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Pearls of Wisdom

system is as good as it's weakest link

Trust your own ears
Every one at its own

If you're always looking for something better then by definition you'll never
find it.

AUDIOPHILE: He is that asshole who keeps upgrading his hardware to hear

flaws in his software.

You had to spend more, just to realize you didn't have to spend more.

Sit down and enjoy the music.

There is one absolute in this hobby: CHANGE!!

Less is more.

First of all...RUN!!! Get out of this hobby ASAP! It will leave you bewildered,
obsessed and broke.

Dont sweat the petty stuff - Dont pet the sweaty Stuff

A good system is great to have, but not if having that system means you lose
out on other life experiences.

A good audio system forces you to music. A bad one forces you to something

Don't get started in the first place! Do whatever it takes not to get
hooked...shock therapy, hypnosis, probes under eye-lids. You are better off
remaining a virgin or smoking cigarettes.

Dont compete, someone always has better, but at more cost.

No one else's opinion is superior to your own ears.

Remember that people choose products for various reasons, only one of which
is performance usually.

Learn to enjoy what you have rather than constantly being self-pressured to
make changes/upgrades.

Sometimes moving a speaker 3 inches can change the sound more than a
new pre-amp!

More money doesn't always equal better sound.

Before spending a dollar on that new amp or pre-amp, try spending a dime on
room treatment , in most cases the dime will bring the same change that a
dollar spent was supposed to bring in! You dont need to spend that dollar.

Don't volunteer your opinion of your friend's shiny new purchase unless he
unequivocally asks you to - and even then, remember you might as well be
talking about his religion.

Trust only your own ears

Make sure you listen to the music you like. There's no point in demonstrating
gear with "hifi records" - most gear sounds fine with these. The real challenge
is, will it play your favorite records, and will it play them to your liking? Most
high end gear won't like less-than-perfect recordings, but they do exist!

Strive for tonal neutrality - use careful synergy to obtain it

See live acoustic music to know what instrumentation is meant to sound like

This is a hobby that requires one to spend a lot of money to realize one does
not need to spend a lot of money. It's all to easy to spend $150k to $250k
and end up with a system that sounds like a decent $5000 system

Spending can be endless and the results so subjective and minute.

I view this as a law of diminishing returns. It is a camel back hump curve

where the return on investment decreases after a price point.

What I don't quite get is the propensity to spend obscene amounts on the
system without paying equivalent attention to the listening room. Spending a
significant proportion on the room itself (perhaps a dedicated well treated
room) would yield better results than megabuck spent on amps and/or

No system is ever going to sound like live music. Live music is an absurd
standard by which to judge a system! Musical satisfaction has more to do with
the imagination than the stereo! Determine to enjoy what you have, and you
will enjoy it.

"Money, doesn't buy happiness and size, doesn't matter." (Tattoos available on

Speaker positioning! This is where inches really count!

The upgrade path is exponential. Once you are at a decent level of sound
quality, to move up significantly is VERY expensive.

Getting Satisfaction is quick and easy but the REAL problem seems to be
figuring out what that Satisfaction means.

------------------------- PART 1 13 Jan 2009 ----------------------------------

What we usually want is something more. What we generally need is to be

content with what we've got and listen to the music.

Some audiophile systems only sound great playing small number of bland
"audiophile" CDs and sound harsh playing average mainstream or worse
quality music. I gladly give up the last 10% of ultra micro detail extraction to
have smooth natural music from as many CDs as possible.

Goal: To play music without thinking of the system.

Goal: To be able to sit and listen to your system as if it was the first time you
herd it. That when you hear a snare drum or trumpet hit a note you have to
look around your room to make sure you are alone. When you try to get up to
do something else and you are frozen in your sweet spot.

SACD is about sound quality ... no it isnt.. it's about making you buy all of
your albums all over again

I believe that if I dont like a CD, I should allow others to use it for free, and
the best way to do that is to donate it to a public library, then I am screwing
the RIAA and doing a good (legal) deed at the same time. (and for those
whom itemize taxes, the donation is tax deductible!)

I believe that I will buy some stupid SACD's, when they actually put out some
new music, that uses the formats capability, that I don't already have

While cables are not components per se, they generally help make or break a

There are lots of fine business/marketing/economic reasons for cable pricing,

but the pricing is bordering on obscenity

The only beliefs that I hold dear are that (1) most of the folks who want to
talk endlessly about what equipment sounds best have never optomized what
they have by setting it up properly in a good listening environment and (2) its
only the music that really counts!

I never draw lines, but I do change pencils once in a while!

I believe Blues is better than Jazz. Blues to me is one of the purist forms of

A high-end amp/Preamp setup is more comparable to a Shoaling Monk who

has been studying martial arts from the time he could walk and now retains a
very refined and accurate ability combined with precision-power.

If you buy a $1,000 for audio cables then you wasted your money

You can build a system for $10,000 that sounds as good as a system for

The difference between a $75,000 system and a $7,500 system is like the
difference between the back row of a concert and the third row. It's still the
same concert, with the same music and musicians, but the quality of the
presentation is extremely different.
The best hardware in the wrong room or set up improperly, will not please the
listener. Audiophiles should learn more about acoustics, especially standing
waves, nodes, antinodes, reflection speed, backslap, etc., before spending the
price of a car on hardware. The biggest problems stem from putting the
wrong speakers in a room, and positioning them improperly.

An Audiophile is one whose software (LPs, CD's, Tapes, etc.) collection costs
more than his hardware.

au'di-o-phile. n.
1. A person who exhibits extreme obsessive/compulsive behavior that
happens to be directed at achieving perfect music reproduction, even at
the risk of compromising their personal relationships and financial
2. A delusional person who believes he or she can find the "holy grail" of
perfect music reproduction, a condition often manifest by unrelenting
searches for new audio equipment and frequent pronouncements of the
3. Any of a class of people who dedicate far more time and money
developing a music reproduction system to capture the essence of a "live"
concert, than they spend actually going to live concerts.
4. Any person who is willing to spend more money to purchase a single
"upgrade" AC power cord for an electronic device than is earned in an
entire year by 70% of the other people in the world.
5. A malcontent who devotes inordinate time visiting audio equipment
dealers, auditioning new audio gear, reading audio magazines, trying
seemingly irrational "tweaks" like demagnetizing CDs, continually
adjusting their speaker placement and changing cables, and scanning
audio-related internet chat rooms looking for other ways to achieve better
music reproduction.
6. A person whose life is characterized by extended periods of dissatisfaction
and apprehension punctuated by occasional periods of euphoria and
contentment induced by sublime music reproduction.
7. You and I.

1. Anyone who would rather listen to Manheim Steamroller's Fresh Aire

Holiday album than Miles Davis.
2. When listening, anyone whose face looks like an emergency room Doctor
examining a trauma patient rather than someone who is blissful and
happy listening to music
3. Anyone who has ever said: "You may have never heard of Manheim
Steamroller, but this is a GREAT recording
4. Anyone who would rather make 700 adjustments to VTA, speaker toe-in,
listening chair placement and volume rather than sit still and listen to an
entire piece of music.
5. Anyone who relentlessly preaches the superiority of their single ended
triode voodoo wimp system emblazoned with tacky logos and made by
some under funded garage manufacturer
6. Anyone who has ever purchased a Shun Mook product
7. Anyone who can't afford Shun Mook products after their rent, despite the
fact that they are, obviously, one of the world's foremost, towering
8. Anyone who thinks that a Linn LP-12, a Denon A/V receiver or a Shahinian
Obelisk sounds "musical".
9. Anyone who has ever purchased a Krell

Tweaks are like sex - if it works for you, it's normal.

MURPHY: your kit always seem to sound worse when you demo it to a friend

To my ears the better tube amps sound warmer and more like the sound of
live music than solid state amps, but really good solid-state amps sound more
detailed and have better defined bass than tube designs. Cheap amps can
sound hard and crude--they tend to add an aggressive edge to the sound of
music that high-end designs do not. More objectively, better designs are more
powerful and have an easier time driving "difficult' speakers or "low"
impedance speakers.

My philosophy is: Fix a reasonable budget, buy reasonably good equipment

within the budget, arrange the equipment scientifically in the listening room,
and leaves the rest of the magic to your CD-collection. Don't run after snakeoil acoustic remedies, and outrageously expensive foreign brands.

Spend at least 20 times as much time listening to and thinking about music
as you do listening to and thinking about gear

Buy a lot of music you really like as this music is ultimately the system fuel.

If you have a system you like, stop for awhile. Don't read reviews, don't visit
websites, and dont go to stores. Why waste time doing all that when you
could be listening to the system that *you like*

---------------------------------------------- 14 Jan 2009 PART 2----------- Some music is an acquired taste - give them a chance by listening to them a
couple of times at length before making a judgment. Complex classical music
is even good for the intellect, and is more lasting in enjoyment.

Music is like an old friend, it will always be there to sooth our hearts - making
the inevitable bumps in our lives, more bearable.

We all heard of the Mozart effect - give them to children for their intellectual
development, as well as for their bright disposition.

Learn how to listen...listen with your eyes sounds better at

night.... music sounds better straight...think 3-d when listening (imagine the
appreciation of an abstract painting and how it flows through you and relate
that experience while listening, read as much about audio and music as you
can as it excites you into the interest of listening..

If your system ever becomes a chore , unplug it and make yourself wait
exactly 30 days to fire it back up ... get used to a single sweet spot
...understand the importance of the midrange ...go to live, un amplified
musical events...protect your hearing...

As a musician I would suggest many audiophiles invest some time and money
in some basic music theory instruction. Learn musical vocabulary, syntax and
structure and truly hear the ideas being expressed through the language of
music and not just the sound. Really understanding what is going on
musically will enhance your listening experience more than any $600 power

As the sound improves so does your hearing capacity/accuracy you will find
three things:

You will refuse to listen to other stereos of lesser quality.


95% of your CD collection you used to enjoy now start sounding

You will be compelled to upgrade.


Now Try Yoga!

Educate yourself in how and what to listen for in music. The Artist and Sound
Engineer don't give us instructions on how there tone should sound, the
location of the instruments within the sound stage what a Straticaster (SP)
sounds like verses a LesPaul (SP), what a Fender tube amp sounds like verses
a Pevy (SP), Why an artist might change the pickup in their guitar to alter the
tone of the instrument or why they choose a specific cable to bring forward

the midrange of their guitar, how to listen to a grand piano with the lid of the
cabinet closed verses open and the irritating resonance (that interferes with
the sweet decay of the note) of that piano with the lid closed even when it is
a Steinway, what kind of microphone was used, what sound board, what
monitors, what effects. Ok I think that covers (2). If you don't get the point
yet sell your system and invest in your significant others listening room.

Know your ROOM

The most important part of the system is the room (unless your room is
perfect). The first problem encountered does not know that this lack of focus,
sound stage or whatever is due to room resonances, etc. There is plenty of
information on the web about basic acoustics and DIY projects. With a little
chance and some sweat you can fix some problems of your room and dedicate
to the other "most important parts".

A Mid-Fi system in a perfect room is far superior to a Hi-End system in a poor


Importance of a powerful amp: At least 70 honest watts per channel.

The minute you think "Power cords do make a difference" it's over! You won't
even be able to answer a phone without being critical of the "sibilance".

Power cords are snake oil. Speaker cables give little bang for the buck, stick
with any cheapest 12 gauge (Radio Shack will do) wire.

Remember that even a basic audiophile system is a huge leap over mass
market. After that, you're playing a game of (rapid) diminishing marginal

Pace your-self with care do not become obsessive. I have known many who
spent too much and finally lost interest.

Just get what you want and keep it for years and ignore the industry induced
upgrade hype.

Exhaust speaker placement options before upgrading

Dont put a large speaker in small room or a small speaker in a big room

Speakers are most important next is the source component. Amps are amps;
they effect sound but NOWHERE near the level of Speakers or Source. If a
new amp changes sound dramatically, something is wrong with one of the

If you're serious about sound, spend most of your money only on speakers,
source and then amp [in that order].

No matter how cool you think that new piece of equipment looks or how great
it sounds; somewhere somebody is sick of it

When speaking to non-audiophiles, always say, "Hey, listen to this CD, it

sounds great." Never say, "Hey, check out how much wider my soundstage is
with my new amp." Actually, when speaking to audiophiles, the same advice
is probably good.

If you like equipment more, you really only need a couple CDs and then you
can spend your time comparing components, cables, rooms, etc.

A great chef will make magic happen on any 30 yr. GE electric stove. Boxed
stuff from the freezer section of the supermarket still tastes like ^%$^#$ no
matter the equipment used to cook it!

When auditioning equipment try to get it for a home audition and use your
own music and particular parts off tracks to see what they sound like.

Check to see if there is good used equipment before buying new to save $$.

Line conditioners are snake oil.

When getting a sub get one that goes closest to 20Hz.Better yet try to get as
close to full range speakers.
----------------------------- PART 3 14 JAN 2009 ---------------------- if you are the top monkey of Hi-Fi ladder , all you see are smiling faces when
you look down. if you are not the top monkey, all you see when you look up
are a##holes.

Ignore what other people say; if it sounds good to you it is good. Be it

hardware or music, your tastes and preferences are the only ones that matter.
Dont listen to people who say your stuff is garbage, Keep in mind there are a
lot of stubborn, cynical, rude, and self righteous people.

Just like musical taste, you will probably develop a taste for different products
that have their own musical signatures. The bottom end slam heard from
transistors or the velvety soft sounds of set amps are available, (to mention
only two). It can take years to learn where your tastes truly lie.

Decide what level of system you want and can afford (lots of soul searching
here). Then decide what type of sound you are after (lots of auditioning
here). Pick up all of your components and cables to match the level and
sound you are after. Balance your investments (don't go with the $1000
cables and a $500 amp or $5000 amp and $10 cables). Buy used (exceptions
can be made for speakers). Start listening (once the system is assembled).
Fell free to try out tweaks, swap components, etc. Most important: buy lots
more music and have fun!!!

Anyone who has spent money on line conditioners, power cords and
expensive speaker cables will defend it to the death. Don't waste time talking
sense or science to them. Let them be delusional and happy.

Your listening room is even more important. Good & correct treatment of it
will allow you to maximize what you presently have. Poor acoustics [listening
room] can break an otherwise excellent speaker. Match the speaker to the
venue for best results.

Set a realistic budget.

Learn to listen, and listen to as many system's as possible.

Re-adjust your budget.

Forgive yourself the indulgence; it's too late, so enjoy the sweet music!

Beat the kids BEFORE they touch the system.

Listening over and over, reading, listening to dealers and audiophiles and relistening, getting frustrated and re-excited. Discovered incredible tone, then
discovered decay, space, dynamics. The first was tone. The second was
soundstage. The third was quality bass, then extreme low frequency in
musical context. Initial impressions soon went completely out the window and
I had no idea what was real or what I liked. I finally heard a planner set up
done correctly and "oh my god" now I get the planner thing (but still could
not live without off-axis response.) I finally heard a tube set-up that blew my
mind with richness and clarity, again "oh my god" (but I knew I still could not
live without the frequency extremes and dynamic speed.) on and on and on.

Do not set your Audio Beliefs in "stone, think of them as "temporary" . There
are many things I believed 3-5 years ago, that either technology or just
experience has taught me otherwise. I have seen too many friends defend
their beliefs to the death and miss out on new experiences .Once you think
you know it all you are locked up to any new ideas and concepts. Keep an
open mind on everything. You might be surprised with the results!

If you are thinking to enter into this hobby, try these 5 first.

Open a term deposit account before your money is all gone.

Sell all your stuffs before your wife divorce you.
Run away from this forum, don't even go online anymore.
Try to listen to noisy music and learn to appreciate it.
Don't check mail anymore, let your wife do it.

If you can't do the above 5, try the following 5.

1. Renovate the house before the room treatments dominate it
2. Get rid of your heater as soon as you purchase a class A tube amp.
3. Before your visitors ask, remind them that the cables are not water hoses
and the big amp you have is not a mini washing machine
4. Get some ear plugs in case of a complaint or...
5. Buy some tape to seal your wife's mouth

The music you listen to and you what sounds good to you are the
foundations. The room (size, neighbors, spouse) are the next important. Buy
the best speakers you can afford. Speakers are the hardest and most
expensive thing to do right. Get a bigger amp than you need. Go solid state
unless you have lots of $$.There is a difference in CD players, amps, tubes,
etc., but everything above has to work first. Source is cheapest to get right
(except turntables).

Take your time to choose and keep organized. At least three to four months
allows for good research and plenty of time to listen to things. It is also fun to
search for various components and learn about the different nuances of each.
As buying hi-end equipment is a big investment and there is a lot of
equipment out there to choose from, take notes or do some sort of rating
system. Personally, I rate on themes such as "emotional impact" or "goose
bumps" in addition to "soundstage", "transparency", and "musicality."

Audition speakers (or other components) in your home for as long as

possible. Factors such as your mood, time of day, or even being hungry can
influence your perception at any given time. Having the component in your
home for several days or more allows you get to know the component in the
confines of your room and equipment, which is likely much different from the
sellers. If you fall in love with a piece, its time to buy, unless you love two of
the contenders.

If there is a tie between two or more components, try to audition them blind if possible. This is difficult to do, but worth the hassle, and can only work if
you are choosing between several components at the same store (e.g.,
different models of a CD player) or amongst various friends components. Not
knowing which one of the two or three contending components that you are
hearing removes any bias that you might have formed. (Of course, someone
will need to tell you later which was component A, B or C.) In essence this
makes your choice cleaner and based on your reaction only to the sound. It is
easy to become influenced by "expert" salespersons, a friends opinion, or
some other factor.

Don't listen to salespersons opinions about equipment that they don't sell.
I've experienced too many salespersons subtly or blatantly putting down
perfectly good equipment. (E.g., one guy told me that he was "embarrassed"
by the fact that had previously sold B & W speakers (which I mentioned that I
had auditioned). This can be a manipulative strategy designed to create doubt
about the other product.) The best salespersons have just let me listen and
decide for myself, or may discuss the qualities of their product. If a
salesperson tells you something "bad' about the competitors equipment, it's
probably best to assume that s/he doesn't really have your best interest in

Use several different types of music during auditions, and use the same
pieces for each audition. Select amongst songs that you know very well. I like
to use instrumental jazz, good male and female vocalists, classical, and rock
and roll. This helps to capture the range, dynamics, and emotional impact of
the component that youre listening to. Ultimately, in my opinion, it is our

emotional response to the music reproduced by the various components that

makes buying audio equipment worthwhile.

The acoustical environment that the recording was done in. Is the room alive,
dead or some where in between? Are the artists in there own rooms in the
studio where each has its own acoustic signature. Can you tell if a kick drum
has the back cut out, does it have a blanket or foam in it, is it reflecting and
reverberating from the paint on the walls, is the mic in the room picking up
those reflections or is there acoustical foam absorbing the snare softening the
sound. Or are the musicians in a single room where the main mic picks up the
sonic signature of the other instruments within a given room. How has the
engineer set instruments (The human voice is also an instrument) within the
sound stage. Is the engineer affecting the tone of the instruments through
the board or is the engineer working with the artist to achieve the tone they
are after in a given song. If you have not gotten it at this point I recommend
investing in a good boom box Phillips would do nicely.

Your ears should not hurt even during long loud listening sessions. If they do
BRIGHT HARSH SOUND" In other words what equipment was used by the
sound engineer (Ears are equipment) does the engineer have hearing damage
at certain frequency ranges. Ok for those that have hung on this long I
assume you get it, now it is time to accept the following realities.

Ok learn what quality recordings and tone are all about. What are the artist
and engineer trying to achieve. What equipment and environment were used.
Audiophiles IMHO are engineers whether we want to admit it or not. Trying to
achieve and accurate reproduction of the recorded music. If you are easily
offend read no further.

The musical reproduction system is only as good as the sum of its

components. (The Human Ear is one of them!), the room is a component.
Without good listening habits and the right environment within which the
reproduction of music is to be done, it doesn't matter how much you spend on
what. Now let us see is the problem the recording engineer or the
reproduction engineer.

-------------------------------------PART 4------------------------------(....Continued from Part-3)

Now try this:

Take a 1 month break once a year, no hi-fi, nothing.

Go to bed at a decent hour, and not 2am checking ads.
Enjoy some wine with your music ( ALL systems sound nice then )
Get some forgiving gear, so that more than 20% of your cd's are
Stop analyzing the music, stop searching for flaws!

Protect your ears - wear plugs when vacuuming, cutting the lawn, move away
from blenders, avoid amplified music at bars and shows where you cant hear
conversation above the noise. Take ear plugs to movies.

Take a music appreciation course. It will give your left brain something to do
while listening, other than analyzing defects in your system. Understanding music
better is a great joy and will lead you to explore.
When assessing equipment listen to a simple, one instrument melody (a solo
flute playing silent night made my wife cry as it soared high and she insisted I
but the big babies that produced it. The beauty should make you want to cry too.
Then listen to a highly complex and dynamic piece for crowding and choas. The
complex should sound breathtaking not assault.
Kick out any sales person who tries talking to you as you are trying to listen. Go
back several times before taking it home and then try it there.
Listen over good headphones to give you an idea of how much inner detail is
The most important link is always Speakers, followed by source and amplification
last. Pick out your taste in speakers first. Esoteric cables beyond basic sturdy
construction are a waste. Room treatments, moving the furniture around and
hanging some rugs on the wall can also surprise you.
In speakers, with very rare exceptions, fewer drivers is better but a single fullrange driver is usually not adequate. 2-way and 1-1/2 way designs rule.
2 Channels done right are more than enough. Better really, even for movies.
A good tube amp on a simple chassis is the best performance-per-dollar buy in
amplification. You have plenty of choice at any price point.
The "previously-owned" market has tremendous bargains; no one ever regretted
owning an EL-34-based tube amp; don't expect anything resembling music to
come from any device labeled "Krell."
Dont put-down other peoples gear, just because you can afford more doesnt
make you better, and to insult anothers hard earned money spent on what they
enjoy is pathetic.
If your music to equipment ratio is way out of whack rethink if you are truely a
music lover $20000 in gear and $1000 in music is crazy, you love equipment
more than music
Tube amps are over rated-but they do sound lovely; solid state is a better bang
for the buck but not as much fun to look at in the dark
Vinyl is wonderful but it is a pain, and expensive and you need a record cleaner.
SACD is wonderful with much better dynamic range than CDs but the selection
Buy the best (analog) source component you can afford, first! If you can't recover
it, you will never hear it, no matter how "great" your speakers or amps are.

Keep in mind that the strength of synergy in your system is vital. Everything
needs to work together.
Get lots of great (records) music that you love, old, new, reissued.
Please don't buy gear that does not clearly sound better (in your system/room)
than what you already own.
Sit down in the sweet spot with someone you care about and realize that this is
what it is all about... have a zen moment.
Dont believe ANYTHING you read in "6-moons" or by any paid reviewers. Rely
only on your own ears; never pay good money for any piece of new equipment
without first auditioning the item. Research-Research-Research online posts by
actual owners. Don't buy any audio item just out of curiosity to find out how it
sounds. Don't assume a pretty face (panel) equates with superior sound. Buy
items built like a tank to military specifications, for longevity
To maximize your return from your existing system without additional
expenditure. Try these1. Place all your gears on solid ground in direct contact with the floor. No
carpet in between. If floor is not concrete/ marble/ tiles but wood may
have to experiment with cone/ spikes. Avoid use of shelves whenever
possible. This should improve the airiness/ high frequency response and
overall transparency.
2. Room treatment- to wall on both sides of the speakers to avoid echo
marring the sonic picture. To both corners of front wall as high as 8 ft with
uneven surfaces. Experiment with different positions of the damper/
diffusers to adjust tonal balance for higher/ lower highs and fuller/ leaner
3. Tilt the axis of speaker forward/ backward .Toe in /out. Away / nearer the
side /front walls to enhance accuracy / warmth etc.
4. Clean all your components' electrical connections.
The above measures are nearly free and guarantee to give you a perceivable
Ears = heart. If this connection is lost- something is wrong. Fix it asap.
Don't overlook the room- acoustics play the big role.
Never let anyone (or any ad) tell you that you are wrong. There is no right or
wrong. If you dig it- it's all right.
Buy lots of music. Doesnt turn into a gear freak- buy RECORDS!!! Be a music
freak instead...
One and only truth - "Your ears are the final frontier - it is up to you as person to
accept & confirm the reproduced sound as the closest to the original performance
- then you have found what you have been searching for". (sometimes this
'expedition' can take 'forever')

Don't listen when in a bad mood. It'll make you get rid of CDs.
(...... To be continued in Part-6 )
-------------------------------------- PART 5 ------------------------------------

I have been designing and installing hi-end audio systems for over 30 years. I
feel for consumers because its a very daunting task. It takes patience,
knowledge, and money, to design a truly state of the art audio system. You
have two choices, ether to spend some serious time to learn all about stereo
systems or, I would suggest finding a salesman that you really believe in to
help you thru the process. So honestly you are better off researching your
salesman, and store unless you really want to take the time to learn this
industry. I learned it by building and modifying my own gear which helped me
to learn whats important on the inside and how it relates to what we hear.
Being in sales its really convenient to be able to play with different systems
and equipment. I could honestly write a book just as others have done on
how to design a system and what to look and listen for. Robert Harleys book
is pretty darn good and will give you a good foundation for which to work

Don't invest in gimmicks like the Clever Little Clock.

Try to be satisfied with what you have. Invest in tweaks that will enhance
your existing system!

Try not to be taken in by the hype both in magazines & Audiogon.

Don't buy on impulse, do some research prior to making a purchase unless
you have a good idea what youre buying is compatible in your system & are
familiar with its Sonics.
Remember why we are here to begin with, the love of music. Don't put the
gear before the music.

Don't blame CDs for bad sound, and keep all indefinitely. You will be amazed
at how good nearly all start to sound as your system evolves.

My five rules.

1. It's about the sound. Not the specs, the looks, the prestige, the fashion, the
reviews or any of the quasi-religious debates that consume some people.
2. This is not a commodity, so find a good dealer and stick with him over the
long haul. Use magazines and the Internet sparingly and as an adjunct. A
good dealer is passionate about sound, and has rock-solid integrity. This kind
of dealer sells sound, not boxes. He doesn't disparage anything in his store,
and not a lot outside of his store. Whether you spend $2,000 or $100,000
your business and the relationship is important. If you find that dealer, then
you must act with integrity in return. He is in a tough business and has

almost certainly struggled to maintain his integrity in the face of enormous

contrary pressure.
3. Make no snap decisions. Instead, look to the long term. If you find yourself
swapping out gear in less than five years, you should ask yourself whether
you're in this for the sound or for something else.
4. Enjoy what you have. You can't try everything, so resist "audio lust." Make
improvements to your system over time in consultation with your dealer. But
always remember: It's about the sound, not the boxes.
5. Pay attention to analog. I'm not telling you to worship at the altar of vinyl, but
rather to seriously listen to it at some point on your journey. Then decide for
yourself, using nothing other than your ears to guide you.

The room is the single most important component in your system. This is
truer and truer as your other components get better.

IMO the most important factor is the quality of the recording, then the
speaker / room interaction.

Find a dealer who has great sound in their showroom, and then make sure
they will do/allow home demos.

If you have a good dealer, IMHO, all the rest will fall into place

The only person who has to be happy with your system is you.

A handful of lessons from my experience:




In addition to the obvious dealers to avoid, beware of those who are

passionate about a product that is not captivating to you. Your ears are
right. If a dealer tries to tell you what you like, don't buy from him or
her. In fact, if using a dealer, its good to audition several before making
any buying decisions at all.
If you are buying retail, listen to the product at home in your system
before buying it. If the dealer will not accommodate this, then its a red
flag. If you insist on considering it without a home demo (preferably
without the dealer present), then listen to it for at least a couple of
hours at your dealer. Over two hours a) your dealer will get tired and
leave you to make up your own mind and b) the initial blush of
something new and exciting will begin to fade and you will begin to
actually hear the component. The longer the audition, the better.
Magazine reviews, for the most part, are rubbish. Those that are
accurate are impossible to separate from those that are not. Almost all
component reviews are positive. Why? Because, a) reviewers get paid





via advertising and b) if, during the course of the review it becomes
apparent the reviewer is not enthusiastic about the product, the
manufacturer may withdraw it from the review. Informal bad reviews
happen, but formal bad reviews don't get published. If you must read
and rely on a review, take any negative comment found in the review
and multiply its weight by a factor of one billion.
When doing a demo at a dealer and you think you like the product, its
very important to a) find out whether the dealer has made a
modification to the product and b) make sure the dealer has roughly
matched the product to similarly priced gear. Dealers love to, for
example, put megabuck cables and power conditioners on lesser gear.
Before buying any tube amp, find out what it takes to change the tubes
and bias the amp. Most are easy, but there are a few knuckle-heads
such as the old EAR534. Having said that, dollar for dollar, a tube
amplifier is generally your best bet for musical amplification.
If a product is foreign made, make sure it has a well established repair
facility in North America (unless you don't mind shipping it overseas
someday). The heavier it is, the more important this becomes.
Before shipping to or buying from another country, make sure that you
and the other party are in agreement about the declaration value and
who will pay the duties.
One of the most common system shortcomings is a sonically hot or
harsh high end. If so, don't let your dealer or otherwise tell you that a)
its not, b) it just sounds realistic, c) you are just unused to all the detail
it provides, or d) its not a system problem - its your room.
If you ever receive a request to pay via Western Union, its probably a

My advice is as follows:

Trust your own ears. Never let anyone intimidate your opinion by
making you feel like you "should" have heard something.


Enjoy the music. If you let it, this hobby will turn you into a techoriented buff that only plays test CDs. The audio system is secondary
to the music. always.


Impress yourself. It is nice to impress your friends, but, this can lead
to purchases that don't suit you the best. It does not have to CRANK
so the neighborhood can hear it to be impressive. In general, those
systems aren't.


If you are into LPs and turntables, then the front end is the most
important. Otherwise, the speaker/room and speaker/amp interfaces
are the most important.

I like tubes. It is just my preference. I like sensitive speakers, even before

tubes. You must find what you like and then forget the upgrade path for a
1. Proper speaker placement supplemented by acoustic room
treatments patiently and accurately applied is the single most
important component in your system. Period. More than which





speakers, which source components , or what amp/ pre-amp

Really clean, powerful available power into your system is usually
overlooked until most people have some serious bucks into most of
the other "stuff". This is a mistake. Provide dedicated power if
possible, or at least seriously conditioned/cleaned up electricity
available for your equipment. The difference is startling.
Tubes just sound more natural than solid state and should be in
either your pre-amp or power amp (preferably both), or in a nice
tubed integrated [at least] (if that's your path at the time) to really
appreciate how uncanny a home system can sound.
"Reasonably good" speakers and "reasonably good" signal sources
will sound absolutely outstanding (way better than you would have
ever believed possible) if you make sure you've done #1,#2,#3
above first... ("Really good or better" speakers/signal sources will
absolutely blow you away if.... you you've done #1,#2,#3 above
Approach the hobby with more respect than you would an addiction
("Upgrade-itis") where you'll find yourself saving up again and
again for your next purchase. This I know only too well. Try to
enjoy each step of the way and linger there as long as you can.

(Final comment) Sitting in the listening chair late at night...when all the
synergy of your system aligns like the planets in the sky... is like no other
connection you'll ever know... it's called "Bliss".

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

-------------------------------------- PART 6 ----------------------------------------------

Read, ask, listen, then read some more.

Take your time auditioning; bring your own material along.
Audition alone; also means don't let the salesperson chatter through the
Better to buy quality used equipment than to compromise on new.
Buy the best you can afford; you will be surprised how long you will be
satisfied with the "right" component.

Pay attention to the music.

If it feels right rather than sounds perfect you've got it.
Only listen to the components or your friends advice if you feel somethings
not where you want it.
Move your speakers, placement is king.
If you're just starting try and get a single medium (cd, records, dig, tape,
tuner etc.) sounding good to you before adding the rest in. It helps to focus
the money on a decent end to end path first
Seek therapy, once in you're in for life

Garbage In = Garbage Out !!!!!!!!

It's what YOU hear, not what THEY think.

Listen through your ears rather than your eyes.

no matter how much you spend or how long you search, youll always find
something better, usually a couple of days after maxing out all your credit
youre most likely to experience an impossible-to-correct ground loop just
before your friends arrive to hear your latest acquisition.
nothing doesnt make a difference, especially if you know whats expected
from the particular whizz-bang or whirly-jig.

1. Buy the most accurate speaker you can afford.

2. It is hard to go wrong when using solid state amps.
3. Treat your room; otherwise listen in near-field.
4. Don't be afraid to compare items with blind testing, it will save you a lot of
5. When you are able to listen to the MUSIC instead of your GEAR, you are
getting real close to IT.
1. Don't go the mid-fi false-economy route, thinking that it'll save $. You'll
only spend more in the long term & if you spent all that initially on the better
equipment then you'll be $ ahead & much less frustrated. With all the money
I wasted going through mid-fi, I could have a rig that's THAT much better
today & spent less to boot.
2. Begin with the speakers that you intend to keep for life, then build the rig
around them. If you change speakers later, all else is a wash.
3. Listen to your wife's aural opinions (assuming that she's into it) she can
hear well than you can.
4. Tune for musicality vs. resolution. As Dan states, when you're really
hearing the *music* you're getting close. The goose bump factor & those
raised-up hairs on the back of your neck are telling you something - not so
much by what you hear as what you *feel*.
5. Common sense isn't always relevant. Forget the specs, the theories, the
numbers. Listen with your heart.
- Spend as much on your front end components (turntable and CDP) as you
do on your amplifier and speakers. Garbage in, garbage out.

- Spend twice as much on your source material (LP's and CD's) as you do on
your hardware.
- Never, ever buy power cords and interconnect new. Buy it for half the price
or less here on the 'Gon.
- Always be less than truthful about what you spend on your gear/media.
White lies are part of the hobby and your significant other expects you to be
- always keep the manuals, boxes, and shipping material. You'll likely need it
when "Upgrade-aphelia" kicks in.
- attend as many live musical events as possible
- listen and follow the advice of the folks who frequent the 'Gon, their advice
is invaluable
1) Go to some live concerts of your favorite music. It is a great way to keep
your ears tuned.
2) Get a copy of Robert Harley's book "The Complete Guide to High End Audio"
2nd Edition. Probably the one book that could be called an audio bible.
3) When it comes to any kind of music or audio system take it from Duke
Ellington "If it sounds good, it is good" (to you).
4) If you want to experiment, don't be stopped from trying a component,
accessory, tweak or anything else audio, just because someone else said it does
not work, has no effect, or is a waste of money. Find out for yourself. Every
system is different. (Beware of Trolls)
5) Leave enough money in your budget for lots of software (CD, Records, etc)
That is really what it is all about.
1) spend as much on your front end components (CDP and turntable) as your
amplifier and speakers
2) spend twice as much on software (LP's and CD's) as you do on your hardware
3) always buy power cords and interconnect used
4) never, ever admit the true price paid for anything to your significant other.
White lies are part of the hobby
1. Start with a great front end. Information lost or corrupted at the beginning
can't be corrected with speakers.
2. Tube amps are generally more musical than solid state. For the same money
initially invested, tubes are better. They just cost more to maintain.

1. Keep your perspective. There are far more important things to spend your time
on, rather than comparing brand x component with brand z or worse thinking
about it.
2. Don't follow the upgrade path to madness. Otherwise you will spend more to
realize that you could have spent less.
4. Ignorance is bliss. Who cares if there are better components out as long as
you like the music that is coming out of your speakers?
5. Forget the system and listen to the music. Go out and spend time listening to
live music with friends and family. Leave audiophilia to those with nothing else
better to do.
1. Always think of your system as a SYSTEM. You and it are only as strong as the
weakest link. In other words, don't think that skimping in one spot can be made
up elsewhere in the chain. It can't. Sooner or later, the "sore spot" will reveal
itself. This is not to mention that your listening environment and attitude are a
MAJOR part of what you hear & experience, so take that into consideration
BEFORE all of the other variables.
B= KISS ( Keep It Simple, Stupid ). The more you have to think about it, the
more complex it is. The more complex it is, the less likely you are to relax and
enjoy it.
3: Realize early that there is always something newer or better on the market. If
you can't get the "i've gotta have it" syndrome out of your system, at least try to
make well planned progressive steps. The only way to do that is to know what
you want to get out of your system to begin with.
4- Strive towards long term goals but do it in a fashion that makes for plenty of
enjoyment along the way.
E) Try to involve as many friends and family members as you can in your hobby.
Music is for sharing and enjoying. Who knows, you may end up with an
audiophile sidekick to compare notes with. Two people make listening twice as
good, etc...
F> Listen to as wide a variety of music as possible and don't neglect to do it
"live". There is a BIG difference between listening to a recording of someone
playing an instrument and experiencing someone weaving a web of musical
7* Go back and look at how i indexed the various tips listed here. If you didn't
notice that something was "funny" right away, you're overlooking a LOT of simple
details. Learning to pay attention is half the battle when it comes to doing
something "right".

1. good electronics with good (no errors of commission) speakers will almost
always sound better than great speakers with average electronics.

1a. get a decent pair of musical speakers and put most of your money in the
electronics. Many very high quality speakers can be brutally revealing of
upstream defects.
2. always buy cables/ics/ps used.
3. musicality always beat detail, imaging, soundstage over the long haul.
4. have fun.
4a. don't take it too seriously.
5. while audiophilia is not recognized as a disease, upgraditis can be addictive.
1.have fun with the whole thing. In a sense hi-fi components are tools for
enjoying music but they're also toys. when you take home that piece, you should
be excited and happy (like a kid at Xmas), not anxious and worried about how
much $ you just spent. decide how much great sound is worth to you before
2.audition stuff at home as much as you can, with your own components and
room interacting with the auditioned piece
3.use your favorite music (stuff you've heard a million times) to audition things that way you'll be aware what a system or component is doing (or not doing) the "wow, I never heard that before" effect
4.audition things in a relaxed situation, take your time, then put the thing-to-bereplaced back into the system at the end of the audition to see the contrast again
5.find a dealer who 1) has stuff that sounds good to you and 2) you can trust
(i.e. will let you take things home to try without charging your credit card). you'll
pay more to buy from 'bricks and mortar', but until you're educated and confident
about this stuff, the information and help the trustworthy dealer gives you will be
enormously useful

If you don't have the time, patience or ability to discern a difference in a

component, tweak or upgrage - don't buy it.
Your goal should be the enjoyment of music, and not the acquistion of the most
expensive equipment.
3.) Patience is a virtue...If you missed that once in a lifetime deal, wait, there will
be another one around the corner.
4.)If I had a dollar for each time I or my audio friends said "After I get this next
"_____", then I'm finished.", I would be rich.
5.) Remember we all have/had a job; an audio reviewers' job is writing about
audio equipment and/or music.
NEVER EVER EVER ASSUME that more money spent on a product (I don't care
what the dealer tells you) indicates a superior sounding product. A lot of times
this may be the case, but I have found many items that are very very affordable
that will smoke much more expensive gear. Moral of the lesson: TRUST YOUR

4. Try tweaking (placement, supports, etc) present equipment before investing in

new equipment
5. (Most important) Invest in MUSIC. Keep the system playing, listen to live
music of all kinds, purchase lots of software. Equipment invariably changes and
could let you down; music remains true!
* Go to as many live concerts for your soul AND your ears, and to support the
music-making community.

1. ads always look good, they sound like pages turning.

2 equipment are a lot like crying babies, they are always more charming to the
3. ive never met a Krell dealer who liked Mark Levinson better.
4. ive never met a Conrad Johnson dealer who thought Audio Reasearch sounded
5. some people would love to hear Fran Dreshers voice every morning. (for you
lady philes, some women would love to hear sam Kinisons voice every morning)
6. opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one.
I guess what Im trying to say is, Listen with your own ears.
if your listening room is 12x12 before you go spending a vast amount of money
on equipment you would be better off spending 10 or 15 thousand dollars
building a decent size listening room like [18x20]. the sound difference between
a small room and a large room is like night and day. Speakers need room to
image properly. I thought I had good imaging until I converted the garage into a
music room.
1. There is no cure or vacination for upgrade fever -- but we know it does strike
especially hard after VISA statement date. There is always something for a little
more money that sounds a wee bit better -- or so we all think.
2. Your girlfriend will never understand any of this. If she does, marry her.
3. Get a PS 300/600/1200 and some dedicated lines -- the best upgrade you can
do, whether you have a $2K mid-fi setup or are bidding on those $40K Audio
Research 600 tubes up for auction (damm this economy -- I want to bid!).
4. Don't be afraid to experiment. Just because your dealer doesn't carry it or
recommend it, doesn't mean it won't sound great in your system. Every room,
every ear, and every system's synergy is different.
5. Buy from reputable sources only -- either dealer or individucals -- always

check 'em out BEFORE you write your check. But don't be afraid to buy used -there are some terrific bargins out there if you're patient and shop mainly with
your head and a little with your heart. In cases where your head and heart argue
or disagree, let your ears be the final judge.

1.Front end front end put 50% of your initial budget in it.
2.Buy used gear that you can listen to in your system.
3.Dont read any audio Magazine's.
4.Since you dont read Magazine's listen with your ears.
5.Trust what you hear.
6.If you have over 10% of your budget invested in wires you are not following
rules 3,4,5

Incrementalism is the enemy ... buy something you LOVE. You'll never be sorry
buying quality over compromise, even if you have to space out your purchases
Beyond a certain point, the room and the recording are MUCH more significant
than the playback equipment. Have some fun with what will be very inexpensive
(relative to the sonic improvement) tweaking and treatment of your environment.
If your toes ain't tappin, it ain't happenin. Take a break once in a while from the
hardware, and just listen to the music, both at home and live. Regain
perspective. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!!
1. We all hear a little differently. If you're building a system for your ears, don't
let someone else's ears make your decision for you. That doesn't mean you can't
have an expert pointing out things you may not be trained to listen for (like air
between the instruments), it just means the final decision should be yours.
2. If you're building a serious system, start at the wall and work out. The
difference can be astounding and an awful lot of otherwise good components get
sold on A'gon, when a power cord of conditioner could have made them sing.
3. Never make any decisions about equipment or cables until they've burned-in
fully. This usually takes about twice as long as your patience. Most high quality
gear improves for a couple hundred hours (or more). If you aren't willing to wait
that long, you're selling stuff before you've given it a chance. Worse, you can
easily repeat the cycle and make the same mistake with the new stuff you buy.
Cable companies may love this, but it's very frustrating for novice audiophiles. Be
patient before you run a classified ad, just leave your equipment alone and let it
play (don't mess with it every day hooking and unhooking cables etc.).
4. Buy more music and less new equipment- enjoy.

Enjoy the music. Thats what its all about.

