0841: "Audiophiles"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Felstaff
Occam's Taser
Posts: 5178
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:10 pm UTC
Location: ¢ ₪ ¿ ¶ § ∴ ® © ™ ؟ ¡ ‽ æ Þ ° ₰ ₤ ಡಢ

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby Felstaff » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:30 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
from canada wrote:god, randall is like the last person who should be criticizing people for being snobs

I'll bite. How is Randall a snob?

He occasionally mocks technologically illiterate and ignorant people for not caring about how or why they use their technology, and then hypocritically mocks someone for taking a certain aspect of technology (that he has no interest in) too seriously.
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

Ctta0s
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:25 am UTC
Location: Various

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby Ctta0s » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:33 pm UTC

ramanj wrote:The lightbulb-part reminded me of this presentation by Randall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_zwyJ6IYR0 where the last question he gets from the audience is how many computational linguists it takes to change a lightbulb (but there he sort of seems to resent the whole how many [some sort of people] it takes to change a lightbulb category of jokes).


Nah, he doesn't resent those jokes (as far as I'm aware). His answer is some heavy-handed mocking of computational linguists. ;)

Mental Mouse
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:31 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Mental Mouse » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:55 pm UTC

An excellent "review" of horribly overpriced cables ($6,800):
I have only a little time...

(Swiped from PNH at Making Light, who also screenshotted it.)

User avatar
SirMustapha
Posts: 1302
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:00 pm UTC

I suppose it may work for a dumb joke, but it should be very clear that between a cheapskate who just wants "to hear if he's getting shot at" and an "audiophile", there is a BIG, fair middle ground. The lady in the comic could be merely asking for some higher quality speakers, and let's face it: you don't need to be an "audiophile" to cringe at the trebly, tinny sounds from cheap speakers, and a lot of players will argue that the quality of the sound adds A LOT to the immersion and the overall experience. But then, it's far more convenient to turn the lady into an easy "strawman" to make the joke work better. In that case, they're both being assholes, and that's why I didn't laugh at the punchline.

If Randall really wanted to make the punchline work, he could have actually turned that into a conversation between a reasonable, moderate man who wants to buy some cables and an actually hardcore audiophile who won't accept anything but the most expensive brand. But as it is, the assholeness is way too gratuitous. If Randall wanted a strawman, then hell, BRING ON A REAL STRAWMAN; it's comics like THIS who make me feel that Randall is a genuinely unpleasant person who's willing to put down anyone who doesn't think exactly like him.

I mean, listening to YouTube rips? Really? That makes EVEN MY skin crawl.

serrath
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:50 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby serrath » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:24 pm UTC

What's the "Monster Cable" experiment?

sje46
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:41 am UTC
Location: New Hampshire

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby sje46 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:36 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:
sje46 wrote:
from canada wrote:god, randall is like the last person who should be criticizing people for being snobs

I'll bite. How is Randall a snob?

He occasionally mocks technologically illiterate and ignorant people for not caring about how or why they use their technology, and then hypocritically mocks someone for taking a certain aspect of technology (that he has no interest in) too seriously.

I mean, what's a specific example though?
General_Norris: Taking pride in your nation is taking pride in the division of humanity.
Pirate.Bondage: Let's get married. Right now.

Роберт
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 1:56 am UTC

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby Роберт » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:21 pm UTC

error_frey wrote:I don't understand how people can listen to music with crappy headphones and/or low-quality files.. My ears and head would start aching almost immediately. I am not an audiophile, maybe mid-quality seeker. Anyway, with a good pair of headphones, I can generally spot a <192kbps mp3 file by listening to drums cymbals. Don't know if this holds for everyone.
It probably doesn't hold true for people with high frequency hearing loss, but I definitely can notice compression in cymbals. They sound harsher.
The Great Hippo wrote:[T]he way we treat suspected terrorists genuinely terrifies me.

User avatar
KShrike
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:47 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby KShrike » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:42 pm UTC

I will say: That was pure ownage! I hate having to dumb down the joke at the end for others, though, when I retell it....
On 10/10/10, My Little Pony started to appeal to adult males. Ya rly!
Forget the /b/ memes, and go watch the show and see what I mean. After all, the /b/ memes exist because the show itself is so cleverly written. Check it out!

Imposter
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:01 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Imposter » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:44 pm UTC

As there are so many audiophiles likely to be perusing this thread I thought I'd ask this question:

I have a collection of over 500 CDs that I want to back up onto my desktop. In the process of doing so I wish to create:

- a disk image (iso or similar) for backup
- a ~320kbps mp3 of each track
- a ~192kbps mp3 of each track for TomTom/car
- a ~128kbps mp3 of each track for my phone
- quite probably flac and/or ogg files for each track

Disk space is (obviously) not an issue.

