The fantasyland of MusicDirect

From Edison cylinders to pre-amps to ProTools: talk about it here.
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Xenu
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The fantasyland of MusicDirect

Postby Xenu » Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:50 pm

Thanks to my adventure with Mobile Fidelity over the "Money" gold disc, I've ended up on the MusicDirect mailing list...

...hoh boy.

Ryan, I know you've been "analyzing" this thing for years, but I never properly appreciated how bizarre this thing was until today. Sultry, vaguely-exotic woman on the cover posing with audio equiptment! $20,000 record players that're a "steal" (and tend to look like vintage, 1930s-thinking-towards-the-60s-crossed-with-the-transparant-gameboy-aesthetic designs). I'm convinced that Mike Fremer's job is just to generate quotes for this thing, as he's on almost every other page talking about how he "shoved his face" into some "sweet sounding" line amp/conditioning stage/stylus.

All made creepier by the credit card offer.
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Postby Rspaight » Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:00 pm

I've been meaning to post a review of the 2006 edition, but tragically my cat threw up on it.

(Actually the tragedy was that she hit an iPod at the same time. Both the catalog and the iPod did not survive the experience.)

So no review this year. But yes, it's a whole universe of weirdness. The power conditioning section alone is a neverland of pseudoscience and bizarre hype. Congratulations on getting free entertainment delivered to your door for the foreseeable future.

Ryan
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Postby lukpac » Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:06 pm

If they're sending me a catalog this year (haven't ordered anything from them for a few years now), it's probably in mail forwarding limbo at the moment.
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby Xenu » Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:58 pm

Rspaight wrote:So no review this year. But yes, it's a whole universe of weirdness. The power conditioning section alone is a neverland of pseudoscience and bizarre hype. Congratulations on getting free entertainment delivered to your door for the foreseeable future.

Ryan


Thus far, everyone I've shown it to has insisted it's a joke.

I just wish the freebie that prompted this ("Money" gold) was more promising.
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Postby Mike Hunte » Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:12 pm

We're all about due for a Mapleshade catalog too, no? I'm running out of gooey salve for my CD's.

Now, *that's* entertainment!

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Postby Ess Ay Cee Dee » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:37 pm

Music Direct is such a fucking joke. It's even funnier when you actually visit the shithole they call their home base.

The worst thing about MD is that they've managed to run the venerable MFSL name into the ground. Anyone who's heard their bullshit $30 reissue of We're Only in It for the Money will surely give me a big fucking "AMEN!"

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Postby dudelsack » Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:01 am

Mike Hunte wrote:We're all about due for a Mapleshade catalog too, no? I'm running out of gooey salve for my CD's.

Now, *that's* entertainment!


Somehow I ended up on THAT catalog list. Buncha assholes.

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Postby Xenu » Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:20 am

I pulled this thing out again today on a lark. Some observations:

1) There's an interesting and revealing dual theme that runs throughout most of the expensive equiptment reviews. Firstly, everything's a superlative. Everything's the most something, or the best in its price range; even the bargain equiptment is the best of its category. Yet simultaneously, within the reviews themselves there's the implication that the equiptment is blowing something else away. A cartridge produces more "excitement" than anything else in its class, something else outperforms all other entries...well, great. Where are those failures? I see only unqualified praise.

2) The breathless--and, likely, full of shit--descriptors of what sound you'll supposedly hear lack any internal consistency. On one page, "neutral" is all the rage; on the next, we're looking for "highly defined and rich and warm," etc.

3) Apparantly, engineers are that much more eminently respectable and mysterious if they're Japanese.

4) Michael Fremer. I have to believe that this guy knows what he does is a joke, right? His job might as well be to provide quotes (many of which scrape the depths of unfortunately audiophile metaphorical zeal) for catalogs like this--he's on almost every page in some sections! Here he is saying a preamp is "ruthlessly revealing" and talking about how it made him stay up well past 2am (!!!!) listening to his cherished LPs. On the next page, he recommends a product "as enthusiastically, if not more so, as I've recommended any product I've reviewed and recommended in all the years I've been doing this." On the same page, he crows that something is "rhythmically together" and "fast" on top. Next page, he doesn't know anything "at or near the price ($500)" that sounds as good as a Lehmann black cube. On the next page, vinyl is a "friendly dictator I'm happy to follow in blind obedience." How many thousands of dollars have these effusive bits of nothingness cost people?