If you're on a tight budget, remember that there were some great components
built pre-1985 that can be had relatively cheap - look around on ebay or better
yet go to garage/estate sales in your area, that way you can try the stuff maybe
before you buy - then upgrade as you can afford to do so. I bought a Marantz
2245 receiver with my second paycheck in 1974 and never regretted it, and have
worked my way up almost 30 years later to a vintage McIntosh system.
1) Always have a reference point.. I mean, your favorite recording or track or
whatever. This will let you find likes and dislikes with changes or tweaks in the
system as you go.
2) Dont be afraid to ask questions. Audiofiles are more than happy to go on for
hours about technical aspects of gear and supply more than enough info to get a
good education.
3) Do some serious listening...find a system somewhere ie. local hifi or high end
store that knocks your socks off.. maybe it costs 100k but then you have a point
of reference and something to strive for in your own sound room.
4) Treat yourself every now and then... if music is your passion then dont
hesitate to spend that extra couple of grand on a super piece.... most people die
in debt anyway.
5) Have fun... it is true that most will not care about your latest tweak and tell
you that it sounds the same but, it is your hobby or passion... and if having a
500.00 power cable and dedicated circuts with hospital grade plugs makes you
happy... then that is all that matters...
These are supposed to be "words from the wise." Wise men do not borrow money
on things that go down in value.
Great input already but I suggest buying lots of mucic that you want to listen to
and keep looking for new material. My system changed over time becasue my
musical tastes changed with age and exposure to new material. It also changed
as my career changed and I had more disposable income. There are plenty of
systems that sound great without the high price and plenty of high priced gear
that is now available to you via the net that was unavailable when I was growing
up. Take advantage of others who are searching for the ultimate. And always
remember it is all about the music not the equipment.
Oh Yeah, the single most important thing to remember is, NEVER, I mean NEVER,
tell your wife what you are paying for this stuff! Got It!!! Tell her you traded
something else for it. Works for me.
1. Store all of CD tracks that you like as WAV files on a 60GB computer hard
drive. Write information about the track in a data base for sorting purposes. Make
a backup hard copy of the CD using a CD burner. Sell the CD on,, etc. The above steps will allow you to make compilations of the music

that you like, and provide extra money for the equipment that you need.
2. Buy the best high efficiency speakers you can afford. This will allow you to put
all your money into an excellent low watt amplifier. Low watt high-end amplifiers
cost half as much as their high watt brothers, but have the same quality of
3. High efficiency speakers will also allow you to use a less expensive passive
linestage preamplifier instead of the typical powered active preamplifier. High-end
passive preamplifiers using Vishay resistors, are as good as the best active
preamplifiers, but cost thousands of dollars less. Search for this preamp on the
internet, stores don't sell them.
4. Be creative. You don't have to follow patterns set in stone by audio stores,
magazines, and other audiophiles. Items 1-3 above are examples. Here is
another example: Klipschorn speakers can only be positioned in corners, right?
This won't work in a square room. A solution would be to build a baffle out of two
4 by 4 foot dense particle boards (use two or more layers glued together if you
The only thing that matters is that you get the SOUND that YOU want.
5. What you hear in your system should simulate a live presentation. Listen to
your system for hours on end. If your ears are ringing, you are playing your
system too loud. In the long run, you will enjoy music more at natural levels. If
you become fatiqued listening to your system even at normal listening levels,
then it's time to upgrade your weakest link. If you find that your systm has the
bass slam, carity, and detail that you always wanted, it's time to start enjoying
the music and (may God strike me dead) stop upgrading.
- For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
- Everything is relative, only some things are more relative
than others.
- Never trust the kindnest of strangers.
- Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar...
- Unless your latest tweak actually works and you're smoking
2. Speakers make more difference than ALL the other components COMBINED.
3. Item #2 can be proved in less than 15 minutes to anyone willing to sit and
4. Don't be an ass about your own system or anyone elses.
5. Have fun.
2) The second most important thing is what you use to retrieve the music. On a
LP system it would be A) Cartridge B) Tonearm C) Turntable. In a digital system it
would be your A) transport and then B) converter.
3) Everything from there through the speaker goes in descending order of

priority. Which obviously isn't to say speakers are not important, but they will
never ad what your TT or CD player did not retrieve!
4) The most important part of your anatomy in listening is your imagination. No
system sounds as good as live music so let your mind fill in what's missing so you
can enjoy rather than nitpick what's missing.
5 The seond most important part of your anatomy is your ears, take care of
- You will never know or have heard everything. Always be willing to be proven
"not entirely correct."
- All good music is about life; its passions, pleasures, tragedies, unrequited
longings, joys, loves and pains. So be willing to grant that all musical genres
have something to say worth listening to.
- Sometimes the artist DOES know what he's doing better than you do. As Mel
Brooks once said, "I'm the performer, you are the audience. I outrank you."
- Before you REALLY listen to planars for the first time, be warned they can be
more addictive than narcotics. ;)
- Your tastes and hearing were not acquired in a lesser school than that other
guy's. Be willing to politely speak your mind no matter if you are a majority of
- Bose is bad, but not that much worse than a lot of lo- & mid-fi gear out there at
a similar price point.
- Almost every mistake you're thinking of making has already been painfully
made by someone earlier. Most folks on Audiogon are gently trying to keep you
from their historical errors.
- It's reproduced music, nothing more or less. No one in audiophilia is going to
die over it. So have a good time.
Before going nuts, as I have many times, go back to the basics . Simple things.
Don't keep your components too close together, especially amp and preamp,
keep your digital on a seperate circut, install dedicated 20 amp lines for your
power amp and most important dont have your interconnects and power cords
tangled, or bent. You can spend zillions on cables, but if their all bent and not
coming straight out of the back of your unit {some of us use wall units with small
holes, push a component back, and dont realize the stress we are putting on the
cords} then your system will be inconsistent. Remind yourself to check all
interconnects are firmly in place and all cords are flowing freely. Sounds simple,
but sometimes we miss the obvious.
learn the differences between speakers first. this is where the largest differences
lie. just for fun, hook up one speaker out of phase with the other so you know
what it sounds like. this is done by reversing the + and - connections to one
speaker. switch the preamp or receiver to mono (if there is that option) or turn
on an AM radio station. the sound should emanate from directly between the

speakers. out of phase, it seems to jump from speaker to speaker as you move
form side to side.
an ultimate test is to face the speakers at each other form about an inch away
form each other. in phase, youll hear sound, out of phase, the sound will nearly
disappear. btw. this arrangement can be used to break in new speakers for hours
or days.
putting the speakers out of phase is a sneaky technique of unscrupulous dealers
to make one sound 'spacey'.
start to focus on certain areas of sound like the sound of cymbals. youve heard
them live, how do they compare? is the voice clear and can you tell the difference
between bass guitar and kick drum?
do the instruments seem locked to the speakers or float between them and have
different distances of apparent depth? after youve chosen speakers and listened
to them awhile at home, start listening for distortion when you turn things up.
this is when you realize the need for more power. dont get into the wire
controversy until you've gotten some experience under your belt and you have
separate components.
thats enough for starters.
1. Use your ears rather than placing too much trust in measurement tool.
2. Be minimal. Over design of an acoustic space is the cardinal sin of acoustics.
3. Think "outside the box". Listen to advice from professionals, but always
remeber that the numbers are only a prediction of probable room response. They
may (or may not) reflect reality.
4. Think long and hard before implementing any specific treatments. As a
professional acoustician (Physics Degree) and an audio engineer for over 25
years, I start a design by first thinking of every possible approach to take with a
specific room. I then begin SUBTRACTING the over-kill until I arrive at a solution
that is the least working solution. I am a firm adherent to Occam's Razor.
5. I then add treatments symetricaly around the space to fitted one at a time,
and LISTEN to the results at each point. I have found tools such as the Techron
TEF instument invaluable, but no substitute for the human ear.
BTW, even with all of the other tools at my desposal, I have found the CARACAD
program to be an excellent tool for assement of a rooms probable acoustic
signature. Of course, I am helped in this by having a professionals understanding
of the acoustical properties of materials, and as such, have made extensive use
of the materials editor function of the CARACAD program. If you do not have the
proper grounding in Physics, be very careful, and judicious in your use of this
powerful tool, because an error in the data you supply will make the predictions
For the money, however, it is the best software for this purpose I have ever used
or reviewed.
There is someone out there enjoying just about every audio device made. If you
enjoy it, it's a good choice.
Correct placement of your speakers makes a bigger difference than many dollars.
Experiment, it's free and it gets you off the couch.

Think hard about your lifestyle before you go for a record player that requires 4
individual boxes and cubic yards of software. You bet it sounds best, but once
you're into it, it can be a space hassle, and by then you will know what you would
be missing if you gave it up.
There are great deals on the used market, but there's absolutely nobody on the
buyers side - it's all about the sellers. Be prudent, protect yourself.
Go to the ends of the earth to listen to as many great systems you can find.
When you find the sound to fall in love with, use it as a model.
Don't let anyone convince you the speaker is of lesser importance. It doesn't
matter how much gilded wire, bench press components, or 24 bit discs you have,
it means nothing if you don't have great speakers to give the music life.
Speaker first, all other components to match. Super charging a Toyota won't
make it a Porsche.
Home theater;
1)Big screen 2)Big subs 3)Dedicated room 4)Room acoustics 5)Understanding
Listen to the MUSIC, not the "system." Listen to the MUSIC, not the
"system." Yes, I repeat myself because I have been guilty of concentrating
more on buying, acquiring, collecting, consuming, and hording stuff, making
me forget the whole point: It's the music. Derive your joy from the perfect
sax solo, not the perfect power cord.

I'm an "audiophile" because I love music, not because I love equipment.

More money isn't always the answer. Maybe you just need a bigger throw rug
on a hardwood floor or a tapestry on a bare wall.

Power line regenerator/conditioner (the best investment I have made).

Interconnects and Speaker wires are less important than rest other system
components. This does not mean that you buy junk interconnects or speaker
wire but at the same time don't make it the most expensive component in
your system either. The good Interconnects and/or Speaker wires will make a
difference and in some cases, a dramatic one but none will make a bigger
difference than the wrong Amp, Preamp or Speakers.

There is no point in buying a $1000 Power cord for a $400 CD player. If at all
you are bend to spend that much then buy a $1300 CD player and put a $100
Power cord, instead.
This is my system and as long as I am enjoying it , I don't care what anybody

Buy for the long-term unless the thrill of this hobby for you is keeping up with
the technology, the novelty of new equipment, or something else less musicoriented and more sound-oriented, if that distinction makes sense.
Along these lines, buy stuff you love, especially if you want to enjoy it for
several years to come. Compromises have a way of sticking in one's head and
interfering with the ability to enjoy the music. If you love music, it's worth it
to own better equipment.
Buy used/demo. After years of thinking I could simply not justify the expense
of high end equipment.

If you're building a system, set a goal. Take a break from the upgrade cycle
when you've reached that goal and just listen to what you've got. You'll know
after six months to a year whether you really must upgrade a particular
component or whether you were just emotionally caught up in the last round
of purchasing and are actually perfectly content with what you have.
Enjoy wonderful music and remember the other things that matter in your life
as well.
Music selection is important!

Relax, have fun, listen, and be patient...

Trust your own ears and instincts...take advice with a large does of salt...

Know your ROOM and its limitations...

Opt for midrange accuracy over boom-box bass

Go analog and Go tubes....

My philosophy is fix a reasonable budget, buy reasonably good equipment

within the budget, arrange the equipment scientifically in the listening room,
and leave the rest of the magic to your CD-collection. Don't run after snakeoil acoustic remedies, and outrageously expensive foreign brands.

System approach is always the best to get good sound. This is basically
knowing what kind of sound you want and then buying all the components
based on a proven synergistic combination which will result in that sound
which you are after. This includes the source, amp, speakers, interconnects
and speaker cables. If you liked a certain setup and how it sounds, you will
have to buy all of it to get the same sound. One component change can
drastically alter the sound.

Finally, the goal of high-end audio is to make the equipment "disappear".

High-end audio isn't about equipment; it's about music.

anyone who likes music can immediately appreciate the value of high-quality
sound reproduction. It doesn't take a "golden ear" to know what sounds good.

high-end audio is about communicating the music experience, not adding

elaborate, difficult-to-operate features. High-end audio is for music lovers, not
electronic whizzes.

What is high-end audio? What is high-end sound? It is when the playback

system is forgotten, seemingly replaced by the performers in your listening
room. It is when you feel the composer or performer speaking across time
and space to you. It is feeling a physical rush during a musical climax. It is
the ineffable roller-coaster ride of emotion the composer somehow managed
to encode in a combination of sounds. It is when the physical world
disappears, leaving only your consciousness and the music.

Extracting the full potential of ones equipment with proper setup / room
treatment etc.. is one thing that is conveniently forgotten in ones journey to
own the most frighteningly expensive hardware available. Whenever I hear
poorly setup expensive music systems I am humbly reminded of an elderly
gentlemans well setup system. He owns equipments which are more than 20
years old and would cost barely anything in the used market but the magic he
extracts out of them is mind-boggling. A persons listening environment, his
music tastes, expectations (even wrong expectations) need to be taken into
account when recommending any hardware.

Synthetic sound is typical contemporary high-end sound. My reaction to

synthetic sound is "this is (or is not, as the case may be) the most amazing
sounding stereo system". Synthetic sound excels at resolving detail like the
number of cymbal shimmers, background sounds, fingers working frets and
keys, breathing, recording session editing, etc. I can hear individual parts, but
synthetic systems tend to fail at synthesizing and integrating the parts in to
the whole. Or they simply distract from the holistic experience of reproduced
music. They may or may not also be resolving and accurate - I've heard both.
When I listen to synthetic systems, the experience is like viewing through a
golden-tinted lens. It can be pleasurable, but over the long term not my cup
of tea. Natural sound is typically unspectacular and unimpressive at first listen
because nothing jumps out. No earth-shaking bass, ultra-sonic "air", or
microscopic resolution. I guess they error in being subtractive rather than
additive. Over time, they become extraordinary for not imparting electronic
artifacts or artificial additives. To me, this is the correct approach.

Unfortunately hi-fi newbies are often surprised to find out that the world of hifi is not as straightforward as they would like. One can't just step into a store,
put down some money, choose a system that looks nice and expect the
system to sound like magic at home.

Putting a pair of bookshelf speakers on the shelf or a table will result in a

compromise in terms of sound quality. In fact, stands are so important that
investing in a good pair of stands can show as much improvement as that of
changing a component.

Cables are like the icing on a cake, and can fine tune or improve a system.
What they cannot do is miraculously transform a bad sounding setup to a
good sounding one. Therefore, spending obscene amounts of money on magic
cable will not fix problems. Nevertheless, spending some money on decent
cabling is important. Decent cables need not be expensive at all.

Synergy is about interaction between the components. The source, amp and
speaker should interact and present a well balanced and enjoyable sound and
the most critical synergy is between the amplifier and speakers. This is sadly
one of the most neglected matters when most people assemble hifi systems.
Choosing components that work well with each other can make or break a
system. Simply selecting "best buys" from magazines and slapping them
together can be potentially disastrous.

Sometimes, an audition at the dealer may really blow you away but after
spending your hard earned cash and brining the system home, the sound may
under whelm you. Sometimes, the problem lies with the placement and setup
of the speakers.

The moment you feel that your system is all set and you are now ready to
enjoy your music , the upgrade bug bites you and then it keeps biting you
again and again, a shortage of funds will only define the gaps in between!

No matter of whether you intend to upgrade your system next month, next
year or in the distant future, choosing equipment with an upgrade path makes
your life easier. After all, selling of your equipment is likely to result in a fairly
big loss.
Choosing a CD player with a digital output (preferably through a co-axial
output, which sounds better than optical) gives you the option of purchasing a

Similarly, choosing an integrated amplifier with pre-outs or power-amp inputs

allows you the chance to use the amplifier as a pre-amp or power amp if you
decide to buy a separate pre-amp or power amp.

If your speakers have bi-wiring terminals and you have a pre-power amplifier,
then you have the possibility of bi-amping the speaker. If your power amplifier
offers an option to be bridged, then it can be used as a monobloc amplifier
with a massive increase in power.

Hifi is not about macho amps, inflated egos and outdoing your neighbor
antics. It is about music and if the music gives you a high, it must be good.

What is good sound? Some feel that the emotional response to a sonic
performance is the be all and end all of quality. Another camp feels that
accuracy is the hallmark of quality. The sound should be reproduced as close
as possible to the way it was recorded. Note that what is accurate need not
be pleasing (the truth hurts sometimes). There are many divisions in between
these two extremes.

A tight bass is more important than more ill defined bass. Treble should be
informative but should not spotlight every darn instrument. Vocals should

blend in and not to stick out like a sore thumb, shouting and overpowering.
Make sure that your system reproduces the soundstage in a natural and
informative way. A well balanced system sounds big when the recording is
big. A large well spaced orchestra should sound wide (if it was recorded
properly in the first place) and a small string quartet should sound intimate.

Someday I wonder whether transparency is always good. Many recordings are

substandard. Many sound engineers try and mix the sound to make it
appealing on the majority of sound systems. Unfortunately that means all
those cheap boom boxes, car stereos, and mini systems. Some recordings are
so bad as to be absolutely un-listenable on a decent Hifi system. When that
happens, the experience is so depressing that you don't enjoy the music but
play it on a lesser more forgiving system and everything is all right again.

Hifi is about music. No point buying top flight systems to stay at home with a
handful of audiophile recordings of music that you don't even like. By all
means buy discs with superior recordings; but I just think musical content is
always the prime consideration.

It is not without reason that audiophiles are one of the most ridiculed groups
of people on the planet earth. Obsession with equipment and blind faith in
advertising literature result in less than rational behavior.

The wisdom in splurging lots of money on stuff that claims to improve your
hifi can sometimes be very flawed. Use you ears but remember , the power of
the mind is extremely strong and if you want to hear an improvement then
you will!
The room of course has a dramatic effect on your music. start with an empty
room. You quickly realise that the system is bright, has lots of air and has a
rather boomy sound. Throw in a sofa set and things start to change. Throw in
rugs, curtains, cupboards etc. If you throw too many things in a room, the
room will sound 'dead'. The music appears to have little air and instruments
do not appear to have natural decay. Try to strike a balance.

Unless you have a ridiculously expensive and revealing system you won't hear
the difference in a 'cheap' shielded power cord and a power cord the size of
your arm which costs your house mortgage. frankly, the money is much
better spent on speakers, sources and room acoustics..

once you have you room, your setup and your matching components, and you
are already squeezing the best out of your existing setup, then moving to
spending on cables makes sense. Else it is really not very practical as putting
a 5% improvement on a system which is already 50% compromised is rather

Good cabling / power conditioning / isolation / power cord tweaks etc are for
people who have setup their system optimally and have already spend the
maximum they can on the main equipment. This is to extract the finer details
and to fine-tune the system to sound optimally. System synergy is what will
get you the magic in audio.

I once had a conversation with a very seasoned audiophile. He has been in hiend audio for at least 25 years He is pretty well off and can afford any fancy /
esoteric stuff he wants. He has changed at least a dozen amps, speakers,
sources, cables and finally settled down with something which I didnt like all
that much. It was not my kind of a sound. I asked him, Is this ultimate? He
said. No. This is what I like . This is my kind of a hi-end / hi- resolution
sound. This is what gives me Goosebumps and I firmly believe this is what hiend should sound like. But this is my belief. At this price point, there are quite
a few combinations which sounds pretty good which may appeal to you better.
So even at that level, it is all very personal. You need to search and find what
you like based on your EARS. A dynaudio / bryston combo may appeal to
some while a cadence hybrid speaker / valve amp combo may be the choice
for somebody else. Remember these are guys who have seen it all and know
the real INSIDE STUFF in audio. They deal with it on an every day basis.
There is a reason why most advanced and seasoned audiophiles who have
invested a bomb on their personal systems after years of research do not like
to entertain too many visitors. They do not like (or rather care for) the
subjective remarks made by a newbie or people with different tastes. They
are too busy entertaining themselves with the system of their choiceso
voicing and personal preferences based on your own EARS is what matters
the most. In fact those are the only factors which matter once you reach a
certain level in audio. Once you buy your kind of an equipment, you make it
disappear using the right cables and tweaks and music will flow and your
equipment will produce the magic it is capable of.

In most case when it comes to hi-res equipment good tech specs is taken
for granted. Most seasoned audiophiles do not bother. They just plug it in and
if it delivers, they like it else it goes back to the carton it came in.

it takes a while for one to understand what he really likes and is looking for in
his setup after the priorities are understood then start auditioning maximum
amount of equipment possible and see where it goes from there And the more
you age and mature, the more holistic the approach becomes.

Let's make a bold statement: "The best Cable is No Cable"

Let's make another one: "The Ideal Cable does not change the Signal
traveling through it in ANY way."
Let's make a third one: "No Cable can improve the sound-quality of a system,
they only make it worse in varying degrees."
The fact is that all well designed interconnects sound identical. But please
carefully note that I said all well designed interconnects sound identical. Some
interconnects are badly designed and do indeed sound different
So just what is a "well designed" interconnect?
First, the interconnect must be shielded. Shielding prevents RFI (Radio
Frequency Interference) and EMI (ElectroMagnetic Interference) from
corrupting the sound. RFI can take several forms with the simplest being a
buzzing sound (usually caused from light dimmers), to actually hearing radio
or TV program transmissions faintly in the background of your music.
EMI is caused by magnetic flux lines cutting across the interconnect and
inducing currents in it. This can take the form of hum if the interconnect is
near an electrical transformer or motor, or will be crosstalk if the interconnect
is near another interconnect that is active with a different signal.

Shielding is usually done by braiding a fine wire mesh around an internal

conductor(s), making the interconnect coaxial in design. Although this mesh
is usually adequate, there are small spaces between the wires in the mesh so
that there is not 100% coverage. To obtain the greatest shielding, some
interconnects are designed with a solid foil shield. This foil is prone to
cracking and breaking if it is flexed, so the foil (usually aluminium) is often
deposited on Mylar film that is wrapped around the wire to improve flexibility.
But still, foil-shielded cables should only be used in stationary applications
since frequent flexing will eventually crack the shield. Braided-mesh shielding
should be used for interconnects in home audio systems.
The second requirement is that the interconnect have low impedance. High
impedance can cause loss of output at both high and low frequencies
depending on the loads presented by the components connected to the
interconnect. And when the frequency response is restricted in this way, the
effects are indeed audible. Buy why would you want to limit your system's
frequency response?
The third requirement is that the connectors at the ends of the wire be
practical and trouble free. This encompasses several factors:
They must not oxidise or corrode as this eventually will cause a high
impedance contact and restrict the frequency response. Most connectors are
gold plated to meet this criterion, although solid nickel connectors also work
well. If they are gold plated, it is important that the plating be of high quality
so it doesn't easily chip or flake off.
The outside contacts of an RCA connector should NOT be tapered. If they grip
only on the their tips, they can put great pressure on your components' jacks
and can gouge or scratch their gold plating. Along these lines, it is best to
avoid connectors that have clamping mechanisms that you tighten after
insertion. These can put enormous pressure on your components' jacks and
then the slightest motion can tear off the gold plating. And it is virtually
impossible to tighten them without moving them.
The best contacts are those that have precision machined, parallel walls in the
shape of a perfect cylinder. These produce smooth, even, firm pressure on the
jack without damaging the gold plating.
The connector should have a strain relief. The purpose of the strain relief is to
prevent tension on the interconnect cable from being transferred to the
delicate connections inside the connector. This requires some kind of clamping
mechanism so that the connector is solidly anchored to the outer covering of
the interconnect cable, while the wires inside the connector are slack.
Most RCA connectors don't have any strain relief. Some have springs around
the cable near the connector to prevent excessive cable bending, but it
doesn't prevent tension from damaging the internal connections. Some RCA
connectors have a small metal strap inside the connector that is pinched
around the cable, but this is weak and grips very poorly. The best connectors
will have a clamp that can be screwed down and that gets a really solid grip
on the wire's outer cover, but these are very rare.
The connector should have a tough, scratch resistant, attractive exterior
surface. Most are painted, and paint is easily damaged. Some are gold plated.
But gold is soft and easily scratched. The best have industrial hard chrome
surfaces. This type of coating has an attractive, matte silver colour and is
very durable.

The connector, particularly small RCA connectors, should have a "grippy"

surface so that you can grasp it firmly to remove it so you don't have to pull
on the cable. A thick ring is nice, but often interferes with other connectors
that are close by. So the best option is deep knurling on the surface that
produces a rough, easily gripped surface, without increasing the size of the
The connector needs to be highly conductive to keep the impedance low.
Steel is not a suitable material. Brass or copper should be used.
Amazingly, many very expensive interconnects fail to meet these basic
criteria. In particular, many have no shielding at all! This is inexcusable in an
expensive interconnect. The manufacturers of such poor interconnects only
get away with this because most home environments have little RFI and EMI.
But this isn't always the case and there are many systems that are plagued
with buzzing and other noises due to the lack of shielding. The owner is very
frustrated that he can't get the noise out and never suspects that his exotic
interconnects are the cause.
Some interconnects have very high impedance. This is because the
interconnect uses extremely tiny wire. The manufacturers of such
interconnects claim that very small wire prevents "transient smearing" due to
"skin effect" or some other arcane reason. But the fact is, wire size and type
does not affect the sound (unless the impedance is too high). There is no
such thing as "transient smearing" in interconnects and "skin effect" does not
alter the sound at audio frequencies. You discovered this in your listening
tests. But some of these interconnects have several thousand ohms of
impedance and can adversely effect the frequency response of your system.
Very few interconnects have connectors that meet the "practical and trouble
free" criteria outlined above. There are too many connector types to discuss
here, but if you will examine them, you will see that few meet the criteria
outlined above.
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without
faith, I am nothing." The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
"I refuse to prove that my cables will make your system sound better", says
the snake oil vendor, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, you will hear

All well designed interconnects will sound the same, quite controversial but
regrettably true - regrettable for those who have paid vast sums of money for
theirs, at least. The expensive ones that will "make your system sound better"
won't - you are just making some idiot richer, and yourself poorer.

But the fact is, wire size and type does not affect the sound (unless the
impedance is too high). There is no such thing as "transient smearing" in
interconnects and "skin effect" does not alter the sound at audio frequencies.
You discovered this in your listening tests.
But some of these interconnects have several thousand ohms of impedance
and can adversely effect the frequency response of your system.

An ideal cable must not change the signal traveling through it in any way and

in this respect only best available today is No Cable. No Cable can improve
the sound quality of a system; it only makes it worse in varying degrees.
People report difference in cables that is because of badly designed cables is
compared with a well designed one; the fact is that all well designed
interconnects sound identical.
I know a case where a person reported a drastic difference, after a close
examination it was revealed some interesting facts. The earlier cable was in
its place since its installation, that is almost two and half years and by that
time cable contacts became loose and terminals got rusted/corroded. The so
called drastic change brought in by the new cable was not because of better
(clean and firm) contacts. After cleaning the terminals of the first cable and
putting it back with a firm contact, the drastic change once observed
So just what is a "well designed" interconnect?
First, the interconnect must be shielded. Shielding prevents RFI (Radio
Frequency Interference) and EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) from
corrupting the sound. RFI can take several forms with the simplest being a
buzzing sound (usually caused from light dimmers), to actually hearing radio
or TV program transmissions faintly in the background of your music.
EMI is caused by magnetic flux lines cutting across interconnect and inducing
currents in it. This can take the form of hum if the interconnect is near an
electrical transformer or motor, or will be crosstalk if the interconnect is near
another interconnect that is active with a different signal.
Shielding is usually done by braiding a fine wire mesh around an internal
conductor(s), making the interconnect coaxial in design. Although this mesh
is usually adequate, there are small spaces between the wires in the mesh so
that there is not 100% coverage. To obtain the greatest shielding, some
interconnects are designed with a solid foil shield. This foil is prone to
cracking and breaking if it is flexed, so the foil (usually aluminium) is often
deposited on Mylar film that is wrapped around the wire to improve flexibility.
But still, foil-shielded cables should only be used in stationary applications
since frequent flexing will eventually crack the shield. Braided-mesh shielding
should be used for interconnects in home audio systems.
The second requirement is that the interconnect have low impedance. High
impedance can cause loss of output at both high and low frequencies
depending on the loads presented by the components connected to the
interconnect. And when the frequency response is restricted in this way, the
effects are indeed audible. Buy why would you want to limit your system's
frequency response?
The third requirement is that the connectors at the ends of the wire be
practical and trouble free. This encompasses several factors:
They must not oxidise or corrode as this eventually will cause a high
impedance contact and restrict the frequency response. Most connectors are
gold plated to meet this criterion, although solid nickel connectors also work
well. If they are gold plated, it is important that the plating be of high quality
so it doesn't easily chip or flake off.
The outside contacts of an RCA connector should NOT be tapered. If they grip
only on the their tips, they can put great pressure on your components' jacks
and can gouge or scratch their gold plating. Along these lines, it is best to
avoid connectors that have clamping mechanisms that you tighten after
insertion. These can put enormous pressure on your components' jacks and
then the slightest motion can tear off the gold plating. And it is virtually

impossible to tighten them without moving them.

The best contacts are those that have precision machined, parallel walls in the
shape of a perfect cylinder. These produce smooth, even, firm pressure on the
jack without damaging the gold plating.
The connector should have a strain relief. The purpose of the strain relief is to
prevent tension on the interconnect cable from being transferred to the
delicate connections inside the connector. This requires some kind of clamping
mechanism so that the connector is solidly anchored to the outer covering of
the interconnect cable, while the wires inside the connector are slack.
Most RCA connectors don't have any strain relief. Some have springs around
the cable near the connector to prevent excessive cable bending, but it
doesn't prevent tension from damaging the internal connections. Some RCA
connectors have a small metal strap inside the connector that is pinched
around the cable, but this is weak and grips very poorly. The best connectors
will have a clamp that can be screwed down and that gets a really solid grip
on the wire's outer cover, but these are very rare.
The connector should have a tough, scratch resistant, attractive exterior
surface. Most are painted, and paint is easily damaged. Some are gold plated.
But gold is soft and easily scratched. The best have industrial hard chrome
surfaces. This type of coating has an attractive, matte silver colour and is
very durable.
The connector, particularly small RCA connectors, should have a "grippy"
surface so that you can grasp it firmly to remove it so you don't have to pull
on the cable. A thick ring is nice, but often interferes with other connectors
that are close by. So the best option is deep knurling on the surface that
produces a rough, easily gripped surface, without increasing the size of the
The connector needs to be highly conductive to keep the impedance low.
Steel is not a suitable material. Brass or copper should be used.
-------my 'Funda" is
-a very very Neutral/accurate and detailed CDP, a Dynamic and - detailed
highly resolving loudspeaker
-An amp which is silky smooth and synergises perfectly with the speakers
makig warmish but Not Laid back music (Should be very fast and alive)
-A pre amp which synergises with the amp
overall a very detailed, smooth, dynamic but warmish system !


A guy walks into the doctor's office and says, "Doc, I haven't had a bowel
movement in a week!" The doctor gives him a prescription for a mild laxative
and tells him, "If it doesn't work, let me know."
A week later the guy is back: "Doc, still no movement!"
The doctor says, "Hmm, guess you need something stronger," and prescribes
a powerful laxative.
Still another week later the poor guy is back: "Doc, STILL nothing!"

The doctor, worried, says, "We'd better get some more information about you
to try to figure out what's going on. What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a musician."
The doctor looks up and says, "Well, that's it! Here's $10.00. Go get
something to eat!"


A community orchestra was plagued by attendance problems. Several

musicians were absent at each rehearsal. As a matter of fact, every player in
the orchestra had missed several rehearsals, except for one very faithful oboe
player. Finally, as the dress rehearsal drew to a close, the conductor took a
moment to thank the oboist for her faithful attendance. She, of course,
humbly responded "It's the least I could do, since I won't be at the
-------Sound is air in motion pushed, pulled, beaten, blown, plucked, talked, or
sung into motion. Music is sound's highest achievement, a wonderfully varied
mixture of patterned vibrations sent into the air by all kinds of instruments,
from a cricket's hind legs to a massive pipe organ.
Long wall is best for many of the reasons above, especially the sidewall first
reflection issue Tom mentions.

HOWEVER, the short dimension of the room must be 15 feet, bare minimum:
2.5 ft minimum behind the speakers which are 7 ft apart (midranges), + 1.5
ft speaker cabinet depth (average) + 7 ft from the front of the drivers to your
ear (when seated) + 1 ft chair or sofa back, + 3 ft for bookshelf (abfussor)
and walkway behind sofa. Total = 15 ft, and the long dimension must be 21
feet or more.
You can try and eliminate the 3 ft bookshelf/walkway, but even with
absorption on the rear wall (behind the sofa) if you shove the sofa against the
rear wall, the bass will be pretty boomy and you won't hear a good
soundstage. So I'd recommend you go for the short wall. 13 ft is a decent
width (12 ft or less is a bitch!) and you will need sidewall treatment to kill the
first reflections. You can pull the speakers out 5 to 7 ft from the rear wall (a
very good thing) and put your ears about 7 ft back from the drivers, leaving
you 6 to 7 ft behind your (ears) listening position.

The reason for 21 ft being the minimum long dimension, is that with speakers
centered on the long wall about 7 ft apart, the path length for the first
reflection from either speaker to the sidewall and back to your ear is
approximately 17 feet. Since sound travels approx. 1100 ft/sec, it takes the
reflected wave about 15 milliseconds to reach your ear while the direct sound,
travelling 7 ft, takes only 6 milliseconds, a difference of 9 milliseconds. As
long as the difference is at least 7 milliseconds (if my memory still works ;--)
your brain will hear the reflected wave as an echo (which is OK) but if the
difference is less than 7 milliseconds, your brain will combine the direct and
reflected sound as if it was ALL DIRECT SOUND and that's what SCREWS UP
Murphy's Law : $10 transistor will always blow before the 10 cent fuse

Nothing is as easy as it looks.

Everything takes longer than you think.
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause
the most damage will be the one to go wrong. Corollary: If there is a worse
time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go
wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked
Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
Mother nature is a bitch.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
Every solution breeds new problems.
Murphy's Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Murphy's Law of Copiers
The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance.
Murphy's Law of the Open Road:
When there is a very long road upon which there is a one-way bridge placed
at random, and there are only two cars on that road, it follows that: (1) the
two cars are going in opposite directions, and (2) they will always meet at the
Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics
Things get worse under pressure.
The Murphy Philosophy
Smile . . . tomorrow will be worse.
Quantization Revision of Murphy's Laws
Everything goes wrong all at once.
Murphy's Constant
Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious
Law of the Perversity of Nature (Mrs. Murphy's Corollary):
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to
Corollary (Jenning):
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly
proportional to the cost of the carpet.
Hill's Commentaries on Murphy's Laws
If we lose much by having things go wrong, take all possible care.
If we have nothing to lose by change, relax.
If we have everything to gain by change, relax.
If it doesn't matter, it does not matter.
O'Toole's Commentary

Murphy was an optimist.

NBC's Addendum to Murphy's Law
You never run out of things that can go wrong.
Murphy's Military Laws
Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.
No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
Friendly fire ain't.
The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer with a map.
The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already
mined it.
The buddy system is essential to your survival; it gives the enemy somebody
else to shoot at.
The further you are in advance of your own positions, the more likely your
artillery will shoot short.
Incoming fire has the right of way.
If your advance is going well, you are walking into an ambush.
The quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too small.
If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
The only time suppressive fire works is when it is used on abandoned
The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly
There is nothing more satisfying that having someone take a shot at you, and
Don't be conspicuous. In the combat zone, it draws fire. Out of the combat
zone, it draws sergeants.
If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
Murphy's Technology Laws
You can never tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with
Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers
something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond
Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first
woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
The opulence of the front office decor varies inversely with the fundamental
solvency of the firm.
The attention span of a computer is only as long as it electrical cord.
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he
knows absolutely everything about nothing.
Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell
him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
Always draw your curves, then plot your reading.
Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
All's well that ends.
A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.
The first myth of management is that it exists.

A failure will not appear till a unit has passed final inspection.
New systems generate new problems.
To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.
Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20
years make.
The faster a computer is, the faster it will reach a crashed state.
Nothing motivates a man more than to see his boss putting in an honest day's
Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote
the book or even what book.
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the
fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.
To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and
cost the most.
After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.
Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts
which are unobtainable and three parts which are still under development.
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that works.
If mathematically you end up with the incorrect answer, try multiplying by the
page number.
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system
which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
Give all orders verbally. Never write anything down that might go into a "Pearl
Harbor File."
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature,
volume, humidity, and other variables the organism will do as it damn well
If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.
The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the
competition already has the order.
In designing any type of construction, no overall dimension can be totalled
correctly after 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The correct total will become self-evident
at 8:15 a.m. on Monday.
Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. And scratch where it itches.
All things are possible except skiing through a revolving door.
The only perfect science is hind-sight.
Work smarder and not harder and be careful of yor speling.
If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.
If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong the one that will cause
the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
Everything that goes up must come down.
Any instrument when dropped will roll into the least accessible corner.
Any simple theory will be worded in the most complicated way.
Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.

The degree of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of

Any attempt to print Murphy's laws will jam the printer.
Murphy's Love Laws
All the good ones are taken.
If the person isn't taken, there's a reason. (corr. to 1)
The nicer someone is, the farther away (s)he is from you.
Brains x Beauty x Availability = Constant.
The amount of love someone feels for you is inversely proportional to how
much you love them.
Money can't buy love, but it sure gets you a great bargaining position.
The best things in the world are free --- and worth every penny of it.
Every kind action has a not-so-kind reaction.
Nice guys(girls) finish last.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Availability is a function of time. The minute you get interested is the minute
they find someone else.
Murphy's Laws of sex
The more beautiful the woman is who loves you, the easier it is to leave her
with no hard feelings.
Nothing improves with age.
No matter how many times you've had it, if it's offered take it, because it'll
never be quite the same again.
Sex has no calories.
Sex takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of
There is no remedy for sex but more sex.
Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got.
No sex with anyone in the same office.
Sex is like snow; you never know how many inches you are going to get or
how long it is going to last.
A man in the house is worth two in the street.
If you get them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
Virginity can be cured.
When a man's wife learns to understand him, she usually stops listening to
Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.
The qualities that most attract a woman to a man are usually the same ones
she can't stand years later.
Sex is dirty only if it's done right.
It is always the wrong time of month.
The best way to hold a man is in your arms.
When the lights are out, all women are beautiful.
Sex is hereditary. If your parents never had it, chances are you won't either.
Sow your wild oats on Saturday night -- Then on Sunday pray for crop failure.
The younger the better.
The game of love is never called off on account of darkness.
It was not the apple on the tree but the pair on the ground that caused the
trouble in the garden.
Sex discriminates against the shy and the ugly.

Before you find your handsome prince, you've got to kiss a lot of frogs.
There may be some things better than sex, and some things worse than sex.
But there is nothing exactly like it.
Love your neighbor, but don't get caught.
Love is a hole in the heart.
If the effort that went in research on the female bosom had gone into our
space program, we would now be running hot-dog stands on the moon.
Love is a matter of chemistry, sex is a matter of physics.
Do it only with the best.
Sex is a three-letter word which needs some old-fashioned four-letter words
to convey its full meaning.
One good turn gets most of the blankets.
You cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women.
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.....unless in the mood.
Never lie down with a woman who's got more troubles than you.
Abstain from wine, women, and song; mostly song.
Never argue with a women when she's tired -- or rested.
A woman never forgets the men she could have had; a man, the women he
What matters is not the length of the wand, but the magic in the stick.
It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
Never say no.
A man can be happy with any woman as long as he doesn't love her.
Folks playing leapfrog must complete all jumps.
Beauty is skin deep; ugly goes right to the bone.
Never stand between a fire hydrant and a dog.
A man is only a man, but a good bicycle is a ride.
Love comes in spurts.
The world does not revolve on an axis.
Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation; the other eight are
Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.
Don't do it if you can't keep it up.
There is no difference between a wise man and a fool when they fall in love.
Never go to bed mad, stay up and fight.
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
"This won't hurt, I promise."
Abbott's Admonitions:
If you have to ask, you're not entitled to know.
If you don't like the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question.
Abrams's Advice:
When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.
Rule of Accuracy:
When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps if you know
the answer.
Corollary: Provided, of course, that you know there is a problem.
Acheson's Rule of the Bureaucracy:
A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.

Acton's Law:
Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Ade's Law:
Anybody can win -- unless there happens to be a second entry.
Airplane Law:
When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer to is on
Alan's Law of Research
The theory is supported as long as the funds are.
Albrecht's Law:
Social innovations tend to the level of minimum tolerable well being.
Algren's Precepts:
Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never play cards with a man named Doc.
And never lie down with a woman who's got more troubles than you.
Allen's Law of Civilization:
It is better for civilization to be going down the drain than to be coming up it.
Agnes Allen's Law:
Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.
Allen's Axiom
When all else fails, follow instructions.
Allen's Distinction
The lion and the calf shall lie down together, but the calf won't get much
Fred Allen's Motto:
I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy.
Alley's Axiom:
Justice always prevails . . . three times out of seven.
Alligator Allegory:
The objective of all dedicated product support employees should be to
thoroughly analyze all situations, anticipate all problems prior to their
occurrence, have answers for these problems, and move swiftly to solve these
problems when called upon. However, when you are up to your ass in
alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to
drain the swamp.
Allison's Precept
The best simple-minded test of expertise in a particular area is the ability to
win money in a series of bets on future occurrences in that area.
Anderson's Law
Any system or program, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right
way, will become even more complicated.
Andrews's Canoeing Postulate:
No matter which direction you start it's always against the wind coming back.
Law of Annoyance:
When working on a project, if you put away a tool that you're certain you're
finished with, you will need it instantly.
Anthony's Law of Force:
Don't force it, get a larger hammer.
Anthony's Law of the Workshop:
Any tool, when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner of the

Corollary: On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first always strike
your toes.
Laws of Applied Confusion:
The one piece that the plant forgot to ship is the one that supports 75% of
the balance of the shipment.
Corollary: Not only did the plant forget to ship it, 50% of the time they
haven't even made it.
Truck deliveries that normally take one day will take five when you are waiting
for the truck.
After adding two weeks to the schedule for unexpected delays, add two more
for the unexpected, unexpected delays.
In any structure, pick out the one piece that should not be mismarked and
expect the plant to cross you up.
In any group of pieces with the same erection mark on it, one should not
have that mark on it.
It will not be discovered until you try to put it where the mark says it's
supposed to go.
Never argue with the fabricating plant about an error. The inspection prints
are all checked off, even to the holes that aren't there.
Approval Seeker's Law:
Those whose approval you seek the most give you the least.
The Aquinas Axiom:
What the gods get away with, the cows don't.
Army Axiom:
Any order that can be misunderstood has been misunderstood.
Army Law:
If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; if you can't pick it up,
paint it.
Ashley-Perry Statistical Axioms:
Numbers are tools, not rules.
Numbers are symbols for things; the number and the thing are not the same.
Skill in manipulating numbers is a talent, not evidence of divine guidance.
Like other occult techniques of divination, the statistical method has a private
jargon deliberately contrived to obscure its methods from nonpractitioners.
The product of an arithmetical computation is the answer to an equation; it is
not the solution to a problem.
Arithmetical proofs of theorems that do not have arithmetical bases prove
Astrology Law:
It's always the wrong time of the month.
Fourteenth Corollary of Atwood's General Law of Dynamic Negatives:
No books are lost by loaning except those you particularly wanted to keep.
Avery's Rule of Three:
Trouble strikes in series of threes, but when working around the house the
next job after a series of three is not the fourth job -- it's the start of a brand
new series of three.

