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Thread: The international audio industry- operating as any big business does ...

  1. #21
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    Default Rule 14: People follow people

    Rule 14 of Marketing:
    -------------------

    When human A tells another B of his positive experience, it motivates B to replicate the experience. People respond to product endorsements when they recognise themselves or their needs in the product. It is the task of the marketeer to marry the product with the needs of a certain sector of the public. Never underestimate the power of endorsement even from invisible third parties to prompt others into action!

    It may or may not be necessary for person B to actually see person A, or even to see the product itself. If promoter A (or indeed the product itself) has physical characteristics which are considered to be in-step with the brand image, then showing A or the product may positively reinforce the brands ethos in the consumer's mind. If promoter A (or the product) has physical characteristics which are at odds with the brand image, then it or promoter A should be hidden from the consumer and the brand appeal should be through the voice of an invisible third-party using corporate speak.

    Example:

    - In Europe, it is prohibited to market tobacco products showing images of people actually using the product so the promotion has to be by more subtle influence. Marketing is adept at inverting serious product disadvantages - surely the best example is tobacco: it cripples you yet is promoted for a healthy, relaxed, glowing lifestyle. Remember the Marlboro cowboy?

    - The actual designer of a Sony CD player is unknown, so marketing cannot engage with the designer, who remains invisible, ethereal, anonymous. As we have no access to him, we are unable to begin to estimate his value system, what commercial/costing/technical pressures he was under. We are buying blind.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #22
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    Default

    Rule 15 of Marketing:
    -------------------

    Breed discontentment, anxiety and neurosis in the consumer. Then to alleviate his stress sell a solution which is only just available and just out of reach .... it merely requires cash to bring it into range. Allow a decent interval to pass then repeat. And repeat.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  3. #23
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    Default Rule 16: the early addict is the best addict

    Rule 16 of Marketing:
    -------------------

    'Born to buy'. Hook the consumer and hook him/her early.

    ---

    Interesting book just available: Brandwashed: Tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy. Read more here. Extract ...

    Brandwashed is a shocking insider's look at how today's global giants conspire to obscure the truth and manipulate our minds, all in service of persuading us to buy
    Free chapter preview here. It's all very obvious and simple to us on this side of the desk, but the consumer may have the greatest difficulty believing how easily and continuously manipulated they are.

    Meanwhile, over at Apple, a through understanding of consumer needs and the great rewards that brings .... here. Proof positive that profiling the consumer and appealing to him/her through the heart is what modern business marketing is all about. This is no plan B.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  4. #24
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    Default Golden ears need eyes wide open

    thurston,

    As Alan said...

    The illusion of limitless improvements in fidelity is a fantasy created by the marketing machine of the audio equipment industry not the record industry.
    It's quite simple.

    So far, no one has been able to tell the difference between a CD player, costing over a thousand pounds (£), a 10+ year old dvd player and a couple of squeezeboxes (A Touch & Duet - £200 each-ish...).

    Interestingly, the hard core subjectivists have ignored the challenge completely at the other places I've posted this. I guess the golden ears really do only work when the eyes are there...

  5. #25
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    Default Rule 17 of Marketing - prejudices

    Rule 17 of Marketing:
    -------------------

    'Work with people's prejudices, not against them'.

    If the consumer belives that green apples are the most nutritious and healthy, there is no point whatever in creating and trying to sell blue apples even if they are proven in the lab. to be more nutritious, more healthy and taste better.

    In audio: if the consumer believes that analogue is better than digital, it is better.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  6. #26
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    Default Really rather a shock

    As I'm sure you've deduced from my comments over the years I've never ceased to be amazed at how easily hoodwinked the audiophile is by convincing salesmen/websites/blogs/forums/chat rooms etc. etc. etc.. I thought that such people were as instantly identifiable, just as you would immediately detect a non-native speaker of your own language or spy a burglar in a yellow and black striped top creeping about. I've just had a nasty experience that's disturbed me. I now see the issue in a new light from your side of the table......

    I have been introduced to a hardened audiophile who has invented an audiophile gadget that he wishes to bring to market. He was a personable, well dressed, eloquent gentleman who, had he not been involved in the audio industry could have been a bank manager or teacher: respectable to the core. My defenses were obviously lowered.