I don't want to have to insert the CD more than once, I only want to have to do a quick check for each CD that it auto-downloaded the right ID3 tags and I want the whole thing as automated as possible. Being able to use more than one CD drive at once would be nice but not essential.

What software could/should I use? Windows or Linux are both acceptable.

XiiX
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:45 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby XiiX » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:47 pm UTC

Hey, I actually listened to YouTube rips for a while! I still listen to YouTube music videos at work.

I've never actually cared much at all about sound quality; generally, I have a really hard time telling a 128 kps mp3 apart from anything better, and I don't really listen to music much anyway. A lot of the time I actually just play games with the sound off.

I was able to tell the difference between YouTube rips and other sources of audio though. The only problem is that I think Randall might actually be overstating the YouTube audio quality. It has been a while, so they might have changed it, but I am pretty sure they were 64 kbps when I last ripped something with ffmpeg....

User avatar
jqavins
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:50 pm UTC
Location: Eastern panhandle, WV

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby jqavins » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
ManaUser wrote:Reminds me of a previous run-in with an audiophile I had. He claimed there is no such thing as true lossless compression, and was offended that anyone would claim otherwise.

I became a bit of an audiophile after taking a two-year electronics program. If it was me, I would agree there is no such thing as true lossless compression: Every recording device has imperfections. The sampling rate and resolution you chose also determines how much information you retain. For example, an 8khz 8 bit mono Wav file will be (approximately) telephone-quality lossless compression (the telephone system uses some power-law compression, IIRC). CD-Quality audio is 44.1KHz, 16bit stereo. All "lossless compression" means is that you can convert from one lossless format to another (of sufficient quality) without loosing data. It is still possible to lose data due to bit-rot.

(I'm really not into oneupsmanship, but for the record, my four year EE degree trumps your two year electronics program. And I don't claim to know everything; just a lot.) WADR, it seems that you don't understand what "lossless compression," or even "compression" really means in this context. "Compression" is fundementally mathematics, not audio. It is conversion of a mass of bits to another mass of bits such that the original can be regained. If the original is regained exactly then the compression is lossless; if the original is regained approximately then the compression is lossy, i.e. it looses some data integrity. It is undeniable that lossless compression exists.

When the mass of bits represents a digitized audio signal, any loss of data integrity cuaeses a loss of signal integrity, i.e. audio quality, which may or may not be acceptable, depending on a number of factors, cheifly the degree of loss and ones sensitivity to it (and sometimes ones attitude toward it.) On the other hand, lossy compression of, say, a text document is basically never acceptable. The fact that zip, tar, and other compression methods exist is proof of the existance of lossless compression. (True, zip etc. files are not well suited to the real-time decompression required for audio playback, but there are other mathematically lossless methods which are.)

Now, it is true that every recording device has imperfections, and there is, therefore, no such thing as lossless (i.e. perfect) audio reproduction. Digitization is actually two distinct steps, sampling and quantization, which are both inherrently lossy (in terms of sound integrity) just as all methods of analog recording are. But thtat has nothing to do with compression.
dtech wrote:
phillipsjk wrote:EDIT: I do get annoyed at "audiophiles" who claim the quality of the cable (past a certain minimum) make a difference in digital sound quality. Unless you are getting drop-outs, a bit is a bit.

It's just a prejudice left over from the analog days.

The signal running in the wire from the amplifier to the speaker is always analog, and a big fat cable can make a small differnce there. But even in the analog days, big fat cables between the components were bullshit.
-- Joe
"[Some people don't believe in coincidence, but] I believe in coincidence. Coincidences happen every day. I just don't trust coincidence."
Elim Garak

freak42
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby freak42 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:03 pm UTC

you jerks probably always failed to listen to your music over a highend setup with the right sata cable
yup that's right see:

Code: Select all

http://www.thinq.co.uk/2010/8/20/audiophile-journo-gets-kicking-over-blog-post/

User avatar
DragonHawk
Posts: 457
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:20 am UTC
Location: NH, US, Earth
Contact:

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby DragonHawk » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

Imposter wrote:I have a collection of over 500 CDs that I want to back up onto my desktop. In the process of doing so I wish to create:

- a disk image (iso or similar) for backup
- a ~320kbps mp3 of each track
- a ~192kbps mp3 of each track for TomTom/car
- a ~128kbps mp3 of each track for my phone
- quite probably flac and/or ogg files for each track

I rip all my music CDs to FLAC files. Since FLAC is lossless, that's all that's needed for a backup. No need for a separate image of the CD. (I suppose if CD-Text or other non-audio extras had ever taken off, that wouldn't be the case, but I have yet to encounter a CD that actually had such.) I can re-create exactly the CD just by decomp'ing and burning the FLAC files in order.

Unless you have an ogg player device, there's really no point in creating ogg files. You've got a lossless copy, so for playing on the PC, you can play that for higher quality.