Babcock's Law:
If it can be borrowed and it can be broken, you will borrow it and you will
break it.
Baer's Quartet:
What's good politics is bad economics; what's bad politics is good economics;
what's good economics is bad politics; what's bad economics is good politics.
Bagdikian's Law of Editor's Speeches:
The splendor of an editor's speech and the splendor of his newspaper are
inversely related to the distance between the city in which he makes his
speech and the city in which he publishes his paper.
Baker's Byroad:
When you are over the hill, you pick up speed.
Baker's Law:
Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.
Baldy's Law:
Some of it plus the rest of it is all of it.
Barber's Laws of Backpacking
The integral of the gravitational potential taken around any loop trail you
chose to hike always comes out positive.
Any stone in your boot always migrates against the pressure gradient to
exactly the point of most pressure.
The weight of your pack increases in direct proportion to the amount of food
you consume from it. If you run out of food, the pack weight goes on
increasing anyway.
The number of stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of
hours you have been on the trail.
The difficulty of finding any given trail marker is directly proportional to the
importance of the consequences of failing to find it.
The size of each of the stones in your boot is directly proportional to the
number of hours you have been on the trail.
The remaining distance to your chosen campsite remains constant as twilight
The net weight of your boots is proportional to the cube of the number of
hours you have been on the trail.
When you arrive at your chosen campsite, it is full.
If you take your boots off, you'll never get them back on again.
The local density of mosquitos is inversely proportional to your remaining
Barrett's Laws of Driving:
You can get ANYWHERE in ten minutes if you go fast enough.
Speed bumps are of negligible effect when the vehicle exceeds triple the
desired restraining speed.
The vehicle in front of you is traveling slower than you are.
This lane ends in 500 feet.
Barr's Comment on Domestic Tranquility:
On a beautiful day like this it's hard to believe anyone can be unhappy -- but
we'll work on it.
Barth's Distinction
There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and
those who don't.

Bartz's Law of Hokey Horsepuckery:

The more ridiculous a belief system, the higher the probability of its success.
Baruch's Rule for Determining Old Age:
Old age is always fifteen years older than I am.
Barzun's Laws of Learning
The simple but difficult arts of paying attention, copying accurately, following
an argument, detecting an ambiguity or a false inference, testing guesses by
summoning up contrary instances, organizing one's time and one's thought
for study -- all these arts -- cannot be taught in the air but only through the
difficulties of a defined subject. They cannot be taught in one course or one
year, but must be acquired gradually in dozens of connections.
The analogy to athletics must be pressed until all recognize that in the
exercise of Intellect those who lack the muscles, coordination, and will power
can claim no place at the training table, let alone on the playing field.
Forthoffer's Cynical Summary of Barzun's Laws
That which has not yet been taught directly can never be taught directly.
If at first you don't succeed, you will never succeed.
Baxter's First Law:
Government intervention in the free market always leads to a lower national
standard of living.
Baxter's Second Law:
The adoption of fractional gold reserves in a currency system always leads to
depreciation, devaluation, demonetization and, ultimately, to complete
destruction of that currency.
Baxter's Third Law:
In a free market good money always drives bad money out of circulation.
Beardsley's Warning to Lawyers:
Beware of and eschew pompous prolixity.
Beauregard's Law:
When you're up to your nose, keep your mouth shut.
Becker's Law:
It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.
Beers Law of Reciprocating Systems Dynamics:
Some mistakes are too fun to make only once.
Beifeld's Principle:
The probability of a young man meeting a desirable and receptive young
female increases by pyramidal progression when he is already in the company
of (1) a date, (2) his wife, and (3) a better looking and richer male friend.
Belle's Constant:
The ratio of time involved in work to time available for work is usually about
Benchley's Distinction:
There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and
those who don't.
Benchley's Law:
Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed
to be doing at that moment.
Berkeley's Laws:
The world is more complicated than most of our theories make it out to be.
Ignorance is no excuse.

Never decide to buy something while listening to the salesman.

Information which is true meets a great many different tests very well.
Most problems have either many answers or no answer. Only a few problems
have a single answer.
An answer may be wrong, right, both, or neither. Most answers are partly
right and partly wrong.
A chain of reasoning is no stronger than its weakest link.
A statement may be true independently of illogical reasoning.
Most general statements are false, including this one.
An exception TESTS a rule; it NEVER PROVES it.
The moment you have worked out an answer, start checking it -- it probably
isn't right.
If there is an opportunity to make a mistake, sooner or later the mistake will
be made.
Being sure mistakes will occur is a good frame of mind for catching them.
Check the answer you have worked out once more -- before you tell it to
Estimating a figure may be enough to catch an error.
Figures calculated in a rush are very hot; they should be allowed to cool off a
little before being used; thus we will have a reasonable time to think about
the figures and catch mistakes.
A great many problems do not have accurate answers, but do have
approximate answers, from which sensible decisions can be made.
Berra's Law:
You can observe a lot just by watching.
Berson's Corollary of Inverse Distances:
The farther away from the entrance that you have to park, the closer the
space vacated by the car that pulls away as you walk up to the door.
Bicycle Law:
All bicycles weigh 50 pounds:
A 30-pound bicycle needs a 20-pound lock and chain.
A 40-pound bicycle needs a 10-pound lock and chain.
A 50-pound bicycle needs no lock or chain.
First Law of Bicycling:
No matter which way you ride it's uphill and against the wind.
The Billings Phenomenon:
The conclusions of most good operations research studies are obvious.
Billings's Law:
Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so.
Blaauw's Law:
Established technology tends to persist in spite of new technology.
Blanchard's Newspaper Obituary Law:
If you want your name spelled wrong, die.
Bok's Law:
If you think education is expensive -- try ignorance.
Boling's Postulate:
If you're feeling good, don't worry. You'll get over it.
Bolton's Law of Ascending Budgets:
Under current practices, both expenditures and revenues rise to meet each
other, no matter which one may be in excess.

Bombeck's Rule of Medicine:

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
Bonafede's Revelation:
The conventional wisdom is that power is an aphrodisiac. In truth, it's
Boob's Law:
You always find something the last place you look.
Booker's Law:
An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction.
Boozer's Revision:
A bird in the hand is dead.
Boren's Laws of the Bureaucracy:
When in doubt, mumble.
When in trouble, delegate.
When in charge, ponder.
Borkowski's Law:
You can't guard against the arbitrary.
Borstelmann's Rule:
If everything seems to be coming your way, you're probably in the wrong
Boston's Irreversible Law of Clutter:
In any household, junk accumulates to fill the space available for its storage.
Boultbee's Criterion:
If the converse of a statement is absurd, the original statement is an insult to
the intelligence and should never have been said.
Boyle's Laws:
The success of any venture will be helped by prayer, even in the wrong
When things are going well, someone will inevitably experiment detrimentally.
The deficiency will never show itself during the dry runs.
Information travels more surely to those with a lesser need to know.
An original idea can never emerge from committee in the original.
When the product is destined to fail, the delivery system will perform
The crucial memorandum will be snared in the out-basket by the paper clip of
the overlying correspondence and go to file.
Success can be insured only by devising a defense against failure of the
contingency plan.
Performance is directly affected by the perversity of inanimate objects.
If not controlled, work will flow to the competent man until he submerges.
The lagging activity in a project will invariably be found in the area where the
highest overtime rates lie waiting.
Talent in staff work or sales will recurringly be interpreted as managerial
The "think positive" leader tends to listen to his subordinates' premonitions
only during the postmortems.
Clearly stated instructions will consistently produce multiple interpretations.
On successive charts of the same organization the number of boxes will never
Branch's First Law of Crisis:

The spirit of public service will rise, and the bureaucracy will multiply itself
much faster, in time of grave national concern.
First Law of Bridge:
It's always the partner's fault.
Brien's First Law:
At some time in the life cycle of virtually every organization, its ability to
succeed in spite of itself runs out.
Broder's Law:
Anybody that wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years
organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.
Brontosaurus Principle:
Organizations can grow faster than their brains can manage them in relation
to their environment and to their own physiology; when this occurs, they are
an endangered species.
Brooks's Law:
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
Brooke's Law:
Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers
something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond
Brownian Motion Rule of Bureacracies:
It is impossible to distinguish, from a distance, whether the bureaucrats
associated with your project are simply sitting on their hands, or frantically
trying to cover their asses.
Heisenberg's Addendum to Brownian Bureaucracy: If you observe a
bureaucrat closely enough to make the distinction above, he will react to your
observation by covering his ass.
(Jerry) Brown's Law:
Too often I find that the volume of paper expands to fill the available
(Sam) Brown's Law:
Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.
(Tony) Brown's Law of Business Success:
Our customer's paperwork is profit. Our own paperwork is loss.
Bruce-Briggs's Law of Traffic:
At any level of traffic, any delay is intolerable.
Buchwald's Law:
As the economy gets better, everything else gets worse.
Bucy's Law:
Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.
Bunuel's Law:
Overdoing things is harmful in all cases, even when it comes to efficiency.
Bureaucratic Cop-Out #1:
You should have seen it when *I* got it.
Burns's Balance:
If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions aren't likely to be very good.
Bustlin' Billy's Bogus Beliefs:
The organization of any program reflects the organization of the people who
develop it.
There is no such thing as a "dirty capitalist", only a capitalist.

Anything is possible, but nothing is easy.

Capitalism can exist in one of only two states -- welfare or warfare.
I'd rather go whoring than warring.
History proves nothing.
There is nothing so unbecoming on the beach as a wet kilt.
A little humility is arrogance.
A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.
Butler's Law of Progress:
All progress is based on a universal innate desire on the part of every
organism to live beyond its income.
Bye's First Law of Model Railroading:
Anytime you wish to demonstrate something, the number of faults is
proportional to the number of viewers.
Bye's Second Law of Model Railroading:
The desire for modeling a prototype is inversely proportional to the decline of
the prototype.

Cahn's Axiom (Allen's Axiom):
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Calkin's Law of Menu Language:
The number of adjectives and verbs that are added to the description of a
menu item is in inverse proportion to the quality of the resulting dish.
John Cameron's Law:
No matter how many times you've had it, if it's offered, take it, because it'll
never be quite the same again.
Camp's Law:
A coup that is known in advance is a coup that does not take place.
Campbell's Law:
Nature abhors a vacuous experimenter.
Canada Bill Jones's Motto:
It's morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money.
Canada Bill Jones's Supplement:
A Smith and Wesson beats four aces.
Cannon's Cogent Comment:
The leak in the roof is never in the same location as the drip.
Cannon's Comment:
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the
next morning you will have a flat tire.
Carson's Law
It's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick.
Cartoon Laws
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its
situation. Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters
in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point,
the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.
Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes
suddenly. Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon
characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or

an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton
called this sudden termination of motion the stooge's surcease.
Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to
its perimeter. Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the
speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards
who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a
house, leaving a cookie-cutout- perfect hole. The threat of skunks or
matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.
The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal
to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty
flights to attempt to capture it unbroken. Such an object is inevitably
priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.
All principles of gravity are negated by fear. Psychic forces are sufficient in
most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth's
surface. A spooky noise or an adversary's signature sound will induce motion
upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a
flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding
auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.
As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once. This is
particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character's head may be
glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places
simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning
or being throttled. A 'wacky' character has the option of self- replication only
at manic high speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity
Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel
entrances; others cannot. This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled
generation, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a
wall's surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this
theoretical space. The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts
to follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.
Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent. Cartoon cats
possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably
afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion-pleated, spindled,
or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of
blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify. Corollary: A
cat will assume the shape of its container.
For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance. This is the
one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the physical world at
large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck
Everything falls faster than an anvil. Examples too numerous to mention from
the Roadrunner cartoons.
Cavanaugh's Postulate:
All kookies are not in a jar.
Law of Character and Appearance:
People don't change; they only become more so.
Checkbook Balancer's Law:
In matters of dispute, the bank's balance is always smaller than yours.
Cheops's Law:
Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
Chili Cook's Secret:

If your next pot of chili tastes better, it probably is because of something left
out, rather than added.
Chisholm's First Law and Corollary: see Murphy's Third and Fifth Laws.
Chisholm's Second Law:
When things are going well, something will go wrong.
When things just can't get any worse, they will.
Anytime things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.
Chisholm's Third Law:
Proposals, as understood by the proposer, will be judged otherwise by others.
If you explain so clearly that nobody can misunderstand, somebody will.
If you do something which you are sure will meet with everyone's approval,
somebody won't like it.
Procedures devised to implement the purpose won't quite work.
No matter how long or how many times you explain, no one is listening.
The First Discovery of Christmas Morning: Batteries not included.
Churchill's Commentary on Man:
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick
himself up and continue on as though nothing has happened.
Ciardi's Poetry Law:
Whenever in time, and wherever in the universe, any man speaks or writes in
any detail about the technical management of a poem, the resulting
irascibility of the reader's response is a constant.
Clarke's First Law:
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible,
he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he
is very probably wrong.
Corollary (Asimov): When the lay public rallies round an idea that is
denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists, and supports that idea with
great fervor and emotion -- the distinguished but elderly scientists are then,
after all, right.
Clarke's Second Law:
The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into
the impossible.
Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas:
Every revolutionary idea -- in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever -- evokes
three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:
"It is completely impossible -- don't waste my time."
"It is possible, but it is not worth doing."
"I said it was a good idea all along."
Clark's First Law of Relativity:
No matter how often you trade dinner or other invitations with in-laws, you
will lose a small fortune in the exchange.
Corollary: Don't try it: you cannot drink enough of your in-laws' booze to get
even before your liver fails.
Clark's Law:
It's always darkest just before the lights go out.

Cleveland's Highway Law:

Highways in the worst need of repair naturally have low traffic counts, which
results in low priority for repair work.
Clopton's Law:
For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.
Clyde's Law:
If you have something to do, and you put it off long enough, chances are
someone else will do it for you.
Cohen's Law:
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts -- not
the facts themselves.
Cohen's Laws of Politics:
Law of Alienation:
Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning
Law of Ambition:
At any one time, thousands of borough councilmen, school board members,
attorneys, and businessmen -- as well as congressmen, senators, and
governors -- are dreaming of the White House, but few, if any of them, will
make it.
Law of Attraction:
Power attracts people but it cannot hold them.
Law of Competition:
The more qualified candidates who are available, the more likely the
compromise will be on the candidate whose main qualification is a
nonthreatening incompetence.
Law of Inside Dope:
There are many inside dopes in politics and government.
Law of Lawmaking:
Those who express random thoughts to legislative committees are often
surprised and appalled to find themselves the instigators of law.
Law of Permanence:
Political power is as permanent as today's newspaper. Ten years from now,
few will know or care who the most powerful man in any state was today.
Law of Secrecy:
The best way to publicize a governmental or political action is to attempt to
hide it.
Law of Wealth:
Victory goes to the candidate with the most accumulated or contributed
wealth who has the financial resources to convince the middle class and poor
that he will be on their side.
Law of Wisdom:
Wisdom is considered a sign of weakness by the powerful because a wise man
can lead without power but only a powerful man can lead without wisdom.
Cohn's Law:
The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time
you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time
doing nothing but reporting on the nothing you are doing.
Cole's Law:
Thinly sliced cabbage.

Mr. Cole's Axiom:

The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is
Colson's Law:
If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
Comins's Law:
People will accept your idea much more readily if you tell them Benjamin
Franklin said it first.
Committee Rules:
Never arrive on time, or you will be stamped a beginner.
Don't say anything until the meeting is half over; this stamps you as being
Be as vague as possible; this prevents irritating the others.
When in doubt, suggest that a subcommittee be appointed.
Be the first to move for adjournment; this will make you popular -- it's what
everyone is waiting for.
Commoner's Three Laws of Ecology:
No action is without side-effects.
Nothing ever goes away.
There is no free lunch.
Law of Computability
Any system or program, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right
way, will become even more complicated.
Law of Computability Applied to Social Science:
If at first you don't succeed, transform your data set.
Laws of computer programming
Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
Any given program costs more and takes longer.
If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
Any program will expand to fill available memory.
The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capabilities of the programmer
who must maintain it.
Any non-trivial program contains at least one bug.
Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors,
which by definition are limited.
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology: There's always one more bug.
First Maxim of Computers
To err is human, but to really screw things up requires a computer.
Connolly's Law of Cost Control:
The price of any product produced for a government agency will be not less
than the square of the initial Firm Fixed-Price Contract.
Connolly's Rule for Political Incumbents:
Short-term success with voters on any side of a given issue can be
guaranteed by creating a long-term special study commission made up of at
least three divergent interest groups.
Conrad's Conundrum
Technologie don't transfer.

Considine's Law:
Whenever one word or letter can change the entire meaning of a sentence,
the probability of an error being made will be in direct proportion to the
embarrassment it will cause.
Conway's Law #1
If you assign N persons to write a compiler you'll get a N-1 pass compiler.
Conway's Law #2
In every organization there will always be one person who knows what is
going on. -> This person must be fired.
Cooke's Law:
In any decisive situation, the amount of relevant information available is
inversely proportional to the importance of the decision.
Cook's Law:
Much work, much food; little work, little food; no work, burial at sea.
Coolidge's Immutable Observation:
When more and more people are thrown out of work, unemployment results.
Cooper's Law:
All machines are amplifiers.
Cooper's Metalaw:
A proliferation of new laws creates a proliferation of new loopholes.
Mr. Cooper's Law:
If you do not understand a particular word in a piece of technical writing,
ignore it. The piece will make perfect sense without it.
Corcoroni's Laws of Bus Transportation:
The bus that left the stop just before you got there is your bus.
The amount of time you have to wait for a bus is directly proportional to the
inclemency of the weather.
All buses heading in the opposite direction drive off the face of the earth and
never return.
The last rush-hour express bus to your neighborhood leaves five minutes
before you get off work.
Bus schedules are arranged so your bus will arrive at the transfer point
precisely one minute after the connecting bus has left.
Any bus that can be the wrong bus will be the wrong bus. All others are out of
service or full.
Cornuelle's Law:
Authority tends to assign jobs to those least able to do them.
Corry's Law:
Paper is always strongest at the perforations.
Courtois's Rule:
If people listened to themselves more often, they'd talk less.
Crane's Law (Friedman's Reiteration):
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. ("tanstaafl")
Mark Miller's Exception to Crane's Law:
There are no "free lunches", but sometimes it costs more to collect money
than to give away food.
Crane's Rule:
There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone, or
forbid your kids to do it.
Cripp's Law:

When traveling with children on one's holidays, at least one child of any
number of children will request a rest room stop exactly halfway between any
two given rest areas.
Cropp's Law:
The amount of work done varies inversely with the amount of time spent in
the office.
Culshaw's First Principle of Recorded Sound:
Anything, no matter how bad, will sound good if played back at a very high
level for a short time.
Cutler Webster's Law:
There are two sides to every argument unless a man is personally involved, in
which case there is only one.
Czecinski's Conclusion:
There is only one thing worse than dreaming you are at a conference and
waking to find that you are at a conference, and that is the conference where
you can't fall asleep.

Darrow's Observation:
History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.
Darwin's Observation:
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
Dave's Law of Advice:
Those with the best advice offer no advice.
Dave's Rule of Street Survival:
Speak softly and own a big, mean Doberman.
Davidson's Maxim:
Democracy is that form of government where everybody gets what the
majority deserves.
Davis's Basic Law of Medicine:
Pills to be taken in twos always come out of the bottle in threes.
de la Lastra's Law
After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover,
it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed.
de la Lastra's Corollary
After an access cover has been secured by 16 hold-down screws, it will be
discovered that the gasket has been ommitted.
Deadlock's Law:
If the law-makers make a compromise, the place where it will be felt most is
the taxpayer's pocket.
Corollary: The compromise will always be more expensive than either of the
suggestions it is compromising.
Dean's Law of the District of Columbia:
Washington is a much better place if you are asking questions rather than
answering them.
First Law of Debate:
Never argue with a fool. People might not know the difference.
Decaprio's Rule
Everything takes more time and money.

Deitz's Law of Ego:

The fury engendered by the misspelling of a name in a column is in direct
ratio to the obscurity of the mentionee.
Dennis's Principles of Management by Crisis:
To get action out of management, it is necessary to create the illusion of a
crisis in the hope it will be acted upon.
Management will select actions or events and convert them to crises. It will
then over-react.
Management is incapable of recognizing a true crisis.
The squeaky hinge gets the oil.
Dhawan's Laws for the Non-Smoker:
The cigarette smoke always drifts in the direction of the non-smoker
regardless of the direction of the breeze.
The amount of pleasure derived from a cigarette is directly proportional to the
number of non-smokers in the vicinity.
A smoker is always attracted to the non-smoking section.
The life of a cigarette is directly proportional to the intensity of the protests
from non-smokers.
Dieter's Law:
Food that tastes the best has the highest number of calories.
Dijkstra's Prescription for Programming Inertia:
If you don't know what your program is supposed to do, you'd better not start
writing it.
Diogenes's First Dictum:
The more heavily a man is supposed to be taxed, the more power he has to
escape being taxed.
Diogenes's Second Dictum:
If a taxpayer thinks he can cheat safely, he probably will.
Dirksen's Three Laws of Politics:
Get elected.
Get re-elected.
Don't get mad -- get even.
Principle of Displaced Hassle:
To beat the bureaucracy, make your problem their problem.
Donohue's Law:
Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
Donsen's Law:
The specialist learns more and more about less and less until, finally, he
knows everything about nothing; whereas the generalist learns less and less
about more and more until, finally, he knows nothing about everything.
Laws of Dormitory Life:
The amount of trash accumulated within the space occupied is exponentially
proportional to the number of living bodies that enter and leave within any
given amount of time.
Since no matter can be created or destroyed (excluding nuclear and cafeteria
substances), as one attempts to remove unwanted material (i.e., trash) from
one's living space, the remaining material mutates so as to occupy 30 to 50
percent more than its original volume.
Corollary: Dust breeds.

The odds are 6:5 that if one has late classes, one's roommate will have the
EARLIEST possible classes.
Corollary 1: One's roommate (who has early classes) has an alarm clock that
is louder than God's own.
Corollary 2: When one has an early class, one's roommate will invariably
enter the space late at night and suddenly become hyperactive, ill, violent, or
all three.
Douglas's Law of Practical Aeronautics:
When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane
will fly.
Dow's Law:
In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.
Dror's First Law:
While the difficulties and dangers of problems tend to increase at a geometric
rate, the knowledge and manpower qualified to deal with these problems tend
to increase linearly.
Dror's Second Law:
While human capacities to shape the environment, society, and human beings
are rapidly increasing, policymaking capabilities to use those capacities
remain the same.
Ducharme's Precept
Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.
Dude's Law of Duality:
Of two possible events, only the undesired one will occur.
Dunne's Law:
The territory behind rhetoric is too often mined with equivocation.
Dunn's Discovery:
The shortest measurable interval of time is the time between the moment one
puts a little extra aside for a sudden emergency and the arrival of that
Durant's Discovery:
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and
always a clever thing to say.
Durrell's Parameter:
The faster the plane, the narrower the seats.
Dyer's Law:
A continuing flow of paper is sufficient to continue the flow of paper.

Economists' Laws:
What men learn from history is that men do not learn from history.
If on an actuarial basis there is a 50-50 chance that something will go wrong,
it will actually go wrong nine times out of ten.
Edington's Theory:
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological
phenomenon is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
Law of Editorial Correction:
Anyone nit-picking enough to write a letter of correction to an editor
doubtless deserves the error that provoked it.

Ehrlich's Rule:
The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
Ehrman's Commentary
Things will get worse before they will get better. Who said things would get
Eliot's Observation:
Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.
Ellenberg's Theory:
One good turn gets most of the blanket.
Emerson's Insight:
That which we call sin in others is experiment for us.
Old Engineer's Law:
The larger the project or job, the less time there is to do it.
The "Enough Already" Law:
The more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets.
Extended Epstein-Heisenberg Principle:
In an R & D orbit, only 2 of the existing 3 parameters can be defined
simultaneously. The parameters are: task, time, and resources ($). 1) If one
knows what the task is, and there is a time limit allowed for the completion of
the task, then one cannot guess how much it will cost. 2) If the time and
resources ($) are clearly defined, then it is impossible to know what part of
the R & D task will be performed. 3) If you are given a clearly defined R & D
goal and a definte amount of money which has been calculated to be
necessary for the completion of the task, one cannot predict if and when the
goal will be reached. 4) If one is lucky enough to be able to accurately define
all three parameters, then what one is dealing with is not in the realm of R &
Epstein's Law:
If you think the problem is bad now, just wait until we've solved it.
Ettorre's Observation:
The other line moves faster.
Corollary: Don't try to change lines. The other line -- the one you were in
originally -- will then move faster.
Evans's Law:
Nothing worth a damn is ever done as a matter of principle. (If it is worth
doing, it is done because it is worth doing. If it is not, it's done as a matter of
Evans's Law of Politics:
When team members are finally in a position to help the team, it turns out
they have quit the team.
Evelyn's Rules for Bureaucratic Survival:
A bureaucrat's castle is his desk . . . and parking place. Proceed cautiously
when changing either.
On the theory that one should never take anything for granted, follow up on
everything, but especially those items varying from the norm. The greater the
divergence from normal routine and/or the greater the number of offices
potentially involved, the better the chance a never-to-be-discovered person
will file the problem away in a drawer specifically designed for items requiring
a decision.
Never say without qualification that your activity has sufficient space, money,
staff, etc.

Always distrust offices not under your jurisdiction which say that they are
there to serve you. "Support" offices in a bureaucracy tend to grow in size
and make demands on you out of proportion to their service, and in the end
require more effort on your part than their service is worth.
Corollary: Support organizations can always prove success by showing service
to someone . . . not necessarily you.
Incompetents often hire able assistants.
Everitt's Form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics:
Confusion (entropy) is always increasing in society. Only if someone or
something works extremely hard can this confusion be reduced to order in a
limited region. Nevertheless, this effort will stil result in an increase in the
total confusion of society at large.
Eve's Discovery:
At a bargain sale, the only suit or dress that you like best and that fits is the
one not on sale.
Adam's Corollary: It's easy to tell when you've got a bargain -- it doesn't fit.
Nonreciprocal Laws of Expectations:
Negative expectations yield negative results.
Positive expectations yield negative results.
First Law of Expert Advice:
Don't ask the barber whether you need a haircut.

Faber's Laws:
If there isn't a law, there will be.
The number of errors in any piece of writing rises in proportion to the writer's
reliance on secondary sources.
Fairfax's Law:
Any facts which, when included in the argument, give the desired result, are
fair facts for the argument.
Falkland's Rule:
When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a
Farber's First Law:
Give him an inch and he'll screw you.
Farber's Second Law:
A hand in the bush is worth two anywhere else.
Farber's Third Law:
We're all going down the same road in different directions.
Farber's Fourth Law:
Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.
Farnsdick's corollary
After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat itself.
Farrow's Finding:
If God had intended for us to go to concerts, He would have given us tickets.
Law of Fashion:
Any given dress is: indecent 10 years before its time, daring 1 year before its
time, chic in its time, dowdy 3 years after its time, hideous 20 years after its

time, amusing 30 years after its time, romantic 100 years after its time, and
beautiful 150 years after its time.
Rule of Feline Frustration:
When your cat has fallen asleep on your lap and looks utterly content and
adorable, you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom.
Fetridge's Law:
Important things that are supposed to happen do not happen, especially when
people are looking.
Fett's Law of the Lab:
Never replicate a successful experiment.
The Fifth Rule:
You have taken yourself too seriously.
Finagle's Creed:
Science is Truth. Don't be misled by fact.
Finagle's First Law:
If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
Finagle's Second Law:
No matter what result is anticipated, there will always be someone eager to
(a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened according to his own
pet theory.
Finagle's Third Law:
In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of
checking, is the mistake.
No one whom you ask for help will see it.
Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.
Finagle's Fourth Law:
Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.
Finagle's Law According to Niven:
The perversity of the universe tends to a maximum.
Finagle's Laws of Information:
The information you have is not what you want.
The information you want is not what you need.
The information you need is not what you can obtain.
The information you can obtain costs more than you want to pay.
Finagle's Rules:
Ever since the first scientific experiment, man has been plagued by the
increasing antagonism of nature. It seems only right that nature should be
logical and neat, but experience has shown that this is not the case. A further
series of rules has been formulated, designed to help man accept the
pigheadedness of nature.
To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
Always keep a record of data. It indicates you've been working.
Always draw your curves, then plot the reading.
In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
Experiments should be reproducible. They should all fail in the same way.
When you don't know what you are doing, do it NEATLY.
Teamwork is essential; it allows you to blame someone else.
Always verify your witchcraft.
Be sure to obtain meteorological data before leaving on vacation.

Do not believe in miracles. Rely on them.

Fishbein's Conclusion:
The tire is only flat on the bottom.
Fitz-Gibbon's Law:
Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved with the broth.
Flap's Law:
Any inanimate object, regardless of its composition or configuration, may be
expected to perform at any time in a totally unexpected manner for reasons
that are either entirely obscure or completely mysterious.
Ford Pinto Rule:
Never buy a car that has a wick.
Fortis's Three Great Lies of Life:
Money isn't everything.
It's great to be a Negro.
I'm only going to put it in a little way.
Three Lies According to Playboy:
The check's in the mail.
Anticipation is half the fun.
I promise I won't come in your mouth.
Hare's Additional Lie: This will hurt me more than it hurts you.
Lowry's Additional Lie: I've never done this before.
Foster's Law:
If you cover a congressional committee on a regular basis, they will report the
bill on your day off.
Fowler's Law:
In a bureaucracy, accomplishment is inversely proportional to the volume of
paper used.
Fowler's Note:
The only imperfect thing in nature is the human race.
Frankel's Law:
Whatever happens in government could have happened differently, and it
usually would have been better if it had.
Corollary: Once things have happened, no matter how accidentally, they will
be regarded as manifestations of an unchangeable Higher Reason.
Franklin's Observation:
He that lives upon Hope dies farting.
Franklin's Rule:
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.
Freeman's Law:
Nothing is so simple it cannot be misunderstood.
Freemon's Rule:
Circumstances can force a generalized incompetent to become competent, at
least in a specialized field.
Fried's Law:
Ideas endure and prosper in inverse proportion to their soundness and
Laws of the Frisbee:
The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc straining to land under a
car, just beyond reach. (The technical term for this force is "car suck".)

The higher the quality of a catch or the comment it receives, the greater the
probability of a crummy return throw. ("Good catch. . . Bad throw.")
One must never precede any maneuver by a comment more predictive than,
"Watch this!" (Keep 'em guessing.)
The higher the costs of hitting any object, the greater the certainty it will be
struck. (Remember: The disk is positive; cops and old ladies are clearly
The best catches are never seen. ("Did you see that?" "See what?")
The greatest single aid to distance is for the disc to be going in a direction you
did not want. (Wrong way = long way.)
The most powerful hex words in the sport are: "I really have this down -watch." (Know it? Blow it!)
In any crowd of spectators at least one will suggest that razor blades could be
attached to the disc. ("You could maim and kill with that thing.")
The greater your need to make a good catch, the greater the probability your
partner will deliver his worst throw. (If you can't touch it, you can't trick it.)
The single most difficult move with a disc is to put it down. ("Just one more!")
Frisch's Law:
You cannot have a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.
Frothingham's Fallacy:
Time is money.
Fudd's First Law of Opposition:
If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.
Teslacle's Deviant to Fudd's Law:
It goes in -- it must come out.
Funkhouser's Law of the Power of the Press:
The quality of legislation passed to deal with a problem is inversely
proportional to the volume of media clamor that brought it on.
Futility Factor (Carson's Consolation):
No experiment is ever a complete failure -- it can always serve as a bad
example, or the exception that proves the rule (but only if it is the first
experiment in the series).
Fyffe's Axiom:
The problem-solving process will always break down at the point at which it is
possible to determine who caused the problem.

Gadarene Swine Law:
Merely because the group is in formation does not mean that the group is on
the right course.
Galbraith's Law of Political Wisdom:
Anyone who says he isn't going to resign, four times, definitely will.
Galbraith's Law of Prominence:
Getting on the cover of "Time" guarantees the existence of opposition in the
Gallois's Revelation:
If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But
this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is
somehow ennobled, and no one dares to criticize it.

Corollary - An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping
on to the Grand Fallacy.
Laws of Gardening:
Other people's tools work only in other people's yards.
Fancy gizmos don't work.
If nobody uses it, there's a reason.
You get the most of what you need the least.
Gardner's Rule of Society:
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a
humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an
exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither
its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
Gell-Mann's Dictum: Whatever isn't forbidden is required.
Corollary: If there's no reason why something shouldn't exist, then it must
Law of Generalizations: All generalizations are false.
Gerrold's Fundamental Truth
It's a good thing money can't buy happiness. We couldn't stand the
Gerrold's Law
A little ignorance can go a long way.
(Lyall's Addendum: the direction of maximum harm.)
Gerrold's Pronouncement
The difference between a politician and a snail is that a snail leaves its slime
Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics
An object in motion will be heading in the wrong direction.
An object at rest will be in the wrong place.
Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics:
An object in motion will always be headed in the wrong direction.
An object at rest will always be in the wrong place.
The energy required to change either one of the states will always be more
than you wish to expend, but never so much as to make the task totally
Getty's Reminder:
The meek shall inherit the earth, but NOT its mineral rights.
Gibb's Law
Infinity is one lawyer waiting for another.
Gilb's Laws of Unreliability (see also Troutman's Laws of Computer
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.
Corollary: At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you
will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the
Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
The only difference between the fool and the criminal who attacks a system is
that the fool attacks unpredictably and on a broader front.
A system tends to grow in terms of complexity rather than of simplification,
until the resulting unreliability becomes intolerable.

Self-checking systems tend to have a complexity in proportion to the inherent

unreliability of the system in which they are used.
The error-detection and correction capabilities of any system will serve as the
key to understanding the type of errors which they cannot handle.
Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors,
which by definition are limited.
All real programs contain errors until proved otherwise -- which is impossible.
Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of
errors, or somebody insists on getting some useful work done.
Gilmer's Motto for Political Leadership:
Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone's following you.
Ginsberg's Theorem (Generalized Laws of Thermodynamics):
You can't win.
You can't break even.
You can't even quit the game.
Ehrman's Commentary on Ginberg's Theorem:
Things will get worse before they get better.
Who said things would get better?
Freeman's Commentary on Ginberg's Theorem:
Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem meaningful is based
on the negation of one part of Ginsberg's Theorem. To wit:
Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.
Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.
Glatum's Law of Materialistic Acquisitiveness:
The perceived usefulness of an article is inversely proportional to its actual
usefulness once bought and paid for.
Godin's Law:
Generalizedness of incompetence is directly proportional to highestness in
Golden Principle:
Nothing will be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
The Golden Rule of Arts and Sciences:
Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
Gold's Law
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.
(Bill) Gold's Law:
A column about errors will contain errors.
(Vic) Gold's Law:
The candidate who is expected to do well because of experience and
reputation (Douglas, Nixon) must do BETTER than well, while the candidate
expected to fare poorly (Lincoln, Kennedy) can put points on the media board
simply by surviving.
Goldwyn's Law of Contracts:
A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
Golub's Laws of Computerdom:
Fuzzy project objectives are used to avoid the embarrassment of estimating
the corresponding costs.
A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than
expected; a carefully planned project takes only twice as long.

The effort requires to correct course increases geometrically with time.

Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests
their lack of progress.
The 19 Rules for good Riting:
Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
Just between you and I, case is important.
Verbs has to agree with their subject.
Watch out for irregular verbs which has cropped up into our language.
Don't use no double negatives.
A writer mustn't shift your point of view.
When dangling, don't use participles.
Join clauses good like a conjunction should.
And don't use conjunctions to start sentences.
Don't use a run-on sentence you got to punctuate it.
About sentence fragments.
In letters themes reports articles and stuff like that we use commas to keep
strings apart.
Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
Its important to use apostrophe's right.
Don't abbrev.
Check to see if you any words out.
In my opinion I think that the author when he is writing should not get into
the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words which he does not
really need.
Then, of course, there's that old one: Never use a preposition to end a
sentence with.
Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
Goodfader's Law:
Under any system, a few sharpies will beat the rest of us.
Goodin's Law of Conversions
The new hardware will break down as soon as the old is disconnected and
Gordon's First Law:
If a research project is not worth doing, it is not worth doing well.
Professor Gordon's Rule of Evolving Bryophytic Systems:
While bryophytic plants are typically encountered in substrata of earthy or
mineral matter in concreted state, discrete substrata elements occasionally
display a roughly spherical configuration which, in presence of suitable
gravitational and other effects, lends itself to combined translatory and
rotational motion. One notices in such cases an absence of the otherwise
typical accretion of bryophyta. We conclude therefore that a rolling stone
gathers no moss.
Corollary (Rutgers): Generally the subjective value assignable to avian
lifeforms, when encountered and considered within the confines of certain
orders of woody plants lacking true meristematic dominance, as compared to
a possible valuation of these same lifeforms when in the grasp of -- and
subject to control by -- the manipulative bone/muscle/nerve complex typically
terminating the forelimb of a member of the species homo sapiens (and
possibly direct precursors thereof) is approximately five times ten to the
minus first power.

Goulden's Axiom of the Bouncing Can:

If you drop a full can of beer, and remember to rap the top sharply with your
knuckle prior to opening, the ensuing gush of foam will be between 89 and 94
percent of the volume that would splatter you if you didn't do a damned thing
and went ahead and pulled the top immediately.
Goulden's Law of Jury Watching:
If a jury in a criminal trial stays out for more than 24 hours, it is certain to
vote acquittal, save in those instances when it votes guilty.
Graditor's Laws:
If it can break, it will, but only after the warranty expires.
A necessary item goes on sale only after you have purchased it at the regular
Gray's Law of Bilateral Asymmetry in Networks:
Information flows efficiently through organizations, except that bad news
encounters high impedance in flowing upward.
Gray's Law of Programming:
n+1 trivial tasks are expected to be accomplished in the same time as n
trivial tasks.
Logg's Rebuttal to Gray's Law of Programming: n+1 trivial tasks take twice as
long as n trivial tasks.
Rule of the Great:
When someone you greatly admire and respect appears to be thinking deep
thoughts, they are probably thinking about lunch.
Greenberg's First Law of Influence:
Usefulness is inversely proportional to reputation for being useful.
Greener's Law:
Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.
Greenhaus's Summation:
I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
Gresham's Law:
Trivial matters are handled promptly; important matters are never resolved.
Grosch's Law:
Computing power increases as the square of the cost. If you want to do it
twice as cheaply, you have to do it four times slower.
Gross's Law:
When two people meet to decide how to spend a third person's money, fraud
will result.
Grossman's Misquote
Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.
Gummidge's Law:
The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of
statements understood by the general public.
Gumperson's Law:
The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.
After a salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than
you had before.
The more a recruit knows about a given subject, the better chance he has of
being assigned to something else.

You can throw a burnt match out the window of your car and start a forest
fire, but you can use two boxes of matches and a whole edition of the Sunday
paper without being able to start a fire under the dry logs in your fireplace.
Children have more energy after a hard day of play than they do after a good
night's sleep.
The person who buys the most raffle tickets has the least chance of winning.
Good parking places are always on the other side of the street.
Gumperson's Proof:
The most undesirable things are the most certain (death and taxes).
Guthman's Law of Media:
Thirty seconds on the evening news is worth a front page headline in every
newspaper in the world.

Hacker's Law:
The belief that enhanced understanding will necessarily stir a nation or an
organization to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions.
Hacker's Law of Personnel:
Anyone having supervisory responsibility for the completion of a task will
invariably protest that more resources are needed.
Hagerty's Law:
If you lose your temper at a newspaper columnist, he'll get rich or famous or
Haldane's Law:
The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we CAN
Hale's Rule:
The sumptuousnss of a company's annual report is in inverse proportion to its
profitability that year.
Hall's Law:
There is a statistical correlation between the number of initials in an
Englishman's name and his social class (the upper class having significantly
more than three names, while members of the lower class average 2.6).
Halpern's Observation:
That tendency to err that programmers have been noticed to share with other
human beings has often been treated as if it were an awkwardness attendant
upon programming's adolescence, which like acne would disappear with the
craft's coming of age. It has proved otherwise.
Harden's Law:
Every time you come up with a terrific idea, you find that someone else
thought of it first.
Hardin's Law:
You can never do merely one thing.
Harper's Magazine's Law:
You never find an article until you replace it.
Harris's Lament:
All the good ones are taken.
Harris's Law:
Any philosophy that can be put "in a nutshell" belongs there.

Harris's Restaurant Paradox:

One of the greatest unsolved riddles of restaurant eating is that the customer
usually gets faster service when the retaurant is crowded than when it is half
empty; it seems that the less the staff has to do, the slower they do it.
Harrison's Postulate
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Hartig's How Is Good Old Bill? We're Divorced Law:
If there is a wrong thing to say, one will.
Hartig's Sleeve in the Cup, Thumb in the Butter Law:
When one is trying to be elegant and sophisticated, one won't.
Hartley's Law:
You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back
you've got something.
Hartley's Second Law
Never go to bed with anybody crazier than you are.
Hartman's Automotive Laws:
Nothing minor ever happens to a car on the weekend.
Nothing minor ever happens to a car on a trip.
Nothing minor ever happens to a car.
Hart's Law:
In a country as big as the United States, you can find fifty examples of
Harvard Law:
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature,
volume, humidity, and other variables, any experimental organism will do as
it damn well pleases.
Harver's Law
A drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts.
Hawkin's Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
right. It consists of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is more
subtly wrong.
Hein's Law:
Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by hitting back.
Heller's Myths of Management:
The first myth of management is that it exists. The second myth of
management is that success equals skill.
Corollary (Johnson): Nobody really knows what is going on anywhere within
your organization.
Hellrung's Law
If you wait, it will go away. (Shevelson's Extension: ... having done its
[Grelb's Addition: ... if it was bad, it will be back.]
Hendrickson's Law:
If a problem causes many meetings, the meetings eventually become more
important than the problem.
Herblock's Law:
If it's good, they'll stop making it.
Herrnstein's Law:

The total attention paid to an instructor is a constant regardless of the size of

the class.
Hersh's Law:
Biochemistry expands to fill the space and time available for its completion
and publication.
Hildebrand's Law:
The quality of a department is inversely proportional to the number of courses
it lists in its catalogue.
Historian's Rule:
Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a
competent historian.
Hoare's Law of Large Programs:
Inside every large program is a small program struggling to get out.
Hogg's Law of Station Wagons:
The amount of junk is in direct proportion to the amount of space available.
Baggage Corollary: If you go on a trip taking two bags with you, one
containing everything you need for the trip and the other containing
absolutely nothing, the second bag will be completely filled with junk acquired
on the trip when you return.
The Laws of Homework:
The number of assignments one has is inversely proportional to the numbers
of days one has to do the assignments.
The number of errors a students makes on an assignment is directly
proportional to the assignments length.
Horner's Five Thumb Postulate:
Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.
Horngren's Observation: (generalized)
The real world is a special case.
Horowitz's Rule:
A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20
Howard's First Law of Theater:
Use it.
Howe's Law:
Every man has a scheme that will not work.
Hull's Theorem:
The combined pull of several patrons is the sum of their separate pulls
multiplied by the number of patrons.
Hull's Warning:
Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river.

