The most important spec: 'rizz.

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporter
I'm not anti-specs. I fully admit to taking specs into consideration when evaluating potential purchases (and its weird to me that some are vehemently against it...its all just information, weight it however you want). BUT... there's only one spec that, to me, has been flawless in its efficacy.

Do I listen to the thing? Or do I not listen to the thing.

And so...what is that spec? What is that...thing that glues me to the thing? That keeps me coming back?

I was thinking about this while listening for the umpteenth hour to my turntable with the Stanton Epoch cart and low-mass AT tonearm that I put on it last week. Prior to this, my listening time had gone stale. There were full weeks that had gone by where I didn't listen more than 20 minutes total. I've put in multiple hours a day, when I've been home, this last week.

Prior to this, this same table had a Jelco TK-850s tonearm and Cello Chorale LOMC. For about a year I've been trying to get a handle on this Cello cartridge. It sounds good. It looks cool. It has a suitably snooty cult following and backstory, being a Miyabi-built and designed cart. And yet... I DON'T LISTEN TO IT. It didn't have...that thing. It didn't have 'it'.

This all reminds me of something in dealing with people out in the world. Charisma. I can't explain charisma... some people have it, some people don't. But I like being around charismatic people. Even if I can't describe it. I enjoy their company. I would say its subjective but... generally people can sense the same charisma in the same people. The kids even have a slang term for it: rizz.

So I guess the AT/Stanton combo has it. It has "rizz".

And thinking back through all of my gear, generally speaking I've kept the gear with rizz and ditched the gear without it. My giant Levinson 432? Awesome amplifier, sounded fantastic...had no rizz.

My Marantz Reference SC-11s2 preamplifier. Lovely champaign finish, detailed and smooth sound. Impressive build quality. And? No rizz. I quickly grew bored when hanging out with it.

Klyne SK6 preamp? Amazing phono stage, esoteric-audiophile-approved- no rizz.

Pass Labs XP-10 preamp? Rizz galore. The T+A a1530r amp its matched to? It's rizz was, in a rare feat, obvious from the first song in the first audition in a store.

Even with phono stages... My Lehmann Decade sounds wonderful. In a back to back comparison, it was 'better' than the Primare I'm listening to as I type. Bigger, more detailed, wider soundstage and...less rizz. The Primare just draws me in and keeps me listening. The Lehmann brags about how awesome it is and pretty soon I'm wondering off to the snack table digging through the shard-like remains of the Ruffles potato chips rather than hear anything more about how great it is.

So there it is. My little rambling thought piece on "it". That "it" that describes what stays and what goes.

Frustratingly, I've found absolutely NO way to measure whether gear has charisma or not without living with it. Hence why I've bought and sold so much gear over the years. Happily, I've been doing this long enough that what remains here, for the most part, all has the rizz.

Gratuitous shot of a charismatic turntable. I like hanging out with it so much that I applied two coats of tung oil to it yesterday out of adoration:


Unknown.jpeg
 
@JohnVF the ruffles shard analogy is the thing of the week - so far at least :)

the term rizz is new to me - but yeah i understand. the it factor. unquantifiable but you know it when you feel it.

as soon as i put the holo serene pre in my system - knew it was going to stay. antique sound labs Ki22 tube amp = instant karma. the sp10mk2 has it (well had it anyway til it spun out). spatial m3 speakers - end game due to massive it factor.

the audio writer i think gets at the rizz thing the best is herb reichert. imho, of course, and subjective to him and therefore not necessarily directly transferable.

PS really hoping not to derail into a specs debate, but doesnt rizz just bury specs?
 
@JohnVF the ruffles shard analogy is the thing of the week - so far at least :)

the term rizz is new to me - but yeah i understand. the it factor. unquantifiable but you know it when you feel it.

as soon as i put the holo serene pre in my system - knew it was going to stay. antique sound labs Ki22 tube amp = instant karma. the sp10mk2 has it (well had it anyway til it spun out). spatial m3 speakers - end game due to massive it factor.

the audio writer i think gets at the rizz thing the best is herb reichert. imho, of course, and subjective to him and therefore not necessarily directly transferable.

