How fussy are you about audio?

Do you frequently balance the front/rear speakers in your car?
Do you think you are missing too much “detail” to enjoy MP3s?
Does your home system have more speakers than your neighbors’ systems?
Is your total music “footprint” larger than your mortgage?

I’m not fussy enough to own McIntosh equipment or anything, but I’m fairly particular. I have a $2500 turntable and 15,000 records to play on it. I have a decent, mixed-brand consumer component stereo system that is decent enough that the next step up in quality to be perceptible would be thousands of dollars. I collect audiophile remastered CDs, which sound much better than the commercial issues of the same material.

I do not like the sound of low-bitrate mp3s at all, and have very, very few of them at any bitrate. It’s not necessarily the “detail” I miss, it’s the digital artifacting - the swishing and swirling of high frequencies that bothers me. That’s why I won’t get satellite radio. Every station I’ve heard sounds exactly like that.

I only have two speakers, but they’re nice. I don’t have a car, and I don’t listen to music in my wife’s car, so car audio systems are a waste of time for me.

Of course, I’m well into middle age, and grew up with stereo shops where you could hear systems that’d make your jaw drop. People half my age or less don’t have the advantage of having heard superb audio, so they don’t mind listening to mp3s on earbuds. It’s all they’ve ever known.

Not fussy at all. I’m happy with my “home theater in a box” package: two front speakers, subwoofer and two rear speakers. And sometimes I don’t even switch on the rear speakers since most of my dvds are dialogue-driven, “talky” movies which uses just the front speakers anyway.

Don’t care a jot. I barely even notice. As long as I can hear the words against the music, that’s all that matters.

In fact, I really hate bass (I don’t use my subwoofer), and surround sound is mostly lost on me (though I think that’s because nobody seems to use it effectively).

I’m fairly picky, but mostly I care about live music. Whenever I go to a concert, or even to see some band in a tiny club, I’m always trying to find the best spot to get a good mix, and complaining about the mix and the sound system.

But then, with 8 kids I can’t afford a top-quality home sound/theater system. And in the car, it’s mostly a question of how long I can stand the Radio Disney AM reception before I say “OK, kids, let’s just all be quiet for a while.” :slight_smile:

I barely notice. I sometimes forget to turn the radio on.

Don’t care at all. I have a tape player and all the speakers are generic and stock.

Do you frequently balance the front/rear speakers in your car?
Never, it has always been on the same volume and adjustments since I bought the car in 98.

Do you think you are missing too much “detail” to enjoy MP3s?
Everything is better than my tape deck.

Does your home system have more speakers than your neighbors’ systems?
Don’t have one, nor do I ever plan on to.

Is your total music “footprint” larger than your mortgage?
Haven’t bought a CD since 1996. Never bought an MP3. I would have to say that it’s significantly less.

Home-theater-in-a-box gal, and only have 3 of the 4 surround speakers set up (ran out of speaker wire for #4). I got the system so I could have a centre channel speaker for clearer movie dialog, not music. That said, I’m pretty revolted by my automotive mp3 playing options. Radio transmitter that goes to hell in urban settings? Ack.

Probably more fussy than I need to be, considering that I have a little hearing loss in the upper tweets and continuous tinnitis. I have a nearly high end Carver receiver and big BA speakers. Most upper end car systems are aimed at making enough bass to make your car leap around at a stoplight, and I don’t find that entertaining.

I need some new equipment, but I don’t understand the new gear. Both my wonderful cassette decks packed up recently, and I wonder if anyone still makes them. If I go in seeking a “pair” of nice speakers, they’ll want to sell me an array of satellite speakers, each smaller than a box of Kleenex, and a lumpish subwoofer. I’ve heard a few of those, and they didn’t sound worth stringing another 4 or 5 sets of wires around my living room.

Maybe I’m a dinosaur, but I have not embraced mp3. Everything I’ve read says the sound quality is worse than CD, maybe worse than cassettes. Why should I go to a lot of trouble to look at the Mona Lisa reduced to comic book art? :wink: Besides, I’m not sure artists are getting a fair shake from mp3. I believe if we don’t pay to listen to great art, our artists will become car salesmen.

Not that there’s any dishonor in that. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. sold Volvos while he waited for somebody to publish his work.

I’m not fussy. I don’t have a home stereo to speak of. I have around 500 CD’s, almost all of which I have copied (in MP3 form) to a 250 GB hard drive connected to my PC and to a 40 GB Creative Zen. If I want to listen to music, I’ll click up an album on the PC and listen to it through a set of powered speakers. For my Zen, I have a case with a pair of built in powered speakers. I’ll listen to my MP3 player in the car, over the cassette player via an adapter. I also have a couple of boom boxes. I do have a virtual surround system for my TV, with one subwoofer and a pair of speakers on top of the set which simulate the sound from multiple front and rear speakers. As for my CD collection, it hasn’t cost that much, as I’ll buy used CD’s from Amazon. And lately, I only buy them in order to copy them to my MP3 player. After that, I’ll throw them on the shelf, where they’ll stay. Anything sounds better to me than LP’s and cassettes did.