IBM Pollyanna Principle
Machines should work. People should think.
Idea Formula:
One man's brain plus one other will produce about one half as many ideas as
one man would have produced alone. These two plus two more will produce
half again as many ideas. These four plus four more begin to represent a
creative meeting, and the ratio changes to one quarter as many.

The Ike Tautology:

Things are more like they are now than they have ever been before.
Corollary: Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
Iles's Law:
There is an easier way to do it.
When looking directly at the easier way, especially for long periods, you will
not see it.
Neither will Iles.
Imhoff's Law:
The organization of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank -- the
REALLY big chunks always rise to the top.
Index of Development:
The degree of a country's development is measured by the ratio of the price
of an automobile to the cost of a haircut. The lower the ratio, the higher the
degree of development.
Law of the Individual:
Nobody really cares or understands what anyone else is doing.
Laws of Institutional Food:
Everything is cold except what should be.
Everything, including the corn flakes, is greasy.
Law of Institutions:
The opulence of the front office decor varies inversely with the fundamental
solvency of the firm.
Iron Law of Distribution:
Them what has -- gets. Wakefield's Refutation of the Iron Law of Distribution:
Them what gets -- has.
Issawi's Law of Aggression:
At any given moment, a society contains a certain amount of accumulated
and accruing aggressiveness. If more than 21 years elapse without this
aggressiveness being directed outward, in a popular war against other
countries, it turns inward, in social unrest, civil disturbances, and political
Issawi's Laws of Committo-Dynamics:
Comitas comitatum, omnia comitas.
The less you enjoy serving on committees, the more likely you are to be
pressed to do so.
Issawi's Law of the Conservation of Evil:
The total amount of evil in any system remains constant. Hence, any
diminution in one direction -- for instance, a reduction in poverty or
unemployment -- is accompanied by an increase in another, e.g., crime or air
Issawi's Law of Consumption Patterns:
Other people's patterns of expenditure and consumption are highly irrational
and slightly immoral.
Issawi's Law of Cynics:
Cynics are right nine times out of ten; what undoes them is their belief that
they are right ten times out of ten.
Issawi's Law of Dogmatism:

When we call others dogmatic, what we really object to is their holding

dogmas that are different from our own.
Issawi's Law of Estimation of Error:
Experts in advanced countries underestimate by a factor of 2 to 4 the ability
of people in underdeveloped countries to do anything technical.
Issawi's Law of Frustration:
One cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs -- but it is amazing how
many eggs one can break without making a decent omelette.
Issawi's Laws of Progress:
The Course of Progress: Most things get steadily worse.
The Path of Progress: A shortcut is the longest distance between two points.
The Dialectics of Progress: Direct action produces direct reaction.
The Pace of Progress: Society is a mule, not a car . . . If pressed too hard, it
will kick and throw off its rider.
Issawi's Law of the Social Sciences:
By the time a social science theory is formulated in such a way that it can be
tested, changing circumstances have already made it obsolete.
Issawi's Observation on the Consumption of Paper:
Each system has its own way of consuming vast amounts of paper: in socialist
societies by filling large forms in quadruplicate, in capitalist societies by
putting up huge posters and wrapping every article in four layers of
First Postulate of Isomurphism
Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.
Italian Proverb:
She who is silent consents.

Jacquin's Postulate on Democratic Governments:
No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
Jake's Law:
Anything hit with a big enough hammer will fall apart.
Jaroslovsky's Law:
The distance you have to park from your apartment increases in proportion to
the weight of packages you are carrying.
Jay's Laws of Leadership:
Changing things is central to leadership, and changing them before anyone
else is creativity.
To build something that endures, it is of the greatest important to have a long
tenure in office -- to rule for many years. You can achieve a quick success in a
year or two, but nearly all of the great tycoons have continued their building
much longer.
Jenkinson's Law:
It won't work.
Jinny's Law:
There is no such thing as a short beer. (As in, "I'm going to stop off at Joe's
for a short beer before on the way home.")
John's Axiom:
When your opponent is down, kick him.

John's Collateral Corollary:

In order to get a loan you must first prove you don't need it.
Johnson's First Law:
When any mechanical contrivance fails, it will do so at the most inconvenient
possible time.
Johnson's Second Law:
If, in the course of several months, only three worthwhile social events take
place, they will all fall on the same evening.
Johnson's Third Law:
If you miss one issue of any magazine, it will be the issue containing the
article, story, or installment you were most anxious to read.
Corollary: All of your friends either missed it, lost it, or threw it out.
Johnson's First Law of Auto Repair:
Any tool dropped while repairing an automobile will roll under the car to the
vehicle's exact geographic center.
Johnson-Laird's Law:
Toothache tends to start on Saturday night.
Jones's Law:
The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he
can blame it on.
Jones's Motto:
Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
McClaughry's Codicil on Jones's Motto: To make an enemy, do someone a
Jones's Principle:
Needs are a function of what other people have.
Juhani's Law:
The compromise will always be more expensive than either of the suggestions
it's compromising.

Kafka's Law:
In the fight between you and the world, back the world.
Kamin's First Law:
All currencies will decrease in value and purchasing power over the long term,
unless they are freely and fully convertable into gold and that gold is traded
freely without restrictions of any kind.
Kamin's Second Law:
Threat of capital controls accelerates marginal capital outflows.
Kamin's Third Law:
Combined total taxation from all levels of government will always increase
(until the government is replaced by war or revolution).
Kamin's Fourth Law:
Government inflation is always worse than statistics indicate: central bankers
are biased toward inflation when the money unit is non-convertible, and
without gold or silver backing.
Kamin's Fifth Law:

Purchasing power of currency is always lost far more rapidly than ever
regained. (Those who expect even fluctuations in both directions play a losing
Kamin's Sixth Law:
When attempting to predict and forecast macro-economic moves or economic
legislation by a politician, never be misled by what he says; instead watch
what he does.
Kamin's Seventh Law:
Politicians will always inflate when given the opportunity.
Kaplan's Law of the Instrument:
Give a small boy a hammer and he will find that everything he encounters
needs pounding.
Katz's Law:
Men and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been
Katz's Maxims:
Where are the calculations that go with the calculated risk?
Inventing is easy for staff outfits. Stating a problem is much harder. Instead
of stating problems, people like to pass out half- accurate statements
together with half-available solutions which they can't finish and which they
want you to finish.
Every organization is self-perpetuating. Don't ever ask an outfit to justify
itself, or you'll be covered with facts, figures, and fancy. The criterion should
rather be, "What will happen if the outfit stops doing what it's doing?" The
value of an organization is more easily determined this way.
Try to find out who's doing the work, not who's writing about it, controlling it,
or summarizing it.
Watch out for formal briefings; they often produce an avalanche (a high-level
snow job of massive and overwhelming proportions).
The difficulty of the coordination task often blinds one to the fact that a fully
coordinated piece of paper is not supposed to be either the major or the final
product of the organization, but it often turns out that way.
Most organizations can't hold more than one idea at a time. Thus
complementary ideas are always regarded as competetive. Further, like a
quantized pendulum, an organization can jump from one extreme to the
other, without ever going through the middle.
Try to find the real tense of the report you are reading: Was it done, is it
being done, or is it something to be done? Reports are now written in four
tenses: past tense, present tense, future tense, and pretense. Watch for
novel uses of "contractor grammar", defined by the imperfect past, the
insufficient present, and the absolutely perfect future.
Kelley's Law:
Last guys don't finish nice.
Kelly's Law:
An executive will always return to work from lunch early if no one takes him.
Kennedy's Law:
Excessive official restraints on information are inevitably self-defeating and
productive of headaches for the officials concerned.
Kent's Law:
The only way a reporter should look at a politician is down.
Kerr-Martin Law:

In dealing with their OWN problems, faculty members are the most extreme
In dealing with OTHER people's problems, they are the world's most extreme
Kettering's Laws:
If you want to kill any idea in the world today, get a committee working on it.
If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.
Key to Status:
S = D/K. S is the status of a person in an organization, D is the number of
doors he must open to perform his job, and K is the number of keys he
carries. A higher number denotes higher status. Thus the janitor needs to
open 20 doors and has 20 keys (S = 1), a secretary has to open two doors
with one key (S = 2), but the president never has to carry any keys since
there is always someone around to open doors for him (with K = 0 and a high
D, his S reaches infinity).
Kharasch's Institutional Imperative:
Every action or decision of an institution must be intended to keep the
institution machinery working.
Corollary: The expert judgment of an institution, when the matter involved
concerns continuation of the institution's operations, is totally predictable, and
hence the finding is totally worthless.
Kirkland's Law:
The usefulness of any meeting is in inverse proportion to the attendance.
Kitman's Law:
On the TV screen, pure drivel tends to drive off ordinary drivel.
Klipstein's Lament
All warranty and guarantee clauses are voided by payment of the invoice.
Klipstein's Observation
Any product cut to length will be too short.
Klipstein's Law of Specifications:
In specifications, Murphy's Law supersedes Ohm's.
Klipstein's Laws:
Applied to General Engineering:
A patent application will be preceded by one week by a similar application
made by an independent worker.
Firmness of delivery dates is inversely proportional to the tightness of the
Dimensions will always be expressed in the least usable term. Velocity, for
example, will be expressed in furlongs per fortnight.
Any wire cut to length will be too short.
Applied to Prototyping and Production:
Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally toward maximum difficulty to
If a project requires n components, there will be n-1 units in stock.
A motor will rotate in the wrong direction.
A failsafe circuit will destroy others.
A transistor protected by a fast-acting fuse will protect the fuse by blowing
A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.

A purchased component or instrument will meet its specs long enough, and
only long enough, to pass incoming inspection.
After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover,
it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed.
After an access cover has been secured by 16 hold-down screws, it will be
discovered that the gasket has been omitted.
After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on
the bench.
Knight's Law
Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.
Knoll's Law of Media Accuracy:
Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true except for that rare
story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge.
Knowles's Law of Legislative Deliberation:
The length of debate varies inversely with the complexity of the issue.
Corollary: When the issue is trivial, and everyone understands it, debate is
almost interminable.
Kohn's Second Law:
Any experiment is reproducible until another laboratory tries to repeat it.
Koppett's Law:
Whatever creates the greatest inconvenience for the largest number must
Korman's conclusion
The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again.
Kotowski's Law of Dirty Work:
If you volunteer to do a task that nobody likes to do, you'll be expected to do
it every time in the future.
Kristol's Law:
Being frustrated is disagreeable, but the real disasters in life begin when you
get what you want.
Krueger's Observation
A taxpayer is someone who does not have to take a civil service exam in
order to work for the government.

Labor Law
A disagreeable law is its own reward.
First Law of Laboratory Work
Hot glass looks exactly the same as cold glass.
LaCombe's Rule of Percentages
The incidence of anything worthwhile is either 15-25 percent or 80-90
Corollary (Dudenhoefer)
An answer of 50 percent will suffice for the 40-60 range.
Langin's Law
If things were left to chance, they'd be better.
Langsam's Law
Everything depends.
Lani's Principles of Economics

Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.

$100 placed at 7% interest compounded quarterly for 200 years will increase
to more than $100,000,000 by which time it will be worth nothing.
In God we trust; all others pay cash.
La Rochefoucauld's Law
It is more shameful to distrust one's friends than to be deceived by them.
Larrimer's Constant
What this world needs is a damned good plague.
Law of Late-Comers
Those who have the shortest distance to travel invariably arrive latest.
Laura's Law
No child throws up in the bathroom.
Lawyer's Rule
When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you,
argue the law. When both are against you, call the other lawyer names.
Leahy's Law
If a thing is done wrong often enough, it becomes right.
Corollary: Volume is a defense to error.
Le Chatelier's Law
If some stress is brought to bear on a system in equilibrium, the equilibrium
is displaced in the direction which tends to undo the effect of the stress.
Lenin's Law
Whenever the cause of the people is entrusted to professors, it is lost.
Le Pelley's Law
The bigger the man, the less likely he is to object to caricature.
Les Miserables Metalaw
All laws, whether good, bad, or indifferent, must be obeyed to the letter.
Levy's Ten Laws of the Disillusionment of the True Liberal
Large numbers of things are determined, and therefore not subject to change.
Anticipated events never live up to expectations.
That segment of the community with which one has the greatest sympathy as
a liberal inevitably turns out to be one of the most narrow-minded and
bigoted segments of the community.
Always pray that your opposition be wicked. In wickedness there is a strong
strain toward rationality. Therefore there is always the possibility, in theory, of
handling the wicked by outthinking them.
Corollary 1: Good intentions randomize behavior.
Corollary 2: Good intentions are far more difficult to cope with than malicious
Corollary 3: If good intentions are combined with stupidity, it is impossible to
outthink them.
Corollary 4: Any discovery is more likely to be exploited by the wicked than
applied by the virtuous.
In unanimity there is cowardice and uncritical thinking.
To have a sense of humor is to be a tragic figure.
To know thyself is the ultimate form of aggression.
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.
Only God can make a random selection.
Eternal boredom is the price of constant vigilance.
Lewis's Laws

People will buy anything that's one to a customer.

No matter how long or how hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it
it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.
Liebling's Law
If you just try long enough and hard enough, you can always manage to boot
yourself in the posterior.
Lilly's Metalaw
All laws are simulations of reality.
Lloyd-Jones's Law of Leftovers:
The amount of litter on the street is proportional to the local rate of
Law of Local Anesthesia
Never say "oops" in the operating room.
(F)law of Long-Range Planning
The longer ahead you plan a special event, and the more special it is, the
more likely it is to go wrong.
Long's Notes
Always store beer in a dark place.
Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you
can't win.
Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.
Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do
If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.
It has long been known that one horse can run faster than another -- but
which one? Differences are crucial.
A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated. But an authentic soothsayer should be
shot on sight. Cassandra did not get half the kicking around she deserved.
Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's
beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from
drowning them at birth.
A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.
A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.
Small change can often be found under seat cushions.
History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational
basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the
unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and
spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from
fiddling with it.
It's amazing how much "mature wisdom" resembles being too tired.
Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated out of nothing,
"blasphemy" is the most amazing -- with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure"
fighting it out for second and third place.
It's better to copulate than never.
Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is
for monks.
It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be
a live lion. And usually easier.
Never appeal to a man's "better nature". He may not have one. Invoking his
self-interest gives you more leverage.

Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.

Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry.
An elephant: A mouse built to government specifications.
A zygote is a gamete's way of producing more gametes. This may be the
purpose of the universe.
Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation.
Stupidity is not a sin; the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the
only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and
execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. It says so right here on
the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine
attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks,
please. Cash and in small bills.
Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.
The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that
the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universe, wants the
saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and
becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy,
without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest,
largest, and least productive industry in all history.
The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.
Everybody lies about sex.
Rub her feet.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
Always tell her she is beautiful, especially if she is not.
In a family argument, if it turns out you are right, apologize at once.
To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old
Does history record any case in which the majority was right?
Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.
The greatest productive force is human selfishness.
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors -- and miss.
Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often
think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to
think so.
Never try to outstubborn a cat.
Tilting at windmills hurts you more than the windmills.
Yield to temptation; it may not pass your way again.
Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered a capital crime. For a
first offense, that is.
The correct way to punctuate a sentence that starts: "Of course it's none of
my business, but . . . " is to place a period after the word "but". Don't use
excessive force in supplying such a moron with a period. Cutting his throat is
only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about.
A skunk is better company than a person who prides himself on being "frank".
Natural laws have no pity.
You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting.
Anything free is worth what you pay for it.
Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.
Pessimist by policy, optimist by temperament -- it is possible to be both.
How? By never taking an unnecessary chance and by minimizing risks you

can't avoid. This permits you to play out the game happily, untroubled by the
certainty of the outcome.
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been
A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.
Don't try to have the last word. You might get it.
Los Angeles Dodgers Law Wait till last year.
Law of the Lost Inch
In designing any type of construction, no overall dimension can be totalled
correctly after 4:40 p.m. on Friday.
Under the same conditions, if any minor dimensions are given to sixteenths of
an inch, they cannot be totalled at all.
The correct total will become self-evident at 9:01 a.m. on Monday.
Lowrey's Law
If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
Lowrey's Law of Expertise
Just when you get really good at something, you don't need to do it any
Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology
There's always one more bug.
Lubin's Law
If another scientist thought your research was more important than his, he
would drop what he is doing and do what you are doing.
Luce's Law
No good deed goes unpunished.
Lucy's Law
The alternative to getting old is depressing.
Luten's Laws
When properly administered, vacations do not diminish productivity: for every
week you're away and get nothing done, there's another week when your
boss is away and you get twice as much done.
It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground.
Lyall's Conjecture:
If a computer cable has one end, then it has another.
Lyall's Fundamental Observation:
The most important leg of a three legged stool is the one that's missing.
Lynch's Law:
When the going gets tough, everybody leaves.
Lyon's Law of Hesitation:
He who hesitates is last.

Madison's Question:
If you have to travel on a Titanic, why not go first-class?
Rev. Mahaffy's Observation:
There's no such thing as a large whiskey.
Maier's Law:
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.

The bigger the theory, the better.
The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the
observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with
the theory. (Compensation Corollary)
Malek's Law:
Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.
Malinowski's Law:
Looking from far above, from our high places of safety in the developed
civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic.
Malloy's Maxim:
The fact that monkeys have hands should give us pause.
The first Myth of Management
It exists.
Truths of Management:
Think before you act; it's not your money.
All good management is the expression of one great idea.
No executive devotes effort to proving himself wrong.
Cash in must exceed cash out.
Management capability is always less than the organization actually needs.
Either an executive can do his job or he can't.
If sophisticated calculations are needed to justify an action, don't do it.
If you are doing something wrong, you will do it badly.
If you are attempting the impossible, you will fail.
The easiest way of making money is to stop losing it.
Truth 5.1 of Management:
Organizations always have too many managers.
Manly's Maxim:
Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with
Mark's mark:
Love is a matter of chemistry; sex is a matter of physics.
Marshall's Generalized Iceberg Theorem:
Seven-eighths of everything can't be seen.
Marshall's Universal Laws of Perpetual Perceptual Obfuscation:
Nobody perceives anything with total accuracy.
No two people perceive the same thing identically.
Few perceive what difference it makes -- or care.
Martha's Maxim (and see Olum's Observation and Farrow's Finding):
If God had meant for us to travel tourist class, He would have made us
Dean Martin's Definition of Drunkenness:
You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
Martin-Berthelot Principle:
Of all possible committee reactions to any given agenda item, the reaction
that will occur is the one which will liberate the greatest amount of hot air.
Martin's Laws of Academia:
The faculty expands its activity to fit whatever space is available, so that
more space is always required.

Faculty purchases of equipment and supplies always increase to match the

funds available, so these funds are never adequate.
The professional quality of the faculty tends to be inversely proportional to the
importance it attaches to space and equipment.
Martin's Law of Committees:
All committee reports conclude that "it is not prudent to change the policy (or
procedure, or organization, or whatever) at this time."
Martin's Exclusion: Committee reports dealing with wages, salaries, fringe
benefits, facilities, computers, employee parking, libraries, coffee breaks,
secretarial support, etc., always call for dramatic expenditure increases.
Martin's Law of Communication:
The inevitable result of improved and enlarged communication between
different levels in a hierarchy is a vastly increased area of misunderstanding.
Martin's Minimax Maxim:
Everyone knows that the name of the game is to let the other guy have all of
the little tats and to keep all of the big tits for yourself.
Matsch's Law:
It is better to have a horrible ending than to have horrors without end.
Matsch's Maxim:
A fool in a high station is like a man on the top of a small mountain:
everything appears small to him and he appears small to everybody.
Matz's warning:
Beware of the physician who is great at getting out of trouble.
Maugham's Thought:
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
May's Law:
The quality of the correlation is inversely proportional to the density of the
control (the fewer the facts, the smoother the curves).
May's Mordant Maxim:
A university is a place where men of principle outnumber men of honor.
McCarthy's Law:
Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to
understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important.
McClaughry's Law of Public Policy:
Politicians who vote huge expenditures to alleviate problems get re-elected;
those who propose structural changes to prevent problems get early
McClaughry's Law of Zoning:
Where zoning is not needed, it will work perfectly; where it is desperately
needed, it always breaks down.
McDonald's Second Law:
Consultants are mystical people who ask a company for a number and give it
back to them.
McGoon's Law:
The probability of winning is inversely proportional to the amount of the
McGovern's Law:
The longer the title, the less important the job.
McGurk's Law:

Any improbable event which would create maximum confusion if it did occur,
will occur.
McKenna's Law:
When you are right, be logical. When you are wrong, be-fuddle.
McLaughlin's Law (and see Parson's Third Law):
The length of any meeting is inversely proportional to the length of the
agenda for that meeting.
McLean's Maxim:
There are only two problems with people. One is that they don't think. The
other is that they do.
McNaughton's Rule:
Any argument worth making within the bureaucracy must be capable of being
expressed in a simple declarative sentence that is obviously true once stated.
Margaret Mead's Law of Human Migration:
At least fifty percent of the human race doesn't want their mother-in-law
within walking distance.
Melcher's Law:
In a bureaucracy, every routing slip will expand until it contains the maximum
number of names that can be typed in a single vertical column.
H. L. Mencken's Law:
Those who can -- do.
Those who cannot -- teach.
Those who cannot teach -- administrate. (Martin's Extension)
Mencken's Metalaw:
For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always
Merkin's Maxim:
When in doubt, predict that the present trend will continue.
Merrill's First Corollary:
There are no winners in life; only survivors.
Merrill's Second Corollary:
In the highway of life, the average happening is of about as much true
significance as a dead skunk in the middle of the road.
Meskimen's Laws: 1) When they want it bad (in a rush), they get it bad. 2)
There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.
Michehl's Theorem:
Less is more.
Pastore's Comment on Michehl's Theorem:
Nothing is ultimate.
Mickelson's Law of Falling Objects:
Any object that is accidentally dropped will hide under a larger object.
Miksch's Law:
If a string has one end, then it has another end.
Miller's Law:
You can't tell how deep a puddle is until you step into it.
Mills's Law of Transportation Logistics:
The distance to the gate from which your flight departs is inversely
proportional to the time remaining before the scheduled departure of the

Corollaries (Woods): 1) This remains true even as you rush to catch the flight.
2) From this it follows that you are invariably rushing the wrong way.
MIST Law (Man In The Street):
The number of people watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of
your action.
Mobil's Maxim:
Bad regulation begets worse regulation.
Moer's Truism:
The trouble with most jobs is the resemblance to being in a sled dog team. No
one gets a change of scenery, except the lead dog.
Money Maxim:
Money isn't everything. (It isn't plentiful, for instance.)
Montagu's Maxim:
The idea is to die young as late as possible.
Morley's Conclusion:
No man is lonely while eating spaghetti.
Morton's Law:
If rats are experimented upon, they will develop cancer. ("What this country
needs are some stronger white rats.")
Mosher's Law:
It's better to retire too soon than too late.
Munnecke's Law:
If you don't say it, they can't repeat it.
Murchison's Law of Money:
Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you
pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell.

Nader's Law:
The speed of exit of a civil servant is directly proportional to the quality of his
NASA Skylab Rule:
Don't do it if you can't keep it up.
NASA Truisms:
Research is reading two books that have never been read in order to write a
third that will never be read.
A consultant is an ordinary person a long way from home.
Statistics are a highly logical and precise method for saying a half-truth
Law of Nations:
In an underdeveloped country, don't drink the water; in a developed country,
don't breathe the air.
Navy Law:
If you can keep your head when all about you others are losing theirs, maybe
you just don't understand the situation.
Evvie Nef's Law:
There is a solution to every problem; the only difficulty is finding it.
Nessen's Law:
Secret sources are more credible.

Newman's Law:
Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of social intercourse.
Newman's Observation:
The first shall be last and the last shall be first. But if you're in the middle,
you're stuck there.
Newton's Little-known Seventh Law:
A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.
Nick the Greek's Law:
All things considered, life is 9-to-5 against.
Nienberg's Law:
Progress is made on alternate Fridays.
Nies's Law:
The effort expended by the bureaucracy in defending any error is in direct
proportion to the size of the error.
Ninety-ninety Rule of Project Schedules:
The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time, and the
last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.
Nixon's Rule:
If two wrongs don't make a right, try three.
Nobel Effect:
There is no proposition, no matter how foolish, for which a dozen Nobel
signatures cannot be collected. Furthermore, any such petition is guaranteed
page-one treatment in the New York Times.
Noble's Law of Political Imagery:
All other things being equal, a bald man cannot be elected President of the
United States.
Given a choice between two bald political candidates, the American people will
vote for the less bald of the two.
North Carolina Equine Paradox:
No. 3 Pencil Principle:
Make it sufficiently difficult for people to do something, and most people will
stop doing it.
Corollary: If no one uses something, it isn't needed.
Nursing Mother Principle:
Do not nurse a kid who wears braces.
Nyquist's Theory of Equilibrium:
Equality is not when a female Einstein gets promoted to assistant professor;
equality is when a female schlemiel moves ahead as fast as a male schlemiel.

Oaks's Unruly Laws for Lawmakers:
Law expands in proportion to the resources available for its enforcement.
Bad law is more likely to be supplemented than repealed.
Social legislation cannot repeal physical laws.
O'Brien's First Law of Politics:
The more campaigning, the better.
O'Brien's Principle (The $357.73 Theorem):

Auditors always reject any expense account with a bottom line divisible by
five or ten.
O'Brien's Rule:
Nothing is ever done for the right reason.
The Obvious Law:
Actually, it only SEEMS as though you mustn't be deceived by appearances.
Occam's Electric Razor:
The most difficult light bulb to replace burns out first and most frequently.
Occam's Razor:
Entities ought not to be multiplied except from necessity.
The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is the most likely to be
Whenever two hypotheses cover the facts, use the simpler of the two.
Cut the crap.
Oesner's Law (Oeser's Law?):
There is a tendency for the person in the most powerful position in an
organization to spend all his time serving on committees and signing letters.
Old and Kahn's Law:
The efficiency of a committee meeting is inversely proportional to the number
of participants and the time spent on deliberations.
Old Children's Law:
If it tastes good, you can't have it. If it tastes awful, you'd better clean your
Olum's Observation (and see Martha's Maxim and Farrow's Finding):
If God had intended us to go around naked, He would have made us that way.
Oppenheimer's Observation:
The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist
knows it.
Optimum Optimorum Principle:
There comes a time when one must stop suggesting and evaluating new
solutions, and get on with the job of analyzing and finally implementing one
pretty good solution.
Ordering Principle:
Those supplies necessary for yesterday's experiment must be ordered no later
than tomorrow noon.
Orion's Law:
Everything breaks down.
Orwell's Law of Bridge:
All bridge hands are equally likely, but some are more equally likely than
Osborn's Law:
Variables won't; constants aren't.
Otten's Law of Testimony:
When a person says that, in the interest of saving time, he will summarize his
prepared statement, he will talk only three times as long as if he had read the
statement in the first place.
Otten's Law of Typesetting:
Typesetters always correct intentional errors, but fail to correct unintentional

Ozian Option:
I can't give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.

Panic Instruction:
When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.
Paperboy's rule of Weather
No matter how clear the skies are, a thunderstorm will move in 5 minutes
after the papers are delivered.
Paradox of Selective Equality:
All things being equal, all things are never equal.
Pardo's Postulates:
Anything good is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.
The three faithful things in life are money, a dog, and an old woman.
Don't care if you're rich or not, as long as you live comfortably and can have
everything you want.
Pareto's Law (The 20/80 Law):
20% of the customers account for 80% of the turnover, 20% of the
components account for 80% of the cost, and so forth.
Parker's Rule of Parliamentary Procedure:
A motion to adjourn is always in order.
Parker's Law of Political Statements:
The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility, and vice versa.
Parker's Third Rule of Tech Support:
If you can't navigate a one-level, five-item phone tree, you didn't need a
computer anyway.
Parkin's Law of Irritation:
Anything that happens enough times to irritate you will happen at least once
Parkinson's Axioms:
An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals.
Officials make work for each other.
Parkinson's First Law:
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion; the thing to be done
swells in perceived importance and complexity in a direct ratio with the time
to be spent in its completion.
Parkinson's Second Law:
Expenditures rise to meet income.
Parkinson's Third Law:
Expansion means complexity; and complexity decay.
Parkinson's Fourth Law:
The number of people in any working group tends to increase regardless of
the amount of work to be done.
Parkinson's Fifth Law:
If there is a way to delay an important decision the good bureaucracy, public
or private, will find it.
Parkinson's Sixth Law:
The progress of science varies inversely with the number of journals

Parkinson's Law of Delay:

Delay is the deadliest form of denial.
Parkinson's Law of Medical Research:
Successful research attracts the bigger grant which makes further research
Parkinson's Law of the Telephone:
The effectiveness of a telephone conversation is in inverse proportion to the
time spent on it.
Parkinson's Law of 1000:
An enterprise employing more than 1000 people becomes a self-perpetuating
empire, creating so much internal work that it no longer needs any contact
with the outside world.
Parkinson's Principle of Non-Origination:
It is the essence of grantsmanship to persuade the Foundation executives that
it was THEY who suggested the research project and that you were a belated
convert, agreeing reluctantly to all they had proposed.
Mrs. Parkinson's Law:
Heat produced by pressure expands to fill the mind available, from which it
can pass only to a cooler mind.
Parson's Laws:
If you break a cup or plate, it will not be the one that was already chipped or
A place you want to get to is always just off the edge of the map you happen
to have handy.
A meeting lasts at least 1 1/2 hours however short the agenda.
Dolly Parton's Principle:
The bigger they are, the harder it is to see your shoes.
Pastore's Truths:
Even paranoids have enemies.
This job is marginally better than daytime TV.
On alcohol: four is one more than more than enough.
Patricks's Theorem:
If the experiment works, you must be using the wrong equipment.
Patton's Law:
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
Paturi Principle:
Success is the result of behavior that completely contradicts the usual
expectations about the behavior of a successful person.
Corollary: The amount of success is in inverse proportion to the effort
involved in attaining it.
Paul Principle:
People become progressively less competent for jobs they once were well
equipped to handle.
Paul's Law:
You can't fall off the floor.
Paulg's Law:
In America, it's not how much an item costs, it's how much you save.
Peck's Programming Postulates (Philosophic Engineering applied to
In any program, any error which can creep in will eventually do so.

Not until the program has been in production for at least six months will the
most harmful error be discovered.
Any constants, limits, or timing formulas that appear in the computer
manufacturer's literature should be treated as variables.
The most vital parameter in any subroutine stands the greatest chance of
being left out of the calling sequence.
If only one compiler can be secured for a piece of hardware, the compilation
times will be exorbitant.
If a test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent systems will
Job control cards that positively cannot be arranged in improper order, will be.
Interchangeable tapes won't.
If more than one person has programmed a malfunctioning routine, no one is
at fault.
If the input editor has been designed to reject all bad input, an ingenious idiot
will discover a method to get bad data past it.
Duplicated object decks which test in identical fashion will not give identical
results at remote sites.
Manufacturer's hardware and software support ceases with payment for the
Peckham's Law (Beckhap's Law?):
Beauty times brains equals a constant.
Peers's Law:
The solution to a problem changes the problem.
Captain Penny's Law:
You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of
the time, but you can't fool MOM.
Perelman's Point:
There is nothing like a good painstaking survey full of decimal points and
guarded generalizations to put a glaze like a Sung vase on your eyeball.
Perkin's postulate:
The bigger they are, the harder they hit.
Perlsweig's Law:
People who can least afford to pay rent, pay rent. People who can most afford
to pay rent, build up equity.
Persig's Postulate:
The number of rational hypotheses that can explain any given phenomenon is
Law of the Perversity of Nature:
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to
Peter Principle:
In every hierarchy, whether it be government or business, each employee
tends to rise to his level of incompetence; every post tends to be filled by an
employee incompetent to execute its duties.
Incompetence knows no barriers of time or place.
Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their
level of incompetence.
If at first you don't succeed, try something else.

Peter's Hidden Postulate According to Godin:

Every employee begins at his level of competence.
Peter's Inversion:
Internal consistency is valued more highly than efficiency.
Peter's Law of Evolution:
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
Peter's Law of Substitution:
Look after the molehills and the mountains will look after themselves.
Peter's Observation:
Super-competence is more objectionable than incompetence.
Peter's Paradox:
Employees in a hierarchy do not really object to incompetence in their
Peter's Perfect People Palliative:
Each of us is a mixture of good qualities and some (perhaps) not-so-good
qualities. In considering our fellow people we should remember their good
qualities and realize that their faults only prove that they are, after all,
human. We should refrain from making harsh judgments of people just
because they happen to be dirty, rotten, no-good sons-of-bitches.
Peter's Placebo:
An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.
Peter's Prognosis:
Spend sufficient time in confirming the need and the need will disappear.
Peter's Rule for Creative Incompetence:
Create the impression that you have already reached your level of
Peter's Theorem:
Incompetence plus incompetence equals incompetence.
Peterson's Law:
History shows that money will multiply in volume and divide in value over the
long run. Or, expressed differently, the purchasing power of currency will vary
inversely with the magnitude of the public debt.
Phases of a Project:
Search for the Guilty.
Punishment of the Innocent.
Distinction for the Uninvolved.
Phelps's Laws of Renovation:
Any renovation project on an old house will cost twice as much and take three
times as long as originally estimated.
Any plumbing pipes you choose to replace during renovation will prove to be
in excellent condition; those you decide to leave in place will be rotten.
Phelps's Law of Retributive Statistics:
An unexpectedly easy-to-handle sequence of events will be immediately
followed by an equally long sequence of trouble.
Theory of the International Society of Philosophic Engineering:
In any calculation, any error which can creep in will do so.
Any error in any calculation will be in the direction of most harm.

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from engineering

handbooks) are to be treated as variables.
The best approximation of service conditions in the laboratory will not begin
to meet those conditions encountered in actual service.
The most vital dimension on any plan or drawing stands the greatest chance
of being omitted.
If only one bid can be secured on any project, the price will be unreasonable.
If a test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent production units will
All delivery promises must be multiplied by a factor of 2.0.
Major changes in construction will always be requested after fabrication is
nearly completed.
Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.
Interchangeable parts won't.
Manufacturer's specifications of performance should be multiplied by a factor
of 0.5.
Salespeople's claims for performance should be multiplied by a factor of 0.25.
Installation and Operating Instructions shipped with the device will be
promptly discarded by the Receiving Department.
Any device requiring service or adjustment will be least accessible.
Service Conditions as given on specifications will be exceeded.
If more than one person is responsible for a miscalculation, no one will be at
Identical units which test in an identical fashion will not behave in an identical
fashion in the field.
If, in engineering practice, a safety factor is set through service experience at
an ultimate value, an ingenious idiot will promptly calculate a method to
exceed said safety factor.
Warranty and guarantee clauses are voided by payment of the invoice.
Phone Booth Rule:
A lone dime always gets the number nearly right.
Pierson's Law:
If you're coasting, you're going downhill.
Pike Law of Punditry:
The successful pundit is provided more opportunities to say things than he
has things worth saying.
Axiom of the Pipe. (Trischmann's Paradox)
A pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to stick in his
Plotnick's Law:
The time of departure will be delayed by the square of the number of people
Law of Political Erosion:
Once the erosion of power begins, it has a momentum all its own.
Politicians' Rules:
When the polls are in your favor, flaunt them.
When the polls are overwhelmingly unfavorable, either (a) ridicule and
dismiss them or (b) stress the volatility of public opinion.
When the polls are slightly unfavorable, play for sympathy as a struggling

When too close to call, be surprised at your own strength.

The Pollyanna Paradox:
Every day, in every way, things get better and better; then worse again in the
Potter's Law:
The amount of flak received on any subject is inversely proportional to the
subject's true value.
Poulsen's Law:
When anything is used to its full potential, it will break.
Pournelle's Law of Costs and Schedules:
Everything costs more and takes longer.
Powell's Law:
Never tell them what you wouldn't do.
Law of Predictive Action:
The second most powerful phrase in the world is "Watch this!" The most
powerful phrase is "Oh yeah? Watch this!"
Preudhomme's Law of Window Cleaning:
It's on the other side.
Price's Law of Politics:
It's easier to be a liberal a long way from home.
Price's Law of Science:
Scientists who dislike the restraints of highly organized research like to
remark that a truly great research worker needs only three pieces of
equipment -- a pencil, a piece of paper, and a brain. But they quote this
maxim more often at academic banquets than at budget hearings.
The Principle Concerning Multifunctional Devices:
The fewer functions any device is required to perform, the more perfectly it
can perform those functions.
Law of Probable Dispersal:
Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed. (also known as the How
Come It All Landed On Me Law)
Laws of Procrastination:
Procrastination shortens the job and places the responsibility for its
termination on someone else (the authority who imposed the deadline).
It reduces anxiety by reducing the expected quality of the project from the
best of all possible efforts to the best that can be expected given the limited
Status is gained in the eyes of others, and in one's own eyes, because it is
assumed that the importance of the work justifies the stress.
Avoidance of interruptions including the assignment of other duties can be
achieved, so that the obviously stressed worker can concentrate on the single
Procrastination avoids boredom; one never has the feeling that there is
nothing important to do.
It may eliminate the job if the need passes before the job can be done.
Productivity Equation:
The productivity, P, of a group of people is:
P = N x T x (.55 - .00005 x N x (N - 1) )
where N is the number of people in the group and T is the number of hours in
a work period.

Professional's Law:
Doctors, dentists, and lawyers are only on time for appointments when you're
Project scheduling "99" rule
The first 90 percent of the task takes 90 percent of the time. The last 10
percent takes the other 90 percent.
Proverbial Law:
For every proverb that so confidently asserts its little bit of wisdom, there is
usually an equal and opposite proverb that contradicts it.
Public Relations Client Turnover Law:
The minute you sign a client is the minute you start to lose him.
First Rule of Public Speaking:
Nice guys finish fast.
Pudder's Law:
Anything that begins well ends badly. Anything that begins badly ends worse.
Puritan's Law:
Evil is live spelled backwards.
Corollary: If it feels good, don't do it.
Putney's Law:
If the people of a democracy are allowed to do so, they will vote away the
freedoms which are essential to that democracy.
Putt's Law:
Technology is dominated by two types of people -- those who understand
what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not

Q's Law:
No matter what stage of completion one reaches in a North Sea (oil) field, the
cost of the remainder of the project remains the same.

Rakove's Laws of Politics:
The amount of effort put into a campaign by a worker expands in proportion
to the personal benefits that he will derive from his party's victory.
The citizen is influenced by principle in direct proportion to his distance from
the political situation.
Ralph's Observation:
It is a mistake to allow any mechanical object to realize that you are in a
Randolph's Cardinal Principle of Statecraft:
Never needlessly disturb a thing at rest.
Rangnekar's Modified Rules Concerning Decisions:
If you must make a decision, delay it.
If you can authorize someone else to avoid a decision, do so.
If you can form a committee, have them avoid the decision.
If you can otherwise avoid a decision, avoid it immediately.
Rapoport's Rule of the Roller-Skate Key:

Certain items which are crucial to a given activity will show up with
uncommon regularity until the day when that activity is planned, at which
point the item in question will disappear from the face of the earth.
Raskin's Zero Law:
The more zeros found in the price tag for a government program, the less
Congressional scrutiny it will receive.
Law of Raspberry Jam:
The wider any culture is spread, the thinner it gets.
Rather's Rule:
In dealing with the press do yourself a favor. Stick with one of three
responses: (a) I know and I can tell you, (b) I know and I can't tell you, or
(c) I don't know.
Rayburn's Rule:
If you want to get along, go along.
Fundamental Tenet of Reform:
Reforms come from below. No man with four aces howls for a new deal.
Law of Reruns:
If you have watched a TV series only once, and you watch it again, it will be a
rerun of the same episode.
Law of Research:
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Law of Restaurant Acoustics:
In a restaurant with seats which are close to each other, one will always find
the decibel level of the nearest conversation to be inversely proportional to
the quality of the thought going into it.
Law of Revelation:
The hidden flaw never remains hidden.
First Law of Revision:
Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer
after -- and only after -- the plans are complete. (Often called the "Now they
tell us!" Law.)
Corollary: In simple cases, presenting one obvious right way versus one
obvious wrong way, it is often wiser to choose the wrong way, so as to
expedite subsequent revision.
Second Law of Revision:
The more innocuous the modification appears to be, the further its influence
will extend and the more plans will have to be redrawn.
Third Law of Revision:
If, when completion of a design is imminent, field dimensions are finally
supplied as they actually are -- instead of as they were meant to be -- it is
always easier to start all over.
Corollary: It is usually impractical to worry beforehand about interferences -if you have none, someone will make one for you.
Fourth Law of Revision:
After painstaking and careful analysis of a sample, you are always told that it
is the wrong sample and doesn't apply to the problem.
Richard's Complementary Rules of Ownership:
If you keep anything long enough you can throw it away.
If you throw anything away, you will need it as soon as it is no longer

Richman's Inevitables of Parenthood:

Enough is never enough.
The sun always rises in the baby's bedroom window.
Birthday parties always end in tears.
Whenever you decide to take the kids home, it is always five minutes earlier
that they break into fights, tears, or hysteria.
Riddle's Constant:
There are coexisting elements in frustration phenomena which separate
expected results from achieved results.
Riesman's Law:
An inexorable upward movement leads administrators to higher salaries and
narrower spans of control.
Rigg's Hypothesis:
Incompetence tends to increase with the level of work performed. And,
naturally, the individual's staff needs will increase as his level of incompetence
Law of Road Construction:
After large expenditures of federal, state, and county funds; after much
confusion generated by detours and road blocks; after greatly annoying the
surrounding population with noise, dust, and fumes -- the previously existing
traffic jam is relocated by one-half mile.
Robertson's Law:
Everything happens at the same time with nothing in between.
The Three Laws of Robotics:
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human
being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such
orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not
conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Rodovic's Rule:
In any organization, the potential is much greater for the subordinate to
manage his superior than for the superior to manage his subordinate.
Rodriguez's Observation:
A consultant is someone who, when hired to find out what time it is, borrows
your watch to find out.
Corollary (Martin): If you hire a consultant to read your own watch to you,
you got your money's worth.
Roemer's Law:
The rate of hospital admissions responds to bed availability. If we insist on
installing more beds, they will tend to get filled.
Roger's Ratio:
One-third of the people in the United States promote, while the other twothirds provide.
Rosenbaum's Rule:
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a
Rosenfield's Regret:
The most delicate component will be dropped.
Rosenstock-Huessy's Law of Technology:

All technology expands the space, contracts the time, and destroys the
working group.
(Al) Ross's Law:
Bare feet magnetize sharp metal objects so they always point upward from
the floor -- especially in the dark.
(Charles) Ross's Law:
Never characterize the importance of a statement in advance.
Rudin's Law:
In a crisis that forces a choice to be made among alternative courses of
action, most people will choose the worse one possible.
Runamok's Law:
There are four kinds of people: those who sit quietly and do nothing, those
who talk about sitting quietly and doing nothing, those who do things, and
those who talk about doing things.
Runyon's Law:
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the
way to bet.
First Rule of Rural Mechanics:
If it works, don't fix it.
Ryan's Law:
Make three correct guesses consecutively and you will establish yourself as an

Sadat's Reminder:
Those who invented the law of supply and demand have no right to complain
when this law works against their interest.
Sam's Axioms:
Any line, however short, is still too long.
Work is the crabgrass of life, but money is the water that keeps it green.
Sattinger's Law:
It works better if you plug it in.
Sattler's Law:
There are 32 points to the compass, meaning that there are 32 directions in
which a spoon can squirt grapefruit; yet, the juice almost invariably flies
straight into the human eye.
Saunders's Discovery:
Laziness is the mother of nine inventions out of ten.
Sayre's Third Law of Politics:
Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the
stakes are so low.
Schenk's First Principle of Industrial Market Economics:
Good salesmen and good repairmen will never go hungry.
Schickel's TV Theorems:
Any dramatic series the producers want us to take seriously as a
representation of contemporary reality cannot be taken seriously as a
representation of anything -- except a show to be ignored by anyone capable
of sitting upright in a chair and chewing gum simultaneously.