    I know little of the detailed physics of his invention, but even giving him the benefit of the doubt, it became clear from my prior and basic knowledge of the universe that he was completely deluded. The gizmo simply could not work as he was describing it, if at all. This was not an issue of performance somewhere in the grey area between science and art - it just couldn't conceivably work. The more I resisted his pitch, the more convincing he became; the more examples of happy customers, the more accolades, the more industry insiders had blessed the wretched device. Eventually I made my escape and set off for the pub alone to think the experience through.

    I was lucky. Starting from a position of incredulity and drawing on a wealth of pragmatic experience of the real world, I made my mind up within the first minutes that this device could not fit with my prior-knowledge. Nothing more than common sense told me that. Either I had to re-appraise 40 years of audio or walk away. And there was no good reason to throw away a lifetime of experience 'just in case' this was a real breakthrough.

    The difficulty I now understand that you face daily in audiophilia is that, without a reservoir of knowledge to draw on and/or self confidence and/or strong will power and/or a psychiatrists training, all audio marketing men and all audio gadgets look equally credible.

    How on earth do you navigate through the infested waters? It beggars belief that even one ordinary music lover has the wherewithall to stand up and say "BS" against an army of marketters peddling what is, without a shadow of doubt, nothing but BS all presented with such astonishing conviction. Indeed, how do you know what you read here isn't a another massive confidence trick eh?

    Very alarming indeed.

    (How I am going to get through the Munich show in May without sedation is already worrying me ..... [no joke]!)
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  7. #27
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    Default BS and knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    The difficulty I now understand that you face daily in audiophilia is that, without a reservoir of knowledge to draw on and/or self confidence and/or strong will power and/or a psychiatrists training, all audio marketing men and all audio gadgets look equally credible.
    Precisely. Discriminating between BS and reality can only be done on the basis of sufficient knowledge of the subject. Otherwise judgement is made on the basis of secondary factors, chiefly the confidence and persuasiveness of the speaker. And sometimes quite untrustworthy people can be the most persuasive. Not infrequently, they've even persuaded themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Indeed, how do you know what you read here isn't a another massive confidence trick eh?
    Easy. Although you're generous to a fault with your time and energy, you are occasionally a bit crotchety and irritable. Someone who's trying to BS you to sell you something will never allow himself to be that human - might scare away the potential purchaser.

  8. #28
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    Default Nietzsche and truth

    Perhaps while in Munich you could ask the local exhibitors how they regard Nietzsche's notorious statement,

    "Men believe in the truth of all that is seen to be strongly believed in".

    Rather disturbing, to say the least.

  9. #29
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    Default The art of 'spinning' - how to convince people that black is white

    Time after time we come across examples both on HUG and quotes from wider afield of the deliberate manipulation of engineering/commercial facts into something deemed more 'palatable' for the consumer, more in-keeping with corporate objectives. We can trace PR back to Edward L. Bernays, here.

    To quote:

    "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society," Bernays argued. "Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."
    PR and media manipulation is not new. It's as obvious to me as a bad smell when I see it. But it is a persistent worry that the public are swept along so readily and there is no better example of the effectiveness of PR than in the audio industry.

    So, here are some examples of fictitious marketing-talk of the sort you'd read on an advert, brochure, review or a forum somewhere. See if you can suggest what the engineering truth is behind them: I have my own suggestions for later. I'd strongly suggest that unless you have the ability to visualise what is really being implied here, you are putty in the hands of the marketeer, as Bernays says.



    1) "We recommend that you leave your new ABC brand TV powered continuously, day and night 24/7 ... that's the sure way to see rich, faithful colours as nature intended ...."

    2) "If sitting in traffic we recommend that you consider the environment and take your foot off the clutch and put the car in neutral ...."

    3) "Please ensure that this product is used out of doors ...."

    4) "The super new 'magiali' tweeter material reproduces the sound of the spheres ... accurate, fast and revealing ....."

    5) "Naturally, there is no ugly grille over the tweeter dome .... we want the sound to flow out to you unimpeded ....."

    6) "It's always a good idea to retain the original cartons ...."

    7) "We offer the cheapest car service in the town ...."

    8) "FrenziWash leave your whites whiter than ever .... the pride of every good mother ...."

    9) "We have invested a billion dollars in environmentally friendly furnaces ...."

    10) "Nuclear energy will be too cheap to meter ...."



    The list is endless. What is the real message that the savvy consumer can read between the lines? (There are no right answers).

    Wake-up people!! Remember when you used to make your own decisions based on common sense before being told how to think and act?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  10. #30
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    Lightbulb Decoding Marketing/PR talk into FACTS ....

