Don't Be a Ken

Discussion in 'Tales from the Bully Pulpit' started by purr1n, Apr 4, 2024.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    DCS is something to make audiophiles even more neurotic. Fear of missing out will make a substantial percentage of audiophiles go cuckoo in obtaining a device that will receive DCS output. End result down the line will be lonely old man, likely balding (not in a cool Vin Diesel or Dave Bautista way) or potbelly (not in a cool Arnold or James Rogan - after he trimmed down - way).

    Where was the link to that news article about that cranky old audiophile dude?

    EDIT: https://www.washingtonpost.com/style/interactive/2024/ken-fritz-greatest-stereo-auction-cost/

    ^ SBAF Readers: PLEASE DO NOT END UP LIKE THIS GUY.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 4, 2024
  2. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Tis very Interesting. I admit I am growing wary of this sort of biopic reporting/narrative (someone told me The Atlantic magazine made these popular) as it always has a strong agenda - a (sometimes complex) moral to the story it throws in your face. Still the facts stand on their own: his narcistic obsessiveness, familial estrangement, his desire to see his system live on past him as some kind of legacy (never was going to happen). Yet we all (or at least 97.23% of us) have serious blind spots, family wounds that will never heal (in this lifetime), etc. Some version of this story (with our own particular banal obsessions and wounds) could be written about almost all of us. RIP Ken, ALS is hell, maybe he deserved it, maybe we all do, but I like to think that it is not so.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    As Dungeon Master of SBAF I tend to be aware of the effects of this hobby more than others.

    This shit is real, has happened in the past, is happening now, and will happen in the future.

    Ruined relationships with spouses, children, extended families and friends. The result of manly obsession with obtaining the audio holy grail.

    It doesn’t have to be audio either. It can be unnatural obsessions with a favorite sports team or running a fantasy sports league.

    You may be wary of such anecdotes written by the Atlantic or Post. I am wary of dudes being so obsessed with audio that they end up losers - the very definition of what a man should not be. This shit has been going on since Changstar.

    Do be a Ken. Don’t die lonely or estranged from friends and family, but with a shitload of cool audio gear in your only living room (turned into audio room) or bedroom (of your parents house).

    That there is a bit of Ken in each of us I find f'ing scary. It’s why folks like @ChaChaRealSmooth has an agreement with me to knock some sense into him if I ever feel he is going off the ORFAS deep end.

    This isn’t the first time I have said all this either.

    FYI, there was a house in my neighborhood that went up for sale a few years ago. It was literally filled with McIntosh audio gear. Like a bunch of rooms and an entire wall top to bottom in the living room with various McIntosh amps and gear. I bet @YMO can tell you of a Florida version of this. I can tell you other sad stories about maestros who organized shows and ran audio societies, but I am not.

    I already feel that I selfishly spurged on Jeep mods / upgrades, state of the art Japanese toilets that auto wash buttholes, and a C8… until I realized that people have spent more than this on audio gear.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2024
  4. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    This right here. Ken is a negative example is an example/warning to us all. More to your point, we all have this in us. I hope I was saying the same thing. Ken's life was marked by a real narcissism and lack of balance - the audio was just the outward form his inner demons took. His workaholism and extreme focus led to the detriment his relationship to his family and a virtuous life.

    Thing is negative examples just beg the question: What should a man be? A question for another thread perhaps ;)

    Now back to my current obsession over hearing allegedly minute differences of HQPlayer filters LOL
     
  5. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    talk about burying the lede, shiiiiiit.
     
  6. JK47

    JK47 Friend

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    I love the C8, but still feel it's the spiritual successor to the Fiero. If I ever get one "FIERO" will be my vanity plate. I'm more a C5 flip up headlight kind of guy.

    note the backfire
     
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  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I was about to get a C5 FRC before the bottom fell out of Dot Com 1.0. I remember sitting in a C5 at the Detroit Auto show when it first came out. After I saw one on the street, I totally wanted one. I actually saw a black C5 FRC in other day in town.

    Don't temp me. I know someone selling a C5. Would be cool to get a used one in good condition, throw in some headers, delete cats, a meaner camshaft, a few tweaks so the CEL doesn't come on, etc. Love the round lights in the back too, which I wish GM didn't take away.