I use grip (under Linux) to rip the CDs. It grabs CDDB info, and can be set to rip to FLAC, auto-rip on insert, and auto-eject on finish. All I have to do is swap CDs when the drive opens. (I used to have a slot-load optical drive. That was even better, since you didn't even have to close the tray.)

For transcoding from FLAC to MP3, I have a collection of shell and Perl scripts. It appears this board doesn't allow file attachments. Anyone interested, PM me with your email address, and I can email you what I have.
-----
My favorite examples of audiophile bullsh*t products:

* Denon $1000 Ethernet patch cord
* $960 paperweight^W "blackbody"

As always, be sure to read the Amazon comments.
Ben'); DROP TABLE Users;--

GENERATION 42: The first time you see this, copy it into yοur sig on any forum and stick a fork in yοur еyе. Social experiment.

User avatar
Odd_nonposter
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:44 am UTC
Location: Ohio

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Odd_nonposter » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:28 pm UTC

Mental Mouse wrote:An excellent "review" of horribly overpriced cables ($6,800)


Tags Customers Associate with This Product:

waste of money(118)
audio snake oil(97)
ripoff(74)
snake oil(74)
cures cancer(71)
rofl(66)
time travel(61)
throwing your money away(59)
fap fap fap(39)
hillary clinton(12)

LOL
CorruptUser wrote:Religions are like genitalia. It's OK to have them, but don't whip them out in public, don't argue about whose is better, and keep them away from my kids.

Drake
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:53 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Drake » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

Chrishy wrote:Since the mention brought out the audiophiles, I'd like to ask a question of those familiar with this brand: are Skullcandy products actually any better, or are people buying a brand? Personally, I can't stand earbuds (which is why I just use whatever Apple gave me with my iPod when I must), but my friends have been raging over these damn earbuds and I just don't see a convincing lure.


Can't comment on skullcandy in particular, but I will throw in my 2 cents on headphones in general.

Where are you going to be listening to headphones? What are you going to be listening to? imhao (in my humble audiophile* opinion) the background noise you encounter in most everyday environments ( street noise, busy office) are loud enough to wash out any benefits of a really expensive pair of headphones.

Traditional earbuds never fit me either, so I went with something like this: http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf/p?openform&pc^eb^PLUG

I got some moderately priced ($20) earbuds with interchangeable foam inserts to fit different ears. I replaced the foam inserts with a pair of earplugs with holes punched in the middle. The earplugs mold to my ears, fitting perfectly. They also reduce background noise allowing me to hear more details in the music and allow me to listen at lower volumes in noisy environments saving my hearing.

*Audiophile disclaimer: All of the music I care about is in CD form and played only from CD's. I have speakers and an amplifier to back that investment up. I don't listen to classical music in the car because of the road noise, but I love my little mp3 player's ability to keep me sane at work.

Manabu
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:57 am UTC

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby Manabu » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:29 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
ManaUser wrote:Reminds me of a previous run-in with an audiophile I had. He claimed there is no such thing as true lossless compression, and was offended that anyone would claim otherwise.


I became a bit of an audiophile after taking a two-year electronics program. If it was me, I would agree there is no such thing as true lossless compression: Every recording device has imperfections. The sampling rate and resolution you chose also determines how much information you retain. For example, an 8khz 8 bit mono Wav file will be (approximately) telephone-quality lossless compression (the telephone system uses some power-law compression, IIRC). CD-Quality audio is 44.1KHz, 16bit stereo. All "lossless compression" means is that you can convert from one lossless format to another (of sufficient quality) without loosing data. It is still possible to lose data due to bit-rot.

I guess the lossless compression he is talking about is taking an .WAV file and compressing it to a smaller size, that you can decompress to the bit-exact .wav that you came from. You can use .zip like any other file, or a especialized lossless audio compressor, like FLAC. And if your hardware silently corrupt your files, an FLAC compressed audio is much safer, because it will probably warn you/fail straight way. But you should not be using such harddisk in the first place.

For listening purposes, nothing above properly dithered 16bit and 44.1KHz is needed, as it is already above what our ears can hear. You can even argue that, technically, an 48KHz standard would be simpler and better, but it don't really matters.

ambiguousphoton
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:27 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby ambiguousphoton » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:30 pm UTC

This comic is so timely because I spent an hour or so scouring the internet yesterday in search for exactly such a cable! Do they actually sell these or do you need a M/F and then a coupler?

Syrin
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 7:10 pm UTC
Location: Ontario, Canadia

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby Syrin » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
Felstaff wrote:
sje46 wrote:
from canada wrote:god, randall is like the last person who should be criticizing people for being snobs

I'll bite. How is Randall a snob?

He occasionally mocks technologically illiterate and ignorant people for not caring about how or why they use their technology, and then hypocritically mocks someone for taking a certain aspect of technology (that he has no interest in) too seriously.

