Getting really existential about audiophile snake oil

so In my search to look for more local audiophiles I joined a bunch of North American audiophile groups on facebook and almost all of them but the budget-oriented ones are plagued by things I would call as snake oil. or just kinda dumb spending such as stupid expensive interconnects and cables or super expensive components. and I started to question my own gear and sanity even though they are already budget gear. anyway I decided to leave those groups because it’s full of older gentlemen who really have convinced themselves the smallest minute detail in their setup matters and really don’t care about music anymore saw someone call that type of person a tweakophile and seems to be plaguing a lot of places. just wanted to vent my frustrations somewhere


Fuck em you gotta do what feels best for you. I think at the end of the day if you enjoy music on koss 20$ headphone in an apple dongle dac or the most expensive gear don’t loose sight of what you came for the music. I don’t think your crazy. Keep Jamming :+1: :smiley:


lol yeah sometimes I wish I was still oblivious to higher end gear cause my $9 phillips IEM and lg optimus l9 kept me perfectly happy


Yeah I can understand that I’ve been mucking round in mid fi stuff and at this point I wonder how much better a 1.5k-2k headphone could sound will it really be worth it or should I just be happy with the iems and headphones I own. How much something cost can feel like it messes up my inner critic. I just got in my koss 20$ headphones and you could tell me they are 150-200 and I would agree with you.

Im also really stuck in mid fi and have tried focal utopias, elex’s, some mr. speakers, hd 800’s, Hd 820, dt 1990’s,LCD 2 C’s and I can’t say they are worth that much more than my gear in terms of sound quality but I can’t say I didnt want the LCD’s , DT 1990’s and Utopias and could sorta justify myself getting them at some point in my life because I just really enjoyed the way they sounded and no oher reason they made my music sound really good and I was really enjoying myself. but the thing is… so do my $4 MH 755’s or my BLONs or my H d58x’s. so I’m gonna wait and see how things move and shift. we can already see how mid fi is improving and creeping on the higher end markets with things like the Sendy AIva and the clones, the value propositions that are the the massdrop made stuff, Modhouse gear, JDS labs atom, the THX gear, topping offerings, and so much more


I really wanna go to audio show or a hifi store or something and just try everything. So that I can see if there is anything that sounds better than my mid fi stuff. People like @M0N have said that there is another level of gear but I have yet to find it.

Yeah I ran into a similar issue before I joined here lots of people willing to spend 1000s on stuff like usb cables. And I was like woah dudes I just want to know if this speaker sounds good.

Another user said it apt here. Interconnects should only account for 5 percent of the total budget of your sysfem


yeah I don’t know I think I was just getting mad a people being themselves at this point. there are a ton of older people in those groups. and for someone to come in and say they have been wasting money all these years must really frustrate them too. and the budget oriented ones remind me a lot of the people on here Constanly loving value and Specifically the BLONS.


Why do you care what other people do or think when it comes to HIFI?
I don’t buy into the cable thing, but I have done A/B’s with crap speaker cable vs very expensive, and I can hear a difference, but speaker cable runs are long and the amp in question was really picky about impedence. I personally wouldn’t spend the money on the cables, and whether one is difinitively better I guess is up to the listener. But if someone wants to and wants to expound the virtues good for them.
Expensive gear can sound better, especially when you get away from clean and neutral as being absolute. But even in that space amps sound different.
Most people tend to exaggerate differences, I mean I could live with a pair of HD6XX, and enjoy them, and there is nothing wrong with that. I prefer the Elex, and it’s worth the additional money to me, and I’ll undoubtedly end up spending more at some point.
A lot of older people have a lot more disposable income, cost differences become less relevant, and often their HIFI has been built over decades, it’s going to be different than someone just getting into the hobby.