The only programs a grown-up can possibly stand are those intended for
children. Or, more properly, those that cater to those pre-adolescent fantasies
that most have never abandoned.
Schmidt's Law:
Never eat prunes when you're hungry.
Schmidt's Law (probably a different Schmidt):
If you mess with something long enough, it'll break.
Schuckit's Law:
All interference in human conduct has the potential for causing harm, no
matter how innocuous the procedure may be.
Schultze's Law:
If you can't measure output, then you measure input.
Schumpeter's Observation of Scientific and Nonscientific Theories:
Any theory can be made to fit any facts by means of appropriate additional
Old Scottish Prayer:
Lord, grant that we may always be right, for Thou knowest we will never
change our minds.
Scott's First Law:
No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.
Scott's Second Law:
When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been
correct in the first place.
Corollary: After the correction has been found in error, it will be impossible to
fit the original quantity back into the equation.
Screwdriver Syndrome:
Sometimes, where a complex problem can be illuminated by many tools, one
can be forgiven for applying the one he knows best.
Segal's Law:
A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is
never sure.
Law of Selective Gravity (the Buttered Side Down Law):
An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
Corollary (Klipstein): The most delicate component will be the one to drop.
Sells's Law:
The first sample is always the best.
Laws of Serendipity:
In order to discover anything you must be looking for something.
If you wish to make an improved product, you must already be engaged in
making an inferior one.
Sevareid's Law:
The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Shaffer's Law:
The effectiveness of a politician varies in inverse proportion to his
commitment to principle.
Shalit's Law:
The intensity of movie publicity is in inverse ratio to the quality of the movie.
Shanahan's Law:
The length of a meeting rises with the square of the number of people

Sharkey's Fourth Law of Motion:

Passengers on elevators constantly rearrange their positions as people get on
and off so there is at all times an equal distance between all bodies.
Shaw's Principle:
Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.
Shelton's Laws of Pocket Calculators:
Rechargeable batteries die at the most critical time of the most complex
When a rechargeable battery starts to die in the middle of a complex
calculation, and the user attempts to connect house current, the calculator
will clear itself.
The final answer will exceed the magnitude or precision or both of the
There are not enough storage registers to solve the problem.
The user will forget mathematics in proportion to the complexity of the
Thermal paper will run out before the calculation is complete.
Shirley's Law:
Most people deserve each other.
Short's Quotations:
Any great truth can -- and eventually will -- be expressed as a cliche. A cliche
is a sure and certain way to dilute an idea. For instance, my grandmother
used to say, "The black cat is always the last one off the fence." I have no
idea what she meant, but at one time it was undoubtedly true.
Half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at.
Malpractice makes malperfect.
Neurosis is a communicable disease.
The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.
Nature abhors a hero. For one thing, he violates the law of conservation of
energy. For another, how can it be the survival of the fittest when the fittest
keeps putting himself in situations where he is most likely to be creamed?
A little ignorance can go a long way.
Learn to be sincere. Even if you have to fake it.
There is no such thing as an absolute truth -- that is absolutely true.
Understanding the laws of nature does not mean we are free from obeying
Entropy has us outnumbered.
The human race never solves any of its problems -- it only outlives them.
Hell hath no fury like a pacifist.
Law of Selective Gravity:
An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
Sevareid's Law:
The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Mother Sigafoos's Observation:
A man should be greater than some of his parts.
Simmon's Law:
The desire for racial integration increases with the square of the distance from
the actual event.
Simon's Law:
Everything put together sooner or later falls apart.

Sinner's Law of Retaliation:

Do whatever your enemies don't want you to do.
Skinner's Constant (Flannegan's Finagling Factor):
That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided into, added to, or subtracted
from the answer you got, gives you the answer you should have gotten.
Skole's Rule for Antique Dealers:
Never simply say, "Sorry, we don't have what you're looking for." Always say,
"Too bad, I just sold one the other day."
Law of Slide Presentation:
In any slide presentation, at least one slide will be upside down or backwards,
or both.
Smith's Principles of Bureaucratic Tinkertoys:
Never use one word when a dozen will suffice.
If it can be understood, it's not finished yet.
Never be the first to do anything.
Snafu Equations:
Given any problem containing n equations, there will be n+1 unknowns.
An object or bit of information most needed, will be least available.
In any human endeavor, once you have exhausted all possibilities and fail,
there will be one solution, simple and obvious, highly visible to everyone else.
Badness comes in waves.
First Law of Socio-Economics:
In a hierarchical system, the rate of pay for a given task increases in inverse
ratio to the unpleasantness and difficulty of the task.
First Law of Socio-Genetics:
Celibacy is not hereditary.
Woods's Refutation of the First Law of Socio-Genetics:
On the contrary, if you never procreate, neither will your kids.
Sociology's Iron Law of Oligarchy:
In every organized activity, no matter the sphere, a small number will become
the oligarchical leaders and the others will follow.
Sodd's First Law:
When a person attempts a task, he or she will be thwarted in that task by the
unconscious intervention of some other presence (animate or inanimate).
Nevertheless, some tasks are completed, since the intervening presence is
itself attempting a task and is, of course, subject to interference.
Sodd's Second Law:
Sooner or later, the worst possible set of circumstances is bound to occur.
Corollary: Any system must be designed to withstand the worst possible set
of circumstances.
Sodd's Other Law:
The degree of failure is in direct proportion to the effort expended and to the
need for success.
Grandma Soderquist's Conclusion:
A chicken doesn't stop scratching just because the worms are scarce.
Spare Parts Principle:
The accessibility, during recovery of small parts which fall from the work
bench, varies directly with the size of the part and inversely with its
importance to the completion of the work underway.
Spark's Ten Rules for the Project Manager:

Strive to look tremendously important.

Attempt to be seen with important people.
Speak with authority; however, only expound on the obvious and proven
Don't engage in arguments, but if cornered, ask an irrelevant question and
lean back with a satisfied grin while your opponent tries to figure out what's
going on -- then quickly change the subject.
Listen intently while others are arguing the problem. Pounce on a trite
statement and bury them with it.
If a subordinate asks you a pertinent question, look at him as if he had lost
his senses. When he looks down, paraphrase the question back at him.
Obtain a brilliant assignment, but keep out of sight and out of the limelight.
Walk at a fast pace when out of the office -- this keeps questions from
subordinates and superiors at a minimum.
Always keep the office door closed. This puts visitors on the defensive and
also makes it look as if you are always in an important conference.
Give all orders verbally. Never write anything down that might go into a "Pearl
Harbor File."
Specht's Meta-Law:
Under any conditions, anywhere, whatever you are doing, there is some
ordinance under which you can be booked.
Sprinkle's Law:
Things always fall at right angles.
Stamp's Statistical Probability:
The government is extremely fond of amassing great quantities of statistics.
These are raised to the nth degree, the cube roots are extracted, and the
results are arranged into elaborate and impressive displays. What must be
kept ever in mind, however, is that in every case, the figures are first put
down by a village watchman, and he puts down anything he damn well
Steele's Plagiarism of Somebody's Philosophy:
Everyone should believe in something -- I believe I'll have another drink.
Steinbeck's Law:
When you need towns, they are very far apart.
Stephens's Soliloquy:
Finality is death. Perfection is finality. Nothing is perfect. There are lumps in
Stewart's Law of Retroaction:
It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
Stockbroker's Declaration:
The market will rally from this or lower levels.
Stock Market Axiom:
The public is always wrong.
Stock's Observation:
You no sooner get your head above water than someone pulls your flippers
Stockmayer's Theorem:
If it looks easy, it's tough. If it looks tough, it's damn well impossible.
Law of Storage:

The amount of stuff to be stored automatically expands to fill the space

available in which to store it.
"Murphy was an optimist" corrolary: ... automatically expands to exceed the
space available...
Sturgeon's Law:
Ninety percent of EVERYTHING is crud.
Sueker's Note:
If you need n items of anything, you will have n - 1 in stock.
Suhor's Law:
A little ambiguity never hurt anyone.
Law of Superiority:
The first example of superior principle is always inferior to the developed
example of inferior principle.
Law of Superstition:
It's bad luck to be superstititious.
Survival Formula for Public Office:
Exploit the inevitable (which means, take credit for anything good which
happens whether you had anything to do with it or not).
Don't disturb the perimeter (meaning don't stir up a mess unless you can be
sure of the result).
Stay in with the Outs (the Ins will make so many mistakes, you can't afford to
alienate the Outs).
Don't permit yourself to get between a dog and a lamppost.
Sutton's Law:
Go where the money is.
Swipple's Rule of Order:
He who shouts loudest has the floor.

Taxi Principle:
Find out the cost before you get in.
Terman's Law:
There is no direct relationship between the quality of an educational program
and its cost.
Terman's Law of Innovation:
If you want a track team to win the high jump you find one person who can
jump seven feet, not seven people who can jump one foot.
Fourth Law of Thermodynamics:
If the probability of success is not almost one, then it is damn near zero.
Thinking Man's Tautology:
If you think you're wrong, you're wrong.
Corollary: If you think you're wrong, you're right.
Thoreau's Law:
If you see a man approaching with the obvious intent of doing you good, run
for your life.
Thoreau's Rule:
Any fool can make a rule, and every fool will mind it.
Thurber's Conclusion:
There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.

Thwartz's Theorem of Low Profile:

Negative expectation thwarts realization, and self-congratulation guarantees
disaster. (Or, simply put: If you think of it, it won't happen quite that way.)
Tipper's Law:
Those who expect the biggest tips provide the worst service.
Titanic Coincidence:
Most accidents in well-designed systems involve two or more events of low
probability occurring in the worst possible combination.
TJs Principles:
No mission is impossible for the officer doesn't have to do it himself.
If the mission seems easy, it's tough. If it seems tough, it's damn well
Whenever a mission has two possible solutions, use the simpler of the two.
In any mission, once you have exhausted all possibilities, lost most your men,
and failed, there will be one solution, simple and obvious, highly visible to
everyone else who wasnt there at the time.
Most military screw-ups in well-designed plans that meet two or more events
of low probability occurring in the worst possible combination.
Oftentimes it is better to make a bad decision than no decision.
A weapons degree of reliability is directly proportional to how bad it is
needed. Assumption is the mother of all military disasters.
Combat is not a good place for democracy.
Never stand next to anyone who looks tremendously important.
Sharpshooters make mistakes too.
Safety in numbers does not apply to hand-grenades, machine guns, nukes,
and poison gas.
When the shit hits the fan it will not be evenly distributed.
Its easier to be a pacifist when no one is shooting at you.
The service cant give you brains, but it can put you in charge.
Anything hit with a big enough bomb will fall apart.
Allies come and go; enemies accumulate.
Protecting the little girls and boys is reason enough to fight
The probability of winning is directly proportional to the willingness to die for
your beliefs. The probability of winning is more directly proportional to your
ability to make the other guy die for his beliefs
Incompetent officers often have able sergeants. Able officers often have
incompetent sergeants. The private/airman/seaman can lose in either
Torquemada's Law:
When you are sure you're right, you have a moral duty to impose your will
upon anyone who disagrees with you.
Transcription Square Law:
The number of errors made is equal to the sum of the squares employed.
Travel Axiom:
He travels fastest who travels alone . . . but he hasn't anything to do when he
gets there.
First Law of Travel:
No matter how many rooms there are in the motel, the fellow who starts up
his car at five o'clock in the morning is always parked under your window.
Trischmann's Paradox (Axiom of the Pipe):

A pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to stick in his
Law of Triviality:
The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the
sum involved.
Troutman's Laws of Computer Programming (and see Peck's Programming
Any running program is obsolete.
Any planned program costs more and takes longer.
Any useful program will have to be changed.
Any useless program will have to be documented.
The size of a program expands to fill all available memory.
The value of a program is inversely proportional to the weight of its output.
The complexity of a program grows until it exceeds the capability of its
Any system that relies on computer reliability is unreliable.
Any system that relies on human reliability is unreliable.
Make it possible for programmers to write programs in English, and you will
find that programmers cannot write in English.
Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.
Truman's Law:
If you cannot convince them, confuse them.
Tuccille's First Law of Reality:
Industry always moves in to fill an economic vacuum.
Turnauckas's Observation:
To err is human; to really foul things up takes a computer.
Turner's Law:
Nearly all prophecies made in public are wrong.
Twain's Rule:
Only kings, editors, and people with tapeworm have the right to use the
editorial "we".
Tylk's Law:
Assumption is the mother of all foul-ups.

Ubell's Law of Press Luncheons:
At any public relations luncheon, the quality of the food is inversely related to
the quality of the information.
Uhlmann's Razor:
When stupidity is a sufficient explanation, there is no need to have recourse
to any other.
Corollary (Law of Historical Causation): "It seemed like the thing to do at the
The Ultimate Law:
All general statements are false.
The Ultimate Principle:
By definition, when you are investigating the unknown, you do not know what
you will find.
Umbrella Law:

You will need three umbrellas: one to leave at the office, one to leave at
home, and one to leave on the train.
The Unapplicable Law:
Washing your car to make it rain doesn't work.
Universal Field Theory of Perversity (Mule's Law):
The probability of an event's occurring varies directly with the perversity of
the inanimate object involved and inversely with the product of its desirability
and the effort expended to produce it.
Unnamed Law:
If it happens, it must be possible.
The Unspeakable Law:
As soon as you mention something, if it's good, it goes away; if it's bad, it

Vail's Axiom:
In any human enterprise, work seeks the lowest hierarchical level.
Vance's Rule of 2 1/2:
Any military project will take twice as long as planned, cost twice as much,
and produce only half of what is wanted.
Lucy Van Pelt's Observation:
There must be one day above all others in each life that is the happiest.
Corollary: What if you've already had it?
Vique's Law:
A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.
Von Braun's Law of Gravity:
We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.
Vonnegut's Corollary:
Beauty may be only skin deep, but ugliness goes right to the core.

Waddell's Law of Equipment Failure:
A component's degree of reliability is directly proportional to its ease of
accessibility (i.e., the harder it is to get to, the more often it breaks down).
Waffle's Law:
A professor's enthusiasm for teaching the introductory course varies inversely
with the likelihood of his having to do it.
Wain's Conclusion:
The only people making money these days are the ones who sell computer
Waldo's Observation:
One man's red tape is another man's system.
Walinsky's Law:
The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of
Walinsky's First Law of Political Campaigns:
If there are twelve clowns in a ring, you can jump in the middle and start
reciting Shakespeare, but to the audience, you'll just be the thirteenth clown.

Walker's Law:
Associate with well-mannered persons and your manners will improve. Run
with decent folk and your own decent instincts will be strengthened. Keep the
company of bums and you will become a bum. Hang around with rich people
and you will end by picking up the check and dying broke.
Wallace's Observation:
Everything is in a state of utter dishevelment.
Walters's Law of Management:
If you're already in a hole, there's no use to continue digging.
Washington's Law:
Space expands to house the people to perform the work that Congress
Watson's Law:
The reliability of machinery is inversely proportional to the number and
significance of any persons watching it.
Rule of the Way Out:
Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.
Weaver's Law:
When several reporters share a cab on an assignment, the reporter in the
front seat pays for all.
Corollary (O'Doyle): No matter how many reporters share a cab, and no
matter who pays, each puts the full fare on his own expense account.
Corollary (Germond): When a group of newsmen go out to dinner together,
the bill is to be divided evenly among them, regardless of what each one eats
and drinks.
Weber-Fechner Law:
The least change in stimulus necessary to produce a perceptible change in
response is proportional to the stimulus already existing.
Weidner's Queries:
The tide comes in and the tide goes out, and what have you got?
They say an elephant never forgets, but what's he got to remember?
Weiler's Law:
Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.
Weinberg's Law:
If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first
woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
Corollary: An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping
on to the grand fallacy.
Weisman's Law of Examinations:
If you're confident after you've just finished an exam, it's because you don't
know enough to know better.
Wells's Law:
A parade should have bands OR horses, not both.
Westheimer's Rule:
To estimate the time it takes to do a task: estimate the time you think it
should take, multiply by 2, and change the unit of measure to the next
highest unit. Thus we allocate 2 days for a one hour task.
Whispered Rule:
People will believe anything if you whisper it.
White Flag Principle:

A military disaster may produce a better postwar situation than victory.

White's Chappaquiddick Theorem:
The sooner and in more detail you announce bad news, the better.
White's Observations of Committee Operation:
People very rarely think in groups; they talk together, they exchange
information, they adjudicate, they make compromises. But they do not think;
they do not create.
A really new idea affronts current agreement.
A meeting cannot be productive unless certain premises are so shared that
they do not need to be discussed, and the argument can be confined to areas
of disagreement. But while this kind of consensus makes a group more
effective in its legitimate functions, it does not make the group a creative
vehicle -- it would not be a new idea if it didn't -- and the group, impelled as
it is to agree, is instinctively hostile to that which is divisive.
White's Statement:
Don't lose heart . . .
Owen's Comment on White's Statement: . . . they might want to cut it
out . . .
Byrd's Addition to Owen's Comment on White's Statement: . . . and they want
to avoid a lengthy search.
Whole Picture Principle:
Research scientists are so wrapped up in their own narrow endeavors that
they cannot possibly see the whole picture of anything, including their own
Corollary: The Director of Research should know as little as possible about the
specific subject of research he is administering.
Wicker's Law:
Government expands to absorb revenue, and then some.
Wilcox's Law:
A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the pants.
Williams and Holland's Law:
If enough data is collected, anything may be proven by statistical methods.
Will's Rule of Informed Citizenship:
If you want to understand your government, don't begin by reading the
Constitution. (It conveys precious little of the flavor of today's statecraft.)
Instead read selected portions of the Washington telephone directory
containing listings for all the organizations with titles beginning with the word
Flip Wilson's Law:
You can't expect to hit the jackpot if you don't put a few nickles in the
Wilson's Law of Demographics:
The public is not made up of people who get their names in the newspapers.
Wingo's Axiom:
All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without
First Law of Wing-Walking:
Never leave hold of what you've got until you've got hold of something else.
Witten's Law:
Whenever you cut your fingernails, you will find a need for them an hour later.

Wober's SNIDE Rule (Satisfied Needs Incite Demand Excesses):

Ideal goals grow faster than the means of attaining new goals allow.
Wolf's Law (An Optimistic View of a Pessimistic World):
It isn't that things will necessarily go wrong (Murphy's Law), but rather that
they will take so much more time and effort than you think if they are not to
go wrong.
Wolf's Law of Decision-Making:
Major actions are rarely decided by more than four people. If you think a
larger meeting you're attending is really "hammering out" a decision, you're
probably wrong. Either the decision was agreed to by a smaller group before
the meeting began, or the outcome of the larger meeting will be modified
later when three or four people get together.
Wolf's Law of History Lessons:
Those who don't study the past will repeat its errors. Those who do study it
will find OTHER ways to err.
Wolf's Law of Management:
The tasks to do immediately are the minor ones; otherwise, you'll forget
them. The major ones are often better to defer. They usually need more time
for reflection. Besides, if you forget them, they'll remind you.
Wolf's Law of Meetings:
The only important result of a meeting is agreement about next steps.
Wolf's Law of Planning:
A good place to start from is where you are.
Wolf's Law of Tactics:
If you can't beat them, have them join you.
Woltman's Law:
Never program and drink beer at the same time.
Woman's Equation:
Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as
good. Luckily, this is not difficult.
Wood's Law:
The more unworkable the urban plan, the greater the probability of
Woods's Incomplete Maxims:
All's well that ends.
A penny saved is a penny.
Don't leave things unfinishe
Woods's Laws of Procrastination:
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
Procrastinate today! (Tomorrow may be too late.)
NOW is the time to do things later!
If at first you don't succeed, why try again?
Woodward's Law:
A theory is better than an explanation.
Worker's Dilemma Law (Management's Put-Down Law):
No matter how much you do, you'll never do enough.
What you don't do is always more important than what you do do.
Wynne's Law:
Negative slack tends to increase.
Wyszkowski's Theorem:

Regardless of the units used by either the supplier or the customer, the
manufacturer shall use his own arbitrary units convertible to those of either
the supplier or the customer only by means of weird and unnatural conversion
Wyszowski's First Law:
No experiment is reproducible.
Wyszkowski's Second Law:
Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.

Yapp's Basic Fact:
If a thing cannot be fitted into something smaller than itself, some dope will
do it.
Yolen's Guide for Self-Praise:
Proclaim yourself "World Champ" of something -- tiddly-winks, rope- jumping,
whatever -- send this notice to newspapers, radio, TV, and wait for
challengers to confront you. Avoid challenges as long as possible, but
continue to send news of your achievements to all media. Also, develop a
newsletter and letterhead for communications.
Young's Handy Guide to the Modern Sciences:
If it is green or it wiggles -- it is Biology.
If it stinks -- it is Chemistry.
If it doesn't work -- it is Physics.
Young's Law:
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
Corollary: The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.

Zellar's Law:
Every newspaper, no matter how tight the news hole, has room for a story on
another newspaper increasing its newsstand price.
Zimmerman's Law:
Regardless of whether a mission expands or contracts, administrative
overhead continues to grow at a steady rate.
Zimmerman's Law of Complaints:
Nobody notices when things go right.
Zusmann's Rule:
A successful symposium depends on the ratio of meeting to eating.
Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving System Dynamics:
Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger
can. (Old worms never die, they just worm their way into larger cans.)
Zymurgy's Seventh Exception to Murphy's Laws:
When it rains, it pours.
Zymurgy's Law of Volunteer Labour:
People are always available for work in the past tense.
And remember, your own ears are your best resource. Not even the highest
rated alledged 'golden ear' can tell you what sounds good to you. After much

experience, you'll better understand your tastes and what you like. That's all
that really matters, isn't it?
it is the gap between expectations and reality which determines the reaction
to the stereo system.
the lower the expectations the greater the pleasure, because the analytic
"mind" is suspended.
when expectations are higher one is listening critically.
there is less enjoyment when listening critically and when one's ego is at
stake after spending a sizable chunk on components.
in general if you want to enjoy music, don't analyze or be critical. it is easier
to do this with low expectations.
the more money spent the higher the expectations and less enjoyment.

sometimes it is better to listen to a stereo system without being aware of the

prices or names of components. that way there is no expectations
I am listening to a $300 minisystem, and am thoroughly
enjoying the experience. This is in stark contrast to my
experience with my highend stuff. Although I feel I have
the right components and synergy, I never quite feel as
though I am enjoying myself because I am either making
judgments on the sound, or because so much money was
spent I expect so much in return. Now I know that my
kilobuck system sounds better than the mini, but it makes
me wonder when this obsession with sound quality interferred
with actually listening to the performance. I figure it all
started with magazine reviews, and countless number
of components to achieve what will never be. It seems we/I
will always focus on what is not right with our systems because
nothing is perfect. And thats where I think everything went
wrong; Imagine what would happen in our day to day relationships
if we traded in our friends and spouses like we do our equipment.
I guess the enjoyment comes in the constant pushing of that boulder up the
hill like Camus's Sisyphus. Anyone else experience this phenomenon?
Now back to Stan Getz on the mini.
From my experience, I would say forget about the "highs" and "lows." I would
use the following tests: 1) Does the music sound natural? 2) Does the music
sound alive? 3) Is there plenty of air around the performers? 4) Is there is
sense of a wide and deep soundstage before you? (Not appropriate question if
your're listening to soloists or a small ensemble) 5) As you listen, do you feel
you are in audio Nirvana? If you can say "yes" a lot, then you are in the right
Listen. Really, really, just listen.
The goal for me is to own equipment that produces a sound that I find
pleasing and to spend my time enjoying the music.
Let me ask this: Does music need audiophiles?
I love the look of equipment particularly in silver but I wouldn't say I'm a
fanatic. I don't pursue accuracy because I perceive accuracy as sometimes,
cold or analytical, too precise, too razor sharp. I like the idea of correct

instrument timbre but it's not my focus. I guess I'm more into having the
music sound real, the real sound of a cymbal as it's struck by the drumstick,
the "thwack" sound of a rim shot on a snare drum, the screech of the trumpet
or sax on a high note. I'm into realistic reproduction of music. Haven't gotten
all the way there yet- my system is still a little warm and not extended
enough in the upper mids and highs.
You might be an audiophile
if- your living room only has 1 or 2 chairs in it.
if you postpone the root canal because a great pair of NOS tubes just went up
for sale
If your power cord costs more than your wifes wedding ring
if you evaluate new houses based on their suitability for speaker placement.
You leave your car running all night so the radio/cd will be ready to listen to
on the way to work.
...each of your speakers weigh more than you do.
your LP collection requires its own separate room.
the power cord attached to your amplifier cost more than your amplifier!
if you can hear your amp stands
your living room is arranged around your speakers, and your speakers
visually dominate the room, being several feet from any walls.
You have more than 20 unused interconnects sitting in a box somewhere
....if you own and listen to LPs/CDs which you don't even enjoy the music on
but they make your system sound really amazing
When someone asks you what kind of stereo you have it takes twenty
minutes to answer stop inviting friends and relatives over for fear of them questioning you
sanity, once they saw what you've done to the living room. swear you can hear the difference between an object 1/4 once vs 1/2
once placed on top of your component. spent the week-ends tweaking your components that you thought
sounded "Perfect" last week-end. look around for things that "might" work in your system everytime you
walk into a Home Depot. get more excited over looking at a nice set of speakers than you do a
nice set of boobs.
...your couch has a permanent imprint in the sweet spot.
...your family is afraid to touch the stereo.

...your last choice for audio equipment is Best Buy.

..If your son's names are Martin, Logan and Krell and your daughter's names
are Avalon, Maggie and Linn :-) is your home page!
10) You get a complaint about noise...from your local airport.
9) Your electric company builds a substation in your backyard
8) Your H.T uses as much cable and wire as found in 3 average homes
7) Your speakers are bigger than your refrigerator
6) Every time you play a Bach pipe organ piece, seismographs register
5) You get rid of your wood stove, because your tube equipment puts out

more heat
4) You have more filled equipment racks than your local radio station
3) Your new preamp is the best one you've ever heard, and your system is
finally finished. You trade it in next week for a different one.

2) You own at least 10 different vinyl pressings of every Beatles and Stones
1) You can "hear" the sonic differences resulting from a 3 degree ambient
temperature change
Not tonight Honey, I'm still burning in my cable.
you stay single so you won't have to deal with the waf factor or placing
speakers too close to the wall
colleague tells you about his great surround sound setup and you resist telling
him he could have had a decent starter two channel set up
your artwork on the back wall is made by echobusters
when a hurricane is threatening - you pack your valuables
tube pre amp, turntable, amplifier, interconnects
the UPS and FedEx guys know not to stop when they see the wife's car in the
you have plans to put your whole house on ball bearings to reduce the
negative effect of the earth's vibrations on your audio system.
The only reason you got bent out of shape when the gas prices soared was
the raise in shipping costs of the gear your just ordered.
You use $20,000 cd player as a transport but your best clothes are from
You might be an audiophile if you have a thousand CD's in you collection and
only listen to those favorite 10 because of their sonic characteristics.
The worst thing that can happen to you is loosing your stereo system because
you have nothing more left. This is the outcome of your constant upgrades.
system is as good as it's weakest link
Trust your own ears
Every one at its own
If you do not have the room it is A waste to upgrade. The room can not show
of the potential of the system with out it. If you are blessed with A good
room,then I think that the speakers are the most important link in a system.
They have the most change in sound than any other part of your system.
Once you have the first two then you can really judge the rest of your system
by tring other components to your liking. What ever is your listing preference
is. They only have to please your ear, no one but yours. The argument will go
on for years about the best components. Its what your ear tells you
System Design Fundas
After 30 years in the business, and lots of system design, I believe that
starting with the speakers is the way to go. They do make the bigest sonic
impact on the system sound. Room size, cosmetic (WAF), bass extention and
level issues will be important in this decision. Once you have picked out your
speakers and you have knowledge of your listening environment and listening
biases you can pick a complementary Amp and preamp or Integrated amp.
Features are also important in this choice. Solid state or tubes, remote control
and system flexability and future upgradability are all issues to look at in

addition to sound quality. I have seen too much money spent here so as to
not end up with a balanced system. The idea is to get the quality power that
you need to run your speakers, in your room, to the volume levels that you
need. Overspending here means that you will not have enough for speakers
and sources.
You then pick your sources to sonically complement the amp & speaker
Finally you use cables and Line conditioners to fine tune the system. I am a
big believer in doing the Line conditioning first so you can clean up the
system. With this all in place you will then know what cables to add to the
system to fine tune the tonal balance to your liking. Cables are like system
equalizers that fine tune a systems performance. Too many people think that
cables will "FIX" their system problems whereas I believe that if there are
basic system issues they should be fixed and then use cables to get the most
out of your other system choices.


You have to calculate the room dimensions, size and distance of actual
listening area to be used and know the frequency and SPL range that you
want to reproduce with authority. Pick speakers that are suitable for those
specifics and don't over or under do the project at hand. This means looking
for something that is reasonably efficient, has the appropriate radiation
pattern and does not have a wild impedance curve. The more that you
compromise those basic requirements, the more complicated your job finding
suitable support components will be.
No matter what you do, if you have speakers that are inappropriate for the
room or your specific requirements, everything else that you do will strictly be
an attempt at a "band-aid". You'll spend all of your time trying to correct your
initial mistake rather than enjoying what you already have.
If you've done your homework with the speakers, this will narrow down the
field of amps quite a bit, so that shouldn't be a problem. As such, you should
go back to the source components and find something that is both user
friendly and offers the sonics / features that you prefer. When it comes to
digital, I think that a lot of people never hear how good it can really be as
they don't spend the time to really set things up as good as possible or
experience several different front ends within their system. They settle for
less because they've never been exposed to "good" digital. Remember, the
rest of the system can't reproduce what the source has never recovered.
Sources are PHENOMENALLY important.
From there, move onto the "backbone" components, i.e. preamp and power
amp or integrated. With an excellent source and a set of speakers that WILL
work in your room for your specific situation, your goal is to find a preamp
that offers the versatility that you need while doing as little to the signal ( in
or out of band ) as is possible other than to regulate the amplitude. A
"straight wire with gain" if at all possible. A power amp needs to take this
signal and amplify it to the levels required to efficiently respond to your
speakers needs WITHOUT being "pushed". This means the amp has to have

the ability to deal with a wide range of impedances, levels of reactance,

output levels, etc...
If you've done all of that, the rest is a matter of fine tuning the "voice" of the
system. This can be done with various cables ( power, interconnects,
speaker ). Don't forget that a rack or whatever it is that you intend to support
the components with CAN and DOES affect what you hear. Do some research
in the archives here as to what works well. A basic suggestion would be to
use a very rigid support structure with lightweight shelves that are freefloating.
Treating the room acoustics to varying degrees will also tend to highlight
minute differences that you might not otherwise have taken notice of. This is
due to frequency response and / or timing errors. These differences would
have otherwise covered up the subtleties that good systems make obvious
but do so in a fashion that seems completely natural.
Once you've gotten to this level, you are well beyond addicted and you'll soon
be giving us advice about what to do and the tweaks that we need to try : )

---How would I do it now? Ideally, I would read more reviews here, spend more
time listening to systems at the shows and in various high end audio shops
(e.g., Goodwins in Boston), beg for invitations from fellow Audiogoners to
listen to the great systems that they built and I would narrow down the
philosophy before buying. The philosophy would be in very different terms
than before: I would really think through analog vs. digital (or both), high
power vs. low power, type of amp design (e.g., tube), and type of speaker
(e.g., bass reflex). The second two decisions would have to follow the first
two. I would then set a budget and general budget ratios for the equipment
and cables. Certainly, the room dimensions and surfaces are important and I
would likely include treatments in the budget. That would be in a perfect
world. Since I'm nowhere near perfect ... (By the way, while I would like to
think that I would buy much more equipment used, I would not do that if I
found the equipment at a dealership and that dealer spent quality time with

---------The first thing I would do is to go to as many live jazz concerts, classical

music concerts etc. as possible. If you armed with a good pair of ears, then
everything will be much easier since you got a reference or references.
Also try to listen as many types of speakers(well tuned system) - from
moving coil(regular cone speakers), plannar, electro-static, full range, horn
speaker etc. Compare it to your real life experience in live music. See which
one bring you closesr to the real thing/sounds real and give you the most
emotional impact/satisfaction. Then start from there...........


starting out from scratch - I'd then advise...

* spend some time at an audio show if at all possible
* chose speakers first based upon personal sonic preference

* make your preamp the best component in your rig (if applicable)
* realize that there are NO absolutes in this hobby: what didn't work for
another might work quite well for your rig & vice-versa
* tubes might be best left for later on


In order, though some of this overlapped, the steps were:

Education - Auditioned a wide variety of components, especially speakers, to
learn what was available, where my tastes lay and what seemed to satisfy
them. Read everything I could lay my hands on including Audiogon, Audio
Asylum, the audio news groups and both professional and amateur reviews.
Asked questions at every opportunity of anyone who might respond. Learned
quickly to take it all with a grain of salt, too...
Consideration - Thought through the short and long term expectations of the
system with an eye toward an upgrade path. Using the auditions as a baseline
a general budget was decided on, as well as how much to spend on each
component. One issue that complicated things is that I rent my home. The
room is always subject to change and that had to be factored in, too.
Confirmation - After the above was reasonably well lined out there were more
auditions, again mostly speakers, this time focused on a defined set of
desired traits. Once the speakers were decided on the rest of the gear
selection literally fell into place.
Acquisition - Buying half the gear used kept the budget under control and
allowed for upgrades to items like cables and tweaks. Being patient and
waiting for the used gear to be offered for sale was the hardest part, but it
literally saved me thousands of dollars.
Retrospection - The end result has met all expectations and has proved to be
a good foundation for future improvements. But perfection is hard to acheive.
Were I to start over a few things would be different. More of the budget would
go into the source components and speaker efficiency would get greater
attention. Monitors with subs would also get consideration.
One -tion also needs mention. That is procrastination. Upon reflection, I over
analyzed everything in an effort to avoid making mistakes and made some
anyway. Today I'd be more apt take the plunge and fix the errors along the
way. Even a mildly mismatched system would have been better than the extra
three years I endured the mid-fi system

----To choose a system, I would try to audition as many types of systems I could,
like esl, planar, dynamic, high-efficiency, headphones, turntable, CDP).
Second, I would think about and be extremely honest w/ myself about
practical concerns, like money, S.O., amount of self-energy I would like to put
in to my system(some systems need more energy than others), what sort of
buying I am comfortable with(e.g. dealer, used, internet). Third, discover
what speakers I enjoy from the system type, within the relevant practical

concerns that have a tonal balance that suits my room. From there pick the
component from the type(speakers, amps, preamps, source, cables)that has
the fewest sonically reasonable options. Usually that is the amp, because
whatever speaker you choose will only be happy with a limited number of
amps. Last, like others have said, room treatment is very beneficial. There
are a lot of ways to put a system together, and the philosophy is whatever
works for you. Better answers come from more specific questions.


Good sound has more to do with your mind than your system. A little
contentment goes a long way. My $30,000 doesn't sound like live music but
neither does Joe Audiophiles $200,000 system. Enjoy the music and stop
listening to the equipment
The one that sounds the best to you is the best. Its always been astonishing
to me how people will argue over the hardware, when it's the software
(music) that we are really trying to appreciate. The best hardware in the
wrong room, or set up improperly, will not please the listener. Audiophiles
should learn more about acoustics, especially standing waves, nodes,
antinodes, reflection speed, backslap, etc., before spending the price of a car
on hardware. The biggest problems stem from putting the wrong speakers in
a room, and positioning them improperly. In my 25+ years experience, I have
found that most loudspeakers with woofers bigger than 8" will overload the
average room in the average North American house. Lets face it, we all live in
different houses, but they are all basically "standard" in many ways. The
furniture industry, the appliance industry, the wall covering industry, carpet
industry, window covering industry, etc., have all settled on "standard sizes"
for the majority of their core products. Think about this when you try to
shoehorn the latest Vomitron 500 loudspeakers with the 4 15" woofers (per
channel) into the average living room. I'm not saying the amplifier, tube or
transistor, is secondary to the loudspeakers, both items play an equally
important role. Getting the acoustics right will bring out the best in any
system, tube or transistor, cheap or expensive. I have a colleague who
engineers, designs, and installs custom home theatre systems in the $100250k range. He is always amazed at how easy it is to sell the system, but how
difficult it is to sell the customer on the idea of treating the room. Most refuse
to spend any mony at all.

1. If you hear no difference then there is no difference

2. Cost is the cloud that obscures the ears
3. Without love of music love of equipment is materialism
4. Pay attention!
sound quality is mind over matter. if you don't mind it doesn't matter.
Never trust a dealer.
If you can hear the difference, pay the difference.
Your eyes hear what your ears see.
The times that I listened to the music the most was when I had Radioshack
quality equipment and had a limited budget! That's also, the time when I was
most satisfied.
My suggestion is if you want to remain remotely sane in this hobby, stay away
from this forum and others like it. Also, stay away from all of the audiophile

you'll be a lot happier!
Don't wait until you can afford it, or you may not be able to hear it.
Anyone that has a pair of speakers with more than 3 cones per speaker has a
great sense of humor. Anyone with more than 10 cones per speaker is a pro
More cones are only better when one is at Baskin Robins
it is really desturbing when you walk into your local dealer and hear a system
that costs a few thousand dollars that is putting out this incredibly musical
sound and your thinking that you have spent 10 times that with little better
friends ask me how I can listen to a $20 radio at work when I have such a
nice system at home. I like music; it is that simple. However, when I really
want to listen to something that can give me chill bumps, it is not going to be
on my little radio.
My advice is that maybe you have hit a wall where you additional investment
just isn't bring you any additional "joy" (for lack of a better word). Maybe it is
time to quit tweeking or upgrading and just enjoy what you have while you
decide on a plan. Downsizing may be an option or maybe finding a new type
of music that really turns you on will help. For example, I was talking to a
friend who had asked me if I had ever heard of a kind of new age flamingo by
Jesse Cook. I borrowed a disk and for the next few months was really
energized by this incredible music
Now my focus is on the music, and just keep the equipment working properly.
Cotton swabs and cleaning your ears is a great system tweaks. your ears are
part of your system and back when I did test my hearing, then had my ears
professionally cleaned and retested my hearing.
That new piece of gear that you just brought home with great certainty that it
will be the answer to all of your audio problems, will someday annoy you. Just
Most (but not all) British equipment is more "polite" sounding than US gear. If
your US gear starts to annoy you by reason of an overemphasis on "detail",
try some British gear.
Educate yourself to become a better listener.
Find the Audiophile club in your town or city. Nothing is more helpfull then
advice of fellow audiophils and access to gear that you never heard before.
it's all subjective and a matter of opinion.
since opinion is neither true nor false, and one man's trash is another man's
treasure, there are no truths, only audio experiences.
It's not about the music. It's about an experience. The system is the silver
platter, the music is what gets served and the taste is the experience.
Optimized simplicity is better than impressive complexity.
The "Boy" in us likes his toys - this is good - I "Man" enough to let
the passion of music stir something beyond my intellect to inspire something
better in me?
Being an audiophile does not preclude or exclude having a life. It requires
If you're an audiophile, have realistic expectations: Excellence will serve you
better than perfection.