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Right-oh. Let's have a look at these and decode the marketing/PR talk into the cold reality. Naturally, these are fictitious examples (well, some are), so we've freely applied a little imagination. Can you come up with better alternatives?
    1) "We recommend that you leave your new ABC brand TV powered continuously, day and night 24/7 ... that's the sure way to see rich, faithful colours as nature intended ...."....

    Truth: 'We have pared down the design to save as much cost as possible. Despite the Chief Engineer's calculations and dire warning, Marketing must hit a certain retail price point for this TV to sell. His advice was that the elimination of the anti-surge PSU protection circuit (saving: $4.33) means that the PSU is prone to instantaneous failure when the set is switched on more than three times in 24 hours. Marketing say that warranty claims are not their problem ....'

    2) "If sitting in traffic we recommend that you consider the environment and take your foot off the clutch and put the car in neutral ...."

    Truth: 'We have pared down the design to save as much cost as possible. Despite the Chief Engineer's calculations and dire warning, Marketing must hit a certain retail price point for this car to sell. His advice was that the use of flimsy pressed tin parts in the clutch mechanism (saving: $2.97) means that the clutch is prone to burn-out when engaged for more than a continuous 55 seconds in any one hour when the ambient temperature is above 25 degs. Marketing say that warranty claims are not their problem and that this car was never designed for use in 'tropical climates'.

    3) "Please ensure that this product is used out of doors ...."

    Truth: 'We have pared down the formulae to save as much cost as possible. Despite the Chief Chemist's dire warnings, Marketing must hit a certain retail price point for this household cleaner to sell. His advice was that the use of highly corrosive, industrial strength substances (cost saving: $0.88) means that exposure to the noxious fumes could kill, and is positively addictive to solvent abusers. Marketing say that claims they've made in a TV advertising campaign that this product works 'three times faster, twice as well' as the competitor products is why it is now the No.1 brand leader and that they have no choice. Consumer deaths are absolutely not their problem and any such ill-founded, mendacious approaches will be met with a stiff rebuttal by the legal dept.. Anyway, the product is imported pre-packed from the far east and they say that it's perfectly OK to sell and use it there'. Legal have doubled the public Liability cover just to be on the safe side.'

    4) "The super new 'magiali' tweeter material reproduces the sound of the spheres ... accurate, fast and revealing ....."

    Truth: 'We have pared down the design to save as much cost as possible. Despite the Chief Engineer's warning last year that stocks of the original cone material were running dangerously low, he was not given the resources and budget to tool-up for an alternative. Marketing are now in a panic because Purchasing say the source has dried up. A couple of lads from Sales were sent down to the street market to see if they could find something 'shiny and sexy looking' that could be turned into tweeter parts. Luckily they did find an interesting-looking material with a beautiful metallic sheen being sold by a very nice lady of middle eastern descent. After some ferocious haggling they bought all she and her uncle had - enough for a few thousand tweeters - and the crisis is over (this week). Chief Engineer advises in Memo that alluring the material is, he doesn't have a suitable glue and he's worried about reliability. The Marketing Director called all the magz to announce the new tweeter - several excited reviewers have begged him for an exclusive and he's gone to the golf club to celebrate the fastest new product launch in the company's history. Technical Director (last heard of throwing a chair across the lab and shouting "How the **** can I be expected to work with this ****?" barricaded himself in the rest room early this morning and hasn't been seen since. Strange smell.' (This one is very nearly the truth not once, but twice in the tweeter industry. If only you knew what really goes on!).

    5) "Naturally, there is no ugly grille over the tweeter dome .... we want the sound to flow out to you unimpeded ....."

    Truth: 'We have pared down the design to save as much cost as possible. Despite the Chief Engineer's dire warning, Marketing have said that this is surely the best money spinner in many a long year. Legal have been instructed to carefully review the Warranty exclusions to be absolutely sure that there is no way that the company can be held liable for accidental damage which is, according to over-dinner chit-chat at the annual Audio Maker's Association (followed by much guffawing and raised glasses '"to the asses who buy this junk"), "a virtual dead-cert". Finance say that if this caper works, they won't cancel the annual sales shindig so everyone is praying for little curious fingers exploring the shiny domes (repeatedly). NOTE: Concerning 4) above - hopefully the user will destroy the tweeter just before the glue joint collapses, and providing this keeps happening in a cycle of just a few months, it's one-up on that sissy Chief Engineer. Warranty implication: zero.''