I mean, what's a specific example though?


The computational linguistics bit?

Or what about the "math is better than everything else" bits?

This is just such a poor comic on its own, though, even lacking the context of Randy's rather stark elitism which he uses in various comics.

There's a lot of words. The punchline isn't a joke, and if you think it is, read this sentence over again. The person who appears to be at fault here is the guy buying the speakers, not the woman. While it is made obvious that we are supposed to dislike her for her disdain, this guy apparently listens to 96 kbps youtube rips. I'm no audiophile, but 96 kbps sounds like total ass, and if you disagree, read this sentence again, and then punch yourself in the face. If the guy had been reasonable and this was presented solely as a preachy audiophile, I would just ignore it and move on like most recent xkcd comics (because even then it's not really a funny concept. Haha, audiophiles, man, am I right), but instead it's one complete extreme (the guy), and another that we are assuming is an extreme but we don't really see it (the girl). Wait, no I get it - this is a meta subversion, because Randy wants us to think that he expects us to sympathize with the guy, but presents him as a complete asshole, so we're left confused and dazed, shocked that the character whom we assumed was the Randy-insert acted like a jerk-off. This is, in fact, simply Randy subtly promoting a culture of elitism, a marked difference from his prior, in-your-face methods.

correnos
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:17 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby correnos » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:04 pm UTC

I was JUST searching Radio Shack for the exact same cable to connect my PS3 to some speakers (which were of decent quality, I was intending to watch blu-rays on it).

People obsessive enough about anything to fail to realize that "good enough" is sometimes good enough get on my nerves as a whole. Not to say I don't enjoy high-quality music.
If you're seeking the bottleneck, look at the top of the bottle.

The1exile
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:02 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby The1exile » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:07 pm UTC

Syrin wrote:While it is made obvious that we are supposed to dislike her for her disdain, this guy apparently listens to 96 kbps youtube rips

And the woman is listening to the 12 kbps mobile phone noise by even talking to the man, so not everyone has constantly high (or even mediocre) standards. Lighten up.
mosc wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:The military wrote custom PS3 software and bought a bunch of them for some very specific application.

A modern warfare lan party, duh.

Belteshazzar
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:59 pm UTC

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby Belteshazzar » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:10 pm UTC

soren121 wrote:...I do have a pair of $75 Shure SE115s that I love. All of my friends think I'm crazy for spending so much on earbuds; they have no clue what they're missing out on with their $10 off-brand earbuds. I've since deleted all of my old 128kbps decrypted iTunes music and replaced them with deliciously high-quality 320kbps MP3s from the Zune Marketplace. Does that make me qualify as an audiophile?
They're missing out on an opportunity to purchase smug superiority for just $75 :p

In all seriousness, the only way to evaluate these things is listening tests. Listening tests show that the best encoders for mp3, vorbis, and AAC are all basically transparent at 128kbps VBR for most samples. Every codec+encoder has its own set of problem samples, and space is a *lot* cheaper than it used to be, so using ~140-180 kbps (depending on your preferences and the encoder) is probably a good idea.

320kbps is absolutely pointless- you're using almost as much space as lossless without getting the main benefits of lossless (e.g. being able to transcode from it to any future codec with no worries).

Imposter, I'd seriously recommend you just do one lossless FLAC backup and one transparent lossy encode (~140-180 kbps, you choose) for each file. That will halve the encoding time for your project without any real drawbacks.

Syrin
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 7:10 pm UTC
Location: Ontario, Canadia

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Syrin » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

The1exile wrote:
Syrin wrote:While it is made obvious that we are supposed to dislike her for her disdain, this guy apparently listens to 96 kbps youtube rips

And the woman is listening to the 12 kbps mobile phone noise by even talking to the man, so not everyone has constantly high (or even mediocre) standards. Lighten up.


That's, uh. Look. You can't have the "straight man" in a strawman argument be just as flawed as the supposed target. It doesn't work like that. If somebody uses 96 kbps youtube rips to listen to music, they have no basis upon which to be judging audiophiles. At any rate, it's a question of justifiability. Is there some other magical way of communicating with somebody that is as cheap and easy as a cell phone, but which has higher audio quality? No. If there was, would it matter? Well, unless we speak in song, which I don't see happening ever, then no. Audio information which is loss does in no way inhibit the transfer of information between people, since we don't communicate in frequencies, we communicate with words. However, is a 96 kbps youtube rip justifiable, ever? Yes, if you're listening to something which exists in NO OTHER FORMAT, ANYWHERE ELSE. Do alternatives which are cheap and easy to acquire exist? Yes, again, unless the only place that the music exists is on a youtube video.

User avatar
radtea
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:57 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby radtea » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:37 pm UTC

Someone wrote:
Now, it is true that every recording device has imperfections, and there is, therefore, no such thing as lossless (i.e. perfect) audio reproduction.