If you're an audiophile, letting yourself "dance to the music" more often will
serve you better than a habit of "judging the system".
If you're an audiophile and your playback never did or doesn't engage you
emotionally any more, It's likely one of two things or a combination of the
two: a.) Your system really, really sucks or b.) you don't have a life where
music can anchor your experiences.
Electronics is science that requires art to be great. Music is art that requires
science to be great.
Drumming is mathematics artistically applied.
Different is different; not necessarily better.
Check your ego at the door and youll write less checks.
The statements surrounding audible improvements derived from the use of
aftermarket cabling, power conditioning, and isolation, are not urban legends.
Ask questions. There are no bad questions, but there are bad choices made
by their lack
If you cant hear or see the difference, dont pay the difference.
This is the most important aspect of the high end audio mystique, or
psychosis. If youre experiencing the grass is greener on the other side
syndrome more often than not, with regard to chasing gear for the perfect
fit. Its time to water your own lawn.
getting a Hi fi to sound like Live music is like finding God you can only strive
to be there.. but you will never be there no matter how hard you try.
Of course, some of us may get nearer to it than others.
remember that it is YOUR system, and don't let anybody tell YOU what sounds
good to YOU.
Pay cash & don't go into debt for any audio gear.
2. No matter the deal or craving, refer to item #1.
Room treatment, room treatment, room treatment.
Placement, placement, placement
Snake Oil has the power to destroy the whole enjoyment of an audio system,
which simply gets LOST for ever in an "Ocean of Doubt" : all you ever hear is
what you have been led to believe could/might be wrong!
Never pay retail on high end electronics. Never buy obscure brands that will
never resale or trade.
Everything in audio is a compromise. Know your expectations and you will
save time and lots of money in the long run to better enjoy what you have.
Build if you can. Buy if you cannot. Find "audio buddies" if you can, but don't
compete with them or of what they have. Contrast the variety! Instead, enjoy
the friendship as you go along the journey. Good people makes the audio
world go round or whatever kind of world you are in for that matter.
Amp and speaker matching is very important but start with the speaker. It
has to fit the room
Speakers ARE the determining factor in your reproduction chain. They have
the highest utility factor (from economics). For every dollar spent on
speakers, you get the highest return on music 'utils' than for a dollar spent
anywhere else. The lowest return on your dollar are things like cables.
Speakers all sound different and will have the biggest impact on overall
sound. If you don't have a speaker that is correct for the room and with a
sound you enjoy you will NEVER correct it with a source.
o If it doesn't look cool and glow - forget it.
2) If it doesn't have gold or silver or Beryllium or some precious metal

or diamonds then it won't sound good - fabric and paper are cheap
and therefore will always sound cheap.
3) Tone controls destroy audio signals - only buy "pure" gear with no
options/flexibility (direct paths) and then use cables, tweaks and
buy/sell components until you happen to stumble upon the sound you
4) It sounds better if you can see - place monoblocks prominently out
in the room (on the floor is best).
5) Box speakers sound boxy - get something tall, thin and angular with
small "fast" light weight woofers (because big woofers are all slow)
6) The only way to get good sound is to go Vinyl. Digital is "missing"
stuff between the data that you can hear only with Analog.
7) Vibration damping is essential on all electronics
8) Break-in is necessary for at least 300 hours every time you
change / switch or unplug a component.
9) No amount of acoustic treatment will yield the same benefit as a
component upgrade.
10) Get the best cables and interconnects you can buy then focus on
electronics/source. Any speaker can be made to sound good if you
drive it correctly.
The speaker has to fit not only the room but the taste of the listener. And the
taste of the listener defines the entire system. The speaker and amplifier
combination is particularly critical so in some instances (e.g. user prefers
SETs) the amplifier type will strongly influence speaker choice (or at least it
darn well better).
London curry is definitely reference quality.,But British "hi fi" never convinced
The Ten Rules of high-end audio
Room acoustics can make up to 50% of the final sound.
2. With cables you can only "tune" the sound: they don't make a flawed
system sounding good.
3. Tweaks can change a system's sound, but a different sound doesn't have to
mean that there is better sound.
4. System synergy is not brand dependent. It has a weak relation with the
costs of the individual components. It has also a weak relation with the
technical design of the components (for example tube or solid state
amplification, cone based or ribbon speakers).
5. It is better to have a good front end (where music reproduction begins)
than to have very good speakers but only so so front end.
6. The importance of a clean AC power shouldn't be underestimated.
7. It is more worthwhile to invest in electronics and/or acoustics than in so
called "tweaks".
8. It is better to strive for a "balanced" sound with some comprimizes than to
strive for a "perfect" sound by frequently mixing and matching things. This
way you will likely end up with a less satisfying sound.
9. Older high end components are not inferior to more contemporary units by
definition. Some older units sound even better (= more musical) than the
newer ones. This is also true with newer iterations of the same basic concept
(Mk II, III, IV, etc).
10. When you are building up a high end system (or replacing units in your
system) you should ask yourself two questions: What are the goals I'm

striving for? What can I expect sonically from the component(s) I'm
o Loudspeaker-amplifier relationship is the most important one to solve,
12) do not trust reviews,
13) there is no component without a loyal group of fans, who would
praise it and make you believe that this is the right component for you
14) price is not always indicator of quality,
15) buy used at no more that 40-50 cents on the dollar, to allow for
affordable experimentation.
"If you like it, that's good."
Life would be a huge bore if you didn't have the passion to be obsessive about
something! Why not audio? Whats your passion?
Music is serious, audio is a diversion.
better system can result in a lower level of musical satisfaction because it
makes us listen more critically to the shortcomings in the software
Being a Audiophile is like being on drugs. You get high and then you need
another fix
"The thought that life could be better, is woven indelibly into our hearts- and
our brains"
It's an enigma that spending more money does not guarantee more peace of
mind. It should but it doesn't, go figure.
Knowing when to quit, is the most important thing you learn in this hobby.
any system stinks, if you think it stinks. Consumer satisfaction in hi end audio
is (for most) short lived or non existent. Many hi end components are not
designed to be used long term. they are designed for a great first impression,
and as the classifieds will confirm...most in this hobby believe that 'the
equipment' will replace the real reasons we loved music in the first
place....and that has NOTHING to do with expensive gear.
One way to appreciate what you have as opposed to what you don't have, is
to take a break for a while--say a few months. Dont touch that stereo system
during that time.
At the end of that period listen again.

your head will be clearer and you can make intelligent decisions
The room / system, setup is many times not overlooked but forgotten as the
field we are playing on, so many try to fix things changing equipment (which
many know gets disappointing / desperating and expensive) when a large
part of the problem is elsewhere.
Most Useless Audio Adjective
Mint or 9/10
Emotional, organic, and involving
in a word, astonishing!"
Simply' astonishing!"
blows away

"On a whole different level"

Lifted a veil"
"Blacker background"
reference system"
Jaw Dropping

We pay a ton for that last bit of refinement or that last half octave of bass.
Whether it is worth it is a decision no one can make but each of us.
a $400 amplifier (think NAD C320BEE) gets you 85% of the utility/enjoyment
that an amplifier would give you. A $2000 amplifier (think Creek Destiny) gets
you 95% of the utility/enjoyment. That extra 10% utility would cost you
$1600, as opposed to the first 85% would cost you (on average) less than
$50 for each 10% utility. That's the law of diminishing returns, in a nutshell.
Some years ago, I saw a graph on the relationship of dollars spent to sonic
improvement in speakers. Every dollar spent yielded a straight vertical
improvement in sound, up to $1200.00, where the graph started to curve,
showing less and less sonic improvement per dollar spent. You still got
improvement, just less and less per dollar.
The "point of diminishing returns" typically describes the amount of
performance that is achieved at a particular price point (from a specific
product or from a group of products) and how much more money it will take
to achieve a significant improvement in performance. If the original price
point is sufficient and the product is of good quality it will usually take quite a
bit more money to buy a product with significantly higher performance. Of
course, when we are discussing audio components it is very subjective but
that is the general principle.

For example: a $500.00 high quality pair of loudspeakers has a particular

level of performance (usually pretty good in a number of areas). To buy a
different speaker that is 50% better in those areas (and possibly better in a
few other areas as well) may require spending 100% more money ($1000).
The amount of improvement (50%) is not equal to the amount of extra
money spent (twice as much). To achieve an even higher improvement (75%)
compared to the original speakers may require spending four times the
amount of money (400% or $2000). As you can see, as higher and higher
levels of performance are desired it requires a progressively disproportional
amount of money to be spent. These percentages and amounts are only used
here for illustration and may not necessarily coincide with your experience or

we are all forgetting an important consideration, namely priority or valence.
what is the value placed upon listening to music, i.e., how important is it to
really enjoy the music in comparison to other activities in life ?
if audio/music is very important improvements in sound will be more highly
valued, than, as an example, an improvement in the experience of watching a
ultimately the point of diminishing returns depends upon the relative

importance of an activity and the value placed upon the quality and quantity
of an improvement.
It's all voodoo--cords, amps, speakers, all of it. Caveat Emptor! Run, kids,
"Music is what life wants to be".

Music is.

Music is the abysmal rainbow that bridges endless galaxies. It is the waterfall
flowing through the desert, the mother, the offspring, the ointment, the foot
and hand of the wind. All of nature is music: the many colored skies, space
and planets.

Music is every wondrous canyon in a miracles dream. Music is evolution, the

seed of change. Music existed and exists with or without human beings.
No race invented music.
Music is a form of energy, like the sun. Music is the voice through which
spirits speak, using a language that is beyond words, a music that is beyond
notes. Music informs us with a reality that is scented with the eternal. Music is
the tireless swan knitting landscapes of hope. Music is the cry of life and
death at birth and conception, the heart beat, the pulse, the healer and the
healed, the color portrait, the magical stone and the magical mists living side
by side. Music is the chirping of birds; is the grass beneath the cracked shells.
Music is dance and the dancer. It is poetry and the poet. Music is all children.
Music is hot cornbread. Music is the kindness one finds in a crayon drawing.
Music is wood touching word. Imagine a doorbell made of light. Imagine the
house that we would enter if we rang that bell.
Music is the rhythm of butterflies. Music is hungry stomachs being filled.
Music is justice. Music is blue water, blue whales, and blue cornmeal.
Music passes through some while others reject the image. The best music
teacher is an oak tree. Music cannot be taught. Music is alive. Music is a
pasture of yellow grass 6-foot tall.
Music tolls from the earth and lands on the sky of another universe. Music is
drone over the Ganges.
Music is a snowflake floating on the ocean.
Music is silence. There is no music in capitalism and imperialism. Music is the
answer and the question. Particles of music cannot be measured by scientific
instruments. Music vibrates. Not all music vibrates at the same rate. Music is
radiant. The blessing, the understanding, the fundamental eye revealing the
surrender in the realm of brightness. Music sometimes manifests itself as
Musics only wish is the well-being of all human beings. Music exists to feed
the spirit. Music is no war, not ever, for any reason.

Music is the fertilizer and the seed. Every second we live, music is dying for
us. Music will save the day. Music must save the day. Music is the mother to
the motherless, father to the fatherless. Music is home to the homeless.
Dance music, wedding music, funeral music, march music, waltz music, wood
music, steel music, voice music, tree music, ocean music, soil music, baking
bread music, pastoral music, union music, trance music, religious music,
perpendicular music, circle music, square music, Zion music, Shinto music,
Buddha music, Islamic music, Hindu music, Winti music, music for Damballah,
Erzulie, Ogun, Ghede, Asacca music for Quetzalcoatl, for the Adena Hopewell,
music for the Red Paint people, music to make the moon laugh and cause the
sun to turn blue. Music is the incubation of joy. A symbol of music is Kokopelli,
the hump-back flute player...
Through music life is altered. This energy, if visible, might resemble bands of
light stretched across fields of flowing ash going past layers of infinite
habitation. The cry of praise, the memory, the entrance to the fire, oupas
chanting. The effect pulls on gravity.
Music is the lasting response, the elixir. Music is nothing; music is everything.
There is more music in a babys smile than in a thousand symphony
orchestras. Music lives in the flute mountains that are made of melted
diamonds. We drink them. Our eyes sparkle like petals of a black rose. Music
to plant beans, to plant corn. Music the burning throne, the prodigal daughter,
and rain cloud over the profound branches.
Music is the abysmal rainbow that bridges endless galaxies. It is the waterfall
flowing through the desert, the mother, the offspring, the ointment, the foot
and hand of the wind. All of nature is music: the many colored skies, space
and planets.
Music is every wondrous canyon in a miracles dream. Music is evolution, the
seed of change. Music existed and exists with or without human beings.
No race invented music.
Music is a form of energy, like the sun. Music is the voice through which
spirits speak, using a language that is beyond words, a music that is beyond
notes. Music informs us with a reality that is scented with the eternal. Music is
the tireless swan knitting landscapes of hope. Music is the cry of life and
death at birth and conception, the heart beat, the pulse, the healer and the
healed, the color portrait, the magical stone and the magical mists living side
by side. Music is the chirping of birds; is the grass beneath the cracked shells.
Music is dance and the dancer. It is poetry and the poet. Music is all children.
Music is hot cornbread. Music is the kindness one finds in a crayon drawing.
Music is wood touching word. Imagine a doorbell made of light. Imagine the
house that we would enter if we rang that bell.
Music is the rhythm of butterflies. Music is hungry stomachs being filled.
Music is justice. Music is blue water, blue whales, and blue cornmeal.
Music passes through some while others reject the image. The best music

teacher is an oak tree. Music cannot be taught. Music is alive. Music is a

pasture of yellow grass 6-foot tall.
Music tolls from the earth and lands on the sky of another universe. Music is
drone over the Ganges.
Music is a snowflake floating on the ocean.
Music is silence. There is no music in capitalism and imperialism. Music is the
answer and the question. Particles of music cannot be measured by scientific
instruments. Music vibrates. Not all music vibrates at the same rate. Music is
radiant. The blessing, the understanding, the fundamental eye revealing the
surrender in the realm of brightness. Music sometimes manifests itself as
Musics only wish is the well-being of all human beings. Music exists to feed
the spirit. Music is no war, not ever, for any reason.
Music is the fertilizer and the seed. Every second we live, music is dying for
us. Music will save the day. Music must save the day. Music is the mother to
the motherless, father to the fatherless. Music is home to the homeless.
Dance music, wedding music, funeral music, march music, waltz music, wood
music, steel music, voice music, tree music, ocean music, soil music, baking
bread music, pastoral music, union music, trance music, religious music,
perpendicular music, circle music, square music, Zion music, Shinto music,
Buddha music, Islamic music, Hindu music, Winti music, music for Damballah,
Erzulie, Ogun, Ghede, Asacca music for Quetzalcoatl, for the Adena Hopewell,
music for the Red Paint people, music to make the moon laugh and cause the
sun to turn blue. Music is the incubation of joy. A symbol of music is Kokopelli,
the hump-back flute player...
Through music life is altered. This energy, if visible, might resemble bands of
light stretched across fields of flowing ash going past layers of infinite
habitation. The cry of praise, the memory, the entrance to the fire, oupas
chanting. The effect pulls on gravity.
Music is the lasting response, the elixir. Music is nothing; music is everything.
There is more music in a babys smile than in a thousand symphony
orchestras. Music lives in the flute mountains that are made of melted
diamonds. We drink them. Our eyes sparkle like petals of a black rose. Music
to plant beans, to plant corn. Music the burning throne, the prodigal daughter,
and rain cloud over the profound branches.

--------- William Parker, (one of the leading bass players, composers and
group leaders in jazz and free music today, the bassist / improvisor /
composer / theorist / poet)

if music is so important, why do some of us obsess about the equipment ?

Free at last!

I no longer love this hobby as much as I used to.

The only time I was ever happy enjoying music was when I owned an elcheapo Pioneer receiver with a Dual turntable and house-brand speakers. It
got a lot better when I purchased a NAD amplifier and Mirage speakers.
THEN, I was also pretty active with OTHER activities, including sports. THEN,
music was both enjoyable, a journey of discovery, and fun.
NOW: I own mega-dollar speakers, a huge heat-emitting tube amp with a
fancy preamp, speaker cables that could trip a horse. All for the price of a
new car plus some left over to pamper my Significant Other. I no longer do
any sports other than push buttons on the remote controls ( all five of them).
What a passive, boring, hobby this has become.
In fact it has become a futile gear-lust infected activity, where buying the
''flavor of the month'' amplifier or cd player has taken precedence over music.
I'm almost done liquidating my whole system, and will just go to a small
integrated and ,''ordinary'' PSB speakers connected to my i-pod.
I will also get out there and see if I have any muscles left that could put my
couch-potato body back in shape again. So it will be cycling, street basketball,
and doing other things that I left years ago. I'm not blaming the hobby. All
my fault.

Free at last.
Avoiding component purchase mistakes: part 1
1) understand who you are--your personality. try to be objective. there is a
relationship between personality and preference for sound. for example, the
continuum stimulus avoidance--stimulus approaching can serve as an
indication as to what characteristics of sound you might not like. see if there
is a consistency between components you sell and where you see yourself as
one who is stimulus avoiding and stimulus approaching. examine your
personality to see if there are conflicts between your traits of personality and
your equipment choices.
another example is the relationship between need for achievemnt and
upgrading. there may be other examples.
introspection saves $$.
2) obtain facts about products you are considering for purchase, especially
inrelationship to an interfacing component. some of this stuff is elementary,
so forgive me if my examples are redundant.
buying a tube amp for an electrostatic speaker ? one of the concerns might be
its ability to handle a 2 ohm load.
buying a super efficient loudspeaker, e.g., some horn designs, while own ing a
200 watt solid state class a amp ?
there may be a problem. too much power/current and you may have a
problem with your preamp, depending upon its gain.

avoid component mismatches by calling manufacturers and get the facts,.

3) separate marketing, spin, hype and other attempts at persuasion from
facts. watch for the use of words that contradict each other in the same
sentence, or words which confuse a description of a recording with that of the
sound of a component.
don't be influenced by the use of "best" or "better" than the competition.
don't have unrealistic expectations of component performance and don't be
too influenced by reviews.

Listen to as much as you can and when and where possible listen to
equipment in your room through trial periods or borrowed equipment.
Read reviews and comments with a grain of salt. If someone owns a piece of
equipment and is currently playing it in his/her rig they want to believe they
made the right choice in buying it so they become natural proponents. To me
people are more objective who have had a piece in their rig and moved to
something else or who are able to make direct comparison between
competing products through experience. But you have to be careful there to
because no one wants to admit they moved on to something inferior. After
you read enough threads the reviewers/commentators begin to become
somewhat familiar to you and you can begin to see some patterns to their
comments. Some will ultimately think like you or close to you while others will
not. This takes some real time to establish these patterns though. Put even
less credence in the rags reviews, they are starting points only as far as I am
concerned. You never know what their agendas are (can you say advertising
dollars?). Another thing that works well for me is to buy nicely kept
equipment used, that way I can ususally live with a piece for a while and if I
want to try something else I can get my money back or close to. If you are
doing this very often I think a subscription to the audio blue book is a must to
have a good idea what things are worth. I try to buy only from people with
established feedback here or on Ebay and usually stay away from a "good
deal" if there is little feedback to go on as a seller. So, I pay to audition
equipment but the cost is low, with the exception of the aformentioned

If you will do a search in the A-gon archives, using my member name

"Sdcampbell", you should find some of the lists and articles about jazz I've
contributed. You should also do an archive search using the word "jazz" to see
what you find. Have fun, and enjoy discovering the world of jazz and blues
Sdcampbell has given us some really good posts on jazz, so his advice for a
starting point is very good advice. Also, here are some threads to get you
started (since the search function at Audiogon doesn't seem to index all the
threads past a year or so):

Your favorite Blues Album?

Blues "must have, top 100" list?
Jazz Recs for Classical Music Fan
The first thing to do is to learn the most important tweak of all: Speaker
Position. This is free and can make a very large difference in the sound of
your system, more than an amp, preamp or cd player usually. Try different
distances from sidewalls and the rear wall. Also try toeing in to the point of
crossfiring in front of you a couple of feet. Find the best compromise.
Read up on room acoustics. This will affect the quality of the sound more than
different electronics and can make a very large improvement in your sound.
The cost per quality of sound unit is excellent.
Most of us here did it backwards in my opinion. We should have concentrated
on knowing how to get the most out of our systems as they were before
buying better gear. This will get you the best sound on the least amount of
money. After thirty plus years in this hobby I feel that this is the most
intelligent path and if I were to do it again I'd learn about room acoustics
first, not after 20+ years.

The Laws of High Quality Audio.

1. The bigger the sound system the better.
2. The more powerful the sound system the better.
3. There is no such thing as a sound system that is too big.
4. There is no such thing as a sound system that is too powerful.
5. You will always find that no matter how big you build the system it is never
quite big enough.
6. You will always find that no matter how much power you have there never
seems to be quite enough.
7. No matter how deep and powerful the bass sounds, it will always seem to
be not quite deep enough and not quite powerful enough.
8. No matter how clear and detailed the treble sounds, you will always feel
that it could be improved.
9. Achieving audio perfection is absolutely impossible no matter how much
money you spend.
10. No matter how much money you spend you will always feel that the
system is not quite as good as it could be.
11. If you think that your system sounds perfect then there must be
something seriously wrong with it or something seriously wrong with you.
12. All your friends think that your system sounds much better than you do.
13. The longer you listen to your own system the worse it seems to sound.
14. Any dissatisfaction with a new system, no matter how slight, will always
become greater as time goes on.
15. Any new pieces of equipment added to the system will always sound
excellent initially but nowhere near as good when you get used to them.
16. Regularly listening to poor equipment for extended periods is good
because it seems to make good equipment sound much better.
17. Regularly listening to good equipment for extended periods seems to
make poor equipment sound absolutely dreadful and probably worse than it
really is.
18. Any persons opinion on the sound quality of a system is completely
worthless because someone else will have a different opinion.

19. Any alterations you make to the system to improve it, no matter how
extensive, will never improve it to the extent you wanted it to.
20. No matter how good your system sounds, there will always be someone
else with a system that sounds better.
21. You will always detect a difference between the sound qualities of two
identical systems and never know why they sound different.
22. Any attempt to match different makes of equipment together will never
work out quite as you originally intended.
23. Improving any individual part of the system will always make some other
part of the system seem worse than it was before.
24. If you build a big listening room you will be very pleased with the result,
but when you get used to it you will convince yourself that the room needs to
be bigger.
25. An infinitely huge attempt to achieve perfection would at best only
produce a system that was infinitesimally close to perfection, but still not

How many audiophiles does it take to screw in a light bulb?

One to tell all the others that they should be using HIS light bulb, which blows
away all the competition. Worth fifteen times the price he paid, the light
caused him to deposit his jaw somewhere in the room where he first
witnessed the light of this amazing bulb. He also requests if anyone should
find his jaw that he would be grateful for its prompt return as he hasn't been
able to eat any solid food ever since.
Three to argue about bulb's placement in the room for maximum light
Six to insist that the bulb would render superior light if powered by the Phallic
Serpent $2500 power cord.
Two to insist that light bulbs are old technology and introduce distortion into
the spectrum of light.
Four to declare that a light bulb is no substitute for "real" light, and to greater
appreciate the light the bulb provides one must also go out and absorb as
much "real" light as possible.
Three to ask why there are so many used light bulbs on the market.
Two to suggest a power regenerator may stabilize the bulb's output and
provide for greater enjoyment of the light eminating from it.
Twelve to argue the chain of hierarchy in delivery of the optimum output of
light from the bulb.
One to design a custom stabilizing harness for the bulb, fabricated from
polished steel and burled Bubinga wood to assure the bulb will be held in
place and be immune to all vibrations.... in great style. Filled with lead shot,
of course.
Four to suggest doing several A/B/A comparisons of different bulbs before

deciding upon one.

Six to quote the recent bulb shootout in The Absolute Light that declared that
Home Depot bulbs are every bit as good as NOS GE bulbs.
Three to decry that it's all snake oil, and point out that the rest of the bunch
are all whackos and the world is coming to an end anyway.

OK, I'm sure some of you can come up with a few more....
Seven to suggest getting the bulb upgraded to "reference level" by a
gentleman in southern Kansas who used to work for the bulb factory.
Four to suggest swapping out the socket for a hospital grade socket. Cryoed
of course.
Six to suggest the newest bulb convention offered in limited editions which
can only be screwed in to proprietary sockets.
Sixteen to declare that the Chinese made bulbs are every bit as good as the
European and American bulbs.
Twelve newbees to insist they've never seen anything like the DK Designs
light bulb, especially when powered by the Cyberlight cords!
Three to ask Sean what he thinks of this whole bulb screwing-in thing.
Six to check out what bulb Albert Porter is using.
One hundred and four to discuss what kind of car they own, and what other
hobbies they enjoy besides bulb-insertion.
Two to point out that bulbs are off-topic for audiophiles.
Four to decry the outrageous profits being reaped by the light bulb

Three to write independent reviews of the light bulb being screwed in.
Twelve to point out that the bulb in question is too small for the room it is in
and a more powerful bulb should be used.
Six to suggest an external crossover linking the bulb to additional bulbs
providing a broader coverage of light.
Two to insist that a simpler circuit is superior, and that the single bulb is the
more pure solution and does greater justice to the truest expression of light.
One to build their own DIY light bulb.
Seventeen to suggest various tweaks to improve the performance of the light
Nine to suggest using a battery power-source for a more stable expression of

Two to insist that no one has improved upon the tried and true candle as a
light source.
Seven to suggest various room treatments to enhance the dispersion of the
light in the room.
Three to replace the light switch with a Swiss-made rheostat.
Fourteen to suggest a dedicated circuit with an isolated ground would
improve the bulb's performance.
Three to ask if the bulb is appropriate for Home Theater use.

Six to ask why, when they put their ears directly on the bulb, they hear a
humming noise, and what can they do to get rid of
Four to state they are suffering from fatigue after prolonged exposure to their
Sixty four to establish and proliferate an entirely new vocabulary to describe
the various attributes of light bulbs and the light they produce.
Sixteen to wax rhetorical on the one bulb they should never have sold back in
the mid 80's.
One to shamelessly plug the bulb they currently have for sale, and explain the
various reasons they are selling it even though it is the finest bulb they've
ever owned.

Three to check with their wives to make sure the bulb in question is
acceptable for their homes.
One in "Bulbophile" to suggest that the latest Mark IV version, with "bulb
chimneys" for improved convection cooling, will put out a few more watts
than the one you have at even lower distortion than you have, which you
can't hear anyway. (read on)
6 to help tilt back your bulb for the correct phase and time, even though you
have a load of ear wax thick enough to be able to screw a bulb into your ear
canal without falling out, ala "Uncle Fester", who happens to resemble a
reviewer in the defunct magazine, "The Bulber".

4 to lament the good old days, while reading 1970s issues of "Bulb Review".
12 to ask why there are so many bulbs listed on AGon now
6 to ask whether it should be a Phillips or GE bulb
15 to make derogatory comments on the Monster bulbs
1 dealer to note that the cynics can't be wrong, even though 6 month old
bulbs are selling for a fraction of new

and dropping like rocks

20 to line up for the Signature edition, which is identical to the non-sig,
except some dunce "signs" it, and bigger dunces buy it.

50 to send their bulbs in for expensive mods that immediately reduce the
value of the unit
Four to declare with great certainty that the very finest bulbs ever were
produced for military purposes between 1956 and 1961 in a small factory in
Belgrade, and that viewing the light from these bulbs is sure to transport you
directly to Nirvana on a non-stop flight in a first-class seat with Angelina Jolie
sitting beside you! Three of the four happen to have a stash of the Serbian
wonder bulbs, a few of which they may let go for the right price.
Six would never even install the bulb as they will have already upgraded to a
superior bulb in the time the bulb was in transit to them. Those bulbs could be
seen for sale on Bulbogon with a "10/10" rating (still in the sealed box).
6 newbies to declare it's the best bulb under $20,000!
14 to argue optimal warm up time, after turn on for peak performance.
9 to declare the benefits of clear glass for a more resolving and "cleaner"
9 to declare the detriments of clear glass causing the light to be too bright
and "harsh."
4 to suggest a soft white bulb to help tame the harsh brightness...

4 to state emphatically the soft white bulb smears accuracy and renders
everything too euphoric. discern where the bulb was constructed and if it were in a sterile facility. consider the best packing manner to provide for safe bulb delivery. argue about which material is best to use for the filament. recreate the vacuum procedure as a model for future DIY bulb projects.
Audiophile book of "Common Sense"
No one technology is superior to another technology. Examples- nonupsampling DACS vs upsampling DACS, tubes vs solid-state amps, planar vs
box-enclosed speakers, silver vs copper wires, etc. Each has its own
merits/differences but not superior to the other one.
The difference in the sound of your system with a new piece of equipment
doesnot necessarily mean an improvement towards the sound of music in the
long run.
More expensive equipment usually means better build quality and
performance but not necessarily so.
Companies that come out with a new product and a few months later have a
new "generation" of that piece or a replacement for it are either just trying to
sell more through the hype of "new and improved" or came out with their
product before it was a finished design.

All REVIEWERS should not be trusted, but read for two reasons. First, for
fun/entertainment and to see what new products are coming out that you
might be interested in, that's all.
Your PERSONNAL TASTE is the most important factor when putting together
your home system. Your EAR'S nobody else's opinion.
Always, if possible, do home audtions of any equipment your interested in
that might possibly lead to you purchasing it
System synergy is always important. How an individual piece matchs the +/of the rest of your system.
When audtioning new pieces always go back to your orginial reference point
and then see/hear if the new piece has better sonics virtues than your old
If your lucky enough to end up with a great sounding system, be very wary of
claims such as," this new amp just BLOWS away my old ML-mono 33's".
Sonics do improve with better electronics, but in small % not in gross ways
unless there was something terribly wrong/missing in your original piece of
equipment. But its a great come-on to pray on audiophiles not using their
Their is NO the "BEST" in the world, but many wonderful pieces of equipment
that give the pleasure of coming closer to the illusion of real music. So, don't
get your EGO involved keeping up with the latest/greatest in the world of high
end audio.
Just have fun and don't take any of our hobby to seriously!

(1) Most listening rooms would be overdriven by live musicians playing

anything much more than an acoustic guitar. (2)The recordings you are
listening to are not, nor will they ever be accurate replications of live music.
The change from live starts with the mic and continues thru the cables,
mixing boards, etc. The end result, at its best, will be euphonic, i.e. altered so
that it sounds good over the system that the recording engineer imagined it
would be most likely played. For example rap and boom boxes go together
So, be an anarchist! Tune your room and system to sound they way you like it
without regard to what others may think.
One last thought, if music is as valuable to you as so many seem to say, put
your mind and money where your mouth is. Start exploring music you are not
yet familar with. Buy some! Help keep the recorded music industy alive. Next
time you're tempted to spend 1K or thereabouts on a new cable/IC to
improve resolution go out and buy 65 new CD's, or 300 LP's, and improve
your mind and spirits. :-)

My simple recommendations for newbie system matching:

1. Match the speaker to the room size, shape, and sonic character.(Bright
speakers in a bright room is a bad news.)
2. Match your speakers to an appropriate amp.
3. Match your source and preamp to your amp / speaker combo.
4. Use inexpensive cables known to be near neutral until you have a system
you are going to keep for a while, then buy a set of cables that works well
with your system.

5. Don't waste time on tweaks that make your system sound different not
clearly better. (see #4)
6. Don't be afraid to start over.

I prefer simplicity, but somehow my audio system got complicated.

Forget about trying for absolute accuracy and shoot for absolute simplicity. A
nice integrated combined with a nice CD player and a couple of monitors. In a
smaller room, that could be just the ticket.
Bose does not sound that good, but most people don't need something that
sounds so good. What they need is simple, easy to use, and packaged in a
way they can relate to it. their design philosophy to something that "sounds
good enough for most, and is very easy to use"
When your objective is reduced complexity, refinement is the key to avoid
compromises in any area. For me it cost more to get less, but the result was
well worth it.
5 things I will not do agian,
Buy speakers that have to sit 4 to 6 feet out into the room.
Buy speaker cables so big and heavy they break things and make me want to
Buy separates, integrated amps and power amps with volume control or
power amps with attenuators are just too good, and you dont need another
power cord, another set of interconnects, and another power isolator.
Try to combine a Home theater and music system into one.
Ignore, the room, vibration issues, power cords, and conditioners
Assume there is one "right" way to do anything.
Completely believe the reviews in magazines
Run a passive preamp. Passives might theoretically be the simpliest way to
run a signal, but almost invaribly their sound quality is not constant over
different levels of volume a system outputs.
Run a subwoofer in a 2 channel system. If your speakers you have were not
designed to hear low frequencies, getting a sub may let you hear those
frequencies after all; however, getting those frequencies to sound coherent
(with your speakers) is next to impossible.
Buy speakers sight unheard.
Buy a component solely based on one rave review. Reviews are probably the
single worst ways to research components
Spend a shit load on cables like I've already done.

I've tried a few over the years and nothing compared to Music Collector:

Keep it simple, but no simpler

Spend your time on the music itself instead, listening, researching, and the
occasional album purchase, divert your attention.

Stop combing the other audio sites for equip too, today. Be satisfied with
what your have now before you start losing it for the $$, then never being
able to recover what you had in the first place.
Step out and dare to buy, music of a type you never really heard before.
There is a vast musical world out there beyond hardware.
Too many audio reviews are hazardous to your health...
No system, no matter how good is ever going to sound like live music
One of the real differences between children and adults is self control.
buy music when the bug bites. It's a lot cheaper to buy a few LPs or, perish
the thought, CDs rather than buy a new pre-amp or speakers. The newness
factor is still there, but the savings account is still intact too! Your wife might
like that.
Further "recapturing the live event" is just a ploy by the audio establishment
to make you spend more money. First of all, does the original recording sound
like the REAL event? Most don't. If the source doesn't no stereo will
consistently bring all types of un-real recordings to life since they are so
inconsistent in their shortcomings to the live event.
It is an unobtainable goal. Which is great for dealers and stereo mags since
their goal is to make you spend money. To do that they first must make you
Second, I burn my own "best of" CD's collection. I found with a Denon UDM31 mini system and some ELF .5 single driver speakers on the mantle of my
small room: 1) the sound was pleasant and not irritating. And I've heard
some very expensive systems that are unpleasant and irritating. More
important 2) I could just as easily decide what songs I liked or didn't like as
on the big rig. So basically I found the big rig did NOT make me like music I
wouldn't otherwise like. And that the quest for better sound over the Denon
was a HOBBY not a necessity.
What made this mini-system work was that:
1) small room 13' x 15'.
2) speakers against the wall improved bass response to 40 Hz with the
Mission's that came with the Denon.
3) Speakers placed 8' or more apart for great stereo width.
4) For most music, I believe that soundstage depth is unnecessary and an
artificial manipulation of the signal by phase shifts (esp tube gear) and largely
doesn't exist in the real world. At least it doesn't in the live events I attend
and with the type of music I listen to. This is not to be a flame, just qualifying
that the system meets what is realistic to my musical style. So speakers
against the wall / killing any depth is not important to me.
5) Single driver speaker has an amazing matural sound to it.
6) I don't listen to music loud or require deep bass to enjoy music.
Many so called improvements are really differences, not improvements.

"Between stimulus & response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom
& power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth & our
Recognize it for what it is: Status climbing and rank materialism. Even if no
other audiophiles see your system, and none of your family and friends
understands it, you are succumbing to peer pressure and media manipulation.

We all do to some degree and in different ways, but the pursuit of social
approval attracts some of us more than others (or is more readily achievable
for some of us than others).

It is my innate repulsion for excessively conspicuous consumption, and for

coercion-induced conformity, that ultimately keeps my habit within managable
limits relative to my overall wealth/income (or lack of same :-) Plus, my
interest has always lain primarily with the music, and I see audiophilism as
somewhat of a fundamentally trivial and slightly shameful diversion that I like
to think I could take or leave in extremis...
Most important, get your wife involved or, if she's not interested, at least keep
her in the loop about purchases
Some people believe it when they hear it. Others believe whatever they hear.
We all joke about it, but it's a pretty serious issue. The next upgrade will
never bring you the happiness you are hoping it will. It is the human condition
to want the better thing you don't have, then adjust to that better thing as
normal once you have it and crave the next thing. It can be fun and
exhilarating if kept in check, but awful if you not. You've got to be able to get
off the treadmill and enjoy what you have. A hobby can easily turn into a liferuining obsession. You are seeking the perfect system, which does not exist
(just as the perfect woman does not exist). Trying to obtain it is futile and will
drive you insane.
Don't stop, we need to keep this hobby alive and well. Scratching the upgrade
itch keeps the audio world turning.
Realize your system is never going to sound like live music so what is the
point of chasing diminishing returns when you can decide 'for free' that you
are going to be content with what you have and enjoy it. Remember, most of
the people in the world will never earn what your system cost, and there is a
good possibility that they are better people for it. Choose to be content...
This issue affects many of us. Try shifting your focus and obsessive
compulsive desire to a related and even more important aspect of this field.
One that will prove more rewarding in no time. The art of "listening ". Take all
the jargon and ideas you have learned and put them to use . If you listen with
your eyes open then you have a long way to go . And in your case that is
good . Calm down when listening. Follow a ritual when listening. I warm up
my equipment for an hour. In that hour I read or reread an article that
teaches me something. NOT an equipment review. I have a glass of wine but
never too much alcohol during the session. When I am ready I ALWAYS sit in
silence for a minute or two with my eyes closed . Always . I can not over state
this as it opens your mind. I erase any thoughts during this moment. First I
listen to a familiar track that is quiet and full of air and ambient clues about
the recording space that will draw my mind and conscious deeper into the
music . Keeping your eyes closed is mandatory . Concentrate and what helps
me is the abstract construction of the space in my mind. I see instruments
where they are suppose to be and memorize their positions as the event
unfolds. I say event because your obsession should be about the musical
experience you are attempting to achieve through this conquest of equipment
acquisitions. Not the rush of a new piece of gear. What I am getting at is that
you can be rewarded tremendously by learning just HOW to appreciate what
you are obsessing over but seem to be stuck. Utilize the tools you already
have. The years of reading and listening at home , the stereo stores and
listening at a friends home .The reading of these forums and exchanges as

well as your ever evolving knowledge base should all tie together to set this
next phase in motion and ........get this .....its free. Put it all to better use and
re focus INTO your music through your mind. It will expand you intellectually
and make your investment come alive. Also re direct whatever income you
are allocating to stereo equipment and put it into software purchases or a nice
Rado or Rolex watch or whatever turns you on... and savor it

Fathers Day

As a kid, I remember listening to my dad playing 1950's jazz recordings

through a Heath kit tube amp and some speakers that he built the cabinets
to, and thinking how it sounded like there were musicians in our living room.
As a matter of fact, many a night when I was in bed, I would hear these
sounds coming from downstairs in our living room and wondering when the
musicians came over, and how come they only were there after I went to bed.
My dad is gone now, but every time I hear certain recordings, I think of him,
smile, and thank him. I hope that one day my own two great kids will have
fond memories such as those. Happy Father's Day everyone!

I remember the early years when my father used to play music on his
Grundig Radiogram. The equipment fascinated me. Looking at the black shiny
disks spinning fast and with a needle on top of it producing all the sounds
always intrigued me. I had no idea why the system sounded so good; today
when I look back I can understand why! It was a one-piece system;
everything was almost perfectly matched and had the tubes! I had no way of
comparing the equipment, but whatever was being reproduced had sounded
very good.
In 1968 when I was 10 years old he bought a very nice little record player,
Philips it was, with a diamond stylus and two speakers which would fold and
become the top cover when not in use. For first few years he bought all the
records for me and whenever there was an occasion he would give me an LP
as a present. He got posted abroad and used to send LP's every month in the
parcel. Whatever appreciation I have today of music is only because of him.
He passed away on August 30, 1999, 13 days short of his 65th birthday. I
miss him greatly and so does my 14 year old son, who seem to have lost his
best friend.
Love you Papa!

My dad bought me stereo at an auction when I was eight. It had a radio and a
turntable integrated in a free standing complete unit. I used to listen to my
parents' old records on this system. They didn't have too much I was
interested in but i sure did enjoy the Elvis records. I guess this was my first
Sadly he died young (48) when I was eighteen. I am grateful for everything
he did for me and the values and lessons I learned from him as I grew up. I
lost a father and a friend. To those of you who still have you father, hoist a
glass to dear old dad on Sunday. I'll be thinking about mine.

Well, my Dad unwittingly pushed me into enjoying hi-fi by trying to keep me

from listening to FM rock-n-roll radio when I was a kid. He'd come into my
bedroom while I was listening to Led Zeppelin, or the like (at really low
volumes so not to get caught) and make me turn the radio to some softer
music or talk radio. I'd sneak down to our living room in the early morning to
put on my parent's Ray Charles "Do The Twist" LP (which they NEVER
played...I don't even know who's it was). I'd listen to that Ray Charles album
at volumes so low I'd have to put my ear to the speaker to hear anything. As
time went on, I got bolder and bolder. My parents didn't mind me listening to
the Partridge Family Album, so I commandeered the RCA portable record
player to my bedroom, and soon bought ELP's "Welcome Back My Friends..."
LP. Well, the horse was out of the barn. I eventually went on to learn to play
the drums. My Dad generously bought me my Ludwigs, and endured about
four years of rock band practice in our attic during the evenings. Now that's
love coming from a guy who didn't want me listening to FM rock radio in the
early days.
This year, I sent him a letter instead of the usual corny Father's Day card, and
I finally told him things in the letter I'd wanted to say for years. This thread,
though, reminded me of the musical part of our relationship...perhaps the
most important part of my life growing up, and I'd completely forgotten to
mention it in the letter. Now, I'll have something to talk to him about the next
time we're together. Thanks guys!

My story has a reverse twist about my Dad and music. I bought a HiFi Stereo
in separate wood cabinets from a Furniture Store, after many, many lay-away
payments, in the mid 50's (only place that sold them in those days). The only
"Stereo HiFi" LP's available in those days were the heavy carbon Columbia
House LP's, mostly of Big Band sounds, Nat King Cole and Sinatra, etc.
Once setup and playing, over and over, the only Stereo HiFi platter that I
had...and enthralled with the soundstage this primitive Stereo system
produced, in walked my Dad. He sat down and listened to the whole LP. My
Dad was a tough man and old school for sure, but this day, he praised me for
such good music with such separation. Always one who seeked my Dad's
approval, this praise was a tremendous boost. He bought other Stereo LP's for
me and even asked me to audition my system to family and friends when
they visited...he beamed when their mouths dropped open at the soundstage.
I beamed when his chest swelled from showing off his son's music system.
I was hooked by Audio from that pleasant experience with my Dad. He is
gone now, but I still vividly remember his interest and praise for something so
simple as sharing music together. I love and miss him and just maybe with all
of the Audio gear I've owned over the years, I'm still trying to send him the
best music he ever heard.