    6) "It's always a good idea to retain the original cartons ...."

    Truth: 'We have pared down the design to save as much cost as possible. Despite the Chief Engineer's calculations and dire warnings, Marketing must hit a certain retail price point for this product to sell. His advice remains that the overall effect of the recent cost-down initiative (saving: $14.22) means that the life expectancy of the cheaper parts used throughout is likely to have an impact on overall reliability. After Care have chimed in with their estimations of the consequences of field failures (and are daily reminded of last year's disastrous cost-down drive) and said that whilst the repairs/mods is one issue to cope with, a far bigger ongoing frustration is customers returns to the factory arriving in ex-supermarket cartons and as a result, trashed in transit. Legal say that we have to insist on original cartons as the hassle of dealing with angry customers is out of control and two girls in Customer Services are already on long-term absence with stress...'

    7) "We offer the cheapest car service in the town ...."

    Truth: 'We have speeded-up and pared down the service to save as much cost as possible. Despite the Chief Mechanics warnings, Marketing must hit a certain retail price point for this promotion to sell. His advice is that it's well known in the trade that the use of cheap 'pattern' replacement parts (filters, oils, seals etc.) made in sweatshops in the far east are prone to failure weeks or months after fitting, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Marketing say that the small print on the back of the sales invoice limits Warranty to 14 days/500 miles after fitting so any liability claims are unlikely, and should the vehicle break-down on a motorway and the driver be injured or killed, if he is that sort of high-mileage driver he should have gone to the main dealer and paid through the nose for a Manufacturers Service which we definitely are not offering (at this price).'

    8) "FrenziWash leave your whites whiter than ever .... the pride of every good mother ...."

    Truth: 'We have pumped-up the formulae as much as we dare within what Legal say we can get away with. Despite the (outsourced) Chief Medical Officer's vague warnings, Marketing insist in sticking to their bombastic claims to get a foot hold in the lucrative detergent market. His advice was that the use cheap industrial strength bleaches (cost: $0.02) rather than less aggressive (although admittedly less effective and more expensive) modern alternatives means that the upon opening, the user will be hit by a wall of noxious fumes which whilst not necessarily fatal, repeated exposure is likely to burn-away the sensitive tissues inside the nose. Marketing say that they're delighted with the cleaning performance which fully endorses their advertising campaign slogan '... the pride of every good mother ...' and sales are soaring especially in the developing world amongst the up-and-coming middle class. Consumer health issues through use (read: ludicrously excessive daily use) are absolutely not Marketing's problem as they never said this detergent could be (or even should be) used daily or even at all at home. In actual fact, the chemistry is so strong that daily use will rot-away a typical 60 poly/40 cotton shirt within a week so the strong chlorine (read: sea-side freshness smell) vapours are a very good thing in that they act as a brake on the idiotic, dimwitted users over-enthusiastic application of the product. (Note: product disguised but very similar conversation overheard by AS in a train in southern China where travellers in front were unaware of another westerner (with flapping ears) sitting behind.)

    9) "We have invested a billion dollars in environmentally friendly furnaces ...."
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  11. #31
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    Default Putting music first ... elegance in simplicity

    So what am I to do? Do I ditch the £25,000 pre/power which measures worse than a Quad 306? Dump the £6500 SACD player (SACD? Is that another marketing gimmick?) for a £200 machine?

    I could dump the lot and recoup a fair few thousand pounds of my investment. Purchase a sensible, no BS audio system consisting of eg. cheap universal disc player, Quad 34 preamp to match my spare Quad 306 and keep the Harbeth P3ESR of course. Probably exactly what many would suggest I do. But I'd have to train myself to accept it!
    Hey Greg,

    Guess what I've just done?



    Well I never fell for the audiophool BS as hard as you did, but I just found a nice 306 on ebay for £122. :-)

    Completely original, 1986, slight hum - not surprising the PS caps being 26 years old!* But it just sounds so damn good!

    Best advice is to just stop reading the hi-fi comics and restrict your internet browsing to this website... oh and listen to more music, of course.

    New caps ordered from RS, £20.

  12. #32
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    Default My own music - an escape from mind control

    This thread deals with profound problems not only in audiophilia, but in the whole of the way our economy as laissez-faire capitalism functions, audio being just one subsect of this psycho-socio-political functioning in modern life.

