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Old 10th July 2012, 12:25 AM   #1
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Default zen audio

I've notice quite a lot of threads mention Zen, as if everyone should know what it means. When I look it up I find it is a branch of the religion of Buddhism. I guess I must be missing something.

Is there an explanation somewhere of what Zen means specifically in relation to DIY audio, please?
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Old 10th July 2012, 01:19 AM   #2
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In the vernacular it sort of means a holistic approach, one that does not rely upon too much explicit analysis on a conscious level, but rather a sub-conscious path.

Along the lines of what a "expert" at something like a sport does when they are "in the zone". There is "is" and "being", not effort and thought at making it happen...

I think that is more or less what it means to me when someone uses the term in this context.

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Old 10th July 2012, 02:02 AM   #3
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I, as the originator of the thread, "A Zen of Audio", would phrase it simply in this fashion: the destination is all important, you "know", for whatever reasons, through incidents and experiences in your music listening "life" what you're after, the goal is crystal clear.

But many people playing with audio are consumed with the journey, constantly making, or buying speaker after speaker, amplifier after amplifier, based on the latest advice from various people, the latest talk in the magazines, the new ideas. The destination, completely convincing sound reproduction, is almost an afterthought, a lucky by-the-way in this whole exercise.

I want my music reproduction to do the job of enveloping me in satisfying music, that's the beginning and end of it. What it takes is unimportant: a tweaked, cheap HT setup, or an ultra sohisticated, expensive, latest technology doo-dah doesn't matter, it's what it produces, that my ear/brain takes in, that's what counts. That's my take on it, anyway ...

Frank
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Old 11th July 2012, 04:20 AM   #4
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Thanks, bear and Frank.

I've been trying to reconcile two rather different expressions

I like the idea of grasping the totality and trusting intuition, bear , it rings a bell with my vague inkling of Zen. The sporting metaphor is useful because it includes the idea that a long journey of development is necessary to distinguish mastery from recklessness.

The development and the ultimate performance are opposite in character, the one analytical and detailed, the other intuitive and holistic. Extending the idea a little further, the right sound emerges from the union of the two, er, maybe.

Frank, you provoked the question. Just as I was feeling bemused by Pass Labs' use of the word, you chimed in with your thread, which appears to relate to Zen only by frequent use of the word, often highlighted but always mute, neither given nor moot.

Shocked because at first sight your reply seems totally opposed to a central theme of my own shaky notion of Zen: truth is a journey, not a destination. That I guess is why it fits so well with DIY. However, I can see it is no less true that ultimately the journey is the destination. Consequently, in the final state of bliss, destination is everything. There is an echo here of bear, in that "the zone" could equate to "the destination": both are essentially in the here and now, felt as a singular, dynamic, all-consuming state of being just right.

However, you go so far as to deny process altogether. "Destination is everything" then becomes not only not-Zen, but thoroughly anti-Zen, surely? I tried to chip in with a remark about paradox, but to no avail.

If destination is everything, then why start a thread which is by its nature a process and not a destination? Surely an announcement such as "I am in the zone" or "my system is just right", would suffice? Then we could cheer and congratulate you. Equally, I should be able to go to a shop and buy a system with enough technology to make itself perfect for my space. Same destination. Perfection leaves nothing to discuss.

Aspects of Zen that I might have expected but haven't found so far: simplicity and humility; quality as union of subjective and objective; discipline and training.

I'm struggling to develop a dialectical materialist view of music distribution. My expectations of Zen arise from Hegel, who recast it within his own philosophy. The dialectic is common to both. Hegel is to Zen as Einstein is to Newton, kind of. Not easy to write, so I was hoping to fill it out with established Zen stuff, but most I find merely bandies the word
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Old 11th July 2012, 06:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticIsGood View Post
Thanks, bear and Frank.

I've been trying to reconcile two rather different expressions

I like the idea of grasping the totality and trusting intuition, bear , it rings a bell with my vague inkling of Zen.
Remember my first post in that thread described where the name came from, being a variation of an expression by Shaun.

Quote:
The sporting metaphor is useful because it includes the idea that a long journey of development is necessary to distinguish mastery from recklessness.
I think I fit in there, this has been a journey of over 25 years; I am attempting to achieve mastery over all the factors that pertain to getting good sound, as distinct from, not good sound. And that destination I have still not arrived at, as yet.