PS really hoping not to derail into a specs debate, but doesnt rizz just bury specs?
Yes, I think "rizz" tramples on specs, but I also think that specs contribute to a certain amount of rizz (what a ridiculous sentence lol). To be honest I coined rizz halfway through the writeup and was originally just going to talk about "do I listen or not?" but then started thinking about what contributed to that, and came up blank...it just is, or it isn't. I listen, or a I don't. And that comes down to the 'it factor'. Rizz seemed appropriate as its one of the few new slang terms that I find has an insight behind it.

For example, my Sony TTS-8000 had riz (and also problems but JP worked most of them out). It also had great specs, and I'm certain they translated to some of what sonically grabbed me. But I also have had great-spec'd gear that bored me, so its not all down to specs, or at least, the common ones. This Stanton cart specs really welll.... it just doesn't have an 'it' name behind it. So maybe in this case specs are a bigger part? I don't know.

Agreed on Herb, even though I sometimes disagree with him on what has it or not. Certainly there's variables in what grabs each of us. I always appreciate his reviews.
 
Yes, I think "rizz" tramples on specs, but I also think that specs contribute to a certain amount of rizz (what a ridiculous sentence lol). To be honest I coined rizz halfway through the writeup and was originally just going to talk about "do I listen or not?" but then started thinking about what contributed to that, and came up blank...it just is, or it isn't. I listen, or a I don't. And that comes down to the 'it factor'. Rizz seemed appropriate as its one of the few new slang terms that I find has an insight behind it.

Agreed on Herb, even though I sometimes disagree with him on what has it or not. Certainly there's variables in what grabs each of us. I always appreciate his reviews.
thinking more about this, rizz seems to relate to passion. and is the passion we derive from something related to the passion the builder put into it? or is our passion basically the result of some ineffable rizz/it factor that just intrinsically is or is not there for us on a completely subjective level?

Herb seems passionate as hell about music, art and certain gear. and its fun to read about.
 
Boogie.
Jump.
Snap...

Rizz?

Are we just talking about PRaT again?

(ducks, exits stage left)
😛
Oh lord no. Unless PRaT is part of your own person rizz evaluation.

Your gear has a lot of rizz, nate. I can tell from afar.
 
Also, to use another slang term, If the first post is TL;DR...

"The only measurement that I ultimately care about is whether or not I listen to the thing or not"
 
I remember the 1993 Stereophile review of the Jadis Defy-7 Mk.II, an amplifier my local dealer had for demo that was absolutely exquisite sounding. In JA's measurements it faired pretty poorly, but he did not pan it nor refute the positive subjective take of reviewer Martin Colloms either.

Having heard that amp driving various speakers at my local dealer, I was in complete personal agreement with what Stereophile published, and it raised an eyebrow at those who think buying gear on specs alone is a good practice.

 
I'm not anti-specs. I fully admit to taking specs into consideration when evaluating potential purchases (and its weird to me that some are vehemently against it...its all just information, weight it however you want). BUT... there's only one spec that, to me, has been flawless in its efficacy.

Do I listen to the thing? Or do I not listen to the thing.

And so...what is that spec? What is that...thing that glues me to the thing? That keeps me coming back?

I was thinking about this while listening for the umpteenth hour to my turntable with the Stanton Epoch cart and low-mass AT tonearm that I put on it last week. Prior to this, my listening time had gone stale. There were full weeks that had gone by where I didn't listen more than 20 minutes total. I've put in multiple hours a day, when I've been home, this last week.

Prior to this, this same table had a Jelco TK-850s tonearm and Cello Chorale LOMC. For about a year I've been trying to get a handle on this Cello cartridge. It sounds good. It looks cool. It has a suitably snooty cult following and backstory, being a Miyabi-built and designed cart. And yet... I DON'T LISTEN TO IT. It didn't have...that thing. It didn't have 'it'.

This all reminds me of something in dealing with people out in the world. Charisma. I can't explain charisma... some people have it, some people don't. But I like being around charismatic people. Even if I can't describe it. I enjoy their company. I would say its subjective but... generally people can sense the same charisma in the same people. The kids even have a slang term for it: rizz.