    A major contributor to the predatory nature of capitalism. (even the leader of the opposition has been using that phrase recently, and I believe the P.M.), was the work done by Edward Bernhays, a nephew of Freud, in forming the 'disclipline' of Public Relations. He pioneered the use of the principle in psychology of association, creating certain associations in the minds of the public. He deliberately got them to associate in their minds, the fulfilment of needs, with the fulfilment of wants, the latter being a creatable agenda.

    (I may need a watch to be able to get to work on time, but I might want a bejewelled Omega).

    His work was used directly in the promotion of cigarettes, and he must be responsible for millions of people's disease and deaths, particularly women whom he 'taught' to associate cigarette smoking with independence and liberation. This is a vile and extreme example of the principles in operation.

    I think that as a society we are controlled by certain subsets of the middle class; a layer of colluding advertising specialists psychologists, lawyers and accountants. They are probably in boardrooms as we sit, discussing new approaches to 'programming' us away from our healthy instinctually derived needs, towards created wants. Behaviourism is also now being used extensively for the same purposes.

    One only has to look at TV and observe car advertisements in which the driver is fresh faced and unstressed, there is no traffic on the road, the sun is out, and the satnav is telling the driver that he can have the day off and the boss won't mind, to see the absurdity of the images to which we are subjected. This in an attempt to 'virally' programme us into behaviour patterns.

    (It is also no wonder to me that the playing of violent video games leads to a behaviour devoid of sensibility to the pain in others that violent behaviour causes.)

    This is underpinned by the belief that we live in a "free society", in which we all autonomously can make our own decisions as self determining individuals, based on our own thoughts and beliefs. One can assume that the money spent on TV ads., which cost many {hundreds of} thousands of pounds per minute, is based on a valid investment payback analysis.

    What does this tell us about the individuals who are prey to these forces? That they lack not only self possession, but that they are not scientifically enquiring, and I'm sure that it is no coincidence that we are as a nation poorly scientifically educated.

    Science to me is not a learning of masses of data, but an enquiry in which experiment is designed to test and measure reality, and from that theories formed which can be tested and verified, and with which we can reliably make decisions.
    But in my experience it is taught as a database, and that is political.

    I realised after spending much money on four pairs of a well known company's active speakers, and whose products I admire in many respects incidentally, that I was going round in circles, and had been for years as an audiophile.

    When I changed in '91, from my previous speakers to the first of these, my fellow workers said to me that the sound had worsened, but I could not hear it, and was controlled by internal factors other the perception of sound quality.

    One other thorny issue on the horizon apart from the conning by producing products which are no better, promoting them and wasting the individual's resources, is that we cannot keep on turning the world into a massive rubbish tip of used consumables, accelerated by the tendency, manifest in the Japanese motorcycle industry in the 80s, to produce new 'improved' models every few months.

    I think a major factor in the demise of high end audio, is the promotion of, to say the least, mediocre modern music, this controlled again by powerful marketing men. Why have high quality Hi-Fi when the music is not enhanced by the revealing of subtle nuances by better equipment, when it is not captured in the recording or even in the 'artists' work in the first place?

    So in 'every' home now there is a £150 'midi' system; two beech coloured 'bricks' surrounding a 9" plastic cube which contains a CD player + amplifier + tuner, with the speakers at best 2 feet apart and immediately around it.

    I am heartbroken at the decline of really creative 'pop' for want of a better word, with words which stir up and challenge the emotions and the belief system, some of which from 40 years ago is to me still valid, it containing profound statements, and the substitution of pap and candyfloss performed by people who are preoccupied with their appearance and marketing themselves.

    Will musicians and musicologists be eulogising about current music in 40 years time?

    Although now probably regarded as an old git, that is why I decided to build a studio and try to write some good and poetic music of substance.

  13. #33
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    Default Individuals must seek the truth for themselves ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pharos View Post
    This thread deals with profound problems not only in audiophilia, but in the whole of the way our economy as laissez-faire capitalism functions, audio being just one subsect of this psycho-socio-political functioning in modern life.

    A major contributor to the predatory nature of capitalism. (even the leader of the opposition has been using that phrase recently, and I believe the P.M.), was the work done by Edward Bernhays, a nephew of Freud, in forming the 'disclipline' of Public Relations. He pioneered the use of the principle in psychology of association, creating certain associations in the minds of the public. He deliberately got them to associate in their minds, the fulfilment of needs, with the fulfilment of wants, the latter being a creatable agenda.