I mostly dropped in on this discussion to see all the audiophiles say things like "I'm no audiofile but if your listening to utube rips at 96 kdps your a loser jerk and not a ubur-cool audiofile like me!" Sadly, I have not been disappointed. Audiophiles are nothing if not predictable, and their only response to all the quite justified fun that has been made of them in recent years has been to replace "I'm an audiophile..." with "I'm not an audiophile but..."

Please note my hearing aids are turned off while I'm writing this so if any "I'm not an audiophile but"'s want to rip on me for this, I won't hear them. Audiophile, n: people with average hearing who are so self-involved and unimaginative that they can't wrap their heads around the idea that some of us have substantially below-average hearing.

In any case, the notion that something can be perfect and yet not actually exist is problematic. As Knuth says, "An efficient program is one that works". Perfection is always measured against some standard, and applying the mathematical standard of identity to an engineering problem makes no sense. It is not a goal to be achieved, as engineering is the art of balancing contradictory requirements. Mostly cost against everything else. To reify one particular axis amongst these many dimensions and say this is the single one that defines "perfection" is to abandon engineering for mathematics, or worse yet, philosophy.
Coming on Midsummer's Day to a Web Browser Near You: http://www.songsofalbion.com

User avatar
soren121
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby soren121 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:48 pm UTC

Belteshazzar wrote:320kbps is absolutely pointless- you're using almost as much space as lossless without getting the main benefits of lossless (e.g. being able to transcode from it to any future codec with no worries).


Not even close. For a very long song- Atlas Air by Massive Attack for example, it's 16MB. A FLAC version would likely be somewhere around 45-50MB.
PHP/XHTML/CSS Programmer
http://www.sorenstudios.com/
Fueled by all of this and V8

User avatar
GyRo567
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:59 am UTC
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby GyRo567 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:53 pm UTC

Vaskafdt wrote:This is the best comic Randell had in a long while.. I literally laughed out loud.

This comic was funny to me even tho I read it on an old CRT monitor, take that videophiles.

CRTs are still better for a lot of things, especially if you're using them for gaming.

Belteshazzar wrote:320kbps is absolutely pointless- you're using almost as much space as lossless without getting the main benefits of lossless (e.g. being able to transcode from it to any future codec with no worries).

I agree that you won't really notice if you've got 192, 256, or 320 kbps, but you can tell the difference between them. I've done a few blind tests (I feel funny saying 'blind test' for audio...) & could correctly distinguish 64/128/192/256/320kbps from each other on just a midrange headset.

I don't listen to any of my music from my computer, but I imagine that the people who do use MP3s can tell the difference too. And really, since when has HDD space been an issue?
Last edited by GyRo567 on Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
I came here to read a cool post, a witty dialogue, a fresh joke, but stumbled upon a "bump"...
Way to go, jerk...
~CordlessPen

acidbasement
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby acidbasement » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:54 pm UTC

This comic is funny to me because I have similar discussions with my wife, except I'm the guy saying "I found these great speakers second-hand for really cheap. Pleeeeeease let me buy them!" And she shuts me down.

This is an age-old dispute. Some audiophiles look at non-audiophiles with disdain. Non-audiophiles respond by calling audiophiles snobs. Whatever floats your boat. Since I can remember, I've enjoyed devoting my full attention to either recorded or live music. Why would I not buy good sound equipment if it increases my enjoyment? But I always have to hold myself in check when one of my friends says "I really like my new Skullcandys," or "Check out how loud my new Bose speakers can get." If they don't listen to music the way I do, it's not for me to tell them their headphones or speakers are inferior to mine. Why should they care? I can see why people resent audiophiles, because we sometimes do try to impose our obsession onto others, and they often think we're just trying to show off how quickly we can spend money.

There aren't many audiophiles I know who dispute that there is no audible difference between lossless and 320 kbps, but most of us still prefer to keep our music in flac anyway. In my case it's just in case I have to burn something to an audio CD and then re-rip it in the future - I don't want to have double-lossy music, even at 320 kbps.

Anyway, a few people have been asking about headphones. Just do some reading at head-fi for recommendations in your price range, or if you want the best, cheapest introduction to good quality sound from an easily portable headphone, save yourself some reading and get a set of Koss KSC75 for $20 - $30. I've got a rather expensive (not by audiophile standards however) Sennheiser HD600 headphone, but sometimes I borrow my wife's KSC75 for portable use, and my audio snobbery does not prevent me from enjoying listening to them immensely.

Syrin
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 7:10 pm UTC
Location: Ontario, Canadia

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Syrin » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

radtea wrote:I mostly dropped in on this discussion to see all the audiophiles say things like "I'm no audiofile but if your listening to utube rips at 96 kdps your a loser jerk and not a ubur-cool audiofile like me!" Sadly, I have not been disappointed. Audiophiles are nothing if not predictable, and their only response to all the quite justified fun that has been made of them in recent years has been to replace "I'm an audiophile..." with "I'm not an audiophile but..."

