There are many and varied ways to read about the audiophile hobby. Most obvious are print magazines and the numerous web sites that are available. By rough count there are somewhere between seventy-five and one hundred audiophile web sites in the US and Canada alone. More still in Europe. So the dissemination of audiophile information is very much alive and well. As are the comments and voiced opinions of those who read the web sites.
One of the enjoyable things about posting a comment about something written on the Internet is that the reader can actually, instantly, submit their opinion. If you read a book or magazine and you agree or disagree with the opinion of the writer, it is far more difficult to express your viewpoint. There are, of course, letters to the editor but they may easily be ignored and usually never reach the public. Online is quite different because an immediate reply to something may be provided for everyone to read.
As an audiophile and contributor to Audiophile Review, I enjoy reading a variety of industry web sites and the accompanying comment sections. Some of the comments are very insightful, very well written and highly technical responses by obviously learned individuals. Some comments are perfect illustrations of something so ridiculous that it hardly merits any notice. I do find it quite surprising that so few people ever seem to proofread what they have written. Because anyone who writes some bizarre comment about anything looks more ignorant still when they are unable to spell or punctuate a sentence.
I once read a comment to a cable review where the respondent was using a drop cord from Home Depot for speaker cables, and sump pump basins for sub woofer enclosures. I suppose to each his own- despite the skepticism I have in how some such arrangement must sound. However, the writer is certainly free to voice an opinion about how he prefers his sound system and what makes him happy. Still, I highly doubt many audiophiles considering sub woofers will seriously look to sump pump basins and drop cords.
I read another Internet article I found quite interesting. It was an online poll about the favorite musical format- CD, MP3, LP, SACD, and so on. The participants in the poll left quite a few comments. One of the comments really got me thinking. In part it read, “If there is one thing that audiophiles are really bad at its understanding that you have to provide more than good sound to really succeed. You have to provide good looking products with the best end to end experience possible.” I find this comment totally amazing. He was basically extolling the virtues of Spotify and iTunes and accused the various formats as being too inconvenient. He further felt like downloading music was antiquated and the future was in handheld devices. Is this truly the opinion and viewpoint of the average non audiophile?
]]>Another respondent to this same poll claimed that he preferred MP3 to all other formats. His logic was that MP3 allowed the most music possible to be downloaded onto his portable device, in this case an iPhone. He wasn’t especially concerned with sound quality. He was satisfied with MP3, and guess what- I support him completely because he understands what he wants. If that is what makes this guy happy, more power to him and he is very fortunate. He likely won’t know the adventure (and sometimes frustration) of trying to capture better and yet better sound reproduction and the difficulty and expense in the effort.
The comments I enjoy most are the ones that support or take issue with the design or engineering of a product. Some of the readers of the various web sites I follow are obviously very well educated engineers or designers. They routinely challenge the writer and lay out, in very specific, scientific terms why they either support or reject the basis of the article. Whether or not all their theories are correct are likely debatable, but I do enjoy reading their opinions. Often times, several different engineers wind up in a discussion amongst themselves about engineering principals. In such cases the whole point of the original article is perhaps forgotten or ignored. These types of comments are always interesting and I sometimes learn something I didn’t know before.
Comments to an article can be the refreshing approval of the point of view of the writer. They can just as easily be a condemnation that may be well reasoned or complete nonsense. While no one really wants to be ridiculed or have their opinion rejected by anyone reading the article, it is the price one pays when the words they create are given to the world for all to read.
Comments unquestionably have their rightful place in an audiophile web site. They allow the readers to become connected to the writer’s opinion and equally to the web site itself. Ranging from outright vulgarity, to complete nonsense, to well reasoned and thought provoking, comments are an instant acknowledgement that whatever written is being read. That goal is the one to which any publication aspires. And despite how utterly ignorant and foolish some of the comments may be, or how accurate and articulate, comments will either be universally appreciated or dismissed by the authors of the articles. But they all will be read. Because everyone who writes for any publication is frankly just too curious to ignore the comments the public at large posts online. Proofreading, of course, is optional…