I finally can sleep at night. Or, why people fight about audio online...

ICTWoody

Junior Member
I was watching a documentary last night on Netflix with my Girlfriend about Flat Earthers — I won't get started there. But one of the scientists in the documenary described a cognitive bias called the Dunning Kruger Effect. When I heard it described I immediately thought of tons of people that argue online (or in person) about stuff they have no experience with.

I don't know why, but know knowing about this puts my mind at ease that people that this describes are basically just the Flat Earthers of audio.

Here's a short YouTube video that describes it. But feel free to google it as well..

- Woody

 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Ahhh yes, Dun n' Kruger, my two favorite people online. Particularly relevant in this day and age of everybody is an expert because "I'm too smart to listen to them experts who went to school n stuff."

It's not just something that infiltrates audio. Its EVERYTHING in life.
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
But who are the audio "flat earthers"? ;)

The folks who believe that ABX/DBT testing prove that there are no differences in the sound of "properly designed", "linear" amplifiers "operating within their power envelope" believe that those of us who use the observational method (long term evaluation in our systems and rooms) to evaluate gear are the "flat earthers" of audio.

Further, the "objectivists" usually dismiss tube electronics, and especially SE amps, as nothing more than "euphonic tone controls".

My primary criteria for selecting components is 1. how that component connects me emotionally to the music I love and 2. does the component in question beckon me to listen to more music.

If that makes me an "audio flat earther", I'm cool with that. ;)

Just my opinion. :)
 

ICTWoody

Junior Member
I think I'm relating it to the more Vintage vs. Modern crowd. Those that refuse to listen to some of the great newer stuff, because "they just don't make it like they use to" or "it's not better, so why would I bother with it."

Basically the DKE just gives me a reason to disregard people that like to argue about stuff they've never heard.

- Woody
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I'll make up a strawman:

A guy who owned a cheap $200 AV receiver and who then listened to a few speakers sitting on a metal shelf on the salesfloor of Best Buy before picking a pair of $150pr Infinities, who then found a Pioneer SX-980 and Large Advents at a garage sale that blew away the above, and so then he turns around and declares that vintage audio is superior to ALL of modern audio and that, in fact, the difference is so obvious that modern audio really is just a scam perpetuated by marketing folks and Richie Riches to take your money because nothing new has happened in audio in 40 years.

He has, actually, zero experience with what is available in modern audio but that doesn't stop him from making an across the board declaration about all of it. He is not in the know enough to know just how much he does not know...

I say strawman but folks like the above led me far astray in this hobby and wasted years of my time and thousands of my dollars because for whatever reason I kept giving their advice a chance. But, you know, they don't exist. A strawman.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
And I said modern audio but its really any kind of audio outside of what little they've experienced. Its basically the 1970s solid state receiver crowd that most wasted my time, for there's some great vintage stuff...its just not by any means all of it. Its maybe a small fraction of it.

And its not everybody that runs a 1970s receiver (I have two set up). Its the declaration that nothing bests them.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
oh, and the 1970s receivers were fraught with compromise, sort of by definition.

:smoke

Ahem. I collect some of 'em because of nostalgia, aesthetics, and the fact that by modern standards (and compared to when they were new), they're cheap.

I really can't recommend listening to the darn things, though.

Semi-monstrous 1970s soiled state receivers by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

Oh, and speaking of that Dun and Bradstreet Effect thingy ;) -- the best thing about this photo is it was taken with a real camera and a real lens, on real film (and then scanned, of course) :)
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Ahem. I collect some of 'em because of nostalgia, aesthetics, and the fact that by modern standards (and compared to when they were new), they're cheap.
I do, too. I have had dozens of them and now have, still, a McIntosh MAC-1900 and Harman Kardon Citation "The Receiver." On the internet you can find reference to the MAC-1900 being better than any modern solid state. That is...a curious take...and not reflective of reality, but I do enjoy it immensely for what it is. And the HK Citation Receiver is just one of the prettiest music making things around, and from a collectors standpoint about as holy grail as 1970s receivers get. Those receivers can be fun to listen to, they're a product of maybe a happier time to many, and they're cool to use and look at. It's the extrapolation of that to Better Than Anything Now that annoys the living poo-poo out of me. Its simply not true and it's almost always made by folks who have zero meaningful experience in what they're denigrating. They don't know what they don't know.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
The aesthetics of the Citation Receiver are unassailable, I'd say.

