Friday, January 04, 2013

Gray vs. Grey

Back in the ancient days of vinyl records, there were these people called "audiophiles" who used to obsess over details that most people (like me) couldn't even perceive: sound levels of "gold" recordings vs., um, non-gold ones, and so on. They had super-high-end stereo equipment and kept their vinyl LPs in archival protection, and etc. To be fair not all of these people had the actual musical taste of a piano bench (I'm thinking of this one guy who introduced me to his snazzy one-thousand-plus 1984 dollars stereo system, only to put on Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight"), but still, audiophiles were people with either a level of perception above that of the average human, or else they were simply obsessive cranks, possibly both.

That's what Apple fans remind me of: those audiophiles with their specially-imported master pressings of some jazz concert or whatever. Case in point, this extremely detailed review of the iPad mini, which isn't really that much different from any obsessive review of any Mac product (or any other computer product, to be fair). There's just this one difference: when comparing the Mini with the Nexus 7, the author says going from the Nexus to the iPad is like "getting out of a Toyota and getting into a Lexus." And that made me laugh, because for one thing, Lexus is just Toyota's higher-end (read, "more expensive") luxury car brand -- I'd like to say it's specially set up to get more money out of rich assholes but that would be mean, so pretend I didn't just type that. The other thing is, the last three cars I've owned have been Toyotas, and I'm a fan -- and I've also been in a (new at the time) Lexus, and let's just say I wasn't impressed. I used to move my boss' Lexus for him at my old job in Miami (our parking lot was smaller than the amount of cars that needed to park in it), so I know what it's like to at least drive one around a parking lot. I mean, it was okay -- it was decently put together as far as I could tell. But a few years later I bought a new Toyota Echo and except for having cloth seats instead of (rather ugly mustard-colored) leather there wasn't any difference in the "feel" of the car. So it's just another of those fine details that I guess my blunt senses can't perceive.

And to tell you the truth, I don't much care for the "feel" of Apple products. Too glossy, or something. On the other hand, I've held a Nexus, and soon, one will be mine, oh yes -- come to Andrea.

1 comment:

spudlets said...

I was a wannabe audiophile back in the late 70's, but like a lot of poor students I couldn't afford the high-end stuff, so I settled for moderately loud. A buddy let me borrow his Denon tape recorder and I was able to record a bunch of Jazzfest (Chicago '78) concerts from the radio. I still have the tapes and they still sound great.

Audiophiles back then kept reaching for the purest sound, since if you were going to play it loud you needed a clean source. Kids nowadays with their digital recordings don't seem to care about fidelity, the compressed crap seems to be good enough.

You can occasionally find decent digital recordings, but the providers don't want to release them because little Billy can rip it and stream it for the masses, for free.

I don't know if Apple-heads are like the audiophiles of old. They're not worried about excellence as much as having the Apple logo on their fragile electronics. Are there some good products from Cupertino? Yeah. Overpriced? Oh yeah.

Careful with new Toyotas, as I've heard rumors about quality slipping. YMMV.