I’m not particularly fussy. I do like to hear everything balanced though. Friends that have the bass turned all the way up in their cars piss me off because you can’t hear anything else. MP3’s are fine for me, especially since I can put several albums of a particular artist on one CD even at an good quality bit rate. Home theater just needs to be loud-ish. I have a decent Sony amp pushing 2 Cerwin-Vega home theater speakers the pump. For me, it’s not worth the money to spend a small fortune on a great system. I’m pretty sure I’ve probably lost a bit of hearing standing next to my 4 x 12" guitar cabinet pushing 100 watts of face melting power. That’s sound quality!

Do you frequently balance the front/rear speakers in your car? No. In fact, I’m fairly sure that I lost a speaker a year or three ago.
Do you think you are missing too much “detail” to enjoy MP3s? The buzzing/monotone squeal in my ears would overwhelm any “detail” if it was there.
Does your home system have more speakers than your neighbors’ systems? I doubt it, but I don’t check my neighbors possessions.
Is your total music “footprint” larger than your mortgage? What does this mean? Whatever it is, probably not.

Once when I was working as a computer tech at what was mostly a high-end audio store, an audiophile set up a blind test for me. He hooked together some components that probably retailed in the tens of thousands of dollars (using Monster Cable, of course) vs. a $100 JVC all-in-one thing. Then, blindfolded, I was asked to choose the one with the best sound. I choose the JVC. This resulted in me never being allowed in the audio rooms with a customer.

Do you frequently balance the front/rear speakers in your car? Nope. There’s too much road noise for there to really be any point to this.
Do you think you are missing too much “detail” to enjoy MP3s? Yep. Oh, I suppose I could listen to uncompressed MP3s, but then there are the issues with amps and speakers/headphones. I’ve been given a couple of free MP3 players, and they’re just sitting around somewhere. I don’t bother using them.
Does your home system have more speakers than your neighbors’ systems? Nope. I only have two channels…but they’re good channels. I have a Linn [del]active[/del] Aktiv system (not monoblocked, though). And yes, adding each amp and then going to active was like removing a blanket that was draped over the speakers. It’s the sort of thing where you listen to an album again and go “Huh–I never knew there was a violin in that track…”
Is your total music “footprint” larger than your mortgage? n/a, as I’m a renter. But if you’re looking for some clue of music hardcore-ness, I have a bunch of CDs that were issued in runs of 100 or less.

Hunter, just so you know, there’s no such thing as an uncompressed mp3. The only uncompressed audio files are .wav (Windows) or its incompatible equivalent .aiff (Mac).

When I go to the local Home Theatre store, they greet me by name. Do I need to say more? :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I know. But “uncompressed” scans better than “sampled at a high-enough bitrate that it results in acceptable audio quality but unacceptable file size.”

I’m fussy about it in my home theater, because when I’m in there I want the whole audio/visual experience to the best my budget can afford. And I go in there sometimes and just listen to music critically - turn down the lights, close my eyes, and immerse myself in music. For that, quality matters. So I have about $5,000 in audio gear, including my surround speaker equipment. I also buy high-resoution SACD and DVD-A discs, and love listening to them.

But in the car, I’m happy with the factory audio system. There’s too much ambient noise for detail to matter. So as long as the stereo can play reasonably loud, doesn’t have audible distortion, and has tweeters up high I’m happy. My Ford Escape has a fine factory stereo in it.

I listen to MP3’s at my computer and on discs in the car. The convenience factor vastly outweighs fidelity for that use - the music is just background while I do other tasks, so it doesn’t have to be fantastic. I’ve got a mid-level logitech speaker system that I like just fine.

The MP3 thing baffles me. I’m more or less groovy with any quality of music as long as it’s not overwhelmed by static, but my roommate despises MP3s with a passion unless they’re 192kbps bitrate or higher. She insists that 128kpbs and lower have artifacting, as others have said here, and I just can’t hear it.

When I was a teenager we used to go listen to speakers just for fun, at a high-end audio store with a listening room and “Original Master” recordings. I’ve completely forgotten the brands we used to talk about, though. At one time I had a seriously good turntable, of course that’s been mothballed. But I did buy a decent harmon/kardon amp, which is still kicking 25 years later. And I have some nice Bose speakers (200 series, I believe) (they were a gift).

I’m a little leery about MP3’s, just like I was when CDs first came out; however, our lack of disposable income makes the issue moot. :stuck_out_tongue:

And The Pancake Man sounds about the same no matter what I do to the car’s audio settings (to their credit, my kids also love Seasons of Love from Rent, and various tunes by Willy Porter).

Depends on what equipment is playing the audio. I would bet if you played a song at 128kpbs and 192kpbs on your ipod with stock ear buds, she couldn’t tell the difference. If you play it though a $100,000 audiophile system, perhaps. But as Sam Stone said, the convenience outweighs the fidelity. I have 8 albums of Bad Religion on one CD; my musical preferences do not put sound quality as a priority.