    I know someone with a Fiero in California. He put a supercharger on it.

    The deal with the C8:
    • With it's weight bias, it hooks up like mad, even on shitty roads as long as the tires are warmed up (believe me I've tried on shitty roads). Mid to high 3s to 60 from from 5 mph. Under 3s with launch control in sport mode from dig. Times are super consistent, BTW 0-60 is kinda dumb because it happens so fast (by the time I notice I'm past 60, I'm already going 83 or something like that). As long as the tires are reasonably warm, I have little fear just mashing the pedal down, even in the middle of a turn - this is the kind of stuff that you don't want to do on a Charger or Challenger.
    • The downside is that the C8 has grown bigger: wider, longer, heavier. In a way, the C5 (and Fiero - the car I wanted in senior year high school) feel more fun, they more of a driver's car than the C8. The C8 more like a grand tourer (but with no luggage room). The increased weight is definitely noticeable. With the layout of the motor, the top of the shock towers were moved very much inward, resulting in a more progressive feel in the springs. I have the Z51, and the C8 Z51 has a more comfortable ride than a 4Runner. I could do a bit stiffer, but it's fine. I can't imagine a C8 without the Z51 package - I suppose that the base C8 is made for 75 year old geezers with back problems (which unfortunately seems to be the average age of Vette buyers these days).
    • Obviously with the mid-engine, the rotation and braking feel so much better than the prior front engine models. The weight gain does come with a really nice stiff chassis, something I noticed because I need to go up my steep driveway at an angle to prevent scraping. GM engineers did an amazeballs job with the suspension and chassis. I wish they would do the same with their other cars, but corporate beancounters. Or they were dumb, bamboozled into EVs and self-driving cars, rather than making cars that people want (not all places in the USA have chargers every two blocks or in their apartment complexes).
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2024
  8. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Getting over-involved with moderating an internet forum did my marriage noticeable harm. Long since left behind. But, as I point out to people who think everything can be fixed, you can skillfully glue a broken plate, but it will always have a crack in it.
     
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  9. JK47

    JK47 Friend

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    Yes the silhouette of the C5 FRC is what makes me want the convertible (damn sexy wedge with minute cockpit bubble). I'm not totally against getting a targa hatchback, but the FRC is out for me due to the ABS, and torque tube issues in pre 2001 C5's. I'm getting old and a fairly stock 2001+ excellent condition C5 convertible in auto would be my geezer GT that I could sail off into the SoCal sunset with...
     
  10. YMO

    YMO Chief Fun Officer

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    Always a classic. To @purr1n point I have old fart stories here in FL.

    One old audiophile who died in his 60s who levied near my dads house had one closet filled with $20k worth of interconnects and can spent a whole day tweaking his setup. Former NJ lawyer who never got married but was engaged a few times (I wonder why). Hardcore analog guy, he hated digital with a passion. However, his setup sounded great.

    I leaned a lot from the guy, since he gave me perspective that I still have today. We had a blast making fun of the audio rooms sounded like ass from Axpona Year 1 and 3 (when it was in Jacksonville). But him smoking imported Dunhills cigs and poor diet got to him. Before he gotten his stroke he sold his house and rent it from the new owners so he can spent it on $70k worth of audio gear. Few months later he died from a stroke.

    After he died, the vultures (the audiophile group we were in) all raided his former house and auction off all of the stuff locally to each other. When these old farts die, the vultures want the gear like eating a dead body on the road.

    It was then when I said screw these old farts, with their Oppo player fetishes, three subs in a stereo setup, and cold as shit sound on classical and big bad jazz. Quite frankly, the majority of setups were trash by a bunch of old farts with money who lost their upper frequencies hearing and have a fetish for speed with regards to sound.
     
  11. joch

    joch Friend

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    Damn.

    Nobody should live life without real respect from people close to them, and definitely nobody should have such disrespect when they’re dead.
     
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  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    He preferred single-ended to balanced?
     