    (I may need a watch to be able to get to work on time, but I might want a bejewelled Omega).

    His work was used directly in the promotion of cigarettes, and he must be responsible for millions of people's disease and deaths, particularly women whom he 'taught' to associate cigarette smoking with independence and liberation. This is a vile and extreme example of the principles in operation.

    I think that as a society we are controlled by certain subsets of the middle class; a layer of colluding advertising specialists psychologists, lawyers and accountants. They are probably in boardrooms as we sit, discussing new approaches to 'programming' us away from our healthy instinctually derived needs, towards created wants. Behaviourism is also now being used extensively for the same purposes.

    One only has to look at TV and observe car advertisements in which the driver is fresh faced and unstressed, there is no traffic on the road, the sun is out, and the satnav is telling the driver that he can have the day off and the boss won't mind, to see the absurdity of the images to which we are subjected. This in an attempt to 'virally' programme us into behaviour patterns.

    (It is also no wonder to me that the playing of violent video games leads to a behaviour devoid of sensibility to the pain in others that violent behaviour causes.)

    This is underpinned by the belief that we live in a "free society", in which we all autonomously can make our own decisions as self determining individuals, based on our own thoughts and beliefs. One can assume that the money spent on TV ads., which cost many {hundreds of} thousands of pounds per minute, is based on a valid investment payback analysis.

    What does this tell us about the individuals who are prey to these forces? That they lack not only self possession, but that they are not scientifically enquiring, and I'm sure that it is no coincidence that we are as a nation poorly scientifically educated.

    Science to me is not a learning of masses of data, but an enquiry in which experiment is designed to test and measure reality, and from that theories formed which can be tested and verified, and with which we can reliably make decisions.
    But in my experience it is taught as a database, and that is political.

    I realised after spending much money on four pairs of a well known company's active speakers, and whose products I admire in many respects incidentally, that I was going round in circles, and had been for years as an audiophile.

    When I changed in '91, from my previous speakers to the first of these, my fellow workers said to me that the sound had worsened, but I could not hear it, and was controlled by internal factors other the perception of sound quality.

    One other thorny issue on the horizon apart from the conning by producing products which are no better, promoting them and wasting the individual's resources, is that we cannot keep on turning the world into a massive rubbish tip of used consumables, accelerated by the tendency, manifest in the Japanese motorcycle industry in the 80s, to produce new 'improved' models every few months.

    I think a major factor in the demise of high end audio, is the promotion of, to say the least, mediocre modern music, this controlled again by powerful marketing men. Why have high quality Hi-Fi when the music is not enhanced by the revealing of subtle nuances by better equipment, when it is not captured in the recording or even in the 'artists' work in the first place?

    So in 'every' home now there is a £150 'midi' system; two beech coloured 'bricks' surrounding a 9" plastic cube which contains a CD player + amplifier + tuner, with the speakers at best 2 feet apart and immediately around it.

    I am heartbroken at the decline of really creative 'pop' for want of a better word, with words which stir up and challenge the emotions and the belief system, some of which from 40 years ago is to me still valid, it containing profound statements, and the substitution of pap and candyfloss performed by people who are preoccupied with their appearance and marketing themselves.

    Will musicians and musicologists be eulogising about current music in 40 years time?

    Although now probably regarded as an old git, that is why I decided to build a studio and try to write some good and poetic music of substance.
    Perhaps you should put away any sharp objects that are within reach...while I tend to agree that we can be suckered in by marketing, I don't believe that things are as bad as you may be describing them.

    Without marketing, you would not know about Harbeths, and then you would not be listening to music that helps work at a deeper level. We all have a mind, and really, it is up to us as individuals to seek truth, if what we see and hear bothers us...hype is hype, and we as emotional creatures have a tendency to want to believe the hype...that's just human nature....now, back to listening to my Harbeths....;-)

    George

  14. #34
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    Default Obsessiveness and fantasy

    George:

    Personally, I think you are making too light of a serious issue ... of course, it's up to each of us to seek (and hopefully even find) the truth, whatever that may mean in a particular context. But that's a difficult task even without all the obstacles that the modern industries of media, politics and public relations put in our ways. If you can slough it off, then more power to you. But many people are extremely powerfully affected by it.

