Separating Fact from Fiction
This same point of view holds for the debate, and it is a debate, concerning file formats. We have some people who hold that lossy compressed files are indistinguishable from lossless encoded files, that CD-quality is good enough and that 24-bit is a waste and 192kHz flat out harmful (see 24/192 Music Downloads...and why they make no sense), that DSD is fraught with problems, and so on. It's a wonder we don't get fed up with all the theorizing and stop listening altogether since listening itself, so we're told by the objectivists, is fraught with problems (it really isn't when it comes to listening to music for pleasure but that's beside their point). I know I'm getting near the boiling point.
The simple fact that I've also enjoyed listening to music in all manner of PCM and DSD formats is simply a fact. Nothing I learn will be able to go back and undo that enjoyment. It just so happens that some of the most musically engaging experiences in the digital world I've had, have come about when listening to DSD formatted music files. Does this mean anything more than what I just said? I don't think so but people tend to like easy answers to complicated questions that don't really need to be asked.
"Vinyl is inherently flawed like trees are monotonous."
When people tell me that vinyl is flawed I kind of feel sorry for them. Vinyl is inherently flawed like trees are monotonous. The same holds for file format haters. While I can understand, appreciate, and even have admiration for the people behind the products we buy who are passionate about the means to our ends, enjoyment is just not something that can be dictated and restricted by a point of view. Unless its our own.
Enhanced Enjoyment or the Trouble With Audiophiles
Audiophiles cannot leave well enough alone. It's kind of our job to strive for better than enjoyable and this is where our real troubles begin. We're never satisfied. We're always on the prowl for something better and sometimes we think we need to think instead of listen in order to determine better. So we come up with big swingin' oversimplified dictums like vinyl is flawed, or DSD is better than PCM, or tubes are better than solid state, and so on down the sinkhole we go forgetting about the primacy of listening to music.
As my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias pointed out to me in an email exchange over this very topic:
"What many audiophiles want is enhanced enjoyment - we're always looking for the next hit, something to take us a little higher. But what many engineers want is The Truth, or Greater Diagnostic Health, or Enhanced Linearity, or Greater Efficiency, or something like that. Those engineers are trying to achieve something other than what we want. It's only by accident, every now and again, that their success leads to our happiness.What he said.
All of the rest of the time, we’re just arguing about inconsequential shit."