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  13. YMO

    YMO Chief Fun Officer

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    Balanced
     
  14. Josh Schor

    Josh Schor Friend

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    I have been lucky to not be rich, I could have easily gone the way of isolated with lots of gear. With a moderate income have a system I truly love and still a little cash to play with. Having known guys in Chicago who down the rabbit hole, died alone, drunk, sad, resentful and very unhappy it has been important to remeber Im not different then them and have been fortunate to be blessed with a loving community and family.
     
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  15. Qildail

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    How many exposition-laden stories have we seen just since the pandemic about people who detrimentally hooked themselves on trading zombie company stocks; or buying dodgy virtual coins; or mobile games; or Fortnite; or exercise equipment; or... audio gear. To Marv's point, we're not special - addiction is an original demon that tailors its face for each of its victims. The dopamine-industrial complex is alive and well, thank you.

    In the last few years, I've consciously forced myself to diversify my hobbies and leisure activities within my current family constraints. Money I used to set aside and dump directly in audio now gets divided into separate savings accounts for audio gear, or travel plans, or going out to theatres/movies -- think "cash stuffing" without having to deal with all those cocaine-laced dollar bills.

    Yes, money moves from one account to the other, but it takes conscious thought and effort: if I buy (X) audio gear, that means trip (Y) might get pushed back; or if I jump on a great flight deal for trip (Y), that means (X) audio gear waits until later in the year; or taking the whole family to the IMAX to see Dune Part Two means I don't buy any records this month.

    The people I feel sorriest for here are Ken Fritz's children. They don't have memories of their father they'll want to share with their own children. Just bitterness, anger, repeated missed chances, and unnecessary stubborn righteousness to the very end. Maybe this one punches me in the gut the hardest because it hits closest to home.
     
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  16. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    On the other hand, there is no* rule to say that a person can't be stinking rich and have a room full of audio gear and have a family that they relate to and have a life apart from the audio.

    And it's also possible that, had he been poor, with no audio gear, he would still have been an absent father, non-relating husband, and generally unable to handle the world.



    *edit: I missed this important little word! But I think people knew what I was trying to say <blush>
     
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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2024
  17. netforce

    netforce MOT: Headphones.com

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    I remember one story from a customer/contractor back in my TSAV days a few years back. Contractor out in LA area had one client that he described as an Audiophile hoarder. Would order doubles of like everything, loved McIntosh and would get a piece for the house and another unit but then stuck it in his warehouse. Plenty of money to afford the big ticket stuff but would also then get into a different brand like Woo and did the same thing for their big stuff.

    Eventually the guy passes away and the widow has a warehouse full of his toys since he also into more than audio so they decided to have an estate sale. Contractor said he snagged all the audio stuff for $100k but just looking the stuff up and going by MSRP the new/unopened stuff was at least tallied up to $300k.

    Probably an extreme example but seen more than a few examples of guys like that, collecting stuff just because they can afford to. But next of kin has no idea how to sell the items so it ends up becoming a hassle for them in a way. A lot of the big audiophile collector guys of the past with these 6-7 figure audio setups are in that Baby Boomer demographic, past their prime earning years and likely not doing big updates anymore to their system. Little dark to say but I do expect a number of them to not be in the best of health, getting sick or passing away. Probably going to be more and more cases like Ken Fritz in the coming years.
     
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  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    When Ken Fritz's stuff went up at auction it mostly went for ~20% of retail. Nothing was terribly esoteric, but a dozen or so lot of the PE Ultimax 15" subs went for like $600 or something... It's a shame, but it's not.
     
  19. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Friend

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    So true. I use to frequent estate sales often as I collected and resold vintage / luxury menswear - yea sort of an odd thing to do but I worked in the clothing industry at the time and a lot of what I found was used for work. And as you call them, the vultures, that would show up at estate sales and rummage through peoples wardrobes, drawers, garages, living rooms made me swear to myself I'd never die with anything material of worth.
     
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  20. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    I'd like to die with lots of material worth: one gets to enjoy it before hand.

    On the other hand, we must understand that, by the time we kick the bucket, everybody else has already got their life-time garbage collection, and they won't want ours. It'll all be going the same way as our bodies.

    Dust to dust, ashes to ashes... but lets make the best of it while we can :D
     
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