Quote:
The development and the ultimate performance are opposite in character, the one analytical and detailed, the other intuitive and holistic. Extending the idea a little further, the right sound emerges from the union of the two, er, maybe.
I would not separate those aspects in that fashion. A considerable amount of intuition, a sense of where the "wrongness" was, formed a strong heart of the development process. Many of my ideas, especially the IP aspects, sprang from some unknown region in my psyche; trying something quite bizarre by normal standards, on the off chance there may be an effect. And that approach paid dividends many times ...

Quote:
However, I can see it is no less true that ultimately the journey is the destination. Consequently, in the final state of bliss, destination is everything. There is an echo here of bear, in that "the zone" could equate to "the destination": both are essentially in the here and now, felt as a singular, dynamic, all-consuming state of being just right.
Yes. I don't take measurements to tell me it is right. When I listen, the sound is either right, or it's not right -- there's no inbetween. And if it's not right, then there is something wrong with the system, not the recording! - a weakness, problem, still exists somewhere, which has to be resolved.

Quote:
However, you go so far as to deny process altogether. "Destination is everything" then becomes not only not-Zen, but thoroughly anti-Zen, surely? I tried to chip in with a remark about paradox, but to no avail.
As just stated, I'm not denying process at all. What I'm perhaps saying is that process without clear understanding of the destination is, to me, anti-Zen. Like the Buddhists who have their chants, rituals, temples, aesthetic lives with not the correct inner sense of why they're doing it, what the point ultimately is.

Quote:
]If destination is everything, then why start a thread which is by its nature a process and not a destination? Surely an announcement such as "I am in the zone" or "my system is just right", would suffice? Then we could cheer and congratulate you. Equally, I should be able to go to a shop and buy a system with enough technology to make itself perfect for my space. Same destination. Perfection leaves nothing to discuss.

Aspects of Zen that I might have expected but haven't found so far: simplicity and humility; quality as union of subjective and objective; discipline and training.

I'm struggling to develop a dialectical materialist view of music distribution. My expectations of Zen arise from Hegel, who recast it within his own philosophy. The dialectic is common to both. Hegel is to Zen as Einstein is to Newton, kind of. Not easy to write, so I was hoping to fill it out with established Zen stuff, but most I find merely bandies the word
Now you're going mighty deep on me, PlasticIsGood, almost scary, dare I say ... . After all, I'm only a poor chap aiming to get satisfying sound reproduction, and hoping to pass on in some way a useful philosophy, approach for achieving that.

Cheers,
Frank

Last edited by fas42; 11th July 2012 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 11th July 2012, 07:21 AM   #6
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  United Kingdom
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Synchronicity..


'The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday--but never jam to-day.'

'It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected.
'No, it can't,' said the Queen. 'It's jam every OTHER day: to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know..

Synergy..

The room, listener and the system as a whole..(The end)

Zen..

The experience is worth more than the target..The pilgrim walks the path..the journey ends the pilgrim is sad..an no longer exists..

The above can never happen the world is not perfect...if it was the thread would not exist and there would be "one" of everything..

Regards
M. Gregg
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Last edited by M Gregg; 11th July 2012 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 11th July 2012, 09:31 AM   #7
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  United Kingdom
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But then again,

perhaps there is...and everything is perfect in its imperfection..


Regards
M. Gregg
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Old 11th July 2012, 10:10 AM   #8
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People of a certain age will remember a book about Zen and motorbikes. I am the right age, but I never read it. These days mention of Zen is probably just a reflection of postmodernism, which I regard not as a way of thinking but as a way of talking while avoiding thinking.

The nice thing about postmodernism is that it is safe to completely ignore it. They don't believe in truth, so everything they say can be regarded as either meaningless or untrue - whichever you prefer.
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Old 11th July 2012, 10:25 AM   #9
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Scary, isn't it ?
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Old 11th July 2012, 11:21 AM   #10
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacco vermeulen View Post
Scary, isn't it ?
Yes it is,

However Zen has found faults on systems that have fooled top experts..and I have experience of this in practice..The realization is so profound it is scary..after weeks of toil and sweat..and all it needed was a different way of thinking on a very complicated system..we are talking weeks of hard work and experts bought in because the top techs were stumped...I have seen it applied to design as well..

In this case,
Its definitely not a case of great minds think alike..
It’s a case of different mind sets produce better information and ideas..

Regards
M. Gregg
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Last edited by M Gregg; 11th July 2012 at 11:36 AM.
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