5) I used to wonder in chemistry class back in high school what those "other" elements--the ones nobody ever talked about--were used for. They apparantly go into audio gear. Nobody doesn't like molton boron!

6) Everything is flawed. That $40,000 power supply thing you bought? NEeds to be demagnitized. Those new LPs? Stricken with "mold release compounds."

7) Top award for meaningless description: "It delivers a near perfect transparent listening experience, with a natural, clearly defined presentation."
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Postby damianm » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:43 am

I'm still not getting over this one-

Image

It must be somewhere on your catalog(s). I think it might've been mentioned here as well. Got $485?:shock:

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Postby Mike Hunte » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:07 pm

Oh boy...this is all too funny.

The thing that cracks me up the most about this whole pornographic aspect of audiophilia is that it's always pointing at this sonic nirvana that's apparently achievable. Yet, no one's ever really quite able to get there, and no one really ever has so far.

The other amusing aspect that this cottage industry has is this gradient scale of improvement that they all can allegedly hear. "I heard a 65% improvement when using these interconnects." "This tweak yielded a 4x improvement in resolution." I find this even more amusing than the usual associated buzzwords.

Of course, this means that an audio interconnect can go through 8 revisions. Each revision being an 2x audible improvement over its predecessor, which of course was "amazing" and "the best" to begin with. Sort of an offshoot of Herr Goodwin's Flaw Theorem.

It's all geared at appealing to a certain type of individual who is insecure enough to believe that they're missing out on this nirvana that some have apparently "tapped" into. After all, they have to keep up with the Joneses. Being able to rattle off every approved model number and "mod" in one's system is the highest badge of honor. Next to pictures of components balancing on brass cones.

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Postby Mike Hunte » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:55 pm

And for all you lacquer lovers, we present...C37


http://www.referenceaudiomods.com/Merch ... y_Code=C37

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Postby Rspaight » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:03 pm

Too true, Mike. It's all a kind of obsessive pathology, where that last $500 Shakti stone will finally make your "rig" "perfect." I wonder if any of these guys ever enjoys listening to music, or if all they hear are the flaws. ("CHRIST, I can't handle that 1.2dB boost at 9k! Help me, Music Direct!")

What makes it all the sadder is that all that money and stress is only going to be enjoyed by the lonely audiophile (and sometimes a wife/GF whose only function is to validate -- "even she heard the difference!").

BTW, here's the soon-to-be-ruined 2006 MD catalog, the doomed iPod, and the cat who barfed on them. I had the catalog on my desk in anticipation of a review for you guys. Best-laid plans, etc., etc..

Image

Ryan
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Postby Mike Hunte » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:18 pm

Rspaight wrote:
What makes it all the sadder is that all that money and stress is only going to be enjoyed by the lonely audiophile (and sometimes a wife/GF whose only function is to validate -- "even she heard the difference!").
Ryan


Exactly. Don't get me wrong - the enjoyment of music is a beautiful thing and it would sure be a helluva lousy life without it. But, when the unattainable end starts to drive the means...what's the fucking point in it all, other than another notch in the belt?

As Luke and I often joke: It's amazing how many of these hardcore folks can claim to be able to hear the grass grow Yet, conversely, usually can't "see" the 50 foot tree right in front of them.

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Postby JWB » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:19 pm

Rspaight wrote:Image

Ryan


Holy shit, Ryan. Your pussy looks familiar. Here's mine:

Image

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Postby Rspaight » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:58 pm

Athena's eyes are lighter, but she *does* have a strange water fixation. Hmmmm.

Image

Yours looks to have more joie de vivre. Athena treats her existence as a burden to be endured. We think she's Russian.

Ryan
RQOTW: "I'll make sure that our future is defined not by the letters ACLU, but by the letters USA." -- Mitt Romney