It would seem that you don't know what an audiophile is. It is precisely this ignorance that allows you to be so disparaging with your remarks.

Please note my hearing aids are turned off while I'm writing this so if any "I'm not an audiophile but"'s want to rip on me for this, I won't hear them. Audiophile, n: people with average hearing who are so self-involved and unimaginative that they can't wrap their heads around the idea that some of us have substantially below-average hearing.

Has anything bad ever been said about you? What makes you so aggressive and hostile? Yes: some people have below-average hearing. In fact, some people are deaf! That doesn't render the discussion void. If your hearing is below-average and you cannot distinguish audio qualities easily, then yes, go ahead and listen to 96 kbps. Do you see the person in the comic being labelled as hard of hearing? Do you see them labelled as deaf? No, they are supposed to be the everyman Randy-insert, and the everyman is intended to be possessed of average qualities, such as, and this is important, average hearing.

Re: your misconception about audiophiles. Audiophiles tend to think that there's an explicit, obvious difference between, say, FLAC and 320 kbps. For all intents and purposes, you only really need 192. I tend to prefer V0 and V2. Somebody can be perfectly justified in not calling themselves an audiophile and still preferring to eschew 96 kbps youtube rips.

User avatar
SirMustapha
Posts: 1302
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:00 pm UTC

Syrin wrote:If the guy had been reasonable and this was presented solely as a preachy audiophile, I would just ignore it and move on like most recent xkcd comics (because even then it's not really a funny concept. Haha, audiophiles, man, am I right), but instead it's one complete extreme (the guy), and another that we are assuming is an extreme but we don't really see it (the girl).


Yeah, that is what bugs me. Somehow Randall found an even better way to break the "show, don't tell" advice: "don't even tell".

keiyakins
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:16 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby keiyakins » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:08 pm UTC

I liked this one. I got to laugh at the idiot who doesn't understand the idea of sound quality and I got to laugh at an amusing lightbulb joke. And it recalled my previous dealings with audiophiles, which caused me to laugh, too.

Personally, I'm in the 'is it good enough?' camp. The speakers in my laptop don't distort at reasonable listening levels and reproduce music well enough for me to enjoy. The earphones I have are good enough to listen and keep my sanity while traveling. I enjoy the chance to listen on a good setup when I get it, but it wouldn't be worth it for me to build such a system myself.

And of course, I feel free to laugh at people buying CD mats and uber high-quality cables (though I don't go for really cheap cables just because they tend to fail more easily :P)

HiFranc
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:44 am UTC

Re: 0841: Audiophiles

Postby HiFranc » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:24 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:I keep doing the same thing with head phones, except instead $20, it's $1-$7. Even though I know they aren't good, and will break, I keep buying the cheapest ones I can find (that aren't "ear-buds" because I'm just not comfortable with that whole concept).


A couple of years ago I bought some headphones for about £24 (that's probaly about US$30-40). Within couple of months, like the cheaper counterparts, they had broken. Nowadays I buy headphones for about £6 (that's about US$8-10). I know I'm going to buy 3-5 a year but headphones get a rough ride in my pocket. In any case, as I listen to non-music podcasts, sound quality is not that big an issue.

User avatar
BlueNight
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:59 am UTC
Location: Albuquerque
Contact:

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby BlueNight » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

My sister has a 1999 Aiwa CD/tape deck with nice big speakers, along with the usual video components, so I hooked it all up to play through the Aiwa. It's a mass of RCA cables, and we have to turn on the VCR to hear the DTV tuner, but it works.

Last weekend, our family had a Lord Of The Rings Extended-Cut marathon; she borrowed a projector from work, and I hooked up the sound. It was amazing.

The best speakers I ever heard were a pair of Coby headphones I got with a portable CD player. They made Morrowind come to life for me. I had never heard sound of that quality before, and I haven't since - they broke a couple of years ago.
---------
BlueNight

User avatar
NoodleIncident
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:07 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby NoodleIncident » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

Do you have any idea how ridiculous it sounds to, in the same sentence, mock someone's distinction between two similar sound qualities, but then also confidently state that the point where YOU draw the line makes a huge difference? :roll:
Really, that's the point of this comic. He called to ask a question, and instead of providing useful information, she berated him for the standard of audio quality he was willing to pay for. He then made a brilliant joke, which, if I knew people who cared about audio quality this much, I would be sure to keep handy.
Zagibu wrote:Don't ask how many times I've accidentially spawned an alligator completely covered in adamantine with a battle axe strapped to its tail.