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Man I wish I knew so I didn’t care sometimes I really care too much for no reason whether it’s someone else’s setup and look I’m not saying speaker cables don’t matter of course they do. I tend to take issue in pricing for any difference in sound you get. I honestly wish I could just I think it’s a personal problem as a person who gets really into cinebench , real bench or just bechmark scores in realtion to a pc component where I can easily caltulate value for dollar and in hifi it’s not as clear and my ears are definitely not perfect. I just don’t get the rational so much where why spend so much on a cable when you can spend that money to improve the acoustics in your listening room or your drivers or your amp? but I mean whaterver makes them happy…

Full disclosure, I’m probably old by your definition.

What your willing to spend and how much you value things is heavily slanted by how much money you have, as well as how much you value the item.

I think there is a secondary generational thing, when I first got into Hifi a LONG time ago, the internet didn’t exist, the only way to buy Hifi was from specialist stores, who stocked everything from $200 amps to $20000+ amps. Often the guys in the stores were more than happy to demo anything, so you’d go in demo the $100K system, then walk out with the $1K system you could afford. Commonly you’d then incrementally work towards your ideal system, and visit the store frequently (weekly in my case) to demo stuff or just to talk. Those ideals would be heavily slanted by what the store in question carried. I could tell you what I wanted back then still today.

With the internet, peoples way into the hobby has changed, you have a lot of information. Much like how people got into the Hobby years ago, people will tend to gravitate to groups that reflect their own opinions. What’s missing for a lot of people in the budget side of the hobby is a way to hear really great stuff and aspire to it.

I think sites like ASR that try and downplay the differences in gear by reducing things to metrics don’t really help either. Metrics are valuable to a point, but they don’t tell the entire story and places like ASR push a Myth that they do.

Your just coming into the hobby from a very different place than the old guys did, most of them have heard a LOT of gear, and they have the income to buy it.


I actually went to a local audio store saturday, and I can confirm the LCD4/LCD4z and meze empyrean are just on a different level of hifi. But even then I dont think its worth the cost unless you just have the money for it.


I completely agree ,these metrics definitely don’t tell the whole story. and perhaps being relatively new to the hobby is my downfall and the reason why I can’t justify the costs.
Also I would love to know what an older(than me) audiophile aspired to get! and what you have now. also one more question I remember Z in his $100 amps roundup he was saying how good these amps are and would be sold for 10X the price in the past. I would love to know how accurate you think the quote is?

asks about how speakers sound

Instead gets cable recommendations and how they change the sound of the speaker


i remember the Audioquest Jitterbug lol. came close to buying it. i dont believe in buying expensive cables but i dont want the cheapest either. i want something well built. but im not gonna pay too much for it.

All I guess I will say here is that it’s a hobby. The goal is to have fun. Do what you feel is most fun for you, and don’t try to ruin that fun for other people


I buy cables for aesthetics ROFL(not multi 100 buck cables tho)

yo same.cable mod for my pc for example

There was always reasonably priced good gear.
Amp design hasn’t radically changed in 30+ years, good designs are good designs.
What has changed is that simple good designs are now readily available from China, and therefore somewhat cheaper. But they IMO don’t compete with the high end stuff.
I’m new to the headphone space, so I can’t really comment specifically there.
My original endgame was Lynn and Naim centric, since that’s what the store carried, I also wanted a pair of ESL63’s, I still sort of want the ESL63’s, but I don’t want to deal with the restoration cost or fragility of them.

My current stereo system is in my profile, you won’t have heard of most of it.
But I rarely listen to it now, I don’t have the space for a dedicated listening room, and big Valve monoblocks require a degree of planning before listening, probably talking 60 minutes for them to get up to temperature and sounding their best, and you can’t just leave them on.

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Nothing shows the full picture till you listen to the headphone itself. but stuff like frequency graphs, reviews and ASR data is helpful.

Thing is i wasn’t satisfied with audio until i got to 300-400$ mark. I bought stuff that was cheap and kept sending it back till i hit the Sennheiser HD600, then the Hifiman Sundara. At that point audio quality was good enough. But i kept thinking “whats the next level like?”, i’m still doing that lol.

Now we have the M570, a very important headphone. Now the 1070 and 1570. Monoprice may be the company that forces the other companies to lower their prices.