I'll confess to a completely irrational (and, fortunately, likely never to be consummated) desire to own a Yamaha CR-3020.

The 1970s receivers weren't better than the better separates of their own era -- to say nothing of the really high-quality separates of their era.
Heck, the sonics of many of them (restored or not) just disappoint me.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The aesthetics of the Citation Receiver are unassailable, I'd say.

I'll confess to a completely irrational (and, fortunately, likely never to be consummated) desire to own a Yamaha CR-3020.

The 1970s receivers weren't better than the better separates of their own era -- to say nothing of the really high-quality separates of their era.
Heck, the sonics of many of them (restored or not) just disappoint me.
My Citation is restored. It sounds...fine? I think my TOTL Pioneer AV receiver from 2011 sounded better and even had a better sounding phono stage. But the Citation beats it all, hands down, for user experience and looks. And sounds good enough that its currently my AV receiver because, well, my movie-spare-room is set up to just be fun and to not worry about specs, ultimates, or anything.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
I pretty much got over specs at about that age when adult males' brains finally reach maturity (mid/late 20s).
Correlation isn't causation, so I am just sayin'.

:)
 

mred

Senior Member
But who are the audio "flat earthers"? ;)

The folks who believe that ABX/DBT testing prove that there are no differences in the sound of "properly designed", "linear" amplifiers "operating within their power envelope" believe that those of us who use the observational method (long term evaluation in our systems and rooms) to evaluate gear are the "flat earthers" of audio.

Further, the "objectivists" usually dismiss tube electronics, and especially SE amps, as nothing more than "euphonic tone controls".

My primary criteria for selecting components is 1. how that component connects me emotionally to the music I love and 2. does the component in question beckon me to listen to more music.

If that makes me an "audio flat earther", I'm cool with that. ;)

Just my opinion. :)
I see the flat earth crowd also containing the " if it can be measured" mind set
How many countless flame wars in that arena have you witnessed ?
 
I know someone who deals in vintage Italian racecars. He opines that men are like baby birds - when the testosterone kicks in, they pattern-imprint on the desirable car / actress / Hi-Fi of the moment, and carry that as the platonic ideal for the rest of their life. (Greatest generation guys like blower Bentleys, baby boomers like GTOs and GT40s*; millennials like e30 M3s)

Many internet audio flame wars are just the product of that imprint effect, IMO.

I'm the generation that got 80's stereo equipment in angular black, with black buttons, labeled in black, that light up black when you push them. I still remember when my dad got rid of the champagne & walnut HH Scott and replaced it with a Panasonic. I thought the new one was cooler. In contravention of the imprint theory, I can't really say that I still carry any fondness for the 80's kit ... although the phrase "Nakamichi Dragon" does still give me a little thrill.

* edited for @mred's benefit ;-)
 
Last edited:

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
I believe that we all like the gear that we like for our own reasons.

I also don't care if someone likes gear that is completely different than the gear I like. Each to their own.

Where I draw the line is when someone tries to tell me that their preferred gear is the only "correct" gear and that my choices suck.

I don't tell anyone else that their choices are not valid nor will I tolerate anyone else telling me that my choices are not valid.

Just my opinion. :)
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I'll make up a strawman:

A guy who owned a cheap $200 AV receiver and who then listened to a few speakers sitting on a metal shelf on the salesfloor of Best Buy before picking a pair of $150pr Infinities, who then found a Pioneer SX-980 and Large Advents at a garage sale that blew away the above, and so then he turns around and declares that vintage audio is superior to ALL of modern audio and that, in fact, the difference is so obvious that modern audio really is just a scam perpetuated by marketing folks and Richie Riches to take your money because nothing new has happened in audio in 40 years.

He has, actually, zero experience with what is available in modern audio but that doesn't stop him from making an across the board declaration about all of it. He is not in the know enough to know just how much he does not know...

I say strawman but folks like the above led me far astray in this hobby and wasted years of my time and thousands of my dollars because for whatever reason I kept giving their advice a chance. But, you know, they don't exist. A strawman.
Sorry you got sucked into the vintage receiver vortex. At least you escaped into the light of day which is more than can be said for many. I started out as a kid with tube separates, bought an integrated and didn't own a receiver until relatively recently. Even then it was strictly because they looked like fun, could be useful and were either free or close to it. Yes, they can be fun and cool. No, they are nowhere near the best audio in history.

Of course the same is true in any particular field/hobby....
 
Last edited:
Top