User avatar
SpringLoaded12
Posts: 350
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:58 am UTC
Location: Guarding the Super Missile
Contact:

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

Quality triumphs every time.
I've got these: http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/headphones/noise_cancelling_headphones/quietcomfort_3/index.jsp
I'm not sure of the quality of their sound (certainly better than laptop speakers and apple earbuds), but the degree to which surrounding noise is removed is incredible.

Being a jerk is not good, though, and I think both people are being jerks in this strip. I don't dislike it though, it's a decent strip and that was a pretty good one-up. Cheers all around.
"It's easy to forget what a sin is in the middle of a battlefield." "Opposite over hypotenuse, dipshit."

User avatar
DragonHawk
Posts: 457
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:20 am UTC
Location: NH, US, Earth
Contact:

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby DragonHawk » Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:05 pm UTC

Anyone claiming not to like the xkcd comic about being an elitist jerk is being an elitist jerk.
Ben'); DROP TABLE Users;--

GENERATION 42: The first time you see this, copy it into yοur sig on any forum and stick a fork in yοur еyе. Social experiment.

User avatar
Wolverine
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Wolverine » Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:51 pm UTC

I think a comic envisaging masterful opposites would be nice for a change. Zing and then shut down is getting old. The prior form also could be more in-depth and overall more interesting. I suppose it's a short, comic, though. Still, it could be more densely packed with clever lines. I think Randall Munroe is perfectly capable of making comics packed to the brim with clever lines, daily. He just needs to find out how to manage himself so that he can. I guess realistic conversations are fine, though, actually.

Also, the last line is just glaring to me. I mean, it is a clever thing to say, but it also just does not make sense, unless the audiophile is really interested in the sound of your voice.

As for whether one should be pompous about audio quality or not, quality, convenience, comfort, and price are the main considerations you have to take into account. I think it's also true that people do not realize how much more they could be enjoying their music. The fact is, with better quality sound systems, you actually hear more. There is more to appreciate. The idea that somehow you can just turn down the quality and get the same thing is not true. Music is highly complex. There is so much to miss with low audio quality. Then again, if you are listening to some very simple music (no electronic or acoustic instruments with complex harmonics, no complicated composition, etc.), maybe there is less to miss.

Serrin
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:15 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby Serrin » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:22 pm UTC

The girl's being a jerk, because all the guy wanted to know if they had some connectors and she picks a fight over his speakers. It's not like they're a gift for her or something. Imagine if the comic went something like this:

Do we have any horseradish? I'm picking up dinner for myself.
Not fast food. Ugh.
I'm hungry, not looking for a gourmet dining experience.
Gourmet dining experience? You've never even had food...
etc.

Dude asks question. Dude has his taste implicitly insulted. Violence ensues. End. Whether or not you agree the guy has bad taste should be entirely beyond the scope of the strip. It's not the joke. I have preferences on how I like to listen to things, and yet, I find the joke funny. Go figure.

The only objective way to find out how much of a 'true' audiophile you are is to do a 'double-blind' test with various qualities of headphones/speakers to see how well you can tell the difference in audio quality or not.


Actually, the "true" test of being an audiophile is how often, how violently, and how creatively you invent excuses to not have your claims objectively tested. Bonus points of someone sets up a double-blind study for you, and you sucker punch him and then run away, and then blame the whole thing on new medication the day after.

To all the sane, rational people who understand the science behind sound, and data transfer, and like listening to things that sound good: you should probably pick a new name. This is just friendly advice, and from my limited perspective, but it seems to me that "audiophile" has become synonymous with "$10k cables" and "special magic knobs for your amp that make the sound better". I mean, sure, it's not fair that you've been tarred by a bunch of moonbats when you most likely had the name first, but what else can you do?

mbrigdan
False Alarm! There's more rum.
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:45 am UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby mbrigdan » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:26 pm UTC

I just want to chip in and say, I do (well, did) notice a difference between the old earbuds apple used to give out with their ipods (years ago) and the $15 in-ear ones I use now. Some of it might just be the better isolation, but I would guess some of it is that apple earbuds used to really suck (they've gotten better since, I'm told). The only reason I would consider paying for expensive earbuds would be if they had noise-cancellation, which is honestly an AMAZING feature. Unfortunately, its not amazing enough to justify the ~$200-$400 cost of the majority of earbuds that have it.
Spoiler:
TheNgaiGuy wrote:god is playing a huge trick on us and wants us to use our brains to come to the logical conclusion, even though wrong, that he doesn't exist and will send all atheists to heaven for exercising said gifts and send all theists to hell for having faith.

User avatar
jc
Posts: 356
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 5:48 pm UTC
Location: Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy
Contact:

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby jc » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:27 pm UTC

acidbasement wrote:Why would I not buy good sound equipment if it increases my enjoyment? But I always have to hold myself in check when one of my friends says "I really like my new Skullcandys," or "Check out how loud my new Bose speakers can get." If they don't listen to music the way I do, it's not for me to tell them their headphones or speakers are inferior to mine. Why should they care? I can see why people resent audiophiles, because we sometimes do try to impose our obsession onto others, and they often think we're just trying to show off how quickly we can spend money.