    Case in point: for a long time after the tragedy of 9/11, a majority of Americans believed (and possibly still do, for all I know) that some or all of the hijackers came across the border from Canada, even though in fact none of them did. This kind of thing has real consequences. The same with the obsessiveness that people develop about various consumerist fantasies - this is not consequence-free either.

    There is an old Zen expression about the limitations of language, equating it to a finger pointing at the moon. The trick with consumerism and other forms of manipulation is to get people obsessed about the finger. The beauty of Harbeth is that it's more about the moon.

  15. #35
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    Default Rows of shiny sweets within reach ...

    Perhaps you should put away any sharp objects that are within reach...while I tend to agree that we can be suckered in by marketing, I don't believe that things are as bad as you may be describing them.
    "Without marketing, you would not know about Harbeths, and then you would not be listening to music that helps work at a deeper level. We all have a mind, and really, it is up to us as individuals to seek truth, if what we see and hear bothers us...hype is hype, and we as emotional creatures have a tendency to want to believe the hype...that's just human nature....now, back to listening to my Harbeths....
    ;-)
    My stance is not one of personal despair or depression as perhaps you are implying, but more concern at the philosophical nature of the situation; predatory persecutor, and victim.
    Many people's lives are such that they do not have the time or energy to think about their lives, the decisions they are making, and where they will lead. Not everyone has a good start in life, promoted by nurturing parents who guide with the interests of the progeny placed in a position of primacy, and many struggle to even survive.

    If we had the knowledge and insight into human nature which the years give us, providing that we have paid attention to reality and grown, at an earlier age, we probably would have more autonomous personalities at an early age, and hence be more able to sort out the wheat from the chaff and produce a better life for ourselves.

    "Without marketing you would not know about Harbeths"
    ??
    It is said that Rolls Royce do not advertise, and I have never seen one for their products, they sell themselves because they are so well built, and a seeker of well built cars will probably consider them without coercion.

    I would, as you say "by seeking truth", also search out sound equipment for myself, this borne of my internally based interest in sound, and not prompted by some promotional material. Dry specifications would suffice, and indeed be preferable to the ubiquitous exaggeration and hype, so often encountered.

    I do not believe that we as human beings have a tendency to believe hype any more than other forms of communication, except that it is often 'loud' in nature, and the undeveloped self, which is more pronounced in the trusting child, tends to grasp at things with little thought. I regret much of my early decision making, and have just remembered the rows of coloured sweets at the local supermarket checkout, designed to cause the nagging of parents by their children.

    My intensity of concern is a response to the victimisation of those with little power to see or to gain insight into what is being done to them. My Mother smoked herself to death.

  16. #36
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    Default Delivering the fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Pharos View Post
    ...I would, as you say "by seeking truth", also search out sound equipment for myself, this borne of my internally based interest in sound, and not prompted by some promotional material. Dry specifications would suffice, and indeed be preferable to the ubiquitous exaggeration and hype, so often encountered....
    As an industry insider, it never ceases to amaze me how the marketing people are able to create ever newer hyperbole to attract the consumer's attention (step 1), pique his curiosity (step 2), motivate him to go and seek out the product (step 3) and buy it (step 4). Nothing wrong with that providing the fantasy is actually delivered, and today's global business model (and I know of no real alternative) generates the financial glue that holds society together, pays for our schools and hospitals and pensions.

    The secret of being a satisfied consumer is of being simultaneously a peripheral purchasing cog in the economic machine yet not being at the heart of the engine. What's needed is personal objectivity. That is, standing outside the car showroom window and observing the beautiful creations therein, but peering into your own brain and watching the thought processes running round leading to some propensity for action. I'd expect that few could view a shiny new car without visualising themselves in it, driving at speed in empty roads with a beautiful and admiring passenger, the envy of all. That is the marketing slant*. Naturally, that is precisely the fantasy that the trained salesman would promote - he merely reinforces the would-be consumers preconceptions - but he knows, and we know that the roads are choked, the depreciation is horrendous, the running costs crippling and finding that beautiful passenger isn't a given. The fantasy from outside the showroom is not deliverable but the illusion is so strongly embedded in the consumer's mind that he ceases to be rational. There is no better example than the Marlborough cowboy.