Many inexperienced listeners fell into the trap of assuming that a high price
was a guarantee of high construction quality and high performance, just as

they (often falsely) assume that an expensive car is made better and
performs better than a less expensive model.
The law of diminishing returns??? It probably comes in right after the Bose
wave machine. All equipment ultimately does the same thing, some pieces
just do it better, while others do it a lot better. How good do you want it?
The law kicks in when you find yourself taking out a second mortgage on your
house to finance that new cable upgrade.
Enjoy what you have! Depending on the type of music you listen to, it may
not matter if your speakers or cd player can't go down to the lowest octave.
Or if your hearing cuts out at 12Khz why pay for that new ribbon tweeter addon?
There is a point of diminishing returns; it is subjective, and of course it does
vary with pocketbook. For me, I hit that wall when I realized I'd spent too
much buying equipment, amp and speakers, too big for my room. I had way
more wattage, bass extension etc. than I really wanted for the way I actually
enjoy music, as opposed to the way I might show off new gear. To get that
gear to open up all the music, it was uncomfortably loud; I felt beat-up by the
pressure wave.
After downsizing, I had a system that cost far less and brought me more
musical pleasure in the near-field at moderate volume. For me that came
down to some of those 'why spend more?' components; mini-monitors around
$1600, and a tasty integrated at about $1200.
I have spent a LOT of money on this hobby to get good sound.
It taught me that you don't have to spend a LOT of money to get good sound.
Well thought out components at reasonable prices can be as enjoyable as the
higher priced stuff.
My opinion is that a quantum leap in fidelity will result when you double the
price (MSRP) of a piece of gear.
It kicks in when you stretch really far to buy a component that's 3X or 4X
more costly than one you have, discover is sounds about 5% better, and are
told by audiophile friends that if you only spend $X,000 more on addtional [fill
in blank], "it will make your jaw drop."
When you KNOW where the next SIGNIFICANT sonic improvement lies and
you can't comfortably afford it. Diminishing returns is a relative concept; one
of its parametres is personal means.
Remember, however, it's good to LIKE what you have (rather than to strive for
what you "want" and can't afford). And $10k is a LOT of money for anyone -no doubt about that
Funniest sales pitch
I'm selling these speakers because they are too good for me."
I bought this xxx and only opened the box to inspect it"
won't fit on my rack, so it has to go!
"I got 8 of these rowland amps for Xmas, only need one"
..your gain my loss
..first $XXXX takes kidding..
..wife says it has to go.. would have to spend a trillion $$$ to get better...
Here's the eBay listing for the famous wedding dress guy. It broke an eBay
record with over 6 million hits by auction's end! You can find articles about
him online doing a search under "ebay wedding dress guy"

Murphy s Laws for Audiophiles

The chance of a piece of bread falling buttered side down is directly

proportional to the cost of the carpet.
2. Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll underneath to the exact
3. A good lawyer is a bad neighbor. (I put that in for Kelly, it's a
compliment :-)
your 1,000 cd storage unit will not tip over until you've alphabetized all of
your discs; (2) when your 1,000 cd storage unit does tip over, it will always
do so in the direction of your speakers; (3) your 1,000 disc storage unit will
not actually hit your speakers unless they are newly purchased; (4) your
speakers will not be damaged when your 1,000 cd storage unit falls on them
unless you chose to have them finished with the $3k upgrade myrtle cluster
Your system will sound flawless until a musician or audiophile has been invited
to come listen. Then the system will either: (1) sound worse than it has
anytime in the last 12 months. (2) Blow a major component so repair is
impossible, (or possible only if it leaves no time for music). (3) The worst
storm in 100 years will hit, making every recording sound like it was mixed in
a rain Forest. (4) The person visiting likes X software, and you have exactly
three pieces of music that fit that description. (5) All of these problems will
occur at once, or to some degree, DIRECTLY proportional to: (1) the
importance of the visitor. (2) Their difficulty in arranging for the listening
session. (3) The total distance in miles they have traveled to arrive at your
Your system will never sound better than it does the week before your
audiophile buddies stop by to listen to it after you've been gloating on about
the latest tweak. About 15 minutes before they show up at the door, you will
make an insignificant toe-in adjustment to the speaker which will result in a
nasty sibilance, glare, hardness, a near total collapse of soundstage and an
odd suck out in the upper mid-bass. Out of politeness, your friends will not
say anything negative about it but instead will give you faint praise about
"how nice the system sounds, considering...".
You will not discover what went wrong until another week has passed.
As soon as you purchase an audio component, another exact model is listed
at 20% less cost.
You search a lot for that pre-owned Integrated and end up buying a new one
at 3X the price and next day some one posts an ad for the exact same preowned gear at 40% of the list price.
You have 800 CD , you want to listen a particular album , so start searching it
from those 800 albums you have and the album you want is 800Th
Scratches on the CD are directly proportional to , your favorite cDs is first one
to have a deadly un reparable scratch and further you cant replace it as by

the time the album is out of print and no audio shop, Amazon and CD
universe are all out of stock and there in no one on eBay selling the item

You buy company X's $10,000 speakers and your audiophile buddy then buy's
company X's $25,000, some times you can't win.
o Two weeks after you receive your amp back from being repaired, the
manufacturer is offering a to die for- has to be done at the
manufacturer- upgrade.
2) Your cat will bypass the $200 scratching post from hell (with the cat
nip upgrade) and head straight for the speakers.
You will get negative ratings on your posts, not because it stunk, but because
someone has a hard-on for you! I'm not sure if that's Murphy's Law, but, it
should be named after someone!
The effectiveness of a free tweak in inversely proportional to it's domestic
You reach the infamous audio nirvana and then after a few moments of
listening you will loose power, and then when the power returns your system
sounds like it belongs in radio shack
When you sell your speakers and the guy is on his way to pick them up you
try a new tweak that makes them sound better than ever.
The better a speaker sounds to you the lower its wife acceptance factor will

Audiophile Absolute Truths:

#1. The quality of the stereo system is what the owner says it is, not
someone else.
#2. System synergy is more important than anything else.

no two people will hear and experience the exact same thing. We all have
different preferences, stimulants, experiences, physiology, and hang-ups.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" applies here.

The biggest challenge in this hobby is avoiding addiction to the 'hit' that you
get from upgrades that distract from the pursuit of musical enjoyment.

For Good Sound:

Keep your connections clean.

2. Get the grounding of your components right.
3. Get the right polarity in your equipment
4. Check for room reflections.
5. Experiment for speaker placement.
6. Try to decouple your components.
7. Keep power cables away from interconnects and speaker cables.
8. Keep speaker cables and interconnects apart. If they must cross, see to it,
that they cross at right angles never run them in parallels.
10. Output impedance of preamp and input impedance of power amp should

11. Listen in the dark.

12. Don't listen alone, but with a significant other for better sound.
13. And have a good glass of red.

If you like it, who cares what everyone, thinks?

The following is the truth as I know it: Imaging and Soundstage width and
depth is due to two things ---- speakers (and the room interface) and the
It's easier, cheaper and more time efficient to consider yourself a music lover
instead of an audiophile.

Stay behind the technology curve and buy used to save lots of $$$.

No matter how thin you slice it, it's still a baloney...

Don't put plants on your stereo equipment.

Don't water the plants that you have on your stereo equipment.
Don't play vinyl after you've smoke the plants on your stereo equipment.
If your puppy develops parvo, keep the puppy far away from your stereo
Don't even attempt to have a critical listening session when your wife is in the
same room.
Don't throw a bachelor party for a Navy SEAL in the same room as your
stereo equipment.
Don't let a "rap" or "hip-hop" DJ use your turntable or play your vinyl.
Don't try to argue with someone who thinks CD's sound better than vinyl.
Don't tell the majority of your friends and family how much your stereo
equipment, cables and power cords cost.
Don't let children in the same room as your equipment when you're not
And of course: music is in the ears of the beholder!

1. One must spend a lot of money in this hobby to realize one need not spend
a lot of money.
2. When it comes to some to many so-called 'high-end' products and
reviewer's opinions; "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's
probably a platypus."
3. When a reviewer says about a component; "It's like being strapped to a
rocket sled and lighting the fuse.", you can bet dollars to doughnuts he's had
too much chilly the night before.
4. Frequency reproduction below 40Hz matters as much as any other part of
the spectrum no matter what others say.

5. Room acoustics really do account for up to 80% of the sound.

if you had a nice piece of art would you not want it to be viewed the best way
possible? Well I own over 700 pieces of art, these are called CDs. My music
system is a Window to this art I can say that my record and CD collection is
the main component of my hobby. My system acts as sort of appreciation to
the music and how I want to hear it.

When a friend of mine told me I was crazy because I had over 10k in my
system I just pointed to his 10K + Rolex watch and said who is the crazy one?

I "explain" this hobby by saying that I love music and truly appreciate the
difference an expensive tube, cable, cartridge etc. adds to my enjoyment. I
begin with the truism: A life without passion is not worth living. The are good
passions and others that are questionable Music is amongst the most
emotionally and spiritually edifying passion, so enjoy to the point where other
important responsibilities are neglected! And take the trouble to listen to and
assimilate all of the great music -- it is more difficult to justify the time and
expense if one is listening to same music one enjoyed as an adolescent
decade after decade.
Lastly, if there is a problem with this hobby it is the line that is sometimes
crossed where the audiophile makes a purchase of high-end gear in the hope
that it will confer prestige/status upon him/her.

For me, it's cheap therapy!

It's hard to justify something you love without someone else feeling the same
way you do. I just keep telling myself, and I really don't think you have to
justify it to anyone else, that I could be spending money on many other
wasteful things and not get the long term enjoyment that I get out of my

Music is as old as mankind. The pursuit of good music is equally as old.

Perhaps those that do not understand are the troubled ones. Very few things
are more basic to the wellbeing of humanity. Imagine a world with no music
or a world with only noise. Fingers on a chalk board, jackhammers,
screeching tires, saws, etc... Music is
needed ,Good music is only human. To be the best that you can be. Thats
what has brought us up from the level of other animals. When you don't
appreciate music or you can't understand the need to improve it then I can't
help to think that may have something to do with the problems we humans
have created.

It's very easy to justify this hobby. Material things can be replaced, money
can be reimburse, but your lifetime cannot.
Every hour I spent listening to my system gives me great joy. Once I leave
this world, I won't be able to enjoy music again, and there are a limited
number of years I will live. Most people live their lives like they will last
forever, don't take time to enjoy leisure. Provided that you don't jeopardize

your kids education, home mortgage, etc. I believe that I rather have an
expensive sound system than save to money for an expensive funeral.

I think very few of us who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in

equipments and music recordings have actually gone out and written a check
(or presented plastic) for $50,000 in one fell swoop. That would be amazing
and I wouldn't know where to start if such a sum came my way. Instead, it
takes most of us years of listening, trading, swapping and fine-tuning to end
up with a system worth $50,000, and we spent that amount in lumps, dribs,
drabs and splats over the years. When a friend wonders how much all of my
CDs must have cost, I ask her/him to add up what she/he has spent on dining
out this year alone. Then add in all those $8 movie tickets or $70 show
tickets. Like everyone else has said, my music, played through my system,
brings comfort, pleasure and peace. There are plenty of other ways to get
these things too; some are free but most cost you something. Anyway, most
people who visit my house have absolutely NO idea how much I've spent on
my system. The 20 tall bookshelves of CDs stagger them the most, I guess
because a CD is something they know the price of.

My credo, often repeated, is : set yourself a budget, buy the best gear you
can within that budget, only upgrade when you believe (after careful
evaluation) that an upgrade provides an appreciable benefit and not just relief
from the itch to change something, spend your money on records and sit
down to some tunes. Many think that I just don't get it when it comes to
"high-end". I, on the other hand, like you seem to have observed, think that
audiophiles are looking into the wrong end of the telescope. Good day

Another thing a bit unrelated that I find irritating is the A "blows away" B
mentality which feeds this continual gear changing with nary a thought to
system synergy. It can be easy to lose sight of why most of us have gotten
into this hobby in the first place. The gear should be nothing more than a
mean to serve the music but in some instances it has become the focus for its
own sake

I also enjoy turning the lights off while listening. The whole concept is that
your brain has less information to process with the eyes and can therefore
focus in more on the information coming to the ears. Of course, to a much
larger degree, we know this is true with blind people who develop an excellent
sense of hearing.

Once you go black, you'll never go back!!!!!!!

Music is life, I rather be blind then deaf. It's pretty sad when I realize that my
love for music was shattered by high-end equipment. I have friends that
refuse to listen to music because its not coming from a high-end system. Its
ridiculous to throw away CDs just because the recording is not to their
standard and they won't listen to it. As a result they listen to only a few CD
over and over again. They don't listen to the radio. They don't listen to the
stereo in their car. What is going on, could it be the mind playing tricks. After
all we are spending $50,000 on a system, and it could make us forget that,
"Its all about listening to the music". I have to admit, this high end world is
an enigma.

People get caught up in the high-resolution mentality and forget about basic
musicality. I think that's where they run into trouble. If only 2 or 3 out of 10
recordings sound good on my system, I'd change my system, not my
recordings. In other words, what is the point of owning expensive gear if it
fails to provide a musically compelling experience with most software??? If
you're buying equipment mainly because it was rated "class 'A' or 'B' in
Stereophile," then I believe you have lost sight of what really matters...
Another thing that galls me a bit is many folks feel so insecure in their ability
to make a decision that they must get a group consensus before making any
purchase. God forbid they make a "mistake" and pay too much, or buy a CD
player simply because they like it -- without hearing all other contenders at
their price point.

A Key to Audio success:


Never ever read a Review.

only buy gear that you can listen to in your system.
Spend more of your money on Music
Let your ears choose your gear.

Sound quality has nothing to do with music quality period!!!

The main problem with these guys that are too lofty to listen to a "cheap"
system is that they have their priorities backwards and are listening for how a
system sounds rather than how it plays music. They care more about
audiophile terms like sound staging, bass, imaging, balance and on and on.
But Music does not exist in those parameters.

There is some point for everybody where diminishing returns set in. Probably
everybody at this site sees a point in spending at least a couple thousand
dollars per component before getting to the knee in the curve, and probably
more than that if budget doesn't have to be totally dominant in the equation.
If / when you get to the point of a couple to a few thousand dollars per
component, you're in a range where you could upgrade a component OR buy
a couple hundred or several hundred pieces of software for the same money.
If you've opted for Option A more than once without ever opting for Option B,
you really ought to try option B once. If it's really about the music, go out and
buy 500 CDs or LPs over a few months and get drunk on new music.

If anyone out there has not ever tried playing a musical instrument, you
should really try it. The beginning is hard because you have to familiarize
yourself with the instrument. But the enjoyment is well worth it. You will
come to have a better understanding of music, its theory and practice. And
the creation of music is one of the most pleasurable things you can do. Highly

I have something different in store this evening. An audio quiz. Ten simple
questions, heck a couple are just throw aways, to test your general
knowledge of the hobby. I have tried to spread things out, solid state, tubes,

CD, LP etc. 'wanted to start easy and end hard but I'm afraid that's not how it
worked out. This is just for fun so please don't get huffy when you catch my
mistakes. First one to get all ten questions correct gets a free Audiogon
"wanted" ad. And Albert, your handicap is that you have to play blindfolded.
Let's rock and roll.
1) Your favorite CD begins skipping on the very last track. Which is most
a)There is a scratch close to the center hole.
b)There is a scratch close to the outer edge.
c)This is impossible CDs don't skip.
2) Your favorite LP begins skipping on the very last track. Which is most
a)There is a scratch close to the center hole.
b)There is a scratch close to the outer edge.
c)Who cares, I can listen right through analog noise.
3) Roger Modjeski designed which of the following:
a)The Harold Beveridge preamp.
b)The Music Reference electronics.
c)The Counterpoint SA-4 OTL mono amp.
d)The Mac MR-78 tuner output section.
e)a,b and c.
4) A magnetron tube is
a)A nine-pin small signal dual triode commonly used as an input/driver in
audio tube amps.
b) An eight pin Soviet power tube used primarily in single-ended applications.
c)Part of my microwave oven.
d)A medical device used in orthroscopic surgery.
5) You live on the flat plains of rural Kansas. A distant station is at 101.1 on
the FM band. No other stations broadcast on adjacent or alternate channels.
Your tuner will not lock on to the station. Your tuner probably has inadequite
c)Capture ratio.
d)Output circuitry.
6)In a loudspeaker with a passive radiator the bass alignment is modeled the
same as
a)An acoustic suspension (sealed) speaker.
b)A vented speaker.
c)A transmission line speaker.
d)An isobarik speaker.
e)A three way speaker.
7)My tube preamp has just blown a 6DJ8. Which of the following substitutions
from my tube stash will work?

f)All of the above.
g)None of the above.
8)The distinguishing characteristic of the Sanken output transistor is
a)It can operate at temperatures three times that of a conventional transistor.
b)It requires no external heat sink.
c)It combines a thermal sensor in the same package as the transistor.
d)It has a driver circuit in the same package as the transistor.
9)The Dayton-Wright electrostatic speakers
a)Were made with Corian frames.
b)Had cheap piezo tweeters.
c)Were the first cylindrical stats.
d)Deployed the electrostatic element in a bag of gas.
e)Both b and d.

10)Primaire electronics are made in

(read it again)

I think, once we are bitten by the update-bug, which can become a true
addiction, as improvements become incrementally smaller and prices get
higher and higher. Addictions cannot be justified, they can only be
rationalized.....and they are difficult to stop.

Part of my continuing effort to pick your brains and the result of organizing
my web folders (Geeez). What are the best several Web sites ( 5 max) you
know for either audio-tech or music related materials. A site that would really
be the MOST HELPFUL TO OTHERS IS, of course, BEST. To start things out.
1)( Real 101 stuff. Ray won't make you an audio
designer but its short, fairly well written, and to the point.
2)( World tube Audio Portal is billed as the biggest
tube site on the Web and well...I can't find the end of it.
three web sites by audio junkies that I like to browse.
3)( Rod Elliot with all kinds of elec/tech articles and info.
4)( Art Ludwig. Spend 15 minutes here if you
haven't already.
5)( Scott Anderson on Coltrane. Nice paper on his
development 1960- to his death.

Lots of others but there is 5.

Sincerly, I remain

The most important site for me is All Music Guide. This is a repository of
information on all recorded music by every artist in every style of music.
Divided into albums and songs by the artist and year, and features many
images of LP and CD covers. It lists all the musicians playing on the album,
and what label it was released on.

Or, you may look up a favorite song, and see every artist that ever recorded it
and whether it is still available for purchase.
Searches may be done using either the song title, the artists name or by the
style of music. Great for looking up that tune that's been running around in
your head, especially if you are trying to buy a copy.

Here's a few:

here are a couple of great sites that provide links to manufacturers. the first
site also lists publications and lots of other stuff related to audio. the second
is hyper-linked:

Check this out for a grin:
Is a fancy Hi-fi worth the bother and expense?
Up to a point. Few spheres of human activity are pervaded by as much
snobbery and one-upmanship as sound reproduction. There are men,
(women sensibly stay out of this nonsense) who will tell you they can hear
the difference between music played on speakers which are connected up

with gold-plated wires. There are also people who say the sound reproduction
of old-fashioned vinyl LPs is So what makes a good hi-fi system?
Well, broadly speaking, anything that comes from the far East and is sold on
the High Street is probably not it. Hi-fi is one of the few areas in which the
Japanese and Germans have made no impact. Practically all serious hi-fi
comes from the UK and America. Your 200-500 high street sound system
will sound fine - until, that is, you hear the real thing.
Where do you find the real thing?
Youre looking for a specialist hi-fi store. It will probably not be part of a
chain, although the incomparable nationwide Richer Sounds chain will sell you
something which is pretty much hi-fi for some amazing prices. Their staff are
experts, too. But even so, the best stuff comes from small to medium sized,
enthusiast shops listed in Yellow Pages. A decent sized town will have one.
There you will find listening rooms and incredibly helpful staff who will let you
try out all kinds of combinations of amplifiers, decks and speakers until you
find something you like. They can afford to be patient. Such shops are not
cheap, and they know that most people, become hooked on good quality
Does real hi-fi have to look ugly?
Some staff at hi-fi shops will do everything they can to have you walk out
with amplifier, CD deck, radio tuner and speakers all of different brands and
looks. There is a perverse pleasure among stereo buffs in undermining what
they sneeringly call WAF Wife Approval Factor. Heaven forbid that any two
elements of your Hi-fi system (apart from possibly the speakers) should
match. And if any of it matches the carpet or curtains, you are seen as a
heathen. But dont be intimidated. If you are buying a top line brand its ok to
Can an attractive one box system be serious hi-fi?
By one box hi-fi, people dont mean a ghettoblaster type of arrangement
that can never be hi-fi. But there is a new breed of real Hi-fi in which one
neat box contains a pre-amplifier, amplifier, tuner and CD deck, with only the
speakers as separate entities. Such systems typically cost about 1,000 for
the box plus 400 or so for the matching speakers. And, to the chagrin of the
crustier type of enthusiast, they sound terrific. Theyre no bargain; a
stylistically awkward but ethically pure mix-and-match system may well come
in cheaper. But the WAF factor will be somewhere between low and nonexistent.
Any recommendations then?
If youre going the separates route, the only advice is to find a good hi-fi
shop you like and trust them to find a combination that fits your budget. In
the one-box field two British products reign supreme: the Solo by Arcam and
the Classik by Scottish manufacturer, Linn (see and better than CDs. Such fanatical views can largely be
discounted. But once you have heard a high quality hiFi system, unless you
have, as my father called it, cloth ears, you will be amazed at the clarity and
depth of the sound.

The listening experience is totally mental. Tweaks that do not alter the sound
are just that in a given system with a single user. If I do not hear or feel
something (a tweak) in my system then it does not exist as a change to me.

People as individuals not only have tastes/preferences each unto their own,
but also varying degrees of observation. Some things involving sound can be
no more than a slight annoyance instead of something that can be pinpointed
and described. However when these problems are remedied either through
trial and error, or perhaps even through dumb luck, enjoyment of the system
can increase greatly over long listening sessions. I guess that these would be
referred to as minor tweaks and many do not find a need to deal with them. If
something makes a change in the sound that can easily be identified and
described, then I consider it to be just another component (regardless of what
it is, whether I personally like the change or not) and not a tweak @ that

Music is an art form and as such some people have deep

passion/interest/ability for it and enjoy it, and other people never will have
more than casual interest in it, but really has nothing to do with hearing

After all, good music will move us, make us feel angry, or sexy, make us tap
our feet or dance; to some, unfortunately, this is just too powerful a force to
lose control to.

While there is no doubt that high-end audio lets us hear more of the music, I
think it's important for us audio nuts to remember that the truth of the matter
is that the truly important point or message of any music usually gets through
on all but the worst (distorted) means of playback. Curiously, I find that self
proclaimed "tin ears" are usually music lovers; sure they can hear the
difference, they're just not interested in all the trappings of high end audio

If you listen to music more because of a purchase you made, then you made
a good purchase.


I have a few "test" disks. They change from time to time, but each disk has a
distinct purpose. I, like Craig find vocals to help a lot. I use Eva Cassidy "Time
After Time" to see how smooth the treble is. This disk is not as well recorded
as I'd like and therefor the treble can be quite fatiguing, if the treble is harsh
or bright here it will clearly wear over time. I use Sara K. "Hobo" for pace.
This disk is very well recorded with a lot of sudden noises and quick rhythms.
It also has excellent bass and very good sound stage. If my feet are tapping
and I'm not listening for anything in particular, the equipment is working.
Patricia Barber "Cafe Blue" is a favorite of mine. The base MUST be tight and
focused, even on the deepest notes. If the base tends to flatten out across
your floor rather than staying a tight note above the floor, the system is not
able to handle the base to the lowest notes. If it does flatten out, take note of
when (how low) and use this as a yard stick. Her voice should never sound
shrill or bright, even in the highest passages. The studio should be present,
but only if you look for it. The piano should sound true and the strikes on the
strings should be apparent if you look for them. For me, if I find myself not
looking for anything, just enjoying the presentation the system is resolving
everything well. "Nature's Realm" on Water Lilly Acoustics is an "audiophile"

standard. This is the disk with the subway running under the church and a
system that resolves this has "great" base control. (well that's the audiophiles
story) I can feel the train yes, but the real story for me is this is a great disk.
The pace and extremes are very good. The sound quality is fantastic, I use
this to see if the system can keep up on the loudest most sudden passages.
This disk will bring out the worst in amps and speakers. Finally I'm using
Duke Ellington "Blues in Orbit" for detail. There is a large group of brass
instruments here in three distinct layers of depth. My system is able to pick
out the tone variations of three instruments playing side by side the same
notes, together, I must listen for this however. The depth and definition of
sound stage is evident. The louder more complex passages should remain
uncongested, still have the appearance of individuals playing together. There
is also some studio information that will take some looking, but if the system
is resolving this you will hear it.
I hope this has helped Angela. It's all a bit esoteric, but the point is you must
know the music first, and have music that has pushed you system to it's limits
in the past. When I was shopping equipment and setting up my system I
found the Chesky "Ultimate Demo" disk to be very informative. They take you
through 20+ areas to listen for and give you examples of when it's working.
Thanks for the great thread, J.D.

as with most folks here, i begin equipment auditions with recordings of male
and female voices. my selections change over time, mainly 'cause i eventually
get bored with "test" cd's/lp's. for several years i used jennifer warnes'
"famous blue raincoat" as a primary test lp (i actually bought out a record
store's sale stock of this recording; still have 4 or 5 sealed copies). presently,
i'm using the persuasion's "might as well" (covers of the dead) and "frankly
acapella" (covers of frank zappa). i also favor the fairfield four, "standing in
the safety zone" and "the unaccompanied voice" on the secretly canadian
label. all of these acapella recordings help me establish the "character" of the
equipment i'm auditioning and lay a foundation for other tests. bass response
is generally tested using the "poem of chinese drums" track on the burmester
sampler "vorfurings cd III" (the u has an umlaut, which i can't insert with agon's text creator). rythym and pace are first heard with the "stimela" track
from hugh masekela's "hope" (which is also on the burmester cdIII). after
listening to these bits, i usually switch to some cd's or lp's that i just plain
enjoy. among those i've just pulled out of my "test cd container" (one of those
neat little bags from starbucks) are: lou reed "new york"; music from "steal
this movie" ; "dead man walking," music inpired by the motion picture;
"badlands" (covers of bruce's "nebraska"); and the corrs "unplugged." playing
tracks from all these recordings gives me as complete a picture of the
equipment under review as i can acomplish in a hour or so. for really
important components (speakers, amps and pre's) i want to have at least a
week of listening time, during which i throw several dozen more lp's and cd's
onto their transports.

I agree with the previous posts. You know the drill--read a raving review on a
piece of equipment, then go search different web sites for user reviews to
(hopefully) confirm the positive remarks on the equipment, then go find one
used on audiogon and buy it. Then when the equipment arrives, be a bit
disappointed because the equipment didn't give you boosebumps all over and
lift you out of your listening chair. We all have some degrees of upgraditis--as

so many of us are familiar to that syndrome. I think even sometimes when we

do get lucky and find a musically

satisfying system, some raving review of a piece of eq will make us

think--"hey, my system could be better!" Like Redkiwi says, system matching
is rather complex, and I believe it involves some luck to have a synergistic
system (if you are not using all eq from the same manufacturer). I think it's a
good idea to have a piece of new equipment (whether bought new or used) in
your system for at least 3 months before deciding whether to upgrade,
instead of after a week thinking buying a more expensive product will give
you that goosebump/chair-lifting experience. But all in all, through countless
swapping pieces of audio equipment, when that first note of goosebump city
sinks in, it's all worth the effort...

In the best of worlds we could audition gear we're interested in in our homes,
A/B'ing against the piece we're looking to upgrade. Then, paying at or near
MSRP would be at least palatable, given the piece will probably live with us for
some time to come. Unfortunately not only is this rarely possible, after
reading reviews/ others opinions about some piece of gear, then briefly
listening and perhaps talking oneself into "it's as good as my preconcieved
idea" an impulse buy ensues. Then after living with it for a while, well..... At
least sites such as this allow us audio malcontents a place to recoup some of
our $$ and to try new gear without losing the farm. And I personally have
found this particular site to be extremely educational.It's an expensive hobby,
and high markups go with the territory. Paying professional athletes millions is
possible because we buy tickets to the games and watch the commercials in
between innings/periods/quarters. Audio prices will remain inflated as long as
we buy and listen. Now, if you will wxcuse me, I'm going to put a bid in on
that titanium treated, zircon encrusted spent uranium exposed toothpick
that's supposed to rid ones tube traps from the effects of jitter resonating
from my new Magnawatt Deluxe Mark XI window reflectonators. If I can just
get him down to $1100......

A thought...and why the hype succeeds.

I have been a hi-fi enthusiast for over 30 years (I consider the term
"audiophile" a perjorative that reeks with the scent of HP and all the other
know-nothing self-appointed gurus who depend on "audiophiles" to slavishly
follow them so they can reap the benefits of free equipemnt and "industry
accomodation prices.) I have been down the high-end road twice. I left the
hobby for over a dozen years and returned to listening to music, not
equipment. I now build my own amps, preamps and make my own cables and
power cords. It is emminently satisfying and produces a home listening
experience you can't buy down at High End Inc AT ANY PRICE!
I know of no hobby where a larger percentage of its participants through such
lavish sums of money at things they know so little about. And they become
the rightful prey of snake-oil peddlers of magic wires and $6K AC cords, of
exotic wood hockey pucks and pointy things that either "couple" or "decouple"
(pick your ad) your amp from its platform.

Do yourself a favor. Next time you feel the need to upgrade, go to your local
university bookstore and get a copy of their introductory text to circuit theory.
Learn Ohm's law. Then get a copy of the 4th edition of the Radiotron
Designer's Handbook or Tremaine's Audio Cyclopedia (both OOP), and start
trudging through. Your fatter bank account will be your reward.
A secret - everything you need to know to build a good amplifier was already
known by 1930. In 1927, Western Electric engineers built a single
compression driver that had flat response from 80 Hz to 15kHz. Try to find
one like it today.
Educate yourselves (yes, you're gonna have to do a little math, but it's simple
algebra) and stop spending thousands on speaker cables with mystery boxes
or "light" as an insulator (Geez, was Barnum ever right) so you can hook
them to an output transformer that cost $50.
Even if you don't want to venture into DIY - but the very best in music
reproduction in the home is coming off the workbenches of gonzo DIYers, not
off the assembly lines of Krell or ARC - you will still know enough to not fall
for all the BS and smoke and mirrors the Harry Pearsons of this world try to
foist onto you.
An educated consumer makes wise choices. A man with the Recommended
Components List in his hand is low-hanging friut ripe for the picking.
I have read some of the threads here and must agree with the person who
obsrved that a large number of folks are assembling systems based on the
status they convey and not the music the can play. If you know how this stuff
works, it's not necessary to repeat their status-concious mistakes.

Some people can walk into a Hi-fi shop and select excellent equipment by its
sonic atributes. Some people cannot and must rely on the scores to feel that
they are getting either value or a trophy for their money spent.

Use your ears! To much bullshit in high-end audio.

Music can be an emotional or energetic experience at the level of the bare,

naked soul. It is actually a sort of gentle transformational experience, not
unlike deep meditation. This can happen live or with reproduced music, and
with any kind of music you are energetically in tune with. The most basic
thing is to get the timbre right, because the emotion of the music is hidden in
the nuances of timbral richness and shading. In a sense, music is in the space
between the notes. Soundstaging can add to the experience or be superfluous
- it's more an individual thing. Your heart speaks the language of truth, in
music or in anything else. When you listen, take a little time to listen with
your heart, and you will be subtly changed by the experience.
Soundstaging is an artifact of the recording process and multi-channel
reproduction. At real, unamplified, musical events there's little perception of
soundstage. Imaging does occur in real life, but it's typically not as starkly
defined as via high-end systems. A system's ability to soundstage is indicative
of other things being done right. Wide band frequency response, smooth

phase and quick transient are some of the things that must be done right in
order to have proper soundstaging. An interesting test for stereo systems is
to go mono. Very few high end systems sound real when played mono. It
eliminates all the soundstage/imaging considerations. It's a very tough test.
You didn't percieve localization of instuments because it was diffused. Many
music halls are made to amplify the sound. so you get diffusing at the same
time since there is a lot of echoing going on. But even then your telling me
that if say a flute solo came on that you could not pinpoint the exact location
of that instument? Or pinpoint where an opera singers voice is? Very often
borders book store has musicians and bands play in there store. I can get as
close as 5 feet away from them. Even at 20 feet I can clearly tell where each
member, voice, and instuments sound is coming from. I can even tell where
each guitar string is. Our whole life relies on what we could call imaging and
soundstage. When someone is talking to us we know exacly where they are in
the room just from their voice alone. If we here a bird but don't see it we
know it's in the tree by localizing it's chirping. When a phone rings we can
pinpoint exactly where it is from the sound alone. And not just left or right
but we also have depth perception. I could go on and on but back to music. It
sounds like your listening to a large ansembles. They are meant to combine a
large amount of instuments to sound as one. If 10 cellos are playing at once
of course you won't here each individual cello and be able to place where the
sound of each one is coming from. They are blending like one instument.
Even then you should be able to tell that they are coming either from the left
side of the stage or right side or middle and how far away they are from you.
The whole reason we have two ears is to persieve sounds in stereo so to
speak. That is why we have what science calls stereo hearing. It is so we can
place sounds relative to where we are located to tell us where they are
coming from in the 3 dimentional world we live in. If a stereo system is going
to reproduce sound (not just music)and it's emotion Then it must get the
soundstage and imaging right. Also bands and conductors go through a lot of
trouble to set up the insruments in just the right spot to give the sound they
want and so other instuments can be empasized or so others don't get
drowned out. This gives you the full emotion they are trying to convey. Even if
the timbre is correct if your stereo isn't showing you how the conducter set up
his orcastra then it isn't correctly reproducing the sound or emotion that he

IMHO good soundstaging is two things - 1. A good proxy measure of a

systems accuracy and resolving ability, and 2. An audio means of making up
for the fact that at a live concert you literally see the players - precise
imaging allows you to more easily imagine the same experience (have you
ever noticed how drummers seem to have extraordinarily long arms - must
scrape the ground when they walk - no offence drumsgreg).

Yes most recordings have imaging and sound stage that is "Hi-Fi". However,
live large scale orchestral music CAN have very distinct imaging if the hall is
dry and the instrumentalist is playing to stand out from the section. For
example, the violin at the end of the third movement of the Brahms First or in
Sheherazade. However, usually the music calls for bowing or intonation such
that the sound is as a choir of instruments. You can easily locate the position
of the section but it is hard to pick out the individual instrumentalist. I have
heard the Chicago Symphony in Orchestra Hall from the first balcony

hundreds of times. With your eyes closed you could pick out a soloist with
accuracy approaching + or - two chairs. You can also clearly hear the relative
depth of woodwinds, horns, trumpets. In Orchestra Hall the imaging is worse
on the main floor. From the conductor's podium (I got there twice during Solti
recording sessions) the imaging pin points to how the players are holding
their instruments! At the opera with the pit and a greater degree of
reverberation, imaging is blurrier but relative left to right and depth is still
pretty clear. The early Reiner recordings do an excellent job of capturing the
true sound and layout of the CSO in Orchestra Hall from a relatively close
audience seat. Try Zarathustra or the Bartok recordings. It is VERY difficult to
get your system to reproduce the imaging but it can be done. If you can't
hear the clear and consistent sound stage with these recordings you have a
system problem because it's not subtle. Since these are available on premium
vinyl and CD they are excellent for checking out both your sources. The Solti
recordings with the CSO used many spot mikes and Decca reording tricks plus
most weren't made in Orchestra Hall. These recordings sound like the CSO,
namely you can tell it's still Herseth on trumpet, but they don't have a
consistent natural sound stage. BTW in addition to electronics, room acoustics
and speaker placement is absolutely critical. If you can't close to point image
in mono your system won't image in stereo. re dkarmeli, Maybe in jazz the
double bass is always fat and loose. However, played live, in the opening and
final movement of the Mahler 2nd, the Rite of Spring or Wotan's Spear
motive, the bite of the double basses of the Chicago Symphony will rip your
scalp off (the composers wanted it that way). If on a recording I can't get
that, as a music lover, I have been cheated of the composer's intentions.

Since the whole purpose of our pursuit is musical enjoyment (by using our
ears, not a volt meter),
At the risk of not answering the question directly.... How can you be certain
that current physics theory is sufficient to describe everything that makes a
difference to sound? - since a true scientist should always be sceptical
regarding the sufficiency of existing theory. Therefore, if no one can provide
any physics theory to explain the influence of these products, how could you
conclude they do not make a difference? On the other hand, even if there is
some available physics theory that explains that these devices have an impact
on the sound, how can you conclude that therefore they will have a
noticeable, or even beneficial, impact on the sound you hear or your
enjoyment of the music? Surely, you need to focus on the credibility of the
individuals making the claims with regard to these items, carefully consider
the context in which the recommendation is made and compare that with
your own situation (eg. I doubt the economics of using a Shakti Stone on a
boombox), and then make a judgement as to whether you should invest the
time to try it yourself. Then when you try it, it is up to your judgement. What
I find interesting is the very common lack of trust many non-audiophiles have
in whether or not they could make a sound judgement based on listening for
themselves. Since the whole purpose of our pursuit is musical enjoyment (by
using our ears, not a volt meter), then it seems to me that whether or not our
musical enjoyment is enhanced has to be the deciding factor for us
individually. All the rest, such as the theory and the reviews can only be
pointers to help us along the way.

First off, I would like to thank Redkiwi for exhibiting a good dose of common
sense. So often in this hobby (obsession?) we get so tied up in numbers and
worse- other people's opinions that we forget the reason why we started this
thing in the first place. Now to respond to your query... I personally have had
good experiences with line conditioning. I do live in an area with a notoriously
erratic power supply as well as frequent thunderstorms. I noticed a significant
quieting of my background noise in my system with the addition of a line
conditioner to my system. I had much less impressive results with new
relatively expensive power cords (Marigo reference RMX. As far as isolation
cones, etc., I did not notice any difference in sonics with them (vibrapods)
under my preamp, so I subsequently did not buy any more. I have a pretty
solid rack (Salamander Archetype), so maybe it was not needed. Many people
swear by them. My system is relatively hi end, but not obscene (around 20k),
so maybe with better stuff, it would be more noticeable. As far as silver vs
copper, they do have very diffent sonic characteristecs. i don't know why, but
they are very different- not better or worse. Use your ears to determine what
you like. To my ears, silver is brighter and sometimes a little too splashy. This
can be used to your advantage, however. For instance, I use both types in my
system. My D/A is a little laid back (EAD 7000 Mk III), so I use a Kimber
KCAG from it to my pre. The rest of my system is very neutral sounding and
through much trial and error, I have settled on a copper wire (Nordost Red
Dawn) and really like it. the bottom line is use your ears. Some people
probably would not like my choices, but they are my choices, as yours are
yours. One little floobie dust that I do believe in, incidentally is Optrix spray.
It gives a marked improvement to CD's. I still don't understand why, but it is
a BIG difference. Anyway, I hope this helped you some and I will get off my
soapbox. Happy listening

Cables -- Yes there are pretty significant changes in the sound of silver and
copper. The choice is yours to pick the one you like. I own a set of Audio Truth
Diamond and also a set of MIT xxxxx Pro-line reference. As in one of the
responses above, the MIT far out performs the Diamond in every aspect of
the music (as it should for 4x cost). I like some of the characteristics of both
copper and silver, so my choice was to have silver from source to pre-amp
and copper between pre-amp and amp. Main point -- audition cable additions
for at least a week or two, have audiophile friends over to listen with you, and
make your choice based on YOUR ears. Cables can make differences to the
magnitude of a component upgrade of many $$. Other Toys -- I have had the
opportunity to audition a great many "tweek" products... Some of them
worked for me, others did not. They were again all tested with ears and an
elixer of fine ale. The ones that stayed in my home are: Bedini Dual Beam
Ultraclarifier, Marigo CD Cleaner and Cross Bow, and Audio Quest Ultra
Connect. The others I auditioned either did not work or presented a trade-off
in another area. Again, listen carefully -- even the tweeks mentioned above
(except for the AQ Ultra Connect) do not always produce desireable results on
all media. My 2 cents...
An interesting topic. I identified with Redkiwi's comment/question about nonaudiophiles trusting their ears. I did not become obsessively interested in high
end audio until near age 50, and it took me about 3 years of much reading
and careful listening before I was confident in my ability to hear differences
between treatments, tweaks, and components. Critical listening (in my
opinion) is an acquired skill. Now, while I still like Stereophile and TAS, I don't
need their opinions to pick out components or decide if a tweak is worthwhile,

in other words I have learned how to listen, and to trust my own hearing and
judgement. My 28 year old daughter,on the other hand, loves music and has
better hearing than me, but she has not learned critical listening skills as I
have. I lovingly refer to her as a "cloud of sound" person. In Robert Harley's
book, he carefully differentiates between listening for pleasure and the more
difficult critical listening-- sometimes they are hard to keep separate. Recently
I tried out an after market power cord on my big McCormack amp
(recommended my Steve McCormack). There was a big difference in music
quality/character, and I was amazed-- but I didn't like it and sent it back. Not
all tweaks work in YOUR system. Elsewhere in this forum, Redkiwi noted that
he did not like the effect of Vibapods in his system and I respect that, but my
experience with them has been totally positive. SUBJECTIVITY:) I have
enjoyed all the above posts.

Good music is every CD in our collection. Bad music is what my parents think
of it.

"There is no bad music only bad listeners."


I think the gap between the best you may have at home and the sound of real
music ( and if you are a true music lover, you will be intimately familiar with
it) can be the mother of adiction. Its like the fable of the donkey and the
carrot suspended in front of its close...and yet so far, but you keep
on running ....and the merry-go-round goes round and round. The answer to
get off it is a simple as it it tough and like most things in life ( marriage for
example (-; ): Resign yourself to what you've got, make the most of it and
enjoy it to the fullest.


How much Power is enough?

Too much is never too much. Too little power is actually more dangerous than
too much due to being more susceptible to clipping and distortion. Clipping
may damage your amp while distortion is what will damage your speakers. If
I am not mistaken.

It's not a matter of speaker sensitivity or loudness, it's a matter of controlling

the drivers. Speakers like Vienna Acoustics, B&W, Wilson, Dali and others
have the best overall and bass response when the amp really damps and
controls the large drivers, so, with these type speakers, generally more power
will equal more control and better sound.
OTOH, some speakers are so efficient, approaching 100dB that you can drive
the speaker with 10 watts and really control it with less than 100 watts.

What speakers are you driving?

if you've got the money, and you are not giving up sound quality, having high
power reserves in not a bad thing. But high power high quality amps cost a
disproportionate amount of money for the power you get but don't use.