This all reminds me of an interesting test of sound equipment that Consumer Reports did some years back. They had two teams of listeners, one was professional sound engineers, the other was professional musicians. They reported that the two teams were in near total disagreement on which equipment was "better".

The sound engineers, as you'd expect, judged the equipment on how "natural" it sounded. The musicians, however, judged it by how clear the music was. If some equipment distorted or damaged the sound in such a way as to enhance the music, the musicians liked it.

It's not hard to imagine how this could happen. I've done a fair amount of recording in "live", noisy situations. One of the things I've learned is that it's good to have some low-quality mikes along that clip off the highs and lows. This can make for a good start on removing the noise, especially the high-frequency noise, that tends to obscure the music. Yes, I can remove it afterwards with editing software, but that takes a lot more time, and it's difficult to find software that can do the clipping and still sound natural, i.e., like what your ears do in a live environment to protect your brain from the confusion of all the noise. Some cheap mikes turn out to do a good job of removing most of this noise.

I also once had a friend who liked to listen to Baroque music, but couldn't listen to harpsichords live or on really good sound systems. The instrument just sounded like a jangle of noise to him. But if he could cut out the sound above 15k or so, he could hear the music and liked it.

Sound quality really does depend on the listener and what they're trying to extract from the sound. It's not just a measurement of the equipment's ability to reproduce what went into the mikes.

achan1058
Posts: 1783
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:50 pm UTC

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby achan1058 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:21 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:The lady in the comic could be merely asking for some higher quality speakers, and let's face it: you don't need to be an "audiophile" to cringe at the trebly, tinny sounds from cheap speakers, and a lot of players will argue that the quality of the sound adds A LOT to the immersion and the overall experience.
I would think for a professional gamer, loud epic sound would be more of a distraction than anything else. Notice how people are recommending that you to turn your settings to as low as possible when going ladder on SC2?
SirMustapha wrote:I mean, listening to YouTube rips? Really? That makes EVEN MY skin crawl.
Hey, give YouTube rips and cheap speakers some credit. They make old recordings bearable. Seriously, it helps mask out background noises and some imperfections that came in from the recording process, especially the older recordings from the 30's-50's.

User avatar
jqavins
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:50 pm UTC
Location: Eastern panhandle, WV

Re: 0841: "Audiophiles"

Postby jqavins » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:54 pm UTC

radtea wrote:Someone wrote:
Now, it is true that every recording device has imperfections, and there is, therefore, no such thing as lossless (i.e. perfect) audio reproduction.

[T]he notion that something can be perfect and yet not actually exist is problematic. As Knuth says, "An efficient program is one that works". Perfection is always measured against some standard, and applying the mathematical standard of identity to an engineering problem makes no sense. It is not a goal to be achieved, as engineering is the art of balancing contradictory requirements. Mostly cost against everything else. To reify one particular axis amongst these many dimensions and say this is the single one that defines "perfection" is to abandon engineering for mathematics, or worse yet, philosophy.

"Perfection" with regard to audio reproduction is easy to define (the sound waves reaching a listener's ears as produced by the loudspeakers are absolutely identical to those that would have reached the listener's ears in the space where the original sound was created) and is impossible to acheive. That concept is not problematic at all. Engineering, as you say, is (in large part) the art of compromise, and it is necessary to understand the parameters of any compromise in order to choose a solution. While perfect reproduction can't be achieved, one can usefully consider it in the process of deciding on a compromise. If I can come halfway from some previously acheived "very good" to perfect by increasing the cost a mere 20% with other parameters nearly unchanged then I will choose to do that. But if the increase in cost is ten fold, and the size, weight, and power dissipation all triple, then I probably won't. (I might choose to design it for sale to a market segment that vslues audio quality enough to buy the thing and make me a profit, but I certainly wouldn't buy one.) This trade, however, is best done by knowing wht perfection is. To aim for perfect reproduction at all costs is bad engineering, but defining perfection, and even thinking about it, is not.

Conflicting requirements can't be balanced. Incompatible goals can be, and must be, in order to determine engineering requirements that a) can be met and b) are satisfactory. To do this, the goals must be well defined. (I want perfect reproduction from a device that is harmlessly implanted in my skull, runs on ambient bioelectric fields, and is free. I guess some compromises are needed.)

There are many ways to define engineering. One of my favorites is from my father, a retired EE and usually the smartest guy in the room, who states "Engineering is the art of making things you want out of stuff you can get." There are lots more.
-- Joe
"[Some people don't believe in coincidence, but] I believe in coincidence. Coincidences happen every day. I just don't trust coincidence."
Elim Garak


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 99 guests