So I guess the AT/Stanton combo has it. It has "rizz".

And thinking back through all of my gear, generally speaking I've kept the gear with rizz and ditched the gear without it. My giant Levinson 432? Awesome amplifier, sounded fantastic...had no rizz.

My Marantz Reference SC-11s2 preamplifier. Lovely champaign finish, detailed and smooth sound. Impressive build quality. And? No rizz. I quickly grew bored when hanging out with it.

Klyne SK6 preamp? Amazing phono stage, esoteric-audiophile-approved- no rizz.

Pass Labs XP-10 preamp? Rizz galore. The T+A a1530r amp its matched to? It's rizz was, in a rare feat, obvious from the first song in the first audition in a store.

Even with phono stages... My Lehmann Decade sounds wonderful. In a back to back comparison, it was 'better' than the Primare I'm listening to as I type. Bigger, more detailed, wider soundstage and...less rizz. The Primare just draws me in and keeps me listening. The Lehmann brags about how awesome it is and pretty soon I'm wondering off to the snack table digging through the shard-like remains of the Ruffles potato chips rather than hear anything more about how great it is.

So there it is. My little rambling thought piece on "it". That "it" that describes what stays and what goes.

Frustratingly, I've found absolutely NO way to measure whether gear has charisma or not without living with it. Hence why I've bought and sold so much gear over the years. Happily, I've been doing this long enough that what remains here, for the most part, all has the rizz.

Gratuitous shot of a charismatic turntable. I like hanging out with it so much that I applied two coats of tung oil to it yesterday out of adoration:


View attachment 75575

Damn... there was an entire semi-autobiographical book about nearly exactly this concept written by a man that was sort of insane mentally disturbed. Only Robert Pirsig called this elusive trait "quality", and while he couldn't define it, either, also posited that one knew it when one saw it.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, 1974
 
I remember the 1993 Stereophile review of the Jadis Defy 7, an amplifier my local dealer had for demo that was absolutely exquisite sounding. In JA's measurements it faired poorly, but he did not pan it nor refute the positive subjective take of reviewer Martin Colloms either.

Having heard that amp driving various speakers at my local dealer, I was in complete personal agreement with what Stereophile published, and it raised an eyebrow at those who think buying gear on specs alone is a good practice.

JA's measurements of the Leben CS-300 were similar. It's not a stellar-measuring amp. But give it efficient speakers and I challenge anybody to find a more joyful, musical, and even detailed, amp to listen to. Ok, I think my Luxman 507u is better but only because its more versatile. They measure very differently but sound more alike than different....there are amps that spec far more closely to the Luxman that sound much more different to it than the Leben does (again, with careful speaker choice).
 
Damn... there was an entire semi-autobiographical book about nearly exactly this concept written by a man that was sort of insane mentally disturbed. Only Robert Pirsig called this elusive trait "quality", and while he couldn't define it, either, also posited that one knew it when one saw it.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, 1974
I've had that book on my want-to-read list forever. I need to get down to it.
 
I've had that book on my want-to-read list forever. I need to get down to it.
It's worth it. The follow-up book, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, from 1991, picks up at the end of the first, but is not nearly as good. I've revisited ZatAoMM several times since 1987, and probably will again before long. But Lila? Nope. Only once.
 
I think I've told all y'all this but Zen and... was required reading in a course I took in college.
OK, yeah.
The seventies.
but...

the course was Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab.

I am not sure that the professor was insane but he definitely had issues (not explicit in the following obit, but sort of detectable by reading between the lines). He was a piece of work. I taught that class for him one semester when I was in grad school at that same (yes, Zen and all) at that same august institution.
His wife Camilla left a bit of a wake too.
 
I am not sure that the professor was insane but he definitely had issues (not explicit in the following obit, but sort of detectable by reading between the lines). He was a piece of work.

He sounds all right to me but I suppose finding your “16th century ancestral home turned into a Ford dealership” could make anyone a bit nutty.
 
Back
Top