    All it takes is for the consumer to ask himself this: is the marketing prose likely to be supported by scientific fact or is it (as it mostly is) written or spoken with the tongue very firmly in the cheek? That means, is the marketing sweet-talk intended to be taken literally, or is it a joke presented as a fact. When XYZ Corporation run an advertising campaign saying that their motor oil will 'make your car drive like new' they don't literally mean that (although that's how they want the average consumer to interpret it). If ABC Audio Equipment company says that 'this room tuning device will blow the walls away giving you total reality at home' they are just pulling your leg. Obviously they don't literally (or even metaphorically) mean that; that's the shorthand language of marketing. That's what's known in the trade as a 'tease' - no different from the Seven Veils in intention.

    *Take a look at TV adverts for new cars. Almost universal ingredients - 1) empty roads, no other vehicles 2) wide open spaces 3) clean, fresh, garbage-free, well lit, safe environments 4) sunshine, blue skies and never rain, flood or mud 5) sparkly new car ex-showroom with waxed wheels never to look like that again 6) exciting photographic angles enhancing vision of independence and freedom 7) audio/video/satnav system playing stimulating music 8) well dressed driver and passenger, handsome young professionals ) no parking limitations 10) travel at your own speed 11) no police or emergency service vehicles 12) no traffic lights, roadworks or breakdowns 13) engine performance far in excess of what is legally permitted or usable 14) no mention of running costs and so on. It all adds up to a completely undeliverable fantasy.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #37
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    Default Quick, easy answers

    ??
    It is said that Rolls Royce do not advertise, and I have never seen one for their products, they sell themselves because they are so well built, and a seeker of well built cars will probably consider them without coercion.

    This was David Ogilvy’s all time famous headline to market Rolls Royce Cars which reads as "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock".
    http://www.mediatrips.com/famous-adv...rtisement.html

    One always had to advertise their product to get it noticed; some things have gotten a marquee name whereby others now do the advertising for them (movies, commentary, forums, etc).

    And two quotes that seem to reflect the view of selling from both sides:

    "There's a sucker born every minute" and
    "Snake Oil salesman"

    Sadly, as noted , most people would like to believe what they hear because they want a quick easy answer or solution to their problems... Is advertising coercion?

  18. #38
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    Default The quick fix, healthcare and speaker cones

    "Sadly, as noted , most people would like to believe what they hear because they want a quick easy answer or solution to their problems..."

    That is very true, and the concept of comfort zone is entirely consistent with this tendency.

    Related;
    "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still". Blake I think.
    "The naked truth is still taboo wherever it can be seen" Dylan.

    I am a health food consumer, and have been since about '75, and often chat with the proprietor of our local health food shop. He says that many people who have lived their lives poorly from a health perspective; take little exercise, smoke, eat poor diets, and use their brains little, expect to be able to go to the health shop and just buy a pill which they take regularly which will undo all of the years of poor living. Easy quick fix.

    Perhaps more contentiously, I believe that many of the belief systems of much of the population are erroneous and fantasy based. Further, an important factor sought by by those in power when employing people to interact with the public, is that the chosen do not have radical views of what is true, and resultantly which may disturb the public's comfort zone.

    Look at what was done to Galileo for revealing his new truth.

    I seem to remember that a few years ago we were urged to glue tiny strips of aluminium foil onto our speaker cones to 'improve the sound'.

  19. #39
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    Default Re-educating is self-war

    I seem to remember that a few years ago we were urged to glue tiny strips of aluminium foil onto our speaker cones to 'improve the sound'.
    "Modern armed forces use chaff (in naval applications, for instance, using short-range SRBOC rockets) to distract radar-guided missiles from their targets"... I am sure that the idea was to distract unwanted sound...

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the idea of the disturbing the public's comfort zone; having one's beliefs challenged is akin to declaring war on the person themselves!

  20. #40
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    Default I am a poet but didn't know it ....

    Is it possible that monthly consumer electronic magazines are actually written by computers not humans? Flicking through one of these today, I am convinced that the highly polished prose is just too smooth to be the product of hard pressed, deadline oriented journalists. Could consumer electronic reviews be written entirely by computer?

    Yesterday at poet William Wordsworth's home, there was a poetry-writing kit for sale. It comprised fridge-magnets onto which were printed words which a budding poet could combine into 'poetry'. I've never written poetry before, but in just a few minutes I concocted from the word pool what superficially read like poetry as it warmed the heart. The true meaning - there wasn't any - was entirely suppressed by the structure.

    It must be possible then to devise rules which string words together into readable prose. After all, how big a vocabulary pool do you actually need to critique consumer electronics?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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