it would cost about $50 bucks to sell a $2,500 piece of equipment here.  It's pretty clear having a great site like this aong with its captive audience who are stuck reading thousands of post isn't worth $50 bucks.

An important function of this site when it started was to be a forum where audiophiles could get to know a little about each other with its important purpose to provide a level of comfort when buying and selling equipment to other known members.  To the incessant posters who have no intention to pay the reasonable fees to sell here but would rather be penny pinchers and let others pay for the site I say good riddance. 
+1 @arafiq and +1 @phasemonger

Phasemonger said it well:
4. The real forum-related obstacle to being a newbie isn’t an imbalance of thread types; it’s the bizarre viciousness that makes me hesitant to post anything.

And Arafiq nailed it with just 2 short paragraphs:
I think to be fair to the tweakers, perhaps there is an implicit assumption that you already have a system that you are satisfied with and just want to eke out that last bit of improvement. It is a hobby after all, nothing wrong with obsessing over minor details/improvements.

three-easy-payments: is it fair to assume that your concern is not so much with the value (or lack thereof) of the suggested tweaks but the sudden onslaught of the ’presumably’ newly-minted posters?

There’s a few posters that are ruining these forums for everyone else with their constant banter and overly expressed dislike for each other. Was this thread even worthy of reading? Nope. Most people that are new to the hobby (myself included) know that they should be obtaining good equipment first before diving into tweaks....