Likely the areas where you will have the most need for additional power is in
large orchestral classical pieces. This is due to the wide dynamic range of
such pieces. But the difference between a 140 watt amp and a 200 watt amp
is not going to matter a whole lot. For example. when I listen to a Beethoven
symphony, the sound peaks of about 105 db spl draw right at 400 watts from
a mcintosh amp. However, a good portion of the non peaks draw less than 40
watts and the quieter parts are in the 0.4 to 4 watt range. I state this a an
indication that the benefits of the extra power come in more when there is an
order of magnitude or more difference between what is available. Does one
really need that much power? Not in my opinion, I just like it. My own bottom
line for what its worth, which is based only on my subjective philosophy, is so
long as you have enough power to be able to hear the quietest part of a work,
and, without changing the volume setting, the loudest (or most power hungry
- which will be a lot of bass) part of that work does not result in clipping, you
have enough power to appreciate the music. The best test I can think of
offhand is Mahler's 2nd.
When you get away from big orchesteral works and particularly if you are
listening to music without a lot of bass, for example a piano sonata, your
power requirements are drastically reduced.
One solution to get some of the best of both worlds, is pick up a pair of
decent headphones for the occasions where you want to listen to something
at higher volumes than your amp may be able to provide.
In sum, I would not make the choice of the two amps you mentioned based
on the difference in their power specs but rather on how they sound to you at
listening levels that they support.
Remember, also, that some opinions as to what is desirable are extreme,
especially where it comes to power and loudness. In a perfect world I'd have
an amp and speakers that could go to 140 db. - problem is that I know me
and I know that all I'd be hearing inside of a year is ringing due to tinnitus
from acoustic trauma

You listen to the two kinds of music that require the greatest power reserves classical and rock. You need lots of power. Think about it, rock is typically
performed with several thousand watts of power, huge speaker systems and
full drum kits. The wall of sound and chest thumping beat is what gives rock
music its power to move you, whether it is in your living room, a bar or a
stadium. Classical music, especially full orchestral pieces, rely on 80+
musicians drawing strings, blowing on woodwinds and beating on kettle
drums and cymbals. Crescendos in classical music require tremendous
amounts of fast power to replicate the scale and speed of all those different
instruments and energy operating in unison. Not only that, but multiple
speaker drivers to move significant volumes of air don't hurt either.

The problem is a trade off between adding more components (capacitors,

resistors, diodes, etc.) to increase power, and the value of simple circuits in
terms of noise and distortion. Smaller scale and lower energy music like
acoustic jazz and vocals requires less power to reproduce lifelike scale and
transients, and the extra power capacity just adds unnecessary noise. I agree
with some others here that an important issue for you is the need to
reproduce low frequencies at a realistic scale. For the kinds of music you like,
I think the sensitivity of your speakers is less important than the amount of
low frequency energy present in the signals you are trying to reproduce, and
the ability of your amplifier(s) to lord over the woofers in your speakers and
move air.
140wpc versus 200 wpc is not really as critical as the current and dampening
factor provided by the amplifier. For example, the Naim Nait 5i with 50 wpc
channel provides as much or more control in practice than many 100+ wpc
amps, because it seems to be able to deliver current quickly and efficiently to
the speakers.
How much power is too much power? In your case, more than you need to
reproduce the music of your choice, whether it is the Who or Mahler's 2nd,
with convincing scale and drama. For classical and rock, I doubt you will find
that point of diminishing returns below about 100 amps of current delivery
and a dampening factor of about 500, regardless of the sensitivity of your

think power is overrated in most situations. It is not necessary to have 1000

watt monoblocks to achieve good [or great] sound. The Lavardin IT, rated at
a modest 50 watts per channel in integrated form has sounded more
organized and composed than some 500-watt (very expensive) monoblocks in
side-by-side comparisons. It is true that some speaker designs require more
power, and there are some esoteric brands that build speakers with these
requirements. In your case this is not the case (sorry). But power is not the
whole picture. Personally I would never buy a speaker with such


would suggest we define our criterion with regard to

1. methodology
2. Parameters to be measured/Observed
3. any Instructions on measurement/observations
4. Music pieces/Tracks/albums (It needs to be judicious mixture of rock, pop,
vocals (male female), classical (western and Indian), Jazz)

5. Any additional Cables/Equipen which may be required

7. Any other points

Low and mid bass, midrange with male and female voices. treble with attack
and decay. dynamics, background ambience and immediacy (any live
recording should do that) along with tracks that have abundance of low
details (jazz in the pawnshop types)

Parameters to be measured/Observed
Low Bass (Tactile, immediacy and articulation (Control)
Mid Bass : Body and Impact
Lower midrange(male voices): Naturality, lack of chestyness/congestion
Upper midrange (Femals vocals) Clarity, sibilance,captivation, tonality
treble , clarity, attack and decay
Overall characteristics:
Coherance, Tonality and timbre, details, Dynamics, Timing, transparency,
soundstaging -3d spatial .


A Few Audio Truths I've Learned?

I've been playing around in the (relatively) high end audio world since 1982
or so (with a few breaks for sanity--and economics'--sake), and, for
amusement, found myself trying to figure out if there were any "truths" of
high end audio (other than perhaps that "reality is fluid"?). What follows are
some of my nominations:
1. Tubes have magic.
2. Not all tube gear has magic. Some of it is even downright annoying.
3. Tubes are a pain in the butt. But they're worth it, at least in pre-amps
(and, once you get addicted, in amps as well).
4. If you have a tube amp, always keep a spare (amp) around. (Every tube
amp I've had has sooner or later blown a resistor and had to go in the shop.)
5. Vinyl has magic (but is also a pain in the butt).
6. Analog vinyl is generally easier on the ears than digital media.
7. However, some CDs, especially more recently made, sound pretty
satisfying, and maybe even have some magic.
8. As to classical CDs that consist of older analog material remastered to
digital, there is a 70% chance that the sound will be too bright, and
annoyingly so, when compared to the corresponding LP.
9. As to classical vinyl, even 25 years after the "death of the Lp", you can
find, second-hand and otherwise, enough material (performers and
repertoire) to keep you busy listening for practically a lifetime.
10. But you still need a decent CD player because of Martinu, Koechlin,
Schmidt, Hahn, Bridge, Marx, and a bunch of other cool composers that are
better represented on CD...not to mention excellent performers of standard
repertoire recorded in the last 25 years.
11. "Tweaks" are called "tweaks" for a reason. They're just for that last 5-

10%, at best. Only exception (for me): record cleaning machine-indespensible for the vinyl-lover.
12. Cables matter. And most of them try too hard to impress you with lots of
detail, which becomes fatiguing.
13. That new piece of gear that you just brought home with great certainty
that it will be the answer to all of your audio problems, will someday annoy
you. Just wait.
14. Most (but not all) British equipment is more "polite" sounding than US
gear. If your US gear starts to annoy you by reason of an overemphasis on
"detail", try some British gear.
15. A $1,700 system can give very substantial musical satisfaction--and
sometimes more--than a system costing 10-20 times as much (as I learned
when I was an ex-pat in a flat in Holland with only my Linn Classik system for
my music).
16. That piece of gear you tried in your own system at home last week and
thought was totally awful sounds really great in somebody else's completely
different system today.
16. There is no absolutely accurate (reproduced) sound. (Except we each
secretly think that there is, and only we know what it sounds like.)

That's my short list. What's yours?

Eweedhome (Threads | Answers)

07-12-08: Markphd
That's a pretty good list. I don't know what I can add. How about this?
Room acoustics and room treatments can have a greater effect on sound than
any equipment change.
Markphd (Answers)
07-12-08: Mrjstark
1.listen, try it home and listen some more. To answer the question : is this
component for me or will this work with my gear.
2. Not all great brands are great.
3. Not all super expensive gear sound....expensive.
4. Don't pay attention to room acoustics if sound quality is of little imortants
to you. If you care , then start there first and buy that lustrous, shiny gear
you dreamt about later.
5. Match speakers with the amp and amp with the preamp.
6. WalMart ext. power cables for $8 will sound as good as hyped up cables
costing more.....a lot more. All cables have coloration......pick yours.
7. Small brands or like one big shot describes them " garage brands" can and
in most cases will give you a better product , care and long time relationship
then big names in the industry. Why? Because they care and are just as
passionate about music as you are and they can not afford mistakes or poor
customer service. Their reputation is build on customer feedbacks , not on
reviews or adds.

8.Brick & mortal is still well and alive, but its existence will depends on
customer service, honesty, and building relationship with costumers.
Being just human goes a long way.
9. If you haven't try vinyl, do it - even if it is only the entery level rig. Who
knows, you might find out somethiing new about yourself and music.
10. Do not look at my system and say: it must sound good or it must suck.
We ALL have different taste and budget. Follow your ear and your gut feeling.
11. Educate yourself to become a better listener.
12. Find the Audiophile club in your town or city. Nothing is more helpfull then
advice of fellow audiophils and access to gear that you never heard before.
Mrjstark (System | Threads | Answers)
07-12-08: Lake513
I really do not have anything to add it is a good list along with Markphd and
room acoustics yes a good list Thanks
Lake513 (System | Threads | Answers)
07-12-08: Philjolet
component matching is everything
if it sounds good to you it is good
on a personal note, the simpler the better
Philjolet (System | Threads | Answers)
07-13-08: Unsound
"You want the truth. You can't handle the truth".
Unsound (System | Threads | Answers)
07-13-08: Plato
1. Tubes are great, but the more, the merrier strategy does not apply. Since
every tube in the signal path has its own unique character, compounded by
coupling capacitor distortion, each tube/cap in the signal path makes the
sound increasingly colored and vague. Therefore I recommend a minimum of
tubes in the signal path for best performance.
2. Although tube amps are great, solid-state amps also have their strong
points. And now, there are digital amps that sound as good as either genre
but are much more energy efficient. The best amplifier sound I have heard is
running a custom 6SN7 (single tube) preamp into my digital amps. In my
opinion, it is the least compromised sound Ive been able to achieve and Im
extremely pleased with it. On my high-resolution ribbon speakers the sound is
ultra smooth, detailed, and lifelike.
3. Equalizers and tone controls are valid and do have a useful place in some
installations. My room has a broad peak around 125Hz to around 180Hz. The
only effective way to flatten it out is by using a good transparent EQ -- and
that works exceedingly well. The sound is so un-naturally boomy without the
EQ that I couldnt listen to it for any length of time.

4. Most high-end cables are obscenely overpriced, although competent

cabling definitely makes a positive improvement.
5. Most systems can benefit greatly from using AC regeneration or AC filtering
products. If you really want the most from your audio system you need to
address this area. Its a real problem and not snake oil by any stretch.
6. The more you paid for your expensive moving coil cartridge, the more
break-in time it will need, and the more painstakingly accurate set-up it will
require to really shine.
Plato (System | Threads | Answers)
07-13-08: Mechans
I have owned tube power amps for over a year and nothing has ever come
close. I own Cyber 800s like Mr Stark. IMHO the real magic that tubes can
provide is only found if you you use tubes in the output section. I have a
fabulous tube integrated as well now, a Jadis DA-60. It too has that special
quality. I tried the tube anywhere in the system approach with results that
don't even hint at what tubes can do.
Tubes are a relative pain in the ass if you roll them and get addicted to that. I
did and now can't even recall all of the tubes I own. Many old tubes are just
not functioning correctly no matter what the emissions or transconductance
are. I have enjoyed them more than found them a burdensome. If you just
want stock that works well in my experience for most amps. These are much
less prone to give you you a hard time as almost all are equipped with new
tubes. The attraction to Old tubes is justifiable in terms of a move toward the
better but has its risks.
Otherwise you have hit all the common beliefs.
Mechans (Threads | Answers)
07-13-08: Trelja
Mrjstark, "12. Find the Audiophile club in your town or city. Nothing is more
helpfull then advice of fellow audiophils and access to gear that you never
heard before."
I'd like to change the wording from "Nothing is more helpfull..." to "Nothing is
more expensive."
I can personally say that while we in the Philadelphia Area Audio Group have
had a great time and made a lot of lifetime friendships, nearly every one of us
has invested thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars in our systems
since joining the group. How blissful we were before getting together so
often, and being exposed to the relative strengths in the systems of others.
Though this is all said in a joking way, there is a bit of seriousness in my
statement that we receive some sort of subsidy from the high-end audio
Trelja (Threads | Answers)

07-13-08: Mrtennis
it's all subjective and a matter of opinion.
since opinion is neither true nor false, and one man's trash is another man's
treasure, there are no truths, only audio experiences.
Mrtennis (Threads | Answers)
07-12-08: Joenies
Hello Eweedhome,
You put a smile on my face reading what you have learned with this hobby of
Enjoy the music. Great letter. Great observations.
Good music is good music, no matter if I'm listening to it on my $5K system
or my $60k system.
Joe Nies
07-13-08: Ridgestreetaudio
Ha! Cool Thread - Thanks Eweedhome!
Perhaps my list is a little more off the path but...
In no particular order and by no means exhaustive:
1.] It's not about the music. It's about an experience. The system is the silver
platter, the music is what gets served and the taste is the experience.
2.] Optimized simplicity is better than impressive complexity. A chain door
lock works. A chain door lock with a maze for the door jam works too but...
3.] Hidding behind how smart I think I is or ain't isolates me and starves the
broader soul of the matter. If I had a triple E or M.E. Maters on my wall,
somewhere on it I'd like it to read "You've not arrived. you've only just
4.] The beauty of a woman is to be appreciated, not figured out. Music is the
same way. To that end...
5.] Music is not intended to be an intellectual exercise. Oh it can be but it sort
of misses the point.
6.] The "Boy" in us likes his toys - this is good - I "Man" enough to
let the passion of music stir something beyond my intellect to inspire
something better in me?
7.] Being an audiophile does not preclude or exclude having a life. It requires
8.] If you're an audiophile that just means you have high expectations. This is

9.] If you're an audiophile it's more about a journey - not the destination.
10.] If you're an audiophile, have realistic expectations: Excellence will serve
you better than perfection.
11.] If you're an audiophile, letting yourself "dance to the music" more often
will serve you better than a habit of "judging the system".
12.] If you're an audiophile and your playback never did or doesn't engage
you emotionally any more, It's likely one of two things or a combination of the
two: a.) Your system really, really sucks or b.) you don't have a life where
music can anchor your experiences.
13.] If you're not an audiophile anymore, it probably means your system
really, really sucked and/or you have a life...
14.] Audiophile: 1982 - 200? R.I.P.
It's the space in between, the dash, that really matters.
07-13-08: Ridgestreetaudio
Ah....two more I wished I would have stuck in:
15.] Electronics is science that requires art to be great. Music is art that
requires science to be great.
And, off track but kind of along the same lines and because I love playing
drums and get to teach a little, something I share with my students to help
them get better grades in school and be a more encompassing drummer:
Drumming is mathematics artistically applied.
Wished I would have known that when I was in high school. I might have
gotten something better than a D - LOL!
07-13-08: Sebrof
I think we forget about #16 (the first #16 in the original post) too often. We
tend to speak in absolutes. "This amp is better than that amp", etc. It always
depends on associated gear, room, personal preferences. Synergy or lack of it
can make or break any piece of gear.

07-13-08: Soulbrass
Great post!!!
I am sitting here listening to a late 80's Realistic Receiver as a placeholder in
my system while I await my new integrated amp...and I'm smiling ear-to-ear
as I enjoy Hugh Masekela's Hope on CD! Good thing this is a hobby and not
life and death : )
For me, I'd like to share the following from my journey...
1) Room acoustics are as [more???] important as any component choice. I
think of it as getting your money's worth out of any purchase. The treatments
that I built and installed have yielded more gain in system performance than
any component swap EVER!!!
2) Different is different; not necessarily better.
Good luck in your travels...and enjoy some music along the way!!!
07-13-08: Raquel
Eweedhome: You have a sense of humor with timing. Very entertaining. One
comment regarding above the above wisdom, IN CAPS:
"12. Find the Audiophile club in your town or city. Nothing is more helpfull
[sic] then advice of fellow audiophils [sic] and access to gear that you never
I am not at the moment up for setting out an exhaustive list of things that I
have come to discover about audio gear, but I'll provide a few, which will be
familiar to Audiogoners who have paid attention to my posts over the years:
1. Most people do not understand tube amps: watts per channel are irrelevant
if, like 97% of all tube amps (and that includes many allegedly very good
ones), they use mediocre output transformers and power supplies. First-rate
output transformers and power supplies are exceedingly heavy and
exceedingly expensive, which means to look for a back-breaking, budgetbusting tube amp if you want to do it right. If you can't afford to buy one with
this profile, buy good solid-state instead.
2. You often hear "[R]un a tube preamp with a solid-state amp". If you're
talking about top-shelf equipment, it's just the opposite. Here's why: (i) tube
preamps cannot compete with the low noise floor of the best solid-state
preamps, low noise being CRUCIAL (is that clear enough?) at the
preamplification stage; (ii) with the exception of the ones that are
transformer-coupled, most tube preamps have output impedances that are
too high to drive the majority of solid-state amps without some bass rolloff;
(iii) really good solid-state preamps layer space just as well as tube pre's; and
(iv) with the exception of a tiny handful of the very best solid-state amps,
solid-state amps cannot layer space like a tube amp. All of this said, if you are

on a budget and can find a solid-state amp with a high-ish input impedance
and the interconnect run between your preamp and amp will not exceed 2
meters, a tube pre combined with solid-state amp will generally cause less
problems than the alternatives.
3. If you own a tube preamp or tube DAC and are having to re-tube every
three to six months, throw out the current tubes, re-tube the component, but
leave it turned on 24/7 and when not listening, keep the volume turned down
to zero and if you have one, keep the mute button engaged. When, in three
years, you notice that the tubes are still going strong and sound better than
ever, remember this #3 and the fact that tube gear manufacturers and tube
vendors make their money selling replacement tubes. CAVEAT: this may not
work if your component has tubes in the power supply.
4. Too many of the people posting on Audiogon do not know what they are
talking about. If you have a f-cking question about your gear, call the
manufacturer first. When your refrigerator is acting up, do you drive to the
middle of a mall parking lot and start asking people walking to their cars for
advice about how to fix it? Audiogon is that parking lot.
5. For the love of God, if Atmasphere or Kr4 or Rives are nice enough to post
on this site, just accept what they write and consider yourself lucky that they
have condescended to throw us a bone. Atmasphere: everything nasty I
wrote above about tubes does not apply to you and your stuff - PEOPLE, THIS
07-13-08: Blindjim
Upon entering the realm of so called high end audio.. be afraid. Be very
afraid. And bring money.
1 Check your ego at the door and youll write less checks.
2 Contempt prior to investigation is the only true bar to the enhancement of
the auditory experience and your own genuine satisfaction.
3 Everything matters.. E V E R Y T H I N G!
4 Have an auditory exam every now and then.
5 Different is easier to come by than better.
6 Be honest. And with yourself most of all.
7 If you wish to explore tube based audio. Find a good tube vendor.
8 Find a good local repair tech.
9 The statements surrounding audible improvements derived from the use of
aftermarket cabling, power conditioning, and isolation, are not urban legends.
10 buying without trying first can and does work.. in the end.
11 Never allow yourself to be intimidated by a dealership. If theyre not about
satisfying your wants? Just say good bye and leave. There are far too many
other places that do want your business.
12 Expensive doesnt always equate to better. It does always equate to
13 Attaining a synergistic system takes more than just plugging in and out
different components. Eg., cabling, PLC, and isolation, above.
14 if youre about to remodel, its probably a good idea to hold off on buying
them purple Zebrawood speakers until after the project is completed.

15 Change tubes before the listening event. Not during. Unless you have
an Ov-glove handy, or youre The Human Torch.
16 IF after several months of speaker placement adjustments have been
made without obtaining complete satisfaction.. move the chair.
16a If moving the chair around yields similar results, buy headphones.
17 Dont swap in & out ICs while the gear is turned on.
18 Pay by credit card.
19 Ship expensive; out of production; and/or matched items, banded to
pallets; air mail; or both.
20 Ask questions. There are no bad questions, but there are bad choices
made by their lack.
21 If you cant hear or see the difference, dont pay the difference.
22 The room is important, as are its treatments. Eg., see EVERYTHING
23 When constructing an up stairs system, buy lightweight stuff.
24 During cable auditions, before a final decision is made, plug back in the
current wires and listen to them one more time.
25 Involve the whole family in the audio or video hobby! Even if its against
their will. Other types of hobbies will lend themselves to this effort. Like for
26 If an involuntary family effort is forced, along with a local tech, and good
tube vendor, keep an attorney on retainer.
26 This is the most important aspect of the high end audio mystique, or
psychosis. If youre experiencing the grass is greener on the other side
syndrome more often than not, with regard to chasing gear for the perfect
fit. Its time to water your own lawn.
Remember perfection is an illusion. Outstanding, however, can be acquired
with lots more ease, and with a great variety of paths.
07-19-08: Mechans
I am overwhelmed by the general trend towards generalisation.
As for the audio group providing a competative element and coveting other
systems. Go home and play an old favorite. I bet you will say yes that other
system was good but damned if I don't like this too.
Audiophiles are no different than any group that lies just outside the current
mainstream so they are indeed havens for the different people. But we are
very tolerant well occasionally you just have to say why is that bizarre moron
here. Most are just regular people, unfortunately regular people are in fact a
bit strange.
What is so wrong with liking gear. Who decided that because you want your
music played on whatever you consider good or valueable gear (to you
anyway) that you don't like music equally as well. That is crap. I like the
music and my equipment makes me grin with delight. I don't feel the joy of
finding the equipment that does it perfectly, as far as I ever known, fading at
all. I am in awe of it's ability to make every listening session a joy.
I tried a lot equipment on the trail to this Nirvana but even really expensive
stuff didn't do what I have now.
Gear is important for getting the best experience from music. If anything it
shows how much music is important to you. Clock radios can get me thinking
what a great song that one is, and I do enjoy it, but I wish I was hearing it on

my big rig.

Top of Form

I find single malt whisky helps immensely with the listening experience.

War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.


Why do you use class-A when it seems so inefficient?"

"We've found that biasing the output stage in class-A reduces nonlinearity. In
addition, class-A operation ensures that the large output-stage current draw
from the power supply remains constant, and this reduces power-supply
Or, in plain English, there's inherently lower distortion in class-A operation.
"And the result?"
"Pinpoint images. Tonal clarification." Gary was almost gushing. "Intertransient silence. More defined dynamic shadings. Inner detail and authority."

Resuming his scientific demeanor, Gary expanded on the benefits of class-A

operation. "With class-A circuit topology, the total current that the amplifier is
capable of delivering is kept flowing in the circuit, regardless of demand while
in a class-A/ B amplifier, current flow varies with demand. As current varies,
the voltage on the rails as seen by the output stage varies too. This leads to
the power-supply modulation common in class-A/B designs?"
High-current capability is desirable in an amplifier and a major reason why
many audiophiles favor big solid-state amps. (Tube amps tend to do less well
when it comes to sourcing current.) Vince Galbo told me that you can almost
determine an amplifier's current capability by its weight: the heftier the amp,
the bigger its power supply and transformers, and the more current it can
"That's important in musical terms." Vince said. "When an amplifier isn't able
to keep up with current demands, voltage sags and music suffers. You can
hear it when a sudden drum beat comes along. If you don't have enough
current, voltage falls down and the drum beat loses its impact."
I certainly heard the kickdrum's impact on "Burning Love." on Elvis: 30 #1
hits (RCA 07863 68079-2). Other amps in house did deliver the same impact
as did the Plinius.
If memory serves me right, the SA50 MkJII sounded noticeably better in
class-A than in class-A/ B, where the amp seemed slightly cold or sterile by
comparison. The SA-102 was different. I often had to look at the class-A LED
(to the right of the On/ Off switch) to see whether the amplifier was in class-A
or not. Often it was working in A/B.
I often doze off in the evening. By the time I wake, the SA-102 has reverted

to class-A/B. "Drat!" I declare, puffing myself up from my listening chair. I

posed the question to Gary. "Why does class-A/B now sound very close to
"It's because we have a very-largecapacity power supply." Gary replied from
sheep country. "It's not easily modulated by output-stage current variations.
And we still run a generous amount of output-stage current in class-A/B." So
in class-A/B,the amp still operates in class-A - at least for a few watts. Some
manufacturers of big solidstate amps have gone to sliding-bias arrangements
in which class-A kicks in as needed, the amp stays cool, electricity is
conserved, and so on. I call these things "miracle circuits." I asked Gary
about them.
"Any sort of sliding class-A bias - no matter how well it is done - will have a
negative sonic impact. The scheme will cause some of the amplifier's
operating parameters to be modulated by the signal - exactly what most
designers want not to happen.
"Sliding-bias schemes are usually used to reduce the large amount of heat
generated in a class-A design. In the Plinius SA-102, we have enough
heatsink area to dissipate heat without turning to compromises."
I listened to the SA-102 for more than a month with the Sonus Faber
Cremona speakers. I appreciated what Franco Serblin meant about "control."
The Plinius SA-102 took charge of the speakers, especially the bottom end. I
asked Gary whether this control came from a high damping factor.
"While we achieve damping factors of around 50 or 60 into an 8 ohm load, we
don't focus on damping factor as an overly important parameter. The amplifier
has a massive, very-lowimpedance power supply, with high stored energy and
high current capability. The output stage has such a huge capacity for current
delivery that a woofer won't be starved, no matter how much current it
needs." The treble was sweetly and smoothly extended. Franco Serblin was
right: solid-state amplifiers have become very refined - some of them,
anyway. With the Pliniu s-Cremona combination, I heard a lovely liquidity - a
total absence of the hardness or harshness that, in the past,I've so often
associated with solid-state.
Two weeks before deadline, Renaud de Vergnette, of Triangle
Electroacoustique, and Richard Kohiruss, of VMAX Services, his North
American importer, arrived with the flagship Triangle Magellan speakers.
These will likely retail in the US for around $35,000/pair. It's fun to go hors de
ffltgrie, as the French hi-fi scribes like to say. Some of the Magellan's
technology and magic will trickle down to more affordable Triangle models.
And soon.
When Renaud and Richard visited, we selected three SACDs: Berlioz's
Symphonic Fantastique, with Paavo Jrvi conducting the Cincinnati Symphony
(Telarc SACD-60578); Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 3 and Scriabin Etudes
with pianist Lang Lang, Yuri Temirkanov, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (Telarc SACD-60582); and Chet Baker's Chet (Riverside! Analogue
Productions CAPJ 1135 SA.
We rotated the three discs, comparing the Plinius SA-102 (with Musical
Fidelity A3 2C R preamp) and two integrated amps: the Unison Research
Unico and YBA Passion Integr. But after they left, I had another 10 days of
listening on my own before deadline, and turned to non-audiophile material:
Louis Armstrong in the 1920s and '30s. Ditto Duke. Count Basic's first
recordings. The Chronological Bing Crosby on Jonzo Records. Iplayed many of

the historical classical CDs that Klaus H eymann, of Naxos, has sent me:
Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, Artur Schnabel.
In many ways, vintage or "historical" recordings present the toughest
challenge. Old recordings or new, the Plinius controlled the Triangles' multiple
woofers with an iron grip. Despite their lack of dynamic range, many of these
recordings sounded smooth, sweet, and mellow-not at all harsh or thin. Bass
definition and extension were excellent. So was the overall resolution. I heard
superb bottom-end control and a very sweet, smoothly extended midrange
and treble. The Magellans are also capable of remarkable resolution, and the
Plinius SA-102 did not disappoint. When I consider that these speakers retail
for roughly seven times the amplifier's price, the latter's performance was

Someone buying an expensive speaker like the Magellan might allocate more
than $5,000 for an amplifier. I wonder what two Plinius SA-102s might sound
like. Bridge them into mono... or since the Magellan allows, leave the Plinius
in stereo and simply biamp, horizontally or vertically. At a total price of $10
DUO, two Plinius SA-102s might make an attractive proposition, possibly
gaining you a more expansive soundstage and an even greater sense of
dynamic ease. There's something to be said for a big amp: it can make big
sound. The Plinius SA-102 did this without ever turning hard or harsh, without
sounding raucous or losing resolution and fine detail. This amp was as free of
grain as any solid-state amplifier I have heard at any price.
Was it perfect?
Comparing the Plinius SA-102 to the YBA Integr Passion and Unison
Research Unico, I had one slight reservation. Mind you, those relatively small
integrated amps did not control the Magellans' woofers as well as the Plinius
did, and didn't play as loud. When I tried cranking up the YBA Integr to
Plinius levels, the amp blew a fuse.
But I wonder whether the Plinius might have been a wee bit too polite. It's
not that I heard any loss of resolution or detail - far from it. But I wanted
Chet Baker's trumpet to be a bit more brassy, to have a bit more bite. Ditto
with Paavo Jrvi's recording of the Symphonic Fantastique. This piece can turn
quite raucous, and Telarc's recording catches this aspect (accurately, in my
view). With the Plinius SA-102, I felt that things were being smoothed over
slightly, taming some of the music's bark, blare, and bite. (Gad, the music
sounds like me.)
I missed some of the vibrancy and life that I hear with great tube gear -that
"lit from within" quality that I especially associate with single-ended triodes.
I'm not sure what to call this, but I thought that the Plinius - at least with the
Cremona and Magellan speakers lacked some degree of harmonic immediacy,
leaving me sometimes less than fully engaged by the music. But how much
would I have to pay to get that harmonic immediacy and the Plinius's bottomend control? I suspect a great deal more than $5000. Let's say you bought a
tube amplifier for roughly the same price. In the words of my colleague John
Marks - a big Plinius fan - would a tube amp "wrestle the woofer to the
And system matching is everything. Sonus Faber speakers are all noted for
having the company's unique sonic signature - never harsh, possibly a little

soft in the upper midrange and treble. Triangle's Magellan seems to mark a
departure for that company, especially in the treble region, where there was a
smoothness, sweetness, and refinement I had not heard before from Triangle
designs. Neither speaker could be called aggressive.
The Plinius SA-102 may be just what you need to control your speakers and
tame any tendency they might have toward aggressiveness. For $5000, you
get superb performance, excellent build quality, and the smoothest midrange
and treble this side of tubes.
And a dedicated AC line? I can imagine Lars reading this column and saying,
"I told you so."
1 In horizontal biamping, one amp drives the midrange treble units, the other
drives the woofers. In vertical biamping, a single amplifier drives a single
speaker. You just have to feed the same signal to the inputs of both channels


--------------You may not find it easy to get excited about yet another sub-100W
integrated amplifier - they're hardly a dying breed. If you've got this far,
however, rest assured it's worth reading on, for Unison Research's Unico P is
not your common-or-garden stereo intergrated.
For a start, the Unico P, little brother to the much admired Unico, wasn't
designed in Japan or thrown-together in China, but conceived and constructed
to a very high standard in Italy. More intriguingly, it integrates not just preand power amplifier stages, but both valve and solid-state technologies.
These elements should add up to a scary price tag but, while famous for
design flair, Italians have yet to get the hang of accountancy, so the Unico P is
a steal at $2500.
Beautiful skin
The physical format is familiar - a box of standard width and typical height,
deep enough to fill a support-stand's shelf. Boring black is reserved for the
top, back, and sides, while the fascia is a thick aluminum plate, sandblasted
to achieve a satin finish and adorned with the manufacturer's wooden logo.
The control knobs for source-select and volume are big handfuls of sculpted
dial, the latter being remotely activated from a lovely handset of aluminium
and mahogany which also controls the matching Unico CD player. Unlike the
handset which comes with the more powerful Unico, which uses a radio
frequency to talk to the amp, the P's handset is a standard infra-red
implementation, but it will still exert control from the most remote corners of
your listening space.
Not just skin-deep
The nominally 50W Unico is equipped with four line-level inputs, one tape
loop, dual speaker terminals, and a phono stage. It's a mark of quality that
the input selector switch is right at the back of the circuit board, as close as
possible to the RCA inputs to minimise signal-path length. The switch is
driven by a long shaft from the rear of the control knob on the fascia. The
mains transformer is handmade by Unison Research to an original design, and
makes a notable contribution to the weight of the amp.

The input stage is a pure triode design, featuring a single tried-and-true

12AU7/ ECC82 valve, whereas two are deployed in the Unico. The output
stage is based on MOSFETs operating in Class A. These are attached to big
chunky heatsinks together weighing over a kilo! W ith a stated frequency
response of 2-100kHz, the Unico has no fear of new wide-bandwidth formats
like SACD and DVD-A.
The internal phono board accomodates both MC (40-50dB) and MM (50-60dB)
cartridges - gain and impedance are trimmed by positioning jumper links on
the board inside the amp.
The sound of hybridisation
The idea here is to marry the power of transistors with the lucidity of valves.
A hybrid of this kind is either going to sound great or absolutely dire,
depending on whether the strengths or weaknesses of these two devices are
combined. The verdict in this case is 'great'. Transistor-like weight combined
with the light and grace of well-applied valves.
The Unico P knocks out the low stuff with vigor and precision, without
exhibiting the obesity of certain tranny amps currently on the market. A touch
more extension would not go amiss, but if you're not auditioning the P
straight after a pair of Krell monoblocs you may never notice.
In terms of detail with freedom from grain or hardness, you'll not find another
amp in this price range that approaches the Unico P. Some fancy all-valve
amps would certainly have an advantage in these areas, but if you can afford
one of them you're probably not reading this anyway.
What really surprised me were the rhythmic abilities of this amp - it
immediately makes sense of whatever a CD or record is feeding it. From the
very first, the Unico P distinguishes itself as a machine that understands
music - it's a reviewer's finest cop-out, but nothing better describes the
attributes of this amp than the adjective 'musical'. Sweet, warm, accurate and
insightful - the Unico is all these things, but in short always unfailingly
enjoyable to hear at its work.
No shortcomings at all? Well, apart from the slight shyness in the bass, the
treble seemed ever-so-slightly rolled off, and there was an occasional
emphasis of nasality in male voices. Then again, if I weren't employed to seek
these flaws out, I wouldn't bother mentioning them.
If you're considering a new integrated amp, I heartily recommend you have a
listen the Unico P. Not the perfect amplifier, but the blend of virtues on offer
here makes this a serious contender for best buy of the year. Quite a
prediction given it's only the March issue.
------------------Unico is compact hybrid valve - MOSFET integrated amplifier from Unison
Research, similar in concept to their SR1 design.The Unico is the result of
many years of research aimed at providig superb muical performance from a
compact well equipped and affordable design.The Unico has all the hallmarks
of a Unison Research valve design. The pure triode input stage provides a
natural, refined sound, with generous dynamics but with the added drivability
gained from having 80 watts of MOSFET power available per channel.
Particular attention has been given to the power supply, the mains
transformer is hand made by Unison Research to their own design, and is
combined to a large bank of filter capacitors. The power output stages are
MOSFET's fitted to a massive 1kg heat sink for optimal thermal stability and
are fully protcted against overload by a fully automatic protection circuit. All

the components are mounted on a heavy chassis finished with an attractive

15mm satin aluminium faceplate. The Unico has 5 line level inputs with the
option for a plug in MM/MC phono stage with switchable gain (via jumper
plugs) and a sophisticated active/passive RIAA equalisation circuit, on one of
the inputs. The amplifier also includes a radiowave remote control for volume
adjustment only.


Large overated power supply with transformer, for improved dynamic volume
swings. 5 line level inputs, 2 sets of gold plated speaker terminals for biwiring. Optional on-board MM/MC phono stage, with adjustable gain.
Radiowave - remote volume control. Massive heat sinks insure optimum
thermal stability under all operating conditions. Robust construction , heavy
chassis finished with 15mm thick satin aluminium faceplate.

Output power: 80 watts per channel

Output impedance 4- 8 Ohms
Bandwidth 5Hz - 50 kHz @ -0.1dB
Input impedance 50kOhm/47pF
Iput stage 2 x twin triode ECC 82
Output Stage improved dynamic Class A - symmetrical, with power MOSFET
complementary pair
Damping factor >50
Total feedback 10dB
Power consumption 340 watts @ full power
Dimensions (mm) 435 x 340 x 95 (W x D x H)
Net Weight 16kg
CE compliant

EVERY once in a while, you find something that really puts the cherry on your
sundae. Behind the slab of aluminium that forms the fascia of Unison
Researchs Unico amp, youll find both tubes and solid-state circuitry, bringing
to bear the sweetness and warm musicality of tubes and the muscularity and
power of solid-state in one chassis.
Tube amplifiers can do a lot for you; theyll charm you with a cheery and
enveloping midrange and at their best as with all good things in life youll
wish youd never have to stop.
But faced with a stiff breeze, say with slightly more demanding speakers or
playback material, most tube jobs would be left hanging in the wind.
Solid-state amplifiers, on the other hand, tend to be more forgiving with
ancillary components and may even boogie down when its not called for, but
sweetness and sheer musicality arent always in the offing.


Unico hybrid integrated amplifier.

One would deduce that bringing both tube and solid-state elements into one
component would be akin to killing two birds with one stone, and in theory
thats true.
However, in reality, many hybrids that have come our way tend to be a
compromise at best. Unison Research appears to have tackled this enigma,
and then some.
Warming them tubes
Having spent some time with another Unison hybrid, the SR1, I had high
expectations for the Unico. Truth be told, I was a touch disappointed initially. I
had grown accustomed to the distinctive look of Unison gear but the styling
cues applied to the Unico were just too pedestrian in contrast to the SR-1.
Case in point where has all
the wood gone? Instead of the
lashings of finely contoured
wood accents, we get a little
button of wood in the form of
the Unison logo reminding us of
what was before. Certainly,
there is plenty of wood in the
remote control unit, which
incidentally can also double up
as an effective truncheon.
Nonetheless, the Unico still has
quite a bit of substance. The
PURE CLASS: The Unico definitely has
faceplate is a slab of metal,
it. Seen here, the source and volume
tastefully satin sandblasted,
control knobs.
with substantial knobs for
volume control and channel selection, no less. From the faceplate back, the
Unico exhibits even more over-specified features. A beefy 1kg internal
heatsink extends the depth of the amplifiers 435mm x 340mm x 95mm
dimensions, whilst a massive in-house wound toroidal transformer sits to the
side of the amplifier. Which side, you ask? Just lift its 14kg enclosure and
youll know in a hurry!
The amplifier features protective circuitry to prevent overheating and youll
need it because not only does the Unico apply a pair of twin-triode ECC82s in
full triode mode on the thermionic side of things, the amplifier also runs its
MOSFET output devices in Class-A, so do keep those ventilation vents clear of
obstructions. On full song, the Unico will be sucking some 340 watts out of

your mains with a fair portion of that converted into

heat shareholders and employees of TNB will thank
you for this.
Let er rip
Flicking on the power switch at the rear, the amplifier
goes into standby mode with green LEDs blinking
eagerly for half a minute or so. No power goes to the
speakers during this time and when the juice starts
to flow, do give the amplifier ten minutes or so to
warm up.
Now, youll get a fair taste of the Unico even while
its stone cold, but things do get very much better in
a hurry. Soon, I was getting fond flashbacks of the

SR1. Here again was a substantial sound that was

simultaneously light on its feet while constantly
capped by agreeable tube sweetness.
wood is simply
Where the SR1 was somewhat weak in its legs, the
gorgeous to
Unico dishes bass out with vigorous generosity and
touch and to
deft control that would shame amplifiers with double
look at.
its power ratings. Coupled to the Audio Physic
Sparks, the Unico was belting out some serious foottappin grooves. This sense of dynamism and speed was so infectious it was a
struggle to remain in my seat and not jump up to the beat. Even here, it has
a right sense of balance in depth and rhythm without being too heavy-footed
or wispy.
On minimalist dual acoustic guitar, the Unico clearly differentiated between
the distinctive qualities of steel- and nylon-string guitars while evocatively
fleshing out the body of instruments on small ensemble string recordings. Ive
listened to amplifiers with more detail and midrange sweetness and even
more amplifiers with better dynamics and verve, but not many are able to
deliver all these qualities in such a balanced manner at the same time.

PRETTY SOLID: Lovely-looking speaker binding

posts light up the panel landscape.

The Unico also saw the better side of the performance spectrum of SACDs,
with its enormous 5Hz to 50kHz bandwidth allowing both ends of the
frequency horizon to be dealt with confident control. Within this range, the
midrange qualities as revealed in vocals were rendered with sweet and warm
tones, while preserving the musical emotion behind the notes. The tonal and
harmonic palette showed great depth and accuracy, giving the listener much
insight into the music.

Sitting nicely on the scale

Id contend that some would like more vice-like control, and others more air
in the treble, but these traits in themselves do not often find themselves in
one component. The Unison Research Unico walks a tightrope act here, and
happily at that, balancing the virtues of solid-state and tubes in a musical and
attractive (sonically, at least) real world package. If you have your mind set
on a new integrated amplifier, this one merits serious listening.
For: Does everything well; rich mids, defined treble, oodles of bass; built like
the proverbial brick wall; given current market options, decent bang for the
buck; remote doubles up as truncheon.
Against: Conservative styling; wheres the wood gone?; remote doubles up as

You might be an audiophile if - you've ever had to choose between a girlfriend

and a new pair of speakers

You might be an audiophile if- your living room only has 1 or 2 chairs in it.

If your power cord costs more than your wifes wedding ring.

You might be an audiophile if you evaluate new houses based on their

suitability for speaker placement. A fireplace as the room's focal point - Huh?

...each of your speakers weigh more than you do.

the power cord attached to your amplifier cost more than your amplifier!

-you're listening to your system untill 1am, then get up to listen again at
6am, all bacause the power grid is 'quiet'
-you lock your living room door so the family can not come in to disturb you,
and play dumb later "...sorry, I could not hear you, must of been that last
-you put a lock on your living room door to begin with

have a dedicated credit card for audio purchases. I have a dedicated room for
the empty boxes. I am seeking a dedicated therapist.--- pay the electic company way more than you have to every month so
everythings always "warmed up". get more excited over looking at a nice set of speakers than you do a
nice set of boobs.
...your connections are way cleaner than your windows.
...your couch has a permanent imprint in the sweet spot.

...your family is afraid to touch the stereo.

...your last choice for audio equipment is Best Buy. have ever had a cable delivered overnight red

You get a complaint about noise...from your local airport.

9) Your electric company builds a substation in your backyard
8) Your H.T uses as much cable and wire as found in 3 average homes
7) Your speakers are bigger than your refrigerator
6) Every time you play a Bach pipe organ piece, seismographs register
5) You get rid of your wood stove, because your tube equipment puts
out more heat
4) You have more filled equipment racks than your local radio station
3) Your new preamp is the best one you've ever heard, and your
system is finally finished. You trade it in next week for a different one.
2) You own at least 10 different vinyl pressings of every Beatles and
Stones album
1) You can "hear" the sonic differences resulting from a 3 degree
ambient temperature change

the record store owner gets nervous when you tell him you are going on
vacation next week

the UPS and FedEx guys know not to stop when they see the wife's car in the

You think to put whole house on ball bearings to reduce the negative effect of
the earth's vibrations on your audio system

You use $20,000 cd player as a transport but your best clothes are from
You live with your wife and seven children in one room apartment which is a
dedicated listening room.
The worst thing that can happen to you is loosing your stereo system because
you have nothing more left. This is the outcome of your constant upgrades.

You might be an audiophile if you have a thousand CD's in you collection and
only listen to those favorite 10 because of their sonic characteristics

In my book you reach diminishing returns fastest with a source and amp and
slowest with speakers and room acoustics. Speaker and room acoustics is
where all the bad stuff happens (distortion, reverberation etc.) In that sense a
modest system in a good acoustic environment will outdo an all out assault
on equipment in an untreated poor acoustic environment.

About 50% of the sound we hear is indirect--coming from the speaker

interaction with the room. Putting a small investment in the room can
frequently yield results that could not be had for 10 times the cost in